Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Sewing Plans

I once dragged my husband all the way to Fabric Land in Brighton, with the intention of buying some jersey type fabric. In the end I didn't buy any knit fabrics - I totally scared myself out of it by rationalising that I didn't see anything I liked. Everything was either the wrong colour or texture or thickness or too shiny. So come January I decided to make my new years resolution to learn how to sew knits.

After having made this resolution I then did nothing about it. Until last weekend, when I again dragged The Husband to another fabric shop, this time in Tunbridge Wells. And yes, this time I managed to conquer my fear and buy some knit fabric. 

Sewing World has a whole section dedicated to Jersey and fleece fabric so there was plenty to choose from. So here's what I've added to my stash:

1. Royal Blue Jersey

This was the colour I had in mind when I first started to look out for knit fabrics. It's lovely and soft, but I cannot for the life of me remember how much stretch it is. 3%? This is destined to become a basic t-shirt - I figured I would do this first and start simple!

2. Black and White Stripe Jersey

The bolt of fabric was hidden at the bottom of a pile and I had to fairly wrestle it out from underneath. I asked for 1.5m and there was just about that left, so I even gained a little bit extra! It was destined. 
I've already got all the paraphernalia to sew knit fabrics - ball point needles and a twin needle. I've been reading up on various blogs, so the only thing I need now is to get some patterns. 

For the t-shirt, I'm torn between Sewaholic's Renfrew top or SBCC's free Tonic T-shirt pattern. 


I know the Renfrew top has great reviews and I know from previous experience how well designed the Sewaholic patterns are. I'm not so sure about the band around the bottom and seeing as we are coming into Spring/Summer I would like something I can wear with skirts. I like the simple clean lines of the Tonic pattern and think it would suit my needs so I'm leaning towards this pattern right now. 

For the black stripey fabric I'm planning to make a Jersey dress. I have some RTW Jersey dresses and whilst the top is ok, they are soooo short, I can't wear them without leggings. Not great in the hot summer. It is still a toss up betweeen Collette's Moneta Dress or Lady Skater by Kitschy Coo. I love the different sleeve variations of the Lady Skater dress but really like the gathered waistline of the Moneta dress. Decisions, decisions!!

3. Blue cotton

I made The Husband a shirt last October and although he wears it, he would ideally like a more fitted shirt - the sleeves look a bit 90's. So the other day he comes home from work and proudly tells me he has brought himself a shirt pattern from John Lewis. 

The fabric he has chosen is a nice light navy cotton. It is similar to the fabric I bought for the last shirt I made him so I know it will sew and wash nicely. The fabric below is destined for the insides of the collar and cuffs. The Husband picked this out ages ago as he liked it at the time, so me making a second shirt was always in the plans!!  

Fabric for the collars and cuffs!

So lots of sewing planned at the moment! I just need to find the time to put them into action. I am hoping to have a sewing session this Saturday - I really, really want to get started on the green Megan dress I have planned but haven't got round to sewing. If I don't hurry up soon, I won't get any wear out of it this season. At some point I'm planing on updating you all on my knitting adventures too! 

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Red Sorbetto Vest

What a week! I'm definitely back at school and feeling it this weekend. It's been a full on week, complete with additional revision sessions, meeting after meeting and parents evening. I had planned to get at least some cutting out done, but just don't have the energy :( I've had this post ready to go since last week but sadly had no time to actually get round to posting.

So here it is: introducing the red SorbettoVest by Collette!

Since the pattern was straight forward and I have been on a stash busting mission,  I decided to make a (hopefully) wearable muslin out of some red polyester fabric. This fabric was actually left over from the 150m of bunting I made for my wedding. Despite the fact that the quality is not that good and it's slightly see through, it does have quite nice drape which I thought would be good for the Sorbetto pattern.

I pieced together the pattern pieces on the computer and then my husband printed it off on a massive sheet of paper at his work. I must say the thought of having to stick loads of sheets of A4 paper together sounds tiring and I would much rather have The Husband cheekily print them off for me!!

I cut a straight size 4, following the bust measurements. I'm horrifically pear shaped, but usually find that anything that fits my bust correctly generally fits my waist and hips okay.  I followed numerous advice found on the sewing bloggersphere and lengthened the top. To do this I cut to the bottom of the front and back pieces to a size 18 to increase the length, with the added bonus of flaring the bottom of the vest slightly to fit my hips.

One of the things that drew me to this pattern, was the neat seams around the neck and arm holes made using bias binding. Although I have made bias tape for bunting, I have never used it on a garment before.

I decided to make the bias tape from some of the left over fabric by following the tutorial by Collette. This method involves creating a parallelogram by cutting a 10" square into two triangles and then sewing it together. You then draw in 1" lines, sew the two ends together and then cut along the lines to create one strip of bias fabric that can be passed through the tape maker.

All great in theory. I managed to create the strip of fabric easily enough - although my edge seams were so close to the edge of the fabric I had to go back and redo a couple. The issue I had was in actually feeding it into though the tape maker. It was a complete pain, the fabric kept twisting in the tape maker and every time I corrected it after about 10 cm it would twist itself again! So frustrating!! And the iron kept steaming up my glasses!! Arggh.

In the end, I gave up, took a break, watched some telly and came back to it. I finally managed to finish it with some success and then began to construct the vest. The construction process was quick, considering it was the first time I had made proper bias binding and used it to finish necklines. I actually enjoyed the process of finishing the neckline and armholes and like the finished item.  I'm actually happy with the overall finish for a first attempt.

The fit is ok. It fits nicely across the bust, the darts are in the right place. I have worn the vest, tucked into my denim Hollyburn skirt and it was comfy. Not bad for a muslin!!

I will definitely be making more of these. Changes for next time? I would still like to adjust the length, as it's a tad too short for my liking. I agree with other bloggers that the arm cycles are to high - they cut in ever so slightly, so these will need to be lowered.

I also want to try another bias biding method to get more control over where the joins are. If you look at the photo below there are two right next to each other right at the front of the vest which is a bit ugly. I was thinking about joining just straight strips not on the bias, but I get the feeling its the bias that helps the fabric curve around the arm/neck holes. I think I'll try this Piecing Method which is also on the collette website for my next version.

Overall I'm really pleased with my Sorbetto vest. It was relatively quick to make and a nice simple style that is really wearable. I will definitely make another one, so watch this space!!

The instructions for the Collette pattern were really good and straight forward. This got me thinking about other Collette patterns ... here's the others I like:


 I love the Moneta dress and this fits in with my aim of learning to sew knit fabrics this year. The Anise coat looks like the perfect pea coat - but I'll definitely need to improve my sewing skills before attemting this one. I also like the Chantilly dress - I'm thinking of making one for my cousins wedding but it's not till November. Nothing like planning sewing a whole year in advance!!