Black Dolman

When I was at the first Cashmerette workshop last year I did a little fabric shopping and purchased some silk which I had no idea what I would make with. Jenny aka Cashmerette suggested I could make the Cedar Dolman top. You can either make the pattern with knits or wovens. I purchased the pattern and brought some cheap polyester black satin to make a test version. At the second workshop and with Jenny’s help I traced out the pattern on to trace and toile. That was February last year. I finally got around to making up my test version.

As the fabric was very sheer I decided I would try french seams for the first time. Why not try a new pattern and a new sewing technique on only your second time working with slippery fabric. Yes I thought I was a little nuts but doing french seams on this was actually easy to do. I cut my front piece on the fold so really I only had the shoulder and side seams to do. With a lot of pins it was easy enough to do. With the leftover fabric I made continuous bias binding and used that for the remaining raw edges around the neck, sleeves and bottom hem.

Modifications To Original Pattern

  • Cut the front piece on the fold
  • Added 4″ to both front and back pieces instead of doing the bottom band
  • Did french seams on the shoulders and sides
  • Used binding around the neckline instead of the neckline facing
  • Finished the hem on sleeves and bottom with binding

Yes it is polyester and I’m unlikely to wear it in summer but I love this top. The fit is really good. If anything I may bring in the shoulders in by about 1/2″ at the neckline but that is only a maybe. It doesn’t look to big and baggy but it is comfortable. Even in the polyester I was ok.

Will I make this pattern again? Absolutely!! I’m going to attempt it with the silk I brought. Woven cottons in summer, knits for winter. I’m sure it won’t be the last time you see me making this pattern.

Cassiy

 

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Blue Velvet Pinafore


Back in June when I went to use the voucher from the Fabric Store I won at Frocktails in February the second I walk into the shop a bolt of blue velvet jumped out at me. I am a Bower bird so I am attracted to any blue really but to be honest this is my shade of blue is my favourite. I used to love the song “Electric Blue” by Ice House when I was a kid, it is still a great song. The fabric just screamed York Pinafore.

If you haven’t read my blog before this is now Pinafore number 4. I decided to do the pockets different this time. To recap the pattern the York comes with a couple of options that you can make in full or mix and match to create the Pinafore for you.
Version A – Longer length, scooped neck, rounded pockets
Version B – Shorter length, higher neck, kangaroo pocket

On previous versions I’ve made version B but at the length of A. This time I made version A but with the neckline of B. There is nothing wrong with the kangaroo pocket and trust me I use it a lot in my others but in this fabric I thought it needed rounded pockets. I also took down the higher neckline down by about an inch.

This was a slow make taking me about a month from when I first ironed the fabric to when I finished it. I didn’t mind because I was enjoying making it. Doing little steps here and there when I had the chance like make the pockets, make the binding, sew a seam made me realise I don’t need to sew an entire garment in a week to actually finish something. I can do little steps here and there and come out with a finished project without being mentally or physically exhausted from making it which can happen with me. I am not the type of sewer who can spend 12 hours in a day making something from scratch and finishing it. My disability places limitations on my body so I have to be aware of my limits so that my body doesn’t punish me afterwards for doing something I love to do.

Modifications To The Original Pattern

  • Made the pockets patch pockets instead of sewing the sides of the pockets into the side seam line
  • Fully lined the pockets to be more sturdy
  • Deepened the higher neckline by 1″
  • Made continuous bias binding for all raw edge

I love the finished dress. Towards the end when I was top stitching down the binding I thought this could be my Spring Frocktails dress. I won the voucher at the last Frocktails why not wear something I brought with it to this Frocktails next month. It was never my intention when I brought the fabric but a blue velvet dress is pretty fancy for Frocktails, well as fancy as I go anyway.

Cassiy

 

Baggy Pants

Confession I actually made these pants in May 2018 but I hadn’t actually got around to blogging about them.

I was after some simple pull on elastic waisted pants, a wardrobe staple. After going through my pattern stash I decided I would try Simplicity 1446. The pattern looked fairly easy and it was what I was after plain pull on pants. To top it off it had in seam pockets!!

 

Now to be honest I can’t even remember what size I traced out. I would have to hold up the pattern pieces to the pattern sheet to see which one I used. The fabric I used I picked up from a Spoolette’s fabric swap. It was a nice cotton so easy to work with. Considering it was “free” fabric it was great to test out a new pattern with.


After I finished them I knew they were too baggy. The waist was ok but the crotch area was very baggy. It didn’t stop me wearing them and I think I did get a lot of wear out of them last winter.

Sadly they developed a hole in the back centre seam. I put them aside and to be honest I forgot about them and other clothing got piled up over them on a clothes stand I have in my bedroom. Every so often I would do a clean up and see them but I never got around to mending the hole until May this year when I wanted to wear them again.

