Light as a Feather

Stashbusting is good this month!  I have finally, finally used a piece of viscose that I honestly cannot remember buying.  It’s been in the stash for what seems like ages, just waiting for the right project to come along (another of those!).  It’s a lovely drapey weight, closely woven, unlike some cheaper viscoses.  And the little feather print is lovely, without being too cute!  Really, I’ve earmarked this fabric to many a pattern over the last few years, but have always bottled it at the last minute.  So what happened this time?  Who’s the lucky pattern?

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Well, it’s actually a vintage Vogue, from 1956.  I’d always liked this pattern, the front is interesting with the dart pleats at the neckline.  But, I wasn’t the right size…  Thank goodness that’s all changed, and now I have a variety of 50’s Vogue patterns, jackets in particular, that I can make!  I’d come across it again while searching the vintage pattern stash for patterns I know I won’t use to re-stock the Etsy shop.  I took it out and checked mesurements – and realised I had to make it now!  A quick toile revealed it wasn’t tricky to put together, although I did manage to put the band on inside-out.  That’s mostly because I wasn’t concentrating on the right and wrong side of the fabric!  The toile showed I needed to take the shoulders in by 1cm and just let out the narrowness of the waist a little.

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Vogue blouse pattern 8095 dated 1956

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I didn’t cut the pattern up, just marked the edge of the armhole and shoulders with chalk and drew a new line 1cm in, tapering to the original line just over halfway down the curve.  The waistline was just as easily altered, chalk marked the new cutting line.  I French seamed wherever possible and used a polyester fine sheer fusible interfacing on the cuffs, back neck facing, front band and to support the fold in the front opening.  It was just enough to add support without bulk.

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There’s a zip in the left side seam to enable getting in and out of the blouse, although I suspect that by the time I’d widened the waist diameter, I could have just as easily pulled it over my head!  Not sure I want to check that now though..  I used a lightweight invisible zipper in that seam, not that it makes much difference to the stiffness of the zipper.  It did make it tricky to stitch close enough to the teeth to get a good invisible insertion though!  In the end I stitched 3 rows of increasingly closer stitching on that zip.  Got there in the end!  And, of course, to support the zip, I’d used a 2.5cm strip of interfacing on each of the seams.

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I’m really rather happy with the finshed blouse, the sleeves are the right length – I know, a little chilly for winter, but I’m constantly pushing my sleeves up anyway.  The hem is the right length too, I don’t like tops any longer than this.  It’s the right length to wear out, or tuck in.  And it goes with just about everything in the wardrobe!  Win, win, win!

 

Floaty

I’ve got a bit of a backlog of projects still to show you, most of them items I made for Daughter No 2.  And a couple of my own.  Today’s offering is a blouse that I’d been putting off making for a while (I’m not a glutton for punishment!), but eventually I had to give in and get it made.  Daughter No 2 had asked for this blouse to be made in a piece of burgundy wine coloured fabric we bought from the Fancy Silk Store a rather long time ago now.  It’s polyester (so doesn’t like the iron), is drapey, floaty and slippy.

 

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Blouse 130 from Burda November 2013

The pattern is 130 from Burda November 2013.  (The link is to the German site, the usual one is still hinky, and I don’t think it will ever be as good a resource for archive patterns as it was.)  I traced the 36 and didn’t toile…  I figured it was a loose fit anyway, so will be ok.  I decided to French Seam everything on the inside to keep it all lovely and neat.  The front and back opening slits were both shortened, the front is now 15cm long, otherwise it would gape and show underwear, and that’s something Daughter No 2 did not want.  The back was also shortened, but not as much as the front.  Unfortunately, in the photos we took, none are of the back opening!

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The neckline is bound with self bias, as are the openings.  All would have been fine, but I shouldn’t have followed the instructions in the pattern to cut the bias strips to just 2cm wide.  It’s not quite enough, I should have cut 2.5 as a minimum especially for the neckline and the cuffs.  So if you’re planning on makng this blouse, that’s my reccommendation, cut wider bias strips!  Because the fibre content is polyester, it really didn’t want to stay pressed, which was a bit of a pain.  I used a lot of pins!

