Soul Time

I know you’re expecting to be seeing my nice new dress today, but instead of sewing this weekend, I decided to spend the time with my girls.  The dress will come, but first, here’s a project I finished last week.

Chippping away at the long list Daughter No2 has left for me to make up, I decided to make a couple of the tops this month.  The pattern is 106A from the February issue of BurdaStyle, 2017.  The fabric chosen is a lovely warm grey polyester something or other left over from her 6th Form Leavers Ball dress.  It has a lovely drape and weight, but one massive disadvantage.  It will not be ironed.  If you were to make it hot enough to press, you’d melt the fabric.  So – fun with flounces in a poly fabric that won’t iron flat….

grey flounce 2
Burda Top 106A February 2017

Luckily I didn’t have to fight for space to put the pieces on the left over fabric, there was a decent size piece without awkward bits.  I had decided that all the insides would be French seamed to keep it all nice and neat.  One thing to be carefull of when you make this top, the neck facing isn’t attached until you’re finished faffing with the flounce, so it’s easy to stretch that v out.  Make sure you stabilise it before you start sewing anything else, otherwise you’ll be cursing…

grey flounce 4

The flounce is hemmed before you attach it to the body, and it goes on in sections.  I have to add that I was really greatful that it was the pattern with illustrated instructions in this issue, I don’t think I’d have got the placement of the flounce right without it!  Once the flounce has been attached, the facings go in and the side seams sewn.  Then you’re pretty much on the home stretch.

grey flounce 3

I used every pin in my pincushion to keep that flounce hem in place and decided to hand stitch it in place because I didn’t want the curve to stretch out.  So it all took a while to finish.  Because I hand stitched the armhole bias binding too – of course!

grey flounce 5

I love how the flounce drops, the box pleat in the centre front gives great shape and the length is just perfect.  Daughter No2 came home this weekend and was really looking forward to trying on her new clothes!  This top looks great on her, the colour (as we already knew) suits her and, being grey, goes with just about everything.

grey flounce 6

But will I make another?  I’m in no particular hurry…

_20180818_1957535025421707030005785.jpg
Leaving you with a pic of my two monsters. All growed up.

 

I Can’t Help Myself

July’s Burda magazine was pretty good, I thought.  There were a fair few patterns I marked as interesting to make, either for me or the girls.  One that stood out immediately for me to make for myself, was the cropped, slightly flared trousers, 120.  The only thing I didn’t want from the pattern was the pleated detail on the hip yoke pockets.  It had similar details to the cropped trousers I’ve made heaps of so far, the rusty linen was the last pair.

burda flared trousers
Burda flared trousers 120 July 2018

I had some turquoise washed linen I’d got from one of the stands at the NEC in March that I decided was perfect.  I had the right amount of fabric, which was a good start!  I did make a toile, as I always do with trousers, I need to know just how much length to take out of the leg, and whether or not to grade out from the hip up to the waist so I can close the zip.

turquoise 1
Burda trousers 120 July 2018

 

In the end I removed 4 cm from the length of the main pieces in order to get the knee line to line up with my knee, I left the lower trouser piece intact.  I also graded out to what would have been a 46 at the waist, because I go straight up from the hip.  The waistband pieces are straight, which is perhaps not ideal.  I recut them so there’s a centre back seam, which helps with getting a better fit.  Although, I have to say, looking at these photos, that I could probably do with making them a little shorter, about 2cm should do the trick.  And I need to take them in a bit, they do look rather big in the thigh area, I’m sure I could loose a bit of fabric there easily.

collage turquoise
Please excuse the creases, I’d been sitting too long already!

The linen pair are great!!  I made them in the first half of July, just after we got back from our Cornish break.  The colour is almost a neutral, but has enough colour to stand above.  The linen is a bit thicker than I’d really like for the sort of summer we’ve had this year.  On the day I delivered the shirtdresses to daughter no2, I wore these trousers – that’s when I finally got those photos done.  It was easily the hottest day of the year, it got up to 32C in Birmingham, and I thought I would melt.  I’d also sat on a train for 45 minutes, then walked for another 10 in the heat.  I was already uncomfortable way before taking photos!  No matter, apart from that, they’ve been lovely.  I had to make them a little tighter where I’d let the pattern out!  The linen, of course, stretches with wear and they ended up hanging a little low, so I took 7.5mm out of the centre back and 1.5cm out of the side seams, necessitating the removal and re-insertion of the invisible zip.

