Off-White Christmas

Apropos of nothing – I’ve made a jumper
I’m not entirely convinced that I really needed one but the thought struck me so there we are.
The fabric is a really soft and fairly thick sort of fake cable knit from the market that was €4 per metre. I have an irritating amount left. What can you do with sweater-weight fabric apart from sweaters? I usually make underwear with scraps but this fabric would make some heavy duty pants..

For the ‘pattern’ I just lay down a jumper that I already owned (a brilliantly nonsensical one that has letters but no words at all, no matter how carefully strangers try to read my chest in the streets) and cut around it. I didn’t bother tracing it onto paper first, just went straight in with the scissors. YOLO.

Here’s the original:

I actually think that it’s a bit long to be practical so for my new version I took about 15cm off the bottom

I made a slightly curved hem which isn’t very well captured in this picture but here it is anyway:

Being bloody minded I made absolutely no changes to account for it being essentially maternity-wear currently which has resulted in a few pulls in certain places but I’d much rather have some slight fit issues than most people probably wouldn’t notice than an item of clothing that only lasts me a few more months

In a way I wish that I hadn’t cut the V neck so low as it means I have to be vaguely picky about what I wear underneath it which is kind of annoying. Ah well, too late now.

I really like the off white colour but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this time next year I write a post about how I had to dye it navy blue to cover up all the baby sick/poo/milk stains. Roll on 2018. I can’t wait.

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lumps and bumps

The red pen drew me in, it always does. It means something is on sale.
In this case, the red pen of destiny took 50% off the price of this Burda maternity pattern

It’s fairly ugly but I was willing to give it the time of day. I liked the look of the top and the shorts look like they have potential (if not over the winter months in Belgium) and anyway, like I say, it was on sale.

Last weekend I made the top. It’s about as basic as it gets, there’s not even any ruching on the sides or the dipped hem that you sometimes see on maternity tops. It’s more just like a fairly forgiving non-maternity jersey top. Which is fine by me.

The neckline is really wide and I used some starry bias tape on it that now reminds me of pyjamas

Those sleeves though, I’ve really not made my peace with the sleeves. Surely they are just a one stop annoyance shop? Don’t they accidentally get dropped in your bowl of cereal or trapped in doors?

As a card carrying member of the sleeves-always-pushed-up club I’m pretty sure I’ll be lopping these off below the elbow and hemming them there. Then I can happily keep the top as what my Mum would call “a useful layering piece”

I’m wearing it here with what I am very much hoping will be another win. I’ve recently found myself reaching for my one remaining Colette Mabel skirt as it is pretty forgiving on a changing shape and very useful for work and play. This new Mabel won’t be as handy simply because of its colour but I’m fairly optimistic anyway.

I managed to find a very good colour matching thread:

No such luck with the overlocker:

At the moment it goes over the bump quite nicely and I might even be able to wear it under the bump later on. My spotty vest is still putting in some good service

My one concern is that the skirt really does show up all the lumps and and lines of everything going on underneath:

Let’s face it though, I’m going to be wearing it with huge jumpers that almost completely cover it anyway.

I think my maternity wardrobe is pretty much complete. Now to figure out the rest of this child-rearing business..

Simplicity made me grumpy

Behold, I have become that which I did not want to: a different person because I’m growing someone inside of me.
I made up a pattern which I had in my stash even though I wasn’t particularly enamoured by it because I’m now getting to the point where I’m fairly limited by choice for smart-ish things to wear to work.
Simplicity 1469 which I’m pretty sure is now out of print


(image from this eBay sale)

The best thing about the dress is the smallest part of it –


This scrap of fabric. I bought the remnant for 50 cents at this shop in Aachen, Germany along with some other very good quality jersey scraps. It was just large enough for the ‘vest’ of the dress and some underwear.

