Floral Silk Warabi Kimono

It’s been a while, helloo there!!  Well, I did say back in January that blogging would be sporadic!  The silence since coming back from my holiday is basically due to me sewing loads and loads of stuff, and showing nothing of it here for you guys, but annoying all my Instagram followers with loads of pics of baby and little girl’s clothes!  There will be a write-up soon, but first wanted to show off one of the few adult’s garments I’ve made this month.

While I was away I got an email from Kat, one of the founders of The Monthly Stitch.  If you’ve been following along with Indie Pattern Month this year you will have noticed that there has been an “extra”.  In order to raise money for charities and to take The Monthly Stitch to a new level, three bundles consisting of various patterns have been put together for sale.  I was offered the chance to pick a bundle and make one or more patterns from the bundle in order to promote the concept.  As I was away at the time, I went with the last one, entitled Getaway.

As you could probably guess from the title, this bundle has patterns for holidays.  The pattern chosen to start is the Warabi Kimono top from Waffle Patterns.  I had actually bought this pattern last year and toiled it for myself, but my shape really didn’t do it any justice.  I decided my best friend could do with a new top and started digging in the stash for suitable fabric.  I had to shop the stash as there is this little pledge not to buy anything until Christmas time!

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Warabi Kimono Toile on the dress form

I rediscovered 5m of gorgeous silk that was liberated from a local charity shop a few years back for a ridiculously low price.  The colour is perfect for my friend’s colouring and the lightness of the fabric suits the pattern really well.  I toiled the 38, which fitted straight off the bat, the pattern needed to be lengthened by 3cm because my friend is quite tall and is long waisted.

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Details. French seams inside and double turned hems.

French seams were used throughout, the only finish if you’re going with a lightweight silk, and double turned all the hems.  I loved making this pattern, the instructions couldn’t be clearer, Yuki also supplies detailed illustrations so there’s no getting confused.  I have used Waffle Patterns before, with superb results.

I used the copy shop version, I have a huge aversion to cutting and taping millions of A4 pieces of paper together and will now avoid buying a PDF pattern if that option is not included.  What I like about this one is that the pattern pieces all fit nicely onto one A0.  Nice and cheap.  The instructions booklet is also not pages and pages long.  It’s informative, has everything you need and doesn’t have 8 pages showing you how to lay out the pattern pieces.

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Warabi Kimono Top in green floral silk. I love it!
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Fabulous full sleeves
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https://wordpress.com/post/bellemegan.wordpress.com/3374 The back has a higher “v” and central back seam.

Pictures are on the dress form only for now, my friend has yet to see her present, but I know she’ll love it!  The green of the silk looks fantastic with jeans, so this will be the perfect “dress it up” top.  If you like what you see, visit The Monthly Stitch‘s page to see the other patterns in the bundles and spread the sewing love.  I will have another pattern to show you in a couple of days, also from the Getaway bundle, also a gift!

The Kimono was finally delivered today & I’ve managed to get a couple of photos. My friend is very camera shy so these were taken on the sly!
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I love that she’s happy wearing it with shorts in a very casual way, and not just keeping it “for good”.

 

Life in Colour

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Koh Sok National Park – Thailand

Daughter No 1 has been sending home the most amazing pictures of her travels, currently touring Thailand.  These photos are making me want to go there myself!  The sea is the most beautiful colour and everything seems to be so much more vibrant than here in the UK.  I thought I’d show you another of the items I made for her travelling wardrobe.   Daughter No 1 had chosen this Vogue pattern V9008 last year at the NEC.  We (I) never got round to making the pattern up for the summer, it just wasn’t that sort of summer here in the UK.  So when it came time to decide what she was going to pack in her rucksack, she remembered this shorts pattern.  She liked the pale blue colour of the envelope, but not the pleated style.

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Image from Vogue Patterns. V9008

We bought some pale blue cotton poplin from Croft Mill Fabrics to make view C.  There was only one problem she had with the style, no pockets!  It was easy to quickly draw a pattern for some in-seam pockets.  I toiled the 8, in according to the measurements.  I knew there would be adjustments, I almost always have to fiddle around with the waist and sometimes need to make a swayback adjustment for her.

