Sewing double – twice!

Bellatrix the Fourth
Bellatrix the Fourth

April for the Monthly Stitch sewists is “Sewing Double” month.  We all have those tried & tested patterns that we have no problem running up quickly, loving the fit, style, etc.  My favourite pattern this year just has to be Papercut Pattern’s Bellatrix Blazer.

This is the fourth incarnation – and most certainly will not be the last!  The fabric is a gorgeous pistachio-y green medium weight linen that was part of my haul at the Sewing for Pleasure 2 weeks ago at the NEC.  It was going to make a vintage bolero to go with an early 50s sundress I’m making but….  I miscalculated the conversion from yards to metres.  I bought 1m but should have got just 20cm more and it would have worked.  Never mind, as you can see, Daughter No2 is pretty pleased I cannot do Imperial to save my life.  As usual, she’s come out the winner!

DSC07857-1Only one problem, 1m is barely enough for Bellatrix.  I had to cut the sleeves on the cross-grain to fit them in & had to forgo the matching facing pieces on the peplum thingie.  I had toyed with the idea of doing some contrast fabric for the welt strips and the front that forms the outer collar, but it would have restricted the number of outfits Daughter No2 could have paired it with.

DSC07854-1The lining…  I did say at the end of the last post with those MAD trousers that the lining in the jacket would look familiar  🙂  I used almost the rest of the handpainted cotton for 90% of the lining for the jacket, the exception being the sleeves.  I dug out some left-over bremsilk for the sleeves.

DSC07859-1I used Gill Arnold‘s fine sheer polyester fusible on the linen peplum pieces, the front & facing front & on the back above the shoulder blades & into the armholes.  For extra structure on the shawl collar I used a fusible canvas, also from Gill.  If you’re going to use a stiff interfacing like this, make sure you remove the seam allowance – you do not want that bulk in your seam!

Interfacing , front & undercollar and the back
Interfacing , front & undercollar and the back

As usual, the whole thing went together really quickly, and..  I have fixed the sleevehead vs armhole issue!  YAY!  The answer (for me anyway) was to raise the sleevehead 1cm, keep more of the height on the front than the back, and merge the extra into the existing shape at the front & back notches.  I forgot to take a photo to show what I mean, but next time I’ll put up a picture.  This adjustment has now finally worked, the last time I didn’t leave enough height on the front, so it was still a little short when fitted into the armhole.

DSC07852-1The sleeve fits really well now, and there is plenty of movement without the drag lines that appeared on the previous versions.  So, there it is, four Bellatrix blazers since the start of the year.  I have some pinstripe cashmere blend wool that I think will be enough to make another – that can wait a little though, I have a feeling another couple of linen or cotton canvas blazers are lurking in my near future! How many times have you used one pattern?

DSC07858-1Three blazers

Three blazers

Clockwise, left to right: le Bellatrix Blazer français, Curtains for Bellatrix and Bellatrix III

I have another “sewing Double” project to be getting on with this month, so bye for now, I have silk chiffon to cut up!  🙂

“I love your trousers – where did you get them?”

"Oh, I didn't buy them, my Mum made them..."
“Oh, I didn’t buy them, my Mum made them…”

First time out with these, standing in the queue waiting to pay for her handful of Creme Eggs the trousers have been noticed.  These are the trousers that shouldn’t have been – just a quick toile, you know.  I had this fabric in my stash, I’m pretty sure it’s a hand painted/blocked piece, all cotton.  I think someone was going to make a quilt with it as it had a seam up the middle and I did think I could finish that off, but I don’t do quilts.

DSC07809-1I do do trousers.  I was toiling style number 110 from BurdaStyle November 2013, the pattern I used for the Monthly Stitch’s Smarty Pants month of February.  Once Daughter No2 had them on, she decided she rather liked the mad print & asked me if they could be made “wearable”.  I raised my eyebrows and looked askance at her -“Seriously?”

DSC07810-1Oh, she was serious alright!  Sure, no problem..  They got shoved in the cupboard because I had other things to be getting on with at the time.  All they needed was all the seams neatening, (because who neatens seams on a toile?) a fly zip insertion (ever done one of those when the trousers are pretty much finished already?) an inner waistband & interfacing & the hem and cuffs turned up & stitched.