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Another thing to be wary of is the width of the sleeve band.  The sleeve edge is fully gathered into the bias band, and it does come up a tad narrow.  Thankfully Daughter No2 has narrow hands and skinny wrists, because we’d have come unstuck otherwise!  So check that measurement over your hands, because you might just get to that point and not be able to get the blouse on.

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But, I’m really happy with how it turned out, and might be persuaded to make another, but in a natural fibre this time…  That sleeve really is the best part of the whole top!  It’s basically a deep pleat, and is only secured with a few small stitches.  I reinforced the area with a scrap of fine sheer polyester fusible interfacing before stitching the pleat in place.  I hope it will give the area enough stability.

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In the mean time Daughter No 2 really loves this blouse and, funnily enough, has plans for me to make another…  But NOT in polyester!

Did You Miss Me?

Heavens, it has been a while, hasn’t it??  Thing is, when you don’t write these post for a while you quickly get out of the habit of doing so, and kinda forget how to write!  I have lots to show, and very few photos!  But last week I made a thing, and I even managed to get the other half to take some pictures for me – miracles!!

So, what’s the lucky garment?  Well, it’s a blouse.  I have only used this pattern once before, it’s a Burda pattern – as you may well have guessed, based on my history!  I made this first blouse (way before I had even heard of blogs) in silk satin in a gorgeous wine colour.  (See it worn in this post)  I loved it, but soon it was too small and I relegated it to the “unwearable” box in the loft.  This summer it came out and I decided that, as I didn’t wear it anymore, I’d see if it could be recut and refashioned into something else.  It sat in that pile until last month, when I ironed it before cutting.  Then I put it on, just to see…  And it fits again!!  Woohoo.  I love how it feels, the batwings and floppy collar.  After the second wear while I was organising the summer fabrics to go back into the boxes for the winter, I came across a piece of cotton voile I’d bought from Fabric Godmother about 5 years ago.  A brainwave hit and I thought, I finally know what pattern to use for this fabric!  The same one that I’d used for the silk blouse, 118 from October 2008.

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Burda Blouse #118 October 2008 worn for Me Made May 2014

Unfortunately it’s too old a pattern to be found on the database on the BurdaStyle website, and the magazine with the instructions and line drawings is in a box in the loft, so I cannot show you any details!  But thanks to helpful commenters, and the Russian Burda website, here’s a link!  It’s a simple pattern, the back is cut on the fold, sleeves are kimono style/batwings, so they’re grown on.  You do need to make sure that the fabric is wide enough for the pattern, the back is ok, but the front has grown on button stand and facing, so it’s wider overall.  The sleeve is gathered into a wide cuff and finishes at the three quarter mark.  There are no darts for shaping, but it’s not a billowing, shapeless style.  The collar is just the stand part, and the front has fullness that is gathered into the collar.  It makes for a soft, draping top that’s easy to wear.  I used fine sheer polyester fusible interfacing on the buttonstands, cuffs and collar, and French seams throughout.

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Burda blouse #118 October 2008
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Gentle gathers on the front into the collar

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I’ll have to get to Birmingham for photos of other projects, or get daughter no2 back home!  And while we’re photographing her new clothes, she can do mine for me!  I’ve had a great weekend sewing, cut out 4 projects, of which 3 are complete and one is waiting for bias binding – but it’s in silk and I’m having a day off from fancy fabrics…

We went to Cornwall at the end of September – and got thoroughly rained on – and I took lots of patterns with me to trace in the evenings.  I made good progress and only didn’t manage to trace the Lander pants.  I have stuff for me & stuff for each of the girls traced and now ready to toile, including the Tosti Utility Jacket, finally!!!  It WILL be made this year!

