Happy New Year to you all, and a belated Merry Christmas, if you celebrate. Boy have things been quiet on my sewing table, but now is the time to rectify that! I’ve been very busy with a different line of work over December and now that that has quietened down I can get back to my sewing. I’ll fill you in later on what I was getting up to, but if you follow me on Twitter, chances are you spotted a few plant & flower related photos… That’s the clue!
Anyhooo, I bought a decent amount of fabric online while on the sofa watching movies with the family on Boxing Day, as you do, and it has started to arrive! Soo exciting to get new fabric! I am determined not to let it accumulate in the stash, so here’s my first project. I have a 3m piece of olive crepe backed satin that arrived from Fabric Godmother – I know, olive green! No black, grey, white or blue… I’m being brave this year. From my Wardrobe Architect board, I have identified this palette from Design Seeds with the olive as something I might actually like to wear, so this is a start at coming up with a selection of garments for it.
I saw & pinned a blouse pattern by Lolia Designs called Natalie to my Wardrobe Architect board on Pinterest a while ago. I liked the idea of the “panel” in the centre. They call it a pleat, but it does nothing a pleat is designed to do. It’s a folded back extension of the front so it flaps around a bit I would think. I haven’t bought the pattern, it is not in my size and I’d like to change a few things. I’m combining the idea of that central detail with the sleeve from my placket blouse, but deepening the cuff. I’m also going to re-use but slightly alter the hem from the black & white spotty silk faux placket blouse.
So the pattern was started in the evening of the 30th, the toile started yesterday afternoon (New Year’s Eve!) – yeah, not going out, and I’m finishing it off today. I hope it turns out the way I imagine, the result should be available by the end of the day!
I’ll do some round-ups of last year’s projects in a bit, I managed 92 projects to the end of November, so I’m quite chuffed at that, I still need to see how I did on the Stashbusting front. I know I used a lot, but I’m not sure I managed to stick to my 1 in for 2 out policy…
In the meantime, I hope you’ve all had a wonderful time with family over the holidays & are ready to tackle this new year with a vengance! Also waiting with baited breath to find out who I’m partnering with for Jungle January 2015!
I’ve finished another self-drafted blouse! I really needed more tops & blouses, Me-Made-May has shown that pretty clearly! I have enjoyed it so far, especially showing off what Daughter No2 has in her wardrobe, but I’m having to repeat stuff.
I used some of the pieces from the Midnight Blues blouse for this. The back yoke & collar, neckline and front bands are the same. The fabric I finally chose is a Liberty City Poplin. It is pretty sturdy and very crisp, so perfectly suited to a more structured style. I love the colours, the flowers are off-white and the ground is a blue-grey. The pattern has alternating bands of small & larger flowers, so I lay the pattern pieces so that the smaller flowers lined up with the waistline. The hope is that it looks like I have more shape in that area – not sure if that’s worked!
The front has a yoke at the shoulder that the bodice gathers into. I converted the large shoulder bust dart into 3 areas, first the gathers at the yoke, then a 5cm underarm dart & the remainder went into the waist dart. This was sewn as a dart tuck instead of a full double point dart. I wanted more of a relaxed look, this fabric is quite sturdy, and while that lends itself to a more structured style, I wanted to be able to relax in it!
The back also has a yoke, but there are no gathers here this time. A central back panel & two side panels make for a fitted look, something you need when using a sturdier fabric. This stuff does not drape! I curved the hem a little more than I have on previous patterns, mostly because it was going to be closer fitting.
I love how the blouse looks with my dyed linen trousers, it also looks good with jeans but slightly all too pale with light linen. Perhaps I just need more summer, that’s when the pale colours work! I recon this is a good pattern, now I have another two still to toile, not to mention all sorts of other things to make.
Wow, two big things to get me out of my sewing rut & into something better and more interesting! I was in quite a funk earlier in the year & the kind comments of my readers & the discovery of the Wardrobe Architect managed to drag me out of it. I just need time and space to think of all the lovely goodies I’d like to make to suit, and then find the fabric to realise those day-dreams! I made a good start with 3 blouses, then stopped to make fabulous things for skinny daughters & catch up on a bit of vintage sewing.
Now Me Made May is fast approaching, & I haven’t done much more to sort my very teeny-tiny wardrobe. Very teeny because I switched over my winter & summer things this week. There were loads of nice things in my summer boxes, the problem is that some I really don’t want to wear anymore & others I simply cannot wear (to put it plainly, I eat too much of what’s not good for me & I don’t exercise). So it’s my fault I have only 2 t-shirts…
I do plan to make some more Plantains, once I find suitable fabric. My local fabric store has a pitiful selection of jerseys, basically a handful of plains and some Liberty’s. Not what I want! One of the “tasks” for the Wardrobe Architect sessions was to create palettes, neutrals, accents etc, that we liked, then to narrow them down to form one particular palette from which to work.
My wordrobe consists mainly of neutrals – that’s where I’m happy, but I do realise the need for a little splash of colour here and there, and with summer knocking faintly on the front door I want to inject some colour or lightness that takes up some of the black & grey I live in in the winter. That has been hard to do. Whilst I like lots of colours, I don’t necessarily want to be wearing them.
