Terracotta – My New Favourite Colour

I’m a fairly safe person when it comes to my use of colour in my wardrobe.  For years I’ve stuck to blues, grey, black and white, and beige.  With variations, but all fairly neutral and all matching.  However, in the last 2 years, another colour has been creeping in – rusty, cinnamon, paprika, terracotta.  It’s a colour that I’ve always liked, but never considered wearing.  It would clash with my hair and freckly face!  But it doesn’t, and it really makes the blues and the black and white in my wardrobe sing!  It’s my neutral with POP!

I bought this fabulous terracotta brushed cotton twill in October, intending to make a pair of cargo-inspired pants, not unlike the pattern in the Burda of September 2020, but when I finally traced and toiled the pattern, I realised it wasn’t for me.  On the whole, I like wide legged pants, but when they’re combined with a wide pleat and cropped length, it turns out they do me no favours!  Which is a shame really, because I liked the look.  No matter, I then decided that I’d rather use the fabric on a  pattern I already liked, had made many versions of, and knew fitted well.  Then I had second thoughts…

terracotta teddy

And those second thoughts lead me to consider a pattern I’ve already used well since buying it – The Teddy Designer Pants from Style Arc.  Yup, I seriously considered making them in this twill.  Then I thought again, what other patterns did I have that I’d like to use?  When none came to mind, and I could see a perfect pair terracotta Teddys in my mind’s eye, I knew it had to be done!

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I placed the pieces so as to use as little fabric as possible (I really wish now that I’d bought more than 2m) and got cracking.  Layers are going to show, especially with washing and ironing, so in a small attempt to reduce bulk, I cut one pair of pocket pieces from some African wax.  I really should have had my thinking cap fully engaged and cut the inner waistband pieces from the cotton too, would have saved a little more fabric!  I plan to make a tote with the left-overs, properly interfaced, because no-one wants a stretchy tote bag!

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Anyway, back to the trousers.  Luckily I had the perfect thread from a project last winter left in the stash so didn’t need to pop out to the shop in the cold, buttons and zip again from the stash, although the zip is beige…  You’ll never see it and I highly doubt there’s a matching colour out there.  Once all the pieces were overlocked I set to work and would have finished in the day if it weren’t for an errant headache that wouldn’t go away.

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I really love the finished result, the colour is just heavenly and the fabric so soft and warm!  I wouldn’t have thought to make this pattern in a heavyweight fabric, but it works and the pleat holds nicely.  I actually think a denim pair would be good……

Work in Progress Wednesday 1/2021

Welcome to another year of Work in Progress Wednesdays!  Now, this will not be a regular, every Wednesday occurance!  Sometimes you’ll get a few in a row, then there’ll be nothing for a month or so, all depends on what I’m working on, and whether I remember to take photos as I sew!!

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The book title translates to “Basically 7 Dresses”, written by Aoi Koda

Anyway, I’m working on my next Sewing Japanese in January project, so thought I’d show it from the beginning.  I have decided to make a version of the cover dress from the book, Basically 7 Dresses, by Aoi Koda.  There are 7 basic patterns in the book, each having different variations, she calls them lessons.  I loved the cover dress from the beginning, it’s lesson number 4.  But, not really being a dress person, figured I’d make one of the variations and turn it into a blouse/top and keep the simple look with the collar.  I’m also not gathering the peplum, it’ll be as if the skirt was chopped short, no gathers for me!

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Line drawings and info for the dress, with picture of the peplum top variation and more line drawings

This book does not have seam allowances included, except for the largest size, which, as it happens, is the size I traced!  The 15, which translates to bust 98cm, waist 70cm and hip 105cm is the closest to me, I’ll just need a FBA.  But – toile first because there’s usually a lot of ease in these patterns and I might get away with not needing much extra.  The finished width at the bust on this one is 112cm, which on a 98cm bust would be roomy, and less so on me! 112cm gives me 6cm of ease, so I’ll check whether that looks right, and feels right in the toile before I continue.  ps, I seriously recommend downloading Google Translate onto your phone for using Japanese patterns, just aim your camera at the text and voila!  Translated instructions!

