It’s February!

It seems I just can’t stop making knickers!  I’ve made another 4 pairs to add to the previous 7, making that 11 now.  They have gone to the daughters and a friend, and they love them.  I got a message from the friend after she got hers saying:  “I bloody love my pants!!”  Daughter no 2 has proclaimed them the best fitting pants ever – no vpl, no digging in.  They are a complete success!

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Pretty as a picture! Acacia Knickers from Megan Nielsen
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Floral edge knicker elastic, found by chance in my stash!

I found some pretty floral edge knicker elastic hidden in a different box, so used that on some blue viscose knickers.  I also dug out some bows and ribbon rosebuds.  I had intended to use some on all the pants, but forgot…  So it’s just these four that have the extra decoration, but they won’t be the only ones.  There’s more, pretty coloured elastic on the way to me, and I found a couple of tees I no longer wear to cut up!  I might be making these in dribs and drabs all year…

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I’ve enjoyed looking out coloured elastics and digging out lingerie decorative items for those finishing touches.

This weekend I made yet another Burda top for my mum.  It is her one and only favourite pattern, #143, March 2004.  Sewn Bristol had a destash on Instagram a couple of weeks ago and I snapped up just over a metre of each of the red and blue tropical cotton poplin print.  It’s got French seams, double turned hems and a bias trimmed neckline.  I’ll be running up the red version in the next few weeks too, and then I need to get them shipped safely to South Africa without any pilfering fingers going off with them.

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I also tried something new this week… I started knitting!!  I know, I’m just as shocked!  I found the wool in a charity shop, looked up suitable beginner patterns online, found a non-beginner one and went for it!  I remembered how to do the rib part but needed help with the pattern for the rest.  I joined a group of local knitters on Friday afternoon and soon was on my way.  I ripped out loads, almost dumping it in the bin.  But I stuck with it all Sunday and finally today finished it!  I made a hat! 🙂  It’s even wearable…

So in addition to another top for mum, and making more knickers than I could ever have thought possible, I need to decide on stuff for February’s instalment of the BurdaStyle Challenge 2018.  I have to admit that this month’s issue is jam packed with perfectly make-able patterns.  I’ve had a little browse through previous year’s February issues and this one still tops the numbers in options.  So I need to get on with it!!

Looking back at 2017

I kept much better records of my sewing adventures this year, so I thought I’d take a good look through them to see what truths lay beneath!  There are a few projects that were never blogged for many reasons, some that got scrapped and never even got to the WIP stage, and some I’ve sort of counted twice..  Those are the self drafted ones, the pattern and toile counted as one project, the actual garment (if it got made) was seperate.

I also thought it would be interesting to see just how much stash I got through, it certainly felt like I’d used quite a bit, until I look in the cupboard.  I also made a fair few fabric purchases, but after going through everything, I only have 6 pieces left that I bought and haven’t yet turned into fully functioning garments.  And that’s purely due to time!  So I’m calling success on the the “not growing the stash” goal this year!

So how did I really do?  Well, there were a total of 82 projects.  Two were scrapped, one because the fabric and pattern turned out to be incompatible & the other because the recipient told me too late that she didn’t like what I was making, fabric or pattern.  Hmpf.  Oh well, onwards and upwards!  A large majority of the projects were for yours truly, the other lucky recipients are my girls and my mum, with 10 projects going to “others”!

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Half of my sewing was for me!

Pattern usage has been heavily biased to the Burdastyle magazine patterns, not really a huge surprise!  The next most used brand is Named, purely because of the Talvikki Sweater.  The Toaster Sweater from Sew House 7 was also much used and I can see that continuing.

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Patterns Brands used, & how many I made!

Obviously the Burda patterns featured heavily, so they are amongst my most used, the cropped trousers from May are one, as are the culottes from the February issue.  Those Talvikki and Toaster Sweaters were very popular with the girls.

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Most used patterns

As you know, I love my trousers, don’t wear dresses and this year for the first time in ages, made myself a skirt!  So to see just how many of what I was making, I made a new graph!

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Tops, trousers and tees are my most commonly sewn items!

The dresses that show up didn’t even stay in-house, all four projects were for friends!  The PJ coloumn took off after I’d made all those pjs for Christmas, and Christmas had a hand in growing that sweater coloumn too.  All in all, I think it’s been a rather successful and productive year for me, sewing wise.  And look at what I did with my stash…

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Stashbusting!!!

Even though I bought a decent amount of fabric this year, nearly all of it has been sewn up!  I only have 6 pieces of fabric bought this year that I’ve not had time to use up, coating for Mr W’s winter coat, 3m of grey cashmere for a coat for myself, ponte for a sweater for daughter no2 and one for me, 3m of oilskin to make a Tosti for myself and 2m of wool for another pair of trousers – also for me!  I’m really chuffed that none of it has ended up in the stash proper.  It hasn’t gone anywhere near the cupboard!

