Sunday, 27 November 2016

Stripey Lark Tee

Hello all! The lovely Lucy at Sew Essential contacted me to offer me some fabric to try out, and I said yes please! I picked the St Tropez jersey in fuchsia and white stripes for the perfect basic tee. Basic, but a fun and warm tee that will be worn all the time.
I thought the Lark tee by Grainline would be the perfect pattern to pair it with, and it was. This is the second Grainline pattern I've used (the other being the Archer) and the first time I've used one in a paper format. It only took an hour to cut out all the pattern pieces from the tissue, fold them down to my size and cut out the fabric, doing as much stripe matching as possible. I appreciated the fact that there were separate pattern pieces for each neckline option, which makes the lines much clearer to see.
Because I put the effort into matching the stripes when cutting out, sewing it up was fairly simple and again only took about an hour. I'm so pleased with how well the sleeves match.
In terms of fitting issues, there are a few. The top is perfectly wearable, but there are definitely alterations to be made before I make it again. You can see below that there's some bunching at the back of the sleeve. Hopefully that can be sorted out by just pinching out some of the pattern piece.
As you can see, I'm pretty pleased with the stripe matching down the side seam, but there is some excess at the bust, which is to be expected because mine is an inch or so smaller than the smallest size of the pattern. I'm not really sure how I'm going to fix this. I could just bring in the top of the side seam a bit, or I could do a small bust adjustment.
Looking at the back I'm thinking that I perhaps have a bit of a swayback issue, which could be resolved by pinching out all of the excess on the pattern piece. The neckband is alright, but I wish I'd matched the stripe at the back!
I sewed it all up on my overlocker while I was home for the weekend, the hems are bondawebbed up, ready to be sewn in place. My overlocker is having issues at the moment. I spent a fair bit getting it fixed in the summer, and as soon as I got it back it wasn't right again, and so all the stitches on this are pulling apart, which is why there are white outlines on all of the seams. I mean, it's holding together but it's not ideal. Sew Essential have a big sale on at the moment and I'm eyeing up this one and this one. Do you have any recommendations?
Fit issues aside, I am very happy with this top. It's one of those items of clothing that you forget you are wearing, it's just that comfy to wear. Now I just need to find a big chunky cardigan to wear over the top, because it's getting chilly now.
Thanks very much for reading, to Sew Essential for the fabric and pattern and to Edward for taking the pictures!
Lauren xx

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Liberty Jumper

Hello all! When I came across this Liberty loop backed jersey on the Minerva Crafts website I knew at once that it would be coming home with me. It's fantastically soft, and the looped back makes it really warm to wear. It had to become a jumper. You can read all about the making process and have a peek at more of Ieuan's fabulous photos over at the Minerva blog now.
 Thanks for reading, to Ieuan for taking the photos and to Minerva for providing the kit for this make!
Lauren xx

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Zebra print shorts

Hello all! So this is funky shorts, round 2. You may recognise Harry from this post, and after seeing Ieuan's Leopard print shorts he immediately requested some of his own, in zebra print.
This is what he has to say about them: Zebra print is a strange one, it can be subtle and quirky, or completely outrageous, yet, if you walked into the lobby of The Savoy wearing a Zebra print 3-piece suit, you'd simply outclass the marble pillars and the mahogany counter tops. Better still you would humiliate all of the bankers in their boring navy Givenchy breakfast suits. Admittedly.. This piece isn't a fully clad zebra print 3-piece, it's better. Functional shorts with impressive credentials.
Out of /10
Comfort: 10
Design: They're zebra print... Obviously 10
All in all, these shorts are a classy way to show your athleticism but also passion for retro garms. The pink lining adds the cherry to the already perfect top of the cake.

HH - "I've worn over 2 different pairs of shorts." - 2016

Then, because the shorts are a pair, Ieuan joined in on the photoshoot.
The shorts themselves were actually a bit of a challenge. The fabric is this zebra print stretch satin from Minerva Crafts and I chose to line the shorts in a viscose jersey in hot pink for the softness next to the skin. This was a mistake. Cotton would have been perfectly sufficient. Putting the two fabrics together was a bit of a nightmare.
I tried to combat the stretch in the jersey by cutting the jersey pieces a little smaller so they would stretch to fit the satin pieces. It was a good concept, but I massively overcompensated and trimmed too much off. I managed to fudge it in the end, but it caused a bit of stress when it could have been avoided.
I used a stretch satin bias binding, again from Minerva and it behaved fairly well with top-stitching. There would have been less rippling if it was done by hand but the finish is acceptable.
I managed to get a really good finish when lining them, and to have no exposed seams makes me very happy. Matching headbands were made to complete the look.
A massive thanks to both Harry and Ieuan for being fantastic sports. Asking you both to get up at 10.30am to meander down to the park and strip down to your shorts is a big ask, and was much appreciated.
Thanks for reading!
Lauren xx

Monday, 7 November 2016

Autumn Archer Shirt

Hello all! Today I have something to show you that’s a little bit of a departure from my usual style which I love very very much. I cut out a Grainline Archer shirt in this fabric last year before heading off to uni, after reading that we needed a shirt/smock to wear for dyeing. When mum saw what I was making, and for what purpose she cried for an intervention. I had inherited the fabric from her, you see and the fabric was too lovely to be covered in dye. So the project sat in the pile, with only the button bands and the pockets completed.
When I was choosing which fabrics and patterns to take back to uni this year I had a glance at my UFO pile and there all the pieces were. I had another look at the fabric and decided that I would in fact wear it in day to day life, so picked all the pieces up from the pile and took them with me.
The house that I reside in when I’m at uni is positively arctic at the moment and a warm snuggly shirt was just the thing. I picked up all the pieces where I left off and it took another 5 hours or so to get it finished. I did have some leftover fabric which I’m glad I brought with me because in all of the hustle and bustle I’d lost a collar piece and a cuff piece.
Words just can’t convey how soft this fabric is. I think it’s some kind of brushed cotton. The dark, moody colours are perfect for autumn. It sewed together with no fuss and pressed very easily as well. I’m really pleased with the fit. It’s the perfect amount of loose and oversized.
Back when I intended this shirt to be a smock-of-sorts I lengthened the pattern to make it more of a tunic. I’d hoped to wear it as a dress now, but it’s just that little bit too short. Also, I didn’t widen it at all past the hips, which in hindsight really needed to be done if I wanted to wear it without leggings.
I didn’t cut out a collar stand originally and I decided to just leave the undercollar as it was, for a mandarin type feel (also because I’d lost that particular pattern piece.) It looks alright I think, but ultimately the collar stand is there for a reason.
I ended up fastening the shirt with snaps, simply because I didn’t have any buttons. They were quick enough to sew in while watching a film and I enjoy ripping it off like they do in the movies.
This is actually my 4th Archer, but my first with sleeves. I’ll admit the placket scared me a tad, but actually when I had a look at the sewalong it was the same technique we learnt when making petticoats at uni last year. Simple! My sleeves are rolled up in these pictures because I ran out of time to sew in the cuff snaps because my brother was over for a visit and we nipped out after my first aid course to get some pictures before it got dark.
This is actually the only shirt in my wardrobe now, as I considered myself ‘not a shirt person’. Well, I was wrong, as I frequently am, and it turns out I love shirts. I’m looking for the perfect plaid print next.
Many thanks to you for reading and to Edward for taking photos and buying me chocolate mini bites from Waitrose. Much love.
Lauren xx