Männerjogginghose (tracksuit pants, for the non-Europeans among us)

I was noodling around online, looking for a tracksuit pants pattern for the Fashion Critic, when I clicked a link on Pinterest and ended up here.

This led me to a mystery pdf download, all in German with no instructions. Since I don’t speak German, but like a challenge (and a free pattern), I decided to print it out and have a look.

This is what happened:

jogginghose jigsaw.jpg

Eh? What kind of German jigsaw puzzle is this?

I went back to the original link, and googled “geschickt eingefädelt”, the heading at the top of the page… and was delighted to discover the German version of the Great British Sewing Bee! This was one of the challenges.

Geschickt eingefädelt auto-translates as “Cleverly Threaded”, and is clearly a close cousin of GBSB. It has presumably been sold to Germany by the BBC (or the other way around) because the format and even the soundtrack are identical.

Luckily there is a tutorial for sewing these bad boys here, which auto-translates well enough to work out how to construct them. (Mostly translates, anyway. I’m pretty sure “bügle” means “iron”. I was very happy to announce “I’m off to bugle my jogginghose!”).

There is also a video of the segment when all the jogginghose were judged… it’s nail-biting stuff, even when you don’t understand the language.

As you can tell I was tickled pink to discover all of this. I’m a huge fan of the GBSB, and glad to see that it’s been a winning formula elsewhere as well.

So – no doubt you want to know if the Fashion Critic got his trackies? Well yes, he did.

jogginghose front 2.jpg

I used a navy sweatshirting from the recent Fabric Warehouse pop-up sale. I added an inch to the length, otherwise they’re a size L.

There are a couple of things I’d change next time, and they’re both about the crotch (sorry, Fashion Critic). First, it’s a bit low and I think I’d raise it an inch next time. Second, I’d deepen the front crotch curve. You can see on the pattern that it’s very shallow (almost straight in fact).

jogginghose front piece

When combined with the way the pattern is pieced at the front, the (um) groinal area is really baggy. In the line drawing it looks a bit like a nappy. It’s better in real life but still not ideal.

Screen Shot 2016-05-21 at 9.38.59 pm.png

Otherwise they’re ace. The wrap-around pockets are interesting and functional. They’re a relaxed fit, and for a slim fit I’d probably take 2cm off each side seam, rather than sizing down (the smaller sizes aren’t that much narrower in the leg). The TV show website suggests using leather or sequins to turn them into eveningwear, but I don’t have any immediate plans for that. That said, at least one sewer has made them with contrast pockets, and they do look pretty cool.

Please let me know if you end up making these! I’d love to see how they go.

Here comes another one – New Look 6968

new look 6968 3

And this one wasn’t made in a day. It’s version A this time, but without sleeves.

6968

The fabric is a cotton sateen from the Fabric Warehouse, which I bought when Penny (from Dressesandme) was in town.  Actually I think she’s now better known as Penny (formerly from Dressesandme) – I’m not sure where else she’s found these days. Anyway for me this fabric has a memory attached to it, which is the best kind of fabric really.

pattern

I just love the neck detail, and obviously with this print I had to sew it VERY VERY carefully so the darts were symmetrical.

pleats

I wasn’t sure if it’d end up looking like a Magic Eye print, causing passers-by to gaze at me crosseyed and shout “I’ve got it!”. But no-one has (yet), so I think it’s OK. Did Magic Eye even make it out of 1993? Let’s move on, quickly.

