Longshaw Skirt

As I was going through all the patterns in A Beginner’s Guide To Sewing Knitted Fabrics there was one pattern that kept doing my head in every time that I looked at it, the Longshaw Skirt. I just couldn’t get my head around how it was constructed from looking at the drawing of the pattern pieces no matter how many times I looked at it or tried to read through the instructions. The front and back of the skirt are the same pattern piece so you cut 2 of the same but the piece had lots of curves to it and I couldn’t work out where the seam lines went or which was the top and bottom.

I trust Wendy Ward’s pattern so I figured she knew what she was doing with making this skirt, after finding some white printed fabric in my stash that I got from Zebra fabrics and not knowing what else I might do with it I dived in and tried this pattern. Once I had the skirt pattern pieces cut out the instructions started to become more clear in my head. This skirt has a centre front and centre back seam rather than side seams and a curved bottom hem line. I have nicknamed this my origami skirt due to way you fold the pocket pieces in on the sides. It is actually very cleverly constructed once your brain grasps the concept of it.

Referring to my tick list when making clothing

  • Comfort
  • Classic
  • Creative / Quirky
  • Natural Fibres

This skirt is actually really comfortable, the hem line of the skirt does come in a bit so it doesn’t flare out at the bottom but it isn’t restrictive. This is a very quirky skirt, as I mentioned above it is a bit of a brain twister. The knit fabric I used is a light weight cotton and is very soft and comfortable. I don’t think I would really call it a classic style unless a tulip style is considered a classic style of skirt.

Now I will be perfectly honest I’m not entirely convinced that I like this skirt although I have worn it multiple times to work because the pockets are amazing. Saying that as wonderful as the pockets are I think they make me look too side heavy/bulky/puffy. I don’t have that large of thighs but with the pockets flaring out right on the thigh area I just think it looks bulky. I’m not sure if in black fabric it would make it seem less wide.

Would I make this skirt again? I’m curious now how it would look in black. I do now have some black brush cotton in my stash which is a heavier knit that I might try another with but with it being a heavier knit it might not drape as well and will that result in the same bulky thigh feeling. I’ll think about it. It was good to try out this pattern and tick it off my list of patterns from the book. I used fabric from my stash too so that is always a good thing.

Cassiy

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Winnats Tank

This top is another from A Beginner’s Guide To Sewing With Knitted Fabrics. I made this a couple of months ago and have made nearly all the patterns in the book now so I can’t remember which order I made it in.

This top is incredibly simple to make. It is a basic front, back, bands around the neck / arms and bottom hem. If you were a super speedy sewing master you could get this easily done in a couple of hours if that. If you were a beginner and wanting to pick a pattern to start on from the book I would recommend this top.

Fit wise I am pretty happy with it. I did make the largest size as I need to with all the top patterns in this book. The back is gaping a little but not enough to bother me. Perhaps I may take out some from the back next time but the fabric is a cotton knit so it more forgiving and less noticeable than other recent top patterns where I have had that issue. My sewing is a little bit dodgy around the bands on the neckline and one arm. I didn’t hand tack my fabric before attaching the bands on the overlocker so I did have to go over them in parts to correct bits I missed and my machine ate some of the bands in the process. I am lucky due to the nature of this fabric I can get away with as the print is busy.

This is a great essential little top. You could wear it under jackets or layer it under dresses, in summer this would look cute under a York Pinafore. I think it would make a great gym top, the neckline is high so you’re not exposing yourself as you bend forward. The side of top goes up nice and high under the arm so again you don’t have any side expose. It is not too high under the arms or around the neck that you feel uncomfortable or that it is choking you. I am very tempted to now make one in a black cotton lycra for summer gym sessions with my trainer when I am finding the peak t-shirt I made earlier this year and have been wearing to the gym to be a little bit hot and boxy in the warmer weather. I have no problem wearing a fitted top the gym as I am there to work out and not be a fashion show so as long as I am comfortable I don’t care what I wear.

The fabric used was leftover in my stash from when I made my skirt a couple of years ago, at the time I thought I would like to make a simple top with it so I could have entire outfit but in my cupboard it went and I forgot about it until I was “playing” in my stash one day and found it. I had just enough fabric left to squeeze this top out and that was with making the largest size. I really did fall in love with the print of this fabric when I first saw it. To be honest I haven’t really worn my skirt since I made it. No particular reason I just put it in my drawer and forget what I have made. Now that I have a matching top I think I will wear it more this summer. I can wear it to work as an outfit even though I will be wearing my work jumper over it because you will see a peak of the neckline under my jumper.

