Zebras Crossing

Maria Denmark Day to Night Drape Top

Maria Denmark Day to Night Drape Top

Whoot, another make, another blog post!  I’m on a roll here…  This is the eighth incarnation of the Day to Night Drape Top made for the daughters.  The fabric is from Kat from Modern Vintage Cupcakes, swapped in the Sabertooth Swap organised by Anne from Petty Grievances.  I knew the minute I opened the parcel what the fabric would be for, I love patterns that require little bits of fabric!

DSC09647-1I put it together with my standard adjustments, no clear elastic in the armholes, just turned under and twin needled into place.  In fact there is no clear elastic anywhere in this make – not that I was trying to make a point or anything.  I had a fabulous sort out of my sewing space in January, re-organised the boxes and storage, brought in a large cutting table and generally made the whole space look a whole heap better.  However, I then didn’t do much sewing and as a result now I’ve forgotten where I’ve put stuff!  You know the drill, move things because the new home makes far more sense…  Where the flippin’ ‘eck is it now??  So I couldn’t find the clear elastic, not even in the elastic box, which is exactly where you’d expect to find it.  Ordinary 8mm elastic was called into action instead, and it’s done an ok job.

DSC09646-1With the overlocker playing up, I used the sewing machine for this make, one hour and it was done.  The jersey doesn’t stretch as much as would probably be preferable for this particular pattern, but Daughter No2 wasn’t overly bothered by the more fitted aspect of it, so I’m not gong to make too much of a fuss.  I love the stripes, didn’t make an effort to line anything up as it was rather random and I didn’t have much to play with.

DSC09645-1So thanks Kat for the fabric, and to Anne for the organising of the swap!

DSC09650-1ps, I did eventually find the elastic 3 days later – in the bra making stuff box.  Please tell me I’m not the only one…

Abstract in Watercolour

Abstract in Watercolour  - self drafted silk top.

Abstract in Watercolour – self drafted silk top.

How to start a blog post almost two whole months after the last one, especially when it was full of positivity & promises of action..  Well, something is better than nothing I guess, so here goes with the first project I’ve actually managed to get photographed this year!  I bought loads of pretty fabrics just after Christmas and found the most gorgeous print silk at Croft Mill Fabrics.  The colours I liked, the print I thought I could deal with, so I swiftly added 2m to my basket and sat back and waited for it to be delivered.  I was not disappointed.  The fabric is even better in real life than the photos – the print looks so very much as if a watercolour artist has created a fabulous abstract with his/her favourite colours and it has a beautiful drape.  It’s not a satin so was very easy to sew with.

The hem is slightly longer in the back, curved like a shirt hem.

The hem is slightly longer in the back, curved like a shirt hem.

I decided to use a self drafted pattern I’d used for silk before, this polka dot crepe de chine.  It took me a while to make, simply because I had to find the time with all my other commitments.  This week though, was crunch time.  I’d dedicated a day at home to “getting things done” and one of those things was to finish the top!  It’s all French seamed inside, as you’d expect with a gorgeous fine fabric.

Faux placket detail

Faux placket detail

The faux placket (facing on the outside that looks interesting) was easier to get right with crisp edges than the last one, slight variations in the silks I suppose.  I love this pattern, and the print.  Colours and print, how unlike me!  I sort of wish I’d got more, but maybe I’ll take a second look at the other colourways instead, as this particular one is all sold out – I have a feeling I may have got the last of it!

abstract 3I suppose I ought to tell you I spent hours making sure the pattern was matching across the side seams and sleeves, but I didn’t.  I thought about it for about 5 minutes and decided life was too short!  By happy coincidence things worked out just fine!

abstract 5Next to make is a Day to Night Drape Top by Maria Denmark for Daughter No2, the fabric from Kat as part of the Sabretooth Swap organised by Anne.  I have decided to make her a pencil skirt to go with the top, using the pattern for the plaid skirt I finished in November.  It should all go together quite quickly (famous last words!) so maybe by the end of today I’d have finished two projects!  *shhh, don’t jinx it…

Welcome 2015, let’s get down to Business!

