Back to the Trapeze…

A grey jersey Trapeze with hem detail.

I was going to be turning up the hem by about 5 inches, but after I’d stitched the hem in place and before I’d cut off the excess fabric I looked at it and rather liked the effect, so I kept it.

Short sleeve Imogen…

jersey dress.

So I’m thinking about making an Imogen dress for my Nieces wedding in June from some gorgeous Crepe fabric I got for my Birthday from my Husband. I decided I ought to make a trial run, so chose this lovely jersey fabric I had in my stash from last year.

This was a very fine jersey fabric and as such was quite tricky to work with. It kept wanting to slide off the table and I had to use millions ( I do not exaggerate) of pins to get it to stay in place, I thought this would be good practice as the crepe fabric I want to use will be quite tricky too.

It went quite well all in all, except for one side of the collar that doesn’t lie quite flat enough. I can live with it though.

The fabric drapes beautifully. However I wasn’t too sure I liked this pattern as a dress and very nearly turned it into a top this weekend, but I tried it on again with my trusty Birkenstocks and decided it would be perfect for those summer days when its too hot to wear too much! And if I do make a dress for the wedding it will be a tad shorter. I haven’t quite decided yet if I want to make the fabric into a dress or if I want to get a couple of tops out of it instead.

Big baby…

Made a big baby bag for a work colleague to give to her friend.

I think the inside contrasts nicely with the outside. Had feed back and the recipient loved it!

4…

Last September I bought some gorgeous Japanese double gauze cotton from Merchant and Mills. It was quite expensive and I wasn’t really supposed to be buying fabric for me at that time, but it was just too divine to pass up. I bought 1.5metres, I can’t remember exactly how much it was a metre but it was around £22, so it cost me over £30, I haven’t bought fabric that pricey for a while and remembered why when trying to decide what to use it for. Needless to say it sat in my stash for a good few months. And then Imogen came along and I knew what I must do…

Not too sure how wide the fabric was but it obviously wasn’t as wide as the star fabric I’d previously made Imogen out of and it was really really tight getting the pattern pieces to fit. I had to compromise and use the original shorter sleeve pattern piece otherwise it just wasn’t going to work. As it was I literally had mm to spare between pattern pieces, had to be really economical with my cutting out.

At the moment I tend to make this pattern over 3 days, as I find it quite demanding in places. I usually cut out the fabric and attach the interlining to the relevant pieces, and then if I’ve started early enough in the day I might do the zigzagging of the neck edges and bottom edges of both bodice pieces and sleeves followed by the gather stitches. I will then start again afresh the next day.

There will now follow some pictures that I hope will help with the inserting of the placket.

Make sure your pieces overlap before sewing.

The pictures below are where it gets tricky. And I have to say it was particularly tricky with this fabric as it got pretty thick in places and I really wasn’t sure if I was going to get it through the sewing machine!

I honestly thought at this point that it wasn’t to work and that I’d made a major waste of this beautiful fabric!  However it would seem I don’t like to give up too easily, especially when I love the fabric. So I persevered…

Look at that beautiful placket. I am so proud of this bit and I can’t believe it actually worked out!

After the plackets done, you then hem the back and the front pieces.

After that you attach the front and back at the side seams. And then comes the sleeves. This was also a little tricky as the fabric was so thick after turning up the sleeve hem twice that it was quite hard pushing the elastic through and took me way longer than previously. I left it after that and picked it up again the next day. Have to say if I didn’t have housework and washing and cooking to do I’d probably be able to make it in a day.

After making the sleeves comes the attaching of the sleeves. I’m always a little anxious when I put in the sleeves, have had many a sleeve insertion go awry. Happily this went smoothly.

Next up attaching the collar, I quite enjoy this bit as I love the gathering and getting the body to fit the collar. Again though it would prove quite difficult with this fabric due to its thickness. The gather stitches didn’t want to run smoothly through the fabric and I had to pull quite hard. I used lots and lots of pins. And I can’t recommend the entomology pins from Merchant and Mills highly enough. I leave them in the fabric as I sew and sew over them, they are fine enough to get it away with it. Have had the machine needle hit one a few times, usually makes me jump but haven’t had any major problems yet. Obviously I’m not recommending it as such but just saying it works for me.

Below is the outer collar piece

And below here is the inner collar piece being attached to the outer piece.

After both collar pieces have been attached comes the top stitching at the base of the collar. Now I did have trouble with the opening parts of the collar, I simple could not get it through the machine. I even tried hitting them with a hammer to see if that would help. It flattened them out a bit but not enough, so I just had to leave them unstitched at those two points. Doesn’t seem to be a problem though. Phew!

You can just about see in the picture above where I’ve had to leave it unstitched. Oh and the top stitch did go a little wonky in places, but I can live with it.

I really do love the neckline on this top.

It reminds me of this top, which is designer and quite expensive, so I am so happy to be able to make it for myself. And I think it looks just as good if not better if I may say so myself! I like the fact that the Imogen doesn’t have such a low cut neckline.

With the thickness of this fabric its a little more structured than the  previous 3, but I like it. I think it worked quite well. Its pretty warm too.

So all in all I am extremely happy that I’ve finally used the fabric and happy that I ended up making the right choice. Although I reckon it would have made an equally lovely Trapeze top.

And I would like to say that when I posted this on Twitter shortly after finishing it, Jules Fallon of “sew me something” said and I quote “ Yes, I thought that when I zoomed in. But it was worth it, this has to be one of my most favourite Imogens of all time!” How flipping happy am I! :0)

 

Fabric from Tanzania…

I’ve been given some gorgeous fabric from a colleague/friend who recently came back from her trip home to Tanzania. I am incredibly touched that she thought of me whilst so far away.

