I cleaned out my overlocker…

…and do you know what? It wasn’t that hard.

I probably don’t clean my sewing machine as often as I should (tbh I don’t think it needs it more than once every couple of months), but I’ve got into a good habit of giving my overlocker a dust down after every project. Last month, though, I decided to wait until I’d got through all my Sew My Stash September makes before giving it a proper clean and oil. Y’know, for shits n’ giggles. Here’s how I got on and some tips I picked up from this great little video from Craftsy on Youtube.

Before

Innards before

This is about a month’s worth of build-up of fluff and lint. I don’t think it’s that bad (I’ve seen worse, I swear) but when you can’t see the actual metal workings inside, it’s probably time to give it a once-over.

Top tips:

  • Use a vacuum to get rid of the big bits of dust. I’ve got a handheld Dyson which is perfect for our flat, and perfect for cleaning out your overlocker.
  • Use cotton buds to get into the nooks and crannies to sort out the rest. My overlocker came with a crappy little brush that is absolutely no help at all. Cotton buds seem to attract all the lint like a magnet and they’re bendy enough to get to those hard-to-reach places. I ended up using 16 to clean my overlocker this time.

Cotton bud

  • According to Craftsy, you need to oil your overlocker at two places – on this shaft and at the pivot point at its base. Turn the wheel a few times to spread it out.

Oil here

  • Don’t forget the tension discs – they can get mucky too! I sprayed window cleaner onto some kitchen roll and ran it through the discs. While it didn’t pick much up this time, I’m thinking it’s a good thing to do.

Tension discs

  • When you’re not using your overlocker, put the cover on! I know it stops dust getting in everywhere, but I have to admit I’m terrible at remembering to do it. I put it on when it’s sitting on the shelf, but when it’s out on my sewing table I never bother… *slaps own wrists*

After

Sparkly clean! This took maybe 15 minutes – it’s pretty easy to do, especially using things you’ve probably got lying around the house anyway. My overlocker’s running slightly less loudly now (let’s be real; it’s never gonna be silent) and it’s worth the effort if it keeps it in fine working order for a bit longer.

Sparkly clean

Can we take a second to marvel at the size of that oil bottle? I doubt I’ll ever need to buy machine oil ever again. 

Do you have any top tips for sewing machine maintenance?

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How I got on with Sew My Stash September

Right! Let’s wrap up Sew My Stash September with a review! I thought about doing charts, but started messing around on Canva instead, so here’s an infographic of stats.

Round up infographic.jpg

In addition to shifting a shedload of fabric, I learned a few things about myself and my sewing habits:

  • Cutting out your projects for the month might be tedious, but it’s worth it. I even did all my interfacing at the same time! It was great to just be able to reach for fabric that was all cut and ready to go, and it kept me focused, too. Seeing the pile slowly disappear over the month was a good motivator – I might not have finished all my sewing in September itself, but I didn’t start anything new until I’d done it all. Maybe this is the way to keep myself on track?
  • Sewing generates a lot of waste. I have a Sainsbury’s bag (why I brought plastic bags with me to another country I’ll never know) full of fabric scraps ready to go to the nearest H&M for recycling. I already do my best to squeeze pattern pieces into the smallest possible space, but there will always be offcuts. I’ve never really thought about it before, but after that mammoth cutting out session, it was really brought home to me. From now on I’ll save my scraps and take them into H&M every couple of months.
  • I think I have a pretty sensible approach to buying fabric. Looking through my stash, it’s all stuff I would wear, in colours that fit into my wardrobe. Don’t get me wrong, I love a crazy print (and I’ve sewn a couple over the summer) but the majority of fabrics in my stash are block colours.
  • Since I had a lot to get through in September I decided to blog three times a week. It gets a bit much after a while, and I didn’t quite manage it by the end of the month. Twice a week seems much more manageable.

Sew My Stash September was a lot of work, and I set myself a tough challenge in planning to sew so much. However, I quite enjoyed it! It was good to have a clear goal and it’s certainly satisfying to get through so much fabric in a relatively short space of time. I might even make it an annual thing.

