Three Points

This is a project I’ve been quite keep to make since spotting the pattern in the magazine.  I liked the section seams of the sweatshirt (111 from February 2017), the opportunities for colour blocking and, most importantly of all, the chance to use it to use up some of the left over bits of ponte, quilted jersey and fleece fabric taking up a fair bit of room in my jersey fabrics box.  I really do need the space for full lengths of useable fabrics!

I decided to trace the smallest size, the 36.  The pieces are massive!  On the sheet the front and back main pieces are just half, so I flipped the paper over and made them whole.  This means that if I’m using leftovers, I know immediately how much space I need!  There are enough of a couple of fabrics for this pattern to work, but I couldn’t make up my mind where to start.  So I drew out a couple of tops and coloured them with the colours of fabric I have to try to get somewhere.

Then I asked Daughter No2 which she prefered.  Typically she couldn’t decide either and said she needed to see the fabrics first – in person!  But I really wanted to make the sweatshirt.  So I laid the pieces out on some of the left over black and white ponte that I’d made my last Uvita Top in, and placed the sleeves and triangular side panels on left overs of plain black ponte from Daughter No2’s long cardigan.  I liked the idea of the sides being solid in colour.  I figured that if she didn’t like it, I’d offer it to Daughter No1.  Once I started actually sewing, I figured I could always keep it for myself – it was that wide!

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The sweatshirt, with all its width!

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The essentials of the top are simple enough, especially if you’re not making the version with pockets.  But the pocket instructions got me all befuddled.  I obviously wasn’t having a brain fully engaged day, because I made a fluff and had to make do in the end.  And in the end I realised what I should have done!  So here’s a tip, if you’re planning on making this top.  The pockets are KANGAROO pockets!  If I’d realised that in the beginning I’d have understood the instructions immediately and done them correctly!

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Anyhow, I am now pre-warned for the next time!!  But will there be a next time?  Maybe.  It’s definitely going to be fabric dependent.  Daughter No 2 was home on Friday for a quick visit to collect her winter coats and take them back to Birmingham.  She was initially unsure of the top when she saw it, but decided she rather liked it once it was on!  The verdict was positive, but only in a fabric that is fairly soft and has drape.  She wouldn’t want it if the fabric had too much body (it would be very boxy) and with that width it’s not what she’d wear.  But this one she likes!

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Sweatshirt 111 February 2017

 

 

Work in Progress Wednesday

I’m making a coat!  Oh yes, I made a decision and I’m running with it, running pretty quickly, because I want it finished to wear to London next Thursday!  I traced the hoodie coat from the October 2018 Burda magazine yesterday and made a toile to check for fit.  I knew I’d need an FBA, I just needed to know how big – & I suspected I’d need a bicep adjustment too.

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The toile of coat 110, Burda 10/18

I needed to move the bust dart down 2cm as well as doing a 3cm FBA, and I widened the upper arm area, the bicep adjustment, by 4cm.  Other adjustments I’ve made to the pattern pieces are to add width and depth to the outer standing collar, the facing edge of the hood, the outer sleeve tabs and back belt piece, as well as the pocket flap.

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Weft insertion fusible interfacing on the sleeve heads

The starting point of the coat is always the interfacing.  I’m using Gill Arnold‘s weft insertion on the yokes, front and back, under the arm on the side body piece and in the sleeve head.  I’ve also cut 5cm wide bias strips to interface the hem area of both the sleeves and the jacket body.  I’ll also interface the centre front, about 7-8cm wide, and the outer standing collar piece with the same.  I’ll use the fine sheer interfacing on the inner collar, the front and back facings, the front fastening band and the hood facing piece.

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A nice big pile of cut out pattern pieces.

My fabric is a gorgeous camel-beige coloured wool and cashmere melton that I bought at the NEC about 4-5 years ago from the Rosenberg and Sons stand.  It was a fabulous price, only £10/m!  So I was fully justified in nabbing 2m, even though I had no idea of what I’d make back then, and it’s languished in the stash until the right thing arrived.  I used to have the right lining too – but I used that in the grey houndstooth jacket I made Daughter No1 back in August!  I’ve managed to cut the front facing, hood pieces and back yoke from the left over pieces of that lining and have ordered another metre of the same colour from the Lining Company.  It will hopefully arrive by the end of the week!

The opening zipper for the front and the front band buttons have come out of the stash.  It’s not normal for me to have such a long open ended zipper in the zip box, but I’d bought it years ago to mend the zipper on something else and then changed my mind and got someone else to do it for me! (lazy…)  The buttons are vintage minitary buttons in the most beautiful weathered brass.  Unfortunately I did not have enough to use ont he back belt as well, but I did find a pair of leather buttons in teh button box that will do the job just beautifully.

