Plans for a New Dress

I made the Assembly Line V-Neck dress in October last year, and thought it was the sort of dress I’d have more than one of.  It’s also the sort of pattern you feel you have to make more than one of, due to the cost!  This one’s not available as PDF.  But until now, I only have that one.  Things might change though.  I’d bought some gorgeous, made in Scotland window pane wool in a reddish-brown colour from a little shop in Kenilworth in the summer, planning to make a pair of trousers and maybe a skirt (3m!!).  Then after seeing the pleated cuff trousers in the August Burda, thought I’d make those.  Now, I’m not so sure – and I have enough wool trousers for now.  But a dress…

The photo of the fabric isn’t the best to show off the colour, and I never thought I’d actually wear a colour like this near my face, but recently I’ve got a yellow-mustard jumper, and a smoked paprika cord jacket – so I’m getting brave!  Not just blue, grey & black anymore!!

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Just an idea of the fabric, not the best representation of the colour!

Last year I made the large, without a FBA, based, of course, on my measurements at the time.  In January of 2019, the #SewMySize hashtag was doing the rounds on Instagram, and I posted this picture,

A change in lifestyle and a healthier eating plan meant an update of measurements was required in March.

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March 2019 measurements

And now I can update those measurements again!

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November 2019

Which means I need to trace a new size dress, or do I?  I look very different in that dress now, and I prefer how it looks now I’m a little smaller.  And, I rather like wearing it without the belt!  I never thought that would happen!  So I have some thinking to do, do I just go with the size I have, or go down?  And should I line the wool?  The blue dress isn’t lined, I like it light and a lining would have changed the way the fabric hung.  Maybe a slip?  Too many decisions right now, so I’m going back to toiling my jeans patterns!

Floaty

I’ve got a bit of a backlog of projects still to show you, most of them items I made for Daughter No 2.  And a couple of my own.  Today’s offering is a blouse that I’d been putting off making for a while (I’m not a glutton for punishment!), but eventually I had to give in and get it made.  Daughter No 2 had asked for this blouse to be made in a piece of burgundy wine coloured fabric we bought from the Fancy Silk Store a rather long time ago now.  It’s polyester (so doesn’t like the iron), is drapey, floaty and slippy.

 

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Blouse 130 from Burda November 2013

The pattern is 130 from Burda November 2013.  (The link is to the German site, the usual one is still hinky, and I don’t think it will ever be as good a resource for archive patterns as it was.)  I traced the 36 and didn’t toile…  I figured it was a loose fit anyway, so will be ok.  I decided to French Seam everything on the inside to keep it all lovely and neat.  The front and back opening slits were both shortened, the front is now 15cm long, otherwise it would gape and show underwear, and that’s something Daughter No 2 did not want.  The back was also shortened, but not as much as the front.  Unfortunately, in the photos we took, none are of the back opening!

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The neckline is bound with self bias, as are the openings.  All would have been fine, but I shouldn’t have followed the instructions in the pattern to cut the bias strips to just 2cm wide.  It’s not quite enough, I should have cut 2.5 as a minimum especially for the neckline and the cuffs.  So if you’re planning on makng this blouse, that’s my reccommendation, cut wider bias strips!  Because the fibre content is polyester, it really didn’t want to stay pressed, which was a bit of a pain.  I used a lot of pins!

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Another thing to be wary of is the width of the sleeve band.  The sleeve edge is fully gathered into the bias band, and it does come up a tad narrow.  Thankfully Daughter No2 has narrow hands and skinny wrists, because we’d have come unstuck otherwise!  So check that measurement over your hands, because you might just get to that point and not be able to get the blouse on.

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But, I’m really happy with how it turned out, and might be persuaded to make another, but in a natural fibre this time…  That sleeve really is the best part of the whole top!  It’s basically a deep pleat, and is only secured with a few small stitches.  I reinforced the area with a scrap of fine sheer polyester fusible interfacing before stitching the pleat in place.  I hope it will give the area enough stability.

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In the mean time Daughter No 2 really loves this blouse and, funnily enough, has plans for me to make another…  But NOT in polyester!

Summer’s End

I have a little navy blue linen jacket that I wear in the summer, I made it somewhere in 2013 – I think.  I’ve tried looking for it on the blog, but I can’t find it, so I couldn’t have blogged it!  Anyway, it wasn’t the first time I’d used that particular pattern, and certainly wasn’t the last!  The pattern in question is 116/7 from April 2009!  (edit -*- I’ve found a picture of the blue jacket in this post, and an unlined version with Hong Kong seam finishes here!) I’d always loved the shape, the fit was good and three quarter sleeves for summer are perfect.  It’s a jacket that lives on the back of a chair in the dining room, in easy reach for dashing out if the weather is a bit inclement.  I really wanted a jacket that would do the same for the winter, but couldn’t choose a pattern.

