Tuesday, 27 August 2013

The Strathcona Henley T-shirt

Another request to be  a pattern tester...another narrowly averted disaster (by disaster I obviously don't mean a real disaster of worldwide proportions with real implications to the world, I mean something mildly disastrous in the sewing realm, like cutting the wrong piece from precious fabric, or running out of the right colour thread on a Sunday!).

The lovely Strathcona Henley
When Thread Theory, the new and very exciting company who are making menswear sewing patterns, contacted me to let me know the first 3 people to respond to their email would get to test their new pattern the Strathcona Henley T-shirt I typed YES and hit reply immediately! It was very early in the morning here, which I thought meant late at night there, and although us sewing bloggers like to stalk our readers late at night, I thought I was in with a good chance of being one of the first to respond.
Two days later I still had no reply. Bit rude, I thought to myself, don't want to test their bloody pattern anyway if they can't even be bothered to reply. It seems I hadn't learned from my Sewaholic testing experience....Pride Layla, pride. It's your downfall. The lovely people, Morgan and Matt, at Thread Theory had replied pretty much straight away and the email had gone to my bastard spam box. Why? People, we will never understand the reasons computers fuck with us when they know something is important to us. I didn't realise this until Friday night when I received another email- to my inbox- from them asking if I'd finished my pattern testing. Ok anyway the long and short of this story is that in a major rush, feeling mega guilty about being a failure as a pattern tester, I whipped up a t-shirt in a couple of hours, from printing and thoroughly reading the instructions to hemming and trying it on the hubby.
He is much happier than this about his new top, I swear!
As I'd given most of my stash away and packed up what I was taking back to London with me I used the only piece of fabric I had left that was suitable. It's a pretty stretchy dark blue knit, which is not something you might normally see in menswear, but it actually works pretty well. In this sweaty humidity it's not the nicest thing to have on but when we get back to London and the drizzle and grey makes us lose the will to live I think it will be very cosy for hubby dearest.

The sleeves are designed to be long, my husband's arms are of normal length!
The T-shirt sews up very speedily, and that was even with me reading and following instructions which is something I wouldn't usually do! The only tricky bit was the placket. I unpicked that boy at least twice and am still not totally happy with the result- it's a bit wonk city. I'm not sure that this would be something a beginner could take on although the cool thing about the pattern is that Morgan has included different options for finishing the placket as well as other parts of the process.

Wonky placket...
 All in all I think this is a fab new pattern. Simple and quick, with loads of versatility- it could be a simple t-shirt sans placket, or a sweatshirt with a band at the hem - and really well fitting. The pattern itself has lots of pictures and is easy to follow especially if you are new to sewing. I'm excited about this pattern company as it's so difficult to find good men's patterns and in my quest never to buy clothes I can't keep making my lovely hubby the same shirt a trillion times!

I think he looks pretty hot in his new Henley!
Thanks Morgan and Matt for giving me the chance to test it out and to Rachel for alerting me to the arrival of this new company.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Owning up to my shameful hoard.

This is a shameful post, everyone: I'm going to reveal my dirty hoarding secret.
I've lived in Beirut almost 4 years so packing up to go home is a bloody pain-in-the-arse of an undertaking. I knew I had collected a lot of fabric, when I first arrived here I got way too excited if I saw anything I vaguely liked and would just buy my go-to amount of 2 metres. In the last year I've barely bought anything and have been a pretty prolific maker but there is still this....

The personal stash that will be coming with me...
This is the sorted pile.... In my head it's all earmarked for certain projects and I know what it will one day become I swear!

And I am getting rid of this....

Labeled and ready for sale.
 Yep, I've got some serious fabric stash.

But it's all got to go.

If you're around come by on Wednesday evening (21st)from 5pm and get some serious bargains...because shamefully, it's not just fabric I've hoarded but buttons and trims and ......well, come see for yourself!

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Plethora of pants

Clap me on the back and applaud me people. I've been doing a whole host of unselfish sewing. My love got himself a new stash of boxers today.

Yesterday I went through the giant fabric pile and tried to organise what was worth coming back to London with me, what could be sold and what I could use up quick sharp. These boxers were made from the leftovers of various shirts for me and the hubby and a pair of pjs (that sadly didnt fit...for more on that sad story see here).
I made them using a pattern from the Sew Everything Workshop book by Diana Rupp; the pattern is called something stupid like foxy boxers and comes with a cringe worthy description, once I got past that though the pattern is easy peasy and I think I managed to make 4 pairs in a couple of hours.

To mix things up a little I changed the details on each pair. The red pair was pretty much as the book describes, but with wider elastic. There's a neat little way of inserting the elastic into the casing without leaving a hole that appealed to my inner sewing geek.

On the blue pair I added a different colour waistband as I was short on fabric, it's a very me choice...nautical all the way!

A couple of the pairs I stitched the elastic on with a zigzag stitch once it was in the waistband so it wouldn't shift around. I'm not sure if this is better or  not; it does tend to stretch the elastic out a little but maybe it's less annoying than having twisted elastic or bunching fabric. I don't think he cares.
As he said, when the balls are comfy that's all that counts!


Sunday, 11 August 2013

Another Cambie

I woke up with no plans: I had a quiet cuppa on the balcony with my cats frolicking around me and I thought what better a day than today to make myself a dress. So this Sunday, this beauty of a Cambie was born.

She is made from a lovely swiss (the fabric shop man told me this, it's a very random piece of information!) linen, of which there was only about  1.75 metres. I had to really mess around with the pattern placement for a while to get this baby out of it. The inside of the pockets had to be made of the lining instead of the linen.

I love this pattern. The lining makes the dress look so bloody professional. Yes it takes longer, you're essentially making two dresss, but its worth it to have everyone who sees it ooh and ahh, and obviously you have to show off the insides, they are as pretty as the outs.

What's that you see? Yes, ok, I didn't have quite enough fabric to make the whole waistband in linen.
 Sewaholic patterns are a dream, they fit me perfectly and have cool little tricks like the pocket piece in this dress. I think it's pretty nifty, you'll have to buy the pattern to see what I mean.

I pleated the sleeve instead of gathering it- the only change I made.
This dress is essentially the same as the first cambie I made, which was also blue...and flowery...and lined with the same fabric....That bad boy was made in a poplin which is amazing as it was free (!) and doesnt crease at all. This lady is probably going to be a crease monkey but so what, she pretty pretty. The linen here also makes the dress a little looser as it stretches out a bit, the first one was kind of snug-in a good way- and sometimes is a little tight under my arms. I dont think this one will have that problem. So, you see, it was a perfectly planned move to make two dresses that are almost identical!

The first poplin cambie

You may be thinking I haven't sewn anything up in an age, since this old blog has been a little quiet, but I have. There's been a couple of knit t-shirts, a skirt or two, one which I made a major fight with over the hem....bloody circle skirts. They haven't appeared on here though. However, since I'm sadly packing my bags (and bags and bags of fabric) and leaving The Old Fashioned Way school behind for a while I think I will try and get my own sewing posted up here on a more regular basis.

It's my birthday in a couple of weeks and  I'm hoping to get a tidy little haul of patterns as pressies...I promise I'll share!

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