Thursday, 1 December 2016

Summer travel set

Summer travel set
This month’s post started off simply – make a pair of espadrilles. 
Then I decided to make a matching bag. 
In this case a backpack that converts to a shoulder bag or a cross over bag. Finally I thought a the Art Gallery fabric could be made into shorts so these pieces become part of a Summer travel set.
Having some sewing knowledge was a good thing and was also a challenge. Let me explain.
At a local lookout spot
About the espadrilles: Prym have developed the notions you need to make espadrilles
The type of espadrilles are really something you can create so I used their basic pattern. Prym provide the pattern for this basic espadrille. The Prym interfacing is really firm but light to hold. 
The interfacing is really all you need to make a firm shoe and have minimal layers to stitch through. Adding another lining was a real 'learning'.

The Prym thread is a three thread ‘wool’ so I learnt how to use a tapestry needle and an awl tool. My thimble wasn’t the right shape for my fingers so next time I’ll invest in a good thimble.

I had so many layers of fabric to sew through, I needed an awl to help sew each stitch.

This is a stitching progress photo. 
I decided to line the sole, hence the use of a spray glue to ensure the fabric stayed in place while I stitched up these espadrilles.

Prym have an easy espadrille video that shows you all the steps for making your own espadrilles. The pinning and sewing technique were easy to understand. The video suggest using a 110cm length thread which was perfect for this kit. I eventually waxed the threads as they sewed up more smoothly. 
Oh. The piping was a leftover from a previous Minerva project.

I'd love to try the Prym sneakers in a future post.

Onto the bag. I’ve been helping Vero of Sacotin Patterns proof the English translations of her French patterns so I knew her Limbo would be the perfect travel bag for Summer. This bag can be worn three ways.
The bag is messenger style and can be worn across the body or over one shoulder.
It was a quick and easy decision to choose this pattern so I stash dived for the handbag notions and only needed to buy 4 extra D-rings and a zipper.
The bag is now back pack style.
The instructions were easy to follow and I sewed this bag up in 7 hours. It really didn’t feel like 7 hours because each step was very easy to achieve. At one point the bag shape sort of looked like the head of a Stormtrooper.
That’s when I decided to take a break and grab a cup of tea.
The instructions to make the straps give you an option to add fleece so they're more comfortable and this really makes a huge difference.
I have enough contrast Art Gallery print for the outside of my Limbo bag but not for the lining so I used some Minerva Crafts remnants. It’s a stretch woven so I made sure I interfaced the lining body and the zipper areas.
Yes...I had these two pink zippers in my stash and they matched this fabric.
 The instructions to sew in these zippers was easy to follow and master.
This pattern also suggests adding a layer of fleece into the bag gusset and again, this made the bag a firmer shape. 
I made the largest version and it sits nicely on me.
Above is the backpack style and below is the shoulder style or cross back style. 
 The external zipper works well for the shoulder style bag.
Lastly were the shorts. Summer has arrived and I when it’s hot I live in shorts and tees.
I made these Maritime shorts by Grainline patterns in 2014 so I knew this pattern works for my shape. This pattern has a sway back adjustment and a lower centre back curve.
The fabric is quite firm so I added 2cm at the side seams.  
The fabric sews up really nicely and the weave is something I love.
Again I stashed dived and found some more remnants from previous Minerva Crafts project for the pocket lining.
I used more stash notions for the closures.
When I ordered my fabric, I didn't know if I would get time to make these shorts for this post but I'm glad they worked out this month.
I love the pocket detailing of these shorts. When I sew pockets, I pin mark the turning points for a sharper finish.
The waistband pieces are marked to line up these pieces.
So now I can pair these three travel basics with any tee and be comfortable. I can wear the same bag three different ways, which is handy when you're on the go.
Thanks Vicki for this month's huge kit. You really know how to put together a kit for a shoe making novice like myself.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

As a top

This basic sheath dress (New Look 6000) has been so easy to repeat, hence a top using African wax fabric.
Same pattern, different look with jeans.
The ribbon at the bottom of this top balances the print size and I've used the v-neckline.
This pattern really needs a holiday. Making the subtle style changes were easy. It's voting time so have a look to see what others have made for this challenge on PR.