ink 4

Lovely enough to make another pair!  Your remember I had some inky blue linen/cupro from Fabworks a couple of months ago (probably longer than I’m thinking).  I’d expected a soft, floppy fabric, and got something with lustre and sheen (like a silk) and a lot more body.  So it went on the backest of back burners while I decided what to do with them made something else.  But then this pattern said, “give it a try”.  The body of the fabric would hold the shape, and it’s thinner than the turquoise linen.  I had two metres, so why not!  Just a note, this particular colour has sold out, but they have other shades on a special offer…  There’s also a post with information on how to care for this particular fibre partnership.

collage ink

I stuck with the original enlargement, this stuff has NO STRETCH!  It was the right call.  They fit really nicely into the waist and do not fall down during the day, just right.  Again, I left off the pleated detail, you’re really never going to see it anyway, and it’ll just make bulk under my tops.  More bulk….

ink 2

So I’m really happy with this pattern, I think it could easily be made in wool for wear with boots and tights in the autumn/winter, in fact, I rather thought this last pair would be slightly transitional.  While we’ve certainly had the most amazing summer weather, just how long will it last now it’s August already??

ink 3

I have another pattern to make quickly from the July Burda, top 117 looks interesting, and I think I’ll make it with one of the pieces of fabric I got from Seasalt.  But I just need to finish a couple of tops on order from daughter no 2 first…

 

 

Esenciales

A little sewing procrastination happened after that mad “help me” post from a couple of weeks ago.  In order for me to get all my thoughts in order and ducks in a row, I decided a quick detour would be a good idea.  I had a piece of red and white viscose crepe left over from a blouse I’d made in January for the Burdachallege 2018.  I also had a pattern I’d traced 106 from April 2013 Burda, it’s only got 4 pieces, quick and easy!  I’d rather liked the look in the magazine when it first came out, but never really got round to making it.

tropic 1
Top 106 April 2013

This year, while I was tracing a pair of shorts from the same magazine for Daughter No2, I remembered this top and traced that too.  A quick toile revealed it was too long for me (5cm) but didn’t need anything else, no FBA! Yippee!  Now one thing to remember, if I were to go by measurements, the 44 would not fit me.  In order for the top to look on my the way it does on the model, I’d need to go up 2-3 sizes.  But there’s no way I’d want to wear it like that!  All I want is a loose-fitting top with a bit of ease – not a tent!  So bear that in mind when judging how tops look on me, compared to someone who’d normally fit into any size bracket.

tropic 2

The pattern pieces fitted on the remains of the fabric easily, neck facings were interfaced with fine sheer fusible from Gill Arnold.  You could, if you preferred, use self-bias binding for the neck edges instead of the facings.  The style is a loose fitting top with pleats at the front neckline with slight drop shoulder and no sleeves.  The pleats were basted in place and steamed to hold the shape until I sewed on the facing.

tropic 3

I used French seams throughout and double turned the hem edges on the sleeve openings and the hem of the garment.  It’s turned out really nicely and I like that I have another red top for the summer!  I have worn the original red top from January loads of times, it gets compliments all the time.  So now I have a summer one!  Thankfully the shape is great for the current weather, and now I want another.  I’m sure I have some small pieces of fabric lurking in the stash that I could use in this pattern, but first….

tropic 4

I must get on with reducing the piles of fabric and pagazines/patterns on the table in my sewing room and covering the bed in the guest room!  I can say that I have made one of the items I rambled about last time, that inky blue linen/cupro blend.  And it’s made fabulous cropped trousers!  Will be showing those off soon…

 

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…

grey diamonds
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.

collage grey diamonds

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.

greay diamonds 2

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??

grey diamonds 3

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.

grey diamonds 5
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…

Rust

FB_IMG_1519850097164
My favourite colours, this is a wall of Cornish slate. I love the rusty tone with the dark navy & the greys

I broke my “please don’t buy any more fabric” ban last month.  There I was innocently catching up on my blog reading when I came across a rather delicious looking pair of culottes in the most amazing colour by SewManju.  The colour was exactly what I’d been looking for all year, and linen to boot!  After asking which fabric shop she’d managed to find that beautiful fabric – and getting a reply – I managed to snaffle the last 3m!

rusty 1
Burda cropped wide leg trousers 102 05/17

And I’m a very happy sewist-bunny, this was just the colour I was missing for my palette for this summer (and many to come).  It was instantly washed, dried and ironed, ready for cutting.  I decided not to faff around with different patterns, but to make another pair of cropped wide legged trousers using pattern 102 from Burda 05/2017.  I already have two summer pairs, and another two in winter fabrics. It’s a pattern I can make in an afternoon – so I did!

rusty 2
Out and about in St Ives in my lovely new trousers!

