A panoply of (sometimes) lovingly handmade crud.

Category Archives: Sewing

I’m so pleased with how my Threadcount 1617 shirt turned out! When I look at it, I can hardly believe I was capable of making it myself. This project is a surprise win. I wouldn’t have chosen this fabric if it hadn’t been on sale, but it’s fun to experiment with a colour and pattern slightly outside my comfort zone.

There are a lot of lovely finishing details in this shirt. Plenty of slip-stitching of facings to hide seams. Overall I am very happy with the finish even though I made quite a few mistakes. I tried not to be too perfectionistic about tiny details, but rather treat the process as a learning experience for my next make.

I have mostly used indie patterns up until now. There is a lot of hand-holding and the techniques have been quite simple. It was nice to take on a more complex pattern. The sparse instructions gave me a sense of being trusted to know how to interpret them. Making the collar was the part I found the most challenging. You have to press the curved seam allowance, which is incredibly fiddly. I then managed to sew the collar on backwards!

I was glad to have done the Ultimate Shirt class at Sew Over It because I was a bit more familiar with the couture techniques that were just casually mentioned in the instructions. I had to think quite hard at times to figure out what I was supposed to be doing. I found the process very engaging and twice looked at the clock to realise I had been sewing for several hours without noticing the passage of time.

I harvested these buttons from a RTW shirt that was worn out. Something so nice about making clothes is personalising to your unique body. The old shirt had such narrow cuffs that it was impossible for me to get them over my hands with the buttons done up. This made me feel like a huge-handed freak. I tested that the cuffs fit over my hands comfortably before placing the buttonholes and buttons.

I LOVE the button tab detail. So worth the extra effort.

I can’t wait to make my summery version of this shirt, though I think that will have to wait until after I have moved house. Something I will definitely need to consider is how to finish the seams. Even though I have become quite a fan of French seams , they weren’t suitable in many places. I didn’t realise until too late due to my bad habit of not reading through all of the instructions before starting out. It will probably make most sense to keep it simple and either use an overlocker or overcasting foot.

I think I will stick with the Size 12 next time. The fit is decent in the shoulders and I like the roominess for a breezy summer shirt. It’s also SO NICE to have a blouse that is the correct length and doesn’t pool around my hips.

Firsts

  • making a two-piece sleeve. The fit is great!
  • making a curved hem that looks ok. I found this tutorial helpful. The secret seems to be just pressing it to death.

Changes not mentioned in last post

  • shortened by 6cm
  • added four press studs to fasten

Pattern: Threadcount 1617 View C size 12

Fabric: 169cm viscose remnant (140cm wide)

I think 1.5m of fabric would be sufficient for this size and view

Costs

Fabric: £10.89 (including delivery)

Pattern: £3.22

Notions: Around £5

Total: About £19

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I’ve been working on sewing my first version of the Threadcount 1617 shirt. I bought the olive fabric on a whim from a Cotton Reel Studio remnant sale at least a year ago, knowing it would probably be used for a wearable toile. Once I got it, I had the idea that it would make a cute garment with a mandarin collar. When I spotted someone’s version of Threadcount 1617 on Insta, I saved it and then promptly forgot the whole thing for several months.

While going through my saved images recently, I remembered the shirt. A cursory google revealed that someone was selling it on eBay and it arrived as a birthday present to myself.

I have a gap in my wardrobe for smart-casual tops. I basically have striped long-sleeved t-shirts, denim shirts and fancy collared blouses. Nothing that would look smart-ish with jeans for work. As my body and tastes change with time, I increasingly like the way I look in tops that fit in the shoulders and bust but are relaxed around the midsection.

I love the fit of this shirt. It would have looked frumpy on me as a chubby twenty-something (which I still am in my head) but it looks chic on my more mature, slimmer frame.

My space print top measures around 41″ in the bust. I decided to cut a size 12 in the hope that any extra ease would prevent the buttons from gaping. Since this is a relaxed fit shirt in a drapey fabric, I don’t think a little extra room will matter too much.

This pattern has a really good layout for cutting (a lot less wasteful than other patterns I have used), which was a little bit of a concern since my fabric was 140cm wide rather than 150cm. However, I had plenty of fabric. The pattern has LOADS of markings to transfer, which I found extremely tiresome. However, it is worth doing.

There were also quite a few pieces to cut out of interfacing. As you can probably tell, I initially intended to trace this pattern but there were way too many fiddly pieces so I gave up.

The construction of the shirt is a little more tricky than any other written patterns I have attempted independently. Making the front opening was a head-scratcher for me! I think it looks okay overall, even though the bottom edge is a bit wonky and I think it is likely that holes will form in the corners.

