Showing posts with label Patterns. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Patterns. Show all posts

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Oliver + S: Family Reunion Dress

This is a dress I made around the end of 2014 in readiness for Christmas of that year.  I never got around to blogging about at the time.  I did however take some photographs during making up.  I bought the digital version of the pattern, printed it all out and stuck it together with tape.  I don't mind the process too much.  My version is sized to 24 months.  At the time the recipient was only 16 months but I pictured this dress getting more wear during the following summer and as it was intended to be a surprise I allowed lots of margin for growth.

I had a nice pale blue 100% cotton print in the stash, a little fusible interfacing and some reused shirt buttons.  The apparently simple, short-sleeved, A-line dress has quite a bit of detail.

The dress is shaped by tucks over the chest and back.  I sewed the dress using the Singer 201K treadle and used a vintage tuck marker to help me form the tucks.  Using the vintage attachment was fun but I would imagine that with careful measurements and thread marking one could easily manage without.

The dress buttons up the back.  I made the buttonholes on the Singer 201K fitted with Greist buttonholer.  The neckline facing is interesting in that it is turned to the right side and edge stitched in place.

The pattern has nice deep seam allowances and gives the usual modern instructions for finishing them with a zig-zag, serger or however else you might wish to.  I cribbed Muv's flat felled shoulder seams from the child's dress pattern she drafted and made.  The sleeves are hemmed, gathered and attached to the armscye before the side seams are closed.  I finished the sleeve head seam allowance with a zig-zag using the Singer 401G.  This was quick but if I made the pattern again I might make matching bias and use that to bind this seam. 

I used good old reliable French seams to close the sides of the dress which just made my zig-zag short cut on the armholes look even sloppier.

The pattern made quite a feature of what Oliver+S calls its signature hem.  This consists of a deep hem facing, worthy of the 1840s, turned to the inside and edge stitched.

The facing is then decorated with an additional five rows of topstitching spaced at quarter inch intervals.  The result is a good looking, firm hem which hangs well and is suggestive of hard wear.

This was a a very sweet little project to sew.  I would definitely make it again and would look at using Oliver+S patterns again in the future.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

An apron and lots of bias binding (again)

Alright I promise that, during my sabbatical from blogging, I did sew something other than aprons but for the time being that is what I a bringing us all up to date on.  No more aprons for a while after today.  At least for a little while.

I have already blogged about Sewing Machine Basics by Jane Bolsover.   The pattern for this full length apron comes from that.  The pattern pieces for this and the other projects in the book are included on large sheets at the back of the book for you to trace off yourself.

The book is neatly arranged for the sewing novice.  Each chapter takes the form of a 'Workshop' which teaches the reader a new technique.  This is then followed by a project which makes use of the newly acquired skill.  The 'Bound-edged apron' project tests -guess what? - the use of binding and patch pockets.

I decided that the usefully sized pocket should not pattern match with main apron piece.  I did however try to centre the pattern piece on a motif so that over all the pocket ended up looking balanced.

I was very much in Singer 15K80 mode when I was making aprons during the late spring of 2014.  Hardly surprising I got a bit smitten with that machine once I got it sewing well.  Just look at those stitches!  I am rather proud of the triangles strengthening the corners.  Remember, after all, I was able to achieve those on a hand cranked machine which lacks a reverse feed - lots of needle down, presser foot up, action going on and I actually counted the stitches while I was sewing.

I am slightly less proud of the above nonsense.  The method of attaching the binding involved sewing through all layers at the same time - it looks a lot better from the right side.  This being me I was able to include, even on an apron with only two very simple pattern pieces, a flat felled seam, albeit a very short one at the nape of the neck.  There is no way I could "press open and finish seam allowance with a zig zag" given the machine I was using to sew this project - what's a boy to do?

I cut out the ties using a ruler and rotary cutter on the long grain of the fabric.  They are stitched along their long edge, turned through and then the open ends turned in and topstitched to the apron edges with a square and cross thingy.

All the raw edges are encased with home made bias binding.  Lots of measuring and fun!  Recognise the green fabric from the second apron with a ruffle?  I told you my stitching looked more even from the right side didn't I?

Here is the finished apron all ready to be sent off it's new owner - ignore all those work shirts that needed ironing!

Sunday, 30 November 2014

An apron with a gathered ruffle

Dear readers and follows I am sorry not to have written sooner.  I really don't know where the time has gone.  More responsibility at work plus regular weekend working, a new home with, for the first time, a garden?  Big changes seem to have left little time for blogging and sewing during 2014.  The choice: sew or blog so I sewed and left the blog in free fall.  Similar to not getting in touch with a friend or relative the longer you leave it the harder it gets.  Time for an update?  Past time!

