An Experimental Myrtle

Anyone else having one of those weeks? Work’s been mad busy and I’m exhausted from the run up to exam season. I’m seriously craving half term! When I have found time to squeeze in a bit of sewing, it’s been pretty disappointing 😦 First there was the ho-hum top, then an awful blouse failure that I can’t even bring myself to blog about and now this…

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Despite its failures (I just couldn’t bring myself to try it on for photos and I’m seriously photo-ed out from MMMay), I think I’ve learnt a lot from the process. The pattern in question is Colette’s Myrtle, one of their beginner patterns ‘designed for knits’. I’ve been determined to rid myself of some of my early-fabric-purchase-mistakes for knits that have been clogging up my sewing drawers for far too long now. I didn’t have enough of either of these fabrics for a whole dress, so I thought I’d attempt a mash-up of the two, knowing full well that the weights were a little ‘off’: the striped fabric being a lightweight knit and the darker fabric being a much heavier, thick jersey (?). To be honest it was only ever going to be a wearable muslin, so it’s no great disaster but frustrating all the same…

As usual, Colette’s instruction booklet was really clear and helpful. I chose version 1, the longer version without the shoulder tabs. After a couple of projects coming up a little small of late, I opted for a size S, rather than an XS. Seeing as I was experimenting anyway, I thought I might as well be a bit braver with my overlocker too. It gets a little tiresome switching between two machines, so I thought I’d challenge myself to see if I could just use my overlocker for this.

I started by overlocking every edge of the pattern pieces. I knew some of this was going to be cut off later, but couldn’t quite work out which, so just did the whole lot, which did look lovely regardless. My first problem was hemming the neckline and armholes. I did cover sewing hems on the course I went on, but to be honest I was so busy getting the basics right, that my concentration had gone by then. I did have notes for a rolled hem though (presumably for sheer fabrics), so I decided to give that a go. I bravely, gulp, cut one of the threads and experimented on some scraps with just three threads. It wasn’t perfect, but did the job. You can just about make out the results in the picture, above right. It’s ok-ish… Anyone have any better ideas for how to do a normal hem on an overlocker?

Putting the bodice together was a little tricky, but worth it for a very pleasing fully-lined front. This was such a better way of finishing a cowl neck than the top I made recently. I managed to rethread the overlocker pretty easily (hurrah, it does get easier) to stitch the bodice up. But then it came to the pockets and I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to do this, so out came my regular machine. This is only the second time I’ve made pockets, but I was pretty pleased with how they turned out using a small, neat, zigzag stitch on my machine. The skirt was easy to put together as was attaching it to the bodice, but then came the elasticated waist…

Granted, I should have checked the accompanying link to a video tutorial recommended, but the kids had my iPad at the time, so I thought I’d wing it. The result was, quite frankly, a mess! While I understood the construction, it was my uneven sewing that really let me down. I managed to make really uneven pleats and then stupidly top stitched before I realised. This coupled with the fact that I was using a contrast, cream thread resulted in a complete bodge-up. Seriously, all-in-all this was a pretty ugly make. Ughhh!

The next morning I was determined to at least attempt to fix it. Firstly I removed the pockets, pretty though they were sewn (I did get something right), they were just too bulky in this fabric and really weren’t doing me any favours. I then attempted to unpick the waist. To cut a long story short, many holes and much swearing later this ended up in the bin. In my defence this is the first time I’ve totally hated a project. But there were just too many problems to fix…

Come on, make me feel better: what’s caused you to turn the air blue before being unceremoniously dumped in the bin?

So three dud-projects under my belt, surely the only way on from here is upwards? I sincerely hope so, as I’m about to attempt a jumpsuit: what could possibly go wrong there? πŸ˜‰ #jumpforjune

#MeMadeMay Week 3

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Monday: work. I wore my NewLook K6217 skirt. I really like the simple style of this skirt. If I needed any more skirts then I’d definitely make another one… Might have to make another one anyway πŸ˜‰

Tuesday: work again. I braved another linen skirt: my Delphine one (Tilly and the Buttons). It was just about warm enough for bare legs.

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Wednesday: day off. I marked in the morning and then met up with friends for lunch. I wore my other favourite top. It doesn’t go particularly well with these trousers, a bit ‘messy’ around the middle, but near enough.

Thursday: work. No surprises that my first repeat is my navy, linen Ginger (Colette). I really do love this skirt πŸ™‚

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A little overdressed for a Friday night curry with friends in my Galloping Horses dress, caused by lack of appropriate MeMade tops to go with jeans again. This is a really obvious gap to fill in with future makes, maybe even chambray jumpsuits? πŸ˜‰

Saturday was filled with marking and messing about in the garden with the kids. Again, I would have been willing to put bets on this Coco top being my second repeat item. If you’re really bored you could play spot the difference between this and Wednesday’s outfit πŸ˜‰ There aren’t a lot of them it turns out…

Being on the short side does make me pretty conscious of my posture. This coupled with my love of yoga appears however to have resulted in my shoulders being a little too far back in these last two shots. Before you shout ‘put them away’ I apologise….

No new insights gleaned this week, but confirmation that I need to branch out of my skirt-comfort zone and run up a couple of tops in a semi-posh style. Any recommendations?

Me and My Big Mouth… #jumpforjune

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So after much careful avoidance, I’ve only gone and finally purchased a jumpsuit pattern! Yes, you did just hear me right. Dear lord, how did I get into this?! Me and my big mouth, that’s how! At the grand, old age of forty two I’ll be attempting my first ever jumpsuit, after only having made two pairs of trousers previously, one of which didn’t fit. But up for a challenge and in honour of our host Chris over at handmadebychris.wordpress.com, where you can read more about the challenge (maybe even join in?!), not only am I attempting a jumpsuit, but aΒ culottes jumpsuit πŸ˜‰ Yikes!

Try as I might, I really couldn’t see how the popular BHL Holly was going to work for me: too little going on above the waistline and far too much volume going on below. I can imagine this looking stunning on many women… just not me! I thought about making something suitable for holiday wear, but couldn’t really find anything I liked. I thought about something loungewear-appropriate, but couldn’t really envisage myself wearing one, even in the privacy of my own lounge. In short: I was stumped!

But then I saw this: Vogue V9075. I love the dress version. So if nothing else, I could always make that at a later date. I even really like the jumpsuit… on the model… But on me? Mmmmm… Let’s just say it’s an interesting concept! The top half is great: neat and fitted, just how I like things. So again, I could always just use it as a top… But a mid-calf finish in the leg department is never going to work on me. However if I cut it off at the knee, maybe I could make it work? A kind of dress in disguise? There’s a whole lot of volume going on though, which scares me senseless, maybe a few less darts?

That’s a whole load of maybes! On the plus side it’s labelled as ‘very easy‘ so there’s that. But I’ve never worked with a Vogue pattern before, (any thoughts on ‘fit’ would be much appreciated). I didn’t have any brainpower left by the time I got to fabric choice, so I just went with my gut instinct and got some lovely, lightweight chambray (I can see it making a lovely fitted t-shirt already). Really not convinced that this is going to work …

It could be a complete disaster, but hopefully with a few laughs thrown in… what d’you think?