Stashbusting Trousers

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There’s a lot of sewing to catch up on, so here goes.  Two years ago I made a purchase of two pieces of grey wool (amongst other things – of course) from Croft Mill Fabrics.  One of the pieces of wool is a suiting weight blend of viscose and mohair, and really wasn’t what I’d expected when it turned up!  I pictured something thicker and warmer – snuggly…  This was fine, had a sheen and was rather fluid.  So it went into the stash until I could come up with something.

Eventually, after making this pair of Burda trousers earlier in the year, I decided to reuse the pattern and finally make up the silver grey fabric.  Go stashbusting!  I opted for the longer length view and the mini turn ups, leaving off the welt pockets at the back.  I don’t use the ones on the other trousers at all, and it’s just annoying to have to iron the darn things flat each time.

I used the same fitting alterations as the last time, but didn’t shorten the pattern at all! There is no stretch in this fabric at all, and it’s shown that I probably need to make a chunky calf adjustment.  It wasn’t a problem with the last pair because of the stretch content.  Because the fabric is so thin and fine I decided to add a little something and raided my linings bag for something suitable to line the trousers.  I picked out a green viscose lining and used it to half line the fronts.

There are no contrast fabrics anywhere else, the waistband and pockets are all in the main fabric.  I’m really happy with the result, although I can see that they may not make it all the way through winter, being so thin.  But they’re surprisingly warm(-ish).  I love the mini turn-ups, and the finished length is perfect for wearing with heels or my silver brouges.  Definitely making another sometime.  I’ve worn them once a week since I made them, which is a good sign!

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Love these little cuffs!

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More catching up to come, although it won’t be stashbusting…

 

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M&S Suit Refashion

I may have mentioned that I was thinking of joining the Refashioners 2017 challenge in the last post.  I has all sorts of ideas running through my head, all dependent on what sort of suit I could find, and how much I wanted to spent.  And whether anyone would wear what I came up with in the end…  Warning this is a long and picture heavy post!

I rummaged in the local charity shops in town and came home with my wallet £30 lighter and my bag two suits fuller.  The first to be used is a size 18 ladies Marks & Spencer wool trouser suit, navy with grey windowpane check.  I sort of thought of making a pencil skirt from the trousers, and turning the jacket into something shorter and more fitted.  Of course, I started pulling it all apart before I managed to remember that a “before” picture might be required.  Thankfully I managed a photo of the jacket, sort of halfway through being unpicked.

I started with the trousers.  I really wanted a long, fitted pencil skirt, like the Pulmu in shape.  But there wasn’t enough fabric for that plan.  There was a photo from the 2018 Carolina Herrera Resort Collection on my Pinterest board that I really liked, shape, angles etc.  As I thought this refashion might be worn by daughter no 2, I showed it to her and explained what I wanted to do.  Nope.  She liked the fitted shape and wide shoulders (sorta) but didn’t like the bottom half of the top at all. (The best bit in my opinion!)  So I took ideas that would work, the centre seam, 45 degree angles, wide shoulders and fitted bodice.

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Suit trouser legs pinned together along the stripes so nothing moved while I cut the pattern pieces for the top.

Turning to the bodice block I drafted something I thought would work, only to find there just wasn’t enough fabric, the trousers are too narrow.  A compromise meant I needed to cut flanges for the extended shoulders (and honestly, they could have been wider) and insert them into princess seams in the front and back.  I still wanted the angles though, so the upper fronts are cut on the bias, after drawing on the lines of the windowpane to make sure they’d be lining up properly.  All pieces are cut like this, I wanted everything to line up.

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Most of the windowpane lines up!

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It didn’t turn out too badly, to be honest!  Not all of the windowpane lines line up exactly, but with the angles going on I’m still happy with the result.  I had in mind that it would be more of a waistcoat-type top than a top-type top, and thought I’d use a separating zip in the centre front.  But instead we have an invisible zip in the left side seam – client requirement.. 😉  The armhole and neck edges are bound with navy bias tape from the stash, so all I had to purchase to complete the project was the zip.

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dsc_0036-011439274080.jpegThe top has a shaped hem, dipping lower into a slight curve in the front, and being higher in the back with a “v” notch in the centre back, reminiscent of a waistcoat.  I like the shape of  the top, it looks really good with high waisted trousers!  Unfortunately I don’t have pictures of it on a person, Betty the dummy will have to do.  That’s Part One of the project!