DSC07814-1I decided to do it today.  I wanted a quick job…  Well, they’re done now & as usual, she loves them!  I keep seeing all the things I would never do on a “proper” pair, the pattern doesn’t line up from the trouser front onto the waistband, the front legs have a different part of pattern to the backs, the pattern doesn’t line up from the fronts onto the hip yoke pockets either & the centre front is slightly off pattern centre.  These things would bug the hell out of me if they were mine, but she seems fine with it all!

DSC07811-1Would you wear madly printed trousers like this?  They’re definitely not in my wardrobe comfort zone, but this would be a very boring world if we all dressed the same, wouldn’t it?

DSC07817-1Now I have my fourth Bellatrix Blazer to finish off – you’ll see a familiar fabric as the lining.

Happy Mother’s Day to all those who celebrate today!

Tried & Tested – Burda Trouser Patterns

i love trousers
A small selection of my favourite trouser patterns

With all this commotion regarding trousers I thought I’d share my most commonly used patterns.  These are all Burda patterns, traced from the monthly magazines, and all made for me, not the daughters!  They don’t often require the same pattern made up 4 or 5 times, they prefer different stuff each time!  🙂

Mostly I like a trouser pattern that has some width in the leg.  Not to say I have never made cigarette pants, but I do like “swooshy” trousers.  Another hang-up (albeit unknowing) of the 70s I guess!  I live in trousers, all year round.  Linen trousers with a wide leg are so cool & comfortable in the summer & for me, far better than shorts & definitely better than skirts!

The first pattern is the oldest & most probably the most used.  I cannot show you a photograph from the magazine, it’s in storage in the loft!  Trousers 112 (a-d) from April 2000 have been made in linens, cottons & wool, those being lined for the winter.  I’ve made both lengths too.  I love the fit at the low waist, the side zip & the inseam pockets just below the shaped yoke/waistband.  The hem measures 62cm on the full length pair, so you can see what I mean about them being “swooshy”!

I don’t have a wool pair in my wardrobe this season, & the linen trousers are in the loft with all the old Burda magazines, so you’ll have to settle for the working drawing & my assurance that it is a good pattern!

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Trousers 112 BurdaStyle 4/2000

Next up is a pattern I’ve used mostly for summer trousers.  It’s 102 from Burdastyle 2/2002.  It has a straight waistband that sits on the waist, a fly front & hip yoke pockets.  I like the optional cuffs at the hem.  They’re a straight leg pattern, with a hem width of 50cm.  Again, swooshy, but not as wide all the way down as the previous trousers.  Unfortunately because of the season, I don’t have them to hand, & until I started this blog, was notoriously absent from photographs, preferring to be at the other end of the camera.

Trousers 102 BurdaStyle 02/2002
Trousers 102 BurdaStyle 02/2002

I do, however, have a blurry photocopy of the image from the magazine & the working drawings to show you.  As you can see, the trousers are not so baggy on the thigh, but get nice & wide from the knee down.

Trousers 102, BurdaStyle 02/2002

Next on my pile is style 104 & 5 from BurdaStyle 09/2003.  I’ve put them together because they use the same pattern pieces, the only difference is 104 has a side zip & 105 a front fly.  Again, a pattern that’s been made in both linen & wool with a shaped leg, falling straight from the knee & having a 50cm hem width.

Trousers 104 & 105 BurdaStyle 09/2003
Trousers 104 & 105 BurdaStyle 09/2003

Now this next pattern is one of my absolute favourites, 116 from BurdaStyle 03/2004.  I have absolutely no idea how many times I have used this pattern – quite possibly at least once a year I find the need to make another version of these trousers.  I adore the fit.  They sit snugly at the waist & hip, have decent sized pockets and fall from the hip straight to the floor.  I have them in wool, linen, cotton & linen & one in each of the colours I love so much!  The shaped yoke on the back means you get a really nice shape, perfect for those who need a bit of a sway-back adjustment.

Trousers 116 BurdaStyle 03/2004
Trousers 116 BurdaStyle 03/2004

I have a copy of a copy of the picture from the magazine for you this time.

Image from Burdastyle 03/2004
Image from Burdastyle 03/2004

I know it’s not the greatest image, but it does show that the pants are more fitting in the hip area & just how nice & wide they are at the hem!  55cm of linen swoosh! 🙂

Only a couple more, I promise!  Now I have style 105 from Burda 08/2008.  They’re lovely & long & wide & they have turn ups!!  Swoon…  The shaped waistband with double buttons is fab & there is a neat welt pocket with button closing at the back.  I made these twice for myself when a friend ( a very good friend) asked if I could possibly make her a pair.  I used a fabulous black wool with faint white pinstripe.  That was the first pair.  Since then she’s had a pair in printed linen & another plain wool pair!

