Summer Sewing (what do you mean I’m late?)

Ages ago (and I mean ages, some of these projects date from a plan I made a year ago) I sorted out a stack of things I wanted to make and cut them all out ready to go. Then they sat there, and they taunted me and made me feel guilty every time I made something that wasn’t on the cut out pile. I worked my way through it but it seemed to linger on and on. I made a deal with myself recently that I’d make one garment from the pile and then do a row of the quilt that I want to finish and I did that, twice, then found some sewing motivation from somewhere and finally got those projects out of the way this week.

Before that happened I made my ‘school bag’ for the year. This was on my list of things to make so it was an excusable project, although as I’m not planning to return to University until after Christmas and I’m probably not going to travel to campus all that much this year it wasn’t really a necessary make except for mentally and emotionally beginning to prepare to re-enter my life post-treatment.

This is another Perfect Quilted Tote by Elizabeth Hartman, I made the larger size two years ago and this time around it’s the tall tote’s turn.
Perfect Quilted TotePerfect Quilted Tote
When I’m digging through the scraps basket to do the patchwork panels I’m always thinking ‘grown up prints Anna’ and then my brain is all ‘bears!!! bees!! bunnies!!! foxes!!!’ and I end up with a bag that probably reflects my personality better but isn’t really the grown up image I’d like to put across, oh well…

This is a great pattern, it has a lovely finish and goes together really easily. The pocket part is one of those where you can’t really see what’s happening until it’s done, it’s a leap of faith, but if you do as you’re told without question you end up with this great pocket panel inside.
Perfect Quilted TotePerfect Quilted Tote

I bought the grey fabric specifically for a bag from the closing down sale at my local quilt shop, all the rest of the fabrics were from my stash and big basket of scraps. I love this bag and can’t wait to use it. In case you’re wondering about size it’s big enough to hold a MacBook Air with ease along with your pencil-case, diary and a book or two, probably not big enough to carry your lunch unless you’re not taking your laptop.

Next up was the final Baseball Skirt from the trio I decided to make. This uses up the last of the dark grey fabric I used for my Demi Pants and should be useful I hope.

Not a great photo but it’s a grey skirt on a grey dressform!

I had been putting off making the Schoolhouse Tunic I cut out. I wasn’t sure of the style any more or of the fabric which I bought at Ditto, it must have been on sale because I usually find them too expensive for my budget. I also thought I’d have to do french seams but it turned out that the fabric was thicker than I thought so I could overlock the edges instead which made this a much easier project, french seams on gathered sleeves is doable but a pain.

Schoolhouse TunicSchoolhouse Tunic

It’s hanging really awkwardly on the dressform, you can tell I’m not too certain about it as I didn’t bother to get it to lie straight…  It went together nicely and doesn’t look too bad, but I’m still unsure about the shape and the pink, we’ll see how much it gets worn. I did my usual extending the bodice by two inches in length, if you’re larger chested and don’t do this it gets rather boobalicious with the front slit.

I thought that as I’d now done two projects off the list I should stop and work on the quilt, but then I abandoned my plan (which happens far too regularly in my sewing room) and got stuck into the next project.

I bought the fabric for this one from The Textile Centre on Ebay ages ago, in one of my first orders from them I think. It was described as a textured viscose. I knew in my head what I wanted to make from it and went online searching, finding the Blueprints for Sewing Cabin Dress pattern. I then proceeded to make a test denim version (the one where the edges frayed and I put one of the pockets in wrongly) and then the bright leopard shirt where I moved the bust dart. All ready now with a fully tested and altered pattern I cut out the ‘real’ dress and proceeded to let it sit there for six months until it’s too cold to wear with sandals. Luckily it’s the kind of garment that can be worn with leggings, boots, shawl and a big cardigan so I will get some use out of it. I think I also paused before making this as I wanted it to be like I’d imagined and I was worried, in the back of my mind, that I’d be disappointed. Luckily this was not the case and I’m really pleased with how it came out!

Cabin DressCabin Dress

I added four inches to the length of the dress so it hits right above the knee and I used pre-made bias binding for all the edges.

I find the pockets of this pattern a little daunting. I don’t know why as the instructions are clear and it’s not actually that hard once you get going, it just seems like a big deal and as it’s the first step in the process it also contributed to putting me off starting. They came out well though and I managed to get them both right this time!

Cabin Dress Pocket

So all in all it’s a winner of a dress and I can’t wait to wear it. Of course now it’s done my brain is cruising the stash trying to find more fabric to make other versions, always the way…

And then there was one. One final project on the cut out and waiting pile and another one that I was putting off, this time because it was from a really slippy viscose and definitely needed french seams. This was the second version of the Sutton Blouse pattern, again in a plain fabric to balance out the fact that my tops are mainly prints. I wear the navy version of this all the time and it’s really flattering and comfortable so I’m sure this red version (fabric from The Textile Centre) will be worn a lot too.

