What a wonder, it’s Coco no.3!

I’ve got a feeling I’m going to make a lot of these. And to be fair, why not? It seems like everybody in the sewing blogo/twittersphere is in love with the Coco pattern and I’m no exception. I’m on to my third and I’m pretty sure it won’t be my last, primarily because I still have some pink ponte knit earmarked for a Coco which I bought back in May at the NYLon2014 meet-up! (The weather had just turned really warm when I bought the fabric so I thought I would save it until it gets a bit cooler).

Before I start, let’s talk needles. So there I was, wondering around a well-known, department store haberdashery, looking at all the lovely, overpriced stuff, when I had the bright idea of buying a stretch needle specifically for this project. £4.50 and a journey home later, I’m sitting down at my machine comparing my brand-spanking new needle with the Universal needle that I just unscrewed. Erm, I swear they look the same… And I looked pretty closely. Here, have a look yourself…

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Granted, the needle did a good job but so did the needle I used last time which was a Universal. So the moral of the story is… If it ain’t broke don’t fix it (and save yourself some cash along the way)!!!

I’m not sure there much to say about the make itself. It’s all pretty much the same as before, fairly quick to sew, used a zigzag stitch, walking foot etc etc etc, you know the drill. The only exception is that this time I remembered to not sew right down to the bottom hem, leaving space for the side splits.

The real JOY of making this though was down to a little packet of something called wonder tape, who knew how special this was! I used it (for the first time ever) to secure the turned under neck hem instead of pins. OMG why didn’t someone tell me about this stuff! It held the fabric much more secure than pins and it was SOOOOO much easier to get it all to lie flat. Ive got one little pucker in the neckline which I can live with but it was still much easier than pinning and hopefully next time with a bit more patience I’ll get it perfect. So please go out and buy some, if you haven’t used it already it will change your life!

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This top has a slightly looser fit than my last coco despite using the same pattern pieces, that’s due to the fabric being a little lighter-weight and stretchier than the fabric I used before. By the way, this time I was working with a lovely, soft, cotton jersey that I bought from a little shop in Bath when I was there for my wedding anniversary with hubby in August. I think this top is perfect for the next couple of months though while we’re in between the really hot days and freezing cold ones.

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(Not the best pic, I know, but it was so hard to get the right light against the whiteness of the top 😕)

I’m definitely looking forward to my next Coco especially now that I’ve discovered wonder tape – have you got any fab tools in your sewing box? Please share!

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Latecomer to the coco party!

Well it took me some time but I finally got ’round to buying the Tilly Buttons coco pattern! I opted for the .pdf download as it was half the price of the hard copy + delivery and was pleased at the ease of the download. No messin’, just click on the link as ‘Save as’. Joy.

There were 31 pages to piece together which I can’t say was the most fun experience ever but hey, I was on my way to making a coco. I have seen SO many cocos via twitter and I’m in love with the funnel neck version. I was thinking funnel neck, 3/4 sleeves and a little (mini-haribo sized) pocket on the right hand side? The possibilities really were endless…

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The fabric was already purchased thanks to the legend that is 'the man outside Sainsbury's' in Walthamstow market. If you have never been there before, go now. Literally, stop whatever you are doing, down tools and go. The stall is epic. He has all types of fabrics – jerseys, linens, dress fabrics, denims, velvets, silks, the list goes on, and what makes it even better is that it's all reasonably priced. So there's my big-up to 'the man outside Sainsbury's'! FYI I went with some plain black pointe roma fabric which has a tiny bit of stretch to it and I picked up these lovely buttons from one of the shops further up the market.

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The coco really was a quick make, a couple of hours and it was all done. Faithfully following the brilliant instructions on the blog I was pleasantly surprised at how quick and easy it was to get to the finish line. I cut a size 1 at the bust and graded to a 3 at the waist because I wanted a snug fit and that’s certainly what I have. I love it! I think the 3 buttons I added really stand out on the black fabric – I added them because I thought that the plain fabric would be, well just too plain, if you know what I mean. And I added a little dinky pocket too – it was the ‘small’ pocket pattern piece and it really is tiny! Now I’ll have to find some miniature things to put in it!

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I’m already thinking about my next coco. I have lots of the black fabric left as I bought 2 metres so I’ll definitely use that for my next coco but I do want to go up a size at the bust next time. I might also add cuffs to the next version and add a bigger pocket, apart from that that who knows! There really is so much that can be done with this pattern. One thing I do know is that this is definitely another wardrobe staple for me. Here’s to many more!