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With the first, “straight out of the envelope” – as it were – toile, things aren’t going to be as easy as expected.  The fronts just meet, I need more depth in the armhole, and finished length needs to be about 5cm below the current level (which included the hem).  Ok, so the remaining ease wasn’t going to be anywhere near enough!  Shoulders and side seams are all ok, neck feels right, so it’s all in the front.  Time for that FBA.  Now, if you’re after how do to one with a French dart, Maven Patterns have one on their website for their French Dart dress.  It works in the same way as an underarm dart, just in a different place!   So I calculated I’d need 6cm across the front, meaning a 3cm FBA.  Once done in paper, I toiled it…  The result was a pointy, unenthusiastic dart that didn’t point to the right place.

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Toile of size 15 without any alterations. That dart was already raising my eyebrows!

So I traced another front and rotated the dart to the underarm position, then did the same FBA and rotated the dart back to where it was supposed to be again.  With fingers crossed, I unpicked that unsuccessful front, cut another two and stitched them onto the back.  Much better this time!  I’m happy with the ease, the reach across the bust, etc.

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Just the bodice fronts and back, to check the dart before going any further

Back to the paper and I added 1cm of depth across both front and back from the centre armhole, altered the front peplum piece to accommodate the FBA width and lengthened both peplums by 8cm.

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Pattern alterations, smoothing out the armhole after the fba, the large dart created by the fba and the extra 1cm depth added across front and back.

I quickly cut those out of the toile fabric and added them to the bodice, and I’m happy!  The length, once the hem is turned up will be fine, the bodice fits nicely over the bust and the shape is good.

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Checking out all the angles
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I like position of the join between upper and lower bodice, the flare on the lower half is ok too.

Now I have to find fabric… Shopping the stash for this one, no fabric purchases allowed this month!

Sewing Japanese in January

I have plans!! I need a push to get my sewing off the starting block this year, like a lot of us I think. I love the idea of starting the year with a couple of challenges, and this one is my first.  I have made one item already (admittedly, I only needed to finish it this year, having started it at the beginning of December). But I’m claiming it for Sewing Japanese in January 2021! I also want to make another pair of trousers from the Kana’s Standard book, and finally get to use a pattern from a book bought back in 2018.

But today I have another beautiful, big sleeved blouse in my wardrobe. I bought the spotty viscose from Rainbow Fabrics, it’s lovely and drapey!  I decided to make another version of the blouse I made in October from the Asuka Hamada “Sweet Clothes” book.  This time, I altered the pattern front before cutting, I had decided to make a small FBA, just to make the fit a little better.

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Top E from Sweet Clothes, by Asuka Hamada

 Now I’d love to say I’ve devised a brand new method of making  a FBA without a dart, but I’d be lying.  There’s a very good method I use in the book, “The Perfect Fit” available from Amazon and I’m sure, other sellers too.  Here’s an extract for you:

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It’s a dead easy method, and works well without having to fiddle about with adding darts and then trying to get rid of them again. I had decided that 1.5cm over the half bodice would be enough for me, while I didn’t need masses of room over the front, but a little more length in the front would be nice, so  I added 3cm in the length.

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In order to save a little fabric, I cut the back in two with a French seam in the centre.  This meant I could cut the font and back next to each other on the fabric, and then placed the sleeve on the cross grain (because it’s so wide!) with the bias for neck and narrow cuff pieces filling in the banks spaces.  This means that from my 2m originally bought, I have enough to make something else!

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I love the way this version drapes, the first one being cotton voile is a little crisper, and the sleeves keep their blousiness better.  That doesn’t mean I don’t like the way they are in the viscose though.  I could live in viscose all year, it just feels so luxurious. 

I made this blouse in the same way as the first, ignoring the elastic in the narrow cuff and using the revised neckline.  I like the extra length in the front the FBA has given me, and the little more room across the bust is an improvement.  Very happy with this, and it’ll be worn a lot, even if ironing those big gathered sleeves is a pain!

