My New Favourite Trousers

It hasn’t taken me long to make another pair of StyleArc’s Teddy Designer Pants.  I had a 3m length of black herringbone linen that I bought from Croft Mill ages ago that had been destined for a jumpsuit, but now has made the perfect pair of black linen Teddy Pants.

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Teddy Designer Pants from Style Arc

The fabric is a soft, drapey linen, but has good body.  It also attracts every last bit of fluff, dust and feathers…  It was narrower than linen usually is, so I used more meterage than I had done with the green pants.  I had hoped to get another of the Kana’s Standard jackets I made last year out of the remaining fabric, but it’s looking unlikely.  The pants are pretty much the same as the green ones, apart from an adjustment in the back.  I darted the back waistband in line with the trouser darts to take out 2x 0.75cm and enlarge and extend the darts a centimetre and a bit.  The back fits better now, and has less opportunity to “grow” as the day goes on.  I had noticed with the green pair that I was pulling them up more later in the day, so this little adjustment will sort that out.

 

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I changed the order of work, once the front pleats were constructed and basted in place, the centre front was sewn from the base of the zip approx. 5cm.  I had cut the front trouser pieces with the fly facing “grwon-on”.  Basically, the fly facing pattern piece was taped to the centre front of the trouser piece, marked the centre front line with tailor’s tacks and went from there.  The whole fly zip went in like a breeze and looks better finished too.  Then I attached the pocket bags to the side seams and then sewed the front and back trouser pieces together.  It was a pain in the whatsit trying to do the zip after having sewn the side seams first the last time.

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I didn’t alter the length in the end, I’ve decided I like them as they are and I have enough cropped trousers anyway.  I can imagine this pattern will be fabulous in a wool suiting or crepe for the winter too.  I have a feeling that I’ll be buying something to make another summer pair when on holiday!

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Maybe a patterned pair next time?  Stripes??

Here’s another shot of that pleat, just for luck.

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This pattern’s USP, the pleat and cocoon leg shape

 

Jumping into my Holiday Wardrobe

I’ve been after a good jumpsuit for a while, and made one last year from a German magazine that Chris gave me.  I liked it a lot, but it needed more adjustments to be perfect.  I even bought more fabric to make another, but the summer disappeared on me and I thougth I’d wait.  I then had an idea to make a pattern from the top portion of the Sew House Seven Tea Dress and a wide leg trouser pattern (more than likely from a Burda pattern) and see if I could make something work.  But other things landed on my sewing table and I hadn’t got round to more than just think of the idea.  And then Tara from Paper Theory posted her progress on making a jumpsuit pattern available.  I thought I’d just wait for that, given how good her first foray looked last summer when she drafted one for herself.

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Navy linen Zadie Jumpsuit by Paper Theory

The pattern was released a week and a half ago now, and I’ve made mine!!  Actually, if you look on Instagram there are some great examples of the #ZadieJumpsuit to be seen.  Lots of different fabric types, pattern or plain, and on lots of different people.  I started by tracing the sizes 14-18.  I’ve had a bit of a change in measurements lately, and can start sizing down! (yippee)  Checking the finished measurements against my current measurements, and knowing how much ease I can get away with, made me start the toile with the size 16, with no adjustments.  I already knew I’d need an FBA, just not necessarily in width.  Making the toile means I get a proper idea of how much length I need to add to the bust depth.  I also thought I might need to size down in the legs, as they’ve been getting skinnier!  The other alteration I thought I’d need would be to shorten the legs – but by how much?

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Can you see my whiter than white ankles in this shot? No? Need to shorten the trousers then!