Notes:

  • Carefully check tension for sewing a single layer of drapey fabric (reinforcing the neckline)
  • Be very careful when reinforcing- mark before doing. This will have a significant effect on the final look
  • Use fray check in corners
  • Because the fabric frays so much, I used French seams on the side and sleeve seams. DO NOT use a French seam on the first sleeve seam above the opening. Also be mindful of this issue on the bottom hem
  • My machine seems to handle viscose better with a regular foot than a walking foot
  • If making view C again, shorten by 4″

Overall I am pleased that I decided to make a wearable toile of this top. It has a lot of details I was doing for the first time. It would have been stressful to make using fabric I cared about more. I already have the supplies to make a second version. I quite enjoyed the trickier construction and am surprised to find myself looking forward to doing it all again.

Pattern: Threadcount 1617 View C size 12

Fabric: 169cm viscose remnant (140cm wide)

Costs

Fabric: £10.89 (including delivery)

Pattern: £3.22

Notions: Around £5

Total: About £19


I managed to finish sewing my wearable toile of the Grainline Studio Linden sweatshirt and I’m absolutely thrilled with the result.

Let’s pretend I’m trying to look edgy here, rather than having remote issues

As I mentioned in my last post, I was a bit worried about how the jersey and scuba would play together. There was some puckering around the neckline due to the very different weight and stretch of the two fabrics, but fortunately this isn’t too noticeable when wearing. You can see it in the pic below.

I love the look of View B of the sweatshirt with no binding at the bottom- I really don’t like that shape for my body. It’s worth noting that the length is pretty short- when I raise my arms, my midriff does get exposed and I have a short body. It’s hard to judge whether the 6 is the correct size because of the amount of positive ease. I think I will wear a little more before deciding on the size for my next Linden.

I think I will have a go at making the next one using an overlocker. The domestic machine actually handled this pattern fine, but I think I would like a more professional finish when I’m using the expensive Atelier Brunette fabric.


At the Knitting and Stitching Show, I bought some beautiful sweatshirting to make my first Linden. However, having fabric issues with my third Lark made me realise that it probably wouldn’t be wise to use such beautiful (and expensive) fabric without a bit more testing.

I bought this printed jersey from Sew Over It around a year ago. I fell in love when I saw it in their newsletter. even though I wasn’t so sure when I saw it in person, I bought 1.5m since I had schlepped all the way there. My initial plan was to make a long-sleeved Lark but I realised very quickly that it would be too much of the print. I’ve kept a small sample of the fabric with me ever since, hoping to find a matching plain navy jersey but no luck.

When I was looking through my remnants for something to take to the boxy bag workshop, I rediscovered the textured dark navy jersey remnant. This piece was purchased from SOI as well and had been a real bargain (£5).

I’ve decided to put the two together to make a wearable Linden toile. I plan to use the nautical stripe for the front and back, broken up by the dark navy sleeves and collar. The fabrics are quite different weights. I’m just going to hope that doesn’t cause any problems.

I’m quite happy with my plan. I will get to try out the Linden to see how I like the neckline (necklines are my current big thing). I can also see how I like sewing it on my domestic machine. My Lark woes have me thinking it might be worth using an overlocker at a sewing cafe for constructing basics from stretch fabrics.

I decided to cut the size 6. Now that I have cut it, I’m pretty sure that the dark navy fabric is scuba. I understand that Linden is pretty straightforward to put together so I’m hoping to finish this soon.

Costs: Around £30

Textured navy fabric: £5 for 1.1m

Boat print fabric: Around £20 for 1.5m

I used around half a metre of each fabric

Pattern: £14.90


I couldn’t resist this striped viscose when I saw it in the Fabric Godmother newsletter. I may have to unsubscribe- it tempts me too much. I knew that I wanted to make it into a simple long-sleeved top.

I considered lengthening the sleeves but in the end couldn’t be bothered because I wasn’t sure how long they need to be. I can easily make this change on future long-sleeved Larks.

I bought 2m of the jersey and have 85cm plus some large scraps remaining- more than enough for a second long-sleeved top. Because of the way I laid out the pattern pieces, it’s interesting to note that I would need 1.5m for one Lark but only 2m for two. It’s something I will think about with future fabric purchases since I’m trying to be less wasteful as a maker.

Once I got around to tracing the sleeve piece and cutting out the pattern, it only took a couple of hours to put this top together. I decided at the pattern cutting stage that I wouldn’t worry about stripe matching and I’m glad I didn’t.

If using such a light jersey again, I would shorten the neckband by at least 1cm. The band borders on being too long in more stable fabrics, and it was definitely too long here. I tried to redo it, but after spending about twenty minutes unpicking I had only managed to undo about 2cm and made a hole in the fabric. This fabric is so light and drapey that the scoop neck looks slightly droopy anyway, so I will probably keep this top mostly as an underlayer. I also had issues with the hems, so they don’t look great either.

I think I will make a second Lark in the same fabric, but using an overlocker. I will also try out the crew neckline. I feel quite comfortable with the construction of this pattern now, so would be a good first overlocker project. I would also like to see whether there are any differences in the finish.

