The Future is Rosy

So, now that I’ve reminded myself that it is well and truly February, I had to make a concrete decision on the patterns for this month’s instalment of the Burda Challenge 2018.  There are a few options in the running, and time and suitable fabric will tell which get done!  From this year’s February issue I have traced two tops/blouses.  I’ll try to get them both toiled tomorrow, if they don’t need much more tweaking than a FBA then they could be made in some of my stashed viscose.

From previous issues I’ve identified the oversized, pleated back shirt 113 and the variation 114 from the 2015 magazine for Daughter No 2, and the coat, 103 from last year for Daughter no1.  That coat I really want to make in a fabric printed with one of Daughter No1’s own designs, the amarylis pattern in her Instagram post.   But custom printing is pricey which is why I still haven’t made it.  But if I get the pattern traced and toiled I’ll be a couple of steps closer, right?

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Environmentally friendly notebooks from TAYLA

I usually keep a notebook handy and make good notes of what I’ve done in a project, what I’ve used, where the fabric’s from (if I can remember), etc.  Daughter No1 was creating beautiful designs that she wanted on the covers of notebooks, so I figured I’d hold off buying a shop notebook until I got one of hers.  I had to wait a while, writing this year’s projects in the back of last year’s notebook!  Now her website is working, shop is live and books have been printed and ordered.  They arrived today, I was waiting in ambush for the postie!

I really love the designs, there are ten and it was hard to pick just the four I bought.  She’s put a lot of thought into the whole product.  The paper is recycled, the covers printed with vegetable inks.  You’d think they’d be dull and pale, right?  Wrong!  They are vivid and bright.  The books came wrapped in a plant based cellophane envelope that can be put in a commercial composting bin (not your domestic one, it can’t generate the heat required to degrade the corn base) and will completely biodegrade.  The paper and cardboard envelope posting envelope too is recycleable.  In a world that’s rapidly filling up with waste, it’s good to see young people working hard to combat it.

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My new sewing project notebook

I’ve chosen the Amarylis print to start recording this year’s sewing projects.  I’ll be transferring the notes I have written in the next few days to I’m ready to just carry on with the February sewing.  The gorgeous Rose print will be for recording my attempts at living better this year.  That means reducing waste, eliminating as much plastic from my life as possible and limiting my use of chemicals too.  The all over Rambling Rose print will be for allotment notes!

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Packaging with thought, recycleable and biodegradeable

The bright pink Peony notebook will be used to record my new knitting and crochet projects and my knitting notes because I am learning again.  My early attempts at knitting stopped early too!  My squares just would not stay square, and they got holey too…  I just never had the patience required to be good at it.  But this is my Year of Action, and of doing New Things.  So I’m learning to knit again and I’ll be doing more crochet too.  So far I’ve managed a hat with a daisy stitch and I’ve started a pair of cable knit mitts.  Fingers crossed!!

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My knitting projects!

Just to let you all know, I bought the books and am shouting so loudly about them because I love them, love the concept and really want this to succeed.  Daughter No 1, or TAYLA, has worked really hard on this.  She is determined to make it as a designer and to succeed.  So go and have a look at her first offerings and treat yourself to a pretty notebook or two.  Or four! 🙂

 

It’s February!

It seems I just can’t stop making knickers!  I’ve made another 4 pairs to add to the previous 7, making that 11 now.  They have gone to the daughters and a friend, and they love them.  I got a message from the friend after she got hers saying:  “I bloody love my pants!!”  Daughter no 2 has proclaimed them the best fitting pants ever – no vpl, no digging in.  They are a complete success!

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Pretty as a picture! Acacia Knickers from Megan Nielsen
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Floral edge knicker elastic, found by chance in my stash!

I found some pretty floral edge knicker elastic hidden in a different box, so used that on some blue viscose knickers.  I also dug out some bows and ribbon rosebuds.  I had intended to use some on all the pants, but forgot…  So it’s just these four that have the extra decoration, but they won’t be the only ones.  There’s more, pretty coloured elastic on the way to me, and I found a couple of tees I no longer wear to cut up!  I might be making these in dribs and drabs all year…

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I’ve enjoyed looking out coloured elastics and digging out lingerie decorative items for those finishing touches.

