A Dream of a Pencil Skirt

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Pencil Skirt #120 from BurdaStyle magazine July 2012

Using up the second piece of fabric from Evie of Pendle Stitches, I love this pencil skirt pattern!  Initially Daughter No2 was thinking a 50s wiggle skirt for this plaid, but wanted something a little more wiggley than is standard in the original patterns.  Instead of drafting something, I had a quick leaf through a couple of years worth of Burdastyle magazines & hauled out a couple for approval.  This is the one that got the nod, it’s 120 from the July 2012 issue.

Technical drawing from Burdastyle
Technical drawing from Burdastyle

It has a high waist and front darts that curve at the waistline to side seam, instead of going up to the waist, and normal back darts.  The other thing that I quite liked was that the centre back seam is not straight, but shaped to the zip stop.  I was hoping this, along with the darts, would make fitting the back better.  As it turned out, there were no fitting issues for the back at all!  Usually there is a degree of “sway back” fiddling to do, but not here.

Matching the plaid
Great darts for a fabulous fit

Because Daughter No2 has a difference of 2 sizes between her waist & hip measurement, I made a toile a little bigger and then re-adjusted the pattern.  So using the 34 on the waist, the skirt had to be graded out to the 38 (or just narrower) at the hip.  There was no way she was going to accept the skirt being the width of the 38 at the hem, so I tapered the side seams back down to the 34.  This gives the skirt a much more of a pegged look.  The other thing changed from the toile was the length.  We shortened it 4cm & took in another 2cm around the hem, 5mm on each seam.

The back fitted really well
The back fits really well

The fabric is 100% polyester, which means static & sticking to tights.  I bought a gorgeous wheat-coloured cupro lining from my local store to counter that & it’s made the skirt sit so nicely too.  Not needing the facing pieces meant no interfacing either, so something needed to be done to stop the top line stretching out of shape.  The interfacing could be applied to the skirt itself, or something without stretch needs to be sewn into the seam when attaching the lining to the skirt at the waistline.  You could use the selvage edge of your lining fabric, or seam tape.  Whatever you chose it needs to be thin – you don’t need added bulk here!  I used some seam tape from my stash, about 1cm wide.  It was also understitched to the lining fabric to ensure no popping over at the top.

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I cut the plaid with the dominant stripe down the centre front & placed on the fold of the hem.  So if she wants it longer, or shorter, it’s not happening!

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I recon this skirt’s a hit, it’ll be fab for school & won’t really need ironing either!  I think it’s also safe to say there will be another made from this pattern fairly soon, I love the shape & fit just about as much as Daughter No2 does. 🙂

We have still not found a pattern for the butterfly print, but hopefully it won’t take too much longer – it’s not going into the stash!!

The Plantain

Deer & Doe Plantain
Deer & Doe Plantain

I’d been meaning to make a whole bunch of Plantain tees for the girls since I downloaded the free pattern in the summer but it kept getting pushed down the make it pile in favour of more interesting stuff!  I did make one for myself – a sort of wearable toile.

I like the overall pattern, the shape is cool, with just enough flare on the lower edge – but…  I don’t like the neckline.  The scoop is just a little too low for me, makes me feel all exposed and uncomfortable.  Daughter No has a bought tee with a similar neckline so I thought I’d finally make one for her.

The fabric is a purple/burgundy jersey I got a fair bit of in the swap at the SewBrum meet.  It had belonged to Claire and was about 4 metres worth!  I used the remnants of a striped jersey bought at Guthrie & Ghani for another Day to Night Drape top for Daughter No1 for the elbow patches.  (The top is made, but I have no photos of her in it yet.)

Daughter No2 opted for the 3/4 sleeve and definitely wanted the elbow patches, thank you very much!  This is such a quick top to make, run up on the overlocker and needing the sewing machine only for applying the patches, hemming with a twin needle and top stitching the neck binding, it takes about an hour.  (Not counting cutting out)

plantain collage

I should have known to adjust the shoulders for her, but that’s the only necessary adjustment.  I still think the neckline is a little too low though.  Any thoughts on this? If you’ve made a Plantain (or two) how do you feel about the neckline?  Those elbow patches are also not quite on the elbow, they need to come down a few centimetres.

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I love the colour of this jersey, and the weight.  This is the sort you want have unlimited access to, great drape and texture.  I have enough to make a few more tops, but I don’t want to waste anything so I’ll try to be certain before I cut!

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It was a little nippy out when we took these photos on Saturday afternoon, I was so hoping to have the vintage jacket in the orange twill done as well, but I’d had too many interruptions.  It was finished by Sunday afternoon, but as luck would have it, too late for decent photographs.  That’s the one thing that’s annoying about winter, lack of sunshine!

