Using Scrap Fabric – Making Beeswax Wraps

Clearing out a large, overflowing box of scrap fabric earlier this week, I decided enough was enough.  Wasn’t this the box that I’d swore to empty by Christmas??  Yeah right!  All I’ve managed to do since coming home from holiday in May is to carry on filling it!  This box will never empty itself – I need to commit!  Soooooo

I started with a few things, mentioned in the last post, like making bunting and some sort of patchwork piece.  I still am not sure of what direction that’s going to take, but I’ll get there.  I also unearthed a load of pretty cottons that would make perfect beeswax wraps.  So I decided to get on with it and stop procrastinating.  Down they went to the sewing room and I cut a load of 30x30cm squares (perfect for sandwiches) 20x20cm squares (perfect for covering bowls or halved avos or the cheesy part of an Edam cheese), and a couple of 40x40cm squares which is the perfect size for wrapping my bread made in the breadmaker.  Then I went looking for the beeswax – and found it wrapped in 20 or more pre-cut pretty cotton squares – of different sizes!  Oh dear!!

dsc_00688044803777053734112.jpg
Different sized cotton squares and beeswax bars from the local beekeeper’s association

I decided to start with some of those.  Now, there are loads of tutorials for beeswax wraps online, you just need to pick the one that you think will work for you, and the same here.  I’ll show you how I make mine, and it’s up to you to give this method a try and see if it works and you’re happy.  I’ll be honest and say I tweak the “recipe” each time, still looking for the “perfect” result.  The fabric needs to be 100% cotton, and please pre-wash it, the wax will not penetrate the fibres properly otherwise.

dsc_00705557588112410589074.jpg
Sandwiches wrapped up and in the bamboo lunchbox!

 

Now, where to get the stuff, and what stuff to get?!  I use beeswax and coconut oil.  Some say to use pine resin, but all I find that stuff does is leave a sticky, gungy plug at the bottom of the tin, and it’s nasty.  It doesn’t seem to mix in with the wax and oil.  It’s supposed to help make the wrap slightly sticky so it sticks to itself or the edge of bowls, but I can’t say it’s worked for me so far.  My current recipe is to use 100g of wax and about 2 tablespoons of coconut oil.  The coconut oil is easy to get hold of, I use the one from Aldi, it’s cheap and comes in a glass jar.  Beeswax you can get online, Amazon do a roaring trade, you can also get from The Soap Kitchen, who also do a vegan substitute.  They will send everything out wrapped in nice big thick plastic bags, so if that’s not your thing, you might want to go elsewhere.  They do, however, have the largest stock I’ve seen.  I am now buying the wax bars from the local beekeeper’s association, I like that it’s local and supporting local people and trades/hobbies!  You can find your local beekeepers on this site, UK only.  The normal beeswax will make white areas of fabric go a yellow shade, so if you want to keep the fabric white, look for the white wax pellets.

dsc_0076-016674844861810498721.jpeg
My little double boiler system, small saucepan and old tomato tin

Right, you’ve got your stuff, now you need to melt it.  The double boiler system is needed.  I use an old tomato tin (because it gets all waxy and gungy) for the wax and oil, and a small saucepan with about 3-4 cm of water in it.  Get the water in the saucepan and start the water boiling.  Meanwhile, measure out the wax and put that in the tin, followed by the coconut oil, or the other way around.  It takes a while for the wax to melt, it has a high melting point, so if you’re using pellets, bonus, this will go quickly.  If you have the bars, get a large chopping knife and a chopping board and make those bars smaller!  Then put the kettle on, have a cuppa and get the rest of the stuff ready.  (DO NOT BE TEMPTED MELT THE WAX IN THE MICROWAVE!)

dsc_0078-018848097001358752781.jpeg
Wax is ready!!

