Silver & Gold

 

I’ve finished my new coat, and I’m seriously in love!!  Now that it’s all finished, I can’t believe I’ve taken so long to make this pattern, it’s wonderful!  I bought the Pepernoot Coat pattern from Waffle Patterns when it first came out – which is some years ago now – and really, I could have had a few in my wardrobe by now.  I think an unlined denim version, made from old jeans would have been fabulous for the summer here in the UK!  (Might have to make that happen…)

 

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So, you’ve seen most of the Work in Progress, and gone through the adjustments I’ve made already, so this is just to finish off and show off!  As said already, the fabric is cashmere, originally from Truro Fabrics.  I eventually chose the mustard gold lining from The Lining Company for the inside, and it was the perfect choice!  I ended up cutting it on the cross grain to get the richness of the gold colour, the straight grain was just a bit too “meh” for what I was after!

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Now, let’s talk pockets…  This pattern comes with a very cool, large pair of pockets on the front skirt of the coat.  They’re supposed to have a zippered opening/closing, but I left that out.  I’m not a big fan of scratchy zips on my hands, especially in the wintertime!  So I knew I was going to make welts, and having decided to copy the welts on my Seasalt coat, I can say that it’s worked better than I could have hoped for.  The overlapping welts “hug” your wrist once your hand is in the pocket, not letting any draft in there!  Warm, snuggly pockets!  Can you get any better?

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I sewed the inner hood pieces with the “wrong” side of the fabric out – it’s a lighter shade of grey to the outside and I like the contrast.  Mr W thinks I should have cut the facings the same way round, but I disagree.  I like it this way!  And the hood is just right, big enough to go fully over your head without flopping over your eyes, like some I know…  I’ve worn this coat loads since finishing it, it’s just so comfortable and the fabric so soft!

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So there you have it, this is officially my new favourite coat, until I make another!  The adjustments I’ve made were simple ones, a small FBA sorted the front out to hang straight, and I added a small amount to the seam allowance of the armhole in the front to stop the dragging there, and inserted decent tailor’s felt shoulder pads.  Without the shoulder pads the armhole was just too deep.  The minute I put the pads in, the whole thing looked and felt a whole lot better.  I love how this feels on, it’s just great to wear.

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Work in Progress Wednesday 2/20

Well, here we go with all the coats and jackets!  I traced 5 jackets and coats over the weekend, so I’d have no more excuses to get started, because a toile doesn’t take long to make, given it needs no interfacing and hours of pressing.  They just need suitable fabrics, something sturdy and with a bit of body and weight – you can’t successfully toile a coat using an old cotton duvet cover!

On the cutting table are the following patterns:

I have the main fabric for all of these patterns, and lining for the two Burdas.  The Sienna Jacket and Grace coat are unlined, but I think I might be binding seams on at least one of them, just to make it interesting on the inside.  I also have lining for the Tosti, but am thinking of padding that out by quilting it to a thin layer of interlining, for warmth.  As I’m still thinking about that, I haven’t gone ahead and bought the interlining yet, nor do I have any zips or snaps or anything else to make that pattern!

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Pepernoot Coat from Waffle Patterns

I decided to start with the Pepernoot Coat because I love the big hood, raised waistline and flared skirt, not to mention those fabulous pockets!  Now, I’m the sort who, once a pattern and fabric is decided upon, will put my head down and go, go, go, until it’s finished.  But.  I wanted to slow down this year, take a more considered approach.  Even if it does mean I’m still making coats in the Spring and possibly early summer…

So, I have the most gorgeous, soft, grey cashmere for the Pepernoot, bought 3-4 years ago from Truro Fabrics in Cornwall.  Everytime we’re in Cornwall, a stop at Truro fabrics is mandatory.  There’s always at lease one piece of fabric that has to come home with me! 😀  But, I didn’t really think much about the lining I’d chose.  So I don’t have any, and am trying to find the right colour.  I don’t want grey, black, silver or anything dull.

I figured a day in Birmingham going round the big stores would solve my problem, so I headed off yesterday to visit Daughter No2 and buy lining.  Except that I came home with no lining!  The colours were all wrong, and most of the fabric quality was not what I wanted either, I really didn’t want a polyester lining in my cashmere coat!  (snobby much?? ;))  However, in Fancy Silk stores, we spotted a very pretty jade green Chinese brocade with white and silver cherry brances and blossoms that made me think, a lovely rich green would be nice!  But not that stuff, it was silk (sigh) 90cm wide and £22/m.  Too rich for my little wallet, I’m afraid.

