Summer Wardrobe

Daughter No2 has a list of things for me to make her.  (This is the time to warn you that this post is photo heavy!) It’s updated and renewed every couple of months as she adds things from new Burda magazines and changes her mind depending on the current weather (season).  I’ve done fairly well, but I’ll never get them all done, mostly because we don’t have suitable fabric in the stash.  ( And the length of the list!)  So, I can get started on the projects for which we have fabric, but the others are either shelved or put on hold while we look, and don’t find exactly what she’s got in mind.  At a price we’re prepared to pay! 🙂

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Burda skirt 117 A 02/2017

However, there was a skirt on her list from last autumn (!) that’s been on the list constantly, and a couple of weeks ago she decided it would be the perfect summer skirt.  I’d already traced it out, so I set to work making a toile.  I traced the 36 and the 38, going with the 36 around the waist, grading out to the 38 over the hips.  This is when I realised that the skirt had no pockets!!!  The pattern is 117A from February Burda 2017.  This has been a very productive magazine, with lots of useful patterns.  The style lines are rather nice, and it looks like it has pockets with flaps, yes?  Nope!  Just the flaps, inserted into the seam.

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So I changed that!  I altered the shape of the side panel to include a facing, added pocket bags and now we have pockets, with decorative flaps!  Much more practical.  The toile was approved, even the length!  I was sure she’d ask for it to be made 3-5cm longer, but she was comfortable with it as it was.  Now to allocate fabric…  In the stash, she identified 6 possibilities.  One in dusty pink floral fabric please, one in pale blue Hawiian print fabric please, one in black embroidered linen fabric please, one in leaf print canvas please, one in rust coloured stretch denim please, and, finally – one in vintage floral fabric.  Please.  *take a deep breath*  OK…  this in addition to a couple of dresses, tops, shirts, etc.

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So I told her to get her machine out and help!  There’s no way I can get all that done on my own, with the other things I need to do!  I did the cutting, she did the overlocking and started to sew.  We started with the pink cotton with floral circles.  Without the addition of the pockets, this is a quick and easy pattern to run up, although I have also changed the exposed zip in the back to a normal one.  We felt it wouldn’t look right on a cotton fabric.

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I like this little number, and she’s right, it will look good in all the fabrics she’s chosen, and will be a very useful addition to her wardrobe, summer and winter!  There’s not really much to say about the pattern, or the fabric really.  The cotton print has been in the stash for rather a long time, so I’m very glad to be using it, although this didn’t take very much!  Although the blue Hawaiian print fabric was made into another skirt before she jetted off to Italy for a week, I hadn’t managed to get photos of it on, so that’ll wait till the next post.  Be prepared to see this skirt often…

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The little sleeveless blouse was another item on the list, but it wasn’t originally!  When I came back from South Africa in May, I decided to finally use up some of the smaller stash pieces that had been hanging around for a while.  I had a piece of pale sage green cotton poplin (no idea when or why I bought it) that I paired up with a vintage Style pattern  (1958), and used that fabric to make a wearable toile.  Daughter No1 liked it, but it didn’t fit her well at all, and really didn’t suit her.  Enter Daughter No2, on whom it looked just right!  So she got the toile and I found another small bit of fabric (left over from the wavy back top) to use up.  This time, she did the making, and the cutting!  The pattern is vintage Style 544, dated 1956.

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The pattern consists of a front, back, and two facing pieces.  The dart tucks at the waist give it a great shape, and eliminate bulk when tucking into skirts and trousers.  The high neck looks fabulous and really suits someone with a longer neck.  (that’s me out!)  She managed to make the blouse fairly quickly, only running out of time to choose buttons and finish that part off, before heading back home.  So I found a selection & sent her photos to choose from.  The vintage covered buttons were duly chosen and I made the buttonholes and sewed on the buttons.  This is another of those patterns I can see being used a number of times, especially as it needs so little fabric!  I love those.

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Vintage covered buttons

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Another quick make for the summer is a cami.  In this case, it was a couple of Ogden Camis – and the fabric came from the scrap box.  The first up is a pale blue soft linen.  There wasn’t quite enough for the full facing, and really, I should have shaped it or cut it higher (I still might do this) because it sits at an akward height and you can see it though the outer layer.  Honestly, if you couldn’t see it, I probably wouldn’t change it.  I love how quickly the pattern comes together, and I love that I managed to make something useful out of a small,odd shaped piece of left over fabric.

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As you can see, all three of these tops go pretty well with the pink skirt!  I think this means this skirt is going to be well worn this summer, not just one of those summer flings.

Pheobe the Second

Good things come in twos, yes?  Or maybe more than two, but let’s start somewhere, shall we?  I really liked wearing the Phoebe dungarees I made a couple of weeks ago, they’ve been absolutely perfect of the allotment, so I knew I’d need another pair!  Instead of soft, buttery linen, this time I picked out some denim – also lightweight – from the pile of South African purchased fabrics.  I think this is a blend of fibres, the fabric has a sheen that pure cotton denim wouldn’t have.  I had thought I’d make a summer version of the Tea House Dress, or the Assembly Line’s V Nick Dress with it, but I now have better plans.  I want another pair of Phoebe Dungarees.

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Phoebe Bib & Tucker from Pattern Union

This time I wanted a shorter trouser length.  The brown linen ones are the perfect length for long trousers, not long enough for me to stand on the hems and get them all muddy!  But, for a lightweight pair that will be worn in the summer, I thought it would be a good idea to have a cropped length this time.  I took 20cm off the length, and in hindsight could have done more!  I drew a rectangular pocket to put on the back and re-used the Zadie jumpsuit front pockets.  Other adjustments – I moved the waist seam on the trouser piece to halfway between the low and high waist, but kept the bib on the high waist line.  These feel more comfy than the first pair, but I still feel the waistline needs to come up.  If I take it up any further though, I’ll need to reduce the amount I took out of the crotch depth.

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New pocket details

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Buttons are from the deep stash, bought three years ago in South Africa, just waiting for the right project. I realised after I’d already sewn – and cut – the buttonholes that they really go the wrong way!  Usually, with buttonholes, they go in the direction of stress.  So really, on these bibs, the buttonholes should run perpendicular to the top of the bib.  That would mean no pulling and gapping and trying of the button to escape (see the above photo). So, that’s for the next pair! 🙂

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I am happy overall with this pair, the back pockets are a perfect addition.  I’ve worn them both on and off the allotment and they seem to be most practical for all jobs.  Perhaps a denim or twill pair for the cooler weather should be on my list for Autumn.

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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!