Friday, 27 January 2017

Grainline Week

This week I suddenly discovered my sewjo and went all out and completed 2 items within 5 days! It's all about extremes.
Let's start with the skirt. Long time readers/followers might recognise this. I have basically made a replica of a Moss Mini that I made a couple of years ago, minus the fit issues. It had occurred to me that a casual mini skirt wouldn't go amiss in my wardrobe, and idly doubted that it would be possible that Ikea would still sell the same fabric. Then, on Sunday, we were forced into an impromptu Ikea visit, and I came home with 1.5m of exactly the same fabric; a very dark grey, heavy weight, ribbed-style cotton. 

I had some fitting and technical issues with my first version, which you can read about here (how long was my hair?!) This time it went much more smoothly. I sized down to a 2, based on the finished garment measurements as last time the waist was too large. This is 2 sizes down from last time, but I was about 5 months postpartum at the time. Actually reading that old post made me kind of sad - nostalgic for that year of Mat leave when I had lots of time to sew, and didn't have to go to work! Still, at least these days I get to sleep.

I made the skirt pretty much as per the instructions, with the following changes:

  • Cut the size 2, but cut the biggest size length. I figured I could always take it up, but actually, I've left it as is.
  • The waistband facing is lining, rather than self fabric to reduce bulk.
  • Added back patch pockets.
  • I cut both the pocket facing and the pocket lining from lining fabric, again to reduce bulk.
  • I didn't interface anything. The fabric doesn't need it.
  • The smaller size meant it was a little snug over the hips, so I used the given 1/2" SA from waist to the bottom of the pocket opening, then reduced to 1/4" SA from there down. It just gives a teeny bit more wiggle room. 
  • Top stitched all the seams.
As per last time, the lining fabric is Liberty Tana Lawn, this time the Wiltshire pattern, left over from a Laurel blouse I made 100 years ago (and still have, so I can totally do the secret matchy thing at some point). 

I'm really happy with the fit this time. I basted the whole thing together, in case of any issues, but other than the aforementioned hip snugness, it was pretty bang on. I also found the fly zip so much easier this time. It was still tricky with some head scratching moments, but it made sense. Last time I was just blindly following instructions, but this time I got what it was I was meant to be doing. I hadn't done another since the last Moss, so is that improved sewing skills, or just improved concentration through actually having had some sleep? The button is recycled from the original skirt.

I had a day off work on Monday and the previous week was a hellish one, work-wise, so I treated myself to a full day of sewing, which meant I got most of this finished then. It took a couple more evenings to finish it off (basting means quite a bit of unpicking!). I felt victorious when it was finished! It was exactly what I wanted and the fit was just right. Do you get that feeling of "I can conquer the world, I can sew all the things", ever? That was me. 

So I was straight onto the t-shirt. This started life as a Hemlock that I started a couple of weeks ago. I have been planning on making the Hemlock for ages, and love the pattern on everyone I've seen it on, but it was just a disaster on me. It was huge. It's a one size pattern, and it's obviously meant to be oversized (which I love), but on me, it was just so wrong. I was resigned to chucking it in the bin, but the peoples of IG persuaded me that the fabric was worth saving, so the night after I finished Moss, I cut the Hemlock apart and cut a Lark from the pieces. (See? Grainline Week). I had ideally wanted a long or 3/4 sleeve tee, but the Hemlock sleeve pieces are pretty narrow, so I ended up cutting the cap sleeve from a small scrap of remaining fabric.

This isn't actually my first Lark. I made it once about a year ago in a black drapey fabric. I don't have a photo, but you can picture a black t-shirt. I didn't love the pattern, athough I did like it and it had been my intention to tinker with the fit a bit to make me love it a bit more. And then I didn't. So, I just cut this version exactly as per the pattern, and it actually fits a bit better. The black one fits well over the bust and I like the looseness over the stomach and hips, but the sleeves and arm scye feel too long/low in the black version. But I'm happy with them in this version. I did use a slightly bigger SA (3/8" rather than 1/4"), but I guess the fabric also makes a difference. 
I would also like to alter the neckline. It's fine, but I wouldn't describe it as boat neck. It's certainly not my preferred boatneck - too low and wide - so next time I think I'll add maybe 1/2" to it, keeping the shape. I do love the fact that there is no neckband on the boatneck though. 

Finally, I removed a whopping 3.5" off the length! Seriously, why is this pattern so long?! I removed the length from the pattern piece, but I just removed it from the bottom. It worked on the black version, so I just did the same again. Actually I ended up removing a further 3/4" from the length because I clearly did not cut the bottom straight. 

The fabric for the tee was from Sweet Mercerie, and I've had it for over a year. Cora tells me it's a cotton mix and its navy with stars and moons on it. Very pretty but terrible to sew. It was very difficult to maintain an accurate SA as the fabric kept wanting to list to the left. No idea why, but my topstitching on the neckline and hems are pretty awful as a result. I also noticed a hole in the fabric once I was finished, but it's near the hem, so it's not noticeable.  

I finished the Lark in one night, but there's not much to sewing a t-shirt and it's only 3 pattern pieces. I think the longest part was pressing and sewing the neckline and hems.

In the end, despite the faults, I do like the tee and it's infinitely more wearable in it's current state. It's just a pity that it'll be covered up by jumpers and sweatshirts for the next few months!

Ref the photos - I just realised that I can use my phone as a remote for my camera. What a difference. although it takes some getting used to! I should also probably acknowledge my little "helper" during this photo session! ;)


  1. Helen I just love this skirt!! You've reminded me I have this pattern and really should make it up, it could be the perfect winter skirt! Thanks for the tips re length & side seams. I'm so glad you were able to save your tshirt too, though that fabric sounds a nightmare to sew. Also, I agree with you re the boat neck, it doesn't look very boatnecky to me! I've got the Sew U Home stretch book which also has a boatneck top, which from the review I've seen, doesn't look much like a boatneck either! I love your little helper too, well not so little any more!

  2. What a great outfit. it's great when your sew-jo is in full flow. Awesome Moss skirt (I have yet to sew one although I've had the pattern forever) and fab save on the t-shirt too!

  3. What a brilliant save with the Lark tee (I'm in the minority of being super thrilled that it's so nice and long - I usually have to add length! - I think it's deliberately long because it was planned as a layering top.). I like the boatneck neckline - but agree that it isn't the most traditional boatline cut - the Liesl & Co Marirtime top is a good alternative. Love the skirt too!

    1. boatline obvs is not a word... boatneck.


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