You’ll need two large-ish baking trays and at least three pieces of BAKING PARCHMENT – works way better that greaseproof paper, the paper needs to be bigger than the trays.  You don’t want the wax getting on your baking trays.  You’ll also need an old paintbrush that will only ever be used for this purpose from now on, or a silicone pastry brush, the wide flat ones are better.  I also have a wooden kebab stick that I use to poke the wax and stir the goo in the tin.  Also grab a pair of tongs, a clothes horse or trouser coathangers – the kind you get from the dry-cleaners, and a cooling tray.  And the fabric.

dsc_0079-011650977252155267003.jpeg
Large baking tray with baking paper and fabric square

Once the wax has melted you can begin.  Put the oven on to 100C, place a piece of paper onto a tray and grab a square of fabric.  Pop the brush into the tin and start spreading the melted wax onto the fabric.  It will not go far at first.  The fabric will soak it up, and the wax will start to set as soon as it’s removed from the heat so work quickly.  You’ll find as you make more that it gets easier to spread.  That’s because the paper will have residue wax on it from previous squares, the tray is still hot, and you’ve got used to how it all works!  So, spread quickly, but don’t stress if every millimetre of fabric isn’t covered.  Now put the brush in the tin and put the tray with fabric into the oven for 1 minute.

dsc_0080-019170647453154626411.jpeg
This is my first square of the day, the wax cooled quickly on the cool fabric and tray, and the fabric is the quilting cotton kind.
dsc_00822174119677687458410.jpg
You can see the wax cooling & setting before I’ve got a chance to spread it too far

Remove from the oven and place on the cooling tray, check to see if the wax has spread over all the fabric.  This is when you can to a little top up with the brush if you need to.  Then, with the tongs, lift the square of fabric and drape over the clothes horse, or clothes hanger to dry.  Then make your next square.  I start the next one as soon as I get one in the oven, it won’t kill anything if they’re in the oven for more than a minute, promise.  The quicker you can work, the more get done and you can move away from the hot stove and hob!  You’ll find that thinner cotton fabric like lawn doesn’t need as much wax and oil as the thicker quilting cottons do.  So if you have a pile of quilting cotton squares waiting, the 100g of wax might only do 10 or so squares.

dsc_0086-018242095817577070512.jpeg
Lift the slightly cooled square with the tongs and place on the hangers or clotheshorse to cool and set

If you’re making a wrap with a piece of fabric that’s bigger than your baking tray, brush wax on about half of the piece, then fold the fabric in half, or quarters, and brush the unwaxed areas with a bit more wax.  Pop it in the oven, and when you take it out, cover with a piece of baking parchment and get your oven gloves on.  Rub over the paper, pushing down on the waxwrap to encourage the wax to get absorbed through the layers.  Open it all up and check that the wax has gone everywhere.  Any areas that are still dry can quickly be filled in with your brush.

dsc_0087-014634782603932927382.jpeg
This is a large, 40x40cm square, folded in quarters before placing in the oven

Once on the clotheshorse, or hangers, the wax wraps dry and set quickly, so you don’t need loads of space.  They can be removed as soon as they’re set and cool, making room for more.  If you’ve been heavy handed with the wax, don’t stress.  Wait for the squares to cool, then heat up an iron, place a piece of paper, either greaseproof or baking parchment on the ironing board, then the overly waxed square on top, and put an un-waxed piece of fabric on top of that, covering with another layer of paper.  Heat the iron to high and iron the layers.  The excess wax will penetrate the unwaxed fabric, and you might get two for the price of one!  Or you might need to repeat the process with another overly waxed square.  The point is, you can’t make that much of a boob here, too much wax can be used on another square, a square with too little wax can be topped up in the same way.

dsc_00885884709155734731511.jpg
All the pretty wraps, cooling on my old clotheshorse.

You can use these wraps to cover just about any food, but not on meat, raw fish or chicken, etc.  Washing is easy, put some cool-cold water and a little dish washing soap in the sink and wash them as you would a plate, rinse with cold water and drape on the drying rack to drip dry.  Don’t leave the wraps folded up in lunch boxes or on the side of the sink to wash up, this becomes a breeding ground for mould.  Open them up, dust out crumbs and wash as soon as you can.

dsc_0092-012300128217621124012.jpeg
Today’s 120g of wax and 3 tablespoons of coconut oil made 9 20x20cm squares, one large 40×40, 4 30×30 sandwich wraps and 3 25×25 squares.