This weekend I made yet another Burda top for my mum.  It is her one and only favourite pattern, #143, March 2004.  Sewn Bristol had a destash on Instagram a couple of weeks ago and I snapped up just over a metre of each of the red and blue tropical cotton poplin print.  It’s got French seams, double turned hems and a bias trimmed neckline.  I’ll be running up the red version in the next few weeks too, and then I need to get them shipped safely to South Africa without any pilfering fingers going off with them.

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I also tried something new this week… I started knitting!!  I know, I’m just as shocked!  I found the wool in a charity shop, looked up suitable beginner patterns online, found a non-beginner one and went for it!  I remembered how to do the rib part but needed help with the pattern for the rest.  I joined a group of local knitters on Friday afternoon and soon was on my way.  I ripped out loads, almost dumping it in the bin.  But I stuck with it all Sunday and finally today finished it!  I made a hat! 🙂  It’s even wearable…

So in addition to another top for mum, and making more knickers than I could ever have thought possible, I need to decide on stuff for February’s instalment of the BurdaStyle Challenge 2018.  I have to admit that this month’s issue is jam packed with perfectly make-able patterns.  I’ve had a little browse through previous year’s February issues and this one still tops the numbers in options.  So I need to get on with it!!

10 Years in the Stash

This project is a brilliant stash-bust!  You know when you buy a piece of fabric that you just know can only be used for the perfect project.  It’s that piece that may not necessarily have cost a lot of money, but it’s valuable, non the less.  I have a couple of those, and this last week I finally used one!  It’s a piece of ivory silk satin with grey, black and putty coloured spots.  I recon I bought it at least 10 years ago, probably from Rosenberg & Son!

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Silk blouse, 114 01/2016

I regularly haul it out of the silk box, pat it, promise it a pattern one day, and return it to the darkness.  But it’s been out of the box since the Autumn, I was determined to find something!  And that something is Blouse 114 from Burdastyle January 2016.  The red version I made a couple of weeks ago has been a welcome addition to my wardrobe, I love the sleeves and the overall feel of the top.  So I went for it!

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Checking the channel I made is right for the grossgrain ribbon I’ve used for gathering the “shoulder” seam
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Gathering the long edge of the sleeve into the narrow (by comparison) cuff takes a little while…

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I added 3cm to the length of the original version, which followed the length for version A in the magazine.  I also changed the hem depth to 2 cm so it would be easier to double fold.  The slit in the centre front was lifted 3cm and I’m much more comfortable with that.   Then I added 2cm to the bust depth, inserting a small dart in the side seam to keep the shape and length even.  It’s worked pretty well, and for some reason feels roomier, width-ways, than the red top!

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Details. Gathered channel on the forward shoulder seam, bias neck binding and tostitched front slit, back yoke with gathers in the lower back piece

It feels amazing to wear, the silk is just so drapey and lovely.  The seams are all French seams so there’s no fraying, and that stuff did fray!  I hand stitched the bias binding to the inside of the neckline.  I figured that was one place I could do without wobbly visible stitching, and if there was a place my stitching would wobble, it would be there!

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So that’s it for the January edition of the Burda challenge 2018, I have my sticky little paws on the February edition already (recon my phone calls to the manager of my local WHSmiths must have lit a bit of a fire under her chair) and have grand plans!!!  I also have loads of knickers to finish…  phew.

Hila has done a round up of some of the challenge projects done so far in January, go and take a look, and join in if you like!

 

Red Monday!

The weirdest thing happened to me this weekend.  I had traced off the Burda blouse #114 from January 2016 and was ready to toile.  In the stash, lurked a length of red and white viscose crepe, kindly swapped by Del almost 2 years ago.  I never could think of what to use it for, but I thought this time, try for a wearable toile.  I had already checked width measurements etc, so was sure the pattern would be 75% fine, I just needed to know what changes to make to make the pattern 100%.

