Just the top, ma’am…

This was supposed to be a post about a pajama/lounging outfit, but I’m so happy with the top, I couldn’t wait to show you.

Working on my #2017makenine, I hit a snag right from the outset. It seems all the materials I had on hand were of the stretchy variety, which I’ve never sewn, even back in the old days when I made most of my wardrobe. (oh wait, there was a pink textured polyester shorts & tank set – ack! I’d forgotten about that gem – wore it proudly, but  in retrospect, it was an absolute horror)

Anyway….I decided to  toile my first planned make, pajamas, sewing the top from the Simple Sew Shannon Collection, a pattern gifted to me by Ali of THIMBERLINA fame. I would be using a beautiful piece of Art Gallery stretch jersey, purchased at Akhaban in Chester, when I met Ali and her mum.

img_0785-1

Thanks to all your good advice, see previous post, the neckline was stretched into submission and sewed to near perfection (although still a bit puckery).

img_0783

I tried on the top again; the fit was right, but something was not right with the sleeves. Were they too long? Maybe. Too tight? Not really. They just weren’t right. So how did I resolve this issue? Ditch the cuffs! So, with sleeves hemmed without cuffs, the length is perfect and the top is great! I love this cheery fabric.  For my next version, I’ll most likely make wrist length, snuggly sleeves.

Truth be told, the sleeve hems are not perfectly done; I turned them under twice so they’re a tad thick. I wanted to do a better job on the hem, so I searched the internet for tutorials and tips for sewing knits without a serger/overlocker. It seemed rather hopeless, as all the examples looked so nice and mine looked so …. well, not nice.  So I procrastinated, and tidied my sewing area instead. Lo and behold, I found some hem tape! I made a couple of sample runs to get the desired width, and with the hem finally sewn, this top is finished!

heart-top_img_0782

Not the best hairdo for this picture, as it reveals that something is askew with the shoulder/neckline. The neckline isn’t so pointy when my shoulders are in a normal position, not up in a funny how-does-one-pose-for-a-selfie shot.

I love this happy little top so much, it might be allowed out in public after all.

Next up, to complete the outfit, my Hudson pants in a luscious black double knit. They just might have a little contrast trim in a familiar print.

Watch this space.

 

Advertisements

No resolutions, just a plan – #2017MakeNine

Through Rochelle’s blog, LuckyLucille, I learned about the #2017MakeNine. Since I’m not “doing resolutions” for 2017, but want to ramp up my sewing and need some accountability, I’ve decided to join the MakeNine group.

So in no particular order, these are my chosen patterns.

  • The True Bias Hudson Pant – because it seems like a fairly easy make, and looks so comfy! This will be my first pair of pants to make since 1970. Those were green/beige plaid wool lined with something slinky. Oh and they may have had cuffs. Yikes.

hudson2-550x711

 

  • Grainline Morris – because I’m possibly the only person alive who hasn’t made one and it will go with nearly anything! Perhaps in a lightweight wool? My last jacket was a close-fitting floral blazer in hideous shades of red and blue, if memory serves. And giant buttons.

grainlinemorris_14001front

 

  • Simplicity 2208, Version C in fleece – because it has a hood, and great lines. It will be a great cozy jacket for those days when the big, puffy down coat isn’t necessary. I might even match the pattern photo, if I can find dotted fleece.

img_0423

 

  • Merchant & Mills Ellie and Hattie dress – because it looks terribly comfy, has nice, roomy pockets, and look at those interesting darts with contrast thread! Do you think this could this work in a knit?

mm_rye0875

 

  • Sewaholic Patterns, Gabriola Skirt – because of the pretty yoke detail, and the long lines. Will likely made up in the white polyester I received from Carmen, my StitchingSanta.

longskirt_9e882bfb744eec4ece9cda71c27d413f

 

  • Grainline Linden – because it’s a sweatshirt, which is perfect for fall, winter, and spring around here. And that comfort factor again.

grainline-linden

 

And these patterns have fabric purchased already, set to cut out and go!

