serger

The Story of the Scoop Neck T

scoop neck T - Nani Iro

scoop neck T - Nani Iro

I am metric, born and bred. I am okay with inches but yards? No way. I can't even remember whether a yard is longer than a metre or visa versa. Useless. I have to look it up every time ... so, as you can imagine, US patterns send me into a bit of a spin. 

Apparently I needed 1 3/4 yards of 58" wide cotton jersey. Well, I got a bit bamboozled by the maths and ended up with 1.5 metres of 80 cm wide cotton jersey. That turns out to be almost half as wide as I need. Whoops! For the briefest of moments I thought about buying more ... nope, it's a bit pricey anyway. Maybe a sleeveless top? Nope. I resolved to make it work.

At first I thought I'd need a seam up the middle of my back, but after measuring the pattern pieces against a top I like the fit of, I decided to make it narrower, but longer, through the sleeves and body. A bit of fancy pinning, cutting and figuring out and I managed to get it out. All without a seam down the back. Yay!

scoop neck T - Nani Iro

The band for the neck is a bit of a mash but hopefully no one will notice in the flesh. I cobbled it together from three strips of fabric. There's the usual seam at the back of the neck but I've had to include two more, on either side of the front. You can see one in this photo at the top.

The kids were at the movies when I whipped up this top and in my haste to get it done before they got home I made a little boo boo. You see, the other day I'd seen this great tutorial for putting on a neckband and wanted to try it out. Simple enough. What I forgot to take into account was that the band would make my scoop neck scoopier. In the Craftsy pattern I used to base my top on, the neck band folds up into the scoop, making it higher and narrower. Mine folds down, over the scoop so that it's sturdy and neat on both sides, but deeper and wider. When I realised, I had a little freak out, but after trying it on I decided that it was actually okay. It's probably slightly bigger than I'd ideally like, but I can't do anything about it now .... I've absolutely no fabric left ...

As you can see I'm almost done. Just the top stitching and hems to go. It will only take a minute to do, but in my hurry I also broke my twin needle ... 

I guess there's a lesson for me in here somewhere ;)



bubby lub dis one

bubby lub dis one

bubby lub dis one

There's something deeply satisfying about sitting in front of my sewing machine with the radio on a cup of tea by my side and lovely fabric ready to go. Ahhhh, sewing, how I've missed you ....  The truth is, with small kids around, it's much easier to pick up my knitting needles than to sit at my sewing machine. It might be because knitting is so much more portable and it's easier to pick up and put down. My sewing machine is noisy, stuck in one place and it's more obvious that I'm "doing something else". Or, possibly it's just me. Get me in front of the machine and I'm reluctant to leave without something finished ... so dinner gets delayed, kids don't get in the bath and we end up with fish and chips for dinner surrounded by threads, fabric scraps and general chaos. True story.

bubby lub dis one

Friday afternoon I indulged in a little sewing and I'm loving Tess' new pajama bottoms. The fabric is the softest organic brushed cotton - from Cloud9's Nursery Flannel collection; Ele-fete in Shell and Crumbs in Shell. I bought half a metre of each from The Village Haberdashery and cobbled them together to make two pairs of pants, with not a scrap of fabric left over. 

The pattern is from Meg McElwee's lovely book that I've mentioned before - Growing up Sew Liberated. I used the basic pocket pants pattern, but squared off the pattern piece for the front and left out the pockets. I made the pink dotty pair first (Tess' favourite - or in her words ... "bubby lub dis one") and sewed them according to Meg's instructions, including her "no itch seams" which involve sewing the seam selvedges down. Although it looks pretty smart on the outside, I didn't like the finish inside and so for the elephant pair I zoomed up the seam edges with my overlocker (serger) which was both neater and faster. (I grew up with my Mum's sewing mantra: "it has to look as good on the inside as the outside" - it must have sunk in!) You'll see the pink pair have the waistband facing on the outside, but for the elephant pair I popped it on the inside. It seems more pajama-ry that way.

And finally, these cute bottoms are teamed with a pair of soft 100% cotton long-sleeved white vests from the boys section at M&S, for the perfect mix and match pajama sets. I did plan to embellish the tops with some of the fabric - but like I said, none left!



American Sportswear


American Sportswear

The brief for Project Run & Play(PR&P) this week was American Sportswear. But, I'm looking at the picture of Zoë in her outfit and wondering if we have ended up with more of a French thing going on....?!


Zoë and I initially read "sportswear" and she was keen on lycra with sports shoes and gymnastic poses... but when we checked the definition of American Sportswear on Wikipedia we found it was something quite different, but could cover a huge range of looks.

Slightly baffled, we Googled for images to give us some ideas. Since Zoë has to actually wear these clothes (PR&P is a great excuse to fill her drawers this spring) I was after something practical as well as fun. The sailor-inspired styles from the 1930's caught my eye. It was a start.