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Now I really need to toile the patterns I’ve traced, and figure out what adjustments they need.  Also, those pants, they’re so quick to make!  In the mean time, and totally unrelated to Japanese sewing patterns, I’ve added more vintage patterns to my Etsy shop, I need to make a concerted effort to empty at least one drawer to make space for the modern PDF patterns I keep buying!  So help a gal out won’t you, see if I’ve got anything you fancy.  I’m adding constantly, so keep going back.  It takes a while to go through each and every pattern to make sure all the bits are  there.

 

Rounding off 2020

What a year!  I know there’s been precious little action on the blog this month, but I have a really, really good excuse..  Making Christmas presents!  And obviously I cannot show those until they’ve been recieved, so.  I wish I could show them now, as Christmas day has been, but Boris stuffed up my Christmas plans, so those presents are still here with me and not with the people they were for!  Except for one.

I wanted to make little things for the girls’ advent calendar, one of those ones you can fill with goodies, and not just chocolate!  Although chocolate did feature heavily!  In our garden, we’re frequently visited by lots of birds, chief amongst them are the tits, Great Tits, Blue Tits, Long Tailed Tits and the little Willow Tit.  I thought it would be cute to find a little decoration that I could make, in the shape of one of those birds.  After much trawling on Etsy, I found this pattern.  American, so they call the bird a Chickadee, but it’s a tit!

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After downloading and printing, I decided the bird was a little big, so reduced the pattern pieces to 80% of the original size to be more lifelike.  Perfect!  The felt was also from Etsy, and came relatively quickly, given the state of the post office!  I had most of the required colours of embroidery thread in my stash and only needed to buy a couple from a local store.  Cutting the felt was fiddly, because the pieces are so small.  Best tool to cut with?  Curved nail scissors!  Trust me on this, they work a treat!  I decided the birds needed to be “double-sided” as they’d probably swing around on the tree.  My embroidery skills need some work, but I’m happy with the individuality of the birdies!!  There were going to be 5, but as these 3 took so long to make and time was not on my side, I will have to make the other 2 for next Christmas!

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They’re so cute and were very well recieved!!

So what else have I been up to?  Well, back in April when I was in South Africa with my mum and getting fidgity to make something, I thought I’d take advantage of her copious knitting knowlegde and knit something.  I made a beanie and a pair of mittens and came away with a couple of very easy patterns and the desire to knit a little more.  I am a very reluctant knitter, I just don’t have the patience to knit for months and then find I don’t like what I’ve made, or worse still – what I’ve made doesn’t fit!!!!

Anyway, I eventually bought some Aran weight yarn in a pretty misty blue/green colour and raided a friend’s pattern stash.  I picked what I thought was going to be an easy pattern, but I still needed to learn some tricks!  I needed to learn how to knit on a circular needle, how to make German Short rows, increasing and decreasing (on purpose), and how to make a Magic Loop in order to knit the sleeves.  But I did it, and from starting in October, I have a jumper finished before Christmas!!  Never did I think that would happen!  Now I want more Aran weight yarn, or chunkier, so I can knit something else just as fast!

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Finish it and put it on immediately! Blocking – naa – later!!

At the beginning of the year, I said I wanted to learn new things, have a “year of firsts”.  Ahem..  So, what did I manage then?  Well, I made my first quilt.  Still not finished, but I’m getting there.  I knitted my first beanie, and first pair of gloves – fingerless!  I spent more time on the allotment than in my sewing room and went for extended periods of time without sewing anything!  In the Christmas present pile is another first, but those details will have to wait!  And of course, there’s this jumper.  The first one I’ve started and finished by myself, and I actually like!  So it’s not been all bad.

