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…

 

Dressed for Summer

This is a post that should have gone up last week, I finally managed to get photos of Daughter No2 in her new dresses last Friday, so I should have got everything sorted on the weekend – except we tuned out over the weekend, because it finally rained! We haven’t had rain since the 27th of April, according to my gardening diary. So it was nice to just relax and do those things you do on a rainy day – together…

burda shirtdress
Shirtdress 117 from May 2011 Burdastyle

So Burda 117, May 2011.  Unfortunately it is not available on the English Burdastyle website, so you’ll have to track down a copy in the flesh or download the German version!  Daughter no 2 had spotted it earlier in her hunt for a shirtdress, one of many patterns to try this summer.  I love the slim, elegant skirt and little sleeves.  The version in the magazine is made in a gorgeous blue and white floral print and it was this and the shape of the dress that drew daughter no 2 to it.  Now I was on the look out for a suitable fabric.

vintage ladies 5
Burda dress 117 05/2011

I finally found something suitable from Croft Mill Fabrics and we snapped up the last 2m.  It was a blue and white floral print cotton-linen blend, but when it was washed, it turned into a pale blue and darker blue floral print…  Luckily the new colour was accepted and approved, but now I needed new thread and a change of button choice.

vintage ladies 2
The blousing in the back that she didn’t really like

vintage ladies 3

I traced the 38, and made a toile using some pretty vintage cotton I bought earlier in the year from a Mid-Century Modern Show in Dulwich.  Overall, the dress was approved, I needed to bring it in towards the waist, effectively making it a 36 in that area, and I needed to make a swayback adjustment in the skirt.  The back of the dress has vintage inspired fullness, which I really liked, but daughter no 2 didn’t.  So I adjusted the pattern to remove most of the blousing.  The toile was then finished off, buttons etc from the stash, and now it’s fully wearable.

vintage ladies 1

The pattern is straight forward to make, nothing complicated.   The skirt pockets are stitched to the front skirt, which means no flapping about.  Apart from nipping in at the waist and reducing the volume in the back, I haven’t altered anything else.  The buttons came from the stash as my very local haberdashery closed last winter and my next local in Stratford on Avon will be closing in September.  So the stock is very low and choice is worse.  I couldn’t trust getting anything online so was desperate to find something suitable from my button box.  I wasn’t sure I had anything, the dress needs 10 buttons, and I had nothing that was suitable in those numbers.  But I did have two sizes of the same design button that hubby thought would do the job just fine.  So I used the 3 bigger buttons on the bodice, and the 6 smaller ones on the skirt.  It looks like it was done on purpose, rather than by necessity!

delft 5

delft 6

delft 3

I delivered both dresses to Birmingham on what felt like the hottest day of the year!  Oh boy, has this summer been warm!  They were both tried on immediately and the squeals of delight told me I’d done my job! 🙂

delft 4
The new, volume-reduced back view

What I rather like about both dresses is their ability to be worn layered with a tee shirt or cami and jeans/shorts/cropped trousers.  Of course, after floating that idea, it had to be tested out, with what I thought was great success.  I have since been informed that both dresses have been worn successfully and that she loves them.  Phew! 😉

delft 2

delft 1

I am still chipping away at that long list of things to make, three more items crossed off the list will hopefully be photographed in a couple of weekends when she and her sister come for a visit.

But I am now on the hunt for a jumpsuit pattern that will be suitable for petites, with sleeves.  Other requirements are that it be loose fitting around the waist, be able to be cropped to 7/8 length and be able to be worn in an office.  Ideas please hive mind…

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!

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! 🙂

 

 

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…

ellies 1
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!

ellies 2

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.

ellies 3

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.

feb 1
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.

feb 3

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”.

feb 4

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!

feb 2

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…