Shopping Revelations 4

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I love it when this happens! Originally £75, this was reduced to £50, and then £25. But seriously, that was a big hole, two of them in fact! The shop assistant was obviously amazed that I was prepared to buy it at all, asking me incredulously: ‘you have noticed the big hole in the front, haven’t you?’. Well, doh! Yes! ‘I can sew…’ I replied, fairly confidently. She was still mystified. But still, £25 seemed a lot to pay for something no one else was likely to buy. I haggled a bit further and got it for £15 🙂 Hurrah! The sleeves made me do it!

It’s pretty much the exact same style as my last ‘reduction’ bargain, see here. The peplum must be a bit of a scrapper by nature I guess. Especially when a coat hanger or two goes awry… This repair wasn’t quite as straight forward however. It turns out this ‘trick’ is a lot less subtle when you’re working with a lighter-coloured knit.

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I was tempted to do this on my overlocker, but at the time it was threaded up with black thread, and I couldn’t quite face rethreading it. I was also uncertain as to whether it would ‘lie’ right. Anyone else tackled something like this on their overlocker? Anyhow, I did it by hand. Not sure if you can make it out, but it’s ended up a bit wonkier than I would have liked. However in reality who’s going to be looking this up close? From a distance it looks just fine. I figure if anything, it’s the sleeves that will be attracting all the attention. A white jumper isn’t something I would consider buying normally, but with our crazy weather of late (today we’ve gone from sunglasses to hail to snow (!?) to tipping it down with rain and back, just now, to sunglasses again…) So actually, a light colour with a bit of warmth might be just the thing! Even if I have to wear a vest underneath for a while.

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Finally, Trousers That Fit!

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They fit! Hurrah! I can’t tell you how happy this makes me after all that palaver with my last attempt 🙂 The pattern is Simplicity K1699, a second copy of which (after I’d mistakenly cut out a size too small last time), luckily came free with a sewing magazine. This time I cut a size 12.

I struggled to find nice, work-appropriate fabric. There’s generally not an awful lot of choice in the shops near me, most of it coming in heavy, navy or black pinstripes. I spotted this beauty tucked away in a corner of Abakhans in Manchester. It’s a lovely, lightweight kind of taupe (almost grey) wool with a fine, cream stripe. It didn’t come cheap at £12 a metre . However after having hastily purchased a pair of ‘make-do’ grey, work trousers from a Marks and Spencers outlet store recently for £25, which I’ve only worn once and hate already (I’m always in between ‘standard’ sizes and having gone for the larger option this time, they hang awkwardly off my hips and the fabric is just plain nasty!), this taupe fabric as a result is looking a lot better value for money.

Determined to get a better, internal finish this time I took your advice and overlocked my fabric pieces before sewing. Thanks for the nudge Chris 🙂 Not before however, reluctantly acknowledging that I needed to change colour on my overlocker from my Winter black to a more Spring-like cream. I tried the ‘tie it on’ method, but pulling it through (as my owners’ guide suggested), was so tricky that I ended up just cutting them and starting again. Luckily, it worked first time 🙂 Despite the extra effort, this has made such a difference to the finish. They look so much more professional. Result!

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This pattern was really easy to follow. The only thing I altered was substituting the standard zip for an invisible one, which I much prefer. I used grosgrain ribbon (another tip, thank you) for my waistband. The only bit I found tricky was folding in the ends. There must be a neater way of folding it in on itself around the top of the zip, but I figure no one is ever likely to spot this, so I’m not going to lose any sleep over it…

I never find trousers as flattering on my shape as I do skirts or dresses, but despite this I’m really pleased with these. Making the next size up seems to have resulted in a slightly wider, leg shape than I was expecting however. I don’t hate it, but when I next use this pattern, which I will 🙂 I might well take them in ever so slightly to avoid looking like they’re drowning me.

So finally, I can tick off one of my sewing resolutions for 2015. While I’d hardly say that I’ve ‘mastered’ the art of trousers, I can certainly say that I can now make a fairly decent stab at an appropriate pair for work. Phew! Anyone else slowly ticking off their sewing resolutions?

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Put a Bird on it!

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I’ve been meaning to have a go at some simple, appliqué-style sweatshirts for the children for ages, so this month’s theme over at The Monthly Stitch gave me just the nudge I needed. I bought a couple of plain, school-style sweatshirts from John Lewis for the bargain price of just £9 each. The quality of these is lovely too, with a snugly, fleeced reverse. I really must find a suitable sweatshirt pattern for all of us though, as I suspect they’re a pretty easy make and the school uniform colours these come in are pretty limited past this grey. Maybe except for the ribbing…

Anyhow, as the theme was birds, I knew just the template for my daughter’s design. It came free with an issue of Love Sewing magazine. Our printer’s not working at the moment, so I had to copy it instead. Luckily, that wasn’t too difficult. The fabric also came free with a magazine, so it was the perfect excuse to use it up. I used Bondawebbing to affix the fabric to the sweatshirts, then simply zigzag-stitched around the designs.

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A more ‘masculine’ bird for a nine year old, fussy boy child is harder to come by… Eventually he came up with the idea of an American eagle. I googled it and luckily came across a template to again trace. Phew! I didn’t fancy my chances at drawing one of these! To my shame, I’ve never sewed for my son before, so locating some red, white and blue fabric suitable for boys wasn’t too easy. Luckily I remembered an old, striped shirt of mine that had ripped across the back. I’d stashed in my fabric drawers for just such an occasion. Perfect! As it was a plainer design, I managed to repurpose the old buttons off it too, which were fabric-covered in a red gingham. I added these to the middle of each star with a final one for the middle of the eagle.

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If you have some small humans to sew for amongst your friends and family, then I really recommend this as a quick-fix project and it’s perfect for using up scraps. The design possibilities are endless and at £9 a sweatshirt these are a fraction of similar styles at Mini Boden and such like.

Can you tell how much fun they had taking these photos? They love action shots! Good job I managed to get just one where the designs actually showed up, before they started jumping around…