Sunday, 6 August 2017

New trousers with a hidden secret

Here is a photo of my latest design trousers made with my SFD pants body blueprint. I've used this so many times that the tracing paper pattern is beginning to look very tatty so I may have to redraw it. 

However, as always it worked well and produced a perfect fit for me. I stress 'for me' because it is my comfortable fit. I read a lot of blogs about fitting trousers [pants] but I think many people try to over engineer the fit with the result that whilst they may look good standing up and keeping still but for practicality, sitting down, crossing your legs or general wear it's a comfort fit that counts, especially in a woven fabric with no stretch. 

Well I have found the solution but more about that later....

I saw a 'sailor' design in a magazine [see below] which basically just added some buttons and I quite liked the look. I had several of these large fisheye lilac buttons and decided to sew them on as you see in the picture above. I must admit they have a very slimming effect when worn, drawing the eye into the waistline  so a very simple but effective decoration. But that's not the secret, keep reading...

This was a featured design in the My Image Magazine Volume 13 and available in 5 different European languages. 

It is full of young designs which aren't always 'age appropriate' for me but there are inspirations such as this which is why I like the mag.


I like my trousers to sit at my waist and would normally wear a belt but left it off in the photos. I made the belt loops with my new coverstitch machine which was super easy and quick. 

The fabric is 100% cotton [not top quality] and creases easily so apologies for the crumpled look but I had been wearing them for quite a while before taking the photos.

I like the back view [not something you'll here me say often!!] and there is no gaping when I sit down.

The pockets are nice and deep, again self drafted to my liking. I don't like things falling out when you sit down so deep pockets are a MUST for me.

I know I've made lots of trousers but every new pair is better than the last as the slightest alteration leads to a more perfect and pleasing result.

So you've read down this far and now you want to know the secret....

I've discovered that lining trousers is so comfortable and transforms the wearing experience beyond words. You will have to try this for yourself to truly understand the revelation.

All I did was cut out the same pattern excluding the pockets and with no waistband. Then pin the two together, wrong sides facing, and complete the waistband as normal.

I actually only cut the leg length to just below the knees as it wasn't necessary to go the full length and this would ensure the lining never showed below the hem of the trousers.

OK, I admit the bright green satin isn't much of a secret but only I know it's there and apart from feeling very luxurious it makes me smile when I put them on.

I am intending to add lining to ALL my trousers from now on. Especially the pure wool fabric which has a tendancy to feel scratchy sometimes.

Have you ever worn or made lined trousers? Let me know what you think!

Thursday, 3 August 2017

A New Toy in My Sewing Room

Yes I've bought myself a gift and it's another learning curve but thanks to You Tube and a Craftsy Class I am getting to grips with my new Coverstitch Machine. I've got some results to show you that I think you'll find amazing!!

First of all, here it is - It's a Janome CoverPro 2000CPX

And I've already had a practice which whilst not perfect yet [I've only had it 4 days!] is certainly a whole lot better than my sewing machine could have done.

First up is a turquoise blue T-shirt that I'd half made and embroidered my initial on one sleeve before it arrived. In fact I stopped making it when I finally caved in and made the purchase. It was the perfect garment to test so I waited for it to arrive before hemming and finishing the neck and sleeves.

Here are the results.

Take a close look at those hems. I'm really impressed with the result. The machine came loaded with white thread which is why you see this top stitching in white and not a matching thread but at least it shows up so you can see the effect.

My next effort is a strawberry colour knit fabric that was very difficult to handle. It's quite drapey and thin but a fantastic colour.

I matched the thread this time so seeing the result is not so easy but hopefully you'll get the picture.

This has made such a professional looking difference and copies high end fashion so well. It's easy to use and I have lots of other plans so expect to see more examples in my next blogs.

Friday, 28 July 2017

Butterfly T-Shirt

 Just a very quick post to show you my butterfly T-Shirt.

This was made with one metre of fabric bought for silly money at FabricLand in Bournemouth during a recent trip to stay with friends. I was generously surprised by our host taking me just 10 minutes down the road to the Fabricland Warehouse and this was one of 6 peices I bought.

The fabric is super stretchy and it feels very comfortable. I like the fact that it hugs me and is the length I like my T-shirts to be as well as the sleeve length being right. This could only happen when you draft and sew for yourself.