I don’t know why I put off mending things when it doesn’t take that much time, it was only one seam after all. Once I washed them again and then wore them on a weekend away I discovered with them so baggy the crotch seam actually caused a graze on my inner thigh. I hadn’t wore them since about June or July last year but between then and May/June this year I’ve lost some weight and I think that is why the seam caused the graze.

After washing them again I have put them in the donate pile. I would like to make the pattern again as the pockets were great. I’m not going to use the same pattern pieces as last time. I’ll redo my measuresments and look at which is the best size to trace off now.

Cassiy

Me Made May 2019 Wrap Up

So for the 2nd year I did Me Made May. This year I set myself the challenge of not repeating a me made item on the same day of the week for the entire month. I was documenting what I was wearing each day on Instagram to keep track of which day I wore what.

Ok so I don’t know if I cheated as I never really thought about what I called “me made item” I guess I meant in terms of clothing I have sewn and not knitted items. This year May ended up being really cold as I wore a lot knit wear in terms of cowls and shawls. My Magician’s Cape got a lot wear which is great as I never actually got to wear it last year. I did discover that my skin is a little sensitive to the yarn so I couldn’t wear it close against my neck. If I had my work jersey collar pulled high or if I wore a cowl directly around my neck I had no issues with the cape. I’m glad I got a lot of wear out of the cape in May and I’m sure I will continue to this winter.

 

In terms of the items I had stitched which I guess really was my challenge I did ok. I never actually repeated a me made item with the same RTW work t-shirt or on weekends my outfits were never repeated on the same day for the month. The way I wear clothing is that unless a skirt or pinafore gets dirty I will wear it several times before I wash it, dresses and tops are different they get washed after every wear. As a result of the way I wear things I didn’t actually get through a lot of different me made items. I found myself wear the same skirts and dresses that I have been pretty much wearing all year. With the skirts they were with the different RTW tops but not repeated on the same day of the week.

I did actually mix things up a little in terms of wearing my black lou box top differently to how I normally do. I wouldn’t say on weekends I was getting desperate but weekends became a challenge as I normally live in store brought leggings and music t-shirts. The only t-shirts I’ve made are pj shirts and if I went out on a weekend I couldn’t exactly wear them to do the groceries so I tried my black top with leggings and decided I love it. I now want to actually make more of these tops so I can wear them casually.

Having made 5 Turner skirts meant I was able to do a work week of Turner skirts which was fun and made me realise I don’t wear my green one enough. Black and Lego get worn pretty much weekly and so is now my sesame street. I do wear my red one but not as much as my green so I think I need to rotate these two more.

I thought I would wear my Kinder cardigans a lot this year but in fact I only wore my teal one once and that was it. Last year I loved them but this year I think it looked a bit too big on me and I wasn’t drawn to wear it. Another draw back was that it doesn’t do up at the front and as I mentioned May was cold this year in the mornings and I didn’t want to wear something I couldn’t do up. I have considered making one and adding a zipper to the front so I might try that and also go down a size.

Another discovery was I really hate with my concord t-shirt. The pattern is great but the one I have made just doesn’t fit me. The neckline is too wide for me and I will need to do a round back adjustment if I was to make this again which I want to do. I wore it one day and it was uncomfortable but the good news is that the sleeves aren’t as tight as they were when I first made it so my arms have toned up but I will still need to do a bicep adjustment on it.

Will I do Me Made May 2020? To be honest I’m not sure. I have thought about this and have decided if I do my challenge isn’t going to be focused on wearing items but maybe more in the planning of items from patterns, fabrics and yarn in my stash. Since last years Me Made May I now have a lot of me made items in my wardrobe and it is very rare for me not to wear a me made item to work. In ways I found the challenge I set myself a little stressful. I had to really think ahead of what I was going to wear and when. I had a couple events that I wanted to wear certain items to so I had to make sure they were clean for that or I that I didn’t wear the item on that day of the week beforehand so I could wear it on the day. I have particular items I can wear with sneakers so I had to plan ahead to ensure I could wear them that day as I need too a few times in the month. With the stress of work and few other things going on thinking ahead about my clothing was something I didn’t need. I hang my clothes out the night before work for the next day and that’s about as much planning as I want to do which I know is why I set my challenge to get out of that habit of just thinking a day ahead but really that is how I function. I’m not totally convinced I will be doing it next year. It was fun seeing everyone with their me made items on Instagram. I liked seeing the different outfits people wore, it gave me ideas on items I would like to make or styles I would like to try.

Cassiy

Sunny Days…… What’s My Age Again?

