Little Miss Smarty Pants

Miss Smarty Pants
Miss Smarty Pants

I have decided to delegate the Smarty Pants to Daughter No2.  I mean, she looks so smart in these pants, so why not!?  These are the trousers mentioned in my previous post, no 110 from Burdastyle 11/2013 in a damson coloured stretch cotton satin from Croft Mill Fabric.  I originally over-ordered the fabric to ensure I had enough for a pair of trousers as well as a vintage dress which I need to turn into a coat/mac.  I haven’t got round to doing the alterations necessary for the coat but Daughter No2 was desperate for these trousers.  So I gave in & cut, anyway, I can always buy more fabric, can’t I?

DSC07306-1The pattern is great.  Daughter no2 seem made for the shape of Burda trousers, including the length!  I always have to lop 5-6cm off for myself, but they are just right on my little giraffe.  She’s 174.5cm tall, so generally we have a problem with shop trousers being waaay too short – which is why I make them instead.  The fabric behaved perfectly, it irons like a dream & has enough, but not too much, stretch.  I took in the side seams (making the 34) 5mm each, so effctively narrowing the pants – from the hip – 2cm each.  She felt they were a little baggy before.

DSC07308-1I overlocked everything before starting sewing & hand stitched the hem in place.  The button & zip are from my stash.  As you can see, she’s pretty chuffed with them!  This outfit is completely handmade.  The top is a vintage Simplicity pattern I made last year (see my Vintage Belle blog for details) & the swing jacket is what I made for my Jungle January project in 2013.  As it’s half term here in the UK this week, she’s taken a day out from studying & masses of 6th form homework to go out with her friends, & this is what she went in!

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smarty pants CollageIt’s not even that cold today, & thankfully no rain is forecast either!  But, rain or shine, I must get on with my own trousers.  I have some gorgeous caramel coloured linen from Ditto Fabrics that’s just begging to be used & a whole pile of patterns needing to be traced!

 

 

Welcome to my Jungle!

Jungle January - Welcome!!
Jungle January – Welcome!!

So here it is, at last!  I luuurve my new blouse, it’s everything I wanted!  After all the fuss & hassle I think I have something I can work with, put in different sleeves, add collars & mess with the shoulder line.  Overall, this is perfect!

DSC07062The print is just right, I don’t like them too big, or too busily small either.  (I sound like Goldilocks…)  I even found a photo today of another blouse in the same fabric, it’s on my Wardrobe Architect Pinterest board 🙂  The colours will go perfectly with my current & future trousers & jackets.

DSC07059So what did I do?  I moved the shoulder seam on the back forward 5cm so from the front it looks like there is a shoulder yoke.  I transferred some of the fullness from the shoulder dart into a 4cm underarm dart & converted the remainder into gathers to go into that “yoke”.  I eliminated the waist darts on the front & back & took in the side seams one extra cm so it wouldn’t be too unshaped on the sides.  I drafted a grown-on facing for the front v-neck & instead of a collar, made a long narrow tie to be sewn onto the back neck & left free from the shoulder seam.

Pattern Lay
Pattern Lay

The sleeves were slashed from the hemline to the sleeve head in two places, front & back & spread 6cm at the back hem, 3 at the front.  I also curved the hem of the sleeve 5cm outwards (downwards?) to make more of a “pouff”.  The sleeve hem is gathered into a narrow band.The hem of the blouse is shaped like a shirt hem, with the sides being 5cm shorter than the centre front & back.  I like a shaped hem, it gives the impression of more shape underneath!  🙂

DSC07065-1For the construction, I used French seams throughout, little squares of interfacing under the buttons & buttonholes & double turned hem.  I didn’t want any part of the blouse to have structure, keeping the nature of the viscose to drape & hang.

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Now I am full of ideas of how to use this as a basic pattern from which to make all sorts of variations.  Problem is, I’m pretty sure I need to go fabric shopping because most of my fabrics are meant for the girls, not me!  This could cause a bit of a problem as I signed up for the big stashbusting effort with Lelie from Bouquet of Buttons.  I did fairly well with my stashbusting efforts last year, but I still have plenty to get through.  I will do the same as last year, using 2 pieces from the stash before being “allowed” to buy one new piece.  Unfortunately this leopard print is not from the stash!  I bought it this year specifically for the Jungle January project.

So I guess I’d better make more for the girls, or use some of the stash for my Vintage Belle projects so I can free-up some fabric shopping for me!  🙂

 

Positivity

Thank you for sending me positive words & vibes last week.  It’s funny how, when a negative thought takes hold (in January for me particularly) it’s really hard to shake it off – despite how many times I think, “snap out of it already!”  I can say I have made progress.  I am now in posession of a third bodice block & toile, and this one actually seems to work in all the right places!  When comparing it to the other two I cannot say it’s hugely different, so what made this work & the others not??  Heaven knows, ’cause I sure don’t!

