the spotty dotty top (NewLook 6483) warts & all

I seem to be on a roll with sewing at the moment.  And trying my hand at several new (to me) patterns.  Ones that I’ve had in my stash for quite a while, but never got around to opening.  After the two success stories with the shirt pattern recently, I decided to open NewLook 6483

spotty 6483

. . . another pattern that’s marked “easy” with promises of 1 hour sewing time.  When will I learn to ignore that sort of info?  I expect an experienced sewer would find this pattern easy, and would no doubt run it up in under 60 minutes.  But surely, it’s the beginner sewer who is drawn to the “easy” patterns?  In which case, a top like this will require several hours of patient sewing, and much head-scratching trying to understand some of the instructions.

Anyway . . . I picked a summery cotton print fabric from my stash (this is leftover from a huge piece I bought as backing fabric for my F2F quilt way back in 2017).  And selected pattern pieces to make top C (the red version).  I’m quite narrow shouldered so thought the way shoulders were shaped on this would be a better fit.  As usual, I ummed and ahhed for ages, about what size to cut.  Pattern didn’t give FINISHED bust measurement, only finished length so . . . since I’m rather busty (not meaning to get too personal, but the following proved to be a problem with this pattern:  I’m a 40” bust and wear a 36 D-cup bra).  I therefore cut the largest pattern size which was for a 38” bust . . . slightly worried that the top would be too tight, but deciding I’d take the chance.

Something I learned from this sewing experience is:  check out other sewers pattern reviews on the internet before cutting or sewing!!!!! Because . . .

spotty 01 before

THIS is what I ended up with.  Absolutely massive!!!!  Now, I do have a tailor’s dummy, but I’ll admit, I don’t really know how to use it properly.  I’ve got it set to my vital statistics, but I don’t really know enough about clothes making to make the necessary ajustments to a pattern to make a “fitted” garment.  Besides, I have always felt I’m a fairly standard size. I can walk into any clothes shop and buy something that fits, off the rail.  I’ve made quite a few tunics, and the recent 2 shirts, without having to modify the pattern in any way.  In fact, I’ve used mainly NewLook patterns in the past so I had no reason to think there would be a problem with sizing.  Although, on hindsight . . . I did end up with exactly the same problem with NewLook 6602 in July last year – which funnily enough was also a tunic with facings for neck & armholes.   

Another view, to show you the gaping armholes

spotty 02 before

The above photos were after about 4 hours of sewing.  I was not a happy bunny! 

This is when I went looking on the internet for pattern reviews.  And realised I should have started with that!  Of the twenty or so reviews I read . . . a good 75% of sewers had made pattern changes along the way, or quite simply not really followed the pattern at all.  Many chose not to bother with facings, and just added binding.  And almost everyone said that the pattern sized up way too big.

So hmmmmffffff!!!!  What to do?  I  couldn’t do a great deal about the gaping armholes because they were faced (and should have been cut smaller if I wanted a smaller size) but I did manage to make a few improvements.  First . . . I unpicked side seams, and unpicked darts which were simply there, and miles away from my boobs.  Redrew and sewed darts much lower and longer . . . which improved things somewhat, but not 100%.

spotty 02 after

And I scooped out the neckline, simply drawing a curve freehand and bringing it down quite a bit.

spotty 01 after 

That doesn’t solve the too big armholes or the fact that shoulders are much wider than on the pattern picture because (as said above) I refused to unpick the arm facing and redo that part. 

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As long as I don’t walk about with my arms sticking out like that though, it doesn’t look too bad.

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Since I scooped out the neckline, I’ve got a button fastening at the back which is purely decorative as, with the saggy baggy arms, and lower neckline, I can just slip it on over my head without undoing the button. 

The big question is: will I use the pattern again? And to that I’ll say: I honestly don’t know!  I do like to try the same pattern several times, in different fabrics, to get my money’s worth, so to speak. In fact, I had big plans of making all five of the different options this pattern offered.  But that was before all the hassle with the first top. 

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the “dances with hens” shirt (see & sew B6270)

On 9th of this month, I showed you my first ever sewing project with sleeves and a collar.

shirt 01

made following the pattern

shirt pattern

Well, I was so pleased with how it turned out, I was raring to make a second one.  For my second version, I went for the rounded shirt tails, on both front & back, but kept sleeves as 3/4 and the grandad style collar. 

And just to make things a little different, I decided to use a white “piqué” cotton for the collar, front yokes and the button loopy bits.

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Main fabric is a very fun feather print . . . hence the Indian name for this new version of the shirt:  “Dances with hens” lol.

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I really love it!   It looks so different from the first version, because of the bright colours. 

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Just look how cleverly the feathers match up when sleeves are rolled!

