Clouds & Smoke

Well, it’s been a while, hasn’t it?  In this topsy turvy year, not much sewing is happening, and what is isn’t always big-time blog worthy.  Not that I don’t want to show you everything, but once you’ve seen 3 or 4 LBPullovers, how many more do you really need?  So yes, I’ve been sewing, and no, it’s not all made it on here.  Except for this top.  This deserves a blog post all of its own.

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Top E from Sweet Clothes by Asuka Hamada

Earlier this year, after seeing someone post on Instagram about her new delivery of Japanese sewing books, I ordered Sweet Clothes, by Asuka Hamada from my favoutite Etsy book seller.  It arrived well within a week and was devoured pretty quickly.  Some patterns are definitely not me, or the girls, but others have massive potential.  Potential that was not fulfilled until this month.  On reclaiming my sewing room just over a week ago, I made a short list of projects I’d like to have done by the end of the month (today), and included a toile of one of the tops in the book.  The pattern is for Top E, a simple boxy bodice with 3/4 quarter sleeves, gathered into a narrow cuff, with a bias finished boat neckline.

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I’d traced sizes 1 & 2 and decided to go with the 2 for me, the finished width looked ok, so I went for it.  The only thing I needed to change was the neckline in the front, it was strangling me!  Amazingly I decided I didin’t need a FBA, the length was perfect and I was happy with the fit around the bust.  Now this is just me, someone else might prefer more ease and so add an FBA.  I prefer not to drown in nice big sleeves ans well as bodice fabric.  And these sleeves are very nice and very big!

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The sleeves were so wide I needed to cut them on the cross grain to fit them onto the fabric!  They are gathered at the cuff into a narrow band that should be elasticated, but I did away with that as the cuffs fit me just fine.  It’s all that digging on the allotment, I have muscular forearms!  After lowering the front neckline 4cm I started cutting.  It was the fabric that dictated I use this pattern, by the way.  It was a purchase from last year, from one of those deadstock websites, but I cannot remember which, and I doubt they still have any.  I was taken by the swirls of black white and grey, and the 100% cotton tag, but when it arrived, it proved to be much lighter in weight than I’d expected.  I was going to make a jumpsuit with it..  But this is cotton voile, definitely not jumpsuit material!

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The insides are all French seamed and the hem double turned.  You finish the neckline first, before doing any other sewing, I guess it makes sure it doesn’t get stretched out.  There’s no interfacing anywhere, and if you leave out the elastic at the cuff, it’s a very quick make.  I absolutely love this top and I know I will get a lot of wear out of it.  It looks fabulous with the copper/rust/cinnamon colours in my autumn/winter wardrobe and I think it’ll do nicely with jeans too.  Apart from the sleeves, this is not a fabric hungry pattern, so of the 3m of fabric originally bought, there’s a bit left.  So I thought I might make the Olya Shirt from Paper Theory

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Looking smug and very happy with myself!

Shweshwe Zadie Jumpsuit

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Me again!  I might finally be back in the UK, but the sewing is s.l.o.w.!  I haven’t quite got back to “normal”, because life isn’t normal.  Mr W moved his office into my sewing room while I was away and he had to work from home.  Now that work can happen at the “proper” office, but only twice a week, he’s still firmly ensconced in the sewing room.  It’s hard to find room for sewing machines and ironing amongst the computer, A3 files, boxes of samples and other paraphanalia a busy architect needs.  Not to mention the constant phone calls, with and without video…

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So the sewing has been happening on the dining table, cutting out on the living room floor.  It’s not ideal, and I’m still itching to sew more, but I think we all need to get used to life as not-normal.  It’s been weird to have continual company nowadays, instead of being on my own all day!  But, I do actually have something I made to show you.

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Back in June, there were a couple of “challenges” I thought I’d join in with, the #JumpingIntoJune sewalong encouraged the making of jumpsuits, and Stephanie at Sea of Teal was promoting sewing with prints for June’s Sew Your Wardrobe Basics.  So, on the last day of June I cut and started a print jumpsuit.  Not so much jumping into June as jumping out of it!

