Showing posts with label Patterns. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Patterns. Show all posts

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Did your granny wear one of these?

I don't recall my Gran wearing a traditional apron.  I remember her occasionally wearing a mauve overall (which has a nice consonance).  There is even photographic evidence of this garment somewhere at my mother's house.  Where I grew up butchers, joiners and freemasons wore aprons whereas Mams, Mothers, Grans and Grannies wore pinnies.  My own Mam had a rather fetching vinyl/oilcloth number with Superwoman (yes Super not Wonder) on it.

I am seldom certain of what motivates me but while I was on holiday I decided that, when I got home, I was going to make what I thought was called "a cross over pinny".  So I googled that phrase and was more or less thwarted by my NW UK English usage.  After further lateral searching I discovered that what I was really looking for was a pinafore.  This surprised me because I thought a pinafore was a dress. I was convinced of this because I remember my Mam sewing them for my sister.  She would ware a polo neck sweater underneath.  They were the girl equivalent of my dungarees.

I often discuss things with The Much Belovéd and this proposed project was no exception.  Now he grew up on the other side of the Atlantic, far away from our red brick man traps with their scrubbed steps, and when I told him what I had in mind he had some difficulty understanding me.  After further discussion we established that down his alley what I call a pinafore dress is a jumper, a UK pinafore is a US house dress, an English overall is a North American cover all and an apron is an apron.  Are we all singing from the same hymn sheet?  Great!

Thanks to actresses like Irene Handle...

 .........Kathy Staff... 

...and Jean Alexander this garment looms large in the psyche of one born in the late 1970s and weened on a diet of British television during the 1980s.

However this garment does not loom large in the psyche of internet search engines and sewing patterns, never mind free sewing patterns, for such garments are few and far between.

I did however manage to track down an inexpensive PDF explaining how to create your own pattern and construct a pinny from scraps. You can find it here if you are interested and if you are really interested you can tune in here soon to find out how I got on with it.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Negroni Shirt - Part I

I have finally started my first shirt!

I am using Colette 1014 Negroni. I found out about this pattern over at Male Pattern Boldness a mere two years too late to participate in Peter's Men's Shirt Sew-Along.

I was going to make Vogue 8889, I had bought the pattern, I had read the instructions, I had examined the pattern pieces and I bottled it.  It just didn't feel like a first-timer's pattern.  I still intend to make Vogue 8889 because I think it is a great looking shirt but for the time being I have my ironing board full with Colette 1014!

So where have I got to?


  1. Pre-washed the green (aborted  quilt backing) fabric
  2. Cut up and ironed the paper pattern pieces I need for the short sleeved version of Negroni
  3. Traced size L of the pattern pieces onto some plain tissue I had lying around
  4. Worried about how much the fabric had shrunk and how I would make the cutting layout work


  1. Stopped worrying
  2. Fathomed an alternative cutting layout
  3. Cut most of the pattern out of the green fabric


  1. Bought green thread and fusible interfacing
  2. Soaked interfacing in hottish water to pre-shrink it
  3. Finished cutting
  4. Started sewing!

Look! I made pocket flaps.  One of the things I really like about this pattern are the free pocket options which can be downloaded.  I chose the asymmetrical pocket flap in conference with The-Much-Belovéd.  We both liked the idea of the way they might look with the pointed pocket option.

This is how they look with the pockets.  I made a card template to press the pockets around.  This is a really neat technique that I have only just read about.  I wish I had known about it when I was making the apron for my sister back in December!

The green was not planned for this project so the yardage is a bit touch and go.  To help make it go further I have used some of the owl fabric left over from the fence rail quilt to make the pocket flap facings - cute?  I even remembered to match the bobbin thread to the contrast fabric.

My very first shirt pocket - ever!  How proud am I?

I just haven't been able to bring myself to sully that sleek pocket flap with a button hole.  Is it wearable left as is?

Pocket is edge stitched and the flap is top stitched

Tomorrow I need to make another one to match this and decide whether or not to add buttonholes to the pocket flaps before I go much further with the construction of the shirt.

