Learning Restraint: Part III

Or in other words: the fun projects…

To work along my sensible, ‘wardrobe gaps’ list, I’ve also compiled a ‘treats’ list for myself. I wanted to instil a more thoughtful process into my projects this year, Β to avoid falling for a whole host of random projects that in my real life I never actually wear! Sound familiar anyone? So after much research, these are the patterns that I narrowed it down to:

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Now that I’ve conquered my knits phobia, I can’t get enough of them! I know that I need to make knits the backbone of my everyday wardrobe, so I wasn’t surprised whenΒ I totally fell for Colette’s new ‘Designed for Knits’ range a while back. I’ve been itching to give these a go. First up is the Mabel skirt, which is already fast becoming my favourite, Winter skirt of choice, see here, here and here. Next up is their Moneta dress, much inspired by Sew South London’s lovely version. And lastly dreaming of warmer, Spring days ahead, their Myrtle dress.

It was love at first sight with Papercut’s Coppelia Cardigan, which I first spotted over at sewnbyelizabeth.blogspot.com. I can’t wait to have a go at this pattern. This is the first Papercut pattern I’ve purchased, and it really is a beautiful sight to behold. Their packaging is divine, although I’m consciously ignoring the styling of this top with the silky, hot pants on their cover, so not a look I’ll be rocking any time soon πŸ˜‰

Lastly I’ve chosen Christine Haynes’ Emery Dress, seen just about everywhere. I’m seriously late to this particular party, but I’m looking forward to giving it a go: there’s certainly lots of inspiration around πŸ™‚

And that’s where I had to draw the line for now. Patiently waiting in the wings for my next pattern splurge are both Jennifer Lauren’s Bronte Top and Enid Sweater. I’ve seen some beautiful versions of both of these tops, but I’m forcing myself to focus on just a few patterns at a time, so next time…

I’m not totally banning myself from all unplanned makes however: where would the fun be in that? I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s succumbed to subscribing to Colette’s monthly Seamworks online magazine. They’ve promised a range of everyday, easy projects and so far I’ve been impressed with the patterns they’ve featured. I also like the idea of improving my skills through their related features articles, which seem pitched at just the right level. I figure the odd, unplanned make isn’t going to harm, but I am going to seriously consider how much wear I’ll actually get out of them before I purchase any new fabric.

I’m determined to make this year: the year I learn a little restraint…

 

An Overlocked Megan

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I’ve seen some lovely, Winter Coco dresses on various blogs of late, so much so that I was almost tempted to change my overlocking plans, but I stuck to my original instinct with the Megan Dress instead (Tilly and the Buttons) : A pattern I’ve already made up twice before, here and here. Β Those princess seams are really flattering on my body shape. Maybe a Coco next time…

I spotted this lovely, light-weight, sweatshirt fabric at John Lewis. At Β£8 a metre (half price in the sale), I was paying a little more than I usually do, but I knew it would be perfect and worth paying that little extra πŸ™‚ Happily, it turned out well!

As for my previous Megan, I cut the smallest size, but added an extra inch or so to the length. I lengthened the sleeves to 3/4 length (my favourite), using the Coco top sleeve pieces (thanks for the great tip Teri). I haven’t adapted a pattern like this before, so I was a little apprehensive. The two different sleeve patterns were pretty different shapes, but I kind of tapered one into the other, which thankfully worked out just fine. Phew!

I started on my sewing machine, sewing up the darts and tucks, but then switched to my overlocker to attach the various body pieces to each other. I’m not sure what I’ve done with the placement of the darts on this pattern, (maybe I traced them slightly wrong?) but I’ve never yet managed to line them up perfectly. They’re not too far out, but the smaller things like this are starting to annoy me more, which I’m presuming is a good thing. I must check my tracings before I attempt this again.

Switching between the sewing machine and the overlocker certainly provides the best of both worlds in terms of stitches and finishing, but it’s not easy when you don’t have your own sewing room. I’ve promised myself I can only have one out at a time, in an attempt to keep the kitchen reasonably tidy of sewing clutter πŸ˜‰ This plan is certainly keeping me fit, traipsing up and down the stairs. It’s a pain, but maybe a good pain as it did force me to pause overnight and therefore slow down, as I couldn’t face switching them over yet again.

When I got my overlocker out again a couple of days later though: disaster struck! I stupidly didn’t raise the thread arm before I began, and yep, you’ve guessed it: two of my threads snapped as a result 😦 Oh well, it was going to happen sooner or later! And at least it wasn’t all four of them… It took me several attempts, but it finally produced that lovely chain again.

I hesitated at sewing both the facings and the sleeves on my overlocker, but decided to just go for it! The sleeves went in just fine, and I was dutifully careful with my pins, taking it very slowly and removing them well in time. I was warned that overlockers and pins really don’t get along too well on my course, much more disastrous than running over one on a normal machine apparently.

Next time I must remember to cut both facing pieces on the fold if I’m using a knit fabric and avoiding zips. The flappy bits were annoying, and frustratingly resulted in me slightly misaligning the two back bodice pieces at the top. It’s a good job I wear my hair reasonably long, so no one’s going to really notice, but annoying all the same! As I’d used the overlocker, I couldn’t really unpick it either, so there are disadvantages too… Not too many though πŸ˜‰

However I LOVE this dress! Spending a little extra on the fabric really does seem to pay off for me πŸ™‚

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My husband put a selfie stick in my stocking this year! Do you think he’s trying to hint at something?! Anyway, today was the first time I’ve attempted to use it. Quite frankly it made me feel ridiculous! I’ve seriously got the giggles in these last two photos and I can’t quite manage to cut out the stick, or my daftly raised right arm from the finished photos, but at least you can see a close up of this beautiful fabric πŸ™‚

 

An Overlocked Mabel

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Sorry, I’m so wrapped up against the cold, (four layers and counting), that I’ve almost totally obscured the actual skirt in the first image above. We haven’t gone much above 2 degrees for about a week now and apparently it’s hanging around for a while longer yet…

This is the third Colette Mabel I’ve run up now. See here and here for the first two, but the first using my overlocker. A pattern that was simple and that I was already familiar with seemed the obvious first choice πŸ™‚ And do you know I’m now officially one of those people who can say I ran this up in under an hour?! Woo woo! Well, excluding the cutting out. I know that generally I’m trying to slow down with my sewing projects, but sometimes you just need a quick fix, and this was mine.

This is a really simple skirt to run up. Excluding the reinforced stitching along the top of the back vent and the hem, I managed to complete it all on my overlocker πŸ™‚ You can probably do these bits too if you’re prepared to switch needles or threads etc, but this was enough for me for now. And I didn’t want my sewing machine to feel too neglected…

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I bought the material from Leon’s in Chorlton. It’s a very fine, dark grey stripe, which was a step up from my cheap, scarf fabric, but not too much so, just in case. As before I cut a size S and added an extra inch or so to the length. The slicing action of the blade was a little nerve-racking to begin with, but the professional look it gives your innards (which I’m attempting to show above) is really satisfying. My machine doesn’t have a ruler guide as my sewing machine has (and the overlocker I used on my course), so I will have to be careful of this on future makes.

I was interested to read Zoe’s review of this pattern, where she questioned the purpose of the back vent in a stretch skirt. My previous two did lie pretty flat once pressed, but this one (presumably because it’s a slightly thicker fabric) proved trickier. Next time, as Zoe recommends I might omit this vent totally.

And here’s one I made earlier, and have now fixed with the addition of a zip! Much more practical to get on and off… Thanks, as ever, for the great advice πŸ™‚

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