Happy New Year to you all, and a belated Merry Christmas, if you celebrate.  Boy have things been quiet on my sewing table, but now is the time to rectify that!  I’ve been very busy with a different line of work over December and now that that has quietened down I can get back to my sewing.  I’ll fill you in later on what I was getting up to, but if you follow me on Twitter, chances are you spotted a few plant & flower related photos…  That’s the clue!

Anyhooo, I bought a decent amount of fabric online while on the sofa watching movies with the family on Boxing Day, as you do, and it has started to arrive!  Soo exciting to get new fabric!  I am determined not to let it accumulate in the stash, so here’s my first project.  I have a 3m piece of olive crepe backed satin that arrived from Fabric Godmother – I know, olive green!  No black, grey, white or blue…  I’m being brave this year.  From my Wardrobe Architect board, I have identified this palette from Design Seeds with the olive as something I might actually like to wear, so this is a start at coming up with a selection of garments for it.

Natalie Top by Lolia Designs

I saw & pinned a blouse pattern by Lolia Designs called Natalie to my Wardrobe Architect board on Pinterest a while ago.  I liked the idea of the “panel” in the centre.  They call it a pleat, but it does nothing a pleat is designed to do.  It’s a folded back extension of the front so it flaps around a bit I would think.  I haven’t bought the pattern, it is not in my size and I’d like to change a few things.  I’m combining the idea of that central detail with the sleeve from my placket blouse, but deepening the cuff.  I’m also going to re-use but slightly alter the hem from the black & white spotty silk faux placket blouse.

I love the look of this blouse, the sleeve is something I’m going for with the new pattern, of course it won’t have the button placket or collar, but that can appear on a different top!

So the pattern was started in the evening of the 30th, the toile started yesterday afternoon (New Year’s Eve!) – yeah, not going out, and I’m finishing it off today.  I hope it turns out the way I imagine, the result should be available by the end of the day!

I’ll do some round-ups of last year’s projects in a bit, I managed 92 projects to the end of November, so I’m quite chuffed at that, I still need to see how I did on the Stashbusting front.  I know I used a lot, but I’m not sure I managed to stick to my 1 in for 2 out policy…

In the meantime, I hope you’ve all had a wonderful time with family over the holidays & are ready to tackle this new year with a vengance!  Also waiting with baited breath to find out who I’m partnering with for Jungle January 2015!

Sewvember Catch-up

I’ve not exactly been on the ball with this, yes, I’ve taken some photos on my phone & others on my camera, but I’ve failed miserably to post anything in ages!  So for those who’re even remotely interested in my “behind the scenes” sewing, here’s a recap from day 7!

Days 7-11. Insides, Next Project, Signature Style, Inspiration & Early Make

Days 7-11. Insides, Next Project, Signature Style, Inspiration & Early Make

Day 7 was Insides.  At the time I was making a vintage Butterick jacket for Daughter No2 & this shop shows all the interfacing to support the fabric.  Day 8 shows the plaid fabric & potential patterns for the skirt for Daughter no2 (again!).  Day 9 – signature style…  Well, I do like spots.  For the inspiration pic I was a little stuck, until I realised I am more inspired by looking through and patting my fabrics than just about anything else, so my inspiration has to be a bag of fabric just begging to be made up!  Day 10 – my earliest makes are not photographed, at least, not that I know of!  I started sewing at 18, so 24 years later there are few, if no survivors.  But I managed to find this Vogue blouse pattern in my stash, one I made 2-3 times in the early 90s, so it will have to do!

