Seventies Floral

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Lekala tie front blouse

Another new blouse, another new like!  I know lots of sewists have had success with Lekala patterns and I was tempted but unsure of how they would be on me.  I had some credits from a sewing competition prize a few years back and decided to give this pattern a try.  It’s only taken 3 years to get to this stage!

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The fabric chosen for the blouse was given to me by a friend.  It’s a retro 70s fabric, dark blue with orange and mustard floral details.  Some of the flowers are rather large, definitely eye-catching!  It’s got some man-made fibre content and is fairly transparent.  I think I will be needing a cami to get full use out of this top though.

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So, with Lekala you enter your measurements and, like magic, a pattern is generated just for you to print off and start making.  The instructions are brief, much like the Burda magazine patterns.  I made a toile to check the fit first, and overall it was quite good, the shape was promising but I needed to make a 2.5cm FBA, raise the neckline a little, for me it was a trifle low, and widen the sleeve in the bicep area.

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Adjustments done, the making process was relatively painless.  I used the overlocker on this instead of French seams, the man-made fibres aren’t too keen on precise pressing so French seams probably wouldn’t have turned out nice and neat.  Fine sheer fusible interfacing was applied to the cuffs and the side seam to support the seams containing the invisible zip.  It really didn’t take too long to make, although the instructions are brief & consise, they are clear and direct.  I must make the cuffs a little tighter though, they hang a little, rather than sit nicely above the elbow.

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I like the result, although I wish there’d been a little more fabric to enable me to pattern match across the back.  It’s no train-smash, but it would have looked nice.  I love the shape of the top, the tie is just right, not too big and floppy and the print is fun.  I will run up a cami in a beige silk soon and then I can safely wear it out and about, and show my friend what I’ve finally made in her fabric!

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Lekala 4286

I’ve got another couple of patterns that have hung around for ages to make up this week, I managed to trace the Morgan Jeans by Closet Case Files on the weekend, and have cut a toile for a pair of Burda trousers.  Fabric will be from the stash – I’m getting through it at last!!

Blue Tropic

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Blue Tropic, #138 Burdastyle 8/2011

Making a start on delivering on my revised sewing plans for the last 1o days in March.  I might have been ever so slightly optimistic about what I’d get through when I changed tack in my last blog post, but we should always aim high…

So of the 7 projects I had on the new list, I managed 5.  I’d have done better but a nasty cold (man flu) held me back badly and no sewing at all was done for at least 4 days!!  That would definitely have been enough time to finish the entire list.  But no matter, those projects will be on April’s list instead.

This fabric was supposed to be realised in a different pattern, but when I made the toile of 115B 8/15, I just didn’t like it.  It was too straight, too long and I wasn’t convinced it would take me into spring and summer.  So I nicked the pattern that was supposed to be made in the cotton voile.  It was the right decision!  I just love the fabric.  It is viscose, but like no other I’ve had before.  It’s fluid and soft and has a cool touch, not to mention a fabulous sheen that makes it look like silk.  The colour is just stunning too.  The fabric was bought 5 years ago from a shop called Tatler’s in Derby.

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The front of the top has been lengthened by 10cm and the line flows well into the dipped back hem.  I also omitted the opening on the back, only having the button loops on the yoke.  It isn’t necessary to open the buttons or to have the extended opening to get the top over your head.  Those are the only changes made to the pattern.  Usually I would have used French seams on this fabric, but in the interests of a quick make, I overlocked the lot.  I do love this pattern, having made a fair few versions over the years in different fabrics.  This might just come close to beating my up-to-now-favourite, the black and white spotty silk version.

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Narrow rouleau loops encircle bronze flower buttons from the stash.
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Soft gathers from the neckband are very flattering
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Caught chatting, this is a very comfy top!

I’ve no regrets at all about switching patterns on this top, the cotton voile will be allocated a different pattern, perhaps one with ruffles….  There have been a load around on Instagram and although I’m not a ruffly person, I’m ever so slightly tempted….

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I must remember not to wear my new things too long before getting the photos taken, creases!!

Stick around, the other items on the list just need photographs (although I’ve worn a couple already).  I am missing my resident photographer and am in the process of training up Mr W.  It’s a slow process…..  😉

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.