Gold Peacock Trousers

What a title!  😉  This is a project that’s been long waiting to be shown off.  The pattern for the trousers is from the July issue of BurdaStyle 2019, number 120.  I knew when I saw the photo in the magazine that it would appeal to at least one of the girls, if made in the “right fabric”.  As always, that’s the crucial bit of any successful project!  As predicted, one said, “Hmm…” and the other, “Ooooo!”  I’ll let you figure out which was which  🙂

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Trousers 120 Burdastyle 07/2019

I traced the 36 and toiled it in August, doing a fitting over the bank holiday weekend at the end of the month.  All I really needed to do was narrow the waist around 1.5cm, and that was it!  I like an easy fit!!  I had thought there might be a length issue, but it seems the hem is in the right place, even for someone with rather long legs.

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Burda trousers 120 07/2019

I atually decided against physically narrowing the side seams etc, because this pattern has a sneaky hidden half belt that uses wide elastic attached to the side seams that fastens in the front with a buckle.  Sooo, I just made the elastic a bit shorter, and it pulls the waistband in.  This also means that if daughter no 2 has a heavy lunch, there’s a bit of give!

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Belt detail

The fabric we chose is a piece we bought while on holiday in South Africa.  It comes from a little shop in East London (Eastern Cape) called Bessie’s.  Daughter No 2 did well at this shop, spending about R1 000, which, when you convert to pounds is around £50, but she got way more than what you’d get here in Blighty for the same amount of money!  Three pieces of African wax were chosen, and this is one of them.  It has a pale yellow ground, large “peacock” eyes (or leaves…) filled in with gold and very dark green (not black!) outlines and stripes.  It is also relatively narrow, so with the wide legs of the pants pieces, I used a fair bit of the 3m we bought.  I didn’t try to pattern match….

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The making was pretty standard, pockets sit on the outside of the front and should have had a flap at the bottom, but we left that off, it does nothing.  I found the amount required for the elastic to be excessive, even given I needed to reduce the amount so it actually pulled a bit, so if you don’t have exactly the amount required in the notions section, don’t stress.  It took a while to get a buckle though.  In the magazine, they’ve used a standard black plastic bag buckle, but that would have spoilt the look.  In the end I found a bronze metal buckle in a haberdashery shop in Plymouth at the end of September that was the right width, and looked much better than a black plastic one!

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So these pants were finally handed over to their happy recipient two weeks ago, who definitely plans to wear them this autumn, with tights, boots and a nice warm jumper and jacket!  I’m pretty happy that she’s happy, and glad that they haven’t gone straight into the summer clothes boxes in the loft.  I think there may be another version of this pattern on the cards, but we need to find that elusive “right fabric” again.

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A Little Catch Up

 

The blog posting hasn’t really gone to plan in the last couple of months, and neither is it how I normally would work!  I’ve been spending a lot more time on the allotment, especially with the veggies (time consuming little buggers), and sewing for Daughter No2, who isn’t at home and therefore makes it tricky to get photos of finished garments.  Today though, I’ve got a couple of items I made for myself.  A while ago I said I had plans to make another LB Pullover and possibly a Uvita Top.  Well, those have been made, and worn, and I only now have some photos for you.

 

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Uvita Top by Itch to Stitch

I have to admit, that as far as 3/4 sleeve tees go, I find it hard to beat the Uvita.  I’ve also used the Lark Tee with the 3/4 sleeve option, but the Uvita is just so easy to wear.  The fabric was bought from a fellow sewist who was using  Instagram to destash.  I think it was originally from Fabworks – a dusky blue and sort of beige stripe viscose jersey with good drape.  The only downside was its determination to curl to the right side – which made the neck treatment on the tee just ever so slightly tricky.  Let’s just say a tailor’s ham and lots of pins were used…

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So easy to wear!

Then the LB Pullover – was there ever such a quick “sweatshirt” to make?  This is the size 14, I’d sized down from the original 16 some time ago, and I think it’s just right for me – for now.  Fabric came from Rosenberg & sons a couple of years ago, has a cool texture and is a lovely blue.  But then all blues are lovely.  I had intended to make some of these tops in linen over the summer, but I guess I’ll just have to get to that plan next year!

