Reclaimed

A year or two ago, I made a pair of Stride pants from the Merchant and Mills Workbook.  I’d made the largest size and shortened them a bit, but I cannot remember just how much right now.  The pattern was fine and instructions did the job, but I never liked the finished trousers.  I was really disappointed because I’d used a beautiful piece of black and blue plaid wool from Fabworks.  I was annoyed that such a lovely piece of fabric was now a very unliked pair of trousers.  I never even took photos of those pants!

So why didn’t I like them?  They were too wide, too floppy and the pleated front with waistband on the natural waist just didn’t suit me.  And I love wide, floppy trousers!!  So I wore them around the house for the first year, last winter I didn’t wear them at all, and this winter I decided I’d put them in the adjust or remake pile.  I had 6 pairs of wool trousers to make two sizes smaller before I got to these, and at that point I had no ideas of how to make these better.

Then, last weekend, when I was clearing the piles to make way for a visitor, I had a brainwave after dropping a piece of fabric.  It was the toile for Burda trousers 107 08/2019.  I’d traced the 44 – after making the 42 in the last pair of Burda trousers and finding them to be just a little on the small side!  But the toile for these was way too big!  So I needed to go down a size, definitely, and shorten the leg by 3-4cm to get the finished cuff to sit in the right place (to look the same as the model in the magazine).  The adjustments to the pattern were already made & I thought I had the right fabric to make a proper pair.

But – I was sort of reluctant to cut that fabric – see previous post!  The pattern can be made in fabrics with or without stretch, and the one in the magazine is made in ponte (that’s a good idea for next time!)  Back to that brainwave – could there be enough fabric in the Strides to be able to recut this pattern??  So I got cracking with the seam ripper, carefully unpicking all the seams, taking off the waistband and removing the zip.  After a good press to flatten the hems and seam allowances, I pinned the two fronts and two backs together, making sure the plaid was lining up too.  Then I took a deep breath and tried to get the new pattern pieces onto the existing trouser pieces.

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Burda trousers 107 08/2019

The back fitted perfectly, the front needed the grown-on zip facing to be removed, so I cut that as a seperate piece and attached it later.  Pockets and facings were going to be tricky, but, here’s the good part.  I had saved all the left-over bits of fabric from the original cutting out in the wool box!  Woohoo for scrap-stashing!  So, hip yoke pockets, waistbands, cuffs and the fly facing were cut from the left-overs, and a scrap of lining sorted the pocket bags.  I also managed to line up the plaid, high five!  I reused the zip and found a good button in the button box, I bought nothing to make these new trousers.

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Hip yoke pockets are lined with a scrap of lining fabric.

The making went well, instructions didn’t need much altering.  I usually insert the fly zip immediately after making the pockets up, it’s so much better to do without all the extra legs in the way.  The other thing I changed was to sew the pleats in the trouser cuffs first.  Darts and pleats first, whether at the waistline or at the hem!  I just knew that if I left it to the end when the instructions finally have you do them, I’d have lost more than half of the tailor’s tacks, and as both the leg seams are sewn up, you have more fabric hanging around than you’d really want.

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Centre back seam in the waistband to help with alterations (if required) later on

I rather like these!  I’m keen to make a pair in ponte now, I think they’d be so comfy.  They’re admittedly a little loose on the waist still, but I have a secret trick to fix that quickly.  I don’t cut back waistbands on the fold, I add a centre back seam.  Then, when sewing the crotch seam, I leave the last 15cm of the back open.  Then the waistbands are added, in halves (one front and one back).  Add the waistband facings, press, understitch, etc and then sew that back seam, all in one go!  This means that if you need to take in, or let out, the back seam, there’s very little to have to unpick, and it’s so, so easy to adjust!!  Men’s trousers are sewn this way, so why not ours??

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Anyway, I’m off to enjoy wearing this gorgeous fabric now, and I might have to find a good colour ponte for another pair, some secret tracksuit pants!

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Apologies for not noticing when taking the photos that the camera had decided that the teak chest of drawers was far more interesting to focus on than my trousers!!

Seasonally Inappropriate

There’s something about January that has me thinking of what to make for the summer, although we’re still 5 months (at least) off being able to wear anything!  I had the opportunity to test the Morningside Shirt pattern by French Navy last year.  I made a small size for Daughter No1 in a soft black linen and she loved it.  I had always intended to make one for myself, I just needed to fit it into the list!

