Hello Sailor

What is it about navy and white stripes that gets us thinking all summer and seaside?  I’ve been hankering after a blue and white, or white and blue stripey tee-shirt for months now, but never found the right one in the shops.  I’d steered clear of sewing my own until I had a decent knit block to work from, and that was taking time to get right too.  Then, by chance, I popped into one of the ladies shops in my local town and found a navy and white stripe jersey maxi dress, in my size, and that fitted rather well!!  On sale it was a snip at £34, so I bought it, with the idea of lopping off the bottom half so I’d have two tees!!

I should have taken a photo of the maxi dress before it got chopped up, but there you go, I was in far too much of a hurry!  It was/is from Scottish company Marble Clothing and can be seen here.  The first tee was made pretty easily, I simply put the dress on and marked with a couple of pins where I’d like the finished edge to be.  On taking the dress off, I measured down 2cm, then went a bit further down to get a stripe and cut along that line.  I used a twin needle to stitch the new hem and ta-daa…DSC00091-1

I love it!!!!  The neckline is really good for me, the scoop is perfect, just the right depth and width and it doesn’t stretch out while wearing, unlike my Plantain tees.

DSC00104-1I have taken the side seams in a bit since seeing these photos, and I wish I’d cut it a stripe or two longer, but of course, if I had, I wouldn’t have been able to make another tee!

DSC00106-1The bottom half was saved for another tee, but this time it wouldn’t be as easy or quick!  I’d made a start on a knit block earlier in the year and had to do loads of fiddling, only to make a tee that was too small.  So I decided to revisit the block and fiddle a little more.  I haven’t documented the process, I just kept changing and tweaking with each toile.  I’ve used a lot of jersey in toiles!!!  Eventually I managed to come up with a shape that worked and fitted, but course, I’m aware that with every different type of jersey it’s going to be very different, which is what’s annoying about knits…

I decided I’d like a v-neck tee with short sleeves – the sleeves ended up being shorter than I’d wanted, but lack of fabric dictated what I could have in the end.

DSC00117-1I started by cutting up the side seams of the skirt and then pinned the stripes together.  The front and back were placed to use the existing hem which helped with lining up the stripes on the side too!  The sleeves had to be cut separately, one on each skirt half and they had to be squeezed in so there’d be space for the neckband.  I had to piece the neckband, there just wasn’t enough length in the fabric to get it out in one shot.

DSC00122-1Making up was dead easy and really quick, the only issue was the neckband, getting that point right in the front meant I decided to sew it on with the sewing machine first, after a little fiddling I got it perfect, then went back over it with the overlocker and messed it all up!!  grrrrrr  I couldn’t do too much with it because – overlocker….  Damn.  The rest went together swimmingly, and I got those stripes on the side seams matching like a dream.

I love my new tee shirts!!  The fit is fabulous, the jersey itself is amazing.  The content is cotton with lycra and it’s lovely and soft.

Matching stripes - like a boss!
Matching stripes – like a boss! 
Not 100% happy with that flippy sleeve…

The only thing I’m not happy with in the second one, is the sleeves. The hems tend to roll up to the outside, I think it’s because they’re quite short and the hem is just 1cm. I might try adding a band to the bottom, I have some white cotton jersey in the stash that may help.

Now for the trousers..  I wanted a pair of trousers with flare/wide bootcut as a nod to the 70s trend this year.  There is a great pair in the July issue of BurdaStyle, but it wanted stretch fabrics and the fabric I had in mind was a beige linen – no stretch fibres built in.  So I reverted to another TNT pattern, 118 from April 2009.  I just love the shape of these trousers, but I do have to shorten them drastically!!  6cm has been folded out of the leg length of this pattern in order for it to fit my short Scottish pins.  The pattern goes up to a 44, so I did a little extra grading and made a 46 from hip up.  I just don’t go in enough for the 44 to fit comfortably!!  I think actually that I can get rid of a bit of this extra though, and take in a little down the thigh.  After putting on a bit of weight while I was out of sewing action and very, very bored, I have been able to get rid of the extra flab.  This means that I don’t actually need some of that extra ease I built in to the making of these pants!  So I’ll run a new line of stitching from the knee to hip and get a better shape for the flare from the knee down. (  Update – I have actually taken the side seams in from the waistband to knee, making for a much better fit and look overall.)

