Late Summer Sewing

Catching up on all those clothes I sewed for the girls last month!  You know the trend for paperbag waistlines in skirts and trousers?  Well this is that, but at the neckline of a top!  It’s another one of the “wants” on daughter no 2’s long list.  The pattern is 121A from the November 2015 issue of BurdaStyle, shown in the magazine in green satin.  Daughter no2 chose black cotton voile from the stash.

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The pattern itself is deadly simple, only a couple of pieces required and an afternoon to sew and you’re done!  I French seamed the insides for neatness and double turned the hem.  The paperbag neckline is formed by inserting a bias cut drawstring into a casing formed at the base of the self-faced collar.  Gathering the collar gives it height and texture, you just need to rearrange the folds in the top.

It’s turned out quite well, despite my initial misgivings when I finished it and arranged it on Betty.  But it looks great on and she loves it!  I delivered it to her 3 weeks ago now, and apparently, she’s worn it loads (sometimes not bothering to iron it first…)   I guess you could say that’s a good sign!  So that’s another #BurdaChallenge2018 project done.

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By the way, this gorgeous skirt she’s wearing was one I made last year!  I ended up putting an invisible zip in the centre back seam because she found the concealed button front so annoying!

I have many other projects made during the last month, such a backlog to show you!

 

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So I’m adding a pair of shorts to this post!  Daughter No2 is really happy with them and has announced that next summer, if I’d like, I can make many more of these!  The pattern is 107 from July 2016 Burda.  I cut the 38, but graded back to the 36 from the high hip to the waist.  No other adjustments were needed.

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Details

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The fabric came out of the stash, and it had been waiting a good couple of years for the right project to come along!  I’d bought this 1m remnant piece from Clothspot in a sale thinking I’d make a skirt for the girls, but no…  It’s a crisp blue linen with white stripes.  The pocket pieces are lined, but instead of using fabric I didn’t have, and increasing linen-ey bulk, I chopped up one of the other half’s no-longer-wearable shirts and used that instead!  I did have to make sure I lined up the stripes on the pockets and front pieces properly, it would have stood out too badly if I hadn’t!

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The fit is fabulous, I’m really happy with that, and the length is just right too.  The cuffs and tie make them a little more casual than they could be without.  So I can definitely see more of these coming out of the sewing room next summer.

 

 

 

Soul Time

I know you’re expecting to be seeing my nice new dress today, but instead of sewing this weekend, I decided to spend the time with my girls.  The dress will come, but first, here’s a project I finished last week.

Chippping away at the long list Daughter No2 has left for me to make up, I decided to make a couple of the tops this month.  The pattern is 106A from the February issue of BurdaStyle, 2017.  The fabric chosen is a lovely warm grey polyester something or other left over from her 6th Form Leavers Ball dress.  It has a lovely drape and weight, but one massive disadvantage.  It will not be ironed.  If you were to make it hot enough to press, you’d melt the fabric.  So – fun with flounces in a poly fabric that won’t iron flat….

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Burda Top 106A February 2017

Luckily I didn’t have to fight for space to put the pieces on the left over fabric, there was a decent size piece without awkward bits.  I had decided that all the insides would be French seamed to keep it all nice and neat.  One thing to be carefull of when you make this top, the neck facing isn’t attached until you’re finished faffing with the flounce, so it’s easy to stretch that v out.  Make sure you stabilise it before you start sewing anything else, otherwise you’ll be cursing…

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The flounce is hemmed before you attach it to the body, and it goes on in sections.  I have to add that I was really greatful that it was the pattern with illustrated instructions in this issue, I don’t think I’d have got the placement of the flounce right without it!  Once the flounce has been attached, the facings go in and the side seams sewn.  Then you’re pretty much on the home stretch.

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I used every pin in my pincushion to keep that flounce hem in place and decided to hand stitch it in place because I didn’t want the curve to stretch out.  So it all took a while to finish.  Because I hand stitched the armhole bias binding too – of course!

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I love how the flounce drops, the box pleat in the centre front gives great shape and the length is just perfect.  Daughter No2 came home this weekend and was really looking forward to trying on her new clothes!  This top looks great on her, the colour (as we already knew) suits her and, being grey, goes with just about everything.

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But will I make another?  I’m in no particular hurry…

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Leaving you with a pic of my two monsters. All growed up.

 

Esenciales

A little sewing procrastination happened after that mad “help me” post from a couple of weeks ago.  In order for me to get all my thoughts in order and ducks in a row, I decided a quick detour would be a good idea.  I had a piece of red and white viscose crepe left over from a blouse I’d made in January for the Burdachallege 2018.  I also had a pattern I’d traced 106 from April 2013 Burda, it’s only got 4 pieces, quick and easy!  I’d rather liked the look in the magazine when it first came out, but never really got round to making it.

