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On the mend

Still catching up on all of the things I've been making and fixing!

Shrinking that Doctor tshirt left me with a number of offcuts of the sludge green tshirt material. Not my favourite colour, if I'm honest, but as it happened I have a merino top that had a hole in it. We think that the place we rented before our new house was built had moths. Certainly a lot of my merino clothing ended up with holes in some pretty strange places, and this was no exception. When I discovered it, I threw it in a bag in the freezer and fully intended to just throw it out. It's not one of my best tops, and I'd had it a while anyway. 

Then somehow it ended up in the bag of clothes that I was going to donate when I ran the half at Blenheim, and I ended up rescuing it to run in. I'd just started seeing posts about Alabama Chanin, and embroidery combining with tshirt material for mending, and I realised that the tshirt offcuts would actually be a pretty good match for my poor holey shirt. 


I happened to have the brown embroidery thread already. The hole is hidden under one of the petals, but nobody has ever spotted it or questioned it. I did start out with only two petals, but Clarkie told me it looked a bit like the Playboy bunny ears! 

So the leftover pieces of cotton have rescued a large piece of merino, and the top has gone straight back into circulation. It's not a smart top, but it's become one of my go-to after work or weekend tops. Winning! 


Still improving

My 'make it better' challenge was in theory just for 2014, but actually it's been more of an on-going mind-set. I've also got a little bit of a bee in my bonnet about throw-away tshirts. The amount of effort and energy (human and fossil fuel) that goes into a cotton tshirt is considerable, from growing the cotton, to making the fibre, to knitting the cloth, to producing the tshirt, and shipping the entire thing here there and everywhere. 

One of the presents I got for finishing my PhD was this disney tshirt.

Doctored tshirt

That's it after I went and resized it. It was originally a small 'unisex' tshirt. I don't like wearing those big, shapeless tshirts. I always feel that I look like a 12-year-old boy in them, and if I don't feel good in it I'm not going to wear it. Normally I just get rid of them, but with this one I wanted to keep it for sentimental reasons. I figured I could always turn it into a pillow or something if I screwed up the resizing, so I found a tutorial for effectively copying a different tshirt for size. 

I didn't entirely get it right. I foolishly decided that I could use one side of the tshirt I was copying and mirror it, rather than copying the two sides, and the result seems to have left the tshirt a little lop-sided. It's not really noticeable though, and the tshirt is so much more me now. Much better!


My first waistcoat

I know I haven't been posting whole lot for a while. I've still been making stuff, just not being ever so good at getting around to photos. 

This is a waistcoat I made some point last Winter. 


It's a Burda Style pattern for a 'Steampunk' waistcoat. It was a muslin really, made to check the fit and the sizing and test for difficult bits etc. The outer material is a reasonably stiff, almost linen-like material that I got given by a friend who was having a clear out, and I have a horrible feeling I may now match her curtains! Still, the advice I've seen is to make a muslin from material you might actually wear, on the off-chance that it all works out well, and this one pretty much has.

I lined it with the end of the numbers fabric that I used to make this shirt from.


I didn't have enough fabric left to make sure it all ended up the right way up, but I really like having that fabric there where only I can see it. This is both the first tailored thing I've made, and the first lined piece of clothing I've made. And the first time I've used interfacing, to get the collar to stand up properly. I'm quite pleased that the lining went pretty well. The bit I'm not entirely happy with is the join at the bottom - I ended up doing that by hand because I wasn't really sure how to do it. Maybe next time. 

Because the back was a bit plain and I wanted to, I added some decoration with embroidery.


I've kept it pretty simple - it's just circles, and I've varied the embroidery stitch. Three different colours, I ended up not loving the teal-on-teal effect as much as I thought I would, so more navy and yellow. I could probably have carried on for a while further, but I wanted to get the bottom sewn up and needed to finish the embroidery before I could. 


So that just left the buttons. There are 12 buttons on this top, so they matter. I was tempted to go for big buttons, but when I saw these they just leapt. Brass is not normally my colour, I normally go for silver, but with the teal I thought they would really work and I'm very pleased with the outcome. I had to do the buttonholes without the use of the magical buttonholing attachment on my sewing machine too, because it was just not working at all. I'm not sure what was up with it. Rather chuffed with getting them to look that neat, if I'm honest. 

So, a muslin that didn't really end up being one. I did tweak the fit quite a bit - took a lot off the width to make it fitted and across the shoulders - but I probably could have added a little bit to the length. The colour and shape does look a bit Star Trek if I do the entire thing up, but I don't very often. I found it very easy to wear last winter for work, and all told am very pleased with the result! 


September 6th

Only a little late with this one. Was a smidge later with the photos than I'd hoped too. Ah well. 

September 6th 2016

The rudbeckia (bright yellow, on the right) are fully out now. I love them. There was a modern garden in Sussex Uni fully planted with these. I never had any success growing them in Brighton though. Here I suddenly have my very own patch. The plant behind them has also shot up. That's a ceanothus, although this year it didn't really flower. I'm hopeful for next year. 

September 6th 2016

A lot of the other colour has died back though. The rose is done for now. The catepillers ate all of the nasturtium. I'm hoping that at least means there were a few more butterflies in the world, and I didn't really need the pesto I was planning. 

September 6th 2016

The runner beans have been a lovely thing though. They were really tasty, although I think the ones left now may be a little tough. Fortunatly the french beans that I put in the potato pots are just about ready to eat, so we won't be without. 


Garden update - 6th August

Very late. At least I got the photos taken.

August 6th 2016

Beautiful sunny day. The rudbeckia are almost out, lots of flowers.

August 6th 2016

You can see the bright red of the Soldier Boy rose on the arch. And the lovely nasturtiums in the herb bed.

August 6th 2016

And I've finally managed to support the apple tree.

It really was a beautiful day. Been a pretty good summer, all in. I can't believe how much it's all grown.