And just like that, summer is over.

Okay, now, I understand that anybody living in a less temperate climate will laugh at me. We’ve hit 26C today, after all, and in most places I’ve lived before that’s considered a scorcher.

There is, however, no denying the fact that I’ve felt the need for an outer layer in the morning for the last couple of weeks. Which revealed a gaping hole in my wardrobe. One that has been lamented many times before, I’ll admit – the elusive transitional jacket.

Rigel bomber
Rigel bomber. If you look closely, you can see the wonky front, but I can live with it.

I still want to make that Alabama Chanin coat I spoke about many moons ago, and I’ve even bought the second book which has a coat pattern. There’s just that little issue with all that hand sewing … while the theory appeals to me, the actual activity not so much.

Which I was painfully reminded of last night, when I sat hunched over my sewing table, slip stitching the jacket lining in place. I tried very hard to get a good photo of my finger (yeah, I *probably* have a thimble somewhere …) after I was done but failed. Let’s suffice to say … raw.

Rigel bomber lining
Yes, I totally hand stitched the lining to the hem band. And to the sleeve bands. I may have to invest in a thimble if I ever plan to do this again.*

I’ve had this pattern for ages. I meant to make it earlier in the year for spring. At that time, however, my sewing mojo was vacationing in the Caribbean (or some such) and not much was happening on my sewing table. And as it goes down here, spring lasted 3 days and then suddenly the need for a jacket vanished.

It’s a cute little pattern, and I won’t lament the lack of lining pattern pieces or instructions. Like many other sewers, I am a bit disappointed by that, but there are a ton of tuts out there to help you out if you want a lining – and I clearly did.

I spent no more than half a Sunday making the jacket, and as an added bonus, all my fabrics and notions came from my stash. Admittedly, I’d bought the zipper and ribbing specifically for making the Rigel bomber, but that was aaaaages ago and hence doesn’t count. Or does it?

Both the shell and lining were gifts from my friend Steph, who has immaculate taste. The shell has a gorgeous eggplant colour, and feels like mostly wool. It’s a rather loose weave, and hence ravelled like a motherf***er. Which nearly drove me bonkers, but since I could just hide the mess in the lining, I’m over it.

Rigel welt pockets
Rigel welt pockets

The pockets turned our quite neat, if I say so myself, in no small way aided by using some of the more expensive fusible interfacing I bought ages ago (and have since forgotten where I ordered it … meh. I need a sewing diary).

The photo above also nicely shows the texture of the fabric.

Overall, the fit is great, although I probably could have gone a size up as I could use a tad more room in the shoulders and the sleeves are ever so slightly on the short side (take that with a grain of salt, as I like my sleeves long). The pattern went together well, and between the instructions and help from the interwebs on how to add the lining, this was a rather relaxing and satisfying project.

*That has now been remedied. I bought a new one.

The ginseng of the poor man

In an attempt to mitigate some of the effects of my party life (yeah, I work too much and don’t compensate with sleep – what did you think I was talking about??) I have taken to a routine of drinking the juice of half a lemon with some honey in hot water first thing in the morning. To be honest, the life-changing effects haven’t yet materialised, but I am hopeful. So much so that I told an asian colleague of mine about it. Who replied she’s doing “the ginger thing, because ginger is the ginseng of the poor man”. Maybe I should add some ginger?

Enter stage right: Ginger Jeans by Closet Case Files.

Now, unless you’ve been living in a cave for the last year, you’ll have read/heard about these. I have yet to come about a single instance where somebody reports they could not make them work for them – if you know of such a case, I’d be super curious to hear/read about it! Do leave me a comment 🙂

I purchased the pattern … well, I don’t remember. Fairly soon after it was released, I suppose. I proceeded to cut them out. And then promptly lost all will to actually sew them. So the pile lingered in my sewing room. And lingered. And then it started to talk dirty to me, so it was banished into the wardrobe that holds the scraps.

Eventually, however, a week off came around, and I pulled the pile out. It was sufficiently humbled by it’s time in the quiet corner, so we agreed it was now time to get to work.

