Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Undies for all the family - Free patterns

I don't usually post my handmade undies, but I have recently used two excellent free patterns and I had to share the love. 

Joost de Cock boxer briefs line drawing

The first pattern was for men's boxers. This is a really comfortable and well thought out pattern by Joost de Cock. Not only is it free, but the pattern is custom made to your guy's measurements so it fits perfectly. There are several other patterns too. Joost's custom pattern website is amazing and must have been an incredible amount of work. If you like it do consider donating to buy him a coffee or two and say thanks!

I started with a pair of boxers for my husband. I created a profile for him on Joost's website and put in the necessary measurements. The resulting pattern was very quick to tape together and it took only about five minutes to whizz up the seams on the overlocker. Before adding the elastic and finishing the hems, I decided to have a play with my coverstitch machine. I was experimenting so don't look too closely!

As soon as I showed these to my husband, he excitedly put them on. The fit was perfect and much prancing and strutting ensued (him, not me). I will spare you any pictures of that and show you the boxers with an assortment of fruit to give an idea of fit (sorry!). These have a double line of two-needle coverstitching on the seams.

Spurred on by my success I decided to have a go at making more boxers for my teen and pre-teen sons. I wasn't sure that the custom pattern would go small enough for their slim sizes, but it did. As before I used cotton lycra with two way stretch. This time I used slightly different coverstitching.

Again the fit was perfect. I was really pleased about this as I have been making boxers for my sons for years (they refuse to wear anything else) and grading up my simple, self drafted pattern as they grew. It had just about got to the stage where the fit was no longer quite right and a new approach was needed, so this came just in time.

The only part I altered here was to curve the tip of the front dart slightly so it wasn't quite so pointy. However, I have just noticed while writing this that Joost coverstitches this seam as well right up to the waistband, which would smooth off this area.

Here is the back:

So there we are, perfectly fitting boxers for all the men and boys - fantastic!

But wait, there's more! Not content with being the only member of the household without a sporty pair of blue underwear, I whizzed myself up a pair of knickers using the free Noelle pattern by Madalynne. These are very high waisted so I took 3cm off the top. I also sized down one size from that indicated by my measurements. The result - perfectly fitting and super-comfortable. I love these.

Let the undies party commence!

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Burdastyle Parka 01/2016 #124

As soon as I saw this coat in the January 2016 Burdastyle magazine, I knew I had to make it. I loved the casual, oversized style and all the detailing. I filed the idea away in my head for six months until winter in Perth, then dug out the magazine and got to work.

Burdastyle 01/2016#124
I love the khaki version in the magazine, but I made myself a khaki coat last year from a Patrones magazine pattern so another colour was required. I decided that this coat was going to be bright orange and utilitarian. My other coat was slim-fitting, so this one had to be roomy and perfect for layering over bulky jumpers. I didn't make the fur-lined vest part as it's just not cold enough here.

The fabric is ripstop cotton from Fashion Fabrics Club in the US. I bought it as part of my prize way back for the jeans contest on Pattern Review. I love this fabric.

I made the jacket exactly according to the pattern in my usual Burdastyle size 40. It has just the right amount of ease for the style. I followed the instructions as best I could, but there were large swathes of information missing on how to neatly finish the side zips, front hood etc. that I had to work out for myself as I went along. Much unpicking took place at all stages of construction!

Here are some of the details of the jacket.

Upper welt pocket and two lower welt pockets with flaps, drawstring waist, front zip and snaps, hood lined with khaki knit fabric (outer edges lined with main fabric):

Longer back section with drawstrings, lower side zips:

and elbow patches:

Despite the missing instructions, I was very impressed with this pattern. The attention to detail in the design is fantastic and the drafting was spot on. It has a very ready-to-wear feel. The fit is also really good on the jacket and the hood.

I struggled to find anyone who had made this pattern on the internet. There were a few examples on the Russian Burdastyle site (always my first port of call for finding real life examples of Burdastyle patterns), but they tended to be very padded, winter versions. While the pattern is challenging and not for the faint-hearted, I think it's fantastic and well worth the effort.

I couldn't be happier with this coat. It feels very comfortable and stylish to me and has the added bonus that my children will never lose me in a crowd. I can stride off towards a distant fabric sale and they'll spot me at 500 paces.


Saturday, 6 August 2016

The refashioners 2016 - Mondrian Dress from jeans

One of my favourite things is seeing the before and after pictures of a good refashion, so I've been gleefully watching the fabulous refashions rolling in on The Makery this month. So good!

This year the Refashioners refashion must use jeans. I've already done a jeans refashion this year and have worn the dress so often, that I thought another denim dress was in order.

The idea for this dress came to me one night as I was drifting off to sleep. I always think about sewing as I go to sleep...

Enter the Mondrian-inspired denim dress AKA the StyleArc Charlotte Dress

I raided my old jeans drawer (after I remembered I had an old jeans drawer) and found three pairs of my old jeans in different coloured blue denim. It took me an entire day to work out which colour to put where, how I was going to fit the pattern pieces on the jeans and then to cut out the dress. 

Annoyingly, when I opened up the side seams to get larger pieces of fabric, the jeans wouldn't lie flat due to the curved bootcut seams. I had to unpick and resew areas of the seams to get a flat piece for my large front and back pieces and even then I had to insert a couple of sneaky darts. 

Where I could I used features of the jeans to add some interest. This was the original back pocket and side rivet.

I cut the front and back dress pieces so the original seams were as symmetrical as possible up and over the shoulders. Where I could I used the original hemlines and frayed them above the hem band.