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Jacket 116 Burdastyle April 2009

The problem with winter jackets is that they tend to either be smart blazer types, or loose, floppy, outdoor utility types.  I needed a casual jacket that I could wear with dresses, skirts, jeans and trousers.  Something in a colour that would fit seamlessly with my winter colours and not feel too smart.  And it needed to be warm – obviously!  While in Plymouth on the way to Cornwall in September I bought a piece of textured black cotton with the required weight and that became what I wanted to work around, but I still wasn’t having any luck with the style of jacket.

Two weeks ago, I was trying to work out what I could make with some small, left over pieces of various fabrics when I uncovered a piece of smoked paprika coloured corduroy.  This I’d bought last year at the sewing show at Ally Pally in October, and made a pair of Kana’s Standard trousers. (That link, apart from showing you the lovely colour of my trousers, also has a boiled wool version of the above jacket!) There was leftover because I’d bought 3m of that gorgeous colour.  I realised there was enough for a cropped jacket and offered it to the girls for a denim jacket style jacket.  They politely refused…. That’s when I had one of those lightbulb moments!  I would make my own cropped jacket!  But not too cropped – and with long sleeves.  And I knew exactly where to start.

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Burdastyle jacket 116 04/2009, lengthened!

I dug that jacket pattern out of the files and grabbed the pattern paper.  The jacket body was lengthened 5cm, I basically just traced the hem and curved front details and stuck the paper down 5cm from the original hemline.  I moved the patch pockets down by the same 5cm, it actually makes them much easier to access!  The sleeves have a “built-in” cuff, which I never really used, so I worked out that I needed 10cm more in the sleeve length and proceeded to lengthen by extending the seamlines on the sleeve patterns.  I checked the final width and was happy with where it came to, I want to be able to wear jumpers under this jacket, so I want room!  I didn’t toile but I did pin the paper together and do a quick paper fitting!  I have to add here that the pattern in the magazine is unlined, I made my own lining pieces, and so far have only made one version (out of 6) that isn’t lined!

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Scraffito lining

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With everything sorted I got cracking with cutting out, making the upper collar 3-4mm bigger on the outer edges, I’d already enlarged the front by the same amount.  This helps with “turn of cloth”, making sure the under collar stays under!  I also cut the under collar on the bias, with a centre back seam.  The jacket was definitely going to be lined, so I decided to interface properly with canvas chest pieces and a back stay.  I also interfaced the hems to get a nice sharp line and prevent “soft” hems.  I chose a black and white scraffito print viscose lining from the stash that I’d bought originally from Fabworks for the other half’s non-existent coat.  It’s non-existent because he still hasn’t chosen a lining.

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Topstitching and patch pockets with flaps helps to make the jacket feel more casual.

Anyway, the putting together went well, and I decided to add all the pockets and flaps this time, to emphasise the casualness of the jacket.  I put a few pictures on Instagram in my story highlights of the construction process, it’s by no means all of it, just a peek.  I had a headscratching moment for the buttons, trying to decide between vintage bronze dome buttons from the local antiques shop, or cool timber buttons a friend sent from a trip to Canada a few years back.  In the end I liked the change of size with the bronze buttons, and that they lend a sort of military look to the jacket.

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I really love this new jacket!  It has taken the place of the navy linen jacket for the cooler weather and has been worn on numerous occasions already!  The rich colour goes perfectly with my blues and greys and inevetable black for the winter with ease.  It’s going to be a top star in my winter wardrobe!

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Resolve

There are a couple of patterns languishing in my stash that I bought on a whim, in a rush or on impulse just after a release date. Then there are those that I have managed to use – not only once, but a couple of times.  I think one of my resolutions for next year needs to be to make use of all the patterns (excluding vintage patterns!!) I’ve bought, or to give them to better home.

I need my patterns to work for me, and preferably not just for one season, although there are centrainly more than a fair few that are definitely seasonally specific!  The Teddy Designer Pants from StyleArc are not one of those.  I decided, back in August, to make a pair in some pale grey marled wool that I’d got from Fancy Silk Store in Birmingham last year (although it may have been early this year).  It was originally earmarked for a dress for one of the girls, but I found it in the winter fabrics boxes and it whispered to me that if I made a pair of trousers that didn’t need much meterage, there would still be enough for a dress…  Needless to say, I listened to that fabric!

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StyleArc’s Teddy Designer Pants in grey wool

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I decided the Teddy Pants would do the trick, with a wider fabric I can get the trouser legs next to each other, only slightly stepped.  I cut one of the pairs of pocket bags and the inner waistband from a different fabric to save fabric, and to have a non-scratchy fabric around my waist.   I was lucky enough to find the perfect couple of buttons in the button box, along with the last grey zip in the stash.  Total stashbusting!  The two pairs I made in linen over the summer have had to be taken in so much that they are basically a size down, so I traced the 12 and just went for it.  Luckily, they fit!  Phew!

