Wardrobe Architect & Me Made May 2014

Wow, two big things to get me out of my sewing rut & into something better and more interesting!  I was in quite a funk earlier in the year & the kind comments of my readers & the discovery of the Wardrobe Architect managed to drag me out of it.  I just need time and space to think of all the lovely goodies I’d like to make to suit, and then find the fabric to realise those day-dreams!  I made a good start with 3 blouses, then stopped to make fabulous things for skinny daughters & catch up on a bit of vintage sewing.

Now Me Made May is fast approaching, & I haven’t done much more to sort my very teeny-tiny wardrobe.  Very teeny because I switched over my winter & summer things this week.  There were loads of nice things in my summer boxes, the problem is that some I really don’t want to wear anymore & others I simply cannot wear (to put it plainly, I eat too much of what’s not good for me & I don’t exercise).  So it’s my fault I have only 2 t-shirts…

I do plan to make some more Plantains, once I find suitable fabric.  My local fabric store has a pitiful selection of jerseys, basically a handful of plains and some Liberty’s.  Not what I want!  One of the “tasks” for the Wardrobe Architect sessions was to create palettes, neutrals, accents etc, that we liked, then to narrow them down to form one particular palette from which to work.

My wordrobe consists mainly of neutrals – that’s where I’m happy, but I do realise the need for a little splash of colour here and there, and with summer knocking faintly on the front door I want to inject some colour or lightness that takes up some of the black & grey I live in in the winter.  That has been hard to do.  Whilst I like lots of colours, I don’t necessarily want to be wearing them.

I also find prints tricky.  Again, I like them, I can admire them, but wearing them….  I get scared.  My favourite pattern or print is the spot.  They’re safe.  But I want to be more adventurous!!  When I look into my fabric pile – meaning the pile I want for myself, I see spots, circles and more spots!  And variations on spots & circles…  I think I have an obsession.

silks, spotty & plain
Silks, spotty & plain

One thing I have managed is to get more pants! Or trousers, if you prefer.  There were a couple of pairs of linen trousers from the summer box that still fit – and that I still like the shape of (or can re-cut a bit).  But their colours were all wrong.  I didn’t take photos, not that long-sighted!  One pair was a chocolate brown, like milk chocolate.  I have always found them tricky to wear, even though I wanted a pair, I stick with turquoise or white on top.  The other was an interesting shade…  It was a shot linen, a kind of teal-green and violet.  Sounds weird, but I liked the effect.  Again, there was a problem of what to wear that with!  This time I decided to take action, if I was to wear them, they had to change colour.

So I threw them into the washing machine with a box of Dylon Antique Grey dye and waited for the result.  I love the new colours!  Because I didn’t use a dye stripper first they have come out of the machine with their own take on the grey.  The chocolate is now a warm, rich grey that I LOVE, the shot linen has hints of it’s original shade, but overall looks a blue/purple black/grey.  They’re perfect!  I will re-cut the legs of the purple/grey to make them narrower, but the chocolate grey is a perfect match for some of the colours I came up with for the colour project.

Chocolate linen trousers now a lovely warm dark grey
Chocolate linen trousers now a lovely warm dark grey

While I was dirtying up the washing machine, I also dyed a lightweight beige linen black, & re-blacked a pair black linen trousers that will also be re-cut.  All in all a great result!  Now to sort the tops…..  I have 3 pieces of spotty silk, different weights, weaves & colours and one black & white “blob” silk-cotton blend I made a blouse from a couple of years ago that needs attention.  I managed to catch the back on a door-handle or something & ripped it.  So I need to come up with something that can re-use parts of it, it’s far too gorgeous to chuck out.

This is my current collection of fabrics to work with - help?
This is my current collection of fabrics to work with – help?

If you want to see where my whirling head is going with the Wardrobe Architect exercise, I have far too many ideas on my Pinterest board.  While I love a floaty, not too structured blouse, I don’t want to make them all look the same.  I seem to be taking the same shape at the moment, and just adding different sleeve & collar details.  Will they be different enough?

Three ideas
Three ideas

At the moment, my hope that me Made May would be giving me the opportunity to really see if my new wardrobe was working properly is off to a stuttering start.  I know there’s still a week left, but pattern making takes time!  If only I could just decide what to make – with the foresight that it will look fabulous, I wouldn’t be stalling so much.

I need input from you fabulous sewists.  The sketch above on the left shows what I was thinking of doing with the “blobby” blouse that got ripped.  I had the idea from seeing this great blouse on Kollabora.  I’m just not that willowy, so I need to be careful of where the contrast goes, and how much to use.  Ideas??

