Hoppalong Bloggily

hello1
And welcome to all the wonderful new people who came over from the wonderful Cashmerette‘s website. Jenny Cashmerette is my ultimate sewin’ and bloggin’ heroine and she nominated me for the Blog Hop that is doing the rounds. I would like to say where the blog hop started, but I have no idea. So let’s just pretend that we all know that already and move on swiftly. What I do know is that I have been enjoying all the blog hop posts recently, as I like reading about writing (meta!) as much as I like reading about sewing. It’s also quite interesting to hear a different voice from my favourite bloggers: one which expresses their personalities a bit more than is possible when describing seam finishes. Mind you, I’ve seen a lot of seam finishes with personality/passion/swearing in my short time in the sewing world.
ANYWAY. Let’s get to it.

Why do you write?
People have always said I am a good writer , but my main ‘writing’ these days takes place in the form of facebook statuses and policy documents. I’m the daughter of an English teacher and a journalist, so writing is in my veins, but I have never really found anything I wanted to write about very much. I started some truly dreadful novels when I was a teenager, wrote a blog about my torturous marathon training for a while, have contributed to lots and lots of pointless online discussion fora and wrote some pretty AWESOME dating profiles, but that’s about it. Nothing really  grabbed me. I knew I wanted to write about something, but I didn’t know what. And then I started sewing and found all the gazillions of hilarious sewing blogs and wonderful bloggers out there, and wanted to be one. I love the fact that a few months ago I was doing pretty much nothing creative, and now I am both sewing and writing regularly. THANK YOU SEWING!
Sewing Community: COME TO THE RESCUE!

Sewing Community: COME TO THE RESCUE!

I also write for the practical reason that as a beginner sewist, I really really need help.  Thankfully the online sewing community seems to be full of patient saints who give me the most helpful information. Honestly guys, you are all AMAZING and I am learning so much from all of you. I hope that my blog also gives some hope to fellow beginner sewists that things get better the more you practice. I have so so much to learn, but already I can look back at my blog and see how far I have come along. I hope that this will be encouraging to someone out there scratching their head and wondering how on earth they are supposed to tell the right side from the wrong side….
Blog sustenance

Blog sustenance


How do you write?
I sit on my bum, eat some jelly babies, drink some tea and type some words.  I don’t plan blog posts really: I just write up things I have made or thoughts that I have when I feel like it. I seem to feel like writing quite a lot. I make sure to take crappy cameraphone photos of my sewing in progress because everyone likes slightly grainy out of focus pictures of bad stitching and broken needles, right? And then when I have made a thing, I wheedle and whine at my husband to take some photos of me with the fancy camera. And then I sit down, moan about how bloody long it takes WordPress to upload photos, write a stream of nonsense conciousness and hit send triumphantly, before noticing all the typos and non-sequiturs I have left in there. And that’s me really.

How does your blog differ from others of its genre?
I’m not entirely sure what ‘genre’ my blog fits in: is it in the plus size genre, the beginners sewing genre, the weirdo genre? I’m not sure that it does differ wildly from other sewing blogs: what do you think readers? I think the one thing I do do is blog very much as myself, with no shame and a lot of enthusiasm. I like to show all my mistakes as I go along and definitely do not offer a polished final product! I like to try and make sewing interesting for as wide an audiences as possible, as my dad reads this blog and he knows nowt about sewing. I feel I should give him something back for his effort, so I write a bit about various things like politics and ethics as well as hemming techniques and fabric lust. Oh and everything I make is really colourful. You might have noticed.

What are you working on next?
Too many things, and I am stressed. Silly me. I’ve bough too many fabrics, and too many patterns recently, and now they are all lying in a massive heap OPPRESSING ME. I feel a huge pressure to try and plough through it all really quickly, which is taking the fun out of sewing a bit. I think what really needs to happen is for me to go to Ikea and buy some proper storage for this heap of goodness:
A section of the heap. There is more.

