Silver Dream

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Burdastyle trousers and silk top

It’s good to be pushed out of your comfort zone sometimes.  I joined in with a Facebook Group sew-along that started in January where the challenge was to make 8 items using patterns already in your stash.  The idea, to look again at what you had bought and never got round to using.  Those poor patterns you buy on impulse because you like the cover, or you’ve seen someone online make it and you liked it but for some reason you just haven’t committed.

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It all came to an end at the end of April, and my 8th submitted item was these trousers.  The pattern is Burda 6689, I think I bought it about 3 years ago, intending to make Daughter No 1 a pair.  Needless to say we never got round to it, so it was the perfect pattern to finish off my collection of tops.  The fabric is from Fabric Godmother.  Thank goodness there wasn’t a stipulation that the fabric all had to come from the stash too, because I’d have lucked out here!!  Although, this is the only new piece I bought to complete the challenge.

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Gratuitous bum shot, you can still see the pockets through the fabric…

I initially toiled the 46, then realised, as usual, that it was too big.  After making the 44 the crotch depth had to be reduced by 1cm, crotch curves had to change (come closer to the body) and the back crotch scooped out a little more.  The crotch length in the back was decreased, bringing the waistband down about 1.5cm.  The inseams were taken in on the back only.  That seemed to work, the toile hung straight and there were minimal drag lines.  There was a hope that the final fabric, having more body than the toile fabric, would hang well and all would be good!

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The fabric itself is yummy, quite soft and subtle with a decent stretch.  However, I think it’s one of those fabrics that will lose colour on folded edges so although I ironed the front crease in well for the photos and first wear, I will not continue to do so.  I think I will end up with a nice pale line down the front of my pants.  I used a piece of left over Liberty city poplin for the pocket linings and inner waistband.  This stops the waistband stretching out of shape with wear.

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I love the back pockets, initially I wasn’t going to do them, but I’m glad I did.  I took my time over them, with the stretch fabric I didn’t want things going awry.  I basted and whipstitched and did all those things you’re supposed to do with proper pockets, rather than just whip my way though!  All the insides are overlocked, I could have French seamed the pockets but was worried about seeing the lines through the outer fabric.

 

(Click on the thumbnails to see full size images)

The finished trousers are pretty good.  I think I still need to work on the crotch depth/length though.  Might just be the fabric, during the day they definitely get baggier and looser around the bum area and I end up pulling the waistband up more.  The front still needs work too, that’s a job for the next pair.  Once I put them on I wasn’t so sure about the length!  I’ve been wearing floor skimming Birkin Flares all winter so these tapered pants floating high above my ankles feel a little funny.  So I unfolded the 3cm hem and dug out some wide bias tape.  I’ve attached the tape with a 5mm seam and used that for the hem.  So these pants are 2.5cm longer than they should be, I never thought I’d be lengthening a pair of Burda trousers for me!!!

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I love the colour of these pants, they go with just about everything in my wardrobe and can switch between casual and smart with ease.  If I don’t come up with anything else, I might even wear them to a wedding we have to go to in July.  I quite liked using only patterns from the stash, not including the Burda magazines, I didn’t think I had all that many – turns out there are plenty, and still some I haven’t used (let alone printed off or downloaded…..).  No more waste!!

For Me-Made-May this year I’ve decided to identify gaps in my handmade wardrobe and to finish them within the month, as well as to use more from my re-make/re-cut bag.  So we’ll see what I come up with!

 

 

An Exercise in Refashioning

I have a bag of items to be re-cut -remade.  Why?  Well, some items don’t fit anymore, some items we don’t wear (either because we don’t like them anymore or because there isn’t a need for them) anymore.  Clothes are like buildings, they need a purpose, and if the original purpose is no longer viable, you need a new purpose.

One piece in my re-cut bag was some black and white silk and cotton originally from Ditto Fabrics.  I’d made a lovely blouse (ages before this blog existed) and wore it quite happily until I caught the sleeve on a door handle and ripped a nice big gash in it.  There was no way I was going to throw it out.  It languished long though, until I re-found this pattern in a Burdastyle magazine, #105 February 2016.

