They’re Not Quite Working Out As Planned…..Time To Admit Defeat

My plan to make a pair of bicycling trousers inspired by the Outlier ‘daily riding pant’ has not worked out as planned. I knew that these trousers were going to be a bit of an experiment so I’m not too downhearted.

Blue trousers at the stage where I decided not to take them any further!

Blue trousers at the stage where I decided not to take them any further!

I was hoping to look like this…. (once I’d also grown another 8″)

But they were just not working. The softshell fabric is not quite right, it’s very stretchy but doesn’t actually have any spandex in and also slightly thick. And it rustles. Things seemed to be going all right but there was too much horizontal wrinkling at the back of the knees. I put them on inside out and pinned the legs and I felt I’d made some improvement but then decided that even if I got the fit right they would still ‘rustle’ when I walked which was no good.

hmm - not quite going to plan

hmm – not quite going to plan

The left leg has been pinned and looked better but no enough to carry on and there was still the rustling issue.

The left leg has been pinned and looked better but no enough to carry on and there was still the rustling issue.

I was also never quite convinced about the colour. There’s not much to choose from, black, navy, grey or royal and I was determined to go bright and I think I was just willing myself to like it.

But there have been positives! The pattern alteration to the back waist is now a perfect fit for when I make my next pair of jeans and the fly zipper insertion was a good effort, especially as this fabric doesn’t like to be pressed.

You win some, you loose some….I’ve moved on to the A line khaki Marc Jacobs skirt which is so far so good but I’m taking my time so as to avoid another dud 😦
(I don’t seem to be able to link to the Matches.com website to show you the skirt without my lap top freezing but you’ll find a picture in the previous post).

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‘Sewing for Summer’ Plan – Starting With A Couple Of Easy Tees

This year is really speeding along and summer is practically here. I have so much I’d like to make but not enough time. When I should be working I get out my notepad and scribble down sewing plans week by week. I’ve even done a typed template where I can get the satisfaction of crossing out what I’ve done in red pen.

Navy kimono tee and striped Renfrew

Navy kimono tee and striped Renfrew

I started with a couple of easy makes. A navy Maria of Denmark Kimono tee and a Sewaholic Renfrew.

The fabric for the tee was the same cotton / lycra single jersey remnant from Abakhan that I’d used for the bike bloomers. It’s a lovely weight with a slight brushed finish. This piece of fabric only cost £1.50.This is the 4th kimono tee I’ve made. My first was a grey marl one which was my first real attempt at sewing with knits properly. It still looks good after nearly 18 months and gets a lot of wear. That fabric was also a remnant from Abakhan. The second two haven’t been quite as good. The fabric was a single jersey from Calico Laine which after a few washes soon went limp, I still wear them occasionally but feel they are a little bit scruffy.

Navy Maria of Denmark Kimono tee

Navy Maria of Denmark Kimono tee

The single jersey for the Renfrew is a viscose / lycra  red and navy stripe from John Lewis, on sale reduced from £16 to £8 a metre. I used the V neck when I made a pyjama top last summer and trimmed with lace but this is the first time I’ve added the neck band to the V neck. I knew it would be a bit of a challenge and nearly went for the easy round neck version. I liked the effect of the stripes mitring at the centre but getting the shape of the V was a right faff. I stabilised the V with a small piece of stretch iron on interfacing then tacked and re-tacked numerous time until it looked ok. I got there in the end.

The front V on the Renfrew was a bit of a challenge.....

The front V on the Renfrew was a bit of a challenge…..

I sewed these two tops up together using the 4 thread overlocker. On the Kimono tee I got out the twin needle for the hems and surprisingly worked out ok, no tension issues for once.

I’m trying to be realistic about what I can get done and not plan too much in.

I have that lovely Hemingway Designs fabric to use, out of the 3 pieces I have I’m going to use the red print and make a shirtwaister dress. I googled for a pattern and the blogosphere came back with McCall’s M6696. I saw some great dresses so  didn’t bother to look any further.
Dolly Clackett
Polka Dot Girl

McCalls M6696 with Hemingway Designs fabric

McCalls M6696 with Hemingway Designs fabric

I was also inspired by this outfit in the Sunday Times Style mag a few weeks back. I just love that Marc Jacobs skirt. I started looking on line for some cotton twill in the right colour green. I could find forest, bottle, moss, khaki but none looked right so I bought white and a packet of Dylon in olive.  It could all go horribly wrong! I also picked up tangerine jersey for a top, now it’s arrived it’s not quite as vibrant as the top in the photo so it may get put to one side.

Marc Jacobs cotton twill skirt - a snip at £280

Marc Jacobs cotton twill skirt – a snip at £280

What’s next on the list for sewing up is a pair of bike trousers. I’ve been inspired by these Outlier Women’s Daily Riding Pants. The idea is that they don’t look like biking specific trousers but have features such as 4 way stretch and a water resistant finish. A lot of these type of trousers are made from schoeller fabric which is really expensive and not easily available to the home sewer.

This is the swatch of the soft shell fabric. When water hits the surface it doesn't soak in, it just rolls of the face, this is due to the WR (water resistant) finish on the fabric.

This is the swatch of the soft shell fabric. When water hits the surface it doesn’t soak in, it just rolls of the face, this is due to the WR (water resistant) finish on the fabric.

It’s generically know as ‘soft shell’ and I found some on UK fabrics online. I’ve ordered the fabric after getting a sample . I didn’t want to spend too much as I’m not sure how these are going to turn out. The plan is to slim down the leg on my jeans pattern – which looking at my sewing schedule I should have done by now. arggh I’m already behind!

sewing schedule - I like to do the crossing out in red pen.....

sewing schedule – I like to do the crossing out in red pen…..