Usually I make the pocket bag linings from a contrasting fabric, something from the scrap box.  Then I use that same fabric for the waistband facings.  But the fabric I really wanted to use was only enough for the facings, so the pockets are all just linen.  The waistband facings are in a pale greyish blue and white flower print Liberty poplin.  Only tiny bits of that left in the scrap box now!  The buttons for the pocket detail are vintage ones found in the depths of the button box.

collage rusty pants
Vintage buttons for detail, Liberty poplin for waistband facings
rusty 4
Walking on Porthmeor Beach

I truly, deeply, LOVE the colour!  It goes with everything else I have, navy tees, white and black and grey tops, all done!  So far I’ve only had a couple of cardigans in this shade of paprika/rust/cinnamon/copper.  It’s really hard to put a lable on it!  So, even though I had two cardigans in the right colour, I decided I needed another “top half”.  And I had just the right pattern for the linen left after cutting the trousers.

rusty 3

I decided to make a pattern up from the Kana’s Standard II book, the jacket “A9”.  I’ll show it to you soon, it’s just been way too hot for another layer….

So that’s another project for this year’s Burda Challenge, and a huge thank you to SewManju for helping me to accquire this perfect fabric <3<3

 

 

 

 

Blue Diamonds

Making a good start on that long list of items for Daughter No 2, she’d identified a couple of pairs of trousers she really really wanted, and had allocated fabric from the stash!  The tracing was done and when she came home for a week, I decided to get making, but with conditions…

She helped me in my allotment in the mornings (vitamin D and excercise) and then in the afternoon, we would sew together.  She’d also made a pile of summer clothes that came out of the loft that needed attention.  So we had our week’s worth of work laid out!

diamonds 2
Burda trousers 113 08/2017

 

diamonds 3

The first pair of trousers is  113 from Burda 08/2017.  The fabric chosen to make them up came from ( I think) Ditto Fabrics, a good few years ago now.  Daughter No 2 is slightly pear shaped, narrow waist and broader hips.  There is usually a 2 size difference, so I traced the equivalent of the 38, going by her hip easurement.  It’s a petite pattern, so I lengthened it:  1cm in the crotch depth, 1.5cm between the hip and knee and another 2cm between the knee and the hem. That should make it the right length for an “average” height person. Then I toiled and made the fitting adjustments on her to get the waist perfect.  This was especially needed as the waistband doesn’t sit on the natural waist.  But one thing didn’t quite work out.  The length!!!  The photo in the magazine clearly shows the model’s ankles and bottom part of her leg below the hem of the trousers, that was not happening with ours!  You would expect Burdastyle to photograph the petite garments on petite models, yes??  I think they have used their standard height tall people here, there’s no other way to get the length they have, because even on shortening the pattern again (except for the crotch depth adjustment), it still wasn’t as short as on the model in the picture.  And at 1.76cm tall, you cannot call Daughter No2 “average” height…

diamonds 5

In the end we kept the length as it was originally traced, and narrowed the waist to just below the size 34.  I took a bit out of the centre back to accomodate her posture, scooped out the crotch line and changed the shape of the curve – also a posture adjustment, and took in the inside seam, front seam by 1cm and back seam by 2, all tapering back to normal by the knee.  I also added pockets!  You need pocketses, so I drew up a pattern for inseam pockets, nice deep ones that ones phone won’t fall out of…

diamonds 4
Inseam pocketses for the win!

diamonds

diamonds 6

I really love the finished pants, the colour of the fabric is turquoise with very dark blue diamond shapes, it looks black, but it’s not!  I like that Daughter No 2 is confident to change it up with different shoes, and tops.  I hope they get lots of wear this summer!  That was a May Burda Challenge project, but as it’s only been blogged now in June, I’m calling it for June instead!

