Everlong – Daughter No 2’s “make me” list

April has got off to a quick  start, and then a bit of a stop!  I made a very quick project in the first week of the month, and it’s gone off with Daughter No2 back to uni.  She chose a whole pile of patterns for me to make while she was on her Easter break, and I mean a BIG pile!  It’s like I haven’t got anything to sew for me..

collage wraptop
126a 04/2012

As it’s April, I thought I’d start her list by making stuff she’s chosen from April issues.  She’d chosen a length of Liberty lawn in black and white from her stash pile.  The pattern is top 126A from April 2012.  Ititially I thought a softer, drapier fabric would be better, but this seems to have worked ok, and it will soften with washing.  There are just three main pieces, two fronts and the back, and a strip of bias for the neckline.

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I used French Seams throughout and made narrow, double turned hems on the armholes, bottom and front edges.  It was quick to make but does use a fair bit of fabric because of the shape and size of the front pieces.

wraptop 1

I like that it can be worn in different ways, I think it’s going to have a lot of use come the summer.  We were lucky to have a sunny day for these photos, albeit a cold one!  I bet you can see the goosebumps!  Daughter no 2’s happy with this first project from her very long list, and there are more from April for me to be getting on with.  It just gets tricky to make without her here.  I need to fit toiles!  Next up will be some trousers, but they may have to wait a week or two before I can get to her again.

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So that’s the first for April’s #Burdachallenge2018.  Many more to go!  🙂

A Long Time Coming

Here’s a pair of trousers that should have been made about a year and a half ago – at least!  The fabric is black stretch cotton sateen, bought from Croft Mill Fabrics for Daughter No 1 for trousers. But she asked me to wait to make them, considering the weight of the fabric to be summer-worthy only, and it must have been Autumn when the fabric was purchased.

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Trousers 123 06/2011

I’d always intended to make another pair of trousers 123 6/2011.  I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve used this pattern – for both girls!  It’s a petite pattern, so needs to be lengthened for Daughter No 2, but is pretty good for her sister.  I shortened the waistband depth by 1.5cm this time though, she always complains it’s too high.  I think it’s because she’s short-wasited that it “gets in the way”.

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As we were going to visit over the Easter weekend, I figured it was time to get that fabric out of my stash and the “to do” off my list!  She’s been living about 2 hours away for the last year, and that isn’t terribly convenient for sewing and fitting.

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I made one other adjustment – the back waistband (which is supposed to be straight) has a dart folded into it, lining up with the centre of the two back darts on the trouser pieces.  This is because the wasitband always gapes in this pattern, but the folding of a paper dart does the trick.  I cut the 17 (34) and sewed it up.  There are no contrasting fabrics in the pockets, zip guard or waistband, it was kept deliberately simple.  I do think I could make the trouser legs narrower, she’s so slim that even the smallest size needs taking in!

collage blackpants

She starts a new job in London this week, so I hope these pants will be getting loads of use!  They’re perfect for dressing up or down and look great with heels and a nice pair of trainers.  I was glad to be making for her again, it’s been a while.  And secretly, I’m chuffed to bits that the old pattern adjustments still worked and I didn’t need to take the pants home again to tweak the fit!

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So another pattern to tick off for the BurdaChallenge 2018, even though it’s not a March pattern, and more stashbusting, making room for new stuff! 🙂

 

 

Smoke and Shadows

My first little foray into making clothes with a Japanese inspiration went well, I’ve worn the gingham linen top a lot in the past few weeks and I really love it as much as the first one I made in January.  I now have all three of the Japanese books I ordered, Clean and Natural and Kana’s Standard I & II.  My first project is inspired by the Flared Top in the Clean & Natural book, and is based on a Burdastyle pattern I made 3 versions of last year.

