Plans for a Christmas Surprise

Vintage jacket from 1935
Vintage jacket from 1935

Hellooo everyone!  I have found something I cannot use a commercial pattern for, so am back to a bit of pattern cutting, even though it is not something modern.  I found this image on Pinterest originally, which then lead me to the New York Public Library Digital Gallery.  They have, quite literally, millions of images of the most amazing fashion sketches!

This jacket is beautiful!  The wide revers, short front waist & scoop tails at the back are just begging to be made up!  I have sort-of decided to get this made up for Daughter No2 for Christmas.   I will have to see how I manage the fittings so she doesn’t realise what I’m up to, but I really would like to give it a go.  I have a black & grey wool check that would work well, especially if I use a good, rich contrast colour for the lining.  Bound buttonholes on this garment will be a must, I think!

So I’d best be off then, still have three unfinished projects on my sewing table from vintage commercial patterns in my other venture….

“Distractions”, or “The best laid plans…”

So, Jungle January.  See how quickly the “plan” I had laid down last year in late November has derailed.  I was going to make the spotty silk, then the duck egg corduroy, then the grey herringbone for Daughter no1.   Plans!  HA!!  Then Anne at Pretty Grievances lured me away with jungly antics.  Focus..  “squirrel!”

I will make the grey herringbone – I have to!  Daughter No1 is only at home until Sunday, then she’s back off to uni, and apparently won’t be visiting half as much this term as she did in the Autumn.  So I have to do this.  But I’m getting distracted by animal prints, 60’s swing coats and thoughts of bright jewel-like sparkly linings.

While I wait for the giraffe print to arrive from Ditto I had a browse through my vintage patterns.  This make is going to have to be quick if it’s going to be made in January, as I only have next week to myself, then I have two weeks of jury duty looming.  TWO WEEKS!!  😮

None of these fit the bill,

A selection of 60's patterns
A selection of 60’s patterns

Just my luck, I had no swing jackets.  So I will pattern cut it.  I used these to give me an idea for details for the giraffe jacket.  Maybe it won’t be done in January afterall…

Sketch for 60's style swing jacket with contrast binding and bound buttonholes
Sketch for 60’s style swing jacket with contrast binding and bound buttonholes – maybe!

It has daughter No2’s approval, provided I don’t make the pleat in the back too big.  So now I have work to do!

I also gave myself a bit of a challenge.  Today Karen at Did you make that? threw down the New Year’s Resolution gauntlet.  She has challenged us to put our money where our mouths are by committing to one resolution.  No going back, no hiding, no getting away from it.  Like she says, she has a long memory, and a jar!  Head over to her blog to read more about it, and join in if you dare! (But make it quick, you have limited time left!)

My resolution is to actually get something done for husband.  Long suffering, much ignored (sewing wise) husband.  Last year I started to do some pattern cutting for him, but more interesting and pretty things distracted me.  Sound familiar?  So this year I am committing to pattern cut him some shirts – that he will be prepared to wear!  I will stick my neck out a bit (ok, quite far) and say that I’d really like to make him a tailored suit too, but that’s not going on my definite list!!

Will I do it??  Keep checking to see…  ;p

Know “You” Better

And now for my next trick..  Hang on, “where’s the jacket??” you ask.  Well.  It’s not Autumn anymore, is it?  I took too long in getting started, especially after the comments on the last post regarding busy pattern vs stylelines.  Too much dithering!  I’ll have it for next year, no worries!

Anyways, when the November issue of Burda landed in my sticky little fingers, I bookmarked a few patterns I wanted to make, then bemoaned the fact that all the styles I wanted would mean having to go fabric shopping!  Just my luck hu?  All the fabric in my stash, and none were right for the patterns I wanted to make.  Then I dug a little further (never just look in the first two boxes) and found the blue and ecru flower print viscose I had bought from Tatler’s Fabric in Derby in the beginning of the year.  This stuff..