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Pockets – nice BIG ones!

I do love the Zadie Jumpsuit, it’s so comfy to wear, and quick to make.  This version is the size 16, with no FBA!  I had realised with the last summer version I made last year, that with the FBA the waistline seam sat too low.  So I reversed that adjustment and just made the smaller size.  I’m happy to report that it’s all worked, fits properly, doesn’t gape, and the waistline is in the right place.

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The fabric is a cotton shweshwe print I bought in South Africa in May.  This isn’t the Da Gams Three Cats fabric.  It had “Cheetah Shweshwe” in the selvage, but I can’t find much info about it.  It’s wider than the Da Gama fabric at 150cm and slightly stiffer, but that will go with washing.  It’s no stiffer than the blue linen used for my first Zadie.  I love the spotty print, it caught my eye in the fabric shop immediately, and straight away I knew I wanted to make the Zadie Jumpsuit with it.

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Got to love a spotty print!

This isn’t the end of my Shweshwe journey, I bought another piece for myself which will become a nice new pair of Carolyn PJ pants, and lots of pieces that I bought for making things for the girls.  Now I just need the time to make it all up!!!

Sewing in Different Circles

Phew, it has been a while hasn’t it?!  It’s been a crazy couple of months, and so, so much has changed, some things forever.  The last time I popped in, I was sewing for the Great Module Sewalong.  That all came to a grinding halt when I got the news that my Dad had passed away suddenly at the end of the first week in March.  I got on the next available plane home to South Africa with my girls as support to do what I could for my Mum, all thoughts of sewing left behind.

Then the world went mad.  Luckily the girls were able to get home just in time before the barriers came down and the walls went up.  I had had no plans to sew much, my thoughts were of paperwork, loose ends (of which there are still many) and support for mum.  Naturally I missed my favourite activity, as well as my allotment, which I had to leave just as seeds were germinating – along with millions of weeds.

I had planned on fabric shoping however.  But in the crazy first two weeks out here, there was no time for that second favourite activity.  Then the government announced a nationwide lockdown, all but essential services allowed to operate, and fabric shopping went completely out of the window.  Now we’re into May and a relaxing of the rules, fabric shops are allowed to be open to sell fabric to make masks and winter clothing.  Yes, May in the Southern Hemisphere is winter, although with temperatures this week in the mid to high 20s, it’s not anything like a UK winter.  Or summer!  😀  Thankfully winter means no humidity, just nice warm sunshine.

Anyway, back to the shopping!!  A typical South African cloth is produced here in East London in the Eastern Cape, Shweshwe.  I wrote about it a couple of years ago, if you want to know more.  The Da Gama factory isn’t open, but the factory shop in town is, so, under the guise of requiring lots of cotton to make face masks, Mum and I went shopping.  As it’s “winter”, I decided I needed another couple of pairs of longer than cropped length trousers.  I got two lots of  2m of Shweshwe for some Style Arc Kew Pants, I’d bought the pattern in their Easter Sale with the Como Top and the Teddy Top, to go with the Teddy Pants.

But – I’d completely forgotten that Shweshwe is only 90cm wide…  2m will make one trouser leg, not a pair of trousers!  Of course, that meant we had to go back!  This time I had better plans, get another 2m of one of the fabrics to actually make the pants, and 1.5 to make an Ogden Cami to go under a thin jumper I’d brought with me.  But then I spotted a waxed cotton fabric while waiting for the assistant to cut the Shweshwe, and fell in love!  So I bought 4.5m of the best bold, but neutral print wax cotton they had.  And 7m of Shweshwe with a cream ground with brown and orange print for daughter No1.  I hope it all fits into the suitcase…  Daughter No 2 has yet to put in her order.