 

dsc_0094-014244088398636601040.jpeg
Folded up and ready to use. I sense a theme with today’s effort…

The wraps can be topped-up by placing them in a 100C oven for a minute or two, or sandwiching between two layers of baking parchment and heating with a hot iron.  If you have managed to grow mould on your wraps, pop them into your council green waste bin, and they’ll decompose in the heat of the council composting process.

img-20190724-wa0007-017302297907941402429.jpeg
I wrap my baby courgettes in the beeswax wraps to keep them fresh longer if the fridge
img-20190724-wa0009-015799165098511605356.jpeg
Also good for storing allotment grown lettuce!

 

FBA Without a Dart

Last year I made a jacket from one of the Kana’s Standard books, and made a dartless FBA, a technique I used again this year when I added a FBA to my LB Pullover.  I’ve been asked for a tutorial on how to accomplish this on a couple of occasions now, but I really lacked the time to do it.  However, I needed to trace the pullover pattern again and reinstate the bust adjustment, so I figured that was as good a time as any to photograph the process and do a little tutorial.  Bear in mind though, that this technique works for me, it might not for you!  This is just my way, and I’m sure there are other methods out there.

Start by figuring out how much you need to add.  With this pattern I didn’t need to add excess width, just depth to avoid the drag lines.  So I cut the front piece from just under the shaping for the sleeves and angled upwards to roughtly the bust point and then went across the front, perpendicular to the centre front line.  I added a piece of paper to the top piece, measured 3cm down (the depth I’d figured out I needed) and drew a line parallel to the line I’d initially cut, then taped the bottom pattern piece to that line, ensuring the centre front line was straight.  The next step was to draw a line from the bust point, which in my case was 12cm from the CF line & halfway through the added 3cm, to the hemline.  Then draw a dart from the bust point to encompass the added width at the side seam.  Cut up one of the dart legs and down the line you’ve just drawn to the hemline.

img_20190408_193623-017933412123573368494.jpeg
1. Add the fba, or length. 2. Mark the bust point or apex. 3. Draw line from apex to hem, draw dart from added width. 4. Cut up dart leg & down line from pust point.

Now close the dart in the paper by pivoting at the apex, this opens a dart from the bustpoint to the hem.  Tape a piece of paper in that gap.  Measure along the hemline to establish the width of the dart.  This will need to be removed at the side seam.  Mark the same measurement in from the side seam, along the hemline.  Draw a line from the now closed side-seam dart to the mark on the hemline.  This will be your new side seam.

img_20190408_194022-011697584224043239564.jpeg
1. Close dart in side seam. 2. Measure new dart width. 3. Mark that width on hemline from side seam. 4. Draw new side seam.

Check the length of the new side seam by placing the back side seam along it, the side seams need to be the same length!  Chances are the new side seam will be a little longer than the back.  So mark where the back hemline comes to on the front and join that to the existing front hemline with a slow curve.  Cut off the old side seam along with any hem, this is basically the dart you added.  And that’s it!  Remember that if you’re lengthening anything that has a front opening and facings to that opening, to lengthen the facings too!!

img_20190408_194327-013720650165288674582.jpeg
1. New side seam. 2. Check length of new front side seam against existing back side seam length. 3. Draw new hemline to meeet new side seam length. 4. Remove the dart!

I hope that’s all as clear as mud! 🙂  Happy sewing people, now I need to get cracking, I leave in a week and have LOADS to still get done before that!

Work in Progress Wednesday 2/19

Last week I found a bargain at a local charity shop – 3m of what I suspect is a wool and silk herringbone fabric in sage green and off white.  It was just hanging on a hanger in the curtains and duvet covers section, looking sad and unwanted.  Well, not by me!  It didn’t take me long to decide I was having it, even though all I’d gone in for was a couple of books.