Ginger jeans - halfway there
Ginger jeans – halfway there

Oldbies amongst you may remember that I made a few jeans before, and had good success with Jalie 2908. I loved those jeans, despite a few flaws (like a gaping fly … ). But hey – they had purple top stitching! That’s gotta count for something, no? Anyways, I lost weight and at some point just had to admit that they weren’t good enough to keep with flaws *and* ill fit. So out they went.

Ever since, I wanted to make another (few) pair(s). However, as it sometimes goes – I was too lazy to trace them off in a couple of sizes smaller. Then the Ginger Jeans by Closet Case Files came along. Everybody was making them, everybody was raving about  how great the pattern was, and I thought, hey, maybe it’s time to branch out. Also, for some reason I find tracing a pattern not so cumbersome if it’s one I haven’t done before. Me vs. logic: 1 – 0 .

For these jeans, I used a really weird flocked denim that I purchased in my all-time favourite shop fabricland in Brighton. It’s been lurking in my stash for a good while, and if memory serves I bought it because it was a) really weird and b) really cheap. Perfect for a new jeans pattern, which may or may not turn out wearable!

Weird flocked denim
Weird flocked denim

At the time I’d cut the jeans, I sewed the rest of it up as yet another Moss skirt, which unexpectedly has turned into one of my favourites, tho. So I was really hoping for the jeans to work out (spoiler alert – they did!).

Flocked denim moss skirt
Flocked denim moss skirt

So, back to the matter at hand 😀 Ginger jeans. I cut a straight size 10, no changes, for the low rise skinny version. In the end, I shaved off 1/4 inch on both inside and side seams to take them in a tad, but that was it.

The instructions have you prepare all pieces that need interfacing, folding, pressing, etc first thing – which I found very clever. By the time you actually need those belt loops, you’ll be very happy to just have them handy, trust me 🙂

Then you proceed to put the front together – while the pocket construction is similar to the Jalie ones, the inner pocket is cut from one piece rather than two, which I liked. What I’m not sure about and may change for the next round is that the right side of the pocket fabric ends up on the outside of the pocket – so any sneak peek into your pocket will show the wrong side, which may be disappointing if you went for a lovely print (I didn’t, I used some rather unremarkable scrap).

Inside, pockets, waistband facing
Inside, pockets, waistband facing

As you can see, I did not do proper flat felled seams, I just finished them with a zigzag stitch and double top stitched in normal thread. Not only would the fabric obscure anything more elaborate, at this point I wasn’t sure they’d fit me and wanted to cut down on sewing time.

The zipper insertion is well explained and worked out marvelously – if you need more, there’s a sew along you can follow. I found the instructions more than sufficient to guide me, tho.

Fly zip
Fly zip

When it came time to put the back together, I vaguely remembered seeing some complaints that the back pockets were a tad close together – I may totally have made that up … anyways, it turned out that I either had forgotten to transfer the markings for the back pockets to my fabric pieces, or maybe they’d rubbed off during their time in the quiet corner, so I grabbed an RTW jeans and just copied the pocket placement over. Ta-da.

Back pockets
Back pockets

I’m afraid it’s rather impossible to actually see much with this busy fabric, but I hope you get the idea 🙂 And that cleverly placed clothespin, I hear you ask? Just another small change I made to have two belt loops in the center back instead of one – my rather pronounced sway back needs some extra pulling powers to keep waistbands close to my skin 😉

Extra fuzzy back shot
Extra fuzzy back shot

Speaking of – the curved waistband does work a treat in that area. I still need a belt, but there’s no gaping to speak of – amazing, really! This was also the only area I strayed from the instructions – ever since I learned the Jalie way of attaching a waistband, that’s been what I do. So much easier, and great results pretty much every time.