A section of the heap. There is more.

But I have some pretty good things coming up:

Another pair of crocodile dungarees for a friend’s kid

A Christmas themed Peter Pan collared shift dress for a friend to wear to a wedding. Look at the pretty fabric!

I wish these were for me

I wish these were for me

A Swoon scarf neck cardi for my Granny’s 93rd birthday in this awesome fabric:

Jazzy Granny Fabric

Jazzy Granny Fabric

And a red ponte Green Style Laurel for meeeee. HOORAY!

Who next?

I would like to nominate excellently-haired Mads from Life in a Mads House. She makes brilliant clothes, is super friendly and encouraging, is really honest about her trials and tribulations, and had just made this glorious crazy cat lady outfit:

Mads, crazy cats, the fringe, and a tree.

Mads, crazy cats, the fringe, and a tree.

Over to you Mads!

On Ethics: 1

Molly and Sunita

So, one of the reasons I am so enthused about starting sewing is that it provides an antidote to the cruelty of the high street fashion industry which results in abuse, exploitation, and increased poverty for the poorest members of society, and in the worst cases,  such awful tragedies as the Karachi garment factory fire of 2012. I confess I’ve been wilfully and shamefully turning a blind eye to the awful working conditions that mean we can buy £4.99 vest tops on a whim, or £9.99 shoes. I have had  the occasional pang that has resulted in brief moment of, ahem, ‘activism’ i.e. I walked out of the newly opened Primark on Oxford Street in protest at the labour conditions necessary to produce so many clothes at cheap prices and then walked straight into another high street shop and bought clothes there. I am entirely convinced that these would have been produced under similar conditions, and all I achieved was paying more for clothes that the workers who made them got paid next to nothing for.  Pointless, depressing, and made no difference whatsoever.

I have also occasionally bought from Fair Trade or ethical clothes stores online, but our culture of entitlement has left me thinking that they are expensive. I know rationally that they are being the sold at the actual price they should cost if workers are paid well and non-environment destroying production processes have been used, but after years of buying things at knock- down prices, everything seems a rip off. I think that if I liked the styles more, I might feel more content with my purchasing, but they are often in frumpy fabrics or small sizes and do not provide the instant gratification that cheap and nasty unethical but fashionable high street or online shopping can  give you. As much as people are trying to modernise ethical fashion, often the ‘modernising’ only happens in ‘chic’ brands with a very small size range, and the few options for anyone over a size 16 are quite frankly, dull. If I put ethics aside, which is far too easy to do faced with a really really cool sequin playsuit (or maybe that’s just me), why buy one not really very interesting dress for £80 in a cut and fabric you don’t really like, when you can buy 6 different ones from a less ethical supplier that are MUCH more exciting?

I don’t think the ethical shopping offer at present is enough to undo my hardwired delight in having shiny new clothes. One new shirt I don’t really like every month is just not the same as all the fun things from ASOS Curve. But what is enough to undo it the drastic change of perspective that sewing gives me.

I have been needing a shock to the system, and that is what sewing my own clothes has given me. It has given me a deeper understanding of what exactly I am under-paying people to do. I can’t believe how much work goes into making one item of clothing. Granted, I am a beginner, and granted I don’t have the industrial sewing machines and sergers and fabric cutters used in factories like the one in Karachi. But the fact is, clothes take time to make. They take concentration and skill. There is absolutely no way that pricing a t-shirt at £3.99 is reasonable. Especially when you factor in the cost of fabric, the cost of shipping these items from far way to the UK,  and the cost of displaying them in a shop. The only way that these prices are possible and profitable  is by cutting corners every possible way that one can: by under paying staff, giving them long hours with no breaks, offering no benefits and providing appalling working conditions with old machines, cheap fabric, poor sanitary facilities and no thought paid to health and safety.

