Esenciales

A little sewing procrastination happened after that mad “help me” post from a couple of weeks ago.  In order for me to get all my thoughts in order and ducks in a row, I decided a quick detour would be a good idea.  I had a piece of red and white viscose crepe left over from a blouse I’d made in January for the Burdachallege 2018.  I also had a pattern I’d traced 106 from April 2013 Burda, it’s only got 4 pieces, quick and easy!  I’d rather liked the look in the magazine when it first came out, but never really got round to making it.

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Top 106 April 2013

This year, while I was tracing a pair of shorts from the same magazine for Daughter No2, I remembered this top and traced that too.  A quick toile revealed it was too long for me (5cm) but didn’t need anything else, no FBA! Yippee!  Now one thing to remember, if I were to go by measurements, the 44 would not fit me.  In order for the top to look on my the way it does on the model, I’d need to go up 2-3 sizes.  But there’s no way I’d want to wear it like that!  All I want is a loose-fitting top with a bit of ease – not a tent!  So bear that in mind when judging how tops look on me, compared to someone who’d normally fit into any size bracket.

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The pattern pieces fitted on the remains of the fabric easily, neck facings were interfaced with fine sheer fusible from Gill Arnold.  You could, if you preferred, use self-bias binding for the neck edges instead of the facings.  The style is a loose fitting top with pleats at the front neckline with slight drop shoulder and no sleeves.  The pleats were basted in place and steamed to hold the shape until I sewed on the facing.

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I used French seams throughout and double turned the hem edges on the sleeve openings and the hem of the garment.  It’s turned out really nicely and I like that I have another red top for the summer!  I have worn the original red top from January loads of times, it gets compliments all the time.  So now I have a summer one!  Thankfully the shape is great for the current weather, and now I want another.  I’m sure I have some small pieces of fabric lurking in the stash that I could use in this pattern, but first….

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I must get on with reducing the piles of fabric and pagazines/patterns on the table in my sewing room and covering the bed in the guest room!  I can say that I have made one of the items I rambled about last time, that inky blue linen/cupro blend.  And it’s made fabulous cropped trousers!  Will be showing those off soon…

 

Dressed for Summer

This is a post that should have gone up last week, I finally managed to get photos of Daughter No2 in her new dresses last Friday, so I should have got everything sorted on the weekend – except we tuned out over the weekend, because it finally rained! We haven’t had rain since the 27th of April, according to my gardening diary. So it was nice to just relax and do those things you do on a rainy day – together…

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Shirtdress 117 from May 2011 Burdastyle

So Burda 117, May 2011.  Unfortunately it is not available on the English Burdastyle website, so you’ll have to track down a copy in the flesh or download the German version!  Daughter no 2 had spotted it earlier in her hunt for a shirtdress, one of many patterns to try this summer.  I love the slim, elegant skirt and little sleeves.  The version in the magazine is made in a gorgeous blue and white floral print and it was this and the shape of the dress that drew daughter no 2 to it.  Now I was on the look out for a suitable fabric.

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Burda dress 117 05/2011

I finally found something suitable from Croft Mill Fabrics and we snapped up the last 2m.  It was a blue and white floral print cotton-linen blend, but when it was washed, it turned into a pale blue and darker blue floral print…  Luckily the new colour was accepted and approved, but now I needed new thread and a change of button choice.

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The blousing in the back that she didn’t really like

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I traced the 38, and made a toile using some pretty vintage cotton I bought earlier in the year from a Mid-Century Modern Show in Dulwich.  Overall, the dress was approved, I needed to bring it in towards the waist, effectively making it a 36 in that area, and I needed to make a swayback adjustment in the skirt.  The back of the dress has vintage inspired fullness, which I really liked, but daughter no 2 didn’t.  So I adjusted the pattern to remove most of the blousing.  The toile was then finished off, buttons etc from the stash, and now it’s fully wearable.

