It’s been tricky to catch up on the projects made for the daughters lately, they’ve had stuff delivered, either in person or by the very helpful Royal Mail, and I never see it again! I have asked for photos, but so far nothing has been forthcoming. So I managed to persuade Daughter No2 to come home to help with the putting up of the Christmas tree, and to bring at least one item she’s had recently so I can get photos!
She brought one of the skirts I made using skirt 117A from February 2017 Burda. I’ve been using up various bits of leftover fabrics on this pattern, and this one uses some fabric I bought aaaaages ago in Derby. I had planned to make a jacket with it, I liked the leaf print at the time, and the canvas has good weight. But – I never used it, and when I dug it out of the stash earlier this year, I knew I wouldn’t use it for myself. I offered it to Daughter No2, not expecting that she’d go for it, when she said yes please! Another of “those skirts”!
I added the pockets, again, and tried a chunky, exposed zip in the back. I left the flaps off this time – not exactly intentional! I’d been putting the pockets togeter and admiring my handiwork, when I realised the flaps were still sitting on the cutting table! Oh well it’s worked out ok without them! She’s actually had this skirt a while, and it’s been worn in both the warmer weather with tees and trainers, and now with tights, boots and a jumper. The neutral colours of the fabric means it goes well with pretty much most of her wardrobe, and I love it with the orange coat I made her two years ago!
It’s been rather chilly these last few days, winter has properly arrived with cold frosty mornings and bright sunny days. I have a little pile of wintery stuff to use for more of these skirts, one a nice bit of leftover wool plaid that I’d made a jacket for Daughter No1 when she was in Sixth Form. That fabric has been hanging around for a while! Time to be used, and removed from my stash!
A year or two ago, I made a pair of Stride pants from the Merchant and Mills Workbook. I’d made the largest size and shortened them a bit, but I cannot remember just how much right now. The pattern was fine and instructions did the job, but I never liked the finished trousers. I was really disappointed because I’d used a beautiful piece of black and blue plaid wool from Fabworks. I was annoyed that such a lovely piece of fabric was now a very unliked pair of trousers. I never even took photos of those pants!
So why didn’t I like them? They were too wide, too floppy and the pleated front with waistband on the natural waist just didn’t suit me. And I love wide, floppy trousers!! So I wore them around the house for the first year, last winter I didn’t wear them at all, and this winter I decided I’d put them in the adjust or remake pile. I had 6 pairs of wool trousers to make two sizes smaller before I got to these, and at that point I had no ideas of how to make these better.
Then, last weekend, when I was clearing the piles to make way for a visitor, I had a brainwave after dropping a piece of fabric. It was the toile for Burda trousers 107 08/2019. I’d traced the 44 – after making the 42 in the last pair of Burda trousers and finding them to be just a little on the small side! But the toile for these was way too big! So I needed to go down a size, definitely, and shorten the leg by 3-4cm to get the finished cuff to sit in the right place (to look the same as the model in the magazine). The adjustments to the pattern were already made & I thought I had the right fabric to make a proper pair.
But – I was sort of reluctant to cut that fabric – see previous post! The pattern can be made in fabrics with or without stretch, and the one in the magazine is made in ponte (that’s a good idea for next time!) Back to that brainwave – could there be enough fabric in the Strides to be able to recut this pattern?? So I got cracking with the seam ripper, carefully unpicking all the seams, taking off the waistband and removing the zip. After a good press to flatten the hems and seam allowances, I pinned the two fronts and two backs together, making sure the plaid was lining up too. Then I took a deep breath and tried to get the new pattern pieces onto the existing trouser pieces.
The back fitted perfectly, the front needed the grown-on zip facing to be removed, so I cut that as a seperate piece and attached it later. Pockets and facings were going to be tricky, but, here’s the good part. I had saved all the left-over bits of fabric from the original cutting out in the wool box! Woohoo for scrap-stashing! So, hip yoke pockets, waistbands, cuffs and the fly facing were cut from the left-overs, and a scrap of lining sorted the pocket bags. I also managed to line up the plaid, high five! I reused the zip and found a good button in the button box, I bought nothing to make these new trousers.
The making went well, instructions didn’t need much altering. I usually insert the fly zip immediately after making the pockets up, it’s so much better to do without all the extra legs in the way. The other thing I changed was to sew the pleats in the trouser cuffs first. Darts and pleats first, whether at the waistline or at the hem! I just knew that if I left it to the end when the instructions finally have you do them, I’d have lost more than half of the tailor’s tacks, and as both the leg seams are sewn up, you have more fabric hanging around than you’d really want.
