Well, here’s the first of what will be many! Finally I have photos of the finished Olya Shirt I started at the beginning of March. With the weather being so rubbish, I had a long time to wait for something decent that did the shirt justice. Of course, this means that in the mean time, I was able to wear the shirt and be even more happy with it!
As described in the work in progress post, I made the 14, with no adjustments. I also changed the constructions of the cuff binding and tower plackets slightly – spending so much time on getting those pieces on nice and straight that I made a rather large mistake… I put them on the wrong sides!!! Nevermind, the shirt still works, but I was annoyed when I finally discovered it when I put on my perfectly made cuffs!
It hasn’t altered my love of the shirt. As previously stated, the instructions are good and clear and leave no doubts as to how to proceed. The fabric is viscose marocaine, which has a crepe-like texture. It’s heavier than regular viscose, not as drapey. It was great to work with as it doesn’t slip around!
I’ve worn this shirt loads and now wonder why I hadn’t got round to making it earlier, I have had the pattern since October! I’ve made a second already, and am planning a third to happen pretty soon!
Until last weekend – halfway through the month- not much sewing had been done in February, excluding a little coat toiling. I just haven’t been in the mood, and I was waiting for fabric to come to lift me out of my funk! At the end of January I ordered a whole pile of flower seeds, and 1.5m of poppy print viscose from Selvedge and Bolts. The fabric arrived a week later, the seeds took another week!
Anyway, the fabric on the website was super delicious, and I thought long and hard about whether or not I really need it. In the end, I decided on a pattern and ordered the 1.5m I needed, no extra! But when it came I was disappointed, to be perfectly honest. It had a shine I was not expecting – and, to be honest, I thought I’d bought viscose lining. I left it in my sewing room for a day or two before I could look at it properly, and then threw it in the wash, maybe that would make the finish better. It still has a sheen, that’s because it has a satin weave that I hadn’t bargained on. I really do need to order samples before spending my limited funds!!
In the end, the girls convinced me to make the top I’d planned, and then see how I felt. So I went ahead and cut out another version of the Top E from Asuka Hamada’s Sweet Clothes. This was the top I saw in my mind’s eye when I bought the fabric. As usual, I cut the sleeve on the cross grain to fit the width. I’ve used French seams throughout and double turned the hem. The cuffs and bias neck trim are stitched on the inside by hand. I did the bias by hand because I knew it would slip and slink around under the machine and drive me mad! Unfortunately, because of the nature of the fabric, you now see all the tiny catches made when stitching. I might just run it under the machine now anyway, can’t get any worse!
I still love the print, it’s so huge and gorgeous, but I am wondering now if a top with a smaller sleeve wouldn’t have been better…. Oh well, it’s too late now!! I am looking forward to wearing this with the rest of my wardrobe, and it’ll be lovely in the summer.
On the coat front, toiles are all done, alterations made and the cutting out and interfacing has started. I’ve not got that far, again, I’m just not in the mood, and that’s very unlike me! I’m thinking back to February last year and how worried we all were for my Dad who’d gone into hospital, and my Mum who was left holding and juggling all the balls. It’s the lead up to a not very good time, and I think deep down I’m struggling a little. I had hoped sewing would give me something else to focus on, especially as I cannot get into the garden yet and it’s a bit too early to sow too many of my new seeds! I’ll get there, but it will be much slower than usual.
I have plans!! I need a push to get my sewing off the starting block this year, like a lot of us I think. I love the idea of starting the year with a couple of challenges, and this one is my first. I have made one item already (admittedly, I only needed to finish it this year, having started it at the beginning of December). But I’m claiming it for Sewing Japanese in January 2021! I also want to make another pair of trousers from the Kana’s Standard book, and finally get to use a pattern from a book bought back in 2018.
But today I have another beautiful, big sleeved blouse in my wardrobe. I bought the spotty viscose from Rainbow Fabrics, it’s lovely and drapey! I decided to make another version of the blouse I made in October from the Asuka Hamada “Sweet Clothes” book. This time, I altered the pattern front before cutting, I had decided to make a small FBA, just to make the fit a little better.
Now I’d love to say I’ve devised a brand new method of making a FBA without a dart, but I’d be lying. There’s a very good method I use in the book, “The Perfect Fit” available from Amazon and I’m sure, other sellers too. Here’s an extract for you:
It’s a dead easy method, and works well without having to fiddle about with adding darts and then trying to get rid of them again. I had decided that 1.5cm over the half bodice would be enough for me, while I didn’t need masses of room over the front, but a little more length in the front would be nice, so I added 3cm in the length.
