For the Love of Leftovers!

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I did originally go back and buy another metre of this lovely fabric (John Lewis January sale) with a yet anotherย Mabel in mind. But when I got it out again I realised that if I didn’t bother with any pattern matching, I could easily run one up with the lovely leftovers from my Megan dress, thus leaving an intact metre for something else…

In case you haven’t come across this pattern before, it’s a super easy knit pattern from Colette. I cut a size S, and version 3, but this time omitting any kind of back vent. This made for a much neater shape (kinda wishing I’d left it off my others) and an even quicker make ๐Ÿ™‚ I had a long strip of fabric left over, so rather than return it to my stash, the obvious solution was yet another infinity scarf: super cosy for the continued, cold weather we’re experiencing. And really satisfying using up every last scrap of my original purchase: there are some benefits to being a shortie and always having to cut loads off the length ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Both incidentally completed on my overlocker. So used to it by now that I almost forgot to mention it, which has to be a good thing ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

So, trousers…

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So, my challenge this year was to master making trousers! Well, I’ve made a start at any rate; the mastering could take a little longer… I selected two patterns that I thought would flatter (and let’s be honest), looked fairly simple: Colette’s Clover and Simplicity’s 1699. I’ve since become unsure of the former, sensing that it might be a little too fitted for my shape (although I guess that depends on the choice of fabric?), so the latter it was for my first attempt.

The hardest part was selecting a fabric I liked. I wanted these to be for work so I needed something pretty smart. Most of the pinstripes in wool (leg-lengthening for all us shorties) just seemed too thick. A couple of you suggested something with a little stretch to alleviate fitting problems. I didn’t quite manage that, but I came close with this thinner, light-weight wool (Leon’s in Chorlton) which is a charcoal grey with a blue grid-like design. I wasn’t sure about the horizontal stripes in it, worried they might exaggerate my hips if it pulled even slightly, but it was the only one I really liked.

And do you know, the making part wasn’t too bad at all? The style is a straight legged style with a side zip closing. I cut a UK size 10, which usually works well for skirts (sometimes smaller for knits). Can you see where this is going already? The main body of the trousers came together really easily, just like a skirt in fact. Sewing the inner side seams (ie the crotch area) was new, but I back stitched to reinforce, as directed, and it looked just fine.

I was even really good and paused overnight, before attempting to insert the zip. New year’s resolutions to slow down and all that ๐Ÿ˜‰ By this stage however I could foresee a problem: they were looking mighty small! The zip was a bit trickier to insert than in a skirt, as there wasn’t a lot of room to manoeuvre without catching the other side up in my stitching. I used a centred zip, following my ‘Sew Step by Step’ (Alison Smith) method (that I used here, for my butterfly cushions). This wasn’t as neat, but just about passable. Definitely an area to work on for next time!

The waist area of the trousers was finished with ’twill tape’, but as I had no idea what this was (some form of bias binding?), I simply used a length of grosgrain ribbon I had which matched the colour of the fabric really well. Sadly, as I guessed, they came up pretty small. I can get them on and the shape is surprisingly flattering (phew!) on both my legs and bum, but they’re just not fastening up! Maybe it’s just being too cruel to yourself attempting to fit trousers for the very first time in January? I’ve left them unhemmed for now. I figured I’d try to get them on again in a month or so, when I’m back to my fighting weight after the Christmas feasting. It’s kind of frustrating as the fabric’s lovely and they’re so close to fitting, but despite this I do feel proud that I’ve even attempted them, so there’s that ๐Ÿ™‚

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All in all, I’d really recommend this trouser pattern if you’re a first time trouser-maker too. I should imagine it’s a pretty flattering shape on most figures. Annoying as it was that this pattern came free with a sewing magazine after I’d already bought it, now it seems like fate ๐Ÿ˜‰ If these still don’t fit when I’ve lost the Christmas bloat, then I can cut the next size up out of my second copy. A silver lining in every cloud and all that…

 

Top 5 Hits 2014

Anyone who reads this blog regularly will know that I could easily have compiled a separate, top 5 skirts hits alone, but I’ve tried to add a little more variety in here than that. It’s not (always) all about the skirts ๐Ÿ˜‰

First up had to be my Galloping Horses dress. This was probably the first dress I made that felt totally me and was pretty, well made. I’ve worn it lots and still feel very proud of it.

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Next up up had to be the Meganย (Love At First Stitch, Tilly and the Buttons) that fitted! I felt like I’d truly mastered knits by this pattern. It’s super comfy and can be worn both casually and more dressed up, so versatile too.

Thirdly, the best thing that came out of my stash-diet: my tweed top. Another item that really does get worn lots and doesn’t feel home-made at all (I’m wondering if I’ll stop feeling like this at some point, I guess when my skills finally catch up to my enthusiasm).

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Well, I managed three before a skirt got a look in ๐Ÿ˜‰ Not too bad for me! Fourthly, it had to be my navy blue, linen Gingerย (Colette patterns),ย possibly my favourite me-make ever ๐Ÿ™‚

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My surprise hit of the year had to be my 70s Clemenceย (Love At First Stitch, Tilly and the Buttons). I think it was feeling guilty for causing me such pain to make, but it’s been worn lots and lots. It’s easy to wear in both Summer and Winter, so maybe that’s why it’s become such a favourite. And it even gets compliments! Now, I never imagined that would happen :-). Lastly (and yes, I can count ), I’ve snook in my black, linen Delphineย (Love At First Stitch, Tilly and the Buttons).ย This is the most magically slimming skirt ever (high, narrow waist combined with the colour black?), I’ve been asked many times whilst wearing it if I’ve lost weight, which of course never fails to make me smile. Although anyone of a similar height and build would know it’s pretty easy to ‘look’ like I’ve gone up or down a size, depending on how high my heels are and what I’m wearing, pretty much overnight…

I loved that my hits list took more deliberation than my misses! I must be getting somewhere. Or maybe the misses are more firmly ‘burnt’ in my mind…

Thanks again to Gillian of craftingrainbow.wordpress.com for hosting ๐Ÿ™‚