Once the dress was sewn together, I harvested labels, pockets and buttons from the jeans (my unpicker was working overtime) and sewed them to the dress.

One of the labels got an upgrade!

Back pockets.

A button fly and coin pocket on one side.

A label overstitched to the back shoulder.

I am thrilled with the end result of this dress. I am hoping that I've retained the simple and classic look of the Mondrian design and that the added jeans features add a bit of refashiony coolness. Whatever, I'm going be wearing this a lot and washing it often to get more fraying and fading happening.

Thank you to Portia for the fantastic Refashioners series and competition and to the celebrity refashioners for the sewing eye candy and inspiration.

Chop chop everybody!

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Getting my active on - McCalls 7026 jacket and Vogue 1378 leggings

I am not what you would describe as sporty. In fact, the only time I run is away from anything sport related. I am quite active though. I walk every day and can be found hip hop dancing at the local school hall once a week.

I decided I needed some new, fancy activewear for the abovementioned activities.

In the interests of looking the part for these pictures, I grabbed this stick thing that was lying in the garden. I use it to poke the shade sail so the water doesn't pool in it when it rains. How do you hit a ball with this thing anyway?

Let's ditch the stick, move into more interesting territory and talk sewing. I have had this McCalls 7026 jacket pattern for quite a while. Ever since I saw a gorgeous version by JStarr4250 on Pattern Review. After reading all the reviews of this pattern, it seemed that the jacket was quite short and that the side seam pockets were awkward. I decided to alter my pattern to change these aspects.

I used the longer back length of View C and lengthened the jacket pieces all the way around so the hem was just slightly (maybe 5cm) higher at the front that the back. For the pockets I traced the bottom section of my lengthened side front piece and drew a curve for the top of the pocket. Once cut out I edged it with ribbing and sewed it as one with the side front piece. I was really pleased with these pockets.

You've probably noticed by now that there are several fabrics used in this jacket. I started off with the thick, plain, black lycra (left over from the leggings) and a remnant of mesh with a velvet pattern from a Potter Textiles remnant bag. These two fabrics turned out not to be enough for the jacket, so I searched around and found a textured stretch woven fabric for the pockets, cuffs and upper back and some other black fabric for the sleeves and to use as backing for the mesh.

I used the mesh for the front and back jacket panels and got a bit fancy with some Quilt Basting Spray to hold it to the backing fabric. I then got even more fancy with some Washaway Wonder Tape to get the pattern matching as best as I could at the back seam and front zip.

I am over the moon with this jacket. I love all the different fabrics that give some subtle interest. Next time I might make it a smidge longer at the back. Here I am wearing it all zipped up with the cuffs folded down.

The leggings are made with Vogue 1378. I have made this pattern three times now but never blogged it. The pattern has several panels that are overlapped at the edges and sewn to leave a raw edge. This time I decided to branch out and experiment with my coverstitch machine to see if I could get a ready-to-wear (RTW) seam finish.

For the overlapping seams I first sewed them on the right side with a wide zig zag in white thread, as a guide to be removed later. Then I could turn the fabric over and see where to coverstitch to get the stitches right over the raw edge. This probably makes no sense, so just ignore it. Anyway, I did get kind of the effect I wanted. I ended up doing two passes of coverstitching so it was more obvious. For the detailing near the hems, I used the other side of the coverstitch to get some straight stitched lines.

I bought the wrong size of this pattern and could really do with going a size smaller. Other than that, it's a practical and interesting pattern that could be made with different seam finishes, as I've done, or with colour blocked fabrics. I'd like to try a contrasting thread colour next time.

I love those cosy glove-cuffs!

Thursday, 16 June 2016

StyleArc Elle pants and Amber top


I have made so many pairs of these pants, but have never blogged them! They are a sleek and simple design, made with very stretchy, woven fabric. Make sure your fabric is very, very stretchy, or you won't get them on. Ask me how I know this!

Note: discount code for this pattern at end of post.

StyleArc Elle Pants
At first, I made them from bengaline, as recommended by StyleArc, and they were fabulous. I have a picture of some black bengaline ones from an old post about my Splattered Jacket.

More recently I have been hacking them to look like jeans. I have made three pairs like this, but only photographed the white pair so far. I am really pleased with these. They look like jeans, but are soooo stretchy and comfortable they feel like leggings.

Don't tell anyone they are almost jeggings!

I took a few photos while I was making these to show how I made them look like jeans.

To start with, I added a mock fly front, by adding some fabric to the front crotch curve at the cutting out stage. I used my Jamie jeans pattern for the fly curve, but you could just draw it freehand.

I marked the original front edge line on the fabric and stitched 1cm away from it, to account for the seam allowance.

The right side was then topstitched to look like a jeans fly.

Next I made back pockets, also from my Jamie jeans pattern. It would be simple to copy some from existing jeans. I did the inner line of topstitching before I sewed them in place.

I sewed them on according to the pocket placement markings on my Jamie jeans.

That's it.

The top I'm wearing is also StyleArc. This is the Amber top, which I have previously made from Japanese cotton. For this one I used woven cotton for the front and back and cotton knit for the sleeves and detailing. To make it I sewed the side seams together first, then folded it shibori-style and dyed it in natural indigo. I also dyed the sleeves, yoke and front stripe. Once everything was dry, I sewed the rest of the top together.

This technique ensures perfect pattern matching at the sides!

A perfectly, secretly, comfy outfit!

To get this pattern for 20% off, visit the StyleArc Gumroad shop and enter the code meggipeg20. I will receive a small percentage of any sales made.


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