As an aside, my brain must have been wandering when I cut the Sutton and the Schoolhouse Tunic as with both of them the front should be cut in two pieces and I’d cut it on the fold…
The colour is all wrong as I took the pictures about 5pm at night when I finished sewing it, it’s a nice clear bright red which a camera can’t seem to pick up no matter what time of day you take the picture.

Although this is a really flowy fabric it has a sort of peach skin feel to it which meant that it wasn’t as much of a bear to work with as I’d feared. The one thing I didn’t like on the first version was the side slits. The pattern calls for all french seams until the side seams which you’re supposed to overlock. I didn’t want to do that so I bodged a french seam/side slit method on the first version which isn’t too great and involved lots of fray check. This time around I frankly couldn’t be bothered to deal with the whole thing and knowing how loose this shirt is I did away with the side slits completely and sewed the entire side seam. I should mention that this was made possible by the fact that I lengthened the front piece to match the back as I’m not a fan of long/short hemlines.

So, now it’s done, the pile is gone, the list is crossed off and I don’t have to feel guilty when I’m working on something new and those projects are staring at me. My only sewing plan at the moment is to do the winter pyjamas as the weather has turned here and then to finish the quilt (I’m 3/4 of the way through the top so not too much left). Then I will pick and choose off the pile of stuff I have out and the pile of patterns I have printed. There are the Merchant and Mills patterns, trousers, dresses, two cases and quite a few tops including some new Stylearc patterns I bought in their recent sale.

But finally I will leave you with the Paris Toujours shawl all done and dusted, or as I’m mentally calling it the Prison Break Forever shawl (or perhaps the Wentworth Miller Forever shawl) as it was primarily knit whilst mainlining the show. I’m about 5 episodes before the end now, I know how it finishes as you can’t really avoid all spoilers about a show that old but I’m excited that I got into it right at the perfect time with WM being in other shows I watch (which is why I started watching Prison Break, I love him in The Flash so looked at what else he’d been in) and also with them reviving the show for a short series, although it’ll be next year before we see it over here I guess. Anyway, I obsessively knit this very easy repetitive pattern whilst obsessively following Michael Schofield’s exploits and here is the hard to photograph black shawl.
Paris ToujoursParis ToujoursParis Toujours
I used Drops Safran for this, the garter section is a bit shorter than called for but I didn’t want to start a new ball just for the sake of half an inch of knitting so I cast off. I love this yarn, it is replacing my beloved discontinued Rowan 4ply cotton as it’s soft and matt (mercerised cotton has it’s place but sometimes you want a matt shade that’s not as stiff), plus it’s incredibly reasonably priced.

If you look at my Flickr of late you will see that I went on a bit of a Drops spree last week. I found two sites that had it really cheaply (Cotton Pod for the Drops Loves You 7, The Purple Sheep no longer has the sale on I don’t think). I stocked up on Drops Loves You 7 which I’ve not used before but took the risk and am happy to report is a soft cotton and not like dishcloth cotton, lots of Safran and some more Paris. We’re talking 70p, 75p and 80p a ball here and free postage from one shop, I got 10 projects worth for about £5 a project including the postage. When I was diagnosed with cancer I remember looking at fabric and yarn online and thinking that I probably shouldn’t buy any more because I didn’t want to leave someone to sort out getting rid of my stashes should the worst happen, a sobering thought, along with reasoning that it was better to leave my kids money rather than yarn and fabric should I not be around… Since then I’ve changed my attitude and I see buying yarn and fabric as more of a fuck you to cancer. Of course I’m going to be around to use it and wear it and enjoy working with it all so there’s no reason to stop buying as I have done in the past (generally when things are on sale at silly prices in large amounts). I’m not SABLE yet!

Right, going to get on with the first pair of winter pjs now that I cut out last night. The sewing mojo quit there for a little while but it seems to be back now so best ride the wave while I can!

ETA – opps, totally forgot a project! I finished this a while back and it hasn’t made the blog until now. This is an Almada dressing gown made using a matt satin that was on sale from The Textile Centre.

This was quite an easy make, the cutting out of big pieces from slippy fabric being the hardest part really. I added a hanging loop at the back as the hook on my bedroom door is quite vicious and would put a hold in this fabric or it’d just slip off the hook all the time and be annoying.

I have some other fabric to make a second version, it’s really thin though and definitely a summer cover up rather than a dressing gown so it might take a while to get made. And that’s defintely all I’ve made recently, over and out!


One thought on “Summer Sewing (what do you mean I’m late?)

  1. WOW!…another lot of sewing…I love the tote…and the dress with the slit pockets is so pretty…it has a nice sort of retro look about it…

    ~Have a lovely day!

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