I popped it in the washing machine straight away and let it dry.  It was when I ironed it that I thought it might have a silk content, and a bleach test on the fibres confirmed that.  Woo!  But what to make??  I didn’t think too long, I realised it would be perfect to make another pair of Kana’s Standard trousers B-a.  Not for now, it’s too cold, but for the spring they’d be great!  I though I could line them, or have a Hong Kong finish on the seams, put in jetted or welt pockets at the back instead of the patch pockets – and generally just fancy them up a bit.  All because the fabric was so nice!

The fabric frays quite badly, so the first thing was to overlock all the edges and then interface where necessary asap.  I don’t always interface the hip yoke pocket opening, but on this stuff with it’s tendency to wiggle around, interfacing was definitely called for.  The pocket facing in understitched and then I topstitched too – just to make sure it was all secure and wouldn’t stretch out when I over use the pockets.

green trousers 1
Interfacing on the opening edges of the hip yoke pockets

Hong Kong finish was scrapped, this fabric is too drapey and that would stiffen the seams too much.  I also didn’t line them in the end because the colour needed didn’t exist in the stash with enough meterage.  I didn’t want to buy anything, it would cause delays (shock – horror!) and I’m trying (not very hard!) not to buy stuff!!  Oh dear, that didn’t last long, did it??

But I did make fancy pockets on the back!  I cut the standard patch pocket out of the outer fabric, and another from the limited lining.  Then I cut 2 bias strips 6cm wide by 16cm long.  I wanted narrow jetted pockets, possibly with a loop and button to hold them closed.  For the loop I cut a bias strip 15cm long and 3cm wide.  This I fed through a bias tape gadget and then folded double and topstitched shut.  Much easier than making a strip and then trying to turn through.  I just knew this fabric wouldn’t like that very much.

collage green trousers 1
Starting the jetted pocket

To construct the pocket, these are the steps I followed.  First, interface the bias strip for the welts, then interface the fabric on the trouser piece, wider and longer than the pocket opening.  I drew a line with blue chalk down the middle of the bias strip – on the wrong side, marking the begining and end of the pocket opening.  Then I stitched, starting and ending exactly on those markings with the edge of my sewing machine foot on the blue line, one line on either side of the centre marking.  Next, I cut down that centre line and cut diagonally to the end of the stitching.  Make sure you cut straight!  You don’t need to stitch a box, in fact, that can hamper things.

collage green trousers 2.jpg
Making the welts

Now turn one side at a time up and press well, all along the fold.  Once that’s done, turn the bias strip to the inside and press those little triangles back well. Now you have to use the “seam allowance” as the “stuffing” for the welt, and fold the bias strip down to the inside over it.  Make sure you’re folding straight and accurately, it will show on the outside if you don’t.  Pin and press and baste as you feel necessary to get the right shape/line.  Make sure the welts aren’t overlapping or smiling at you, the folded edges should be touching “kissing”, as my tutor used to say.  Now you can stitch in the ditch along the length of the welts.  Then turn it all upside down, fold back those triangles and stitch along the fold, securing the edges in well.  Now you’re ready for the pocket bags.

collage green trousers 3
Finishing off the welts

Start with the lining, line the fabric up with the bottom edge of the bias strip on the lower welt, right side of lining to wrong side of trouser.  Lift the seam allowance up and pin and stitch from the welt side, not the lining side.  I tend to stitch twice, once roughtly down the middle of the allowance, this could be called either a holding stitch, or a reinforcement stitch, it does both jobs!  Then I go back and stitch again as close to the welt stitchline as I can.  Fold the lining down and press well.  If you’re going to use a button loop, now’s the time to get it in.

collage green trousers 4
Adding the pocket lining

Mark the centre of the pocket opening and pin the loop to the inside of the welt, centred on that marking.  (I usually use a pin to mark.)  Again, lift up the allowance and stitch the loop to the bias strip.  Now you need to whipstitch the welts together.  This keeps the pocket closed while you fiddle in the inside sewing the pocket bags together.  Now line up the pocket fabric with that allowance and stitch as you did for the lining, right side of pocket fabric to wrong side of trousers.  Once you’re done, smooth the pocket bags down and line up the sides.  You will have a longer lining piece than pocket bag, just trim it to the same length, pin all round and stitch.  I then overlocked the pocket bags together.

collage green trousers 5
Finishing off

All that’s left is to sew on your button, and voila!  You have a fancy pocket!  Now I just need weather suitable to wear these in, it’s a bit chilly here at the mooment, but not half as cold as it is in the States!  Keep warm guys!!