I cut the straight 44, version A length.  The pattern makes up easily enough, there’s nothing complicated in the instructions.  I opted not to have the buttonhole in the yoke to allow the drawstrings out, instead I pinned the cord in place until I was ready to bind the neckline.  By then I knew how much pulling up I wanted.  I’m not sure I really want dangly bits on the final blouse either, to be honest.  There’s an awful lot of gathering on the lower sleeve, it’s a good idea to mark the half and quarter and then line that up with the half and quarter on the bias “cuff”.  That way you’ll get equal distribution of the fullness.

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The finishing touch of adding a loop and buttonhole to the neck binding has been left off, I wanted to see what it would look like without that, and how much the front hangs open!  I think I’m more likely to wear it this way than buttoned up anyway, so I’ll raise the point for the slit by about 3-4cm.  I like my bras, but I don’t really want to be showing them off to all and sundry when I lean forward!

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So, now that the toile is done I know the width is perfect, I do need length in the front though.  The front bust depth needs about 3cm added, so I’ll do that on the pattern pieces, adding a dart in the side to control the extra length.  I also think it’s a little short for all purposes.  While I’m wearing the blouse with my jeans (high waisted Birkin Flares) it’s fine, but with a pair of Morgans or any trouser that sits lower than the natural waist, I’ll be showing off bits no-one needs to see!  So the overall length needs to increase by about 5cm to make me happy and comfortable.  Apart from that, it’s all good!!

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And the weird thing that happened?  I’m wearing a red blouse, and I love it!!!  Now to make some more versions of this pattern, I’m thinking navy viscose for sure, and I might even finally cut my spotty silk.  That’s been hiding in the stash for at least 10 years, only comes out to be patted now and then!

When a Door Closes, Open a Window!

While I haven’t made something from this year’s January Burda, I have finally made something I’d marked from the 2012 January!  Yippee!  It always wanted the right fabric, and I never really had it.  Technically, the “right fabric” this time was intended for another pair of trousers, but as it happened to be out and available and spotted just in time, it’s now a top!

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Technical drawing for top 121 01/2012

After listing all my options a few days ago, I thought I might as well start with toiling this pattern, as it was already traced out.  I ran it up in a piece of viscose I’d got from a charity shop for toiling purposes.  The fabric told me it was too soft and drapey for this particular top, the toile told me it was way too long!!  I didn’t want a tunic/short dress, I wanted a top!

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Top 121 January 2012

So I shortened the pattern by 11 cm, added length in the front for bust and a small dart to sort the side seam.  I had traced the 44, and it has just the right amount of volume for me, so that length and little dart were all I needed for a FBA, no width needed.  The original pattern has an exposed zip in the back seam and the front is plain, this wouldn’t work for me.  I didn’t want a zip, exposed or otherwise, and needed more detail on the front.  I also prefer not to have too high a neckline, so fiddled around a little, dropping the front neckline a bit and adding a front opening.  It’s just a little detail that makes it more wearable for me.

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You can just see the sleeve dart here, it’s not a narrow sleeve!
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More sleeve dart – The back and sleeve pattern piece is rather large.

The fabric I used in the end is a navy and grey windowpane worsted wool suiting I bought in November from Fabworks.  It’s quite lightweight, and as a pair of trousers it would have had to have been lined.  Luckily, as a top, it’s just fine!  The top doesn’t have hems, you cut facings for the sleeves, front and back.  I interfaced these with a polyester fine sheer fusible for a bit more stability.

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I really like how the top has turned out, the back and sleeves are cut in one, so make sure your fabric is wide enough to cope!  The odd shaped pieces meant pattern matching was going to be tricky, so I opted for matching the side seams and left the rest to fall where they may.  The large dart in the sleeve narrows the width nicely at the wrist.  I like the curved hemline, and the new length is pretty perfect.

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Now I have plans to make another item from the list.  I said in the review of last year’s sewing that I need a few more tops to go with all the new trousers I’d made, so it will be another top – and I want to use up some of the viscose pieces I have in the stash.  So, I will be tracing Blouse 114 from January 2016, I need my sleeve kick!!

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That’s round one of the #Burdachallenge2018 done, what’s on your list to make??

And We’re Off!

Hitting the ground running, there’s nothing like a quick project to get the sewing started.  This was actually a project I’d intended to do last year, and possibly have ready for Xmas, but it didn’t work out and it wasn’t time critical.  As it was already cut out, getting it sewn up was easy.