Eventually in January I managed to trace the XXL, which is where my measurements put me.  However, this did mean a finished measurement of 133cm! That’s a good 26cm extra and 13cm more than I usually go for.  I toiled it in some white cotton poplin from the leftovers stash.  Halfway though cutting I thought if it worked, I could just wear it as is.  But there wasn’t enough of the poplin to cut all the pieces.  Typical!  So I found a floral “burnout” cotton voile in the stash and cut the collar, sleeve cuffs and outer yoke.

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The Morningside Shirt by French Navy

I probably ought to mention which version I am making!  Not being a ruffle fan, I chose the Style A with the back pleat.  It all went together really well, the instructions are clear.  I left certain bits out, figuring I could go back and add them later, ie buttonholes etc.  On putting the toile on, I realised I really could do with going down a size, and making the pattern in a fabric that has less body than the poplin.  I also needed to add length across the bust, about 2cm would probably be enough.  I certainly didn’t need any width.  So, next time I’ll make the XL and add the length to the front.

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The pleat in the back

Unfortunately, I won’t get to wear this shirt.  Why?  Because Daughter No2 stole it!  She saw it on Peggy the dressmaker’s dummy when she came home after New Year and tried it on.  She loves it all big and oversized!  She honestly nicked it, it’s gone back to uni with her.  I offered to add the buttons and buttonholes, but that was declined, she likes it just as it is.  But maybe with something underneath so bra etc doesn’t show.  How about a cami?  An Ogden cami?

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True Bias Ogden Cami

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I had enough of the floral voile to cut a size 4 in the Cami, even though her measurements put her in the 2.  I’d made the size 0 for Daughter No1 last year and found it came up a little small, uncomfortably tight on the upper/high bust area.  So I played it safe and went up a size for Daughter No2.  Which, as it turned out, was the right decision!  It was also the right decision to use the rest of that voile, the two work perfectly together.

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The cuff detail on the Morningside Shirt

The Ogden Cami is quick and easy to make, I just find it odd that the facings are so big/deep.  Daughter No2 has ordered another in black silk, but without the facings and wide straps.  So I guess that means I have to make bias strips with that slippery fabric.  Nice…  I also cut out a version in some leftover Liberty lawn.  I’d used the fabric for a top for my Mum about 3 years ago, and there was enough to cut an Ogden, carefully!  So that will be 3 camis in her wardrobe, in time for the coldest part of the winter so far.  Timing! 😛

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Work in Progress Wednesday 2/19

Last week I found a bargain at a local charity shop – 3m of what I suspect is a wool and silk herringbone fabric in sage green and off white.  It was just hanging on a hanger in the curtains and duvet covers section, looking sad and unwanted.  Well, not by me!  It didn’t take me long to decide I was having it, even though all I’d gone in for was a couple of books.

I popped it in the washing machine straight away and let it dry.  It was when I ironed it that I thought it might have a silk content, and a bleach test on the fibres confirmed that.  Woo!  But what to make??  I didn’t think too long, I realised it would be perfect to make another pair of Kana’s Standard trousers B-a.  Not for now, it’s too cold, but for the spring they’d be great!  I though I could line them, or have a Hong Kong finish on the seams, put in jetted or welt pockets at the back instead of the patch pockets – and generally just fancy them up a bit.  All because the fabric was so nice!

The fabric frays quite badly, so the first thing was to overlock all the edges and then interface where necessary asap.  I don’t always interface the hip yoke pocket opening, but on this stuff with it’s tendency to wiggle around, interfacing was definitely called for.  The pocket facing in understitched and then I topstitched too – just to make sure it was all secure and wouldn’t stretch out when I over use the pockets.

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Interfacing on the opening edges of the hip yoke pockets

Hong Kong finish was scrapped, this fabric is too drapey and that would stiffen the seams too much.  I also didn’t line them in the end because the colour needed didn’t exist in the stash with enough meterage.  I didn’t want to buy anything, it would cause delays (shock – horror!) and I’m trying (not very hard!) not to buy stuff!!  Oh dear, that didn’t last long, did it??