Part Two took a little longer…  I really wanted to turn the square, only slightly fitted jacket into something much more interesting.  I had thought of using the Bellatrix pattern, but it would never have fitted onto all the bits of jacket fabric remaining.  So I thought of a biker jacket…  I also wanted to reuse the jetted pockets – no point remaking something that’s perfectly good already.  But biker jackets don’t have pockets in the position that these were in, so they needed to change orientation.  More angles!!  Also, this is when I remembered the September 2017 issue of Burda magazine had a pretty sweet biker style jacket in it that might be useful.  I liked the shoulder yoke shape and knew I could do something with it and the existing parts of the jacket I wanted to save.  I traced daughter no2’s jacket block and set to work!  This project is part pattern cutting and part draping!

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I used the stylelines of the Burda jacket to get the proportions right, and pinned and draped onto Betty (my vintage dressmaker’s dummy).  There were bits of paper and fabric all over my sewing room while this went on, a real mess.  There was just enough fabric in the existing sleeves to recut sleeves to fit, the cuffs for the sleeves were made from what was left over from the trousers.  I reused the sleeve head pads, they give a lovely sharp shape to the top of the sleeve.

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Working out how much I need for the contrast on the front, and getting the angles right!
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Changing the angle of the pockets makes them useful again

I managed to reuse the waistband from the trousers to form the hem band on the jacket, which was brilliant!  I did have a small meltdown moment when I realised the whole jacket wasn’t going to come from the fabric I’d managed to harvest.  That’s where suit number two came in very, very handy.  It was a men’s 3-piece wool suit in grey.  I’d deliberately chosen it to be able to combine with the ladies suit fabric if that’s what I’d needed.

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I cut up the waistcoat to make the shoulder yokes and the contrast “V” on the front.  This makes the jacket much less formal, gives it a sporty vibe that contrasts quite nicely with the suit fabric.  The original lining was a dull, unfriendly colour, and not enough in the right shapes and sizes to reuse, so I dived into the stash and found a yummy raspberry satin lining left over from a coat I’d made years ago for daughter no1.  I love these two colours together!

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All the angles coming together

 

bj6The only thing I wish I’d taken more time over is the zip.  I should have waited to be able to buy a longer length, but as I couldn’t get what I needed locally I opted for “this will do”, which is ok, but actually never does “do”.  A longer zip would nave finished at the neckline instead of a couple of centimetres short.  At least the snaps work!  I got 6 large, dark bronze sew on snaps for the hem band, cuffs and neck.  They’re sewn on using buttonhole stitch, they aren’t budging for a long time!

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That raspberry satin lining is gorgeous

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I really love the finished project, I’m glad I took the time to pin all those check intersections on the fabric, and drew all the lines onto the pattern pieces to ensure I’d have a better time pattern matching when it came to the sewing.  Patience makes so much difference!  I wish I’d had enough time to refashion the second suit for the challenge, but other things had to be done too.  I will refashion it and show you what I managed to do, but it won’t be soon.  I have in mind a pair of culottes and a long line blazer, but it might not work!  The thing with refashions is to be prepared to change your mind, go with the flow and adapt to what you have to hand.  It’s certainly taught me something!

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Click on the individual images below to see them in detail.

 

 

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?

Monochromatic

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Pulmu Pencil Skirt, Saunio Cardigan and Birgitte Tee

We’re slowly winding down on summer here in the Northern Hemisphere, not something I’m relishing.  I really miss those long southern summers and quick winters that were over just as soon as you were getting used to having to wear a jersey every day.  Of course, the end of July appearing doesn’t mean I am ready to show you the last of what I made in the month, I’ve barely scratched the surface, and still not finished what I got up to in June!

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But for today, I have an outfit I made for The Monthly Stitch, for Independent Pattern Month.  It’s the last week of the fling and the challenge was to sew an outfit of at least two items.  I’d already decided most definitely on one item, but it took a while to finalise the rest of the outfit.

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I started with the Named Clothing Pulmu Pencil Skirt.  In denim.  I know, the pattern clearly states a lightweight fabric, but I rather fancied the idea of making it in something sturdy.  I cut the 46 and after toiling it took in the side seams to remove the ease.  I wanted to use a denim with 2% stretch and wanted a fit a little more like a pair of jeans.  I also had to shorten it overall by 8cm.  I took out 2 between the waistline and hip, 3 between the hip and the knee and another 3 between the knee and the hem.