So, lots of shopping, but what about the sewing??  Well, I think we’ve finally reached that part of the lockdown when we’re done with most of the big jobs, and now I feel that I can take a bit of time to myself and make something.  Once I’d realised I’d made a boob with the fabric amounts, I thought I’d make a top with one of the pieced I’d bought originally.  The fabric has body even after the wax has been washed off, so nothing drapy.  Immediately the LB Pullover from Paper Theory sprung to mind.  Thank heavens I brought my laptop with me on this trip, so I had immediate access to all my pdf patterns.  I just needed to print it off.  Now here’s where mum came in useful – she and dad own a stationery shop, complete with everyting I need to trace a pattern, and to print it too!  The only downside was having to print on A4, but an evening with the scissors, tape and a couple of glasses of wine made short work of that tedious job.

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I made the 16, no adjustments.  The 2m was literally just enough to squeeze the pieces onto, and I had to piece the bias cut collar together.  There were only the smallest scraps of fabric leftover.  It was the perfect choice of pattern for the fabric, and print and I love it!  It’s going to fit into my wardrobe at home perfectly, as well as add colour and shape to the small amount I’ve brought with me.  It’s very tempting to make another, but I need to keep an eye on the amount of weight of that suitcase, especially if I’m going to be stuck here for another few months…

 

The Great Module Sewalong Challenge

You’ve seen the three tops in the form of Tee-shirts that are required in the challenge, but I have another!  I wanted to make a top from the February Burda, top 119.  I bought a metre and a half of grey marl sweatshirting with French terry back from Fabworks and boy was it the right fabric!!  Lets just say that I’m wearing that top whenever it’s clean and dry.  I traced the 42 and didn’t do a FBA, which, in hindsight, I really should have done.  There’s definitely upward pulling going on which a FBA would have prevented.  Ah well, next time!  I lengthened the body by 5cm and am definitely happy with that decision!  It would have been way too short otherwise.

 

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Burda top 119 February 2020

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The fabric is perfect for the style, it holds the shape really well.  The only thing I’d change for the next time would be to reduce the height of the collar.  I’m wearing it folded over all the time – for me it’s just too high, so could do with 2-3cm shaved off on each side.  But apart from that, this is a great top!  I love with my 3/4 sleeve Uvitas, I like the colour and pattern popping out of the sleeve and just below the hem.  Looks like I’m talking myself into making another…

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Now for the pants…  These are the one item I’m not that sold on, and might will have to find a replacement for.  The pattern I chose is 107 from August Burda 2019 – which states it’s designed for fabrics with and without stretch, and which, in the magazine, they’ve made in ponte.  So I bought 2m of viscose ponte in pistachio from Fabworks and set to work.  Making a fly front, hip yoke pair of trousers in ponte was an interesting project.  I like the colour, but I wonder if it shouldn’t have had a little more oompfh.  Nevermind, as it is, I don’t think this pattern wasn’t necessarily designed for ponte fabric.

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Burda pants 107 August 2019

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I cut the 40, as the previous pair I made in wool in the size 42 are too loose.  But still I needed to take these in an extra 2cm on each side seam and 4cm in the back.  The waistband was interfaced with stretch interfacing, and still halfway though the day I’m having to yank them back up into place.  If, and this is a big if, I make this pattern again, I’ll remove a centimetre or two from the crotch depth, and make a 38 in a knit, possibly the 38/40 in a woven.  I love the pleats at the hem, that detail is just fabulous, but the rest of the garment just isn’t working.  It’s such a shame!!  I think I’m going to have to open the waistband up and insert some elastic, or possibly even grossgrain ribbon.  It just needs to stay up!!

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Hem and button details

So, three successful tees done, one sweatshirt top and one pair of dodgy trousers.  I have toiled the “topper” part of the challenge and have identified at least another 3 pairs of trousers that would fit the bill for the bottoms.  They’re all Burda patterns and will need to be traced, but at least I’m finally finding something in the latest magazines that I want to make!

