A Giraffe’s Tail – The Long & the Short of it.

So suave in her new jacket
So suave in her new jacket

I need to warn you all, this is a photo heavy post!

Phew, I have had such a blast sewing this month!  Jungle January has been a real hit, with sewing bloggers all around the world taking part.  Thank you Anne @ Pretty Grievances, this was a fantastic idea!

So when last I posted, I had received the samples from Ditto, and was drooling quite nicely over my pretty bits of fabric, sewing up all sorts of plans in my head.  I had drafted the flat overgarment block from Winnie Aldrich, just needed to toile and get on with the playing.  The block toile was fine, baggy, but about what I had expected with the size and (non)shape of the pattern pieces.  Moving on to fiddling and playing with paper, and the toile of the working pattern…

DSC01155

The first toile, and the baggy, ugly sleeve
The first toile, and the baggy, ugly sleeve & armhole

So, I used this block because I figured there was no point in going for a tailored jacket block and all it’s shaping etc.  The flat overgarment block is for fleeces.  Baggy, shapeless, ugly clothes.  I know that now…  The sleeve on the right in the photo above is the original.  I took out the left sleeve and reduced the ease in the head to try to get it to look better.  I also narrowed the sleeve, considerably. It didn’t work.  The back is too baggy, the armhole massive, and we hated it on sight.  So it went into the fabric recycling bin and I started with the tailored jacket block instead!

The sleeve in the 2nd toile, developed from the tailored jacket block
The sleeve in the 2nd toile, developed from the tailored jacket block

So how much better is that!  And the back…

Back of 2nd toile.
Back of 2nd toile.

The relief was palpable!  Daughter no2 was happy with this one, the length, the width at the hem, and particularly, the sleeves!  Then I ran into the next hiccough.  I didn’t want to order the fabric until I had done the toiles and worked out how much I’d need.  Unfortunately for me, Ditto only had about 1m of the giraffe print left! Nooooo!  We did get the dot fabric though…  That’s another project, and one that daughter no2 is going to tackle herself.

After a quick hunt on tinternet I found the same print at ukfabricsonline, and for £1/m less than Ditto, and cheaper post too.  I ordered my 2m and set out to find a suitable lining and contrast fabric.  Lining was pretty easy actually.  I got a superb satin finish lining in raspberry from Fred Winter in Stratford on Avon, but had no luck with a contrast to do the binding on all the edges and to cover the buttons.  Running out of time, we decided to forgo the contrast this time.  Oh yes, I’m making this again!

I love the contrast of the lining when the sleeves are turned back!
I love the contrast of the lining when the sleeves are turned back!

I was hoping for an emerald or turquoise lining for the jacket, thinking fucshia may be, ahem, “slutty”, but this raspberry is the bomb! 😀

FR0064

FR0054I should say that these photos are all taken on my phone camera.  Husband is working on a new project at work, so has nicked my camera for “research” purposes.

Twins??
Twins??

ACan you tell how much daughter no2 likes her new jacket?

09Not too keen on me calling the shots with all the photos though!

If there was ever a reason for doing another it is this:  Parent’s evening at her school was last night.  Her art teacher took one look and wanted to know where she’d got it, wanted to pat it, and warned that if it ever came into the art studio, she wasn’t to be suprised if she couldn’t find it at the end of the lesson.

Once again, thank you soooooooooooo much, Anne, for starting us all on this Jungle madness. It’s been fabulous to read the round-ups of all the projects, and I have found some new blogs to follow too!

Now, what’s on the cards for February??

Giraffe in the Jungle!

Whoop!  The postie really suprised me this afternoon by delivering not only the lavender I ordered last weekend and a letter excusing me from jury service, but the long awaited fabric samples from Ditto Fabrics as well!  😀  Yes, samples – plural….

Sample swatches from Ditto Fabrics
Sample swatches from Ditto Fabrics

Did you really think I’d only ask for the giraffe print??  There’s a oh-so-pretty spotty twill that’s perfect for a pair of 60’s capri pants for Daughter No2 to wear with the giraffe print jacket, a grey wool that would make a fab pair of trousers for me, and a zebra print cotton that was the fall-back should the giraffe print not be up to scratch.  And the stripe cotton…  that’s for me too.  No idea what to make from it, but I’m having some! So the issue with the giraffe fabric when I saw the picture on Ditto’s site was, will it be too fluffy..

Giraffe print - slightly fluffy, but just enough.
Giraffe print – slightly fluffy, but just enough.