And finally…

I didn’t quite get my final two projects, a pair of Tilly and the Buttons Cleo dresses, made in September, but I did manage to start them before the 30th. I wanted to get a production line going one afternoon, but I had to stop in the evening because I hit a point where overlocking was unavoidable. Not wanting to annoy the neighbours, I stopped for the night and the next couple of days too… The main thing is, I got them done eventually.

Stripy front

Chris is in the UK this weekend so I worked out how to set up the remote for the camera. I’m not brave enough to do it outside on my own just yet. 

Anyway, the fabric! I bought the denim shortly after I made my first Cleo earlier this year from the fabric shop in Balham, along with the buckles for both. I’d always planned to make another Cleo with it, but didn’t quite get there what with the move and the summer etc. The stripy stuff is a canvas from Our Fabric Stash in Pike Place Market (probably the most recognisable part of Seattle after the Space Needle). Our Fabric Stash is a consignment shop, so everything started life in someone else’s stash and is sold as found. I think this stuff had been sitting in someone’s collection for a while as it had that distinctive musty smell that takes ages to shift in the wash.

Denim front

As you can see, I need more practice. 

I had a lovely time making these up – the Cleo is a very easy pattern and it was fun to revisit it. I wanted a little bit of a challenge, though, so I had a crack at topstitching the denim one with proper thread and everything. Since any mistake would be super noticeable, I took things really slowly. I discovered that my machine doesn’t like backtacking with topstitching thread, so I ended up not doing it and caught the loose ends in seams and overlocking. For the most part I just used the guides on my presser foot to keep things even, but for the curves on the back pockets I drew around a side plate with some tailors’ chalk. I’m so pleased with how it all turned out that I think the topstitching is my favourite feature on the denim version. I only wish I’d bought more than one 33-yard reel – it would have been great to add it on the straps and around the top facing but I had nowhere near enough for both.

Back pocket topstitching

So. Pleased. 

 

I’m also quite pleased with the patches which I picked up a few weeks ago in the Fremont Vintage Mall. I just popped in for a bit of a mooch and ended up rummaging through baskets of old patches (mostly from Scout and Girl Scout events) and happened upon these two. And they were iron on! No faffing about with hand sewing! I’m not sure how they’ll hold up in the wash, but I think they add a little extra to the front pocket.

Patches and topstitching

So that’s it for Sew My Stash September! If you joined in, how did you get on? Would you do it again?

On the cutting table: October

September was a busy month, wasn’t it? I went camping, started my job hunt (nothing to report yet) and officially hit my mid-30s. There was plenty going on in the sewing community, too, with #sewphotohop happening on Instagram. I threw Sew My Stash September into the mix and did a shedload of sewing to get rid of some of the extra fabric I’d been hanging onto for too long. I’m just about finished too – I’ve got a couple of Tilly and the Buttons Cleos that are nearly done (more on those, plus a round-up on Sunday), but until then here are my plans for October!

Once I’d finished making a dent in my stash, obviously I went out and bought more fabric. It was my birthday at the end of September and I got a couple of vouchers for fabric shops so who am I to argue with that? In my defence, though, I do have another wedding to go to this month and I have nothing suitable in my wardrobe for an autumn event in the UK. I haven’t spent all of the vouchers and my plans this month are a mix of new and stash fabrics and a UFO.

  • For the wedding I am thinking a pair of three quarter length Winslows (fast becoming a TNT for me) in some black triple crepe I’ve had in my stash for a couple of years.
  • I can’t decide on the top. I know I want to use this wonderful large-scale flamingo print rayon from Harts Fabric but I can’t decide on whether I want to make the Sew Over It Pussy Bow Blouse, their Anderson Blouse or a modified version of the Papercut Kochi Kimono, all of which I own. At the moment I think I’m veering towards the Anderson Blouse, as it looks nice tucked in or not, and I think it’ll work well with the Winslows (again, going for the extra in Poirot look).
Flamingo rayon

It will see an iron before I cut into it. Promise.