In order to save a little fabric, I cut the back in two with a French seam in the centre. This meant I could cut the font and back next to each other on the fabric, and then placed the sleeve on the cross grain (because it’s so wide!) with the bias for neck and narrow cuff pieces filling in the banks spaces. This means that from my 2m originally bought, I have enough to make something else!
I love the way this version drapes, the first one being cotton voile is a little crisper, and the sleeves keep their blousiness better. That doesn’t mean I don’t like the way they are in the viscose though. I could live in viscose all year, it just feels so luxurious.
I made this blouse in the same way as the first, ignoring the elastic in the narrow cuff and using the revised neckline. I like the extra length in the front the FBA has given me, and the little more room across the bust is an improvement. Very happy with this, and it’ll be worn a lot, even if ironing those big gathered sleeves is a pain!
Now I really need to toile the patterns I’ve traced, and figure out what adjustments they need. Also, those pants, they’re so quick to make! In the mean time, and totally unrelated to Japanese sewing patterns, I’ve added more vintage patterns to my Etsy shop, I need to make a concerted effort to empty at least one drawer to make space for the modern PDF patterns I keep buying! So help a gal out won’t you, see if I’ve got anything you fancy. I’m adding constantly, so keep going back. It takes a while to go through each and every pattern to make sure all the bits are there.
I’ve realised that this year, I’ve worn a lot of jersey tops. They’re so easy to wear, wash and not necessarily iron before wearing again! But I love the smart look of a nice blouse too, and one I can wear pretty much all year round sounds perfect to me! Recently, I “discovered” a new fabric shop. Someone I follow on Instagram had posted in her stories, a delicious looking pile of recent online purchases from a little independent shop in London, Rainbow Fabrics.
Of course, I had to take a peek at their IG page, stories and website and ended up buying a few metres of different fabrics. Then, 2 weeks ago, I saw some fabulous fabrics turn up in their stories, and headed straight to the website to nab some for myself! Bear in mind – I’ve yet to make up the previous purchase! This was becoming a dangerous shop to follow. Anyway, I bought 7m of different viscoses on the weekend Boris announced the impending lockdown – as you do.
The fabric arrived nice and fast and I knew immediately what I was going to make! Lets start at the beginning, shall we? The first one I wanted to make was another version of a vintage Vogue pattern I made last year. I just had a feeling that the pattern would suit the print of the viscose.
I made the same adjustments to the pattern as I had the last time, but this time I left out the zip in the left side seam. I really didn’t need it! The construction was the same, French seams throughout and a little fine sheer polyester fusible on the neckband facings, cuffs and the slip on the sleeves. Buttons are from the stash, a little faux leather button for the front and flat amber coloured buttons for the cuffs.
This is such a lovely pattern, and so nice to wear! I love it in this print, which I was a little worried would be too busy for me to wear. I have a habit of loving and buying fabric that, once made up I just can’t wear! But I think this time I’ve got it right, and this stuff is going to be fabulous in my wardrobe, the colours work with all the trousers and jeans – and jumpers! As the pattern doesn’t take as much fabric as I bought (2m), I have a bit left over that I’m hoping I’ll be able to cut a camisole out of. I’ve not checked yet, so at the moment, that’s just a hope. But it won’t go to waste, that’s for sure!
So what else have I bought from Rainbow fabrics? Well, I got 3m of striped viscose, 2m each of rust viscose jersery, rust plain viscose, and black and white spot viscose and 2m of rust cotton twill! The sewing plans are developing….
Stashbusting is good this month! I have finally, finally used a piece of viscose that I honestly cannot remember buying. It’s been in the stash for what seems like ages, just waiting for the right project to come along (another of those!). It’s a lovely drapey weight, closely woven, unlike some cheaper viscoses. And the little feather print is lovely, without being too cute! Really, I’ve earmarked this fabric to many a pattern over the last few years, but have always bottled it at the last minute. So what happened this time? Who’s the lucky pattern?
Well, it’s actually a vintage Vogue, from 1956. I’d always liked this pattern, the front is interesting with the dart pleats at the neckline. But, I wasn’t the right size… Thank goodness that’s all changed, and now I have a variety of 50’s Vogue patterns, jackets in particular, that I can make! I’d come across it again while searching the vintage pattern stash for patterns I know I won’t use to re-stock the Etsy shop. I took it out and checked mesurements – and realised I had to make it now! A quick toile revealed it wasn’t tricky to put together, although I did manage to put the band on inside-out. That’s mostly because I wasn’t concentrating on the right and wrong side of the fabric! The toile showed I needed to take the shoulders in by 1cm and just let out the narrowness of the waist a little.
