Getting Shirty

Shirts are great layering pieces, don’t you think?  I made two last month, one for each of the daughters, and although they’re both in fairly fine fabrics, with the addition of something underneath, they’ll be wearable for a while still.  Daughter No1 was the recipient of a fine off-white linen shirt, pattern is 104 from May Burda 2012.  The fabric had been in the stash for ages!  It’s beautiful though, very soft and very fine, the best linen for making shirts!

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I cut the 36 and made no alterations.  In hindsight I should have graded out to the 38 from the waist to the hip.  This pattern made up a fair bit smaller than I expected for a Burda magazine.  There is a concealed buttonstand with a row of simple buttons hidden underneath.  The sleeves are bracelet length but if I made this again I’d either go 3/4 or full length.  I think this length looks like they’re too short, as if the shirt has shrunk in the wash!

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Topstitching and buttonholes in gold/mustard

I decided to use a gold/mustard thread for the details.  I topstitched the dart on the front and flat felled the seams, using that mustard thread to pick the seams out.  The buttonholes are also sewn in mustard.  The only pretty buttons I used are on the cuffs!  I picked out some nice mother of pearl buttons from the stash.  I am happy with the finished blouse, despite the sleeve length!  I also have a feeling I will need to trace the 38 and make one for daughter no 2…

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My second shirt it 132 from July Burda 2012.  Daughter No2 had added this to the list some time ago, but wanted the right fabric.  We thought a soft chambray or something similar would be just right.  When I was in Winchester I found some lovely navy double gauze at Closs & Hamblin for £10/m, and immediately thought of this shirt pattern.  I snapped up 2m and traced the pattern.  It is described as a Unisex shirt, but is in men’s sizes, the smallest equating to a ladies 40.  I usually make the 38 for Daughter No2 to accommodate broad shoulders and long arms, so I figured the 40 would be fine, a little more roomy, but not too big.

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Hindsight is a wonderful thing, I should have gone another size or maybe even two up.  It doesn’t really look like an oversized shirt, but it does fit really well!  It made up easily, but I have to admit I needed to refresh my memory on how to construct a tower placket on the sleeve.  It has been so long since I last needed to make one!  I had intended to use flat fell seams again, but the double gauze was thicker than I expected, so I used the overlocker for neatening instead.

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This is another pattern that should have a concealed buttonstand, but I know she doesn’t like concealed buttonstands, so I swapped it out for a normal one!  I also put the buttonholes on the right side for a ladies shirt.  The buttons are from the stash, part of a job lot of shirt buttons bought a few years back.  I am happy with how its turned out, the curved hem is great!

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I think the result of these patterns is that I will make them again, checking sizing and possibly retracing.  But they both look good and were easy and quick to make.

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pockets, buttons and tower placket cuffs

 

 

 

 

 

Beat the Winter Blues Tea

Soooo – considering I’m not a dress person, I have made a second Tea House Dress!!  The first one is the pretty, summer party version, you know the type, only drinks posh edlerflower spritzers and eats cucumber sandwiches – with no crusts.  This dress is very different.  This one drinks tea and eats whatever she can find in the fridge, every day!  I think it’s going to be a bit of a uniform of sorts!

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The Tea House Dress by Sew House Seven

So, the fabric was purchased (yup, not even from the stash!!) from a local hospice charity shop, 3m for £7.50!  It was marked in the selvedge as Made in England, worsted wool.  The ground is blue, with black, making teeny tiny houndstooths.  They’re set within a brighter blue windowpane check.  It’s a good weight suiting fabric, and soft.  I threw it into the washing machine when I got it home from the charity shop on a woollen cycle with Ecover liquid.  Washing hasn’t changed the texture or finish of the fabric at all, which is great as this will be worn a lot so will need to get used to being in the washing machine!

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I decided to make the shorter version of the dress this time, planning to wear it through the cooler weather with leggings or tights, booots/trainers and a long sleeved tee or even a thin jumper underneath.  I also decided to do a slight pattern alteration.  I lengthened the bodice along the lenthen/shorten lines by 2cm.  I felt that I needed more depth over the bust, that the ties could easily be 2cm lower down and still work to give the illusion of a waist!

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I tried to make sure all the holizontal lines would line up around the body, and this worked a treat on the skirt and pocket pieces!  Not so good on the bodice…  This is because I totally forgot about stripe placement when pinning and sewing the princess seams…  It wouldn’t be that obvious if they were the same on each side, but I decided I could live with it.  Everything else worked a treat, so this would do.  I overlocked all the raw edges before sewing because this stuff frayed quite badly.  I was really pleased with the stripes on the pockets though.  Using the alternative grain marked on the pieces, I made sure the stripes would be aligned and it worked!  I haven’t got a photo where I haven’t got my hand stuffed in the pocket where you could see, but both vertical and horizontal stripes line up!  Brilliant!