I know you are now shaking your head in despair at me, thinking ‘I knew that already, it’s been known FOREVER, how come it has taken you so long to work this all out?’. But the fact is I have had all this knowledge in my head for years, but until I started doing what men, women and children in the garment industry do every day, for no thanks, little reward and a lot of back ache, I didn’t really understand it. I needed to feel the fabric running through my fingers from the comfort of my own home to even be able to understand a tenth of what it must feel like for people who do this, not for a hobby, but for 15 hour shifts, day in day out, to appease an ever changing and fickle disposable fashion industry. I’m disappointed at myself for lacking the interest or imagination to really understand this before, but I am glad I am beginning to now. Quite often, when I am fretting over a difficult pleat section, or inserting a tricky sleeve, my husband will say to me ‘they are clever, those children in factories in China, eh?’

Note 1: I am aware that there are many problems in buying the cheap fabrics that I have been snapping up to practice on. I will write about this in a later post. But for now, I am grateful, that for the forseeable future, I will be the only one leaning over a sewing machine to make any new clothes I wear.

Note 2: I am very aware that for many people buying cheap clothing is the only option. I understand  that buying ‘ethical’ fabric, expensive sewing machines and thread is not possible for many people. I understand that the space to sew is a luxury. This is not meant as a post to criticise people on low incomes. It was meant purely as a slap on the wrist for me for being so ignorant, and buying so many cheap clothes that I didn’t need, and which have continued to boost the demand for sweatshop made clothing.

Sewing for other people 2: tall ones

All the colours

All the colours

I am married to a toy boy who just turned 30. I can barely remember my 30th ( it was 5 years ago: deep in the mists of time), so it seemed a bit strange that he wasn’t in his 30s yet. As he likes to rib me for being ‘very old’ as I am in my thirties, it was a moment of pure delight when he finally joined me in this glorious decade. I decided to celebrate by making him a VERY grown up rainbow top as an homage to our super colourful wedding.

Rosie & Robin-467 Rosie & Robin-047

My desire to sew started when I asked my wonderful father in law to make my wedding dress. He had been making clothes for his wife for years and is also a very skilled knitter, but he was still a bit frightened when I asked him this: proffering an appalling line drawing of my ideal dress. But he rose to the challenge and made me simply the most beautiful dress ever: an ivory duchesse satin princess-seamed fifties style dress with a square neckline and the most stunning handmade rainbow sash. He is a genius, and I am so lucky to have him as my father in law.

The beautiful sash

The beautiful sash

The wedding was so colourful because my husband Robin and I both like to dress like children’s TV presenters at a rave at all possible opportunities and we asked our guests to dress in their most colourful clothes. The 8 bridesmaids were all the colours of the rainbow (plus turquoise) and the flower girl was a mini rainbow in a gorgeous dress made by my aunt.

Ta da! All the colours!

Ta da! All the colours!

So my first foray into men’s clothes making allowed me to use an amazing fabric that probably most men would shy away from: a rainbow striped fine super soft knitted jersey from Croft Mill. Apparently this was made for Zara, is suitable for maxi dresses and is also described as a children’s fabric. Perfect!

I used a pattern, Burda 7916 even though I knew I could just probably copy one of his existing t-shirts because I had never made a t-shirt before and wanted to do it properly. I made the simplest version, with now pockets or hoods because 1: it’s not the noughties any more and 2: the fabric doesn’t need any embellishment. It was a simple pattern and quite clear, and I learnt how to do my first t-shirt neckline which is a skill I will use a lot.

The long sleeved t-shirt of many colours

The long sleeved t-shirt of many colours

The pattern would have been a breeze to put together had I not chosen the world’s softest, most drapey fabric ever. It was like sewing with butter. Beautiful to touch, less beatiful for holding it’s shape and behaving. But luckily I now know just about enough to deal with it. I went very slowly, and reinforced all the shoulder seams with clear elastic.

I felt quite clever doing this

I felt quite clever doing this

It took me a long time and a lot of concentration, but I still broke a needle. This was the first time I have done that, and oddly, I felt very pleased, like this made me a proper sewing person. I even photographed it!