Silver & Gold

 

I’ve finished my new coat, and I’m seriously in love!!  Now that it’s all finished, I can’t believe I’ve taken so long to make this pattern, it’s wonderful!  I bought the Pepernoot Coat pattern from Waffle Patterns when it first came out – which is some years ago now – and really, I could have had a few in my wardrobe by now.  I think an unlined denim version, made from old jeans would have been fabulous for the summer here in the UK!  (Might have to make that happen…)

 

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So, you’ve seen most of the Work in Progress, and gone through the adjustments I’ve made already, so this is just to finish off and show off!  As said already, the fabric is cashmere, originally from Truro Fabrics.  I eventually chose the mustard gold lining from The Lining Company for the inside, and it was the perfect choice!  I ended up cutting it on the cross grain to get the richness of the gold colour, the straight grain was just a bit too “meh” for what I was after!

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Now, let’s talk pockets…  This pattern comes with a very cool, large pair of pockets on the front skirt of the coat.  They’re supposed to have a zippered opening/closing, but I left that out.  I’m not a big fan of scratchy zips on my hands, especially in the wintertime!  So I knew I was going to make welts, and having decided to copy the welts on my Seasalt coat, I can say that it’s worked better than I could have hoped for.  The overlapping welts “hug” your wrist once your hand is in the pocket, not letting any draft in there!  Warm, snuggly pockets!  Can you get any better?

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I sewed the inner hood pieces with the “wrong” side of the fabric out – it’s a lighter shade of grey to the outside and I like the contrast.  Mr W thinks I should have cut the facings the same way round, but I disagree.  I like it this way!  And the hood is just right, big enough to go fully over your head without flopping over your eyes, like some I know…  I’ve worn this coat loads since finishing it, it’s just so comfortable and the fabric so soft!

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So there you have it, this is officially my new favourite coat, until I make another!  The adjustments I’ve made were simple ones, a small FBA sorted the front out to hang straight, and I added a small amount to the seam allowance of the armhole in the front to stop the dragging there, and inserted decent tailor’s felt shoulder pads.  Without the shoulder pads the armhole was just too deep.  The minute I put the pads in, the whole thing looked and felt a whole lot better.  I love how this feels on, it’s just great to wear.

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February Wardrobe Basics

When Stef announced February’s theme I knew I’d be taking part!  I love stripes of all shapes and sizes – and directions!  I had thought the best thing to do would be to combine last month’s denim jacket and the stripes from this month – in the denim jacket!  The denim I have has a herringbone pattern, so effectively, it’s stripes, right?  I managed to get the second toile of the pattern fitted and checked earlier this month, but as I was too busy making coats, didn’t make the alterations to the pattern.

I then got distracted with other striped fabrics!  I love stripey tees, so decided I’d have a few new ones for the summer.  I started with a piece of organic cotton lycra from a local store – white with narrow black stripes.  I knew I wanted to make the Basic Instinct Tee from Sasha at SecondoPiano.  She has a clever formula on the pattern that helps to line up all the stripes on the shoulders and side seams – if you have a stripe pattern of the correct repeat.  Thankfully, this stripe fitted the 6mm repeat, and my shoulder seams are just perfect!

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Organic stripe jersey in the Basic Instinct Tee
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The most perfect shouldeer seam stripe matching ever!!!

Then I got stripe-happy and ordered some fabrics from Montreux Fabrics and cut another Basic Instinct Tee from the black and white stripe.  Unfortunately this pattern repeat wasn’t suitable for Sasha’s clever formula, so I had to choose between lining up the side seam stripes, or the shoulders.  I couldn’t have my cake and eat it too.  But I tell you, keeping stripes lined up on viscose jersey is tricky!  I ended up using a ton of pins and then basting by hand.  Machine basting just didn’t work, the stripes all jumped and danced around and got all out of balance.  If you have a machine with a walking foot you just might be better off!  Anyway, I was satisfied with the matches I got, and more than happy with another comfy Basic Instinct Tee.

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Another Basic Instince Tee

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For my third tee, I chose the Stellan Tee from French Navy.  I like the boxy shape for the summer, and the curved hem is a cool detail.  The fabric is viscose jersey again, but has more weight than the black and white.  I decided to try to get all the stripes lined up on this one, and marked the intersection of the shoulder seam and stripes on the pattern so I could match them.  And it worked!  There is only one stripe on the shoulder because of the pattern repeat and the angle of the shoulder, but it doesn’t matter, it lines up!!