Blue & ecru floral print viscose

This fabric has the most beautiful drape and handle, and the viscose makes the colours just sing, rather like silk.  It’s fabulous!  So, fabric in hand, which pattern to start with…  I went with this one, (Burda 108 from 11/2012)  it has my favourite sleeve detail, 3/4 length with puff and just a teeny binding as the cuff.  Pattern traced, toile done..  urgh!  I knew the neckline wouldn’t work on me, I had planned to alter that anyway, but the rest of it…  Oh my!  I made my usual Burda size, but this was too long, too wide and way too unflattering!  This is it after my adjustments – please excuse the fabric, it’s a toile, and this was cheap!

My fiddled with and partly adjusted burda pattern toile. Trust me, it was worse before!

I chopped 10cm off the bottom, took in the side seams, made the front dart bigger and made darts in the back to give it some shape.  I don’t mind a “casual fit”, but I don’t wear tents!  Anyways, by the time I’d done all that and still wasn’t happy I realised my short-cut cheating was no short cut.  So I got out my pattern cutting stuff and started to make my own pattern.  Just goes to show, you have to know what suits you.

I photographed the process, but I don’t think my pencil scribblings are going to be the clearest.  So here goes, a tutorial if you want to make your own version.  You will need to trace off your close-fitting bodice block and one piece sleeve block.  First step is to draw on the buttonstands and facings for the concealed button fly.  I used the same measurements as the Burda pattern for this part.  Then you need to move the shoulder dart into the waist dart and plan the neckline.

Transfer shoulder dart to waist dart
Draw in waist dart shape
Plan neckline.

I wanted a lower neckline than the jewel neck that was on the Burda pattern, and I didn’t want the narrow bias binding either.  I thought I’d use the idea of the wider bias “sash and bow” of style 109, but not so wide.  The bias strip I used was 3cm wide, so I planned the neckline to include this.

Planning the back neckline

The back is pretty simple for now, this is the 3cm wide strip that will be cut off for the bias binding.

Line for raglan sleeve – back

Next step is planning the raglan.

Draw a line 1cm above the shoulder line on the back.  This will be the new shoulder line.  Make a mark 3cm down from the neck point along the neckline.  On the back, draw a line from this point to the back balance point.

On the front, draw a new line 1cm below the original shoulder line.

Front raglan

Then make a mark 3cm down from the neckpoint again, and move the front balance point 3cm up the armhole line.  Draw a line from the new balance point to the mark you made on the neckline.  Make this line, and the one on the back, slightly curved.

Raglan sleeve, new centre line and front and back parts added.

Now for the sleeve.  On the sleeve pattern, move the centre line 1cm to the right.  Now cut off the raglan pieces on the Front and Back pattern pieces and lay them onto the top of the sleeve head.  The front and back armhole balance points need to join, and the new shoulder lines must touch the sleeve head.

I’m sorry this photo is a little fuzzy.  For this design there is no dart at the top of the raglan, the space between the front and back section is gathered.  So draw a slightly curved line along the top, joining the front and back.  Now divide the underarm line into 4 equal sections and slash and spread to get the width for the ballooning at the sleeve hem.  I also dropped the hem line at the back section by 0.75cm.  I used 1.5cm at the back, 2cm in the centre and 1cm on the front.  I also kept the curved hem shape as the sleeve is finishing below the elbow.  I also needed to widen the sleeve at the bicep level.  This is a fitting adjustment I do all the time.

Finished sleeve.

The cuff for the sleeve stayed much the same, 4cm wide (including allowances) and 33cm long.  The necktie was 75cm long, and 8cm wide, including allowances.  It could have been longer, but I am happy with the length of the free part.  It’s long enough to make a decent floppy bow, and also safe enough that if it comes untied, I won’t end up cutting it, sewing it or stirring it into my soup!

I must also add that I used a 1.5cm dart in the back pattern piece to add shaping to the back waist, the side seams had 1.5 shaping on the back and 2.5 on the front.  The bodice block is drafted to the hip, about 20cm below the waist.  I generally find this is too long for me for shirts, so chopped off 5cm, and then made a curved shirt hem, going up at the sides by 3cm.  A shaped hem is so much more flattering than a flat one.  The front dart ended up being 6.5cm at the waist and 11 at the hem.  This gives a nice straight look the the front, also makes more vertical lines, which help with the slimming effect!