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Everything went ever so smoothly this time around.  Collar went on first time.  Sleeve insertion was still rather daunting, but I’d done it before, so I knew I could do it again.  Overall, it really was a joy to make and I am already planning on making it a third time!  I’m even toying with the idea of making the proper pointy collar of version B for my next attempt, despite having said that I don’t like pointy collars.  Definitely won’t be adding a pocket or going for the full length sleeves though. 

ScrapHappy # April (making for Baby Viking)

Followers know that I became a grandma in August last year, to a bonny baby girl, who I have nick-named Baby Viking, because her dad, our second son, is known here as Daddy Viking.  Well, in true grandma form, I made some presents to celebrate the birth:  quilt, cloth book, crinkle toy, crocheted bear and a couple of bibs.  I then knitted up 2 very cheerful bolero cardies, as an excuse to get some practice knitting in February.

Since then, I have been busy at my sewing machine.  And using scraps for the first two items, so an excuse to link up with Gun and Kate!

First up . . . I made a little pinafore dress, using pattern NewLook 6970, and leftover fabric from a summer tunic I made myself a few years ago.  Buttons, came from the family button box, and I learned they were originally from the husband’s grandmother’s button box!  The husband affectionately called her “Bonne Maman” which is the title I have asked to be called by Baby Viking, when she’s old enough to talk.  How lovely, I thought, that as the newest Bonne Maman, I should have used buttons from Bonne Maman senior’s button box!  Meaning that this little dress was made for Baby Viking by one grandma, with buttons that came from her great great grandma’s button box!

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With the very last bits of the pretty floral fabric, a matching sunhat, using NewLook 6274.

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And then . . . worrying that the UK summer might not be as warm as a French summer, I decided Baby Viking might need something to keep those chubby legs warm.  Not to mention that she’ll probably be at the crawling stage this summer and those knees will need protecting . . . so, some trials with stretch fabrics.  First, making use of a free pattern by Made by Rae (but adapting the size)

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a sort of “sarouel” type of leggings, with (I hope) plenty of room for a nappy.  And then another attempt, this time to make a pair of 3/4 length, closer fitting leggings

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Husband kindly pointed out to me that one leg is longer than the other – thank you darling!  But I’m sure once they’re on (assuming they fit) and Baby Viking is crawling around, no one will notice.

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I thought they’d look rather pretty with the pinafore dress.

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Both “bottoms” were made from adult Tshirts.  The stripey pair, from one of my too small Tshirts that was otherwise destined for the Red Cross clothes bin.  The pink pair were made from a brand new adult Tshirt I bought in Noz for only 1€.   And, if you think the waist band looks neat on those, it’s because I used the original hem of the Tshirt bottom as the channel for the elastic waist band.

Anyway . . . here are links to other ScrapHappy posters.

Kate Gun, TittiHeléneEvaSue, Nanette, Lynn (me), Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Debbierose, Tracy, Jill, Claire, JanKaren,
Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancy, Alys, Kerry, Claire, Jean, Johanna,
Joanne, Jon, HayleyDawn, Gwen, Connie, Bekki and Pauline

easy trousers (NewLook #6399)

After the success of my first ever shirt . . . I was on a roll, and decided to try one of the trouser patterns I’ve had in my stash for years.

trouser pattern

Namely: NewLook #6399.  Pattern cover states “easy 2 hour” . . . with the little asterix lower down, specifiying this is “sewing time only per item” lol.  There were only 4 pattern pieces to pin and cut out, so preparation didn’t take forever, and surprisingly neither did the sewing together!  I did make the job slightly harder for myself than I needed to though.  Rather than cutting into any of the bought fabrics in my stash, I picked an unknown fabric, that I inherited from MIL.  Not the slightest idea what it was, although I suspect it’s what’s called a “Jacquard” fabric since it looks woven not printed.

trouser fabric

The raw edges had all this blue & yellow thread escaping, but the fabric itself looks beige, from a distance, with shimmers of blue depending on what angle you look at it.  Anyway . . . while pressing before pattern cutting, it seemed okay with a hot setting on the iron, as long as iron didn’t stay on one spot for too long.  Some scorching happened later in the making process . . . so I’m guessing it’s not cotton lol.  Whatever it is, it wrinkles quite a bit.  Frays abominably, and all seams had to be overlocked . . . but I was determined to use it for my first attempt with this pattern as my “toile”.

Pattern sizing had me somewhat confused.  It has “Misses” sizes (like the shirt pattern) so I ended up just getting out the tape measure and cutting out the size which corresponded to my hip measurement.  That (sadly) was the largest pattern size (EU 42 or FR 44).  Rather too large than too tight, is my motto!

