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Wednesday, 22 February 2017

The Linden Sweatshirt - super quick selfish sewing

After the complicated marathon project that was the boy's shirts, I was up for some simple sewing. I also felt like making something for no particular reason other than I wanted to. My sister lent me the Linden Sweatshirt pattern by Grainline Studios when I 'accidentally' bought 2 metres of grey and red striped sweatshirt fabric from Girl Charlee (I thought it was jersey and had planned to make a long sleeved Agnes top to wear under my new Cleo dress, not blogged yet).  I've been planning to make this for a while and had spent ages sourcing some grey sweatshirt ribbing to go with it. I eventually found some in the Ottobre etsy shop and bought it, despite it being ludicrously expensive. 

However, when it came down to starting the project a few weeks ago, I was put off by the thought of pattern matching the stripes on the raglan sleeves. Inspired by another sweatshirt I bought ages ago, I realised that the solution would be to get some plain grey fabric for the sleeves. No pattern matching required and it would stop the stripes looking too much. My Mum picked up some plain grey sweatshirting at Guthrie and Ghani last time she was there (she's lucky enough to live nearby). 

When I finally got round to starting the project, I was pleasantly surprised at quite how simple it was. It can be sewn up entirely on the overlocker and the whole thing took a couple of hours at most. Although it isn't essential to finish all the seams using a coverstitch machine (or twin needle on a regular machine), I've hardly used mine and wanted to have a play. I'm still getting used to it, but I love the professional finish it gives.  There were a couple of hiccups, like when I made the rookie mistake of forgetting to put the foot down (think I thought I was still on the overlocker).  Even spending extra time doing this, it was still a one-evening project, which is exactly what I needed. Even better, I know I will get so much wear out of it. This is a fab pattern and one I will make time and time again. 


Sunday, 12 February 2017

Matching shirts for my boys

I was confronted at Christmas by a cross Thomas. 'You're always making clothes for you and Polly and all you make for me and Daddy is pyjamas' he declared. So clothes for the boys made their way onto my sewing 'to do' list. 

The Negroni shirt by Walden (by Colette patterns) is another one of those sewing blogger staples that I've been planning to make for a while. I'd always been too nervous to attempt a shirt but making the Rosa shirt by Tilly and the Buttons gave me the confidence to give it a go.  Unfortunately, there isn't a pattern for a kid's version so I settled on Simplicity 8180 for a version for Thomas. I bought some navy cotton with white whales on it from myfabrics (looks better than it sounds!). I love the fact that shirts use a thicker cotton and that really opens up fabric design choices. Gareth chose the buttons on a solo trip to a John Lewis (with the help of the assistant).  

I spent a whole afternoon cutting out both shirts - there were so many pattern pieces. Thomas asked me to make his first so of course I obliged. I'm glad I've got quite a bit of sewing experience as although the pattern pieces were correct and went together well, the instructions left a lot to be desired. I made a couple of changes - the top button is supposed to have a rouleau loop but (partly due to my continued inability to make rouleau loops), I decided to do a normal buttonhole instead. I also added topstitching at the collar, cuffs and around the button stand (thanks for the suggestion Mum!). The most frustrating part of the whole project was trying to pattern match the pockets. I ended up cutting them out 3 times before I got it right. Thankfully I had plenty of spare fabric. 

I was pleased that I'd had a 'practice run' with Thomas's shirt when I came to starting Gareth's. The instructions were far clearer on this, but there were techniques I hadn't used before, like flat-felled seams. I spent ages pattern-matching the pockets again and just couldn't get it right, so gave up in the end, figuring it was less obvious on a bigger shirt. I also had to re-cut a number of pieces where the pattern was upside down or where I hadn't read the instructions properly and had only cut 2 instead of 4. I added the same topstitching detail as on Thomas's shirt, and also changed the top button placement. It didn't turn out quite as well on this but it isn't that noticeable when on. 

Neither of these were a quick sew by any means, but I would definitely recommend both patterns. The fit is great with minimal adjustment and the sense of achievement in making a shirt is fantastic!  I will definitely be making both again, possibly short sleeved versions for the Summer. 

Here they are ready to go to a birthday party:


And a full length photo: