Wednesday 30 March 2016

Strike - New Look 6217

When I blogged about my black New Look top recently, I advised readers that they could eliminate the back seam for a quicker sew. Having dished out this advice, I thought it only fair to actually sew a version myself, if anything, just to be doubly sure it actually fits over your head!

I used Prada self lined crepe for my first version, which is arguably the most luxurious and beautifully draping fabric I've ever worked with. This time I thought I'd use some Liberty lawn, which has a much crisper hand. The fabric is a gorgeous grey and red design called Strike - the check pattern is actually made up of little matches, hence the name! I bought it from Sew Over It last year, but sadly, they no longer stock it. It's still available on the Liberty website here though if you like it.

Back view  - without centre back seam
I'm happy to report that after eliminating the centre back seam, I had no problems at all getting the top over my head, hoorah! This makes it much quicker to sew, although you do lose the cute keyhole opening at the back neck, which was one of the features that first drew me to the pattern. Removing the back seam couldn't be easier: simply overlap the back pattern piece by 5/8" over the folded edge of your fabric (this eliminates the original seam allowance).

Annoyingly, I forgot to lengthen the pattern this time (the first version was lengthened by two inches), and looking at these photos I definitely prefer it longer. It's perfectly wearable though and the original length still gives decent coverage if you want to wear it over trousers. 

It's also long enough to tuck in.

Although I like this little top a lot, I've come to the conclusion that the pattern works better with drapier fabric. It's not as glam looking as the first one, but that's fine - it will still get lots of wear. And if you're thinking of sewing this pattern without a centre back seam, take it from me, it works! x

Tuesday 22 March 2016

Seven Fold Tie

If you've been paying attention to my friend Joe's tie making shenanigans (here and here), you'll know he's been hankering to make a traditional seven fold tie (constructed from one single piece of fabric folded seven times, so no separate lining required). Patterns for seven fold ties are like gold dust, but after a lengthy perusal of the interweb I eventually found this: 

What I actually purchased was a copy of this original 1940's vintage pattern, but there it was in writing - seven fold - I was excited. I decided to mock one up in calico to check where all the folds went, which is when I discovered the pattern only had four fold lines. Nooooo! When Mr Tie Expert arrived he confirmed my suspicions, the pattern just wasn't wide enough, in fact it was extremely narrow - think 1940's with a hint of 1980's Kraftwerk thrown in for good measure.

Little know fact: the first time I met my husband was at a 1980's party - I came as a member of Kraftwerk complete with slicked back hair, red shirt and thin black tie….

Anyway, back to ties. We decided to use the vintage pattern as a starting point and add three more fold lines of our own. Using a diagram we'd found online as a guide and a bit of slapdash maths, we made our very own seven fold tie pattern. 

There was just one seam to sew on the sewing machine, then a bit of hand stitching of the hem... 

and a loooong time at the ironing board trying to work out the order in which the bloody thing needed folding. I should point out that Joe was a dedicated tie-making professional at this point, concentrating fully on the task in hand. Even my constant interruptions to show him the changing hairstyles of Hall & Oates over the years didn't distract him, he was a man on a mission. 

The fold lines weren't perfectly exact, so there was a bit of fudging to be done, but he got there in the end. Ladies and gents, I give you a genuine, handmade seven fold tie!

Joe's choice of fabric - a dark navy linen from Liberty - was a lovely quality, but I did have my suspicions about how well it would drape. I needn't have worried, the fact that the pattern pieces are cut on the bias makes it hang beautifully. I also really like how the bias grain of the linen looks in a solid colour. He catch-stitched the edges together and finished off with two tiny white buttons.

All in all, an excellent day's work. And now that he has a pattern to work from, this will just be the first of many, I'm sure of it. x

Monday 21 March 2016

Liberty giveaway winner

And the winner is…. Amy Brown who had her eye on Dance C from the Bloomsbury Collection! Wahay, massive congratulations Amy, please email me your address and let me know if that's still your preferred fabric choice (you're allowed to change your mind!) I'll make sure your 1.5m of Liberty gorgeousness is on its way to you soon.

A big thank you to everybody who entered the giveaway - I'm just sorry you couldn't all win. You can still find the full range of Sewbox Liberty fabrics here if you fell hard for any of them. And thank you once again to Susan at Sewbox for such a generous giveaway prize.

I'll be back soon with some tie news! x

Monday 14 March 2016

Sewbox Liberty giveaway

In what is now becoming a bit of an annual tradition, I'm marking the imminent arrival of spring with a suitably spring-like giveaway. I've got together with Susan from Sewbox, who is very generously offering one of my readers 1.5 metres of any of the Liberty fabrics she stocks. Hoorah!

Along with a lovely selection of classic Liberty floral prints, Sewbox also stock a good range of contemporary designs. This large scale fig print - Alma - is the same design my friend Joe made a tie from here, but in a different colourway:

There are some awesome Liberty Lifestyle quilting cotton designs….

Stile Collection - Newbury B:

Stile Collection - Rennie B:

Bloomsbury Collection - Charles A:

Bloomsbury Collection - Dance C:

And my favourite… Bloomsbury Collection - Copeland C:

To enter, just leave a comment on this post telling me which Liberty fabric from Sewbox you'd choose if you're the winner. The full range can be found here.  The giveaway is open worldwide and closes at midnight GMT on Sunday 20th March. The winner will be chosen at random. Please make sure you leave your email address if it's not linked to your Blogger profile so I can contact you if you're the winner.