What to choose

L-R: Kochi Kimono, Anderson Blouse, Pussy Bow Blouse

 

  • I’m taking part in the Cosy Cardi Challenge on Instagram and since Helen’s Closet was having a sale the other day I snapped up the Blackwood Cardigan. It’ll be in this nice pinky/biscuit knit.
Biscuit knit

The colour looks more grey here but it’s really more of a pinky beige. Biscuit, basically. 

  • I’m going to finish the quilt I started earlier this year. I finished the top back in May just as it was getting hot outside and I couldn’t face the idea of swathing myself in layers of fabric and batting in the heat. It’s time to get it done.
Quilt top unfinished

The quilt top as it stands. It’s going to be awesome when it’s done. I hope.

  • If I have time, I’d like to make a stretchy top too, probably the Coppelia wrap cardigan by Papercut (check out Sarah’s versions here and here – they’re beautiful!). I don’t mind if I don’t get this done – with a trip abroad to contend with I am fully aware that I may prefer to spend time under the duvet instead of at my machine.

 

Rayon and on and on

If I remember 2017 for anything, sewing-wise, I think it’ll be my year of obsession. I’ve been going nuts for shirts and shirt dresses, and if I can make them in rayon then that’s just perfection in a project. I’m feeling the need to try something different now, but before I put my obsession to bed I thought I’d have one last hurrah.

The one piece of fabric I wanted to get out of my stash was this BEE-YOO-TIFUL rayon that I bought from Britex Fabrics in San Francisco on a trip in June. That place is amazing, but it ain’t cheap. I could have come away weighed down with all sorts of fabric goodness, but at the same time I didn’t want to bankrupt myself, so I set myself a two-yard limit. I think I made the right choice cos I’d pull this rayon out of my stash every now and then just to stroke it. Anyway, I wanted to sew it up straightaway, but the colours and the pattern are more autumnal than summery to me.  Now that we’re definitely switching seasons here, its time has come.

Front

Back to the roof today. We had to dodge the showers to get these photos.

I’ve loved wearing my Sew Over It Ultimate Shirts, but I’ve made them all out of crisp cotton so I fancied seeing what it was like in something a bit floatier (spoiler: it’s awesome). The Ultimate Shirt is supposed to be fitted, with long vertical darts on the front and back, but I left them out this time to maximise the floof around the waist. I think it works – this fabric should be free to drape and float, so who am I to refuse it?

Side

Since this is my fourth version of this pattern and I’ve pretty much nailed the fit for me I knew I was in for a straightforward sew. And that’s what it was, until I got to the cuffs. One of the cuffs is in the right place. The other is not. There are three notches at the end of the sleeve to help you attach the cuff – two for a small pleat and one for the cuff opening. I somehow managed to put the cuff opening in the wrong place so now the pleat is slightly out. By the time I realised I had already sliced the opening and there was no going back. I am not going to worry about that too much, though. I like to wear my sleeves rolled up, so really, who’s going to see?!

Collar

The buttonholes were a lot of fun, too (note the use of sarcasm here). I know a bad workman blames his tools, but really automatic buttonholes are just bloody temperamental, aren’t they? I always do a couple of tests before committing to the real thing, and I reset the machine between every buttonhole, just in case, but this time it didn’t work. The first two were a hot mess – the machine decided to stop halfway up the second side so I had to stop and unpick. I held my breath and started again, and luckily the rest of them were ok, but I did have to go out for peanut butter M&Ms as a reward.

I’m not going to lie; I love this shirt. I know I say that about a lot of things I make, but I really mean this one! One of the things I like about my Alex Shirts is the relaxed fit through the waist. I’m not such a fan of the flat collar or the plain cuffs (even though you never see them) on the Alex, so this feels like a good compromise. If I’m going to put the Ultimate Shirt to bed for now, this feels like a good note to end on.

Back

Ultimate floof.