Looking at my points to consider when making clothes

  • Comfort
  • Classic
  • Creative / Quirky
  • Natural Fibres

It is super comfortable due to the fabric so ticking the comfort and natural fibre points. The style is very much a classic tank top that can go with any skirt so ticking that point. The fabric is a little different, pretty but in a non girly pink way so I think it ticks the creative/quirky point.

I am super happy with this top. Not only did I make another pattern from the book which I aim to sew my way through but I also made a top from fabric I had set aside waiting for the perfect pattern (ok and forgetting about) Sewing and decluttering working as one and giving me a fantastic outfit.

Cassiy

Derwent Wide Leg Trousers – White

Recently on a couple of occasions I have sat down in front my fabric stash armed with my favourite patterns and sewing books with patterns in them to get inspiration of what I can make from my current stash. My garment sewing stash isn’t overly huge these days but it also isn’t little. I am trying to be more selective to what I add to it these days, I’m not saying at times random pieces don’t get added to it but now days I try to think of a pattern in mind when I get new fabric. I purchased some white fabric years ago and I don’t know why as I don’t wear white fabric. It was a knit bamboo mix that had a fleece side to it. I’m thinking at the time maybe I could make a top from it but reality is it would’ve been too hot. Ticking off my patterns from A Beginner’s Guide To Sewing With Knitted Fabrics I thought why not make the Derwent Trousers out of them, the pattern called for fabric like it and the pattern kind of reminds me of yoga pants. I had a fall a few months ago where I tripped on the bottom of my pj pants and since then I have been living in leggings as I am scared I will have another fall so I thought these pants might be a nice alternative in the cooler months at home to leggings. It also gives me a chance to try out the pattern.

I made the crop version as I just had enough fabric to make them. With the patterns in Beginner’s Guide To Sewing With Knitted fabrics I’m finding for tops I need the largest size possible but for pants or skirts I can go down to about the 3rd largest size. I don’t might a more snug fit on my waist and hips but not on shoulders and bust area.

These pants are really quick and simple to make as there is only 2 pieces to them. I had a near disaster sewing up my side seams as I pinned them wrong and almost stitched instead of fronts to back leg to leg. Luckily I held them up pinned and thought this doesn’t look right! The only problem with these is when I picked them up I can’t tell which is the front and which is the back. I’m not entirely convinced in these photos I even have them on the right way. Along the centre seams on the elastic I tried to make one side longer than the other when I stitched them down but of course I can’t remember now if the shorter side means it is the back or the front. I guess if they feel uncomfortable I can always turn them around.

I have never stitched with 3″ wide elastic and wasn’t even sure if I would like it around my waist. I was getting flash backs to those wide elastic belts that were in fashion in the late 80’s early 90’s which I hated. Surprisingly the waist is really comfortable. I attached the elastic to the top edge with my overlocker (serger) then just followed the instructions as per the book how to finish it. I’m really amazed at how flat it is sitting.

To hem these I used a 3 step zig zag hem which is one of the hems recommended in the book. I was lazy and eye balled the hem as I pinned it. I’m not worried if they aren’t even, these are just for home besides due to my disability I don’t even stand even. The hem was really to do on my sewing machine which generally hates sewing knits.

So would I make this pattern again? Absolutely, I think these would look great in black or denim. I only wear cottons so finding fabric for these is a little difficult for me. In thick cotton lycra they would make great casual yoga pants to wear out but I am looking to get more black unbrushed cotton (the store I brought it from doesn’t have it in stock at the moment) so that I can make a pair to wear to work.

These are the 3rd item I’ve blogged about from my challenge of sewing my way through A Beginner’s Guide To Sewing With Knitted Fabrics. I have actually also made 2 other items from the book which I will blog about soon.

Cassiy

Peak T-Shirt

Last summer I made a heap of t-shirts to use as pj tops to sleep in and I discovered they are really easy to make. I have lived out of them. As much as I love them I can’t wear them out as they are just a fraction too big even for me who loves baggy clothing. Yes I could just trace out a smaller size but I refer to that pattern now as my PJ top and it is actually a men’s pj pattern (K4088) I wanted to make a new t-shirt to wear as my gym top as the top I was using as my gym shirt was an old charity volunteer top and I no longer volunteer for that charity so I thought it was maybe wrong to keep wearing the top in public. It was fairly old and the fabric was one those cottons that go crusty with age and not soft and squishy. I thought this is the perfect opportunity to make my second pattern from A Beginner’s Guide To Sewing With Knitted Fabrics the Peak T-Shirt.