Notes:

  • baste neckband to check fit before overlocking
  • use a press cloth with this fabric
  • lengthen sleeves by 2″
  • be careful buying jersey online

Costs

Fabric: £20.50

Pattern: Free (and this is my third use)


I went to a workshop at the Knitting and Stitching Show to learn how to make a padded and lined boxy bag. I feel like these would come in handy as knitting projects bags, or make good gifts. They are a great project to use up fabric scraps too. This project can easily be done on a domestic machine with an overcasting foot. An overlocker would make it even easier and quicker.

I haven’t attempted to sew anything like this in four years (documented here) and again it was nice to see that I have come a long way as a sewist in that time.

Since it was actually super easy, I had time to photograph each step. So here is a photo tutorial!

Materials

  • Main fabric backed with fusible fleece- 15×10″
  • Lining- same size
  • Lining fabric- 2×6″ (I think 6″ of 1/2″ wide ribbon would be even prettier)
  • Long zip- 16″ or longer

If sizing up or down, ensure that the zip is significantly longer than you need, for ease.

Mark the centre of the long edges of both main fabric and lining with snips.

Make the bag pulls (skip if using ribbon)

Pin and stitch along the long edge with 1cm seam allowance. Press flat and then cut in half so you have two pulls.

Install the zipper

With zip teeth against RS of main fabric, sandwich with lining fabric along short edge. Leave roughly even amounts of zip either side.

Overlock or stitch with overcasting stitch.

Fold up and repeat on the other half of the zip, again with zip teeth facing RS of main fabric.

Grab the end of the zip and fold so the lining is on the outside.

Stitch the non-pull end of the zip

Line up one of your tabs with the zip teeth, with the folded edge pointing down.

Pin the raw edges together, ensuring that the centre marking snips line up with the zip teeth, and with each other.

Stitch with overcasting foot. Go carefully over the teeth.

Now work on the other end of the zip. Move the pull down so it is below the stitching line. Tack the two sides of the zip together to ensure it remains even.

Pin and stitch as above.

Trim the ends of the zip.

Finger-press the folded edges flat to act as a guide. Fold the bottom of one corner, matching the finger-pressed line with the side seam. Measure down 1.5″ and mark a line across. The line should measure 3″.

Stitch along the line and then trim off the excess.

Repeat with the other corners.

If you marked with a Frixion pen, make sure to iron away the lines. I probably wouldn’t have bothered for myself but I gave this bag away and the recipient checked the inside. It definitely looked messier with my pen lines.


Someone kindly offered me a free ticket to the spring Knitting and Stitching Show. I’m not that crazy about shows like this as a rule. They’re such busy environments and I don’t need an excuse to spend more money on craft stuff. But since Olympia is just around the corner from where I work, I decided to go along. In the end I wished I had had a bit more time to explore, since there were a lot of exciting things happening.

Since I hadn’t paid for the ticket, I decided I would do a workshop. I ended up writing a separate post about the little bag I made.

I popped by the Tilly and the Buttons stand. I was very tempted by the Mila Dungarees pattern and wanted to take a look at a sample. I wasn’t (and I still am not) sure if the style would suit me. I decided to go along to the Guthrie and Ghani stall for some fabric inspiration. I’ve been aware of G&G online for a while, but never bought anything. Fortunately their bricks-and-mortar is in Birmingham or I would have no money (but a fabulous handmade wardrobe). The first thing I spotted was Atelier Brunette sweatshirting. I’ve been lusting after some of this for a while so snapped it up straight away, along with the Linden sweatshirt pattern.

It was when I was browsing the sample clothes that I truly came unstuck. There was the jacket of my dreams. Lauren’s version of the Kelly was everything I’ve been looking for in an item of outerwear. The only way I can describe it is heart eyes emoji.

I currently wear a Superdry raincoat as my lighter spring/autumn jacket. Although I like it fine, it’s a bit casual and doesn’t fit especially well with a lot of items in my wardrobe. I’ve had my eye out for a replacement for several years now, but just haven’t spotted anything perfect. Until now.

Even though I swore never to make another coat after the last time, I just could not resist. Lauren was also lovely and gave me loads of helpful advice. I’m hoping that I will be able to take this jacket at a slower pace and explore whether I can enjoy the process of making it. I think I’ve got to a place in my knitting where I am able to slow down a bit more, so perhaps I can do the same at my machine.

I remembered later in the day that it was attending the K&SS at Alexandra Palace a couple of years ago (just checked and it was over three years ago!) that started me down the road to dressmaking in a serious way. I fell in love with some octopus fabric on the Sew Over It stand and ended up using it to make a Betty dress.

It felt pleasantly circular to be back at a show and fall in love with a project. I’ve come a long way since that first K&SS and I’m hoping to end up with a couple of wardrobe staples.