Sunday, 28 October 2012

Panties to go with my bra

Thank you all for your comments on my Kwik Sew 3843 top, I am going to take it away with me tomorrow on my business trip.

I managed to painfully unpick my black Jalie jeans last night while watching TV (took me over an hour) and was very thankful for my illuminated magnifying glass. I took in the side seams, reduced the flare and then refitted the waistband and top-stitched them again and now they feel much better so it was worth the effort.

I had time to finish a couple of pairs of panties to go with the last bra that I made.  I am trying to always make panties to go with each bra so I build up a nice collection of matching sets but its taken me a while to get around to these.

I have had a lovely weekend.  Firstly my D Mike and I hadn't seen each other all week, so it was lovely to have him home, and second, because I had all my children and my granddaughter with me for dinner on Saturday evening along with Bentley my daughter's Great Dane.  It is rare when your children grow up to have them around together, and its quite funny that they seem to regress and start play fighting and messing around like they did when they were home - its quite sweet really.

Well this will be my last post for a few days because I have a business trip and an early start tomorrow morning 7:30am flight (deep joy) so need to get ready for an early night - I hope you have all had a great weekend.

Catch you later...............

Kwik Sew 3843

Today I managed to finish Kwik Sew 3843.  The more Kwik Sew patterns I make up, the more I love them.

The pattern description states:

Fabrics: Designed for stretch knits only with 35% stretch across the grain.  They suggest: Interlock, jersey, matte jersey, fabrics with Lycra.  Pattern includes 1/4' (6mm) seam allowances.

Very close fitting pull-over tops have princess seams, raglan sleeves and triangular insets on front and back.  View A has lapped fronts, full length sleeves, and is made from three contrast fabrics.  View B has elbow length sleeves and turtleneck.

I made view A, but only used two colours for mine.

This is a little like putting a jigsaw together, however not very complicated, and you can more or less make the whole thing on your serger/cover stitch machine.

The instructions are straight-forward and simple to understand so this would be possible for a competent beginner to make.

I had a little of the black and white fabric left over from my Jalie scarf-collar top blogged about here last year, and some ribbed black knit, so decided they would work well together.

I would highly recommend this pattern if you want to create a top with a little difference, and while I only used two colours in my top, you could use 3 or even more if you want a rainbow burst of colour lol.

Catch you later.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Butter wouldn't melt in her mouth

We had the pleasure of babysitting our beautiful little granddaughter today, and she loves to help me bake cakes.  With this in mind, I decided to quickly run up a little apron for her to wear, instead of taking one of mine and folding it over several times so that she could walk.

The apron needs a little adjustment as you can see, but she was really happy to dress the part before our cake baking session.  This look is definitely one of "butter wouldn't melt in her mouth"  looks- of course this angelic pose didn't last for the whole day.

One other item I am working on is Kwik Sew 3643 top which is coming along nicely, and I have bitten the bullet and unpicked the waistband and side seams of the first Jalie jeans because they are just too loose and it was really annoying me.  I HATE UNPICKING but I love the jeans and they just need taking in - another job for tomorrow.

The clocks go back here in the UK, so technically we are meant to get an extra hour in bed, however its hard enough to persuade my D Mike to stay in bed later than 7am - goodness know what time he will be up tomorrow - probably 6am lol.

Have a great day/evening and I'll catch you later................

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

McCalls 5252 - Black & Purple

This is version No.2 of the McCalls 5252 with Mike's favorite colour purple.

I used some spare shirting fabric for the under-collar, and to enhanced the zippers too. An extra feature was the addition of a little zipper pocket at the front and added thin strips of purple fabric to the zipper pulleys too.  Last but not least rather than turn under the black upper collar, I attached a bias strip to the bottom and then turned it under.

Confession time!!!

I couldn't get an identical zipper for the neck so had to use a navy zipper which had a smaller pulley, and it was slightly too short so I added the small square of fabric to help cover the gap.  You can't really see the navy of the zipper because its covered, but its confession time so I am owning up to my mistake.

Last but not least and the point I could kick myself was despite using a pressing cloth, and hardly touching the fabric, I managed to slightly mark the fabric.  It looks worse in the photograph, but if was reading this blog and looked at the photos, I would notice it - sorry just me!  I can always spot when someone wears the same dress to a Christmas dinner too lol - I know get a life. 

I don't think any of the faults will prevent Mike from wearing this, but I think I am more annoyed at these errors than he will be.

Hope your sewing is going without too many problems.  Catch you later..............

