White Waves

I’ve finally been able to photograph a number of items I’d made for Daughter No2 this year.  I’ll try not to do it all in one go!  This first project is a top I made back in March, she’d marked it as interesting back in 2018 – February, to be precise.  The pattern is the Layered Back Blouse 111 from Burda February 2018.  She bought the fabric, an off white cotton with white spots, from Croft Mill Fabrics.  They’ve since sold out of that fabric, but it’s the right sort of weight, it has some body but is lightweight enough to cope with lots of layers.  This is a petite pattern, but we decided to make it up without any adjustment, having taken a finished back measurement and pronouncing it a suitable length.

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Blouse 111 Burda 02/2018

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The pattern is relatively easy to make, the magazine has detailed instructions for this blouse, so it’s easy for a non-experienced sewist to construct the front placket.  We eliminated the piping and I sewed the sleeve bands on the inside, rather than on the outside.

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That pretty, wavy back

The back, while looking tricky is ok if you make sure you have marked the stitching line on the back carefully.  I trimmed the seam allowance of the flounce piece to 7mm and overlocked the raw edge, before folding it over to align with the stitching line.  I then pinned (with the pins in the stitch line) the flounce onto the stitching line, making sure the matching points were lined up.  I think that’s the only tricky part – stitching slowly and slightly stretching the fabric to get around the corners and not get any tucks.

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Daughter No2’s favourite part is not just one.  She loves the wide sleeves, the wavy back – naturally, and the front placket.  The fabric is cool and light and being white, she can – and does – wear it with everything!  She’s had a few compliments while out and about in it, and has therefore decided she’d like another, and has earmarked a piece of black broiderie anglaise we bought while in South Africa.  But – she also wants a pair of shorts with that fabric, so I’ll be cutting the two out together just to be sure there’s enough fabric!  Fingers crossed…

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Going Places

I am so glad I have started to use the fabric I brought back from South Africa this year.  I have a sneaky suspicion some of the stuff I ought the last time I was there (3 years ago now) might still be lurking in the stash somewhere.  Not so this stuff!  So far I’ve used a piece of linen for my striped Kabuki Tee, and today I’m going to show off a top made from a piece of African Wax fabric.  The ground is a dark periwinkle-ish blue, with white spirals outlined in black, like snail shells.  It’s not as brilliantly coloured as a lot of other wax fabrics, but it spoke to me in the fabric shop.  As I had rather a lot of fabric rolls to get though that morning, I only bought 2 metres of the stuff.  I now ask myself – WHY???  It would have made the most perfect Zadie Jumpsuit!

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Merchant & Mills Heron Wrap Top

However, 2m of 110cm wide cotton it was/is.  I thought I’d make a pair of trousers with it, but wasn’t sure what on earth I’d pair it with on top – then inspiration hit.  I’d re-discovered my grey linen Merchant & Mills Heron this spring….  Quickly unburying the pattern from storage, I checked to see it it would all fit onto the fabric, the front pattern piece is a monster.  A change of grain direction, cross instead of parallel, and we were in business!  I didn’t stop to think twice, just pin and cut!  Although, while I was finishing off the cutting out, I did have a slight niggly thought that Hubby would pronounce this garment a “pyjama top“.  Just like he still calls my lovely Tea House Dress a nightgown.  Hhmmpfmen, what do they know!?

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I’ve learnt how to take photos with my new toy linked to my phone. Now to make it look “normal”…

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Anyways, I remembered that the last time the ties were hilariously too short, so I doubled the right tie – that’s the one which has to go round the back, and cut the left tie the same length as the right tie should have been.  With me so far?  Turns out that was the right decision, I can now get the right tie round the back to the front and have enough to tie a knot – or a bow, if I so desire.  Other than that, I made no adjustments.  Having originally cut the 18, I knew it was still the right size, only now it fits better than it did 4 years ago when I made the first one!

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Close-ups of the wrap and ties

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The insides are all overlocked, seams topstitched and that’s all really, it’s not a difficult pattern to make, the only thing to be careful with is the shawl collar, make sure you have interfaced the area where you’re snipping and cut less and often, rather than chopping all the way and go too far!!  I love how the finished top looks, this will be great with jeans, all my black linen trousers (and a pair of black Landers I have lined up, fingers crossed) and the white ones too!  I think this means I might make another sooner rather than later, it’s rather nice to wear now.  And I like that I’ve made it from a rather mad (for me and the paired down Merchant and Mills vibe) fabric!  Remember, if you’re looking for the size chart for M & M, there isn’t one in the book, but you can download the PDF here.