Image from BurdaStyle 08/2008
Image from BurdaStyle 08/2008

Here is the welt pocket on the back.

Welt detail for trousers 105
Welt detail for trousers 105

And the working drawings..

Trousrs 105 BurdaStyle 08/2008
Trousrs 105 BurdaStyle 08/2008

And the second last of my tried & tested BurdaStyle trouser patterns is this one.

Trousers 102, BurdaStyle 07/2009
Trousers 102, BurdaStyle 07/2009

I have this pattern made up in cream wool (lined), white linen, brown linen, khaki linen, black linen, lightweight denim….  I don’t really need to go on, do I??  The pattern is 102 from BurdaStyle 07/2009.  I’m pretty sure what first influenced me to trace the pattern was the picture in the magazine.  The model is standing in front of a Cape Dutch farmhouse.  Homesick much??

Trousers 102 BurdaStyle 07/2009
Trousers 102 BurdaStyle 07/2009

They have a shaped waistband that sits just below the natural waist, hip yoke pockets, but not angled ones, a fly zip & a great fit.  I’d like to say these are my favourite, but I think I’ve already said that about each & every pattern I’ve featured so far!  Needless to say, there are at least 2 of each of these in my current wardrobe.

And now – last, but by absolute no means least – these fabulous bootcut trousers.  I. Love. These!  They are 118 from BurdaStyle 04/2009.  At the moment I have two pairs in my wardrobe, a caramel colour you have seen in some of my more recent photographs without the cuffs, & a pair of dark blue & grey plaid with the cuffs I made last year.

Trousers 118 Burdastyle 04/2009
Image from Burdastyle 04/2009

Now I certainly don’t have the tall willowy figure of this model on the balcony of her Cape holiday home, but I can dream…  I love the fit of these at the waist & hip, the narrow thigh & the wide swoosh to the floor!  The little patch pockets are big enough for my iPod or a spot of cash if I need to pop to the shops without hauling my bag along.  They have become a firm favourite of mine.  Although I love them to death, I to have to turn up 6cm in the mid-leg.  They are waaay too long for me otherwise – but look at that hem circumference!  🙂

Trousers 118 BurdaStyle 04/2009
Trousers 118 BurdaStyle 04/2009
Here's my caramel pair, without the cuffs
Here’s my caramel pair, without the cuffs
And the navy & grey plaid pair, with cuffs
And the navy & grey plaid pair, with cuffs

And that, as they say, is all – folks!  Hope I haven’t bored you to death with my preference for wide legged trousers – all from older BurdaStyle magazines…  Hmm, I wonder if that’s telling me something.  The trousers I have traced from the newer magazines have all been for the girls.  I have finally decided on my choice of pattern for my own Smarty Pants entry, 102 from 07/09 in a stretch caramel linen.  🙂

ps:  All BurdaStyle images remain copyright of their original owners, their use here is for purely illustrative use.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bellatrix III

DSC07082-1

Yup, I’ve made another one!  I still haven’t quite got the sleevehead – armhole issue sorted, but it’s getting there.  So, how many of these will I actually make this year?  Who knows!  It’s really quick to make, looks fab & uses very little fabric (apart from the sleeves – how long are they!!)

I was tossing fabric out of one of my stash boxes on Tuesday after I’d finished my Jungle blouse to see what else I had for me.  I made two piles:  Daughter No1 & Daughter No2.  (I really should have dug in a different box)  One of the pieces in the Daughter No2 pile was a 1m piece of black wool & polyester mix with a grey stripe, making a windowpane design.  It was to have been made into a wiggle skirt, but her nose got this odd wrinkle when I offered it up.