Bike Bloomers

I only started cycling to work last September and even though I regularly cycle in skirts I’ve been wearing thick tights through the winter so there’s been no need to worrying about flashing my thighs.

Reading the cycling and sewing blog ‘tinlizzyridesagain’ I came across ‘bikie girl bloomers’. With the  RTW Fast I wouldn’t be buying any but I could easily make my own.

bike bloomers with a stretch lace trim

bike bloomers with a stretch lace trim

I bought a remnant of single jersey from Abakhan. I’m not sure of the exact fibre content, but I think cotton with lycra, it’s quite stretchy and you can see the lycra fibre when cutting out. It’s a nice weight with a slightly brushed face. In fact all the components are remnants I picked up in Abakhan, the waistband elastic was a cut piece, just the right size and the stretch lace was sold in small cut lengths. The remnant fabric is sold by weight and the single jersey was £2.99 and I only used half as there was enough for these and a tee shirt, the lace remnant was 30p for 2mts and the elastic 30p. So all materials for less than £2.50.

racks of remnants to be sold by weight at Abakan's on Manchester's Oldham Street in the Northern Quarter

racks of remnants to be sold by weight at Abakhan’s on Manchester’s Oldham Street in the Northern Quarter

For the pattern I used a pair of running leggings as a guide. They don’t get much any use now and are slightly too small so I added a bit of width at the hip, waist and thigh.

They were quick to sew up using the 4 thread overlocker, well once I’d got the tension for the needle thread correct it was quick. I used a zig zag stitch to attach the stretch lace around the leg openings tried them on and they looked terrible because with the lace being quite deep I hadn’t thought about it needing to be tapered. Anyway, it was a quick fix and I tapered both the outside and inside leg seams so they fit the leg snuggly.

Last week we had some good weather but as these hadn’t be sewn up I wore footless tights under my dress but since they’ve been finished the weather has turned cold again and I’ve worn jeans all week 😦
Anyway we’ve got the whole summer ahead of us.

Me-Made-May 15

May seems to have come around quickly and here we are again for Me-Made-May 15.

I participated last year but with quite a lot of duplication, this year I have a lot more me made items in the wardrobe. So I’ve signed up for this year saying I’d aim to wear 2 items of me made each day. I normally wear something I’ve made nearly everyday so 1 item wasn’t really going to be a challenge. I may come unstuck if I wear a dress but I’ll make sure I save my home made knickers for those days.

2015-05-01 14.42.12

 ‘I, Helen of Cut it Out Stitch it Up, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’15. I endeavour to wear 2 items of me made each day for the duration of May 2015’

Good luck to the rest of you taking part!

memademay15logowidget_zpsgymla92b

Girls Denim Skirt

After finishing the jeans I went straight into another denim project. My 7 year old daughter wanted a new denim skirt to replace the A line skirt I made over a year ago. This time I wanted to do a more classic style of denim skirt, especially now I know how to insert a fly zipper….

Girls denim skirt

Girls denim skirt

The fabric was left over from making the first skirt and was originally from Ditto Fabrics. I think it was 97% cotton 3% lycra and a slightly heavier weight than I used in my jeans.

I started by drafting the basic skirt block from the Winifred Aldrich Metric Pattern cutting for children’s wear using her individual measurements.

skirt front

I drew on the style lines, yoke, pockets etc following what I had learnt from the Craftsy course. I took the size of back pockets from a pair of current pair of jeans.

I found topstitching this skirt more successful that the jeans. I think this was because instead of using Guttermann topstitch thread I used Guttermann extra strong and it seemed to give me less problems.

skirt back

When I went to stock up on the topstitch thread I noticed the extra strong quality. It looks very similar in thickness. It comes in 100mt reels instead of 30mts and works out cheaper so I thought I’d give it a go. I didn’t have any issues with tension and threading the machine needle was easy, it doesn’t seem to untwist like the topstitch thread.  Also because all was going so well, changing the thread to topstitch wasn’t a chore.  In my opinion it give the same look as the regular topstitch thread so in future I think I will chose this quality.

The fly zipper worked out ok. I made the under flap wide enough and long enough to cover the entire zipper inside and I was able to bar tack at the bottom edge this time. I’m no master yet on inserting a fly and still found it a stressful evening of sewing.  In fact I was so tense it made me feel sick by the time I’d finished – hobby sewing isn’t supposed to do that! But I know how to improve for the next fly zip, I’ll get it perfect one day!

front close up

As my daughter is still quite slight around the waist and hips I added buttonhole elastic into the back waistband. You can buy this in different widths from eBay or Amazon.

After sewing on the waistband I positioned the button holes for the elastic exits just to the front of each side seam. Then I sewed on a button just forward of the buttonhole.  I completed the waistband then threaded the elastic through. I secured the elastic at the centre back with a line of vertical stitching which would be hidden by a belt loop.

Adding the buttonhole and button for the elastic - remember sew the button on before finishing the waistband, it's much easier.

Adding the buttonhole and button for the elastic – remember sew the button on before finishing the waistband, it’s much easier.

Thread the elastic through the waistband casing and neaten the ends of the elastic with a small hem.

Thread the elastic through the waistband casing and neaten the ends of the elastic with a small hem.

I think the back pockets are a bit too low, I noticed this when sewing on but I had marked the position with the awl making holes so I couldn’t move up. There is also just enough stride room, in hindsight maybe I should have made slightly A line to allow for this.

Overall skirt is a great success and my daughter loves it and the old skirt has been sent to the charity shop.