Grey Shadows

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Last month’s sewing, planned, executed and only slightly delayed in being blogged and shown off!  Most of my plans have been to make more tops -for me.  My stash had a few pieces of grey viscose jersey, all slightly different shades, ever so slightly different in handle and weight too.  In addition to this, I’d got two grey fabrics in South Africa, one a knit with a texture in the knit.  So you could call this my shades of grey adventure, but I’m not going there….

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First up is a grey stripe viscose jersey knit from Croft Mill Fabrics, bought at the end of September.  I opted to make the Maria Denmark Birgitte, using the three quarter sleeve and v-neck option. This really is a quick pattern to make, about an hour or two of your afternoon should suffice.  My adjustments from the original pattern are simple, shorten the body by 3cm, and add an FBA.

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Next, the textured sweater knit.  I suspect this has a fairly large man-made fibre content, given how static it becomes with wear!  The pattern I chose is 107 from Burdastyle January 2015.  It has been on my to-make list for some time, one of those waiting for the perfect fabric, as always.  This might not be the perfect fabric, the pattern probably really needs something with a bit more body, but this is what I had and I wanted to use it up!

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I liked the shape, the neckline and the dropped shoulders.  The pattern itself is simple, only 3 pieces.  It promised to be another quick make!  Now, if you really want to make it quick, add hem allowances to the sleeves and body pieces, and make a facing for the neckline.  I wanted a contrast, both in texture and colour, so wanted to use the binding  to add detail.  I used some of the fabric left over from a previous (and again, unblogged) top.

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Perfect position for pretty pendants

It took a little while to get the binding on, but oh boy was it worth it!  It wasn’t tricky, just needed time and concentration.  I love the contrast and the way it highlights the curved detail on the sides and the neckline.  That neckline is perfect for showing off a pretty pendant.  I made this without any adjustments, deciding that there was enough ease in the pattern to make it fit, but completely ignoring the fact that the other half of the FBA adjustment still needed to be made.  What was that about concentration??

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Never mind, I have a cosy, comfy sweater I like to wear, and a stripy tee to wear under it!  My grey tee shirt adventure will continue, I finally made a Lark tee!!  That and more, next time, there might even be an update on the new list for March.

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On My Sewing Table 

Or, sewing plans interrupted and replaced with new, more exciting plans! At the beginning of March I made a list of the project I wanted to get through this month, using my free calendar/planner. Of the 7 planned projects I’ve done 2 & 2 are half way. But I’m not excited by them, they are just jobs to do. So I’ve got a new list!

Item one, the one that’s actually cut and in progress. I’ve wanted to make this top for a while and this weekend realised I already had the perfect fabric! The pattern is 105 from Burda magazine 2/2016. The fabric is silk satin and I’ve never seen anything quite like it before or since !

Item two is another top, this one from the original list, one of the half done projects because it’s been toiled and is ready to go. It’s Lekala 4286 & will  be made in a 70s polyester floral print with the biggest, brightest print  ever!

Item three is another Burda top, a pattern I’ve used before and really like. The fabric is cotton voile from Fabric Godmother about two years ago. Pattern is #138 8/2011.

Items four, five and six are culottes #104 2/2017! Following the success of the previous pair I found two pieces of fabric for daughter no1 and one for me!😇

Item seven uses this beautiful blue viscose I bought in Derby I think five years or so ago, time flies!! I’m making another Burda pattern, top #115B 8/2015, which is another that’s been on my list for a while.

And last, but by no means least, item eight is another top, another Burda pattern. This time it’s #103 from 2/2016, using a really pretty  bit of white broiderie anglaise that’s got a silver finish and grey jersey from the Fancy Silk Store in Birmingham.
So, enough to keep me busy for the next  ten  days?? 😉 Do you throw out your plans when things don’t really excite you enough to provide motivation to get them done? Or are you a good planner?

My Toasty Talvikki Sweater

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Talvikki sweater in quilted jersey

Sweater tops and sweatshirts have been all over my Instagram feed in the last couple of months, with loads and loads of Toaster sweaters dominating, just the way the Linden did  last year.  I bought the Talvikki sweater on its release with the Pulmu Pencil skirt to make for the daughters.  I figured this was the time to make the Talvikki for me, using the quilted navy jersey bought in South Africa when looking after my mum.