Days 12-16   Favourite Finish, View, UFO, Library & Organisation

Days 12-16 Favourite Finish, View, UFO, Library & Organisation

For day 12’s prompt, favourite finish, I knew exactly what to photograph!  Hong Kong finish on the inside of an unlined vintage jacket, the coolest finish!  Day 13 was a bit less exciting, it’s been dull and cloudy here for days, so the view from my window has been less than inspiring.  Luckily for me, at the moment I have no UFOs apart from the project I’m working on at the moment!  Last week I tackled a few projects I’ve been putting off for ages, so now the only unfinished projects are those I’ve yet to start, all those pieces of fabric lurking in the boxes in my cupboard.  Day 16 brought out the book collectors amongst us!  Here’s my little library of sewing related books.  It’s missing a few, daughter No1 has some in her room at Uni and I’ve loaned a couple out, but these are the core.  Organisation was next – I decided to show you my boxes that live under my sewing desk.  In them are some goodies you’ll see in another photo.  The brown cardboard boxes ont he left contain a good few years worth of BurdaStyle magazines, 2 years to a box, 4 boxes there…  The older ones are in plastic boxes in the loft.

Days 17-20.  Planning, Fun, Fit, Notions

Days 17-20. Planning, Fun, Fit, Notions

On the home stretch!  I really don’t do much planning when it comes to sewing.  I know what I want to make from my fabrics, to a certain extent, so I don’t feel the need to make a sketch detailing the fabric & garment.  My sketches are for my pattern cutting, and if I keep them on my noticeboard, there is a hope I’ll get round to making the pattern in the right season.  I have a little pile of fabrics & patterns on my sewing table, those are the ones I want to make first, but every now and then something will come along & jump the queue.  I’m not all that fussed, it all needs to be made up at  some point!  :)

Day 18 was to be fun – well, Daughter No1 & I had fun nosing around the charity shops in town, & I found this book detailing the years 1915-1975 in British Vogue for £2.50!  I couldn’t pay for it fast enough!  For Fit on day 19 you get to see my vintage dress form.  I’m not sure how old she is, but she’s adjustable from a 32 bust to a 39, so she’s perfect for testing the fit of the clothes I make for the girls.

Then we have notions, day 20.  It looks like someone’s birthday presents erupted on my table!  These are my boxes of zips, buttons, buckles,elastics, threads, ribbons, braids & bindings.  I haven’t opened the embroidery threads boxes, nor the handbag findings & overlocker threads box.  Sometimes it’s all just too much.

Day 21 - craziest fabric

Day 21 – craziest fabric

You may have guessed by now that I’m not massively into novelty fabrics and mad stuff.  But I do have this.  “This” is a piece of black silk from India, block printed by hand with these cute elephants.  There is a border of elephants with drivers & passengers on the selvage edges and individual ellies alternating with little squares over the rest of the fabric.  A student brought this from India for me about 6 or 7 years ago – or maybe more, I’ve completely lost track.  I love it to bits and every year decide “this is the year I make this up”!  But I have yet to find the perfect garment to make to really take advantage of the print and the border.  One day.

Now I need to get back to some sewing, there’s a pair of trousers missing a waistband and a blouse all cut out & ready to be made up by the end of the weekend!  But first we are off to Buxton on Saturday, one last Uni Open Day for Daughter No2, so Sunday is now officially a Sewing Day.  Have a good one!

A Dream of a Pencil Skirt

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Pencil Skirt #120 from BurdaStyle magazine July 2012

Using up the second piece of fabric from Evie of Pendle Stitches, I love this pencil skirt pattern!  Initially Daughter No2 was thinking a 50s wiggle skirt for this plaid, but wanted something a little more wiggley than is standard in the original patterns.  Instead of drafting something, I had a quick leaf through a couple of years worth of Burdastyle magazines & hauled out a couple for approval.  This is the one that got the nod, it’s 120 from the July 2012 issue.