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Work in Progress Wednesday 6/19

It’s been a while since we had a work in progress post!  Although this is now going out on Thursday instead of Wednesday!  I might have run completely out of energy to finish this post in time!  I have a couple of projects I really want to get done quickly, so I decided to have a day inspired by @birdy_sew_obsessed.  She gets so much done on her weekends, so I thought I’d channel a bit of her energy today.  I cut out 4 projects yesterday, & sew the two that needed blue thread first.

First I started with my second pair of Pattern Union Phoebe dungarees, the Bib & Tucker version of the jumpsuit.  The fabric is a lightweight denim chambray that I bought on my South African trip this year.  I don’t want those fabrics to hang around long enough to be called proper stash, even though they have already found their way into a box.  There are just too many to be allowed to sit in a pile on my cutting table!

Adjustments made to this version are:  shortening the leg by 20cm to make them cropped, raise the waistline on the trousers by 1.5cm, change the crotch curve slightly and add 2 back pockets.  The Zadie Jumpsuit pockets found their way onto the front again and that was it!  Click on the individual photographs to see them in more detail.  I managed, with many distractions, to get them finished by 3pm, apart from chosing buttons for the straps.  That’ll be done asap, and I’ll have a new pair of dungarees to wear on the allotment!

After a bite to eat and a quick run round of other jobs that needed to be done, I got cracking with the next project.  This is a piece of African Wax fabric – from the same holiday this year – in the most beautiful blue, almost periwinkle, but with more ooompfh.  The fabric is narrow and I only got 2m (why???) so I had to change the direction of the grain if the pattern was going to have any chance of fitting onto the fabric.  As there is no definite print direction, and no movement on the cross grain, I felt confident it would work.  The pattern is the Heron Wrap Top from the Merchant and Mills Workbook, I’ve only used the pattern once before!

It sews up quickly, only a few simple pieces, but boy it’s big!  Thankfully, once it’s wrapped around you, it loses a lot of that bulk!

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Topstitching the armhole hems and side seams

Stay tuned for the finished garments!!

 

 

Sewing Those Leftovers

 

I always end up with leftover pieces of fabric after making a garment.  This happens for a variety of reasons, usually it’s because the retailer (online) only sells in 1m increments, half metres if you’re lucky.  Another reason is if I bought the fabric with a certain project in mind, but changed tack – or I didn’t know how much fabric I needed, so I guessed and rounded up.

 

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The Stellan Tee from French Navy Patterns

 

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I had enough of this yummy dark blue and off-white viscose jersey from Montreux Fabrics to make my first Stellan Tee.  I already have a long sleeved Lark tee and a Uvita Tee from this fabric, and I love wearing it.  The Stellan Tee is a free pattern from French Navy, a Cape Town based indie pattern lable.  I liked the look of the pattern when it first came out and downloaded it pretty quickly, but didn’t get off the starting blocks as quickly as I’d intended!

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It’s a loose fitting, boxy tee, so I sized down when choosing what to trace.  I like a loose top, but am fussy about just how much fabric is flapping about.  The instructions are pretty clear, and the top goes together really quickly.  I skipped the back reinforcement strip because of the fabric, this stuff doesn’t lie flat easily, it likes rolling back on itself and I just don’t have the patience to deal with that and narrow strips of fabric…  Sorry Sarah!  Next time…

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I’m happy with my new tee, and given it doesn’t need masses of fabric, I think I’ll be running up a few more.  Actually, this goes well with the new dungarees!

Phoebe Dungarees

 

One item that has been long missing in my wardrobe is a good pair of dungarees. Actually, any pair of dungarees!  I looked at the Turia Dungarees from Pauline Alice when they came out, but didn’t buy them, eventually bought the Burnside Bibs from Sew House Seven last year (still haven’t even traced those!) and spent another year on the allotment without the most perfectly practical item of clothing.  Dungarees.

