Rapidly reaching the summer finish line

That feeling in the middle of August that you get when you realise summer is almost over (noooooo) and you really ought to be making more of an effort with the next season’s stuff, but still have a long list of summer things….  I’ve decided to trim that list right down to the stuff that will still work going into September -praying for an Indian sumer here- and will last into Autumn before the frosts come.  Or even after that, with the helpful additions of tights, boots and a warmer jumper.

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Skirt 113 from BurdaStyle June 2019

Enter the skirt 113 from the June issue of Burda 2019.  Daughter No2 fell for it immediately, but we didn’t have a suitable 3m of stashed fabric, so it waited a bit, until we were in Fancy Silks in Birmingham about 3 weeks ago (on the heatwave day!) and she spotted the perfect fabric.  Cotton poplin, navy ground with yellow-orange anthirium leaf print.  It certainly has an eye-catching colour scheme, and she loved it.  We bought the last 3m on the roll at £5 a metre and it went into the washing machine as soon as I got home after being broiled alive on the train!

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Perfect for twirling and swooshing in!

I made the 36, which is the smallest size.  Her waist measurement is actually closer to the 34, but with this style of skirt she’ll always be wearing something tucked in, and so wants a bit more room for comfort.  Making the skirt up is pretty easy, it consists of a back, cut on the fold, waistband, pockets (it has in-seam pockets) and the front pieces.  The reason for needing 3m is that the front piece is too wide to cut on folded fabric, you need to cut them seperately, which adds to the length required.  The waistband and buttonstand on the front skirt are interfaced for stability.  I made no changes to the pattern at all, apart from omitting the belt.

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I need to move the button on the waistband over, it’s not in the right place, hence the draglines

 

Buttons are from the stash, the only dark blue ones of suitable size I had, thankfully.  The local haberdashery closed last year and the closest is 5 miles away, and doesn’t have an interesting supply of buttons.  There is enough fabric left to make a small top, something along the lines of an Ogden cami.  I have suggested that to her, but not making it full length.  I think a cropped Ogden will look pretty good with this skirt, all in the same fabric.

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And the in-seam pockets are perfect!

 

 

 

Wavy Black Blouse

Daughter No2 has persuaded me to make another wavy back blouse, this time using black embroiderie anglaise that we bought in South Africa earlier this year.  We bought 1.5m, which was just enough!  Because the back is cut as one piece, whole, and the flounce is huge, and also cut flat, we weren’t 100% sure it would actually fit in.  So fingers were tightly crossed…

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Blouse 111 from Burda February 2018

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As it was, there was a teeny tiny problem that I only discovered when I was about to attach the flounce piece to the back.  In order to get the pattern piece tertis-fitted onto the remaining bit of fabric, I’d turned the pattern piece upside down.  Yeah.  And it’s asymmetrical.  M-hmmm.  So I pulled out all the tailor’s tacks I’d put in the back piece to show me the attachment line for the flounce, turned the back piece upside down and tailor tacked again.  So we have a flounce that goes the opposite way to that intended, but thankfully it’s no train-smash, if  I hadn’t told you, you wouldn’t have known! 🙂

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All other making-up is the same as the last time, including sewing the sleeve facing to the inside of the sleeve.  She didn’t want the piping details, so it’s not missing out on anything.  There’s a small black pop-stud about 6cm up from the base of the front placket to stop wardrobe malfunctions instead of a button to keep everything cleaner and more “minimalist”.  If broiderie anglaise can ever be called minimalist!

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This is one of those tops that’ll transition nicely into an autumn wardrobe, and as long as the sleeves of your jumper are wide, no reason why you can’t make one for winter too!  But I’m not planning on making another one in a hurry, the list of other patterns is long and growing.  I have started toiling the autumn stuff, once it’s all fitted & adjustments made, I cang et started.  I’m kinda looking forward to making the warmer stuff!