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Modified Burda top 124 5/15

Why use a Burda pattern instead of the pattern in the book?  Because the book has patterns for Japanese sized and shaped ladies, which is not me.  So I was always going to have to draft or alter something to make it work.  You can put large, baggy clothing on slim people and they still look great, but those same proportions on someone a “little” larger don’t work.  I certainly feel like I’m wearing a tent, which is precisely why I don’t use the plus sizes in the Burda patterns!!  Too long and too wide!

flared top 2

So, here’s what I did to get my own version of the Flared Top.  The original pattern has a yoke front and back that starts under the arm and scoops up and over the bustline, the sleeves are grown-on.  The length of the top is 55cm, which is not too long.  The flare though, is substantial.  Lovely on a “skinny minny”.  That yoke line and flare over the bust is not flatterning on someone with a larger bust.  The yoke would have to sit much lower.  I decided on using #124 05/2015 because (a) I’ve made three others, so it’ll be quick, (b) the fit was already good, (c) it had a yoke in a good position, and (d) I’d be able to add flare to just the lower front and back pieces quickly and easily, after straightening out the curved hem.

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I added 2cm of flare to the hem on the front and back side seams of the lower pieces and divided the front and back into thirds.  The first third from the centres became the line where more flare was added.  I slashed and spread, adding 5cm at the hemline.  This meant the front and back pieces were 12 cm wider than the original pieces.  I figured this would be enough flare for me.

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I did not toile….  I went straight in with the fabric, I had some lovely misty grey viscose in the stash, bought last year or the year before from Clothspot.  It has that lovely drape and sheen that I love in a viscose.  I used French seams throughout and double turned the hems.  I omitted the keyhole opening of the original pattern and used bias for the neckline.

So, how did it work out?  Pretty well, I think.  I’m not putting this top into full rotation in the wardrobe until it warms up considerably!  I think it’ll be lovely in the summer, the flare will help air to circulate!  The colour is great and I think there’s just enough flare to give a nod to the Japanese pattern, with me still feeling comfortable in it.  I will be making it a little shorter though, I recon 5cm should do it.

flared top 1

If you’re the right size and shape to make a version straight from the book, the diagrams are simple to follow and you don’t need to know Japanese to make anything.  There is a great blog post here to help you understanding some of the terms you’d come across in these books.   For another version of the top, from the original pattern, here’s Sew Busy Lizzy’s beautiful top.

I’m already planning my next projects from these books, and have tweaked my easy fitting bodice block and drafted a Kimono block to help to get me started.  There are many patterns I want to try, I hope they all turn out as fabulous as they look in my head! 🙂  In the mean time, there’s still the Burda Challenge 2018 to get on with, and April is looking like it’s going to be full of sewing, although not that many patterns from this year’s issue have got me excited.  There seem to be more in previous years, but we’ll get to that in another post, shall we?

Short trousers means cold ankles

So here I am in the coldest March in the UK in a very long time, making cropped tousers again!  Instalment number two for the Burda Challenge is the cropped trousers from this year’s March issue of the magazine, number 111.  I’d dug out a piece of caramel stretch twill from the stash, probably bought from Croft Mill Fabrics, but it could have come from Clothspot.  I think I’ve had it around 2 years, so it’s nice to get it used up!

caramel 1
Trousers 111 March 2018

I’d decided early on not to have all the extra zips on the front.  There is a very useable side zip for access, and these others are just for decoration, so I wasn’t about to waste time faffing putting in exposed zips I’d never use.  I might put some pretty buttons on the tabs eventually, but as for the most part, they will not be seen, I’m really not fussed.

collage caramel
pocket details – and no zips in the pointy bits!

I removed 5cm from the length of the trouser between the crotch line and the knee line to get the correct length at the ankle.  I also changed the crotch curved in the back, dipping it by max 5mm in certain spots.  This made the usual creases under my butt magically decrease!  The facings were cut from left over bits of the gingham linen used for the Japanese inspired top, and I used that fabric for the pocket bag too.

