Morgan Jeans

In between playing with ricocheting sequins and vintage patterns, I decided to make (finally) a pair of Morgan Boyfriend Jeans.  I bought the pattern earlier this year and got the non-stretch denim from Croft Mill Fabrics at the same time.  It’s one of the few pieces of fabric I have bought this year, and I’m chuffed that it’s been used!  No stash building here.

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Morgan Boyfriend Jeans

I started the project back in April with very careful measuring!  The instructions are pretty clear that as the fabric will be stiff and has no give, that you might have to go up a size.  Added to that, it’s supposed to be snug on the hip and if you happen to be between sizes, the advice is to pick the bigger size.  So I really wanted it to be right!  Being so used to my Birkin Flares with their fabulous stretch and fit, I was wary of jeans that wouldn’t have that give!

On the measurement chart, I was between the 18 & 20 on the waist, and between the 14 & 16 on the hip!  So, deciding that I didn’t mind a slightly slouchier fit on the hip, and thinking that I might just need that with the heavier fabric, I picked the 18 to trace.  I toiled, following all the instructions to the “T” as it’s the first time I was using this pattern.

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I had a rather fetching heavyweight brocade ex-curtain from the charity shop for my toiles.  The instructions are pretty good, illustrations to accompany the instructions and I had no problems there at all.  The first toile was excitedly put on, just in time for me to be disappointed.  It was far too big!  It literally fell down around my knees once I’d let go of the pinned waistband.  The fit across the hip was too loose, length far too long (although I expected that) and everything just too roomy.  I started by taking it in and then realised I really just needed a different size all over.

I went down a size, retoiled and swapped the fly opening to the opposite side and shortened the leg length.  Better this time, but still really roomy across the hip and on the upper thigh.  Given that it’s supposed to be fitted in those areas, I started to wonder if this was the pattern for me.  It was all put aside while I grumped for a bit got on with other projects.

So when I was looking for a break from all the sequins, I thought of the jeans again.  Going back to the toile I took in the outside leg seams up to the hip line, inside legseams, took a wedge out of the centre back, changed the crotch line, shortened the crotch depth and shortened the leg.  Phew!!  The toile was better, but as always, it’s the proper fabric that will tell if you’ve done the right job or not.  So I figured I’d best just get on with it.

 

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The fabric was difficult to work with purely because of the stiffness.  My old Bernina had no problem with the bulk and I used a jeans twin needle for all the double lines of topstitching.  I chose two different colours for the topstitching just for fun.  In the areas where just one line was needed I used the colour that had been closest to the edges.

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Dual tone top-stitching & non-regulation jeans buttons!

Buttons came from the stash, and are definitely not jeans buttons!  But hey, I wasn’t going to use rivets either, so why not use non-jeans buttons…

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The fit is much better than the first and second toile, but I wonder if there’s still too much ease in the thigh area.  I’m not 100% happy with the fit under the butt either and feel I need a belt to keep them in place on my hip.  Length is good, comfortably worn rolled up or not.  And the pockets are perfect!  Easy to get your hands into, and the back pockets are the right size to take a phone and not lose it!  Good sized pockets are important.

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So here’s the dilemma,  are my issues with the “fit” just issues with wearing a stiff fabric in a pattern that has way more ease than what I’m used to?  I have loads of baggy linen trousers, but they’re soft and drapey, not stiff and bulky, so the feel is very different.  I’ve looked for people online who’ve made this size in the Morgans and found nothing clear.  Are there any sewists out there who’ve made the bigger sizes, and by that I mean the last two or three???

I’m happy with what I’ve produced, don’t get me wrong, but there are niggles.  Not that they’re stopping me wearing the jeans!  They came in very hand during our week in Cornwall last week. (Why is our week always the wet and windy one?)  I might pop them in the tumble drier to soften the fabric a bit, apparently that’ll help.

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Now that we’re back from holiday and I’ve got a couple of traced coat patterns, I need to get on.  Daughter No2 goes back to uni next week and I – in my completely sane mind – thought September would be good for a coat making month.  It’s half way through (almost) already and all I have are two toiles and 3 traced patterns.  Best I pull up my socks!

 

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Shout to the Top

Take a bag of fabric scraps and a simple pattern, no small amount of time and fiddling and you’re rewarded with a pretty unique item of clothing.  I’d wanted to make a tee from the different white and blue pieces of jersey in the scrapbag for ages, inspired by a tee from a Burda magazine from a couple of years ago.

