More Christmas Presents!

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Burda #134 03/2004

I decided it would be a bit of an overload if I included these projects in the previous post of pyjama gifts.  Sometimes less is more.  This time I’m showing a couple of tops I’ve made for my Mum.  The pattern is one that has been used so very many times, I honestly can say I have lost count of how many versions of this top have been made for her.  It’s #134 from the March 2004 issue of Burda magazine.

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The magazine version is made with raw edges on neckline, sleeves and hem.  They’ve also got bias cut strips sewn diagonally across the front.  Now, mum is even less interested in “fluff” on her clothes than I am, so these bias strips have never seen the light of day on one of her tops.  She’s also not into raw edges.  So I’ve added 1.5cm hems to the sleeves and hem which are double turned and topstitched to keep everything nice and neat.

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There are only three main pattern pieces, front, back and sleeves.  It’s cut on the bias, but even so you don’t need an awful lot of fabric for this garment, just 1.2m of 150cm wide fabric will do the trick.  For finishing off  the neckline I add a 4cm wide bias strip, sewn with a 1cm allowance.  Sometimes it’s double folded and turned to the inside, sometimes it’s folded up and exposed, as you would a jersey neckband.  All depends on how I feel doing it at the time!  French seams have been used throughout, it makes for such a neat finish.  I’ve also straightened the point at the neck to make it more of an angle than a curve.

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The fabrics for these two tops came from Truro Fabrics in September.  The red is a cotton voile, that I only realised had flaws after I’d cut out the pieces.  Unfortunately they were placed on the fabric so that I wouldn’t have had a chance of avoiding them even if I had noticed them in time.  They aren’t obvious and shouldn’t be too weak, but just incase, I reinforced the back of those areas with some fine sheer polyester fusible interfacing.

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The blue shell fabric is a lovely crisp cotton lawn, I love the dramatic colour contrast and I hope Mum will too!  These will make a good adition to her summer wardrobe, the blue shell top might even make it to winter, to be worn under a cardi or light jumper.  It never really gets that cold on the coast where they live.  Not like the snow and -7C temperatures we’ve had here in the last few days!  But I’m not complaining, I love snow!

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For Dad I chose to crochet a throw/lap blanket.  Before my local wool shop and haberdashery closes forever on Chrismas eve, I grapped a load of wool on the cheap and proceeded to get busy with the crochet hook.  The blanket is about 1m wide and 1.2m long, so big enough as a cover while watching the telly in the winter.  I chose dark grey, teal, oatmeal and a lime for a bit of pop and make a few versions of a couple of different granny squares, trying to make the colours as varied as possible.  Some of the squares I used can be found on this list.

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Crochet throw/lap blanket

It’s lovely to give handmade items as Christmas gifts, but you do have to plan in advance, because if you wait for the beginning of December to wake up, you’ll have to make really quick and easy projects!  I might just do this again next year, starting my making in October seems to be about right.

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Sewing PJs for Christmas

A confession – I don’t sew things that often for Christmas.  In fact, it’s really rare for me to give sewn goodies for Christmas!  But this year I thought a change was due.  This was mostly brought on by the purchase (in October!!) of a superking size brushed cotton duvet set from my local Aldi.  The minute I saw it I knew it would be fabulous for some Christmas pjs.

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It seems I was infected with a pj making bug for a while.  Using Closet Case Patterns Carolyn pjs, I traced the 8 and the 10 and made 3 pairs of pants in those sizes, one each for my girls and one for a friend.  Each pair has a different trim detail on the cuffs and different topstitching.  I can only show you Daughter No2’s set, the others were packed up and sent off!  Then Daughter No1 asked nicely if I could make a pair of men’s pj pants for her partner, and a full set of pjs for his nephew.  I must have been feeling generous, because I said yes!

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A little trim on the cuffs instead of traditional piping. Each pair is different.
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I used different topstitching details on each pair of pj pants too. Just because they’re from the same fabric, doesn’t mean they all have to look exactly the same!

For Nephew’s pjs, I dug through my collection of vintage, retro and oop patterns, eventually finding an 80s Burda kids pj pattern, 4222.  I made the 10 year old size, pants and top.  It came together really quickly, buttons, coloured threads and elastic all from the stash.  I love the round Peter Pan collar and grey buttons, I used a mustard thread for sewing on the buttons, and for some of the topstitching.  It just adds a little bit of something different.  Those grey buttons came off the suit I took apart for The Refashioners project, reused and recycled!

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Burda Kid’s pjs

I added cuffs at the sleeves and on the trouser hems, because we all know how quickly boys can grow!  I’m quite chuffed with how these turned out, and I bet I’m going to be asked for more next Christmas!

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A little mustard thread on the buttons

The men’s pj pattern is 143 from Burda 12/2010, available as a download here.  I added inseam pockets to this pair, I think pockets are a must, even in pj pants.  I used orange thread for contrast on this pair, the fly and hem are nice and bright!  It’s a quick and easy pattern to run up, even with the addition of hidden inseam pockets.  They have already had the thumbs up, both this pair and Daughter No1’s have been approved as being comfy and cosy, so job done!  Anyone else have matching pjs?

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Men’s pj pants, Burda #134 12/2010

I have to confess to having to buy a second duvet set, turns out that even though there’s a lot of fabric in a superking size duvet, there’s not enough length for all the pjs I had to make!  However, Daughter No2’s boyfriend recently moved house and required new goodies all round, so I was able to resize the second duvet set to a double cover and give it to him, with the remaining pillow cases.  I even used the little drawstring bags the duvet sets originally came in, they made good pj bags!

 

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!!

 

Birds for the Summer

So, this post should have gone live last week, but it seems I’m unable to use the scheduling tool properly….

Burda skirt 106 5/2012

It’s another make for daughter No 2 to take to Madeira.  The pattern is Burdastyle, #106 from May 2012 (unfortunately not available as a download on the website).  She’d put this pattern on her list of “wants” for this year.  Luckily she’d had a good wardrobe clear-out, helped by her sister, last summer.  So now, instead of me just making what I think she’ll like, I’m sticking to The List.

While routing through my fabric stash at the same time, she chose this grey bird print cotton for the skirt.  It was what was left over after making a gorgeous vintage dress I’d made a couple of years ago.  There is pretty much nothing left of that fabric now, so I’m chuffed that’s another piece properly used up!!

We love the high waist on this skirt, and the pockets have received the thumbs up as well!  The skirt consists of front and back panels, as well as side panels, all gored to provide a decent amount of fullness that ends below the knee.  The centre front consists of a concealed button stand, the instructions for which were a little odd – the next time I make this I’ll be doing it very differently.

The pockets are a doddle, the welts could provide for a design feature, using an alternative grain or fabric to emphasise them would look good.  Piping could also be inserted at the join.  I used black buttons from the stash for the majority of the (hidden) buttons, and two grey buttons for the visible buttons at the waist.

It’s all in the details

I took the waist in to make it similar to the culottes I’d just finished, but for some reason although that works just fine, on the skirt it’s a little on the tight side.  Of course, we only realised that after she’d taken the skirt away!  So when it comes home with her before she heads off back to Uni in September, I’ll let the waist out again.  I’d love to make another version of this pattern, that mustard in the original photograph is still lurking in the back of my brain…

I need to get on with photographing all my June makes, I’ve been quite happily wearing them all, but no photos just yet!  In the meantime, The Monthly Stitch will be kicking off Independent Pattern Month again in July and I’ve decided to take part again.  I’ll do anything to get through my stash faster!  Anyone else interested?

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.

 

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?