I also find prints tricky. Again, I like them, I can admire them, but wearing them…. I get scared. My favourite pattern or print is the spot. They’re safe. But I want to be more adventurous!! When I look into my fabric pile – meaning the pile I want for myself, I see spots, circles and more spots! And variations on spots & circles… I think I have an obsession.
One thing I have managed is to get more pants! Or trousers, if you prefer. There were a couple of pairs of linen trousers from the summer box that still fit – and that I still like the shape of (or can re-cut a bit). But their colours were all wrong. I didn’t take photos, not that long-sighted! One pair was a chocolate brown, like milk chocolate. I have always found them tricky to wear, even though I wanted a pair, I stick with turquoise or white on top. The other was an interesting shade… It was a shot linen, a kind of teal-green and violet. Sounds weird, but I liked the effect. Again, there was a problem of what to wear that with! This time I decided to take action, if I was to wear them, they had to change colour.
So I threw them into the washing machine with a box of Dylon Antique Grey dye and waited for the result. I love the new colours! Because I didn’t use a dye stripper first they have come out of the machine with their own take on the grey. The chocolate is now a warm, rich grey that I LOVE, the shot linen has hints of it’s original shade, but overall looks a blue/purple black/grey. They’re perfect! I will re-cut the legs of the purple/grey to make them narrower, but the chocolate grey is a perfect match for some of the colours I came up with for the colour project.
While I was dirtying up the washing machine, I also dyed a lightweight beige linen black, & re-blacked a pair black linen trousers that will also be re-cut. All in all a great result! Now to sort the tops….. I have 3 pieces of spotty silk, different weights, weaves & colours and one black & white “blob” silk-cotton blend I made a blouse from a couple of years ago that needs attention. I managed to catch the back on a door-handle or something & ripped it. So I need to come up with something that can re-use parts of it, it’s far too gorgeous to chuck out.
If you want to see where my whirling head is going with the Wardrobe Architect exercise, I have far too many ideas on my Pinterest board. While I love a floaty, not too structured blouse, I don’t want to make them all look the same. I seem to be taking the same shape at the moment, and just adding different sleeve & collar details. Will they be different enough?
At the moment, my hope that me Made May would be giving me the opportunity to really see if my new wardrobe was working properly is off to a stuttering start. I know there’s still a week left, but pattern making takes time! If only I could just decide what to make – with the foresight that it will look fabulous, I wouldn’t be stalling so much.
I need input from you fabulous sewists. The sketch above on the left shows what I was thinking of doing with the “blobby” blouse that got ripped. I had the idea from seeing this great blouse on Kollabora. I’m just not that willowy, so I need to be careful of where the contrast goes, and how much to use. Ideas??
My apologies for what seems to me to be a rather rambling post, I just need to get my head round what I should be sewing – and fast!!
Riding high on my success with the Jungle January blouse, I thought I’d dive straight in & make another while all was going well. I used my Wardrobe Architect Pinterest board to decide what elements to combine, without going overboard.
One thing has become apparent over the last couple of weeks doing the Wardorbe Architect thingie. I seem to be chanelling a bit of the 70s. Not full-on retro stuff, but hints in the sleeves, bootcut or flared trousers & little jackets. So while everyone else is looking to the glamour of the 50s & 40s – I have to pick the funky, glamourous 70s! Now I am a 70s girl, but what I remember of the decade is definitely not stylish. My mum dressed us kids in tartan trousers, turtlenecks, corduroys that got static & made the dried grass stick to them & pinafores in the winter. I vaguely remember long dresses & floral prints for the summer, & a denim shirtdress?? No way I am going back to that, I prefer the idea of glamourous 70s!
So with that in mind, the fabric for the new project is from my stash, a piece I bought in Cornwall last summer on holiday – because the first thing you do when looking for a place to stay is to Google “fabric shops in…”. Right? Along with various other pieces, I bought 3m of this polyester satin, large black dots on a cream ground – & I think it’s rather retro. Normally I don’t buy polyester, but I could not resist these spots. The Remnant House in Bude did well from that little excursion on a rainy day.
Going back to the bodice block, I traced off the front, added a 1.5cm buttonstand & 4cm wide grown on facing. The hem was shaped like the Jungle blouse & the shoulder dart moved to the underarm. The waist darts were eliminated & the side seam taken in an extra 1cm. I think with this one though that I will sew a narrow dart, the fabric is so lovely & floppy but there needs to be a little more shape.
On the back I measured a 12cm yoke & separated it from the rest of the pattern. I drew a line up to the yoke seam line from the centre of the back dart positions, & cut up it to add 3cm of fullness to enable me to have gathers above the shoulder blades. This has worked out well. One of the toiles I’d made for the jungle blouse had had a yoke, but I’d made it too high (only 8cm from the neck) & it didn’t sit right. Again, the darts were eliminated, the side seam taken in an extra 1cm & the hem shaped. I’m really happy with the back, so no adjustments needed there for the next time!