There are a couple of projects that haven’t made it to the blog yet, and probably won’t get their own posts.  I used the remainder of the blue floral print viscose to make a cowl cami, using my old favourite camisole pattern, Butterick 5487 .  The scraps left over have gone into making a couple of masks and the lining of some pouches.  I also had some gorgeous navy blue fine knit that I brought back from South Africa – made a Toaster Sweater #2.  I had to take it in drastically at the sides, 10cm in total, shorten the body and the sleeves, and narrowed the sleeves too.  It’s been a brilliant extra layer, I like fine knits for layering in the winter!

cowl cami

Next year is going to be a wait and see year, I think, not too much planning.  As the government seems to be changing the rules an a fortnightly basis, I think that’s the way to go in the beginning.  So for now, I think I’ll start January with some #SewJapaneseInJanuary, I have two books I got in 2018 that I have yet to trace a single pattern from!  There must be something in the stash I can use for a pattern somewhere.  Then there is that fabric I got from Rainbow Fabrics in November/October – still haven’t cut them out!  I also want to make a denim coat from old jeans – I collected a large pile in the summer and that pile is making me feel guilty everytime I look at it!  So it’s not like I’ve nothing to make or no ideas – I just need my sewing room back again!

So that’s it, I guess I’ll be seeing you all in 2021!  Happy New Year everyone!

The Kew Pants

Here I am, still sewing trousers! This is the end of the 3m of black cotton twill I bought in London in October, all that’s left are small pieces that I’ll use for pouches or to patch together for a bag or something. This time, I’ve made the Kew Pants from Style Arc. I chose this pattern because I liked the slightly cocoon shape of the legs, and the interesting dart detail on the hem. According to the size table I should be a 14, but knowing that the Teddy Pants fit really well in a size 12, I went for the 12 again!

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The toile revealed that the size was fine, I just needed to shorten the back crotch curve by 1-1.5cm. That’s all!! I didn’t even need to shorten the leg length, and that’s a miracle in itself! After making all the bits and pieces in the toile material, I knew I would be needing to make a lot less bulk in the pocket area, so cut the bags in a cotton and only did the facing and coin pockets pieces in the cotton twill.

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This pattern sits with the base of the waistband on the natural waist, so I guess people will say they are high waisted. The fit is good, I like not having to hoik them up during the day! I have a pair of Burda trousers that also sit on the natural waist, but the waistband is one long straight piece, unlike the Kew Pants waistband which is curved. It’s still one piece, but that curve means it has a little more give – the Burda one is slightly snug as the day goes on. Also, the Burda pattern I made is the size 44, the biggest in the magazine’s non plus-size range. I am able to make the 42 in patterns that do not sit on my “waist”!

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So, back to the Kew. There are two back trouser pieces, adding to the shape. This means you have extra opportunities for fitting. The pockets in the front look really big in the drawings, but are perfectly sized in real life! I French seamed the bottom pocket seam for neatness – and strength. I really like the pockets, they are great for stuffing a phone and mask and card wallet into, and still have space for hands!

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I changed the fly zip by adding the fly facing to the front piece when cutting out, this eliminated bulk in the zip area. All the pieces were overlocked before I started sewing, I like this done first so there is less fraying going on while I’m trying to sew. I bound the curved section of the front leg at the hem before I sewed the dart, it’s made it a bit bulkier than I’d like, but I didn’t like the idea of just turning the narrow hem inside.

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One thing that has shown up in this fabric is that I need to take in the inside leg seams a bit, and maybe adjust the crotch seam, there are some wrinkles that would indicate that there’s too much fabric there, front and back. Funny how it didn’t show up in the toile! Anyway, it’s not affecting me wearing them everytime they’re back in my wardrobe, so maybe I’ll just leave it….

I have made a start on the gorgeous viscose fabrics I got from Rainbow Fabrics, there’s another Asuka Hamada blouse with the ginormous sleeves on my sewing table!

Black Teddy

Trousers – those most important of items in my wardrobe, all year round! I have two pairs of linen Teddy Designer Pants (Style Arc) and wear them constantly in the summer – so it makes sense to have a winter pair as well, right? When we were in London last month, I bought 3m of black cotton twill from a little fabric shop on the Seven Sister’s Road in Holloway. I could have bought so much more, but we squeezed in 2 minutes before closing time and I had to make a quick decision!! I must remember to go back there when we visit the girls again, I know I will buy more, he had lovely linen for the summer!