But I did make fancy pockets on the back!  I cut the standard patch pocket out of the outer fabric, and another from the limited lining.  Then I cut 2 bias strips 6cm wide by 16cm long.  I wanted narrow jetted pockets, possibly with a loop and button to hold them closed.  For the loop I cut a bias strip 15cm long and 3cm wide.  This I fed through a bias tape gadget and then folded double and topstitched shut.  Much easier than making a strip and then trying to turn through.  I just knew this fabric wouldn’t like that very much.

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Starting the jetted pocket

To construct the pocket, these are the steps I followed.  First, interface the bias strip for the welts, then interface the fabric on the trouser piece, wider and longer than the pocket opening.  I drew a line with blue chalk down the middle of the bias strip – on the wrong side, marking the begining and end of the pocket opening.  Then I stitched, starting and ending exactly on those markings with the edge of my sewing machine foot on the blue line, one line on either side of the centre marking.  Next, I cut down that centre line and cut diagonally to the end of the stitching.  Make sure you cut straight!  You don’t need to stitch a box, in fact, that can hamper things.

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Making the welts

Now turn one side at a time up and press well, all along the fold.  Once that’s done, turn the bias strip to the inside and press those little triangles back well. Now you have to use the “seam allowance” as the “stuffing” for the welt, and fold the bias strip down to the inside over it.  Make sure you’re folding straight and accurately, it will show on the outside if you don’t.  Pin and press and baste as you feel necessary to get the right shape/line.  Make sure the welts aren’t overlapping or smiling at you, the folded edges should be touching “kissing”, as my tutor used to say.  Now you can stitch in the ditch along the length of the welts.  Then turn it all upside down, fold back those triangles and stitch along the fold, securing the edges in well.  Now you’re ready for the pocket bags.

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Finishing off the welts

Start with the lining, line the fabric up with the bottom edge of the bias strip on the lower welt, right side of lining to wrong side of trouser.  Lift the seam allowance up and pin and stitch from the welt side, not the lining side.  I tend to stitch twice, once roughtly down the middle of the allowance, this could be called either a holding stitch, or a reinforcement stitch, it does both jobs!  Then I go back and stitch again as close to the welt stitchline as I can.  Fold the lining down and press well.  If you’re going to use a button loop, now’s the time to get it in.

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Adding the pocket lining

Mark the centre of the pocket opening and pin the loop to the inside of the welt, centred on that marking.  (I usually use a pin to mark.)  Again, lift up the allowance and stitch the loop to the bias strip.  Now you need to whipstitch the welts together.  This keeps the pocket closed while you fiddle in the inside sewing the pocket bags together.  Now line up the pocket fabric with that allowance and stitch as you did for the lining, right side of pocket fabric to wrong side of trousers.  Once you’re done, smooth the pocket bags down and line up the sides.  You will have a longer lining piece than pocket bag, just trim it to the same length, pin all round and stitch.  I then overlocked the pocket bags together.

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Finishing off

All that’s left is to sew on your button, and voila!  You have a fancy pocket!  Now I just need weather suitable to wear these in, it’s a bit chilly here at the mooment, but not half as cold as it is in the States!  Keep warm guys!!

Sewing Japapese in January – Part 3

 

On a roll here!!  This time I’m using the Clean & Natural book and making the puffed sleeve pullover, pattern S.  It’s a loose fitting top with boat-neck(ish) that finishes mid hip and has a yummy, puffed sleeve.  The fullness in the sleeve is at the hem, rather than the sleeve head.  This book has a handy size table and the pattern sizes are S to LL.  I graded the LL up two sizes, going by the body measurements and the finished measurements of the top.  Remember, I don’t like too baggy…

 

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I toiled the pattern in some remnant cotton sheeting and made the following conclusions.  I needed more ease across the bust and length of about 2-3cm.  I also wanted the top to finish at the length it was un-hemmed.  So I needed an FBA of 3cm and to lengthen the top 3cm.  The sleeves are ok, finished at the right place and weren’t tight at the hem.  On creating the dart and FBA, I rotated it all out and am left with a no-dart top, just like the original.