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Top 106 April 2013

This year, while I was tracing a pair of shorts from the same magazine for Daughter No2, I remembered this top and traced that too.  A quick toile revealed it was too long for me (5cm) but didn’t need anything else, no FBA! Yippee!  Now one thing to remember, if I were to go by measurements, the 44 would not fit me.  In order for the top to look on my the way it does on the model, I’d need to go up 2-3 sizes.  But there’s no way I’d want to wear it like that!  All I want is a loose-fitting top with a bit of ease – not a tent!  So bear that in mind when judging how tops look on me, compared to someone who’d normally fit into any size bracket.

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The pattern pieces fitted on the remains of the fabric easily, neck facings were interfaced with fine sheer fusible from Gill Arnold.  You could, if you preferred, use self-bias binding for the neck edges instead of the facings.  The style is a loose fitting top with pleats at the front neckline with slight drop shoulder and no sleeves.  The pleats were basted in place and steamed to hold the shape until I sewed on the facing.

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I used French seams throughout and double turned the hem edges on the sleeve openings and the hem of the garment.  It’s turned out really nicely and I like that I have another red top for the summer!  I have worn the original red top from January loads of times, it gets compliments all the time.  So now I have a summer one!  Thankfully the shape is great for the current weather, and now I want another.  I’m sure I have some small pieces of fabric lurking in the stash that I could use in this pattern, but first….

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I must get on with reducing the piles of fabric and pagazines/patterns on the table in my sewing room and covering the bed in the guest room!  I can say that I have made one of the items I rambled about last time, that inky blue linen/cupro blend.  And it’s made fabulous cropped trousers!  Will be showing those off soon…

 

Japanese Inspiration

I love the way the internet and sewcial media can influence and inspire us (usually solitary) sewists.  I’ve been following Jing – @jingandtonic, on Instagram for a while now, and I always like what she’s wearing.  I like the shapes, the colours and her choice of fabrics.  She uses a lot of Japanese sewing books to create her handmade wardrobe, and it’s a good look.  The more I saw, the more I was inspired to translate a bit of that into my wardrobe.

Now let’s face it, I am not a 30-something ethnic Chinese lady, so there’s no way the Japanese sizes will ever fit me, and some of those shapes will never suit either – but it’s not about copying.  So, inspired by all that, I ordered Clean and Natural on Etsy, and Kana’s Standard I and II on Amazon.  I also looked through my copy of She Wears the Pants with new eyes.  There are definitely shapes in that book I can use.

While I wait for all the books to arrive, I started a little something.  I was digging in the stash for something that I ended up not finding (think it’s been used or given away already) and “re-found” a certain 2m length of an almost gingham weave linen blend in shades of teal, grey and dark damson.  It came from Croft Mill years ago!  It was one of those pieces I loved, but was unsure about using – not wanting to end up looking like a cowboy wannabe.  But my brain was still in Japanese structural shape mode and the lightbulb went on!

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I thought it woud be fabulous made in the pattern I used for the windowpane top in the January Burda challenge.   A quick check that the pattern actually fitted on the width of the fabric later and I was convinced.  This would work!  I quickly abandoned the March burda challenge projects mid-sew and made the top!  I made it exactly the same as the first top, all the adustments had worked out perfectly so I had no reason to faff with the pattern.

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Burda top 121 January 2012

I love the result!  The fabric has enough body that it doesn’t drape or hang, but is not so stiff that it feels like I’m wearing a box!  And I love it with my Birkin Flares!!!  It’s going to be fabulous to wear in the spring (when it finally arrives) and on those rainy, slightly chilly summer days.  There really is nothing bad I can say about it.

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For someone who does not wear a lot of pattern, especially a large pattern, this top is great!  I’m perfectly comfortable in it, and don’t feel like it’s wearing me.  Now I want to make some more slim-fitting pants/trousers for the summer to wear with it, because I don’t think it’ll work with my usual wide leg trousers.  There will be just too much width!  I think with boxy shapes, it’s definitely about proportion.

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Front detail

So, what will I make next with this new look?  Not sure.  I will be pattern cutting anything that takes my fancy from the Japanese books.  I need the books to see the shapes and proportions they use, so my patterns can be sort of correct.  I definitely will be making some of the tops, I love loose fitting stuff in the summer, I get way too hot in clingy stuff.  I like the air to circulate!!

But in the mean time, I have March Burda patterns to make!!  How is everyone getting on with the Burdachallenge2018?  And the #sewyourstash challenge? And anything else going on in the sewcial sewing world…

Argentum

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Burda top 105 02/2016

The fourth, and most definitely not the last version of this top, Burda 105 from February 2016.  This is the result of a nice big stash bust!  In moving fabric from the original stash position in my bedroom cupboard, to it’s new home in the guest room cupboard (until it has a “permanent” home in the sewing room), I came across this gorgeous metallic silver embroidered linen.  I bought it in 2009 to make a corset.  Needless to say the corset has never seen the light of day, but I did have a decent amount of the fabric left-over to be useful.

