Saturday, October 21, 2017

Lekala #7207 Teenage Coat

Once again we drew inspiration from Witchery
Liddy fell in love with this jacket.
Jacket from Witchery, no longer available. 
At $100, it was pretty good value for a nice coat but it only goes up to 14 and Liddy measures out of that.
After looking at a lot of patterns, we settled on Lekala #7207
I keep coming back to Lekala, for Liddy, as she is so skinny  but has a big set of shoulders.
 She is hard to fit.
Next, fabric...
I put out a SOS for metallic, silver, French terry with my sewing friends and the wonderful Sarvi came to the rescue.
Thank you Mood  and thank you Sarvi.
I ordered directly from Mood, using their international postage service. The postage was around $40 which I thought was pretty reasonable for a fast, pain-free service.
I pre-washed the fabric and it 'heathered' up beautifully.
The surfaced crackled but it didn't peel off.
I lined the main coat with a soft, very stretchy, grey jersey cloth. 
The hood with organic cotton fleece.
I used silver press studs to fasten it.
I bagged the lining, as per directions but I sort of wish I hadn't. I may go and top stitch the hem down.
It seems to be pulling in on its self and there is good ease in the lining.
My favourite thing is the shoulder fit.
Plenty of room to grow but not excessive fabric around her body.
The hood is removable, a fact that is not mentioned.
You sort of work that out as you are sewing, that's Lekala!
There are so many pieces to the pattern and I really had to concentrate on what was main, lining and trim, what was 'cut one', what was 'cut two' and where to interface.
I made copious notes on the pattern as I plan to make Liddy a navy wool version, next Winter.
Yes, I definitely going to top stitch that hem.
~Lidia's Verdict~
This coat is gorgeous!
 I love the deep pockets and the fluffy hood. The fabric is beautiful and I love how it is heathered. The lining is a delicate t-shirt fabric which makes it feel so light but really warm at the same time. I wore it to the local fair and cannot wait for another opportunity (or excuse) to show Mum's sewing off.
~My Verdict~
I enjoyed this sew so much!
Beautiful, quality fabric. A really well cut pattern (instructions were very Lekala-ish) and a thoroughly excited recipient.
I took my time, interfacing the fronts, yokes and sleeve caps (wondering if I should have interfaced the hem)? and top stitched through out.
My only grumble is that hem roll. I guess it is 'gripping' being knit? I will try stitching it with a double row and see if that helps it sit.
The sleeve lining seems to be stretching out of the sleeve ends too so I may stitch this as well.
I still have a nice big piece leftover... maybe a bomber jacket for Tildy?
Photo credit to Zara 
Thank's for reading.
xx N

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Lekala #4612 One-Piecer

The very best thing about Lekala patterns is the custom fit.
Liddy has a chum who is very tall and strongly built.
Her mum struggles to buy her pretty, age appropriate clothes and Lidia really, really wanted me to sew for her.
Lidia chose Lekala #4612 I okayed it with her friends mother, got her measurements, we purchased it and Liddy printed it and glued it together for me.
One-Piecer featured on the Witchery website, now sold out.
(Another nice feature of Lekala is the pattern suggestion competition I am pretty sure the style is exactly the same as this one I pinned from Witchery)
I guess because I didn't print the pattern or read through the instructions before I started I really underestimated this sew.
Zara gave Lidia the fabric from her own stash (a pretty, light weight satin charmeuse she purchased to have a kimono made in. It was from Spotlight, around the $20/m)
It was very difficult to handle, very slinky and pins didn't want to go through it. My washer weights were good but it shifted as I cut it, no matter how careful I was.
It would not take a crease, no matter how hard I tried. Even my Tilly-made clapper could not hold this stuff down.

I really wasn't concentrating when I cut this project out. I didn't realise the garment was fully lined. 
I am trying to minimise my stash so I immediately cut some shorts from the scraps, only to realise I  need that fabric for self lining...
Lidia choose some pink stretch satin from the remnants I had picked up from my Melbourne shop ($7 for 2.2m cut)

Again, not a good choice, it was heavier then the main and falls a bit too heavily.
As it has waist ties I had to piece the lining to make these main fabric, both sides.
I sewed the arm and the front edges together first and
I under-stitched all the edges to help it sit nicely.
Then I turned it again and sewed the side seams, lining and main, as one.
The shorts instructions did not work for me at all and I ended up with a sort of 'infinity bloomer'.
I unpicked the crotch seam and pulled the lining legs through and under stitched. 
I then pinned and resewed the crotch seam.
The front bodice is too wide for the shorts so I had to gather that to fit (another lass had the same problem so it is the pattern)
The instructions call for you to press the waist seam up and make a casing from that but as the rest of the garment is so nicely finished I wanted to do better.
I made a casing from the satin, sewed it to the waist seam and pressed that up.

Rather then using wide elastic, which can be uncomfortable, I made three casings and used soft, non-curl elastic.
The flounce edges are meant to be sewn with a narrow, double hem but it was not going to happen.
After nearly an hour of trying and burnt fingers I gave up and (after practicing on some scraps) I went with a narrow zigzag on the edge, using a silver grey thread.

The buttons are a deep blue shank button that Liddy chose.

~My Verdict~
This project nearly finished me.
I have some nude pink silk to make Lidia one and now I know what I am in for I think it will be a more enjoyable sew.

Now that it is done, I can concede it is kind of cute but it was 10 hours of sewing hell I am glad to see the back of.