You may have noticed the zip at the top there – I attached some ribbon to either side of it, and it’s the loveliest way to make it a bit special. I machine-stitched it to the facing and lining on one side (right side of facing to wrong side of ribbon), and slip-stitched the other side to the zip by hand.

tape

There’s a blind hem, and a kick-pleat at the back (or a vent? I always wonder if kick-pleat is the right term. It isn’t a pleat).

new look 6968 2

And you’ll be seeing this one again, I’m afraid. In fact, I already have fabric purchased for iteration 3. I really need to branch out and make some new patterns.

new look 6968 6

Travelling light with the Lady Skater

This year I had a rather nice holiday to central America, and wanted to travel light. I was inspired by people who can manage with a carry-on suitcase. So, I made three Lady Skaters. Possibly this is the most popular pattern on the internet, and for good reason. It’s perfect and I have nothing to say about it, so here are three travel tips instead:

1. Pack light

1

2. Don’t forget your hat

  2

3. And have fun!

3

It’s a wrap – McCall’s 5974

OK, I’m on a major catch-up before 2015 arrives, forgive me. Here’s a dress I made months ago.

McCall's 5974

This is McCall’s 5974, allegedly “the perfect knit dress”.

McCall's 5974

I borrowed the pattern from Jo, after seeing her lovely grey one. Mine is OK but I wouldn’t say it’s perfect. It’s made from a cotton/nylon knit from Levana, and lined with a mystery fabric from the Fabric Warehouse pop-up sale.

3

Things I like:

  • The colour! It’s cheerful in winter.
  • It’s super comfy and warm. It’s basically one step up from wearing a sweatshirt.
  • I made the sleeves really long to keep my hands warm.
  • The wrap/pleat detail is really nice.

4 sleeves

5 wrap

Things I don’t like:

  • On me, it’s a bit low-cut to be work-appropriate, hence the stupid-looking pin at the front.
  • There’s not enough fabric in the front piece, and so it forms a bat-wing with the sleeve. Maybe it needs a FBA? Is that even a thing in a knit pattern?

6

I could make it again and try to fix these things, but I probably won’t bother.

The Great WSBN sewing room tour – and we’re off!

Well here we go! It’s spring in New Zealand and the WSBN is going to show you where it all happens… with a little peek at our pretty city, too.

I’m the first stop on this blog tour, then tomorrow you’re off to visit Laura at Laulipop NZ.

My sewing space

Technically, my “sewing room” is a little bedroom on the southern side of the house, which is always dark. So I usually relocate to the dining room table. Much nicer.

workroom

Here’s the back bedroom, where the stash still lives (I’m sure it grows better in cool dark conditions)…

other room
And these are my workhorses.

workhorses
My sewing machine is a Bernina 1008, and my overlocker is a Bernette Funlock. The sewing machine was a 21st birthday present, when I lived in a hall of residence at university. I have fond memories of whipping up dresses for fancy-dress parties (including an emerald green flapper dress with black fringing, and a white one for a friend… someone throw another 20s party, please). The overlocker was a later arrival, but I was overwhelmed by the threading instructions, and it sat unused for a good five years before I finally did a course last year. Now I couldn’t live without it.

What I’m working on

My good friend New Look 6097 appears again. I’m making another dress for a gift, with leftovers into a t-shirt (sound familiar)?

WIP

WIP t-shirt
All that’s left is to hem them, and I’m using Wonder Tape. This stuff is magic for hemming knits, it means many fewer pins and no rippling. I only discovered it this year and can’t live without it.

wonder tape

Next project in line

Ahem. My queue is literally in a queue, lined up on chairs by the wall.

queue
From top to bottom:

I’ve borrowed McCalls 5974 from Johanna and I’m going to make a dress out of this raspberry knit, lined with some pinkish stuff from the Fabric Warehouse sale. Spring’s virtually here but I’ve got one more winter dress in me.