Work in Progress Wednesday 7/19

I have been making progress with the sewing for everyone, mostly tracing patterns and toiling so far, but I have one decision made.  The trousers 115 from May Burda 2019 were pronounced the “wrong thing” for both daughters, after I’d traced and toiled the pattern, but before any of them had managed to try on the toile!  Anyway, I still like the look, so quickly “tried on” the 36 – by which I mean I put one leg in to see where the length got me – and decided to shorten the pattern in the leg by 3cm to get the hem where it hits the model, and cut what I very much hope is a wearable toile for myself!

The fabric is a piece of wool I found in a charity shop locally last year, grey with hints of pale blue in a windowpane check.  Fingers crossed now!   Based on the fact that I’m still taking in my trousers made before in size 44, I’ve taken a risk and gone for the 42 this time.  Now I really need those fingers to be crossed.

I made a certain attempt to get the checks to line up, if I really am going to be able to wear these, I’d prefer it for the stripes and checks to at least attempt to match!  The instructions were only slightly ignored – well, I didn’t ignore them, but I did re-organise them.  The darts and pleats and pockets were constructed as per instructions, but I changed the front opening details a bit.  Only because it’s tricky doing all that work with extra trouser pieces hanging around, so I left off the back pieces.  The instructions for actually constructing the button fly are dead easy, it all goes together in the absolutely right way.

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Constructing the front fly

I sewed the straight part of the back seam next, and added the back waistband. Then the front pieces got their waistbands and the out and in-seams were sewn.  Finally I finished the crotch seam and, with many fingers crossed, put my new pants on.  oooo, did I need to breath in!!!  Just goes to show when you get cocky, the sewing fairies bite back! 🙂  I might be taking my size 44 trousers in all over the pace, but with this particular style, I am not yet ready for the size 42….

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Front, back and side. Overall, not bad, but definitely too tight in the waist! Please ignore the no-smile face! 🙂

Thank heavens for that side seam sewn all in one with the waistband!  I hadn’t sewn the inner waistband down yet, so all I did was change the seam allowance to a mere 5mm on the waistband, and graded/tapered that new seamline into the original line by about 10cm below the pocket.  They’re more comfortable to put on and pin shut now, and I recon when I put them on in the morning, they’ll feel even better! Of course, the checks lined up so beautifully with the 1.5cm seam, and now things are a little off.

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Let out in the waist, they’re more comfortable to wear now!

This fabric has no movement in it, so no stretching during the day.  I think I might get away with wearing this pair, I will definitely need to trace the 44 from around 10cm below the hipline up to the waistline, and there needs to be a slight adjustment done in the back, there are some draglines under the bum that will need to be fixed for the final pair.  But these are useable…  I have buttons that are suitable, so just need to get that waistband finished off, make buttonholes and get the hem done.  But what fabric to make the final pair in?

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Choosing the colours and placement of silk strips

In other scrapbusting and stashbusting news, I have finally done something useful with a bit of cross-stitch embroidery I did, around 2 years ago.  I’d wanted to do something with it, but wasn’t sure what, or how.  I didn’t fancy a picture, mounted and framed.  Last week I had a brainwave – raid the silks box for brightly coloured bits of dupion silk and make a patchwork of sorts.  Then make it into a cushion cover.  I started by deciding how big the final embroidery piece would be, then worked out the strips of different colours based on the overall size of the cushion.  I wanted asymmetry with the piece, but not massivly so.  So the strips of silk on the left are slightly wider than the one of the right, and the strips on the top are deeper than that on the bottom.  I love the combination of silks, they pick out the colours of the blue tits and blossoms really well.  It’ll be going to Daughter No2 to brighten up her living room.

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The finished silk cushion. Do I really need to give it away??

The Case of The Cross-Dressing Women

 

Or 1980s power dressing to anyone who was alive and kicking in that era!  So, I’ve shown Daughter No 1 the patterns and ideas of trousers to make, based on her Pinterest board, and lets just say I didn’t get it quite right.  Sort of on the right track, but not nearly dramatic enough for her!  Our modern tastes aren’t “statementy” enough.  After looking again and a rather long telephone call later, I realised she was after an older look, so I showed her a couple of 90’s patterns, which got a warmer reception than the modern Burda ones, then I found this in my pattern stash!

