I finally turned my custom made fabric into a piece of clothing! And I love it! I posted about my trip to Contrado - the fabric printing factory in North London - last April. It only took me unttil November to cut into the fabric and 3 months more to show you the finished item. I would say 7 months sitting in the stash is actually a fairly quick turn around in my cycle of fabric purchasing and making. I've recently used a blue sweater jersey that I have no recollection of purchasing, which I think must mean it's been in the stash for more than 10 years. Crikey.
Anyway. I wanted to make a shirt as I had in mind replicating the position of the hands of this collar broach by Buried Diamond. I'd already used this 60s shirt pattern Simplicity 5284...
...redrafting the front pieces to include an extra 3 inches of fabric on each side, which I gathered where they were joined to the yoke. I found the bottom edge of the shirt a bit blunt and I wanted to lengthen it and add a curve rather than a squared off hem.
But I only had 1.5m of fabric to work with, and that strip was only 1m wide! I also had a very distinct repeat print, and I wanted to do my best to make it match across the front. So, the pattern placement puzzle began.
I found I didn't have enough to add extra width - I actually didn't even have enough to add enough for seam allowance at the centre front - but I had enough length to draft an extra scoop at the bottom.
I loved my fabric when I saw it come out of the printer and I loved it even more when I could see it cut into the pieces that would form a garment. Argh! I possibly love this more than all other fabric. Sorry all other fabric. This is my scratch sewing space that I threw together as a priority after moving to a new flat in September.
Here you can see my work around for not having enough fabric to hem the vertical front edges... I encased them in bias binding! I also chickened out of doing real button holes as I got the terror that I'd mess up. The fabric is actually quite thick and has a high poly content and my needles were already objecting. So I went with hand sewn press studs. And I really messed up some of the hand sewing! I've now made a promise to myself that this is the last time I use press studs instead of real buttons. Gotta up that professionalism and step out of my fastening comfort zone.
And here is the finished shirt, which I love, despite a few flaws in the making including some gathers in one of the sleeve caps. I'm calling it the Hands of Horror shirt as a colleague said "Did you know you have a pair of bloody hands creeping up towards your throat?"
Warning; I look pretty somber in all these photos as I took them on my communal roof terrace at 7am on a Monday, there was zero sunshine, I'd been up since 5am and I was worried one of my neighbours would come up for a cigarette and see me prancing around in front of a camera. My serious expression does not reflect my feelings about my shirt.
I love that pleat at the back and it gives the shirt a nice fullness. Look how white the British winter sky is! I am starting to forget that the sky is blue behind that solid wall of cloud.
Though here I am pretending I'm sunbathing, just so I don't forget how to do it.
I wear my Hands of Horror shirt once a week to work now, and sometimes I wear it on the weekend too. Typically I wear it with these velvet leggings that I also whipped up late in 2017 using this amazing tutorial to self draft by Miranda at Live Free Creative.
The icing on the homemade outfit-cake is this Simplicity 1108 cardigan, another recent make that has become a wardrobe staple. I bought the fabric from Abakhan when I was on a work trip to Stoke-On-Trent. It's a really thick wooly stretch fabric.
Inspired by the fabric, I looked for a cocoon-like cardigan pattern and came across Simplicity 1108. It's actually meant to be a kimono top made from chiffon or any other thin floaty fabric, but I decided to have a go with my super-thick wool. I was persuaded to press the 'buy' button when I saw Sew My Time's amazing version.
It's a very simple batwing shape really. In fact you can imagine you are indeed bat woman when wearing an all-black version and standing on a roof.
Here's the full triple homemade combo; shirt, cardigan and leggings. I feel really proud when I wear this as it's head-to-toe made by me and when I add my homemade coat and scarf I am practically crying about the fact that sewing is so awesome. The leggings are made from an absolutely beautiful velvet jersey from Fabric Godmother. I cannot recommend this fabric enough. It sews up beautifully - I sewed it using my bog standard Janome sewing machine, before Santa (my Mum and Dad) got me an overlocker for Christmas - it feels lovely on the inside and my legs are so strokable it's sometimes a toss up between stroking the cats and my own legs.
I see many more plain black fabrics with interesting textures in my sewing future, as well as more boldly printed fabrics as my boyfriend bought me a voucher to spend at Contrado for Christmas. Woo hoo!