Autumn Sewing Plans

I am trying to focus my mind on what items of clothing I need to sew for this coming autumn and winter. I’ve been fabric shopping and have a bit of a plan.

From top: Black wool single jersey, navy and white yarn dyed stripe jersey, bird print cotton & navy denim

From top: Black wool single jersey, navy and white striped jersey, bird print woven cotton and dark navy denim

Denim fabric, £8.99 per metre from Leon’s Fabrics in Chorlton. 100% cotton with no stretch. This is to make an A line skirt with an inverted centre front pleat. It is to replace a Boden skirt that has nearly come to the end of its life. I’ve had it for 5 years and it is beginning to look shabby with a hole at the top of the pleat, ok for home but not for work anymore. It’s going to be a self draft pattern which I need to pull my finger out and do.

Bird fabric, £5.99 per metre is also from Leon’s Fabrics. Bright white with a small dark navy bird print. It’s a quilting cotton weight which I think is 100% cotton. I’m going to make a shirt based on Burdastyle 7136. After making two shirts earlier this year it’s taken a while to even think about making another one but at least there’s no matching of checks.

The striped jersey is going to be a Coco top from Tilly & the Buttons. I spent a long time searching for Breton stripe yarn dyed fabric (stripes knitted in rather than printed) and kept coming across Dragonfly Fabrics which Handmade Jane used when she made her dress version of the Coco but at £19.50 per metre I kept holding off. When Jane had a 10% discount code earlier in the summer I went for it. Considering I was so keen to get this fabric I’m surprised how long it’s taking me to get around to it. I thought I would have jumped on it when the fabric arrived but instead the pattern and fabric have been sitting in a bag for a couple of months. The overlocker is still out for fixing so this can be its first knit project when it comes home.

Sewaholic Renfrew, Tilly & the buttons Coco & Simplicity S1696

Sewaholic Renfrew, Tilly & the buttons Coco & Simplicity S1696

The black wool jersey comes from Myfabrics.co.uk. It was an impulse buy; I came across it when I was looking for cotton single jersey for the pyjama top. I was attracted by the sale price of £4 per metre so I ordered 1.5mts with plans to make a cowl neck long sleeve Renfrew. I think it’s going to need hand washing so I’ll need to take care to keep it looking its best.

I haven’t done any knitting for a while and to complete my range of hand knitted socks I need a darkish plain pair.  I love a self-patterning sock but sometimes you need a more sober pair to wear with trousers. I’ve chosen a grey so they will go with both navy and back trousers but will add a pop of hidden red at the cuff, heel and toe. I’ll knit the same pattern as the ‘Hermione everyday socks’ using a short row heel. I know, I don’t really push myself by trying any fancy patterns.

I’ve bought a red 20gm mini skein and 50gm for the main sock. I figured that when I usually knit myself socks from a 100gm ball I must have ¼ to 1/3 left over so 70gm overall should do it. I could be skimping it here…. What I think I need to do is split the balls equally in half and knit toe up…. You can’t skimp on foot length but a shorter leg length than usual isn’t a problem. I’ve never knitted toe up so could be time to learn. The yarn was from Five Moons. I found them when I googled ‘mini skein’. I just loved their range of plains and the colour descriptions.

The red mini skein is described as “A solid true red, strong and clear, the colour of pillar boxes, fire engines and peril”

When it arrived – super speedy next day – I received a bonus 5gm skein in pinky red.

hand painted yarn from Five Moons. It just looked so beautiful when I unwrapped the package!

Sock yarn from Five Moons. It just looked so beautiful when I unwrapped the package!

I haven’t made a pair of trousers for donkey’s years and I’ve never tried to sew a fly front zip so I’ve bought Simplicity pattern S1696 Amazing Fit. I’ve ordered some swatches of navy stretch cotton from Calico Laine. The trouser is a style that I know suits me so I hope I can get to grips with them and achieve a good looking well-fitting pair of trousers.

cotton stretch swatches from Calico Laine

cotton stretch swatches from Calico Laine

I think all of the above will keep my busy through to November, I also have plans for a long sleeve Lady Skater, fabric yet undecided. I need to actually get started……..

Any autumn sewing plans on the go?

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Drafting The Soft Pleat Skirt

To draft the pattern for the denim soft pleat skirt I made last week I started with the basic skirt block.

I have drafted my own from the Winifred Aldrich Metric Pattern Cutting book but blocks in standard sizes are available to buy either as actual patterns or downloads. I haven’t used these myself but I have seen these Laura Marsh blocks recommended.

To draft my patterns I use spot and cross paper that I buy on the roll from Eastman Staples. When I bought mine a couple of years ago I think I paid £30 for 100mts. The roll initially is a bit heavy and 100mts sounds a lot but I store it in the wardrobe and it doesn’t take up much space. I had been using the Hemline squared paper that you can buy in packets. I found it is too thick to trace through, it has creases which need to be ironed out and the sheets are never big enough! Also when you want to use quite a bit it can become expensive. Metre for metre buying a roll is more economical. You can also find it for sale in smaller quantities on Amazon or eBay.

After tracing the skirt block I added on my style lines.

traced skirt block with style lines added

traced skirt block with style lines added

waistband pattern pieces

waistband pattern pieces

front & back pattern pieces opened to allow for pleats

front & back pattern pieces opened to allow for pleats

I drew the shape of the pocket pattern pieces on to the front skirt and traced off. 3 pieces in total. I added a grain line before I traced off to ensure I kept the correct grain on the individual pieces

I drew the shape of the pocket pattern pieces on to the front skirt and traced off. 3 pieces in total. I added a grain line before I traced off to ensure I kept the correct grain on the individual pieces. After I made the toile I realised I needed to make the pocket wider and deeper. One thing to make sure is that your top corner piece in main fabric is deep enough so that the lower edge of it is well concealed into the pocket.

I only had enough fabric to use one width for the front and back skirt, 150cm in total so the width of my pleats were limited. I had bough 70cm of fabric thinking it would be plenty for what I wanted, as you can see it was quite a tight layout! I definitely needed to use a contrast fabric for the inner waistband and pocket bags.

70cm of fabric was cutting it a bit fine.

70cm of fabric was cutting it a bit fine.

On the left is my 'working pattern' and on the right is my traced off pattern

On the left is my ‘working pattern’ and on the right is my traced off pattern

Once the pattern was finished with added on seam allowances I re-traced it adding all the info needed.
pattern name
Size
Pattern piece name
Cutting information  (cut to fold / one pair / contrast / interfacing etc)
Grainline

I also notched the hip line on the front and back and placed a notch in the cb seam for the zipper opening.

Then put it in an A5 envelope, again with all details including yardage, pattern pieces and trims along with a front and back sketch.

Pattern envelope with details

Pattern envelope with details

A long, long time ago back in college we used to have to stencil all the info onto our patterns and envelopes, it must have taken ages but I do remember enjoying it 🙂