I didn’t cut the pattern up, just marked the edge of the armhole and shoulders with chalk and drew a new line 1cm in, tapering to the original line just over halfway down the curve. The waistline was just as easily altered, chalk marked the new cutting line. I French seamed wherever possible and used a polyester fine sheer fusible interfacing on the cuffs, back neck facing, front band and to support the fold in the front opening. It was just enough to add support without bulk.
There’s a zip in the left side seam to enable getting in and out of the blouse, although I suspect that by the time I’d widened the waist diameter, I could have just as easily pulled it over my head! Not sure I want to check that now though.. I used a lightweight invisible zipper in that seam, not that it makes much difference to the stiffness of the zipper. It did make it tricky to stitch close enough to the teeth to get a good invisible insertion though! In the end I stitched 3 rows of increasingly closer stitching on that zip. Got there in the end! And, of course, to support the zip, I’d used a 2.5cm strip of interfacing on each of the seams.
I’m really rather happy with the finshed blouse, the sleeves are the right length – I know, a little chilly for winter, but I’m constantly pushing my sleeves up anyway. The hem is the right length too, I don’t like tops any longer than this. It’s the right length to wear out, or tuck in. And it goes with just about everything in the wardrobe! Win, win, win!
Today I had planned a sewing day, nothing else to interrupt me… Hmm. Unfortunately, due to my over-running admin duties the housework had suffered a bit of neglect, so what I had hope to get done today will have to wait a bit. Last night I picked a length of viscose from my stash and paired it with a self drafted pattern that I last (first) used in 2014.
I’d always intended to make more than just that first blouse from the pattern, but somehow there was always something else to make first/instead. The original top had tucks on the front yoke and down the buttonband. I decided to skip those on the viscose. The pattern on the fabric is just too busy and the tucks would be lost. I think on a bigger pattern they would look better. I also decided to forgo the hidden buttonband. I have some rather nice vintage black buttons in the button stash, and it would be a shame to cover them up!
I’m French seaming the inside and burrito’ed the yokes. I did have a little “what do I do here” moment, trying to remember how I’d put it all together the last time. In the end, this was the order of work I went with:
Sew the darts
gather front and back and sew into yokes
sew shoulder seams on blouse and inner yokes
sew inner yoke to blouse
interface upper collar & sew to under collar
sew collar to blouse
trim collar seam to 5mm
sew 2.5cm bias strip to trimmed seam with 5mm allowance
fold strip over and press down, stitch through all layers
sew side seams
attach buttonbands to fronts
sew buttonholes and attach buttons.
I’ve just got the buttonholes and buttons to go, that I’ll do tomorrow morning, before the next batch of admin hits! In fact, I think I’ll wait to start the computer up and check the email until the sewing is done! I’m really looking forward to wearing this with the trousers I made last week, as well as my range of Birkin Flares. I have more pieces of viscose in the stash that have been waiting rather patiently for me to get round to them. I think I need to pay them attention, I do like wearing visose!
While neutrals are decidedly within my comfort zone, bold, stand out colours are most certainly not! However. After making the gold and black Anza Dress last month, I had a bit of the fabric left over. The lady I made the dress for didn’t want the remains for herself, so it went into the stash. But not for long! Also in the stash was the remains of a decent amount of plain black viscose.
Deciding to prove my point about using Burda top 124 from 5/2015 for left over pieces of lengths of fabric, I decided those two fabrics would be perfect. There was enough of the print for the front and sleeves, the plain black was used for the back. This time I didn’t cut the keyhole opening but instead converted it to a slit, like the sort you’d get on a shirt cuff. The bias for the bindings was cut from the print viscose, plain grey sections for the slit and the coloured sections for the neckline.
I really like how it’s turned out! Although it feels longer than the other versions. That might just be because of the startling band of colour at the hem. Otherwise, it’s great! I’m not sure how much longer we have to wear short sleeved, lightweight tops this year, the weather has turned decidedly autumnal and it’s nowhere near the end of August yet!
An update on the other sewing, the 1920s sequin dress only needs a hem. After many, many hours of cutting out sequins and then sewing them back on again, I think I’ve had enough!! I’ve also finally started working on my Morgan Jeans, having done two and a half toiles last month and actually cut it out 2 weeks ago. Hopefully they’ll be finished this week. There are other things still on the cutting table, but I’ll get there – eventually!!
Because these are no ordinary pjs! I’ve finally upgraded my sleepwear collection this year, and these are the business. I chose a couple of Mrs Depew pajama patterns earlier this year, determined that in my 40s I deserved better sleepwear than baggy tees and a couple of self drafted pants. Last year I made a Kimono Robe, this year I’ve upped my game.