I decided to make the Lark Tee, traced the 4 with slightly widened shoulders, moving to the 2 at the waist and then out to the 6 for the hip.  This was to be for a friend.  I started by tracing the outline of the tee from the pattern art/line drawings and playing around with placement of the different prints.

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Trying out different pattern placements

It needed to be done hand in hand with checking the actual amounts of the different fabrics, no point in deciding to do a large panel and finding out later there was only enough for a neckband!  Once I decided I’d have enough of each of the pieces to do the required panels, I started blocking off the traced pattern, making sure each piece had a grainline and was labelled with the intended fabric.  I also marked the top and bottom of each piece.  The fronts and backs were cut separately.  There were two types of blue and white stripe, a solid navy blue and a piece of navy blue with randomly placed white blocks.  As each piece was cut I pinned and sewed, making a full front and back.

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On the left are the pieces for the back, front pieces on the right with the sleeve in the middle and the neckband on the top front panel

I’d have liked to have been able to have more of the solid blue, but as I told myself I was only using what I had this is the result.  I’m pretty chuffed with it, for a pretty much free tee, can it get better?  Afterall, I’ve used the narrow stripe on 3 other tees, and the solid  blue on two.  That pile of stuff on the right of the above photo is what was left once I’d finished cutting!  Not too shabby!!

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The finished tee, modeled by Betty.

I haven’t been able to persuade my friend to show it off herself yet, so Betty will have to do.  It’s a little baggy on her as she hasn’t the same shape.

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Neckline detail
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Left side with the wide stripes running round from front to back
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Right side with narrow stripes matching
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Last, but not least, the back!

Now that this has turned out so well, I’m keen to make another – but for me this time!  It’ll join the sewing queue, so it might be a while before I’m showing it off! I have just finished my Morgan Jeans today, so perhaps their blog post will be ready mid September…

What’s on your sewing table for the weekend?

Stepping Out

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While neutrals are decidedly within my comfort zone, bold, stand out colours are most certainly not!  However.  After making the gold and black Anza Dress last month, I had a bit of the fabric left over.  The lady I made the dress for didn’t want the remains for herself, so it went into the stash.  But not for long!  Also in the stash was the remains of a decent amount of plain black viscose.

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Deciding to prove my point about using Burda top 124 from 5/2015 for left over pieces of lengths of fabric, I decided those two fabrics would be perfect.  There was enough of the print for the front and sleeves, the plain black was used for the back.  This time I didn’t cut the keyhole opening but instead converted it to a slit, like the sort you’d get on a shirt cuff.  The bias for the bindings was cut from the print viscose, plain grey sections for the slit and the coloured sections for the neckline.

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I really like how it’s turned out!  Although it feels longer than the other versions.  That might just be because of the startling band of colour at the hem.  Otherwise, it’s great!  I’m not sure how much longer we have to wear short sleeved, lightweight tops this year, the weather has turned decidedly autumnal and it’s nowhere near the end of August yet!

An update on the other sewing, the 1920s sequin dress only needs a hem.  After many, many hours of cutting out sequins and then sewing them back on again, I think I’ve had enough!!  I’ve also finally started working on my Morgan Jeans, having done two and a half toiles last month and actually cut it out 2 weeks ago.  Hopefully they’ll be finished this week.  There are other things still on the cutting table, but I’ll get there – eventually!!

 

Ditto

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BurdaStyle 7/8 trousers 105 May 2017

I’ve found another favourite trouser pattern to add to my list.  I liked the cropped wide trousers from the May 2017 edition immediately and dived into the stash almost straight away to find something suitable to cut up!  I went ahead and traced the 44 & 42 anyway. (44 for the waist, grading to the 42 at the hip and down)   I had an idea that a piece of grey chambray I’d bought from Croft Mill last year to make a top just might be good for this pattern.

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The fabric was narrow than that required, and although I had 2m, it wasn’t enough to make the trousers up as the pattern was.  The bottom part of the trouser leg is folded in half to make a deep cuff, that was the first bit to go, no double folding, just a deep hem.  Next, the easiest bit to change – the pocket linings.  I used a scrap of Liberty lawn, black and charcoal with madly bright printed flowers.

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I haven’t shortened the pattern at all, and I think maybe, just maybe, I should look at removing about 4cm from the length, in the main trouser section, probably a the knee line.  I’m happy with the length while wearing them, but when I see photos I do think they could possibly look better shorter.  Especially if I’m wearing flats.  They’re almost culottes, no pleats or extra width, but wearing them feels like wearing culottes, without the extra bulk.

