Happy New Year everyone!! It’s an brand new decade and I’m both nervous and excited for 2020, a classic cocktail of emotions. With only a few days left in my Love Sewing role, I’m getting ready to say goodbye. There is lots to sort in my sewing room too. There’s new work clothes, pattern testing, fun collaborations and probably another destash sale on the horizon!
Enough on that for now. Let’s talk jumpers (aka ‘sweaters’ or ‘sweatshirts’, for my international friends). I’ve made a few sweatshirts and never blogged them but somehow this one is breaking that spell. It’s a bold colourful print which is keeping me very warm!
The Simple Sew sweatshirt is an oldie but a goodie with raglan sleeves and ribbed cuffs, neck and hem bands. I made view B and originally added the hem band but it felt a little bulky and long in this fabric so took it back off and hemmed the jumper shorter. This is the size 10 graded to a 12 at the hips. The structure of the fabric means I should have graded the sleeve hems out a little more to be able to push them up my arms… oh well.
A jumper like this can be totally constructed on your overlocker but there are a few small places it can help to sew… 1) cuff and neckband side seams: to avoid bulk and because you never even see the seam edge. 2) underarm points: If you’re a stickler for a neatly intersecting seam sew the sides up on your machine first to avoid the fabric creeping. 3) Hem: If you skip the hem band like me, you’ll have to hem on a machine, unless you have a coverstitch you lucky thing!!
This loopback palm leaf knit was a gift from wowfabrics.co.uk – look for J173 ABSTRACT FLORAL JUNGLE PRINT. From 2m I have so much leftover it’s crazy! It’s definitely heavier than sweatshirting; a bit closer to scuba and has a lovely fleece backing adhered to it. My overlocker blade hated it so I trimmed all my seams before overlocking them. The ribbing is from Abakhan and I got the co-ordinating teal sweatshirting too. In fact I’ve already made another winter jumper with it!!
I liked the fabric so much I’ve decided to join the Wow Fabrics blogger team and have created three of my own fabric designs to test out the print quality of their custom fabric printing service! A satin, bubbled crepe and cotton jersey. More details on that soon!
Time to talk skirts! This is the last construction based post for the dress in sure you’re relieved to hear but if you’ve ever been curious about putting a zipper in a sheer skirt I’m sharing how I did it.
The skirt is a 3/4 circle that I drafted on Swedish tracing paper using an online tutorial. Each layer is constructed individually. The base is silk satin, then rose print, then organza. There’s also a satin lining layer facing inwards in liquid satin. All are constructed with tiny French seams. I agonized over this because the rose organza bias seams were hard work. No matter how carefully I sewed them or what tricks I tried they fought laying flat.
I made two skirts and picked the least wobbly, managed to steam them pretty straight and accepted the top layer would cover them better and the petticoat would support the seams. I think it’s due to the design being printed on top of the fabric because the floral areas are a lot stiffer than the sheer area so the stretch isn’t even. Not all fabrics behave the way you want them to. Safe to say the silk layers sewed beautifully.
I didn’t want all the layers joined at the centre back of the skirt so each layer is French seamed up to the zipper opening and then clipped at an angle to sit flat. Then I could turn all the layers under together for my lapped zipper. I know the above photo doesn’t look like anything but that was the point!! The clipping (at the rose area) is near invisible. The clipping at an angle helps prevent fraying and the organza softens everything making it look hazy underneath.
Hemming the layers was awful. Utterly awful! The different layers dropped in different ways and I had to decide if I would try and level them evenly or stagger them. I wore my full outfit and my bridal seamstress expert/bridesmaid Charly came round and pinned all the layers to the same height. I then trimmed and did rolled hems on my overlocker all to the same length.
The problem with circle skirts though is that as they swish they constantly look slightly uneven. Multiple floaty layers make this more noticeable which is frustrating when you know it definitely IS even! But all you need to do is re-swish your skirt and things look better. My rolled hem settings took quite a while to work out as they needed to change a bit for each layer. They look identical above but the width and tension needed tiny tweaks. It’s very easy to get too close to the edge on a sheer fabric and then the rolled hem just pulls off so speed is the enemy. In hindsight I wish I’d levelled the layers off slightly staggered. It would have been hell to do but looked a bit better.
You might ask if the lining was necessary when I had a crinoline petticoat on underneath. Well I thought in case I took the petticoat off for the evening (which I did) or if I wear it again (which I might) it would be nice against my legs.
It was staggering 35 degrees on my wedding day so I decided to pop back to my room half way through the evening do. Run around in my underwear in the air conditioning and then pop the dress back on without the petticoat. Here’s me “rehydrating” below.
We’re on the home straight with wedding dress posts now. I hope you’re still finding them interesting!
Penguin biscuit jokes are the best.
The black and white print jersey is from the rag market in Birmingham. It was £1 a metre and I still only used two metres for the print matching along the seams.
I cut out and overlocked the whole thing in under two hours.
I wish I’d used a straight skirt instead of the rounded one from the pattern so the dress would have a clean straight hem. Oh well. I’m not losing any sleep over that!
My mum says she thinks the dress is a little Christmassy. I suppose those geometric shapes look a bit like snowflakes.
Right then! That’s enough from me.
I’ll leave you be and let you enjoy the rest of your weekend.
In sewing related news, I have yet to finish my red polka dot skirt. I had to try finishing by carrying the machine through to the bedroom with a little table to work on while Jimi had his friend’s round for boy’s night but failed.
I have also figured out why my Ikea scribbly dot print dress just doesn’t seem right.
1) The neckline was way too high… hitting my throat high! I’m lowering it with crafty tactics to what you see on the mannequin. Much more flattering!
2) I need a haircut. Can’t look nice in a prim dress if you have scraggly ratty hair.
3) I have a stinking cold. Trying the dress on highlights how pasty and tired I am which is never going to help me like the dress.
So there you have it! THREE legitimate reasons to leave the dress alone in order to like it more.
By the way I’ve got a new addiction… in addition to sewing, I am also now addicted to singing songs where I change the lyrics to be about sewing. I may be turning a little deranged.
Terrible, I know, but super fun! You should try it. Adam and Joe call it “A-pop-riation” (instead of Appropriation) on their radio show, where you sing the menial tasks of the day.
You may remember I posted about changing the Prince song to “Little Red Lace Dress”. Lately I’ve been altering Michael Jackson’s “Got to be starting something” to “Got to be sewing something” as that pretty much is my default state lately.
I’ve also been shouting in the style of Basement Jaxx when things are missing “WHERE’S MY PIN’S AT, AT, AT….” which is more fun than saying “Where’s your head at”.
And finally singing “Hold me closer tiny serger” when using my baby Singer overlocker. Sure Elton wouldn’t mind.
Oh and I’ve nicknamed the overlocker “Sergei”… Let’s not worry too much about that.
That means my mannequin has a name: Beryl, Sergei the Singer is taken care of, but my machine is yet to be named! Sure I’ll come up with something.
I’ve also been spending a lot of time day dreaming/planning…