Getting organised

Do you keep tabs on your fabric and pattern stash? I haven’t until recently. In London my sewing space was so spread out and in such a mess that working out exactly what I had felt like too big a job. In fact, a little organisation was probably exactly what I needed. Now that I’ve downsized it’s a bit more manageable and I’m more inclined to tackle it. It’s useful to see what you have in stock whenever inspiration strikes, so over the past few weeks I’ve been trying to get it all logged!

You might remember that Sew My Stash September was inspired by a recent edition of the Love to Sew podcast. In that same episode Helen and Caroline talked about using Trello to keep track of their stash. It sounded like a good idea so I decided to check it out. It’s available at Trello.com and there are apps for iOS and Android too.

Trello - stash

Here’s my stash as represented through Trello. It looks like a Pinterest-type layout, but you can scroll through individual lists – e.g. there’s more in that Rayon list than what’s shown here. 

Trello is basically a list of lists (their words, not mine). There are three levels – boards, for your overall projects; lists, for groups of related things; and cards, for individual items or tasks. For example, I have a board for my fabric stash, which is divided into lists by fabric type, and the cards within those lists show basic information about each individual fabric. So far I’ve been including length and width, where and when I bought it and a description of the pattern. You can also upload pictures so I’ve included a photo of each fabric, which will help when I’m looking at patterns and don’t want to root through the physical stash.

Trello - patterns

I’ve logged my hard copy patterns so far, and am working through my pdfs. I’ve taken pictures of the fabric requirements/measurements etc too for quick reference. 

I’m trying another board for my sewing plans, starting with October. Again, I’ve included pictures for quick reference, ideas for fabrics and which version I’d like to make. I also state why I’m making it – whether it’s for an occasion or just to fill a gap in my wardrobe. One of the things I like about Trello cards is that you can include a checklist to keep your project on track (e.g. fabric bought, cut out, sewn up) but you can also set deadlines, which you can also view on a calendar. I’m not sure how often I’ll use this for everyday sewing projects but I have a wedding to go to next month and I’m making my outfit so I’m trying it out. It’s easy to move things round too, so if my October plans are a bit too ambitious I can just swap cards into the list for November.

Trello - card view

The inner workings of a card, and if you look closely you’ll get a sneak peek at my October plans…

This makes me think it’ll be good for planning and scheduling my blog posts too. At the moment I’m using an Excel sheet with a bastardised Gantt chart, which is lovely and geeky (gotta love a bit of conditional formatting), but it’s not very user-friendly. It’s difficult to move things round if plans change, and scrolling up and down is a pain. I like the visual element that Trello brings, and seeing things on a grid-based calendar is really useful too.

Excel planner

My current planner – it has tabs for posts, plans and blog ideas but it’s quite unwieldy. Time to update?

I’m sure Trello can do more than all this and I’m finding new and nifty features all the time. However, keeping it up to date will take effort on my part. I know what I’m like – I get a shiny new toy and play with it for a week or two, and then get bored leaving it to languish (I’m looking at you, Evernote). It seems quite useable, though, so maybe this’ll be just the thing to keep me organised?

His n’ hers

I read somewhere once that making clothing for a significant other signals the death knell for your relationship. It’s basically sod’s law – you put all that care and attention into doing a nice thing for your partner but then you break up, rendering all that effort wasted. Coincidentally I’ve never made anything for Chris to wear, but since we’ve been together for nearly five years and married for almost one, I think I can chance it. After all, divorce is expensive.

Anyway, Chris is just about as enthusiastic about spending time in his PJs as I am, so it seemed like a natural choice to make him a pair. When I bought that Ikea duvet for my Carolyn pyjamas, I knew I’d be able to get more than one pair out of it. I’d only used about a metre, which left me with just enough for some bottoms for Chris and the longer length Carolyn bottoms for me. And when I say just enough, I mean it – it was a real squeeze fitting the pattern pieces in, so any stripe matching you might see in these photos is a complete fluke.