I have a skirt pattern for the plaid from Pendle Stitches & made the toile today.  Daughter No2 picked 120 from Burdastyle Magazine 07/2012.  I toiled it today & apart from a minor adjustment at the hip and her desire for it to be 4cm shorter & pegged about 4cm narrower at the hem, it’s fine.  Tomorrow I’ll get the lining and make the skirt.  I still need to find the right pattern for the butterfly print satin, the blouse pattern I’d chosen was not approved….

Miss Fancy-Pants

Burdastyle trousers 110 11/13
Burdastyle trousers 110 11/13

Still using up the fabrics I bought at Sew Brum in early October, I made these Burdastyle trousers for Daughter No2 with the fabric left over from Daughter No1’s vintage dress.  Proof, if any was ever needed, that I cannot convert Imperial fabric requirements into metric!  I ended up buying 3m of the silk jacquard and after I’d laid the dress pieces on the fabric decided to make a pair of trousers too.

Hip yoke pockets
Hip yoke pockets

This is the same pattern that I used for the Smarty Pants challenge on The Monthly Stitch last year, no. 110 from the November issue of the magazine from 2013.  It’s quick to make, my favourite detail is the little cuff.  We had more fitting issues with this make, the jacquard has no stretch and behaves much more differently than the stretch twill I used the first time.  I’ve ended up with teeny tiny seam allowances in places – my fault entirely.  I was so keen on getting the fabric made up before it got even the slightest peek at the stash box that I forgot it had no stretch & I cut the same size as the first pair.  I think we’ve solved most of the issues, all to do with ease.

DSC00003-1Daughter No2 likes them anyway & they do look fab with her Bellatrix blazers!  These went out to Oxford last night to a Darlia & Gerard Way concert, the girl wearing them was pretty darned tired this morning, so thank goodness it’s Friday!  She deserved a trip out, having had her head down working hard on schoolwork & admissions for Universities.  She and I have also been rather busy making red wool poppy brooches to sell in aid of the British Legion’s Poppy Appeal.  I have made poppies every year for the last 4-5, but this year we decided to make them together and to make 100, to mark the centenary of the commencement of World War 1.  We have made 100, but with literally days to spare, I hope we are able to sell them all in time!  I will be really chuffed to hand over a few hundred pounds to the charity.

trouser collageThings on my sewing table right now are the vintage jacket you got a glimpse of at the end of the last post and a piece of fabric from Guthrie & Ghani bought at the Sew Burm meet-up.  It’s a greenish grey cotton voile, but on reflection I decided there was too much green in the grey.  So it’s gone in the washing machine with a brownish grey jersey from Croft Mill & some grey Dylon dye.  I rather like the result so need to finalise my plan of what to make.  I’m thinking of using the body of the floaty spotty top with the sleeves from the placket blouse (but making the cuff deeper) and making a different placket.  I like the placket on this blouse from In House Patterns.

I also have some pattern cutting plans for a jersey top…  I got a large amount of lovely jersey (all one length) at the fabric swap in Birmingham & used some to make a Plantain for Daughter No2 (photos on their way).  There’s a plan to use some more to make a jersey cardigan for me.  I have a sketch somewhere….  Probably buried under my ever growing stash!

I also want to make a pair of Ginger Jeans for both Daughters.  I usually steer well clear of bandwagons and “must-have-latest-coolest-patterns”, but after seeing Sonja in her jeans I was convinced & bought the PDF which the other half kindly printed on A0 sheets for me.  I still need to tell him to print the Jutland pants, another late night pattern purchase!  I found a great stretch denim for the jeans at the Fancy Silk Store for £6/m so it’s all ready & waiting for me to get cracking on the toile.  Somewhere along the line the Thread Theory patterns need to get made too, I’ve bought the coat & now both trouser patterns for the other half & that’s about as far as I’ve got!  I just want to make everything!!!

Have a great weekend, whether you’re sewing or not.  🙂

Stashbust – Day to Night Drape Top

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I am managing – just – to keep sewing through my stash.  The Maria Denmark Day to Night Drape Top doesn’t require much fabric so it’s perfect for using up bits!  This top uses up the last of what feels like metres & metres of John Kaldor print viscose jersey.  I’ve made two tops for me, a dress for a friend and this top and I finally have only little bits left!  I love the way this jersey drapes and it makes a much better top than the poly-jerseys that I used for Daughter No1’s versions.  Needless to say, Daughter No2 loves the top, and plans to wear it loads, even though it’s getting cold & the top has no sleeves.

Construction wise, I only used the clear elastic on the back neckline and simply turned under the allowance on the armholes.  It definitely makes for a neater finish with no pulling or unnecessary stretching.  Only using the sewing machine for the elastic and twin needle for the hems & armholes, the overlocker makes this top such a quick & easy make.