I made the toile in an old duvet cover from the charity shop, and it ran up really quickly.  The instructions are really clear and easy to follow, with diagrams if you need them.  Once on, I knew I’d need that extra length in the bust depth!  Standing up straight, I marked the bust point with a marker pen, then I pulled down the front so the waist was actually on my waist and then marked the bust point again.  There was 3cm between the two points.  Voila!  Extra required bust depth!  The crotch depth was also low, like MC Hammer low! 😀  So I pinned up 4cm and it felt much more comfortable.  By doing this, I improved the look of the length, the trousers looked like they finished in the right place, so no chopping of leg length! Woohoo…

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So, back to the paper pattern, I drew a line perpendicular to the grain line on the bodice front that lined up with the lower marking of my bust point.  Then I cut along that line, stuck the bottom bodice piece onto a piece of paper, extended the grainline, drew a line parallel to the cut line 3cm away and taped the upper bodice piece to that line, lining up the grainline.  Then I marked a dart at the side seam, the point of which is 5cm short of the bust point.  Then I trued up the front line, crossing my fingers that I’d got the curve right!  I used the lengthen/shorten lines on the trouser pattern to shorten the crotch depth.  I also decided that when cutting I’d move the shoulder line to the 18 on the front, giving me another 0.75cm of length in the front.  Maybe I needed it, maybe not!  Time will tell once I’m actually wearing the jumpsuit on a regular basis.

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Boob wings in all their glory in this photo.

The nature of the fabric is also showing up one tiny flaw.  I do need to add some width to the bodice front.  Because of the cut of the bodice and the kimono-like dropped shoulder, I have little “boob wings”.  There is a triangular section of fabric running from the bust to where the armhole would be.  So I need to fix that before making another.  It didn’t show up so badly in the soft cotton duvet cover toile, so I thought I’d get away with it…

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My fabric is a 3m length of 140cm wide navy Irish linen, 137gsm.  It has a crisp handle, but is lightweight and hangs beautifully.  It’s been in the stash for a while, and I’d fogotten it was as crisp as it was, but I wasn’t going to buy any more fabric just yet.  It will soften with washing ( eventually) but will never quite loose that crispness.  The colour though, is great, rich and with lustre.

The cutting layout has you open the fabric to a single layer, right side up, and cut each piece individually.  This is because the designer is looking at the best way to cut the pieces with the least amount of wasted fabric, which, with the size and shape of the pattern pieces, is high.  So leave plenty of time to do the cutting out!!  And follow the diagram, or you’ll be caught short.  Seriously, I recon it took as long to cut the pattern as it did to sew the toile!!  However, I only had small bits of linen leftover, so it was the most efficient way to cut.

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Bias binding on the front, with extra stitching for the ties. Insides are all overlocked.

The pattern itself is easy to put together.  You have the option of making it “sleeveless” which really means a short, dropped shoulder sleeve, or adding the sleeve, which gives you long sleeves.  This means you can make this jumpsuit for cold weather!  I quite  fancy making a wool suiting version and wearing a poloneck like the Tessuti Monroe underneath.  The front of the bodice is bound with self bias binding, but you can make a bit of a statement if you go for a contrast colour or a different pattern.  The bodice is staystitched before the binding goes on, so there’s no chance of stretching the front.  The only thing I did differently was to overlock all the pieces before I started sewing, instead of neatening as I sewed.

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I really love, love, love this finished project.  It’s good to wear, shows no boobage when bending over (a critical aspect of any cross-over top) and stays put when moving about.  I double checked that one by doing a crazy lady dance in my sewing room.  In hindsight, I could probably easily loose another 2cm in the crotch depth and still have room to sit without squeaking.  It is a very forgiving fit!  The choice of size 16 was perfect, and while I could size down to a 14 for the width of the legs, this is a wide leg jumpsuit in a lightweight fabric, so no harm done.   I will also be removing about 3cm in the leg length.  Looking at these photos more shows that they are a tad long on me, you cannot see enough of that overwhelmingly white ankle, just about the same colour as my trainers!

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I’m heading home – back to South Africa – for three weeks over the Easter period, and this is going to be the very first item that goes into my suitcase!  Along with a large bottle of fake tan…  I hadn’t deliberately decided this time to make anything for the trip, so this is a bonus – mostly because I didn’t think the pattern would be available until the summer.  So, would I recommend it?  In short – yes.  I’ve seen it made by tall slim people, and by shorter, fuller figured people, and it looks good both ways.  I’m not the tallest person on the block at 1.65cm, but the proportions seem to work.  The fit is relaxed and loose, but you don’t feel like the saggy baggy elephant.  I have a feeling this will work on pretty much all body types.

