Washed Linen Trousers

Another pair of linen trousers in my favourite Burdastyle pattern
Another pair of linen trousers in my favourite Burdastyle pattern

I love this fabric!!  It’s a charcoal and off white marl linen, of decent weight that I got from the NEC back in March.  I love the result of pairing this fabric with this particular pattern too.  The tee is the grey viscose from a couple of posts back and both items have been worn a few times on holiday.

P1140388-1There really isn’t much to say about these that I haven’t said about the pattern loads of times before!  The fabric wasn’t tricky to work with, definitely needed to be overlocked as soon as it was cut and I made sure to staystitch the upper edge while working with it to prevent stretching out.

P1140404-1P1140395-1Loving it with all shoes too!:)

Collage grey linenP1140407-1On a slightly sad note, those beautiful natural coloured herringbone linen trousers I posted about here, are no longer wearable. :(  I wore them on my first day of holiday, and washed them later at a family member’s house but never thought to check the temperature the washing machine was set on.  Needless to say, linen washed at 60C never survives….  Gutted!!!  So now I’m on the hunt for another piece, Ditto Fabrics have none left. All suggestions for replacement fabric welcome!

 

Three Strikes…

Three strikes and I want more!  This is my third Longley Cardi by Wendy Ward, previous versions here.  I had in mind to make a stripe version of this cardi for a while, I pictured wide stripes in either a sturdy or drapey jersey.  This particular stripe jersey is from Ditto Fabrics, the last of the pieces I binge-bought back in January!

I saw the picture, registered the size of the stripe and added 2.5m pretty much immediately to the basket.  I didn’t read any further.  You know what’s coming….

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Wendy Ward Longley Cardigan

So when you don’t order samples and don’t read the fabric description properly, sometimes the fabric that arrives is a little bit of a surprise!  The stripes run the length of the fabric, opposite to what I thought they’d be.  I was expecting your typical viscose jersey, in feel and handle.  What came felt rather different.  It’s described as having a “silky feel”.  To be honest, when it came I would have described it as full on polyester.  So  procrastinated, wasn’t even sure I liked it.

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One thing I really don’t like is waste, and not using this fabric felt a whole heap like wasting.  So I just got on with it.  I wanted the stripes to line up going up and down across the bands, so I made sure to cut the hem and neck bands very carefully to line up with the back piece on the fold.  I couldn’t get the front band stripes to match both the back and front, and as the front has lots of drape it was decided it would be more forgiving to non-matching.

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Matching stripes!

After all the kerfuffle and uncertainty, I’ve decided I do rather like this cardi, stripes, fabric, the lot.  It counts towards my Sew Seasonal Wardrobe and being a staple blue and white, will go with pretty much everything already made and those pieces yet to be sewn.

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Birgitte Tee, Birkin Flares & Longley Cardi. Silver trainers from La Redoute.

I like the way the stripes change with the drape on the front, horizontal stripes on the front neck band contrasting with vertical stripes on the sleeves.  It’s a more interesting cardigan than I thought it was going to be!  No bad thing there.  So it’s a success in the end, have you had doubts about a project, only to have it turn out ok on the day?

Burda Love

How often do you wear matching items?  Some of you might wear suits for work, I never have!  In an attempt to bust a little stash fabric, and to have more items made for my Sew Seasonal Wardrobe, I originally wanted to make two pairs of trousers from a 3m piece of stretch cotton sateen from Croft Mill Fabrics that I’d bought last year.  Unfortunately, there just wasn’t enough for both pairs so while I sat there looking at the laid out fabric hoping to find a way, inspiration hit.  There could be enough for a jacket & trousers…

 

It took a little playing around, pattern piece tetris is a real thing.  The left picture shows the layout I ended up with and the little pile of skinny scraps on the right is all I was left with once it was all cut out!  I cut the inner waistband and both pocket pieces from different fabrics in the scrap box to save space.

The trouser pattern is 109 from Burdastyle magazine March 2010 and the jacket is my old staple, 116 from Burdastyle magazine April 2009.  I think this is the fifth version now!  I decided to leave the jacket unlined, and to use Hong Kong finish on all the internal raw edges. A piece of pansy print Liberty lawn was liberated from the scrap box that worked perfectly against the beige.  I cannot tell you how many metres of bias I cut in the end, suffice to say it was a lot.  Because the jacket was unlined, the shoulder pads were covered in the same fabric.  I had thought I’d get away without them but the jacket looked all frumpy and structure-less.

