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Simple Sew banded bamboo tee

Thank you all so much for your words of encouragement on my last post. I am pleased to report that I feel significantly better than last weekend already, just by eliminating some foods, which definitely points to it being a nutritional issue than anything more serious, thankfully. I’m already very much looking forward to adding foods back in one by one in a few weeks to see which is the culprit, though! Because of everything in September, I didn’t have time or energy to document or post about the few things I made which aren’t top secret, like this quick knit top!

I actually made this the day we landed back from Argentina. I worked out a few years ago that if I get even a few hours sleep on an overnight flight and then force myself to stay awake through the day I arrive, I’m recovered from jet lag the following day. So once the laundry was on and my suitcase was unpacked, I wanted something easy to sew that would keep me awake, and this little pattern was staring me in the face.

This Simple Sew pattern came free with the September issue of Love Sewing magazine that I’d bought before we went away, and it seemed a perfect mix of easy enough to sew on jetlag, and not requiring me to buy anything. Simple Sew patterns seem to only exist as magazine covermount patterns as far as I can tell, and I don’t see this #015 Jersey Top listed on their site, either. If you want to buy it for yourself, I’m not really sure what to suggest!

I shopped my stash since this only required a meter of fabric, and I came up with this bamboo jersey from Jersey Fashion that was leftover from my Kimono Sweat View B sample – I wanted to be able to give my athlete model Lorna a choice of colour and she chose red, so the teal was left for me. It’s super soft and drapey and really lovely to wear, so just about perfect for this top. For something different, I chose some contrast orange ribbing for the neck and sleeve bands, but since this was offcuts from a ridiculously long vest (tank) top I’d been given at a running event, I didn’t have enough for the hem band so I just turned and coverstitched that instead.


Worn with my birthday jeans from earlier this year

Even in my jet-lagged haze, I could see that the sleeve drafting was wack on this – the hem comes to a point at the seam! Seriously, did no one sanity check this pattern before releasing it? Even if you weren’t trying to attach a hem band (and were just folding under and twin needle stitching), this would be a massive problem.

Running arm band pocket (with tutorial!)

A few weeks ago, I was asked if I wouldn’t mind making two prizes for the RDC Mission Impossible event this Saturday, and I knew it’d be the perfect opportunity to try my hand at drafting some arm pouches while helping out my crew at the same time.

Essentially, I reverse-engineered a Y-Fumble I own to figure out how they constructed it (no Y-Fumbles were harmed – I just thought about it hard and made a prototype first!). The only problem is that they’re available in limited colours and the lycra feels quite flimsy to me, so if I can make my own I have a lot more freedom in the fabrics used.

It’s an arm band that has a pocket on one side, with a simple fold-over flap for keeping things like phones, keys, travelcard, etc nicely inside and tight against your arm while your run. There are no closures – the band just slips over your wrist and up your arm and the stretchiness of the fabric holds it in place. I wear mine on my forearm to hold gels for long runs, but you can also put them on your upper arm, too, if you’d rather. Even though the back doesn’t contain a pocket, it’s still double-sided so all the raw edges are nicely contained inside.

For these prize versions, I used leftover red bamboo jersey from my Donna Karan dress so they’re nice and soft, and should resist bad smells, too.

For those of you who are interested in my thought process, here’s the sketch I used when working out what pieces I’d need, and then how I’d construct it all together:

A plum tulip top and seamed silver trousers

I’m finally over my post-wardrobe exhaustion and able to sew again, so I carried on with my March mini-wardrobe plans and made the seamed trousers from KnipMode Oct 2010 (#8):

(hmm, why are they covering the waistband in their only magazine photo?)

I also thought I was due a “quick knit top” so I pulled out Jalie 2806 (a gift from LynnRowe on PR!) so I could try out those fantastic tulip sleeves, with the thought of maybe using them on the spring/summer version of my Burda September cover dress

I had just enough of Ditto‘s wonderfully soft and supple plum bamboo/lycra jersey leftover from my plum and green lace top for this, so it was clearly meant to be! For the trousers I used the same Fabric.com stretch twill as in my navy riding trousers, though in different lights this goes from looking pale grey (nice!) to baby blue (not so nice!). But the combo of pale trousers and dark top feels very Spring-like to me.