Here are all the pieces then.  I hadn’t added the fullness to the sleeve, nor had I shaped the hem at this point.  I wanted to see how it all looked before doing more fiddling, and the Burda sleeve wasn’t flared, so I wanted to see just how much puff there would be in the sleeve.

All the pieces

So this is a pic of the toile of my pattern using the above pattern pieces.  I then altered the hem and made the sleeve fuller. I think it’s so much better than the commercial pattern!  And even better after I’d made the adjustments, but that’s another post!  😀

My version of Burdastyle #108 11/2012

Sorry, no smiling!  I was concentrating on getting the pic in focus with no shaking!  I do like it though.

So here’s my gorgeous fabric cut and ready…

A pile of fabulousness…

It’s all made up now, I’ll get photos out when Daughter No2 gets home from school.

May I recommend some listening material?  I have in my possession an already much played new release from a South African band, Prime Circle.  (Thanks to my brother for special delivery-ing it to me by very fast airmail!) Their 5th album, Evidence has to be their best yet.

Just like a Stole – Tea for Two

just like a stole
Just Like a Stole

So, another Pattern Magic pattern done, and I like this one!  The name comes from the fabric print, ladies who shop, and ladies who do tea!  I like the neckline, might just need to get used to it, it feels like the shoulders drop back a bit.  It might need a couple of hand stitches just in the front a little to hold it together, but we’ll see.

back
View from the back

I used French Seams throughout with this lightweight cotton.  The buttons were rescued from one of husband’s worn out Red Herring tops, and I used a coral-red thread for sewing them on.  The pattern in the book has the dart into the front seam, not practical for me.  I changed the pattern to have the centre front button opening and moved the darts to their normal position in the front.  But I wanted something interesting there.  I converted the one BIG waist dart into 3 smaller cluster darts.

dart pattern
Front pattern showing dart clusters

Ok, so it’s really messy, but this is the working pattern.  Initially I had the darts narrower, but on the toile I didn’t like it, so made them wider, and then wider again.  When I am finally happy with a pattern, I trace it out so there are no scrappy bits of paper, there’s no magic tape, and only one set of pencil lines!  This is the rest of the front working pattern:

front
Like a Stole adaptation - front

I don’t wear high rounded necklines, unless I really want to give the impression of having a mono-boob, so I made a v-neckline, but it is rounded a bit to make it softer.  I also cut a facing to support the front, buttonholes and the neckline.  As the pattern is so opened up the top part of the bodice sits on the bias, which will stretch in a second if you look at it sideways.  I stitched about 5cm along the valley fold line from the end of the neck dart to stop the stretch there.

Admiring my dart clusters..

“So what’s next?” you ask…  weeeeellllll.  I still want to do the flip-turn, the twisted tops, the drape with twist…  You get the picture!  But.  I have been making husband some pattern blocks so I guess the next thing just might be a shirt for him.  Maybe.  😀

Happy with my new Pattern Magic top!

 

 

 

 

Sewing is Therapy

Ok, moving on, rapidly!  So now that I have sewed myself into feeling better with the Renfrew tees and a little vintage number for Daughter no 2 I feel ready to tackle another pattern from Pattern Magic.  I still wanted to play with the “Just Like a Stole” style.

Image

So out came the paper and rolls of Magic Tape (I still need to get shares in Scotch-tape).  The book has a high neckline which will never work on me, so I have adjusted it to be a sort of rounded v.  I also have a front button fastening, and sleeves.  Not too fancy this time, just pleated 3/4 length.  The dart has been moved, and elaborated!  See the sketches..  Again, the trickiest thing with the pattern is making a Winnie block do what another writer needs. It works though!  Although I’d love to share the photos of the pattern and toile with you, dearest husband has filched the camera.

Instead you get these…

Fashion sketch

The difference between fashion illustration sketches, and reality!  This is a sketch of the blouse I am making, the sketch on the left is done using a template from this book from Morplan, and the next one was done over a photo of moi.  What a difference proportions make!

You can get similar sketches from Fashionary, free downloadable templates, or buy the sketchbooks.

How tempting is it just to keep the template sketch and dump the “real” one?  Very!!  😀

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

reality sketch
Reality check!