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Burda Addict

So, trousers.  I went for the shorter version and still chopped out 4cm.  A remnant of silk was cut for the pockets, and a pocket facing was added, using the cotton sateen so you don’t just see silk at the opening.  The pockets are of the in-seam variety.  The inner waistband was cut from a remnant of printed cotton sateen that had made a pair of trousers and a skirt for the daughters in the past.  The button closure and trouser hook & eye came from the stash.  I overlocked all edges before starting to sew, that way I don’t have to stop and start and can get a pair of pants made in a day.

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I really like the colour it goes with all my new handmade tee-shirts!  The stretch is really comfortable, I like the stitched seam on the front pieces, it gives a sense of length, which is sorely needed.

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Trouser details, contrast inner waistband, trouser hook & eye, silk lined pockets

The jacket pattern is one I have made many times now.  I think this is the most crisp though.  Even my linen one, lined, is softer.  Just means I need to work harder to remove that darn double chin my family genes is/are so fond of….   I really wanted a light weight jacket, so no lining.  That also means far less structure and interfacing than I’d normally use.  Only the facings and collar pieces are interfaced, relying on the structure of the fabric to give the jacket a good shape.

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I love the insides!

The jacket was actually made fairly quickly, considering the metres and metres of bias that needed to be attached!  The reason why it hasn’t seen the light of day until now (apart from no photographer) is that I couldn’t for the life of me find the right buttons.  Beige buttons on a beige jacket are BORING!  Metallic ones just looked too bling.  White looked insipid and black too much of a contrast.  So I was stuck.  Help came in the shape of a friend who went through my buton stash with fresher eyes than mine.  She found these interesting regtangular buttons and practically dared me to use them.  Challenge accepted!

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Burda jacket details, covered shoulder pads, Hong Kong seams finish & rectangular buttons.

The shape and texture on the buttons makes them far more interesting than ordinary brown round ones, so I’m happy with the result.  I also sort of want to wear this jacket inside out! The only time anyone will see the pretty insides is when I take it off and lay it flashily on the back of a chair. :)

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Tee 138 from Burdastyle magazine March 2011 in grey viscose jersey

On to the last item for the day!  I’d ordered two pieces of grey viscose jersey from Croft Mill Fabrics, dark grey, & a lighter, silvery piece at the beginning of March.  Can I just say, these jerseys are so soft!!  They have the most amazing drape which means every bit needs to be stabilised!  I chose a tee-shirt pattern I’d liked before but not got round to tracing, 138 form the March 2011 Burdastyle magazine.  It’s in the plus-size section.  I liked the twisted neckline treatment and the tab on the sleeves.

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I made the 46 with a 6cm FBA but with this soft fabric I wonder if I could have got away with the smaller size.  The armhole seams, front and back, are stabilised with Vilene bias tape, having learnt the hard way last year that this sort of fabric keeps going down….  Initially the neckline wasn’t stabilised, but as the day wore on I realised that wasn’t my brightest idea, so back to the ironing board it went.  Now the neckline, while a little low, doesn’t try to migrate any further south.  The neck band is simply a rectangle that isn’t folded symmetrically.  Once the centre back seam is stitched, instead of folding and pressing you move the seams 3cm apart which gives a little pull on the folded edge.  This creates the “twist”.

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The sleeves with tabs are easy to sew, if using a soft fabric like this though, I suggest you iron on a bit on knit interfacing where the tab goes to stop the fabric stretching as you do the topstitching.  Unfortunately, this fabric doesn’t work folded up.  It’s too soft!  I don’t really mind, the sleeves are a good length and I like the detail left with the buttons and stitched squares.  The only other adjustment I made was to remove length.  I took 5cm off the bottom and still turned up a 4cm hem.  I get that some people prefer longer tops to hide things, but on me I’d look very, very short and definitely feel like I was wearing a tent!