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Linen facings and zip guard on the Pulmu Skirt

In order to have a softer feel around the waist, the facings were cut from linen fabric from the scrap-box.  A zip guard was cut from the same fabric and it looks good with the dark denim of the skirt.  A decision was taken not to line the skirt.  I used the overlocker to neaten all the raw edges and I toyed with the idea of binding the hem and the allowances of the vent edges.  In the end I didn’t do it because it would mean using a third fabric and I didn’t like that idea.  The hems are mitered with an uneven mitre to avoid any edges showing.  They worked out really well.  I like the skirt, it’s the first one to live in my wardrobe for about 10 years!

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I decided against a woven for the top, going instead for a softer look with viscose jersey.  I had some lovely soft grey viscose jersey left over from a project completed earlier in the year and decided to make the Birgitte Basic Tee from Maria Denmark.  I can always do with more tee shirts!  Going with the v-neck, short sleeve version, I thought I’d need to do something a little “more” with it.  The morning I cut the tee out I’d needed to look out some sequin ribbons for a friend and I found a scrap of gold sequined fabric salvaged from a dress made ages ago.  I thought “I wonder if this is useful, what would it look like on the grey?”  and then, “ooo, I can put it on the shoulder!”  I picked the left shoulder because if any bags are going to be carried, they go on the right.

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Birgitte tee with sparkly shoulder

The Birgitte Tee is very quick and easy to make, so it was only a couple hours work.  I slightly stretched the jersey when I laid the sequined fabric on top so that it wouldn’t be pulling against the sequins once made up and being worn.  Then I pinned the scrap in place and tacked within the seam allowance.  I removed the larger sequins from the seam allowance and got sewing.  I quite like the finished result, understated and simple, but with a bit of bling/sparkle.

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To round off the outfit I actually bought a piece of fabric!  Clothspot have this gorgeous black and silver striped ponte for a pretty good price.  I had the Saunio Cardigan from Named Clothing in mind.  Originally I wanted to make it in a woven – I have a piece of black and cream silk that would look fabulous in the Saunio’s shape, but there wasn’t nearly enough of the fabric to make it work.  The pattern is so quick to make!  Even with making sure I had pins in every second stripe, it took a couple of hours in an afternoon to complete.

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Love it when the stripes play nicely and line up on the side seam!

I widened the sleeve because I have “sturdy” arms(!) and knew, from the measurements, that this ponte would never have enough stretch to make the sleeves comfortable.  I love the finished length of the sleeves, I usually push all my sleeves up, but these finish at the perfect spot!  This is a great addition to my wardrobe, the colours go perfectly with everything else and I love the boxy shape and cropped length.  I’m going to wear it loads with my Birkin jeans!

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Ta-da! All done for another year!

So there you have it, my outfit for the Indie Royalty category.  I will try to catch up on the remains of June’s makes and the July stuff that didn’t fall into the Indie Month categories as soon as possible.  I seem to really have got cracking with the sewing since getting my own sewing room, but the stash isn’t going down quite as quickly as I’d hoped.  Best I get a move on then, Mr Not Compulsive has been dropping hints about never getting anything made for him and I have a good stash of Paul Smith shirtings!

Lounging Pajamas

Because these are no ordinary pjs!  I’ve finally upgraded my sleepwear collection this year, and these are the business.  I chose a couple of Mrs Depew pajama patterns earlier this year, determined that in my 40s I deserved better sleepwear than baggy tees and a couple of self drafted pants.  Last year I made a Kimono Robe, this year I’ve upped my game.

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Mrs Depew 1920s Pajama set 3068

The advent of Independent Pattern Month on The Monthly Stitch galvanised me to finally get cracking on these.   I thought the “New to Me” category would be perfect encouragement!  The pattern is Mrs Depew 3068, a reproduction of a 1920s pattern for a robe, top with either long or short sleeves and ankle length or knee length pants.  It’s one of those patterns you can see made up in fancy silk, trimmed with velvet and worn on the silver screen by a gorgeous platinum blonde.  I’m neither!