So the toile is in a soft linen (linen sheets from the charity shop!!) to replicate the cotton I will use later.  No fabric purchase necessary, I have dug out a piece from my stash, yay!  Also, there are just about enough buttons from the button box to finish it off.  I cannot profess to be completely good this week though.  When visiting the charity shop looking for toile fabric and some vintage buttons, my eye was caught by a pile of grey houndstooth on a shelf.  Upon closer inspection it turned out to be 2m of a lovely soft wool, for £12!  Needless to say I gave in – no way that was staying in the shop for someone else to have!  So now there is another piece to make up..  😀

Silver Lining

Silver Lining blouse

Ok, so this post has nothing to do with an actual lining – but it felt right as a name for this next project, and it’s a pretty good song too!  (Silver Lining, by Hurts)  The fabric is a Liberty print cotton voile with what looks like draped fabric printed in shades of grey on white.  I loved it when I saw it in the shop, and loved it even more when I noticed it was only £6.99/m!  Naturally I hadn’t a clue what it was to become, so I played it safe and got 2m.  I am so glad I did, because when I finally made a pattern I had just about enough.  Here’s the sketch again:

Blouse with oversized polo placket

The pintucks were substituted with twin needle tucks as the voile was so soft, the last thing I wanted was wobbly tuck lines!  I have made the yoke a double layer, I just think it looks better that way.  The remainder of the bust dart was incorporated into gathers, and the bodice front was widened 3cm to allow for some draping and fullness.  I also made the back a little wider, basically cutting up the back dart and opening up 3cm there as well.  Originally I had added more width at the centre back, but when I did the toile it was too full, and I didn’t like it.  The yoke at the back also has twin needle tucks.

Silver Lining - blouse

But it’s the sleeves that really catch the attention!  That big poofy bit was cool to make!  I had fun with that.   First, I drew a line 5cm above the elbow line, then another 5cm below the halfway point between the elbow and the wrist.  That was to be the extent of the poof.  To keep that poof, however, you need a stay on the inside.  So I traced that bit of the pattern, adding balance points and grainlines, then divided it into 9 sections, adding 2.5cm between each piece.  This made a very wide section, perfect for lots of poof!  Then I added 8cm at the lower edge for “blousing.  Once it was toiled, I realised the blousing was hiding the cuff completely, so I chopped 3cm off, and now it works quite well.

The three sleeve sections, the top, the "poof", and the stay to hold the poof in place!

I really like this blouse, and am definitely going to use the pattern again to make more!

Poofy sleeve

Pictures are a little dark, I got daughter no 2 to take them after the sewing class today, we were way too busy to do it earlier!  It is amazing how busy a class with 6 people in it can be!  Here’s a peak at the class today:

Working hard today! And yes, that's me on the right at the back.
Yup, we're Burdastyle fans too!

So it is half term this week, Daughter no 1 will be galivanting with friends, except for Thursday when we head into Birmingham for another University interview and possibly a little fabric shopping at the Fancy silk store then straight home!!  Yeah, right!!  Daughter no 2 needs to start work on her prom dress, so guess what I’ll be doing..  playing with paper again!  Yay!  😀

Friday – busy day!

Wow, I can honestly say I am gobsmacked!  This little blog of mine has been ticking along with a handful of visitors, when suddenly the tracking spiked!!  Thank you so much to BurdaStyle for making me featured member of the week!  Another big thank you to those who have added my blog to their subscriptions lists, and those who left me comments.

New Blocks

So back to work!  I have re-drafted some of my personal blocks.  After making the jacket this last month and having way too many adjustments to make, I gave in.  So yesterday I drew a new Jacket Block, Coat Block, Close Fitting and Easy Fitting Bodice Block.  They will all be used this season!  I still need to toile and fit them, and draft their respective sleeves, but in the mean time I thought I’d share what I intend to do with them!

I have a lovely purple georgette that has been begging for something pretty and floaty.  I am going to use the Easy Fitting Bodice Block to make a loose-fitting top with a dropped shoulder and ruffles along the neckline.  Isn’t that top cute?  And purple will make a change to my usual grey, black or blue!  The georgette is not silk, unfortunately, but I loved the colour when I saw it on Ditto Fabric‘s website, so I had to have it!