I can see this being a much used pattern, especially as it uses so little fabric!  I might make both girls a sparkly number for Christmas if I can find the right stretch & sparkle.

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I took advantage of Pendle Stitches‘ fabric de-stash (sale) and bought three pieces of really lovely fabric that arrived on Friday.  On showing Daughter No2 my haul & offering her the lot, she decided pretty much instantly on what she wanted, so the next couple of projects will be vintage, or modern patterns with hints of the vintage look she’s after.

3 new projects

A Gabriola for the Winter

Sewaholic Gabriola
Sewaholic Gabriola

Another fablously swooshy skirt for Daughter No2, this time made up in the most amazingly drapey black crepe.  This skirt weighs a ton!  It swirls and swooshes around her legs beautifully and she has already declared it a success because its nice and warm and keeps out the breeze!

Swooshy wool crepe Gabriola
Swooshy wool crepe Gabriola

The fabric is one of the pieces I bought during the SewBrum meet-up earlier this month from Fancy Silk Stores.  Three metres of the stuff at £9/m has made a really lovely skirt.  I used the overlocker to make this one, the crepe really does love to fray – EVERYWHERE!!  I also half-lined the skirt with some pistaschio satin lining to stop the crepe sticking to her tights.  The lining has French seams and has worked a treat.

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I made the size 2 and lengthened the skirt by 5cm, but made no other alterations.  This shape works really well on Daughter No2 and I’m glad to have been able to use the pattern again.  Daughter No1 is starting to look at it a bit enviously now, so there may be more to make in the future.

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I have more finished projects to photograph and as soon as the weather, internet & camera decide to stop playing up, I’ll get them posted!

Wardrobe Architect Plans Continue

Last Saturday was the Sew Brum event, a meet-up of a number of sewing bloggers in Birmingham.  I decided last minute – as you do – to have something new for the occasion.  And I mean last minute.  I had a new haircut on Tuesday, traced a pair of Burda trousers on Wednesday, had various interruptions & only managed to finish them on Friday morning.  I also started to patterncut a new blouse on Thursday morning.  Something had to give & unfortunately it was the top.

Trousers 143 from Burdastyle 2/2013
Trousers 143 from Burdastyle 2/2013

But first – the item I did manage to finish to wear to the meet-up.  Typically with no spare time, I picked a pattern I’d not used before & haven’t toiled.  I chose a pair of trousers from February 2013 Burdastyle magazine, number 143. The pattern has a slightly dropped, shaped waistband, front fly, hip yoke pockets and cuffs on a slight bootcut shape leg.

This is one the Curvy Collective could add to their list to try out.  It’s a plus size pattern & I traced the 44-48.  I don’t have much waist definition, going straight up from the hip, so I made sure I had enough sizes to grade up.  As it was, I used the 44 on the leg up to the hip line & graded up to the 46 from hip up to the waistband.  It’s a trifle snug because of the lack of stretch, but I’m satisfied with the result.  At least I know they won’t be falling down during the day!

I had to shorten the pattern by 4cm.  The finished length was to be 108cm, which I thought would be ok on me, but when I pinned the cuffs in place they dragged on the floor- not a good look for winter trousers!  I had to chop off the hem turn of the cuffs & reposition them, but now I’ve shortened the paper pattern by the requisite amount so next time will be all good.  I really like the shape of the trousers on me, considering I normally go for wide swooshy ones!  But that style doesn’t work in the winter, I needed a more fitted, shorter style.  I will use this pattern again, but I have my eye on two others to try too.

DSC09948-1The fabric is from Croft Mill, a two tone tiny herringbone cotton chino-type fabric with no stretch.  It has great body and is well suited to the style of trouser I chose – but this is one of those fabrics that creases badly in the washing machine, and then leaves the evidence of that creasing in the loss of colour.  It’s a real shame because now the trousers look like they constantly need an iron.  I’ll leave it for a little while, but I feel I’m going to need to get the dye out, which will lose me those teeny tiny herringbones.

Cuffs & hip yoke pockets lined with grey satin
Cuffs & hip yoke pockets lined with grey satin

I bound the inner waistband edge with the left overs of the lilac bias binding from Daughter No2’s vintage jacket & used a grey satin for the pocket bags.  As I was in a rush I simply zig-zagged the seam allowances.  Not the most perfect finish, but it does the job.

DSC09958-1The top I completed this week, yesterday in fact.  It’s sort of my contribution towards the Sewcialists’ Scraptember challenge, even though it was only dreamt up & made now in early October. I had some left over black & white spot silk de chine form a blouse I’d made a few years ago and loved to bits.  Literally.  I wore it until it fell apart.  The fabric has such a fabulously luxurious feel and the way it flows and drapes while you wear it is just beautiful.  Anyway, I’d kept the bits, because they were big enough for something, just not an entire new something.  Then by chance I found more of the same stuff in Fred Winters in Stratford on Avon!  Perfect!  I bought a metre and immediately hatched a plan.