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Although I did make a slight mistake…  I was so keen on getting these made and finished that I carefully marked, pressed and stitched that nice long, deep pleat in place the wrong way round.  I only realised when I put the trousers on once they were finished and got caught up in the pleat when my hand went into the pocket!  Oh dear…  But I had other things to make, so the wool Teddy pants were left on the side for a while until I was in the right mood to unpick everything and re-do.  I’d put the pattern pieces away and forgotten which way to press that pleat, so I checked the pattern envelope for guidance.  And what do you know, the images show the pleat pressed towards the inner leg, so I thought it was right…  But definitely not!  The pleat has to go to the outer leg!  I will remember for next time.  One thing I probably need to go back to is to topstitch the pocket opening on the trouser front.  These pocket bags just hang from the side seam, so they have a tendency to flap around.  Normally that wouldn’t be a problem, but with a contrasting pocket fabric, I’d rather the pockets didn’t flap about and show that contrast off.

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The cocoon shape legs and that deep pleat are my favourite details of these trousers.
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Close up…

These trousers were supposed to be worn to Daughter No2’s graduation in the middle of September, but with the backwards pleat and warmer than expected weather, they didn’t get their moment of glory.  But, I’m glad I made a wool version, I’ve already worn these 4 times since the cooler weather started!  And the nice thing about using wool instead of linen is that there is no bagging, that pleat stays nice and sharp and I don’t get those big baggy knees that always turn up in the linen versions.  So, a successful winter project so far.  I might look out for some nice rusty, paprika or chocolate wool and make another pair.  Or maybe denim…  😮

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By the way, this pattern is available in a multi-size PDF format, so instead of just getting your size and the one above and below, in seperate files, you can get size 4-16 or 18-30 in a nested pdf!  It’s the only way I buy StyleArc patterns.

Gold Peacock Trousers

What a title!  😉  This is a project that’s been long waiting to be shown off.  The pattern for the trousers is from the July issue of BurdaStyle 2019, number 120.  I knew when I saw the photo in the magazine that it would appeal to at least one of the girls, if made in the “right fabric”.  As always, that’s the crucial bit of any successful project!  As predicted, one said, “Hmm…” and the other, “Ooooo!”  I’ll let you figure out which was which  🙂

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Trousers 120 Burdastyle 07/2019

I traced the 36 and toiled it in August, doing a fitting over the bank holiday weekend at the end of the month.  All I really needed to do was narrow the waist around 1.5cm, and that was it!  I like an easy fit!!  I had thought there might be a length issue, but it seems the hem is in the right place, even for someone with rather long legs.

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Burda trousers 120 07/2019

I atually decided against physically narrowing the side seams etc, because this pattern has a sneaky hidden half belt that uses wide elastic attached to the side seams that fastens in the front with a buckle.  Sooo, I just made the elastic a bit shorter, and it pulls the waistband in.  This also means that if daughter no 2 has a heavy lunch, there’s a bit of give!

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Belt detail

The fabric we chose is a piece we bought while on holiday in South Africa.  It comes from a little shop in East London (Eastern Cape) called Bessie’s.  Daughter No 2 did well at this shop, spending about R1 000, which, when you convert to pounds is around £50, but she got way more than what you’d get here in Blighty for the same amount of money!  Three pieces of African wax were chosen, and this is one of them.  It has a pale yellow ground, large “peacock” eyes (or leaves…) filled in with gold and very dark green (not black!) outlines and stripes.  It is also relatively narrow, so with the wide legs of the pants pieces, I used a fair bit of the 3m we bought.  I didn’t try to pattern match….

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The making was pretty standard, pockets sit on the outside of the front and should have had a flap at the bottom, but we left that off, it does nothing.  I found the amount required for the elastic to be excessive, even given I needed to reduce the amount so it actually pulled a bit, so if you don’t have exactly the amount required in the notions section, don’t stress.  It took a while to get a buckle though.  In the magazine, they’ve used a standard black plastic bag buckle, but that would have spoilt the look.  In the end I found a bronze metal buckle in a haberdashery shop in Plymouth at the end of September that was the right width, and looked much better than a black plastic one!

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So these pants were finally handed over to their happy recipient two weeks ago, who definitely plans to wear them this autumn, with tights, boots and a nice warm jumper and jacket!  I’m pretty happy that she’s happy, and glad that they haven’t gone straight into the summer clothes boxes in the loft.  I think there may be another version of this pattern on the cards, but we need to find that elusive “right fabric” again.

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Did You Miss Me?

Heavens, it has been a while, hasn’t it??  Thing is, when you don’t write these post for a while you quickly get out of the habit of doing so, and kinda forget how to write!  I have lots to show, and very few photos!  But last week I made a thing, and I even managed to get the other half to take some pictures for me – miracles!!