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Something Somewhere Went Terribly Wrong - McCalls 5252 for Mike

Ok, its cold its wet and its miserable outside and it feels like we are on the cusp of winter rather than autumn.  This is a signal to start making fleece tops for Mike and I to wear on our bikes and McCalls 5252 is a TNT for me having made quite a few before.

The pattern cover states that this is:

Misses and mens unlined vests and jackets: Loose fitting, unlined vest or jacket has yoke front, collar or hood, with or without sleeve and inseam pockets; all garments have stitched hems; vest A, jacket B, vest D and jacket E have front zipper closures; jacket C and F are pullover.

I had purchased this anti-pill fleece from Goldhawk Road a few weeks back for £5 a metre and thought it would look great with just a splash of colour, so I found myself reaching for a piece of my orange cotton drill that was left over from my Jalie jeans blogged about here to use for the under-collar.

Mike loves all his IT-centric logos for his tops, and for this top,  I used one I created some time back using my Janome embroidery machine software.   In case you can't see the image clearly enough it shows the evolution of man from ape to man sitting on the computer with the text " Something Somewhere Went Terribly Wrong".   I picked up the orange for the embroidery thread, and  in order to ensure that the embroidery didn't sink into the fleece, I used a water soluble stabiliser (which you can still see on the design and will dissolve once washed).

There are a couple of design aspects of this top that I chose to ignore.  The first is the silly little top pocket, that without a zip is next to useless because whatever you put in it will just fall out.  The 2nd is the set of pockets at the bottom front.

This is a great little top to whip up on the serger/overlocker, and I only had to use the conventional sewing machine to insert the zipper and top-stitch the collar.

Mike is now on his way to London wearing his new top and I am now going to think about what to make next.

I hope you are all having a great weekend.  Catch you later......

Friday, 19 October 2012

A large splash of orange

If you have been reading my blog for a little while, you will know that when I have learnt a new technique I usually follow it up by repeating the exercise again - remember my shirts, bras, twin sets lol.  But as the saying goes, practice makes perfect and by sewing another pair of jeans as quickly as possible it allows me to make a few minor changes to help improve the fit and refresh my memory on how best to put these together.  In the case of my jeans it may be third time lucky for the 100% perfect pair.

My first pair went together well, but after a little wear they feel a little too big.  I made a few minor adjustments to this new pair to correct the size, and although I haven't worn them yet, they are a fraction too tight, but better than the ones that are too big...........  This of course is due to the difference in fabrics, these orange pair being a cotton drill.

I used the same embroidery design for the back pocket (sadly the photo doesn't do the embroidery justice), this may become my signature embroidery for all jeans (we will see).  I added some extra rivets to the coin pocket on this pair too.  One minor change for these was the use of a twin needle, the first pair I sewed each row of top-stitching separately, other than that everything else was done the same.

Still hopefully my diet will kick in and these will fit perfectly in a couple of weeks, in the meantime I have some more denim that can be used and earmarked for my future jeans sewing project.

This week we have been on vacation, and spent a couple of days in Devon.  I will leave you with a couple of photographs of the view from our friends house.

Catch you later.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Jalie Jeans 2908

Ok this is just a quick post but I wanted to share my FIRST EVER jeans which I have reviewed on PR here.

I used Jalie stretch jean pattern 2908 and cut out my muslin for fitting help at our sewing weekend.  We had to move the inside leg seam and make the counter adjustment on the outside leg seam and take a huge amount of fabric from underneath the bottom too. - Thanks to Sigrid and Viv who helped me with these.

The size I cut out was as close to my current jeans but there was a fair amount of fabric removed from the muslin before cutting out the fashion fabric.  I had previously subscribed to the Kenneth D King Jean-ius tutorial on Craftsy and dipped in and out of it for visual tips.  Look out for the special offers on these classes, if you can get them at the lower price they are well worth it.

Originally I started topstitching in black, but I really wanted to use my embroidery machine for the back pockets and found this cute design and picked a gold coloured thread for them.  I hadn't done too much topstitching, so I just went over it in the gold.  I used two threads in the one needle for the topstitching so no need to purchase special thicker topstitching thread.

On the whole I am delighted with the jeans.  I added jean rivets, and a jean's button using my Prym pliers (worth their weight in gold if you like adding snaps, rivets etc) and copied my regular RTW jeans for the topstitching, selecting just the inside leg for the fake flat felled seam, and then just the top part of the outer leg.

These were the boot cut, normal rise (rather than the low rise).  I felt the boot cut was more of a 1970's flair so reduced them to match my RTW width (much better) and even now I feel I could have reduced them by another 1-2".

