Crochet…moving past beginner mode

Any crochet fans out there? I learned the basics of crochet in primary school at about 8yrs old. I’ve stuck to rectangles since then..blankets, scarves, bags. Every now and again I thought about making myself something but always picked up knitting instead.

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Anyway, not long ago I was in a shop and got talking to another customer who was buying yarn for a crochet project. She told me she never had the patience for knitting and that crochet was so much faster, when compared row-by-row…

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That was enough to make me re-consider tackling a crochet pattern! Sometimes you just want a quick make.  I saved a few on ravelry, but nothing grabbed my attention until the Skysail top by Lena Fedotova Pattern page here

It’s a simple shape made in one piece from the neck down. Since it was my first time following a pattern it took a while to get started, but the instructions were written out and had diagrams so it helped with any confusion I was having.

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The photo above shows where I started to work on the body after I had skipped the space for the sleeves. This part confused me a little, but it was a matter of just trusting the instructions.

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The US crochet terms are different to what I’m used to, but once I kept track it didn’t cause any issue. I did mess up a little at the side seams, caused by tv distraction..but it’s not obvious enough to bother me.

The bright colour choice was inspired by a lovely blog I follow called Yards of Happiness. Dana finishes knits with super – human speed and uses some great colour combinations!

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The neckline was too wide open, so I added two more rows to it afterwards and they blended in fine.

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If you’ve ever made granny squares, then this is essentially a granny square with some extra details!  I’m pretty happy with how it turned out, and yep it was much faster than knitting😉

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I’m on a search for my next crochet make…maybe a simple cardi/jacket.

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Burdastyle Cape Jacket 105 03/2018 (part2)

More details on my Burdastyle Cape Jacket … Part one is here

The photo below shows the sleeve inserted between the front and side front panel and has the side back panel attached.

I realised at this point that it might be easier to line the side panels before attaching the sleeves. Just for the sake of having less fabric pieces to wrangle with at the machine.

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I mentioned in my last post that the sleeve pleats looked bulky, so I removed the sleeve and trimmed the pleats from the inside.

Then I lined the side / underarm panels before re-attaching the sleeves.  Underarm curves sewn right sides together:

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Curves clipped, turned right side out, pressed and then understitched:

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I also stitched the centre back seam on the main fabric and had cut the back lining on a fold with an added pleat at the back neck.

I joined the sleeve at the back by sandwiching it between the back panel and side panel.  First laying out the back (right side up), then the sleeve (right side down), then the side panels (right side down).

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Notice how the side back panel does not reach up to the back neckline – there is a notch on the back panel for lining this up.

Then to add to any confusion you might have…(hopefully I’m making sense!)… I placed the back lining right side down and stitched through all layers – but only for about 1/3 of the way down. See below:

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The reason being I wanted the fabric and lining to hang free from each other below this point for comfort and for ease of hemming later.

You can see in the photo below that I kept the lining and fabric separate when sewing the rest of the seam.

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I repeated this process with the other side, except I didn’t catch the back lining piece until later as it would have been too awkward.

Here it is inside-out on my dressform.

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I closed the lining seam after this photo. I pinned from the right side and the reached inside to pull through the top part to machine sew .

 

I took a break to assemble the neck facing . I have a fabric in mind to make a dress or skirt to wear with this jacket. So I used a bias-cut strip of that fabric to finish the facing edges: (it also matches the lining!)

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Phew….nearly there … I love this type of jigsaw puzzle!

Burdastyle Cape Jacket 105 03/2018 (part1)

This jacket really stood out for me when I picked up the March copy of Burdastyle magazine. I don’t buy every issue as I’ve collected so many over the years and I’ll never get through all of them.

Do you think people still have an interest in blog posts? So much sewing has moved onto instagram and I’ve noticed less people blogging.  I’m starting to miss hearing from some of the makers I follow. I know I like to see more detail behind the making so I’ll keep sharing when I can. I have  something new to show right now!

Burda cape jacket

It’s described as having “..sleeves tucked into an inverted pleat” and has a difficulty rating of expert. Burda magazine is known for it’s minimal(!) instructions, and I don’t always follow them.

This time I wanted to line my jacket and took some photos as I went along to show what I did differently.

I fused strips of interfacing to all the hems and pressed them before assembly…just a habit I have with jackets.

Next I sewed the sleeve pleats :

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They got pressed flat, and I stitched through the centre of the pleat, just at the top.

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I was going to leave the sleeves unlined,  and hemmed by hand. But I wasn’t happy with how it looked. I removed the hand stitches, added lining – machine sewn to hem allowance (lining was cut shorter than the outer sleeve ) so the sleeve is bagged out similar to the body of a coat.

You can see the difference in the picture : left/before – right/after

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Then the sleeve was sewn between the front and side front panels. I used a medium weight crepe and the pleats looked bulky after pressing:

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So I trimmed the excess away on the crepe and the sleeve lining:

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Below is how it looks with the sleeve caught between the front panels, before being attached to the back panel.

The lining is definitely not matching…but I liked the colours together and prefer not to buy new fabric if I have usable leftovers!

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Half way through it started to remind me of a dress-up set I had as a child..

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But I love it anyway..! And I still have to make a dress or skirt to wear with it….More to come..😉

Quick Tip – Button sewing

I hope 2018 has started off smoothly for you? Luckily I didn’t blog about any new years resolutions or I would have to go back to delete that post!

It’s been a while… Blogging was abandoned while annoying distractions like work got in the way… So to ease back into 2018, here’s one I made earlier 😉

A little thing that catches my eye is when buttons are stitched on so firmly that they pucker the garment.  If the button is sewn on too tightly, there isn’t any space for the layer with the buttonhole to fit.

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Ideally with a flat button, you should leave some room between the button and the button band, so that the buttonhole layer fits nicely, and doesn’t look either squished or too loose.  The amount of space depends on the thickness of the layer on top.

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Which brings me to my old black cardi… I’ve been working my way through some alterations – after having a big clean out of clutter.  I had bundles of clothes given to me by family members to re-use, along with bags of fabrics – mostly curtain remnants.  I sent the bulk of it to recycling – and I was left with just one box of clothes that were worth altering, and one box of clothes that I might re-use at some point.  All the extra stuff had just gathered over the years and was getting in the way. Now I can finally see all the pieces that I actually want to use!

One item for a quick fix was a cropped black cardi that was missing some buttons.  I found 6 buttons that were almost exactly the same …sometimes close enough is good enough!

 

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I used a hairslide under the button to give a little breathing room:

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Stitched through a couple of times

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Then removed the slide, brought the thread up between the button and fabric and wound it around 4-5times, then brought the thread to the back and knotted it off. Job done!

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I’ll keep dipping into that box of alterations, and hopefully it won’t start to grow into multiple boxes again!

How to shorten a jacket cuff…by not shortening a jacket cuff!

I try to avoid most alterations, they can become more than you bargained for – see Mrs Mole’s blog if you need to understand why!  But sometimes I will repay a favour to a friend, which is how this came my way.
 I needed to shorten a child’s suit jacket sleeve (image below).  It has three buttons and buttonholes, and was needed quickly.

But rather than mess with those buttons and hem corners, I took off the sleeves, and cut the extra length from the top.

I traced the new seamline with thread and checked the fit and new length.  Then it was just a quick trim before fitting it back into the armhole.

This could also be done with a mans suit , depending on how much needs to be shortened. Look out for a very tapered sleeve as if you move down too far you might not have enough width to fill the armhole!  Always a good idea to thread trace and check fit first 🙂