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Matching those stripes like a boss!

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Now, I know that last dress got loads of love, it’s really pretty and I can’t wait for next summer to wear it, cocktails and nibbles, the works.  But this dress.  I LOVE IT!  I really do, I recon it will be a good alternative to jeans.  I can see this getting a lot of use, and now I’m thinking maybe a lightweight denim would be very nice!  I haven’t seen many winter weight Tea House Dresses online, has anyone made one?  What I will need though, is a jumper/jacket/coat that will cope with the size of these sleeves.  They’re a wee bit big for what I have already…

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I’m going to live in this dress this winter!

Work in Progress Wednesday

I’m working on two cream polar fleece Toaster Sweaters today.  I’d made one for Daughter No2 last year, in the Autumn and she loved it – until I put it in the wash with a whole lot of dark things.  Not cream anymore!  Still wearable, but dull and dingy.  So I promised I would make it right, naturally.  In the meantime, Daughter No1 announced she’d rather like one in that colour please, not the dingy one, a nice cream one.

Ever obliging, 3m of polar fleece was duly purchased from Closs & Hamblin, washed and ready to go.  I cut the straight Medium for Daughter No2 and the Small (across the body and in length and width of sleeves) for Daughter No1.  She likes a looser fit across the top half, so I cut the medium in the raglan and neck area.  Make sense?

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A little pile of small pieces, cuffs, collar and hem band

The fleece is lovely, they say it’s anti-pill and I really hope it will be.  It’s a lovely colour, warm but not too buttery-creamy.  It cuts easily and doesn’t want to roll.  Now normally I’d use the overlocker for 95% of the construction of a Toaster Sweater, leaving the sewing machine to do the topstitching.  But my trusty Janome is out for a service, and I’ve drafted in the Queen of Diva Overlockers, the Bernina.  She’s a tough old cookie and will not do a 5 thread overlock with chain stitch for me at all.  I’m reliable informed she’s not the only one, so it’s not just me.  So I used the sewing machine to sew all the seams, overlocked and trimmed the edges with the overlocker, and went back to the sewing machine for twin needle topstitching.

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Overlocking and triming the seams of the raglan

With the construction of the Toaster, I pin all the pieces I can and bulk sew, production line style.  So that’s the cuffs, neck and hem band and all the raglan seams, then I feed them through the machine, one after the other.  Then the small pieces are turned through, seams pressed to one side and I pin the raw edges together, matching the notches, so they’re ready to be attached to the body.  After the raglan seams are done, I topstitch then add the neckband – before the side seams are done!  So much easier to do neckline treatents when your garment is flat people!

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4mm twin needle for topstitching, using the centre line on the machine foot to line up with the seam, finished topstitched seam

I used the 4mm stretch twin needle for this job.  It gives good distance with the seamline running in the centre.  Once all the small pieces are attached, they can be topstitched too.  I added a little bit of ribbon to the centre back of the neckline, different on each one.  This is so I can tell them apart and not deliver the wrong one!  It’s also a nice touch to mark out the back when one is getting dressed in the half dark, which is coming…

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Blue and cream ribbon for Daughter No2’s Toaster, and olive green and white spotty bias for Daughter No1’s

I have just over half a metre of the cream fleece left over after cutting these out, I might have to get a little more (maybe in a different colour) to make something else.  Waste not, want not!  But before I get carried away, I need to finish these!

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Finishing touches

All About the Tees – Part 4

T-shirts, the backbone of most wardrobes.  I’ve run up another few for my Autumn wardrobe.  I had a couple of pieces of fabric from Closs & Hamblin in Winchester, I’d bought them at the beginning of August and didn’t want them to end up in the stash.  I also had some bits in the stash, let’s be honest!  Some are small bits that would have to be combined in some way, but one was big enough to fly solo.

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Uvita Top fromItch to Stitch

So when you have tees to make, what pattern do you use?  I decided to use the Uvita Top from Itch to Stitch for a couple of 3/4 length sleeve tops.  I had bought a metre and a bit of grey marl viscose jersey from the Winchester fabric shop, and this was the first piece to get the chop!  It’s lovely and soft and has a beautiful drape.  I like the Uvita, it’s quick to make and I like how it feels on.

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The second Uvita is made using a different kind of jersey.  I had some polyester ponte that I’d bought last year from Fabworks and used a bit to make a Sewaholic Fraser for Daughter no 2.  I couldn’t decide what to do with the rest of it at the time, so into the stash it went.  Now it’s the right time to get it made up.  It’s interesting to see how different the tops are in the different fabric, I like it!