 

I had 2 pieces of blue fabric in my stash that kind of looked the same each about 1m. I remember buying one them and know it was cotton lycra, I can’t remember where or when I purchased the second one. As the 2 felt and stretched the same I assumed the 2nd was another lycra knit. At one stage I was wanting to make bike pants so I think that is why I brought them, I still want to make bike pants but never in blue.

I traced out the largest size of the pattern. The book mentions a few knits to use for this top but not cotton lycra, my thinking was it is a t-shirt and you do find them made out of cotton lycra so it should work and it did. The 2 pieces of fabric are very similar in colour but not 100% the same. Unfortunately I didn’t have enough fabric out of either piece to make the entire top from one fabric so I had to do a mash it up.

The front, back and neckband are made from the one of fabric. I went with the fabric which was slightly darker and the one I am more certain is the actual cotton lycra piece. It was little I guess firmer so I thought would retain the shape better over the body of the top. The sleeves are made from the other piece. Unless you get up really close and know to be looking for it you don’t see the colour difference between the fabrics.

I assembled this on the overlocker and used the sewing machine to join the neckband into a ring and do the hems. My hems I just folded over and did a zig zag stitch. I’m not sure why they became wavy. I’m just calling it a design feature particularly when it is on both the sleeves and bottom hem.

Despite my expression I do like this top!

I am surprised by the fit of this. I have road tested this as the gym and it was really comfortable. I can move all my shoulders easily. The sleeves didn’t get in my way like some tops I have worn have. I personally don’t care what I look like when I work out but I feel comfortable in this. It isn’t baggy but it isn’t super snug that I can’t move about in it. I can say I have made active wear now!

My aim is to sew my way through this book and I have made 2 patterns so far with 3 garments in total. At this point from fabrics in my stash I should be able to make at least 1 if not 2 or more items. I’m not rushing myself to make things when I feel inspired to try a pattern I will.

Cassiy

 

 

Kinder Cardigan – Blue

This is my second Kinder Cardigan from A Beginner’s Guide To Sewing With Knitted With Knitted Fabrics but was actually the only Kinder I planned on making. I knew I had a little less fabric than what the pattern called for but I thought maybe I could just wiggle the pattern pieces around. When I laid out my pattern pieces I discovered that my issue wasn’t how much length the fabric was but more how wide it was. I couldn’t place all my pattern pieces across it no matter how much wiggling I did so that is why I went with plan B and made it in the teal fabric as that is the colour I was able to order more in.

The blue is a navy colour but when you place it against other navy fabric like my work jumper you will see it is more denim navy not dark navy, this made it hard to match it up with other navy fabric in my stash. I placed the fabric back in my stash and thought maybe I would do some sort of skirt or something with it in the future.

I was walking to work in my teal Kinder thinking I need to make another one as this is great. It seemed a shame that this navy fabric was sitting in my stash. I started thinking of other fabrics in my stash that I could team it with and then I remembered a remnant piece of sewing themed fabric that I brought last year. At the time I think the bower bird in me came out and I brought this fabric as it was blue and sewing related. To be honest I didn’t 100% love the fabric, it ended up being hard piece to match colour wise with other fabrics and was too small of a remnant to do anything with on its own so it just sat in my stash. Also it has a vintage theme to it and I’m not into vintage sewing. When I got home I pulled both fabrics from my stash and side by side they looked good together. There was enough contrast between the colours and also the texture and print was different on each one.

The problem I originally had was I couldn’t cut my neckband piece out for the cardigan, it is a long wide pattern piece and you need to cut 2 of them. Even though the sewing fabric was a lighter weight knit I thought it would still work for the neckband. I didn’t want my cardigan to look like I had run out fabric and just threw on the sewing fabric for the neck even though that is the truth so I decided to make the pockets from it as well.

As mentioned above the sewing fabric was a lighter weight stretcher knit. I needed to stabilize the pockets or they would’ve looked misshapen. I thought about placing interfacing in them and then I though hang on I have scraps of the navy left I’ll use that. I cut out the pocket pattern pieces from both fabrics, I didn’t add any additional seam allowance as you fold back a large seam allowance in the original instructions.  I stitched the 2 fabrics right sides together, flipped them over, top stitched across creating lined pockets which I just attached as per instructions placing them a little higher up than my teal kinder.

When I taking photos of this when it was finished it immediately made me think of a “smoking jacket” and I started smiling and thinking it was a “sewing jacket” I placed a photo on Instagram and a dear friend who doesn’t sew wrote that exact comment about it which put me in fits of laughter. This really is my “sewing jacket” I am a bit of a sewing and craft nerd and for a number of years I have actually wanted to make a sewing themed item of clothing to wear to craft shows and events like that. I now have the perfect piece… and it has pockets!