New Look 6859 front

I spent a bit of time searching for a men’s pj pattern. Chris wanted a fly front, but none of the Big Four seem to do them as far as I can tell (please do prove me wrong though!). I eventually settled on New Look 6859 as view A looked like a straightforward pattern without any fancy bits (unless you want them – unlikely with Chris). They’re a basic pyjama with slash pockets, an elasticated waist and a mock-drawstring, with sizes in XS to XXL.

New Look 6859 crotch

It’s a small thing, but I really like the twill tape mock-drawstring here. I just think it looks cute. 

This was my first time using a Big Four pattern and I have to say that my experience with it was largely positive. The pieces (all three of them) fit together easily and the instructions, though brief, were clear. They even included a tip on inserting elastic into a casing, which is something I’ve been struggling with lately. To avoid getting the elastic stuck under wayward seam allowances, simply baste them down before you stitch the casing. It’s so simple, I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of it before!

New Look 6859 back

It was a pretty quick sew, too. I did most of it in a morning, and completed it that evening when I could get Chris to try them on for size. The sizing is probably the thing I’m most unhappy with – I cut them based on Chris’ hip measurement which is precisely between an L and an XL. I went for the larger size but they do look rather baggy on him. They’re only pyjamas and he says they are comfy to wear so I won’t alter this pair, but I’d size down if I was making them again.

New Look 6859 camouflage

If you can make out the PJs beyond the duvet cover camouflage here, you’ll see that there is a lot of excess fabric down the leg – they might be comfy but that’s a definite size down next time.

I don’t have much to say about my Carolyn bottoms. They’re exactly the same construction as the shorts, only a little longer, so I knew they’d fit nicely through the hips. I took an inch off the drafted length, and I think for my next pair I’ll take off a further inch as they’re skimming the floor a little. Still, I enjoyed making them, and they’ll serve me very nicely through the autumn. I don’t wear long sleeves in bed unless it’s really cold, so I’ll be wearing these with the Carolyn shirt I’ve already made. I’ve really enjoyed having coordinated PJs over the summer that I’m feeling a bit disappointed with my tatty old RTW pairs.

Carolyn longer length front

Anyway, I do like making pyjamas – they’re a quick and satisfying project, and it is kinda fun to be matchy matchy with your husband and your duvet cover. My PJ love is not going anywhere and I’m looking forward to making snugglier pairs as winter approaches.

Pattern review: Jennifer Lauren Handmade Afternoon Blouse

Hi everybody! Today I’m sharing something that wasn’t in my plans at the start of the month, but I’ve managed to incorporate it into Sew My Stash September anyway. A few months ago I signed up to be a pattern reviewer for Jennifer Lauren Handmade. In exchange for an honest review, you get a pdf copy of one of Jennifer’s patterns, and there’s a different one each month. I won’t be reviewing a pattern every time, but I did stick my hand up for this month’s pattern, the Afternoon Blouse.

Now, I have made this before, but it was way, way back when I had just started sewing. My last version was in a Liberty lawn and looking back it is definitely not my best make (unfinished facings, shocking topstitching etc). I wanted to revisit it to see how far I have come.

Front resize

My choices

When I made the pattern first time around it was only a top with a choice between a round or square neckline finish. The reissued version now includes a shift dress extension with an elasticated or pleated waist in the back. I’m not really a fan of shift dresses on me, so I went for the blouse with the round neck finish. The fabric recommendations span drapey fabrics like voile or rayon, through to stiffer fabrics like quilting cotton. Something crisper might be good for the dress version, but I think the top works best in something nice and flowy. I had just the right amount of rayon left over from my last Penny dress, and this was the perfect opportunity to save it from my stash. I only wish I had more so I could attempt to pattern match – it doesn’t match through the front seam and now it’s all I can look at.

The pdf pattern

We all know that printing, taping and cutting out pdf patterns can be a hell of a faff, so anything to reduce the time is a good thing in my book. I was impressed that Jennifer has taken the time to show which pages you need to print depending on the version you’re making. Saves time and trees. However, putting the pattern together could be made a bit simpler. There aren’t any triangles on the pdf to help you line things up and keep track of what sheet attaches to which. You could refer to the instructions for this but I think it would be helpful to do it straight from the pattern.

