Sunday, October 18

One Hour Top.

Having sworn that I no longer wish to wear t-shirts the obvious move for me is to make one. Because I'm contrary. I'm pretty pleased with this, even though this picture did make me exclaim with horror about my um assets. I'm standing like that so you can see the batwing element of this t-shirt and have now made a mental note never to stand in this position again unless I wish to slightly scare someone. Still, sewing is supposed to be all about coming to terms with your body, isn't it? Actually I have much further to go in the department of coming to terms with photographs of my body, which also explains the lack of head. I'm wearing no makeup and my face bears the wrinkles of the pillow I just removed it from, so headless photos for you it is.

Do I look like I need the loo?

Back to the pattern. It's a freebie from Fancy Tiger Crafts. I was between sizes and my hip measurement suggested a large, but  I had a moment of genius and measured the bottom hem of another t-shirt which indicated a medium should be OK. It was a lovely easy sew, and probably would have taken me an hour only if I hadn't spent at least an hour staring at (swearing loudly at) my machine manual trying to work out how to do a stretch stitch. It turned out that the answer was 'stop sewing and read the manual again when you haven't spent all afternoon struggling to write an essay', because it was actually very simple: change the stitch width. The fabric came from the Woolwich Market man, cost £2 a metre and is probably synthetic. It's the kind of thing I would never in a million years buy to wear because usually I am scared of patterned lest I end up looking like a sofa cover. As it turns out I rather like the pattern which is pleasantly autumnal and I even seem to have centred it successfully. I carefully used a ballpoint needle to zig zag the seams after the thread kept breaking when I used the stretch stitch (didn't work that one out, just gave up on it). I had terrible troubles with the zig zag dropping stitches until I changed back to a normal needle. I'm a bit stumped by this, it could be the tension but I tried changing it several times and it still dropped. Fortunately by the time I got to the neck I'd changed so that bit looks reasonably OK, and the rest is mainly black so doesn't show much. I also used some Steam-a-Seam as recommended by Karen from Did You Make That? which did indeed make the hems much easier. With luck it'll also counteract the dodginess of the dropped stitches.

I shall be making another, I think.

Sunday, October 4

Pattern Paralysis

I have all these patterns and a pile of fabric but I don't seem to be able to start anything. Options include the Drapey Jersey Dress from the Great British Sewing Bee book (got some black ponte but is it the right ponte? What is the right ponte?) Anderson blouse from Sew Over It (will it suit a slightly wide middle aged person?) Aster Blouse from Colette (looks a bit hard), several freebie t-shirt patterns (I've recently decided I don't like t-shirts, after 25 years of almost continuous wear), numerous free patterns from the fronts of sewing magazines and let's not even think about all thise Seamwork patterns that  I'm not getting around to. It's too much choice, isn't it?

Pattern Paralysis. What's the cure?

Sunday, September 20

The Sutton Blouse of Doom

Let me state for the record firstly that I don't think there's anything wrong with the Sutton Blouse pattern. It's a perfectly nice pattern and I've seen some very lovely versions of it. I got my version from Indiesew, which is also a great site and quite likely to cost me a lot of money in the future. I hold no grudges with the pattern.

My version however is godawful on several levels and for several reasons.

Firstly: the fabric. It's a silk viscose mix that I got for £3 a metre (hurray) from the fabric stall outside the public market in Woolwich. It's bright red which in my opinion can never be a bad thing, and it has an embossed pattern which I think looks great on the roll, even if I wasn't entirely sure which was the front and which the back. However it was a bit of a bugger to cut out and being not the most entirely patient person in the world I probably could have made a better and more accurate job of it, which would have prevented a whole lot of pain later on.

I've also spent some time examining other people's versions of this blouse and come to the belated conclusion that it looks better made from a fabric with a print. However you swing it, this pattern does have a faint hint of the hospital scrubs about it, and in a plain fabric I think this is emphasised.

My next issue was the seam allowances. Oh god, 1/4 of an inch. As previously mentioned I'm on the less patient end of the spectrum and happily admit that being precise isn't high up my list of talents. So the 1/4 seam allowances properly kicked my arse, especially considering that the fabric was fairly slippery. Plus for some reason the thread kept breaking, so much swearing ensued. Swearing is high up my list of talents.

Now we come to the difficult issue of shape. Sutton Blouse: it's not you, it's me. I'm a fairly short (5ft4 on a good day) wide sort of a middle-aged person with broad shoulders and I give good chest. I spend a LOT of time searching for slightly short, slightly wide middle aged women with boobs wearing things I want to make on the internet to check that I won't look like a short cylinder when I'm looking at patterns and perhaps I should have looked longer and harder at this one. However I think the print thing distracted me. I suspect I could have got away with going down a size (always hard to work out given my shoulders), so then I might dislike the vision of boxiness I see in the mirror when I look at myself wearing this garment.

Let's not mention the fact that somehow I managed to make one of the back flaps (that is the technical term isn't it?) longer than the other. I have NO idea how. Please see accurate cutting. I think it stretched while I was swearing at the seam allowances, too. Frankly by the time I'd got to that bit I wanted the damn thing finished so that I could hide it in a drawer.

Here it is, then. Bear in mind that this is the most flattering photo I could manage to take of it.
It's always possible that like the Hollyburn Skirt that I made and loathed myself in, I will have a Damascene conversion about this top and decide it is the best thing ever. I'm not convinced.