We all grew up on Sesame Street didn’t we? I loved it when I was a toddler then back in my teens I went back to it. I had one of the original Tickle Me Elmos at the age of 16. Teenage hijinks oh my god how much fun was it to line them all up in the toy store then set them off all at once! Um… What’s my age again? 20 odd years on I still haven’t grown up and I still think Sesame Street is cool, lucky for me I work in an environment where I can get away with wearing it.

Last year Rubyjam fabrics stocked a Sesame Street cotton lycra, it was very popular and I kept meaning to check if it was in stock whenever I browsed the shop but I kept forgetting. Towards the end of the year it was announced they were no longer going to stock it so I jumped online and purchased some. This was fabric I needed. I could only get 1m of it but I knew that was enough to make some kind of skirt from.

I do have knit skirt patterns which use only 1m but I kind of had my heart set on making a Turner skirt from this. I like how the Turner skirts flow and I thought this fabric deserves to flow and be a feature. To make my skirt I improvised and teamed the print up with a black solid that I also had gotten from Rubyjam. The characters are floating on a black background so teaming it with a black fabric didn’t look out of place.

If you haven’t read in my previous posts a Turner skirt is a pattern hack of the Turner dress by Cashmerette. I first saw someone do this pattern hack on the Cashmerette Facebook group last year and instantly fell in love with it. Turner skirts are really easy to make using the skirt portion of the pattern you just cut a front, back and self draft a waistband by measuring the top of the skirt. This is now Turner skirt number 5 which shows you how much I really do love the pattern.

For the hem again I did a simple 3 step zig zag stitch after folding it over half an inch. I read this tip in A Beginner’s Guide To Sewing Knitted Fabrics, this is now my go to way to hem knits whether it be a skirt or arm sleeve. The black thread is hardly noticeable on this and disappears into the print.

When it came to cutting the waistband I did have enough of the print fabric leftover to cut the waistband from it but looking at the size scrap I had I thought this is a usable size piece. I might not be able to make undies out of it (I do draw the line on my age limit wearing them too) but the piece is big enough for kids undies or t-shirt front so I bagged up my scraps to take to a Sydney Spoolette Swap day we had coming up. I’m trying to be more conscious in my sewing and instead of just placing my pattern pieces anywhere on the fabric I’m trying to think about the best way to get the maximum use out of the fabric and reduce waste. If I am going to have scraps in my stash I want them as a useable size or I know I will never use them up, I’m happy to pass on my scraps to anyone who can use them too. This scrap bag went to happy home and I do believe a lucky kid is getting undies.

In my teens I used to watch a tv show “My So Called Life” There is a scene in it where Rayanne is singing a rock version of “Sunny Days” sadly there is no YouTube clip of it. When I was making this skirt I was walking around singing that version of Sunny Days and thinking back to the show. I was also singing my favourite Blink-182 song “What’s My Age Again?”

I work in a paediatric hospital so this skirt is very appropriate for my workplace. I even had a staff member whom I’ve never talked to before stop me to ask where I got my skirt from. When I told her I made it her response was “I knew you were going to say that” I love that I can make my own unique one off pieces of clothing, particularly in fun fabrics. Who says adults can’t wear Sesame Street!
To quote Blink-182 “No one should take themselves so seriously”

Cassiy

 

Sewing My Way Through A Beginner’s Guide To Knitted Fabrics

Last year after getting A Beginner’s Guide To Sewing With Knitted Fabrics by Wendy Ward I set myself the personal challenge to see if I could sew my way through the book. I never set myself any time limits to do it, it was more just something I was going to do over time and enjoy the process. I can happily say I made the last item from it in December so challenge completed in 2018.

To recap the book has 5 projects to make

  • Peak t-shirt
  • Derwent wide leg trousers
  • Winnats tank
  • Monsal lounge pants
  • Kinder cardigan
  • Longshaw skirt

I didn’t sew them in the order listed but I did make them all. Some I made multiple of, some I made additional versions that were in the book. For top / cardigan patterns I used the largest size pattern, for skirts / pants I used the 3rd largest size.

Kinder Cardigan
This was the first item I made. My first intention was to make it in the navy fabric but I didn’t buy enough fabric and couldn’t get anymore so I brought the teal fabric and made it in that. I was able to make the blue version after being a little creative with a remnant piece that was in my stash. This is sew comfortable to wear and I wore both of them lots last year. This was such an easy pattern to make. I love the pockets! I do want to try making this again but I’m going to see if I can add a zipper to the front.

Peak T-Shirt
This was the second item I made. The pattern is a really simple t-shirt. I used some cotton lycra from stash. This became my gym shirt last year. It is a little bit fitted around my neck but it isn’t uncomfortable. If I was to make this again or should I say when I make this again I’m adding a little extra to the neckband particularly if I use a firmer lycra. Later in the year I made the t-shirt dress variation which is also in the book. I wore the dress a lot last summer and will continue wearing it this winter. This is my go to t-shirt pattern now. This top isn’t fitted so I could possibly go down a size in it particularly if it is softer knit.