Asymmetric Plum Lace Top

The latest installment in my post-coat winter sewing plans is the asymmetric pleated turtleneck, Patrones 296 #14.

In this design, you’re given the pattern pieces for a turtleneck top, where the front has been cut diagonally across the front. So if you’ve not got this issue of Patrones, just go and draw a curvy line across your favourite turtleneck pattern!

In the magazine photo, the sleeves and upper front piece are pleated and underlined, but I chose to overlay lace on mine instead. Patrones provide the pattern pieces for the post-pleated fabric (allowing you the fun of working out exactly how much fabric you’d need for whatever size pleats you choose!), so it was super simple to just use those finished pieces to cut out the lace overlays instead.

The plum fabric here is a gorgeous bamboo/lycra jersey that I bought from Ditto in Brighton last month, and it’s so unbelievably soft, and with a nice, beefy weight and good stretch. I loved Wazoodle’s bamboo years ago, but this stuff is even better as it’s thicker and doesn’t wrinkle anywhere near as readily. I am utterly in love with this fabric! I’ve got another of their bamboo/lycras in red and I’m itching to make something from that now, too. The green stretch lace I bought at Tissues Dreyfus in Paris last summer, and I love how the two together give a bit of an antique look….

Incoming Ditto stash fillers

After sewing through my two Ditto fabrics I received at Christmas in record time, I’ve gone and ended up with five new fabrics from them! A few Saturdays ago we drove down to Brighton (via Lewes) with friends so I had to stop in at their shop in the North Laines, and then last weekend Pip gave me two more fabrics for my Christmas pressie! Yay!

Here they are:

From L to R above:

  • Mauve bamboo lycra jersey (2m at £9.99/m) – this coordinates nicely with my dark green stretch lace from Paris so I’m thinking I might use these for that Patrones pleated turtleneck
  • Dark grape lace (1m as a gift) – I’m feeling this is crying out to be a luxe skirt, but I need to find a good, beefy knit to underline it or it’d be very chilly indeed!
  • Deep purple ex-Prada wool/poly sweater knit (2m at £8.99/m) – I’m thinking I’ll use this to make the cowl tunic from the Winter MyImage magazine after seeing GlobalMom’s version on PR.
  • Grey ex-Versace wool/viscose rib knit (2m at £8.99/m) – James picked this out for some winter pyjama bottoms so he has some to wear that aren’t covered in Christmas Homer Simpson (poor man!)
  • Cherry red bamboo lycra jersey (2m as a gift) – so many options for this, so the jury is still out.

The Caramel turtleneck

“Oh”, I hear you think*, “another one of those Burda turtlenecks?!?!”

Endless others have already made this, and I admit I was hesitant to make it myself because:

  1. When a pattern gets made a LOT, it kinda makes me want to sew it less (maybe it’s shades of “I sew so I don’t wear the same thing as everyone else” coming through?)
  2. I love love loved the Burda September issue and it almost feels like a cop-out to make the super easy pattern from it first when there’s just so many great patterns in there

But in the end, I still really needed more long sleeved tops and I already had the fabric and the overlocker and coverstitch were still threaded in the right colours. So it’s fate.

So here is my version of the Burda Sept 2010 turtleneck, in caramel-coloured bamboo jersey

Beware the ravenous pandas!

If you have never felt or sewn bamboo fabric before, stop what you’re doing and go buy some right now. Seriously. I’ll wait.

Bamboo jersey is as soft as cashmere, as easy to work with as cotton, machine washes without much shrinkage (or loss of softness), is antibacterial (so if you make workout gear in it it doesn’t stink half as bad as even the techno wicking stuff!), and all the wrinkles steam out of it in the time it takes to have a shower. Honestly, this stuff is wonderful, and I can’t wait until more colours are available and I’m buying every single one.

This wrap dress pattern is originally from the May 2006 Burda WOF, but it’s proved so popular that Burda have released it as a 2 euro download pattern, too. It really is the perfect wrap dress – necklines that don’t move, secure fastenings (two snaps are concealed beneath the decorative belt), and best of all – a full frontal overlapping skirt panel so you don’t have any surprises on a windy walk to work! Coupled with the luxuriously soft bamboo, this really is like wearing pajamas…