Fabric is newly in the stash, after being bought last year at the NEC in March/April.  To be fair, I’d sort of allocated it to this top from the beginning, I just never got round to the grading and tracing and toiling last year.  The cotton is a woven gingham check, black and white.  I thought it would look pretty good with all the linen trousers in my summer wardrobe, and now I’m thinking it might be worn in the winter with a long sleeve layering tee underneath too…

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Construction is fairly straightforward, I overlocked everything first, and used ordinary seams.  The seam and hem allowances have to be added, by the way.  The facings are interfaced with fine sheer fusible.  The sleeve is pretty big, and only just fitted on the width of the fabric!  You gather the long curved of the oversleeve onto a pleated straight undersleeve.  This is what creates and holds the puff.  That’s the only time consuming part, gathering and evenly spreading all the gathers!

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I like how the back looks here, as if I’ve used a contrast neckband.  Maybe that’s the answer.

I had a quick try-on before hemming and decided it was too long!  I’m blaming the fabric here, the pattern.  It blinded me…  So I duly chopped off the 3cm I’d added to the length and turned up a 3cm hem.  Then I popped it back on over my head and – whoa!  I shouldn’t have done that…  I probably didn’t need to remove the whole 3cm.

I also had a problem with the neckline.  On the toile I didn’t add the facings and I was happy with where it sat.  On this garment, with facings added, it was too high!  I don’t like feeling crowded against my neck, and the other issue was all that pattern!  I think I could have done with less.  So I decided to change the shape of the neckline in the front, put the toile back on and drew a scoop to the depth I wanted and transferred that to the gingham.  I added seam allowance and chopped again.  Then I realised I didn’t have enough fabric to cut new facings.  Not going well, right?  Anyway, I cut bias strips and sewed them together and made a bias trim for the neck.  I actually like this better than the original facings anyway.

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I think there’s just tooo much patterned fabric here for me.

As it’s ever so slightly chilly here in the UK this week, I decided to wear it today with a long sleeve scoop neck tee, and I rather like it like this.  I think it would also look good with a rounder neck tee, or even a floppy poloneck.  I also think it needs slim fitting pants, looks good with the Birkin Flares, not so pretty with pleated, fuller trousers.  It’s the second Japanese pattern that hasn’t turned out quite the way I had imagined in my head.  I know I’m not the same shape and size, but I thought I was picking patterns that are similar to those I like in the Burdas, so I was hoping they’d come out the same too.  Guess I’ll be sticking to the trouser patterns! 😀

 

Sewing Japanese in January – Part 2

As far as the resolution “take it slower this year” goes, I’m not doing that well…  I’ve made three garments and two toiles, mended/fixed/altered a bag full and I’ve got a LIST for the month that really should be quartered.  Ah well, if I can’t have fun in January, when can I have it??

So, the next garment in the sewing from Japanese sewing books saga is another pair of Kana’s Standard trousers from the first book.  I had intended to use the wide leg pattern from the second book, I graded up two sizes, toiled and fitted (it worked perfectly!) but when it came to laying the pattern on the fabric, I didn’t have enough.

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Kana’s Standard trousers B-a

The fabric I wanted to use has been lurking in the stash for a long time.  I’d bought it from Fred Winter in Stratford on Avon years ago in the remnant bin.  It was 1.8m, pinstripe navy English wool, but with a problem.  It was labelled as a second, and I found the flaw straight away, running the full width of the fabric about 15cm in from the one cut end.  I figured I could deal with that, depending on what I was making and bought it anyway.  Then followed various attempts at fitting various patterns onto the fabric, which, it turned out, had more flaws than the one I’d seen in the shop.  There was another flaw running the full width about 30cm from the first one, as well as two holes about 10cm in from the selvedge on the opposite end of the fabric.  So nothing fitted, even though I tried.  I thought I could get this pattern to fit, heaven knows why, it’s a wide leg pattern, needs length!!

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But I was determined, this time the fabric was getting used!  So I pulled out the pattern for  trousers B-a from the first book and did a little tetris around the flaws.  I had to shorten them by 2cm to their original length to fit the legs into the area between the end and the first flaw, and cut really close to the fold, shifting the pants pieces as far from the selvedge as possible to avoid the holes, but I managed it!  The pockets fitted into the 30cm between the two flaws, as well as one of the waistband pieces, and the other waistband piece fitted between the first flaw and the end of the fabric.  DONE!