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The pattern is straight forward to make, nothing complicated.   The skirt pockets are stitched to the front skirt, which means no flapping about.  Apart from nipping in at the waist and reducing the volume in the back, I haven’t altered anything else.  The buttons came from the stash as my very local haberdashery closed last winter and my next local in Stratford on Avon will be closing in September.  So the stock is very low and choice is worse.  I couldn’t trust getting anything online so was desperate to find something suitable from my button box.  I wasn’t sure I had anything, the dress needs 10 buttons, and I had nothing that was suitable in those numbers.  But I did have two sizes of the same design button that hubby thought would do the job just fine.  So I used the 3 bigger buttons on the bodice, and the 6 smaller ones on the skirt.  It looks like it was done on purpose, rather than by necessity!

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I delivered both dresses to Birmingham on what felt like the hottest day of the year!  Oh boy, has this summer been warm!  They were both tried on immediately and the squeals of delight told me I’d done my job! 🙂

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The new, volume-reduced back view

What I rather like about both dresses is their ability to be worn layered with a tee shirt or cami and jeans/shorts/cropped trousers.  Of course, after floating that idea, it had to be tested out, with what I thought was great success.  I have since been informed that both dresses have been worn successfully and that she loves them.  Phew! 😉

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delft 1

I am still chipping away at that long list of things to make, three more items crossed off the list will hopefully be photographed in a couple of weekends when she and her sister come for a visit.

But I am now on the hunt for a jumpsuit pattern that will be suitable for petites, with sleeves.  Other requirements are that it be loose fitting around the waist, be able to be cropped to 7/8 length and be able to be worn in an office.  Ideas please hive mind…

Express Yourself

While I dither get on with my sewing, I realised I had some photos taken in Cornwall of yet another top I actually did make.  There’s something to be said about making patterns you’ve made before.  You already know how to make them, how they wear, and how they’ll look.  So just before we went to Cornwall I made two new tops, intending to take them both with me, for photo opportunities and to wear.  We only went for 3 nights, guess how much I decided I had to make to take…

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Burda top #108 February 2018

So the first of those is another version of the top 108 from February Burda 2018.  I made one back in February, using some long held stashed fabric.  This time I thought I’d put the elastic in the sleeve cuff, but just to be difficult I used one wide piece instead of the required narrow width.  I also knew to be aware of that neckline.  The first time I made it with the silk, I took care not to stretch it out when applying the gathered band.  I made sure I didn’t handle it too much, used staystitch and interfaced asap, all to add stability.

So I did that again this time, and managed to stretch it out.  Or did I.  The cotton has more body than the silk could dream of, and therefore is thicker when gathered, stiffer when layered three deep.  Once attached to the neckline of the top it was immediately obvious that it wasn’t sitting flat.  I put it on Peggy, my dressmaker’s dummy and there it was, standing away from the body.  Damn.  I took two pinches out on each side at the shoulder seam, and did the same in the paper pattern.  I’m not really wanting to take that apart and ajdust again.

collage grey diamonds

So a word, you can do everything you can to stop stretching a neckline, but sometimes it’s just not going to work for you.  It’s a combination of fabric and baggy drafting….  After all that, the top is dead easy to make, I used the overlocker so it was nice and quick.  I was so busy wanting to  make it quickly that I made a rookie mistake with the cutting out.

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The fabric was purchased from Maven Patterns at the NEC, it’s hand block printed cotton, really nice to wear and I love the colour.  But as it’s hand printed, it’s not exactly perfect, and the pattern isn’t centred.  And I didn’t check that when I folded the fabric and pinned on the pattern pieces.  Like I said, rookie mistake!  Luckily, I don’t see the off centre print, I’m on the other side!  🙂  I wonder If I could call it a “design decision”, and get away with it??

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I’m happy with my new top, it made it to Cornwall, and I even wore it!  And I’ve worn it frequently.  The fabric is actually lovely, nice and cool in the temperatures we’ve been enjoying in the UK this summer, and what a summer!  It’s been summer since the beginning of May!  Now you in other countries might wonder what the miracle is – well, our summer is usually 2 weeks, and they are not necessarily two consecutive weeks.  It’s usually a few days here and there that add up to two weeks.