Wavy Black Blouse

Daughter No2 has persuaded me to make another wavy back blouse, this time using black embroiderie anglaise that we bought in South Africa earlier this year.  We bought 1.5m, which was just enough!  Because the back is cut as one piece, whole, and the flounce is huge, and also cut flat, we weren’t 100% sure it would actually fit in.  So fingers were tightly crossed…

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Blouse 111 from Burda February 2018

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As it was, there was a teeny tiny problem that I only discovered when I was about to attach the flounce piece to the back.  In order to get the pattern piece tertis-fitted onto the remaining bit of fabric, I’d turned the pattern piece upside down.  Yeah.  And it’s asymmetrical.  M-hmmm.  So I pulled out all the tailor’s tacks I’d put in the back piece to show me the attachment line for the flounce, turned the back piece upside down and tailor tacked again.  So we have a flounce that goes the opposite way to that intended, but thankfully it’s no train-smash, if  I hadn’t told you, you wouldn’t have known! 🙂

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All other making-up is the same as the last time, including sewing the sleeve facing to the inside of the sleeve.  She didn’t want the piping details, so it’s not missing out on anything.  There’s a small black pop-stud about 6cm up from the base of the front placket to stop wardrobe malfunctions instead of a button to keep everything cleaner and more “minimalist”.  If broiderie anglaise can ever be called minimalist!

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This is one of those tops that’ll transition nicely into an autumn wardrobe, and as long as the sleeves of your jumper are wide, no reason why you can’t make one for winter too!  But I’m not planning on making another one in a hurry, the list of other patterns is long and growing.  I have started toiling the autumn stuff, once it’s all fitted & adjustments made, I cang et started.  I’m kinda looking forward to making the warmer stuff!

White Waves

I’ve finally been able to photograph a number of items I’d made for Daughter No2 this year.  I’ll try not to do it all in one go!  This first project is a top I made back in March, she’d marked it as interesting back in 2018 – February, to be precise.  The pattern is the Layered Back Blouse 111 from Burda February 2018.  She bought the fabric, an off white cotton with white spots, from Croft Mill Fabrics.  They’ve since sold out of that fabric, but it’s the right sort of weight, it has some body but is lightweight enough to cope with lots of layers.  This is a petite pattern, but we decided to make it up without any adjustment, having taken a finished back measurement and pronouncing it a suitable length.

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Blouse 111 Burda 02/2018

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The pattern is relatively easy to make, the magazine has detailed instructions for this blouse, so it’s easy for a non-experienced sewist to construct the front placket.  We eliminated the piping and I sewed the sleeve bands on the inside, rather than on the outside.

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That pretty, wavy back

The back, while looking tricky is ok if you make sure you have marked the stitching line on the back carefully.  I trimmed the seam allowance of the flounce piece to 7mm and overlocked the raw edge, before folding it over to align with the stitching line.  I then pinned (with the pins in the stitch line) the flounce onto the stitching line, making sure the matching points were lined up.  I think that’s the only tricky part – stitching slowly and slightly stretching the fabric to get around the corners and not get any tucks.

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Daughter No2’s favourite part is not just one.  She loves the wide sleeves, the wavy back – naturally, and the front placket.  The fabric is cool and light and being white, she can – and does – wear it with everything!  She’s had a few compliments while out and about in it, and has therefore decided she’d like another, and has earmarked a piece of black broiderie anglaise we bought while in South Africa.  But – she also wants a pair of shorts with that fabric, so I’ll be cutting the two out together just to be sure there’s enough fabric!  Fingers crossed…

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Blackboard

 

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Last month I finally got the chance to reuse a pattern I’d drafted 4 years ago.  At the time I had wanted to make another, but I had the usual story of too many other patterns and projects jumping the queue.  I bought this black and white viscose with a 60s inspired print from Minerva Crafts that I decided would be just right for giving that pattern a second chance.

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Self drafted blouse in viscose

I left out a couple of details this time round.  Because of the print I didn’t include any of the tucks that were on the first blouse, & I didn’t use the concealed buttonstand.  I used French seams thoughout, so it’s all nice and neat on the inside.  A post of the construction details can be read here.  The buttons are vintage, black faceted glass balls.  They are maybe a little heavy for the fabric, but I like the way they catch the light!

 

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The viscose is light and drapey, and it’s just what this pattern requires.  I wanted something that would flow and be comfortable to wear now in the winter, and again in the summer with linen trousers.  I like how it works with the jeans and trousers in my wardrobe now & am looking forward to wearing it in the summer.

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I can’t quite believe it’s Christmas in just over a week, and there are still so many projects that I’ve not blogged yet!  Time to pull my socks up!