DSC00102-1I picked the perfect thread to sew with, you can’t really see any of it in the topstitching.  These little front patch pockets and just right, they try to discourage me from having my hands in my pockets too much, but are just the right size for my phone or a little change.  I am addicted to pockets, I never really know where to put my hands if I don’t have any!  I used seam tape for the hem, another occasion of just managing to fit the pattern pieces on the fabric.

Details, left, the inside of the zip, top right, the patch pockets, & bottom right, the hand stitched seam tape on the hem.
Details, left, the inside of the zip, top right, the patch pockets, & bottom right, the hand stitched seam tape on the hem.

DSC00089-1I love how these trousers look with the stripey tee shirts, they’re going to be the first thing I pack in my suitcase for my week in Cornwall!

In other sewing news, the prom dress was finished in time and looked fabulous! I have a couple of photos on my phone, but have yet to persuade daughter no2 to get dressed up again so I can take decent ones for you all to see.  We need details!  I also downloaded the Mandy Boat Neck Tee from Tessuti Patterns after spotting a few online and seeing Thornberry’s latest versions.  I’m obviously not over my quest for a square tee.  I made it quickly a couple of weekends ago, mid prom dress, and I’m dead chuffed!  So that’s another post waiting for photos.

Perhaps, if the weather’s not all it’s cracked up to be next week, I’ll be writing blog posts from our holiday apartment instead of exploring the Cornish countryside with the family.  I won’t be taking any sewing stuff with me this time not even patterns to trace!  I need desperately to crochet loads and loads of granny squares for daughter no2’s granny square afgan for University, I can’t believe there’s only one month today until she goes!  Time flies people…

*UPDATE* I thought I’d posted this particular post before setting off on holiday, then wondered why things were so quiet…  Turns out I’m a bit of a numpty and did nothing of the sort.  So I have been on my Cornish break, altered the trousers and next week will be adding a band to the sleeve hem of the self drafted tee!  I have also made loads of granny squares, and as I add this postscript, have just 12 more to do!  Then I need to block them all and start putting it all together. It’s going to take time & Daughter No2 leaves on the 8th of August…..

Slow Sewing

This year is going to be a different one for sewing. If you haven’t already noticed, things are going much slower. By this time last year I’d completed 22 projects, this year I’ve done 13 and am working on my 14th. It’s not as if I have less to make, or less fabric to play with. Just less time.
I have stuff I need to photograph, neither Camas Blouse have made it to the pages of the blog yet, despite them being completed late January, early February!  Here’s a glimpse.

Marking the seamlines on the reverse of the sequined shoulder yokes.
Marking the seamlines on the reverse of the sequined shoulder yokes.

 

The completed sequined shoulder.
The completed sequined shoulder.
A sneaky selfie in the back of the florists, the first outing for my Camas Blouse
A sneaky selfie in the back of the florists, the first outing for my Camas Blouse

I decided this year to get my act into gear regarding trousers too, the styles in the Burda magazines aren’t floating my boat and there really is a limit as to how many times you can remake a pattern, no matter how you think they look so different in different fabrics.  So I’ve managed to get a new pair of self drafted trousers up and running too.  I stole a couple of different styling ideas from different patterns I like, like pocket shapes and cuffs.  I’m pretty happy with the first pair, I think the proof will be in the wearing though, so I’m holding off rushing to make a new pair before I’ve worn these a couple of times to identify areas of improvement.

Sketch of the intended pattern and a pile of taped together bits of paper forming the pattern pieces!
Sketch of the intended pattern and a pile of taped together bits of paper forming the pattern pieces!
Adjusting the style lines after the first toile.
Adjusting the style lines after the first toile.
IMG_20150323_114625
Almost there, fly zip, topstitched square shaped pockets.