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All said, I am happy with my new outfit, not 100% sure if I will actually wear the matching jacket and pants together, but I have that option.  All items are in my suitcase for the holiday as with colours like this you can wear anything!  Score more for busting some stash & scraps, making a matching outfit and using freshly bought fabric before it found the stash!

A Trio of Tee-Shirts

This year I’ll have plenty of me-made tees.

This is me making up all that jersey bought in March!  One of my not-New Years Resolutions for this year is to make fabric up when I buy it, and not let it disappear into the stash, only to be found years later when I either no longer like it, or no longer need/want what I’d originally bought the fabric for!

So here we have 3 tees, two using Maria Denmark’s Birgitte tee and one a Burdastyle pattern.  The first was hard on the eyes to make!  I had seen an IG post by Wendy Ward of a black and white tee shirt, stripes, of course, where she’d used two stripes, one black and white & one white and black, in the one shirt.  There is a diagonal seam across the front of the tee and all the stripes appear to line up because of the single use of colour.  This gave me a good idea to use for the black and white viscose stripe jersey I’d picked up at the NEC.

Using the v-neck version of the Birgitte, I drew a line across the front from the right shoulder point to the left seam, about 10-15 cm from the hem.  Then I gave that line a slight downwards curve, because we’re not flat.  I added a line marking the top of a black stripe on the right front, and another on the left front to I’d be sure to cut the pieces on different stripe.

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Stripe details

When it came to getting the stripes to match nicely along that diagonal line, I questioned my sanity a bit!  I marked the seamlines with chalk and pinned each and every black-to-white stripe all the way down.  Then I basted by hand and checked from the front.  There were a few strpes that had moved, so I unpicked and re-basted those areas.  Then I used a long stitch on the sewing machine and stitched with a narrow, long zig zag stitch.  I had to shift a few lines again after they’d don a little walking, but overall the method seemd to work!  Then I used the overlocker and went over the seam again, but overlocked slightly away from the stitched seam

Collage staggered stripe tee 2

I love the way the line jumps down the front, the lines on the right side seam have the same jump as on the front line, and they match perfectly on the left.  I’m really happy with how this turned out, it could have been a plain stripey tee, but now its something that makes your eyes blink!

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Staggered stripe tee

The second is much more straight forward.  Again, it’s a piece from the purchase at the NEC but I can’t remember which stall I got this fabric from!  I just used the v-neck version of the Birgitte tee and it was made with no fuss in a couple of hours.

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Maria Denmark Birgitte tee in blue and white viscose jersey.

The last of the quick makes was really a toile, now I guess it’s a wearable toile!  I have a lovely piece of pale grey marl viscose jersey from Croft Mill Fabrics and I didn’t want to waste it on a pattern I decided I didn’t like in the end.  I got this pale pink-silver viscose jersey at fancy silk Stores during the Easter hols to use as toile fabric, but as I kinda like the resulting garment, I might dye it a little darker.

The pattern is the top of Dress 105 in the March 2016 Burdastyle magazine.  There are various versions in the magazine, different lengths, neckline treatments and fabric uses.  I wanted a slightly longer, tummy covering version!  This looked good in the photos, so I thought I’d give it a go, but lengthened the front a bit, just in case!

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Dress 105 03/2016. Image from Burdastyle

I’m in two minds about the outcome.  I think the sleeves aren’t narrow enough, certainly not the last 10cm as they end up flapping around my elbows by the end of a day.  It’s maybe a little too long and wide for my shape.  I can see a slimmer person looking fabulous in it, just as it is.  Or maybe this jersey is just too drapey.  Or maybe the colour is just too pale, perhaps a quick spin in the washing machine with some grey dye would make it better.

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Burdastyle top 105 03/2016 – a wearable toile

I have worn this top twice now, and I don’t mind it, but it’s not a piece I’d be desperate to wear as soon as it was back in the wardrobe either.  At the end of the day, it’s a decent wearable toile, I’m just not convinced I’ll use my lovely Croft Mill jersey to make another.

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I skipped the instruction that said to stitch the pleat on the inside… Perhaps my pleat would have looked better if I’d done what I was told instead of steaming ahead!