The worst part of the dress is that I don’t really like it…

This is in no small part due to Simplicity’s well documented issue – what they would call a ‘generous amount of wearing ease’ and what the rest of the sewing world calls ‘ridiculous sizing that could be because of vanity or stupidity but wastes fabric and time’
No, I didn’t check the finished garment measurements and yes obviously that would have helped alleviate some issues but there we are. I made the dress up in a size M which seemed fairly reasonable.
After trying it on I looked like a 9 year old wearing a dress for a large sized adult –

Why are the sleeves so loose? Why is the bust so saggy? And why did I wait so long before trying it on?

By this point it was pretty much done. No small feat actually. It wasn’t tricky, just time consuming so I hung it up and ignored it for a few days before going back and taking it in along the side seams from the sleeve hems to below the waste. This took it down to more or less XS size which is ridiculous and means that anyone who is a ready to wear size 10 or less would be completely sized out of the pattern.

The fit is much better now and I have worn it to work. The grey jersey fabric is lovely and soft and does feel really nice. I can’t remember exactly where it came from I’m afraid.

The vest part is cleverly designed for feeding and similar to what you see in a lot of maternity/nursing RTW dresses

So it’s not all lost, I now have a smart-ish dress to wear which will fit for a while. To make it feel a bit more ‘me’ I wore it with ankle boots and this scarf but it’s just not going to be something I’ll be drawn to. More like something to drag on over my head when there’s someone important due in the office.

Learn your lesson from me, folks. Don’t believe Simplicty’s sizing and don’t sacrifice your personal style because you find yourself with free time, fabric and an untested pattern that happens to be lurking in your stash!

Unflattering for a reason

I’ve made an unflattering red dress!

Why? Well firstly, it’s Autumn so red sweater knit needs to be worn somehow so that’s one thing.

Secondly, I only had a remnant from a charity shop so the pattern choice was very limited.

Thirdly, I have made one or two Deer and Doe Plaintain tees into dresses previously and they always look nicer in my head than in person.

Fourthly, I’m 16 weeks pregnant.

I don’t think that since I’m gestating a human I need to give up trying to find flattering stuff but since my body is changing scarily quickly and all I wanted this week was to own something to wear for work that wasn’t jeans and wasn’t uncomfortable, this is what I’ve gone with.

Construction – it’s just a Plaintain extended in length as far as my fabric remnant would allow. I also decided to zig zag all the seams rather than use a double needle. This was less a design decision and more because I couldn’t be bothered to thread up a second needle. The lethargy is real yo.

I don’t mind it though, it looks kind of like a baseball.

It’s a fine dress, it’s comfortable, I like the colour and it’ll last me until the end of the year.. maybe? But remind me next time that the Plaintain really is just a t-shirt pattern and it’s not big or clever try to extend it into a dress. Let’s face it, I’m not short of actual dress patterns to use!

Happy Autumn all.

reporting for duty

I haven’t disappeared after all. But I haven’t done much ‘proper sewing’ recently.

Until now.

I sewed something that wouldn’t look out of place in my Star Trek Costumes book. I really do have a book of Star Trek costumes. It’s this one and it’s brilliant.

Courtesy of Liola Patterns via IndieSew, I feel like I now have a jumper that could see me through any political mission to Bajor,

some drinks at Quark’s  Bar on Deep Space Nine,

or Bat’leth training with some Klingons

but instead I went out for lunch, then to watch Liverpool get owned by Man City and then back through the park. Not very Federation-like.

apparently I always do this pose.

So this is the Zoe Raglan and while scrolling through IndieSew during some kind of sale I came across it and thought it looked kind of interesting.
I already had the fabric – a huuuuge remnant (like more than four metres kind of huge) of loop back jersey that I nabbed from a charity shop ages ago. The remnant is actually a weird off white/grey colour but it takes really well to dye so that’s what I did. Unfortunately in my excitement I dyed the piece that I’d cut off for this project rather than the pattern pieces themselves and I think it was really a bit too large for the dye to cover evenly so it came out a bit blotchy.
I cracked on with sewing it anyway. The pattern piece for the sleeve is brilliant – as evidenced over on my instagram and while it was slow going marking all those lines it was quite fun.
Sadly I had to piece a sleeve because I had cut out a completely different pattern to start with. It’s not ideal but I’m not cross about it.
You can see the piecing here. You can also see the stitching a bit. It doesn’t feel loose so I’m guessing that it’s just the weave and the fact that the thread colour isn’t a great match.