  • Comfort
  • Classic
  • Creative / Quirky √√
  • Natural Fibres

My teal kinder ticked all my things on my list to consider when making clothing but I think this gets a double tick on the creative side. The knit fabric I don’t look at as a vintage themed fabric now it is just a sewing fabric related to dressmaking which I like now. I am really proud of the cardigan, it got me thinking outside the box to make it. I loved that I was able to use the sewing knit that had been sitting around unused. I have worn this to work, worn it on a fabric shopping trip if I go to the craft show next month it will get worn to that too.

Cassiy

Kinder Cardigan – Teal

I have wanted to make a knit fabric cardigan for a long time and I confess to having more than a few of both PDF and paper patterns in my stash for them just waiting to be made. When I first read A Beginner’s Guide To Sewing With Knitted Fabrics the Kinder Cardigan really stood out. It was the kind of cardigan that I was looking for – it was simple yet sophisticated looking, it had pockets, you could make it in different length variations. Having it in the book it was right in front of me allowed me to read through all the instructions step by step and I became itching to make one after discovering it was actually pretty easy to sew.

The suggested fabric for this pattern is more of a heavier knit, the final garment is more like a jacket that holds it shape rather than a slinky cardigan you can squish up and stuff into your handbag. I have since heard the term “Coatigan” which as you can guess is a cross between a coat and a cardigan, I think that is a good way to describe this pattern… well the one that I have made anyway. This teal fabric was not my original choice of fabric, I had brought the same fabric in a blue colour and only discovered I didn’t have enough when I laid out my pattern pieces and couldn’t fit them all on it. I made an emergency Sunday morning online purchase from Zebra Fabrics who I didn’t realise was doing a wonderful pre Easter offer and express posted all purchases that weekend so they would arrive in time for the long weekend. I don’t make a habit of hanging around post offices but I was at my local post office the time my parcel arrived at it and as the staff were sorting through the parcels and saw mine so they called out to me to collect it. Instead of Easter eggs I got a parcel of squishy fabric instead for Easter, as I don’t eat chocolate I was very happy about that.

To cut out the pieces I pinned the pattern pieces for the front, back and sleeves to the fabric. The neckband and pockets were rectangles so I just traced them out directly on the fabric using a chalk marker. Tracing the pattern pieces out onto fabric was very quick to do and something I am now doing a lot after seeing it done at the Cashmerette retreats. I did place a few pins to keep the layers together when I cut them out. This was a super easy garment to make. I cut it out and stitched it all in one day.

I followed all the instructions as per the book but I did do a few minor things differently. I used stay tape on the back of the shoulder seams after learning the importance of using it at the NSW Industry Day. I top stitched the bottoms of the pockets once I stitched them on and I hemmed my sleeves whilst they were flat. I find it difficult to hem sleeves once they are in the round when it is in an area that small, why add stress to your sewing if you don’t have to.

I made the mid-length uncuffed with pockets version in the largest size. I thought I was making the full-length version but I misread the pattern where it says to add the extra length so I ended up with the mid length. I am actually ok with that as I think any longer in this fabric would make it look like a dressing gown. This length gives me full coverage over my lower back which is perfect. I stitched all the seams on my over locker and used my sewing machine for the top stitching, hemming and joining the neckband pieces together. The fabric is a stretch cotton knit which has a quilted texture. It sheds a lot when you stitch it so the edges on this fabric do need to be finished properly. My over locker and sewing machine had a tinge of teal to it, I even got tiny fibres up my nose when I used a tissue I discovered.

So referring back to my things to consider when making clothing I do believe this is ticking all the points

  • Comfort
  • Classic
  • Creative / Quirky
  • Natural Fibres

This is very comfortable, very snuggly. The style is very simple and a piece that you can wear from year to year with any items in your wardrobe. The quilted texture of the fabric adds a little bit of interest to the garment making it that little bit different to what you normally find. As it is a cotton so I can wear it and not feel itchy or hot, it looks heavy but it is very light but warm at the same time.

I love my teal kinder and have worn it a lot. After making this first version the only thing I would do different is raise the pockets by at least 1/2″ I just guesstimated where to place them and it looked pretty close to the one in the book (it is actually marked on the pattern) because of walking with the crutch handle I do need the pockets a little higher or the handle will get caught on it. So far these haven’t been an issue but I know for next time.

This is getting a lot of wear this winter.

Cassiy