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the Stellan Tee
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Just one matching stripe, but I can live with that!

So – I have managed to fulfill the challenge brief and stock up on good tees for the summer, but I still want to get that denim jacket made….  if there’s time!  These three tees also tick the box of the three tops required for the Great Module Sewalong.  I made a pair of trousers to go in the module, but although they’re comfy and all, they aren’t right.  Why?  Well…  Let’s leave that for the next post, shall we?

In the meantime, let’s see if I can get that denim jacket done by the end of Saturday!!

 

Windowpane Sienna Maker Jacket

 

Oh, I’ve been having fun with the coats!  This is the second of the year, and boy are there more to come!  Today is the chance of the Sienna Maker Jacket from Closet Case Patterns.  I rather liked the pattern when it first came out, but didn’t buy it immediately.  I thought about it for a while first, and when I saw the perfect fabric at Fabworks at the end of November, I knew I needed to put the two together.

 

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I bought 3m of black windowpane wool (sold out now) and the PDF pattern and sent it off to the other half for printing.  To check for shrinkage and finish change, I cut a 10cm square of the fabric and threw it in the washing machine with some other woolies.  No shrinking and it actually felt less pricky and rough than before it went it!  So in went the three metres.  But then it sat around a while, Xmas was in the way and I wasn’t quite ready.

But move into January and I traced the pattern, toiled and made a small FBA adjustment, also increasing the length of the belt.  I only needed 2cm of length in the bust depth, the width was fine.  Now the pattern is ready, but I wanted to line at least part of the coat.  I’d chosen the longer length, view A.  The proportions are nicer than view B, and as I’m making a wool coat, it might as well keep as much of me warm and wind free as possible!  But the wool wasn’t completely itch-free so I definitely wanted something more between me and the fabric. Not to mention that any garment pushed into a wool fabric sleeve will end up bunched under my armpit – and that’s just uncomfortable!

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So I decided on a half lining, with sleeves, and to bind all the remaining seams and raw edges with bias binding – Hong Kong finish.  I bought a couple of metres of mustard gold coloured polycotton from a local fabric store to use for the bias and raided the lining bag for something suitable for the half lining.  I had just enough to cut the pieces for the back and front lining from the chopped up remains of the Pepernoot Coat, but there was no way I’d get the sleeves out of that same stuff.   But I did have some striped sleeve lining….

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So – now I’m ready!  I interfaced facings and upper collar with a fine sheer fusible, and the coat front T-zone, sleeve heads, across the shoulders in the back, hems, and undercollar with a weft insertion fusible.  I also made a canvas chest piece, inserted shoulder pads and bound all the seams and hem.  The stripes lined up perfectly – because I cut out one piece at a time and laid that piece right sides down on the fabric, lining up all the stripes, before cutting the second pattern piece.  I discovered that the D-rings in my stash were bought for handbag making and were far too small for the belt.  Not willing to buy anything, or to spend time waiting for an online purchase to turn up, I dug through the box of vintage belt buckles and found a black one that the belt fitted through just perfectly!

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I made a couple of changes to the finished garment though.  First was to alter the side that the belt buckles on – the fronts overlap right over left, not left over right, on my coat.  I’d tried the way it was designed in the toile and it just didn’t feel right, so I switched it.  The two big pockets are enough for me so I eliminated the inside pocket and the breast pocket.   I also changed the way the hem meets the back vent and the front facing.  Although I have to admit that was a “work in progress” alteration, rather than one that was planned from the start.

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I think if you’re using a twill or similar, that the finish as described in the instructions would be just fine, but it wasn’t right for this.  So I made the hem 1cm deeper and sewed the bottom edge of the facing to that of the coat front and turned it through the usual way.  I also did not double turn the hems, but rather interfaced them so the interfacing did not stick out above the hem, and bound the edges. Similarly, at the back vent, there should have just been a fold of vent and the hem double turned.  Instead the raw edges were bound and I folded an uneven mitre in the corners, meeting the bound edges.  And it looks good!!