McCalls 5974

queue 1 fabrics

Then I’m going to make some baby sunbonnets, using a pattern from the Purl Bee. Cute overload. The plan is for them to use up all my scrappy bits but in reality they’ll use up about four fat quarters’ worth.

purl bee sunbonnetqueue 2 hats

 

 

Then I’ll be sittin’ knittin’ for a bit, to finish some socks. Every three or four years I get a burst of enthusiasm about knitting and make a couple of things, then swear that I hate knitting and will never do it again. It takes about three or four years to forget everything I’ve learned, and the cycle repeats. This time I decided to learn to make socks. I’ve been using this basic toe-up sock pattern (link on the left), and have a couple of pairs to show you soon.

easy peasy socks for first timersqueue 3 socks

Show off your stash

Go and boil the kettle, this could take a while. First I’ll show you around my official sewing room.
hanging space
Here on the left is hanging space with some overload from the bedroom, as well as some things that need mending and also my pdf pattern collection.

patterns
I’m still not 100% happy with this system (hung from bulldog clips on a coathanger), but it’s better than the previous one (jammed into the cupboard).

stash

Next is a big wardrobe full of my stash. I gave it a big tidy-up a couple of months ago and it’s still in pretty good shape. From top to bottom:

  • Top shelf: Patterns, thread.
  • Second shelf: Ice cream tub full of some coasters I started making in 2008 and haven’t finished yet. Old pile of Ladies’ Home journal mags. All the accessories (zippers, ribbons, tray with all those little bits and bobs we need).
  • Third shelf: Slinky stuff (silks, laces, also interfacing is here). Big pile of pieces big enough to make a top or skirt: 22 at last count. Pile of UFOs (3 at last count).
  • Fourth shelf (the big one): lengths big enough to make a dress from: 19 at last count. I’m sure there are more than 19 now.
  • Bottom shelf: box of bits maybe big enough for baby clothes, or craft projects. Pile of clothes I may or may not refashion one day. Pile of fabric to use for muslins.

sewing cabinet
Then there’s a box of old photos I mean to digitalise one day, then some rolls of calico and tracing paper (as well as my bolt-end of blue merino). And the sewing machine cabinet where I really should be sewing.

ironing board and buttons

Lastly, here’s the ironing board desperate for a re-cover, a seldom-used yoga mat and the Buttons of Shame. These fell off a winter coat quite a number of years ago and I still haven’t put them on. Though last year I pulled out some matching thread and a needle, so some time in the next decade it may yet happen. 

OK, now I’ll show you my favourites from the stash. All of these are short-listed for summer sewing this year.

1. Burdastyle Kristen Plus, and some blue stripy fabric I picked up last week from TFW sale:
burdastyle kristen plus

blue TFW

 

2. Burdastyle Alberta Ferretti dress, and some blue silk that my aunt sent me from Hong Kong. This dress has Christmas party written all over it, don’t you think?

burdastyle alberta ferrettiblue silk

 

 

3. Shirt dresses. Goldfish cotton from Ikea, and navy broderie anglaise. Maybe a Colette Hawthorn?

goldfish

broderie anglaise

4. New Look 6557 maxi dress, using this floral cotton.

u.1 new look 6557floral maxi

 

 

 

5. And my favourite. This silk is from Fabric-a-brac late last year, and I’m planning to make a Victory Patterns Nicola dress with it.  Then I will just look at it every day.

q.1 victory patterns nicolagreen silk

 

 

Favourite thing I’ve made

This would be a toss-up between two dresses. One is a royal-blue version of New Look 6000, which I made about three years ago.

y new look 6000

The other is a green corduroy version of the Burdastyle Heidi dress. I wore this one until it fell apart, but plans are afoot to make another one, and I have the emerald-green yardage to prove it.

p.1 burdastyle heidi

green corduroy

 


Snapshot of Wellington

I’ll leave you with some photos of Island Bay in Wellington. I walk here most mornings.

island bay

It’s different every day.

island bay

There are lots of fishing boats, and you can see the ferries going to-and-fro between the North and South Islands. In summer during the Island Bay festival, there’s a “blessing of the boats” festival, and the fishing boats go round and round the island.

island bay

I am so lucky to live here.

island bay

Thanks for reading. Over to you, Laura!

Sewing for the Fashion Critic

new look 6097
I know, it doesn’t look like a men’s item. But because I’m still hooked on this pattern (New Look 6097), I made one as a gift, and what was left became a t-shirt for the Fashion Critic.