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Warm and cosy on a wet, rainy day!

Then the last of the “show-offs” for today are the trousers I made a few weeks ago, Burda 115 from May 2019.  I’m still on the wearable toile, haven’t found “proper” fabric yet, but I like the pants, style and fit.  I wasn’t sure about the big pleat in the front – but the other half has no problems in deciding.  He doesn’t like it.  So I have to ask, are pants with pleats on the front flattering to me, or not?

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These are the size 42, with a leg length adjustment, 3cm shorter than the pattern was drafted.  Apologies for the photo quality, I’m using my phone’s forward camera and it’s not the best…

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So – yes to the pleats, or no???

Sewing Plans Progress

Sewing continues, I’ve been toiling and trying to use up scraps in equal measure.  I’ve finally found a use for the patchwork of left over fabrics – large cushion covers for daughter no 2.  I’ve also made a blue and rust cushion cover for myself, to use at the allotment.  It used left over fabric from other projects and looks good a cheerful on my turquoise chairs!  I need to get a photo for you!

As far as toiles go, the working toile of the trousers, 115 May 2019 has worked out well, no alterations needed.  I do need to find a suitable fabric though, I don’t think there’s one in the stash.

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The working toile of 115 05/2019

On the other hand though, I have at least make one pair of trousers for the changing seasons – the Teddy Designer Pants have been remade for cooler weather in a lovely soft pale grey wool.  I locked myself away in the sewing room for a whole day and just concentrated on making them, which was lovely.  Even though the weather was good and I should have been out in the allotment.

However – I was having such a good time sewing that I made a little booboo.  I managed to fold the pleat on the front the wrong way!  And this I only realised once I happily put them on to revel in my new trousers.  So….  now they’re in the altering pile.  How annoying!

On the good side though, Daughter No 2 loves the toile of the trousers 120 August 2019, and it looks like they need no alterations or adjustments whatsoever.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t the same with Daughter No1.  Not only did they not fit well, but they just didn’t suit her.  Not the right style.  I still have to toile 107, also from August 2019, the pattern is all traced and ready, but the allotment is a fickle place and doesn’t like the competition! 🙂

I have finished the two tops I had planned to make in jersey fabric, making a navy blue LB Pullover from a textured jersey I got from Rosenberg & Sons two years ago at the NEC, and a blue and beige(?) striped Uvita, fabric bought from a sewist who was destashing on Instagram.  I need someone to be around to take photos of all these things, so for now all I have is a selfie…

Daughter No 2 has been the recipient of a new blouse, again, I’ve no photos of her in it yet, but she’s assured me that she likes it, but maybe next time make it a little shorter.  The top in question is 120 from June 2019, made in Liberty Lawn from the stash.  Yay for stashbusting!  The mint buttons are from the button stash too.

Daughters No 1’s vintage 80s vogue patterns have arrived and are partway through the toiling process, so now it’s wait and find out time.  I really hope they they work out, the pink worsted wool I have in mind for the “cross dressing women” pattern is just devine!  But first, I have to plant late potatoes to have some to harvest in time for Christmas, get the vegetable allotment ready for autumn sowings of broad beans & peas, and get ready to plant shallots, onions and garlic to overwinter!  And continue, in the meantime, to harvest and find interesting ways to eat rather a lot of courgettes….

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Big, bumblebees on the globe thistle in the cutting garden
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My first ever pepper! On the vegetable plot.

Work in Progress Wednesday 7/19

I have been making progress with the sewing for everyone, mostly tracing patterns and toiling so far, but I have one decision made.  The trousers 115 from May Burda 2019 were pronounced the “wrong thing” for both daughters, after I’d traced and toiled the pattern, but before any of them had managed to try on the toile!  Anyway, I still like the look, so quickly “tried on” the 36 – by which I mean I put one leg in to see where the length got me – and decided to shorten the pattern in the leg by 3cm to get the hem where it hits the model, and cut what I very much hope is a wearable toile for myself!