Work in Progress Wednesday – with a bonus tutorial!

Not your usual WIP today, because today is about tracing and toiling and fitting.  I had a list of new patterns to trace for the girls, one pair of trousers, a blouse, sweatshirt, mini skirt, coat and sleeveless top.  I’ve got them all traced from their Burda magazines and decided to start with toiling the trousers and the coat first.  The coat is on both girls’ lists, and I’ve been wanting to make it since I saw it in the February Burda last year!

psx_20180925_2246075638386345477804891.jpg
A whole lot of tracing!

The trousers are 101 from December 2017.  Daughter No2 fell for the shape and the ruffle on the hem.  The fabric chosen to make them up is from the stash, some dark stretch denim left over from a pair of Birkin Flares that I made for myself.  I traced the 36 & 38 and toiled the 36, graded to the 38 over the hip.  When the toile was tried on though, it wasn’t necessary, so I pinned it out and adjusted the pattern accordingly.

collage pants fit

What we did need to do though was add pockets!!  You need pockets, just like ladies love them in their dresses, we love them in trousers!  So I drew an outline of where it would need to be directly on the toile while daughter no2 was still in them.  She decided the angle, width and depth of the pocket and I drew around her hand.

collage pants fit 2
side and rear views

The other adjustment I needed to make was to take a horizontal dart out of the trousers below the bum.

DSC_0082
Narrow dart in the back leg to remove some wrinkling and sagging

The pockets are welt pockets on a slight angle.  The welt is 1cm finished depth, the pocket opening is 12.5cm.  The pocket lining will be cut from a thinner, cotton fabric while the bag will be from the denim, so you only see denim when the pocket is opened.  I rather like this sort of pocket in trousers, it’s nice and neat.

So if you’re worried about welt pockets, here’s how I made these, after the trouser toile was already fully constructed, which is not really ideal!

collage welt pocket

  1. Attach welt, 5mm seam allowance.
  2. Pin pocket bag right side down to attachment line.
  3. Sew exactly on the line, start and stop exactly in the corners.

collage welt pocket 2

  1. Cut through the pants halfway between each sewing line, cutting triangles at the ends and ensuring to snip to, but not through, the stitching.
  2. Turn pocket bag to the inside and press well, turn welt up and press seam allowance well.
  3. Ensure the triangles are pushed to the inside as well.

collage welt pocket 3

  1. Pin the pocket lining to the welt seam allowance.
  2. Stitch from the trouser side so you can see your original stitch line and stitch on that line or only just off it.
  3. Press well and close the pocket, either with pins or basting stitch.

collage welt pocket 4

  1. Pin the pocket lining to the bag.
  2. Stitch along stitch line.
  3. Moving the trouser piece out of the way to reveal the triangles, welt and pocket pieces below, stitch across the triangle and secure well.

collage welt pocket 5

  1. Sitch the pocket pieces together around the edge, ensure you secure the lower triangle and welt in the seam.
  2. Pin the top and sides of the pocket to the top and sideseams of the trouser pieces.
  3. Remove the pins and admire your new pocket!

I know a lot of people are scared of welt pockets, mostly because you have to cut through your fabric, and what if you’ve made a mistake!?  The thing with these pockets is to be precise and careful.  Make sure you mark very carefully the placement and or attachment lines onto the fabrics, using whichever method you prefer.  The critical thing that I learnt was to be exact on the start and stop points, you have to mark those very clearly.  It also helps to baste everything instead of relying on pins, because the fabric will still move.  But they’re do-able!  Practise on scrap fabrics until you’re more confident with your methods, but don’t avoid them, they look great!

