So, who else is excited about Tilly’s new book coming in next week? I know I gush a lot about her, but truly, I love her “jargon busting” method, how she holds your hand through the process whether you’re using her individual pattern or her book. As I said before, I learned to sew from Tilly’s book Love at First Stitch. I love how the projects are laid out, how you get to learn more techniques and thus improve with every single project, and she made it all sound so doable even for those who never touched a sewing machine before, that’s what happened with me at least. Anyways, enough about Love at First Stitch, it’s time for Stretch!, her new book that will cover sewing with knits. I am so excited! Needless to say, the moment it was ready for pre-order, I… well, pre-ordered.
In my first year of sewing I had adventures with woven cotton. But every time I saw this sewist make a t-shirt, and that sewist make a cardigan, and others having fun making dresses with knits, I felt that calling. The knits were calling me. I started with Tilly’s Coco dress in ponte roma as I heard it’s a good place to start, ponte roma being a stable knit with almost no stretch. I also tried twin-needle on my machine, that didn’t work well. My needles stabbed the inside of the plate and were stuck in there and I couldn’t free my fabric, nor my needles, it was a hot mess. I was panicking. Turning my machine off and on again didn’t help. When I finally managed to free my fabric and needles, I swore off twin-needling. I still haven’t come back to that. I’m happy enough with single needle, zigzag stitch, and lightning bolt stitch. No need to be too adventurous, right? 😉 When that happened, it was in Sept 2017, I was halfway through the project, I quit the project out of frustration and I didn’t touch the project again until last month. I am the kind of person who cannot stand not finishing a project. I am monogamous when it comes to my projects. But with New Years came new resolution, or rather re-sew-lution? My goal this year is to branch out, up my sewing game. Try out different fabrics, different garments, new techniques. Be fearless. So I started with the half-finished Coco dress that I turned into a top for no obvious reason other than because I wanted a top.
I found that I am not a big fan of ponte roma, I just don’t like the pilling. Also the colour is apparently not that great on me. But this garment is a very effective toile, it taught me a lot. When Fabrics Galore had a sale, I bought some knits from them and tried making another Coco. This time, I’m pleased to say, it was a success! I got the size right and I used the stretch stitch instead of zigzag.
I just loooooved the process, it was smooth sailing. The fabric is not too stretchy, medium weight, and quite stable. And… it’s cotton! I’ve worn and washed it a few times since I made it, and I still don’t see any pilling. It retains the shape well. My Mum-in-law saw my Coco and as her birthday was coming, she said she’d love one herself. I made her one in an Art Gallery Fabric that I got from Minerva Crafts,the fabric is called Vine Umbra.
Coco is designed for medium weight fabric (double knit, interlock, ponte) with minimum stretch, but the fabric I got was more like lightweight to me, and with 5% spandex, the stretch is quite significant. But I can say that I think it worked well. I really love the fabric, it’s just so scrumptiously soft. I can see at least one Agnes in Art Gallery Fabric in my future.
My next knit projects were a slew of Agneses. Well, three. The first two I made in cotton jersey from Girl Charlee UK. The fabric is a dream to sew with and being cotton means it’s lovely to wear against your skin.
The first one I made was true to the pattern in size 5, but I found the bust and armholes were too tight and I wasn’t loving the neckline, felt my neck and chest were a bit too exposed and coupled with this cold weather we’re having now in the UK it wasn’t working for me. The second one I actually hacked it into slash-neck top following a tutorial done by Rosa from Sewn on YouTube. This time I adjusted the armholes and bust size. I liked the fit, but I somehow ended up not liking the slash-neck much. For the third version, I decided to stick with the neckband, but modify the neckline to be smaller by raising the centre front and widening the shoulders. I did size 6 for the bust and size 5 for waist and hips.
The fabric I used is from Fabrics Galore, it is medium weight and quite stretchy. I love this fabric so much that I was so afraid of messing it up, I mean look at the cute origami elephants! So I decided to really take care when cutting; I traced the grain using water-erasable fabric marker, I cut the fabric not on the fold as I didn’t want to twist it, it was quite a long and tedious process – what can I say, patience is not my virtue – but the end result is worth the pain. To avoid the wavy hem, I used Wundaweb which was suggested by the kind lady at John Lewis Haberdashery in Liverpool.
My other makes so far this year are also in line with my 2018 sewing goals; to try out new fabrics and new techniques. This time I made a Violet blouse from Colette.
I had never made covered button before, so that was fun. And I’d never sewn polyester peachskin fabric before, so when I saw this fabric I just had to get it. Very drapey and slightly slippery. I didn’t find much difficulties in sewing it, but I find that I didn’t enjoy much of wearing it. The fabric washes nicely, dries very quickly, sews without much fuss, and does not crease much. But when I wore the blouse, it felt like my skin couldn’t breathe in it, I didn’t like it. Maybe I’m too spoiled by natural fabrics? The pattern is beautiful, it has plenty of ease, and I just adore peter pan collars. This is actually my second Violet, the first one I made in cotton lawn and loved it. I had a bit of leftover peachskin fabric that I turned into lining for my next make; Tilly’s Arielle skirt which was also my entry for the #SMYLY2018 challenge. I’m so glad I lined the skirt with this fabric, it really helps preventing the skirt from sticking to my tights and riding up.
So those are my makes up to the end of February 2018. I didn’t get to tick all the boxes from my project list, but I’m quite happy with it.
Thank you for spending the time to read my post, I really appreciate it. See you next time.