The main fabric is teal ponte from Croft Mill Fabrics, really lovely and soft with a gorgeous, jewel-like colour.  I was wavering between another Toaster Sweater or making a new Fraser Sweatshirt.  Once the fabrics were washed and were on the clothes horse drying, I noticed that this teal and another, patterned fabric looked pretty good together.  This gave me the idea to go ahead with the Fraser Sweatshirt, using View A.

 

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I cut with the size 8 across the shoulders and upper chest, changing to the 6 from the underarm down the sides to the 4 at the hip.  In hindsight I could have lengthened the body by about 3cm, but luckily it’s just long enough.  Looking at the photos, I need to make a note to lower the armhole for the next time.  The fabrics work really well together, they have just about the same amount of stretch and body.  I did not go straight into overlocking the contrast sections of the pattern together!  All was first done on the sewing machine whith a long, narrow zigzag.  Once I was happy with the points, I threaded up the overlocker and went for it.

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The joining seam on the contrast sections is pressed down and topstitched with a 2.5mm twin needle.  It was a little tricky trying to find a suitable coloured thread for this, they’re either too green or too blue!  Once I was ready to insert the sleeves, I again machine basted the contrast seam section.  My overlocker is just too happy to reach that bulky area and move things 1-2cm…  Speaking of which, the Janome really doesn’t like the bulk of this ponte when it gets to intersecting seams.  I might have to break out the Bernina instead.  And I need a new cutting blade.  Should have put one on my Christmas list! 🙂

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Basting really helped and the contrast yokes line up really well.  I love the look from the back when you see the half contrast of the sleevehead, and the neckband.  Daughter No2 is very happy with my decision to go ahead with the contrast (despite initial misgivings) and loves her new sweatshirt.

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Speaking of new sweatshirts, I didn’t get to take a picture of Daughter No1’s Christmas red Toaster on, but here’s a peek at the special lable inside.  I hope it will remind her of the moose decals on the van she and her partner hired for their little USA adventure a couple of years ago.

Finishing touches! #toastersweater #moose

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Having the Fraser pattern out has given me a couple of ideas to use up some of the smaller pieces of ponte and quilted jersey left over after other projects.  I might see if I can get a couple of 3/4 or even short sleeved versions done.  Leave no scrap unused!

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I am in the market for some lovely French Terry, I want to make the zip-up hoodie #119 from the January issue of Burda 2018, joining Hila of Saturday Night Stitch in an all new sparkling Burda Challenge!  Who’s in??

Stashbusting Trousers

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There’s a lot of sewing to catch up on, so here goes.  Two years ago I made a purchase of two pieces of grey wool (amongst other things – of course) from Croft Mill Fabrics.  One of the pieces of wool is a suiting weight blend of viscose and mohair, and really wasn’t what I’d expected when it turned up!  I pictured something thicker and warmer – snuggly…  This was fine, had a sheen and was rather fluid.  So it went into the stash until I could come up with something.

Eventually, after making this pair of Burda trousers earlier in the year, I decided to reuse the pattern and finally make up the silver grey fabric.  Go stashbusting!  I opted for the longer length view and the mini turn ups, leaving off the welt pockets at the back.  I don’t use the ones on the other trousers at all, and it’s just annoying to have to iron the darn things flat each time.

I used the same fitting alterations as the last time, but didn’t shorten the pattern at all! There is no stretch in this fabric at all, and it’s shown that I probably need to make a chunky calf adjustment.  It wasn’t a problem with the last pair because of the stretch content.  Because the fabric is so thin and fine I decided to add a little something and raided my linings bag for something suitable to line the trousers.  I picked out a green viscose lining and used it to half line the fronts.

There are no contrast fabrics anywhere else, the waistband and pockets are all in the main fabric.  I’m really happy with the result, although I can see that they may not make it all the way through winter, being so thin.  But they’re surprisingly warm(-ish).  I love the mini turn-ups, and the finished length is perfect for wearing with heels or my silver brouges.  Definitely making another sometime.  I’ve worn them once a week since I made them, which is a good sign!

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Love these little cuffs!

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More catching up to come, although it won’t be stashbusting…