I carefully unpicked all the French seams, darts and pleats and ironed it all nice and flat.  I had enough to piece together the side panels, sleeves and shoulder yoke.  I had a piece of black viscose in the stash that matched the black of the spots.  Perfect for the front and back.  The yoke was interfaced with a fine sheer polyester fusible to make it stronger, the cotton and silk is a slightly delicate fabric.  The polyester also makes the cotton and silk less transparent so now I can wear a black bra without the straps showing.

I love this top.  Seriously, I’ve worn it 4 times since making it (first week in April) already, that despite the temperatures not exactly being short sleeve friendly.  I like it with the sleeves fully down as well as rolled up, the contrast colours in the sides make me look a little thinner (BONUS!!) so just for that it’s a winner in my book!  🙂

But it wasn’t the only one I made.  Back in 2008-ish, I made a maxi dress using a stunning black, silver and gold silk satin from Fred Winter in Stratford on Avon.  Oh man, those were the days when there was no way I could get out of that shop without spending on fabric.  Such a shame they haven’t kept their standards up.  Anyway, I don’t wear dresses, and certainly have no call for a silk maxi dress in my every day wardrobe.  So it sat in my re-cut bag.

I cut the back on the back of the skirt part of the dress, using the centre back seam instead of a fold, the front all had to be unpicked to make room for the front and side sections, as well as the sleeves.  Facings and the shoulder yoke were slotted in where I could, but I tried to make sure the shoulder followed the right direction of stripe.  I wanted it to go across the front and back, leading into the sleeve.

I used the overlocker on this make and shortened it about 5cm from the original.  I also tacked the sleeve cuff to the side seams to keep the fold up.  The silk is fairly heavy which means it doesn’t want to stay up when folded.  It does make it tricky to iron after washing though.  However, it’s another save as far as I’m concerned.  I have something I will wear (am already wearing) all summer, and into the winter as well I’m sure.

My re-makes aren’t always as successful as these, but now I’m keen to get more done, that bag won’t empty itself!!  What do you do with the things you no longer wear?

Shatta-Proof!

Burda trousers and tee
Burda trousers and tee

More stuff to show you all!  I’ve made another pair of linen trousers – no, you cannot have too many, they’re like shoes and handbags, didn’t you know??  This time I used a khaki linen from Fred Winter’s in Stratford on Avon and cut another TNT Burda pattern, 102 from July 2008 magazine.  This pattern needs no adjustments other than to shorten it by 4 cm, perfect!!

Burda 102 from 07/2008
Burda 102 from 07/2008

The linen is great, a soft, medium weight that won’t get all crunchy and crisp after it’s washed.  As the overlocker was still out from the last pair I zoomed round all the pieces leaving everything nice and neat.  It’s a really quick pattern for me, they were done and dusted in a day.  They have a straight cut leg and angular pocket, just simple trousers really!

shatta collageApologies for the creases, I decided to wear them before photographing could take place, and we all know linen loves to wrinkle.  I must learn not to “wear” my makes before showing them off!

To go with them I thought I had to make another of the Burda tees I made in the blue Ikat jersey.  I had 1 metre of “shatta” jersey from Fabric Godmother which, although it’s all madly patterned and in a lot of colours I don’t wear, I liked it.  It looks great with these trousers and I’ve tried it with darker ones too, with positive results!

wpid-dsc_20150615143947881-01.jpegI took no chances with the stretch though, ironing Vilene bias tape to every single neckline and sleeve opening edge.  This jersey drapes beautifully, is soft and light and was not going to be allowed to get away with being naughty.  The stabilisation worked a treat, although I may have overdone it a bit, the stock of bias tape has been much depleted.

Lots and lots of Vilene bias tape to stabilise all the stretchy areas
Lots and lots of Vilene bias tape to stabilise all the stretchy areas

I like it so much I’m tempted to order a metre of the blue version in the same jersey!