Technical drawing from Burdastyle

Technical drawing from Burdastyle

It has a high waist and front darts that curve at the waistline to side seam, instead of going up to the waist, and normal back darts.  The other thing that I quite liked was that the centre back seam is not straight, but shaped to the zip stop.  I was hoping this, along with the darts, would make fitting the back better.  As it turned out, there were no fitting issues for the back at all!  Usually there is a degree of “sway back” fiddling to do, but not here.

Matching the plaid

Great darts for a fabulous fit

Because Daughter No2 has a difference of 2 sizes between her waist & hip measurement, I made a toile a little bigger and then re-adjusted the pattern.  So using the 34 on the waist, the skirt had to be graded out to the 38 (or just narrower) at the hip.  There was no way she was going to accept the skirt being the width of the 38 at the hem, so I tapered the side seams back down to the 34.  This gives the skirt a much more of a pegged look.  The other thing changed from the toile was the length.  We shortened it 4cm & took in another 2cm around the hem, 5mm on each seam.

The back fitted really well

The back fits really well

The fabric is 100% polyester, which means static & sticking to tights.  I bought a gorgeous wheat-coloured cupro lining from my local store to counter that & it’s made the skirt sit so nicely too.  Not needing the facing pieces meant no interfacing either, so something needed to be done to stop the top line stretching out of shape.  The interfacing could be applied to the skirt itself, or something without stretch needs to be sewn into the seam when attaching the lining to the skirt at the waistline.  You could use the selvage edge of your lining fabric, or seam tape.  Whatever you chose it needs to be thin – you don’t need added bulk here!  I used some seam tape from my stash, about 1cm wide.  It was also understitched to the lining fabric to ensure no popping over at the top.

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I cut the plaid with the dominant stripe down the centre front & placed on the fold of the hem.  So if she wants it longer, or shorter, it’s not happening!

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I recon this skirt’s a hit, it’ll be fab for school & won’t really need ironing either!  I think it’s also safe to say there will be another made from this pattern fairly soon, I love the shape & fit just about as much as Daughter No2 does. :)

We have still not found a pattern for the butterfly print, but hopefully it won’t take too much longer – it’s not going into the stash!!

The Plantain

Deer & Doe Plantain

Deer & Doe Plantain

I’d been meaning to make a whole bunch of Plantain tees for the girls since I downloaded the free pattern in the summer but it kept getting pushed down the make it pile in favour of more interesting stuff!  I did make one for myself – a sort of wearable toile.

I like the overall pattern, the shape is cool, with just enough flare on the lower edge – but…  I don’t like the neckline.  The scoop is just a little too low for me, makes me feel all exposed and uncomfortable.  Daughter No has a bought tee with a similar neckline so I thought I’d finally make one for her.

The fabric is a purple/burgundy jersey I got a fair bit of in the swap at the SewBrum meet.  It had belonged to Claire and was about 4 metres worth!  I used the remnants of a striped jersey bought at Guthrie & Ghani for another Day to Night Drape top for Daughter No1 for the elbow patches.  (The top is made, but I have no photos of her in it yet.)

Daughter No2 opted for the 3/4 sleeve and definitely wanted the elbow patches, thank you very much!  This is such a quick top to make, run up on the overlocker and needing the sewing machine only for applying the patches, hemming with a twin needle and top stitching the neck binding, it takes about an hour.  (Not counting cutting out)

plantain collage

I should have known to adjust the shoulders for her, but that’s the only necessary adjustment.  I still think the neckline is a little too low though.  Any thoughts on this? If you’ve made a Plantain (or two) how do you feel about the neckline?  Those elbow patches are also not quite on the elbow, they need to come down a few centimetres.

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I love the colour of this jersey, and the weight.  This is the sort you want have unlimited access to, great drape and texture.  I have enough to make a few more tops, but I don’t want to waste anything so I’ll try to be certain before I cut!

