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.
I have a slight obsession with the orange peel quilt block pattern. If you’re not familiar with the design it is basically like 4 elongated ovals that are set on point to form a circle with the points all touching. It is a very striking pattern when you see it repeated. A year or two ago I came across a black and white print of it at a discounted price so I brought some to at some point make something (back then I was probably thinking a skirt) After making my first York I came across the fabric in my stash and thought this would make a great York. The orange peel design gives the fabric a bit of interest but doesn’t look too hard on the eyes.The fabric isn’t a soft quilting cotton even after washing and ironing but it is perfect for me to use in the York as over the torso area where a crispy fabric would irritate me it is layered over the top you wear under it. In hindsight had I used this fabric in a skirt which was fitted around the waist area it would’ve been a garment I never wore as it would’ve been too crunchy and not soft against my skin. Around the waist and thigh area the fabric is comfortable in this pattern as it isn’t tight around the skin. I wore this last week on a rather warm summers day and it was very comfortable.
With this one I did add length to the bottom so it was the same length as the other version available in the pattern. In the pattern the version with the kangaroo pocket is a shorter length which is what I made my first one. It is just a fraction too short for me I think and to be honest I haven’t worn it a great deal even though it has that great pocket. To add the extra length I measured the difference between the 2 versions from the paper pdf I still had and used the original pattern I cut out from to tracing and toile just marking in the extra length at the bottom with tailors chalk directly onto the fabric before I cut it. Both versions are straight at the bottom so this was easier than retracing the entire pattern.
Once again I love the pocket on this. Originally I was wearing this over my work jumper but it just didn’t look right, it was like I wearing an apron. I started wearing this under my jumper but over a t-shirt to work and I get so much use out of it now. As it the longer length I end up wearing this on almost a weekly basis. It is a little more fitted in at the waist then my first one too by chance when I stitched it up. It is really easy to access the pocket under my jumper at the front.
So that is now 2 York’s made. I am still contemplating a denim one, I have seen many made of denim on social media and it looks very casual. A denim one I could wear with sneekers, I spend a lot of time in sneekers and don’t have a lot of clothing that I can wear with them.
Back in August I did my clothing “To Sew” list with a plan to update it every 6 months so perfect time to post it on January 1. My list isn’t set in stone and if I don’t make everything or even anything on it I am not bothered, it is more of a reminder to myself of patterns I want to make when I think I want to sew myself something but what… To recap this was my list
- Concord t-shirt √
- Springfield top √
- Turner dress
- Cedar dolman top
- Concord t-shirt dress
- Calista curvy bra
- York pinafore √
- Hollings Circle skirt
- Rusholme A-Line skirt
- Finsbury Bubble skirt
- Fallowfield pencil skirt
- Roehampton culottes
- Brighton Front Opening skirt
- Derwent Wide Leg trousers √
- Winnats tank √
- Monsal Lounge pants √
- Longshaw skirt √
Well I am happy to say that I have gotten a lot of the pieces made including making 2 York’s as I really liked the pattern and I have made all the patterns from A Beginner’s Guide to Sewing Knitted Fabric. Some of the items do need tweaking just because of the fit and I am having issues with my curved shoulders (too much computer work) I was able to use up a lot of fabric from my stash making the different pieces which was good but saying that I kept adding to my stash at the same time!
This is my latest to sew list
- Turner dress – Cashmerette
- Appleton dress – Cashmerette
- Pembroke dress – Cashmerette
- Appleton dress – Cashmerette
- Cedar dolman top – Cashmerette
- Concord t-shirt dress – Cashmerette
- Scrundlewear – Stitch Upon A Time
- Bunzies – Stitch Upon A Time
- Calista curvy bra – Stitch Upon A Time
- Quicker knickers – Little Finch
- Poppy bralette – House of Morrighan
- Robbie pants – Tessuti
- Black Winnats top – Wendy Ward
- Black hoodie/cardigan/jacket (no pattern yet)
- Hollings Circle skirt – Wendy Ward
- Rusholme A-Line skirt – Wendy Ward
- Finsbury Bubble skirt – Wendy Ward
- Fallowfield pencil skirt – Wendy Ward
- Roehampton culottes – Wendy Ward
- Brighton Front Opening skirt – Wendy Ward
I still have the remaining skirts from A Beginner’s Guide To Making Skirts as I haven’t gotten to those yet. I now have 3 undie patterns that I want to try, I have so many knit scraps left that I really just want to use them up on undies. The Calista is still something I would like to try but I have also found another bra pattern which looks kind of easy so will try that too. The Appleton dress is what I want to make for Frocktails so I need to get in and start sewing that. The Robbie pants are just something I saw this past weekend, a friend has made them few times and she looks fabulous in them so I thought I would give them a try. Prior to the lasted Dr Who this year I was wanting a long hoodie/cardigan/jacket but after watching the series I have really fallen in love with her jacket. I want to make something similar but in black. In my mind I can see a long hoodie type cardigan that does up with a zip, I haven’t got a pattern yet but I haven’t seriously looked around for anything yet either.