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Cool as a cucumber in Cornwall

And that’s why I need to get cracking with my other sewing, there’s still a month of predicted SUMMER to come!  And…  I had an epiphany this morning.  Yesterday was spent toiling two patterns that I really liked in the Burda magazines, but once made and on, they were just NO.  Why?  PleatsBig pleats.  I already know that with my tummy, I cannot wear pleated things (unless the fabric is soft and floaty and the pleats are small).  So why in heavens name did I think I could get away with these??  In an effort to remain nice and cool today, I’m wearing a pair of long, floaty, viscose trousers – with pleats!  But they work – why?  Because the viscose drapes so well, the pleats are small, and – this is the important bit – they do not start at my waist!  So I’m going to make that dark blue and white fabric that was-going-to-be-a-top-and-now-wants-to-be-bottoms in the culotte length version of these trousers!  YES!  And please let me remember that big pleats that start at the waist are NO GOOD.  phew…

Rust

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My favourite colours, this is a wall of Cornish slate. I love the rusty tone with the dark navy & the greys

I broke my “please don’t buy any more fabric” ban last month.  There I was innocently catching up on my blog reading when I came across a rather delicious looking pair of culottes in the most amazing colour by SewManju.  The colour was exactly what I’d been looking for all year, and linen to boot!  After asking which fabric shop she’d managed to find that beautiful fabric – and getting a reply – I managed to snaffle the last 3m!

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Burda cropped wide leg trousers 102 05/17

And I’m a very happy sewist-bunny, this was just the colour I was missing for my palette for this summer (and many to come).  It was instantly washed, dried and ironed, ready for cutting.  I decided not to faff around with different patterns, but to make another pair of cropped wide legged trousers using pattern 102 from Burda 05/2017.  I already have two summer pairs, and another two in winter fabrics. It’s a pattern I can make in an afternoon – so I did!

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Out and about in St Ives in my lovely new trousers!

Usually I make the pocket bag linings from a contrasting fabric, something from the scrap box.  Then I use that same fabric for the waistband facings.  But the fabric I really wanted to use was only enough for the facings, so the pockets are all just linen.  The waistband facings are in a pale greyish blue and white flower print Liberty poplin.  Only tiny bits of that left in the scrap box now!  The buttons for the pocket detail are vintage ones found in the depths of the button box.

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Vintage buttons for detail, Liberty poplin for waistband facings
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Walking on Porthmeor Beach

I truly, deeply, LOVE the colour!  It goes with everything else I have, navy tees, white and black and grey tops, all done!  So far I’ve only had a couple of cardigans in this shade of paprika/rust/cinnamon/copper.  It’s really hard to put a lable on it!  So, even though I had two cardigans in the right colour, I decided I needed another “top half”.  And I had just the right pattern for the linen left after cutting the trousers.

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I decided to make a pattern up from the Kana’s Standard II book, the jacket “A9”.  I’ll show it to you soon, it’s just been way too hot for another layer….

So that’s another project for this year’s Burda Challenge, and a huge thank you to SewManju for helping me to accquire this perfect fabric <3<3

 

 

 

 

Give the Flowers a Chance

Still catching up on what we made in May here!  You would have read in the last post about the trousers that Daughter No2 and I were both working away on her “fix it” pile, and making some new things.  While I was happy to make for her (and always am), I knew we both had to be sewing to get it all done in the short amount of time we had.  So while I made that last pair, I tasked her with another.

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Trousers 120 03/2017

The trousers Daughter No 2 made are the cropped trousers, #120 from March issue of  Burda.  She’d ideally had had them as they are, fabric and all, but I had nothing like that in the stash!  However, I did have a floral print slightly stretchy cotton that she’d chosen a couple of years ago at one of the exhibitions at the NEC.  It was duly allocated to this pattern and we were off.  I traced the 38 again, based on her hip measurements, and we used the toile to refine the fit.

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She did all the toile sewing, while I pinned and marked and instructed.  So she can sew, but she’s not confident at all in doing it on her own.  But leave her alone in a kitchen for a couple of hours and wait to see what comes out!  We all have our talents, right?  Anyway, as before, we had to take the waist in a lot, just smaller than the 34, changed the crotch curve and depth, took in the inseams front and back down to the knee, and reduced the width of the outside seams this time too.  They came in 0.5cm starting just below the hip yoke pocket, down to the knee.  They were just a little baggy there for her.