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Enter version two!!  I was digging in the stash for something else entirely when I dug out a large-ish piece of lightweight black linen.  I immediately thought of the cropped trousers again, I don’t have a pair of black linen trousers yet.  This was a piece that had already been cut into, I cannot remember what else I’d made from it!  I used the pattern in the same way as the first pair, still not enough fabric to do the double cuffs.  The waistband facing is cut from white and black polka dot cotton, which is used for the pocket linings too.

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It just needed a bit of something else…  I thought there might be some silver ribbon or something in the ribbon box that could be useful and came up with a bit of silver piping instead!  It’s so cool on the edge of the pocket, but there is one drawback.  The pockets are nice and deep, the angle of entry just “gives” enough to be able to shove your hands in comfortably.  However, with the piping on a cotton tape this doesn’t really happen, not to mention the piping is not soft, the silver metallic threads are rough.  So it’s not as comfortable to shove my hands in these pockets as it is in the other pair.

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I love the back pocket, deep enough to hold my mobile phone 🙂  All buttons came from the stash, as did the zips, although I now have to replenish my stash of black invisible zips.  I have yet to make the full length version, but as it’s quite similar to others I have, I might give it a miss, enjoying the cropped versions for what’s let of our British summer (which already feels like autumn….)  I know southern Europe is struggling with the intense heatwave of the last few weeks, but I don’t think we’d mind if the Jet Stream shifted a little more north and brought us some of that heat for a little.

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In the mean time, I’m working on a 1920s flapper dress in gold and black sequins for a friend to wear to a themed ball early in September, trying to get my Morgan Boyfriend jeans to fit better and find the time to run up a black linen jumpsuit before it’s too late to wear it.  See you on the other side!!!

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Argentum

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Burda top 105 02/2016

The fourth, and most definitely not the last version of this top, Burda 105 from February 2016.  This is the result of a nice big stash bust!  In moving fabric from the original stash position in my bedroom cupboard, to it’s new home in the guest room cupboard (until it has a “permanent” home in the sewing room), I came across this gorgeous metallic silver embroidered linen.  I bought it in 2009 to make a corset.  Needless to say the corset has never seen the light of day, but I did have a decent amount of the fabric left-over to be useful.

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Combined with a small piece of cream linen from the scrapbox, which thankfully matched the embroidery, this top was born!  I think I might be able to make these in my sleep now.  I wish I could, at any rate!  Sewing in your sleep while still a. producing something wearable, and b. getting much needed rest would be a super power I could deal with.  The metallic linen is sturdier than the cream, because of the metallic finish and the embroidery.  This gives the top a more boxy shape than any of the other versions, which I quite like. I love wearing it with my Birkin Flares.

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I’ve had many comments on the top, it’s not often you see a lovely fabric like this.  I am concerned that the metallic finish might wash off (given the rotation it’s currently enjoying in my wardrobe, this is a major worry!), so I’m washing on a handwash cycle in the machine for now.  It doesn’t like the iron, so needs to be pressed on the reverse.

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I had to cut the back without a fold and meant to use a centre seam, but in the cutting out, because I hadn’t marked that it still needed seam, I cut along the back edge.  Clever…  However, because the fabric was to be a corset and I still had all the bits left over, I had a pile of cut and pressed self bias binding.  So using a 5mm seam on each back piece, a bias strip now forms the centre back.  It looks like it’s supposed to be there on the outside, so I’m not complaining.  So another successful stashbust for me!

Better Late Than Never

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Named Clothing Pulmu Pencil Skirt

Sometimes a project gets lost, forgotten about.  This is one of those.  It started out really well, it was last August (?) and the new Named Clothing collection was launched.  I immediately bought the Pulmu and Talvikki patterns, seeing daughters 1 & 2 in them.  Daughter no 1 bought black crepe for the skirt and we got cracking.  Two toiles were made, fitting sorted, no problem.  It all even went to Cornwall  for a week of seaside fun in September.  The plan was to finish it there because I was off to South Africa to look after my mum for 6 weeks and I knew the skirt would be needed while I was gone.

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I did finish it, but the hem was wrong, something was causing it to hang and droop in the middle.  But I was out of time to fix it so it languished until I returned.  But no sewing was done again until late January of this year, and the skirt was forgotten.  Daughter No 1 moved out in March, and still no skirt.  Eventually in July I found a bag of “fabric” that turned out to be items to be fixed or tweaked -and in there was the skirt!  As both daughters were visiting for a few days at the end of the month, it was a sign to get it sorted and given to her to finally be worn!