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I overlocked all the pieces before starting to sew, and then it was easy.  The pattern instructions are easy to follow from the diagrams, I’d already added the required 1cm seam allowances & 4cm hems when I traced the pattern.  So on Sunday, while hubby was working checking drawings, I was happily making a new pair of trousers.  Now, if you remember, the corduroy pair I made last seemed a little too roomy.  So to combat that, I decided to increase the seam allowance to 1.5cm on the inside leg seam and from the base of the pocket to the hem on the outside seam.  This wool is not as stiff as the cord, but I like the more streamlined look.  Makes me wonder why I graded up two sizes! 🙂

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But that takes you into the realms of fitting, and what you personally like.  The pants are supposed to be baggy, and not necessarily sewn in a stiff fabric like corduroy.  The thing is, I don’t want them too baggy on me, so I slim them down.  I have the same issue with the tops in these books.  If I actually graded up to the right size and proportions, I’d feel like I was wearing a massive tent, I just don’t like that amount of baggy.  Even though it looks great on other people, and in the books.  I can do baggy, just not tent.  That’s why I never use the Burda Plus patterns.  They’re just too big, too long and too “cover everything over”.

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Anyway, I digress.  This is my third version of this pants pattern, I might venture in to the shorter versions and maybe the jumpsuit version in the summer.  It might be nice for wearing on the allotment with a Basic Instinct Tee underneath.  Even the “dungaree” version might have legs 😉  So – so far, the purchase of the book has been vindicated by the use.  Especially if the toile for the gathered sleeve blouse works!!

Sewing Japanese in January -Part 1

So, by the title, I am hoping (planning) on there being more than one post of a Japanese pattern this month.  I had a little re-think of one of the tops I posted about last time, the viscose for the Sailor Top in the Simply Sewn book.  I think it’s going to be too drapey, so I’ll be re-thinking and digging though the stash to see what else I can find for that.  I also just may have found fabric for the wide, cropped pants from Kana’s Standard.  Just need to be sure the pattern fits on the fabric!

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Gown/Jacket E-a from Kana’s Standard

But – I have made the first item!  Woo!  I started with the Gown/Jacket E from Kana’s Standard.  Why that one?  Because I had planned on making it last year, the fabric’s been hanging around since 2016 and it looked quick and easy. What else could you want for a sewing day on New Year’s Day??

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Gown E-a in reversible double gauze

It turned out to be very easy to make, and relatively quick.  I didn’t rush it, there is an awful lot of double turning of long hems and edges to keep it all neat and tidy.  That’s because you really do see the insides while you’re wearing it, so it’s got to be done properly.

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Spotty, inside and out! Decent sized pockets too.

The instructions are all in Japanese, but the diagrams are pretty clear.  Once all the pieces are traced – main body, sleeve and pocket, you need to add seam and hem allowances.  So that’s 1cm for seams and 4 for hems and edges.  The main body is one size, with an option of size 9 or 13 for the sleeve and armhole.  I went for the 13.  Now, in hindsight, I could/should probably have added 2-3cm on the fold to the centre back.  I think it would have helped to have had extra room in the back portion of the jacket.  I’ve made that note on the pattern pieces for the next time.

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The “how to make” part in the book.

Order of construction is simple, make the sleeves, make the pockets, sew the pockets on at the marked placements, sew the sleeves into the armhole and hem everything.  Done! 🙂  I’d love to make this again in a soft, washed linen.  I found this shop on Etsy with lovely looking linen.  And Daughter no2 has looked accquisitorially at it already!  It used just under 3m of the double gauze I had in the stash.  It came from Organic Cotton Plus as part of a prize package.  I have a bit leftover which I think I’ll use for a kid’s outfit of some sort, there’s not enough for a grown-up!

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I like the look of this jacket, I had in mind for it to be a light covering in late spring and the summer, especially when sitting in my garden and the breeze gets a little nippy.  But it would also make a lovely dressing gown, and at least it has pockets for your phone and morning biscotti!  I just can’t quite get comfortable wearing it.  Because it’s basically a rectangle with armholes and sleeves, it doesn’t sit on the shoulders nicely.  I end up with it wither hangind down the back or having to haul more of it up around my neck.  If anyone else has made this, please let me know how you manage to wear it comfortably!

