Hook, Line & Sinker

island 4
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.

island

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.

island 2

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.

island 3
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…).

collage culotte shorts
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.

 

Catching up on May

So, May did a disappearing act on me and now it’s halfway through June!!  I have a couple of makes to show you, the first is in keeping with my reuse policy.  I made a pair of viscose border print trousers last year in South Africa and packed all the left over bits of fabric in my suitcase, bringing them all home.  I was determined to make use of it!

I decided to try my new favourite pattern, 105 from Burdastyle magazine February 2016.  The panels make it an ideal pattern for fabric that is in bits!  I arranged the pattern pieces to make the best use of the remaining fabric I had, using the selvage edge of the border for the hem.  I did pretty well and have only really small scraps left over.

collage mosaic
Mosaic Top, Burda 105 February 2016

I think this is my favourite version so far, it’s so soft and drapey!  On this one I tweaked the neckline, making a small dart to stop some of the gaping that occurs on the first two I made.  It’s worked well!  The button is from the stash, part of a vintage collection I picked up at an antiques shop.

mosaic 1

I’ve French Seamed all the innards so it’s as pretty on the inside as it is on the outside.  I love it so much that it featured 4 times in Me Made May!  It’s the only top I repeated like this!

DSC_1380-01
Day 10

With my navy linen trousers made last year.

IMG_20170515_115539_946
Day 15

With my Birkin Flares.

IMG_20170525_093041_449
Day 25

With my white linen Burdastyle trousers.

DSC_1744-01
Day 30

With my grey Burdastyle trousers.

I guess you could call this a good make then, well on its way to 30 wears…  Next up are a few items I made quickly for Daughter No2.  She made me a nice long list of Burda patterns to trace for this year and managed to allocate some fabrics from the stash towards some of them.  As she was heading to Madeira for 2 weeks in June I thought I’d best make a start and she could have some for her holiday.  I’ll do a few posts this week to catch up and then start on the June makes!

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?

Fade to Grey

I’ve been making lots of grey items this year, it’s a colour I really like, especially for the winter.  It’s going to be overtaken by blue for the spring and summer soon!  Back in January, or maybe even February, I finally made the Lark Tee.  It had been on the list to make last Spring, then bumped to Autumn, and now it’s finally done.

The fabric is a pale silvery grey viscose jersey from Croft Mill Fabric, also bought early last year.  It is lovely and soft, with good drape.  I used the copy shop version of the Grainline Studio pattern, this being the first pattern from Grainline that I’ve made.  I chose the scoop neckline with three quarter sleeves.  I made a 3cm FBA, which I now think I could have done without in the size I made – either that or add the FBA to the smaller size.

The instructions are clear and concise, there’s not much to making a tee really!  The shoulder seams were stabilised with iron on tape, and I feel that this fabric could have done with something on the neckline too, but not the iron on stuff, it makes it too stiff.  But without any stabilisation the neckline tends to drift downwards during the day.  Fabric with good drape will droop!

This is also the first time I’ve attempted blog photos myself.  Without any daughters at home and a hubby who just doesn’t “get” what I’m trying for, I’ve tried doing the photos on the self timer on my phone.  Nothing like taking millions of pics of yourself to make you feel self-conscious and a bit silly!

Another top that had been on the sewing list for a while is from last February’s Burda magazine (103 2/16), it has a hi-low hem, woven in the back and jersey in front and on the sleeves.  I had thought it would be good in a linen jersey that I got from Ditto Fabrics, either last year or the one before, with some silk left over from a previous project on the back.  But before I committed my nice linen jersey, I definitely wanted a toile!!

I cut the 44, adding a small FBA, and due to fabric shortages had to cut a yoke for the back, with the pleat falling from that, rather than from just below the neckline.

I’m fairly chuffed with it, probably will shorten the back hem a bit, you end up sitting on it so it gets all creased and crumpled – not a good look in pretty silk.  I’d also need to enlarge the sleeve in the bicep area for the linen jersey.  In this pale grey from Fancy Silks in Birmingham, the sleeve is ok, there is enough stretch, but the linen hasn’t got as much give.  I need to drop the darts a couple of centimetres and might also make the FBA a little bigger – just in case!  It must be right for the linen and silk!