I found some African printed fabric in the stash that I’d been given and knew I’d never use for anything else and made the toile.  Wouldn’t you believe it, she loved the fabric so much she wanted me to fix the toile up and finish it off properly so she could pack it too!  Someone else did that to me a couple of years ago…

Collage vogue shorts toile
The toile that wasn’t

As suspected, the sides needed to come in, dramatically, and I needed to take the back in more.  I enlarged the dart in the back to make it 1cm and narrowed the back yoke to make it fit better.  The side seams needed to come in enough to effectively make it a size 4!  The pattern’s smallest size was a 6.  The length was perfect.  Daughter No 1 wanted clothes that would be comfortable as well as suitable for wandering around towns and cities.  As you can see, the toile is now a complete, wearable pair of shorts with a zip and button from the stash.

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Vogue shorts in blue cotton poplin

Adding the pockets was easy and definitely made a difference.  I don’t know why no pockets were included in this design. Where’s a girl suposed to put her phone, nevermind her hands??

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I love how these fit now.

I had also bought some floral cotton from Clothspot to make the short version for purely beach wear but she decided she had enough shorts by then so although I’d already started them, I stopped to work on other things, like that silk dress!  The unfinished foral shorts have languished on my cutting table for the last few weeks, waiting for me to just finish them off and move on.  February over at the Monthly Stitch is UFO month.  Perfect motivation!

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This is how far the shorts got before being abandoned. Only the hem and waistband to go!
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Finished floral shorts! Something awaiting the return of the wanderer.

Back to sewing! That stash isn’t going to “bust” itself….

 

 

 

 

 

Summer Ready – Drape Top & Paisley Print Gabriola

Ready for Summer!
Ready for Summer!

Round 2 of The Monthly Stitch Indie Pattern Month competition is in full swing, this week it’s separates.  I had considered all sorts of things for this one, but as I’d started cutting a Gabriola for Daughter No1 before my operation (and got no further) I decided I’d finish that and whip up a suitable top.  She loves the Maria Denmark Day to Night Drape Top and as her sister appropriated the other grey jersey version I made, it made perfect sense to sew up another.

This is the first Gabriola I’ve made for Daughter No1, I got her to try on Daughter No2’s Winter Gabriola for size, and it nearly fell straight off!  Ok – size 0 with adjustments then…  I made the smallest size and then took in an extra 3cm from the waist, grading down to just past the hips.  The Sewaholic patterns are drafted with more hip ease, but it was not needed here. Other adjustments were to shorten the waistband – naturally, but I think that next time I’ll make it narrower too.  You’ll see in the collage that although I made the waist considerably smaller, the skirt still sits below her natural waist, causing drag marks at the back.  I might even draft a shaped waistband, it may fit better.  I also needed to shorten the skirt.  I took out 12cm in the length and I think it’s perfect, long enough to be a proper maxi, but not so long that it’ll drag in the dirt.

separates collageThe fabric she’d chosen is cotton lawn with a “hippy” print, a muted colourway with paisleys and half moon shapes.  It was bought from Stitch Fabrics at the NEC earlier this year, with the specific intention of making a Gabriola.  I love the colours and print, it’s going to look great with a number of tops from her wardrobe and has that washed out, faded summer look.  It’ll also soften with washing and I think it’s going to be well worn this season!

DSC00020-1As far as the Drape Top goes, I just cut the pattern exactly as I’d done before as I’ve made a fair few versions of this pattern now.  The fabric is a dark grey jersey from my stash – never ending jersey!  I never use the elastic on the armholes, it just doesn’t work with my sewing machine!  As it is, the application around the neck is about as much as the poor old thing can handle.  Now I thought I’d try an FBA this time around, but on checking the instructions for doing on on the website the measurements weren’t different enough.  But when I look at the garment I’m sure it needs one.  Daughter No 1 is happy with it though, the drag lines don’t bother her at all.

Maria Denmark Day to Night Drape Top and Sewaholic Gabriola
Maria Denmark Day to Night Drape Top and Sewaholic Gabriola

So there you have it, a bit of a stashbust and a quick sew, that’s my entry for the Separates category.

Up next is a bit of fun with a super stretchy viscose jersey, it took all my patience!!

A Rooibos Dress in African Print

Rooibos dress from Colette Patterns
Rooibos dress from Colette Patterns

My idea of slow sewing certainly didn’t include stopping sewing altogether, but during the last two months, that’s exactly what happened!  I will  get back to the self drafted trousers etc, but in the meantime, I have been able to sew again, and this is the first project I’ve finished!  I definitely wanted to enter The Monthly Stitch’s Indie Pattern Month again this year, so that was part of the motivation.  Also, I was getting really bored of not sewing.

DSC09973-1You’d have thought while I was unable to sew that I’d be mindful of what I was doing online, but instead of living vicariously through everyone else’s sewing, all I wanted was to join in.  So if you can’t sew, you shop, right??  I have added to my pattern stash, and the fabric stash is a fair bit bigger too.  Ooops!