  • I bought loads of this cotton jersey at Abakhan in Chester, and it seems perfect for jammies. On the fence, though, about the pattern, which I bought for $1 at a Joanne’s super sale.

img_0422

 

  • The same Abakhan shopping trip resulted in this oh-so-soft gray jersey, which I’ll use to make up this tee shirt pattern, a gift from Ali. Can the sleeves be lengthened without spoiling the look?

img_0424

 

  • And last but not least, this pussy bow blouse (also from Ali) will be made up from this fabulous polyester print (gifted from Del, Curls n Skirls).

fullsizerender

 

It’s a good plan, wouldn’t you agree?  Mostly simple and comfortable, and I’m ready to sew!!

Stitch on in the New Year everyone!

Sunday Seven(Seventeen)s or How I Spent my Summer Vacation, Part 1

We have recently returned after whirlwind of activity over the last couple of months; travelling to Wales to visit family and then to California for my daughter’s and sister’s weddings. Some of you have asked for pictures, so I will oblige. I thought using Natalie’s Sunday Sevens format would work, but I have far exceeded the picture “limit”. However, there really are few rules, and they are very loose, so here we go……..

Oh, Canada!

img_7701

We flew out of Toronto Airport, so our day began early with a three-hour drive. We stopped at Niagara Falls, but it was a very hot day and mama was too tired to move up for a closer look at the falls. Instead, we parked her walker in the shade, and watched the mist, listening to the roar of the rushing water. That was close enough for her, and we had lovely views of the both American and Canadian falls on our way to the airport.

Stopover at the Emerald Isle

img_7735

Quick stop, and then off for an even quicker flight.

Landing gear engaged

img_7757-2

Lovely Welsh farmland coming up to meet us.

Touchdown, Cardiff!

img_7764-2

Even though we debarked on the back tarmac for wheelchair access, the famous Welsh Red Dragon (Y Ddraig Goch) was there to greet us.

Home away from home

 

img_8191-2-copy

After an hour and a half of drive time, we arrived at my cousin’s lovely bungalow, looking straight out upon the magnificent Brecon Beacons. Can you imagine a nicer view?

Remembering

img_7834

Grandparents and other relatives gone long, buried on the parish grounds.

img_7823

The Parish of Aberyscir. A recent refurbishment has left it absolutely spotless. Services are still held here, and it is open twenty-fours a day.

First home

img_7867-2

My mother was born in this farmhouse and she lived here as a girl. It made me a little misty catching the first glimpse.

And the view

img_7909

It made me swoon.

Little trekkers

img_8071

Can you imagine? These four little ones clambered over the fence, through the bramble, down and up hills, over the river (or around it when flooded) for four hours to get to and from school. Mom is the cute little girl on the left. She is the baby, and the last of the siblings.

Ysgol

img_8044

The school they walked to is now a private home.

A lovely little side trip

img_8111

You all know Ali, aka THIMBERLINA….we met up in Chester to shop for some fabrics at Abakhan. She has already created a lovely jumpsuit from one of her pieces. Mine have, at least, been washed and are still waiting for some attention. (I have projects!)

Cruising the canal

img_8455

In our one-hour cruise we saw lovely canal side homes with neatly manicured gardens, beautiful natural landscaping, wooden sculptures, lots of walkers, scads of dogs…

img_8529-2

…and this handsome fellow.

Fabric and craftiness

img_8547-2

Found a sweet little shop downtown, Bobbins of Brecon Fabrics and Haberdashery, and picked up a random assortment. (Now I have more projects.)

Schoolgirl chums

img_8231

Mom and her old friend from school reminisced while my cousin and I made fabulous discoveries in the shop attached to this little cafe. We were sorely tempted, but very strong and didn’t buy a thing.

 

We had guests over regularly for tea, enjoyed a marvelous Indian restaurant meal, and spent our last evening at cousin’s golf club. Cousins, nieces and nephews came by to see their Aunty for the first time in several years. We saw nearly everyone (one cousin even came from London), told stories, identified people in old family photos, hugged, laughed and cried. We knew it would be so difficult to leave.

img_8615

But leave we did, and after three weeks respite at home, headed off to California. Stay tuned.

Till next time, have a grand week!

 

 

 

 

 

Oh what fun it was to ride … on the train into Chester to meet Ali.