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If there’s one negative about this pattern, it’s that there aren’t enough pockets.  So if I made the pattern again, I’d want to add pockets in the front somewhere, possibly using that pointy insert as a “welt” hiding the acces to the pockets there.  We’ll see.  But the pocket in the back went very easily.  The instructions in the magazine are the illustrated, elaborated kind, as opposed the the usual brief bullet points.  So if you’re afraid of welts, these instructions will see you right.  I love the shape, and it’s really not hard to have those points instead of the normal square edges.

caramel 2

I like these pants, I wore them to the sewing show at the NEC all day and the stretch fabric behaved fairly well, not going baggy with all the sitting while driving, which was good.  They’ll be a great addition the the spring and early summer wardrobe (when it atually arrives), and I might be on the look out for a stretch poplin or cotton to make another pair, because this twill is too thick for wearing in the middle of summer.

collage caramel 2

caramel 3

So thumbs up for this one!  I’ve got another Japanese inspired top for your inspection soon, and I’ll go through some of the books I’ve been buying to give you an idea of  the goodness inside!  But that’s me for March BurdaChallenge 2018, I thought I might make another pair of trousers, and perhaps a couple of tops, but it was not to be.  Just two pairs of cropped pants will do the job!

 

 

The Sewing Show, Birmingham NEC

On Friday I met up with a couple of sewing mad friends at the NEC in Birmingham for some much needed retail therapy and stash rebuilding! I’ve used so much stash without buying much at all that I’m really down to small pieces, or pieces that aren’t “me”. Time to fix that!

Apart from lots of fabric suppliers there was a lovely exhibition of kimonos. The details and embroidery were exquisite. It was really hard to obey the “do not touch” posted on the walls everywhere!

I was pretty good with my purchases, not just buying metres and metres. I couldn’t, prices have gone up!! From Rosenberg and Son, I bought a black and white linen and cotton blend to make some summer trousers, grey Swiss dot cotton for a Japanese inspired top, and two floral print cotton and viscose blends, also fitted tops. I love the large print of the navy and white, its quite dramatic for me!

Fabrics Galore was where I got these beauties, black and white stripe viscose jersey for a tee (either a Lark or Birgitte) grey and black stripe ponte for a cardigan or sweater, grey and pale blue cotton for a top, black and white gingham for a top and that beautiful turquoise washed linen for cropped trousers. I love that colour!

The embroidery on this wedding kimono was something else!

Navy and ecru stripe modal jersey for a tee or two from Montreux Fabrics and sand washed linen from Bombay Fabric for more trousers!

I got some practical stuff too, stocking up on overlocker thread in white and black.

I also visited my favourite lady, Gill Arnold to stock up on her fabulous interfacing and more shoulder pads for all those coats and jackets I’m supposed to be making!

Last, but not least, of the fabric buying. Two gorgeous handprinted Indian cottons from Maven Patterns. The grey and white will be a top and the mustard and cream will line my navy Tosti! I must get that pattern traced now, the Merchant and Mills oilskin had been waiting in the stash since September last year.

So now that all needs to be washed and suitable patterns sourced. I think my summer wardrobe has made itself known!

Professor Plum

We’re just recovering from the coldest February/March week ever (in my 20 years) in the UK, so what did I decide to make for my first project for March Burda Challenge?  A coat. A thick cuddly fleecy top.  NOPE – I made a pair of streth cotton satin cropped trousers.  As you do.

I had a pretty long list of items I could have made this month, looking through 8 years of Burdas showed March to be overall a pretty good month.  But getting realistic, I don’t have enough fabric (the right fabric) to make them all, never mind the time!  And hangars – if I’m going to continue to make clothes like this I am going to need more hangars (and wardrobe space).

professor plum 1

The first item on the now shorter list is a pattern I’ve made before, trousers 109 from March 2010.  The last pair was made in a very similar fabric, so I didn’t expect to make any changes to the pattern.  The fabric I chose from the stash came from Croft Mill Fabrics, about 2-3 years ago.  It’s gorgeous damson/plum colour, and one that does not exist in any way shape or form in my current palette.  But I love it, and with a grey or silver top, these will look fab.  (BTW if anyone knows where I can get copper or rust coloured stretch cotton satin – shout!)