So the Birgitte Basic tee is turning out to be a very good basic tee-shirt pattern to use, I like the fit, it’s so quick to make up & it doesn’t require too much fabric!  I bought the Lark Tee PDF (copy shop version, of course) to compare, but I haven’t got round to making anything up just yet.  Perhaps when I’m back from my holiday with some fresh jersey.

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Enjoy your Spring (if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere), my garden is looking all green and pretty!

 

I Put a Spell on You

Linen.  It’s one of my all time favourite fabrics to use.  It’s definitely put a spell on me!  I bought this gorgeous sky and white herringbone linen from Ditto Fabrics in January for a pair of trousers.  Unfortunately they don’t have any left for me to direct you to!  I decided not to use one of my usual patterns with wide legs as I had two in herringbone already. I went with a tapered leg style, number 103 from Burdastyle magazine April 2013.

Burdastyle trousers in sky herringbone linen
Burdastyle trousers in sky herringbone linen

I overlocked all the pieces before working with them as the linen frayed quite badly.  I made the 44, grading up to a 46 from the hip upwards.  I like the pressed pleat down the front and am pretty happy with the shape of the leg, although I might still shorten them a bit.  They’re already 6 cm shorter than the original pattern.

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The tee is a modified Maria Denmark Birgitte tee.   Fabric came in the same parcel from Ditto Fabrics as the linen, it’s a lovely soft navy blue viscose jersey.  For the pattern adjustments, I flared out the sides by 3cm and added a shaped hem.  Then  I cut a back yoke and cut the lower back on the fold with enough to add a small inverted pleat in the centre.  It’s just enough to have a bit more movement.

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Inverted pleat, back yoke and shirt shaped hem

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But I wasn’t happy with just one pair of trousers.  Oh no, I had to order plain blue navy linen from Fabworks Online to make another pair to wear with patterned (striped) tees!

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One more pair please!

Worn here with my self drafted cowl drape tee, this is exactly why I made the plain pants!  I realise I hadn’t gone into any detail about this tee, you saw it first back in January with my first pair of Birkin Flares.  I’ve not worn it until now, but it’s going into my suitcase next week, along with the blue trousers.  Both pairs of trousers and the blue tee form part of my “Sew Seasonal Wardrobe” for the Summer.

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Got to have decent pockets..
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Looks like I’m having a definite colour theme this year!

The tee is from my tee shirt block, I’d made the cowl drape pattern back in November last year to make something to wear to the dreaded wedding.  This is the same pattern, but with short sleeves.  The jersey is really something, also from Ditto Fabrics and from the same parcel as the blue jersey and sky herringbone linen!  Of all the fabric I ordered on that occasion from Ditto Fabrics, I have nothing left to find its way into my stash.  Nothing but scraps, it’s all been made up now!  Yippee!  Now what to make with the left-over bits…

 

Mark Making

Collage mark making

My third  pair of Birkin Flares has become a firm favourite, just like the others.  Have I said how much I like these jeans? My first pair has quite a lot of stretch, making them extremely comfortable throughout the day.  The second pair had the misfortune of not having quite as much stretch as necessary, but being a very good colour.  These, the third, have enough stretch, a fabulous blue colour and a firm denim that doesn’t sag.  My favourite pair? Well..  possibly!

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Baste & Gather Birkin Flares

I won’t bore you with a million pictures of the jeans, they’re made in the same way as the other two pairs.  For detailed pictures, you can revisit the first pair.  Once again, I used ordinary thread, I had no intention of mucking about with topstitching stuff.

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For the tee shirt, I used a pattern I’d used twice last year.  The fabric, which you might recognise from my last post, came from Stitch Fabrics at the NEC.  It’s a cobalt blue and white print by John Kaldor, a viscose jersey with a great drape and weight.  I like a floaty tee for the summer when it gets sticky and humid.

Originally I thought I might use the prints I bought for more fitter, “plain” tees, and the solids for the floaty stuff, but I was halfway through cutting this one out when I remembered!  Oh dear!  Anyway, I love how this has turned out.

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The pattern is 113/4 from Burdastyle 12 2008.  An oldie, but a goodie.  I used Vilene iron-on bias stay tape on all the neckline edges and armholes.  I have learned my lesson with soft, drapy knits and keeping them in their place!  I love how the print on this looks in this and I’m looking forward to wearing it thoughout the summer.