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According to the size table the 48/50 should be cut.  I checked the finished measurements and looked at others online before deciding it would be way too big on me, too baggy, and that was not a look I wanted.  So I cut the size smaller and it seems to have worked!  This particular version is straight from the pattern, I’ve changed nothing.

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The darts look fabulous radiating from the raised neckline and I love the hemline with split side seams.  The instructions are dead simple and the sweater makes up pretty quickly too.  I used the overlocker for all the construction, and twin needled the hems.

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Changes to be made next time…  If I find another lovely fabric to make another version there are two things I’d change.  The neckline on me is too narrow for the height, it could do with being 3-4 cm wider to be properly comfortable on me.  Then there is the length of the sleeves.  They’re a little too long for me, for now I’ve just turned them up like the model has in the photos (this should have been a hint..)  I will be taking my seam ripper to the hem stitching and shortening the sleeve by 3cm.  Unfortunately I forgot that I’d turned up the cuffs on the sleeves when these photos were taken!

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But there will be another one, I really like wearing my Talvikki sweater and have had compliments from friends and family which is always nice.  In fact, I’ve worn it so much that the fabric is starting to pill – not nice.  Now to find suitable fabric, but it won’t come from the stash, there’s nothing in there that’s suitable.  I’ve got a couple of tops to make next, and a pair of Morgan jeans that’s been sitting on my cutting table since the pattern came out.  I’ve got a lot to catch up on from last year!

 

Birthday Culottes

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Hello everyone!  Yes, I am still around, and even still sewing.  I’ve built up quite a backlog of projects that need time and photos to blog and am hoping this project will be the spark needed to get the rest done.

This was the one I really wasn’t sure of at first.  I’d hauled the fabric out of the stash at some point in February, originally to offer to a friend to use for a dress to wear to a 20s themed work do.  But she never got to see it.  Daughter No1 patted it and cast many admiring glances at it while it was draped over my dressmakers dummy.  She wondered if it would make a pair of palazzo pants, 90s style.  After rejecting quite a few patterns, because they were too long and too wide, I wondered if culottes were more what she had in mind.  She looked at some of the offerings from the independent pattern companies online but none ticked the boxes properly.

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Culottes 104 February 2017

Cue the Burda magazine.  I suddenly remembered that the February issue had some cropped wider legged trousers.  Wouldn’t you believe it, she declared they were the ones to try!  The pattern is available to download from Burdastyle (click the link below the picture) if you don’t have the magazine.  I traced the 36 and graded down a size to a 34 from waist to hip.  Daughter No1 is very slim and this was no guarantee that the pattern would fit.  I also needed to shorten the pattern to make it suitable for petite people.  Originally I followed the Burdastyle guidelines, 0.5cm in the crotch depth, 1cm between the hip and the knee and 1.5cm between the knee line and the hem.  The other change was to omit the fly zip – purely because of the fabric – and go for an invisible side zip instead.  She didn’t want the tie or belt loops either.  Maybe next time..

The toile revealed I needed to remove an extra 6cm from around the waist, grading to the original seamline by the hipline.  The crotch depth also needed to be reduced by another 1cm and the overall length needed to be 5cm shorter.  I didn’t want to toile again, so pinned everything together in the paper and we checked again.  All signs were positive, so I proceeded to figure out how I was going to cut this odd fabric.

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Black chiffon with bias cut strips sewn on randomly

I placed the hip yoke pocket pieces in areas where there were fewer strips and just had to use the rest of the fabric for the trouser pieces.  There wasn’t quite as much fabric as I had thought so it was just as well that the pattern had had to be shortened!  I tried to make sure the strips weren’t caught awkwardly in the side seams when I started construction.  I used a black satin lining fabric for the pocket lining pieces and the facing pieces.  To support the side zip opening and pocket openings in this fine fabric, a strip of black fine sheer interfacing was fused to the edges.  This interfacing was also used on the facings.  It was decided to construct the culottes with the overlocker as much as possible, the fabric was just too keen on fraying.

