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!

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Burda trousers 113 08/2017

 

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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…

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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…

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Inseam pocketses for the win!

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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

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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.

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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”.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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! 🙂

 

 

February Burda Challenge

Heavens, has it been that long?  Two posts in one week at the beginning of the month, then radio (blog) silence!  Sorry guys, been too busy sewing – and knitting – and crocheting..  I’ve been distracted, basically.  I finally picked up and dusted off my ancient knitting knowledge and persuaded a friend to help me learn again.  So we started with a pair of cable knit fingerless mittens.  As you do!  And I’m hooked!  But that’s a post for another day!

Collage february challenge

 

So while I played around with knitting and crocheting, there wasn’t much sewing going on.  I had intended to try two of the blouse patterns from the February 2018 Burda, numbers 108 & 120.  After tracing the 44 and toiling, I added an FBA to 108 and decided to skip the elastic in the sleeve bands and level off the hem lengths.  The tie back blouse, 120 didn’t need an FBA, but was too long, so got shortened by 7cm.  Fabrics were to come from the stash, yes, there is still enough in there…

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Burda top 108 02/2018

So after shaking myself and telling me to just get on with it, I finally started work on the two tops/blouses.  For the first project, I picked out a piece of Indian raw silk, hand dyed and blocked with resit.  I’d bought this fabric from a fellow student in my City & Guild days in about 2004/2005.  Yes, you read that right, not 2014.  She’d gone to India that year, as she’d done every year for ages, and brought back goodies for the rest of us to drool over and – buy!  But I never did find the perfect project to use it on, I’d not be getting more in a hurry!

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After last month’s success with the spotty silk, I thought I might be onto something, and decided to use it for top 108.  The fabric was rather narrow, and the pattern of elephants runs parallel to the selvage print border, so that dictated the fabric be folded on the cross grain.  I used the selvage for the hem, no point cutting anything there just to turn it up.  I used French seams throughout to keep it all neat and tidy.

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The neckline was a pain, on the toile it had stretched out and looked awful, so this time I knew to treat it with extra care.  The neck finish consists of a neckband with facing and a long strip gathered to fit the outer neckband.  I interfaced the outerband with some fine sheer polyester fusible, marked the halfway points and set about gathering the long strip which I also cut on the border.  I’d marked the centres and quarters there too, so gathered in between the points and pinned very carefully!  It seems to have done the trick as the band sits flat against the body and there’s no stretching out.

I did not insert the elastic in the sleevebands this time, I just don’t think the silk would like it very much, and I didn’t really need any more gathering.  I like the result, especially having made the front and back hems the same length.  I kept the little slits in the side seams, gives a little detail.  I think I’ll make another of these, possibly a viscose, but I think a fine linen for the summer would be yummy too.

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Burda top 120 02/2018

The second top for February is #120.  The toile fitted just fine without any bust adjustments, but it was way too  long for me, so I chopped 7cm off the length of the pattern pieces.  It also showed that the bias cut band for the neck finish neede to be stretched quite far to fit, so I needed to make sure I didn’t stretch out the neck while sewing the pleats in the front.  The instructions for the opening in the back for the tie are, I think, in the wrong order.  I did that bit before sewing the side seams in the final top.  It gets fiddly and there’s rather a lot of fabric you’re trying desperately not to stretch if you do it in their order.

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So the final top – I stretched that neckband to fit, just like they say, and made sure all the balance points lined up, and still managed to fluff it.  I must have stretched more in one direction than the other, or maybe the band wasn’t exactly on the bias.  But the band has twisted in the front.  Damn.  Well, I wasn’t going back, so now it’s a “design feature”.

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I like this top even with that open back!  With this week’s “beast from the East” Arctic/Siberian temperatures I will not be wearing it, but as soon as it warms up again, I think it will be in constant rotation.  The fabric is navy viscose from the stash, I think I bought it 2 years ago from Minerva Crafts, and there’s a bit left over that might be used for some sort of colour blocking with another “leftover” to make sure it’s all used up!