How many bodice block toiles does a girl need???
How many toiles does a girl need???

Something else that’s looking up is the styling of my Jungle January make.  I have come across The Coletterie’s plan for the Wardrobe Architect earlier in the month & thought it looked interesting.  Quite frankly, this weekend it was downright necessary!  So I’ve signed up, downloaded the questions & done a little soul searching.  Now I’m not going to post my answers here, they aren’t that interesting, but they did make me think & I’ve realised that I was again trying to put myself into a place (clothes) that I didn’t belong.  I also read Tia Dia’s latest post & inspiration hit me like a thunderbolt when seeing her Jungle January outfit! I created a new Pinterest board & trawled thought my other pins looking for stuff I really liked et voila!  I am now back on track.

I have toiled my fashion cut & apart from a couple of alterations am pretty happy with it.  So today I am going to get sewing & hope to have something really “me” when I’m done.  I am really looking forward to having a new top & that leopard print viscose is so soft & drapey..

I leave you with something from artist Lisa Congdon who’s blog & sketch book entries are amazing & another free printable for your sewing space, click here to download it from the original site, & in various colours.

Sewing is Cheaper...Has anyone else decided to use the Wardrobe Architect to re-organise their wardrobe, or sewing for this year?  I have seen posts from Evie & Vikki so far.

January Blues

Pattern cutting in full flow - or as husband calls it, making a mess.
Pattern cutting in full flow – or as husband calls it, making a mess.

I’ve had one of those weeks.  Simply put, it’s been a blue week, although Evie has a better word – one my Granny used to describe a certain type of weather, dull, miserable & grey.  “Dreich”.  Luckily, in South Africa she didn’t need to use it a lot, but it had its days.  I have been working on my Jungle January project, having thought I knew what I wanted.  Well….

So far I have 2 block toiles (adjustments, you know), 3 style toiles & all the accompanying paperwork and now a 3rd block underway.  Something’s going wrong & I’m blaming it on this “blue week”.  Nothing seems to be working.  The toiles just aren’t fitting correctly, I don’t like the resulting styles on me & it’s all just getting me down.  This morning I came across a tweet with a link to this article.  Boy did it resonate with me today!  If my pattern making isn’t working, there must be something I’m doing wrong, right?  I’m obviously not good enough.  Then this tweet from @SueHotchkis popped up in my twitter feed:

No matter how many mistakes you make or how slow you progress, you are still way ahead of everyone who isn’t trying.

Mistakes I have in droves, and progress has most certainly been slow!  And boy am I trying, but that nagging thought was in the back of my head – “you’re not good enough”.  I know I’m not the only one.  How to overcome it though?

I had a 1-1 pattern cutting session with a student this afternoon that, in my current frame of mind I was, quite frankly, dreading.  I’d probably have said all the wrong things & his hard work would have ended up a total waste of time, like the pile of paper & toiles in my room.  Thankfully it went ok!  The disaster he thought he had with his self-drafted trousers was not that bad, & looks to be able to be sorted with a few short steps, as with his waistcoat.

So I realised after he’d gone, maybe I wasn’t such rubbish afterall…

Never give up.
Never give up.

Le Bellatrix Blazer français

Le Bellatrix Blazer français
Le Bellatrix Blazer français

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

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

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

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I need a bit more pressing on that front edge!

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

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

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

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

Packing for the Jungle

Happy New Year!!  What do you mean, that was last week…

Already I am behind on catching up on blog posts to read, patterns to make & fabrics to drool over!  If 2014 has the speed of 2013, I’m done for!  Needless to say, I really don’t want to be late for the Jungle.  Yup, if you’ve been more out of the loop than I, Jungle January is back on, hosted as ever by the indomitable AnneB from Pretty Grievances.  See her first round-up post here.

This time I’m making something for me!  I did a bit of research back in December & found two rather cool pieces from Fabric Godmother.  This chiffon is really pretty, as is the viscose leopard print.  However, I opted for the slightly less expensive option.  Ditto Fabrics have a leopard print viscose with a more monochrome colourway at £7.99/m, it will suit me better than the options with brown in them.  Naturally I didn’t just get the viscose.  I also bought the very last bit of a caramel linen blend for a new pair of summer trousers.

