Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Funnel Neck Coco Fleece

When I was talking about my general lack of style direction I forgot about the one part of my wardrobe I really and truly have sorted. I've been wearing variations on this 'look' since my teenage years and would summarise it as 'Cornish fisherman'. The components are: smocks of various types + jeans (any length according to season) + oldest brogues, clogs, deck shoes or loafers I own. Frequently accessorised with dogs, mud and/or sand - never fails.

Please find the latest addition below:
had this version of the Coco pattern in mind all holiday; it would have been so useful for walking/windy beaches. Oh well, next time! (The other versions I've made of this pattern are here and here and give a few more details how it works for my body shape.)

Apologies for indoor photo. This was taken on the day the tail of Hurricane Bertha whipped our neighbourhood. It brought cooler weather with it, and I've also worn this with a long sleeved striped top showing under the sleeves which adds a bit of contrast to all the blue.

Fleece is not a suggested fabric, but as it has a little stretch it worked out fine. (Fleece from recycled bottles, stocked here and bought over a year ago. I was really pleased to see this is still available, as it's the only non-wholesale source of recycled fleece I have been able to find. There is a lot of colour choice, too.)

Pattern alterations:
*Took triangular wedge from the bottom sides of the pattern pieces due to my straighter hips.
*Positioned the seam for the roll collar at CB instead of at the side as pattern directs - with my bulkier fabric, I thought this would look neater - now I'm not sure and will probably do as the pattern directs if I make this again.
*Sewed side seams straight down (no side splits).
*Took deeper hem of 1.5".

Made largely on the overlocker, the inside is as neat as the outside. Hemmed with a twin needle, rather than zigzagged - I'm so glad I've finally mastered the twin needle, it makes such a difference to how professional the finish is on fleeces and knits :)

Here is the top on a nicer day but as you can see I did not pull it down or arrange it in any way so please excuse the triangular boob!!

My only wish is that I'd had enough fabric for some nice snuggly pockets in the side seams. Should I make this again, I'm definitely adding them.

Happy sewing, 'til next time,

Philippa x

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Quick Holiday Wardrobe Fixes + Do You Miss Sewing When You're On Holiday?

I took a few shortcuts for some of the things I needed for holidays this year.

I wanted comfy skirts to travel in. I made this one from a large but I think unworn skirt found in the RSPCA shop:

I cut the yoke off, re-used the elastic for the new waist and saved the lining for a future project. The 'new' skirt is the same shape as Sewaholic's new very beginner oriented pattern, the Rae skirt, i.e. it has panels and an elastic waist. I've not been able to wear elastic waist skirts as an adult as they look so bulky - many of them are just gathered squares - so it just goes to show what a big difference a little bit of shaping makes.

Another skirt was cut down from this striking but unflattering dress from the Red Cross Shop:

This is more of a tube shape and despite being so simple, I've worn it several times already.

I also wanted capri length trousers for windy days on the beach. For these I reused my old jeans which I found among the clothes I use for decorating/gardening. I cut off the stained and frayed bottoms and made cuffs.

They are very soft to wear, having been worn in thoroughly already.

I made another skinny pair from bootleg jeans from the charity shop by taking in the side seams and shortening:
I went a bit over the top with the skinnifying despite tracing my well fitting skinny jeans. Another lesson learned in the differing amount of stretch in fabrics! Next time I will put them on inside out and pin them to the shape of my legs. I think this might give a better result.

I gave up having my photo taken at this point in proceedings. I do not enjoy modelling and although my children do a sterling job of taking my picture and never object, I am easily bored and rarely have the patience for a 'perfect' shot. Sorry!

Finally I shortened these capris from chinos (originally from a charity shop). They were hanging in my wardrobe unworn despite being a great fit and apparently new. They will get some wear now.

Doing these alterations has shown me that sometimes a change of hem length is all it takes to make an item wearable again. The 'new' pieces cost around £10 total as I had most of them already, and very little sewing time. 

Also, Zoe has some great refashions for making old jeans into shorts, which I'm bearing in mind for when the knees on my jeans finally 'go'!

Well I've had my holiday now, which was lovely, and I wore all the things I altered. But after a few days I felt as though I wanted to do some sewing. It's become part of my daily life, and sitting down with idle hands feels wrong (even on holiday!). My way of sewing is 15 minutes here and there, for example while I'm waiting for something to finish cooking or as a break in the day. It is more achievable for me than waiting for several hours, so when I sit down it appears my brain thinks 'sew'! 

Do you miss sewing while you're away? Do you think holidays should be a complete change, or do you take some sewing with you? I'm seriously considering taking some hand sewing next time!

Happy sewing, 'til next time,

Philippa x


Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Reasons To Be Cheerful No 1 - Bright Floral New Look 6035

Although this skirt is part of my capsule wardrobe, I think the brightly coloured and patterned fabric makes it feel not so basic.
The fabric was a remnant from someone else's project purchased online, it cost just a couple of pounds, and I'm really glad I bought it - you can't help being cheerful wearing a skirt like this :)

think the fabric is a cotton and linen blend. Anyway, it was easy to sew. I lined it because I find cotton A-line skirts wear very quickly without a lining. I used a pale green gauzy cotton that I bought to make shorts for my daughter, not realising it was both too crisp and too transparent! It makes an ideal lining for a summer skirt that will never be worn with tights (it doesn't need to be slippery). One thing I have discovered through sewing is that I am definitely a 'liner' rather than a slip wearer. Although I have a couple of half-waist slips I much prefer putting on one layer.

Here's the pattern, the 'other half' of my old denim skirt
followed all the directions this time and made no alterations, even to the length, apart from adding lining. Strangely, it turned out to be exactly the same length as my recently made red big pockets skirt (which I fiddled around with), out of the envelope. It's an easy pattern to sew, takes little fabric and I recommend it. 

I also made my first belt loops! Making belt loops is so satisfying - or that could just be me! My eldest daughter contributed an unwanted (by her) red belt to pick out the red top stitching.

First ever belt loops *proud*! One is imperfect, but I'm happy with my first try.

The skirt is really a case of heart over head as if my colour analyst saw this she would be shaking her head over her wasted time. I really do love my autumn palette, but right now I am drawn to bright colours. Maybe because it's summer? Anyway, I'll be pairing this with navy, red or black (which I can wear if I'm showing enough skin), and will try to resist the lure of those cool blues and greens.

Does the season influence your colour palette, or are you fabulously consistent?

Happy sewing, 'til next time!

Philippa x