Answer – nope!  It’s just right.  There is a very short pile that works very well, so we are going ahead, full steam!  Look out for us in the jungle pretty soon!  😀  Here’s a reminder of the jacket:

Sketch for 60's style swing jacket with contrast binding and bound buttonholes
Sketch for 60’s style swing jacket with contrast binding and bound buttonholes
Jacket in the giraffe and capri pants in the spot
Jacket in the giraffe and capri pants in the spots

And boy am I glad I don’t have to do jury service for the next two weeks!  Apparently there were too many people who filled in their forms and returned them to the summoning officer, so they had too many.  It’s quite nice to know there are plenty of civic minded people out there.

While I am waiting…

It seems Royal Mail had plans for me.  The sample order for the giraffe print was sent off to Ditto Fabrics last Thursday, first class.  Ditto got it yesterday!  They have popped the samples all in the post already today, but chances are it could take another week (with a first class SSAE) to get back to me!  I do object paying for a certain service, and then getting a sub-standard one!  In addition, my lavender is late, ribbons had to be fast tracked, and everything is just going to pot this week!

So I decided to keep busy I’d make a start on an up-cycling project.  Friends of mine own a coffee roasting business in Stratford on Avon.  They donated a pile of their coffee sacks to me last week.  Their coffee beans come from the monsoon areas of the world, hence their name:  Monsoon Estates.  This is where the jungly bit comes in.  In a bit of a nod to the antics going on for Jungle January, and until the postman brings me my sample – (deep breaths…) I have chopped up some of the large sacks they get their beans in.  Cleverly I didn’t take any “before” pics.  I can say though that hessian bags like these are hard on the scissors!  You have to put some serious welly into the cutting motion too, so my hands were a little sore after all the chopping.

Another tip.  Domestic overlockers do not like industrial-weight hessian.  My threads kept snapping, but I have persevered!  In an attempt not to put too much “new” into the bags I am going to finish them off with as much as I can find in my stash boxes, but I know I need proper webbing for the handles.  So here’s a couple of iffy (crappy) pics from my phone.  Husband has the camera today, and my Nokia’s camera is not the best on the planet.

Coffee tote bags in progress
Coffee tote bags in progress

and another:

Some of the tote bags made from hessian coffee bean sacks.
Some of the tote bags made from hessian coffee bean sacks.

So that’s the state of the totes so far.  I still need to put handles on them all, and I have found some black and red wide bias binding in my trimmings box to cover the rough nasty edges.  Hope to finish them all tonight!  😀

In other news, I have finished the pattern for the grey herringbone twill, it’s just awaiting a toile and fitting.  With Daughter No1 firmly ensconsed back at Uni I will have to make a trip with the toile.  Hopefully by then I have finished the pattern for the 60’s coat and got my giraffe print so I can pop into Fancy Silks and grab a yummy lining while I’m in Birmingham.  Might as well…  ;p

“Distractions”, or “The best laid plans…”

So, Jungle January.  See how quickly the “plan” I had laid down last year in late November has derailed.  I was going to make the spotty silk, then the duck egg corduroy, then the grey herringbone for Daughter no1.   Plans!  HA!!  Then Anne at Pretty Grievances lured me away with jungly antics.  Focus..  “squirrel!”

I will make the grey herringbone – I have to!  Daughter No1 is only at home until Sunday, then she’s back off to uni, and apparently won’t be visiting half as much this term as she did in the Autumn.  So I have to do this.  But I’m getting distracted by animal prints, 60’s swing coats and thoughts of bright jewel-like sparkly linings.

While I wait for the giraffe print to arrive from Ditto I had a browse through my vintage patterns.  This make is going to have to be quick if it’s going to be made in January, as I only have next week to myself, then I have two weeks of jury duty looming.  TWO WEEKS!!  😮

None of these fit the bill,

A selection of 60's patterns
A selection of 60’s patterns

Just my luck, I had no swing jackets.  So I will pattern cut it.  I used these to give me an idea for details for the giraffe jacket.  Maybe it won’t be done in January afterall…

Sketch for 60's style swing jacket with contrast binding and bound buttonholes
Sketch for 60’s style swing jacket with contrast binding and bound buttonholes – maybe!

It has daughter No2’s approval, provided I don’t make the pleat in the back too big.  So now I have work to do!

I also gave myself a bit of a challenge.  Today Karen at Did you make that? threw down the New Year’s Resolution gauntlet.  She has challenged us to put our money where our mouths are by committing to one resolution.  No going back, no hiding, no getting away from it.  Like she says, she has a long memory, and a jar!  Head over to her blog to read more about it, and join in if you dare! (But make it quick, you have limited time left!)