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So, a lot of adjustments and unpicking, but all worth it before sewing in the nice stuff!  The pattern has slits at the hem, hip yoke pockets, a shaped waistband and invisible zip.  The shaped waistbands are really helpful to perfect fit, and I usually cut the back with a centre seam, rather than on the fold, so there’s more room for adjusting.  Which is just what we had to do in the final making up!  The stretch cotton had too much movement, so I had to pin a bit more out of the centre back, changing the back seam slightly.

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Hip yoke pockets

She’s done a fabulous sewing job here, and didn’t loose her cool that much…  I know these are going to be well worn over the summer, she’s even bought new shoes to go with them!  Workng together, we also managed to finish that fit it pile, and she went back to Birmingham with a bulging suitcase.

Blue Diamonds

Making a good start on that long list of items for Daughter No 2, she’d identified a couple of pairs of trousers she really really wanted, and had allocated fabric from the stash!  The tracing was done and when she came home for a week, I decided to get making, but with conditions…

She helped me in my allotment in the mornings (vitamin D and excercise) and then in the afternoon, we would sew together.  She’d also made a pile of summer clothes that came out of the loft that needed attention.  So we had our week’s worth of work laid out!

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Burda trousers 113 08/2017

 

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The first pair of trousers is  113 from Burda 08/2017.  The fabric chosen to make them up came from ( I think) Ditto Fabrics, a good few years ago now.  Daughter No 2 is slightly pear shaped, narrow waist and broader hips.  There is usually a 2 size difference, so I traced the equivalent of the 38, going by her hip easurement.  It’s a petite pattern, so I lengthened it:  1cm in the crotch depth, 1.5cm between the hip and knee and another 2cm between the knee and the hem. That should make it the right length for an “average” height person. Then I toiled and made the fitting adjustments on her to get the waist perfect.  This was especially needed as the waistband doesn’t sit on the natural waist.  But one thing didn’t quite work out.  The length!!!  The photo in the magazine clearly shows the model’s ankles and bottom part of her leg below the hem of the trousers, that was not happening with ours!  You would expect Burdastyle to photograph the petite garments on petite models, yes??  I think they have used their standard height tall people here, there’s no other way to get the length they have, because even on shortening the pattern again (except for the crotch depth adjustment), it still wasn’t as short as on the model in the picture.  And at 1.76cm tall, you cannot call Daughter No2 “average” height…

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In the end we kept the length as it was originally traced, and narrowed the waist to just below the size 34.  I took a bit out of the centre back to accomodate her posture, scooped out the crotch line and changed the shape of the curve – also a posture adjustment, and took in the inside seam, front seam by 1cm and back seam by 2, all tapering back to normal by the knee.  I also added pockets!  You need pocketses, so I drew up a pattern for inseam pockets, nice deep ones that ones phone won’t fall out of…

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Inseam pocketses for the win!

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I really love the finished pants, the colour of the fabric is turquoise with very dark blue diamond shapes, it looks black, but it’s not!  I like that Daughter No 2 is confident to change it up with different shoes, and tops.  I hope they get lots of wear this summer!  That was a May Burda Challenge project, but as it’s only been blogged now in June, I’m calling it for June instead!

Second Chances

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On the allotment

Hellooo, lovely patient people!  I have a load of gorgeous clothes to show off, if you follow me on Instagram, you’ll have an idea of what I have to catch up on!  The first will be a dress I made at the end of April for Daughter no 2, the last project for April’s Burda Challenge 2018.

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The pattern is #132 from April 2011, the dress in the magazine is made from leather, but we have a lovely piece of warm blue denim.  I’d bought the fabric from Rosenberg and Sons at the NEC about 3-4 years ago to make a little pair of dungarees for a child, but never got round to it…   Time to make something different!  There was only 1m, but it was just enough for the main dress pieces.  As the original dress was made in leather, there weren’t any facing pieces for the neckline and armholes, and no hem.  Cue lots of bias binding!