Longshaw Skirt
This was the third pattern I tried. This skirt was a challenge not because it was hard to make but because my brain could not grasp the concept of how this was sewn until it was cut out and I had the fabric in my hands. I still call this my origami skirt due to the way you fold it to form the pockets and sew the seams. Don’t be afraid to try this skirt, try the brilliant instructions Wendy has in the book and will it come out fine. I used some fabric in my stash just to try out the pattern not knowing if I would like it. I’m not totally convinced this skirt is flattening on me, maybe due to fabric I don’t know. I think this skirt makes me look too hippy or bulky around the thighs. I don’t hate this skirt, the pockets on this are fantastic and I have worn it a bit. I would like to try this again in maybe a black or darker fabric.

Derwent Wide Leg Pants
The fourth item I made using again some fabric from my stash. I had never used wide elastic before and wasn’t sure if I would even like it comfort wise but I love these pants. Because they are white I only wear these at home but I found myself wearing them a lot. The wide elastic doesn’t bother me as it is covered over with fabric. I do get confused which is the back and front of these (I don’t put tags in my clothing) either way I wear them they are comfortable. I do plan on making these again in black so I can wear them to work. The fit is amazing and I am really happy with these. Once again an easy pattern to make and a real great basic for your wardrobe.

Winnants Tank
The firth pattern I tried was the basic tank top. I had some leftover fabric in my stash that I was planning on making a tank top with at some point and just had enough for it. This I would say is the easiest pattern to make in the book and a great one to start with if you were a real beginner and wanted to try clothing making. I lived out of this top last summer in Sydney as we had many hot days and it was really comfortable. After making the first top I made a black version last month which I wore to Frocktails but will also be my gym shirt for next summer. The fit of this top is brilliant. It isn’t revealing so I can exercise in it without feeling like I’m flashing everyone. I do need to add extra to the bands around the arms and neck as I am not too good with sewing bands on and to reduce puckering I need the extra length. I do have fabric to make another version of this.

Monsal Lounge Pants
The final pattern which I made in December when I decided I would finish the book in 2018 was the shorts. I have made the most basic basic version of the pants. I have only worn them once or twice so far as it has still been too hot to wear them but I know I will wear them around the house this winter. They fit ok, they aren’t designed to fitted as such more just comfortable shorts which they are. I would make this pattern again and maybe try the version with pockets.

I am pretty proud of myself sewing my way through the book. It was fun to do because it is a great book. The minute I saw this book was coming out I pre-ordered it as I just felt I was going to like the book and I don’t like it… I love it! All the patterns are wardrobe essentials that you need. The different versions of each pattern in the book allow you to make version that is for you. If I had to pick a favourite pattern it would be the Winnats tank but they are all great patterns and I want to try all of them again using different fabrics or techniques. It isn’t just the patterns that make the book great but also the explanation of sewing techniques, the knowledge I picked up from this book I have used in making other patterns. This book really boosted my sewing confidence last year and helped expand my me made wardrobe.

Cassiy

Monsal Shorts

The last pattern I was still yet to make from A Beginner’s Guide To Sewing Knitted Fabric was the Monsal Lounge Pants. I had some French terry fabric in my stash which I thought would be perfect for these. As I am not liking longer pants unless they are tights I decided to make shorts.

 

My first intention was to make them with pockets. Silly me didn’t read the instructions properly when tracing out the pattern and I traced out the version that didn’t have the pocket area cut out on the front pieces. I thought no problem there is a way around this instead of having inside pockets I will put patch pockets on the outside. When I started sewing these was when I had my overlocker issues. I did get my overlocker working eventually by a lot of rethreading from scratch. On the upside I don’t find that side of overlockers scary anymore.

I made the pockets but once I went to attach them to the front of the shorts I realized that my overlocker which was still temperamental was going to struggle through the bulkiness of all the fabrics so I opted not to put the pockets on. I’m happy that I was able to work out how to make the pockets to be patch pockets, the above picture is what they looked like before I turned the pockets the right way out. My sewing curves on the overlocker is improving.

In the end I made a very basic pair of these shorts. I’m going to be wearing these at home so pockets are not essential. I’m happy with the finished pair. As mentioned these are very basic shorts but they fit and aren’t too big or small. The waistband on these make them very comfortable. As the fabric is a little bit thicker these are winter shorts, in summer in they would be way to hot but in winter just perfect.

I do like this pattern and if you read all the instructions and trace out the pieces correctly they are a very simple pair of pants or shorts to make. Would I make this pattern again? I think so.

Cassiy