Purple Georgette & Ruffle Top

Next, the Close Fitting Bodice Block will be converted into a One-Piece Dress Block and then I will adapt the bodice and sleeve to form a Kimono Block.  I have FINALLY decided what that green and turquoise silk is going to be!

Silk Graphic Kimono Dress

The Coat Block is going to be a hip length Pea Coat in the most beautiful pale, ice-blue cashmere that I bought at Fred Winter back in January on their winter sale!  I already knew I wanted something different, so I also got some Liberty silk for the lining and some Dupion to make piped details!

Cashmere and silk for Pea Coat

And the Tailored Jacket Block??  Something simple.  A cropped jacket with 3/4 length sleeves, possibly cut on the bias to take advantage of the burgundy/maroon flecks in the grey wool I got last week at Fred Winter.  I was really good, only getting 1.7m instead of going for the remains of what was on the roll, 2.5m!  I am sure I would have used it somewhere, but if I had got 2.5m I just know I would still be procrastinating this time next year!  I am going to use the last three buttons from my antique shop purchase, the others are on the Spotty Jacket.

Grey wool and Jacket sketch

So that’s that!!  Busy me!  Have a fabulous sunny weekend (if you are in the UK) I will be making winter goodies!  😀

How to make a Skater Skirt

Two posts in a week!!  I think it is about time I did some catching up!  😀  Here are the instructions to make the pattern for a skater skirt, using the tailored skirt block from the previous tutorial.  This pattern will give you a 12 panelled skirt.

Skater Skirt

Step 1

Trace off the skirt block as one piece.  Move the side seam to the centre of the block.  Divide the block along the hip line into 6 equal parts and draw lines from the top to the bottom of the block to make the panels.  Make sure these are at right angles to the hip and hem line.  The red lines in the drawing are the original block lines, the blue ones are the new lines for the pattern.

Step 1

Step 2

Draw a dotted line parallel to the waist and hip line, 14cm down from the waistline.  Construct new darts on the panel lines to touch this line.  Ignore the old darts (the ones in red on this drawing).  The darts on the back panel lines are 2.5cm each, and the front darts are 1.5cm each.  Add 1cm to the back and front side seams and draw a new curved line to the hip point.

Step 2

Step 3

Decide where the skirt will sit at the waist, whether you are having a straight waistband, a shaped waistband or a facing.  Also decide on the finished length.  For this project I dropped the waist line by 2cm and made the skirt 40cm long overall.  Mark the length – don’t worry to add a hem allowance at this point, it is better to have the finished length when you toile it up.  Adjust the waistline accordingly.

Step 3

Step 4

Cut along the new waistline.  Number the panels and add grainlines perpendicular to the hipline on each panel.  Cut off the bottom at the new hemline.

Step 4

Step 5

Mark a facing 5cm deep on the pattern and trace this off, including the markings for the darts.  Cut the facing and close the darts to make a curved pattern shape.  Mark the centre front and back, and for a skirt with a side zip, label the centre lines as being placed on a fold.  You will need to add a seam allowance to the side seam of each facing piece, as well as to the top.  Standard seam allowance is 1.5cm.

Step 5

 Step 6

Cut up the panel lines of the skirt.  Stick paper down each side of the panels and add 3-5cm (or more if you want a really full skirt) to each side of each panel piece.  Add seam allowance to the top and sides of each panel, but leave the hem for now.  The pieces I show have had the fulness added from the dotted line that was 14 cm down from the waistline.  You could also use the hipline as the start point.  This would make the skirt more fitting to the hip, only flaring from there.  You need to decide where you would like the fullness to start.  I have shown a 4cm flare at the hemline.

Step 6

So that is your pattern.  For making up, it is easier to make the whole front and back, and then to attach them at the side seams.  Remember to leave the left side seam open to the hipline for a zip.  Sew the front and back facing together at the right side seam.  Attach the facing to the top edge of the skirt, clip and understitch.  Interface the facing.  At the toile stage you can finalise the finished length, then add the hem allowance to the paper pattern.  For this skirt 2cm should be sufficient.  The fuller the skirt the more difficult it will be to hem with a deep allowance.

I would love to see the skirts made using this tutorial, so please post them, either on Burdastyle or Pinterest, with a link back here.  Happy pattern cutting!