Now I’m off to toile more patterns.  I might even squeeze in another project for myself before the end of the month.  I fancy a new shirt.

Can you put an invisible zip into a French seamed seam? Of course you can!

This was a question posed on twitter last week, and I replied yes, you can, but it’s hard to convey just how to get it done well in 140 characters.  So while I was making up a Gabriola for Daughter No2 in chiffon, I thought I’d photograph the process of inserting the invisible zip with a French seam.  Strapped in?  Here goes!

First of all, stabilise and support the fabric to carry the zip.  If you’re using a French seam in your fabric, chances are it’s fine, soft and not very strong.  I used a 3cm wide strip of a fine sheer polyester fusible.  You can buy the same interfacings that I use from Gill Arnold via the post.  Then sew in the zip as you usually would.  Once it’s in, the fun can begin.

Stabilise the area behind the zip & insert as normal.
Stabilise the area behind the zip & insert as normal.

Snip the seam to the zip stop mark or the base of the zip stitching.  Make sure you do not snip past the limit of the seam allowance, or you’ll be in trouble later.

snip, snip, snip!
snip, snip, snip!

Now you can align the seam edges together, with wrong sides together and sew the first part of the French seam, from the hem up to the snip.  Trim that 1cm seam down to just under 5mm, neatly.  Press to one side and turn the fabric over to enclose the raw edges and sew the remaining 5mm of the French seam.  Work from the hem up to the zip stop and sew as far as you can with the machine.

Sew the French seam from the hem up to the zip
Sew the French seam from the hem up to the zip

The last part of the French seam needs to come as close to the zip stitching as possible, without distorting the seam.  You will probably have a gap of at least 5mm.  This isn’t a problem, you’ll stitch that shut from the outside by hand.

Finishing off the seam & zip
Finishing off the seam & zip

I use a ladder stitch to close the hole, going up and down the ladder a couple of times to make sure the stitching is strong enough to survive Daughter No2 yanking the zip down too hard!

The finished zip & French seam from the right side.
The finished zip & French seam from the right side.

I hope that helps anyone wanting to use a French seam and invisible zip.  It’s a technique I’ve used a lot and it seems to work fairly well for me.  I’ve just about finished the skirt now, just waiting to see how much of the hem needs to be chopped to make it even.  I am hoping to be able to submit it and a Renfrew for The Monthly Stitch’s Indie Fan Girl category in Indie Pattern Month.  If I get the hem sorted in time & I’m happy with it, look out for it to vote!  🙂

 

 

How to Make a Wiggle Skirt – Veronica

Here it is then, a tutorial to make your own Veronica wiggle skirt.  Now bear in mind that this is just the way I did my pattern.  Every patterncutter has their own methods.  This one works for me.  There will be some re-working required, all depending on exactly what you want to end up with, so be prepared to change measurements, angles & distances – and making more than one toile!

Firstly, trace off your skirt block.  If you don’t have one yet, here are some instructions. The length will be up to you, but should be a decent length to “wiggle” in!  I made Veronica 68cm long, from the waist.  Daughter No2 is pretty tall though, so go for a length that hits you just below the knee for a good look.

Your traced skirt block should look something like this:

Your traced skirt block, fitted and altered to your figure.
Your traced skirt block, fitted and altered to your figure.

Step 1:

The first thing I did was to change the shape of the skirt.  I took 2.5cm off the hem line on each side seam and about 1cm at the hip line.  I joined the hem point to the hip point and then up tot he original line at the waist.  This gives an overall tighter fit as you are removing some of the ease over the hip.  I also moved the back seam in 1cm.  This came to a point approximately 10-12cm below the hip line.  Made sure when you are doing this that your lines flow easily & there are no jerky joins to original seam lines.  Also, may I remind you at this point there are no seam allowances on this pattern.  All the lines you are drawing are going to be your stitching lines – seam allowances will be added at the end.