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1987 Vogue 1199

There were lots of “the right noises” going on, on both sides of the phone, thank heavens for WhatsApp!  The penny had dropped on my end, she wanted 80s stuff!  High waisted, lots of pleats and fabric around the hip area, and turn-ups!  She wanted the waist and hips emphasised, and modern patterns don’t really do that.  So she’s pronounced the pattern with the “cross-dressing women” (her words) to be perfect.  Well, who’d have thought it?!  She wasn’t even around when that pattern came out – in fact, I was only 15…  And I think even I would have thought twice about those pants!  However, now I need to get on and toile.  I have the size 14, the pattern is a single size, so I need to grade down a size and probably take it in more on the waist.  They’ll also need to be shortened, by quite a bit, I think!

Then I had a little look on Etsy to see what else was out there that I could use…

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1988 Vogue Individualist 2027

I love this pattern!  I know, it’s a little nuts, but the trousers are spot on, and I think that jacket is just wicked!  Showing my age much??  It’s not one I would wear though, my boobs do not need gathered pouches to accentuate them in, but for someone with a tiny waist, this is great!  So I’ve taken a chance and bought it.  I have to wait for it to come from Canada, but I have time.  First that Vogue pattern of mine needs work, and of course, there’s a long list of make for myself and make for younger daughter that never ends! 🙂

Autumn Sewing Plans

Sooo, the August issue of Burdastyle fell into my hands on Friday, and I instantly wanted to make stuff! There have been items in previous issues I’ve liked this year, but not as much as this month! So this is what I’m planning for an autumn wardrobe ( or three), even though we’ve just had the hottest day ever recorded in the UK, and summer is definitely (hopefully) not over!

Starting with Daughter No 1, who has helpfully provided me with a Pinterest board to work from. Basically her look is neutral colours, soft draping fabrics contrasted with those with more body. She likes the monochromatic look, so I need to find fabrics that are either suitable for bottom and top halves, or different fabrics in the same colour. She loves trousers that sit on the natural waist (high waisted to all those who’ve lived their lives in hip grazing jeans) and have masculine details like hip yoke pockets and pleats, two are preferable to one.

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Burda pants: Potential patterns. Copyright BurdaStyle

So, in the collage above, I’ve identified some potential patterns. Going clockwise from the top left, 114 from October Burda 2018, 110 from January Burda 2018, 110 from August 2016, 115 from May Burda 2019, 102 from October 2018 & finally, 114 from June Burda 2019. Then there’s the fabulous pants from the August issue from this year, which all three of us have fallen for, 107 with the pleat or dart tuck hem. I love that they’re made in ponte in the magazine, but the fabric requirements don’t specify stretch fabric, or fabric with stretch either… The possibilities!!

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Pants 107, Burda August 2019

I’m loving the silhouette! The narrowing at the hem makes the pants have a slightly cocoon shape, like the Teddy Pants from Style Arc. And I like those very much! So, I have in the stash some pale grey wool, dress or trouser weight, and a darker grey georgette, so both of those can be used for making an outfit. There’s also 2m of pale grey denim bought from Higgs & Higgs that I was thinking of making Daughter No1 a pair of True Bias Landers – last year… So that’s back on the burner now. I also have 2m of olive/khaki corduroy, also bought last year. I’ll neeed to be careful with choosing the right pattern for that stuff. I have found some olive crepe in a blouse weight online that will do very nicely to go with the olive pants weight fabrics I alrady have. I’m still on the hunt for suitable dusky pink sort of colours, black is always handy too, as is off white. I’m not allowed to make her anything beige or camel though, that’s not a colour she likes. Maybe on the bottom half though… I’ve also got some navy wool in the stash that should be enough for pants and a tailored jacket. But I need to find the right jacket pattern. So that’s my start for Daughter No1!