I rather like these! I’m keen to make a pair in ponte now, I think they’d be so comfy. They’re admittedly a little loose on the waist still, but I have a secret trick to fix that quickly. I don’t cut back waistbands on the fold, I add a centre back seam. Then, when sewing the crotch seam, I leave the last 15cm of the back open. Then the waistbands are added, in halves (one front and one back). Add the waistband facings, press, understitch, etc and then sew that back seam, all in one go! This means that if you need to take in, or let out, the back seam, there’s very little to have to unpick, and it’s so, so easy to adjust!! Men’s trousers are sewn this way, so why not ours??
Anyway, I’m off to enjoy wearing this gorgeous fabric now, and I might have to find a good colour ponte for another pair, some secret tracksuit pants!
Apologies for not noticing when taking the photos that the camera had decided that the teak chest of drawers was far more interesting to focus on than my trousers!!
I’ve got a bit of a backlog of projects still to show you, most of them items I made for Daughter No 2. And a couple of my own. Today’s offering is a blouse that I’d been putting off making for a while (I’m not a glutton for punishment!), but eventually I had to give in and get it made. Daughter No 2 had asked for this blouse to be made in a piece of burgundy wine coloured fabric we bought from the Fancy Silk Store a rather long time ago now. It’s polyester (so doesn’t like the iron), is drapey, floaty and slippy.
The pattern is 130 from Burda November 2013. (The link is to the German site, the usual one is still hinky, and I don’t think it will ever be as good a resource for archive patterns as it was.) I traced the 36 and didn’t toile… I figured it was a loose fit anyway, so will be ok. I decided to French Seam everything on the inside to keep it all lovely and neat. The front and back opening slits were both shortened, the front is now 15cm long, otherwise it would gape and show underwear, and that’s something Daughter No 2 did not want. The back was also shortened, but not as much as the front. Unfortunately, in the photos we took, none are of the back opening!
The neckline is bound with self bias, as are the openings. All would have been fine, but I shouldn’t have followed the instructions in the pattern to cut the bias strips to just 2cm wide. It’s not quite enough, I should have cut 2.5 as a minimum especially for the neckline and the cuffs. So if you’re planning on makng this blouse, that’s my reccommendation, cut wider bias strips! Because the fibre content is polyester, it really didn’t want to stay pressed, which was a bit of a pain. I used a lot of pins!
Another thing to be wary of is the width of the sleeve band. The sleeve edge is fully gathered into the bias band, and it does come up a tad narrow. Thankfully Daughter No2 has narrow hands and skinny wrists, because we’d have come unstuck otherwise! So check that measurement over your hands, because you might just get to that point and not be able to get the blouse on.
But, I’m really happy with how it turned out, and might be persuaded to make another, but in a natural fibre this time… That sleeve really is the best part of the whole top! It’s basically a deep pleat, and is only secured with a few small stitches. I reinforced the area with a scrap of fine sheer polyester fusible interfacing before stitching the pleat in place. I hope it will give the area enough stability.
In the mean time Daughter No 2 really loves this blouse and, funnily enough, has plans for me to make another… But NOT in polyester!
I have a little navy blue linen jacket that I wear in the summer, I made it somewhere in 2013 – I think. I’ve tried looking for it on the blog, but I can’t find it, so I couldn’t have blogged it! Anyway, it wasn’t the first time I’d used that particular pattern, and certainly wasn’t the last! The pattern in question is 116/7 from April 2009! (edit -*- I’ve found a picture of the blue jacket in this post, and an unlined version with Hong Kong seam finishes here!) I’d always loved the shape, the fit was good and three quarter sleeves for summer are perfect. It’s a jacket that lives on the back of a chair in the dining room, in easy reach for dashing out if the weather is a bit inclement. I really wanted a jacket that would do the same for the winter, but couldn’t choose a pattern.
The problem with winter jackets is that they tend to either be smart blazer types, or loose, floppy, outdoor utility types. I needed a casual jacket that I could wear with dresses, skirts, jeans and trousers. Something in a colour that would fit seamlessly with my winter colours and not feel too smart. And it needed to be warm – obviously! While in Plymouth on the way to Cornwall in September I bought a piece of textured black cotton with the required weight and that became what I wanted to work around, but I still wasn’t having any luck with the style of jacket.
Two weeks ago, I was trying to work out what I could make with some small, left over pieces of various fabrics when I uncovered a piece of smoked paprika coloured corduroy. This I’d bought last year at the sewing show at Ally Pally in October, and made a pair of Kana’s Standard trousers. (That link, apart from showing you the lovely colour of my trousers, also has a boiled wool version of the above jacket!) There was leftover because I’d bought 3m of that gorgeous colour. I realised there was enough for a cropped jacket and offered it to the girls for a denim jacket style jacket. They politely refused…. That’s when I had one of those lightbulb moments! I would make my own cropped jacket! But not too cropped – and with long sleeves. And I knew exactly where to start.