So, plans for next year.  THIS YEAR!!  Well, I really want to get Mr W’s coat done, and one for me too.  I have a piece of camel cashmere in the stash that I thought would make a good Bamboo coat.  Shouldn’t take too long and will give me time to decide on what pattern to use for my grey cashmere.  Those projects I’d like to get on with pretty quickly, and also get those trousers and sweater made so there’s almost nothing left from last year’s purchases to put in the stash.

Here’s to another year of creating and sharing, and may my the stash be smaller at the end of it all!  Happy New Year, may 2018 be good to you!

Stashbusting Trousers

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There’s a lot of sewing to catch up on, so here goes.  Two years ago I made a purchase of two pieces of grey wool (amongst other things – of course) from Croft Mill Fabrics.  One of the pieces of wool is a suiting weight blend of viscose and mohair, and really wasn’t what I’d expected when it turned up!  I pictured something thicker and warmer – snuggly…  This was fine, had a sheen and was rather fluid.  So it went into the stash until I could come up with something.

Eventually, after making this pair of Burda trousers earlier in the year, I decided to reuse the pattern and finally make up the silver grey fabric.  Go stashbusting!  I opted for the longer length view and the mini turn ups, leaving off the welt pockets at the back.  I don’t use the ones on the other trousers at all, and it’s just annoying to have to iron the darn things flat each time.

I used the same fitting alterations as the last time, but didn’t shorten the pattern at all! There is no stretch in this fabric at all, and it’s shown that I probably need to make a chunky calf adjustment.  It wasn’t a problem with the last pair because of the stretch content.  Because the fabric is so thin and fine I decided to add a little something and raided my linings bag for something suitable to line the trousers.  I picked out a green viscose lining and used it to half line the fronts.

There are no contrast fabrics anywhere else, the waistband and pockets are all in the main fabric.  I’m really happy with the result, although I can see that they may not make it all the way through winter, being so thin.  But they’re surprisingly warm(-ish).  I love the mini turn-ups, and the finished length is perfect for wearing with heels or my silver brouges.  Definitely making another sometime.  I’ve worn them once a week since I made them, which is a good sign!

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Love these little cuffs!

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More catching up to come, although it won’t be stashbusting…

 

Roads Untravelled

And patterns unmade!  There’s one problem with buying Burda magazines every month for the last 20 years.  I have loads and loads and loads of patterns that I thought I’d make but have not got round to.  During Me Made May this year I spotted a rather nice top on my IG feed.  Turns out the pattern was one from a Burda magazine that I’d marked to make – you know the rest!

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top 124 Burda 05/2015

Having identified a lack of white tops in my wardrobe, it was decided to make the pattern up in some gorgeous white viscose voile from Croft Mill.  This fabric is to die for, just beautiful (but no longer available!).  Having bought 2 metres and found just how lovely it was, I immediately got another 3 to hide in the stash!  I know I’m supposed to be clearing it out, but this will be a useful stash, white never goes out of fashion.  *whispers* and I could always die it…

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The pattern is 124 from May 2015, available from the Burdastyle site as a download here.  I traced the 44 and added just the length part of a FBA as there was plenty of width for me.  I used the seam across the bust to add a total 3cm in length.  Seems to have worked pretty well.  Necklines too close to the neck aren’t usually my thing, I feel like I’m being strangled!  Scoop and v-necks are more my look, but this works.  The keyhole opening gives interest to the front (no mono-boob) and there’s enough room at the neck not to feel choked.

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French seams and double turned hems keep the insides all neat and tidy and the bias edges are lovely for the neckline.  I’ve worn this top at least one a week since making it, pretty much as soon as it’s clean and ironed, I’m wearing it again!  I think I need more white viscose voile tops!  The button is a vintage glass find from a local antique shop, so pretty!

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The silk version

I think it’s a good pattern for mixing and matching too, using scraps and odd ends of fabrics.  Just to test that theory I made another from stashed fabrics.  This top started with a piece of devine blue silk satin bought from Rosenberg and Son years and years ago (it was one of those you have to get, despite not having any idea when you’ll use it).  It was narrow and I’d cut bits out of the one end to use in a blouse about 5 years ago.  funny, that exact fabric is what I’m using in this top!  That blouse was the thinnest silk satin devore and it holied up pretty quickly.  But, as usual, I hadn’t thrown it out.

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My new top would combine fabrics again, but with the plain silk satin as the dominant fabric.  The back yoke and sleeves were cut from the larger areas of the original top and the blue fabric made up the rest.  It’s beautiful!!  The satin is heavier and drapier than the viscose voile, which has the effect of pulling down more – making that keyhole opening lower..  it’s fine while standing and walking, but when sitting, it’s a little too low.  Either I live with it or I do something about it, but I’m not sure what without totally ruining the look.

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Contrast fabric forming the sleeves and back yoke

French seams were not on the table this time round, the silk was too thick and would have left bulky evidence on the right side, so the overlocker was drafted in.  Hems aren’t double turned either, this stuff is slippery as all heck and a nightmare to turn on a tight curve!  Thankfully the bias behaved itself.  I really like this pattern, why did it take me two years to get round to making it up after marking it as interesting??