My current project is a simple v-neck tee from a self drafted block.  I’d needed to adjust the original block heavily, apparently Winnie Aldrich doesn’t really mean 0 ease when she says it for a tee block!!  I think it’s sorted enough, so I’ve marked the fashion cut and created the style pattern I’m after. I need to toile it today, so fingers crossed.

Simple shaped tee, 3/4 sleeves and a wide v-neck band embellished with beads
Simple shaped tee, 3/4 sleeves and a wide v-neck band embellished with beads

The one thing about making garments with jersey is that each and every jersey behaves differently. I’ve even had different results from the same bamboo jersey in different colours!! Does the dying process have an effect?? Who knows.  This time I’m using a pale grey viscose jersey I bought from Croft Mill Fabrics last year, it’s not one of those flowing jerseys, so hopefully it works well with the simple shape.  I decided to lift it from being a boring grey tee I’d dig out a tube of silvery beads and embellish a bit.  We’ll see if my hands behave enough for me to hold a beading needle long enough to get any beads attached!

Speaking of hands, I’ve been rushing to crochet enough granny squares to make a throw for daughter no2 before I have to stop.  Holding a crochet hook is not easy at the moment, but I’ve managed fairly well so far.  I crochet like mad when my hands behave and then have to leave if for days other times.  I hope I get it all finished and put together before she heads off to University in September.  I have a long way to go yet!

This was the last photo I took of the growing pile.  I have another 18 to add to this.
This was the last photo I took of the growing pile. I have another 18 to add to this.

Of course, just because I am not sewing much doesn’t mean I’m leaving the growing of the stash alone.  I persuaded Daughter No1 to attend the Sewing for Pleasure at the NEC last week with me, on the promise that I’d buy the ticket, lunch and any fabric she required.  Sucker.  We got a good haul, she left with silk and wool tops for embellishing, wool felt and silk woven pieces to add texture to her latest project.  Me?  Well, I left with these, amongst other things…

Cotton poplin for a dress and 40s stye shorts for daughter no1
Cotton poplin for a dress and 40s stye shorts for daughter no1
just one of the pieces of Linton tweed, this is a cotton weave, destined for an edgy, modern jacket for daughter no1
Just one of the pieces of Linton tweed, this is a cotton weave, destined for an edgy, modern jacket for daughter no1
Silk print onto cotton, the most amazing colours!  I got 2 lots of 2 metres, neither for me!!
Silk print onto cotton, the most amazing colours! I got 2 lots of 2 metres, neither for me!!
You can never have too many books to assist with fitting issues.  Everyone has a different opinion!
You can never have too many books to assist with fitting issues. Everyone has a different opinion!

So that’s me for now.  I have lots to sew and lots to crochet and lots to photograph!  Daughter no1 will be home for the Easter Hols soon and I have lots of things I want to make for her before she goes back to University, so I’m going to have to hurry up just a little.

Abstract in Watercolour

Abstract in Watercolour  - self drafted silk top.
Abstract in Watercolour – self drafted silk top.

How to start a blog post almost two whole months after the last one, especially when it was full of positivity & promises of action..  Well, something is better than nothing I guess, so here goes with the first project I’ve actually managed to get photographed this year!  I bought loads of pretty fabrics just after Christmas and found the most gorgeous print silk at Croft Mill Fabrics.  The colours I liked, the print I thought I could deal with, so I swiftly added 2m to my basket and sat back and waited for it to be delivered.  I was not disappointed.  The fabric is even better in real life than the photos – the print looks so very much as if a watercolour artist has created a fabulous abstract with his/her favourite colours and it has a beautiful drape.  It’s not a satin so was very easy to sew with.

The hem is slightly longer in the back, curved like a shirt hem.
The hem is slightly longer in the back, curved like a shirt hem.

I decided to use a self drafted pattern I’d used for silk before, this polka dot crepe de chine.  It took me a while to make, simply because I had to find the time with all my other commitments.  This week though, was crunch time.  I’d dedicated a day at home to “getting things done” and one of those things was to finish the top!  It’s all French seamed inside, as you’d expect with a gorgeous fine fabric.