The advent of Independent Pattern Month on The Monthly Stitch galvanised me to finally get cracking on these. I thought the “New to Me” category would be perfect encouragement! The pattern is Mrs Depew 3068, a reproduction of a 1920s pattern for a robe, top with either long or short sleeves and ankle length or knee length pants. It’s one of those patterns you can see made up in fancy silk, trimmed with velvet and worn on the silver screen by a gorgeous platinum blonde. I’m neither!
I’d seen an interesting viscose jersey print on Croft Mill Fabric’s site, black with beige, but not all over (no longer in stock, unfortunately). It looked abstract and I liked it for the pajama top. The pattern isn’t drafted for stretch fabrics, but as I’m technically a size up from the largest size of the pattern, I figured stretch would be just fine!! As it turns out, I think it would have worked just fine in a woven. For the pants and robe I chose a beige viscose, also from Croft Mill. There was black viscose in the stash that would be used for the bands on the pants and the robe.
The pants were so quick and easy to make! They consist of just two pieces, a leg and a band. Couldn’t be easier. I’m just not sure where those 20s ladies wore their pj pants, up under their boobs so the crotch depth worked, or with the MC Hammer look… The crotch depth is – well, let’s just say they look like a baby elephant could fit in! 😀 For the sake of accuracy I’m photographing them as they are, but I feel they’ll have to be altered pretty soon. I used the overlocker instead of French seams, you only have 1cm seam allowance (3/8 inches). Although French seams are certainly do-able with just 1cm, I opted for speed!
The top was quick too, instructions for making are brief – think Burda on a major diet! But there is a diagram to go with the minimal instructions and it’s numbered with corresponding notches on the pattern pieces, so it’s not all that tricky. I left off the band at the bottom, the top was going to be long enough on me without it. The neck band was interfaced with some of Gill Arnold’s knit interfacing to give it a bit of body and stability, as were the cuffs. I decided to make the long sleeved version to go with the long pants as I’m intending these to be worn in the winter. There is a small section of shirring at the shoulder instead of any darts.
On to the robe. Again, only three main pieces – front, back, and sleeves (in two lengths). The borders were cut in the black viscose and seamed together in one long length before attaching them to the robe. It pays to stitch a guideline on the inside to iron under the raw edge so that topstitching from the right side catches all the insides nice and neatly. Also, although the instructions say nothing (naturally) don’t stitch the mitred corners from the edge of the fabric, start 1cm in so you can turn the corner properly! The sleeve cuffs are double folded rectangles inserted into the armhole.
I really like this pajama set and will happily make another! The viscose feels lovely and luxurious, and I’m sure it will feel cool even in the late summer. I just don’t want to think of what it will look like after one sleep! It’ll be like napping in linen… And I’m definitely going to alter that crotch depth issue with the pants. *edit* I’m not changing the crotch length any more, they’re so damn comfy to sleep in!!!
My fabulous pajamas have been shortlisted in the “New to Me” category of IPM2017 on The Monthly Stitch! Woohoo!! 🙂 To vote for me (if you’d like) – and two other brilliant projects, follow this link.
It’s Independent Pattern Month again! I have given the whole thing a miss for a couple of years, but decided I’d like to enter again this year. The fact that IPM2017 is in July instead of June really helped! The first week’s category is dresses, and I had just the one! Usually I’d make something for the girls, but neither of them are around at the moment, making fitting and photos a trifle tricky. I could have chosen my good friend who has had me-mades in the past, but she really doesn’t like being photographed and I didn’t want to make her feel uncomfortable, just to get a free dress!! So I asked another friend if she’d be interested – the answer! “Oh God, yeah!!”
I wanted to make the Itch to Stitch Anza Dress, which I had a pretty good feeling she’d like, and I was right! We chatted fabric choices while I took her measurements and then I went home to trawl the interwebs to find what she wanted. I sent a few links with something along the lines of what we’d discussed, and then threw in a curveball, a graduated, ombre viscose with geometric pattern – the reply was instant! “That one!”
Based on her measurements I traced the size 2 with D cup, grading out to the 4 at the waist, moving on t the 6 over the hip. I’d printed off the A0 version of the PDF, it’s so well laid out! There aren’t any pattern pieces overlapping onto different sheets and minimal wasted space. The PDF is layered so you could just print the size(s) you needed. Using an old sheet for the toile, it went together really well.
I followed all the instructions and used all the pieces, checking the pattern instructions as well as the fit this time round. I’ve never used an Itch to Stitch pattern before, and now I’m quite tempted to try another. The instructions are spot on, enough info if you need it, and clear enough to skim through and move on. The toile fitted just fine, I like patterns with cup sizes, no need for FBA! The dress is described as knee length – my friend is on the petite side but liked the hem length as it was, below the knee. So I didn’t shorten the skirt part and thankfully there were no other adjustments required.