Side resize

Construction

The Afternoon Blouse has just four pattern pieces (front, back and two facing pieces). It features kimono sleeves and there’s no fitting around the bust to mess about with. It’s a simple sew, but the crossover neckline keeps things interesting, and is probably the most challenging part, especially if you’re a beginner. You need to do some pretty accurate sewing to ensure that there aren’t any holes beneath where the round extensions cross over. I found the drafting to be accurate and well thought out here, and the whole blouse came together for me without any issues. I’d note that there are no notches on the pattern to help you match pieces, and while I didn’t find that a problem while sewing, others might find them useful.

Bust detail resize

Instructions

My main criticism of the pattern is with the instructions, but even then these are minor points as they’re pretty easy to follow. I struggled a bit to get the neckline lying flat, and in a thicker fabric I think the facing might pop out, particularly around the back neckline. You secure the facing with a couple of hand stitches at the shoulder and beneath the crossover, but I think some understitching might help. You wouldn’t be able to understitch the entire facing but certainly around the majority of the front and back neckline before you get to the crossover.

Speaking of hand stitching, there is a mistake in the instructions about this. In the “Attaching the facing” section, points five and six are the wrong way round, so it has you stitching the facing down before you’ve turned it the right side out. I told Jennifer about this via email, so hopefully it’ll be updated pretty quickly.

Fit

I cut a size 12 around the bust, blending out to a 16 at the hips, which is a usual adjustment for me. The fit seems pretty spot on – there’s no gaping across the bust and it’s cut high enough to be decent but not too buttoned up. The lack of shaping means it’s quite a loose fit, which I like – it has just the right volume so in rayon it looks nicely poofy when tucked in but also soft and flowy when worn loose.

Back resize

All in all…

I might have a few small issues with the pattern here and there, but these are so small they didn’t affect my enjoyment in sewing this top at all. Because, really, I bloody love this top. Chris even said he liked it without me having to prompt that I’d made something new. That doesn’t happen often. It’s a good top to have in your collection – quick to put together, simple to fit and easy to wear. This particular version is smart enough for work but I can see it doing very nicely for date night when worn with jeans, too.

Recommended.

 

 

My top five reasons for sewing your stash

I’m probably not the only magpie sewist, spotting cute fabrics and snapping them up with vague ideas of what they’ll become only for them to sit in my stash. It’s a slippery slope towards drowning in cloth, and while that might be a nice way to go, it’s probably a good idea to reduce the stash a little bit. Here are my top five reasons for sewing through your stash.

  • That really pretty piece of rayon/silk/cotton/whatever deserves to be seen! I don’t hold with the idea that some fabrics are too good to be sewn. You bought it because you loved it, so don’t let it languish in a box, bag or cupboard Now let the rest of the world love it too, in the form of a beautiful garment.
  • Let’s face it, we could all do with the space. If you’ve got fabric poking out of random places like kitchen drawers or the bathroom cabinet, it’s probably time to do something about it.
  • It’s a potential opportunity to learn some new skills. If you’re scared of cutting into that precious bit of silk, take a deep breath and just do it. There are so many useful free online resources out there that it’s like having your own private teacher there with you.
  • Sewing from your stash means that you’ll probably save a bit of money, at least in the short term. Spend that money on something fun, like going ziplining, taking a class or a mountain of sweets.
  • Having a good rummage through your stash can be a great source of inspiration. You might find something that you’d forgotten about and decide that it would be perfect for the pattern you’ve been dreaming about.

And don’t forget that when you’re done, you get to buy more fabric! Yay!

Mediterranean tart: just something I threw together

A couple of posts ago I said I’d post about food every once in a while. My blog tagline is “Craft. Cookery. Mostly Sewing.” but I think in the four years I’ve been blogging I’ve posted once about food (crème egg brownies if you’re wondering. Wonderful, but so sickly). I love to cook, try new recipes and then stuff my face with what I’ve made, and sometimes I think my dinner is worth sharing. So, here’s the first in a very occasional series about what is filling my stomach right now. If you’re here for the sewing, don’t worry; it’ll be back in the next post.