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Now, will I make another?  Heck yeah!  I’ve just remembered a black 3m length herringbone linen that’s in the stash, bought 2-3 years ago when I first thought I’d like to try the jumpsuit trend.  Might even do the sleeves with that fabric, it has more body than the navy I’ve just used!  But first, I have a couple of Kabuki Tees I want to make, and some grey jersey that wants to be a Stellan tee, and make my first ever Style Arc trouser pattern, and I need to make two things for Daughter No2 that I toiled the week before last, and…..  BIBS!  I want to make a pair of hazel linen Burnside bibs to take with me!  Oh boy.  There is still the allotment and digging in of muck and starting of dahlias and sowing of seeds to do too.  Oh help.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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….

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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??

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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…

 

 

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…

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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!

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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! 🙂

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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! 😉

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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…

Kana’s Standard II – A Rusty Jacket

Right, I am finally ready to show you my Japanese Jacket. I had been hoping to get pictures of it on our little Cornish break, along with the cropped trousers from the last post, but it was way too hot for that!! In the end, I had to give in to the weather and just go for it. The jacket is the perfect layering piece for those typical English “summer” days, or slightly breezy days, and when Autumn finally arrives, I have no doubt that it will get a lot more wear. I visited Daughter No2 in her new flat in the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham last week, and on a little walk we found the perfect place for photographs. I love the feel of that area and I’m happy to see so much regeneration of the old workshops, warehouses and industrial spaces. The colours the Victorians and Georgians used are pretty fabulous too!

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Kana’s Standard II Jacket A9

First of all, the pattern. In the Kana’s Standard II book, the sizing is in Japanese sizes up to 13. On checking the measurements for that size band I realised that if I graded up two sizes I’d be in the right ballpark, without having to redraft. Time saved! So off I went and graded the tops pattern, A. Basically there is one standard pattern with various little differences, length, sleeves, sleeve width and sleeve length. The jacket is A9, with a longer version that has pockets to make a coat, A10. There is a section of photographs of all the different versions of Top A, styling shots all featuring the author wearing the clothes from the book.

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Images from the book featuring the author wearing the jacket
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Order of work, cutting layout and instructions

I did a quick “wearable toile” of A1, just a simple top with short sleeves, to check the fit. Width was more than enough, if not a little too much for a top. (Need to remember to take in the sides or reduce the width across the shoulder before using the pattern again) But it needed length across the bustline for a fuller bust than the books will ever cater for!

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I added 3cm in length, creating a bust dart in the front side to allow for the fullness, this was then rotated to the waist and then removed in the side seam, so it’s dart-free. I also widened the sleeve by 2cm, I have fuller upper arms than the pattern allows for. In the summer this is not so bad, because of all the allotment work, digging, etc. My arms shrink in the summer, but when winter comes again, I don’t want clingy sleeves. Those were the only adjustments I decided were needed.

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The pattern pieces fitted perfectly on the remaining rusty coloured linen. I thought briefly of binding the seams on the inside with bias, a Hong Kong finish, but as I really, really wanted the jacket for the Cornish trip and was up against the clock, left that and just overlocked everything instead. The pattern is quick to make, even without English instructions. The diagrams are clear, marked with numbers that indicate the order of work. Seam and hem allowances are marked in the cutting layout in the book, and it’s all metric. For some translation of the instructions, there is a handy page on this website which I used.

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I am very happy with the finished garment, the colour is perfect, just as it was with the pants! For now I’m rolling the sleeves up a bit. I could probably make them more a 7/8 or 3/4 length for the summer, I’m always pushing up long sleeves, even in the winter! For the closure I used the last of the dark bronze snaps I got for Daughter No2’s orange coat last winter. Sewn on with buttonhole stitch, they’ll not be getting pulled off in a hurry.

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I’m already making plans for more of these, possibly using some pinstripe wool suiting (and making a lining pattern) to make a winter version… The loose casual feel of the jacket is something I really like, although hubby would prefer me to wear something more fitted. Not in the summer!!

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I’m off now to complete some more of the Burda challenge 2018 patterns on my list, July’s edition this year is a bit good, better than last month in it’s offerings!

Rust

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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!

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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!

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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.

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Vintage buttons for detail, Liberty poplin for waistband facings
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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.

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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

 

 

 

 

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….

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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).

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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.

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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…

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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.

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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!!