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The hem was handsewn in place twice.  I used Herringbone stitch which is nice and strong.  Even if it were to get caught and snap, the rest of the stitching wouldn’t come out, so no droopy hem.  The first row was stitched about 1.5cm below the bound hem edge, and the second was along the inside edge of the binding.  I did a similar thing with the front facings, using Herringbone stitch and stitching two rows vertically through the interfacing to keep the facing attached to the front pieces and preventing them from flapping about.  This step is done on the machine in the instructions, but I didn’t want that sort of look.

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The finished coat is rather yummy.  Lining has definitely made it more wearable, I love the pop of mustard against the black.  I made the size 12  based on measurements.  The pattern overall, apart from the small amount of fabric needed in the bust depth, fitted “straight of the envelope”.  The finished length is perfect, even for shorty me, and the sleeves finish in the right place too.  I think this coat will be the perfect addition to my wardrobe, and should make it into that transitional spring/autumn season rather well too.

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I just have one question.  If I don’t want to wear the coat all belted up, what do I do with the belt??  It ends up looking like a tail.  I’ve tried stuffing it into a pocket, but even though they’re nice and roomy, it doesn’t work – too bulky.  Tying it back on itself and looping through the buckle the other way doesn’t look right either, it pulls the facings back and open.  It calls for experimentation I think.  Anyway, I have the shorter, view C version of this jacket traced too, I feel I might need a summer jacket.

Sew Alongs and Sewing Challenges

Hellooo!  It’s been a little quiet on this front lately, but rest assured, the sewing has continued!  The cashmere coat is finished, I just need to get photos that do it justice!  Standing in my sewing room with my phone propped up on a pile of books just isn’t doing any good.  And, there’s another coat to show you now!  I’m making good progress on shrinking the coating pile – at last!  Again though, I need some nice sunny weather and a helper to get some decent photographs.

With the coat and jacket sewing, there’s good focus, but I need little, quick projects to break it up a bit.  That’s partly why I thought signing up to Stef’s #SewYourWardrobeBasics would be a good idea.  There’s no pressure, you participate in that month’s challenge theme if it suits you, and don’t if it doesn’t.  So far, so good.  This month is stripes, and if you’ve been following me for any length of time, you’ll know that that’s my favourite sort of pattern!

I decided to splurge on Tees for the challenge and bought some cotton lycra from a proper fabric shop to make a Basic Instinct Tee, and a couple of pieces online from Montreux Fabrics for a Stellan Tee and a Lark Tee.  This will top up my summer tee pile quite nicely, but I wanted to squeeze in other projects too.

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Trousers 107 Burda August 2019

There’s an interesting pair of trousers in this month’s Burda that I’m keen on and might make in a linen, I’ll have to check the stash to see if there’s anything suitable.  I also rather liked one of the tops in the magazine.  However, when Fabworks posted on Instagram that they had a pistachio viscose ponte as their fabric of the month this month, and that was just £3 a meter, I gave in.  I knew right away that I wanted some for another pair of the trousers I remade last year, 107 from August 2019.  I imagine they’d be perfect secret pjs!  And to go with them?  That top from this February’s issue!  Under it the stripe tees, and over the top, one of the coats still on the list!  Sounds like an outfit on the way to a mini wardrobe – yes?

This is when I decided I might sign up to a bigger challenge, The Great Module Sew Along.  The idea is to sew 2 bottoms, 3 tops and a covering/jacket.  So far I have plans for all of the garrments, and don’t see why I shouldn’t be able to make the deadline for the challenge.  And best of all, it gives me focus to make those quick projects in between the bigger coat and jacket projects.  Oh, and there’s also the sewalong challenge in the Facebook sewing group I’m part of.  This month is bottoms, so two pairs of trousers it will be!  🙂

 

 

Ash Jeans, slim leg or skinnies??

Just to keep you on tenterhooks a little longer with the big coat reveal, here are the jeans I made a few weeks ago, and have worn almost constantly without getting any photos.  Oops!  I guess that at least by wearing them contstantly, you can infer that I rather like them and am pretty happy with how they turned out.