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Dress #132 Burda April 2011

I traced the 38, which is the smallest size this pattern comes in.  I only toiled the bodice, and this showed we needed a paper dart in the back armhole, and to take in the side seams under the arm by 1.5-2cm.  In order to fit all the pattern pieces on the fabric, I omitted the hem allowance and used a piece of wide bias binding to make a false hem.

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The pockets in the front seams are cool, topstitched on, but could probably do with being a slightly different shape, deeper would be more practical.  The denim is perfect for the dress, the shape is held really well but the denim is soft, so it feels really nice.  The length is also just right, daughter no 2 doesn’t like skirts too short.  It was quick and easy to make, and I recon it would work really well in a heavier fabric for the winter – to wear with a long sleeved tee or thin jumper underneath.

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We had fun taking pictures of the dress, I needed to water the new plants on the allotment so planned to take photos there, but we found a fluffy friend!  She was very happy to be the photobomber.

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That was the last project for April, May started off badly – productivity wise – but ended on a high!  Of course, there was Me-Made-May going on in the background, which has been great this year.  I’ve been inspired!

It’s The Real Thing!

I’m a bit behind on my blogging, I have two dresses and a pair of trousers completed, and a top almost there!  But neither have been shown off yet….

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Burda trousers 139 04/2011

I’ll start with the trousers.  Looking through 8 years of Burda magazines for April, I found a lot of patterns I’d wanted to make way back then, but obviously never got round to.  One of them is this pattern.  It’s 139 from April 2011, in the plus size section.  I traced the 44 and reduced the leg length by 4cm, remembering that the last time I lopped off 6cm that it was a trifle too much.  I didn’t bother to toile, as the waistband is elasticated and there’ll be more than enough room (I know, not normally something I would go for).

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The reason why I wanted to make these was purely because of the width of the leg and the detail at the hem, it’s nice to have something a little different.  In hindsight, regarding the length, I should have gone the whole hog and chopped off 6cm.  If I’m wearing these trousers with trainers or sandals with “platforms” or a wedge sole, I’m fine, but around the house in my bare feet they are too long and I keep standing on the buttons and elastic in the hem bands!

The fabric I chose is the first of the pieces I got at the NEC to be used.  I had hoped to start of that lot earlier, but never mind.  As long as none of it lasts passed the summer, I’ll be happy.  It’s not allowed to enter the stash!  It’s a navy and white washed cotton and linen blend, and I cannot remember which stall it came from.  I had 2m and it was just enough for this pattern with the width of the leg pieces, and the length…  If I’d taken out those other 2 cm it would have been a more comfortable fit on the fabric, but no worries, it all worked out.

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There are in seam pockets in the side seams, that fabulous pleated detail at the hem and a wide grown-on elastic waistband.  I have to admit that these are super comfy, I have worn them three times already and only today managed to get blog photos!  The linen is soft and floppy, just what I like.  Please excuse the creases, I hadn’t got round to getting photos before we went out, so I’ve done a lot of sitting…

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Putting them together was without incident, but keep an eye on the line drawing when it comes to asembling the hem bands and sewing on the buttons etc.  The only thing I’d change is the elastic inthe hem bands.  I can’t really figure out why it’s in there as the tab isn’t short enough to pull it up.  I shortened the elastic in my hem bands so that there would be resistance and there would be gathering in the band when the tab was pulled to the end button.

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I really like these trousers, and I can see another being made in the not too distant future.  That’s another project done for April BurdaChallenge2018, I’m working on some Japanese inspired stuff this week, haven’t even looked at the May magazines yet!!