R0026319

The fabric is printed in panels and usually sold as two panels. The two panels together measure nearly 3 metres and they are 1metre wide. You can find lots of examples on google. Whilst usually used for traditional dress in Africa I will be using mine for probably an Imogen top! I reckon I can make quite an interesting one using the border print for certain pieces of the pattern.

I believe the words in the middle of the panel mean “Thank God” in Swahili.

R0026327

I can’t wait to get cracking on making this into something lovely. Thank you Mia, rafiki yangu. Xx

Third one…

Here comes the third Imogen. I think we can safely say this will be the year of the Imogen!

Using my newly adapted longer pattern pieces.

R0026316

I’ve used the same fabric because I like it very much. And it would seem third ones a charm. Finally got the hang of the placket and this one looks really good.

R0026329

The collar edges are getting better too.

R0026336

Another shot of the neckline, just cos I’m so pleased with it.

R0026337

I do love that curved hem too.

R0026345

R0026342

“Sew me something”, Imogen pattern hack…

The last Imogen top I made if you remember I made about 8cm longer in the bodice and 11cm longer in the sleeves. I really really like those lengths on me so I’ve made an addition to the paper pattern to make it easier for me next time I make one (which will be soon).

r0026307

r0026308

r0026315

r0026314

Well I’m on the second…

Imogen top. But this time I’ve lengthened the bodice by 8cm and the sleeves by 11cm, and it now it is perfect for me. PERFECT!

r0026221

r0026222

r0026223

Yep I used the same fabric as I really love it. It washes well and doesn’t crease too much whilst wearing. And it just feels lovely to wear. I still had some problems with the front placket and the whole construction of it, unfortunately the instructions are just a little bit too vague and if I was a beginner (which this top is recommended for) well I would probably have given up! I got there in the end and just hope I manage to work it out when I make the next one, as I will be making at least another one…

I still enjoyed the making process though for this top. Maybe its about doing something different and challenging myself. Might have to give that more of a try next year, but I can see this pattern in so many various ways. Think it would make a fabulous dress , or long tunic over jeans. I already have a short sleeved black crepe dress version in my head, watch this space.

r0026234

r0026240

I wore it to my Dad’s 80th Birthday lunch and had a few compliments on it, and not one person asked if I made it. Which makes me think it looked that good it couldn’t possibly have been made by me!

A VERRY MERRY CHRISTMAS…

To you all. And a big thank you to everyone that reads my little blog! And I wish you all

A HAPPY NEW YEAR! Xxxx

r0011760

Shock, horror, I bought me a new pattern…

Yep, thought it about time I had a go at something different. Think I’ve made enough Trapeze tops for now!

I fell in love with the Imogen top from sew me something, as it had a neckline I liked. However The neckline turned out to be a bit of a challenge.

The pattern says its suitable for beginners, however I beg to differ. I do have sewing experience now, but I feel if I’d tried this as a beginner I would have packed up my sewing machine and just stopped. I feel the instructions could do with being a little more detailed and more pictures wouldn’t go amiss either. So despite the experience I do have I still managed to bugger it up! I was able to rectify it though.

Totally forgot to take pictures of the buggered up version, as I was thinking it was a right off and was feeling very despondent, I really liked the fabric and was unhappy about the waste. And then I checked in my scrap pile and found I had enough scrap left over to give the buggered up bit another go.

Basically I put the collar on upside down, simple mistake to make, I was looking at it like a facing as thats what I’m used to. I unpicked the upside down collar and started again. Of course I had to compensate for some fabric that had already been cut off, but it worked out fine.

I also had a little problem right at the start with the placket not fitting right. There’s a little V like cut out in the neckline and I believe when I cut the fabric out I must’ve somehow made the bottom of the V a bit wider than it should have been (if that makes sense?) And once I’d attached both the plackets they didn’t overlap like they should. I was almost ready to give up at the first hurdle.

And then because I thought I’d ruined it already I thought why not cut it down the middle through the centre of the V and put back together with a small centre seam? Why not indeed! So thats what I did, and it worked. So I carried on. Which partly made me more determined to sort out the upside down collar situation.

r0026152

I was able to get a UK size 12  out of 1.5m of fabric.

Below is the placket situation before I sorted it out. As you can see the placket pieces do not in anyway shape or form meet or overlap.

r0026153

Ta daa! Here it is, and I love it.

r0026168

Despite all my problems with it, I thoroughly enjoyed making this top. I learned several new things, not least how to insert elastic to make the sleeve cuff. It also had a different technique for sleeve insertion.

More pics

r0026166

See what I mean about the lovely fabric. Its a cotton denim coloured chambray with little stars on it. It wasn’t expensive, I just really really liked it. And didn’t want it to have been a waste.

r0026164

It has a lovely curved hem, and here you can see the elasticated cuffs too.

r0026167

r0026165

In the picture below you can see little more clearly the slight mess of the plackets and that the collar still isn’t quite perfect. I had to zigzag the seam at the base of the placket neck opening as the seam wasn’t quite big enough for me to finish it off properly on the edges, so that looks a bit messy, but I can live with it. Also the placket isn’t sitting quite right, but again I can live with it. I also made the row of stitching that anchors the bottom of the collar to the bodice a little too high from the neck seam. I think it looks Ok and again I can live with it.

The top is perfectly wearable and after giving it a good press the neck sits pretty nicely.

r0026162

r0026189

r0026190

 

 

Anyone care to venture a guess on how many of these I will make? I can tell you now it will be more than one…