Friday, 6 December 2019

Sewing for others: Grey Checks and Orange Zips

This top has been so long in the making, I can't belive it's taken me over two years to make another version of this blouse for my mum! Since making that top she has worn it constantly, and while it's still in heavy rotation in her wardrobe it was about time that I made her another. As is often the case we were delayed by the lack of being able to find the right fabric so when we found this gorgeous grey check fabric shopping in Tokyo we jumped upon it.

I love this fabric (bought in Tokyo!) so much that I was very tempted to keep it for myself but... seeing as this top was promised a long time ago and it was my mum who actually spotted the fabric in the first place and bought it for herself I reluctantly made something for her. This blouse is exactly the same as the last one although I think my pattern drafting has definitely improved since then so if I make another one I might re-trace the original top that my pattern was copied from. It's a very simple shape but the darts and facing make it really nice.

The best part of this top has to be the zip - it's amazing! Again, this was picked out by my mum with this top in mind and it is just perfect. I love the contrast of the grey and the orange and it's a lovely surprise to see the bright zip when she turns around. I really love circular zip pulls too but they're oddly hard to come across.

I'm so pleased with this top, although not as much as my mum who has already worn it lots since I've made it. The fabric is really soft (I think it might be a flannel) so it's good for this time of year too. I loved the fabric so much that I even managed to squeeze a top for myself out of the very few leftovers!

Thursday, 28 November 2019

Fabric Shopping in Tokyo!

I had the most incredible holiday in Japan this summer and my top priority once I knew we were going to Tokyo was to go fabric shopping! I have heard so much about the amazing fabric shoppping experience there and it didn't disappoint. The infamous Tomato fabric shop is by far the best fabric shop I've ever visited! With five floors packed full of incredible fabrics which are all great quality and surprisingly cheap for Japan I spent the best few hours ever there. It's taken me a while to get around to doing a write up about the farbic shopping but here it is!

One of the reasons that Tokyo is so famous for its fabric shopping is that there is an entire fabric district. My mum and I took the metro to Nippori and were immediately greeted with signs directing us to the fabric shops (which I almost missed as I was so excited, despite how obvious they were!). We only had an afternoon, I would of course have much prefered an entire day but as usual the rest of my family don't rate fabric shopping quite as high up on their priority list as I do! Even so, a few hours gave us more than enough time to buy a large amount of fabric. There is a plethora of fabric shops in Nippori but as we were stretched for time we decided to stick to Tomato. Tomato actually has several different shops, we went into two but spent most of our time in the big one. The floors are divided by fabric type and I of course headed straight for the jerseys.

The first few fabrics that I chose are all plain ribs. Tomato had the most amazing selection of plain knit fabrics in pretty much every colour and shade imaginable. They were also very well priced at the equivalent of around £4 a metre and quite wide for a rib. I love the bright orange colour of the top one but my favourite of these is probably the light grey. It's a lovely colour and feels so, so soft. I've actually already made two of these up - and two Lindens too! Here is the grey one and here is the purple.

I also bought a couple of really cool zips. I've been looking for zips with circle pulls for ages but they're surprisingly hard to come across. I bought two for myself (but wish I'd bought more!) with the intention of using one of them to make a zip neck top out of the orange rib.

The next two fabrics are my favourites. I have been looking for the equivalent of the bottom navy check for literally years and I couldn't believe it when I found it! It is just one of the most gorgeous fabrics I've ever sewn with. I made a pair of Anima Pants with it and they're one of my favourite makes ever. The top fabric is for my mum, but once again I love it and I'm quite jealous that it's for her! It feels a bit like flannel and it was bought with the intention to make another one of these tops.

The final few fabrics I haven't made anything from yet as they're quite summery but that's not to say I don't love them. The colours are just so lovely. The light blue feels like Airtex - the texture isn't really visible in the photo but it's got small indents in it. I bought it to make a polo shirt out of and I can't wait to make it! The pale pink fabric is just gorgeous, such a beautiful colour and the softest jersey. I haven't quite decided what to make out of it but it will probably end up as one of these tops. The final fabric was bought on a bit of a whim, you can probably tell that I don't usually sew with floral fabrics! There was something about it that I really liked though and I think it will look really nice as a t-shirt.