DSC00075-1I have at least 2 more pairs of trousers to make up, in linen of course, but I need to get cracking with Daughter No2’s prom dress first!  If you follow me on Instagram you’d have seen my toile progress so far, and I think it’s looking good!  So watch this space, sometime before the 3rd July there’ll be a (hopefully) gorgeous dress to show you all.

Classic Indigo & White for the Summer

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Cracking on with sewing for me, I’ve been on a real binge!  I cut out two pieces of linen for trousers, one a khaki linen from Fred Winter’s in Stratford on Avon, and the other the most beautiful blue and white slubby herringbone from Fabric Godmother.  I couldn’t avoid buying the herringbone, the minute I spotted it online I just had to have it, and I knew exactly what I wanted it for!

Bringing out my tried and tested Burda trouser patterns, it had to be my favourite wide swooshy style, 116 from Burdastyle magazine 3/2004.  I made a bit of a boob though, and I hang my head in shame…  You can only buy whole metres from Fabric Godmother, and this pattern calls for 2.2m  You need that extra length because of the width of the trouser pieces, especially in the larger sizes.  There is no way to get them pieces next to each other.  So knowing I had 20cm less, you’d have thought I’d be really careful in cutting out.

Well, I put the fabric on my cutting table, which is shorter than 2m, so I carefully folded the piece that would otherwise have draped off the end, and proceeded to place the back, pocket pieces, facings, yoke & zip underlap in the space next to that piece.  Then I happily cut it all out.  Then I moved the folded fabric to the centre of the table and unfolded it.  You can guess what happened next, can’t you…  There wasn’t enough length left to cut the front.  I think my cries of anguish could have been heard in the fields surrounding our little town.  Then came the sound of me trying really hard to kick myself in the butt.  Man I was cross, what a TWIT!  A cup of tea and lots of deep breathing later I decided to wing it.  I couldn’t buy another 2 metres just because I was so unrelentingly dumb that day!

I decided I’d have to piece the front, with the join as low down on the leg as possible to minimise anyone noticing.  I hoped that the vertical pattern in the weave of the fabric would make it less obvious that there was a horizontal line where you didn’t expect to see one.  I marked a 1cm seamline and on the paper marked the position of a dominant “stripe” in the weave to line up with.  Once the main piece was cut I moved the paper over and cut the remaining 25cm, lining up those markers.  Then it was just a question of pinning really carefully to ensure the patterns and stripes lined up as perfectly as possible.

The zip underlap is nicely shaped and has the button fastening attached.
The zip underlap is nicely shaped and has the button fastening attached.

For the construction I overlocked around everything pretty quickly as the fabric was rather prone to fraying.  Because the weave is loose and the fibres slubby, this cotton and linen blend frayed more and quicker than a “normal” linen.  I took my time lining up the pattern on the lower leg, and I think it’s worked out pretty well, I have to look for the horizontal line, so I don’t think anyone else will notice it when I’m out and about!

The back shaped yoke, makes for good fitting!
The back shaped yoke, makes for good fitting!

I do love this pattern, the way the yoke fits in the hollow of the back is perfect and this is the one pair that doesn’t pull down in the back, unlike all my other trousers.  One thing I’ve noticed after wearing them for a day, as the fabric is a little on the heavier side, I could probably take the width of the legs in a bit.

Detail of the intersecting lines of the front hip yoke pockets and the back yoke and the seam taped hem.
Detail of the intersecting lines of the front hip yoke pockets and the back yoke and the seam taped hem.

They’re also pretty long.  I have already shortened the pattern in the leg by 6cm but I think I need to take the hem up another 1.5 to 2cm.  Which would be a bit of a pain, because I decided to support the inside of the hem against being rubbed by shoes and the ground by stitching in a piece of seam tape to the inside of the hem.  So before taking it up more I’d have to unpick the tape.

Another tnt Burda pattern.  I know I'll make more.
Another tnt Burda pattern. I know I’ll make more.

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wpid-dsc_0689-02.jpegBut I luuuurve them!  What I will need now is a white tee or two, I have plenty of blue ones! Tia Dia posted 3 tees she’s made recently, I’m quite tempted to use some of the patterns she’s tried as they look so good!