The fabric is a piece of wool I found in a charity shop locally last year, grey with hints of pale blue in a windowpane check.  Fingers crossed now!   Based on the fact that I’m still taking in my trousers made before in size 44, I’ve taken a risk and gone for the 42 this time.  Now I really need those fingers to be crossed.

I made a certain attempt to get the checks to line up, if I really am going to be able to wear these, I’d prefer it for the stripes and checks to at least attempt to match!  The instructions were only slightly ignored – well, I didn’t ignore them, but I did re-organise them.  The darts and pleats and pockets were constructed as per instructions, but I changed the front opening details a bit.  Only because it’s tricky doing all that work with extra trouser pieces hanging around, so I left off the back pieces.  The instructions for actually constructing the button fly are dead easy, it all goes together in the absolutely right way.

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Constructing the front fly

I sewed the straight part of the back seam next, and added the back waistband. Then the front pieces got their waistbands and the out and in-seams were sewn.  Finally I finished the crotch seam and, with many fingers crossed, put my new pants on.  oooo, did I need to breath in!!!  Just goes to show when you get cocky, the sewing fairies bite back! 🙂  I might be taking my size 44 trousers in all over the pace, but with this particular style, I am not yet ready for the size 42….

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Front, back and side. Overall, not bad, but definitely too tight in the waist! Please ignore the no-smile face! 🙂

Thank heavens for that side seam sewn all in one with the waistband!  I hadn’t sewn the inner waistband down yet, so all I did was change the seam allowance to a mere 5mm on the waistband, and graded/tapered that new seamline into the original line by about 10cm below the pocket.  They’re more comfortable to put on and pin shut now, and I recon when I put them on in the morning, they’ll feel even better! Of course, the checks lined up so beautifully with the 1.5cm seam, and now things are a little off.

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Let out in the waist, they’re more comfortable to wear now!

This fabric has no movement in it, so no stretching during the day.  I think I might get away with wearing this pair, I will definitely need to trace the 44 from around 10cm below the hipline up to the waistline, and there needs to be a slight adjustment done in the back, there are some draglines under the bum that will need to be fixed for the final pair.  But these are useable…  I have buttons that are suitable, so just need to get that waistband finished off, make buttonholes and get the hem done.  But what fabric to make the final pair in?

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Choosing the colours and placement of silk strips

In other scrapbusting and stashbusting news, I have finally done something useful with a bit of cross-stitch embroidery I did, around 2 years ago.  I’d wanted to do something with it, but wasn’t sure what, or how.  I didn’t fancy a picture, mounted and framed.  Last week I had a brainwave – raid the silks box for brightly coloured bits of dupion silk and make a patchwork of sorts.  Then make it into a cushion cover.  I started by deciding how big the final embroidery piece would be, then worked out the strips of different colours based on the overall size of the cushion.  I wanted asymmetry with the piece, but not massivly so.  So the strips of silk on the left are slightly wider than the one of the right, and the strips on the top are deeper than that on the bottom.  I love the combination of silks, they pick out the colours of the blue tits and blossoms really well.  It’ll be going to Daughter No2 to brighten up her living room.

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The finished silk cushion. Do I really need to give it away??

Spring Green

With the Equinox on the 21st, it’s finally officially Spring here in the UK, and I’ve got a nice new springy green pair of trousers to show off!  I’d been after an interesting pair of linen trousers for a while, and was thinking of drafting something when I took a quick look at the Style Arc website.  They tend to have interesting designs and I thought I might be inspired somewhere along the line.

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Teddy Designer Pants from Style Arc

After a fairly short browse, I’d found 2 patterns I liked, one in particular.  In the end, I just bought the pattern!  Now this is my very first Style Arc pattern, despite them being very popular amongst certain areas of the sewing world, I’ve never bought one.  And here’s why.  Up to now, they’ve only been available in your size, although you get the size above and below your chosen size as well.  But – these are seperate patterns, not nested, so it makes blending between sizes interesting, also, if I’m going to be dropping good money on a pattern, I want to be able to make it for more than just one person.  I want more than 3 sizes.  You could also only get PDF download versions in millions of A4 pages to stick together – something I particularly dislike, or wait for the pattern sheets to be sent from Australia, paying postage & customs charges on the way, making this an expensive pattern that had better be good!  It was a pleasant surprise to find that this particular pattern not only came in multiple sizes, but they were nested and the PDF was available in A4 as well as a copy shop version.  Sold!  Now, if they start doing this with all the other patterns, Burda will have a real run for their money!  I wanted a couple more, but they weren’t available in the same format.  No matter, I’ll keep my eyes peeled and hope I can get them later once the multi-size copy shop versions become more available, here’s the link for all the multi-size patterns currently available.