I am enjoying sewing this pattern. I am going to take my time and savour it.

Saturday, 15 June 2013

PJ Pants

Simplicity 0501 is a free download available here.  It's one of those patterns where you mess about printing it on 25 sheets of paper, match the sheets up, and stick them together with tape.

As this pattern only has two simple pattern pieces this is not too onerous a task but I don't think I'd be up for doing this with anything more complicated. Overlapping printer paper and tape make the pattern rather heavy but it all works.  I used shears to cut out.  I am not too good at curves with the rotary cutter.

The really great thing about this pattern are the lovely clear instructions. They really are written with the beginner in mind. I love the fact that they explain how to cut a double thickness of directional print by folding the fabric in half lengthways, cutting and then rotating one piece by 180 degrees - simple when you think about it right?

Those who have been following events here at Oil and Thread may remember that I wound a class 15 bobbin with navy thread ready for this project back in March! I remembered this and the as the Singer 15K was still out from making the tailor's ham the choice of machine for this project was automatic.

The first step, having cut out the fabric, is to make two button holes, near the waist, for the draw string. I usually like to make button holes with an automatic Singer buttonholer (the kind that takes a template) on my Singer 401G. This attachment (which is fab and I will show you someday) only fits Singer slant shank machines. I didn't want to drag out and set up another machine so I thought it better to try out this buttonholer, also made by Singer, which fits standard low shank sewing machines.

Singer 15 with button hole attachment
Add caption
As far as I know this model of buttonholer is more common in the UK and Australia.  It is the cream and red, face-lifted, version of the type where buttonhole length, width, bite and stitch length are all independantly adjustable.  This means that making sample buttonholes is a must!  It's a little scary but I work systematically. Get the lenth right first, then the width and the bite need to be adjusted in close conjunction with each other to produce an acceptable buttonhole. My aim, based on the pattern markings, was a half inch button hole that was wide enough for me to cut with my seam ripper and embroidery scissors.  It took me four goes to produce something I thought garment-worthy.

Button hole, bottom left passed the test!

I remembered to strengthen the button holes with interfacing saved from the cuffs of the white shirt I repurposed to make the log cabin quilt.  It's sew in rather than fusible.  I don't think that this will matter.

I am a happiest working with straight stitch machines and a real fan of flat felled and French seams so I deviated from the pattern instructions which suggested pinking and overcasting the seam allowances.  I sewed the inside leg seams, wrong sides together so that my flat felled seams would appear as a design detail on the outside of the garment.

This leaves the inside, which will be in contact with the wearer, as smooth and flush as possible.

The new tailors ham made pressing the seams so much easier.  I am a convert!

I am really happy with the way these have turned out.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

New Shirt Pattern

Hello.  I would like to start today's post with a big thank you to Muv and Peter for posting links to my blog on theirs.  This has led to record number of page views, new followers, and some great comments.  Thanks to everyone who has stopped by and especially to those who have left comments or decided to join the blog as followers.

With all this excitement was there ever a worse time for my poor camera to die on me?  Well with me planning to show you all how the borders for the log cabin quilt are coming along with I should say NOT!  With the MOT paid for and road tax just around the corner I'm not sure when a new camera will be on the cards :0(

I think I'll have to dig out the cable and do some experiments with my phone to see if I can produce any pics to keep the blog going in the meantime.  Keep watching

In other news I now have a shirt pattern.  I've been inspired by Peter's use of this pattern

I've never made a shirt before but I think it's time to take the plunge.  Or it will be when the log cabin quilt is finished.  I like all three versions shown on the pattern envelope.  My head has been turned by view B which has tucks on the front yoke but I will try to make the short sleeved version.  I'm a bit scared, as a beginner, of cuffs and plackets.  I've got some cheap nice lightweight cotton shirting for a muslin.  Let's see how that goes.  With a bit of luck I might have a new shirt in time for my holidays!