So there it is! My Tokyo fabric haul. All these fabrics were from the same shop and apart from the two checks they were all bought in the same main Tomato building. I really made the most of the experience as it's not somewhere I can go back to and I love everything I bought.

Saturday, 23 November 2019

Miffy Pyjamas

This is a make which turned out better than expected and that I like more and more every time I look at it - Miffy pyjamas! This isn't typcially a fabric that I would sew with which is why it's so nice to have the opportunity to experiment with different fabrics from time to time. I tend to stick to plain fabrics or more geometrical prints but Craft Cotton Co asked me if I could make them a sample out of their lovely new Miffy Jersey fabric and to me it was just perfect for a pair of pyjamas. It's a really good weight too and of course the print is really cute, so perfect for something comfy. 

There are two parts to the set that I made, a top and trousers. One of the great things about it is that they can be worn interchangably, I really like that added versatility. For the trousers I of course used my beloved Anima Pants sewing pattern - my fourth pair! This is the first time I've used it for pyjamas, previous versions (here, here and -my latest favourite pair- here) are all jogging trousers.

Because the jersey isn't too lightweight it was perfect for jogging trousers. As usual, the waistband was midly horrific to sew but I am getting used to the amount of arm strength needed! I finished these off with a drawstring made from the same fabric which is knotted at the end. I think it's perfect for pyjamas as opposed to cord which makes them more for day wear.

For the top I went for a Linden - of course! This is the second view which I have made twice previously (here and here) and although those were my first few Lindens I hadn't made that view since. It's perfect for a simply pyjama top though and fits really well.

After a very exciting trip to a trade show in Houston the pyjamas were kindly sent back to me and I can't wait to wear them! I'm so happy to have had an excuse to make them, I really pleased with how they turned out.

Friday, 15 November 2019

Checked Anima Pants

These trousers are my latest favourite make and possibly even my favourite make ever! Everything about them is exactly what I envisioned. My love of the Anima Pants sewing pattern by Papercut Patterns is by no means about to end soon. After a traditional pair of jogging trousers and a blue jersey pair I really wanted to make the pattern out of a non-knit fabric. I really like the current trend of jogging trousers made from non-traditional fabrics such as denim (or in my case some kind of wool blend) and I love the feeling of a make turning out just the way I hoped it would!

I think it's the combination of the fabric and pattern that has made these trousers so successful. I already knew the pattern to be a winner and I have wanted a pair of large-checked trousers for such a long time but the fabric proved impossible to find. I was so delighted to find this one! It was avaliable in black too which was intitially the colour I was looking for but decided that I actually liked the navy  more. As I mentioned this fabric is almost wool-like, although much thinner than an actual wool. It has a very slight stretch to it and the wrong side is really lovely and soft. I've just about mastered the waistband by now but it is still very time consuming and requires a surprising amount of strength to sew!

The only issue with checks is that they are a nightmare to pattern match! I wasn't too worried about perfect pattern matching but I was careful when cutting out the front pieces, especially the pockets. I thought the crotch would really annoy me as the angle of the folded fly meant it was impossible to pattern match, but I've realised that I don't actually notice it when I wear them and even when I do notice it I'm not really too bothered about it. Having said that I am really pleased with the pockets!

These trousers are hands down my new favourites. They're smarter than jersey joggers but super comfy thanks to the elastic waist and have been perfect for wearing to sixth form. For the tie, I chose a white cord and I'm really pleased with how that looks. I really wasn't happy with the tape I used on my other joggers and have since replaced the tape on my grey ones to the same cord as these. I tied a knot at the end and then left the ends in pva glue overnight which worked perfectly: they don't unravel at all and the glue is completely transparent when dry.

Thursday, 7 November 2019

Purple Linden Sweatshirt

I mentioned in my post about my grey linden that I had another planned and here it is! I bought this purple rib at the same time as the light grey one and although the grey was always going to be a linden, this one wasn't. However, I loved the grey linden so much that I decided to make another! I find tops like this perfect during colder months as they mean I can wear a t-shirt underneath so I knew that I'd get a lot of wear out of both of them.  