Faux placket detail
Faux placket detail

The faux placket (facing on the outside that looks interesting) was easier to get right with crisp edges than the last one, slight variations in the silks I suppose.  I love this pattern, and the print.  Colours and print, how unlike me!  I sort of wish I’d got more, but maybe I’ll take a second look at the other colourways instead, as this particular one is all sold out – I have a feeling I may have got the last of it!

abstract 3I suppose I ought to tell you I spent hours making sure the pattern was matching across the side seams and sleeves, but I didn’t.  I thought about it for about 5 minutes and decided life was too short!  By happy coincidence things worked out just fine!

abstract 5Next to make is a Day to Night Drape Top by Maria Denmark for Daughter No2, the fabric from Kat as part of the Sabretooth Swap organised by Anne.  I have decided to make her a pencil skirt to go with the top, using the pattern for the plaid skirt I finished in November.  It should all go together quite quickly (famous last words!) so maybe by the end of today I’d have finished two projects!  *shhh, don’t jinx it…

Welcome 2015, let’s get down to Business!

Happy New Year to you all, and a belated Merry Christmas, if you celebrate.  Boy have things been quiet on my sewing table, but now is the time to rectify that!  I’ve been very busy with a different line of work over December and now that that has quietened down I can get back to my sewing.  I’ll fill you in later on what I was getting up to, but if you follow me on Twitter, chances are you spotted a few plant & flower related photos…  That’s the clue!

Anyhooo, I bought a decent amount of fabric online while on the sofa watching movies with the family on Boxing Day, as you do, and it has started to arrive!  Soo exciting to get new fabric!  I am determined not to let it accumulate in the stash, so here’s my first project.  I have a 3m piece of olive crepe backed satin that arrived from Fabric Godmother – I know, olive green!  No black, grey, white or blue…  I’m being brave this year.  From my Wardrobe Architect board, I have identified this palette from Design Seeds with the olive as something I might actually like to wear, so this is a start at coming up with a selection of garments for it.

Natalie Top by Lolia Designs

I saw & pinned a blouse pattern by Lolia Designs called Natalie to my Wardrobe Architect board on Pinterest a while ago.  I liked the idea of the “panel” in the centre.  They call it a pleat, but it does nothing a pleat is designed to do.  It’s a folded back extension of the front so it flaps around a bit I would think.  I haven’t bought the pattern, it is not in my size and I’d like to change a few things.  I’m combining the idea of that central detail with the sleeve from my placket blouse, but deepening the cuff.  I’m also going to re-use but slightly alter the hem from the black & white spotty silk faux placket blouse.

I love the look of this blouse, the sleeve is something I’m going for with the new pattern, of course it won’t have the button placket or collar, but that can appear on a different top!

So the pattern was started in the evening of the 30th, the toile started yesterday afternoon (New Year’s Eve!) – yeah, not going out, and I’m finishing it off today.  I hope it turns out the way I imagine, the result should be available by the end of the day!

I’ll do some round-ups of last year’s projects in a bit, I managed 92 projects to the end of November, so I’m quite chuffed at that, I still need to see how I did on the Stashbusting front.  I know I used a lot, but I’m not sure I managed to stick to my 1 in for 2 out policy…

In the meantime, I hope you’ve all had a wonderful time with family over the holidays & are ready to tackle this new year with a vengance!  Also waiting with baited breath to find out who I’m partnering with for Jungle January 2015!

Wardrobe Architect Plans Continue

Last Saturday was the Sew Brum event, a meet-up of a number of sewing bloggers in Birmingham.  I decided last minute – as you do – to have something new for the occasion.  And I mean last minute.  I had a new haircut on Tuesday, traced a pair of Burda trousers on Wednesday, had various interruptions & only managed to finish them on Friday morning.  I also started to patterncut a new blouse on Thursday morning.  Something had to give & unfortunately it was the top.

Trousers 143 from Burdastyle 2/2013
Trousers 143 from Burdastyle 2/2013

But first – the item I did manage to finish to wear to the meet-up.  Typically with no spare time, I picked a pattern I’d not used before & haven’t toiled.  I chose a pair of trousers from February 2013 Burdastyle magazine, number 143. The pattern has a slightly dropped, shaped waistband, front fly, hip yoke pockets and cuffs on a slight bootcut shape leg.