American Sportswear

So, I rifled though my stash and found some stripy lightweight muslin inherited from my mum, and some soft jersey knit in red (left over from the Jubilee Outfit) and white. Sailor-ish.


The shorts came first. I was keen on culottes but Zoë had other ideas, so we whipped them in under the knees with a band of red jersey and called them harem pants.

They've got a comfy jersey knit waistband (our favourite kind!) which folds over double for a snazzy look.
The pants themselves are very full with a low crotch. Roomy and lightweight; perfect for hot days and great for racing around.

American Sportswear

The top is my favourite piece.

White jersey knit, with a red jersey and dotty crisp cotton trim.

I cut around another of Zoë's t-shirts to get the right size and shape (much like I did for the hoodies). The overlocker (serger) made quick work of sewing it up, but the real fun was in the details.

The sleeve cuff is prettily gathered up with a nifty little band. Do you see? It ends up looking a bit like a bow and it just lifts an otherwise boring sleeve.

I did the neck twice... I wasn't going to - but something wouldn't let me leave it alone. So it ended up a little big. But she'll grow!
The first neck band was red jersey knit but it just didn't sit right. It kept riding up at the back and quite frankly, looked yuck.
So, I took it off and had another go with the dots. This time I slightly stretched the neck of the T-shirt as I sewed the collar on. Once it was flipped over, the collar sat much flatter. I was disappointed that the knot at the front didn't fall as well as the jersey knit but remedied this by making a wee jersey toggle.


American Sportswear
American SportswearAmerican Sportswear

And, lastly, the hat. That wee freckly nose needs to be covered. This hat is reversible; french navy on one side and red and white dots on the other. I've topped stitched it in white. Super cute.

It's based on a pattern in the sweet book making children's clothes by Emma Hardy. It's a lovely book, the clothing is practical and fun. The patterns are brilliant for a novice sewer, but even a seasoned seamstress will be inspired by the pretty fabrics and fun details.

The patterns in the book are only for sizes 0 - 5, so for Zoë's hat I cut the pieces a little bit bigger, and away I went.

The hat whipped up in no time and with no exposed seams it looks very professional. Very satisfying.

American Sportswear

It was freezing when I took these pictures! We had to click super fast.


And, there you have it.
American Sportswear - Truly Myrtle style!


Hoodie tutorial


Boy Oh Boy! vest, top and trousershoodie tutorialBoy Oh Boy! vest, top and trousers
hoodie tutorialBoy Oh Boy! vest, top and trousershoodie tutorial

It was fantastic to make it to the final five in the Project Run & Play sew-along signature competition, and I am really excited to share my hoodie tutorial, so that you can make one too!

You'll see in the photos that I've have made two hoodies and they are slightly different. This pattern is very versatile, use your imagination! the red hoodie has two colours on the hood, slightly cut-away sleeves and ribbing around the pocket edges. The grey/pink hoodie has fluffy cuffs on the pocket, the sleeves are wider and the lining and outer fabric of the hood are the same colour. You could mix and match your fabrics and leave off the fluffy edge to the hood if you want. It is up to you (or the kid you are sewing for!!!).

So, let's get started! 

You won't need a pattern, just a top that fits the person you are making the hoodie for and a hood that you like the shape of, which also fits. The hoodie is fairly close fitting, so choose a top that fits fairly slimly. But, If you really want a baggy body then feel free to go with that!

The materials you need are:

P1130316editedhoodie tutorial

Or, enough jersey knit to fit a couple of sweaters laid out.

I like these merino sweaters because they are light-weight and warm. And, as I up-cycle old sweaters rather a lot I've already chopped into mine! If you have two whole sweaters you'll have more options and if you want to use more than two colours, grab more sweaters.

You'll also need a length of fluffy fabric if you plan using that. About 10cm (4") wide and long enough to stretch around your face, more if you want to edge the pockets with fluff too.

Obviously you'll need a sewing machine, scissors, pins, thread, chalk and a tape measure. An overlocker (serger) makes life easier, but it isn't essential.