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Left back, interfaced pieces needing no tailor tacks, Middle, un-interfaced pieces needing tailor tacks, right, the lining pieces, and bottom left, the interfaced pieces, needing tailor tacks.

Now that all the pieces are interfaced, I’m left with the job of tailor tacking everything and getting started with the fun part – putting it all together!

October Sewing Plans

Oh boy, I can’t believe how quickly this half of the year is going already!  I swear the first half of the year was much slower.  I thought I had loads of time to think about my Autumn and Winter sewing, plenty of time to make coats and jackets and waterproof warm things before the weather changed.  No so.  So what have I been dreaming of then?

Well, I had hoped to finally make and finish the coat I started for Mr W in November last year.  I am pretty determined that it will be finished by his birthday at the end of this month, so I need to get cracking.  I also need a new coat myself.  And I have some planned for the girls!  Not only do I need to make coats, but I need some new tops for the winter, having make a whole load of new tops for the summer.

Coat fabric I have, the stash is coming up trumps in this department!  I have some coppery pink twill that I bought earlier in the year to make two versions of the long coat from February 2017 Burda.  I’ll make them different from each other by adding a different lining, using different buttons and possibly adding piping or something.  I have managed to get a fitting for Daughter No2’s coat, it fits pretty well but needs the sleeves lengthened by 4cm, the overall length needs to be 4cm longer and I’ll need to widen the shoulders.  Daughter No1 will try on her toile this weekend.

Then for me, I’m undecided.  I have some camel coloured casmere that I had thought of using for the Bamboo from Waffle Patterns, but I wonder if the pattern is too straight up and down for me.  Then I browsed this month’s Burda magazine and saw the jacket 110.  I like it!  But I also like the peacoat in the plus size section of the September Burda.  I’ll have to toss a coin I think!

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Peacoat 127 & jacket/coat 110

Then there are tops.  There are two that really tick the boxes for me that I’d love to make this month, top 103 is from August 2018 Burda.  I liked the working drawings when I first got the magazine, but still haven’t managed to trace the pattern.  Again, the stash will come to the rescue here, I have a piece of viscose that’s been trying to be used for ages now, and I think it’ll be great as this top.  Then in this month’s Burda, there’s an interesting top/blouse, 112.  The insert is what caught my attention, and again, I have just the right piece of black and white print viscose in the stash!

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Blouse 103 and 112

Of course, there are still items to make for the girls,  Daughter No2 has her eye on these elastic waistband pants from September 2018 and the sweatshirt 108, which is on my list too.

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Pants 103, September 2018
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Sweatshirt 108

For myself, I still want to make a pair of Burnside Bibs.  They were on the list from last month, and still need to be toiled.  Then there’s the Monthly Stitch’s Indie Pattern Month this month!  I left it too late to decide what I was going to try to do, so I might get a chance to enter the second week’s challenge, and the third.  But it will definitely depend on TIME!  I think this is going to be another busy sewing month!  What are you sewing this month?

Late Summer Sewing

Catching up on all those clothes I sewed for the girls last month!  You know the trend for paperbag waistlines in skirts and trousers?  Well this is that, but at the neckline of a top!  It’s another one of the “wants” on daughter no 2’s long list.  The pattern is 121A from the November 2015 issue of BurdaStyle, shown in the magazine in green satin.  Daughter no2 chose black cotton voile from the stash.

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The pattern itself is deadly simple, only a couple of pieces required and an afternoon to sew and you’re done!  I French seamed the insides for neatness and double turned the hem.  The paperbag neckline is formed by inserting a bias cut drawstring into a casing formed at the base of the self-faced collar.  Gathering the collar gives it height and texture, you just need to rearrange the folds in the top.

It’s turned out quite well, despite my initial misgivings when I finished it and arranged it on Betty.  But it looks great on and she loves it!  I delivered it to her 3 weeks ago now, and apparently, she’s worn it loads (sometimes not bothering to iron it first…)   I guess you could say that’s a good sign!  So that’s another #BurdaChallenge2018 project done.

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By the way, this gorgeous skirt she’s wearing was one I made last year!  I ended up putting an invisible zip in the centre back seam because she found the concealed button front so annoying!

I have many other projects made during the last month, such a backlog to show you!

 

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So I’m adding a pair of shorts to this post!  Daughter No2 is really happy with them and has announced that next summer, if I’d like, I can make many more of these!  The pattern is 107 from July 2016 Burda.  I cut the 38, but graded back to the 36 from the high hip to the waist.  No other adjustments were needed.

