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?

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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.

 

Summer Dreams

Summer time is for pretty dresses.  Neither of my girls require any new dresses, this year or the next.  So what’s a frustrated fabricaholic to do?!  Sew for someone else, of course!  I decided I’d use up a bit more stash making a summer dress for my best friend.  I also used stash fabric for the toile, hoping it would work out pretty well and be a wearable toile.

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The Cami Dress from Pauline Alice

We decided the perfect dress was Pauline Alices’s Cami Dress.  I had the perfect summer fabric, bought from Croft Mill Fabrics last year, or maybe even the one before….  According to measurements, I needed the 38.  My friend has broad shoulders, so I knew there would be an adjustment needed there, I just needed to know how much.

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The toile, in a pretty floral cotton print.

The toile was made in a pretty floral printed cotton sent to me by another friend in America.  This is the same friend who sent me the Paris print and the grey plaid from the previous post!  She has a good nose for finding pretty fabrics.  The toile fitted pretty well , the shoulders needed to be 1.5cm wider, the sleeves needed a couple of centimetres in width and the waist needed to be one or two cm wider, for wearing ease.  I also needed to make the skirt longer, by 5cm.

The adjustments were quick and easy to make.  But, as I knew it would happen, my friend loved the fabric and wanted me to see if the toile could be made to fit better.  I changed what I could and added a false hem.  I also finished off the seams on the inside, neatening where ever I could reach.  I picked out some simple dark grey buttons from the button box to complete the garment.

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The toile, at fitting stage.

This is a lovely dress to make, it goes together nice & quickly.  The instructions are clear and concise, pattern pieces are on a good quality paper which is easy to tape down and trace from.  The only thing I would (and did) change, is to apply the collar before sewing the side seams.  It’s always much easier to sew a collar on with the garment flat, ie no side seams!

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Sewing the collar on before closing the side seams.

Best bit about the dress?  The pockets!  Best friend was chuffed to bits to find two decent sized pockets in the side seams.  She chose the buttons, after digging through all the blue/green/grey options, best friend found these little pink satin covered buttons.  Perfect!!

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The cherry blossom print on this cotton is just perfect for the dress.

The dress has recieved loads of compliments already, and I’m really happy to have made her something she loves and feels happy in.

 

Welcome 2015, let’s get down to Business!

Happy New Year to you all, and a belated Merry Christmas, if you celebrate.  Boy have things been quiet on my sewing table, but now is the time to rectify that!  I’ve been very busy with a different line of work over December and now that that has quietened down I can get back to my sewing.  I’ll fill you in later on what I was getting up to, but if you follow me on Twitter, chances are you spotted a few plant & flower related photos…  That’s the clue!

Anyhooo, I bought a decent amount of fabric online while on the sofa watching movies with the family on Boxing Day, as you do, and it has started to arrive!  Soo exciting to get new fabric!  I am determined not to let it accumulate in the stash, so here’s my first project.  I have a 3m piece of olive crepe backed satin that arrived from Fabric Godmother – I know, olive green!  No black, grey, white or blue…  I’m being brave this year.  From my Wardrobe Architect board, I have identified this palette from Design Seeds with the olive as something I might actually like to wear, so this is a start at coming up with a selection of garments for it.

Natalie Top by Lolia Designs

I saw & pinned a blouse pattern by Lolia Designs called Natalie to my Wardrobe Architect board on Pinterest a while ago.  I liked the idea of the “panel” in the centre.  They call it a pleat, but it does nothing a pleat is designed to do.  It’s a folded back extension of the front so it flaps around a bit I would think.  I haven’t bought the pattern, it is not in my size and I’d like to change a few things.  I’m combining the idea of that central detail with the sleeve from my placket blouse, but deepening the cuff.  I’m also going to re-use but slightly alter the hem from the black & white spotty silk faux placket blouse.

I love the look of this blouse, the sleeve is something I’m going for with the new pattern, of course it won’t have the button placket or collar, but that can appear on a different top!

So the pattern was started in the evening of the 30th, the toile started yesterday afternoon (New Year’s Eve!) – yeah, not going out, and I’m finishing it off today.  I hope it turns out the way I imagine, the result should be available by the end of the day!

I’ll do some round-ups of last year’s projects in a bit, I managed 92 projects to the end of November, so I’m quite chuffed at that, I still need to see how I did on the Stashbusting front.  I know I used a lot, but I’m not sure I managed to stick to my 1 in for 2 out policy…

In the meantime, I hope you’ve all had a wonderful time with family over the holidays & are ready to tackle this new year with a vengance!  Also waiting with baited breath to find out who I’m partnering with for Jungle January 2015!

Look Ma, I’m Wearing a Print!

It's a print!
It’s a print!

I’ve finished another self-drafted blouse!  I really needed more tops & blouses, Me-Made-May has shown that pretty clearly!  I have enjoyed it so far, especially showing off what Daughter No2 has in her wardrobe, but I’m having to repeat stuff.

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I used some of the pieces from the Midnight Blues blouse for this.  The back yoke & collar, neckline and front bands are the same.  The fabric I finally chose is a Liberty City Poplin.  It is pretty sturdy and very crisp, so perfectly suited to a more structured style.  I love the colours, the flowers are off-white and the ground is a blue-grey.  The pattern has alternating bands of small & larger flowers, so I lay the pattern pieces so that the smaller flowers lined up with the waistline.  The hope is that it looks like I have more shape in that area – not sure if that’s worked!