I dug that jacket pattern out of the files and grabbed the pattern paper. The jacket body was lengthened 5cm, I basically just traced the hem and curved front details and stuck the paper down 5cm from the original hemline. I moved the patch pockets down by the same 5cm, it actually makes them much easier to access! The sleeves have a “built-in” cuff, which I never really used, so I worked out that I needed 10cm more in the sleeve length and proceeded to lengthen by extending the seamlines on the sleeve patterns. I checked the final width and was happy with where it came to, I want to be able to wear jumpers under this jacket, so I want room! I didn’t toile but I did pin the paper together and do a quick paper fitting! I have to add here that the pattern in the magazine is unlined, I made my own lining pieces, and so far have only made one version (out of 6) that isn’t lined!
With everything sorted I got cracking with cutting out, making the upper collar 3-4mm bigger on the outer edges, I’d already enlarged the front by the same amount. This helps with “turn of cloth”, making sure the under collar stays under! I also cut the under collar on the bias, with a centre back seam. The jacket was definitely going to be lined, so I decided to interface properly with canvas chest pieces and a back stay. I also interfaced the hems to get a nice sharp line and prevent “soft” hems. I chose a black and white scraffito print viscose lining from the stash that I’d bought originally from Fabworks for the other half’s non-existent coat. It’s non-existent because he still hasn’t chosen a lining.
Anyway, the putting together went well, and I decided to add all the pockets and flaps this time, to emphasise the casualness of the jacket. I put a few pictures on Instagram in my story highlights of the construction process, it’s by no means all of it, just a peek. I had a headscratching moment for the buttons, trying to decide between vintage bronze dome buttons from the local antiques shop, or cool timber buttons a friend sent from a trip to Canada a few years back. In the end I liked the change of size with the bronze buttons, and that they lend a sort of military look to the jacket.
I really love this new jacket! It has taken the place of the navy linen jacket for the cooler weather and has been worn on numerous occasions already! The rich colour goes perfectly with my blues and greys and inevetable black for the winter with ease. It’s going to be a top star in my winter wardrobe!
What a title! 😉 This is a project that’s been long waiting to be shown off. The pattern for the trousers is from the July issue of BurdaStyle 2019, number 120. I knew when I saw the photo in the magazine that it would appeal to at least one of the girls, if made in the “right fabric”. As always, that’s the crucial bit of any successful project! As predicted, one said, “Hmm…” and the other, “Ooooo!” I’ll let you figure out which was which 🙂
I traced the 36 and toiled it in August, doing a fitting over the bank holiday weekend at the end of the month. All I really needed to do was narrow the waist around 1.5cm, and that was it! I like an easy fit!! I had thought there might be a length issue, but it seems the hem is in the right place, even for someone with rather long legs.
I atually decided against physically narrowing the side seams etc, because this pattern has a sneaky hidden half belt that uses wide elastic attached to the side seams that fastens in the front with a buckle. Sooo, I just made the elastic a bit shorter, and it pulls the waistband in. This also means that if daughter no 2 has a heavy lunch, there’s a bit of give!
The fabric we chose is a piece we bought while on holiday in South Africa. It comes from a little shop in East London (Eastern Cape) called Bessie’s. Daughter No 2 did well at this shop, spending about R1 000, which, when you convert to pounds is around £50, but she got way more than what you’d get here in Blighty for the same amount of money! Three pieces of African wax were chosen, and this is one of them. It has a pale yellow ground, large “peacock” eyes (or leaves…) filled in with gold and very dark green (not black!) outlines and stripes. It is also relatively narrow, so with the wide legs of the pants pieces, I used a fair bit of the 3m we bought. I didn’t try to pattern match….
The making was pretty standard, pockets sit on the outside of the front and should have had a flap at the bottom, but we left that off, it does nothing. I found the amount required for the elastic to be excessive, even given I needed to reduce the amount so it actually pulled a bit, so if you don’t have exactly the amount required in the notions section, don’t stress. It took a while to get a buckle though. In the magazine, they’ve used a standard black plastic bag buckle, but that would have spoilt the look. In the end I found a bronze metal buckle in a haberdashery shop in Plymouth at the end of September that was the right width, and looked much better than a black plastic one!
So these pants were finally handed over to their happy recipient two weeks ago, who definitely plans to wear them this autumn, with tights, boots and a nice warm jumper and jacket! I’m pretty happy that she’s happy, and glad that they haven’t gone straight into the summer clothes boxes in the loft. I think there may be another version of this pattern on the cards, but we need to find that elusive “right fabric” again.