 

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So exactly why am I so keen on dungarees for the allotment?  Well, in the colder weather I wear an ancient pair of Next jeans.  The elasticity isn’t very good in those anymore and they definitely require the use of a belt.  But they still keep slipping down, so require frequent hoiking up – not easily done with muddy gloves. In the summer I use old linen trousers, they’re generally ok, but also need pulling up now and then. I don’t like tucking my shirts in, so the other problem is tee shirts going the wrong way when I’m weeding or digging.  The wind likes it when it can blow my clothes the wrong way.  So I’m after something that has good pockets, doesn’t need pulling up – or down, and is loose and comfy to wear when I get hot and bothered!

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Enter the best enabler around these days, Instagram.  Sue from Fadinista posted a couple of pairs of dungarees she’d made from a Pattern Union pattern, the Phoebe Jumpsuit with the Bib and Tucker add-on.  It was perfect!  I immediately clicked through to her blog and devoured all the details. I just knew this was the perfect pattern to make for my allotment dungarees, so I clicked through to the Pattern Union website and made my purchase. The Phoebe Jumpsuit pattern is actually FREE! I know, right?! You pay for the add-ons, there’s the Bib & Tucker add-on, a package for pockets, a skirt to make a pinafore, a shirred top version, and now a flared trouser add-on.  I just bought the Bib & Tucker, figuring I could draft my own pockets fairly easily enough.

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The PDF pattern comes with a print at home option, as well as my favourite copy shop version.  Hubby did the honours for me, and I set about tracing.  The pattern has different cup sizes, I made the 14, with D&E cup option, opting for the low-waisted trousers and high waisted top, hoping the right pieces would hit in the right places.  I toiled in an old sheet from the charity shop, and then set about making alterations. The crotch hit me mid-thigh….  The hem finished about 5cm beyond my big toe, and the seam joining top to trousers lay at the top of my hip bone, about 5cm short of my waist. That’s most definitely not what I’d expected for “high-waisted”!! Sooooo….

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I took 5cm out of the leg length, 3cm out of the crotch, kept the low waist trousers, shortened the bodice by 3cm and kept the high waisted line.  I also took up a 4cm deep hem.  And went down a size!  The fit is much better in the size 12, the length is better too, but the waistline is still not on my waist.  I don’t think it’s a train-smash, but I might shorten the bodice again, transferring the length lost to the trousers, probably lifting the waist seam.

 

The pockets were going to be self-drafted, but then again, why re-invent the wheel??  I used the Zadie Jumpsuit pockets, nice and big.  I’ve opted to have buttons on the straps this time, they’re vintage wooden buttons that were sent to me by a friend.  They go very well with the hazel coloured linen I bought from Fabworks earlier this year for making my dungarees.  The fabric thought it was destined for those un-traced Burnside Bibs!

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I’m really liking these dungarees, they’re almost too nice to wear on the allotment!  I might have to make more, definitely a denim or twill version for the cooler weather. But I will wear these, they will be fabulously practical to wear for gardening, and I can’t wait for the weather to improve so I can get back out there!  With all this rain, I’ll need a pair in raincoat fabric.  After wearing these on the allotment all day, I think I’ll be looking to alter the curve of the crotch seam, it’s not sitting quite right.  I’ll also make sure any new pair has more interfacing along the top edge, with all the moving and digging the buttonhole area gets a lot of stress.  I am thinking of adding a bib pocket, and possible a bum pocket too.  The Zadie pockets have worked really well, they’re a good depth for holding loads in!  I’ve been really comfy in these all day, they’re well deserving of a big thumbs up!  This is my entry to the #SewTogetherForSummer challenge being run on Instagram, I needed the push to get these made! 

Black, White & Grey all Over

So far, June has been a thouroughly disappointing summer month.  Totally unlike the lovely hot weather we had last year, even though that was highly unusual weather.  June in the UK is quite like April, it rains on and off all month.  But this June seems to have been extra wet, which means I’m not gardening, so more sewing time!

Paper Theory Kabuki Tee in stripe linen

I’ve made a start on using the fabric I bought while in South Africa, it’s all washed and ironed and ready to use, and I’ve managed to find some patterns to go with some of the pieces.  One piece I’d bought with a pattern in mind, the LB Pullover from Paper Theory.  But – I changed my mind at the last minute and went with the Kabuki Tee instead.  The fabric in question is linen, it used to be black and white wide stripes, but after washing is now black and pale grey!