Front details
Front details

The front has a yoke at the shoulder that the bodice gathers into.  I converted the large shoulder bust dart into 3 areas, first the gathers at the yoke, then a 5cm underarm dart & the remainder went into the waist dart.  This was sewn as a dart tuck instead of a full double point dart.  I wanted more of a relaxed look, this fabric is quite sturdy, and while that lends itself to a more structured style, I wanted to be able to relax in it!

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The back also has a yoke, but there are no gathers here this time.  A central back panel & two side panels  make for a fitted look, something you need when using a sturdier fabric.  This stuff does not drape!  I curved the hem a little more than I have on previous patterns, mostly because it was going to be closer fitting.

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I love how the blouse looks with my dyed linen trousers, it also looks good with jeans but slightly all too pale with light linen.  Perhaps I just need more summer, that’s when the pale colours work!  I recon this is a good pattern, now I have another two still to toile, not to mention all sorts of other things to make.

I want to take part in the Sew Indie Month & have ordered the Snowball dress by Waffle Patterns (they’re a new one to me, but I love this dress!) which I’ll make for daughter No2, and the Carme blouse by Pauline Alice, which has had a fair bit of coverage on the internet.  Best I get cracking!  🙂

Tuxedo Bellatrix

Bellatrix Blazer - the tuxedo version
Bellatrix Blazer – the tuxedo version

Another Bellatrix Blazer finished!  What a shame Papercut Patterns aren’t participating in this month’s Sewing Indie Challenge, hosted all over, because I’d be entering this little number – for sure!

I’d almost finished it in the last post, it was just lacking a front facing & upper collar piece which I was going to cut from a black cotton stretch satin.  Before committing to the order online though, I had a quick rummage through my silks & satins stash box and I found a piece of black stretch satin – not strictly cotton either, but who cares!  By using this piece I tick off another stashbusting box and I get to finish the jacket over the weekend – bonus.

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I really do love the contrast of solid black on the collar, none of the other versions have contrasts on the outsides (insides are a different matter altogether!) so this makes it a little different.  The peplum pieces are all cut on the cross (weft) grain so the stripes are perpendicular to the rest of the jacket, this also means they have no stretch..  no matter, across the back the is great movement which is supported on the inside with a stretch lining.

Left: canvas interfacing to support under collar, top right: interfacing supporting the upper back & armholes, bottom right: pinning a seam for a perfect intersection
Left: canvas interfacing to support under collar, top right: interfacing supporting the upper back & armholes, bottom right: pinning a seam for a perfect intersection

I don’t like stretch linings, they feel funny but they do do a good job on a project like this.  As usual, the project went together really well, I used fusible canvas on the undercollar to give extra support, and used a lightweight fusible on the remaining pieces.  Now Daughter No2 just needs to decide what to wear it with when she goes to school next!

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Next I’ll show off the dress I cut at the same time as the jacket, yes, Daughter No1 came home quickly this long weekend & tried it on.  Thankfully it fits beautifully – and she loves it!  The boyfriend was suitable appreciative too…  😉

 

Something in the works

I left you with a little hint of what my next project was to be, a self drafted 50s inspired wiggle dress for Daughter No1.  The fabric is a John Kaldor print stretch cotton satin that is just absolutely fabulous to work with.  I’d bought it ages ago, so chalk this project up as a sash-buster!  It had always been intended for something for my eldest, but we never could agree what exactly to make.

Anyway, it’s done now, but I can’t show it to you properly just yet as she’s gone back to Uni!  I’m hoping we’ll see her & the boyfriend on Monday as it’s Bank Holiday in the UK & I fiugre we can do lunch or something & I can get her to model the dress for me (and you!)

Here’s what it looks like on a hanger.  Just the front, the back is something special.

Self drafted 50's inspired wiggle dress
Self drafted 50’s inspired wiggle dress

I can’t wait to see her in it!  🙂

While I was laying out the pattern, I happened to notice I had a bit left over.  I though about what I could use it for – a skirt?  Too short.  Shorts?  Not the right fabric.  *brain racing* A jacket???  I dugout my Bellatrix Blazer pattern – just to see.  I worked out that with careful placement, I could cut another Bellatrix!  🙂  So I did and this is what was left of the 2m of fabric once I’d chopped it all up.

Teeny tiny bits
Teeny tiny bits

It worked out really well, two garments from 2m of fabric, bonus!  I just didn’t have enough to cut the facing in the same fabric, so am awaiting delivery of a plain black stretch cotton satin. I decided to get cracking with it this morning so that when the black fabric does arrive it will be a quick job to finish.  Here’s how far I got by lunch time.

The jacket - sans sleeves at this point in the day
The jacket – sans sleeves at this point in the day

And by the time daughter no2 got home from school at 4 I’d finished the shell and made up the lining, as far as I could without the front facing and she just had to put it on!

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Without the facing, the canvas on the under collar makes a good contrast!

This is the 5th version.  I did think that I just might end up making 12, one for each month of this year!  Now that would be something, wouldn’t it??  😀

In the mean time, Me-Made-May ’14 is underway with so many cool outfits on show on twitter & flickr, not to mention the new Pinterest board!  Daughter no2 & I will be posting out photos on the Me-Made-May-14 page as well as on flickr.  She’s using Instagram too.  Are you participating?