The first piece I bought was intended for this project.  I had the Colette Patterns Rooibos dress pattern from last year, but had never managed to find something to make it in  Not to mention that at the time daughter No2 had more than enough dresses in her wardrobe.  Still does if the truth be told.  But this was a match made in heaven.  I chose an African wax print cotton from Fabric Godmother.  I had thought of a Shweshwe fabric, but had already fallen in love.

Rooibos toile
Rooibos toile

Following many online disappointments and rants about the drafting of the patterns, I got a toile ready, with trepedation!  Colette Patterns are supposed to be drafted for “curvy” shapes, but the measurements on the envelope (once I’d converted them to metric) were pretty close to daughter no2’s, except for the hip which was one size up, as always.  I cut the 2, grading to the 4 from waist to hip in case she needed it. The shape of the skirt though showed I didn’t need that step, so I reverted to the 2 throughout.

Hmm, not exactly lining up!
Hmm, not exactly lining up!

I did have a couple of issues with the drafting.  The front midriff piece was too long to fit the front bodice, but only on that joining seam – the skirt pieces fitted the bottom seam of the midriff perfectly… You can see the little folded away bit in this photo of the toile. So I cut the centre front accordingly.

Pleated out section in front midriff piece
Pleated out section in front midriff piece
Extended back darts
Extended back darts

The other blip was the length of the back darts.  They are wide and very short, resulting in “back boobs”!!!  So not a good look.  I lengthened the darts to 7cm so they finished just below the shoulder blades, and the fit was greatly improved.  After trying on the toile, daughter no 2 decided the length as it was was perfect for her, which meant adding 3cm to the bottom so I could actually turn up a hem.  And that was all I needed to do to the pattern!  Thank goodness, because I had read many posts of despair from sewists using various Colette Patterns.

Completed toile.
Completed toile.

DSC09970-1The fabric was a breeze to use, I’d tossed it into the washing machine as soon as postie had delivered it, ironed it and waited for the opportune moment to get cutting.  Which means I waited for daughter no 2 to pin the pattern to the fabric – under my supervision – and manhandled my rotary cutter (left-handed) around all the pieces, trying not to cut into the pattern, and not go all wobbly.  It worked out pretty well.  The facings are interfaced with Gill Arnold’s fine sheer polyester fusible, the hem edge covered with a lovely chocolate brown seam tape and the seams finished with a simple zigzag.  I was not ready to shift heavy sewing machinery around in order to use the overlocker, and sometimes I think the humble zigzag gets overlooked in favour of its more glamourous cousins.

DSC09972-1I really like the way the dress turned out.  We eschewed piping and contrast pieces because the fabric was so beautifully printed and busy.  No attempt was made to pattern match, I really wouldn’t have liked to have tried!!  Now all we need is suitable summer dress weather so it can be worn, and not left languishing in the back of the wardrobe.

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This then, is my entry for the Monthly Stitch’s Indie Pattern Month 2015 Dresses Contest, which runs this week.

***UPDATE***

This dress has been chosen by the judges as one of the 15 shortlisted for your vote!!  pop over to the page showcasing all the other wonderful entries and pick your favourites.  You have 3 votes & I’d be very greatfull if you liked my dress enough to include it in your top three.  There are some fabulous dresses entered, so good luck in choosing just 3 to vote for!

ps, I have to add a bit here, kudos to all left handed sewists out there, during my enforced time as a left handed sewing machinery operator I have found it really cumbersome.  Everything is set up for the right handed of us.  Well done people, hats off to you!!

Sewing Cake – or something you want, but don’t need.

The Monthly Stitch has an amnesty running this month for those of us who wanted to join in with a challenge, but either ran out of time or steam!  August is a rubbish month for me to sew in, it’s summer, school holidays, we go away for a bit & the other half takes time off to relax too.  I got some things done, but not the “Sewing Cake” challenge.  Now as I read it, “cake” in the sewing world is the stuff you don’t necessarily need in your wardrobe, but is is most certaily the pretty stuff you want! Scratch that, that definition belongs to frosting!  Trust me to get it all wrong!  🙂  Just goes to show there’s always something new to learn.  So, cake is normal stuff, everyday sewing, and the stuff you want but don’t need is the frosting.  What have I made then, cake or frosting? 