As always . . . I didn’t follow the pattern completely.  Was making view A (the full length trouser version) but didn’t see the need for the ribbon in the waist band.  That band is there to encase 5cm wide elastic.  I honestly didn’t see why I would need a draw string ribbon in as well.  Especially since that would just make for volume under a top.

trousers 01

Anyway . . . one serious sewing session of about 3 hours.  Followed by an hour’s sewing the next day to finish off hems . . . and I have a pair of very comfortable pull-on trousers!  [For Tialys . . . I also seem to be related to David Nivon aka “The Brain” lol.  Not sure why my head is always cocked to that side for photos].

trousers 02a

This second photo to show the waist band, which isn’t actually on waist, as pattern stipulates “worn 1 inch below waist”.  Not quite sure I see the point in having the open flappy bits at the ankles.  Maybe my fabric is too lightweight, but all that opening does is make the leg hang funnily.   Maybe I’ve left the hem too long?    Anyway . . . I am glad I didn’t bother with the extra draw-string ribbon bit.  Trousers sit nicely with just the wide elastic.  And, in case you’re wondering, because I certainly was . . . the pieces  of fabric for the elastic casing are cut on the bias.  So even in a non-stretchy fabric like this one, the band has just enough stretch to pull trousers up over bum and then sit 1” below waist, comfortably, where hips (and love handles) prevent trousers from falling down lol.

Please note new shoes also!  I found this pair of TMA “desert boots” in Noz the other week, priced only 15€ and they fit, so I grabbed TWO identical pairs.

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I think they’re lots of fun!  Well, a lot more fun than wearing mens’ black trainers all the time.  I’ve got my orthopedic insoles now (to be worn religiously for at least 12 months until my next check-up) and since these are a German brand, they size up nice & wide, so I can get insoles AND feet in without too much of a squeeze, provided I wear pop-socks.

Before I sign off for today . . . I’ll leave you with a photo of 3 new fabrics bought recently, with a mind to another shirt and more trousers (maybe with a zip fastener next time!).

new fabrics

The green & white print is a polycotton.  I grabbed that because it was only 5€ for a 3 metre length.  Total bargain!  And the other two are cotton (with 4% elastathane) gabardines.  15€ for 3 metres of each . . . I’m seeing two pairs of trousers and one polycotton shirt, with maybe a pair of polycotton shorts for this summer.    We’ll see!

“see & sew” shirt B6270

After probably  more than a dozen sewing projects, where I’ve managed to steer clear of sleeves, I decided it was time to give sleeves a whirl.  I’ll admit that watching Season 5 of the GBSB helped to get me motivated.  That, and the fact I’ve had the following pattern and fabric in my stash since 2016.

shirt pattern

Pattern being B6270 SEE & SEW, with the comforting red logo reassuring me that “YES! It’s easy”.  And fabric being 1.5m of a very light-weight 100% cotton:  Minimals designed for Poppy Europe.

shirt fabric 

I can’t remember now where I bought it, nor how much I paid for it.  All I know is, I bought it with this specific pattern in mind, seeing it sewn up to make shirt A, with the grandad collar and the turned up sleeves.

Just as well the pattern claimed it was easy, because that’s what gave me the courage to go ahead.  On hindsight, “easy” isn’t the adjective I would have used . . . but it was do-able with lots of patience and a seam ripper to hand.

shirt 01

Four afternoon sewing sessions it took me . . . with various mishaps along the way.  I managed to sew front facing on the wrong way round, only discovering after I’d trimmed seam to turn.  Fixed that!  Had loads of trouble working out the correct way to sew on my collar.  Sewed once.  Didn’t look right.  Unpicked.  Sewed a different way.  Defintely didn’t look right.  Unpicked.  Emailed Avis for help.  Discovered I’d done it correctly the first time.  So sewed collar on for the third time. 

shirt 02

Sleeves were also a challenge.  But they’re in.  And I made a slight modification to the pattern which called for version A to have special cuff loopy bits sewn into place . . . I chose to add a button and button hole to mine, so sleeves can be unfolded when being washed & ironed.

shirt 03

And I have to say . . . I am thrilled to bits with my first shirt!  Oh, other alteration I made . . . I didn’t like the shirt-tail hem line, so mine is straight across, both back & front.

shirt 04

shirt 05

I will definitely be making this pattern again!  Version B pointy collar & pocket don’t tempt me, neither do the full length sleeves with proper cuffs . . . but I might try curved shirt tails next time, just to make it longer, and to give myself a new challenge.

a bit of this & that

I’ve been a bit quiet on my blog this month.  This doesn’t mean I haven’t been doing some blog-hopping to see what everyone else is up to.  Nor does it mean I haven’t been crafting – au contraire – I have!  However, several of the projects I’m working on are either secret crafting projects, or not far enough in the making to be worth blogging about.