Second Chances

IMG_20180523_203850_573
On the allotment

Hellooo, lovely patient people!  I have a load of gorgeous clothes to show off, if you follow me on Instagram, you’ll have an idea of what I have to catch up on!  The first will be a dress I made at the end of April for Daughter no 2, the last project for April’s Burda Challenge 2018.

denim dress 2

The pattern is #132 from April 2011, the dress in the magazine is made from leather, but we have a lovely piece of warm blue denim.  I’d bought the fabric from Rosenberg and Sons at the NEC about 3-4 years ago to make a little pair of dungarees for a child, but never got round to it…   Time to make something different!  There was only 1m, but it was just enough for the main dress pieces.  As the original dress was made in leather, there weren’t any facing pieces for the neckline and armholes, and no hem.  Cue lots of bias binding!

denim dress 4
Dress #132 Burda April 2011

I traced the 38, which is the smallest size this pattern comes in.  I only toiled the bodice, and this showed we needed a paper dart in the back armhole, and to take in the side seams under the arm by 1.5-2cm.  In order to fit all the pattern pieces on the fabric, I omitted the hem allowance and used a piece of wide bias binding to make a false hem.

denim dress 3

denim dress 1

The pockets in the front seams are cool, topstitched on, but could probably do with being a slightly different shape, deeper would be more practical.  The denim is perfect for the dress, the shape is held really well but the denim is soft, so it feels really nice.  The length is also just right, daughter no 2 doesn’t like skirts too short.  It was quick and easy to make, and I recon it would work really well in a heavier fabric for the winter – to wear with a long sleeved tee or thin jumper underneath.

collage denim dress 2

We had fun taking pictures of the dress, I needed to water the new plants on the allotment so planned to take photos there, but we found a fluffy friend!  She was very happy to be the photobomber.

collage denim dress 1

That was the last project for April, May started off badly – productivity wise – but ended on a high!  Of course, there was Me-Made-May going on in the background, which has been great this year.  I’ve been inspired!

It’s The Real Thing!

I’m a bit behind on my blogging, I have two dresses and a pair of trousers completed, and a top almost there!  But neither have been shown off yet….

139 04 2011
Burda trousers 139 04/2011

I’ll start with the trousers.  Looking through 8 years of Burda magazines for April, I found a lot of patterns I’d wanted to make way back then, but obviously never got round to.  One of them is this pattern.  It’s 139 from April 2011, in the plus size section.  I traced the 44 and reduced the leg length by 4cm, remembering that the last time I lopped off 6cm that it was a trifle too much.  I didn’t bother to toile, as the waistband is elasticated and there’ll be more than enough room (I know, not normally something I would go for).

realthing 1

The reason why I wanted to make these was purely because of the width of the leg and the detail at the hem, it’s nice to have something a little different.  In hindsight, regarding the length, I should have gone the whole hog and chopped off 6cm.  If I’m wearing these trousers with trainers or sandals with “platforms” or a wedge sole, I’m fine, but around the house in my bare feet they are too long and I keep standing on the buttons and elastic in the hem bands!

The fabric I chose is the first of the pieces I got at the NEC to be used.  I had hoped to start of that lot earlier, but never mind.  As long as none of it lasts passed the summer, I’ll be happy.  It’s not allowed to enter the stash!  It’s a navy and white washed cotton and linen blend, and I cannot remember which stall it came from.  I had 2m and it was just enough for this pattern with the width of the leg pieces, and the length…  If I’d taken out those other 2 cm it would have been a more comfortable fit on the fabric, but no worries, it all worked out.

realthing 3

There are in seam pockets in the side seams, that fabulous pleated detail at the hem and a wide grown-on elastic waistband.  I have to admit that these are super comfy, I have worn them three times already and only today managed to get blog photos!  The linen is soft and floppy, just what I like.  Please excuse the creases, I hadn’t got round to getting photos before we went out, so I’ve done a lot of sitting…

realthing 2

Putting them together was without incident, but keep an eye on the line drawing when it comes to asembling the hem bands and sewing on the buttons etc.  The only thing I’d change is the elastic inthe hem bands.  I can’t really figure out why it’s in there as the tab isn’t short enough to pull it up.  I shortened the elastic in my hem bands so that there would be resistance and there would be gathering in the band when the tab was pulled to the end button.

realthing 4

I really like these trousers, and I can see another being made in the not too distant future.  That’s another project done for April BurdaChallenge2018, I’m working on some Japanese inspired stuff this week, haven’t even looked at the May magazines yet!!