The pattern for this apron came from the Liberty Book of Home Sewing.  My version, pictured below, was one of the first things I made on the Singer 401G - months before I wrote my first blog entry.  It's modelled beautifully by my gorgeous and glamorous sister.  The apron was a birthday present for her.

 I really enjoyed putting this project together.  It was one of the first things I shopped for specific fabric for.  It's made of Liberty Tana Lawn in the Carline and Glenjade patterns.  It really is lovely stuff to work with as I am sure many of you will know.  The pattern requires only two pieces which I drew on squared paper following the instructions from the book.  The waistband, ties and frill are all straight cut across the width of the fabric using a rotary cutter.

The apron was fun to make and allowed me to develop a couple of new to me, at the time, skills

  1. Patch pockets
  2. Gathering
  3. Bagging a lining
I followed the book instructions for gathering the ruffle which involved hand sewing a running stitch the length of it.  This must have added quite a bit of time to the making.  I didn't know at the time that I could just have easily sewn a long machine stitch with a loose top tension in much less time and achieved the same effect.  Thank goodness I have read some more books since then.  The next step was marking both the apron and the ruffle with pins at different spacings and gathering the latter down to the same spacing as the former.  The result was pricking even gathers!

The one other thing I would have done differently in hind sight was to make sure I matched the bobbin thread to the apron lining when I attached the patch pocket.  I never thought - experience (or lack there of) once again.

Monday, 27 January 2014

A nightshirt for me: McCall 8372

After successfully sewing the onesie for The Much Beloved I thought I deserved some night attire of my own.  I couldn't see myself in a one piece.  Too reminiscent of overalls - there would be real danger of me attempting an oil change in one of those.  I took a fancy to something more old school (or should that be skool?).

McCall 8372 is excellent value as a pattern.  Just look at the many garments one can make with it.  I wonder if it was one of the last non-multi-sized patterns.  I ordered the large based on my 42 inch chest measurement.

Those of you who have read the blog will know that I am keen on free or very cheap fabric especially when practicing on a new pattern.  Regulars will also know that I am quite partial to repurposing duvet covers.

I have (had) this wonderful 100% cotton Conran duvet cover bought at Heel's ages ago.  It did years of service on my bed but it must be at least four since I've used it and it now doesn't go with anything.  It's a gorgeous cotton twill ticking and much washing has improved its beautiful soft handle.  I thought it would make a great nightshirt.

The pattern has clear instructions.  Diagrams backed up with directions which take into account whether you are using a straight stitch or zig-zag machine.  There is sufficient seam allowance for  the shoulder, armscye, and side seams to be flat felled.  The neck facings are turned under and top stitched to the wrong side for a neat finish.

The shirt features a rounded patch pocket on the left front.  I made a bit of an effort to get the stripes to match up.  I missed having reverse feed when I edge stitched the pockets.

The applied cuff bands are cut on the long grain which I think makes these stripes really pop in a good way.  They are finished off with a nice bit of edge and top stitching courtesy of the 28K.

The one point where the pattern is slightly vague is when it calls for a five eighths hem giving no further instructions.  I took this to mean - turn under a quarter inch, press, turn over a further three eighths so that the raw edge is enclosed within the second fold, press again, pin and edge stitch in place.  I hope I got it right?

The curved hem creates a shallow split where it meets the side seam.  I had to do a certain amount of fudging where the flat fell and the narrow hem meet.  It looks a lot better from the RS and is holding up to washing so far…

I made the buttonholes and sewed on the buttons using the Singer 401G and Singer slant buttonholer.  Results are consistent.  The 28K showed off a bit more with the topstitching on the front placket.

The buttons themselves are vintage brace buttons from Ede and Ravenscroft, robe makers to the Queen. High end or what?  They are rather bigger than the half inch shirt buttons recommended by the pattern but I think they are more in scale with the relaxed characteristics of the night shirt and the colour is perfect.

The finished garment is roomy but then I suppose it should be.  The fabric feels great - soft, comfy and cosy.  I made this nightshirt for a bit a giggle but have ended up wearing it quite a lot.  I used nearly half of a double sized duvet cover, thread left over from another project and three of six buttons from some worn out suit trousers.  So in theory my night shirt cost me only my time and I still have enough of everything left to make another.

