Scouts on parade, a new toy and a pledge

Man, it’s been a while! Over the last few months my nose has been well and truly to the grindstone, working some crazy long hours with some weekends thrown in just for laughs. Sewing slowed to a halt, and the last thing I wanted to do at the end of the day was to sit down at my computer for another hour or so and write blog posts. Things at work quietened down considerably after 1 April and in that time I’ve done stuff that I wanted to do, like leave the office at 5pm instead of 9pm, go to the gym, see friends I haven’t seen in too long, go on holiday – even go to the supermarket and do the MASSIVE pile of ironing that had accumulated while I was office-bound. In short, I’ve got my life back and I now have time to sew and blog. And it feels good.

New toy
There have been a couple of upshots of all that effort though – I’ve now earned enough time in lieu to give me two extra weeks of holiday this year (woooooo!) and work gave me some John Lewis vouchers as a thank you. I’ve been toying with the idea of getting an overlocker for a while now, and having half the funds fall into my lap seemed like as good an excuse as any to invest.

Here she is in her threaded state. *smug face*

Here she is in her threaded state. *smug face*

And here she is! I like my Janome CXL-301 sewing machine so figured I couldn’t really go wrong with the 9200D. I read all the reviews and the overwhelming majority said it was a great little machine and it’s easy to thread. And they’re not wrong. It came pre-threaded so I could just plug it in and have a go, but when I came to changing the colour last week I didn’t find it all that difficult to do it myself. Yes, it’s a fiddle (as I assume all overlockers are), and if you’re left handed like I am getting the thread through some of the loops can be a bit awkward, but I followed the instructions and the colour-coded thread guides and half an hour later it was done – right first time and everything! Get. Me. Those cones of thread are a little expensive so unless I have a really special project I will be using black or white thread only so I get the value out of them (which will hopefully mean I don’t have to rethread all that often…).

In order to get me back into sewing I needed some [practically] instant gratification. I also had been on a small fabric splurge at the Village Haberdashery (ermmm… depends how you define small…) and had some lovely voile prints in my stash. The Grainline Scout t-shirt was the perfect choice – quick and simple sewing and a great canvas to show off the fabric. So I made three. That’s almost a whole Scout patrol! While the construction is super simple – no darts, a bit of bias binding on the neck and setting in the sleeve – each version has something different about them, though I did make my own bias binding for all of them. There is a pattern piece for a strip of binding, but I’d rather not waste the fabric.

Hmm perhaps a bit see through - need to be careful what I wear this with!

Hmm perhaps a bit see through – need to be careful what I wear this with!

This predominantly white one is Revelry voile in the Bandeau print. I didn’t have quite enough fabric to be able to cut the sleeves out with the pattern running the right way, so I had to do them on the crosswise grain. I don’t think it looks too bad though – because of the way the sleeves are cut and put together, it actually looks like the chevrons run the right way if you’re facing someone. It’s just from the side that it’s a bit off.  This Scout also has the honour (?) of being the first project to involve the new overlocker. I used it to finish the side seams only. The pattern has you use 1/2 inch seams throughout, apart from the sleeves, which take a 1/4 inch instead. The overlocker stitching looked too deep so I stitched it up as normal and finished the seams using the mock overlock stitch on my sewing machine instead.

The black and white zig zag one is probably my favourite – the fabric is just so cool! I’ve worn it twice into work now and had some lovely comments each time. It’s the perfect top to take me from work to the bar! For this one I French seamed the entire thing. Even the sleeves. I ignored the seam allowance and went for 1/2 and inch throughout and I think it’s turned out quite nicely. It was quite easy in the end, too – I’d read some comments and blogs asking if it’s possible to French seam a sleeve and it is. Setting in sleeves always takes me a while to get my head around (e.g. which side should be facing which? Should the bodice be inside out and the sleeve the right way out? So much confusion), so with French seams being a bit backwards anyway it just adds to the brain mangling, but it turned out ok in the end! I don’t think I’d like to try it on something a bit more gathered than the Scout, but it’s perfectly possible here. I used this tutorial here but really it’s the same as normal, you’re just doing it in a circle instead of a straight line.

Ready for the bar. Or the beer garden. Or London's trendy East End.

Ready for the bar. Or the beer garden. Or London’s trendy East End.

The final one is this lovely bird print which I fell in love with upon sight, but I procrastinated about buying it and when I eventually put my order in I was told they only had a metre left rather than the 1.5m needed according to the fabric requirements. After a bit of back and forth, I was told that with the fabric being a bit wider than normal (somewhere between 44in and 60in) and that I’d probably be able to squeeze a Scout out of it. So I decided to go for it, and with a bit of creative laying out (basically cutting the sleeves out first and folding the selvedges into the centre to create two folds), I managed it pretty easily. Construction after that was as per the zig zag version so the innards look pretty too. And did I mention that this stuff, despite being cotton, feels so silky? Oh man, this stuff is luxurious!

Fabric close up and check out my French seamed sleeve

Fabric close up and check out my French seamed sleeve

So. Silky.

So. Silky.

These photos were taken in the back garden last Wednesday. Chris and I were both on holiday, it was hot and sunny outside and we had a barbeque for lunch. All in all, it was a pretty good day!

Me Made May 2015
So Me Made May 2015 is fast approaching – less than a week away!! As you may recall one of my New Year’s Resolutions was to join in a bit more with the sewing community, so I’m getting involved! So far there are almost 300 people signed up on So Zo… (I’m 299) and here is my pledge:

I, Jo, of, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’15. I endeavour to wear four handmade garments each week for the duration of May 2015. I also pledge to finish the Moneta dress that is my only UFO.

I have a Moneta dress that I cut out last year that I have just never finished. I’m pretty good at finishing my projects – I like showing them off and I generally want to wear them as quickly as possible. But this Moneta just never got that far. I got discouraged by the horrible clear elastic and I was scared that the fabric would distort through my machine. I might make something a bit more simple in knit fabric first, like Tilly’s Coco top (sitting in my pattern stash) and then finish it, but I WILL finish the Moneta before May is out.

I’ll be posting a round up of pictures up here on a weekly basis, and I’m going to try and vary the locations too. This isn’t going to be too difficult – Chris is going to San Francisco for work for two weeks in May (jammy bugger), so I will be without my photographer 😦 but it also means there won’t be any photos in the living room like it’s my first day at school. I’m quite excited about all this – really looking forward to seeing what other people post and getting some inspiration!

Right, now that I’ve got this first post out of the way (and apologies for rambling), I should be back to blogging a bit more regularly. I’ve got a small backlog of projects and some other stuff to post, so hopefully this’ll mean I’m back into it all. Till next time!



12 thoughts on “Scouts on parade, a new toy and a pledge

    • Jo Laycock says:

      Give it a whirl – it’s a great wardrobe basic and you can whip a few up in an afternoon! I’m looking forward to doing more with the overlocker – your lovely creations have shown me it’s going to be well worth it! 🙂

  1. Caroline says:

    A great selection of Scouts there. My favourite is the chevron print. Very jealous of that one ; ) Such lovely French Seams too – I haven’t yet tackled them on sleeves yet, maybe MMM15 will give me the incentive I need to give it a go.
    Your new overlocker should be put to good use soon with a nice range of speedy knit tops etc. Looking forward to seeing your creations x

    • Jo Laycock says:

      Thanks! Those French seamed sleeves really weren’t that hard, my spatial awareness issues notwithstanding 😉 It’s a great pattern to try it out on, and I know how much you love a Scout!

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