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It was a little nippy out when we took these photos on Saturday afternoon, I was so hoping to have the vintage jacket in the orange twill done as well, but I’d had too many interruptions.  It was finished by Sunday afternoon, but as luck would have it, too late for decent photographs.  That’s the one thing that’s annoying about winter, lack of sunshine!

I have a skirt pattern for the plaid from Pendle Stitches & made the toile today.  Daughter No2 picked 120 from Burdastyle Magazine 07/2012.  I toiled it today & apart from a minor adjustment at the hip and her desire for it to be 4cm shorter & pegged about 4cm narrower at the hem, it’s fine.  Tomorrow I’ll get the lining and make the skirt.  I still need to find the right pattern for the butterfly print satin, the blouse pattern I’d chosen was not approved….

Sewvember – A Photo a Day

bpSewvember-photo-challenges

Ok, so I’ve done a photo a day challenges before, but none have been focused only on sewing!  I thought it might be fun to play along, everyone else’s photos on twitter & instagram have been pretty interesting.  The idea originated with Amanda of Bimble & Pimble, and while I have put some photos on twitter, I thought I’d do a week’s round up on here.

These last couple of weeks I’ve been rather busy with Daughter No2 making a whole stack of wool poppy brooches.  I mentioned this in my previous post, we decided to make 100 this year as a commemoration but seriously misjudged the time it was going to take!  So my photos for the first week of Sewvember are all about the making of an awful lot of poppy brooches.

sewvember 123

1. Sewing space – machine pushed aside to make room for cutting out masses of poppy petals. 2. Technique – I used topstitching thread & buttonhole stitch to attach the brooch backs to the poppies. 3. Stash – just a small glimpse of the collection of small black buttons, both new & found in local charity shops, used for the centre of the poppies.

Daughter No2 would have been doing this job all on her own, but with the demands of school work & University applications, there was no way she’d have had the time, so I put in a lot of the hours while she was at school.  We were able to sell all 100 poppies with the help of local shops, Ivy Heart and Lucy Walker Flowers, as well as the support of local people.  The most poppies were sold through Ivy Heart & the owner of the business donated an additional Pound for each poppy sold.

4. WIP - poppies in progress.  5.  Tools - the tools needed for the job, small sharp scissors, pins & a strong thimble!  6.  Me - with a tray of completed poppies ready to re-stock the shops.

4. WIP – poppies in progress. 5. Tools – the tools needed for the job, small sharp scissors, pins & a strong thimble! 6. Me – with a tray of completed poppies ready to re-stock the shops.

We are really pleased to be able to donate £400 to the British Legion’s Poppy Appeal and will be doing so in the name of local resident, Thomas Shutter who served in the RAF Mosquito Squadron, and my great uncle, Douglas Simpson MBE, who served in the Royal Scots Engineers in Burma and in Belgium.

Leuitenant Douglas Simpson, Royal Scots

Leuitenant Douglas Simpson, Royal Scots

It has always been important to me to support our troops, both present and past and the Poppy Appeal is a charity close to my heart.  Do you use your sewing skills to support a good cause?

Miss Fancy-Pants

Burdastyle trousers 110 11/13

Burdastyle trousers 110 11/13

Still using up the fabrics I bought at Sew Brum in early October, I made these Burdastyle trousers for Daughter No2 with the fabric left over from Daughter No1’s vintage dress.  Proof, if any was ever needed, that I cannot convert Imperial fabric requirements into metric!  I ended up buying 3m of the silk jacquard and after I’d laid the dress pieces on the fabric decided to make a pair of trousers too.

Hip yoke pockets

Hip yoke pockets

This is the same pattern that I used for the Smarty Pants challenge on The Monthly Stitch last year, no. 110 from the November issue of the magazine from 2013.  It’s quick to make, my favourite detail is the little cuff.  We had more fitting issues with this make, the jacquard has no stretch and behaves much more differently than the stretch twill I used the first time.  I’ve ended up with teeny tiny seam allowances in places – my fault entirely.  I was so keen on getting the fabric made up before it got even the slightest peek at the stash box that I forgot it had no stretch & I cut the same size as the first pair.  I think we’ve solved most of the issues, all to do with ease.