This shade of purple isn't usually the kind of colour that I buy, but I thought it was nice for a change and it's quite an unusual colour. It's a fairly heavy weight rib so perfect for a jumper. The only thing I changed between this and my previous linden was the neck hole - on this one I decided to make the sleeves slightly narrower at the top to have a smaller neck hole as I've found that with a really stretchy fabric it's easy to overstretch the neckband by cutting it too small. It also really annoys me when the neck hole is too big and shows the t-shirt being worn underneath so this seemed like an ideal solution. It worked pretty well but I think that it maybe wasn't ideal with the heavier weight rib as there is a slight bunching towards the top of the sleeves. However, this has softened over time so it might just be that it's very noticable to me!

The only thing I didn't foresee is that this rib is actually quite a bit heavier than the grey. I couldn't really tell initially as there isn't a big difference between the two. It feels more obvious when the top is actually being worn as it doesn't hang as well. I still really like it but the grey one has defintiely been worn more, probably due to a combination of a better weight fabric and a colour that is more me.

Monday, 28 October 2019

Palm Tree Shirt

I made this shirt such a long time ago that it feels somewhat strange to be writing about it now, especially considering how cold the weather currently is. One of the reasons it's taken me so long to actually photograph this shirt is to do with how long it was almost finished for. I rarely have half finished sewing projects but for some reason this shirt took me a very long time to add the finishing touches to. I spent a long time anguishing over the right buttons and because of this it was left on my mannequin for quite a while, completely finished other than buttons. The shade and size of navy that I wanted proved surprisingly difficult to find and so the shirt stayed buttonless for several months.

As summer approached it seemed like too much of a shame to leave the shirt unfinished and therefore unworn so I decided to add white buttons just so that it could be worn on holiday, with the intention replacing them if I found the right blue ones. Now the white ones are on I'm perfectly happy with how they look and I wish I'd just sewn them on sooner so that I could have started wearing the shirt earlier! I'm not sure why I was so against them in the first place...

I bought this fabric at the Knitting and Stitching Show at the same stand as this one and knew it would become a boxy shirt. I'd been vaguely looking for a fabric with drape to make a shirt for a while and I love the palm tree pattern on this one. I'm not entirely sure what type of fabric it is but it worked perfectly for this project although it did fray a lot

I made a pretty classic cropped boxy shirt which is something I've been wanting to try and make for a while. I'm really pleased with how the pattern turned out, especially having to draft the collar. It doesn't have any darts as I wanted it to hang loosely, which it does. My favourite detail is definitely the back yoke. I used the burrito method (which I've used twice before, here and here) and I love the beautiful finish it gives inside the shirt.

Tuesday, 22 October 2019

Re-fashioned Raindrop Top

As you might have noticed I really enjoy refashioning items of clothing. These are often clothes which I or other people in my family used to wear but no longer fit, or occasionally items I've found in a charity shop. However, as I've made more garments over the years I've started to get a better idea of what actually gets worn and which handmade clothes just aren't getting any wear. I find refashioning handmade clothes a tricky concept to balance I'm only just starting to come across having to get rid of handmade items as I haven't been sewing for all that long. Ultimately, I think it's best to refashion or give away something that isn't being worn, but I'm definitely keen to keep clothes that I made at the start of my sewing journey which are more special even if they aren't being worn any more.

Having a blog to document makes definitely helps when getting rid of them as it's really nice to have a record of something if I don't have it anymore. When it came to refashioning this top it was a fairly easy decision: I'm not as attached to it as some of my other makes and the fabric seemed too nice to waste. The original top that I made with this fabric was one that I liked a lot at the time but it was one of my very first ventures into pattern hacking and the final design could have been better. I'm happy to have made and enjoyed the original but as I was no longer wearing it I decided to hack it into a very simple t-shirt. I wanted to make something very basic so that the print didn't look too childish and a short sleeved t-shirt is always an appreciated addition to my wardrobe and so easy to sew.

I'm really pleased with how it turned out. It's such an easy make but what I love most about this top is how it shows how much my sewing has improved. The original had slightly wonky topstitching, was sewn without an overlocker and of course the shape didn't sit quite right. This one fits really well, is finished neatly on an overlocker and is a much easier style to wear.