A panoply of (sometimes) lovingly handmade crud.

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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 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 managed to think about my knitting plans for 2018 already and my sewing needs a similar level of thought. I’m going to take part in the Make Nine challenge again this year. I think nine garments is a manageable number, both in terms of time taken to make items and ensuring that I sew responsibly.

Project ideas

  • Cloud Lark
  • Stripy Lark
  • Ultimate shirt in Liberty fabric
  • Third day dress in viscose
  • Wearable toile- copy of the perfect pencil skirt I have
  • Threadcount 1617- I think I will start out with a toile using a viscose remnant I have.
  • I also have my eye on some beautiful viscose with a monstera (my favourite leaf) print for a second version. I won a £20 voucher from Sew Over It’s #SOIshowoff competition, which would buy 1.5m
  • Teal anorak
  • Dotty Linden

Specific things I’d like to do

I’m very excited about these projects, especially the ideas I’ve carried over from last year. I still have a lot on my plate, so I find it difficult to find a lot of sewing time. This just motivates me to make the most of the time I do have and create useful and long-lasting garments. I’m looking forward to Me Made May already and one or two more items would be very handy.

I’m also going to start being totally transparent about the costs for each of my projects. While I’m happy to spend money on my passions (why else do I work hard?) I have got into a bad habit of spending thoughtlessly. I know that I spent well over £600 on craft stuff last year. That’s a lot. While I don’t make things with the explicit intention of saving money, it would be good to track how much I do spend.


After all the effort that went into finishing my Macaron, I nearly destroyed the dress on its second outing. I was climbing over a fence to get out of a park and decided to show off by jumping down. I managed to catch the skirt on one of the spikes, popping most of the side seam (which looked great for the rest of the evening) and also tearing the fabric.

Mere hours before the fateful incident. Innocent times.

After deciding not to chuck the dress in the bin, I thought that a patch was the best solution. It wouldn’t interrupt the floral pattern and it would also serve as a permanent memorial to my ongoing foolishness.

I bought a few patches in India that I thought might do the job. However, when searching through my craft stash for something else, I found a patch that I bought from Hand Over Your Fairy Cakes. The colour palette complements my Macaron pretty well, and it was just big enough to cover the tear.

I started by loosely stitching up the rip.

I used my embroidery hoop because my aim was to make sure the fabric was hanging true before patching.

The fact that I had an iron-on patch made my job nice and easy. I could perfectly position the patch before securing with stitches.

I used the embroidery hoop again because the fabric is so light.

I didn’t do anything fancier than some small running stitches hidden in the white border. The patch is only just bigger than the hole in the fabric but I hope the glue will hold the fibres together. Also, the back of the skirt isn’t a high-stress area on the dress (unless you are doing questionable activities while wearing it.)

Overall, I found it surprisingly enjoyable to mend my dress. Even though I’m not totally in love with it, I think Macaron is a great pattern that looks really nice on, and I always get nice compliments when I wear it.

(Sorry not sorry for the cheesy pic)


Within 24 hours of returning to London, I had sewn my first piece of clothing. I was very naughty and ordered some fabric just before I went away, and I got back just in time to collect it from the sorting office before it was returned to its sender.

Bit of sky camouflage

 

I have a mild obsession with all things related to the sky, so I couldn’t resist this adorable cloud print jersey. One metre was plenty to make a second Lark tee.

Following what I learnt from my first Lark, I removed 4 inches of length from the body. People don’t believe me when I say I have long legs and a short body!

Here’s a pic where you can see the whole shirt. Overall this was another pleasingly simple make.

Pattern: Lark by the Grainline Studio

Fabric: 1m of cotton jersey

Cost: £15.50 (fabric + postage)

(Got pattern for free and re-used it)


As I often seem to, I made the rash decision to sew a garment for holiday about three days before going, when I really didn’t have sufficient time. As a result, I only got two hours of sleep the night before my flight and ended up cutting my airport arrival uncomfortably fine. However, I am pretty happy with these trousers so I will forgive myself.

Aside from the mishap with the missing pattern piece (I must have left it behind after the workshop), this was a lovely and straightforward make. Really the perfect counterpoint to the coat.

I made the elastic on my first Carries too tight. I think I had some kooky idea about wearing them high-waisted. These are a lot more comfy.

It’s been surprisingly chilly in India so very happy I took the time to complete this make.

Pattern: Carrie trousers by Sew Over It. Size 10 with extra length

Fabric: 1.5m Liberty tana lawn