Saturday, January 31, 2015

FO: Freemantle Coat by Marilla Walker

Look peops! I made a coat!

I'd been devouring little sneak peeks of this pattern on instagram and marvelling at the striking resemblance it had to some of the coat styles I'd been pinning on Pinterest. So when Marilla put out a call asking for pattern testers...well....I was straight in there like a rat up a drainpipe!

Enter the Freemantle Coat by Marilla Walker!  The cocoon shape is wide across the body and torso and tapers to a narrower shape at the hem, which on the view I opted for, stops just above the knee. There are three views to choose from, two sleeve options, and button/giant popper or zip closure options too as well as welt pockets (which I ommitted on my sample due to time constraints)  So in my book, this pattern is great value for money.  Here it is...Just check out the giant houndstooth version Marilla made!


Particularly cool is the construction of the sleeve with its integral gusset extension.  A bit of a head scratcher on first inspection, but actually really simple, clever , and strangely satisfying! Just folow the instructions step by step, and have faith, all becomes clear! Talking of construction....SUPER straightforward. The style is so simple, with such clean lines and subtle details that it's a breeze to sew. No troublesome fitting issues due to the ease built into the design. In short, this was a cinch to sew. The only possible stumbling block I can see for a beginner would be the welt pockets. In terms of the the quality of the drafting I was also super impressed. Everything lined up perfectly including the intersecting seams of the underarm gusset (I love that word).

What made things even simpler for me was the fabric I chose. This beautiful boiled wool from Dragonfly Fabrics. I didn't need to underline or finish seams which cut down my construction time considerably. I just adore this fabric, A dream to cut, sew and wear, I had a hard time choosing which colour to go for when browsing the range, but I'm so glad I opted for this teal. I've had so many compliments.

There are literally no negatives for me with this make. And I am totally going to be making more. I fancy trying this out in sweatshirt material for instance. The only thing I may change next time is the button placement which I may move marginally closer to the the edge of the opening, as on mine it doesn't quite hold it flat. Although I also fancy having a play with the proportions and mixing the sleeve options from view B (omitting the ribbing) with view A. Maybe playing with an asymmetric opening or adding a shawl collar.

In any case, this pattern has me excited as it's ripe for some creative play, and I can definitely see another Freemantle in my future!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Refashion: Cropped Tee to Banded Tee

This is a really simple refashion that elevates a cropped boxy tee to something a little more interesting and with a bit more coverage. I don't do "cropped". Trust me....nobody wants to see that! This can work with a standard tee too. really anything that you want to add a bit of length or design detail to. It's a great way to use up an otherwise redundant strip of a favourite fabric. Pick one thats a similar weight and drape to the top you're refashioning. I'm mixing woven with jersey here....

To start...turn the tee inside out. Put it on and mark where you want your contrast fabric band to sit...

Cut straight across the tee just below this point to allow for some seam allowance...I'm a sod for not measuring or marking anything. But you can always measure 5/8" down from your pin and chalk a line across as a guide if you're more conscientious than I am!

Cut your contrast fabric band at your desired width. Lay it between your two tee pieces and mark where it needs to line up with the rest of the tee, with a line of pins. Sew down this line and finish/trim raw edges so you have a tube of fabric the same width as your tee.

With the tee RS out and the band WS out, place the bottom of the tee inside the contrast fabric tube, (the tee will be right sides together with the fabric tube) line up raw edges, then pin and sew all the way around. Repeat this step with the top portion of your tee, sewing it to the other raw edge...

Give it a good press and you're done!

I used a serger for this project. You can use a standard machine and just zig zag the raw edges. Best of all....no hemming (as you're using the original hem of the tee) and takes about 20 minutes!

Happy sewing!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Refashion: Sweater to Kimono Cardi

So I mentioned in my last post (aka "that time I turned a cardigan into a sweater") that I would most likely do the same in reverse at some point. Welllllll.....

Pretty straightforward this peops. Take a long baggy sweater and cut the panel out of the front like so. Round the back up close to the neckline ribbing, then straight down the front perpendicular to the neckline...

Pin inch wide grosgrain or cotton twill tape all along the raw edge on the right side..leave about an inch spare at either end for turning under later...

Stitch about a 1.4 inch from the edge of your ribbon all the way around. First with a straight stitch. Then with a zig zag stitch right up close to your straight stitch. The zig zag will secure the cut/raw edge of the knit and prevent it unravelling. If you zig zagged the raw/cut edge before applying the ribbon, you run the risk or stretching the fabric out, resulting in a curly edge. The ribbon stabilises the edge first. Bingo! No curly edge...

Flip the ribbon band to the inside and pin and stitch in place, (turning both loose ends of the ribbon under first!) Stitch in the ditch or just in from the seam...

The sleeves on this were pretty shot....

So they got lopped off and hemmed....

...and that was it really! The main purpose of this was to demonstrate the use of grosgrain ribbon to create, essentially,  a stabilised button band. I left this cardigan loose and open because that's what I like. But with this technique you could just as easily convert a sweater to a fully functioning button through cardigan by adding snaps, studs, toggles or proper buttonholes. A technique to play with, no?!