The sleeves are my favourite bit! 🙂 I traced the pattern piece from the Jungle blouse, adding in the lines where I’d slashed & spread. I cut up the centre of these lines on the front & back and added more!! The back ended up with 10cm of fullness, the front with 6. Then I widened the sleeve seems by 2cm on the back & 1 on the front, added 4cm to the length on the back and only 1 on the front. This means that the back is fuller & longer & should have a fabulous hang when done. And it does! It is a bit of a bishop sleeve – to do it properly you should go for full length with a deep cuff. Mmmm, I do love a bishop sleeve! 🙂 If you want to make your own, this is from Patternmaking for Fashion Design, by Helen Joseph-Armstrong.
The collar is just a simple convertible collar, permanently disabled! I never wear tops buttoned up to the neck so I placed the first button to have a decent “v” and an open collar. I’ll make the stand & fall shallower next time, although it doesn’t bug me like this. One thing that does bug me though is the front. The rows of spots don’t line up across the front! AARRGGHH! The fabric must have slipped while I was on hands & knees pinning & measuring, & of course, I didn’t notice until it was too late! I must remember not to look in the mirror – at least when its on I can’t see it! Oh dear…
Onto the stashbusting! January was pretty good really. I used some white linen that I’ve had for aaages to make a vintage jacket. Bellatrix has scored really well with 4 stash fabrics used! Woot! I’ve decided to stick with my use 2, buy 1 from last year. That means I get to buy 2 new pieces – if I need them.. Ha! Who am I kidding, of course I NEED it! Husband & I went up to Solihull on the weekend, he looking for lighting for the living room, me tagging along in the hopes of finding some goodies in the John Lewis sale. As luck would have it, we both struck gold! I win though, because I managed to persuade him to buy my fabric! I left clutching 4m of silk, two 2m lengths, & grinning like a Cheshire cat! I’m-a-gonna make some fabulous blouses with these…
I just need to decide on which details to cobble together from all the lovely images on my Pinterest board. It may take a while. 😉
Ok, so this post has nothing to do with an actual lining – but it felt right as a name for this next project, and it’s a pretty good song too! (Silver Lining, by Hurts) The fabric is a Liberty print cotton voile with what looks like draped fabric printed in shades of grey on white. I loved it when I saw it in the shop, and loved it even more when I noticed it was only £6.99/m! Naturally I hadn’t a clue what it was to become, so I played it safe and got 2m. I am so glad I did, because when I finally made a pattern I had just about enough. Here’s the sketch again:
Blouse with oversized polo placket
The pintucks were substituted with twin needle tucks as the voile was so soft, the last thing I wanted was wobbly tuck lines! I have made the yoke a double layer, I just think it looks better that way. The remainder of the bust dart was incorporated into gathers, and the bodice front was widened 3cm to allow for some draping and fullness. I also made the back a little wider, basically cutting up the back dart and opening up 3cm there as well. Originally I had added more width at the centre back, but when I did the toile it was too full, and I didn’t like it. The yoke at the back also has twin needle tucks.
But it’s the sleeves that really catch the attention! That big poofy bit was cool to make! I had fun with that. First, I drew a line 5cm above the elbow line, then another 5cm below the halfway point between the elbow and the wrist. That was to be the extent of the poof. To keep that poof, however, you need a stay on the inside. So I traced that bit of the pattern, adding balance points and grainlines, then divided it into 9 sections, adding 2.5cm between each piece. This made a very wide section, perfect for lots of poof! Then I added 8cm at the lower edge for “blousing. Once it was toiled, I realised the blousing was hiding the cuff completely, so I chopped 3cm off, and now it works quite well.
I really like this blouse, and am definitely going to use the pattern again to make more!
Pictures are a little dark, I got daughter no 2 to take them after the sewing class today, we were way too busy to do it earlier! It is amazing how busy a class with 6 people in it can be! Here’s a peak at the class today:
So it is half term this week, Daughter no 1 will be galivanting with friends, except for Thursday when we head into Birmingham for another University interview and possibly a little fabric shopping at the Fancy silk store then straight home!! Yeah, right!! Daughter no 2 needs to start work on her prom dress, so guess what I’ll be doing.. playing with paper again! Yay! 😀
You know the feeling when you are about to cut up your favourite fabric – the “Oh boy, I hope this works” feeling. Then you take a deep breath and go for it. I finished the Kimono dress in that fabulous silk. But I don’t like it… OH NOOOO!!!
Photos will follow, once I can force myself to get daughter no 1 to take some for me. I don’t quite know what went wrong – the pattern doesn’t go with the shape, I hate the waistband area… So for now I will pop it back in the cupboard and get on finishing the purple georgette blouse which, fingers crossed, seems to be working out better.
I have learn one thing though – I do NOT look like the figure in the sketch!! I will have to make some templates that are more my shape than a tall skinny minny! Perhaps that will help me to be more realistic! I saw a pin on Pinterest a while ago… and I think this sums up my predicament perfectly, although it isn’t always the camera and the mirror who disagree, it’s me and the mirror/camera!