Heavens, it has been a while, hasn’t it?? Thing is, when you don’t write these post for a while you quickly get out of the habit of doing so, and kinda forget how to write! I have lots to show, and very few photos! But last week I made a thing, and I even managed to get the other half to take some pictures for me – miracles!!
So, what’s the lucky garment? Well, it’s a blouse. I have only used this pattern once before, it’s a Burda pattern – as you may well have guessed, based on my history! I made this first blouse (way before I had even heard of blogs) in silk satin in a gorgeous wine colour. (See it worn in this post) I loved it, but soon it was too small and I relegated it to the “unwearable” box in the loft. This summer it came out and I decided that, as I didn’t wear it anymore, I’d see if it could be recut and refashioned into something else. It sat in that pile until last month, when I ironed it before cutting. Then I put it on, just to see… And it fits again!! Woohoo. I love how it feels, the batwings and floppy collar. After the second wear while I was organising the summer fabrics to go back into the boxes for the winter, I came across a piece of cotton voile I’d bought from Fabric Godmother about 5 years ago. A brainwave hit and I thought, I finally know what pattern to use for this fabric! The same one that I’d used for the silk blouse, 118 from October 2008.
Unfortunately it’s too old a pattern to be found on the database on the BurdaStyle website, and the magazine with the instructions and line drawings is in a box in the loft, so I cannot show you any details! But thanks to helpful commenters, and the Russian Burda website, here’s a link! It’s a simple pattern, the back is cut on the fold, sleeves are kimono style/batwings, so they’re grown on. You do need to make sure that the fabric is wide enough for the pattern, the back is ok, but the front has grown on button stand and facing, so it’s wider overall. The sleeve is gathered into a wide cuff and finishes at the three quarter mark. There are no darts for shaping, but it’s not a billowing, shapeless style. The collar is just the stand part, and the front has fullness that is gathered into the collar. It makes for a soft, draping top that’s easy to wear. I used fine sheer polyester fusible interfacing on the buttonstands, cuffs and collar, and French seams throughout.
I’ll have to get to Birmingham for photos of other projects, or get daughter no2 back home! And while we’re photographing her new clothes, she can do mine for me! I’ve had a great weekend sewing, cut out 4 projects, of which 3 are complete and one is waiting for bias binding – but it’s in silk and I’m having a day off from fancy fabrics…
We went to Cornwall at the end of September – and got thoroughly rained on – and I took lots of patterns with me to trace in the evenings. I made good progress and only didn’t manage to trace the Lander pants. I have stuff for me & stuff for each of the girls traced and now ready to toile, including the Tosti Utility Jacket, finally!!! It WILL be made this year!
The blog posting hasn’t really gone to plan in the last couple of months, and neither is it how I normally would work! I’ve been spending a lot more time on the allotment, especially with the veggies (time consuming little buggers), and sewing for Daughter No2, who isn’t at home and therefore makes it tricky to get photos of finished garments. Today though, I’ve got a couple of items I made for myself. A while ago I said I had plans to make another LB Pullover and possibly a Uvita Top. Well, those have been made, and worn, and I only now have some photos for you.
I have to admit, that as far as 3/4 sleeve tees go, I find it hard to beat the Uvita. I’ve also used the Lark Tee with the 3/4 sleeve option, but the Uvita is just so easy to wear. The fabric was bought from a fellow sewist who was using Instagram to destash. I think it was originally from Fabworks – a dusky blue and sort of beige stripe viscose jersey with good drape. The only downside was its determination to curl to the right side – which made the neck treatment on the tee just ever so slightly tricky. Let’s just say a tailor’s ham and lots of pins were used…
Then the LB Pullover – was there ever such a quick “sweatshirt” to make? This is the size 14, I’d sized down from the original 16 some time ago, and I think it’s just right for me – for now. Fabric came from Rosenberg & sons a couple of years ago, has a cool texture and is a lovely blue. But then all blues are lovely. I had intended to make some of these tops in linen over the summer, but I guess I’ll just have to get to that plan next year!
Then the last of the “show-offs” for today are the trousers I made a few weeks ago, Burda 115 from May 2019. I’m still on the wearable toile, haven’t found “proper” fabric yet, but I like the pants, style and fit. I wasn’t sure about the big pleat in the front – but the other half has no problems in deciding. He doesn’t like it. So I have to ask, are pants with pleats on the front flattering to me, or not?
These are the size 42, with a leg length adjustment, 3cm shorter than the pattern was drafted. Apologies for the photo quality, I’m using my phone’s forward camera and it’s not the best…