Ginger Jeans - finished
Ginger Jeans – finished

That’s the gist with my Gingers. As it happens, there are a few other stretch denims in my stash earmarked for more of these – I could also use another pair of boot cut jeans, really, and I may or may not have ordered some stretch twill with a leopard print to remake my Temperley knock off jeans … they were always a tad on thebig  side side, and had to be thrown out after my weight loss 😦

Again, this turned out a bit more rambly than planned, but hey, I’ve got to use all those words I saved while not blogging, no??

 

Today’s the day

I am not going to bore you with a lengthy list of reasons why I didn’t blog for so long. Let’s just say it didn’t happen and move on, shall we?

Obviously, I didn’t stop making things … maybe not at a high frequency, but there were quite a few good ones in there. The Alabama Chanin skirt was finished, and turned out rather lovely – since I’m still planning (ya, I know, fall and spring are kinda over, but I’m sure they’ll come back!) to go ahead with the coat, I’ll save that for a separate post.

Some Linden tops were made – much love, in particular to my black merino version – no photo, sorry. My crappy camera packed it in and is now in the lands of everlasting perfect exposure.

A proper highlight was another Archer from gray chambray – fully flat felled and all. There shall be photos in the future (see above).

Onward and upwards – for now, with less-than-perfect iPhone shots. Go me – revive the blog with blurry fuzz. That’s how the pros do it 😀

In the recent past there was an effort to level up my summer wardrobe – down here, spring lasts about two ticks, and we’re getting to the tail end of it (the weather started properly improving a couple of days ago). The Hannah top by Salme patterns had caught my eye – I’m rather partial to the exposed shoulder design.

But alas, my first muslin was a catastrophe. The neck too tight. The shoulders too small. The back limiting. And let’s not talk about the stretch lines over my bust … honestly, I wasn’t even sure it’s worth fiddling with the fit. But I’m off this week, and I kinda like a mild mental challenge with my 2nd cuppa in the morning, so fiddle I did.

Hannah changes front
Hannah changes front

Changes to the front:

  • Shorten upper bodice by 1 inch
  • Add 1/2 inch to the neckline
  • Add 1/2 inch to the shoulder seam
  • Add 1 inch tapering to nothing at the hem to the body
  • move bust dart point to accommodate added width
  • move bust dart up 1 inch
Hannah changes back
Hannah changes back

Changes to the back:

  • same neck and shoulder additions as to the front
  • same body adjustments
  • redraw armscye
  • lowered back neck by 1/2 inch

Now, if this looks like I a) knew what I was doing or b) had a good plan – that’s a no to both. I kinda randomly added space where I thought it was needed, and changed a few lines to keep the general design vibe.

Good news – my totally slap-dash approach worked (mostly) and I got a very wearable top out of it, which I have plans to make a few more times – next one in a black broderie anglaise, fully lined with some light silk I have.

I was going to leave you without a photo, but what the heck – if you’re actually still here, you deserve all my crappy-and-no-make-up iPhone shots! Enjoy.

Hannah muslin
Hannah – finally wearable muslin no. 3.

This sadly highlighted the absence of a good racerback bra in my drawer, tho – oh, didn’t I mention I also made two bras? They’re both not perfect, but the fit was good enough (read: better than any RTW I currently own) that I intend to persist on that path …

Now this post feels like meeting a long absent friend again, when you just want to talk about the most recent things in your life but find yourself blabbering on about the 500 other things that led to the current situation 😀

Because what I really wanted to tell you about were the jeans you can see in the photo above, and which I don’t plan to wear with this top (but with a black one – oh la la). Ginger jeans. The internets are right, ’tis an awesome pattern. Which I’ll tell you all about in a future post – if you can’t wait (and I wouldn’t blame you, heaven only knows when that will be), there are links to instagram in the side bar.

It was raining this morning …

… which, to be fair, did not exactly come as a surprise. Now, I do keep an eye on the weather forecast, but my faith in it is limited. So I also keep an eye on the sky. And in that sky I saw the most amazing cloud formations yesterday. That told met the forecast was probably right, and I prepared myself for a day around the house.

Sardines before baking in the oven.
Sardines before baking in the oven.
Sardines out of the oven. Noms.
Sardines out of the oven. Noms.

