Maria Denmark Edith Adventures Part Two – The Liberty Carline Ones

This post could quite easily consist of me going ‘squeeeeeee!’ accompanied by photos of my overly smiley face but it might be helpful to add a bit of background before we get to that.

Following on from my first two Maria Denmark Ediths I felt confident about cutting into some Liberty. I had a little over a metre of the red Liberty Carline Poplin in my stash for a while with no real plan what to use it for. Then I scored a metre and a half of the blue Tana Lawn on Ebay. While I was stroking it and pondering what to do, the other half helpfully suggested using it to make a blouse and so a plan was hatched. I decided to use both pieces and make a pair, a little more production line sewing.   Maybe I’m just impatient but I’ve found it doesn’t really take that much longer to make multiples at the same time.

I cut out the red first as it was the smaller yardage. I managed to fit it all on but had to cut one of the front pieces on the cross grain. I spent ages trying to work out if the print had any direction but after twiddling and comparing decided it was multi-directional so would be fine. I ended up with a 40cm x 40cm chunk left, plenty to use for facings and pocket linings. The Blue was easily squeezed out and I pleasingly had more than enough left to make a pair of matching knickers!

I sewed them up the same as my previous two, a size 44 and C-cup. I French seamed them again (my overlocker must be feeling very lonely). the only changes I made were to:

  • Lower the bust dart an inch
  • Raise the back darts an inch
  • Square off the collar

I didn’t have the right buttons in my stash so armed with swatches of fabric I made a trip to my local haberdashery. It took half an hour for me to decide, the most fitting were the red mother of pearl and some green vintage looking ones.

Anyway here’s some pictures:

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Elderly photo bombing cat!

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Squeeeeee face!

I’m struggling to put into words how pleased I am with how they’ve turned out. It was one of those projects where you get halfway through and start to get a tingly feeling in your stomach as you realise it’s going to be a winner. I finished them at the end of May and wore each one during the final days of Me Made May. As soon as May was over I’ve binge worn them constantly, at least having two means they get regular washing!

The fit is as near as perfect I’m going to get. I haven’t really sewn many sleeveless tops recently so they’ve definitely filled a gap in the wardrobe. They’re great with skirts and jeans and perfect under a cardigan, the red works really well with my green Miette and the blue with the green or the navy. I know I say this about every project but I really think these are the favouritest things I’ve ever made!

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And of course there are the matching knickers!

Those Little Essentials: Alice Tights and Trixie Lixie Knickers

Over Christmas Marilla Walker asked if I would like to test her new pattern the Alice Tights. When I learned it was for tights I was rather intrigued and  keen to give them a go.

There are three options with the pattern; two piece tights with a heel turn, one piece tights and leggings/footless tights. The pattern not only comes in a variety of sizes but also include three leg lengths and even different foot sizes. Each leg length comes as a separate file so you only print off the one you need. The sizing ranges from a 24 ½ inch waist 34 inch hip to a 36 ¼ waist 45 ¾ hip. I was pleased there was a short leg option as ready to wear tights always give me that Nora Batty effect around the ankles.

I decided to have a go at view B, the one piece tights. The most important factor to consider with this pattern is the fabric, it must have four way stretch, with 50% stretch both lengthways and widthways (if you take a 6 inch piece of fabric you should be able to stretch it out to 9 inches) As soon as I got the pattern I went to raid the stash hoping there was something in there suitable. There were many things that I wished would work but only had two way stretch. The only thing that came close was a very fine petrol blue poly knit, it had plenty of stretch in the width but only about 20 % lengthways. Being far too impatient (we were snowed in and the chances of getting to the fabric store were remote) I decided to give it a go anyway, if it didn’t work at least I had tested the pattern and instructions.

The instructions are very detailed running to eight pages. They were very easy to sew up: the front and back get sewn first, followed by the hip darts and then the legs are sewn in one continuous step with the seam running up the inside leg. The second most important thing to note about this pattern is to ensure you mark the notches; the top of the foot needs to be stretched as it is sewn to incorporate the heal on the bottom piece (similar to setting in a neckband). The waist is finished with 3cm wide elastic which is then enclosed in the waistband.

So how did I get on with my not quite stretch tights? Surprisingly quite well, the width is fine but I do have a couple of inches of penguin crotch. They are however perfectly wearable, they sit well on my waist and the elastic does a good job of keeping them up.

I also realised how difficult it is to take a photo of your own legs, the best option seemed to be lying on my back on the sofa with my legs up in the air. It has being pointed out though that it looks like I am levitating!

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I then took a gamble and bought a couple of bits of fabric from Ebay, going solely on the description of ‘4 way stretch’. The first was a piece of stretch lace (Marilla had posted a pair of lace ones on Instagram which set off nostalgic longings for my teenage years in the eighties) when they arrived they had around 40% widthways stretch but around 30% lengthways. I sewed them up as before and they actually fit perfectly although there is not much room for manoeuvre. I do remember lace tights being like this back in the olden days though!

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My last piece of fabric was listed as Navy but turned out to be a bit lighter than my idea of Navy. It had the perfect amount of stretch though. I sewed them up as before and they worked perfectly, I had found the holy grail of tights fabric.

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One thing to note is that the pattern obviously uses over a metre of fabric (130cm for the short leg) To try and keep cost down I only bought a metre for my last two pairs and cut them on the cross grain. This worked perfectly well, in fact it actually helped my lace pair as there was then more stretch in the length so no penguin crotch.

Overall this is just a fun and quick pattern to sew (I managed to sew my last two pairs in one episode of Mad Men) The key is really finding the right fabric (with me it was a bit like goldilocks and the three tights!)

Following on from the quick instant gratification of sewing the tights I decided that my knicker drawer needed a bit of replenishment. I made seven pairs of knickers early last year using the pattern from my Christmas Trixie Lixie knicker making kit. I have worn these daily since and can count on one hand the number of times I’ve worn shop bought pants. They fit perfectly, are super comfy and with floral fabric and gingham ruffle elastic look far more attractive than six pack M&S specials. They are also a great way of using up scraps (they only use a fat quarter of fabric) consequently I have some matching skirts and dresses (there’s something satisfying knowing your dress matches your pants!) I got the gingham ruffle elastic from my local haberdashery but it’s also available in Trixie Lixies shop. I found it was a lot easier to attach than the thinner elastic.

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I had a ‘snow day’ last week and decided it was going to be a knicker making day. I had a couple of liberty print remnants and cut the corner off this 3 metre length of black and white polka dots as I thought it was perfect for the black and white gingham. I had every intention of taking pictures throughout the process but just got carried away (they are really fun to sew!). After a couple of hours I had three brand new pairs of knickers, I have however developed the urge to have liberty print knickers for every day of the week!

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I quite like the idea of sewing my own smalls, it’s just one step closer to having a completely handmade wardrobe. I have seen quite a few Bra making patterns around, the Watson Bra from Cloth Habit is particularly pretty. Unfortunately I don’t think I’ll be giving it a try as I need some serious engineering and scaffolding to counteract the effects of gravity on my bust! I have however got a Burda pattern for a set of Lingerie which includes a slip, camisole and French knickers so I think I might that a try next time.

Anyone else into sewing your own undies, any tips or good patterns?