10 Years in the Stash

This project is a brilliant stash-bust!  You know when you buy a piece of fabric that you just know can only be used for the perfect project.  It’s that piece that may not necessarily have cost a lot of money, but it’s valuable, non the less.  I have a couple of those, and this last week I finally used one!  It’s a piece of ivory silk satin with grey, black and putty coloured spots.  I recon I bought it at least 10 years ago, probably from Rosenberg & Son!

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Silk blouse, 114 01/2016

I regularly haul it out of the silk box, pat it, promise it a pattern one day, and return it to the darkness.  But it’s been out of the box since the Autumn, I was determined to find something!  And that something is Blouse 114 from Burdastyle January 2016.  The red version I made a couple of weeks ago has been a welcome addition to my wardrobe, I love the sleeves and the overall feel of the top.  So I went for it!

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Checking the channel I made is right for the grossgrain ribbon I’ve used for gathering the “shoulder” seam
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Gathering the long edge of the sleeve into the narrow (by comparison) cuff takes a little while…

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I added 3cm to the length of the original version, which followed the length for version A in the magazine.  I also changed the hem depth to 2 cm so it would be easier to double fold.  The slit in the centre front was lifted 3cm and I’m much more comfortable with that.   Then I added 2cm to the bust depth, inserting a small dart in the side seam to keep the shape and length even.  It’s worked pretty well, and for some reason feels roomier, width-ways, than the red top!

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Details. Gathered channel on the forward shoulder seam, bias neck binding and tostitched front slit, back yoke with gathers in the lower back piece

It feels amazing to wear, the silk is just so drapey and lovely.  The seams are all French seams so there’s no fraying, and that stuff did fray!  I hand stitched the bias binding to the inside of the neckline.  I figured that was one place I could do without wobbly visible stitching, and if there was a place my stitching would wobble, it would be there!

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So that’s it for the January edition of the Burda challenge 2018, I have my sticky little paws on the February edition already (recon my phone calls to the manager of my local WHSmiths must have lit a bit of a fire under her chair) and have grand plans!!!  I also have loads of knickers to finish…  phew.

Hila has done a round up of some of the challenge projects done so far in January, go and take a look, and join in if you like!

 

Floral Silk Warabi Kimono

It’s been a while, helloo there!!  Well, I did say back in January that blogging would be sporadic!  The silence since coming back from my holiday is basically due to me sewing loads and loads of stuff, and showing nothing of it here for you guys, but annoying all my Instagram followers with loads of pics of baby and little girl’s clothes!  There will be a write-up soon, but first wanted to show off one of the few adult’s garments I’ve made this month.

While I was away I got an email from Kat, one of the founders of The Monthly Stitch.  If you’ve been following along with Indie Pattern Month this year you will have noticed that there has been an “extra”.  In order to raise money for charities and to take The Monthly Stitch to a new level, three bundles consisting of various patterns have been put together for sale.  I was offered the chance to pick a bundle and make one or more patterns from the bundle in order to promote the concept.  As I was away at the time, I went with the last one, entitled Getaway.

As you could probably guess from the title, this bundle has patterns for holidays.  The pattern chosen to start is the Warabi Kimono top from Waffle Patterns.  I had actually bought this pattern last year and toiled it for myself, but my shape really didn’t do it any justice.  I decided my best friend could do with a new top and started digging in the stash for suitable fabric.  I had to shop the stash as there is this little pledge not to buy anything until Christmas time!

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Warabi Kimono Toile on the dress form

I rediscovered 5m of gorgeous silk that was liberated from a local charity shop a few years back for a ridiculously low price.  The colour is perfect for my friend’s colouring and the lightness of the fabric suits the pattern really well.  I toiled the 38, which fitted straight off the bat, the pattern needed to be lengthened by 3cm because my friend is quite tall and is long waisted.

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Details. French seams inside and double turned hems.

French seams were used throughout, the only finish if you’re going with a lightweight silk, and double turned all the hems.  I loved making this pattern, the instructions couldn’t be clearer, Yuki also supplies detailed illustrations so there’s no getting confused.  I have used Waffle Patterns before, with superb results.

I used the copy shop version, I have a huge aversion to cutting and taping millions of A4 pieces of paper together and will now avoid buying a PDF pattern if that option is not included.  What I like about this one is that the pattern pieces all fit nicely onto one A0.  Nice and cheap.  The instructions booklet is also not pages and pages long.  It’s informative, has everything you need and doesn’t have 8 pages showing you how to lay out the pattern pieces.

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Warabi Kimono Top in green floral silk. I love it!
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Fabulous full sleeves
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https://wordpress.com/post/bellemegan.wordpress.com/3374 The back has a higher “v” and central back seam.