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I’d seen an interesting viscose jersey print on Croft Mill Fabric’s site, black with beige, but not all over (no longer in stock, unfortunately).  It looked abstract and I liked it for the pajama top.  The pattern isn’t drafted for stretch fabrics, but as I’m technically a size up from the largest size of the pattern, I figured stretch would be just fine!!  As it turns out, I think it would have worked just fine in a woven.  For the pants and robe I chose a beige viscose, also from Croft Mill.  There was black viscose in the stash that would be used for the bands on the pants and the robe.

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The pants were so quick and easy to make!  They consist of just two pieces, a leg and a band.  Couldn’t be easier.  I’m just not sure where those 20s ladies wore their pj pants, up under their boobs so the crotch depth worked, or with the MC Hammer look…  The crotch depth is – well, let’s just say they look like a baby elephant could fit in! 😀  For the sake of accuracy I’m photographing them as they are, but I feel they’ll have to be altered pretty soon.  I used the overlocker instead of French seams, you only have 1cm seam allowance (3/8 inches).  Although French seams are certainly do-able with just 1cm, I opted for speed!

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1920s Pj construction instructions

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The top was quick too, instructions for making are brief – think Burda on a major diet!  But there is a diagram to go with the minimal instructions and it’s numbered with corresponding notches on the pattern pieces, so it’s not all that tricky.  I left off the band at the bottom, the top was going to be long enough on me without it.  The neck band was interfaced with some of Gill Arnold’s knit interfacing to give it a bit of body and stability, as were the cuffs.  I decided to make the long sleeved version to go with the long pants as I’m intending these to be worn in the winter.  There is a small section of shirring at the shoulder instead of any darts.

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Mrs Depew 3068 Details

On to the robe.  Again, only three main pieces – front, back, and sleeves (in two lengths).  The borders were cut in the black viscose and seamed together in one long length before attaching them to the robe.  It pays to stitch a guideline on the inside to iron under the raw edge so that topstitching from the right side catches all the insides nice and neatly.  Also, although the instructions say nothing (naturally) don’t stitch the mitred corners from the edge of the fabric, start 1cm in so you can turn the corner properly!  The sleeve cuffs are double folded rectangles inserted into the armhole.

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I really like this pajama set and will happily make another!  The viscose feels lovely and luxurious, and I’m sure it will feel cool even in the late summer.  I just don’t want to think of what it will look like after one sleep!   It’ll be like napping in linen… And I’m definitely going to alter that crotch depth issue with the pants.  *edit*  I’m not changing the crotch length any more, they’re so damn comfy to sleep in!!!

 

**UPDATE**

My fabulous pajamas have been shortlisted in the “New to Me” category of IPM2017 on The Monthly Stitch!  Woohoo!! 🙂  To vote for me (if you’d like) – and two other brilliant projects, follow this link.

 

Butter Mellow, Sunflower Yellow

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It’s Independent Pattern Month again!  I have given the whole thing a miss for a couple of years, but decided I’d like to enter again this year.  The fact that IPM2017 is in July instead of June really helped!  The first week’s category is dresses, and I had just the one!  Usually I’d make something for the girls, but neither of them are around at the moment, making fitting and photos a trifle tricky.  I could have chosen my good friend who has had me-mades in the past, but she really doesn’t like being photographed and I didn’t want to make her feel uncomfortable, just to get a free dress!!  So I asked another friend if she’d be interested – the answer! “Oh God, yeah!!”

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I wanted to make the Itch to Stitch Anza Dress, which I had a pretty good feeling she’d like, and I was right!  We chatted fabric choices while I took her measurements and then I went home to trawl the interwebs to find what she wanted.  I sent a few links with something along the lines of what we’d discussed, and then threw in a curveball, a graduated, ombre viscose with geometric pattern – the reply was instant! “That one!”

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Based on her measurements I traced the size 2 with D cup, grading out to the 4 at the waist, moving on t the 6 over the hip.  I’d printed off the A0 version of the PDF, it’s so well laid out!  There aren’t any pattern pieces overlapping onto different sheets and minimal wasted space.  The PDF is layered so you could just print the size(s) you needed.  Using an old sheet for the toile, it went together really well.

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The Anza Dress toile in a fetching pink sheeting

 

I followed all the instructions and used all the pieces, checking the pattern instructions as well as the fit this time round.  I’ve never used an Itch to Stitch pattern before, and now I’m quite tempted to try another.  The instructions are spot on, enough info if you need it, and clear enough to skim through and move on.  The toile fitted just fine, I like patterns with cup sizes, no need for FBA!  The dress is described as knee length – my friend is on the petite side but liked the hem length as it was, below the knee.  So I didn’t shorten the skirt part and thankfully there were no other adjustments required.