10 Years in the Stash

This project is a brilliant stash-bust!  You know when you buy a piece of fabric that you just know can only be used for the perfect project.  It’s that piece that may not necessarily have cost a lot of money, but it’s valuable, non the less.  I have a couple of those, and this last week I finally used one!  It’s a piece of ivory silk satin with grey, black and putty coloured spots.  I recon I bought it at least 10 years ago, probably from Rosenberg & Son!

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Silk blouse, 114 01/2016

I regularly haul it out of the silk box, pat it, promise it a pattern one day, and return it to the darkness.  But it’s been out of the box since the Autumn, I was determined to find something!  And that something is Blouse 114 from Burdastyle January 2016.  The red version I made a couple of weeks ago has been a welcome addition to my wardrobe, I love the sleeves and the overall feel of the top.  So I went for it!

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Checking the channel I made is right for the grossgrain ribbon I’ve used for gathering the “shoulder” seam
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Gathering the long edge of the sleeve into the narrow (by comparison) cuff takes a little while…

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I added 3cm to the length of the original version, which followed the length for version A in the magazine.  I also changed the hem depth to 2 cm so it would be easier to double fold.  The slit in the centre front was lifted 3cm and I’m much more comfortable with that.   Then I added 2cm to the bust depth, inserting a small dart in the side seam to keep the shape and length even.  It’s worked pretty well, and for some reason feels roomier, width-ways, than the red top!

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Details. Gathered channel on the forward shoulder seam, bias neck binding and tostitched front slit, back yoke with gathers in the lower back piece

It feels amazing to wear, the silk is just so drapey and lovely.  The seams are all French seams so there’s no fraying, and that stuff did fray!  I hand stitched the bias binding to the inside of the neckline.  I figured that was one place I could do without wobbly visible stitching, and if there was a place my stitching would wobble, it would be there!

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So that’s it for the January edition of the Burda challenge 2018, I have my sticky little paws on the February edition already (recon my phone calls to the manager of my local WHSmiths must have lit a bit of a fire under her chair) and have grand plans!!!  I also have loads of knickers to finish…  phew.

Hila has done a round up of some of the challenge projects done so far in January, go and take a look, and join in if you like!

 

Red Monday!

The weirdest thing happened to me this weekend.  I had traced off the Burda blouse #114 from January 2016 and was ready to toile.  In the stash, lurked a length of red and white viscose crepe, kindly swapped by Del almost 2 years ago.  I never could think of what to use it for, but I thought this time, try for a wearable toile.  I had already checked width measurements etc, so was sure the pattern would be 75% fine, I just needed to know what changes to make to make the pattern 100%.

I cut the straight 44, version A length.  The pattern makes up easily enough, there’s nothing complicated in the instructions.  I opted not to have the buttonhole in the yoke to allow the drawstrings out, instead I pinned the cord in place until I was ready to bind the neckline.  By then I knew how much pulling up I wanted.  I’m not sure I really want dangly bits on the final blouse either, to be honest.  There’s an awful lot of gathering on the lower sleeve, it’s a good idea to mark the half and quarter and then line that up with the half and quarter on the bias “cuff”.  That way you’ll get equal distribution of the fullness.

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The finishing touch of adding a loop and buttonhole to the neck binding has been left off, I wanted to see what it would look like without that, and how much the front hangs open!  I think I’m more likely to wear it this way than buttoned up anyway, so I’ll raise the point for the slit by about 3-4cm.  I like my bras, but I don’t really want to be showing them off to all and sundry when I lean forward!

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So, now that the toile is done I know the width is perfect, I do need length in the front though.  The front bust depth needs about 3cm added, so I’ll do that on the pattern pieces, adding a dart in the side to control the extra length.  I also think it’s a little short for all purposes.  While I’m wearing the blouse with my jeans (high waisted Birkin Flares) it’s fine, but with a pair of Morgans or any trouser that sits lower than the natural waist, I’ll be showing off bits no-one needs to see!  So the overall length needs to increase by about 5cm to make me happy and comfortable.  Apart from that, it’s all good!!

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And the weird thing that happened?  I’m wearing a red blouse, and I love it!!!  Now to make some more versions of this pattern, I’m thinking navy viscose for sure, and I might even finally cut my spotty silk.  That’s been hiding in the stash for at least 10 years, only comes out to be patted now and then!