Caramel linen blend & leopard print viscose from Ditto Fabrics
Caramel linen blend & leopard print viscose from Ditto Fabrics

Now all I need is a pattern.  I really want to pattern cut something, I haven’t done any since about June last year, distracted as I have been with vintage sewing patterns!  Once I’d ordered the fabric I started thinking of something drapey, possibly Pattern Magic inspired.  But I kept coming back to the oversized shirt I’d made for daughter No2 last year, the shirt I made her for Christmas and the waist details common on 40s & 50s blouses.  The realisation that I really wanted a “normal” blouse with a vintage hint was a relief!

Until last night however, I couldn’t decide on a normal collar or a bow-tie of some sort.  I’m going to compromise.  I will make the blouse with a proper collar & stand and will also make a sort of neck-tie.  Here’s a rough sketch of what I’m thinking so far.

Blouse sketch with vintage influences
Blouse sketch with vintage influences

Now all I have to do is make the time to draft the pattern.  I’ve been wanting to do a top with a sleeve & yoke in one for a while.  The adaptations in Natalie Bray’s “More Dress Pattern Designing” are what I’ll be using.  Fingers crossed it all goes without a hitch.  If you’re joining us in the jungle, how are you getting on?

A Giraffe’s Tail – The Long & the Short of it.

So suave in her new jacket
So suave in her new jacket

I need to warn you all, this is a photo heavy post!

Phew, I have had such a blast sewing this month!  Jungle January has been a real hit, with sewing bloggers all around the world taking part.  Thank you Anne @ Pretty Grievances, this was a fantastic idea!

So when last I posted, I had received the samples from Ditto, and was drooling quite nicely over my pretty bits of fabric, sewing up all sorts of plans in my head.  I had drafted the flat overgarment block from Winnie Aldrich, just needed to toile and get on with the playing.  The block toile was fine, baggy, but about what I had expected with the size and (non)shape of the pattern pieces.  Moving on to fiddling and playing with paper, and the toile of the working pattern…

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The first toile, and the baggy, ugly sleeve
The first toile, and the baggy, ugly sleeve & armhole

So, I used this block because I figured there was no point in going for a tailored jacket block and all it’s shaping etc.  The flat overgarment block is for fleeces.  Baggy, shapeless, ugly clothes.  I know that now…  The sleeve on the right in the photo above is the original.  I took out the left sleeve and reduced the ease in the head to try to get it to look better.  I also narrowed the sleeve, considerably. It didn’t work.  The back is too baggy, the armhole massive, and we hated it on sight.  So it went into the fabric recycling bin and I started with the tailored jacket block instead!

The sleeve in the 2nd toile, developed from the tailored jacket block
The sleeve in the 2nd toile, developed from the tailored jacket block

So how much better is that!  And the back…

Back of 2nd toile.
Back of 2nd toile.

The relief was palpable!  Daughter no2 was happy with this one, the length, the width at the hem, and particularly, the sleeves!  Then I ran into the next hiccough.  I didn’t want to order the fabric until I had done the toiles and worked out how much I’d need.  Unfortunately for me, Ditto only had about 1m of the giraffe print left! Nooooo!  We did get the dot fabric though…  That’s another project, and one that daughter no2 is going to tackle herself.

After a quick hunt on tinternet I found the same print at ukfabricsonline, and for £1/m less than Ditto, and cheaper post too.  I ordered my 2m and set out to find a suitable lining and contrast fabric.  Lining was pretty easy actually.  I got a superb satin finish lining in raspberry from Fred Winter in Stratford on Avon, but had no luck with a contrast to do the binding on all the edges and to cover the buttons.  Running out of time, we decided to forgo the contrast this time.  Oh yes, I’m making this again!

I love the contrast of the lining when the sleeves are turned back!
I love the contrast of the lining when the sleeves are turned back!

I was hoping for an emerald or turquoise lining for the jacket, thinking fucshia may be, ahem, “slutty”, but this raspberry is the bomb! 😀

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FR0054I should say that these photos are all taken on my phone camera.  Husband is working on a new project at work, so has nicked my camera for “research” purposes.

Twins??
Twins??

ACan you tell how much daughter no2 likes her new jacket?

09Not too keen on me calling the shots with all the photos though!

If there was ever a reason for doing another it is this:  Parent’s evening at her school was last night.  Her art teacher took one look and wanted to know where she’d got it, wanted to pat it, and warned that if it ever came into the art studio, she wasn’t to be suprised if she couldn’t find it at the end of the lesson.

Once again, thank you soooooooooooo much, Anne, for starting us all on this Jungle madness. It’s been fabulous to read the round-ups of all the projects, and I have found some new blogs to follow too!

Now, what’s on the cards for February??