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Breton Tee – Take 2…

Today I decided that I would have a go at recreating the Breton tee that I made at The Thrifty Stitcher sewing class on Sunday. I love the casual style with the dolman sleeves and I really wanted to make another version in the XS size as my first one was a tiny bit big. I also recently bought a couple of jersey fabrics and though that my orange print would be quite nice for a casual tee like this one.

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This was my 4th attempt at sewing with a stretch fabric (1st and 3rd attempts failed) and I have realised that with each fabric I need an an initial trial and error phase with different needles, stitch lengths and tension on scrap fabric to work out the optimum needle/stitch combination needed. At first I was a bit worried because I couldn’t seem to get perfect stitches but with a little perseverance and a few adjustments I finally got it right. I think it will always help to have a decent amount of spare scrap for this trial and error phase when it come to jerseys.

The construction of this top is really easy so for an introduction to sewing jerseys the pattern is great. I zigzag-ed all of the seams and top stitched around the neckline to keep the neckline laying neat and flat. There are a couple of puckers around the neckline where I didn’t get the stitching 100% perfect but I still think it looks okay. I switched to a twin needle to sew the hems and for some reason they are not a stretchy as I think they should be, when I pull the hems it feels like the thread might pop! Maybe I need to practice more, which, which I will do, but for now I think I’m happy with the end result. I certainly enjoyed making this today and I have some more jersey fabric in my stash which would be prefect for another one of these tees, watch this space!

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Another addition to my fabric stash!

Another addition to my fabric stash!

Bought this lurr-vely jersey fabric yesterday from Watney market for a bargain £1.65 a metre. Another jersey to add to the stash, I just hope I get the sewing right!

Stretching my patience with jerseys!

Aaah sewing with jerseys, what can I say! I started last weekend and to be honest it was a total disaster. Having done my research I was set to go with New Look 6140, my twin stretch needle and walking foot, all enthusiastic and a little apprehensive to be honest, but just eager to get on and give it a go. Well, my troubles started with pinning and cutting the fabric, it wouldn’t stay still! But that was nothing compared to actually sewing the stuff. I started with a scrap of fabric, just to see how it sewed together and luckily I did because it didn’t go well at all. I kept getting skipped stitches with the twin needle, strangely only on the left side, which couldn’t be sorted with any amount of tension or stitch length adjustment (which I tried and tried again!). After a lot of back and forth with more scraps of fabric and machine adjustments I threw in the towel eagerly awaited the Breton Tee sewing class at the Thrifty Stitcher studio which I had booked a couple of weeks back.

Skipped stitches!

So that brings me to today, home from the class this afternoon and very happy with my lovely stretchy Breton tee (and it smells fab too!). Admittedly I found sewing with jersey today again a little stressful. Not because of skipped stitches but because the fabric just moves so much as it goes through the machine. I realised that I actually like the precision of sewing and when it goes awry it not a happy lady! However, one saving grace about it all is that jerseys are quite forgiving of uneven stitching and once it’s all sewn up you can’t really tell anyway. I also found that that sewing with jerseys is brilliant because you don’t need to iron your fabric all of the time and it doesn’t fray! So I think I will be able to run up a couple more of these Breton tees in no time (fingers crossed). I also got some great advice about needle choice from the lovely Melissa, our teacher today. After explaining last weeks jersey sewing woes she suggested an ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it approach’ to choosing the best needle, basically go with whatever works even if that’s not necessarily the needle made for the job. When I got home I tried about 6 or 7 different needles with my jersey fabric (stretch, universal, 75, 80, 90…) and finally one worked! No idea what needle it is, I’m too scared to take it out until I finish my top! Who cares that it’s not the needle that I bought specifically for this job, if it works it works! Now off to finish that New Look 6130 and master the art of sewing with jersey fabric. Any tips for sewing with jersey?

Breton Tee

Breton Tee

 

 

Is sewing with knits really that bad?

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I’m just about to get going with my first knit project, New Look 6150, and I must admit I’m a bit nervous as this will be my first attempt at sewing with knits! I’ve done a little bit of research online and found out that I needed to buy a walking foot and a ballpoint twin needle, so I have those now and I think I’m ready to go. Oh, and also some seam tape for the shoulder seams (thanks to the ladies in Rolls and Rems because I had no idea what I was looking for).

I’ve actually signed up for a knit fabrics class at The Thrifty Stitcher at the end of the month so I probably should wait until after then to get going but I’m too impatient! I have some pretty knit fabric in my stash that I bought ages ago so hopefully I won’t ruin it. Fingers crossed!