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Ash Jeans, slim leg version

So, after the debacle of the last pair and its toile, I made the same alterations to the pattern for the slim leg jeans and got cracking.  The fabric this time is black denim from Croft Mill, I can’t link to it because I got the last piece, mwahaha!  It has much more stretch than both the toile and the fabric used for the wide leg version of the Ash jeans.  Which means that I could, in hindsight, have made them tighter from the hip up. Is it a problem?  No, not really.  Certainly not enough of a problem to have me unpick the topstitching and re-do anything!!

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I like the fit, but they do get a little loose as the day goes on!
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Pocket detail and topstitching

I used a deliciously contrasting thread for topstitching this time, not denim thread (because I didn’t have enough left and was too cheap to buy more), but a similar colour to the denim thread I had.  It looks pretty good against the black of the denim, and so I needed a button that would go with it too!  Luckily for me, I’d had a good raid of the local charity shops a couple of years ago and had built up a collection of military buttons.  The old gold/bronze colour of a particular set matched perfectly.

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Old buttons are the best!

Pocket fabric this time comes from another one of the other half’s shirts that have got all holey in the wash.  How do you guys keep your man’s shirts from getting holey along the collar and cuff edges?  I swear these shirts aren’t all that old, but they’re all going tatty and definitely unwearable in polite company.  Under the car or in the garden is a different matter all together…

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Shirty pocket bags

There’s only one thing I definitely need to change about this pattern – the leg length.  Remember how I said with the wide leg pair that they could do with being 2-3cm longer, but that it would be ok with the narrower versions because you can get away with shorter on tighter??  Well – you can’t!  Or at least, I can’t!  I’m constantly using my feet to slide the fabric down to where it should be, so a definite alteration for all versions needs to be the addition of 3cm in the leg length.  Not something I thought I’d need to do, but there you go.

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Also, what should be the difference between a slim leg pair of jeans and skinnies??  Because these feel like skinnies to me!  Is it just that I have chunkier calf muscles?  Should they fit looser?  I cannot tell, having gone down a rabbit hole on google images with this pattern and got nowhere.  Can anyone tell me if this is how they’re supposed to fit, or do I need a full calf adjustment??

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Excuse the wrinkly bits, it was mid afternoon before I managed to get the other half to take these photos, and they just emphasise that I really should take these jeans in!

And so I’ve completed the first instalment of the #SewYourWardrobeBasics from Stef at Sea of Teal.  February’s theme is stripes – challenge accepted!!  You just cannot beat a good (or bad) stripe!  Is anyone else doing this “challenge”?  I’m going to make a Basic Instinct Tee with my stripe fabric, I need more tees for the allotment, and I can’t wait until it’s already warm to get making!

Work in Progress Wednesday 3/20

Here we are again!  I’m still working on my coat, taking to heart the idea of sewing slower this year!  I cut it all out on the weekend and spent considerable hours fusing all the interfacing onto the relevant areas and tailor tacking the pattern markings so I was ready to sew.  Tuesday was to be a sewing day!  In the end, I only started just before lunchtime, but as I kept going until 8pm, I recon I still managed to get a full day of sewing in!

When I tailor tack pattern pieces, I also pin pieces together and pin darts to make a pile of stuff that can go straight to the sewing machine, so I had front and back bodice darts, sleeve tabs and hood pieces all pinned together ready to start.  The darts were cut up the centre and pressed open, with the flappy bits stitched down with herringbone stitch to stop them flapping about!

Front darts pressed open and stitched down

Once darts were sewn, the yokes were attached and the topstitching done.  Then I made the sleeve tabs, sewed the inner and outer hood and made up the front band.  After that, I couldn’t put off the pockets and their new opening detail any longer!