As mentioned for the pieces from my last list I was able to use up a lot of fabric from my stash, particularly when making the pieces from A Beginner’s Guide To Knitted Fabrics where I used fabrics that I wasn’t sure how else I would use them such as white fabrics. Since my last list I have been adding to my stash. Over this past few days I have ordered another 6 metres of fabric alone, it was on sale and hopefully can be used for 2 of the items on my new list. Now I am a bit more picky on how much I buy and try to buy with a purpose in mind. I raided my stash to find fabric for my Appleton dress so I will use the black/white daisy fabric. The Sesame Street fabric is newly acquired, it will probably be another Turner skirt but with the faces only on the front and a plain black back. I wasn’t able to buy enough to make a full turner skirt so will team it up with black fabric from my stash.
There is no pressure on myself to get all my items made. I’m just going to make myself clothing when I am in the mood.
The first ever Cashmerette pattern I saw and purchased was the Washington Dress. This combines a knit with a woven which is really unusual and I have never seen a pattern like it. The bodice is a knit and the skirt is a woven, so really it is the best of both worlds!
I worked on it a the first Cashmerette retreat I went to. Working with the combination of fabrics sounded a bit tricky so I thought making it with the designer Jenny who created the pattern whilst I had the chance would be my best option so I could pick up any tips and tricks. I was really surprised with myself I was smaller than I realised and was able to make the bodice a smaller size than I originally I thought I would need. We graded between 3 sizes for the bodice, yoke and the skirt so this is a mix of size 18, 24 and 22.
At the retreat I got it all finished except for the hems on the arms. I tried to finish it at home but my dear sewing machine who doesn’t like knit fabric ate the fabric on my first attempt… I was devastated. The dress looked good but I wasn’t sure how I was going to do the arm hems. The dress then lived on my lounge chair for about 6 months. I would pick it up every now and then but still unsure how to fix it back I placed it. After doing some of the patterns in A Beginner’s Guide To Sewing Knitted Fabrics I discovered a technique to do the hems where you use a three step zig zag stitch. I did it on a couple of patterns from the book and it worked on lightweight knitted fabrics which my machine normal ate the fabric on but using this stitch it didn’t. I bit the bullet and pulled out this dress and within 15 mins my dress was finished.
The knit fabric was something I got about 2 years ago but just lived in my stash waiting to be made into something. The woven I think I got from Pitt Trading, again it was living in my stash waiting to be made into something. The pattern suggests you use a scuba fabric for the yoke but all the scuba I can find is synthetic which I hate wearing so I used the same fabric I used for the rest of the skirt. The fabric has a slight stretch to it. I am really happy with my choice.
This dress ticks all my points when considering items to make
- Comfort √
- Classic √
- Creative / Quirky √
- Natural Fibres √
It is really comfortable and I have actually worn it heaps. Style wise it is a nice simple fitted dress. The combination of fabrics makes it a bit quirky and certainly is a creative way to use them. Both the fabrics used are cotton, the skirt is more a rigid cotton but it is cool to wear on the skin even on the waist which is slightly more fitted than I am used too wearing.
Now I will be honest when I first saw this pattern I wasn’t really taken by the fabrics used in the pictures for it. The models in it looked great in the dresses but the colour combinations used in them weren’t drawing me in to making it. The pattern sketch diagram was what made me really want to make this dress. Seeing this dress made in colours that were to my taste has just made me really fall in love with this dress. If I find colour combinations I like I will make this dress again.
I love my dress. It is a shame it took me most of the year to finish it but saying that I have learnt so much clothing making wise this year that I am proud that I was able to work out how to finish it after learning techniques from other projects.
I have been going through my fabric stash a lot lately trying to match up patterns and fabrics that I already have together. Until recently most of my fabric and pattern purchases have just been “for the stash” and I haven’t really had a purpose or project in mind for them.
On a fabric shopping trip I think at the start of last year or maybe it was even the year before I purchased some brown fabric that caught my eye due to unusual texture of it. It feels like chenille so it has a cozy feel to it but it is very light and drapey. It just went in my stash. I have patted it a few times but never really thought of making anything with it. Earlier this month I was wanting a really simple mindless sewing project so I pulled it out of my stash and thought I would make a cape out of it using Burda 7313 like I made for Frocktails this year. When I was washing my mind kept thinking I already have a couple of capes including a brown one which I am currently knitting.
In my pattern stash I came across New Look 6287. I originally brought this pattern to make view A as I have some other fabric which is perfect for it. Needless to say I still haven’t made that perfect skirt but I was reading the fabric suggestions for the other skirts in the pattern and decided that I would have enough fabric to make view B. This pattern calls for a woven fabric and not a knit. I liked the picture of view B as it had a nice flow to it and I thought it would sit well with the fabric. As it is a little longer I thought it would be a good winter skirt.
