Tuesday 10 March 2020

New Patchwork & Quilting Basics by Jo Avery: Blog Tour

Welcome to my turn on the lovely Jo Avery's New Patchwork & Quilting Basics book tour! I've known Jo since the Fat Quarterly retreat days and she is such a vibrant person buzzing with ideas and creativity.  Her book is a slice of Jo Avery, packed full of tips and advice from beginner to the more experienced quilter.  I've also taken a few of Jo's classes at the Threadhouse Retreats and she is a great teacher, always looking for a more efficient way of doing things or simplifying a process so it's in reach of all abilities and the same approach can be seen throughout her skills-builder book. Packed full of quick methods for maximum impact,  She's a whizz with colour and it shines throughout the bright and colourful pages.

I made a block from the Bedding Plants Quilt- my favourite project and the culmination of all the skills and techniques covered in the book.  I rummaged through my vintage scraps to find lots of bright prints for the on-point tulip blocks.  The instructions are clear and efficient, Jo's naturally encouraging tone comes through.  She emphasis accepting momentary imperfections and moving on so you can see the bigger picture, sage advice!  

I made five tulips and they came together really quickly.  I squared it off and I think in the true spirit of Jo, I might make it into a large zip pouch!

Find all the links to the rest of the blog hop and where to buy a signed copy over at Jo's blog.

Monday 9 March 2020

Yay, trousers at last! M7445 Palmer Pletsch Wide Leg Pant in Denim

I have only one pair of trousers in my wardrobe, these dating from 2014.  I don't have any jeans- I know, it's weird.   But I hate the feel of a skinny jean, I don't do much in the way of clothes shopping and when I go to the beach or dog walking, I usually put on joggers or yoga pants. I have had a longing for a comfortable stylish pair of denim wide-leg trousers and I have been looking out for a pattern.  I'd see Katie of What Katies Sews reporting on a couple of pairs, and Diane of Dream Cut Sew who had created a couple of gorgeous looking versions- both inspired me!  As part of my social media work for Clothspot, the team of owner Alice, accountant-in-chief Judy, and me are taking part in #makenine2020, we selected nine garments (three each) to make this year and McCalls 7445 is my first!

This is a Palmer Pletsch pattern which uses their tissue fitting method before cutting into any fabric. The aim is that any obvious alterations can be done to the tissue first.  Large seam allowances are built in to provide extra fabric for fitting- on this pattern, the leg seams all feature 1" seam allowance.
The tissue fitting was a little hit and miss. It gave me a broad idea of length/width fit but once I moved on to the fabric, a 13oz denim with a little elastane for ease, it was a lot easier to feel how the final fit would be. 

I decided I wanted the faced waist finish and moved the zip from the centre to the side.  I also opted for a concealed zip. I cut a size 12 which was closest to my body measurements.  I only needed minor adjustments,, a slight reduction of the crotch seam to reduce bagginess at the front, but I did machine baste the seams several times to get to that point!  

To stop the waistline stretching out with all the trying on, I sewed a 3/8" woven black tape to the seam line for stability. When I did add the facing near the end of construction, it was quite a lot smaller and needed a lot of easing in. I also found the waist sat lower than I thought it would looking at the pattern images. I might add a waistband on a future pair.

 I like to make the insides comfortable to wear and pretty for me to look at so I bound the facing edges and the crotch seam with bias Liberty lawn strips and a Hong Kong finish, as well as adding a zipper tab cover.

The only other alteration was to take 7/8" off the length, I'm 5'5" tall.  

When I add a concealed/invisible zip, I've found life is a lot easier if I sew a double run of stitches. To prepare, I add lightweight interfacing strips to the wrong side of what will form the zipper seam, allow to cool and overlock the fabric edge.  I then pin the first half of the zip in place and with a standard zipper foot, a long stitch and the outer edge of the zip just meeting the overlocker stitches and I sew the very edge of the zip to the seam fabric. One half of the zipper is now nicely secured so I change to the invisible zip foot and sew a second line of stitches close to the zipper teeth.  Repeat on the other side. 

They are exactly what I wanted.  Denim, comfortable, stylish and incredibly wearable. I wasn't sure about the angled pocket initially but now it's one of my favourite features.  The vertical opening section is stitched down to keep the pockets flat but still useable, plus I used lighter-weight denim for the facing to reduce bulk.  

They fit into the much-worn category of my wardrobe already.  My next pair are from this exceptional quality dark navy cotton twill from Clothspot.  It has a touch of elastane for ease just like the denim so I think it will work well.  Yay for trouser success! I'm wearing this pair with a favourite striped version of the top from 'She Wears the Pants'