So, what’s the lucky garment?  Well, it’s a blouse.  I have only used this pattern once before, it’s a Burda pattern – as you may well have guessed, based on my history!  I made this first blouse (way before I had even heard of blogs) in silk satin in a gorgeous wine colour.  (See it worn in this post)  I loved it, but soon it was too small and I relegated it to the “unwearable” box in the loft.  This summer it came out and I decided that, as I didn’t wear it anymore, I’d see if it could be recut and refashioned into something else.  It sat in that pile until last month, when I ironed it before cutting.  Then I put it on, just to see…  And it fits again!!  Woohoo.  I love how it feels, the batwings and floppy collar.  After the second wear while I was organising the summer fabrics to go back into the boxes for the winter, I came across a piece of cotton voile I’d bought from Fabric Godmother about 5 years ago.  A brainwave hit and I thought, I finally know what pattern to use for this fabric!  The same one that I’d used for the silk blouse, 118 from October 2008.

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Burda Blouse #118 October 2008 worn for Me Made May 2014

Unfortunately it’s too old a pattern to be found on the database on the BurdaStyle website, and the magazine with the instructions and line drawings is in a box in the loft, so I cannot show you any details!  But thanks to helpful commenters, and the Russian Burda website, here’s a link!  It’s a simple pattern, the back is cut on the fold, sleeves are kimono style/batwings, so they’re grown on.  You do need to make sure that the fabric is wide enough for the pattern, the back is ok, but the front has grown on button stand and facing, so it’s wider overall.  The sleeve is gathered into a wide cuff and finishes at the three quarter mark.  There are no darts for shaping, but it’s not a billowing, shapeless style.  The collar is just the stand part, and the front has fullness that is gathered into the collar.  It makes for a soft, draping top that’s easy to wear.  I used fine sheer polyester fusible interfacing on the buttonstands, cuffs and collar, and French seams throughout.

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Burda blouse #118 October 2008
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Gentle gathers on the front into the collar

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I’ll have to get to Birmingham for photos of other projects, or get daughter no2 back home!  And while we’re photographing her new clothes, she can do mine for me!  I’ve had a great weekend sewing, cut out 4 projects, of which 3 are complete and one is waiting for bias binding – but it’s in silk and I’m having a day off from fancy fabrics…

We went to Cornwall at the end of September – and got thoroughly rained on – and I took lots of patterns with me to trace in the evenings.  I made good progress and only didn’t manage to trace the Lander pants.  I have stuff for me & stuff for each of the girls traced and now ready to toile, including the Tosti Utility Jacket, finally!!!  It WILL be made this year!

A Little Catch Up

 

The blog posting hasn’t really gone to plan in the last couple of months, and neither is it how I normally would work!  I’ve been spending a lot more time on the allotment, especially with the veggies (time consuming little buggers), and sewing for Daughter No2, who isn’t at home and therefore makes it tricky to get photos of finished garments.  Today though, I’ve got a couple of items I made for myself.  A while ago I said I had plans to make another LB Pullover and possibly a Uvita Top.  Well, those have been made, and worn, and I only now have some photos for you.

 

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Uvita Top by Itch to Stitch

I have to admit, that as far as 3/4 sleeve tees go, I find it hard to beat the Uvita.  I’ve also used the Lark Tee with the 3/4 sleeve option, but the Uvita is just so easy to wear.  The fabric was bought from a fellow sewist who was using  Instagram to destash.  I think it was originally from Fabworks – a dusky blue and sort of beige stripe viscose jersey with good drape.  The only downside was its determination to curl to the right side – which made the neck treatment on the tee just ever so slightly tricky.  Let’s just say a tailor’s ham and lots of pins were used…

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So easy to wear!

Then the LB Pullover – was there ever such a quick “sweatshirt” to make?  This is the size 14, I’d sized down from the original 16 some time ago, and I think it’s just right for me – for now.  Fabric came from Rosenberg & sons a couple of years ago, has a cool texture and is a lovely blue.  But then all blues are lovely.  I had intended to make some of these tops in linen over the summer, but I guess I’ll just have to get to that plan next year!

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Warm and cosy on a wet, rainy day!

Then the last of the “show-offs” for today are the trousers I made a few weeks ago, Burda 115 from May 2019.  I’m still on the wearable toile, haven’t found “proper” fabric yet, but I like the pants, style and fit.  I wasn’t sure about the big pleat in the front – but the other half has no problems in deciding.  He doesn’t like it.  So I have to ask, are pants with pleats on the front flattering to me, or not?

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These are the size 42, with a leg length adjustment, 3cm shorter than the pattern was drafted.  Apologies for the photo quality, I’m using my phone’s forward camera and it’s not the best…

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So – yes to the pleats, or no???