Just off-hand I wondered how it would look as a Bellatrix Blazer.  I laid it out & attempted to place the pattern pieces, cheating ever so slightly by placing the sleeves on the cross grain – but it fit!  Sooo…  I cut it!  Overnight I remembered I had some turquoise & lime spotty silk that was to have been a dress.  I’d got so far with it before realising it was totally not me, so bagged it & stuffed it into the far reaches of the fabric cupboard for “recutting”.  I though it would be fabulous as the lining in what would otherwise be a plain, formal looking garment.  It was just enough for the front & back pieces & the pockets, but again those sleeves wouldn’t play ball.  In the end I used some left-over black lining that had been used to replace the lining in Husband’s French Connection jacket.

bellatrix III CollageSo this is a real win for the stashbusting efforts of 2014.  I am definitely counting the recutting of the dress in this one!  Chalk up 2 from the stash – whoot, that means I can go shopping!  🙂

Lining that's meant to be seen!
Lining that’s meant to be seen!
Awesome pockets!
Awesome pockets!

I cannot say too many times that this is a really easy pattern to make.  Cut on Tuesday night, interfaced & marked on Wednesday morning, sewn in the late afternoon & finished on Thursday.  Can you name another jacket you can finish that quickly?  The only thing I did differently this time was to use some fusible canvas interfacing on the undercollar piece to hold this lightweight wool in place.  With the cotton canvas print I left the stiffness out, but the fabric really needed the support this time.  I do still want to make one for daughter No1, but first she needs to come home so I can show her the fabric I have in mind, & of course, she needs to try on a toile.

DSC07074-1
Demure Bellatrix?

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DSC07073-1

I know the photos do not do the stripe any justice, when we have weather that will allow outdoor photos with decent light, I promise to take a few more.  For now though, the UK is battening down the hatches in preparation for yet another deluge & high winds.  I guess we should be lucky that we at least aren’t suffering with the cold & snow like our friends in the USA.

In the interim, I have found another couple of pieces in the stash (!) for me, so I’m off to sketch out some ideas, because I can’t do anything with them in my head.

Get those sketchbooks out!
Get those sketch & note books out!

Le Bellatrix Blazer français

Le Bellatrix Blazer français
Le Bellatrix Blazer français

Well, it’s done!  I am a little slow in posting this project here – trying to make some progress with other projects too!  I had all the pieces for this “proper” Bellatrix Blazer, bar the lining, cut & marked on Sunday afternoon, & interfaced just before Sherlock started on Sunday evening.  That’s what you saw in the previous post.  So around 10:30am-ish on Monday morning, I got stuck in.  A stray thought went through my head:  “I wonder if I can finish this whole thing today, so Daughter No2 can wear it to school tomorrow…?”  Nothing like a little challenge!  🙂

DSC06969

In the cutting out process I cut the facing fronts, which form the upper collar, 3mm wider along that front edge.  I wanted to use a tailoring technique that helps to ensure the seam stays underneath.  I did the same on the lower edges of the “peplum” pieces & the front edge.  It really did help, as well as a lot of steam & flattening with my clapper!  I also lengthened the shoulder seam by 2cm & the sleeve is 6cm longer.  I cut the back lining piece with a 2cm pleat in the centre, this to enable movement, but otherwise kept everything else as standard.  I even stayed with the bagged lining instruction!

DSC06967This really is an easy pattern to make.  The pockets are in-seam & the instructions are so plain & simple, a novice should be able to follow them with no problem!  I found no problems, apart from the front sleevehead:armhole ratio.  There is more armhole than sleeve!  I must alter this on my traced pattern, but for now I managed to ease it all in & it doesn’t look like there was a problem.

DSC06971
I need a bit more pressing on that front edge!

We are on the lookout for a buckle or something for the front closure, we sort of decided we’d like an edge to edge closure, rather than a button.  For now though, she’s happy to wear it as it is, & her friends have been suitably impressed with it!  It got its first outing to school on Tuesday morning & in double French the teacher was most impressed with the fabric choice!  I’ve shown the pattern & a suitable piece of fabric to Daughter No1 too, fingers crossed she likes the combination & I can make another!

DSC06972

In Jungle news, I spent many fruitless hours searching for my bodice block & toiles from last year, finally located them, only to realise I’d eaten too much over Christmas (and any other time in between) & needed to re-draft anyway!  Grrr.  So that’s what I did yesterday, & I’m intending to move along with adding the style lines & creating my puuuurfect jungle blouse.

A very pleased youngster with 2 new jackets in 3 days!
A very pleased youngster with 2 new jackets in 3 days!

How are your jungle plans?  And have you taken advantage of the special offer at Raquel Gonzalez‘ Etsy store?  You only have until this Monday to get 15%off a purchase over $50, and free shipping, so get cracking!  Use the code:  NewYearNewPurse when you check out.