This is one the Curvy Collective could add to their list to try out.  It’s a plus size pattern & I traced the 44-48.  I don’t have much waist definition, going straight up from the hip, so I made sure I had enough sizes to grade up.  As it was, I used the 44 on the leg up to the hip line & graded up to the 46 from hip up to the waistband.  It’s a trifle snug because of the lack of stretch, but I’m satisfied with the result.  At least I know they won’t be falling down during the day!

I had to shorten the pattern by 4cm.  The finished length was to be 108cm, which I thought would be ok on me, but when I pinned the cuffs in place they dragged on the floor- not a good look for winter trousers!  I had to chop off the hem turn of the cuffs & reposition them, but now I’ve shortened the paper pattern by the requisite amount so next time will be all good.  I really like the shape of the trousers on me, considering I normally go for wide swooshy ones!  But that style doesn’t work in the winter, I needed a more fitted, shorter style.  I will use this pattern again, but I have my eye on two others to try too.

DSC09948-1The fabric is from Croft Mill, a two tone tiny herringbone cotton chino-type fabric with no stretch.  It has great body and is well suited to the style of trouser I chose – but this is one of those fabrics that creases badly in the washing machine, and then leaves the evidence of that creasing in the loss of colour.  It’s a real shame because now the trousers look like they constantly need an iron.  I’ll leave it for a little while, but I feel I’m going to need to get the dye out, which will lose me those teeny tiny herringbones.

Cuffs & hip yoke pockets lined with grey satin
Cuffs & hip yoke pockets lined with grey satin

I bound the inner waistband edge with the left overs of the lilac bias binding from Daughter No2’s vintage jacket & used a grey satin for the pocket bags.  As I was in a rush I simply zig-zagged the seam allowances.  Not the most perfect finish, but it does the job.

DSC09958-1The top I completed this week, yesterday in fact.  It’s sort of my contribution towards the Sewcialists’ Scraptember challenge, even though it was only dreamt up & made now in early October. I had some left over black & white spot silk de chine form a blouse I’d made a few years ago and loved to bits.  Literally.  I wore it until it fell apart.  The fabric has such a fabulously luxurious feel and the way it flows and drapes while you wear it is just beautiful.  Anyway, I’d kept the bits, because they were big enough for something, just not an entire new something.  Then by chance I found more of the same stuff in Fred Winters in Stratford on Avon!  Perfect!  I bought a metre and immediately hatched a plan.

Self-drafted silk crepe de chine faux placket blouse
Self-drafted silk crepe de chine faux placket blouse

I wanted something similar to the original top, but also wanted to do a twist on a traditional placket.  My go-to length for sleeves is three-quarters and I do love the sleeve I developed for my Jungle January blouse.  I cut the sleeves, cuffs & neckbands from the silk I had left over and cut the front, back & placket from the new piece.

Close-up of the neck-band & faux placket
Close-up of the neck-band & faux placket

The collar is more of a neckband, and the placket more like a facing sewn on the wrong side & turned to the right side & topstitched in place.  The bust dart was moved to the underarm position & I took a little of the waist darts out in the side seam so it wasn’t too tent-like.  Construction was pretty straightforward, French seams throughout, double turned dipped at the back hem.  I used Gill Arnold’s fine sheer fusible interfacing on the outer neckband, placket & cuffs.  The interfacing was definitely needed on the placket to keep it under control for the turning under of the seam allowances!

DSC09968-1I’m in love with the result!  Ok, so maybe a thin light silk top is not really a practical make for October, but I could wear a vest top underneath for added warmth.  The biggest advantage is that it’s done! Another top that fits my requirements and uses the fabric in the boxes.  Even if it does mean I had to buy a little to complete the project.  And yes, its more spots 🙂  What can I say, I feel overwhelmed by most patterns, but checks, stripes & spots I can live with.  So far this year I’ve made 4 blouses with definite spots/circles & two with variations on the theme.  Oh, and one tee, not blogged.  There is still another silk satin in the stash box with my name on it – spotted, of course! We’ll have to see what I decide to make next but I have plans to make another two pairs of trousers.