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My table and floor looked like I’d sacrificed a blackbird to the sewing gods.

The construction of the culottes is simple, and even with this fabric, the putting together was quick.  There is no lining.  Daughter No1 wanted to wear the culottes with cropped leggings underneath.  So much time saved!  The hem was double turned and handsewn.  While the needle was in my hand I used a few small neat stitches to keep the floppy strips away from the zip seam.  Once done Daughter No1 put them on and we chose which of the strips needed to be removed (placement issues) or shortened.

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So where are these fab culottes going to be worn?  Daughter No1 has now officially moved out of our family home and into the new flat with her partner, who is taking her to Prague for her birthday at the end of the month.  She wanted something a little different to wear out in the evening.  I’m looking forward to pictures of Prague!!

Here are a few detailed shots of the culottes.

Daughter No 1 is pretty chuffed with her new evening trousers, and capitalising on this success, I’m going to make her another pair using a fabric I bought in South Africa last year. The fabric is a black and white elephant print viscose, but I’ve also got  a cream coloured cotton sateen from Croft Mill Fabrics, also bought last year that would look good in this pattern.  I’m determined to continue to shop my stash at every opportunity this year.

 

 

 

And it’s January again

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.

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Tunic 107 Burdastyle April 2016

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!

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I raised the point at which the front sections are sewn together by about 5-6 cm

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I love the neat little sleevebands

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.

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Trousers 106 Burdastyle April 2016

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.

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Measuring the hem very carefully!
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Happy that the pattern lined up well around the leg
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Loving being comfy and cool in my new trousers

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.

Sewing at the Seaside

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Sunset from my bedroom window

I’ve managed a little sewing between sorting out my parents, their house, business and lives in general, not to mention looking after the invalid. (That’s my new name for Mum, please, don’t tell her)  Things were going swimmingly with the double hip replacement until her x-rays before her 4 week check up when a break in her femur was discovered!  So she was whisked back into hospital immediately and underwent surgery for a third replacement!!  So we’ve had a bit of a setback and my return home has been delayed by 4 weeks.

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Top 1, navy and white hibiscus print

I think the parents felt a little bad, so Dad offered to be carer for a Saturday morning, leaving me a little “me time” to get some sewing in, or whatever I fancied.  So I used the time to finish two tops I’d cut out for Mum.  This is a stashbust x2.  I brought over a really pretty Rose & Hubble rose print cotton which I thought she’d like in her favourite pattern for tops, Burdastyle top 134 from March 2004 magazine.  She had a couple of fabrics to use up too, so I picked out a navy and white mystery fibre content hibiscus print. (I’m pretty sure it’s 100% polyester, but she loves it).

The only issue I had was with the cotton.  The print wasn’t on grain so the roses, which should have been printed on the bias, don’t run straight down the top.  This is one of those situations when grain definitely has to trump print!!  But now I know why the fabric was less expensive than it should have been…

The top is so quick to put together, and all pieces are bias cut.  A little time was wasted trying to get to grips with Mum’s sewing machine, it doesn’t behave quite like mine do, but I wasn’t going to waste more time working out the overlocker.  The last three tops I made for her I ran up on my overlocker at home.  Boy do they get made quickly like that!!  The original pattern has raw edges on all hems and around the neckline, but Mum isn’t a fan of that unfinished look so I added 1cm hems and bound the neckline with self bias double folded.

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Top 2, rose print blue and ecru cotton

Both tops are a hit and now I have a bit of sewjo back.  I brought over a pair of trousers I’d cut at home but run out of time to sew up before heading over.  The pattern is 106 from Burdastyle April 2016.  I loved it from the moment I saw it and bought metres and metres of border print viscose when I was in South Africa back in April/May to make a few pairs.  Needless to say, I never got round to using that stuff up at all, until now.  So on my sewing table at the moment is a half finished pair of viscose trousers that I’m very keen on finishing this weekend!  If I don’t get digging in the garden again….

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Making the back garden pretty and cared for again.

