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 patchwork bedcover -progress

So I have now finished my first ever patchwork and quilted item. Since my previous post I have swapped out the two offending adjacent pickle jar items as I knew they would get progressively more annoying.

I also found some 3mm organic bamboo/cotton batting at a local shop which doesn’t even sell dressmaking fabric !

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Armed with the batting I set about tacking it to the patchwork top as per the instructions in my little book….this was absolutely backbreaking work as it took me 5 1/2 hours crawling around on the floor to achieve and I had to do it all in one go as it took up the whole floor and there is a limit to the family’s patience being required to tiptoe around the edge of it.

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I purchased some 250 cm wide red 100% cotton sheeting from eBay for the backing and quite coincidentally came upon a giant wooden reel of vintage red ’embroidery’ thread at a local village fair which is really thick and which I thought would be perfect for the quilting and finishing thread for the project.

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Once more back to the floor to pin the backing onto the batting/patchwork and then to the sewing machine.

I attached the quilting table that came with my sewing machine and which has never been used and got going. I really needed the large flat sewing surface that this provided. As the squares for this project are so big it was a relatively straightforward if time consuming  task sew the three layers together.

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Then came attaching the edging and learning the air of the mitred corner both of which are also made with the same scraps as I have used for the patchwork top and LO ! I have a bedcover.

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I am so pleased with it although having seen some properly made quilts exhibited at the village fair where I purchased the thread I realise it is a very amateur effort. Nonetheless I am still thrilled to bits with it.

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The patchwork bedcover -progress

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

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 !

Schnittchen Catrin no2

I have made a Catrin before for daughter no3 and she liked it so much she asked for another one.

Now on the pattern envelope the picture of the finished garment looks like this

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A very baggy oversized sweatshirt with a loose hem.

When I made this before in a size 38, which was correct according to measurements the bottom band was so tight no3 couldn’t even get the garment on and I had to remove the band and make a new one one size up. Its still a tight fit at the hip and nowhere near as loose as this picture.

With this in mind I again cut a size 38 but with a hem band for size 44.

The fabric request was for something tropical but eventually a cactus print from stoff and stil was chosen.

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The oversized width of the body comes from side panels which are incorporated into the sleeve seam, you can just see them here

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Now I don’t know about you but on the pattern envelope I can only conclude that the model is very tiny and is wearing the largest possible version of this garment because even with the  very enlarged hem band it is STILL not as loose as the one pictured. Although no3 is smaller than I am and this will be baggier on her it’s still not going to look quite like the picture. You have been warned…..

PS You would never know I have got a son who is a professional photographer, he certainly didn’t get his talent from his father ‘scuse the drainpipe……….maybe one day he’ll come home and take my photos for me !

Schnittchen Catrin no2