I bought a stone coloured cotton twill & a gold-sand colour stretch cotton chino from Croft Mill fabrics earlier in the year for winter trousers & I’m thinking of using 118 from Burdastyle 08/2013 for the gold & 134 from Burdastyle 04/2012 for the stone.  Just to get them traced & toiled first…

These are all resulting from my work on the Wardrobe Architect project.  Have any of you been using yours much to further your wardrobes this year?

Dentelle Noire

DSC09726-2I’ve finally something made for Daughter No1!  You might recognise the black jersey cowl tee from my last post – it fits perfectly without needing any adjustments at all – Phew!  She loves the fit, the drape & the jersey.  Needless to say, I’ve now got orders for “more please Mum”.  Yeah, it’ll have to join the queue.  I really like the way the top fits her so I guess I need to make more, not only for her, but for Daughter No2 too.

Maria Denmark Day-Night Top
Maria Denmark Day-Night Top

She’d like some in plain colours, printed jerseys, etc.  Please don’t show her Sew Busy Lizzy’s dress versions….

dsc09722-1On to the skirt…

The inspiration for the skirt came from a pin on Pinterest, which came from this style blog.  I had some black lace in the stash which I’d swapped Kat from Modern Vintage Cupcakes for last year but never got round to using it up.  I knew I’d be using it for Daughter No1, but we didn’t quite know what it wanted to be.  Until this summer.

DSC09725-1Using her straight skirt block, I altered it to create a box pleat in the centre and added two more pleats to the sides.  I did this on the back too and put the zip in the side seam.  The waistband is a straight piece with a slight underlap from the back to attach a hook & bar.  The skirt measures 70cm from her waist & initially she thought this would be too long, but the toile reassured her that for this sort of skirt it would work.

No hem!  Just the selvedge edge.
No hem! Just the selvedge edge.

I cut the lace with the selvedge as the finished edge.  Turning up a hem wouldn’t have worked and binding the edge would have made it stiff & ungainly.  Luckily for me there was enough lace to do this!  I have enough left of the lace to make sleeves for something – thinking a black viscose jersey plantain with lace sleeves.  For Daughter No1 – of course  🙂  It’ll look good with black skinny jeans or leggings.

DSC09724-1The underskirt was also developed from the skirt block, 50cm long from the waist, all I did was add 5cm to each side seam at the hem, tapering back up to the hip point.  The darts were left in, she didn’t want the poly-satin of the underskirt to be pleated & add bulk to the lace.  We were after a sleeker look.  I ran the skirt up on the overlocker, so it was pretty quick, only needing the sewing machine for darts & the hem.  The overlocker was put into service for the lace skirt too, it wasn’t a particularly matchy lace so I wasn’t concerned to line things up and match the patterns.  French seams would have made the side seams stiff and the whole idea was to have something floaty & feminine.

Satin waistband -  I love the contrast textures.
Satin waistband – I love the contrast textures.

There’s an invisible zip in the side seam and black hook & bar attached to the waistband. The texture contrast is great & I love how the light catches on the satin underskirt through the lace to add another dimension.  We’re both really happy with it & the whole outfit is having its first outing to a dinner with the boyfriend & his parents tomorrow night, so I guess I did good!  🙂

Detail shots, not many because who needs to see masses of overlocked seams??
Detail shots, not many because who needs to see masses of overlocked seams??

So I’m patting myself on the back for the positive end of the draped tee saga, but I’m not doing that well on picking the winner of the BHL pattern giveaway..  I know, you’re all watching your email boxes to see if you’re the winner – man your creative reasons were good!  Too good!!  I feel really bad that I only have one of each pattern to send out.  Every time I think I’ve picked to best of each, I have a re-think.  But I will pick one, I promise!

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!