Lie your top (sleeves folded in) on to your sweater and cut around it.

hoodie tutorialhoodie tutorialhoodie tutorial

You'll have two pieces, the same size. Now is the time to make any adjustments to the sleeves. 
Next, even up the neck hole on one piece and cut the other a little deeper.
hoodie tutorialhoodie tutorialhoodie tutorial

Do you want matching ribbing on the sleeves or contrasting? I matched mine but contrasting could look very cool.
Cut two strips across the grain (side to side on your sweater) 5cm (2") wide and long enough to reach around the armhole when slightly stretched.

hoodie tutorialhoodie tutorial

Back to the body pieces. Lay them one on top of the other, right sides together. Pin the shoulders and sew them together.

hoodie tutorialhoodie tutorial

If you have an overlocker, great! If not, use a stretch stitch or a zig zag stitch for your seams. My stretch stitch looks like 5 below.

hoodie tutorial

Some of you will know that a sewer's magic weapon is their iron! Ironing all your seams flat as you sew them will make your garments look great. So, turn on your iron!

hoodie tutorialhoodie tutorial

Turn the body inside out, right sides together. Pin and sew the side seams, from the bottom of the armhole, right down the side. Then, iron those seams!

hoodie tutorialhoodie tutorial

Grab those long strips you've cut for the armhole ribbing. Fold them end to end, right sides together. Pin and stitch. Turn and fold lengthwise, wrong sides together. Iron the fold.

hoodie tutorialhoodie tutorialhoodie tutorial

With the body inside out, ease the ribbing around the edges of the armhole. Right sides together and raw edges together, pin in place. I find it easier to stretch the ribbing around the inside of the armhole, rather than around the outside.

hoodie tutorialhoodie tutorialhoodie tutorialhoodie tutorial

Cut a pocket shape from one of the remaining sweaters. Cut some fluff or a strip of sweater cut across the grain (side to side) about 7.5cm (3") wide, the length of the pocket openings.  Fold the edging in half (like for the armhole ribbing above) and pin the raw edges to the pocket opening. Sew.

hoodie tutorialhoodie tutorialhoodie tutorialhoodie tutorial

Open out the ribbing, or fluff, and iron flat. Overlock or zig zag along the raw edges at the top, sides and bottom of the pocket. With the wrong side facing you, iron in a 1.5cm (1/2") fold at these edges.

hoodie tutorialhoodie tutorialhoodie tutorial

Carefully pin the pocket to the front of the body where you think it looks best.
Use a tape measure to ensure that the pocket is exactly in the middle and an even distance from the bottom.
If you are going to hem the bottom (like Gabe's), make sure there is enough fabric left to turn up.

 With a long straight stitch (I used a 2.6mm stitch) sew the pocket to the body at the top, sides and bottom. Take care to sew the pocket to the front of the body only!!!

hoodie tutorialhoodie tutorial


If you want to hem the body, do that now. Turn up the bottom, iron and sew. I quite like sewing a false band with my overlocker. I turn the hem back on itself and then sew around the fold.
 If you don't have an overlocker, don't forget to finish the edges with an overlocking stitch or zig zag, and use a stretch stitch.


We're going to make the hood now. 

Lay a hood that fits, on top of your sweater, going with the grain (up and down the sweater). You'll do this twice, once for the outside of the hood and once for the lining. These could be the same or different, I've done one of each (the sleeves of one of your sweaters, cut open and ironed flat might be a good size for the hood pieces. Don't forget you need two layers).

Cut out the hood, lifting it up to cut a straight bottom edge. Then, cut a strip off the front of all your hood pieces, leaving about 5cm (2") at the bottom. Curve the bottom of the cut-out.

hoodie tutorialhoodie tutorialhoodie tutorial

You should have four pieces cut out for your hood. They might be all the same colour (like the grey/pink hoodie) or two of each, in contrasting colours (like the red hoodie). 

Pin and sew your hood pieces, right sides together, along the back curve and up the front at the bottom. Turn one hood inside out and the other the right way out.

hoodie tutorialhoodie tutorialhoodie tutorial

If you don't want fluff in the hood, leave the next step out.

Fold the fluff for the hood end to end, right sides together, pin and sew. Next, fold the fluff in half lengthwise, wrong sides together. Ease the fluff, raw edges together, evenly around the face opening of the right-side-out hood. Raw edges together! (photos below!)

(non-fluff people come back! You need to do the next step, just ignore the fluff)
Carefully slide the wrong-side-out hood over the top of the other, so that the face openings match. Pin together the hood-fluff-hood sandwich. Sew. Phew!!!

hoodie tutorialhoodie tutorialhoodie tutorialhooded vest tutorial

Turn the hood the right way round, through the neck hole. Wow!!! Look at that great fluffy edged hood!!!

hooded vest tutorial

Last step!!!


With right sides together, pin the hood neck (two layers don't forget) to the neck of the body. You might have to ease the neck evenly around the hood. Sew the hood to the body. 
Take a look at the pictures below to see how I did it. If you have a multi-coloured hood, make sure the inside colour is facing out.

hooded vest tutorialhoodie tutorial

Pull your hood up and voilà!!! You're done!!!

hoodie tutorial

If you have any questions, please email me and I'll do my best to answer them. I'd also love to see pictures of your hoodies!!!


If you'd like to follow my creative adventures and see what else I come up with, feel free to subscribe to Truly Myrtle or enter your email address on the right sidebar to receive updates by email. Thanks!