Monthly Archives: September 2015

Sewaholic Thurlow shorts – my Made Up pledge

If you haven’t come across it yet, The Made Up Initiative was launched by Karen of Did You Make That? to raise money for the National Literacy Trust. The idea was that when you made a donation, if you wanted, to also make a pledge to make something by September 10th. My pledge was to finally make some Sewaholic Thurlow shorts after all the toiles I made last summer. I didn’t quite finish them by the deadline, but am not bothered by that as I’m happy to have finally made a wearable pair, which I probably wouldn’t have done without the pledge! If you would like to donate, you still can at the Justgiving page.

Blue Thurlow shorts front view

These shorts are my most involved make so far with lots of new techniques, which I enjoyed working through and highlighting by adding some top stitching around the pockets and waistband. There are plenty of little things that I think I could do a bit better next time, but I’m still very happy with the overall finish of these.

Blue Thurlow shorts side view

I went for the cuffed short version although being tall, I lengthened the legs so the finished length is probably similar to the straight version of the pattern. One good thing about not making these up until now is that I was able to make the back pockets bigger in order to fit the larger phone that I now have. I love that sewing my own clothes gives me the flexibility to do that!

After cutting out I realised I’d marked the right and wrong sides of the fabric incorrectly, but this turned out to be a happy mistake as it reversed the fly zip and I prefer it this way round as it is the same as all my other trousers.

Blue Thurlow shorts back view

The fabric is this stretch cotton from the Sew Over It Islington store. It was my first time working with a stretch fabric and think it was definitely a good idea as it helps the fit be a bit more forgiving. This fabric is a nice weight for shorts, light enough to be comfortable in warm weather but sturdy enough to cope with the wear that shorts will get.

Blue Thurlow shorts

In terms of construction, the instructions are pretty good and I consulted Lladybird’s sewalong when I wanted a bit more guidance. The main new techniques for me were the welt pockets and fly zip, but by slowly working my way through they came out quite well. I was a bit concerned with the welt pockets when I first turned them out as there seemed to be a big gap, but some careful pressing was able to sort that out.

I did deviate from the instructions a little bit: I only interfaced the waistband facing, but think the finish would have been better if I’d interfaced both sides of the waistband as instructed – despite grading the seam allowances you can see a bump on the outside. I didn’t sew the back extension as instructed as I found it hard to get a smooth finish on the back waistband edge, so instead sewed the waistband together before attaching. The belt loops seemed very long so I cut them down to be more in line with the waistband width – not such a good idea as they are now too thin for any of my belts! And after checking my ready to wear trousers can see that the belt loops are usually longer than the waistband – I’ll know better next time!

Blue Thurlow shorts welt pocket

Despite all the fitting work of last summer, I did a bit of unpicking after trying them on to remove about 4 cm from the back inseam legs as there was way too much fabric there. While I do think these are wearable, the fit is not right yet – both back and front crotch curves could do with some adjusting. I have some ideas on how to correct these, but really I think it is time to admit I need some help with this, so I’ve signed up for the Sew Over It Ultimate Trouser class. Hopefully with the help of an expert I’ll be able to get a trouser pattern that is well fitting and then as it is a simple trouser shape I hope to be able to use that as a block to create different trouser styles from. I’m already pondering whether I’ll be able to hack the pattern in between classes to add some pockets!

Back to the Thurlows, I’ll leave you with my favourite photo – showing the contrast check fabric I used for the lining pieces. It might sound a little strange, but I really enjoy seeing pictures of the contrast linings that sewers often use, especially when they are fun prints. I’ve already got a colourful elephant print cotton pegged for that purpose in a future garment or two!

Blue Thurlow shorts fly zip and lining

V neck top with gathers

This top has been a few months in the making largely due to flat renovations taking up a lot of my free time plus having to pack up my sewing machine while the work was being done. However I am now happily reunited with my sewing machine and enjoying the new look flat – which includes a sewing corner with shelves for sewing bits and bobs.

Beige V neck top with gathers and contrast navy blue trim

Believe it or not, this started from the Colette Sorbetto pattern, but the following changes took it a long way from the original design:

  • Add front and back yokes
  • Convert bust darts into gathering at the shoulder yokes
  • Add gathering to the centre back below yoke
  • Raise back neckline
  • Remove front pleat
  • Convert front neckline into a V neck
  • Neckline binding continues to create contrast line down centre front
  • Add slight curve to front and back hems

Beige V neck top back view

The part that took the most time to consider was the stripe down the centre. I have to admit I often found myself thinking about various construction options when I was walking or during other mental down time. But working out details like this is something I really enjoy about making things and it is so satisfying when it works!

Beige V neck top contrast trim detail

In the end I decided to cut the front piece down the centre without a seam allowance then bind all around the raw edge of the front and neckline and sew the centre binding pieces together. It worked out ok, but was quite tricky to do to ensure that the binding was totally straight and even. I think it would be a lot easier to include an allowance at the centre front for overlapping the two sides after completing the binding. I didn’t do this originally because I wanted to minimise bulk, but with a light drapey fabric it shouldn’t be too bad.

Beige V neck top

The fabric used was supposedly viscose (the same as I used for my black Belcarra) in two different colour ways – beige and navy blue. However the beige fabric felt and behaved very differently. It was becoming quite static under the iron and was very difficult to press, so I suspect it is actually a synthetic. It feels alright to wear though and its resistance to pressing also means it doesn’t wrinkle much – the photos are taken after a full day of wearing – which is definitely a plus.

Beige V neck top back view

When I tried it on part way though making I was concerned that I’d added too much ease in with the gathers and it was going to look too big for me. However, I think the finished result is ok and I’m quite glad to get this finished to be honest since it was started so long ago.

Beige V neck top worn with cardigan

Although the weather is getting decidedly colder now and I’m unlikely to be going sleeveless much (especially as I really feel the cold!), I think it looks fine under a cardigan so I should still get some wear out of it in the coming months.