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I went with 3m, because my late mother in law always said “If in doubt, and you can afford it, always buy 3m!” Wise words, people, wise words. I knew I wanted trousers, just wasn’t 100% sure which patterns I’d use, but I did already have an idea that the Teddy pants would feature. The fabric has a good twill weave, isn’t nearly as thick as denim, but is sturdy and – most importantly, warm enough for winter use!

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Teddy Designer Pants from Style Arc

In the end, I decided I’d have both the Kew Pants and Teddy Pants, both from Style Arc, and cut them out at the same time to ensure there was room for all the bits! As it was, I cut the pocket bags from black cotton lawn to cut down on twill useage. It worked out well, because I only had small scraps left after all the cutting.

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The pants went together pretty quickly once I started them, as I’ve made three pairs already, I remembered the things I like to change and the direction of the pleat… It’s opposite to what’s shown on the drawings! I really like this pattern, it’s so nice to wear, and that long, deep pleat really is the bee’s knees!

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The other half isn’t quite as impressed – he doesn’t like the cocoon shape or the cropped length, but… He’s not wearing them!! Personally, I think this is one of my all-time favourite patterns for pants/trousers, and that’s saying a lot! Stay tuned for the Kew Pants, just need photographs – hopefully before I get to sit for most of the day and get them all creased first.

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Autumnal Sewing

I’ve realised that this year, I’ve worn a lot of jersey tops.  They’re so easy to wear, wash and not necessarily iron before wearing again!  But I love the smart look of a nice blouse too, and one I can wear pretty much all year round sounds perfect to me!  Recently, I “discovered” a new fabric shop.  Someone I follow on Instagram had posted in her stories, a delicious looking pile of recent online purchases from a little independent shop in London, Rainbow Fabrics.

Of course, I had to take a peek at their IG page, stories and website and ended up buying a few metres of different fabrics.  Then, 2 weeks ago, I saw some fabulous fabrics turn up in their stories, and headed straight to the website to nab some for myself!  Bear in mind – I’ve yet to make up the previous purchase!  This was becoming a dangerous shop to follow.  Anyway, I bought 7m of different viscoses on the weekend Boris announced the impending lockdown – as you do.

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Viscose purchases from Rainbow Fabrics

The fabric arrived nice and fast and I knew immediately what I was going to make!  Lets start at the beginning, shall we?  The first one I wanted to make was another version of a vintage Vogue pattern I made last year.  I just had a feeling that the pattern would suit the print of the viscose.

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I made the same adjustments to the pattern as I had the last time, but this time I left out the zip in the left side seam.  I really didn’t need it!  The construction was the same, French seams throughout and a little fine sheer polyester fusible on the neckband facings, cuffs and the slip on the sleeves.  Buttons are from the stash, a little faux leather button for the front and flat amber coloured buttons for the cuffs.

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Vintage Vogue 8095 in viscose

This is such a lovely pattern, and so nice to wear!  I love it in this print, which I was a little worried would be too busy for me to wear.  I have a habit of loving and buying fabric that, once made up I just can’t wear!  But I think this time I’ve got it right, and this stuff is going to be fabulous in my wardrobe, the colours work with all the trousers and jeans – and jumpers!  As the pattern doesn’t take as much fabric as I bought (2m), I have a bit left over that I’m hoping I’ll be able to cut a camisole out of.  I’ve not checked yet, so at the moment, that’s just a hope.  But it won’t go to waste, that’s for sure!

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Excuse the creases, I’m not just wearing the blouse to take pictures! This is real-life!

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So what else have I bought from Rainbow fabrics?  Well, I got 3m of striped viscose, 2m each of rust viscose jersery, rust plain viscose, and black and white spot viscose and 2m of rust cotton twill!  The sewing plans are developing….

 

Scrapbusting Trousers

After cutting that Grace Coat from my 3m of navy twill, I had a decent sized, if not a little awkwardly shaped, piece of fabric left over.  Early in October I decided, on a whim, to use it up and make a quick pair of trousers using a Burda pattern I used two years ago now.  It’s 117 from November 2018.  The original pair are too big now, so I traced the 42, but kept the shorter length adjustment I’d made back then.