DSC09816-1

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wardrobe Architect Result

Picture the scene, you’re relaxing after dinner with a glass of something yummy & Husband announces we’ve got a wedding invitation from an ex-collegue of his.  First thought – “Oh heck, what on earth an I going to wear??”  Second thought, “How much time do I have?”  It turned out I had about 2 months, the two months that were to be taken up with Indie Pattern makes!

I had a wild plan to make something fabulous in a 50s style, something nipped and flared nudged at the edge of my brain.  Then I got real.  I’d never feel comfortable in a Fifties dress, no matter how beautiful it was, and I’d never – ever wear it again!  I’m not into having things in my wardrobe that only have one use.

Silk!
Silk!

I turned instead to my Wardrobe Architect board on Pinterest and came up with a plan.  I had initially planned to wear black – I know, it’s a wedding, not a funeral!  But I’m comfortable in black.  But I’d have had to buy all the fabrics for whatever I wanted and I really, really didn’t want to do that.  Digging through the piles of fabric on the sewing table I unburied the navy & ecru spot silk chiffon Husband had bought for me back in January.  I’d planned a cowl drape top with that.  I also had a piece of navy silk charmeuse in my silk box, just right for a camisole.  So I had a top and something to counter the sheerness of the silk – all I needed was something on the bottom.

Instead of inviting fate to mess with me too much I decided to play safe & make one of my tried & tested Burdastyle trouser patterns (102 from 07/09), I just needed the fabric.  I found a beautiful stretch cotton sateen in navy on Fabric Godmother and that was that!  The trousers were made as soon as the fabric was washed & dried.  Done!  And in plenty of time, I was not going to be rushing & still sewing 30 minutes before we had to leave!  I used a remnant of the Liberty cotton from the Carme for the pockets & to trip the lower edge of the waistband.

Trouser details
Trouser details – I changed the button to a plain blue one, this one could be seen through the silk!

Then the Indie stuff hit the big time & I lost sense of time completely.  Only once all the madness was over I settled to making the cami.   I used an out of print Butterick 5487 .  The pattern calls for it to be double layered but I didn’t have enough silk for that, so I cut one layer & loads of bias strips for the upper edges.  I used French seams for the inners & double turned a narrow hem.

DSC09715-1The top was always going to be self-drafted.  It took a couple of attempts to get the right amount of drape in the front.  The first time I didn’t open up too much & kept the waist darts in.  This looked fine, but I wanted more drape & no darts.  Trying again there was too much drape and the top was too baggy in front.  Third time lucky I was happy with everything.  The back is cut on the straight with darts for shaping, 3/4 length sleeves are simple & narrow and the front is dartless.  The toile was more fitted than the silk turned out to be.  Again, I used French seams throughout & double turned the hems.

DSC09718-1I had of course, left it to the 2nd last day to begin all this.  Why?  ‘Cause I get distracted with other things!  Instead of getting on with the blouse I made two vintage dresses.  Neither were desperately needed.  But I liked the patterns & the fabric & wanted to make them.  So I did.  The net result is that yes, I was still sewing 30 minutes before we were due to leave!!  I’ll never learn it seems.

DSC09712-1But I was happy with my outfit.  I’d have prefered the blouse to be more fitted and can always add darts to the front again, but the biggest let down were the trousers!  I’ve made this pattern so many times I’ve lost count, and there’s nothing wrong with that.  I decided to make them 4 weeks ahead of schedule – and then went on a little healthy eating plan!  NOOOO!  They were too big, and of course I only realised that when I put the whole lot on to go out!  BOTHER!  Now I need to add belt loops.

The end result is positive, I have a fab new blouse I can wear anytime and it looks even better with my pale beige & camel coloured linen trousers than it does with the navy, and that navy cotton sateen is just brilliant to wear.  It’s cotton so it breathes, the satin finish makes it pretty, although it does tend to attract light-coloured fluff and the stretch content makes it all so comfortable.

DSC09713-1I’ll never be one of those in a shop-bought pretty party frock, but I will be happy in my handmade stuff.  🙂

Have you made anything “out of the ordinary” for an occasion such as a wedding?

 

Look Ma, I’m Wearing a Print!