I used a small piece of scrap pink rose print Liberty lawn for the pocket linings to minimise bulk, re-used the zip from an old project, long discarded.  Even the perfect coloured thread for topstitching was found buried in the thread box, this really was a stashbusting project!

collage professor plum
Liberty lawn for my pockets

Sewing up was pretty easy, I overlocked all the pieces (yay for a new cutting blade!) and made a nice pile of purple fluff.  Everything went swimmingly until I pinned the hem.  These pants looked really short – even for cropped pants.  So I tried them on and – oops, I think I may have been over zealous after making the last pair with the shortening…  I had taken out 6cm in the leg length on the pattern, and maybe that’s the right amount, but on my legs it doesn’t look right – my calf is too wide there!  So I let the hem down and I’ve made a false hem with some ribbon (from the stash again!).  Much better – and I’ve re-adjusted the pattern accordingly!

professor plum 3

On further investigation of the pattern, it turnes out the adjusments made were made after I’d sewn the last pair – which were supposed to be the cropped version! Oh dear, they most definitely were not cropped!  So I need to find the happy medium between the two lengths.  But I’m happy with these now, and the colour is really nice!  I tested them out before committing to hem length with my elephant print silk top and the two went together surprisingly well.  So I’m expecting these pants to fit into my spring/summer wardrobe fairly well.

professor plum 4

Other items that made the short list for March are another pair of trousers, two tops and a spring coat!  I was the lucky recipient last year of a lovely blue and white jacquard fabric to make a coat (Mother’s Day present) – and it’s still not been used.  This is the year! I will make that coat!

Japanese Inspiration

I love the way the internet and sewcial media can influence and inspire us (usually solitary) sewists.  I’ve been following Jing – @jingandtonic, on Instagram for a while now, and I always like what she’s wearing.  I like the shapes, the colours and her choice of fabrics.  She uses a lot of Japanese sewing books to create her handmade wardrobe, and it’s a good look.  The more I saw, the more I was inspired to translate a bit of that into my wardrobe.

Now let’s face it, I am not a 30-something ethnic Chinese lady, so there’s no way the Japanese sizes will ever fit me, and some of those shapes will never suit either – but it’s not about copying.  So, inspired by all that, I ordered Clean and Natural on Etsy, and Kana’s Standard I and II on Amazon.  I also looked through my copy of She Wears the Pants with new eyes.  There are definitely shapes in that book I can use.

While I wait for all the books to arrive, I started a little something.  I was digging in the stash for something that I ended up not finding (think it’s been used or given away already) and “re-found” a certain 2m length of an almost gingham weave linen blend in shades of teal, grey and dark damson.  It came from Croft Mill years ago!  It was one of those pieces I loved, but was unsure about using – not wanting to end up looking like a cowboy wannabe.  But my brain was still in Japanese structural shape mode and the lightbulb went on!

collage gingham.jpg

I thought it woud be fabulous made in the pattern I used for the windowpane top in the January Burda challenge.   A quick check that the pattern actually fitted on the width of the fabric later and I was convinced.  This would work!  I quickly abandoned the March burda challenge projects mid-sew and made the top!  I made it exactly the same as the first top, all the adustments had worked out perfectly so I had no reason to faff with the pattern.

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Burda top 121 January 2012

I love the result!  The fabric has enough body that it doesn’t drape or hang, but is not so stiff that it feels like I’m wearing a box!  And I love it with my Birkin Flares!!!  It’s going to be fabulous to wear in the spring (when it finally arrives) and on those rainy, slightly chilly summer days.  There really is nothing bad I can say about it.

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gingham8

For someone who does not wear a lot of pattern, especially a large pattern, this top is great!  I’m perfectly comfortable in it, and don’t feel like it’s wearing me.  Now I want to make some more slim-fitting pants/trousers for the summer to wear with it, because I don’t think it’ll work with my usual wide leg trousers.  There will be just too much width!  I think with boxy shapes, it’s definitely about proportion.

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Front detail

So, what will I make next with this new look?  Not sure.  I will be pattern cutting anything that takes my fancy from the Japanese books.  I need the books to see the shapes and proportions they use, so my patterns can be sort of correct.  I definitely will be making some of the tops, I love loose fitting stuff in the summer, I get way too hot in clingy stuff.  I like the air to circulate!!

But in the mean time, I have March Burda patterns to make!!  How is everyone getting on with the Burdachallenge2018?  And the #sewyourstash challenge? And anything else going on in the sewcial sewing world…