Pictures are on the dress form only for now, my friend has yet to see her present, but I know she’ll love it!  The green of the silk looks fantastic with jeans, so this will be the perfect “dress it up” top.  If you like what you see, visit The Monthly Stitch‘s page to see the other patterns in the bundles and spread the sewing love.  I will have another pattern to show you in a couple of days, also from the Getaway bundle, also a gift!

The Kimono was finally delivered today & I’ve managed to get a couple of photos. My friend is very camera shy so these were taken on the sly!
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I love that she’s happy wearing it with shorts in a very casual way, and not just keeping it “for good”.

 

A Hot Weather Dress

My sewing machine has been working overtime during the last week and a bit, quickly trying to make the last few things for Daughter No 1.  The departure for her planned travel to Asia, Australia & America has finally come.  Amongst the things I made for her (which I will cover in another post) was this dress.  She wanted something that would just hang, not cling, and be cool to wear in the tropical humidity of Thailand, something suitable for cocktails on the beach in Fiji & totally wearable when exploring Rodeo Drive.  It needed to have fullness, but not be a tent.  She didn’t want extra fullness in the front, hanging from the bust.  She drew me a sketch of what she had in mind, then left me to it.

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A sketch of the dress Daughter No1 wanted for her travels

I started with her close fitting bodice block, drawing a one piece dress block and then converting it to the lingerie block.  This involves reducing ease and doubling the size of the bust dart.  For the dress pattern the bust dart was moved to the underarm position.  I added a section to the side, from the waist to make the fullness.  The double darts in front and back were eliminated, but the back dart was effectively transferred into the centre back, making the back shaped and fitted.  I also needed a swayback adjustment of about 2cm.  I intended to use an invisible zip in the centre back, French seams throughout and self bias for the top edges and straps.

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The toile in cotton. The swayback adjustment hadn’t been done.

The toile revealed that I needed a swayback adjustment, and that I needed to alter the fit of the top.  Daughter No1 wanted it a little looser.   I was concerned about the hang of the handkerchief section, but hoped that in the silk that we’d chosen that it would look a lot better.

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Dress in progress, silk definitely drapes better than cotton! And the swayback adjustment worked a treat.

The silk was given to me by a friend, it’s got the most beautiful sheen and drape, but for me, it was just a little too bold.  However, Daughter No1 loved it!  The bands are a red and white hatched pattern, while the blue is actually purple and black.  I only had two metres and it was pretty narrow but we had just enough to squeeze the dress out.  I was worried that there wouldn’t be enough for the bias strips.  Thankfully that wasn’t the case in the end, I didn’t really need that much bias.  But please remind me that working with narrow bias in silk really isn’t easy, and tries the patience of anyone, especially when you’re up against the clock.

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Putting an invisible zip into a french seam, reinforcing the area with fine interfacing.

I made the pattern on Saturday night, toiled it midday Sunday, made the adjustments and got cracking immediately.  It had to be finished by 11am on Monday morning!!  Needless to say I was still handstitching bias at 11am so we left a little late for the airport, but all was good, she loved the dress and stuffed it into the rucksack straight away!  I am hoping to see photos of it in far of exotic places on Instagram soon!  Here it is on Betty, my vintage mannequin.

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I love the drape at the sides, and the slight drop of the handkerchief hem.  I really do hope it sees lots of wear in the next 6 months!

Abstract in Watercolour

Abstract in Watercolour  - self drafted silk top.
Abstract in Watercolour – self drafted silk top.

How to start a blog post almost two whole months after the last one, especially when it was full of positivity & promises of action..  Well, something is better than nothing I guess, so here goes with the first project I’ve actually managed to get photographed this year!  I bought loads of pretty fabrics just after Christmas and found the most gorgeous print silk at Croft Mill Fabrics.  The colours I liked, the print I thought I could deal with, so I swiftly added 2m to my basket and sat back and waited for it to be delivered.  I was not disappointed.  The fabric is even better in real life than the photos – the print looks so very much as if a watercolour artist has created a fabulous abstract with his/her favourite colours and it has a beautiful drape.  It’s not a satin so was very easy to sew with.

The hem is slightly longer in the back, curved like a shirt hem.
The hem is slightly longer in the back, curved like a shirt hem.

I decided to use a self drafted pattern I’d used for silk before, this polka dot crepe de chine.  It took me a while to make, simply because I had to find the time with all my other commitments.  This week though, was crunch time.  I’d dedicated a day at home to “getting things done” and one of those things was to finish the top!  It’s all French seamed inside, as you’d expect with a gorgeous fine fabric.