Daughter No2 is more complicated, mostly because I’m still working my way through her summer sewing list!! I have, however, decided to concentrate on those items that she’ll be wearing from now through to October. So maybe no more little shorts and tops. She’s keen on those pants from this month’s Burda too, and intriued with the idea of a couple of pairs in ponte, or a nice, good quality sweatshirting – secret pjs! There’s another pair of trousers in this month’s magazine, number 120. We have two pieces of fabric from South Africa that would look the bomb in that pattern, one a cotton Shweshwe, the other a coated Wax fabric. I’m happy to make them both up, but I’m guessing I’ll make just the one to start, and wait for further instructions! 🙂

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Pants 120 from August Burda 2019

Then there’s my list!! I have finally started on a jacket that I wanted to make a while ago, the toile is done but I think I might need to size down, so that means more tracing. I had planned this week to trace the Tosti from Waffle Patterns (finally!) and start working on my waterproof jacket. It’s only three years after I bought the fabric, but who’s counting?? Then for a couple of quick sews, I have some jersey to turn into a Uvita top, or maybe a long sleeved version of the new pattern by French Navy, the Astair Tee. I’ve also got another LB Pullover in mind for some navy textured jersey I got at the NEC last Easter. Those won’t take long to make, once I’ve decided on the perfect pattern

Then I need new jeans, the old ones are all too small. That’s going to be tricky! I’ve loved the Baste and Gather Birkin Flares, but I’m thinking of a different shape this time. No idea which pattern to use though. Any ideas that would suit my shape would be greatfully recieved! I have decided to make another two pairs of the Teddy Pants for the winter, some pale grey wool and a length of black wool should do the trick, and of course, I want a pair of those pants 107 from August Burda too! Best I get started then!

Using Scrap Fabric – Making Beeswax Wraps

Clearing out a large, overflowing box of scrap fabric earlier this week, I decided enough was enough.  Wasn’t this the box that I’d swore to empty by Christmas??  Yeah right!  All I’ve managed to do since coming home from holiday in May is to carry on filling it!  This box will never empty itself – I need to commit!  Soooooo

I started with a few things, mentioned in the last post, like making bunting and some sort of patchwork piece.  I still am not sure of what direction that’s going to take, but I’ll get there.  I also unearthed a load of pretty cottons that would make perfect beeswax wraps.  So I decided to get on with it and stop procrastinating.  Down they went to the sewing room and I cut a load of 30x30cm squares (perfect for sandwiches) 20x20cm squares (perfect for covering bowls or halved avos or the cheesy part of an Edam cheese), and a couple of 40x40cm squares which is the perfect size for wrapping my bread made in the breadmaker.  Then I went looking for the beeswax – and found it wrapped in 20 or more pre-cut pretty cotton squares – of different sizes!  Oh dear!!

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Different sized cotton squares and beeswax bars from the local beekeeper’s association

I decided to start with some of those.  Now, there are loads of tutorials for beeswax wraps online, you just need to pick the one that you think will work for you, and the same here.  I’ll show you how I make mine, and it’s up to you to give this method a try and see if it works and you’re happy.  I’ll be honest and say I tweak the “recipe” each time, still looking for the “perfect” result.  The fabric needs to be 100% cotton, and please pre-wash it, the wax will not penetrate the fibres properly otherwise.

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Sandwiches wrapped up and in the bamboo lunchbox!

 

Now, where to get the stuff, and what stuff to get?!  I use beeswax and coconut oil.  Some say to use pine resin, but all I find that stuff does is leave a sticky, gungy plug at the bottom of the tin, and it’s nasty.  It doesn’t seem to mix in with the wax and oil.  It’s supposed to help make the wrap slightly sticky so it sticks to itself or the edge of bowls, but I can’t say it’s worked for me so far.  My current recipe is to use 100g of wax and about 2 tablespoons of coconut oil.  The coconut oil is easy to get hold of, I use the one from Aldi, it’s cheap and comes in a glass jar.  Beeswax you can get online, Amazon do a roaring trade, you can also get from The Soap Kitchen, who also do a vegan substitute.  They will send everything out wrapped in nice big thick plastic bags, so if that’s not your thing, you might want to go elsewhere.  They do, however, have the largest stock I’ve seen.  I am now buying the wax bars from the local beekeeper’s association, I like that it’s local and supporting local people and trades/hobbies!  You can find your local beekeepers on this site, UK only.  The normal beeswax will make white areas of fabric go a yellow shade, so if you want to keep the fabric white, look for the white wax pellets.