Making Progress

Thanks for all the great replies to my previous post!  It’s not the first time I’ve used a soft furnishing fabric for a jacket, but it is the first time I hadn’t intended for it to be seen by the general public!  Now I did say I wouldn’t be making another Bellatrix until I’d sorted my Jungle January stuff.  Yeah, I got distracted!  Daughter No2 & I got digging in the stash & identified 3 pieces of fabric that could be used for the next one, & the winner was…

Paris print cotton canvas for Bellatrix take two
Paris print cotton canvas for Bellatrix take two

It’s a cotton canvas with a French print, writing & Eiffel towers all over.  I cut it out yesterday & raided the stash lining box again.  There was enough of a silver/grey/lilac that I’d used for a vintage jacket.  Again, praise for the small pattern pieces!  I have added a movement pleat in the back lining piece.  This cotton canvas had a degree of movement in it & I don’t want to be fixing ripped armhole seams in the lining after a couple of wears.  I managed to interface the fabric in the 30 minutes before Sherlock started last night, so today I’m ready to hit the ground running!  YAY!

I was asked by a local store to make them some bunting (who else wants winter over now already?), so I again resorted to the stash.  Funny how many pieces of left-over fabrics there are in my cupboard!  Anyhow, I yanked out a pile of pretty stuff, a lot of which are Liberty lawn, so this is going to be high-class bunting!!

Fabrics for bunting
Fabrics for bunting

I also re-measured husband for his pattern cut shirt.  Thank goodness I did!  In the 3 years since I decided to make him a handmade shirt (or 2) he’s got a teeny bit bigger!  🙂  We both have to be honest, and he’s not been that bad.  Anyhow, so that’s another thing to start, in addition to the Jungle blouse for me.

As well as rambling on about my progress this weekend, I have a special offer for the readers of this blog.  There are so many talented people plying their crafts on Etsy, but here’s one person who makes the most amazing handbags & totes.  Seriously, I have spent far too much time on her page, drooling over the colours & styles & being absolutely hopeless in my decision making.  However, as it’s the New Year & we all need a boost – and a new handbag – Raquel Gonzalez is offering you guys 15% off any purchase over $50 (that’s US Dollars), including free postage.  The discount is valid until Monday 20th January, so don’t dither too long over making a decision!

Use the code:  NewYearNewPurse when you check out.  As for me, I cannot decide between this floral tote (perfect for stashing fabric shopping in, yes??)  & this block colour turquoise one.  I wonder how much fabric one could stuff into one of these….  Then again, if I wasn’t worried about hiding fabric, I could totally have this purple crocodile number – drool!!

The Bellatrix Blazer – Take One Curtain

Yup, you read that correctly!  This jacket has been made using a curtain – let me explain.  I won the Papercut Patterns Bellatrix Blazer in Kat‘s giveaway last year.  I had a pretty good idea it would look pretty fabulous on the Daughters, and I especially liked the cropped version.

Bellatrix
Bellatrix

Thankfully I have a lightbox, because I needed it to trace the pattern!  For this first go I was going completely by the book & Daughter No2’s measurements.  With a new pattern I like to keep it simple and see where I need to alter, & I like to do the whole thing according to the instructions, so I can decided where I’d do things differently.  On the whole, the pattern went together really well.  One thing I don’t like is a bagged lining, so that’s definitely going to be changed when I make the “real thing”.  I will also be lengthening the sleeve by about 8cm (Daughter No2 has orangutang arms).

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I made the toile from a sturdy cotton jaquard curtain fabric to replicate what it may be like in a wool or maybe a thick twill.  Considering there is no interfacing in it, I think it stands up quite well.  Of course there is always a hitch…  I put it all together & then did a fitting.  Daughter No2 immediately went into raptures & wanted to wear it as is – “I like it, the colour is cool, the fabric is cool…”  Really??  It’s a CURTAIN!!  I have a serious problem – I am incapable of saying the word “No”.  So I looked doubtful instead & said, there’s no interfacing – it needs to be lined…

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But there was no dissuading her.  So I retrofitted the lining – no easy feat, I can tell you!  There is no understitching on the collar, no stay-tape & actually no fastening either, but she thinks its fab & went out in it tonight…  I guess I’d better get cracking on the proper one now, but I’ll take my time, afterall, she has a new jacket already!  🙂

DSC06939But before she gets another blazer, I need my Jungle attire!

p.s. I gave in to temptation & made this version