My SO welcomed a niece into his family recently and I'm very excited to have a small creature to make silly outfits for (particularly as I have been banned from making guinea pig costumes). I though that she needed something sciency to inspire her into the correct career choice and that baby grows look a lot like space suits.
She is only a month old so I made the outfit in the 3-6 month pattern size as I hear they grow quickly (the booties didn't fit!).
The main fabric was made from white sweatshirting (hoodie material) with stretch black ribbing to make the patterns.
I used shiny silver fabric for the base of the moon boots and was going to use it as a helmet on the edge of a hoodie but I wasn't sure if babies were allowed hoodies so didn't add it in the end.
I hope she likes it! And hasn't already grown too big to wear it...
With the SO starting a real job for which he'd have to wear a suit all day, I decided to make some shirts for him that would actually fit and wouldn't cost huge amounts of money: they're only cotton after all!
I think it's ridiculous that men's shirts are sized neck size and that's all! It's really hard to put on weight on your neck; how can that possibly be representative of your girth! The SO has a really large neck so shirts tend to either choke him or float around him like a tent.
I used the Burda 7045 patten and made shirt A for all of them but got rid of the collar loops because they're silly. I'm still not very impressed with Burda as a pattern company as they're instructions aren't excellent but now I have a sewing machine that does button holes for me, shirts aren't that fiddly.
I managed to find some Paul Smith shirting fabric on ebay and some 'designer Italian fabric'. You only need 2m and about 13 buttons which means most shirts are less than £8 each.
I made four shirts in the end, including a test one in light blue. I used a large neck and collar size and then slimmed it down below the underarm and made it the correct size by the waist.
I didn't do much top stitching as I noticed that shop bought shirts didn't seem to have it.
The shirt pattern was relatively easy but you do have to be very careful when working out which sleeve is which! A couple of sleeves have extra darts in from where I had to pick out the placket.
My recent project has been making a suit for the SO who started a real job recently and had to update his wardrobe (shirt posts to follow). I used a grey pinstripe suiting fabric that the eBay seller claimed was designer Japanese fabric (I have since noticed Asian men in shiny grey suits so this could be true). It has a slight sheen and no stretch.
The pattern I used was a Burda suit pattern; it was the only men's suit pattern I could find on Jaycotts. I'd never used a Burda pattern before and I'm pretty unimpressed. There are about half as many instructions and diagrams than other patterns and fewer labels on the patterns themselves. There isn't sizing on the pattern envelope: you have to pull out all the sheets of paper. There is also no recommended button size or fabric type.
I'm not an inexperienced sewer: I often see Vogue advanced patterns and while I've never made a man's suit before, I have made a lot of women's. I found the instructions very unclear and had to do a lot of unpicking once I worked out what was actually supposed to happened. I also watched a lot of YouTube tailoring videos to help me.
I know that that you're meant to make a muslin and adjust but I've never had to do that with patterns. While this is an incredibly stylish suit (of course it is- I made it), it is not a perfect fit based on the measurements on the pattern and comes out a little tight in the chest.
The main challenge that I faced with this suit was all the he pockets. I haven't really done welts or piping before and these are certainly not explained!
Sew three sides of the welt and then turn right side out and press. Place the welt with seam allowance inside where the pocket hole will be, facing away from the hole. Pin with pins right at the edge so that you can see where the welt ends. Put lining over the top so that it covers the whole of the pocket hole. Sew the hole as a trapezium going exactly to the edge of the welts. Cut the pocket hole as a strip with two LONG triangles at the sides. Turn the right way around. T'Dah! (I feel the patten instructions skipped to the 'T'Day')
There are a LOT of pockets on a man's suit! SO also requested inside pockets. I made these using the outside pocket pattern and a welt from the suit fabric.
This was always going to be the worse suit: I have some more expensive wool fabric to make a better fitting one (updates to follow around Christmas time) so changes I will make:
1) Height- the suit pattern says that the SO is taller than the height recommended for the suit. I added an inch to the bottom of the trouser and have had to turn it and more up so I won't be doing that next time. I will, however, add an inch to the top of the trouser around the zip to allow a little more room.
2) The sleeves: these had to be turned up quite a way so I will take off half an inch from the end of the pattern.
3) The chest: go up a size in the chest (to a 46) and then bring it in again at the waist.
4) The sleeves part ii: there was a lot of ease in the sleeve (it was about twice the size of the armhole!) and so I have to gather all the way around to make it sit flat in the armhole. Shiny fabric is very unforgiving and this took several attempts. I won't make the top of the sleeves a 46. Hopefully, this means there will be fewer creases.
5) The sleeves part iii: the sleeves get caught around the elbow if the elbow is bent and have to be pulled down again. Next time I will use smaller seam allowances around the bicep and more slippery lining for the sleeves.
6) The front of the suit needed a little starch to make it sit nicely. I'll use heavier interfacing next time.