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So, on to this one, the pattern I’ve been rambling about is the Teddy Designer Pants.  Pants, not pant!  Here goes another rant, why only one?  I have two legs, and want a pair of pants/trousers!  *breathe* I fell for the nice deep, long pleat down the middle of the trouser legs, sewn down from the hem and the waistband for about 20cm, the slight cocoon shape to the outside leg seam, the wide, shaped waistband and narrow hem. Basically, all the design features! 😀  I had some olive (bright) green washed linen in the stash that was begging for an interesting pattern, and I had just enough!

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Now, last time I mentioned there has been a little change of measurements around here.  Earlier in the year the #SewMySize hashtag did the rounds on Instagram, showing “ordinary” sewists with their measurements with the hope that indi pattern companies in particular would recognise the range of body sizes and shapes out there and cater to all.  I posted this photo.

But I’ve changed by eating habits and now I have new measurements, which means making different sizes! Woohoo! However, it also means I have a large pile of clothes that I need to make smaller so they don’t fall off me.  I’ll be adjusting for summer, rather than sewing for summer!  So, in the interest of openess and helping you to choose your size, these are the new measurements.

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I traced the 16 and 14, based on those measurements and toiled the 16 to see where I needed to alter the pattern.  Turns out the fit was pretty solid!  The waistband fits snugly on the waist, with the upper edge on the natural waistline.  There was no pulling around the high hip area, which can happen on some trouser patterns.  All I needed to to was to shorten the leg, brilliant!  I love the shape and the pleat, did a little wiggly dance around the sewing room in delight!

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Making was fairly simple, I know some people have a problem with the instructions, or lack thereof, but being a Burda girl I’m used to sparse instructions.  They did read a little oddly though, like they were written by someone for whom English is not their first language.  The zip instructions were weird though, and for the final garment I ignored them entirely and did it my way.  I cannot get my head round instructions that have you put the zip in backwards.  I’ll be changing the pattern a bit for next time around the zip, basically adding the fly facing to the front trouser pattern, this eliminates bulk and gives me more to work with to sew the zip in from the centre front line.  I might also bring the pockets up 2-3cm, but that’s not critical.  I made the pockets bigger though!  They’re too narrow for me, my phone and hand didn’t fit in, so I widened the curve to make more space.  Three centimetres was taken out of the length of the leg.

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Details

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I put the pants on for photos, and didn’t take them off!  I decided they were so comfy that I’d wear them for the rest of the day.  They really are good to wear, even the hubby likes them!  So, as I have yet to start the next Zadie Jumpsuit – in the black linen from the stash, I think I just might use it for another quick pair of these!  That way I have two pairs of pants to add to my suitcase for my holiday!  And I’d better get something else while I’m away for the jumpsuit…

Sewing Japanese in January – Part 2

As far as the resolution “take it slower this year” goes, I’m not doing that well…  I’ve made three garments and two toiles, mended/fixed/altered a bag full and I’ve got a LIST for the month that really should be quartered.  Ah well, if I can’t have fun in January, when can I have it??

So, the next garment in the sewing from Japanese sewing books saga is another pair of Kana’s Standard trousers from the first book.  I had intended to use the wide leg pattern from the second book, I graded up two sizes, toiled and fitted (it worked perfectly!) but when it came to laying the pattern on the fabric, I didn’t have enough.