Back on Track – the Skirt

Despite finding that lovely Liberty fabric last week and wanting to make the dress, I have stuck it out and made a skirt.  I used Winnie’s Tailored Skirt block.  When I drafted the block I was aware that the hip curve might be a little poofy – something that Winnie’s skirts tend to do on some people.  I made a note to check this when I did the fitting.

Tailored Skirt Block

The block actually fits well, apart from the poofy bit on the side.  The side seams hang perpendicular to the floor, there is no pulling and no baggy bit at the back.  All I needed to do was to adjust the hipline curve where I pinned on the toile.

Tailored Skirt Toile
Tailored Skirt Toile
Hip Adjustment

Once the adjustment was marked on the pattern I started the adaptation for a 12 gore skirt.  I had decided to make a skater skirt without a gathered waist.  I wanted something fitted to the hip and flaring out gently.  I divided the front and back along the hipline into 3 and moved the darts on the back to line up with the panel lines, the darts were made a little bigger and to compensate for this I moved the side seam out from the hip to the waist by 1cm.  I did the same on the front and added a 2nd dart to go onto the 2nd panel.  I marked the grainlines on the centre of each piece, labeled them and cut them up.  I added 4cm flare to the hemline of each piece, on each side, tapering to a point 14cm below the waist on the panel seam.  I am not going to have a separate waistband, but will draft a facing.  The zip will go in the centre back seam.

Skirt Pattern With Style Lines Marked
Skater Skirt – Pattern Pieces

The toile of the skirt fits really well, I love the line of the flare.  I have 2 different fabrics to make this in, one a lightweight beige linen with a white pinstripe, and the other a retro print cotton sateen.  It will be interesting to see how different the skirt looks with these two different fabrics.

Skater Skirt – Toile
Skater Skirt – Toile

Getting Started

Boy has this taken some thinking about!  I wasn’t sure how to begin, so here I am, diving into the deep end.

Ok, here’s the thing. There is no way of doing this without some cash outlay in getting the right equipment. If you are going to make your own patterns you will need certain things. Morplan is pretty much a one-stop-shop.  You will need:

paper, good quality
a grader set square and flexicurve or a patternmaster
mechanical pencil – either a 0.5mm or 0.3mm
calculator
coloured fine-liners, these from Staedtler are pretty good
scissors for cutting PAPER
glue stick and magic tape – not sellotape.

Equipment for pattern cutting

Those are the basics, and we can add to them as we go along, but you will struggle to do things properly without those.

Of course the other requirement is instructions!  But that is where I come in.  I will be using a combination of 3 pattern cutting writers, Winifred Aldrich, Natalie Bray and Helen Joseph Armstrong.  Depending on how adventurous it gets, I might bring Tomoko Nakamichi into the mix!

The next step is to take measurements.  I do not take every body measurement.  There are size tables in the books, which are refered to as “standard” sizes.  Now, while everyone of us is different, there are certain uniformities.  I take 6 crucial measurements and compare those to the tables in the book to ascertain a “non-standard” size.  The measurements needed are:

bust measurement

Bust;  Measure around the fullest part of the bust, make sure the tape is level around the body.

underbust measurement

Underbust;  The tape needs to be right under the bust, along the bra-line.  Keep the tape taut.  Add 12cm to this measurement to get a “standard” bust size for your frame.

Waist; the narrowest part, usually, but not always in line with the elbows.

waist measurement
hip measurement

Hip;  This is the fullest part of the seat, so measure around your bum, not at the top of the hip bones.

Chest;  This one requires an extra pair of hands.  Measure across the chest, above the bust, from where the arms meet the body at the armpit area.

chest measurement

Back;  As for chest, across the shoulder blades from arm to arm.

Armed with this information you now need to get the remainder of the measurements from the size tables.

The size for the young lady I have measured is a Non-Standard UK size 8.  Armed with this information I can now start drafting the basic patterns from which everything else will be developed. These are called “blocks” and the test garments made from them are “toiles,” also known as “muslins”.

The next post will be how to draft the skirt block and make and fit the toile.  Please leave feedback, I can only improve the posts if you do! 😀