I quickly ran into a problem with the fabric though, I’d seen it in my head with the stripes running horizontally, but on laying it out on the cutting table realised the stripes ran parallel with the grain, so now they had to be vertical!  I really wasn’t sure if I wanted stripes running up and down.  I draped the fabric over my shoulder and swanned about in front of the mirror for a bit, to make up my mind, and eventually went with the stripes running vertically.  As it turns out, it was the right decision.

As with the last Kabuki Tee, I reinforced the pivot area with a scrap of fusible interfacing to give it a bit more strength, and I overlocked the insides as I sewed.  I have a feeling though, that the next one I make will have to be a size down, as my measurements continue to get smaller, I think it’s time to re-trace some of my patterns.  Now all I need is the right weather to wear the finished article!  I could wear it with a long sleeve tee underneath, but unfortunately all my winter wear is in the loft!

I prefer wearing this top with a more straight leg or fitted pair of trousers, jeans are great, but wide legs don’t suit it quite that well. Which is odd, because the chambray Kabuki I made before heading off on holiday looks great with wide leg trousers…

A Monochrome Selection

I have tried to inject colour into my wardrobe, but I keep adding more of the basics, black, blue, white, beige and grey.  I guess they’re just too easy to use!  Speaking of basics…

I’ve added two Basic Instinct Tees to my summer collection this year, one I made just before heading off on holiday, the other I made just last week.  This is a tee shirt pattern I really like.  It’s loose enough to be comfy without being tent-like but still has shape, and made in a viscose jersey – it’s heaven to wear!  I like it for all those reasons and more.  For me, it’s the perfect design for wearing while gardening!  Sleeves that cover the upper arm and prevent sunburn, crew neckline that doesn’t allow flashing when bending over and keeps the sun off delicate décolletage and back neck areas, and long enough to tuck in without popping out.

My first Basic Instinct tee this year was made in black viscose jersey – I think I bought it from Fabworks.  The fabric was what remained after making Daughter No 1 two long sleeve tees in December, and was just enough.  It’s lovely to wear, I love the feel and flow of viscose jersey, and in basic black, what’s not to like??  Then last week, I made another.  This time in pale grey marle viscose jersey, again, I seem to recall I might have got the fabric from Fabworks, but it may have been Croft Mill Fabrics – honestly – I cannot remember!

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It’s such a quick and simple tee to make, even with a floaty viscose jersey.  I just love it, I need more of these in my life.  Maybe I’ll find an actual colour to make one in!  I think I’ll have to go down a size now, but the three I’ve made so far will still get use – lots of use!

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Basic Instinct Tee on the allotment

Next on my round up of recent monochrome projects in another LB Pullover from Paper Theory.  I went down a size this time, this is a size 14.  I had been innocently browsing The Textile Centre’s website sale page when an interesting geometric ponte jumped out and hit me in the face, at £2.50 a metre, it was begging me to buy it!  So I did!  It’s a border print, solid black with this grey and white broken geometric print running parallel to both selveges.  And the print is soooo nice!  I took my time deciding where to place the print, it was too easy to pop it straight down the middle.

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LB Pullover from Paper Theory

In the end, I decided to run it down the right of the pullover, as I wear it, but right over, with only some of the design coming up to the centre front.  Then I placed the neckband to be in the same position, and cut the back so the design is mirrored.  That was the easy part.  The sleeves are wide enough that unless they are centered on the centre of the fabric, the all black part, they catch the design.  I didn’t want the design running down the centre of the sleeve, and didn’t want a lot of it there anyway.  I also didn’t really want to “waste” fabric by cutting both sleeves down the middle of the metre or so that was left…

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So I went with just a small section of design on the front part of the sleeve, closest to the underarm seam.  This was the sleeves are still part of something, but not covered in geometric print, thus taking away from the design on the body pieces.  I think it’s worked out rather well, and I like the result!  Only one beef – the fabric is not that good quality.  This was the first time I’d worn the pullover, I’d carried some hessian shopping bags to the supermarket, and this pilling you see is from that.  First time.  I can only imagine how much pilling will happen with regular wear and washing.  Maybe there’s a reason it was only £2.50/m.

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Sleeve details! Apologies for hiding behind the bronze fennel, my photographer had to move me away from there a few times!

Now I have some of this left, but not enough for a Toaster Sweater or a Sauni Cardigan, trust me, I tried!  But – I think there might be enough for a cropped sweater, this Burda one, for example.  I just need to dig out the traced pattern from a file somewhere – I made two of these for the girls in the lead up to Christmas 2017.

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