Becoming ‘expert’. Stoff and Stil jacket 24032

So, there may or may not have been an offer on the Stoff and Stil website which induced me to buy this pattern.IMG_7654

It looks like a simple straightforward boxy jacket right ? Well, look at that number in the top right hand corner (no I didn’t notice it either until it was too late) Gr 3, the website goes into more detail when you read it properly and says this is ‘expert’ level. Haha ! Well I’m nothing if not an optimist.

As with previous patterns I have had from Stoff and Stil the pattern pieces for the one size only are already cut out in the envelope, they were a bit creased so I thought a bit of light ironing before cutting out would be advisable. BIG MISTAKE, do not try and iron these pattern pieces, even on a low temperature, they just frizzle up and melt into nothingness……luckily I only ended up with a big hole in the middle of the sleeve, leaving me sufficient to pin onto the fabric for cutting.

The fabric I have used is one I bought a couple of years ago to make a skirt out of.  I usually have some fabric next to the washing machine waiting to be washed prior to a sewing project and OH, trying to be helpful, put this one into the machine without consulting me. It has a high wool content and came out very stiff, rather felted and considerably smaller than it went in (1.5m down to 1.2m). Not at all suitable for the original skirt project and so it has languished in my stash for some time. I thought that the extra body it had acquired might work for the jacket.

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I decided to use a Liberty silk that I bought ages ago on eBay for the lining as I am trying really hard to destash at the moment and not buy new. This is a really gorgeous fabric with viking ships on it,

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The pattern instructions consist of one sheet of paper with instructions in 3 sections. The first section is for making the jacket shell, the second for making the lining and the third for attaching the two together and finishing off. There is also a page of diagrams numbered fig1-fig9

It all started off well and I constructed the pockets perfectly. I was really really pleased with them until I came to press them and realised that I had put the pocket bags on upside down.

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So off they came and the pockets were reconstructed, unfortunately I haven’t QUITE achieved the perfect finish on the outside that I managed first time and I decided not to mess about with them too much more as the fabric was getting stretched.

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I followed the instructions and diagrams until I got to fig6. Fig6 ? What happened to fig5 ? There is a diagram for something to do with attaching the facing but no corresponding instruction. What to do, should I follow the progression of diagrams or should I follow the instructions ? I read through all the remaining instructions and nowhere is there any instruction for attaching the facing although there are two facing pieces so I decided to follow the diagrams and attached the facing approximately where I thought it would be most logical in the steps. I did subsequently have to unpick a bit of it but overall I think I made the right decision.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that the shell actually seemed to fit straight away.

On to the lining. The second instruction is to make pleats in the front at the top and the bottom at the notches. Well my front pieces didn’t have any notches so I unpacked the pattern pieces to see if I had missed them off at the cutting out stage, nope, no notches. An proper expert jacket maker would have realised straight away, instead of after 20 minutes of investigation, that of course the instruction should refer to the BACK where there were indeed notches for pleats. Tsk tsk !

Then attaching the lining to the outer…well I made the same mistake with the sleeves as I did with my Schnittchen coat….Gaaah !! Cue unpicking and trusty Youtube.

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Anyway I got there in the end and I love the inside of my jacket, in fact it could almost be worn inside out.

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The jacket fits well and there is enough room to wear a jumper underneath. Being picky I think the stiffness of the outer fabric makes the sleeves look a bit chunky but I think this might soften out with wear. The zip is nicely even top and bottom and overall I’m very pleased with this effort. The front appears to dip down much more than in the diagram but I haven’t added anything  to the pattern. This is definitely a wearable garment and was worth the effort of lining.

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Am I an ‘expert’ ? Definitely not ! This make required far too much guesswork in interpreting the instructions revealing huge gaps in my knowledge. I need step by step instructions with preferably photos !

Becoming ‘expert’. Stoff and Stil jacket 24032

Simple Sew – Cocoon Dress

This week I have mainly been sewing the Simple Sew Cocoon Dress which I saw in this version on Pinterest Pigeon Wishes Cocoon Dress. I loved the shape in this version, looked it up and saw that it came with a Sew Now magazine which I bought.

The pattern comes with a sleeved and a sleeveless version and I decided to make the sleeveless version. There are 6 pattern pieces, front and back facings, front and back pieces, sleeves and pockets. I decided to try the pattern with some soft denim that I recently bought from the sale section of the Minerva Crafts website for no other reason than it was £3.99/metre and with no particular project in mind.

The make was quite straightforward although there were no instructions for under stitching the facing which I think is essential for the neck to sit nicely.

I’m very pleased with how it has turned out. For a simple silhouette, it looks quite smart.

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So pleased in fact, that I wanted to make another version while the pattern was on my table.