I felt like making something fabulous as my big project this summer and working on some structure and what is more fabulous than a big rustley bustle?
This is a McCall's pattern M6670 and features a skirt, jacket, bustle and bloomers, very stylish. The cover of the pattern suggests using stripes and I liked that idea so found some nice light pink ticking fabric, lots of pink lace, bright pink ribbon and some pale pink velvet coloured buttons. With the bustle and bloomers combo it's a cross between Victorian prostitute and Eliza Doolittle at the races.
The fabric was a little light though, so I added white cotton underlining, the same I used as the lining, which took forever to cut out and prepare as each piece had to be cut out at least twice and then attached to its underlining.
The skirt is a long, flowing skirt with gathered fish tail section below the knee. I got confused between American sizes and pattern sizes so bought patterns that were too small: they only went up to a 10 and I needed a 14; so I compared the differences in sizes that were on the pattern and added two. This mostly worked except for the hips, which meant I needed to use 10mm seem allowances on the skirt rather than 15mm.
The skirt is held together with a zip and a hook and eye except I put in a popper because it looks much neater. I added the customary 2" to the skirt (I'm 5ft10 and often need to lengthen things) but I then had to take it up a little at the back to stop it dragging so it's a good, long pattern.
By itself, I feel the skirt can definitely be worn as a smart/casual floaty number
The jacket has a lace collar, lace hem, ruffled and laced sleeves with button decoration and ribbon lacing it up the back.
This pattern is only listed as a costume and so isn't perfect and there are a few changes that should be made to the jacket construction, particularly the lining: the pattern suggests joining the sleeve and the sleeve lining before attaching the sleeves to the jacket; however, you should sew the sleeve to the sleeve jacket, press the seam towards the sleeve and then hand stitch the sleeve lining over the top so there isn't an open seem. The sleeve ruffle should also be lined as you see the back of the fabric.
The back is laced up with a ribbon and needs tabs to be sewn onto the back. The pattern suggests doing this right at the end which means it must be done by hand or the stitching will be seen inside the jacket through the lining; either you need to sew the tabs on with a machine before attaching the jacket to its lining or put the tabs into the seems when sewing the back side to the centre back.
A note on sizing: the jacket is quite short and were I to make it again I would add at least 1" if not 2" to its length. I know it's meant to stop at the waist but it can hover slightly above the skirt. The sleeves are also very long. I added the customary 2" (again I have really long arms- 6ft 2" arm span), which weren't needed at all. After the hip incident with the skirt, I use smaller seam allowances on the jacket but it came out very large: luckily, the ribbon at the back can be used to shape it!
The bustle! The bustle needed a LOT of gathering: the bottom frill is at least 3m long. But it was definitely worth it- it looks fabulous.
Again, because it's a costume, the bustle isn't lined and could do with having the skirt pieces cut out in lining and attached to the main ones. The bustle is held up by tying a ribbon; it might be neater to use the waist band from the skirt or trousers and have a button or a popper.
At the end, I had some cotton fabric left so I thought, why not go the whole hog and make the bloomers as well? They look pretty funky. They have a jean-style zip at the front, which looks so much better than any normal zip I can produce for skirts: flaps do look very neat.
The bloomers are fitted at the top and then had straight legs, gathered 2" above a lacey hem. I put the elastic gathering into white satin ribbon so that it wouldn't be too scratchy if it was tight.
Now I just need to host a Victorian or steam punk party!
I saw a dress on Crafster that had been made using a pattern site called Lekala that makes custom print-out patterns. This seemed too good to be true so I thought I should test it. I found this awesome military dress on the site, put in my measurements and printed it.
You have the option to pay $1 extra for seam allowances; as that was another 25% on the price I decided not to do that and that was not the correct decision: you already want to retrace the pattern once you've printed it and stuck it together adding seam allowances is a bit of a faff.
I was worried that the pattern wouldn't fit and while I was making it, it felt a little small; so I unpicked it and made the seams smaller only to have to put them all back in because it fit perfectly! I did have to take some of the seams in but only because I have a long waist and short body and I'd have to do that anyway. I'll certainly be using the site again so that I don't have to worry too much about editing pattern pieces!
The dress is made from 3m of navy linen garbedine mix so it's quite thick and sturdy. It has a large lapel, a side zip, belt and 10 pretend buttons on the front. I decided to choose some RAF gold buttons but they do stick out a little so using flatter buttons might be better next time.
I was given a fantastic Christmas present of an assortment of exciting thread and buttons so I used some of it to edge stitch the lapels in gold and make them look a little more snazzy.
The epilets are also quite snazzy...
It's held together by a bright gold zipper and an inside button. I've added a couple of inches to the dress and to the facing so that it can be walked in without flapping open.
Overall, a good experiment! The site, in this statistically significant sample of one, produces patterns of the size required. The dress itself is smart and fun.
You rip what you sew!