If I was to make these again, which I definitely will, I will make them a little smaller.  I was being a little cautious just in case there wasn't enough give in the fabric, but there was enough ease in this fabric to have sewn a larger seam - next time.

These will now go in my bag for our two day outing to the South Coast tomorrow.

If you haven't tried jeans, but have sewn trousers/pants before, then you should be able to do these no problem.  I liked the results from using the Prym jeans rivets and jeans button.  For the button hole, I used the keyhole shaped button hole, like my RTW ones.

I think one or two tiny adjustments and I will have my jeans TNT pattern.

Catch you all later............

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Recipe for fun

Here is the recipe for a jolly good weekend of fun.


  • Take 10 sewing enthusiasts
  • A large cottage overlooking the sea
  • Assortment of sewing books & magazines
  • A fridge full of food and drink
  • 11 packets of "ugly fabric"
  • Sewing fabric
  • Muslin fabric
  • Lots of pins
  • Tracing paper
  • Beautiful lingerie lace
  • Sewing machines
  • English as the common language.


Select bedroom in the cottage (making sure you get the one with the on suite bathroom even though you have to share a bed) and deposit your overnight bag in the big comfy chair overlooking the sea.

Take sewing machine, fabrics, pins, thread etc., and set up in first available space you can find or on the small table you brought with you.

Select your sewing project of choice and take full advantage of the talent in the room to help you with fitting issues (even if it means them laughing and taking photographs of you in a calico jeans muslin, while being asked to open your legs wide when someone has a pin in one hand and a black marker pen in the other to redraw the inside leg seams for you).

Find purple and white gingham fabric or any other purple fabric that you can find, and use to sew on to your muslin where necessary.

Unpick muslin, draw out onto tracing paper ready to cut out in the fashion fabric.

Delve into the wonderful selection of beautiful lingerie lace purchased in The Netherlands and spend the whole of your €20 pocket money then run and hide it in your room.

Find enough restraint to stop sewing and try and clear a space in the kitchen to allow the man to bring the takeaway curry into the room.

Stand, sit, eat, drink and be very merry.

Once sufficient food and drink has been consumed clear the table ready for the ugly fabric swap.

Be prepared to receive some really really ugly fabric, be able to steal some off someone else and then have that stolen off you not once but twice sob sob lol.

Fall into bed exhausted from having so much fun and try and get enough rest to enable you to start all over again the next day.

Eat a big hearty breakfast and try and reduce the amount of food still left in the refrigerator. 

Continue with your project where you left off from the previous day, and attempt to get as much done before you have to pack away all your sewing stuff back into your car.

Drive home, unpack car, set up sewing machine and table in usual place and review your achievements and new acquisitions.

Thanks to all you ladies who helped to make this such a wonderful weekend - can't wait for the next one.............. hope you all got home safe and sound.

Catch you later.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Kwik Sew 2948 - more red and black

As promised I used up the rest of my red and black spandex mix fabric by sewing another Kwik Sew 2948 twin set.

I only had enough of the black and red fabric to make the vest from the twin set and just enough to cut the front band of the cardigan creating a nice contrast.

I scooped out the neck again for the vest bringing it lower than the original pattern, which I think looks a little nicer, especially if the fabric is busy and here is the result of my efforts.

I don't have a photographer available to show me wearing this, but I have tried it on and it fits great.

I have been using my shoulder pressing tool to press the sleeve caps of the tops I have been making, and boy it is so much easier, and is stable enough to hold the whole cardigan leaving both hands free for moving the garment and pressing.

Here are all the garments shown together, creating a sort of mini wardrobe from the 5 pieces and a pair of jeans.  These will work well with black work pants or a black skirt and heels (next on my list).

I can wear the plain black cardigan with the red and black vest, or the long-sleeved top, etc etc.

I think to build on this mini wardrobe I need to make myself a black skirt soon to go with all the pieces.

That's me done with my sewing for the weekend.  I hope you have all had a productive weekend.

Catch you later.............

McCalls 6571 & more Lingerie

Morning All

We were invited to dinner last night by some of Mike's friends and of course I didn't have a thing to wear lol.    I saw two reviews for McCalls 6571 here and here and wanted to try out this great little pattern so thought it was quick enough for me to make in the couple of hours I had left before we had to leave for the dinner.

This was the 2nd piece of fabric I purchased when I was with Sigrid and Clare at the sewing expo last month and it turned out beautifully.  I am in love with this spandex mix fabric.  Its very light, sews beautifully (especially with a serger/overlocker) and feels wonderful on.  I will definitely purchase some more of this fabric because it is also crease resistant and perfect for travelling.  