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Loving my new shoes too!

I have more makes to show you now I have a photographer at home for the Easter holidays, most of them will be going into my suitcase for my trip to South Africa in two weeks.  TWO WEEKS!

 

No Sewing, Plenty of Shopping!

Well, not no sewing at all, but I haven’t got much to report right now as I have no photos! I have a blue viscose tee and blue and white herringbone Burda trousers and a new pair of gorgeous Birkin Flares.  But nowhere to be seen.  What I can show you though, is fabric shopping….

My favourite annual fabric shopping opportunity happened this week, Sewing for Pleasure at the NEC.  I always go on the Thursday, the first day.  You get the best picks first thing on day one!  I went prepared, a wad of cash in my wallet that was all I was allowed to spend and two large carrier bags in which to stuff my purchases.   I was meeting with an ex-student whom I hadn’t seen in about 2 years, so it was going to be a good day!  We had a fabulous time catching up and buying pretty things.

I started at Rosenberg & Son – the only place to start.  As usual there was a crowd 3 people deep all trying to get access to the front to feel and grab precious bolts of fabrics.  Some people have sharp elbows…  Anyway, once I finally reached my destination I bought 2.5m of floral printed twill for a friend (who’s making a dress), 1.2m of blue and white geometric print John Kaldor viscose jersey and and 2.5m of the prettiest green and blue parasol print poplin.  My plans for the jersey is to turn it into a tee of some sort – no idea which pattern just yet.  The parasol print will be the trousers from the pantsuit in the plus size section of the April issue of Burdastyle magazine.  It’s going to look good on the beach next month!!

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First purchases from Rosenberg, Viscose jersey, print twill & print poplin

From there I found Doughty’s.  All 2-3 stalls.  Why so many? Anyways, one of their stalls had a majority of quilting cottons, the others had a mixture of good fabrics, including a decent selection of ex-designer fabrics like Paul Smith.  I bought a metre of pretty navy and white seaside print cotton to make baby things for a friend’s soon to be born little girl.  February’s issue of Burdastyle has some really cute patterns for baby clothes.

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Seaside print cotton from Doughty’s Fabrics

They always have lots of lovely fabrics, this time I managed to buy from two of the stalls.  On 2 different trips I bought 2 metres of washed linen in grey and white (looks like a cotton & linen blend) and 1.2m of black and white stripe viscose jersey.  I have a pretty good idea the linen will become a pair of floppy trousers, although a friend suggested an unlined jacket, and the jersey is destined to be a tee.  Again, pattern undecided.

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Linen & viscose jersey from Doughty’s

 

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Montreux Fabrics

I found a new fabric store at the show this time, Montreux Fabrics.  They haven’t got their website up and running just yet but they did have plenty of gorgeous fabrics! I particularly enjoyed rummaging through the “remnant” baskets.  Their selection of jersey fabrics was really good.  I ended up only buying 2 pieces, 1.8m of plain blue viscose jersey, again it’ll be a tee of some sort, and 1.4m of white viscose jersey that’s destined for Del.

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Beautiful blue jersey from Montreux fabrics

Just when I thought I’d done all my buying, daughter No2 turned up!  My friend wanted to go back to Rosenberg’s so we tagged along.  Bad decision!  Or maybe not.  Two more pieces of fabric were added to my bags!  Daughter no 2 liked a piece of Liberty lawn for a vintage blouse and then fell for a large floral print stretch cotton for another blouse.  I will wait for her to come home for the Easter hols to pick the exact patterns she wants.

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Cotton prints from Rosenberg & Son

I killed a little time at the Bernina stand, I still wouldn’t swap either of my old machines for one of them.  The overlockers look even more involved than mine!  I looked at the coverstitch though, it has three needles and costs a mere £599.  To sew hems….  Twin needles are much cheaper!

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Overlockers at the Bernina stand

I browsed the patterns stands, picked up one Burda trouser patterns but on the whole I left the commercial patterns alone.

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Looking out bargains at Doughty’s, Interesting print choice & lots of commercial patterns

So all in all it was a pretty fabulous day.  My wallet was empty, feet only a little sore and fabric bags full!  It was all so worth it and I have plenty to sew in the next 4 weeks!