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Burda trousers being shown off in London

The waistband of the pattern has a piping band through the centre, but I didn’t have enough fabric to cut 4 waistband pieces, so I had to give that a miss this time, not that you get to see it anyway!!  I cut the waistband facing and the pocket bags from left over shweshwe from my last Zadie Jumpsuit which also helped with bulk reduction.  A bit of pattern tetris was required to get the must-have pieces onto the fabric, including taking 1cm off the hem depth to get the length in!

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Making up is quick, I made the same adjustment to the back welt as last time, actually inserting a welt pocket instead of just pretending.  I use that pocket for my phone all the time, especially as the hip yoke pockets on these trousers really aren’t suitable for holding a phone.  The insides are all overlocked to prevent fraying.  I made a few small adjustments to the crotch curve and inside leg seams, changing the angle of the front line, the front curve and dipping a little at the back too.  I ended up taking in an extra cm on the front and back inseams from the crotch curve down about 15-20cm.  Somehow I aways end up with too much fabric here.

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Whilst I will still be looking at some drag lines, one must be realistic about trousers, you have to move in them!  And sit in them.  These will do just fine, and I’m glad I’ve used up the remains of the fabric, with the scrappiest of scraps relegated to the scrapbusting pouf.  I wanted another pair of casual trousers in my wardrobe, I always end up with too many smart wool pairs in the winter!

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It’s so hard to photograph dark trousers!  We had a great day in London, and I’m glad I got the chance to get photos, because at  home these dark  pants would have been impossible to photograph!!

Autumn Jumpsuit

Last year, Daughter No 1 was looking for a jumpsuit. She’d seen something online that she fancied, but not quite as it was, so could I make something more along the lines of what she was after. Of course, I said yes, and started looking. I eventually found a pattern that I thought would fit the bill, just needed a few adjustments…. the magic pattern was McCalls 7539. Unfortunately, it looks like it’s no longer available. You might have to trawl Ebay or Etsy for a copy. It’s a handy pattern with two options for the jumpsuit and two dresses as well. I started with toiling the pattern as is, making the size 10.

Eventually in October last year she was able to come home and try on the toile. We had issues!!! I had a list of adjustments to make, just in fitting, nevermind the style lines that would have to change. Here’s what was on my list:

  • shorten the bodice by 2cm
  • move the sleeve head/armhole in 1cm
  • narrow the shoulders by 1cm
  • do a forward shoulder adjustment
  • lengthen the sleeves to make a fold-back cuff – 3cm
  • eliminate the patch pockets on the front trouser and make hip yoke pockets instead
  • eliminate the patch pockets on the back trouser altogether
  • eliminate the belt
  • make a waistband/yoke from the upper part of the trousers, 4cm deep
  • change the zippered back to a button opening front
  • angle the centre back seam to create better shaping in the back
  • shorten the trouser legs by 12cm
  • make the hem of the trousers suitable for turning up when required, make a deep hem
  • taper the trousers to the hem approx 2-3cm each side seam

Just a bit of work then… It also meant that, in a lot of areas, I actually ended up making the size 6-8. Needless to say I wasn’t exactly quick off the mark with the adjustments. I toiled and fitted two other garments that weekend, and this one took the back seat for a while. This was because the other two toiles included a pair of 80s trousers that looked like they were going to be very interesting when they were finished, and I was dead keen to get on with them! Unfortunately, I still haven’t got photos of those… Eventually I made the adjustments in the paper pattern to the fitting issues, made the pockets, adjusted the legs and left the front open for the next toile, which was finally done and fitted this year in around July/August. A few more tweaks were required.

We decided on a 3cm buttonstand that suited the little buttons found in the stash. These came off one of the other half’s shirts! We had a little head scratching time trying to decide whether the waistband should stop at the button placket, or run right through. In the end we decided it should go through. The button placket is made of an extension to the centre front of 1.5cm, and a folded facing of 3cm with a little extra to fold under to create a neat inside finish. It was then topstitched and edgestitched.