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SNAP!

SNAP!

And I had a final disaster at midnight when I was trimming my extremely curly and flappy hem allowance and I sliced through the bottom of the t-shirt. I was rushing and tired as I needed to get it finished while he was away for the night, and despite me being careful, I rotary cut a little slice out. You can see it on the bottom left of the picture above, I nearly screamed. but just sewed it up quite roughly and it seems ok. You can’t see it when he is wearing it.

He was very pleased with it (apart from the fact the sleeves were super long because I had randomly decided he had very long arms and had lengthened them to knee length. I took them back in straight away!). We were going with a big group of friends to Ramsgate for the weekend and he decided that maybe Ramsgate wasn’t ready for such a shirt, so wore it on our trip to Amsterdam the weekend after. He is the world’s most reluctant model so my pictures are terrible, but here

he is looking smart in an Ethiopian restaurant. Note the cardigan which he already owned: what a glorious combo!

So sad at being photographed

So sad at being photographed

I got one decent picture. The lighting is ‘atmospheric’ so you can’t see how bright the shirt is, but you get the gist.

Ta da!

Ta da!

I enjoyed sewing for Robin as there were no curves or darts, and will definitely make him more stuff, in a slightly more robust fabric. He wants me to make him some shorts now which will be a challenge: but I already have some smart yellow and grey floral upholstery fabric for him!

But there is such a crap selection of patterns for men. Why is this? Can anyone recommend any good men’s shorts patterns?

Confessions and gratitude

CSCHeader

Hooray! I’ve got another blog post on my favourite ever website: Curvy Sewing Collective. This time I am posting about my crapness at hand sewing. I didn’t realise that learning to use a sewing machine would require me to sew loads of things by hand. And I am really bad at it.

LOOK.

HEEEELLLLPPPPP

HEEEELLLLPPPPP

UGH.

But help is at hand. Already there are SO many helpful comments from all the wonderful people in the sewing ether. The sewing community is just so damn nice and the people who are part of the Curvy Sewing community especially so. I feel so very grateful that I can learn from so many experienced people, and also that people are so encouraging, even when I post up pictures of horrors like the one above.

I could gush on forever about how wonderful everyone is, but I need to go and follow their advice. I’m off to book myself on an embroidery course! I never thought that would happen!

If you also hate hand sewing or are as bad at it as me: check out all the advice at the bottom of the post here.

Sewing for other people 1: tiny ones

Saintly me

Saintly me

I have been doing some VERY PHILANTHROPIC AND GENEROUS AND MAGNANIMOUS sewing of late. Yes, that’s right, saint that I am, I took a pause from sewing pretty/comfy/weird things for me and sewed things for boys. Three different boys in fact. I shall write about the thing I made for a husband-shaped boy in a future post. Today’s post is about things I made for small-shaped boys.

I made dungarees. When I have children they will live in dungarees. I wish I could live in dungarees. They are the finest item of clothing known to humanity. One day, when I learn how to grade up this pattern for two year olds into adult sizes I will be the happiest woman alive. So will all my friends who saw these and demanded their own pair. For now though, I will content myself with making awesome dungarees for children.

Felix and his crazy crocodile and crab dungarees

Felix and his crazy crocodile and crab dungarees

The pattern was a freebie from the wonderful Toya. This pattern is so good, and so clear I could not believe it was free and I am so so grateful that the free pattern came in pretty much exactly the right size for the two boys of friends that I was sewing for. It’s brilliant. Toya is a genius and her daughter is the cutest thing alive. Apart from these boys.

The pattern is for two year olds and the boys I was making for are both 18 months. Conveniently they are quite big for their age and I forgot to add any seam allowance onto the pattern so it fits perfectly! Being a plus size sewist who has to regularly struggle to fit her pattern pieces onto a table, sewing these tiny miniature pieces was such a joy. I laughed out loud at the size of the tiny bum pockets and cooed and aahed at the tiny measurements of my ‘models’. These boys have 50CM chests, and I have a 50INCH one. LOLZ!