It's a print!
It’s a print!

I’ve finished another self-drafted blouse!  I really needed more tops & blouses, Me-Made-May has shown that pretty clearly!  I have enjoyed it so far, especially showing off what Daughter No2 has in her wardrobe, but I’m having to repeat stuff.

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I used some of the pieces from the Midnight Blues blouse for this.  The back yoke & collar, neckline and front bands are the same.  The fabric I finally chose is a Liberty City Poplin.  It is pretty sturdy and very crisp, so perfectly suited to a more structured style.  I love the colours, the flowers are off-white and the ground is a blue-grey.  The pattern has alternating bands of small & larger flowers, so I lay the pattern pieces so that the smaller flowers lined up with the waistline.  The hope is that it looks like I have more shape in that area – not sure if that’s worked!

Front details
Front details

The front has a yoke at the shoulder that the bodice gathers into.  I converted the large shoulder bust dart into 3 areas, first the gathers at the yoke, then a 5cm underarm dart & the remainder went into the waist dart.  This was sewn as a dart tuck instead of a full double point dart.  I wanted more of a relaxed look, this fabric is quite sturdy, and while that lends itself to a more structured style, I wanted to be able to relax in it!

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The back also has a yoke, but there are no gathers here this time.  A central back panel & two side panels  make for a fitted look, something you need when using a sturdier fabric.  This stuff does not drape!  I curved the hem a little more than I have on previous patterns, mostly because it was going to be closer fitting.

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I love how the blouse looks with my dyed linen trousers, it also looks good with jeans but slightly all too pale with light linen.  Perhaps I just need more summer, that’s when the pale colours work!  I recon this is a good pattern, now I have another two still to toile, not to mention all sorts of other things to make.

I want to take part in the Sew Indie Month & have ordered the Snowball dress by Waffle Patterns (they’re a new one to me, but I love this dress!) which I’ll make for daughter No2, and the Carme blouse by Pauline Alice, which has had a fair bit of coverage on the internet.  Best I get cracking!  🙂

Introducing Lizzy – A 50s Inspired Wiggle Dress

Lizzy
Lizzy

I have finally made a dress for Daughter No1!  It isn’t the dress I’d sketched for the Miss Bossy Challenge, although that is underway.  This was partly inspired by a vintage pattern I have and Daughter No1’s desire to have a “grown up going out” dress.  The fabric is a stretch cotton John Kaldor print I’ve had for a very long time, just waiting for the right pattern to come along.

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Normally skirt lengths for this young lady are most definitely above the knee, and being petite that’s the way she prefers them.  However, no wiggle dress I know has hems that short, this one finishes just below her kneecap, dead on 60cm from her waist.

DSC08241-1I used the 2-piece dress block, making the finished length 60 cm and removing 1.5cm from the hip, tapering to 3cm at the hem.  She was definite about the hem being narrow!  The front skirt dart was converted into a pleat, and I added a second, but the added width does not extend to the hemline.  The back skirt retains its 2 darts and centre back seam.  I tapered the centre back seam to lose 1.5cm at the hem, then I added a 15cm long vent.  then she decided she didn’t want a proper vent, just a split.

DSC08235-1The front bodice has waist and underarm darts and a simple neckline, it’s in the back that the fireworks are happening!  The back has a deep “V” that crosses over the centre back line about 15cm up and overlaps at the waistline by 5cm.  The back bodice dart was converted into a pleat and moved to the intersection of the centre back seam & the waist seam.  Once I’d determined the line for the back I added a 5cm grown-on facing.  There is a 25cm invisible zip in the skirt in the centre back, and the crossover bodice is fixed with a pair of press studs.

Detail pictures of the hem, closures & slit mitre
Detail pictures of the hem, closures & slit mitre

I am really happy with how this dress has turned out, and I hope I get to make another!  We just need to see how, with wearing, that back holds up.  I have a feeling I may have to put a hook & eye or something where the two back pieces cross, just to ensure there is not too much gapping.  But for now, it’s gorgeous, & Daughter No1 loves it!  So I’m happy!  🙂

lizzy Collage