DSC00003-1Daughter No2 likes them anyway & they do look fab with her Bellatrix blazers!  These went out to Oxford last night to a Darlia & Gerard Way concert, the girl wearing them was pretty darned tired this morning, so thank goodness it’s Friday!  She deserved a trip out, having had her head down working hard on schoolwork & admissions for Universities.  She and I have also been rather busy making red wool poppy brooches to sell in aid of the British Legion’s Poppy Appeal.  I have made poppies every year for the last 4-5, but this year we decided to make them together and to make 100, to mark the centenary of the commencement of World War 1.  We have made 100, but with literally days to spare, I hope we are able to sell them all in time!  I will be really chuffed to hand over a few hundred pounds to the charity.

trouser collageThings on my sewing table right now are the vintage jacket you got a glimpse of at the end of the last post and a piece of fabric from Guthrie & Ghani bought at the Sew Burm meet-up.  It’s a greenish grey cotton voile, but on reflection I decided there was too much green in the grey.  So it’s gone in the washing machine with a brownish grey jersey from Croft Mill & some grey Dylon dye.  I rather like the result so need to finalise my plan of what to make.  I’m thinking of using the body of the floaty spotty top with the sleeves from the placket blouse (but making the cuff deeper) and making a different placket.  I like the placket on this blouse from In House Patterns.

I also have some pattern cutting plans for a jersey top…  I got a large amount of lovely jersey (all one length) at the fabric swap in Birmingham & used some to make a Plantain for Daughter No2 (photos on their way).  There’s a plan to use some more to make a jersey cardigan for me.  I have a sketch somewhere….  Probably buried under my ever growing stash!

I also want to make a pair of Ginger Jeans for both Daughters.  I usually steer well clear of bandwagons and “must-have-latest-coolest-patterns”, but after seeing Sonja in her jeans I was convinced & bought the PDF which the other half kindly printed on A0 sheets for me.  I still need to tell him to print the Jutland pants, another late night pattern purchase!  I found a great stretch denim for the jeans at the Fancy Silk Store for £6/m so it’s all ready & waiting for me to get cracking on the toile.  Somewhere along the line the Thread Theory patterns need to get made too, I’ve bought the coat & now both trouser patterns for the other half & that’s about as far as I’ve got!  I just want to make everything!!!

Have a great weekend, whether you’re sewing or not.  :)

Stashbust – Day to Night Drape Top

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I am managing – just – to keep sewing through my stash.  The Maria Denmark Day to Night Drape Top doesn’t require much fabric so it’s perfect for using up bits!  This top uses up the last of what feels like metres & metres of John Kaldor print viscose jersey.  I’ve made two tops for me, a dress for a friend and this top and I finally have only little bits left!  I love the way this jersey drapes and it makes a much better top than the poly-jerseys that I used for Daughter No1’s versions.  Needless to say, Daughter No2 loves the top, and plans to wear it loads, even though it’s getting cold & the top has no sleeves.

Construction wise, I only used the clear elastic on the back neckline and simply turned under the allowance on the armholes.  It definitely makes for a neater finish with no pulling or unnecessary stretching.  Only using the sewing machine for the elastic and twin needle for the hems & armholes, the overlocker makes this top such a quick & easy make.

I can see this being a much used pattern, especially as it uses so little fabric!  I might make both girls a sparkly number for Christmas if I can find the right stretch & sparkle.

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I took advantage of Pendle Stitches‘ fabric de-stash (sale) and bought three pieces of really lovely fabric that arrived on Friday.  On showing Daughter No2 my haul & offering her the lot, she decided pretty much instantly on what she wanted, so the next couple of projects will be vintage, or modern patterns with hints of the vintage look she’s after.

3 new projects