Some huge shopping was done, and the first meal to come out of that were these sardines, which I baked in the oven with just a bit of olive oil, lemon, garlic and parsley. They were really nice.

Today, I awoke to the pladder of rain, and realized it was a perfect day to finally use the sewing room for it’s intended purpose. It’s been set up for a while:

Sewing table
Sewing table

A couple of days ago, I’d cut out another long-sleeve tee,  using my trusted self-drafted pattern, and today was the day to put it together.

Suddenly, however, I realised I didn’t want the tee all plain, so I chose to do the neckline in a contrast fabric, and add bands to the arms.

This is what came out:

Purple long sleeve tee
Purple long sleeve tee

Not a lot more to say, really – the scraps I used are leftovers from my trip to Walthamstow market last year, and this particular knit was made into another long-sleeve tee. The arms are seriously looooooong, but that’s exactly what I wanted.

The purple knit is a nice, stable double-knit (I think …) that was a leaving gift from my lovely friend Kim-ing, and I’m glad I finally put it to good use. I’d love to give you an eniticing photo in my backyard, with proper light and all that jazz – however, this is what’s happening in my backyard right now:

Rain
Rain

So that will have to wait.

All at once, always

Right … you will have suspected that my prolonged silence was a  mixture of Christmas and moving stress. You were right 😀

And I have a feeling that for the foreseeable future (I’d reckon the next 4 – 8 weeks) my blogging will be sporadic at best. Please to forgive me! This whole move thing is causing me several gray hairs a day … but all will be fine, all will be fine, all will be fine *me breathes … in … out … in …. out*.

Anyways, I did manage to make a few t-shirts. After reading raving reviews of the Day-to-Night shirt by Maria Denmark, I decided to give it a whirl. And what can I say that Scruffy Badger and Lizzy haven’t said already? Not much, I’m afraid.

My first muslin was still a bit of a fail, as I’d underestimated my belly. Not for the first time, I tell you … but I’m really hoping living in a warmer climate, maybe with access to an outdoor pool somewhere, will help me shed those stubborn last 5 kg I’d like to lose.

Since I had already graded from M for the shoulders to L at the bottom, I just added a little bit more flare to the sides.

It worked okay enough:

Day-to-Night Snakeskin
Day-to-Night Snakeskin

I wasn’t entirely satisfied with the fit, however, so I made a square shoulder adjustment, and moved some of the fabric from the sides to the middle, in a slash-and-spread-ish way (both front and back are cut on the fold, so I just moved the pattern piece a bit away from the fold at the bottom … if that makes any sense at all). Also, the armscyes got raised by ~2 inches to avoid any side-boob incidents.

Day-to-Night Roses
Day-to-Night Roses

And while I was at it, I decided to give the Blank Canvas Tee a go, too:

Blank Canvas Tee
Blank Canvas Tee

I’m not entirely happy with the neckband, as it won’t really lie flat, but other than that, it’s a lovely little pattern I can see myself using again and again, and having a lot of fun with adding my little hacks to it.

On my sewing table I have a fully cut Jalie jeans in a gorgeous eggplant purple, and I’m hoping very much that I get to put it together this weekend. Before the moving madness goes into phase two – flail arms, run in circles and make hen noises. Gack. Gaaa-gack.

Speak soon. I hope.

Don’t hold your breath for actual sewing.

So, this post was supposed to be published on Wednesday. If only I’d known before Wednesday came and mostly went. I swear, I’d have put it up in time.

Lately I’ve been looking at my stash, which is manageable by all accounts. It’s one huge plastic container half filled. There are some things in there I ogle every morning (I can see it from my bed), and wonder if today is the day I find YOUR pattern – that’s for “you, pretty length of fabric”.

Stash
Stash

Occasionally, I go on a pattern evaluation road trip (via the internets, of course). Then I try to imaginarily marry a pattern that takes my fancy with something in my stash.