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The ponte has way less drape and stretch than the viscose jersey, it feels more fitted than the others.  I like the pattern, from a distance it almost looks like a grey marl, it has great visual texture.  Because I was worried that the fabric would irritate my skin, I didn’t cut the neckband from the same stuff.  I used a bit of plain black ponte left over from another project.

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I know it’s probably a bit late to be making short sleeved tees now at the end of August, but in my defense, I had intended to make this immediately after I bought the fabric at the beginning of the month.  Anyway, a white tee can’t go that wrong, can it?  For this I used the Lark V-neck tee.

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The fabric is a cotton jersey, so no drape and it’s quite crisp.  I should probably have picked a straighter tee, the Birgitte from Maria Denmark would probably have worked better.  This does tend to stand away from me when I wear it!  But I’ve only worn it once, and it has time to soften…  I’m really chuffed with the neckband, the instructions are the best for getting a sharp point.

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Just look at that fabulous neckband!

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Worn with my grey and black stripe Saunio cardi and rust coloured cropped trousers

If you’re looking for some snuggly fabrics for Winter or Autumn tees/sweaters, Closs and Hamblin have really nice anti-pill polar fleece at good prices.  I may just have bought persuaded the other half (when in Winchester on a business meeting) to buy me a couple of metres to make more Toaster Sweaters for the girls…

Late Summer Sewing

Catching up on all those clothes I sewed for the girls last month!  You know the trend for paperbag waistlines in skirts and trousers?  Well this is that, but at the neckline of a top!  It’s another one of the “wants” on daughter no 2’s long list.  The pattern is 121A from the November 2015 issue of BurdaStyle, shown in the magazine in green satin.  Daughter no2 chose black cotton voile from the stash.

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The pattern itself is deadly simple, only a couple of pieces required and an afternoon to sew and you’re done!  I French seamed the insides for neatness and double turned the hem.  The paperbag neckline is formed by inserting a bias cut drawstring into a casing formed at the base of the self-faced collar.  Gathering the collar gives it height and texture, you just need to rearrange the folds in the top.

It’s turned out quite well, despite my initial misgivings when I finished it and arranged it on Betty.  But it looks great on and she loves it!  I delivered it to her 3 weeks ago now, and apparently, she’s worn it loads (sometimes not bothering to iron it first…)   I guess you could say that’s a good sign!  So that’s another #BurdaChallenge2018 project done.

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By the way, this gorgeous skirt she’s wearing was one I made last year!  I ended up putting an invisible zip in the centre back seam because she found the concealed button front so annoying!

I have many other projects made during the last month, such a backlog to show you!

 

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So I’m adding a pair of shorts to this post!  Daughter No2 is really happy with them and has announced that next summer, if I’d like, I can make many more of these!  The pattern is 107 from July 2016 Burda.  I cut the 38, but graded back to the 36 from the high hip to the waist.  No other adjustments were needed.

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Details

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The fabric came out of the stash, and it had been waiting a good couple of years for the right project to come along!  I’d bought this 1m remnant piece from Clothspot in a sale thinking I’d make a skirt for the girls, but no…  It’s a crisp blue linen with white stripes.  The pocket pieces are lined, but instead of using fabric I didn’t have, and increasing linen-ey bulk, I chopped up one of the other half’s no-longer-wearable shirts and used that instead!  I did have to make sure I lined up the stripes on the pockets and front pieces properly, it would have stood out too badly if I hadn’t!

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The fit is fabulous, I’m really happy with that, and the length is just right too.  The cuffs and tie make them a little more casual than they could be without.  So I can definitely see more of these coming out of the sewing room next summer.

 

 

 

Work in Progress Wednesday

I realise that all of the posts in the last few years have been completed projects. I used to photograph as I sewed, I even posted as I worked, with the finished project at the end, nicely modelled on the daughter for whom it was made. So I thought, I might start that again! I’ve been working on a jacket for daughter no 1 using a 1m length of Linton Tweed. I like mixing things up a little, so I suggested we make a biker style jacket with the fabric, rather than something more predictable. That got the thumbs up!

I’m using the same Burda pattern as I did last year when I worked on the Refashioners project. This time, however, I’m not changing the pattern, because I don’t have to! 😀 So how far have I got? Well, I’m almost done… I cut and interfaced yesterday, block fusing so if there was any shrinkage it wouldn’t affect the pieces too much.

Pockets!

Today I did most of the construction, I thought I wouldn’t get as far as I did because I had ordered the zips online from Jaycotts and wasn’t sure when they’d arrive. Luckily, they came today! I used a black piece of wool for contrast and bulk reduction in certain areas, the welt for the pocket, facings, inner cuffs, waistband pieces & inner collar.

Setting the sleeve

I think it’s worked rather well! I needed the bulk reduction, this tweed is chunky! I’m actually using the wrong side here, we decided it was less busy, and more likely to be worn this way around.