Self-drafted silk crepe de chine faux placket blouse
Self-drafted silk crepe de chine faux placket blouse

I wanted something similar to the original top, but also wanted to do a twist on a traditional placket.  My go-to length for sleeves is three-quarters and I do love the sleeve I developed for my Jungle January blouse.  I cut the sleeves, cuffs & neckbands from the silk I had left over and cut the front, back & placket from the new piece.

Close-up of the neck-band & faux placket
Close-up of the neck-band & faux placket

The collar is more of a neckband, and the placket more like a facing sewn on the wrong side & turned to the right side & topstitched in place.  The bust dart was moved to the underarm position & I took a little of the waist darts out in the side seam so it wasn’t too tent-like.  Construction was pretty straightforward, French seams throughout, double turned dipped at the back hem.  I used Gill Arnold’s fine sheer fusible interfacing on the outer neckband, placket & cuffs.  The interfacing was definitely needed on the placket to keep it under control for the turning under of the seam allowances!

DSC09968-1I’m in love with the result!  Ok, so maybe a thin light silk top is not really a practical make for October, but I could wear a vest top underneath for added warmth.  The biggest advantage is that it’s done! Another top that fits my requirements and uses the fabric in the boxes.  Even if it does mean I had to buy a little to complete the project.  And yes, its more spots 🙂  What can I say, I feel overwhelmed by most patterns, but checks, stripes & spots I can live with.  So far this year I’ve made 4 blouses with definite spots/circles & two with variations on the theme.  Oh, and one tee, not blogged.  There is still another silk satin in the stash box with my name on it – spotted, of course! We’ll have to see what I decide to make next but I have plans to make another two pairs of trousers.

I bought a stone coloured cotton twill & a gold-sand colour stretch cotton chino from Croft Mill fabrics earlier in the year for winter trousers & I’m thinking of using 118 from Burdastyle 08/2013 for the gold & 134 from Burdastyle 04/2012 for the stone.  Just to get them traced & toiled first…

These are all resulting from my work on the Wardrobe Architect project.  Have any of you been using yours much to further your wardrobes this year?

The Terrible Trio

Three Maria Denmark Day to Night Drape tops, cut out together & sewn on a “production line”.  There was a much more relaxed atmosphere in the sewing room when these three were made up.  Although I picked tricky jersey – no natural fibres in sight – I was at least prepared for bad behaviour!

After the two I made last week & the success of the black cotton top, I decided to omit the clear elastic from the armholes altogether and only used it on the back neckline.  There is still a bit of pulling, but much less than before.  I used one of the suggestions in the comments of that post and stuck a bit of masking tape to the bottom of the presser foot when applying the clear elastic, and was pleased with the result.

Day to Night top in printed polyester viscose jersey from John Kaldor
Day to Night top in printed polyester viscose jersey from John Kaldor

The jerseys I’ve chosen for these tops are man-made, two completely polyester & one poly-viscose.  There is more stretch in the poly-viscose and it has a much nicer drape.  Daughter No1 commented that it feels like wearing a swimming costume.  The fabric was bought from Rosenberg’s stand at the NEC last year, or the one before and was intended to be a wrap dress of sorts for her.  We’ve never found the right pattern and I decided this was it, time to be used!  There is enough left for something else, but probably not a dress!

Day to Night top in grey polyester jersey
Day to Night top in grey polyester jersey

The other two have less stretch and I think I’d have to make an adjustment if she wanted more tops using this particular fabric.  Daughter No1 is satisfied with the look, but if they were my tops I’d be uncomfortable with the pulling over the bust.  I do like how the drape hangs on the poly-jersey tops and the colours are perfect.  Of course, now Daughter No2 wants one in the blue for herself…

Day to Night top in blue polyester jersey
Day to Night top in blue polyester jersey

Next on the cutting table will be (hopefully) a black & white marle wool Honeydew skirt & a self drafted pencil skirt in caramel stretch cotton sateen – both for Daughter No2.  I say hopefully to the Honeydew skirt, because we hauled out some leftover wool from previous projects & she asked for the Honeydew in that fabric, but I haven’t checked to see if it’s enough yet…  I will line it with a nice coloured lining & put a zip in the side seam like I did with this one.

Daughter No1 goes back to University today, I can’t believe it’s her last year – how time has flown!  She’ll be taking a fair few handmade garments with her & I hope they get to be worn as much as her charity shop bargains!

Wherever you are, have a great weekend – I’m teaching some of my favourite people on Sunday, I’m expecting great projects on their sewing tables!  🙂