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Details

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The fabric came out of the stash, and it had been waiting a good couple of years for the right project to come along!  I’d bought this 1m remnant piece from Clothspot in a sale thinking I’d make a skirt for the girls, but no…  It’s a crisp blue linen with white stripes.  The pocket pieces are lined, but instead of using fabric I didn’t have, and increasing linen-ey bulk, I chopped up one of the other half’s no-longer-wearable shirts and used that instead!  I did have to make sure I lined up the stripes on the pockets and front pieces properly, it would have stood out too badly if I hadn’t!

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The fit is fabulous, I’m really happy with that, and the length is just right too.  The cuffs and tie make them a little more casual than they could be without.  So I can definitely see more of these coming out of the sewing room next summer.

 

 

 

Mid-Century Inspired Jacket

I’d marked this particular jacket in the August 2016 issue of Burdastyle when it first came out, but wasn’t sure I had the fabric, or who to make it for!  It’s got a lovely 50s-60s look to it.  In the photo in the magazine, it looks loose, big and comfy, but the sleeves look too long.  That worried me, so I left it – for two years!

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Burda Jacket #114 August 2016

This year I decided it would look fabulous on Daughter No 1, sent her a photo of it and remarked that I’d shorten the sleeve as it looks a little hinky there.  The reply was instant – yes please!  I traced the 36, the smallest size and toiled in a piece of mystery content fabric I’d bought years and years ago.  It was used as toile because every winter when I brought it out of the stash, I got wrinkled up noses and doubt.  So it was obviously not going to be useful otherwise.  I’d also tried to dye it blue-er, which didn’t work because it isn’t a natural fibre…  this I found out when I tried dyeing!

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Little Details

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Long story short, I toiled quickly using scraps of previous projects for the pocket linings and the flaps, red thread so I could see where I’d sewn if I needed to adjust or unpick.  When she came home for a long weekend, she tried it on, and pronounced it perfect – almost.  The sleeves were definitely too long, but we fixed that by turning up 8cm instead of the 4 for the hem, and then turned back another 4, essentially making a fold back cuff.  The lower section of the sleeve is straight on the sides, so it’s easy to turn back more, and to make a cuff, no faffing with angles.  She also decided she really liked the toile, and could she wear that please…?

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I should have known.  How often has this happened to me?  I use a piece of fabric that’s otherwise ugly, or they haven’t noticed before, make a toile – and suddenly it’s the best thing since dairy free cheese!  There was no attempt at matching the stripes, placing the pockets and tabs in the right place to line things up, just a toile, right!?  I huffed a little – there’s no point in making out that this is easy too often, they might get the wrong idea! 😉  I found a suitable piece of lining in the stash, ended up unpicking the original pocket flaps with their red linings, as well as the pocket pieces themselves.  Then I recut the flaps and pocket linings, resewed them in and finished off the jacket.  One thing I did not do was interface.  I was in no mood to go fiddling around with already trimmed and sewed bits to do that, it will just have to do!

 

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I have to admit it looks good.  I just wish we’d all had a better idea of that fabric before I’d started that particular job! 🙂  Never mind, at least the fabric has been put to a good use, and it wasn’t wasted.  Things to note from the toile:

  • Make the sleeves shorter, 8cm hem, 4cm turn back for cuff – optional as with the 8cm hem, the sleeve is now a good length.
  • Recut the shawl collar/facing pattern pieces with 3mm added to the outer edge to allow for turn of cloth.
  • Recut pocket outer flap pattern pieces and all outer (top) belt pieces with 3mm added to edge to allow for turn of cloth.
  • Consider interfacing shoulder areas to reduce chance of stretch on the bias over the shoulder

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The pattern lay in the magazine doesn’t show any interfacing apart from  the facing pieces, and this doesn’t want to be an overly structured garment, but I felt it needed a bit more support in certain areas.  So I interfaced a 2cm strip on the back shoulders, the front, front and back facings and the undercollar.  I also added a 5cm wide bias cut strip to the hemline areas on the jacket, and a deeper bias strip to the sleeve, giving support to the area that would be turned up as the cuff, if she wanted to.

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The final fabric for the jacket came from the deep stash, and I think I originally got it from a charity shop.  It’s wool, grey on grey houndstooth.  I’d pre-shrunk it with steam, so this will have to be drycleaned.  For the lining, I raided the stash again.  The initial idea was to have something dramatic, rust or copper on the inside, but I couldn’t find something in the right shade and fabric in time.  So I dug out a piece of gold and blue shot lining I’d bought from The Lining Company to line a camel coat – as yet still unmade.  It works pretty well, is warm and still interesting when the light catches it at different angles.