New hip yoke pockets, narrowed shoulders and a new buttonstand

The pants were tapered towards the hem a little more and she decided the length could be longer than originally agreed, the plan is to wear the jumpsuit mostly with boots, and they’ll probably be turned up a lot too! Another toile ensued which was pronounced good, so now it was finally time to cut the fabric out! eeek!

The fabric was bought from the Knitting and Stitching Show at Ally Pally in October 2018. We both bought corduroy from Bombay Fabrics’ stall, her choice being a steel grey (with a slight green tone). Luckily matching thread was easier to find than I’d expected, because we no longer have any sewing shops nearby, and I found the perfect buttons in my stash!

The actual sewing of the jumpsuit was uncomplicated and it all went together fairly quickly. For the most part I followed the given instructions, except where my new pattern deviated! I made the bodice part up, then the trouser part and then sewed them together at the waist. Some areas of bulk needed encouragement to get them to sit flatter, but I needed to be careful not to flatten the pile of the corduroy. Overall, I am really happy with how they’ve turned out, and I know Daughter No 1 is too! Now I’m just waiting for her to ask for another pair – possibly in denim…

Spring sewing that’s perfect for Autumn

Way back in February, I decided I’d make the Grace Trans-Seasonal Coat from Style Arc as part of my Great Module Sew Along.  I had 3m of dark dark navy blue twill bought from Fabworks, and I already had the pattern after buying it on a sale, the paper version!  I traced and toiled the size 14 and decided I didn’t like it, but the girls persuaded me it looked better than I thought, but maybe it was just too roomy.  It is a little oversized, with dropped shoulders and no structure, also unlined.  I traced the size down, shortened the body length by 3cm and decided to just go for it!

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Constantly with the hands in the pockets!

I managed to make about a quarter of it when I had to abandon it early in March and travel to South Africa.  So it was still waiting for me when I got back in June, but I had no inclination to carry on with it immediately, it was summer afterall!!  Some summer, I still think that was the wettest, chilliest, windiest summer I’ve had here since the first one in ’97.  However, finish it, I did!  It’s not quite like the pattern, I’ve made some modifications.

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First off, may I just say that Style Arc instructions, drawings and limited online photographs are all different, so you cannot trust any one of those to be right, because they contradict each other.  The instructions that come with the pattern are limited at best, so don’t go there if you’re a beginner who needs hand holding, because it’s not going to happen.  The Grace Coat is supposed to have bound edges, something I didn’t fancy, so I added seam allowance and made it up in the “normal” way.

grace 3

The pocket…  Drawings show it as decorative, the instructions and pattern pieces provided imply it’s to cover the opening.  Online pictures didn’t help, neither did emailing Stye Arc, so I made it to cover the pocket opening.  (They have now changed their line drawings so it’s clear the flap is decorative) The line drawings show it as decorative, which is pointless as far as I’m concerned.  The pocket didn’t get a welt in the end either.  The welt pattern piece is too big for the opening, and unnecessary if you have the flap in that position!  You either need the flap, or the welt, unless the flap is to cover the openng, then the welt goes on the other side.  But it’s still too big!  Anyway, by the time I’d got there, I was just a little fed up!  So I left it out and just topstitched.  You cannot see it anyway, with the flap covering.

grace 2
The Grace Coat, from Style Arc

You have extra wide seam allowances of 2cm on this coat, which you’re supposed to topstitch from the outside, after turning under the raw edge.  It does look good on the outside, but what a pain to do all that pressing, and measuring, on the inside!  I managed to steam my fingers a lot doing this.  Maybe next time I’ll do a Hong Kong finish inside, and topstitch outside, might look good with a contrast fabric or something with a pattern.

grace 6

I like my finished coat, don’t get me wrong, but will I make another?  I’d have to think about that.  In the meantime, it has come in handy this Autumn, the high turn-up collar keeps the wind out!  Apologies for the creases in the photos, this coat is the one I’m reaching for most at the moment with the windy weather, it’s easy to throw on and the pockets are a good size for mask, keys, wallet, etc.

grace 4

Perhaps I’ll make one in a waterproof fabric..