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Combined with a small piece of cream linen from the scrapbox, which thankfully matched the embroidery, this top was born!  I think I might be able to make these in my sleep now.  I wish I could, at any rate!  Sewing in your sleep while still a. producing something wearable, and b. getting much needed rest would be a super power I could deal with.  The metallic linen is sturdier than the cream, because of the metallic finish and the embroidery.  This gives the top a more boxy shape than any of the other versions, which I quite like. I love wearing it with my Birkin Flares.

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I’ve had many comments on the top, it’s not often you see a lovely fabric like this.  I am concerned that the metallic finish might wash off (given the rotation it’s currently enjoying in my wardrobe, this is a major worry!), so I’m washing on a handwash cycle in the machine for now.  It doesn’t like the iron, so needs to be pressed on the reverse.

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I had to cut the back without a fold and meant to use a centre seam, but in the cutting out, because I hadn’t marked that it still needed seam, I cut along the back edge.  Clever…  However, because the fabric was to be a corset and I still had all the bits left over, I had a pile of cut and pressed self bias binding.  So using a 5mm seam on each back piece, a bias strip now forms the centre back.  It looks like it’s supposed to be there on the outside, so I’m not complaining.  So another successful stashbust for me!

Fade to Grey

I’ve been making lots of grey items this year, it’s a colour I really like, especially for the winter.  It’s going to be overtaken by blue for the spring and summer soon!  Back in January, or maybe even February, I finally made the Lark Tee.  It had been on the list to make last Spring, then bumped to Autumn, and now it’s finally done.

The fabric is a pale silvery grey viscose jersey from Croft Mill Fabric, also bought early last year.  It is lovely and soft, with good drape.  I used the copy shop version of the Grainline Studio pattern, this being the first pattern from Grainline that I’ve made.  I chose the scoop neckline with three quarter sleeves.  I made a 3cm FBA, which I now think I could have done without in the size I made – either that or add the FBA to the smaller size.

The instructions are clear and concise, there’s not much to making a tee really!  The shoulder seams were stabilised with iron on tape, and I feel that this fabric could have done with something on the neckline too, but not the iron on stuff, it makes it too stiff.  But without any stabilisation the neckline tends to drift downwards during the day.  Fabric with good drape will droop!

This is also the first time I’ve attempted blog photos myself.  Without any daughters at home and a hubby who just doesn’t “get” what I’m trying for, I’ve tried doing the photos on the self timer on my phone.  Nothing like taking millions of pics of yourself to make you feel self-conscious and a bit silly!

Another top that had been on the sewing list for a while is from last February’s Burda magazine (103 2/16), it has a hi-low hem, woven in the back and jersey in front and on the sleeves.  I had thought it would be good in a linen jersey that I got from Ditto Fabrics, either last year or the one before, with some silk left over from a previous project on the back.  But before I committed my nice linen jersey, I definitely wanted a toile!!

I cut the 44, adding a small FBA, and due to fabric shortages had to cut a yoke for the back, with the pleat falling from that, rather than from just below the neckline.

I’m fairly chuffed with it, probably will shorten the back hem a bit, you end up sitting on it so it gets all creased and crumpled – not a good look in pretty silk.  I’d also need to enlarge the sleeve in the bicep area for the linen jersey.  In this pale grey from Fancy Silks in Birmingham, the sleeve is ok, there is enough stretch, but the linen hasn’t got as much give.  I need to drop the darts a couple of centimetres and might also make the FBA a little bigger – just in case!  It must be right for the linen and silk!

I’ve worn this top loads since it was finished back in early-mid March, so that must mean it’s a successful toile – and very wearable!

I’ve managed a few more self-timer photos of some other tops made this month, hopefully they’ll be online soon.  I want to make a pair of Morgan Jeans for the summer, started a toile this week which wasn’t altogether great, so I’m working out the gremlins there.  I already have the fabric – bought it last year with the pattern when it first came out…..

Purple Haze

Phew!  A project that worked!  It is fair to say that this project has been way more successful than the poor dress…

Purple Haze Ruffled Top

So this was made from the easy fitting bodice block.  At first I thought I’d adapt the block to make it a dropped shoulder and lowered armscye…  Not successful!  I toiled it up and wasn’t impressed.  The easy fitting block is loose anyway, but with the added 10cm from the adaptation it was swimming on me!  It was rather hideous.  So I went back to the table and just did a dropped shoulder.  I moved the bust dart from the shoulder to the underarm, and shortened it quite a bit.  I only wanted a small amount of shaping as the fabric is supposed to have some room to drape.

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The shoulder was dropped by 5cm, which really seems to be the limit.  I am quite happy with it.  I used French seams on all the seams, and double turned the hem so there are no edges showing anywhere.  The facing was cut a little wide to support the ruffles.  Initially I was going to have 3 rows, but the two work just fine,  I think it would have been too much to have another.  This pattern really worked well.  I have some other fine, fluid fabrics that this would work in, or I could come up with something else…

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Now usually I wouldn’t buy a polyester, I prefer to work with natural fibres, but when I saw this georgette online at Ditto Fabrics, I had to have it.  The colour just screamed: “BUY ME!!!”

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