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The jacket didn’t take long to make.  I’d cut out the pieces and interfaced one evening, started sewing the next morning and finished the shell in time to cut the linings the next evening and sew them in.  All I needed to do the next day was to hand sew the linings to the hem and attach the buttons, all of which came from the stash and are vintage.  So it’s a quick jacket to make, the only fiddly (time consuming) thing is the welt pocket, if you haven’t done one before.  The rest is really straightforward!

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I cut the tabs on the bias this time, and I like it!

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Both jackets have been really well recieved.  We had a full house with both girls home for a weekend, and the jackets got well and truly drooled over.  The colours work brilliantly with her wardrobe of neutrals (much like mine) and they look fabulous with her strawberrry blonde hair.  I know they’ll get well worn this Autumn and Winter, a real winner!

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Express Yourself

While I dither get on with my sewing, I realised I had some photos taken in Cornwall of yet another top I actually did make.  There’s something to be said about making patterns you’ve made before.  You already know how to make them, how they wear, and how they’ll look.  So just before we went to Cornwall I made two new tops, intending to take them both with me, for photo opportunities and to wear.  We only went for 3 nights, guess how much I decided I had to make to take…

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Burda top #108 February 2018

So the first of those is another version of the top 108 from February Burda 2018.  I made one back in February, using some long held stashed fabric.  This time I thought I’d put the elastic in the sleeve cuff, but just to be difficult I used one wide piece instead of the required narrow width.  I also knew to be aware of that neckline.  The first time I made it with the silk, I took care not to stretch it out when applying the gathered band.  I made sure I didn’t handle it too much, used staystitch and interfaced asap, all to add stability.

So I did that again this time, and managed to stretch it out.  Or did I.  The cotton has more body than the silk could dream of, and therefore is thicker when gathered, stiffer when layered three deep.  Once attached to the neckline of the top it was immediately obvious that it wasn’t sitting flat.  I put it on Peggy, my dressmaker’s dummy and there it was, standing away from the body.  Damn.  I took two pinches out on each side at the shoulder seam, and did the same in the paper pattern.  I’m not really wanting to take that apart and ajdust again.

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So a word, you can do everything you can to stop stretching a neckline, but sometimes it’s just not going to work for you.  It’s a combination of fabric and baggy drafting….  After all that, the top is dead easy to make, I used the overlocker so it was nice and quick.  I was so busy wanting to  make it quickly that I made a rookie mistake with the cutting out.

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The fabric was purchased from Maven Patterns at the NEC, it’s hand block printed cotton, really nice to wear and I love the colour.  But as it’s hand printed, it’s not exactly perfect, and the pattern isn’t centred.  And I didn’t check that when I folded the fabric and pinned on the pattern pieces.  Like I said, rookie mistake!  Luckily, I don’t see the off centre print, I’m on the other side!  🙂  I wonder If I could call it a “design decision”, and get away with it??

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I’m happy with my new top, it made it to Cornwall, and I even wore it!  And I’ve worn it frequently.  The fabric is actually lovely, nice and cool in the temperatures we’ve been enjoying in the UK this summer, and what a summer!  It’s been summer since the beginning of May!  Now you in other countries might wonder what the miracle is – well, our summer is usually 2 weeks, and they are not necessarily two consecutive weeks.  It’s usually a few days here and there that add up to two weeks.

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Cool as a cucumber in Cornwall

And that’s why I need to get cracking with my other sewing, there’s still a month of predicted SUMMER to come!  And…  I had an epiphany this morning.  Yesterday was spent toiling two patterns that I really liked in the Burda magazines, but once made and on, they were just NO.  Why?  PleatsBig pleats.  I already know that with my tummy, I cannot wear pleated things (unless the fabric is soft and floaty and the pleats are small).  So why in heavens name did I think I could get away with these??  In an effort to remain nice and cool today, I’m wearing a pair of long, floaty, viscose trousers – with pleats!  But they work – why?  Because the viscose drapes so well, the pleats are small, and – this is the important bit – they do not start at my waist!  So I’m going to make that dark blue and white fabric that was-going-to-be-a-top-and-now-wants-to-be-bottoms in the culotte length version of these trousers!  YES!  And please let me remember that big pleats that start at the waist are NO GOOD.  phew…

Professor Plum

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

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

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

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

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Liberty lawn for my pockets

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

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

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