This is what it looks like tonight, with just the lining, waistband, cuffs & snaps to go. Now my eyes are tired and it’s time for bed!

Mid-Century Inspired Jacket

I’d marked this particular jacket in the August 2016 issue of Burdastyle when it first came out, but wasn’t sure I had the fabric, or who to make it for!  It’s got a lovely 50s-60s look to it.  In the photo in the magazine, it looks loose, big and comfy, but the sleeves look too long.  That worried me, so I left it – for two years!

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Burda Jacket #114 August 2016

This year I decided it would look fabulous on Daughter No 1, sent her a photo of it and remarked that I’d shorten the sleeve as it looks a little hinky there.  The reply was instant – yes please!  I traced the 36, the smallest size and toiled in a piece of mystery content fabric I’d bought years and years ago.  It was used as toile because every winter when I brought it out of the stash, I got wrinkled up noses and doubt.  So it was obviously not going to be useful otherwise.  I’d also tried to dye it blue-er, which didn’t work because it isn’t a natural fibre…  this I found out when I tried dyeing!

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Little Details

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Long story short, I toiled quickly using scraps of previous projects for the pocket linings and the flaps, red thread so I could see where I’d sewn if I needed to adjust or unpick.  When she came home for a long weekend, she tried it on, and pronounced it perfect – almost.  The sleeves were definitely too long, but we fixed that by turning up 8cm instead of the 4 for the hem, and then turned back another 4, essentially making a fold back cuff.  The lower section of the sleeve is straight on the sides, so it’s easy to turn back more, and to make a cuff, no faffing with angles.  She also decided she really liked the toile, and could she wear that please…?

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I should have known.  How often has this happened to me?  I use a piece of fabric that’s otherwise ugly, or they haven’t noticed before, make a toile – and suddenly it’s the best thing since dairy free cheese!  There was no attempt at matching the stripes, placing the pockets and tabs in the right place to line things up, just a toile, right!?  I huffed a little – there’s no point in making out that this is easy too often, they might get the wrong idea! 😉  I found a suitable piece of lining in the stash, ended up unpicking the original pocket flaps with their red linings, as well as the pocket pieces themselves.  Then I recut the flaps and pocket linings, resewed them in and finished off the jacket.  One thing I did not do was interface.  I was in no mood to go fiddling around with already trimmed and sewed bits to do that, it will just have to do!

 

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I have to admit it looks good.  I just wish we’d all had a better idea of that fabric before I’d started that particular job! 🙂  Never mind, at least the fabric has been put to a good use, and it wasn’t wasted.  Things to note from the toile:

  • Make the sleeves shorter, 8cm hem, 4cm turn back for cuff – optional as with the 8cm hem, the sleeve is now a good length.
  • Recut the shawl collar/facing pattern pieces with 3mm added to the outer edge to allow for turn of cloth.
  • Recut pocket outer flap pattern pieces and all outer (top) belt pieces with 3mm added to edge to allow for turn of cloth.
  • Consider interfacing shoulder areas to reduce chance of stretch on the bias over the shoulder

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The pattern lay in the magazine doesn’t show any interfacing apart from  the facing pieces, and this doesn’t want to be an overly structured garment, but I felt it needed a bit more support in certain areas.  So I interfaced a 2cm strip on the back shoulders, the front, front and back facings and the undercollar.  I also added a 5cm wide bias cut strip to the hemline areas on the jacket, and a deeper bias strip to the sleeve, giving support to the area that would be turned up as the cuff, if she wanted to.

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The final fabric for the jacket came from the deep stash, and I think I originally got it from a charity shop.  It’s wool, grey on grey houndstooth.  I’d pre-shrunk it with steam, so this will have to be drycleaned.  For the lining, I raided the stash again.  The initial idea was to have something dramatic, rust or copper on the inside, but I couldn’t find something in the right shade and fabric in time.  So I dug out a piece of gold and blue shot lining I’d bought from The Lining Company to line a camel coat – as yet still unmade.  It works pretty well, is warm and still interesting when the light catches it at different angles.

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The jacket didn’t take long to make.  I’d cut out the pieces and interfaced one evening, started sewing the next morning and finished the shell in time to cut the linings the next evening and sew them in.  All I needed to do the next day was to hand sew the linings to the hem and attach the buttons, all of which came from the stash and are vintage.  So it’s a quick jacket to make, the only fiddly (time consuming) thing is the welt pocket, if you haven’t done one before.  The rest is really straightforward!

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I cut the tabs on the bias this time, and I like it!

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Both jackets have been really well recieved.  We had a full house with both girls home for a weekend, and the jackets got well and truly drooled over.  The colours work brilliantly with her wardrobe of neutrals (much like mine) and they look fabulous with her strawberrry blonde hair.  I know they’ll get well worn this Autumn and Winter, a real winner!

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