Seventies Floral

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Lekala tie front blouse

Another new blouse, another new like!  I know lots of sewists have had success with Lekala patterns and I was tempted but unsure of how they would be on me.  I had some credits from a sewing competition prize a few years back and decided to give this pattern a try.  It’s only taken 3 years to get to this stage!

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The fabric chosen for the blouse was given to me by a friend.  It’s a retro 70s fabric, dark blue with orange and mustard floral details.  Some of the flowers are rather large, definitely eye-catching!  It’s got some man-made fibre content and is fairly transparent.  I think I will be needing a cami to get full use out of this top though.

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So, with Lekala you enter your measurements and, like magic, a pattern is generated just for you to print off and start making.  The instructions are brief, much like the Burda magazine patterns.  I made a toile to check the fit first, and overall it was quite good, the shape was promising but I needed to make a 2.5cm FBA, raise the neckline a little, for me it was a trifle low, and widen the sleeve in the bicep area.

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Adjustments done, the making process was relatively painless.  I used the overlocker on this instead of French seams, the man-made fibres aren’t too keen on precise pressing so French seams probably wouldn’t have turned out nice and neat.  Fine sheer fusible interfacing was applied to the cuffs and the side seam to support the seams containing the invisible zip.  It really didn’t take too long to make, although the instructions are brief & consise, they are clear and direct.  I must make the cuffs a little tighter though, they hang a little, rather than sit nicely above the elbow.

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I like the result, although I wish there’d been a little more fabric to enable me to pattern match across the back.  It’s no train-smash, but it would have looked nice.  I love the shape of the top, the tie is just right, not too big and floppy and the print is fun.  I will run up a cami in a beige silk soon and then I can safely wear it out and about, and show my friend what I’ve finally made in her fabric!

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I’ve got another couple of patterns that have hung around for ages to make up this week, I managed to trace the Morgan Jeans by Closet Case Files on the weekend, and have cut a toile for a pair of Burda trousers.  Fabric will be from the stash – I’m getting through it at last!!

Blue Tropic

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Blue Tropic, #138 Burdastyle 8/2011

Making a start on delivering on my revised sewing plans for the last 1o days in March.  I might have been ever so slightly optimistic about what I’d get through when I changed tack in my last blog post, but we should always aim high…

So of the 7 projects I had on the new list, I managed 5.  I’d have done better but a nasty cold (man flu) held me back badly and no sewing at all was done for at least 4 days!!  That would definitely have been enough time to finish the entire list.  But no matter, those projects will be on April’s list instead.

This fabric was supposed to be realised in a different pattern, but when I made the toile of 115B 8/15, I just didn’t like it.  It was too straight, too long and I wasn’t convinced it would take me into spring and summer.  So I nicked the pattern that was supposed to be made in the cotton voile.  It was the right decision!  I just love the fabric.  It is viscose, but like no other I’ve had before.  It’s fluid and soft and has a cool touch, not to mention a fabulous sheen that makes it look like silk.  The colour is just stunning too.  The fabric was bought 5 years ago from a shop called Tatler’s in Derby.

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The front of the top has been lengthened by 10cm and the line flows well into the dipped back hem.  I also omitted the opening on the back, only having the button loops on the yoke.  It isn’t necessary to open the buttons or to have the extended opening to get the top over your head.  Those are the only changes made to the pattern.  Usually I would have used French seams on this fabric, but in the interests of a quick make, I overlocked the lot.  I do love this pattern, having made a fair few versions over the years in different fabrics.  This might just come close to beating my up-to-now-favourite, the black and white spotty silk version.

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Narrow rouleau loops encircle bronze flower buttons from the stash.
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Soft gathers from the neckband are very flattering
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Caught chatting, this is a very comfy top!

I’ve no regrets at all about switching patterns on this top, the cotton voile will be allocated a different pattern, perhaps one with ruffles….  There have been a load around on Instagram and although I’m not a ruffly person, I’m ever so slightly tempted….

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I must remember not to wear my new things too long before getting the photos taken, creases!!

Stick around, the other items on the list just need photographs (although I’ve worn a couple already).  I am missing my resident photographer and am in the process of training up Mr W.  It’s a slow process…..  😉