Monday, 26 May 2014

Completed: Ava top (Selfish sewing week)

I got Victory patterns' Ava top and dress pattern with my Perfect Pattern Parcel a couple of months ago.  At first I really wanted to make it, because I'd been hankering after a peplum top for ages.  Then I decided it sounded too complicated, and had too many bits, and it looked a bit sophisticated and maybe even a bit uncomfortable (cos I'm pretty much a jeans and t-shirt thirty something mother of two girl, dontcha know?).  So I didn't even print of the pattern pieces.

Then, when I was browsing through people's makes for the Spring Top Sewalong, I saw a lot of tops.  But the one which caught my eye was this top- I thought it looked so cute and awesome and I reeeeeeeally wanted one so I had to click on it to find out more.  Turns out it was an Ava top by Jessica of Where is my instruction manual... so that prompted me to get the pattern printed and make one up of my own.  It also prompted me to follow Jessica's blog and read about the other amazing things she's made (I mean, would you just look at this!  All sewn by hand!). But that's another story...

Anyhow I digress.  Where were we?  Oh yeah, the Ava top.  Here it is!  Apologies for the rubbishy photos, the weather is very changeable lately...

I'm not going to say much about it to be honest, because I just don't have much time.  Ever.  It's come to the point where I figure I either have to keep posts short, or not blog at all (or almost never).  So I'm going to go for the former.  Here goes...

Fabric:  the main fabric is a linen-look 100% heavy cotton from Fabricland in Kingston.  I love this print.  I love love love it.  I wasn't sure if the print was a bit much for a top for work, which is what this top is, but how could you wear these birds and not be happy?  The fabric is quite stiff which makes the peplum quite sticky-outy.  The contrast top and sleeves was small leftover piece from my sister's stash.   I used a lot less fabric than the requirements on the pattern suggested, not sure why.

Construction:  this was a lot easier to put together than I thought it would be.  The intermediate rating put me off, but it was pretty straightforward and the instructions are very clear.  The instructions for binding the sleeves and neckline are especially brilliant, and did not require fiddling around ironing and folding silly little strips.  I think I'm going to use this method for all my future bias binding needs.  The sweetheart neckline made me a bit nervous but it worked fine... Though I did pin and sew one half, then stop in the middle and do a bit of clipping before pinning and sewing the other side.

Fit:  I can't remember which size I made, I just went by my measurements and added a bit to the bodice length.  It's a good fit and very comfortable, though if I made another (which I probably will) I would make the shoulders a bit wider, because I have broad shoulders (from all that working out I do, you know) and the cap sleeves sort of pull a bit on the shoulders.

Overall- success!

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Completed Breezy Palazzo Pants (Selfish sewing week)

I've been meaning to try to make my own trousers for the gym for ages.  Bought ones are stupidly expensive and don't tend to fit me well, as I'm tall and they aren't usually available in different leg lengths.  I figure if I make my own I can make them as long as I like.

Whilst browsing for patterns I came across the Breezy Palazzo Pants pattern by Wild Lily and Lace.  I love this pattern!  The picture on the pattern is of a lady wearing a pair with a bikini top, enjoying the sunshine... but don't let that put you off if you don't live in Florida like Orilis, the pattern's designer!  This pattern is so versatile- it can be made with woven or knit fabric for the main part, so I've made up 2 versions already.  There are just two pieces- a leg piece and a hip band. 

Firstly, the yoga trousers.  Hang on, hang on... they're not going to be yoga trousers.  I'm going to keep them for pyjama bottoms because they're sooooooo comfy.  They're too comfy to be worn out and about.  Anyway.  I made a large, and added a bit to the length.  I used a plain black cotton/elastane jersey with a pink jersey for the hip band.  I had them cut and sewed in 40 mintues flat.  How quick is that? 

They're actually a bit loose, and when I make another pair in a stretch fabric I'll go down to a medium.

I made the second version a bit more complicated.  I used a linen-look cotton fabric, with fine rib for the waist band.  Linen trousers are another thing I've been meaning to make.  A large part of my time is spent scrabbling around on the floor building train tracks for the boys and as a result I wear through trousers really fast.  Last summer I had to bin two pairs of linen trousers because the fabric just doesn't hold up to the rigours of parenting two small boys.  But I still love them- a more hard-wearing fabric (e.g. denim) just wouldn't do for the summer.  So I decided to make my own, but there's no point making them fancy, because to be honest, sadly, I don't expect them to last very well.  That made this pattern ideal- quick and simple!

I self-drafted pockets (to keep phone and keys in when we go to the park!) for the front, and bound them with the same ribbing I used for the hip band.  I thought about adding patch pockets on the back but couldn't be bothered.  I also thought about topstitching a fake fly (or even adding a real one, and a matching waistband, and belt loops...), but again couldn't be bothered.  I'm mostly going to wear these with long tops, so I don't think anyone is going to point at me and laugh and say I'm wearing granny trousers because they have an elasticated waistband.  You know what?  I don't care if they do, because these trousers are so comfortable I'll know they're just jealous.  As an aside, these would make great maternity trousers- you could make the band bigger to go over a bump, and cut the front a bit lower if needed. 

In order to make the pockets, I cut the legs in half then sewed them back up with the pockets in, so they have a seam down the sides.  I made the crotch seam a flat fell seam, because you don't want that seam splitting, right?  In the end the trousers were still a smidge loose, so I took them in a bit at the waist/hips, and I'm pleased with the final result.

I'll be back to this pattern for sure, for summer wear, the gym and pyjamas... Anything, really!  Hooray!

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Selfish sewing week roundup

There are two sorts of weeks here in the Pocket Fox lair.  Either it's a selfish sewing week- because sewing is a thing I like to do and when I do it I feel I should be doing stuff with the kids, or stuff as a family, or giving long-suffering husband a break from looking after the kids every moment he's not at work.  The alternative to a selfish sewing week is a no-sewing week!

Imagine Gnats' Selfish Sewing week is not about feeling bad about doing what you enjoy.  It's about (shock, horror!) actually sewing things for yourself.  I didn't intend to participate, but it just so happened that I'd recently bought some patterns, and some fabric, for things for me... so it seemed a good time to whip them up and join in the fun.

It's been a fun week and I now have 4 new things to wear.  I have to admit I cheated a bit... I made my last item yesterday, when the week had officially finished... because it was a bank holiday here so I had people around to watch the children.  It was in the spirit of selfish sewing week, so I'm including it in my tally.
Yoga trousers (or pyjama bottoms!)
Pattern: Breezy Palazzo Pants by Wild Lily and Lace

Linen-look trousers
Pattern: Breezy Palazzo Pants by Wild Lily and Lace

Ava peplum top
Pattern: Ava by Victory Patterns

Wraparound vest/gym top
Pattern: self-drafted

It has been a good week for sewing but a not-so-good week for technology.  I blogged about my first make last Monday but stupid stupid Blogger ate my post and it's lost somewhere in t'internet, never to be found.  I've also been unable to share my makes on Flickr, because I'm locked into some sort of weird glitchy loop with its new Yahoo sign in.  I spent all of yesterday evening scowling at my tablet and getting nowhere.  Luckily, Selfish Sewing Week is hosted on Kollabora instead.  At first I thought "Whaaaat, another login, sign in, acount, password etc?  Dammit!" but actually after a week I love Kollabora already, and I know I'm going to post bits about all of my makes on there.  It's a great format for writing up project notes.  Hop on over and find Pocket Fox Sews if you're interested!

In time I might post separately about each of the patterns I sewed up.  I'm not making any promises though...