Old and new

It is getting cold here! I know those of you who live in the deep south or the far north will be laughing at me, but if it gets below 10 degrees celcius I think its cold. So I am making some warm clothes to get me through the next few months. To kick things off, I’ve made a Closet Case Files Nettie Bodysuit in a merino/polyprop blend to wear as a base layer. I really hate it when my top comes untucked from my jeans or skirts, so the idea of something which will stay put is appealing!

 
I made a few stupid mistakes with my choice of materials here, the biggest one being that the merino has virtually no vertical stretch. I’m really short through my torso, so its actually ok, but it does mean I have some excess fabric hanging around when my arms are down by my sides (or in my pockets). I also used seriously sub-standard press studs for the crotch fastenings, and they have a tendancy to ping apart at random moments. It can be somewhat alarming! I’m going to replace them with some industrial strength ones for added security.

 
Next time I’ll make a few changes, including shortening the waist and using stretchier fabric. I’m also going to raise the neckline by about an inch, because I do find this quite low cut! I think I’ll also use either the high neckline or high back, rather than the scoop neck and back, as I find it falls off my shoulders. I’ve added bra strap loops to this one, but if I’m going to be wearing them predominantly as a base layer under other things then a high back neckline makes sense. I’ll also shorten the 3/4 length sleeves by a couple of inches, as I keep pushing these ones up.

 
This is a rather unflattering shot of my back, but you get the idea! I do really like the scoop back, its quite glamourous! 

I wore this outfit out for high tea with the Wellington Sewing Bloggers Network yesterday, and felt rather swish. The skirt is a wool Hollyburn skirt which I made last winter, but hardly wore because I was so horrified by my zipper insertion technique. I had so much trouble getting the zip to go it neatly with the piping that I ended up hand picking it, but it always looked really shitty and I just couldn’t bring myslef to wear it. Last week I found a pink invisible zip in my box of findings (I have no idea when or why I bought it, but it was somewhat serendipitous), and decided to have a crack at putting it in with my invisible zipper foot. I also trimmed down the piping cord inside the bias tape to make things a bit flatter. And it worked really well! Look at how much better it looks… 

 

 
See? So much better! Doesn’t look like I’ve chewed on it anymore 🙂 

So thats my Nettie. Bit of a boring post I’m afraid, but there we go. Look out for several more, its a pattern which is perfect for hacking! I’m looking forward to making some short sleeved ones for summer too, andmaybe a swimsuit…

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Hurrah for Hollyburn!

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Well, apparently I do remember how to use my sewing machine for sewing woven garments! I made up this skirt over a few evenings after work last week, and I’m actually really happy with it.

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This pink wool has been in my fabric stash the longest of any uncut length I have. I bought it on a bit of a whim, because I liked the colour (and it was on sale, I think), but I’ve never really had any plans for it. I think at one point I had aspirations to turn it into a Colette Anise jacket, but after struggling through a couple of Colette makes I just couldn’t face the fitting marathon! Maybe one day I’ll take on the challenge. But for now, I thought I would stick to something simple, and the Sewaholic Hollyburn skirt definitely fit the bill. Because it was such a nice simple shape, and there are relatively few pattern pieces, I decided to try adding in some piping detail around the waistband and pockets.

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Piping is fun! I wanted to cut down on the pink a bit, so I chose a dark charcoal cotton bias binding. I tried to finish everything as cleanly as possible. Finishing has always been something I’ve been pretty slack about, I’m ashamed to say! Originally i considered binding all of my seams with the same bias binding I used for the piping, but I was worried about adding too much bulk. So I overlocked all of my edges instead, and used the binding around the bottom of the pockets and to hem the skirt.

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Everything was moving along very smoothly, until I tried to put in the zip! I’ve never put in anything but an invisible zip, which in hindsight I should have used for this skirt as well, but the pattern didn’t expressly call for one and I just didn’t think about it. After my fourth disastrous attempt to put it in using my machine, the zipper tape was looking a bit ratty (and so was I, after unpicking it so many times), so I decided to attempt putting it in by hand.

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Its…ok. I can’t seem to get the piping at the waistband to stop pulling away from the zipper teeth, which is annoying. I’m considering going and buying an invisible zip, but I’m a bit worried that the piping would interfere with that too…Any suggestions about how to fix my current zip (or tutorials for how to sew a normal zip in by machine) would be greatly appreciated!

Problems with the zip aside, I really like this skirt. This is the shortest, fullest version (i think its supposed to be mini-length, but I’m short!). I would like to make another one up in the midi-length, maybe in some swishy black wool. This skirt is excellent for swishing…

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…swish!