My resolution is to actually get something done for husband.  Long suffering, much ignored (sewing wise) husband.  Last year I started to do some pattern cutting for him, but more interesting and pretty things distracted me.  Sound familiar?  So this year I am committing to pattern cut him some shirts – that he will be prepared to wear!  I will stick my neck out a bit (ok, quite far) and say that I’d really like to make him a tailored suit too, but that’s not going on my definite list!!

Will I do it??  Keep checking to see…  ;p

Jungle January!!!

Well here it is, January 2013.  Some said we wouldn’t make it to Christmas, but what did the Mayans know??  Happy New Year everybody!  I guess I should be listing my “new” resolutions, going over the good and bad makes of the past year, but that will have to wait until later.  The news of the day is definitely Pretty Grievances‘ Jungle January.

Dangerously Stylish!
Dangerously Stylish!

The idea is simply to make something ravishing with an animal print fabric.  Now generally I don’t do animal print, and almost certainly not fur, the stuff gets everywhere!  I wanted to join in, but wasn’t sure what to do exactly.  Cue a browse on Ditto Fabrics‘ website.  I found this:

Giraffe print!
Giraffe print!

Now I can see a sort of 60’s style cropped swing-coat for Daughter no 2 here, think turquoise lining, or emerald, or even fucshia pink!  I have ordered a sample, which should arrive pretty pronto, knowing the service from Ditto.  I really hope it’s not too fluffy, because I think this could really work!  😀

Look out January, the animals are on the loose!

Miracle

A double Christmas present, the fabric was a gift a few years ago!
A double Christmas present, the fabric was a gift a few years ago!

Well now, would you look at this.  I have actually made two of the items I had planned to do lately..  This from someone who doesn’t plan!  I finished this jacket on Tuesday, but the weather was not playing ball for photos.  With a breather in the clouds and rain today, Daughter No1 & I decided some fresh air and photos was in order.  I still had cards to deliver too!

Delivering Christmas cards in my new jacket!
Delivering Christmas cards in my new jacket!

This is the pattern I made back in November – last year!  I had been toying with the darted sleeve head idea and ran up a toile, but realised with the extended shoulders that the rever and collar were going to need adjustment. No problem, but I couldn’t make up my mind on the fabric.  I eventually used the original collar and rever and made a different sleeve, which resulted in this jacket.

Jacket unbuttoned.
Jacket unbuttoned.

I finally chose a fabric to use for the darted sleeve version,  a duck-egg blue fine wale corduroy from Ditto Fabrics that a friend had given me for a Christmas present.  But I had no lining or buttons so it languished in the cupboard for a while.  More than a while, actually!  If you check out the other jacket photos you will see the difference in the collar and revers.  I actually prefer the width of these ones, I think the previous revers were too narrow for that jacket too!

A walk in the park, loving my big shoulders!
A walk in the park, loving my big shoulders!

I did lengthen the front of this jacket, something I noticed after wearing the other one was that it could have done with being about 2-3cm longer in the front. I also added welt pockets.  I realised at the first fitting that the jacket was looking a little plain and boring, so I quickly got cracking with the welts!  Note to self – decide on pockets before making up fronts and attaching to backs…     The pocket bags use some left-over silk from my Pattern Magic blouse.  I know you’re supposed to use some of the shell fabric so the lining fabric isn’t seen, but this is way too pretty to hide!

Dotty silk from the Pattern Magic blouse
Dotty silk from the Pattern Magic blouse

The extended sleeves have some fusible wadding sew into the sleeve head seam to add support, and I moved the shoulder pads over slightly too, nothing worse than a collapsing sleeve head!  The lining was a bargain from the Fancy Silk store in Birmingham, Jaeger cupro for just £3.99/m!  Buttons are metal from Fred Winter’s in Stratford.  I would have prefered to have a matching set, but so few places sell the same styles in different sizes.  So I have horses on my sleeve vents and pretty ones down the front.

Lining & pretty silver buttons
Lining & pretty silver buttons
Silver horsey buttons, appropriate for living in the country.
Silver horsey buttons, appropriate for living in the country.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love this jacket.  I love the colour, love the fit and love, love, love the sleeves!  What is it with me and sleeves?  :s  Anyhow, I now need to move onto the herringbone twill for Daughter No1’s biker-ish jacket from the Burda mag, but I will be pattern cutting it to her measurements.  Maybe I will wait a couple of days first, something tells me there is an important date approaching sometime next week.  ;p

jacket

jacket

So, Happy Christmas to everyone, I hope you all get loads of what you’ve asked for (fabric & some new books in my case…).  Enjoy spending time with your families and friends.  😀