Some time ago I read a blog post about a sweater dress from Emily of Self Assembly Required  I had sweater dress envy and thought I could make a sweater dress from the Cocoon Dress pattern, so I did…

I had quite a lot of loose knit fleece left over from when I made some Bethouias and I know this fabric just gets nicer every time it’s washed. This time I made the sleeved version and finished the sleeves and hem with sweatshirt style bands. It has turned out to be the sort of garment for an evening on the beach when the sun is going down and it’s beginning to get a bit chilly, or maybe for yoga nidra in the winter….

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This pattern gets a thumbs up from me.

Simple Sew – Cocoon Dress

The week I tried patchwork

I love reading other people’s blog posts and a few weeks ago I came across this post from mensew with this really sweet patchwork quilt he has made for a nephew.

I really like the look of patchwork and inspired by this post and by the ever mounting bin bags and laundry baskets of leftover scraps from various dressmaking projects I decided to have a go myself. I bought an instruction book from a local shop, the selling point being that it claimed to be ‘…for the complete beginner’.

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The book advises that the beginner should start with a small project such as a lavender ball, but looking at my vast pile of offcuts I knew I would have to go for something a bit bigger. I therefore chose the last project in the book, a double bedcover. The individual patches are large varying from 13cm square to 33cm  square which I knew would make more inroads to my leftovers. These are the templates I made from a cardboard box.

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It took two whole days to go through and iron all the pieces and assemble the necessary piles of patches, but eventually I ended up with the right number of squares and rectangles and was able to start sewing (having reduced my scrap mountain to one bulging bin bag of pieces all less that 5″ x 5″).

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The project caused a lot of hilarity among the ladies on my pattern cutting course who also do quilting….’You’re making a what…?…’ ‘Are you sure …..?’ ‘HOW big….?’

Undeterred, I started anyway. The instructions in the book are really clear and although you are supposed to develop techniques by working your way through the projects in the book from the lavender ball to the bed cover it’s still easy enough to go backwards and forwards to refer to the bits you need.

Blocks began to appear…..the corners were in the right places and I was beginning to feel quite pleased with myself.

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Then came joining the blocks together, and before I knew it I had enough for my hallway, or a single bed !

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Another day’s work and it was too big for the hall so here is my double bed cover in the garden, it measures 240cm x 180cm.

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I think it’s lovely ! The beginning of the book advises choosing a base fabric with at least six colours and picking fabrics of those six colours to complete the rest of the cover. As you can see I’ve obviously had a theme going on for the last few years as these random scraps are all from the same colour palette although once I had started sewing I deliberately removed all my blue pieces. I am slightly disturbed by the two pickle jar pieces next to each other on different grains and may remove one of them.

Anyway I am very excited by progress so far. I know the difficult bit is going to be putting a back on it but I WILL get there ! I might even get the opportunity to use the quilting table attachment which came with my sewing machine but which is still in its box and being used as a footrest.

I have also signed up for a patchwork course at the local adult education centre so maybe they will give me some pointers…. I may be some time……..

 

 

The week I tried patchwork

Another Stoff and Stil Hoodie and a Stoff and Stil skirt

Following the success of daughter no 2 and her hoodie I was asked to make another for no 1. I bought the same speckled sweatshirting fabric from Guthrie and Ghani. I’ve now bought this fabric in orange (Linden sweatshirt), Green (Linden sweatshirt), oatmeal (Stoff and Still hoodie) and this yellow (Stoff and Still hoodie). I’ve still got the navy blue to make up. I love the multicoloured speckles in the fabric !

Th making is straightforward and I made no changes even though no 1 is much smaller than no 2. She’s just got a baggier top, which is a style she is very happy with.IMG_7258

The hood on this one is lined with a jersey from C+H I used to make a lady skater dress last year.

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Back view. Again I used the sweatshirt fabric for the hem band and cuffs.IMG_7251

I have also made  no 1 a long plain grey jersey skirt. I have made her a similar garment in the past but it is now worn out and she wanted it replaced. I bought a lightweight grey jersey for a very reasonable price but I can’t remember where from which tells me I have been buying too much fabric if I have lost track of it. Even though it’s a really simple shape I bought a pattern. (Which has since disappeared from the Stoff and Stil website)IMG_7265

There is just one pattern piece, cut twice, although I did make another pattern piece for pockets which I inserted in the side seams using the technique from my Alphonse trousers. After all what use is a skirt without pockets ? The pattern has splits up the side but I made it without and there is plenty of room for walking. No 1’s main criteria for a garment being that she can move in any direction at any time without restriction, she is very keen on yoga.

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I left out the decorative drawstring on the waist and just did a simple elastic casing.

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No 1 is very pleased with her new garments although I always tell her I am sure I get just as much pleasure making for her as she does in the receiving.