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My little double boiler system, small saucepan and old tomato tin

Right, you’ve got your stuff, now you need to melt it.  The double boiler system is needed.  I use an old tomato tin (because it gets all waxy and gungy) for the wax and oil, and a small saucepan with about 3-4 cm of water in it.  Get the water in the saucepan and start the water boiling.  Meanwhile, measure out the wax and put that in the tin, followed by the coconut oil, or the other way around.  It takes a while for the wax to melt, it has a high melting point, so if you’re using pellets, bonus, this will go quickly.  If you have the bars, get a large chopping knife and a chopping board and make those bars smaller!  Then put the kettle on, have a cuppa and get the rest of the stuff ready.  (DO NOT BE TEMPTED MELT THE WAX IN THE MICROWAVE!)

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Wax is ready!!

You’ll need two large-ish baking trays and at least three pieces of BAKING PARCHMENT – works way better that greaseproof paper, the paper needs to be bigger than the trays.  You don’t want the wax getting on your baking trays.  You’ll also need an old paintbrush that will only ever be used for this purpose from now on, or a silicone pastry brush, the wide flat ones are better.  I also have a wooden kebab stick that I use to poke the wax and stir the goo in the tin.  Also grab a pair of tongs, a clothes horse or trouser coathangers – the kind you get from the dry-cleaners, and a cooling tray.  And the fabric.

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Large baking tray with baking paper and fabric square

Once the wax has melted you can begin.  Put the oven on to 100C, place a piece of paper onto a tray and grab a square of fabric.  Pop the brush into the tin and start spreading the melted wax onto the fabric.  It will not go far at first.  The fabric will soak it up, and the wax will start to set as soon as it’s removed from the heat so work quickly.  You’ll find as you make more that it gets easier to spread.  That’s because the paper will have residue wax on it from previous squares, the tray is still hot, and you’ve got used to how it all works!  So, spread quickly, but don’t stress if every millimetre of fabric isn’t covered.  Now put the brush in the tin and put the tray with fabric into the oven for 1 minute.

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This is my first square of the day, the wax cooled quickly on the cool fabric and tray, and the fabric is the quilting cotton kind.
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You can see the wax cooling & setting before I’ve got a chance to spread it too far

Remove from the oven and place on the cooling tray, check to see if the wax has spread over all the fabric.  This is when you can to a little top up with the brush if you need to.  Then, with the tongs, lift the square of fabric and drape over the clothes horse, or clothes hanger to dry.  Then make your next square.  I start the next one as soon as I get one in the oven, it won’t kill anything if they’re in the oven for more than a minute, promise.  The quicker you can work, the more get done and you can move away from the hot stove and hob!  You’ll find that thinner cotton fabric like lawn doesn’t need as much wax and oil as the thicker quilting cottons do.  So if you have a pile of quilting cotton squares waiting, the 100g of wax might only do 10 or so squares.

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Lift the slightly cooled square with the tongs and place on the hangers or clotheshorse to cool and set

If you’re making a wrap with a piece of fabric that’s bigger than your baking tray, brush wax on about half of the piece, then fold the fabric in half, or quarters, and brush the unwaxed areas with a bit more wax.  Pop it in the oven, and when you take it out, cover with a piece of baking parchment and get your oven gloves on.  Rub over the paper, pushing down on the waxwrap to encourage the wax to get absorbed through the layers.  Open it all up and check that the wax has gone everywhere.  Any areas that are still dry can quickly be filled in with your brush.