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So what was the problem?  Turns out that when I was cleverly shortening the pattern pieces I’d forgotten to remove an extra 1cm from the lining pieces, so they were longer than the shell.  Hence the drooping hem.  I unpicked the handstitched part of the hem and pulled the lining through the hole, marked a line perpendicular to the centre lines and folded up that rogue 1cm, stitching it down.  Then it all got pushed back and the hem restitched.  Volia!  Took all of about 30 minutes to do.  And almost a year to do it…

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When I first made the skirt, I did the loops and belt, but she didn’t like either.  The belt was dumped but I convinced her to keep the belt loops for now, she could use a thin silk scarf or a purchased belt instead.  She’s still not convinced about the belt loops though.

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But I love the skirt on her, it looks so totally different on her than on me!!  Obviously.  I love the pattern, it has fabulous shape and those side seams are great.

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I’d love to make one with different colours to emphasise the panel shapes, or use a stripe cut in different directions.  Now to make her a Talvikki to go with the Pulmu!  Hope it doesn’t take another year…

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Roads Untravelled

And patterns unmade!  There’s one problem with buying Burda magazines every month for the last 20 years.  I have loads and loads and loads of patterns that I thought I’d make but have not got round to.  During Me Made May this year I spotted a rather nice top on my IG feed.  Turns out the pattern was one from a Burda magazine that I’d marked to make – you know the rest!

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top 124 Burda 05/2015

Having identified a lack of white tops in my wardrobe, it was decided to make the pattern up in some gorgeous white viscose voile from Croft Mill.  This fabric is to die for, just beautiful (but no longer available!).  Having bought 2 metres and found just how lovely it was, I immediately got another 3 to hide in the stash!  I know I’m supposed to be clearing it out, but this will be a useful stash, white never goes out of fashion.  *whispers* and I could always die it…

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The pattern is 124 from May 2015, available from the Burdastyle site as a download here.  I traced the 44 and added just the length part of a FBA as there was plenty of width for me.  I used the seam across the bust to add a total 3cm in length.  Seems to have worked pretty well.  Necklines too close to the neck aren’t usually my thing, I feel like I’m being strangled!  Scoop and v-necks are more my look, but this works.  The keyhole opening gives interest to the front (no mono-boob) and there’s enough room at the neck not to feel choked.

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French seams and double turned hems keep the insides all neat and tidy and the bias edges are lovely for the neckline.  I’ve worn this top at least one a week since making it, pretty much as soon as it’s clean and ironed, I’m wearing it again!  I think I need more white viscose voile tops!  The button is a vintage glass find from a local antique shop, so pretty!

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The silk version

I think it’s a good pattern for mixing and matching too, using scraps and odd ends of fabrics.  Just to test that theory I made another from stashed fabrics.  This top started with a piece of devine blue silk satin bought from Rosenberg and Son years and years ago (it was one of those you have to get, despite not having any idea when you’ll use it).  It was narrow and I’d cut bits out of the one end to use in a blouse about 5 years ago.  funny, that exact fabric is what I’m using in this top!  That blouse was the thinnest silk satin devore and it holied up pretty quickly.  But, as usual, I hadn’t thrown it out.

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My new top would combine fabrics again, but with the plain silk satin as the dominant fabric.  The back yoke and sleeves were cut from the larger areas of the original top and the blue fabric made up the rest.  It’s beautiful!!  The satin is heavier and drapier than the viscose voile, which has the effect of pulling down more – making that keyhole opening lower..  it’s fine while standing and walking, but when sitting, it’s a little too low.  Either I live with it or I do something about it, but I’m not sure what without totally ruining the look.

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Contrast fabric forming the sleeves and back yoke

French seams were not on the table this time round, the silk was too thick and would have left bulky evidence on the right side, so the overlocker was drafted in.  Hems aren’t double turned either, this stuff is slippery as all heck and a nightmare to turn on a tight curve!  Thankfully the bias behaved itself.  I really like this pattern, why did it take me two years to get round to making it up after marking it as interesting??

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I’m definitely going to be making more, it’s a pattern that could be useful for using up all sorts of smaller pieces of fabrics, and for playing with bias yokes – thinking stripes here.  I might even change the sleeve to a three quarter length and have some for my winter wardrobe, it’s about time to start thinking of warmer clothes now, like it or not.  And coats!!