Welt pockets with a twist

New detail??  Well, I’m not overly keen on zip-opening pockets.  I know they’re very practical, and they add a “sporty” touch to a garment, but zips are sharp and scratchy and my hands don’t like them very much.  So I decided I’d use a detail from the pocket of my Seasalt raincoat.  The pocket shape is actually very similar.  They have two welts, one narrower than the other, and they overlap.  The detail is suposed to mean water doesn’t get into your pocket, and having had worn the coat in the wet, I can say that’s true.  So I copied that detail.  I’ll do a seperate tutorial on the pocket in another post.

Pockets basted, then topstitched into place

I tacked and basted a lot with the pocket, if you don’t want things moving, and pins aren’t helpful, basting is the only way to go!  Gathering the curved corners of the pockets wasn’t tricky, and makes for a nice smooth curve.  I chose to use ordinary thread for the topstitching, possibly next time I’d use something a little thicker, I’m thinking that Denim thread though, rather than the proper topstitching stuff that my machine doesn’t like.  I’m not unhappy with the finish, but it does disappear into the fabric a bit.

Front interfacing with chest piece

I thought I’d show you the insides where I put the interfacing.  I use Gill Arnold’s weft interfacing on the outer pieces for structure.  I fused the yokes fully and cut a funny shaped piece for the back that continued the line and scooped under the armhole to support it.  The front got similar treatment, except that  instead of just going into the yoke interfacing line, the interfacing scoops up and over the bust area and down the front to support and reinforce that area.  I extended that line of interfacing down the front skirt.  Sleeve heads get interface too, I measure approx 10 cm down from the top point in the sleeve head and draw a curve into the lower part of the armhole from there, always better not to have straight lines here.

Sleeve interfacing

All the hems are supported too.  As this coat has 4cm hems, I cut 6cm wide bias strips of the weft insertion and fused onto the hemline, 3cm from the edge of the fabric.  This means that when the hem is turned up, 1cm of the inner hem has interfacing on it, supporting the fold, the rest extends up the outer fabric and protrudes 1cm above the hem edge.  This is what I will stitch into when I hand stitch the hem in place, not the fabric.

The facings and sleeve tabs, front band, inner hood front edge, and the opening for the pockets were fused with Gill’s fine sheer interfacing.  Those edges still need support, but not as much as the outer fabric, and to cut down on bulk it’s better to use a finer, lighter interfacing.

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Bias cut chest piece

For the fronts, I add a canvas chest piece that helps to minimise the appearance of the hollow in the chest below the shoulders.  It’s a curved piece of non-fusible canvas, cut on the bias, fused to a piece of weft insertion interfacing, also cut on the bias.  I remembered I have photos and a post showing this same step, but with white interfacing, from 2012!!  On each side at the top ( shoulder edge), cut out a section 3cm down, this is to enable you to keep the canvas out of the seam area while you sew front to back

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Shoulder seam pinned, chest piece pinned out of the way

Then the shoulder seam is pressed open and the canvas allowed back, turn the coat to the right side, and, supporting the body pieces, allow the coat to hand over your hand, simulating the shoulder.  Pin the canvas in place through the back shoulder seam allowance, close to the seam.

 

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Pin close to seam

Turn to the inside and pin again through the seam and the canvas, then remove the pins on the outside and stitch the cavas to the back seam allowance close to the original shoulder seam line.

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Pin through layers on the inside
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Canvas chest piece stitched to back shoulder seam

This make such a difference to how your jacket or coat looks, with a decent felt shoulder pad.  This is as far as I’ve got for now, tomorrow I’ll get the hood on, sew the side seams and insert the sleeves.  Then it will be time to cut the lining!

Mustard gold viscose twill lining

I ordered 2m of Mustard Gold interfacing from The Lining Company to grace the inside of my gorgeous coat yesterday, and it arrived this afternoon.  It’s beautiful, the colour like gold, so perfect for the grey!!  If I cannot find a lining “in real life” for a project, chances are pretty high that I’ll find one from The Lining Company.  They have so many different types, and the colours….  I love that they send out 5 free samples, of a decent size, all properly labelled for proper decision making.  And they’re fast…  I just use their standard first class postal service, it arrives the next day anyway!!  (no selling fee here, just my personal recommendation).