Sewing my own clothes is a great hobby, not only can I now make clothes that fit and feel comfortable on me but I have a unique outfit for a fraction of RTW.

I do have an issue though and that is to do with inspiration. I subscribe to BurdaStyle and My Image magazines and follow a lot of bloggers and vloggers who all show of their latest patterns and makes.

They are all very young though and trying to find age appropriate designs is not simple.

I was reminded of this when I found a great pattern in the latest bi-annual issue of My Image. The pattern looked great and I had the perfect fabric, a silver grey crushed velvet. It was a bomber jacket with ribbing at the waistline, cuffs and neck edges.

I have made the garment and although it's not perfect, it turned out pretty much like the picture in the magazine and I am pleased with the fit but I will be 70 years old later this year and I wonder if I should be wearing a bomber jacket or am I just in denial?

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Nauty Cross Body Bag

A bag with a nautical flavour. This was a free giveaway pattern for a limited time from So Sew Easy that I downloaded after watching the video tutorial that went with it.

It was really easy to make but like most bags the huge amount of time was taken in cutting out the pieces and fusing interfacing. To be honest I left out fusing the lining as my fabric for both the outer and lining were quite stiff and I didn't want to add too much weight.

I bought the nautical fabric from The Fabric Man on one of his Friday visits to Redhill Market at a stupidly cheap price and I'm so delighted with the result.

The idea of making a bag that was meant to be smaller than my previous one was to stop me carrying so much which was making it heavy.

I don't think I have a lot, keys, wallet, glasses and cellphone mainly but it seemed to always fill up [probably overnight while I was asleep!] with things I never remember having added to which, I'm sure most of my female readers, will have also experienced.

However, although this bag looks a lot smaller I've still managed to accommodate everything from the previous one although it does feel lighter to carry - or is that just my imagination?

Well the design is very professional and all the pieces went together as they should and I'm very happy with the result.

I have made a wallet from this blog site before and that was equally well designed so I wasn't surprised at the way this came together so well.

As you can see the closure is a magnetic clasp and the front navy blue pocket is deep enough to keep membership cards and receipts without them falling out.

The back of the bag has a secure zipped pocket and the space behind is also a pocket but with no closure.

Taking a photo of the inside proved a little tricky but I hope you can see the space left even after my keys, tissues, pen and glasses have been stowed away in their appropriate pockets.

The strap is very sturdy and can be unclipped although apart from putting it on another bag I'm not sure why you would want to take it off.

With my success I also made a self drafted Bum Bag.

I've recently joined a group in our local park in Reigate for some fitness classes and I realised that I need somewhere to keep my car keys and a small amount of cash for a coffee in the cafe afterwards. Actually the coffee hasn't happened yet as I'm so exhausted after the hour that it's all I can do to crawl back to my car!! Still it's getting easier so it must be doing some good!!

Anyway, I had an old bum bag that was a horrible faded red which I took apart and traced around to create my pattern. I then stitched my new bag and used the straps from the original. It turned out rather well for a test so as I have some of the nautical fabric left I think I'll make another bum bag to match it.

I have no excuses not to get fit now....

Friday, 14 July 2017

Lining Trousers

I've always wanted to see what a difference lining a pair of trousers would be. I decided with a white / cream crepe that was see through that I didn't have a choice. Time to experiment.

I made the trousers with my SFD Body Blueprint and then cut out the same again in a satin lining fabric leaving out the pockets. Once I'd made up the outer pair I then made up the lining and pinned then both together at the waist. When I attached the waistband through both layers the lining was then attached. It was a lot easier than I had imagined it would be.

But now I needed to test the wearing of them. We have had some really hot days here in the UK and a white suit seemed appropriate for a meeting I wanted to attend. Would the trousers prove to be too hot and sweaty? I was so pleasantly suprised to find I not only looked cool, I felt cool. The satin lining felt super sexy against my skin and the outer fabric couldn't stick to me so it hung well and prevented any show through. A very cool result.

The waiscoat was made from the surplus fabric and apart from tending to feel a little like an Elvis lookalike competition entry, it's not too bad...

The welt pockets I am delighted with as I seem to have conquered that tricky little technique as posted in a previous blog

Certainly the butterfly fabric I used to make the shirt brings it to life. I bought this from the Fabric Man who has a stall on Friday Mornings in Redhill market. He mostly has a huge variety of cottons at very cheap prices but this has a slight stretch which made it perfect for a fitted shirt. I already had the exact colour for the contrast which broke up the garment from being completely overwhelmed by butterflies.