P1010426
It’s merino from Levana, what could be better?

P1010427
Despite the surfeit of free ladies’ t-shirt patterns (have I missed any?), there are few (none) for fellas. So I drafted this one myself. There are pull lines under the arms, but I’ve been assured that it’s perfectly comfortable. Mind you, I doubt it will get too much wear, simply because it will have to compete with roughly 1,000 other t-shirts. Is this the only house in which t-shirts multiply like coathangers?

P1010428
Next, though, is my sewing success of the year. I decided to dip my toes into the uncharted waters of men’s trousers. Specifically, Burdastyle 7841.

burdastyle 7841This pattern had pretty good reviews round the interwebs. I ignored all the wacky Burdastyle instructions and used Lladybird’s Thurlow sewalong for the construction. It was much easier to follow, and it’s just a sensible way to put trousers together.

Burdastyle 7841

The size 42 fit the Fashion Critic without any adjustments. How is that possible? However next time I’ve been asked to make both the front and back pockets deeper.

P1010430
Also next time I’ll make the fly overlap a bit bigger – you can see the zipper a bit (if you’re looking).

P1010432

The fabric is a navy wool/silk blend from The Fabric Warehouse sale a few months ago, and it’s just delicious. It was by far the nicest one there. These used just 1.7 metres.

Welt pockets! Don’t look too closely, this is only my second one ever. But they’re not nearly as intimidating as I’d thought.

P1010434
And some action shots, just ’cause. (He got all dressed up on a Sunday, I think that’s worth some more screen time)

Burdastyle 7841

P1010438

Starring the garbage bin and the dog bowl. Don’t forget to recycle!

 

 

 

Expectantly

I am expecting not one but two little nieces or nephews! So I have been breaking all the rules of selfish sewing by making clothes for my ever-expanding sisters. Good news for me, though – it turns out that you don’t have to be pregnant to enjoy wearing stretchy pants. I made three trips to the Fabric Store for their ultra-fabulous merino/nylon knit. Just 1.2m makes a pair of the comfiest pants in the world, whether you have a Baby on Board or (in my case) just a second helping of ice cream.

Burda 8999

Burda 8999

Burda 8999

Pattern courtesy of Sandra, in the WSBN Christmas pattern swap (to which I contributed exactly nothing, but came away with quite a few goodies). It’s Burda 8999, but I can’t find a link to it anywhere. Thank you Sandra!

Another Christmas swap greedy grab was this very nice black-and-white fabric from Leimomi, which became a top. I underlined the bodice with a cotton jersey, and used Burda 8094 (thanks Nicola!).

Burda 8094

Burda 8094

Burda 8094

I made another version of it using a cotton lawn from Spotlight.

Burda 8094

Burda 8094

Karma got back at me with the next one, though: the day after I bought the fabric the Fabric Warehouse started their 40% off sale. Can’t win ’em all. This is another one I’m planning to copy for myself; I think it would be perfectly good as non-maternity wear also. It is a free online pattern from DIY Maternity.

Turn About the Room dress

Turn About the Room dress

I love this in a stripe. I have been back looking for more stretchy stripes without success – please let me know if you see any good ones. I also changed the direction of the stripe for the neck band, I think it looks better that way. I guess you can only do that if you are using fabric with a four-way stretch.

Also, here’s the February budget round-up:

  • All this loot, as well as some stretchy stripy viscose for boxer shorts (unblogged) – DOESN’T COUNT! Generosity for the win.
  • $5 green silk/cotton remnant for a blouse
  • $5 for shoulder pads and a button for my Bellatrix (it’s still summer and I’m sticking to that excuse)
  • $5 for some more elastic (stash top-up) and a seam ripper – bought from Pete’s Emporium at Porirua, which was a new experience for me

Total: $15 (Remaining: $158. And Fabric-a-brac is really soon!)