Grainline Linden ferns with star 8963

The Second Star To The Right

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 😂

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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.

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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.

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(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 🤔

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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 ⭐️🤷🏻‍♀️

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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.

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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 👀

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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’ 🤩

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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!

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Grainline Linden ferns with star 8991

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.

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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 😂😱

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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 💜

Grainline Linden ferns with star 9011

Grainline Linden ferns with star 9037

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Grainline Linden ferns with star 8994

Grainline Linden ferns with star 9015

Grainline Linden ferns with star 9004

Grainline Linden ferns with star 8978

Grainline Linden ferns with star 9001

Grainline Linden ferns with star 8963

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 🙌🏻

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18 thoughts on “The Second Star To The Right

  1. That’s a great top, and I love the fabric 👏🏻 … 💭 dreams of getting a cover stitch machine 💭… then wonders where the hell I’d put it 😅
    Stay safe x

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    1. Thank youuuu! 💜 Honestly, I recommend the coverstitch SO much (although your twin-needling is WAY better than mine ever was 😂). Okay granted it doesn’t get used all that often, not in the same was as the sewing machine does, but it really makes the difference to knit hems and necklines 😨 And it really doesn’t take up that much space at all… 😏

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  2. Your sweatshirt is gorgeous. Love it.
    I’m more of an introvert than I knew and, although I miss my friends, the social isolation isn’t bothering me much. I’m in a fortunate position, being old, as I haven’t lost income and don’t need to educate children at home or fit in working at home as well. I truly feel for those that have to do those things and whose jobs are under threat. I realise just how fortunate I am. During the first week I did a lot of cleaning, to the point where my hands were sore. That very quickly wore off and now I am enjoying the morning lie-in, reading and sewing. I’ve also watched a boxed set, which I rarely do, done a lot more cooking and baking than usual and signed up for a couple of online courses. One course is Precision Quilting by Philippa Naylor, the other is on intermediate free motion embroidery by Sulky. The quilting course is excellent, but I’m underwhelmed by the other, as I expected it to be far more advanced than it is. It also seems to be a way to get people to pay to watch advertising for Sulky products. Maybe I should have expected that, but I didn’t. I’ve also followed Helen Geddon’s short and free online project, whereby Helen provides images to get arty with and stitch any which-way we choose. So far I’ve started with three of the four images, finished none, but have tried making my own applique pattern and fabric painting, both with some free motion stitch. I’ve also got a lot further with another large project, Bernina’s ‘Glamourous Clams’, by Deborah Louie, with which I can see the finishing line. It’s been a far bigger project than I anticipated. Then I have fabric to make some summer clothes that I’ll probably have to size up after all that baking!
    The only thing that bothers me about all this is the shopping. My husband is older than me and vulnerable, so we have been trying to stay away from supermarkets and grocery shopping online, which I’ve never done before and it’s driving me crazy. I order items that then become out of stock before they are picked and random substitutions are delivered. Weird substitutions! I never thought I’d say it, but I wanna go shopping!

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    1. Ahh, thanks Bren! 💜
      I’m like you, the social isolation isn’t so much bothering me, but I do miss my cycle commute to work, and being able to drive to one of the nice Kent parks to take the dogs for a long walk in the fields. So glad to hear you’re taking advantage of the finer things in life – what book are you currently reading? We baked a cake too, last weekend, which of course doesn’t help my weight gain situation from the lack of cycling 😂
      I remember you saying about the Glamorous Clams! That’s so exciting that it’s nearly finished! Will you have photos up online anywhere of it?
      Online shopping is very hit and miss I agree – I use Ocado, and they haven’t been *too* bad with their substitutes… but there have definitely been some weird ones! Stay safe, and enjoy your online courses! 💜

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  3. Re lounge wear – I have just ordered the Folkwear Chinese Pajama pattern -looks to be quite quick and will be a nice change to wear when just messing about inside, and still be able to take the trash out without scandalising the neighbors!

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    1. Ooh, I’ve just checked out that pattern, it looks good! Some of the images I saw were really fancy fabrics, those PJs were definitely next level! WAY more fancier than anything I have 😂 What sort of fabric will you be making yours with?

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  4. Love the sweatshirt, so fresh and colorful. A suggestion for joggers is Ruby Joggers by Paprika Patterns. Really comfortable, but aren’t just sweatpants. I didn’t put the cuffs in the bottom, just hemmed them and I wear them all the time. Worth a look. Thanks again for a fun Sunday read. Stay safe.

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    1. Thanks for the pattern recommendation – they’re nice! I really like the shaped yoke. I’ve not used Paprika Patterns before so I’ll check out what else they have!
      So glad to hear that you enjoy the blog, you keep safe too 💜

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  5. Great sweatshirt! I always struggle finding fabric with the right stretch to make sweatshirts, I definetly need to investigate ribbing a bit more. I’ve found very little time to sew, despite being furloughed, I have two kids to look after – which consists of feeding them constantly, tidying up after feeding them, then feeding them again. My husband is a teacher and is wfh, which is an interesting experiance. But we have a garden, so are making the most of any sun we have. For jogging pants, have a look at the four seasons by made by jacks mum, they have different length options and a couple of pocket options – they are really comfy, although I still need to get fabric with the right stretch…

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    1. Thanks Fiona!
      Yeah, it’s REALLY hit and miss getting the right weight, and the right amount of stretch for fabrics for loungewear 🤦🏻‍♀️ Comfy trousers is definitely something that’s high on my priority sewing list at the moment though so I’m determined to get there! Wow I’ve not heard of Made By Jack’s Mum, those joggers look really comfy and I love the high waistband 😍
      Glad to hear you have a garden – I find that a little bit of sunshine really recharges the soul right now ✌🏻
      Stay safe! 💜

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    1. Haha… I am ALL ABOUT THE BLEAKNESS. I like to read something that makes me FEEL. Whether that’s depressed, or bleak, or sad, I don’t really mind, but it needs to be emosh 😂

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