So I turned to The Lining Company instead and have ordered 5 samples of their lovely viscose twill linings, 3 shades of green, one gold/mustard and one copper.  Grey and mustard is lovely, but I couldn’t shake the green idea, so we’ll see what they all look like once the samples have arrived.  I did manage to get the separating zipper yesterday, so I feel I could get started with the shell in the meantime.  I didn’t buy short zips for the pockets, because I have a different idea in mind, but haven’t checked that it works yet!  That’s today’s task.

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Pepernoot Coat toile. On the left (as you’re looking at the photo) is the unaltered bodice front, on the right is the one with the FBA

Along with the pocket opening treatment, I need to finish altering the pattern after performing FBA surgery on the bodice.  My current measurements for Bust and High Bust are 101 and 95cm respectively, so I opted to trace the size 44, based on a full bust of 100.  Once toiled with some lovely old smelly curtains from the charity shop, I decided I really needed more depth in the front, and only a little more width.  So my FBA was a little contrary to the usual method, I decided the length needed and the rest followed!  In the end adding 2cm on length resulted in just over 1cm of width, which has made the front lie straight, the waist seam sit parallel to the floor, and there’s a bit more room across the chest.  I’m not sure why, but the measurement across the chest, armhole to armhole, is quite narrow on this pattern, made a little better when I insert a shoulder pad.  I’m not wide in that area, but do have an upright posture and tend to hold my shoulders back quite a bit, so this seemed a little restrictive.  The FBA has allowed more rooom, but I think I’ll be altering the armhole a little.

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Toile with half adjusted and half not. Easy to see the wavy front on the left belongs to the half unaltered, the nice straight hanging front belongs to the half with the FBA.

Apart from that, I have no issues with the instructions, Yuki always has good illustrations if you’re a little stuck.  I’m going to have to put a marker on the sewing machine for the 1.2cm seam allowance.  I can move the needle over and keep the fabric on the 1cm line, but the tension can go funny if I do that, it’s not the machine’s favourite way to sew!

 

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 Snowball in Paris

Waffle Patterns' Snowball dress
Waffle Patterns’ Snowball dress

I am in love with this pattern – officially!  The submissions for Sewing Indie Month for May ended on the 4th June, and only 1 Snowball had been submitted, my Summer Butterfly one.  I’m really surprised, this is a great pattern.  If you’d thought about it & then decided not to buy it, let me change your mind again.

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It has a great shape.  That curved, high waistline gives great definition, helped by the fabulous seams that curve from the neck down.  They line up with the skirt seams which flare out at the hem.  The silhouette is just gorgeous.  You could wear this to a slap-up dinner and never feel the need to open the button on your trousers or skirt!  🙂

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The zip in the centre back seam goes in effortlessly using Yuki’s instructions.  The neckline and armholes are faced all in one & sewn together rather like the way you’d construct a waistcoat, so there are no loose ends and floppy bits.  This adds structure to the top of the bodice, all of which helps to hold that fabulous shape.

DSC08738-1As a dress to wear in the office in a lightweight wool, or out to dinner in something glamourous, the Snowball is a great choice.  It has just enough 60s flare to be a bit retro-chic & plenty of modern styling to make it thoroughly contemporary.

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Have I done enough yet?  Are you tempted?  This version used the remnants of the printed cotton canvas I used for Le Bellatrix Blazer français.  There really wasn’t much left, and I struggled to get all the bodice pieces and the facings out.  Unfortunately I just couldn’t get great pattern placement with the Eiffel Tower, so this bodice has lots of lables and crowns instead!  The cotton canvas is definitely not as structured as the cotton twill used for the Summer Snowball.  It’s softer and moves better, but is still perfectly suited to keeping the shape of the bodice.  The facings were interfaced with a fine sheer polyester fusible from Gill Arnold, no so heavyweight intervention there either.

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The skirt used a slightly charcoal-black linen from my stash.  I thought it would work better with the print, not being heavily black.  It was a little lightweight, however and let too much light in!  So I lined the skirt with some black cotton lawn, also from the stash.  The hem is bound with black bias binding & I hand stitched it in place using herringbone stitch.  The lining’s hem was double turned & machine stitched.  I also overlocked everything.  No bound skirt seams this time!  Whilst I do love that finish, it takes an awfully long time and lots of time was something I did not have this week.

Serious model pose...
Serious model pose…

I added the same 3cm to the bottom of the skirt as I had done for the Summer Snowball, cutting the lining the normal length so it didn’t stick out.  After completing the Summer Snowball & seeing it on Daughter No2 properly, I decided I probably should have made it a little smaller in the waist area.  So with this version I switched to the 34 from about mid-way down the bodice and continuing into the skirt.  As you can see, it now has a much more fitting shape, one Daughter No2 prefers.  I guess that means I’ll be taking Summer Snowball apart a little so it can be taken in.  It will be worth it though.  She goes back to school next week for about a month now that her exams from Lower 6th are finished and she definitely wants to show off her new dresses!

