Completed: March Minoru

Greetings from a dull, rainy London afternoon! I wanted to share some Minoru pics before the light dies completely but I certainly didn’t want to venture outside on such a horrible day. No, today should be solely reserved for blue cheese on biscuits, roast chicken and cups of sweet tea.

March Minoru from the side

I dragged the husband outside the front door to take a few pics instead and am now back inside in slippers and dressing gown while he makes hot water bottles. Brrrr!

March Minoru back

Pattern: Minoru by Sewaholic (Intermediate)

Difficulty rating for Stitchandwitter: 4.5 out of 5

Fabric and notions used: 2.5 metres of medium grey corduroy (£1.50/metre). 2 metres of royal blue polka dot satin (2.99/metre). Two zippers (one open ended and one standard) about £2 each. All in all, this coat came in at less than £30 even including the pattern!

Fitting issues: I found the original length to be much too long for my short frame so I shortened the length by 8 centimetres. I cut out a size 2 and other than adjusting the length I didn’t need to make any further changes. I added side seam pockets using Amy at Sew Well’s excellent tutorial, and left out the inside pockets.

Making issues: Tasia’s sewalong was a dream to follow. But thank god she did one because I’m not sure I would have had the skills just to follow the rather brief pattern instructions. The trickiest bit by far (funnily enough – when I went ahead of the sewalong) was sewing the casing for the elastic through the corduroy and the slippery lining. I got it really wrong and lopsided the first time, and the second time my lining ended up being pulled up by a few inches, meaning that I had just enough lining to tuck into the hem. I didn’t have the heart to unpick it again so I left it as it was, and added an extra line of topstitching at the hem to really secure the lining. Finally, I had interfaced one side of my collar so was disheartened to see that the interfacing side was visible when I had my hood out (likely to be the case all the time for me), so before I finished the lining I basted some leftover lining material onto the offending section – worked a treat.

Skills learned: Woah – this was a steep learning curve of a project! Adding elasticated cuffs, installing lining (only done before on a Beignet) – um… making a COAT!

Anything to add? I think if I were to make this again I’d reduce the height of the collar a smidgeon, and perhaps use better quality corduroy. As it stands I’m well chuffed with this though. I felt for the first time that I was perhaps moving out of being a beginner and into a more intermediate skillset. A pattern like this is perfect if you’re itching to try something more complicated but need extra support – the sewalong is a massive help.

March Minoru hood

March Minoru lining

March Minoru

Minoru in progress

As I declared on Friday, over the weekend I THREW myself into catching up on the Minoru sewalong with Tasia. After two hours on Sat and about five on Sun, I’m almost up to date. Tonight I’ll be finishing off the lining and putting it into the coat. My new sewing room is a joy to work in! Here’s a few pics from the work in progress.

I knew I would like the combo of grey corduroy and electric blue polkadot lining but I didn’t know I would FALL IN LOVE with it.

Here’s another pop of colour in da hood. Yes that’s right – da hood. Don’t judge me.

I used Amy’s excellent tutorial to install side pockets using leftover lining material.

By the way, have you seen Karen’s Minoru? It’s adorable. I love the front pockets she’s added.

Anyone else doing the sewalong? Have you experienced any tricky bits? I’m not sure my ‘concealed’ zipper in the hood has come out too well but I’m thinking I’ll have it out most of the time anyway. :)

The Walthamstow haul, and a spreadsheet to fix me

Extolled by local resident Karen and lauded by countless other stitchers the length and breadth of London and beyond, Walthamstow really is a gem when it comes to finding cheap quality fabric. I traipsed across from Ally Pally on New Year’s Eve (feels like a long time ago now) with a £50 budget and a mad gleam in my eye. I blew the budget, but only just, and came home with a heap of fabric and a plan to add some sense to my increasing stash.

Here’s what I got:

5 metres of silvery-grey corduroy, to be used with my Minoru jacket and for Nette’s Autumn Love dress (gorgeous free pattern! Download now!) It’s darker than the picture suggests, trust me!

5 metres of this gorgeous grey polka dot polyester and 3 metres of this grape silk charmeuse. Polka dot to be used for Simplicity 7845 and for the bottom half and cuffs of my Hazel dress, grape to be used for the upper part and lining of the Hazel dress. Don’t the colours go beautifully together?