I purchased 1.5 metres of this at £10 per metre and like my first top blogged about here I have enough to make another top (which I hope to do later today).

This pattern has few pieces to it, back, front, sleeves and front and back facings.  I did my usual FBA, which because this is a Palmer Pletsch pattern has all the cutting lines already marked on it, made it an easy adjustment.  Front has two darts (not really visible in this fabric) and the whole top couldn't be easier to make - a great beginner pattern.  This will definitely become a TNT pattern for me.

As mentioned in my blog yesterday I have been doing some more lingerie sewing and managed to complete two bras by yesterday lunchtime.

Despite the colouring in the photograph, the colour of the first bra is more of the periwinkle blue.  This was some lace that I purchased from the little haberdashery shop in Walthamstow and I am really happy with the way it turned out.  For this bra I used the lace for the undercup too, whereas other bras I have only used the lace for the upper cup.

The pink and red rose lace was an eBay purchase and the 2nd bra I have made from this pretty lace and will be taken to the flat in London to stay there.

I really find lingerie making a satisfying project (thanks to Sigrid who showed me how to do it) and I think that it will enable me to incorporate some of the techniques used, into other outerwear projects.

Hopefully I'll have time to do some more sewing today.  Catch you later............

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Nancy Zieman's helpful tutorial

Hi All

I hope your working week has been better than mine ---- agrrrrrrrrrrr my goodness the weekend couldn't come soon enough.

Thursday and Friday evening I spent some time working on another black bra out of my red and pink rose lace previously blogged about here.  As some of you know I live between two homes and desperately need some more underwear so I am not constantly carting clothing back and forth in my bag.  I only have to attach the straps and any little ribbons, bows etc and I will be finished, and I usually try and make a pair of matching panties to go with my bras too.

The heavy rain we had early this morning woke me up far too early for a Saturday morning, but armed with a cup of tea and my laptop I took advantage of the early hour and surfed the net.

I came across this very useful You Tube clip by Nancy Zieman on her pivot and slide method of making changes to patterns, and I think I have to give it a go.  Its so simple and doesn't involve cutting the pattern and inserting bits of tissue.  I have used the Palmer Pletsch method for ages, and it does work, but I do think this is worth giving a go.

So what are my plans for today.  Well first I need to purchase a new bike to replace the one that got stolen on Monday, so I have my trusty two wheels to get me around London again.  I want to finish my bra and I may even run up another twinset to wear out to dinner tonight (we are meeting up with some of Mikes friends). Last but not least our beautiful little granddaughter is coming to visit, so no doubt that will take up quite a bit of time.  Grandchildren are soooooooooo distracting.

Catch you later...............

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Shoulder stand pressing tool and Tailor's Ham stand

Hi everyone,

I recently acquired two very useful tools to add to my sewing accessories from Lewis W Davis carpenter.  I have the tailor's ham stand and shoulder press stand.  I live in the UK and I just cant see these available for sale here, and maybe even Europe, so here is a copy of his advert.

Those of you with a traditional tailors ham might find this made to measure stand a useful accessory.  It holds the tailors ham firmly allowing you to use it for pressing sleeve caps etc. and is really solid.

Alternatively the shoulder press stand simulates the shoulder allowing the sleeve to hang down while you press or steam the sleeve cap to the required size and is much safer than my old method of trying to hold the sleeve cap on the tailor's ham with one hand and steaming with the iron with the other (have had a few accidents I can tell you).

Last but not least the multi-functional stand that doubles up for the collar press or sleeve head stand - great space saver as this is a two-in-one gadget.

I am delighted with my new accessories if you are interested then please contact Lewis at  I believe he will ship outside the UK but I guess you would have to ask for P&P costs.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Me and my bike

Hi readers I want to share some sad news with you.

This is Betty and Brian our beloved Brompton cycles which Mike and I use almost every day to get to and from work and around London.

Yesterday on my way home from work I stopped at the supermarket to pick up some goodies for supper and 10 minutes later I came out and my bike was gone.  Someone had stolen it even though I had used a bike lock to secure it to the bike rack.

I am devastated on several counts.  1. We have had the bikes for just over 4 years and they have been on holiday with us. 2. They are used to get to and from and around London.  3. We use them every day  to take us to work and back.  4. And last but not least they are like a cherished member of our family.

I have filed my police report, and contacted the insurance company, but I don't expect any good news.  We have been searching the internet for GPS devices now just in case the same should happen again, however I will be very reluctant to leave my bike locked up outside any shops going forward.

Now to find a much needed replacement.

I hope you are having a better day than me.  Catch you later.........