Altering the side & back seams
Altering the side & back seams

Step 2:

Now to move the dart & change the angle of it.  I wanted the dart to angle towards the hip & to be further from the side seam to accommodate the pocket.  I moved the dart position towards the centre by 3cm and shortened it by 3cm.  The original dart was 10cm long, but I didn’t want the pocket to be that low down.  Also, the style line had to be altered, so when redrawing the dart I didn’t keep it on the same plane as the original.  The left leg of the dart runs almost parallel to the centre front.  The dart is still the same width, 2cm.

Moving the dart.
Moving the dart.

Step 3:

Drawing in the stlye line of the pocket.  I started about 5cm up from the hip line and played with various combinations of angles to get this right.  It really will be up to you as to where it all ends up, but the sketch shows where my pocket eventually ended up.  I did two toiles to get this to just the right place, so maybe you could start by drawing on a toile to get the correct placement for you.  The base of the dart will be the jumping off point for the pocket, so think about the angles between the right dart leg, the pocket opening line & the return.  the dart legs will become seams for the skirt front & the hip yoke pocket piece, eliminating the dart as such.

Adding the pocket.
Adding the pocket.

Step 4:

Trace off the pocket pieces as seperate items.  You will have a hip yoke pocket piece, a pocket bag & the skirt front & the back.  The red lines on my pattern here are the cutting lines.  Remember to add notches, grainlines and name the pattern pieces!  Also, at this point you will need to add seam allowances.  Add 1.5cm everywhere and don’t forget the hem.  For a good weight on a skirt like this add 3-4cm.

The finished pattern pieces, all ready for seams & sewing!
The finished pattern pieces for Veronica, all ready for seams & sewing!


 
If you have any queries, please comment below.  Have fun now!  🙂

***EDIT***

I am working on making this pattern available as a pdf download.  If you’d be interested, please leave a comment below.

Know “You” Better

And now for my next trick..  Hang on, “where’s the jacket??” you ask.  Well.  It’s not Autumn anymore, is it?  I took too long in getting started, especially after the comments on the last post regarding busy pattern vs stylelines.  Too much dithering!  I’ll have it for next year, no worries!

Anyways, when the November issue of Burda landed in my sticky little fingers, I bookmarked a few patterns I wanted to make, then bemoaned the fact that all the styles I wanted would mean having to go fabric shopping!  Just my luck hu?  All the fabric in my stash, and none were right for the patterns I wanted to make.  Then I dug a little further (never just look in the first two boxes) and found the blue and ecru flower print viscose I had bought from Tatler’s Fabric in Derby in the beginning of the year.  This stuff..

Blue & ecru floral print viscose

This fabric has the most beautiful drape and handle, and the viscose makes the colours just sing, rather like silk.  It’s fabulous!  So, fabric in hand, which pattern to start with…  I went with this one, (Burda 108 from 11/2012)  it has my favourite sleeve detail, 3/4 length with puff and just a teeny binding as the cuff.  Pattern traced, toile done..  urgh!  I knew the neckline wouldn’t work on me, I had planned to alter that anyway, but the rest of it…  Oh my!  I made my usual Burda size, but this was too long, too wide and way too unflattering!  This is it after my adjustments – please excuse the fabric, it’s a toile, and this was cheap!

My fiddled with and partly adjusted burda pattern toile. Trust me, it was worse before!

I chopped 10cm off the bottom, took in the side seams, made the front dart bigger and made darts in the back to give it some shape.  I don’t mind a “casual fit”, but I don’t wear tents!  Anyways, by the time I’d done all that and still wasn’t happy I realised my short-cut cheating was no short cut.  So I got out my pattern cutting stuff and started to make my own pattern.  Just goes to show, you have to know what suits you.

I photographed the process, but I don’t think my pencil scribblings are going to be the clearest.  So here goes, a tutorial if you want to make your own version.  You will need to trace off your close-fitting bodice block and one piece sleeve block.  First step is to draw on the buttonstands and facings for the concealed button fly.  I used the same measurements as the Burda pattern for this part.  Then you need to move the shoulder dart into the waist dart and plan the neckline.