Simplicity 1776 Project Runway
Simplicity 1776 Project Runway (patternreview.com)

This one I actually own, and I own it because I talked a much loved friend into obtaining it in the U.S. and sending it to me. Thanks, <youknowwhoyouare>!!

It is also a sad fact that I own nothing that I could make it out of. I have things that have one of the attributes I imagine for this dress, but not all. I think light wool (which I own in a dark gray.), and ideally checkered (again, I have some, but it’s a light summery (probably poly)cotton fabric.

Now, as an astute readership as mine you will have noticed that I haven’t made a single dress so far. There was the somewhat abortioned Parfait, but that’s it. I did make a couple of skirts – which consequently I’ve never worn. Damn, now I remember that I thought I’d wear my jeans skirt at least once to work for Kim-ing. Sorry, dahlink! I’ll wear it to our next meeting, I promise!

So why do I covet a dress pattern so much that I feel it’s okay to invest not only mine, but somebody else’s energy into getting it when I already know I don’t wear dresses?

It must be the same mechanism that leads to my yarn stash being full of lovely skeins in colours I love, but not a single bunch of skeins/balls that I could use to make the cardigan I desire (which would be either black or gray).

Yarn stash
Yarn stash  – please don’t ask about the yellow. Or the fuzzy green. Please.

What is it that makes me buy stuff that doesn’t fit the bill of what I actually want to wear? Why do I do it? (And oh dear, I think we ARE back to cake vs. icing vs. cucumber sandwich.)

It is hard to resist the calling of a particular pretty bolt of fabric (“Oh, really, end of the bolt? Of course I’ll take all 2.5m of it!”) or the siren calls of a skein of Mal lace. And it takes some training to actually shop for what you want, with more than “some sort of light wool-ish stuff” as clear requirements.

Have I mastered that art? Not by a long shot. Which is why I know what I’d like to make, really now. And still I am scared to go shopping for before I’ve made my muslin (which I so hope will turn out to be wearable, as I’m planning to use wool and flanelette from stash, none of which are shabby) for the jacket.

Right now I’m trying to actually plan even that, and compare the pattern to my beloved winter jacket (which really, really has earned retirement!) so that I know which extra’s and embellishment would make my make even more awesome.

Sigh.

Did I mention that planning is where I get obsessive when I indulge in it?

You win some, you lose some

Today I wanted to show you the finished black cords. Especially for you, Sylvia 🙂

Really, I had the best of intentions and was stoked to finish the thing. For all of 15 minutes. Then I noticed really bad looping of the bobbin thread, and my machine started to make this noise again, and I had an enlightenment.

This is a hobby, I thought. One I take pretty seriously, and one that I use to save a little bit of my corner of the world, and also something I do to enjoy myself. I do NOT enjoy hearing my machine make that noise. I do NOT enjoy swearing at little loops in the bobbin thread, and I most decidedly do NOT enjoy breaking needles whizzing mere centimeters by my eye.

And that was that. The black cords are in the rubbish bin, I will go hunt for some other fabric (I still want a pair of black jeans), and otherwise forget about this whole abysmal affair as quickly as possible.

For some instant gratification, I made another t-shirt from the pile of jersey knits I got at Walthamstow during my recent trip there with Kim-ing. This was actually acquired at Saeed’s, and I have a generous 3m of it (the end of a roll seems to trigger some unstoppable urge to get rid of it in their shop assistants –  I asked for 2 m, and that’s what I paid for, but got what was left on the bolt).

The pattern used was my self-drafted, and that’s pretty much all I’ve got to say about this make.

Maya front
Maya front

I shortened it a tad to hit on my hips rather than 3 fingers below, and this length seems to work better.

Maya back
Maya back

This photo had me a bit surprised, I have to say. I’m quite aware of my rather broad shoulders, but man, do I look like a rugby player here or what??

Maya and Cardi
Maya and Cardi

And here it is styled with  my beloved Caterpillar Cardi. Is that too much stripey action here? I kinda like them together, but it does feel a tad too psychedelic, no?