So SMALL!!

So SMALL!!

Sewing for kids is a real joy. Things come together really quickly, cutting out is a breeze and you use a lot less thread and barely any fabric (less than a metre for each pair of dungarees). And the final product is too cute for words. I think I will be making a lot more kids clothes for anyone I even vaguely know who has a child because it is so fun, and ideal for doing on a quiet evening where you can’t be bothered to start a big project but want to sew and want instant results.

 

Two pins for the pockets!

Two pins for the pockets!

The only slight downside of sewing for other people’s kids is that I feel uber responsible about making sure the clothes are ‘safe’ so got a bit cautious and nervous when sewing the buttons on to make sure that they will not come off and get swallowed. I doubt a tank could rip them off!

Though I used the same pattern for both pairs, the results are very different. For the first pair I used an excellent solid ‘Crocodiles Balls and Crabs 100% Polyester Jersey’ from Oh So Crafty with a soft black ribbed jersey lining.

I was pleased with my pockets

I was pleased with my pockets

The second pair came about when my friend saw my post about my Peter Rabbit pyjamas and told me her little boy Joseph absolutely loved ‘Peter Bit’. I realised I probably had enough fabric to knock up a pair for him and ta da! These happened:

JoJo and Peter Rabbit

JoJo and Peter Rabbit

There wasn’t much fabric left and so the bunnies and stripes on the legs are a bit off kilter, but I don’t think it matters. The lining was made from an old bed sheet finished with some nice bias binding. I was quite pleased with how posh they looked!

The innards of Peter Rabbit

The innards of Peter Rabbit

Both parents and boys seem pretty pleased with their new dungarees and it made me super happy to get pictures of the little lads looking so dapper in them. I’ll leave you with a few more just to demonstrate they they seem to be fairly robust and can stand up to all the scamperings of very cute small people. Also, to demonstrate that a boy can look FIERCE in Peter Rabbit dungarees and a tube of toothpaste…..

10743770_10152764794311963_1993909051_n 10729114_10154738461185607_1590349017_n 10728554_10152764795031963_1716859402_n felix

 

 

 

Night night

Tilly-Walnes-Blogtacular-Speaker

 

Like the rest of the world, I am in love with Tilly Walnes. Isn’t she brilliant? Like, really clever and brilliant. And so kind for making sewing so easy and accessible. And stylish. And those dimples! I regularly read her blog and am eternally grateful for the clear and reassuring way that she explains the most simple things. She is brilliant. And then she wrote a book! And I own it. And it is so clever, because it teaches by doing, i.e. it is a series of really cool projects that teach you different skills in each one, starting with a very simple headscarf and gradually getting more complex until by the end of the book, you are pretty much Coco Chanel and can make anything, perfectly.

However, at this point I can say that my love is not entirely unconditional, as I am a little cross. The patterns, as usual, do not go up to anywhere near my size, and, as usual, I’m going to have to grade up every single bloody one. I’m a bit less cross because everyone has to trace the patterns as they are printed on thick double sided card, so that is a bit of an equaliser. I’ll let her off because of her lovely clear design principles, great patterns and dimples.

I plan on making everything, save the headscarf, because I look shit in headscarves. So, project number 1 is the Margot pyjamas. These are good because 1: they are super simple which is ideal for my first pair of trousers and 2: they are designed to be VERY loose fit, so very little grading up is needed. Hooray. They still needed a bit, and somehow I think I have managed to grade the back of the legs bigger than the front meaning the side seam isn’t exactly at the side, but who cares. I really can’t be bothered to trace them again, and they are very comfy.

I made two pairs: the first out of an old children’s Peter Rabbit duvet cover I got in a charity shop and the second in some amazing royal blue brushed cotton from Oh Sew Crafty which has some great cheap fabrics.