Faux placket detail
Faux placket detail

The faux placket (facing on the outside that looks interesting) was easier to get right with crisp edges than the last one, slight variations in the silks I suppose.  I love this pattern, and the print.  Colours and print, how unlike me!  I sort of wish I’d got more, but maybe I’ll take a second look at the other colourways instead, as this particular one is all sold out – I have a feeling I may have got the last of it!

abstract 3I suppose I ought to tell you I spent hours making sure the pattern was matching across the side seams and sleeves, but I didn’t.  I thought about it for about 5 minutes and decided life was too short!  By happy coincidence things worked out just fine!

abstract 5Next to make is a Day to Night Drape Top by Maria Denmark for Daughter No2, the fabric from Kat as part of the Sabretooth Swap organised by Anne.  I have decided to make her a pencil skirt to go with the top, using the pattern for the plaid skirt I finished in November.  It should all go together quite quickly (famous last words!) so maybe by the end of today I’d have finished two projects!  *shhh, don’t jinx it…

Wardrobe Architect & Me Made May 2014

Wow, two big things to get me out of my sewing rut & into something better and more interesting!  I was in quite a funk earlier in the year & the kind comments of my readers & the discovery of the Wardrobe Architect managed to drag me out of it.  I just need time and space to think of all the lovely goodies I’d like to make to suit, and then find the fabric to realise those day-dreams!  I made a good start with 3 blouses, then stopped to make fabulous things for skinny daughters & catch up on a bit of vintage sewing.

Now Me Made May is fast approaching, & I haven’t done much more to sort my very teeny-tiny wardrobe.  Very teeny because I switched over my winter & summer things this week.  There were loads of nice things in my summer boxes, the problem is that some I really don’t want to wear anymore & others I simply cannot wear (to put it plainly, I eat too much of what’s not good for me & I don’t exercise).  So it’s my fault I have only 2 t-shirts…

I do plan to make some more Plantains, once I find suitable fabric.  My local fabric store has a pitiful selection of jerseys, basically a handful of plains and some Liberty’s.  Not what I want!  One of the “tasks” for the Wardrobe Architect sessions was to create palettes, neutrals, accents etc, that we liked, then to narrow them down to form one particular palette from which to work.

My wordrobe consists mainly of neutrals – that’s where I’m happy, but I do realise the need for a little splash of colour here and there, and with summer knocking faintly on the front door I want to inject some colour or lightness that takes up some of the black & grey I live in in the winter.  That has been hard to do.  Whilst I like lots of colours, I don’t necessarily want to be wearing them.

I also find prints tricky.  Again, I like them, I can admire them, but wearing them….  I get scared.  My favourite pattern or print is the spot.  They’re safe.  But I want to be more adventurous!!  When I look into my fabric pile – meaning the pile I want for myself, I see spots, circles and more spots!  And variations on spots & circles…  I think I have an obsession.

silks, spotty & plain
Silks, spotty & plain

One thing I have managed is to get more pants! Or trousers, if you prefer.  There were a couple of pairs of linen trousers from the summer box that still fit – and that I still like the shape of (or can re-cut a bit).  But their colours were all wrong.  I didn’t take photos, not that long-sighted!  One pair was a chocolate brown, like milk chocolate.  I have always found them tricky to wear, even though I wanted a pair, I stick with turquoise or white on top.  The other was an interesting shade…  It was a shot linen, a kind of teal-green and violet.  Sounds weird, but I liked the effect.  Again, there was a problem of what to wear that with!  This time I decided to take action, if I was to wear them, they had to change colour.

So I threw them into the washing machine with a box of Dylon Antique Grey dye and waited for the result.  I love the new colours!  Because I didn’t use a dye stripper first they have come out of the machine with their own take on the grey.  The chocolate is now a warm, rich grey that I LOVE, the shot linen has hints of it’s original shade, but overall looks a blue/purple black/grey.  They’re perfect!  I will re-cut the legs of the purple/grey to make them narrower, but the chocolate grey is a perfect match for some of the colours I came up with for the colour project.

Chocolate linen trousers now a lovely warm dark grey
Chocolate linen trousers now a lovely warm dark grey

While I was dirtying up the washing machine, I also dyed a lightweight beige linen black, & re-blacked a pair black linen trousers that will also be re-cut.  All in all a great result!  Now to sort the tops…..  I have 3 pieces of spotty silk, different weights, weaves & colours and one black & white “blob” silk-cotton blend I made a blouse from a couple of years ago that needs attention.  I managed to catch the back on a door-handle or something & ripped it.  So I need to come up with something that can re-use parts of it, it’s far too gorgeous to chuck out.

This is my current collection of fabrics to work with - help?
This is my current collection of fabrics to work with – help?

If you want to see where my whirling head is going with the Wardrobe Architect exercise, I have far too many ideas on my Pinterest board.  While I love a floaty, not too structured blouse, I don’t want to make them all look the same.  I seem to be taking the same shape at the moment, and just adding different sleeve & collar details.  Will they be different enough?

