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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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The collar edges are getting better too.

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

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I do love that curved hem too.

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“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).

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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!

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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

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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

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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.

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

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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.

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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…

 

 

Sleeveless navy…

So I had some of the navy jersey left over. It was just enough to make a sleeveless top, which was somewhere in length between the tunic top and the regular top. Now I’m not too keen on the sleeveless look on me any more but I just couldn’t waste that amount of fabric so I had to go for it.

And I’m really glad I did.

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I could only manage to get a top out of the amount of fabric I had left because its jersey and doesn’t need a facing of any kind. and I do so love the seams don’t need finishing, as it made for a really quick make. 3 hours in total.

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I simply folded over the edge of the armholes and the neck by 1.5cm and sewed in place. I know a lot of sewers frown on this, but I say if it works why not?

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It hangs really nice. Its a lovely weighty jersey.

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Apologies for the headless pics, but had really bad bed head hair!

I’ve decided I don’t mind sleeveless on me when its in a plain fabric and a certain length. I think I might even try a sleeveless dress for summer.

 

In the Navy…

Lovely lovely lovely navy jersey that is!

I have Tweaked the Trapeze pattern again and now have the perfect length for a mini dress or a tunic top. The last post was about a mini dress this one is about a tunic top. Giving it a very small hem this time as this jersey fabric didn’t sit too well without.

I’ve made two now, the first one was Ok but the sleeves puckered up a bit, its wearable but not great.

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See those two giant tucks in the sleeves. I tried unpicking the sleeve on the left and redoing it, which improved it a bit. It was far worse before.

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The rest of it worked out fine though and I love the length. Looks perfect with jeans.

And below is the slightly better one, sleeves still not quite perfect but looks much more acceptable.

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The fabric was lovely to work with and feels gorgeous against the skin. Fabric came from Fabric godmother and was I think £14 a metre, quite pricey but it is quality stuff. I bought 3 metres of it and managed to make 3 items from it, so worked out quite cost efficient in the end.

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Works well with my jacket too.

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Wore it for a day out in London recently. Was very comfortable.

 

I haven’t forgotten how to sew…

Its just been a while since I’ve blogged about it. I was busy making bags for my little Etsy shop

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but now I’m back to the clothes.

I’ve tweaked my Merchant and Mills Trapeze pattern once again, to make a mini dress/tunic length. And the first thing I made from this new pattern was a dress for my works Christmas party. I made it from the textured black and white ponte roma that I made a top from from in the summer. I had a hunch it would make a good dress for a party. And I think I was right. Very happy with it indeed.

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It was a nice easy make. The fabric is a joy to work with.

Here it is as party dress, I hope I’m not too old at the age of 45 to be wearing a mini dress like this. Don’t worry won’t wear it without tights, that was not a good look!

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It also looks good as casual wear, worn with jeans and Uggs or Birkenstocks.

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I probably prefer it worn casually but then again I prefer casual wear now a days anyway!

Hope you like it, I do.

Xx