Still, I do have 2 projects to talk about . . . first up, is the latch hook “Puppy” rug kit by Versaco.

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The hooking is finally complete – yay!  Once I set my mind to it, it came along very quickly.  Helped by the fact that I’ve been playing catch up, watching The Great British Sewing Bee on my tablet.  Since the husband isn’t too keen on sewing programmes,  I watch GBSB while sitting out in the kitchen, and kitchen table was the most comfortable place for latch hooking.  I’ve already trimmed the excess canvas, and begun the job of finishing edges neatly.  I will share a fully finished photo with you in due course.

I’ve also been doing some sewing.  Several projects in mind for Baby Viking, and big plans on moving out of my comfort zone to make a few garments with stretch fabrics.  True to myself, I thought it best to have a trial run with stretch fabrics before cutting into the yummy piece I’ve bought for BV.  And, after the clear out in my wardrobe last month, I had a couple of Tshirts (that didn’t get handed down or put in the Red Cross recyle bin) I had kept, precisely to slice up and use for some trial sewing.  So, one Tshirt repurposed into a pair of toddler sized trousers.  Scraps above are all that was left of the Tshirt.  I remembered to use a special Jersey/stretch fabrics needle in Juki and I used the overlocking stitch for everything.  I noticed that Juki tended to skip a stitch occasionally (not sure if it was my fault or because fabric was quite fine) if I tried to sew too quickly.  After adjusting speed and taking things slowly though, all seams looked good.  I even thought to cut pieces so the bottom of the Tshirt became the hemline of the legs – hence the really professional overlocked hems! 

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I was planning, initially, to make something in Baby Viking size for this summer, and followed a pattern accordingly (more or less) however,  . . . after popping round to hold these up against our little neighbour (who’s 19 months old), the verdict was:  way too wide.  Waist and the “rise” are good, but legs are much too wide for what I was aiming for (which was more of a jegging than a trouser).  Not to worry!  They turned out to be quite a good fit, as 3/4 length leggings on Daisy, so she gets to keep them.  And oh surprise . . . they look rather good with the pinafore dress I made for her.  Anyone would think I made these sizing mistakes on purpose, but I don’t!  This second photo shows you the true colour – a lovely turquoise/aqua, which makes the perfect “bottoms” to match the pinafore dress. 

daisy 01

While I had camera out, and Daisy was posing . . . I couldn’t resist playing with more of my dolls.  I realise the following photos will freak some readers out.  I know, I know, most people think my dolls are creepy,  so you’ll just have to close your eyes and scroll down if you don’t want to see the following doll pictures.  First pic is of Daisy, posing as”big sister” to Lily .

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Then with Alice (who incidentally is wearing a pinafore dress I made last year using the same pattern as Daisy’s dress).

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And finally, with Noah.

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That’s all the doll photos for now, you can open your eyes! 

And admire

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Gibbs, who is overjoyed that my most recent check-up with foot surgeon went well, and daily walks to the park have resumed.  And about time too, says Gibbs!

ScrapHappy # March 2019

I missed out on the ScrapHappy fun in February because of other things going on.  February saw the husband & myself redecorating the living room (all done).  Me with big plans of making sofa covers (started well, but I ran out of motivation) . . . and then catching up on housework before visitors in March.  Lindashee & Mr Lindashee flew over from England for a few days, and Eldest son & girlfriend drove up from the south of France.

House suddenly emptied on 11th, so after a day of stripping beds, and catching up with more housework, my thoughts turned to ScrapHappy and my sewing machine.

I originally sat down, with leftover fabrics (from 2 pairs of shortie PJs made in November) to make something summery for Baby Viking using pattern NewLook 6970.  Baby Viking will be 1 year old in August, and since babies always seem to be wearing the next size up, I decided to cut fabric for the 18-24 month size.  As it turns out, this pattern seems to size up very large . . . and I ended up with a little pinafore dress that fits Daisy, who is a 2-3 year size.

Not to worry . . . anyway, I’m linking up with Kate and Gun for our monthly ScrapHappy post.

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The idea was to make something with scraps/leftovers.  I achieved that.  And got more sewing practice along the way.

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It’s a good fit on the shoulders for Daisy, and looks lovely with the little bolero cardie I knitted for her.  I haven’t given up on the idea of making this pattern again, for Baby Viking, but one size smaller and not necessarily with scraps.

Other bloggers who take part in ScrapHappy fun.

 Titti, Heléne, Eva, Sue, Nanette, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Debbierose, Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan, Karen,
Moira, Sandra, Linda, Chris, Nancy, Alys, KerryJean, Johanna,
Joanne, Jon, Hayley, Dawn and Connie