The joy of hand made Knickers

Many months ago I read a Curvy Sewing Collective article, their website is wonderful CSC is one of my favourite sites for inspiration and assistance, especially as a curvy lady.  The piece detailed how one of their members had made her own pants or knickers to me; this inspired me to add knickers to my ‘need to sew list’.

Immediately I shot off full of enthusiasm and purchased stretch lace and a pattern, I know its what us sewers do; however there is stopped, until yesterday.

As mentioned before I am a Mother, Wife and Daughter.  I work 4 days a week, my work is full on, carrying a lot of responsibility therefore finding time and energy for essential sewing can have its challenges let alone making knickers, however Sunday afternoon was mine.

I had some scraps of lovely jersey spot left from making pyjamas, the fabric is from myfabrics and ideal for this job, I had earmarked this scrap to line a make up bag for my friends birthday, unfortunately it matched perfectly with the stretch lace I had already purchased so sorry Marina no contest the knickers won.

The pattern is 3 pieces all cut on the fold so in seconds I was ready to start sewing, very little marking required either.  The construction was very simple however now I have read, I would have attached the gusset as advised to make the gusset neater.  The stretch lace went on a treat, I used a three step zig zag stitch to attach the lace, again advised on the wonderful tutorial.  I have never sewed lace and stopped and contemplated; do I use that awful walking foot, should I change the tension, however my desire to get the knickers finished and tried on was too great and after all, it was a free scrap so I just blasted on.

I would say from start to finish the whole process took no longer than 20 minutes and was a perfect joyful experience.

When choosing what size and adjustments to make to the pattern I grabbed my favourite pair of well loved knickers and soon realised the pattern was true to my M&S sizing, well done Butterick! I did think I would end up hacking the pattern but no, perfect.

So to review; the pattern is spot on, 3 pattern pieces is a breeze, construction is 5 small seams plus fitting the lace / elastic.  You don’t need to use an over locker in fact the three step zig zag on my standard machine gave a better result.  The only slight fiddly part was trimming the seams and to be honest, only you and the sewing fairy would know if you didn’t do this.  Fit is fantastic, the quality of the jersey is great.  I have made a pair of really good quality knickers for the cost of the lace about £1, I used almost 1 meter, I know I went mad.

Going forward I have found another 4 pieces of jersey in my scrap bin now promoted to knickers.  I have trawled the web, eBay have a great selection of reasonably priced lace trim and picot elastic in various colours, this has brought the cost down to 50pence a pair and whilst this justifies making knickers in my mind REALLY the best part about the whole thing is I loved making them, especially off the back of making a boiled wool coat that needed skill and patience; the fit is fabulous, like the comment made by the contributor on Curvy Sewing Collective I can see I will only wear RTW knickers if they are the last in the draw.










Spot and Stripe Sweatshirt Top

iphone pics 270What was the motivation for making this garment; which came first pattern, fabric or idea?

Idea. I saw a long sleeved tee shirt in the Boden catalogue and just wanted it; I love Boden!  Living in Hull working in engineering, walking dogs in hail and vertical rain I have this dream of skipping through smart mews streets to drink coffee at a pavement bistro with attractive friends; I know a tee shirt is not going to realise this dream.  However back to the question I wanted to copy a top I had seen.


Pattern details, Size made and details of adjustments

McCalls 6992 which I cut out on a size 20. Adjustments I took 2” off the length as most patterns are too long for me and graded in the neckline, see ‘making the making the garment’ for details.

Fabric choice

I used a navy and white spot along with a navy and white stripe cotton jersey both from Fabric Godmother’s online dressmaking fabric shop, 1 meter of each specifically purchased for this project. The fabric is lovely and soft with a good amount of spring that does not feel like it will bag when washed.

Post note machine washed very well

Making the garment

Cutting out was straight forward, especially with 2 pieces of 1 meter long fabric and only 5 pattern pieces; I was left with just enough scraps to justify keeping them for the bit bag!

I fine zigzagged each seam, pressed to one side and then overlocked. If the fabric had been thicker I would have just overlocked, however I wanted crisp seams where the 2 fabrics met and felt more confident to achieve this with my sewing machine.

As I have a full bust and small shoulders I graded the raglan seams in a further inch on each of the 4 seams from 6” below the neckline to the neck edge which improved the fit at the neckline immensely. I adjusted the neck band to fit the now smaller neck.  I added the cuffs before I sewed up the sleeve seam and prior to inserting into the jumper – see ‘and for next time’.

I taped the hemline, keeping the length of the top longer than I would with a heavier fabric as I wanted to scrunch it up a bit – why not.

Finished garment

I love the finished garment it’s not singing or dancing but I just feel nice when wearing and will come in really useful come Spring.

And for next time!

When I looked at the photo the sleeves look long, they don’t feel it when you are wearing but next time I will shorten them slightly.

I have made this top 3 times now and each one looks different to the rest, I have added a couple of pictures.

The red topRed top was made out of scraps left from making a dress (and I mean scraps), ironically it is much more wearable and I like it more than the dress I purchased the fabric for! It is a ponte roma from The Remnant House in Harrogate and has worn and washed a treat, however not the best ponte by a long way.  For this top I taped the neck edge to give a less sporty look and added the band as I could not get enough length from the scraps and actually I like the band and will make again this way.

I do have enough embossed black left over from my Christmas party dress to make either the sleeves or body but I may keep this for next year as its time to look at spring outfits don’t you think?


New Year Resolutions

So its here (2016) and I need to get on with it, I suppose as a Wife, Daughter, Mother, Grandma and Manager juggling time for me is not easy but the new mantra is ….. nobody is going to give you permission to do the things you want, other than you!

What I want to do is indulge myself in my sewing and craft and as confidence boost take pictures of the things I make (with me in them) and share how it went.

My secret idols or motivators for starting the blog are Sewmanju a fabulous English blogger and Trudy from Hotpatterns.  When I say idols I suppose I mean in terms of presenting their dressmaking / sewing / designs.  Real idols would be a whole different blog!

And that’s it for now; the list for next time is the new sweatshirt I have just made and I suppose a bit about me even if I am talking to myself here goes …