"Hey - that's really nice.  I can't tell that it didn't come from a store," said The Much Beloved.  Would that be the ultimate compliment by any chance?

Monday, 20 January 2014

A onesie for The Much Belovéd: Kwik Sew K3713

It seems like onesies are ubiquitous at the moment even here at Oil and Thread where we seldom follow fashion.  According to the stats the likelihood is that by now you either own a Onesie or know someone who does.  I am guessing that fewer people have actually sewn a onesie.  Unless they happen to have a copy of Kwik Sew K3713 lying around.

I thought this pattern might appeal to The Much Belovéd.  He seemed genuinely pleased when he first saw it and quite excited when I finally got down to work on it.  He tends to run around barefoot quite a bit so we agreed on version B the footless sleep suit.

I was inspired by the colour scheme on the pattern envelope and the very reasonable price of red cotton flannel.  An error on my part concerning the fabric width led me to buying twice as much winceyette as required.  During the weekend I spent shrinking, drying and ironing this fabric it felt like we were swathed in acres of red brushed cotton.

Red rag to a bull?

The pattern really isn't complicated and the instructions are first rate.  The biggest challenge is the size of the pieces.  Laying out and cutting took up a lot of space.  It's lucky the dinning table has that extra leaf!  Once the fabric was cut its size made it more than a bit of a handful.

The pattern includes a quarter inch seam allowances which are finished by zigzagging together - must be a job for the trusty 401G.  I heeded all my old sewing machine instruction books' warnings about shortening the stitch length and lightening the tension when sewing flannel.  I think this is supposed to allow the seams to 'give' a little during wear.  Kwik Sew's quarter inch seam allowances mean no trimming - refreshing!

This shade of red has proven to be virtually impossible to photograph!

The neckband and cuffs are sewn into the main body and finished in the same way.

This was my first go at sewing stretchy knits.  I did invest in some Organ needles designed especially for stretch fabric and I played it safe by sewing with my 'modern' machine.  I quite enjoyed the experience and the results are encouraging.

The pattern includes directions for either buttons or snap fastenings.  TMB put in a special request for snap fastenings so that meant buying some new kit.  I may post a full tutorial on fitting snaps at a later date.  They went on without any trouble at all and I think they work well with this pattern.

The pattern is a very generously sized.  I cut the medium based on the measurements on the pattern envelope but in my opinion the finished garment is a shade too big for TBM.  It's actually a better fit on me and I am nearer a large these days.  If I made another (remember I ended up with enough fabric for two) I would either make the small for TMB or reduce the length of the body by 1-2 inches.  TMB was however delighted with his roomy new onesie.  The proof has been in the wearing with the onesie making regular appearances at the weekend breakfast table!

The owner was not available for modelling today

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Simplicity 1960: French Back Boxer Shorts - Pt I

I have had this pink and blue striped cotton shirting for months.  I picked it up cheaply on eBay.  I washed it to preshrink it ages ago and then it took me ever so long to remember to take it with me to the shops so that I could buy matching thread.  I no longer trust my memory of colour to buy thread.  Unless it's black or white.  After the fabric was preshrunk I was left with just under two yards.

That's a slightly awkward yardage - not really enough for a shirt.  I decided that the only option would have to be boxers.  I had a bit of spare time on my hands so I elected to make one of the most complicated patterns for boxer shorts in the world: Simplicity 1960 ©1945.

I have made boxers from this pattern once or twice before, retracing and redrafting the pattern to allow for my ample girth ©2013.  I pressed the pattern pieces and fabric in the usual way prior to cutting out.  I cut out using the rotary cutter with the help of Ramses II and Venus who always like to get in on the act at this stage.

The first step is to make two pleats in the fronts of the boxers.  These are clearly marked on the pattern pieces and the stripes on the fabric certainly help.

I secured the pleats with pins.

Last Sunday we did some organising in the sewing room so now I can used the Singer 201K in it's No.41 cabinet.  It's the first time it has seen any treadle action since the arsenic green Negroni shirt back in June!  I've rather missed it.  It's now positioned to the right of a window so the light, by day, is good.  I set the stitch length to the longest tacking/basting stitch 6spi.

And sewed about ¼ inch from the top of the boxers to secure the pleats.

The next step is to secure the two fronts together at the crotch seam using a flat felled seam.  This is a little tricky as the seam allowance has a curved taper from ⅝ inch down to nothing.  Careful pressing and folding and a slow but steady foot on the treadle are a must.  Lightly marking the sewing line with a pencil doesn't hurt either.

Here both fronts have been pleated and joined at the crotch.