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So, February 2018 has been a good issue, I’d have made more if I had the fabric.  One problem with shopping your stash is that eventually you’re looking at pieces that have limited uses.  I also have two boxes of fabric I “can’t” really use.  That’s because they have been allocated to each of the daughters for clothes – when they decide what I’m making.

I wonder if they’d notice a few pieces going missing…

 

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!

When a Door Closes, Open a Window!

While I haven’t made something from this year’s January Burda, I have finally made something I’d marked from the 2012 January!  Yippee!  It always wanted the right fabric, and I never really had it.  Technically, the “right fabric” this time was intended for another pair of trousers, but as it happened to be out and available and spotted just in time, it’s now a top!

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Technical drawing for top 121 01/2012

After listing all my options a few days ago, I thought I might as well start with toiling this pattern, as it was already traced out.  I ran it up in a piece of viscose I’d got from a charity shop for toiling purposes.  The fabric told me it was too soft and drapey for this particular top, the toile told me it was way too long!!  I didn’t want a tunic/short dress, I wanted a top!

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Top 121 January 2012

So I shortened the pattern by 11 cm, added length in the front for bust and a small dart to sort the side seam.  I had traced the 44, and it has just the right amount of volume for me, so that length and little dart were all I needed for a FBA, no width needed.  The original pattern has an exposed zip in the back seam and the front is plain, this wouldn’t work for me.  I didn’t want a zip, exposed or otherwise, and needed more detail on the front.  I also prefer not to have too high a neckline, so fiddled around a little, dropping the front neckline a bit and adding a front opening.  It’s just a little detail that makes it more wearable for me.

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You can just see the sleeve dart here, it’s not a narrow sleeve!
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More sleeve dart – The back and sleeve pattern piece is rather large.

The fabric I used in the end is a navy and grey windowpane worsted wool suiting I bought in November from Fabworks.  It’s quite lightweight, and as a pair of trousers it would have had to have been lined.  Luckily, as a top, it’s just fine!  The top doesn’t have hems, you cut facings for the sleeves, front and back.  I interfaced these with a polyester fine sheer fusible for a bit more stability.

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I really like how the top has turned out, the back and sleeves are cut in one, so make sure your fabric is wide enough to cope!  The odd shaped pieces meant pattern matching was going to be tricky, so I opted for matching the side seams and left the rest to fall where they may.  The large dart in the sleeve narrows the width nicely at the wrist.  I like the curved hemline, and the new length is pretty perfect.

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Now I have plans to make another item from the list.  I said in the review of last year’s sewing that I need a few more tops to go with all the new trousers I’d made, so it will be another top – and I want to use up some of the viscose pieces I have in the stash.  So, I will be tracing Blouse 114 from January 2016, I need my sleeve kick!!

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That’s round one of the #Burdachallenge2018 done, what’s on your list to make??

A Plethora of Sweaters

I undertook a major sweater-making endeavour in October.  I’d ordered 2m each of black fleece lined sweatshirting and pale grey ponte from Fabworks Online for myself at the beginning of the month and decided not to let them enter my stash.  This was the start of a whole heap of sweaters!

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Named Talvikki Sweater in black sweatshirting

I started with the black sweatshirt fabric, having decided it would make a very nice new Talvikki.  Following the first one I made back in the beginning of the year, I knew I needed to widen the neck.  It’s always been a “little” snug getting on over my head!  And I didn’t think I had a big head…  So I made the darts in the front neckline narrower and widened the facing accordingly, making it 1.5cm wider overall.  What a difference it made!  Easy peasy to get on now.  The only other adjustment I made was to shorten the length of the slit on the sides, lengthening the seams themselves by 5cm.

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It’s those radiating darts that make this pattern so great!