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So what do you think?  Are you up for trying it out?  Just to say, I am not being paid to push this pattern!  I just love it & really want to see other versions online!  Go on, give it a go!  🙂

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One more thing – I’m entering this dress in The Monthly Stitch’s Indie Pattern Month Dresses Week competition (phew, that’s a bit of a mouthful!) & I’d really appreciate it if you would vote for me!  🙂

 

A Snowball for the Summer – with Butterflies

The Snowball dress by Waffle Patterns
The Snowball dress by Waffle Patterns

UPDATE

Voting has been re-opened for the Dressed to the Nines category following some unusual voting activity.  You can vote for me on Seamster Patterns Blog until midnight CST on Friday 20th June.

With very few days left until the end of May (what – how the heck did May disappear so fast??) here’s my entry for Sewing Indie Month.  Well, one of them at any rate! It all depends on how quickly I can run up the other patterns..

I browsed through all of the designers on the list – most of whom were complelely unknown to me, looking for something I could make and that would be worn, either by me or one of the girls.  I had other criteria – not too expensive, not too many pages to print if it was a PDF & it had to be something I wasn’t going to (or couldn’t) draft myself.  I also had to think about the categories that stuff has to be submitted in.

First on my list was this dress by Waffle Patterns.  I loved the 60s look of it & I can see it being made in fabrics suitable for all seasons – and occasions.  It went into the basket & was printed by Husband at work. Interestingly, you can chose to just print the size you want, makes it easier to trace, but I went for all of them, then I can trace from one size to the next if necessary.  The instructions & illustrations are great, actually the whole dress makes up really easily – depending on your finishing choices…

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We had a Dickens of a time finding the right fabric.  Daughter No2 eventually chose this butterfly print heavyweight cotton (like a twill but without the twill weave) with a cream ground.  We were going to use a printed cotton canvas from the stash but discounted it because of the large print.  What followed then was a fair bit of fabric shopping, mostly just looking because nothing we saw felt right for the dress – until she spotted the butterflies.  We got it in a shop in Leamington Spa, but I notice Ditto Fabrics stocks the same stuff.

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Making the dress was pretty straight forward, once I got my head round the unusual 1.2cm seam allowance.  My machine has a mark for 1cm & 1.5cm – I used a piece of masking tape to show where I was supposed to be, no way I wanted to make a mistake.  I added 3cm to the hem, my only adjustment.  Daughter No2 is – as said before – pretty tall & the dress as toiled without turning up the 3cm hem was the perfect length for her.  I made no other alterations, cutting the 36.  Although if I use a sturdy fabric like this again, I will grade from the 36 at the shoulders to a 34 at the waist.  I think it could have done with being taken in a little there.

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I decided to finish the seams of the skirt with a pale blue bias, this finish was repeated on the hem edge and the edge of the facing pieces in the bodice.  I didn’t use it on the bodice seams because when you use Hong Kong finish on seams you add structure.  This fabric has enough structure to be getting on with – and the bodice did not need any more!  the hem was handstitched into place using herringbone stitch.  It’s a stitch I use a lot on hems, quick to do and holds in place well.

Pretty on the inside too!
Pretty on the inside too!

I am very happy with the result.  So very happy!  I had looked online for other versions of the dress to see what other people had done, but couldn’t find anything.  Has no-one else used this pattern??  Really?  Same!  It’s fab, and I’m definitely making more..  I have a feeling that grey & black wool houndstooth I wanted to make the 1935 cropped jacket in will be fabulous in this for the winter.  I can see it with a black long sleeved t-shirt underneath & a madly coloured pair of tights & long boots.  This is the shape of dress that suits Daughter No2 down to the ground!

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I didn’t spend a huge amount of time on trying to match the pattern.  It was not symmetrical, being a half drop meant that I’d have spent a lot of time on my hands & knees cutting out one layer at a time.  Instead I tried to get some sort of continuation.  The front bodice has a clump of butterflies near the waist seam on the left, another in the centre and more on the right shoulder.  For the skirt I tried to place the centre front panel where the pattern was best & fullest and let the rest land where they did!  It worked out ok in the end – I think!

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Happy with her choice!
Happy with her choice!

Now to pick a category for Sewing Indie.  I’m going to take a chance and enter it in the “Dressed to the Nines” category.  It’s a dress afterall, & who says this isn’t fancy??