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This is a large, 40x40cm square, folded in quarters before placing in the oven

Once on the clotheshorse, or hangers, the wax wraps dry and set quickly, so you don’t need loads of space.  They can be removed as soon as they’re set and cool, making room for more.  If you’ve been heavy handed with the wax, don’t stress.  Wait for the squares to cool, then heat up an iron, place a piece of paper, either greaseproof or baking parchment on the ironing board, then the overly waxed square on top, and put an un-waxed piece of fabric on top of that, covering with another layer of paper.  Heat the iron to high and iron the layers.  The excess wax will penetrate the unwaxed fabric, and you might get two for the price of one!  Or you might need to repeat the process with another overly waxed square.  The point is, you can’t make that much of a boob here, too much wax can be used on another square, a square with too little wax can be topped up in the same way.

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All the pretty wraps, cooling on my old clotheshorse.

You can use these wraps to cover just about any food, but not on meat, raw fish or chicken, etc.  Washing is easy, put some cool-cold water and a little dish washing soap in the sink and wash them as you would a plate, rinse with cold water and drape on the drying rack to drip dry.  Don’t leave the wraps folded up in lunch boxes or on the side of the sink to wash up, this becomes a breeding ground for mould.  Open them up, dust out crumbs and wash as soon as you can.

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Today’s 120g of wax and 3 tablespoons of coconut oil made 9 20x20cm squares, one large 40×40, 4 30×30 sandwich wraps and 3 25×25 squares.

 

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Folded up and ready to use. I sense a theme with today’s effort…

The wraps can be topped-up by placing them in a 100C oven for a minute or two, or sandwiching between two layers of baking parchment and heating with a hot iron.  If you have managed to grow mould on your wraps, pop them into your council green waste bin, and they’ll decompose in the heat of the council composting process.

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I wrap my baby courgettes in the beeswax wraps to keep them fresh longer if the fridge
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Also good for storing allotment grown lettuce!

 

Striped Zadie Jumpsuit

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I knew I wanted another Zadie Jumpsuit, pattern by Paper Theory, the minute I finished and tried on the first one!  I’ve loved wearing my blue linen Zadie, and just needed to find the time to make another.  I chose a piece of linen that I bought in South Africa, grey with white stripes.  The stripes run perpendicular to the grainline, but as there is no movement in either direction, I figured there’d be no problems in turning that 90 degrees. I wanted the stripes to run vertical on the trousers, and horizintal on the bodice.  The stripes were pinned togetther to make sure they stayed in line with each other.

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Zadie Jumpsuit by Paper Theory
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Using the phone to remostely activate the camera again. Doesn’t make for the most relaxed of photographs!

I changed the size a bit, leaving the bodice at size 16, going to the 14 on the trousers.  I found the previous pair got a little too baggy in the bum, so these will be better.  I hope!  It’s certainly as comfortable to wear as the first one, but softer and drapey.  This linen is not starchy like the blue, but has a lovely soft handle.  It’s also relatively thin – because the weave is more open.  This makes it nice and cool to wear.  That’s something I’m really looking forward to for this week when the temperatures are set to hit the 30s.

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There’s not much left of that fabric now, I started with two metres and was pretty chuffed to get the pattern out of that!  I might see if I can add the left overs to some white and black linen of similar weight and made a patchwork item, I’ve been inspired by what Lauren at Elbe Textiles has been making with all her scraps.  This week I’ve made bunting for my new allotment shed with some of the more cheerful orange and blue scraps, looked out the remains of some blue and rust linen to make a nice cover for a cushion, also for the allotment shed, made beeswax wraps with different sized squares of cotton, used up some of the plain coloured linens and two patterned cotton pieces to make  –   something

I know, I was originally thinking I’d make shopping totes, but when I’d patched all the pieces together they looked so nice, so I kept going and now I have something that resembles a small quilt or throw – without the back.  I don’t think it’s something I could wear, but I don’t want to chop it up and make bags now.  Sooo now I have to find a big enough piece of fabric to back it with.  Or – cut more squares out of something else in the scrap box and make a reversible throw!  Oh dear, I’ll see you guys later, if I ever resurface from that scrap box, Pinterest and all the ideas.

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