BTW, Mum is getting better.  Although it’s quite literally, one step at a time.  Recovering from the operation is one thing, but a broken leg takes it to a new level.  Thankfully neither us has run out of patience just yet and we’re getting through her stash of wool quite nicely too!  Soon we’ll have empty yarn boxes to throw out and piles of crochet granny squares to donate to the local craft charity.

Catching up

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Blue skies and palm trees are my view at the moment

Greetings from the Southern Hemisphere!  I had so wanted to be able to show you the Named Pulmu Skirt finished in all its glory just after the toile post, but I’m afraid things happened and it’s languishing at home while I’m 10 000 miles away.  The black crepe looks fabulous and the skirt shell is complete, but I totally ran out of time to make the lining and finish off.  One more day would have done it!

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Holiday packing included my little Bernina

I had a week in Cornwall at the end of September, where the weather forecast wasn’t all that favourable.  So I decided to take my sewing machine and a couple of projects to while away the time when it was too miserable to stand on beaches or roam through pretty gardens.  The dining room of the holiday flat became my dedicated sewing room and I actually did make some progress.  The weather wasn’t as bad as the weatherman had made out.

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My sewing room for the week in Cornwall
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Pulmu skirt shell complete, awaiting lining and finishing off

One thing I did manage to finish, finally – was Daughter No2’s crochet granny square sampler blanket.  I must have spent around 10 hours sewing in all the ends on the back, mind numbing work, but made easier in the end by a pretty view and a few glasses of wine.  It’s only a year late, but she’s forgiven me and the blanket has pride of place on her bed at Uni.

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A real labour of love, the finished granny square sampler blanket

In the meantime, and before I even started the Pulmu toile, I made another pair of Birkin Flared jeans – for me, of course!  This brings my total to 4.

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I was pretty impressed with my seam matching this time, no ripping out!

The fabric was a lightweight denim with 2%stretch from Croft Mill Fabric.  It’s a beautiful dark indigo and is fantastic to wear. I didn’t bother fighting with topstitch thread (again) and stuck with the navy blue ordinary thread.  I found a cute button in the stash and voila, a new pair of jeans for me.

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The button is far more olive green, but it’s proved impossible to get the colour right.

They’ve been so comfortable, I wore them for 21 hours on a long haul flight from the UK to South Africa and didn’t bat an eyelid.  They kept their shape, I didn’t have a saggy butt or baggy knees and, most of all, they didn’t dig in for all that time sitting in an uncomfortable aeroplane seat.  Where do you find this fabulous fabric?  It’s called “Formality” and can be found, in low stock now, at Croft Mill Fabrics.

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First wear!

The pocket linings were cut from one of Husband’s shirts.  He managed to shrink a couple in the wash so the sleeves are now way too short.  I held onto the shirts thinking the fabric would come in handy somewhere (it’s not only lengths of fabric that I hoard).  So my pocket bags are pink and stripey!

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Jazzy pockets!

So these jeans are with me down south and I’m loving them in my travelling wardrobe.  I just hope I don’t wear them out before heading back to the big cold, because it would be a shame not to be able to take full advantge of them throughout the winter in the UK.

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Birkin Flared Jeans in Cornwall (note the photobomber behind me)

I made this pair slightly longer than my others, not such a good idea when wearing with flat shoes (and in the mud) but perfect for boots when I get back to colder weather.

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We all had a fabulous time in the sun and on the beautiful Cornish beaches. I’m always sad to say goodbye.

But three days after getting back from Cornwall I was on a plane and heading south.  I’m with my parents while my mum recovers from a double hip replacement, so there’s precious little sewing going on, although the withdrawl symptoms are great!  I was just getting ready to start sewing for autumn and winter, and now my summer wardrobe is having a second outing to the South!

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In the end only one piece for mum, the rest is mine! 🙂

I have made a fabric purchase while I’m here (and I honestly cannot say it will be the last, sorry pledge!!).  I was looking for fabric for tops for my mum when I found stuff that just wouldn’t let me pass without purchasing.  But, it will all be used for winter clothes the minute I get back, if not before!

So I leave you with a little bit of South Africa, and hope I’ll be able to do a little sewing very soon!

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Elephants at Inkenkwezi