A Long Time Coming

Here’s a pair of trousers that should have been made about a year and a half ago – at least!  The fabric is black stretch cotton sateen, bought from Croft Mill Fabrics for Daughter No 1 for trousers. But she asked me to wait to make them, considering the weight of the fabric to be summer-worthy only, and it must have been Autumn when the fabric was purchased.

blackpants 2
Trousers 123 06/2011

I’d always intended to make another pair of trousers 123 6/2011.  I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve used this pattern – for both girls!  It’s a petite pattern, so needs to be lengthened for Daughter No 2, but is pretty good for her sister.  I shortened the waistband depth by 1.5cm this time though, she always complains it’s too high.  I think it’s because she’s short-wasited that it “gets in the way”.

blackpants 3

As we were going to visit over the Easter weekend, I figured it was time to get that fabric out of my stash and the “to do” off my list!  She’s been living about 2 hours away for the last year, and that isn’t terribly convenient for sewing and fitting.

blackpants 5

I made one other adjustment – the back waistband (which is supposed to be straight) has a dart folded into it, lining up with the centre of the two back darts on the trouser pieces.  This is because the wasitband always gapes in this pattern, but the folding of a paper dart does the trick.  I cut the 17 (34) and sewed it up.  There are no contrasting fabrics in the pockets, zip guard or waistband, it was kept deliberately simple.  I do think I could make the trouser legs narrower, she’s so slim that even the smallest size needs taking in!

collage blackpants

She starts a new job in London this week, so I hope these pants will be getting loads of use!  They’re perfect for dressing up or down and look great with heels and a nice pair of trainers.  I was glad to be making for her again, it’s been a while.  And secretly, I’m chuffed to bits that the old pattern adjustments still worked and I didn’t need to take the pants home again to tweak the fit!

blackpants 6

So another pattern to tick off for the BurdaChallenge 2018, even though it’s not a March pattern, and more stashbusting, making room for new stuff! 🙂

 

 

Short trousers means cold ankles

So here I am in the coldest March in the UK in a very long time, making cropped tousers again!  Instalment number two for the Burda Challenge is the cropped trousers from this year’s March issue of the magazine, number 111.  I’d dug out a piece of caramel stretch twill from the stash, probably bought from Croft Mill Fabrics, but it could have come from Clothspot.  I think I’ve had it around 2 years, so it’s nice to get it used up!

caramel 1
Trousers 111 March 2018

I’d decided early on not to have all the extra zips on the front.  There is a very useable side zip for access, and these others are just for decoration, so I wasn’t about to waste time faffing putting in exposed zips I’d never use.  I might put some pretty buttons on the tabs eventually, but as for the most part, they will not be seen, I’m really not fussed.

collage caramel
pocket details – and no zips in the pointy bits!

I removed 5cm from the length of the trouser between the crotch line and the knee line to get the correct length at the ankle.  I also changed the crotch curved in the back, dipping it by max 5mm in certain spots.  This made the usual creases under my butt magically decrease!  The facings were cut from left over bits of the gingham linen used for the Japanese inspired top, and I used that fabric for the pocket bag too.

caramel 5

If there’s one negative about this pattern, it’s that there aren’t enough pockets.  So if I made the pattern again, I’d want to add pockets in the front somewhere, possibly using that pointy insert as a “welt” hiding the acces to the pockets there.  We’ll see.  But the pocket in the back went very easily.  The instructions in the magazine are the illustrated, elaborated kind, as opposed the the usual brief bullet points.  So if you’re afraid of welts, these instructions will see you right.  I love the shape, and it’s really not hard to have those points instead of the normal square edges.

caramel 2

I like these pants, I wore them to the sewing show at the NEC all day and the stretch fabric behaved fairly well, not going baggy with all the sitting while driving, which was good.  They’ll be a great addition the the spring and early summer wardrobe (when it atually arrives), and I might be on the look out for a stretch poplin or cotton to make another pair, because this twill is too thick for wearing in the middle of summer.

collage caramel 2

caramel 3

So thumbs up for this one!  I’ve got another Japanese inspired top for your inspection soon, and I’ll go through some of the books I’ve been buying to give you an idea of  the goodness inside!  But that’s me for March BurdaChallenge 2018, I thought I might make another pair of trousers, and perhaps a couple of tops, but it was not to be.  Just two pairs of cropped pants will do the job!