 

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I thought, maybe it’s just because I’m wider than the pattern is meant for, so I tried it on Daughter No 2.  It does look better on her (in my opinion) but she has the same issue with getting it to sit and stay!  I have a feeling I’m going to need to make a couple of darts in the neck edge to give it some shape.  In a jersey or fabric that has more give, I think it would eventually form a shape over the shoulders, but this just isn’t.  And it’s such a shame, because we both love the gown/jacket.  It’s just not nice to wear!  And we both have a problem with the armhole, it feels like it’s in the wrong place, either too low or not low enough!

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But I have a feeling this garment will be going home with Daughter No2, although I like it – I just don’t think it’s me…

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Sew Japanese in January

Who’s got their 2019 sewing plans started?  There have been a lot of “themes” going round in the last week or two of December to get us all started, and I’m keen to jump onto a few of them.  This one. however, will get me finally using those Japanese Sewing Books I’ve been hoarding.

I spotted the #sewjapaneseinjanuary hashtag on instagram mid way through December and I thought it might be a good way to start the new year.  It’s hosted by @bloglessanna & @craftyjane_makes & runs for the month of January.  I’ve got a few Japanese sewing books now and so far have really only made the trousers from the first Kana’s Standard book & the short jacket from the second book successfully.  There are many, many other patterns I’d like to try, some for me and some for the girls.

I have all the Pattern Magic books, but might to use those this time round.  There are plenty of others to use with patterns already available!  I will have to grade up a couple of sizes.  Starting with the Clean and Natural Book, I’ve always liked the bell/puff sleeve pullover top.  I have some black & white gingham with a 1cm square that I thought would look fabulous in that pattern.

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Clean & Natural
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Puff Sleeved Top

 

Next up are the Kana’s Standard books.  From the first one I still want to make the first top with the ruffle on the sleeve – A, the “gown” E and the cropped version of the pants B.  I’ve also loved the top on the cover, and it’s all because of that ruffle, there’s nothing fanccy about the rest of it at all!  I have a reversible double gauze earmarked for the gown, which I plan on using as a lightweight summer jacket.  I haven’t identified fabric for the other patterns just yet.

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Kana’s Standard, Book 1
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Jacket/Gown E
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Ruffle sleeve top

From Kana’s Standard II, I’d love to make another version of the jacket A and I still want to make the wide pants, E.  I haven’t allocated any specific fabrics yet, but I’m sure I’ll dig something up!  I also love the wrap dress on the front cover, but that I will have to grade up and toile carefully.

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Kana’s Standard, Book 2
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Wrap dress
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Cropped, wide leg pants

The gathered blouse from She Wears the Pants has been on the list to make for Daughter No 1 for a while, but I still haven’t made it, and I’ve always wanted to make the top with Epaulettes for myself.

Then there’s a book I’d completely forgotten about until I browsed the hashtag more thoroughly, Simply Sewn by Michiyo Ito.  There are a few good for me items in this book, but I’m starting with the French Sailor Top.  I like the shape, and have decided to risk it in a viscose, instead of a more structured fabric like linen or cotton.

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Simply Sewn

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I bought myself a birthday present on Etsy that arrived on my birthday itself (I only expected it sometime in the first week of January).  The book is 7 Basic Dresses & Modifications, by Aoi Koda.  I’d seen it on Instagram earlier this year in a post by @sewbusylizzy and it went on my “list of books to have”.  There are a few tops/blouses and a couple of dresses I really like.  Daughter No1 has approved one of the shirt dresses already.

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7 Dresses and modifications

The dress on the cover has been admired by all three of us, so it just might be found in each wardrobe soon!

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I’d like to make this as a shirt, in a lightweight cotton it’ll be lovely
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This is so simple and I can see myself wearing it. Might just change the wide sleeve hem elastic to a narrower one though.

So far I have traced the gown/jacket, the puff sleeve top, top with sleeve ruffle and the sailor top.  I graded the puff sleeve top up two sizes, and the sailor top one size.  I don’t think I’ll need to toile the jacket/gown, it’s pretty much one size fits all apart from the sleeve and armhole.  I’ll get to toiling asap and we’ll see how I go from there!  But by the end of the month I certainly want to have made that double gauze up, it’s been stewing in the stash for too long…

So let’s see how it goes, let’s get our 2019 sewing off to a promising start, shall we?

HAPPY NEW YEAR!