Once it was made up I decided that I couldn’t live with the splodginess of the dye job so I over-dyed it with a different colour. It’s much better now.

Photographer: “do something interesting with the lamp post”

Me:

The pattern has an option to add piping to the shoulders which I deliberated on for a while. I think it’s a cool idea but the ever changing colour of this fabric meant that I couldn’t really find anything that matched so I left it as-is. I wouldn’t exactly call it a ‘pared back’ style but it is certainly less fussy than it could have been!

I was saying spouting some kind of autumn cliché about the colour of the leaves on the tree.

But it is definitely autumn because I had apple pie today. Real apple pie, not from a replicator.

A t-shirt for light relief

“hey lady, why does your t-shirt have CAT CATT CATT CATTHAT CAT written on it?”

Well maybe you should ask the question why isn’t yours covered in what looks like graffiti written by a four year old.

This post is mainly about the fabric because, look it at.

The top is just yet another Plantain so nothing to say there that hasn’t already been said. Except the sleeves seem ever so slightly tight on this version even those it’s the same size as always (40)

I got the fabric in Abakhan in Manchester because it made me laugh. And in these troubled times, sometimes you need to be able to look down and see the words FAUX FUR printed for no earthly reason and feel yourself uplifted, just for a moment.

In hindsight I kind of wish I’d picked a pattern with a bit more of a modern fit, something a bit more boxy perhaps. Although it’s too late for this one, I’ve got plenty more fabric so I may do something different when this one’s useful life has ended in a few years. Isn’t it sad to already be foreseeing the demise of an item that has only just been created? Makes me dwell on the simple futility of life… I’ll just have to look down at my left arm.. ha, FAUX FUR. I feel better.

I feel like the top would be more at home in the graffiti covered urban streets of Brussels but since I’m having a week enjoying my in laws’ garden I thought I may as well make the most of the change of scenery for the blog photos.
Except the Welsh sunshine is in my eyes.

May you find a fabric that makes you happy and may it be cheap and plentiful and with at least 15% stretch. Because in a changing world, even fabric needs to be flexible.

City Gym city slim

I understand the fashionable thing these days if you’ve been losing weight is to talk about one’s
“weight loss journey” I won’t do that.
I’ll just say that I’ve been employing the very complicated strategy of moving more and eating less and am feeling much better about myself than I have for while.
In that spirit, I was scrolling around for shorts patterns and came across the free Purl Soho City Gym shorts and was sold by the idea.
Purl Soho
Purl Soho

I don’t have enough money (read: too cheap) to have a gym membership so every step down to the metro or ten second sprint as the bus is pulling away is counted towards my daily exercise goal. I live on the third floor without a lift and I definitely think carrying bags of cat litter back from Lidl is as good as ten bench presses.
So here are my City Gym shorts that will hopefully encourage me to be city slim.

As is usual, I did some things differently because no one’s gonna tell me what to do.
Firstly, instead of the bias binding I used stretch lace that I had kicking around. I love stretch lace. I use it underwear all the time and also in camisoles and knotted together in tangled messes in the sewing room…
The black and white print is a scrap of rayon and the main fabric is from Minerva Crafts. It reminds me about of the type of fabric that school uniforms are made from.

I left the side seams a bit open because I thought it would look cool but actually it just flips out too much. I’ll go back and stitch it down later. Maybe I should do as I’m told after all.

The pattern comes together really nicely, very quick and very pleasing. I suppose making the bias binding would double the time but definitely give lace a try if you have some. Or anything else. Ribbon maybe? Whatever. You do you.


Anyone else love seeing colour blocked seams match up? What a saddo.

I do like the weird combination here of the gothy black lace and the school uniform grey polyester.

Another thing I did differently – ignored the waistband. I just folded over the top and put the elastic through that. Dunno why, just felt like it. I think it looks fine like that.

It’s all about those overlapping side seams

I’ll leave you with my fantastic photography skillz:

whoops.