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Kana’s Standard trousers B-a

The fabric I wanted to use has been lurking in the stash for a long time.  I’d bought it from Fred Winter in Stratford on Avon years ago in the remnant bin.  It was 1.8m, pinstripe navy English wool, but with a problem.  It was labelled as a second, and I found the flaw straight away, running the full width of the fabric about 15cm in from the one cut end.  I figured I could deal with that, depending on what I was making and bought it anyway.  Then followed various attempts at fitting various patterns onto the fabric, which, it turned out, had more flaws than the one I’d seen in the shop.  There was another flaw running the full width about 30cm from the first one, as well as two holes about 10cm in from the selvedge on the opposite end of the fabric.  So nothing fitted, even though I tried.  I thought I could get this pattern to fit, heaven knows why, it’s a wide leg pattern, needs length!!

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But I was determined, this time the fabric was getting used!  So I pulled out the pattern for  trousers B-a from the first book and did a little tetris around the flaws.  I had to shorten them by 2cm to their original length to fit the legs into the area between the end and the first flaw, and cut really close to the fold, shifting the pants pieces as far from the selvedge as possible to avoid the holes, but I managed it!  The pockets fitted into the 30cm between the two flaws, as well as one of the waistband pieces, and the other waistband piece fitted between the first flaw and the end of the fabric.  DONE!

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I overlocked all the pieces before starting to sew, and then it was easy.  The pattern instructions are easy to follow from the diagrams, I’d already added the required 1cm seam allowances & 4cm hems when I traced the pattern.  So on Sunday, while hubby was working checking drawings, I was happily making a new pair of trousers.  Now, if you remember, the corduroy pair I made last seemed a little too roomy.  So to combat that, I decided to increase the seam allowance to 1.5cm on the inside leg seam and from the base of the pocket to the hem on the outside seam.  This wool is not as stiff as the cord, but I like the more streamlined look.  Makes me wonder why I graded up two sizes! 🙂

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But that takes you into the realms of fitting, and what you personally like.  The pants are supposed to be baggy, and not necessarily sewn in a stiff fabric like corduroy.  The thing is, I don’t want them too baggy on me, so I slim them down.  I have the same issue with the tops in these books.  If I actually graded up to the right size and proportions, I’d feel like I was wearing a massive tent, I just don’t like that amount of baggy.  Even though it looks great on other people, and in the books.  I can do baggy, just not tent.  That’s why I never use the Burda Plus patterns.  They’re just too big, too long and too “cover everything over”.

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Anyway, I digress.  This is my third version of this pants pattern, I might venture in to the shorter versions and maybe the jumpsuit version in the summer.  It might be nice for wearing on the allotment with a Basic Instinct Tee underneath.  Even the “dungaree” version might have legs 😉  So – so far, the purchase of the book has been vindicated by the use.  Especially if the toile for the gathered sleeve blouse works!!

Pumped up Kicks

 

One more post squeezed into what’s left of 2018!  I made these cropped trousers last month, but had to wait for assistance to get photos.  I really need to make a plan with photographing trousers or dresses on my own.  Anyway, the fabric is English wool suiting, with a textured herringbone stripe and a bit of colour that you really don’t read unless you’re up close and personal sewing it – or doing the ironing.  It was a find from a charity shop!

 

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Burda trousers 120 07/2018

I knew it would become a pair of cropped trousers, there wasn’t enough for a full length version.  And I wasn’t keen on a skirt.  I decided to use trousers 120 from Burda 7/2018 again.  I like the slightly kicked out flare of the extension piece/ wide hem band(?).  They also have a nice fit on my natural waist and are closer fitting around the hip area before becoming wider at the leg. I cut the pocket lining from a piece of navy and white cotton, but the rest is all wool.  I like this fabric – it can go in the washing machine on a woollens cycle!

 

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I’ve worn them a few times now, and I can say they’re really comfy to wear, are the perfect length and always get compliments!  Today a little old lady told me I looked nautical”.  I’ll take that.  🙂  Now, the only thing I can think of that might be missing from this pattern is a pocket on the bum.  Such a handy thing to have, don’t you think?  If you want to see the inners and a bit of construction, I posted  a Work in Progress report on it that you can read here.

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I’m hoping I’ll be able to get more photos of the other trousers I’ve been making and blog them soon!