Three ideas
Three ideas

At the moment, my hope that me Made May would be giving me the opportunity to really see if my new wardrobe was working properly is off to a stuttering start.  I know there’s still a week left, but pattern making takes time!  If only I could just decide what to make – with the foresight that it will look fabulous, I wouldn’t be stalling so much.

I need input from you fabulous sewists.  The sketch above on the left shows what I was thinking of doing with the “blobby” blouse that got ripped.  I had the idea from seeing this great blouse on Kollabora.  I’m just not that willowy, so I need to be careful of where the contrast goes, and how much to use.  Ideas??

My apologies for what seems to me to be a rather rambling post, I just need to get my head round what I should be sewing – and fast!!

Pattern Magic Magic!

Well now, here is one pattern I will definitely be using again!  And with 4 different looks available from just 4 different facings, I am going to have a field day!

This top is fabulous!
This top is fabulous!

This is the blue silk with spots that I think I got from Rosenberg & Sons, a very long time ago!  There never seemed to be the right pattern for it, so it languished in my silks box for years.  I had been dreaming of a bias cut, cowl necked top for a bit, and after the pattern Magic weekend I ran, I wanted to try out the Different Looks, Different Facings patterns in Pattern Magic 2.

Image from Pattern Magic 2, Different looks, Different Facings
Image from Pattern Magic 2, Different looks, Different Facings

Basically you draft one front with cowl etc, and choose from 4 different facings, or draft them all and vary them later!  I went with the asymmetrical one first, and cut the back bodice on the straight, leaving in all the darts etc so that I’d have a shaped blouse, not a floppy one!

Image from pattern Magic 2, showing three of the four facings
Image from pattern Magic 2, showing three of the four facings

I went with a fairly plain sleeve.  I used Winnie’s semi-fitted sleeve, and shortened it to 3/4 length, which is my preferred length for sleeves.  The drafting process whas fairly easy, but I would say that if you have a larger bust you may find it nigh on impossible to get the cowl measurement the same on the bodice and the facing.  When I did the pattern in 1/4 scale for the workshop I used a Winnifred Aldrich standard size 12 block, and it worked just fine.  But with a non-standard size the numbers just didn’t play ball.  In the end I re-shaped the facing to fit the longer length altered neckline on the front pattern piece.  It worked out ok I think!

Nice shaped back, no "tenting"!
Nice shaped back, no “tenting”!

I am sorry if these pics seem slightly blurred, Daughter No2 doesn’t seem to be able to hold a camera steady!

I'm definitely making more of these!
I’m definitely making more of these!

And a wobbly self portrait to finish off!  I took this last night, immediately after finishing it.  I was so happy that it had worked out even better than I had imagined!

DSC00102Right, I’m off to draft the other facings! Oh, and to get started on the duck egg corduroy jacket.  I was in Birmingham on Monday morning with Daughter No1 and we popped into the Fancy Silk Stores.  I got a fabulous silver Jaeger lining for the jacket, so now there are no more excuses not to get it made!

***UPDATE***

I tried out the v-neck version today, not so impressed.  I removed the v-neck facing and put the asymmetrical one in instead – MUCH better!  I think that’s the one for me then, can’t complain really!

Silver Lining takes on a darker edge

Another project finished!  I have had this beautiful blue/black silk devore for some time now.  I bought it from Rosenberg & Sons when they used to come up to Solihull with all their temptations.  They filled the Methodist Church Hall with fabric delights.

I decided at the last minute to cut it out back in May, I had a reception to go to for an old school friend’s wedding, and thought it would be just the ticket.  Except that one day was never going to be enough time, especially with my Dad visiting.  So it sat on my sewing desk all this time.

I used the pattern for the Silver Lining blouse I made earlier in the year, I haven’t made any adjustments to the pattern at all.  I am sorry I took so long to get it made up, I really like this new version!

I love this version! Perfect for winter.

It’s pretty see through stuff, so for the cuffs, collar and polo opening tabs I used a plain blue silk satin, also from Rosenberg.  The colour is slightly different to the devore, but I think it works ok.  I also used the plain satin to face the yoke front and back, and for the stay on the puffy part of the sleeve.  I will definitely be wearing a cami or vest top under this blouse!  All the seams are French seams, there is no way you want to see fluffy seam allowances through this fabric!

I am in two minds about something though.  On this version I have not put a button on the polo tab.  I looked through my stash and had nothing that was right.  If the size and colour were suitable, the weight wasn’t.  So for now there isn’t one.  What do you think, should I just leave it off and have it open like this?

We went out for afternoon tea after taking these pics, I think we deserved something yummy!

Apricot tart and cherry clafoutis

Now I need to get back to that leaf print linen……  If I can manage to keep my sticky fingers out of the Fancy Silk Store tomorrow.    :s