My apologies for what seems to me to be a rather rambling post, I just need to get my head round what I should be sewing – and fast!!

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!

DSC07316-1

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!

 

 

Make that another blouse – & more stashbusting!

Riding high on my success with the Jungle January blouse, I thought I’d dive straight in & make another while all was going well.  I used my Wardrobe Architect Pinterest board to decide what elements to combine, without going overboard.

One thing has become apparent over the last couple of weeks doing the Wardorbe Architect thingie.  I seem to be chanelling a bit of the 70s.  Not full-on retro stuff, but hints in the sleeves, bootcut or flared trousers & little jackets.  So while everyone else is looking to the glamour of the 50s & 40s – I have to pick the funky, glamourous 70s!  Now I am a 70s girl, but what I remember of the decade is definitely not stylish.  My mum dressed us kids in tartan trousers, turtlenecks, corduroys that got static & made the dried grass stick to them & pinafores in the winter.  I vaguely remember long dresses & floral prints for the summer, & a denim shirtdress??  No way I am going back to that, I prefer the idea of glamourous 70s!

Day 34 02-03

So with that in mind, the fabric for the new project is from my stash, a piece I bought in Cornwall last summer on holiday – because the first thing you do when looking for a place to stay is to Google “fabric shops in…”.  Right?  Along with various other pieces, I bought 3m of this polyester satin, large black dots on a cream ground – & I think it’s rather retro.  Normally I don’t buy polyester, but I could not resist these spots.  The Remnant House in Bude did well from that little excursion on a rainy day.

bishop sleeve blouse collage Going back to the bodice block, I traced off the front, added a 1.5cm buttonstand & 4cm wide grown on facing.  The hem was shaped like the Jungle blouse & the shoulder dart moved to the underarm.  The waist darts were eliminated & the side seam taken in an extra 1cm.  I think with this one though that I will sew a narrow dart, the fabric is so lovely & floppy but there needs to be a little more shape.

DSC07149-1On the back I measured a 12cm yoke & separated it from the rest of the pattern.  I drew a line up to the yoke seam line from the centre of the back dart positions, & cut up it to add 3cm of fullness to enable me to have gathers above the shoulder blades. This has worked out well.  One of the toiles I’d made for the jungle blouse had had a yoke, but I’d made it too high (only 8cm from the neck) & it didn’t sit right.  Again, the darts were eliminated, the side seam taken in an extra 1cm & the hem shaped.  I’m really happy with the back, so no adjustments needed there for the next time!

DSC07170-1The sleeves are my favourite bit!  🙂  I traced the pattern piece from the Jungle blouse, adding in the lines where I’d slashed & spread.  I cut up the centre of these lines on the front & back and added more!!  The back ended up with 10cm of fullness, the front with 6.  Then I widened the sleeve seems by 2cm on the back & 1 on the front, added 4cm to the length on the back and only 1 on the front.  This means that the back is fuller & longer & should have a fabulous hang when done.  And it does!  It is a bit of a bishop sleeve – to do it properly you should  go for full length with a deep cuff. Mmmm, I do love a bishop sleeve!  🙂  If you want to make your own, this is from Patternmaking for Fashion Design, by Helen Joseph-Armstrong.

DSC07165-1The collar is just a simple convertible collar, permanently disabled!  I never wear tops buttoned up to the neck so I placed the first button to have a decent “v” and an open collar.  I’ll make the stand & fall shallower next time, although it doesn’t bug me like this.  One thing that does bug me though is the front.  The rows of spots don’t line up across the front!  AARRGGHH!  The fabric must have slipped while I was on hands & knees pinning & measuring, & of course, I didn’t notice until it was too late!  I must remember not to look in the mirror – at least when its on I can’t see it!  Oh dear…

DSC07162-1Onto the stashbusting!  January was pretty good really.  I used some white linen that I’ve had for aaages to make a vintage jacket.  Bellatrix has scored really well with 4 stash fabrics used!  Woot!  I’ve decided to stick with my use 2, buy 1 from last year.  That means I get to buy 2 new pieces – if I need them..  Ha!  Who am I kidding, of course I NEED it!  Husband & I went up to Solihull on the weekend, he looking for lighting for the living room, me tagging along in the hopes of finding some goodies in the John Lewis sale.  As luck would have it, we both struck gold! I win though, because I managed to persuade him to buy my fabric!  I left clutching 4m of silk, two 2m lengths, & grinning like a Cheshire cat!  I’m-a-gonna make some fabulous blouses with these…

DSC07111I just need to decide on which details to cobble together from all the lovely images on my Pinterest board.  It may take a while.  😉