Good luck! x

Monday 7 March 2016

New Look 6217 - a hidden gem

Every so often I'll come across a very ordinary looking sewing pattern that turns out to be a hidden gem. That's exactly what happened recently when I discovered New Look 6217. The pattern comprises a top, kimono jacket, skirt and trousers - all designed for easy garment sewing. The top and kimono jacket both have grown on/kimono sleeves and the top, skirt and trousers are finished with bias tape around the neckline and waistbands. No tricky techniques, just a few easy pieces to practice your skills and build your confidence.

I bought the pattern a couple of months ago when Weaver Dee was having a pattern sale*. After scrutinising the line drawings, I decided that the top had a nice shape to it - it has a curved hem and a keyhole opening at the back, so no zips or buttons to contend with.

There are only two pattern pieces, so it uses very little fabric, especially if you fold the selvedges of your fabric into the centre as I did. By doing this I was able to use up my last half metre of Prada Stretch Crepe left over from my Amazing Fit Little Black Dress. Yay, I love it when that happens!

I measured the pattern pieces against my bodice block and took note of the finished garment measurements. There are four inches of ease included, so based on this I cut a size 10, grading out to a size 12 at the bust. My measurements would normally belong in the size 14 column, so unless you want a very relaxed fit, it's probably worth going down a size. I lengthened the pattern pieces by two inches but made no other changes. To my delight, the top fitted me exactly how I wanted to straight from the envelope. It has no darts, but still looks semi-fitted and is really comfortable to wear.

I can't help but compare it to the Sophia Top, which I made before Christmas and is a similar shape. I spent forever trying to get that bloody top to fit - I had to remove wedges from the front and back necklines and add weird armhole darts to stop the gaping around the bust. So in terms of fit, there's no contest - the New Look top wins hands down! These photos show the top at its most stripped down i.e. in a solid black fabric without my usual ton of costume jewellery. And I still think it looks smart and chic - imagine what it will look like made in more interesting fabrics and with a lovely necklace?!

So the moral of the story is - don't judge a pattern by its cover envelope, look at the line drawings! If you dig deep enough, there are some real beauts to be found. Do you have any hidden gems you can recommend? Please share them in the comments section if you do! x  

*When I went to the Weaver Dee site for a link, I noticed that there's currently 50% off New Look patterns until 22nd March. So if you like the look of this pattern, you can snap it up for just £2.98. And if you use the code JANE10, you get a further 10% discount. Yippee! 

Wednesday 2 March 2016

Big Vintage Sew-along

I'm delighted to announce that I'll be one of the bloggers taking part in this year's Big Vintage Sew-along, hosted by The McCall Pattern Company. 

From March to October, sewists from across the UK will be invited to sew one of 20 featured vintage dressmaking patterns, ranging from the 1930's to the 1960's. Money raised from the sale of each pattern will go to the Eve Appeal - a charity that funds research into gynaecological cancers. So anybody who buys one of the 20 patterns will be directly supporting the charity.

There's a whole host of activities happening including vintage workshops, events in store, a blogger tour (that's where I come in!) and even a vintage tea party! There will be constant updates on social media (#bvsewalong on Instagram and Twitter) and a supplement in Love Sewing magazine. The official website for the campaign is here and an excellent blog post on The Fold Line can be found here, which includes everything you need to know about the featured patterns, the bloggers taking part* and how you can get involved.  

I'll be revealing my pattern choice on Friday13th May along with a giveaway to win a copy of the pattern, so don't forget to check in! It took me a long, long time to choose my pattern - I spent ages looking at all the line drawings and seeing which vintage details drew me in. Care to take a guess which one I chose?! Anybody who guesses correctly will win an additional small prize, chosen by me. I hope it's not too obvious or I'll be seriously out of pocket! Here are the featured patterns:

From the 1930's….



From the 1940's….


From the 1950's….




From the 1960's….



Vintage inspired…


My thanks to the girls at The Fold Line for letting me use their lovely pattern photos with descriptions!

I think there's plenty of choice for all tastes amongst that lot. I'm really interested to see which patterns the other bloggers choose and which ones prove to be the most popular. I hope you can join me in the challenge, it would be great to see lots of beautiful vintage garments sewn up and to help raise money for such a worthwhile charity.  x

*Bloggers taking part in the Blog Tour

11/03/16   Katie at What Katie Sews
25/03/16   Portia at Makery
08/04/16   Kate at The Fold Line
15/04/16   Amy at Almond Rock
29/04/16   Elisalex at By Hand London
13/05/16   Me!!!
27/05/16   Jennifer at The Gingerthread Girl
10/06/16   Lisa at the You Tube Sew Over It 
24/06/16   Janene at ooobop
08/07/16   Marie at A Stitching Odyssey
15/07/16   Kerry at Kestrel Makes
22/07/16   Fiona at Diary of a Chainstitcher
29/07/16   Karen at Did You Make That?
05/08/16   Laura at Sew for Victory
12/08/16   Nina at ThumbleNina
19/08/16   Charlotte at English Girl at Home
26/08/16   Gabby at Living on a Shoestring
02/09/16   Rachel at House of Pinheiro
09/09/16   Elena at Randomly Happy
16/09/16   Wendy at Butterick
23/09/16   Winnie at Scruffy Badger Time
30/09/16   Rachel at The Fold Line


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