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I’m definitely going to be making more, it’s a pattern that could be useful for using up all sorts of smaller pieces of fabrics, and for playing with bias yokes – thinking stripes here.  I might even change the sleeve to a three quarter length and have some for my winter wardrobe, it’s about time to start thinking of warmer clothes now, like it or not.  And coats!!

Blue Tropic

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Blue Tropic, #138 Burdastyle 8/2011

Making a start on delivering on my revised sewing plans for the last 1o days in March.  I might have been ever so slightly optimistic about what I’d get through when I changed tack in my last blog post, but we should always aim high…

So of the 7 projects I had on the new list, I managed 5.  I’d have done better but a nasty cold (man flu) held me back badly and no sewing at all was done for at least 4 days!!  That would definitely have been enough time to finish the entire list.  But no matter, those projects will be on April’s list instead.

This fabric was supposed to be realised in a different pattern, but when I made the toile of 115B 8/15, I just didn’t like it.  It was too straight, too long and I wasn’t convinced it would take me into spring and summer.  So I nicked the pattern that was supposed to be made in the cotton voile.  It was the right decision!  I just love the fabric.  It is viscose, but like no other I’ve had before.  It’s fluid and soft and has a cool touch, not to mention a fabulous sheen that makes it look like silk.  The colour is just stunning too.  The fabric was bought 5 years ago from a shop called Tatler’s in Derby.

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The front of the top has been lengthened by 10cm and the line flows well into the dipped back hem.  I also omitted the opening on the back, only having the button loops on the yoke.  It isn’t necessary to open the buttons or to have the extended opening to get the top over your head.  Those are the only changes made to the pattern.  Usually I would have used French seams on this fabric, but in the interests of a quick make, I overlocked the lot.  I do love this pattern, having made a fair few versions over the years in different fabrics.  This might just come close to beating my up-to-now-favourite, the black and white spotty silk version.

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Narrow rouleau loops encircle bronze flower buttons from the stash.
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Soft gathers from the neckband are very flattering
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Caught chatting, this is a very comfy top!

I’ve no regrets at all about switching patterns on this top, the cotton voile will be allocated a different pattern, perhaps one with ruffles….  There have been a load around on Instagram and although I’m not a ruffly person, I’m ever so slightly tempted….

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I must remember not to wear my new things too long before getting the photos taken, creases!!

Stick around, the other items on the list just need photographs (although I’ve worn a couple already).  I am missing my resident photographer and am in the process of training up Mr W.  It’s a slow process…..  😉

Welcome to my Jungle!

Jungle January - Welcome!!
Jungle January – Welcome!!

So here it is, at last!  I luuurve my new blouse, it’s everything I wanted!  After all the fuss & hassle I think I have something I can work with, put in different sleeves, add collars & mess with the shoulder line.  Overall, this is perfect!

DSC07062The print is just right, I don’t like them too big, or too busily small either.  (I sound like Goldilocks…)  I even found a photo today of another blouse in the same fabric, it’s on my Wardrobe Architect Pinterest board 🙂  The colours will go perfectly with my current & future trousers & jackets.

DSC07059So what did I do?  I moved the shoulder seam on the back forward 5cm so from the front it looks like there is a shoulder yoke.  I transferred some of the fullness from the shoulder dart into a 4cm underarm dart & converted the remainder into gathers to go into that “yoke”.  I eliminated the waist darts on the front & back & took in the side seams one extra cm so it wouldn’t be too unshaped on the sides.  I drafted a grown-on facing for the front v-neck & instead of a collar, made a long narrow tie to be sewn onto the back neck & left free from the shoulder seam.

Pattern Lay
Pattern Lay

The sleeves were slashed from the hemline to the sleeve head in two places, front & back & spread 6cm at the back hem, 3 at the front.  I also curved the hem of the sleeve 5cm outwards (downwards?) to make more of a “pouff”.  The sleeve hem is gathered into a narrow band.The hem of the blouse is shaped like a shirt hem, with the sides being 5cm shorter than the centre front & back.  I like a shaped hem, it gives the impression of more shape underneath!  🙂

DSC07065-1For the construction, I used French seams throughout, little squares of interfacing under the buttons & buttonholes & double turned hem.  I didn’t want any part of the blouse to have structure, keeping the nature of the viscose to drape & hang.

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Now I am full of ideas of how to use this as a basic pattern from which to make all sorts of variations.  Problem is, I’m pretty sure I need to go fabric shopping because most of my fabrics are meant for the girls, not me!  This could cause a bit of a problem as I signed up for the big stashbusting effort with Lelie from Bouquet of Buttons.  I did fairly well with my stashbusting efforts last year, but I still have plenty to get through.  I will do the same as last year, using 2 pieces from the stash before being “allowed” to buy one new piece.  Unfortunately this leopard print is not from the stash!  I bought it this year specifically for the Jungle January project.

So I guess I’d better make more for the girls, or use some of the stash for my Vintage Belle projects so I can free-up some fabric shopping for me!  🙂