I really hope the recipient likes it and I have learnt a big lesson in moderating gift choices. Sewing is not a cheap gift and often it is seen as one.

I worked out, with my wages at $20/hour and notions/fabric, this is nearly a $250 gift.
I have had two phone calls in the last week, inquiring about sewing and this has confirmed it is not for me. I couldn't charge someone that much but how could I not if that is what it takes?

Simple gift sewing from now on.

~Lidia's Verdict~
This sew was very important to me because my friend's 13th birthday was coming up and I really wanted to get her something special and Mummy sure provided me with the perfect gift.
It is just perfect for my friend and she has always admired the clothes Mummy has sewn me. It's just perfect Mummy, thank you.

Thanks for reading xx N


Sunday, October 1, 2017

Trousers for Two~After School Pants and Raven Pants

A quick post about some quick trousers.
Trixie needed some new trousers.
She is not out of nappies and shows absolutely no inclination.
Tilly was far more petite and all her pants at this size were very much cut for knickers (Trixie wears a 3, Tilly was at school when she was a size 3)
However, I didn't want to invest a lot of time sewing them as, you know toddlers, she could decide to wear knickers next week!
The Clever Charlotte Raven pants fit the bill.
I had just handed her size 2's on to my cousins as they were okay over disposables but no-go over cloth nappy. The rest of the leg was good though.
I didn't want to draft up a size so I added a bit extra bum room and added the same to the front and back waist band pieces.
I sewed them up in a thick, stretch, poly/cotton, brushed back fabric I picked up in Melbourne. It was very cheap ($3) so I only purchased 1 1/2 m to make Liddy some Winter school pants (to be blogged) as I thought it may not wash well.
It did, so I will definitely pick up some more next year.
From the scraps of Liddy's I was able to cut these and a tiny pair for Squeaky. (Beatrix's doll)
I ran up another pair in a denim look cotton/poly remnant (from the bin at Eliza's)
There was not enough for the facings so I used some scraps from Tildy's Music Class shirt.

The fact that there is pockets is not lost on Trixie.
Tildy asked for some new school pants.
So, I thought After School pants.
These are a size 4 with the length of a 7 and a wee ribbing cuff added just like these.
The faux waist tie is a shoe lace, stitched in place.
The fabric was left over from Hugo's Jedediah trousers (another Eliza fabrics remnant) some stretch cotton moleskin.
~Tildy's Verdict~
I love the white tie on the front.
The feel on the fabric is nice and velvety.

~My Verdict~
Two, very good, go-to patterns.
Both are great for using up leftover fabric #ninjacutting and both are quick sews, a few hours at the most.
I love dresses and pretty skirts but my girls are active and trousers just seem to work best.
For a step by step tutorial for the After School pants see here.
For a tutorial for the Raven pants see here

Thanks for reading xx N

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Lekala #4679 The dress that nearly wasn't!

Our first Lekala flop...
The ability to move one's shoulders is advantageous.
Let me explain.
Liddy needed a black dress and a white dress for a play.
Rather then sew costumes I thought I would get a jump of her Summer sewing.
Zara gave her some black, floral poly/rayon she had grabbed from the $2 bin at Eliza's, in Melbourne.
(It is not a 'good' fabric, I will sew some float-y beach pants out of the left overs but I don't think it will wash well so I won't invest too much time in it. That said, it is pretty and falls nicely)
Lekala#4679 gave her the float-y sleeves and she liked it.
I put in her measurements, adjusted the pattern for wide shoulders and sewed it up.
We tried it on once the side zipper was set in, gorgeous!
I attached the flounce and thought it looked a bit hinky so we tried again before adding the straps.
Not. Going. To. Happen.
I emailed the company but needed to have a fiddle myself due to time constraints.
Now, I am a reasonable sewer but pattern maker, I aint'.
I fiddled with the flounce, cutting it out in increments and then tried the pattern piece on Lids.
It still didn't look right.
I then cut the flounce and added a bit.
Still wasn't right.
So I cut it again, added another bit, lined up the grain lines, redrafted the curve and crossed my fingers.
It worked and I will blog the next dress soon!
What to do with the dress to hand...
Whilst we were fiddling we realised if she pushed the arm flounce up on her shoulders, it worked.
As the edge of the flounce is bound, it is quite firm and sits nicely.
I trimmed the front corners (where the straps would extend from) and turned it under and hand stitched it in place.
The whole thing rolls nicely and just sort of works.
~Lidia's Verdict~
When we  first tried the dress on I was a little nervous as it did not fit over my shoulders.
So we ended up lifting the flounce over my shoulders so that it made a gorgeous floaty neckline.
 As soon as it was finished I wore it to my friends house. It was so light and cool to wear and I didn't even get hot although it was rather hot!

~My Verdict~
Not quite sure what happened here. I checked my measurements and they were fine.
The dress is also far more fitted then the diagram, that dress shows a great deal more ease.
I have emailed Lekala and left notes on the website so hopefully, someone will work it out.

The next dress, with my adjusted flounce, looks much more like the diagram.
But, do you know what? I am not holding one, slightly dodgy pattern against them.
Maybe Liddy's measurements blew up their pattern making algorithm.
As Tim Gunn advises, we made it work.

Liddy's play went well, it was over an hour long and the students did a great job.
Trixie amused herself by flicking every single seat down (very quietly) in the town hall but did disgrace herself yelling out 'Liddy, its me, Trixie' when she spotted her on stage.
I was mortified but Liddy assured me Sophie had forgotten her lines and was glad of the distraction. 

Thanks for reading xx N