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On re-reading the “blurb” for August’s challenge I realise I can make whatever I like, as long as proper cake is involved somewhere, either as a print on the item, or as something to eat!  I’m off then to make something cake-y & will photograph Daughter No2 with it just as soon as she’s home from school later.  In the mean time, I think we need a new definition, cake is fancy, yummy & not somehting you should be sewing (eating) everyday!  Or is the every-day sewing stuff really bread?

birthday TMSI’d bought 1.5m of pale blue cotton chino twill from Croft Mill Fabric last year, with the intention of making a pair of trousers.  Needless to say that didn’t happen, then we got the Papercut Bellatrix pattern and all thoughts of trousers went out of the window.  Daughter No2 has 5 of these already, so did she really need another?  No.  But she wanted one!  Therefore, this Bellatrix Blazer is most definitely cake!  It’s also the first Bellatrix I’ve made since the Paris print one where I haven’t had to squish in the pattern pieces.

Bellatrix Blazer - CAKE!
Bellatrix Blazer

I lined the jacket with some blue floral print cotton lawn I’d bought from the Remnants House in Bude whilst on holiday last year.  I’d grabbed it, then afterwards decided the print was too busy for me, so it languished in the stash.  I tried to sell it to someone who’d love it more, but that failed.  When the decision was taken to get on with the Bellatrix, I knew what the lining would be!  Of course there is loads left over, but one of my students kindly agreed to take it off my hands to make a skirt.  The sleeves were going to be lined with white haboutai, but when I went digging in the linings box I couldn’t for the life of me find it!  oops..  Instead I used a bit of lilac lining left over from goodness knows what.  It works really well with the pale blue & the print of the lining.  Job well done, I’ve used all stash materials!

Floral cotton lawn for the lining & pocket bags
Floral cotton lawn for the lining & pocket bags

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Once cut out and interfaced this jacket is quick to go together, after making 5 already, I should hope it would!  I do think that this one needs some closure though.  At the moment Daughter No2 is too busy wearing it for me to add something to it, but I did get some interesting closures for an edge-to-edge finish from John Lewis a while ago, so perhaps I’ll be adding those.  All in all a successful project and one I could get done quickly to get me back into the swing of things.

DSC09631-1Daughter No1 pinned a black lace skirt to her Pinterest board for me to look at, found here.  Would you know, I have black lace (albeit without a scalloped edge) from Kat from the Stash Swap last year, and black satin in the silks box, so I really should be getting on with that.  She also wants the Day to Night top from Maria Denmark so I need to check the jersey stash to see if I have the right stuff.  I’m determined to make decent inroads into the stash, but there’s so much loverly new fabric coming into the shops right now…  I must resist.

Don’t forget the By Hand London pattern giveaway – you have until Friday midnight GMT to add your creative reasons as to why you should win either the Anna or Elisalex pattern.

I’ll leave you with Daughter No2’s model pose…

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Black & White and spotted all over!

DSC09796-1More sewing for me, and more spots!  The Monthly Stitch contributors had chosen Monosewn, black & white only as their theme for July.  I thought this was going to be a cake walk to be honest, I had so many fabrics to chose from I was quite literally swimming in the stuff!  The biggest problem was chosing what to make!

Out of the pile I narrowed the choice to a white cotton with black spots and a black viscose jersey, with black spots!  Pattern choices were a self drafted Carme-style blouse for the cotton and an asymmetrical tee similar to No4 in Drape Drape 2.  I faffed around & made up my mind & changed it again numerous times over the month, starting other projects just to keep me going.

In the end I settled for the cotton simply because I had other suitable fabric to use for the toile.  That’s the problem with toiling with jersey.  If you don’t use the exact same fibre content etc as your final fabric you’ll never get the same result.

I’ve pinned a number of photos of the types of blouses I like onto my Wardrobe Architect board on Pinterest, many of which are similar in style to Pauline Alice’s Carme.  My liking for spots is also pretty apparent.  Now I do have the Carme pattern but – the sizing doesn’t work for me.

Images from my Pinterest board.  Please visit the board for the source of the images.
Images from my Pinterest board. Please click the  photo to visit the board for the sources of the images.

Features of the Carme I like:

  • The front placket and neru collar.  The instructions supplied with the original pattern are pretty darned good.
  • Narrow cuffs
  • Roll back sleeves with tab to hold them up with.

The only thing I’m not that keen on for me is the tucked bib.  I think it’s too much detail on the top for me.  Although I wonder if it’ll look better if it had pin tucks instead of the 1cm tucks that come on the Carme.  No matter, this version has no bib.

