With the current working from home situation that most of us have got going on atm, loungewear features heavily in my wardrobe right now. And when I say ‘features heavily’, I do of course mean that I haven’t actually worn proper clothes in about two months. The husbeast actually put on a pair of jeans the other day, and upon seeing him I just started asked him what exactly he was trying to prove and to who 😂
The Linden was my first toe-dip into handmade casual wear. Despite wearing the comfy stuff a fair bit, even before the lockdown started, I’d never actually made any for myself – it was all store-bought. It was definitely a large gap in my handmade wardrobe that I’d identified but then never really got round to doing anything about. Until that first Linden which I embellished with the tattooed girl in rose foil, which I think still remains my favourite version to date. I loves it.
In an attempt to reproduce the success of that first one, there have been some failures. I’ve discovered, the hard way, that super-stretch fabric is crucial for the neckbands and cuffs. There are sweatshirting fabrics being sold out there that have minimal stretch, and I’ve learned that these are meant to be used alongside proper ribbing fabrics for the cuffs and collar rather than using that fabric for them. Some examples of how I learned: not being able to get a satisfactory neckband without a crazy amount of wrinkles, or managing to finish the top and then realising I can’t push my sleeves up to wash the dishes. *sigh* 🤦🏻♀️
So, if you take away just one thing from this blog post, let it be that you should probably buy proper ribbing for those bits.
(For that first Linden, yes, I used the same fabric for the neckband and cuffs as I did for the body – but, thankfully, it had enough stretch to it!)
I found a vibrant palm leaf print loopy back jersey on eBay, while looking for other fabrics I could sew the Linden from. It’s always hard to buy fabric online, Because you never know the weight or the feel or sometimes the true colours of the fabric.. but the seller of this one was happy to answer my (many 😂) questions, and I eventually surmised that the fabric was similar to t-shirt fabric (as in, it was a stretch cotton knit) but heavier than a t-shirt weight. That would do, it was enough for me to take a chance on it.
I was happy with it when it arrived – the colours were nice and bright, and it was a good weight for a jumper. Yay! And it had a fair bit of stretch too, so the neckband and cuffs wouldn’t be an issue to make from it as well (remember, the key thing for those bits is super stretch – so if your main fabric is really stretchy, you’ll probs be okay).
It was a beautiful print, but I couldn’t leave it be on its own. I’d had such success with the decal on that first Linden that I wanted to do another one – but I struggled to settle on a design. I wanted to go with a beachy, summer kinda vibe to match the tropical fern print of the fabric, but I couldn’t make up my mind. I looked at sunsets, tropical mandalas, palm trees… but nothing jumped out at me. I was worried that whatever I chose would get lost in the busy print. So, I decided that maybe it would be best to instead go with a simple shape, to offset the crazy print.
I went digging through the box of vinyl to see what I had, and then I found the dotty holographic stuff that I bought because it was pretty but didn’t really know what I’d use it for. It looked kinda see-through in some lights, so I wondered whether it was translucent enough that you’d see it on the fabric, but it wouldn’t overwhelm it 🤔
Pretty, huh? I decided to cut out a gigantic star from it to embellish the front of the Linden, inspired by things that still to this day remain unknown. It was a total whim ⭐️🤷🏻♀️
Despite my logic that surely it would be better to apply any decals after the sweatshirt is put together (so that you could try the garment on and test out the best placement for the graphic), it’s really *not* the best way. You’ll have two layers of fabric to contend with (the front and the back), a neckline seam, and the side seams might interfere with the layers of fabric laying perfectly flat. Also be aware that if you’re applying something to the back of a garment, sometimes you get a permanent imprint of the curve of the front neckline on the back piece, if the heat press covers it during the application process.
The whole thing was going smoothly until I went to peel back the second clear layer after fusing the vinyl (yep, there are two for this special dotty stuff) and found that some of the dots hadn’t stuck 😩 And it seemed that no matter how many times I re-pressed them, they just wouldn’t play ball. In the end, I think I took the iron to that one specific rebel dot 👀
After that, it was smooth sailing piecing the top together. Thankfully 😂
I was dubious about how long those spots would last in the wash, but after a couple of washes they don’t show any sign of giving up. The foil I used on that first Linden says ‘up to 50 washes’ – I’d say it’s had probably at least ten of those, and while the foil is a bit wrinkly in places (which could, in part, be due to the stretch nature of the fabric) it hasn’t actually started peeling yet.
I sort of regret the super-shiny star on this version – it’s really blingy, which isn’t my bag. It *is* translucent in some lights, but my word when you catch it wrong in the sun or under office lightening, it’s BLING BLING BLINDIN’ 🤩
The Linden is a really quick sew though, that you can whizz through the overlocker in no time at all. The thing that takes the longest for me is threading up the coverstitch to go round the neckline!
I do really like this fabric though, and I’m now wondering if I have enough left over to make a pair of sweatpants. Anyone got any recommendations for a pattern? I hear a lot about the Hudsons by True Bias… they any good? 🤔
I’m pleased to report that the sewing mojo may – slowly – be returning. I made a start on my Gucci inspired bomber jacket last week, because although it’s a big project overall, I can break it down into smaller parts. I can quilt a piece of the lining fabric, or I can sew the appliqué on the back of the jacket, or I can make the piping. No big commitment. I spent Easter weekend working on and off on it, and I enjoyed it. I’m still knitting, and I’m back writing up my project notes for the blog as I make the thing for when the items eventually make it on to here, because if I don’t do that I always end up forgetting 🤦🏻♀️ I had a bit of a writing block for a couple of weeks, the words just wouldn’t flow – I probably just wasn’t in the right headspace for it.
I spent the first few weeks of the lockdown a bit all over the place (and very ‘meh’), but I’m starting to find positives in our current situation now. We keep a list of films and TV shows that we want to watch, which over the last year or so has been growing without ever having anything crossed off (because we never had the time to watch), and now we’re finally getting to see them. We’re currently on Black Mirror and His Dark Materials. I’m actually getting time to watch the extended versions of all the Lord Of the Rings films, which I haven’t seen in forever – and I can find the time to read a book, which is something I really enjoy but so rarely seem to get round to doing. If you’re interested, I’ve just finished Mindf*ck by Christopher Wylie (which is about the Cambridge Analytica/Facebook shambles), I’m now working through Burial Rites by Hannah Kent, and I’ve just snapped up secondhand copies of Into the Wild by John Krakauer, The Road by Cormac McCarthy, A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth and The Narrow Road To The Deep North by Richard Flanagan (yep, I’m a fast reader 👀). Another plus is that I don’t have to get up at 6am every day – I get a whole two hours lay in. Sure, we can’t drive somewhere nice to take the dogs for a walk, or go out for a meal or to watch a film at the cinema, but I’m starting to see that this big grey cloud does have a little bit of a silver lining after all, if I look hard enough.
I haven’t been able to take blog photos for a while though, so I hope we can venture outside in the not-too-distant future again! After I’ve dyed my hair, of course, because my dye is fading by the minute 😂😱
What’s happening in your part of the world? Have you managed to settle into some sort of new rhythm now?
Keep well guys, much love 💜
On the blog next week – my first stab at the Make and Go pouch, which I kept true to the name by making the day before I flew to NYC ✈️. Subscribe below to have the post drop straight into your inbox 🙌🏻