Growing pains

This week has been a hell of a week.  Which on the face of it is weird, as I’ve been off work on holiday for a fortnight so theoretically, I should be extremely chilled out right now.

But.

The reason I’m off work is my biggest little girl started school last week (part time at least – what the hell is it with these “phased transition” arrangements?) and boy, oh boy has that been fun.

Day 1 lulled me into a false sense of security.  Dropped her off (at a run since one of the school entrances was locked!), she went in, no tears, came out skipping – hurrah!

Every day since then, she has had to be dragged off me, kicking and screaming, by a member of staff.  Wonderful.  This morning went a little better – maybe because Daddy came too? Who knows.

But yeah, hell of a week.

My solution to this is usually lots of sewing.  And I have indeed achieved a completed garment this week.  It’s been something of a fight. But still, I finished another, complex, stretchy garment and despite all the problems, I’m pretty chuffed with myself.

The garment in question is the Grainline Morris blazer in a rather nicer than expected black ponte roma from Remnant Kings during their summer sale.

The Morris is a pattern I’ve had my eye on since it first came out, as I could instantly see it fitting into my wardrobe, probably in multiple colours.  It works with jeans and would work equally well as a smarter-than-a-cardigan layer for our office, where the heating / air conditioning is somewhat unpredictable – you never know whether you’re walking into a tropical or arctic environment, but there’s rarely much in the middle. Layers, people, layers!

This version I Pinned from Randomly Happy I would happily slot straight into my wardrobe – isn’t it lovely?

So, having vowed to tackle stretchy fabrics, this went to the top of the list.  I have to admit some of that was because it’s a jacket without fastenings and therefore hopefully a little easier going on fit?

And here’s the finished article.

IMG_2827

Not bad for a first attempt!

After some deliberation, I cut a size 10 based on my bust measurements; given it’s a loose jacket I figured that would work OK.  The only adjustment I made was to the sleeve length, which I lengthened by 2″ when tracing the pattern out.  I do love the shorter sleeves on the pattern envelope, but we’re coming into winter here so I’m more likely to wear this over longer sleeved tops which would look odd with cropped sleeves.

The first thing I’d say about this pattern is, I’m really glad I didn’t try it any earlier in my sewing life!  The pattern instructions are brief to say the least: every step is listed, but there’s no elaboration over and above the strictly necessary.  Given my last make was a Tilly and the Buttons Coco, this was exacerbated as her instructions are definitely at the other end of the spectrum!  I tried referencing the sew along as well, but didn’t find that it added a lot. It does include all the steps, but I wouldn’t try it as a first stretch garment.

Other than that, I really like this pattern.  I love the way the facing finishes off both the drapey collar and the back hem, giving a really neat, professional looking finish.  I particularly liked the way the sleeves are finished with a facing, rather than just turning the hem under, so that if you rolled your sleeves back or up, the finish stays neat.

lovely sleeve facing!
lovely sleeve facing!

I love the length of the jacket for a change, but it is pretty short.  The picture below gives you an idea (please pardon the strange face I seem to need to pull to take sideways photos!)

IMG_2837

I also quite like the length of my adjusted sleeves although, if I were to make it again with the intention of it being a winter jacket, I’d lengthen them further – right now they sit at bracelet length and I find myself pushing them up my arms anyway, which kind of defeats the object!

Sleeve length with arms extended - could stand to be a little longer for me
Sleeve length with arms extended – could stand to be a little longer for me

I’m also very chuffed with my topstitching.  Not something I’d really done before on jersey and I wasn’t sure whether to go straight or zigzag stitch with it – think zigzag was the right choice.

Pretty topstitching!
Pretty topstitching!

There are things I’d change in another version though.

  • I don’t fully understand why there’s a centre back seam on this jacket.  The pattern layout shows it cut on the fold but it’s two separate pieces – another time, I would probably eliminate that seam

IMG_2830

  • I’d be tempted to have another play with the sleeve length, as mentioned above
  • I would probably add a few inches of length to the body of the jacket.  Particularly for work, I’d like it hip length rather than waist length to give a little extra coverage.  There are very clear lengthen lines on the pattern and I’ve seen several people do this online, so I’m not too phased by this

So why was this such a battle then?  The simple answer would be, my machine.  I’ve had more problems with this make than with any other in terms of threads snapping, thread nests forming in the midst of rows of stitching, jamming…. you name it, the machine’s done it.

Some of the less serious skipped stitches I just didn't have the energy to unpick
Some of the less serious skipped stitches I just didn’t have the energy to unpick
not a problem at all, right?!?
not a problem at all, right?!?

I’ve had the machine a few months now and to be honest, it’s never quite been right.  I assumed it was me getting used to a new machine but after lots of consultation (thank you again, Instagram!) have come to the conclusion that there’s potentially a fault on it.

So my precious sewing time today was spent taking it back to the shop, only to be told that the engineer is on holiday for a fortnight!! And my warranty is apparently through the shop so they need to look at it if I don’t want to be charged.  Does this sound right BTW – anyone else with a Janome?

So this project is the last of my stretch objective at the moment (pardon the HR speak, it’s been appraisal form filling time at work!).  I do still have the basic machine I upgraded from and, whilst there’s no fault on it, you can’t change the pressure on the pressure foot and I don’t have a walking foot.

Back to wovens it is then – good job my fabric stash is rather oversized at the moment, it needs thinning out!

How about you? Have you made the Morris? Did you find it enjoyable?

And what’s next on your to-sew list? Any inspiration for me now I’ve been a little derailed?

Becca x

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10 thoughts on “Growing pains

  1. A great make, I’ve not really tackled clothes patterns apart from my first Coco (also made on a sewing course) and I too found security in Tilly’s detailed instructions. Well done for completing such a super project, with your own adaptions, I’m very impressed. I may need to come back for tips from you when I am brave enough to move beyond Tilly patterns xx

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  2. I had a similar problem with my machine and the warranty – it the end I just paid a man who comes to the house and it was all sorted and serviced in less than an hour. In terms of time saved it was worth it. Very confident make with all the alterations and top- stitching. Fingers crossed your little sweetie settles soon – I know how she feels!

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    1. Thank you! I don’t know whether confident’s the right word, I think I got annoyed with the machine playing up part way through and just threw myself at it. Does seem to have worked though! Little one seems to be loving school but is totally unable to remember that when it comes time to leave her in a morning, lots of tears but at least she’s usually smiling on the way out!

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