The fabric is a viscose from Fabric Godmother, that is more like a voile, it’s a very lightweight viscose! I had already decided when I saw it online that it had to be cut with the gold at the hem, graduating white through grey and into the solid black for the bodice. The overlocker came in very handy for the construction, as did my daylight lamp… Sewing black on black is a killer on the eyes as you get (a little) older! The fabric was more challenging to work with than the old sheet had been! Perseverance and patience were the name of the game, neither qualities I have in abundance.
The dress itself took me two days to make, that’s including resetting the pockets about 4 times, and eventually recutting one front because I’d stuck the seam ripper through the fabric while taking off the pocket – again!!! It was so wiggly! Anyway, it’s all worked out fine in the end and I’m really chuffed with it! My friend bought the fabric, the elastic and black bias binding I used for the drawstring came from the stash, as did the vintage faceted buttons. They’d been sent to me by another friend who lives in the States.
We took the photos after work, (she’s a florist) and she’s informed me she’s not taking it off. Her partner will have to take her out tonight, she has a lovely new dress to wear! I think I might like to make another in linen, or a nice cotton, but I will steer clear of viscose voile for this pattern, and never make one in silk…
My dress has been shortlisted on The Monthly Stitch in the top 14 dresses, so the voting starts now! Follow this link to cast your vote, and see who else is in the running with more fabulous dresses!
Thanks to everyone who voted for my friend’s lovely new dress, I was one of the 8 winners of the dresses category and will be donating my prize of 3 Victory Patterns to the Makers for Grenfell fundraiser, run by Portia Lawrie.
The roundabout never stops! Here we go again, another year, another January and another “oops, I’ve not blogged for ages and there’s stuff to show off but….”
Hopefully something resembling “normal service” will resume soon, but I wouldn’t count on it! Last year passed in somewhat of a whirlwind with Autumn disappearing on me completely due to my extended stay in the Southern hemisphere. I’m still working on issues that have arisen from that trip, which partly explains the lack of posting – and the complete lack of sewing. It’s just about 3 weeks into the new year and I’ve finished nothing sewing related.
That’s not to say that there isn’t a pile of fabric and patterns waiting for me, just the inspiration to get going and the time to fit it in around what I brought back with me. I’m hoping to achieve some sort of balance soon so the sewing can resume, especially as I have just taken on a new project.
I’ve joined the volunteer costume making team at Anne Hathaway’s cottage – she being the wife of a certain Mr William Shakespeare. I’m quite excited to get cracking on making things I’ve always wanted to make, but had absolutely no practical reason to do so! I’ve started a new Pinterest board to collect ideas, dug out my historical costume pattern cutting books and ordered a couple of new ones. I’ll be focussing on menswear first, but need to make a couple of 18th century ladies outfits too. Any pointers greatfully received!!
One garment I did manage to finish last year after I got back was a pretty, softly draping viscose blouse for my Aunt in Cape Town. I used Tunic 107 from the April 2016 Burdastyle magazine, mostly because I had it with me in South Africa, hoping to make a pair or two of the wide legged trousers in the same issue! The fabric is lovely, a pretty floral print with contrast border that worked perfectly for the collar, sleeve bands and neckline treatment. It meant I didn’t have to go looking for something else and all the colours worked well together already. I cut it out there, but got nowhere with making it up until I’d got back.
I made a narrow shoulder adjustment but otherwise cut a straight 38. It went together really well, French seams used throughout. I’m tempted to make one for myself if I can bear to add more fabric to the piles on the cutting table!
The reason I had that April Burdastyle in South Africa was so that I could run up a pair of viscose trousers before the weather got too hot. I made it by days.. I’d taken the fabric with me, cut but no further along, and it took ages for me to find the time to get stuck in and sew. Eventually I got them finished, and it really was in the nick of time. I love how they swish softly around my ankles and they were perfect in the hot weather. So good in fact, that I popped into a local fabric store and bought another couple of metres of border printed viscose and made another.
The first pair were fully French seamed, this time I threw that all out of the window. The linen trousers I’d brought from the UK were too thick to cope in the developing humidity and speed was of the essence. A simple zigzag finish did the job and I managed to finish the second pair in a few late nights – desperation!! I think I might love the second pair more than the first, although you’ll have to wait for the summer later this year to see proper photos.
So now I need some oompfh and inspiration to make a dent in the two piles currently awaiting my attention on the cutting table. Hoping you’re all sewing much faster than me this new year.