 

 

Another Stoff and Stil Hoodie and a Stoff and Stil skirt

Republique du Chiffon pantalon Alphonse

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Well, these look nice don’t they ? I saw a pair somewhere on Pinterest and immediately went to The Republique du Chiffon website to check them out. I found the pattern BUT it appears to only be available in French. So what ? I’ve watched every episode of Cousu Main (the French equivalent of the Great British sewing Bee) at least twice and I’m sure I must have picked up some french sewing terms and there’s always Google translate ! What could go wrong ?

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So, these are a trouser inspired by masculine clothing, loose fitting due to the front pleats with a mid rise. Oh…and pockets, beautiful side pockets.

I decided to make these from a wheaty/grey mid weight drapey pure linen that I bought last year from ditto fabrics. Such lovely fabric !

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The instructions actually aren’t that hard to follow even in French and there are clear diagrams to follow. The Cousu Main programmes came in handy, especially when it came to the ‘Braguette’ (Fly front).

The pockets are fitted so cleverly and neatly into the side seams and are a very good size.

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Another detail I really like is that the belt loops are incorporated into the waistband construction which makes them a thing of beauty in their own right.

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I know, I know, that belt loop isn’t exactly lined up with the seam. I did unpick it and re-place it, promise. But it’s still a really neat finish.

The finished fit of these is very similar to an Oxford Bag trouser. The size I made which fitted at the waist and hip is very wide in the leg and I did lengthen them to  a full length rather than a capri.

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Sexy ? Non ! Confortable ? Mais oui !

 

 

Republique du Chiffon pantalon Alphonse

The Tunic of Doom – What went wrong….

It’s simple really, I made a mistake in transferring markings from my draft pattern to the garment pattern.

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I’m not sure if it’s obvious from here but the side front pattern piece should have followed the red line and not the original pencil line (which I had even scribbled out !) I stupidly made my pattern piece from the original outline which meant I had approx 3 cm more fabric in the centre front than the side front. This accounted for the difficulty I had easing in along the seam and in fact was extremely impressed that I had actually managed to achieve this under the circumstances. The resultant mismatch between the pieces pulled the whole bodice out of shape. Once this had been identified as the source of the problem it was back to work to make the pattern piece correctly.

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The bit with the scribbles on is the original and wrong piece, so you can clearly see my error.

I then made up two new side fronts in calico and re-inserted them. The garment looks even more terrible now but it fits beautifully !! Thank goodness for my tutor who spotted what was wrong very quickly AND made me put it right.

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All I need to do now is source some fabric I actually like and give this another go.

 

The Tunic of Doom – What went wrong….

The Tunic of Doom !

I have been taking some pattern cutting classes in order to improve my sewing skills and after 4 weeks of block making, drafting, toile-ing and pattern making I was finally given the go-ahead to make up a garment from my pattern.

Now for some reason which I still can’t work out, a pattern manipulation class led to my pattern doing away with darts which have been manipulated and incorporated into curved seams and a panelled garment (I don’t own any garments made this way and now I know why…)

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This is the back side piece as an example.

I have never had much of a bust and was very surprised to find such curved seams appear from my measurements, where did the curves come from ? I’ve never had any !

Both my first and second choice stash fabrics were too small to fit all the pattern pieces so I settled for a piece of cotton which I must have had for 10 years solely based on its length being sufficient. It was a gift and has been in my stash for at least 10 years because I don’t really like it that much for garment use and in fact have used it as a tablecloth.

Have you ever sewn with a fabric you don’t really like ? It puts a downer on proceedings right from the start.

There were obviously no instructions for assembling the garment as all I had were the pattern pieces so I was relying entirely on acquired knowledge for the construction process. I started by attaching the side front panels to the centre front piece which was similar to easing in a set in sleeve but MUCH more difficult. Where did all the fabric come from ? The pattern pieces had originally been one piece of paper so how come the side panels seemed to have so much more fabric along the curve than the centre front ? Eventually I got the two together then had to recreate for the back but why are there curved panels on the back ? I don’t have angel wings or anything…..

I ws getting grumpier and grumpier by the minute but consoled myself with the knowledge that this would fit me really well because it was made to my measurements and the toiles had been corrected to my shape except that this has turned out to be the absolutely worst fitting garment I think I have ever made….EVER !  I really didn’t enjoy making it and it has got its revenge by being awkward and turning out really horrible.

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Trust me you don’t want to see it on. The bust is in the wrong place, it’s all baggy in the middle and generally bleurgh….

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I made a nice facing for it….IMG_6810

My invisible zip is nice and invisible…..

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It’s got side splits at the hip….but I can’t tell you how much I hate and resent this garment, let alone the disappointment that it doesn’t fit better.

I will be taking it back to class next Monday to see what I have done wrong but I am not altering it and I am certainly never wearing it. Me and this tunic top are through…

The Tunic of Doom !