I have never made a New Look pattern so I wasn’t sure how their sizing is, I had heard they were on the smaller size of patterns. I did my measurements and went with the largest size as I needed it for my hips. Looking back now the waist is a little big so perhaps I should have graded down at the waist one size. I’m not too worried at how it looks with the largish waist, I never wear crop tops so you never see my waistband. It isn’t too big that it is falling off my either.
I was worried it may be a bit snug at the hips but it has enough ease in the pattern to swish comfortably around me and not feel tight. I love the feel of the fabric it feels squishy. Even though it is a synthetic it doesn’t feel hot but I couldn’t wear this in summer unless I was in air conditioning the entire time but spring, autumn, winter I should be fine.
Sewing wise it was a really simple sew. I made it in a day tracing and cutting it out in the morning and then sewing it in the afternoon. To be honest once I had cut it out I wasn’t sure if I was even in the mood for sewing it that day but it was a really relaxing make that didn’t have a lot of steps so I easily finished it. I decided to be a bit rebellious with the hem. I just overlocked the hem and didn’t turn it up. Because of the basket weave texture I think I can get away with something funky at the bottom and it doesn’t look odd. The skirt moved so fluid I was worried if I turned up the hem it might make it feel too structured. One extra thing I did different to the pattern was I had to piece my waistband as my fabric wasn’t wide enough to cut it in one piece.
So looking my tick list of things to consider when making clothes
- Comfort √
- Classic √
- Creative / Quirky √
- Natural Fibres Χ
So it fails the natural fibre content but it ticks all the rest of the points. It is a simple skirt that is super comfortable and is made from an unusual fabric. By using the fabric in this skirt I know I will get more wear out of it rather than had I made a cape. I will wear a skirt most days to work in winter so I am in need of warmer ones if I don’t want to repeat my skirts in the same week.
Last week I blogged about the first item I made with the dragonfly fabric I had in my stash, this is the is the second item I made with it.
Once again I used my old favourite Essentials Wristlet pattern by DUMD which I enlarged to 150%. This larger size really makes a practical size zipper pouch that you can fit lots in. I cut out all my pieces for this before I cut out my Dragon Fly Tote as this was the main item I had in mind for this fabric, anything else I could make with the fabric was a bonus.
I have used the same fabric on the inside of this tote as well on the outside, it really is a pretty fabric. I did use some woven interfacing on the inside of this pouch but only placed it so it is sitting against the outer fabric. I wanted this pouch to have some structure but not too much structure. This will be given as a gift and I am not sure what the person will use it for so I didn’t want it too stiff and rigid. Just the one layer of interfacing gives it enough structure to be free standing but you can also squish it down if you wish too.
I really enjoyed making the 2 pieces from the dragon fly fabric. It was a bit of challenge to think what to make with only 1m of fabric but it was a good learning experience. I know now that for clothing unless it some cotton knit 1m of fabric is not enough to make anything entirely. I can get away with making an elastic waisted pull on skirt from 1m cotton knit but for anything else I need more fabric. I liked that I could make 2 practical items with just the 1m, I am not really a person who makes decorative items, I like practical things particularly for when making gifts for adults. I am really glad that I was able to free this fabric from my stash and use it in a gift that someone can enjoy. Fabric should be brought to be used and not just sit in your stash.
Sorting through my stash I found a piece of “good” fabric that I brought a couple of years ago. It was a 1m piece of dragonfly printed cotton from Japan, I don’t have issues about fabric prices but it wasn’t cheap. To be honest I think I only brought it because it was blue as I am not a dragonfly kind of person. Being only 1m it wasn’t really enough to make clothing with unless I added it without something else. I decided to free it from my stash and use it in a gift. Better to be used then just sitting around doing nothing. This is the first of two items I made from it.
This is a basic tote bag, nothing fancy about it. I based it around the same size a my denim tote bag. I am using my denim one a lot and it folds down really small. This one is just a tad bit smaller due to the amount of fabric I had. This tote bag is different to my denim one in 2 ways. The first way is that the handles on this one are pieced together. Once I cut out the bag portion I realised that I wouldn’t have enough to cut the handles the width of the fabric like I normally do. I had some leftover pieces from when I cut down the bag from the width of the fabric so I used those for the handles. Each handle is made from 2 pieces joined as one strip. I was worried that the join section on each handle would be at the stress point on top of where the bag sits on the shoulder so after doing my initial straight line of stitching to join each piece I did a zig zag stitch along the seam allowance just to reinforce that seam. Each handle was folded into quarters and top stitched down along the edge so they are pretty strong.
The second different thing about this tote bag is that is lined with the same dragonfly fabric. This makes the bag a little bit thicker and little bit sturdier than my denim bag. Even with the extra layer it still folds down small. When constructing this I left my turning gap on one of the sides of the inner bag. I hand slip stitched the turning gap to close it up. It isn’t very noticeable so really there is no right or wrong side of this bag.
I am really happy with this bag for several reasons
- It is a practical item
- I can give it as a gift
- I used fabric from my stash that would be otherwise just be sitting there
Sometimes simple things are the best