I didn't take a close up photo but I did embroider a butterfly on one of the collar points. This turned out to be a stupid mistake on my part. I found the butterfly and matched the threads to the shirt. I carefully marked the centre on the collar exactly where I planned to have the butterfly at a 45 degree angle, so far so good. I then centred the design exactly over my marked centre point and stitched it out. So what is wrong you ask? Well I hadn't taken enough notice of the fact the design was already at an angle so by marking and placing the design at an angle I have ended up with the butterfly straight on instead of slanted. Only a little thing but it matters to me.

Oh well, back to the drawing board...

I do have a T-shirt and a cross body bag that turned out better than I had hoped so that'll be in my next blog.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

A Blouse, A Scarf and a Label

Before we start on my new blouse top, what do you think of my labels? I ordered them from and they were very reasonably priced and super fast at delivery. You tell them how you want them to look from lots of options and I am very happy with mine.

So, the top. The colour makes it look a lot pinkier than it actually is. The light pink is really cream.

The fabric is soft and drapey and I have lined it in a matching sea green polyester at the neck, cuffs and inner yoke. I did this partly to save fabric as I wanted to make a matching scarf and I just about had enough.

The photo below shows the scarf worn with the waistcaot I blogged about last time.

You can also see my new very short haircut which I absoloutely love. I've been wanting to have this shape for years but was reluctant to do so because I wear hearing aids and thought they would show with short hair. I've become less self-conscious and the way my lovely hairdresser has created this style for me it does cover the parts of my ears I'd rather not show.

I wish I'd had it like this for our trip to Australia as it would have been a lot easier to deal with...

The top was originally made to wear under a cream trouser suit I am just finishing and I'll show you that in my next blog. The colours of this multi toned fabric go well with either and I also have a turquoise pair of jeans that will tone with it well too.

I have been trying to make more co-ordinated pieces to produce a capsule wardrobe of sorts and feel I'm on the way there with this piece.

I apologise that the photos and blog this time has not been edited as well as normal but my computer is in hospital and my tablet is not as easy to use. Hopefully I'll be back to normal soon.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Lined Waistcoats

Good Morning to all my faithful readers. I'm back from our 12 week travels in Australia, recovered from jet lag and back in my sewing room that I SSOOOoooooo missed while we were away. My sewing room was the first place I made for when we got home, even before putting the kettle on!! It was great to put a weekly update of our journey but now I'm back to blogging about sewing.

My first make was really a continuation of where I was before we set off. That is my new direction into a more tailored look, jackets with linings and to add to this a more everyday garment that suits our on off summer weather - a Waistcoat.
It took a lot of research to find the look I was after, I wanted it fairly fitted but longish. I didn't want a bolero style or collared masculine look. Neither did I want a straight long boxy shape. After finding an old Burda Style design in the very first copy of this magazine that I bought back in December 2012 which I modified with my SFD Body Blueprint, I had the idea on paper.

First I made a muslin from an old sheet to check the fit. This turned out pretty well so I went ahead and cut out the pattern in some blue fabric I had left over from a recent pair of trousers and added the lining from my stash.

I had all sorts of issues with this version. First of all I made the mistake of sewing the shoulders and the side seams of both the fabric and the lining. Big Mistake!! The easiest way to make a lined waistcoat is to sew ONLY the shoulder seams of both lining and outer after all darts etc have been sewn. Then after pulling the garment through the shoulder seams to the right side it's now easy to sew the side seams from the outer fabric right up and on through the lining seam, leaving a gap in one lining side to turn the garment back to the inside to sew the hem.


The end result was a wearable muslin but somewhere along the way the fit was no longer as perfect as the original muslin. I can wear it as a loose garment but no way could I button it up. I also felt it would have benefited from some welt pockets.

So with some stretch denim left over from my Valentine Jeans, I set about making a much improved version. I am so delighted that at last I have not only learned how to do welt pockets but they no longer scare me. I have used a method I found in a Palmer/Pletsch 'no fail' jacket pattern and it works so well for me every time.

I also tweaked the fit and now I can add buttons that do up comfortably but the waistcoat also feels fine unbuttoned.