2 metres each of these floral concoctions. To be used for two Violet blouses.

Almost 5 metres of this rather cute vintage style polyester (I think it’s polyester anyway). It was the end of the bolt.

Plus 5 metres of calico after Karen’s tip off about asking in Saeed’s for curtain lining. Cheers Karen.

That’s 28 metres of fabric for £50!

So I mentioned a spreadsheet at the top. Not my idea, readers, but the brainwave of Mela of Pincushion Treats who shared hers on her blog. It’s such a simple but effective idea: detailing pics of what you have in your stash plus measurements so you always know what’s there and whether you have enough for a new project. Genius! Perhaps not ideal if you have a HUGE stash that you couldn’t bear to detail and measure. But great for those of us starting out who want to get a handle on it early. Thanks for the tip Mela! Here’s my spreadsheet - hope you can access it.

What about you? Any tips for managing your stash and keeping track of how much fabric you have? Have you made any New Year purchases yet or are you working your way through your existing stockpile?

Works in progress

Updates from the sewing room

Hallo peeps – how is your run up to Christmas going? Is it the calm before the storm, are you in a whirlwind of frenetic sewing and buying and cooking, or have you finished all your preparations to the festive season and popped your slippered feet up for a well-deserved rest? Me? I’m somewhere in between. I’m pretty sure I’ve bought everything I need to with the exception of one present. The turkey and the sausage meat is ordered and the wine is in. So it’s time for some bonus sewing!

With the exception of Ann and Dale’s dressing gowns I hadn’t planned to give any handmade gifts this year. For one, I didn’t think I’d be able to do something so well that the recipient would love it and forsake a store-bought version for it, and for another – I don’t know that many people who would like handmade gifts to be honest. Maybe as bonus gifts to the real thing…

Which is what I’m doing! Over the weekend I did a bit of stash-busting. I have so many fat quarters (oi! oi! stop that sniggering at the back) I don’t know what to do with them and quite a lot of leftover fabric from other home-type projects like cushions etc.  This tutorial for making a double oven glove is brilliant. It’s so incredibly easy. I bought a couple of metres of Insul Bright filler from Doughty’s (think it was Handmade Jane that provided the link in one of her blog posts) and got to work. It only took a couple of hours – and here it is.

Oven mitts

There’s just one thing stopping me from giving this away as a gift. My bias binding was a little slim which meant there’s a teeny bit where it’s not quite pulled under one of the pouches. Try as I might to unpick and redo this bit it just kept slipping free so I’m going to fix it with a few hand stitches and keep it for myself. I’ve ordered  a bunch of wider bias binding so once that’s arrived I’ll get on with knocking out a few more.

Simplicity 3835

I’ve cut out my pieces for Simplicity 3835 (mini dress view) in a lovely seersucker teal cotton. I’m quite excited about this one. I’m hoping it will be a nice simple project to get on with while I wait (and wait and wait…) for New Look 6000 to land on my doormat. Why won’t the internet elves hurry up? You’d think they had something better to be getting on with. Hmph.  Want to join Scruffy Badger’s sewalong. Although it’s great seeing posts as they come in as I’m getting loads of tips on underlining and fitting before I even start.

I’m on the lookout for fabric now for the Minoru jacket sewalong starting in January. I’m thinking a soft grey corduroy outer shell with a teal/polka dot lining. What do you think? Any good tips for quality (but affordable) corduroy? I’ve just read that Suzy is doing the same sewalong, and I’m pretty certain Karen is which is ace. Anyone else?

Finally I have a UFO lurking in my sewing room. The Trudy-tribute coat is gathering dust motes at the moment. I’m not quite sure if I can return to it yet. I’m not quite sure that it can still be termed the Trudy-tribute coat either to be honest – I think it will be very different. But that’s cool – it could wait until spring as it would be too light to wear over winter anyway.

So that’s me. What about you? Are you itching to get on with a project pour toi and cursing all those evil lifelong friends and family for making you do selfless sewing? Or is it actually quite nice to have a change?

Oh, before you go, here’s a pic of Keef ‘n’ Gracie doing their seasonal Nativity play. Keef wanted to play Mary… again…

Cat nativity