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The fabric is a viscose from Fabric Godmother, that is more like a voile, it’s a very lightweight viscose!  I had already decided when I saw it online that it had to be cut with the gold at the hem, graduating white through grey and into the solid black for the bodice.  The overlocker came in very handy for the construction, as did my daylight lamp…  Sewing black on black is a killer on the eyes as you get (a little) older!  The fabric was more challenging to work with than the old sheet had been!  Perseverance and patience were the name of the game, neither qualities I have in abundance.

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Ombre Border Print Viscose from Fabric Godmother
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Anza Dress, pocket and hem details
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Bodice details & vintage buttons

The dress itself took me two days to make, that’s including resetting the pockets about 4 times, and eventually recutting one front because I’d stuck the seam ripper through the fabric while taking off the pocket – again!!!  It was so wiggly!  Anyway, it’s all worked out fine in the end and I’m really chuffed with it!  My friend bought the fabric, the elastic and black bias binding I used for the drawstring came from the stash, as did the vintage faceted buttons.  They’d been sent to me by another friend who lives in the States.

 

 

We took the photos after work, (she’s a florist) and she’s informed me she’s not taking it off.  Her partner will have to take her out tonight, she has a lovely new dress to wear!  I think I might like to make another in linen, or a nice cotton, but I will steer clear of  viscose voile for this pattern, and never make one in silk…

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UPDATE!!

My dress has been shortlisted on The Monthly Stitch in the top 14 dresses, so the voting starts now!  Follow this link to cast your vote, and see who else is in the running with more fabulous dresses!

EXTRA UPDATE

Thanks to everyone who voted for my friend’s lovely new dress, I was one of the 8 winners of the dresses category and will be donating my prize of 3 Victory Patterns to the Makers for Grenfell fundraiser, run by Portia Lawrie.

 

Hook, Line & Sinker

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Burdastyle culottes 104 2/2017

I’ve really fallen for this pattern.  It’s been made in three different fabrics so far and I love each & every (very different) one.  The pattern is  culottes 104 from the February 2017 Burdastyle magazine.  Made late last month for Daughter No2 to take on her holiday to Madeira, she chose a linen viscose blend new to the stash bought from Fabric Godmother earlier in the year.  It was advertised as khaki, but was far more brown when it arrived, so I didn’t want it for me.  However, Daughter No2 was happy with it.

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The innards are all overlocked, but I used the sewing manchine for the construction.  Unlike the two versions made for Daughter No1, this one has the original front fly zip, belt loops and long tie belt.  All the elements work on this one.  All I eliminated was the back flap that hints at a pocket there, but has none.  I might add an actual pocket to another version as it’s usually handy to have a back pocket for your phone.

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The construction was pretty straight forward, the facings and fly zip guard construction is the same as another pair of Burda trousers I’ve made hundreds of times so the instructions didn’t phase me as they seem to have done for some other makers of this pattern.  I made the 36, but ended up taking the waist in so much it probably ended up being a 32!  I graded out to the 38 over the hip and then back to the 36.  The crotch depth was lengthened by 1cm.  Daughter No2 is pretty tall and the finished length was perfect.

island 1 She’s having a fabulous holiday exploring Madeira and eating her way around the island!  She is definitely entering the right profession, food is central to her day!  I am going to have to put Madeira on my list of places to visit, her photos have made me very keen to do my own exploring.

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Front details.

In addition to the culottes, I rescued a left over piece of green linen from the scrap box and made the shorts version as well.  There was enough on one piece for the front and back, and thankfully I found another piece for the pockets, facings and turn-ups (they aren’t supposed to be separate but I had no choice…).

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Green linen culotte shorts

It was only when the shorts were 99% finished that I realised that it wasn’t a trick of the light, or my tired eyes that made it look like there were two shades of green on the shorts.  OOPS!!  The other piece of green linen wasn’t the same!  Oh dear, I hope it looks like it was supposed to be like this, a design feature!!  The perils of using scraps I guess!  I’m very slowly working on reducing the stash of fabrics, both whole pieces and those pesky scraps and left-overs.