Knife pleats

I then turned my attention to the seat panel and the questionable pleasure of creating a continuous lap.  The first time I made this pattern I actually had to look up what it was.  Thank goodness for the Internet-o-graph!

The first step is to stay stitch a V either side of the centre back.  The pattern has this V marked on it.  I marked it lightly on the fabric with a sharp pencil.

I then carefully slashed between the two lines of stay stitching - making sure not cut through the line of stitches.

And then (and this is the really silly bit) you have to open the V up until it as near a straight line as possible and pin a strip of fabric along the raw edge.

And then (the silly and HARD bit) stitch it - oh so carefully! - in place in such a way that the line of stay stitching will be enclosed.

Finally the raw edge of the strip is turned under and the fold top stitched to the right side of the seat panel.  This forms a sort of gusset.  I didn't find it easy.  It's well worth practising with scraps.  The pattern instructions call for a one inch strip for the binding.  Make it a generous inch.  I made mine nearer 1⅛ inch and was satisfied with the result.

After all that fuss sewing the seat panel to the fronts and joining the legs (all with flat felled seams) seams like child's play.

Here is where I ran out of steam.  The basic construction is complete with the two part yoke sewn to the wrong side of the shorts, folded over and then edge stitched to the right side.

Yoke front boxer shorts

The boxers still lack a hem, button holes, and buttons but they will have to wait for another day.  At the back the two piece yoke  combines with the continuous lap to form an adjustable waistband which negates the need for elastic.  How's that for austerity spec?!

French back boxer shorts

Monday, 12 August 2013

Wrap Around Pinny

The instructions on how to create the pattern pieces are very clear and quite simple.  The garment is made up of three pattern pieces which are easy enough to draft.  I found my 24x6 quilting ruler useful.  I used squared pattern paper but as my instructions were imperial and my grid metric this was a questionable benefit.  Inch square paper doesn't seem to be that easy to find in the UK anymore.  A French curve might have been handy for the armholes and neck line but I made a passable free handed attempt.

One of my sister's neighbours was kind enough to send me a good sized bundle of fabric she no longer wanted.  These two fabrics were included.  The yellow is 100% cotton printed with a design called "Seagull" as well as gulls the motifs include starfish and sea shells.  The blue deck chair stripe feels more like poly-cotton and had been hemmed as [Wendy House?] curtains in the past.  I didn't have enough of either to make anything large but I thought the two designs worked well together in a seaside-y kinda way.  I estimated that I would have enough fabric to piece the pinny with enough of the blue stripe left over to make the bias binding for the armholes and edging.

I elected to use the diminutive Singer 99K for this project.  I hadn't touched it since I altered my ironing board cover so I thought it was owed a spin.  As you will have seen from Saturday's post the designated sewing space is far too messy to use so I opted for the dinning table for this project.  The 99K is also the easiest machine I have to carry over there.  The blue poly-cotton is a good bit lighter than the Seagull cotton and has a tendency to pucker.  I improved matters greatly by backing off the tension about three-quarters of a turn.  The pattern includes a "⅜ inch turning".  I guess that is 1940s speak for seam allowance.  Interestingly my seam guide has a default setting for a perfect ⅜ inch seam allowance when set up as below.  Was this once some kind of dressmaker's standard I wonder?

I tried my hand at directional sewing.  Starting at the hem and sewing toward the waist.  Did I get it right?

Regular readers will know what a fan I am of flat felled and French seams but both of those options felt a little bit over engineered for a pinny so I decided to try a technique I had read about in a few different places on the internet.  I think it was probably a post on someone else's blog, which I now can't find, which put the idea of this kind of seam finish and domestic work wear together in my head.  I gather that this was a common seam finish in the days before zigzag sewing machines or over lockers.  It is very simple to do you just make a line of stitching within the seam allowance.  The stitches are supposed to act as a barrier to fraying.  I used the ⅛  side of the presser foot, against the edge of the seam allowance as a guide for my row of stitches.  On a ⅜ seam allowance this means that the ¼ inch side of the foot was against the middle of the seam.  Neat or what?  I love it when a plan comes together.  A more upmarket looking variation on this theme, which I have yet to try, suggests turning the raw edging of the seam under and then stitching.

The only down side to using this seam finish is that you end up sewing each seam three times.  The skirt of this pinny calls for no fewer than ten (yes ten!) separate panels (or should that be gores?) so I had the little 99K really chattering away to itself.

So now I have to make yards of bias binding and some apron strings.  Watch this space.