Bottom legs of peter rabbit pyjamas

Peter PJ Rabbit

I put the picture above up on facebook, and could not believe the reaction I got. Turns out people are massively nostalgic about Peter Rabbit, and everyone secretly wants a pair of Peter Rabbit PJs. Old and young, boys and girls: they delighted people. They delight me. I was very happy that I could use the duvet design in a  kind of border print manner. I graded these up a little less than I should, so they are a little tight round the bum and tum which is why there isn’t a full view of me in them.  But this is their full glory:

Pretty special

Pretty special

I have been making a lot of stuff for other people recently (to be blogged soon), and find that I am a lot harder on myself which things are not for me. I can be very perfectionist and it can be quite stressful. So after making a batch of toddler dungarees (one pair out of the remainder of the Peter Rabbit fabric, oh yeah) and a sweater thing for my husband, I decided to whip up another pair of breezy Margots to remind me what sewing is all about. I graded these up a little too much and they are enormous, and not massively flattering.Large items in brushed cotton tend not to be. But OMG who cares, they are so COMFY!! I used red seam binding for the drawstring at the waist, and it looks pretty jazzy.

Here I am having a lie down:

Avin a relax

‘Avin’ a relax

And here I am sorting my hair out for the photo and accidentally looking really posy:

Pose Pose

Pose Pose

Pose Pose

Pose Pose

I was surprised how easy this style of trouser is to make, and I was very impressed that putting one leg inside the other and sewing a curve at the crotch seam gave me trousers: what a magical invention! Trousers are so clever! I want to make lots! I also need to remember that these are the simplest trousers in the world and that making trousers that aren’t enormous and that have fly fastenings and things will not be the same. Still, I have now made a dress, a skirt, a shirt and trousers. That’s basically makes me Coco Chanel, right?

And also a rebel: standing on the bed like I just don't care

And also a rebel: standing on the bed like I just don’t care

Note my amazing new scissors necklace from MIY Workshop (everyone accessorizes pyjamas, right?). Also note excellent duvet cover and terrifying clown picture given to us by a cruel friend. My husband loves it: I do not. Please do not note tatty teddy bear I have had since I was 3: unless you have advice on how to repair a threadbare bear. I’m worried I might have to retire her if she gets more threadbare and I can’t bear it.

Anyway. You are supposed to finish blog posts with questions. These are mine:

Have you made any Tilly patterns?

Do you love her as much as me?

Are you passionate about  Peter Rabbit?

How do you feel about clowns?

Do you think it’s ok to only wear pyjamas from now on?

The shirt that nearly destroyed my love of sewing.

Such pretty fabric, such a beastly pattern

Such pretty fabric, such a beastly pattern

I started making this shirt about 6 weeks ago, and three weeks and two crazy and confused muslins later, I had a wearable shirt that I love, but am still a little emotionally scarred by. This is entirely my own fault and the result of me getting a bit maverick. I decided to try a million new things at once. I mean, this is fairly inevitable as I am a beginner, and everything is new to me (I’m like a newborn baby here!) but knowing that, I probably shouldn’t have tried to make my first ever shirt from a company that is notorious for its extremely minimal instructions. I also probably shouldn’t have chosen a pattern from that company that was described as ‘medium to challenging’ and had features like a double yoke and a concealed button placket.  But hey. It is a really nice shirt design and I had some lovely Liberty tana lawn that was calling out to be made into a pretty floaty shirt.

So StyleArc Maggie, you nearly defeated me, but you also taught me a lot in the process of trying to make you. And my finished shirt is pretty fackin fabulous of I do say so myself. I’m allowed to say so, because I’m also going to show you the two abominations I made before I got to version 3.

First of all I will show you how big a pattern for a loose fit size 24 shirt is when it’s all printed on one piece of paper.