I’ve worn this top loads since it was finished back in early-mid March, so that must mean it’s a successful toile – and very wearable!

I’ve managed a few more self-timer photos of some other tops made this month, hopefully they’ll be online soon.  I want to make a pair of Morgan Jeans for the summer, started a toile this week which wasn’t altogether great, so I’m working out the gremlins there.  I already have the fabric – bought it last year with the pattern when it first came out…..

Birthday Culottes

DSC_0460-01

Hello everyone!  Yes, I am still around, and even still sewing.  I’ve built up quite a backlog of projects that need time and photos to blog and am hoping this project will be the spark needed to get the rest done.

This was the one I really wasn’t sure of at first.  I’d hauled the fabric out of the stash at some point in February, originally to offer to a friend to use for a dress to wear to a 20s themed work do.  But she never got to see it.  Daughter No1 patted it and cast many admiring glances at it while it was draped over my dressmakers dummy.  She wondered if it would make a pair of palazzo pants, 90s style.  After rejecting quite a few patterns, because they were too long and too wide, I wondered if culottes were more what she had in mind.  She looked at some of the offerings from the independent pattern companies online but none ticked the boxes properly.

104C-022017-B_large
Culottes 104 February 2017

Cue the Burda magazine.  I suddenly remembered that the February issue had some cropped wider legged trousers.  Wouldn’t you believe it, she declared they were the ones to try!  The pattern is available to download from Burdastyle (click the link below the picture) if you don’t have the magazine.  I traced the 36 and graded down a size to a 34 from waist to hip.  Daughter No1 is very slim and this was no guarantee that the pattern would fit.  I also needed to shorten the pattern to make it suitable for petite people.  Originally I followed the Burdastyle guidelines, 0.5cm in the crotch depth, 1cm between the hip and the knee and 1.5cm between the knee line and the hem.  The other change was to omit the fly zip – purely because of the fabric – and go for an invisible side zip instead.  She didn’t want the tie or belt loops either.  Maybe next time..

The toile revealed I needed to remove an extra 6cm from around the waist, grading to the original seamline by the hipline.  The crotch depth also needed to be reduced by another 1cm and the overall length needed to be 5cm shorter.  I didn’t want to toile again, so pinned everything together in the paper and we checked again.  All signs were positive, so I proceeded to figure out how I was going to cut this odd fabric.

dsc_0465-01.jpeg
Black chiffon with bias cut strips sewn on randomly

I placed the hip yoke pocket pieces in areas where there were fewer strips and just had to use the rest of the fabric for the trouser pieces.  There wasn’t quite as much fabric as I had thought so it was just as well that the pattern had had to be shortened!  I tried to make sure the strips weren’t caught awkwardly in the side seams when I started construction.  I used a black satin lining fabric for the pocket lining pieces and the facing pieces.  To support the side zip opening and pocket openings in this fine fabric, a strip of black fine sheer interfacing was fused to the edges.  This interfacing was also used on the facings.  It was decided to construct the culottes with the overlocker as much as possible, the fabric was just too keen on fraying.

img_20170309_195801_365.jpg
My table and floor looked like I’d sacrificed a blackbird to the sewing gods.

The construction of the culottes is simple, and even with this fabric, the putting together was quick.  There is no lining.  Daughter No1 wanted to wear the culottes with cropped leggings underneath.  So much time saved!  The hem was double turned and handsewn.  While the needle was in my hand I used a few small neat stitches to keep the floppy strips away from the zip seam.  Once done Daughter No1 put them on and we chose which of the strips needed to be removed (placement issues) or shortened.

DSC_0451-01DSC_0453-01DSC_0455-01DSC_0456-01

So where are these fab culottes going to be worn?  Daughter No1 has now officially moved out of our family home and into the new flat with her partner, who is taking her to Prague for her birthday at the end of the month.  She wanted something a little different to wear out in the evening.  I’m looking forward to pictures of Prague!!