It's been a fun challenge I've got plenty of options for the party season ahead.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Palazzo trousers

It's the start of a new week so would palazzo trousers suit me?
Here's a link to the chiffon I used for these trousers. White Tree Fabrics UK provided me with this fabric.
I also did a test version before making this pattern (for work) and they were brilliant. Comfortable. Elegant. Work appropriate.

Seam finishing techniques:
Chiffon is a fine, see-through fabric, and I chose this fabric because I wanted flowy trousers. I've used various seam finishes on these trousers:
- French seam finish
- Flat fell seam finish
- Turn and straight stitch seam finish

The other aspect I built into these trousers were shorts lining that are mid thigh length. They give these pants a 60s feel to them. I can also wear these out in public.
I love how sheer style clothes are coming back and while we're now in Summer, I think these trousers will be perfect for all the celebrations we're about to have.
Step 1 Prepare the waistband
Zigzag finish the bottom edge of the waistband. I've used a Birch white interfacing so it's quite firm but light. This does make the waistband a lighter blue underneath this chiffon fabric. 
When I looked at how to wear palazzo trousers, I'll be wearing a tops over the waistband, so I'm fine with this finish.
With right sides together, sew the top and bottom waistbands together. Then trim off excess seam allowance for a flatter finish. Fold the right sides out and press the waistband.

Step 2: Darts 
Stitch the darts on the back trousers and then press the darts towards the centre back seam.
You might notice the centre back seam is higher than the pattern. That's deliberate to overcome my sway back shape. It works.

Step 3: Back trouser 
With right sides together, stitch the back trousers together along the centre back seam from the waist to the crotch. Sew a shorter seam at the bottom of the crotch curve to reinforce this seam.
Press the crotch seam open.

I used a french seam finish on this seam.

Step 4: Front trouser 
With right sides together, join front trousers at the crotch stopping just short of where the end of the zipper will be and press the seam open.

On the test version I took off 3cm at the centre front.

Step 5: Pockets 
With right sides together, fold over the pocket bag and press. Then you need to stitch each side of the pocket mouth to the front and then the back trousers at the side seam, aligning pockets carefully. Stitch from upper to lower notch.

Stitch the bottom of the pocket back. Do not include the side seam of the trouser into the stitch. The pocket construction is quite clever.

Step 6: Trouser side seams
With right sides together, lay the front trouser on top of the back trouser. Keep the pockets outwards. Using a 1.5cm seam, start stitching from the top of the trouser waist and stitch a short distance down to the first notch.
Start stitching again from the second notch near the end of the pocket, all the way down to the hem.

Flip the pocket so it is lying across the trouser front and stitch across the top of the pockets to secure them in place.

With right sides together, sew front and back trousers together at the inseam. Start at the crotch down to the hem for both legs.

Step 7: Waistband
With right sides together, attach the bottom edge of the waistband to the trouser waist, sewing from centre front to centre front.

Step 8: Invisible zipper
With the trouser right sides out, flip waistband up and place left hand side of zip right side of fabric together with the trousers, place the top of the zipper at the halfway point of the waistband just under the seam line. Pin and then tack in place. Remove the pins and use an invisible zipper foot to stitch the zipper in place.
Repeat for the other side of the zipper. Fold the inside of the waistband over zipper so that it is right sides of fabric together with it.

Sew a small line of stitches over the edge of the waistband. You'll be stitching through the zipper tape and both layers of waistband. 
Snip through the corner of the zip and then turn the waistband back through so it is right sides out again. Press flat.
Now with the trousers inside out from the last stitch you sewed on the zipper, stitch down the centre front to close the seam.

Step 9: Hem
All you need to do now is to hem your trousers. Because I've used chiffon, I stitched each hem turn separately for a clean finish. 

I could have used a 10cm hem to have a different hem effect, but I though this might be too much for my height.

What I changed
The inner shorts made this pair a bit more of a challenge until I realised, I simply needed to make them up as shorts but keep the seam on the inside of the trouser so you can't see them through the trousers. I sewed french seams on the shorts.
I've used a New Look 6160 for this top.
I also used an invisible zipper. This still worked well with a bit of hand stitching in place.
Thanks to White Tree Fabrics UK for this chiffon. It's made these palazzo trousers from Simple Sew patterns easy to make and wear!

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