Sunday, 19 July 2015

Curlew from Merchant & Mills Workbook.

I suppose the first thing to say about the Workbook from Merchant and Mills is that I love it.  There are six main sewing patterns, four of which have variations, now that in itself makes it excellent value surely.  The book itself is typical Merchant and Mills styling, with a buff, almost brown paper front cover.  It is traditionally bound and the paper patterns are in an envelope on the left side, the patterns themselves are made from quality paper, which I reckon would last a lifetime.  Should you never make anything from this book, it is still a thing of beauty to have in your life.

However, the main reason in having a book like this is to MAKE AN ALL SEASON WARDROBE.  So I thought I would start with one of the basics, the CURLEW.  I really have a hankering for the Curlew dress, but as it is cut on the bias it requires quite a lot of fabric, so I thought I would try the sleeveless T shirt, mainly so I can determine the sizing.

Bias dresses will drop after sewing, so to stabilize, strengthen and prevent seams from stretching out of shape, it is important to use a fine, lightweight seam tape just inside the seam allowance of the neckline and the armholes.  I used iron on tape for this purpose from Prym which I got from Guthrie and Ghanni.

 There are two bust darts at the front, the shoulders and side seams are french seams and the neckline and armholes are finished with bias binding.

I used a pink Nani Iro double gauze, from the 2013 range called Nuance-Muji (Milvio).  There are different tones of pink, I think it's meant to represent shadows and light.  It has deeper squares of pink, but as it was cut on the bias I ended up with a diamond of deeper pink on the centre of the front and back.

This is the size 14, which is a neat fit (I am quite broad in the shoulders).  Strangely enough I would say this is a neater style than some of the Merchant and Mills patterns, more like a fitted shell top.  When I make the top or the dress I think I will go up a size for ease and comfort.

It's a relatively simple make, but worth taking your time over, especially with the bias binding on the neckline and armholes.  Overall I like it and will definitely aim to make both the top and the dress version.

I also love the look of The Haremere jacket and The strides, both a little bit more involved.

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Jutlands and sandals.

While waiting for some haberdashery to sew from my new Merchant and Mills Workbook (which is gorgeous, by the way) I thought I would make my husband a pair of 3/4 length 'shorts' for the summer holidays.  I had had my eye on the Thread Theory patterns for a while, thinking they would be ideal for the men in my life, so I chose the Jutland Pants, not fully realising what I was taking on.

I had a denim fabric in my stash from minervacrafts that I thought would be good.  It does have some stretch in it, not sure if that's good or not, time will tell.

Jutland 3/4's with cotton bamboo shirt
(kwik Sew pattern)

There are two versions of the pattern.  Version 1 is a classic casual trouser with curved front pockets and single welt back pockets.  I chose Version 2 which is described as a more rugged work style trouser with curved front pocket, patch pockets on the back, cargo pockets on the leg and optional knee and hem reinforcement.  Let me tell you - these are the business!

When I said I didn't mean quite what I was taking on, what I meant was that there are a lot of details and parts to these trousers, considering I set out to make shorts.

The curved pockets are french seamed, I used a bamboo cotton, which is lovely, but kind of wish I'd used something heavier now for durability.

I used topstitching thread for the first time, thankfully with no real problems.  Minervacrafts has an amazing array of colours.  I also used Gutterman Jean thread for extra strength which has a few colours of blue woven through so it blends in nicely to the denim.

Also, joy of joy, I learnt a new technique, that of flat fell seams.

What I learned was that you really need to be accurate with your 5/8 seam allowance, especially around areas where there are multiple layers, like the pockets, to ensure you have adequate for your little turn in on the flat fell.  Let's just say, I got better as I went along, the first one is not great, but sure it's all a learning curve.

He avoided the sandal/sock look!

I used some Liberty left over from his snazzyshirt just as a wee extra touch.  Those pockets took quite some time to make, but I really wanted them to be good, with the topstitching, pleat and flap.  I raised them by about 2 inches, comparing them to my husbands other shorts.

The other part that didn't go completely straightforward for me was the fly front and zipper.  I had only done one prior to this, the instructions were fine, it was just that I couldn't get my topstitching to go nice and straight and somehow broke a needle in the process, but the end result isn't too bad.

So, in conclusion, I feel that this pattern will be part of a core set of patterns for my man.  This is something I am striving to do for myself, think it's working better for him.  Maybe it's easier for men, there is so much choice for women, different silhouettes and so on.  This was a bigger project than I really meant to be doing (so many other things on my list) but it is a brilliant pattern, the instructions are good, the fit is great also.  Lots of different options, to me they are a classic, along the lines of the Toast men's trousers or collection.  It has also made me appreciate how much work goes into a pair of tailored trousers or jeans.  It was good to have an unexpected challenge, I might even consider a pair of tailored trousers or jeans for myself now.

Now back to my Merchant and Mills Workbook!