I’m not very experimental in the kitchen. I generally don’t just throw ingredients together unless I know that I’m going to get a good outcome – a Masterchef-style invention challenge would probably have me in a nervous sweat. However, every now and then inspiration strikes and something I’ve cobbled together with a few ingredients from the fridge turns out to be a winner.

That’s what happened with this Mediterranean tart. I think I was making an apple pie or something and had some leftover shortcrust pastry. Usually I’d just use it for jam tarts, but we had no jam in the house. Not wanting to just chuck the pastry in the bin, I raided the fridge and found a bunch of leftovers – a handful each of spinach and cherry tomatoes, the end of a block of feta, half a red onion and some eggs. I decided I’d make some savoury tarts.

I sliced the onion up and softened them in some oil, wilted the spinach in the same pan, then stirred in the cherry tomatoes and feta. I cut the pastry into small circles and filled them with the mixture. Then I poured some beaten egg over to bind the mixture, added a bit of seasoning and baked for 20 minutes or so.

And for something I had just thrown together with some random leftovers, they turned out pretty well! I love the saltiness of feta, and when you hit a tomato you get a lovely, sweet burst of flavour.

I think I managed to get eight out of the leftover pastry, and they didn’t last the day (always the sign of a good bake). A few weeks later I made them again for a Guide function and had some lovely comments too. Since then I’ve tweaked the recipe slightly so I can make it into a larger quiche/tart, and it has served me well for a summer dinner. It’s also good the following day for lunch!

If you’d like to try making this, I’ve made a recipe card! Click here to download it.

Mediterranean tart

I probably need to get a bit better at taking pictures of food, but it tastes good, I swear!

 

The replacements: Winslow culottes

Do you remember a month or two ago I made some Helen’s Closet Winslow culottes in bright red rayon? I loved those culottes. When I wore them with my stripy Scout tee I felt like I was on a 1930s cruise where I would perhaps bump into Poirot and help him solve a murder (who am I kidding, I would totally just be a hanger-on while he did all the sleuthing). They were so good for keeping me cool in the summer heat and I wore them on near-constant rotation. But why the past tense? Well, a few weeks ago I was in one of our many local drinking establishments, and I caught the culottes on a nail while squeezing past a table to get to the loo. Luckily my modestly was protected and I managed to make it home without flashing my rear to all of Fremont, but I was gutted that they weren’t salvageable.

Front

That’s my recent Agnes top I’m wearing too. 

I’m not sure I would have made another floaty pair this late in the year, but it’s still quite warm here (well, not this weekend) and we’ve got a couple of hot-weather holidays coming up, so it seemed sensible to make some more. And it meant that I could shift this Cotton & Steel rayon that’s been in my stash since June. Winning all round, I think.

I like this rayon. It’s got the drape I’m looking for, but it feels a bit more substantial than the red stuff of my first pair. I bought two yards from Drygoods Design, and I just managed to squeeze the knee length culottes out of it. It’s quite a skinny length (44 inches wide) and the back pattern piece is a tiny bit too broad to fit on the lengthwise grain. Luckily I could get them on the crosswise grain, but it meant having to use the selvedge. It’s something to bear in mind if ever I want to make the longer length (and I think I will… I have a wedding coming up in October, and these could be a good option).

Selvedge

I wish I’d remembered to get a proper picture of the selvedge cos they’re really cool on Cotton and Steel fabrics.

One of the things I love about the Winslow culottes is that it’s a really quick sew, although I made them over a couple of sessions. This approach paid off because I managed to do a pretty good job of the invisible zip – it’s not often that I manage to get the waistband meeting properly at all matching points! *pats self on back*

Back

Bit of a windy day on the roof, but I suppose you get to see the movement in the fabric. 

They had their first outing while camping last weekend, and I was glad of combination of the airiness of a skirt and coverage of shorts over what was a really very warm trip. I’m glad I’ve made them but I do miss that red pair. There may be more in my future…

Side