Mini James Dean

I’ve got a large plastic tub full of pieces of fabric left over from all sorts of projects, all big enough for something, but not something for me.  I’m always loathe to throw these bits out, or even to give them to the local school for the kids, because I know I can do something useful with them – eventually…

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So this project is me using up one piece of that stored fabric.  You’ll remember the Morgan Jeans I made last year, with a yummy, dark denim from Croft Mill Fabrics.  There was a piece left over that wasn’t much good for anything except maybe a tote bag, and that’s what I had in mind for it for ages.  But, going through the April issues of Burda looking for projects to make this month, I came across a cute kid’s denim jacket #134 04/2010.  A friend of mine has a little boy who’s 5 this year – it would be perfect for him! (and I thought it could be kept for his little sister to wear when she’s big enough)

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Kid’s Denim Jacket, Burda 134 April 2010

So I traced out the 6 year old size (110), and the pieces fit perfectly on what was left of my denim.  Go! Go! GO!  It was tricky to get the pins in, I’d forgotten that, and stiff to cut – oh dear, but I ignored the warning bells…

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Lots of topstitching – I didn’t even try topstitch thread!

All in all, it’s a simple pattern to assemble, the instructions, while basic, are clear.  The only problem I had with the whole thing is the size of those little pattern pieces and the stiffness of the fabric!  I don’t mind admitting I swore a fair bit.  And I have made a vow, never make a tiny denim jacket with fabric that stiff ever, ever again!!!  It was really fiddly to turn the cuffs, the collar nearly killed my fingers (they got in the way of my pounding).  The only good thing was that my old Bernina sailed through all those layers of thick denim with consumate ease.

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Boy am I glad I’m only making one for two kids!  I think it would be lovely in a softer twill too, even a nice linen/cotton blend.  In order to reduce bulk around the welt pocket area, and to make it easier for my machine to get through layers, I cut the pocket pieces from another bit of left over fabric, black and white large check gingham cotton.  I deliberately did not choose something “boy-like” so that it could be handed down and worn again.  I like the idea of unizex clothing when it comes to items like jackets and coats.  Makes sense, money wise.  I remember as a kid, my mum bought me boys jeans that my brother got when I outgrew them, and my sister got them after that!  If there weren’t holes in them, that is.

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Gingham check cotton for the pocket bags

I didn’t want traditional jeans buttons, they can sometimes be stiff to use, and with this fabric it needed to be easier for little fingers, so I raided my vintage button box and dug out some military uniform buttons I’d got from the charity shop a year or so ago.  The small ones were perfect!  I’m really happy with how they look on the front of this jacket.

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My long-list for April’s Burda Challenge sewing was fairly long, and I decided against just chopping it down randomly, rather by seeing what fabric I had and going that way.  On that list were frequent referrences to “kid’s clothes” because the size range is right for my friend’s kids.  This is the first of those projects to be made and there’ll be more!  I need to get that fabric box emptied, and it’s nice to make clothes for kids, they’re usually much quicker and simpler than adult’s clothing.

Now I’m off to continue tracing the long list of patterns daughter no 2 would like made up for the summer – this summer! By the way, if you’d like to see her wishlist…

Follow the link to see the whole post, this just shows a part of it!  🙂

 

 

Everlong – Daughter No 2’s “make me” list

April has got off to a quick  start, and then a bit of a stop!  I made a very quick project in the first week of the month, and it’s gone off with Daughter No2 back to uni.  She chose a whole pile of patterns for me to make while she was on her Easter break, and I mean a BIG pile!  It’s like I haven’t got anything to sew for me..

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126a 04/2012

As it’s April, I thought I’d start her list by making stuff she’s chosen from April issues.  She’d chosen a length of Liberty lawn in black and white from her stash pile.  The pattern is top 126A from April 2012.  Ititially I thought a softer, drapier fabric would be better, but this seems to have worked ok, and it will soften with washing.  There are just three main pieces, two fronts and the back, and a strip of bias for the neckline.

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I used French Seams throughout and made narrow, double turned hems on the armholes, bottom and front edges.  It was quick to make but does use a fair bit of fabric because of the shape and size of the front pieces.

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I like that it can be worn in different ways, I think it’s going to have a lot of use come the summer.  We were lucky to have a sunny day for these photos, albeit a cold one!  I bet you can see the goosebumps!  Daughter no 2’s happy with this first project from her very long list, and there are more from April for me to be getting on with.  It just gets tricky to make without her here.  I need to fit toiles!  Next up will be some trousers, but they may have to wait a week or two before I can get to her again.

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So that’s the first for April’s #Burdachallenge2018.  Many more to go!  🙂