I realize that’s a pretty sorry rhyme, but it was an absolutely marvelous time!

Here’s the back story: I live in New York and have cousins in Brecon, Wales. Many of my online sewing buddies (or rather, sewing inspirations since my sewing is going so slowly) live in the UK and one of them, the famous and fabulous, Ali of THIMBERLINA, was able to meet me for a day out fabric shopping! We found a spot half way between our locations which just so happened to be home to a particularly fine fabric shop, Abakhan, where we whiled away a good amount of time.

We started our morning early at our respective train stations, mine was in Abergavenny, and oh, such amazing scenery along the way! Horses, cows, and fields full of sheep. My traveling shots were blurry, so here is a shot of one of the many stations where we stopped, so many nicely landscaped and decorated. I was very impressed with the British rail system!

img_8097

After our separate journeys of about two and a half-hours, we all arrived at the Chester Station.

chester_railway_station_frontage_-_2005-10-09

Photo by and copyright Tagishsimon – Own work

Barely out of the station, Ali’s mum (yes, Cyber-mum was with us!) began the photo-taking. She spotted the perfect backdrop, this red double-decker bus!

img_8101

Since I obviously knew nothing about Chester, and Ali’s sense of direction is spot-on, she led the way to our first stop, the cafe at Marks and Spencer, where we enjoyed a large giant cup of coffee. As we settled at our table, Ali surprised me with a little gift – three patterns from Love Sewing magazine! Two pretty dresses (and a blouse) and trousers with t-shirt. All of which will be made up soon – I promise.

img_8104

I was very nearly run over while snapping this too-distant photo of the clock in downtown Chester!

img_8106

In short order, we arrived at our destination, Abakhan! Located prominently on the corner, it was easy to spot, and we charged right in and began our fabric adventure.

img_8111-1

Immediately upon entering, the bombardment began. Bin upon bin of remnants –  big ones, small ones, ones as big as your ‘ead….oh whoops I got a little carried away for a moment. I was drawn immediately to a lovely heathered pink jersey that would be perfect for my new t-shirt pattern! Despite the fact that the remnant was enormous, I toted it around the store while searching for soft(ish) printed materials for my new dress patterns. And are you surprised? Ali and I liked several of the same pieces! She brought me the perfect silky print, but after hemming and hawing, I abandoned it with my horrific memories of “shifty” fabrics and their uncooperative manner. At this point, Ali pounced and purchased it for herself. Can’t wait to see it come to life! When Ali mentioned that remnants could be cut, I searched for a piece for a second t-shirt and found a nice gray one straight away. My next major find was a delightful, pinky-peachy knit with bold heart outlines – so cute, and perfect for some new pajamas. This will apparently be my introduction to …  Sewing With Knits. Yikes! I’d also been requested to find some material to make work-out bandanas for my hubby, so I also added a couple of fat quarters to my pile.

Sadly, I managed to take ZERO pictures of the shop while all of this was going on, as I too busy searching, touching, unrolling, re-rolling, deciding, and undeciding to do so until finally taking my haul to the counter. Here are the lovely ladies of Abakhan joined by the lovely Ali as they cut down my pink jersey knit.

img_8109

A quick run to the second floor revealed equally abundant racks of trims, notions and yarns. We hastily ran back down and proceeded to our next stop, a quick bite and cuppa before getting on my train home. We found a little cafe, and ordered what I was assured was a staple in England – egg and chips with a pot of tea. I had considered ordering coffee, but was convinced by Ali and mum (rightly so) that tea was the proper accompaniment. It was delicious!

Final hugs at the station, and I was off.

img_8113

On the return trip, I relived the joy of meeting two wonderful people, having delightful conversation full of laughs, learning so much more about a blogger I already admired (she’s funnier and even kinder than you think), meeting her lovely mum, and accepting a challenge to sew with knits. And to think, just three days earlier, I was still puttering around in New York wondering what to wear. Such an amazing world we live in!

I hope we’ll manage another visit one day (on either side of the pond) and thanks so much to Ali and delightful mum, for showing this American such a lovely time! Must be off to the sewing machine now, t-shirts and jams await!