Transfer shoulder dart to waist dart
Draw in waist dart shape
Plan neckline.

I wanted a lower neckline than the jewel neck that was on the Burda pattern, and I didn’t want the narrow bias binding either.  I thought I’d use the idea of the wider bias “sash and bow” of style 109, but not so wide.  The bias strip I used was 3cm wide, so I planned the neckline to include this.

Planning the back neckline

The back is pretty simple for now, this is the 3cm wide strip that will be cut off for the bias binding.

Line for raglan sleeve – back

Next step is planning the raglan.

Draw a line 1cm above the shoulder line on the back.  This will be the new shoulder line.  Make a mark 3cm down from the neck point along the neckline.  On the back, draw a line from this point to the back balance point.

On the front, draw a new line 1cm below the original shoulder line.

Front raglan

Then make a mark 3cm down from the neckpoint again, and move the front balance point 3cm up the armhole line.  Draw a line from the new balance point to the mark you made on the neckline.  Make this line, and the one on the back, slightly curved.

Raglan sleeve, new centre line and front and back parts added.

Now for the sleeve.  On the sleeve pattern, move the centre line 1cm to the right.  Now cut off the raglan pieces on the Front and Back pattern pieces and lay them onto the top of the sleeve head.  The front and back armhole balance points need to join, and the new shoulder lines must touch the sleeve head.

I’m sorry this photo is a little fuzzy.  For this design there is no dart at the top of the raglan, the space between the front and back section is gathered.  So draw a slightly curved line along the top, joining the front and back.  Now divide the underarm line into 4 equal sections and slash and spread to get the width for the ballooning at the sleeve hem.  I also dropped the hem line at the back section by 0.75cm.  I used 1.5cm at the back, 2cm in the centre and 1cm on the front.  I also kept the curved hem shape as the sleeve is finishing below the elbow.  I also needed to widen the sleeve at the bicep level.  This is a fitting adjustment I do all the time.

Finished sleeve.

The cuff for the sleeve stayed much the same, 4cm wide (including allowances) and 33cm long.  The necktie was 75cm long, and 8cm wide, including allowances.  It could have been longer, but I am happy with the length of the free part.  It’s long enough to make a decent floppy bow, and also safe enough that if it comes untied, I won’t end up cutting it, sewing it or stirring it into my soup!

I must also add that I used a 1.5cm dart in the back pattern piece to add shaping to the back waist, the side seams had 1.5 shaping on the back and 2.5 on the front.  The bodice block is drafted to the hip, about 20cm below the waist.  I generally find this is too long for me for shirts, so chopped off 5cm, and then made a curved shirt hem, going up at the sides by 3cm.  A shaped hem is so much more flattering than a flat one.  The front dart ended up being 6.5cm at the waist and 11 at the hem.  This gives a nice straight look the the front, also makes more vertical lines, which help with the slimming effect!

Here are all the pieces then.  I hadn’t added the fullness to the sleeve, nor had I shaped the hem at this point.  I wanted to see how it all looked before doing more fiddling, and the Burda sleeve wasn’t flared, so I wanted to see just how much puff there would be in the sleeve.

All the pieces

So this is a pic of the toile of my pattern using the above pattern pieces.  I then altered the hem and made the sleeve fuller. I think it’s so much better than the commercial pattern!  And even better after I’d made the adjustments, but that’s another post!  😀

My version of Burdastyle #108 11/2012

Sorry, no smiling!  I was concentrating on getting the pic in focus with no shaking!  I do like it though.

So here’s my gorgeous fabric cut and ready…

A pile of fabulousness…

It’s all made up now, I’ll get photos out when Daughter No2 gets home from school.

May I recommend some listening material?  I have in my possession an already much played new release from a South African band, Prime Circle.  (Thanks to my brother for special delivery-ing it to me by very fast airmail!) Their 5th album, Evidence has to be their best yet.