20140812_210712 20140812_211132 20140813_090002

It was a humungous untameable beast. The instructions however were MINIMAL to say the least. NO DIAGRAMS other than a cutting layout and very little in the way of descriptive writing. It assumed you know how to do everything from creating a fly front to attaching collars. The instructions for attaching the collar are thus: ‘With right sides facing sew the top edge of the collar, turn to the right side, flat stitch and press. Attach the top collar to the neckline, turn the under collars (sic) edge inwards and sink stitch around the neck’. I don’t know what flat stitching is. How do I attach the top collar? Which bit is the top collar? Where is the under collar? What is sink stitching? Basically, these instructions do not teach you how to do a thing. They assume you can do everything, and just tell you the order of construction. Though apparently the order can be a bit skew whiff. I know Style Arc produce a lot of patterns, and I know that not every pattern can be as good at teaching as Colette or Tilly, but this just made me feel stupid, and frustrated and I wanted to give up. It just all seemed like an impossible mountain to climb. I had to research every single instruction, and guess at a lot of things.  Some of these guesses were waaay off the mark. That’s why I made three versions. This wasn’t because I was adjusting the fit, I didn’t even attempt that, but it took three goes to understand the instructions. That seems silly to me.

Right, lets see what I made.

Number 1. In 99p per metre fabric. Why did I not realise that at that price it would barely be a fabric, but rather a collections of wispy strands barely attached to each other? Dear God this was difficult to cut and sew with, and that’s before I had even glanced at the impossible instructions. I totally failed to understand how to make a concealed placket, and I totally failed to make anything wearable.

The crumpled mess

The crumpled mess

Dreadful business.

Placket/finishing/life fail

Placket/finishing/life fail

So I tried again using some scraps of gingham and an old bed sheet from a charity shop. I also googled a lot and found that others were having trouble with the instructions, especially the placket. I got the placket just about right, but then managed to totally cock up the pleat at the bottom, giving me some kind of scissor effect.

Not so hot mess

Not so hot mess

I muddled through the yoke, with no help from the StyleArc tutorial which seemed to be for a shirt that was not already joined together, but I could not work out how to do the inverted pleat at the back of the yoke.

Wrong

Wrong

But after a lot of very heavy duty thinking and scratching my head and swearing and watching this tutorial I got the hang of it. I am very pleased with the results. I managed to do a proper yoke, a concealed placket, a curved hem, and buttons. Also, the fabric is awesome.

I ran out of red yoke poplin, but I like the contrast

I ran out of red yoke poplin, but I like the contrast

Here I am in it!

Ta da!

Ta da!

This is the back:

Hooray!

Hooray!

And here is my concealed placket

Now you see the buttons...

Now you see the buttons…

Now you don't!

Now you don’t!

There are still some things I’m not happy with: I had to finish the collar by hand as the instructions were totally useless about how to insert it, and I have never done this kind of collar before. And I’m rubbish at sewing by hand, so the tips of the collar look scruffy. I also placed the buttons in totally the wrong place: the top one is way too high, but if I unbutton it, the next one is too far down. DRAT. This is partly because I didn’t try it on and mark the button holes where I would like them, but also because so much handling and fiddling around with the placket to try and work out what the hell to do with it rubbed my chalk marks off. The whole thing was so confusing and infuriating I lost the will to live and just wanted it over so I could move on to something that didn’t make me want to scream.

All in all, I love the style of this shirt, and I am proud that I persevered. I’m not much of a ‘completer/finisher’, so I had to use a lot of willpower to not give up and move on to something more fun that I could understand without taking a degree in dressmaking first. The fabric helped. I loved it, and wanted to use it. I didn’t want to spoil it. I had to understand the pattern properly before I cut anything and I couldn’t just bodge my way through. It was an excellent exercise in concentration and self discipline, though I won’t thank StyleArc for it! I will use their patterns again after a period of recovery, but I think I will choose one of their ‘Easy’ makes. And take a few valium, drink whiskey and practice yoga while I’m at it.

Have you had a positive experience of StyleArc?