DSC09797-1It has the placket, the neru collar, the narrow cuffs & gathered sleeves & the tabs to hold the sleeves up.  It also has a little detail all of my own.  I added some bias detail to the Carme I made before & was definitely going to to be adding something to this one.

Details
Details

I dug a length of 16mm wide black grossgrain out of my ribbon stash to use on the cuffs and front placket.  At first I thought I’d edge the placket on both sides with the ribbon, but I’m quite glad there wasn’t enough, I like having it just on the left so it is only seen when the placket is unbuttoned.

Horsin' around
Horsin’ around

This such a comfy shirt!I can see myself wearing it at least once a week so maybe I’d better make another to give this one a rest!  I love it with the sleeves rolled up.  With Summer nearly over (sssshhhhh!!) the length is perfect for those days when a breeze gets up & you need more coverage.

DSC09813-1The construction of the shirt was pretty simple, I followed the instructions for the placket from the Carme & then everything else was straightforward.  The seams are all French, hem double turned & machined.  This is a shirt that can be run up in a day, an afternoon even!

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I call that a success story!  Now, I have 5 days until we head off to Cornwall for sun, sea and sand (in that order…)  I still need a couple of tops, so maybe I’ll make another of these, or maybe I’ll get my skates on and make that Drape Drape tee!  Panic? Me? Never…  :s

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sewaholic Fan-Girl

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The final instalment of Indie Pattern Month is the Fan-Girl, Ultimate Level.  Now I don’t know about ultimate here, but I have managed to make up two Sewaholic patterns.  Initially I thought about this combination, but then after all the other competitive sewing I wondered if I really needed to enter another competition.

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I’d bought the Gabriola skirt pattern after spotting the most beautiful bird print chiffon from Croft Mill Fabric.  I had great plans for this fabric and Daughter No2 draped herself in it when it arrived!  The grey jersey for the Renfrew is from Croft Mill too, Caroline helped me greatly in chosing the right stuff, so a big thank you there!

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The Renfrew tee has been made up by me a number of times now, this will be the fourth for Daughter No2!  I cut the 6 on the shoulders, grading to a 2 at the waist and then out to a 4 at the hip.  I also had to lengthen the shoulder by 2cm.  She didn’t want the waistband part of the tee, so I ran a line of twin-needling 1cm from the raw edge and didn’t turn up a hem.  The Renfrew, as always goes together well, it took  a couple of hours on the overlocker, perfect for a quick make.

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The Gabriola however, was a completely different kettle of fish.  The print ran across the fabric, so I thought I’d cut the pattern pieces on the cross grain.  This was not one of my brightest ideas, as it turns out.  It was slippery as heck to cut and even worse to pin together.  I used French seams everywhere except to attach the skirt pieces to the yokes.  There I used a flat fell seam.

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Good for swirling in too!
Good for swirling in too!

I wasn’t sure what to do with the waistband – at first I didn’t want to make it too stiff, but I was concerned that the chiffon wouldn’t be strong enough with just a fine interfacing.  After asking for so ideas from Tashia on twitter which weren’t forthcoming, I decided to start with interfacing with the fine sheer polyester fusible.  I bought a length of white 4cm wide grossgrain ribbon and handstitched the waistband to the ribbon with a herringbone stitch.  This has worked out quite well & now I can be sure it’ll be secure enough with the button & buttonhole too.

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Obviously the skirt needed to be lined, but with what..  The more common linings wouldn’t be suitable here, I couldn’t use an acetate or cupro and silk would have been too expensive and not suitable for a teenager to wear every day.  I bought some white cotton muslin for the job, and used it for the toile too.  This I constructed using Mock French seams so that I could alter it quickly and easily if I had to.

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The cotton does alter the hang of the chiffon, the skirt would have been far more drapey with a more fluid lining, but Daughter No2 likes it as it is, and I am not unhappy with the result.  I let the skirt hang for a day to see how much dropping there would be and had a pain of a time evening up the hem!  In some places 6-7cm had to come off, and in others it was fine.  I did away with the 2.5cm hem idea too, just using the rolled hem foot, but hemming the lining properly.

Window shopping
Window shopping

Daughter no2 loves the skirt, it’s so pretty and feminine and she cannot wait to wear it out & show it off to her friends!  I love how it looks with her biker jacket and the grey for the teeshirt has worked so much better than the predictable blue would have.

Jump! :)
Jump! 🙂

 *** UPDATE ***

Voting is now open and will close on Friday 5 July at midnight UCT.  Click on the button below to go to the voting page where you’ll find all the entries.