But – now I had left-over black sweatshirt fabric that had nowhere to go but into the stash.  This was not ideal.  I really didn’t want it sitting around, so had a browse through some of this year’s Burda magazines.  August’s issue came up trumps (I didn’t have to go too far back!) with a cropped square-cut top, pattern number 112.  So I traced the two smallest sizes, confirmed with daughter no 2 that she liked the idea of a black cropped sweater and went for it.  There was just enough fabric in all the right sizes and shapes for the pieces.

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Burda Cropped Top

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The padded neckline is supposed to be stuffed with wadding – which I don’t have.  So I cut a length of the sweatshirting and rolled it up instead, worked a dream!  Dead easy and very quick to make, this top is a doddle.  It does need a sturdy fabric to hold the shape nicely.  When daughter no2 finally came home she approved, big time!  Maybe her only request for the next time would be to make the sleeves a little narrower, keep the cold out!

Next up was the third version of a Burdastyle top from 2015, using the pale grey ponte.  While I love the style lines of this top, it’s actually been slightly disappointing in the execution.  It’s too square, too baggy, and the lines get lost.  But – it’s great to wear anyway and comfy too.  I was hoping this fabric would work better than the previous two, but nope. Ah well, you win some, you lose some.  I’m wearing it anyway!  But I may be calling time on this one, I don’t think I’ll be making another – for me anyway.

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I really love the seam detailing on this top

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Left: Back seam detail and square armholes with back sleeve seam; Right top: Front slit; Right bottom: Dart and seam intersecting details on the front and side.

However, once again, I have left over fabric.  I really do wish Fabworks would make it easier to buy half metres, this only having whole metres on offer unless you email and ask nicely is a pain in the wotsit.  So this time I decided to make a top for daughter no1!  Same pattern as the black top for daughter no2, but in the smallest size.  Being a thinner fabric than the sweatshirting, the finished top has a different look to the first one, but was received just as well!  By the way, daughter no1 got her sweaters first.

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So, four sweaters and 4m of fabric!  NO WASTE!  Well, what there was has gone in the rag bag for textile recycling, but nothing has gone in the stash, result!  However, while I was happily using up these fabrics, I was eyeing out more…  Daughter no2 wondered if I could make her another sweater with sweatshirting fabric.  And I was looking for coat fabric.  So I ended up back on the Fabworks website, putting 2m of racing green sweatshirt fabric and 3m of Autumn Maple lambswool into my basket.  I mean, you can’t just spend £5 on postage for only £10 of fabric! It has to be worthwhile…  And that wool is just divine!!  (coat to follow soon-ish)

I decided this time to make her a Talvikki sweater and traced the 8/10.  It was whipped up in an afternoon, but of course, it left a fair bit of fabric behind – again!  I wondered if she wanted something else with the green, another of any of the other sweaters, but nope, she didn’t want another green one.  Then daughter no1 came to visit and collect the other things I’d made (some still to be blogged).

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Named Clothing Talvikki Sweater

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Let’s just say that green Talvikki went home with her and I had to make another, likkity split!!  I had a day between daughter no1 going back to her home and daughter no2 arriving at mine for her reading week, to replace the original one.  But this time I had been warned to widen the neck, just as I’d had to do for my own.  Even daughter no1, whose head isn’t exactly large, had a problem in getting the Talvikki on over her head.   I wonder if that’s something other people have had an issue with with their Talvikki sweaters?  Have you made one and had trouble pulling it over your head,or is it just us??

I made the same adjustments for the second green sweater as I’d made for my own and it all seemed to work out fine.  I was pretty glad there was enough of the racing green sweatshirting to run up another sweater, but the girls need to make sure they discuss outfits before they meet up anywhere!

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So that covers some of the sweaters I’ve made in the last few weeks, but it’s not all of them!  Stay tuned for my first adventures with the Sew House Seven Toaster Sweater that everyone and their best friend was sewing earlier this year.