Here are a few detailed shots of the culottes.

Daughter No 1 is pretty chuffed with her new evening trousers, and capitalising on this success, I’m going to make her another pair using a fabric I bought in South Africa last year. The fabric is a black and white elephant print viscose, but I’ve also got  a cream coloured cotton sateen from Croft Mill Fabrics, also bought last year that would look good in this pattern.  I’m determined to continue to shop my stash at every opportunity this year.

 

 

 

And it’s January again

The roundabout never stops!  Here we go again, another year, another January and another “oops, I’ve not blogged for ages and there’s stuff to show off but….”

Hopefully something resembling “normal service” will resume soon, but I wouldn’t count on it!  Last year passed in somewhat of a whirlwind with Autumn disappearing on me completely due to my extended stay in the Southern hemisphere.  I’m still working on issues that have arisen from that trip, which partly explains the lack of posting – and the complete lack of sewing.  It’s just about 3 weeks into the new year and I’ve finished nothing sewing related.

That’s not to say that there isn’t a pile of fabric and patterns waiting for me, just the inspiration to get going and the time to fit it in around what I brought back with me.  I’m hoping to achieve some sort of balance soon so the sewing can resume, especially as I have just taken on a new project.

I’ve joined the volunteer costume making team at Anne Hathaway’s cottage – she being the wife of a certain Mr William Shakespeare.  I’m quite excited to get cracking on making things I’ve always wanted to make, but had absolutely no practical reason to do so!  I’ve started a new Pinterest board to collect ideas, dug out my historical costume pattern cutting books and ordered a couple of new ones.  I’ll be focussing on menswear first, but need to make a couple of 18th century ladies outfits too.  Any pointers greatfully received!!

One garment I did manage to finish last year after I got back was a pretty, softly draping viscose blouse for my Aunt in Cape Town.  I used Tunic 107 from the April 2016 Burdastyle magazine, mostly because I had it with me in South Africa, hoping to make a pair or two of the wide legged trousers in the same issue!  The fabric is lovely, a pretty floral print with contrast border that worked perfectly for the collar, sleeve bands and neckline treatment.  It meant I didn’t have to go looking for something else and all the colours worked well together already.  I cut it out there, but got nowhere with making it up until I’d got back.

dsc_0001
Tunic 107 Burdastyle April 2016

I made a narrow shoulder adjustment but otherwise cut a straight 38.  It went together really well, French seams used throughout.  I’m tempted to make one for myself if I can bear to add more fabric to the piles on the cutting table!

dsc_0002
I raised the point at which the front sections are sewn together by about 5-6 cm

dsc_0003dsc_0007

dsc_0008
I love the neat little sleevebands

The reason I had that April Burdastyle in South Africa was so that I could run up a pair of viscose trousers before the weather got too hot.  I made it by days..  I’d taken the fabric with me, cut but no further along, and it took ages for me to find the time to get stuck in and sew.  Eventually I got them finished, and it really was in the nick of time.  I love how they swish softly around my ankles and they were perfect in the hot weather.  So good in fact, that I popped into a local fabric store and bought another couple of metres of border printed viscose and made another.

dsc_0003-trousers

dsc_0005-trousers
Trousers 106 Burdastyle April 2016

The first pair were fully French seamed, this time I threw that all out of the window.  The linen trousers I’d brought from the UK were too thick to cope in the developing humidity and speed was of the essence.  A simple zigzag finish did the job and I managed to finish the second pair in a few late nights – desperation!!  I think I might love the second pair more than the first, although you’ll have to wait for the summer later this year to see proper photos.

img_20161120_093647
Measuring the hem very carefully!
img_20161121_071527
Happy that the pattern lined up well around the leg
img_20161121_082827
Loving being comfy and cool in my new trousers

So now I need some oompfh and inspiration to make a dent in the two piles currently awaiting my attention on the cutting table.  Hoping you’re all sewing much faster than me this new year.

Sewing at the Seaside

dsc_0026_3.jpg
Sunset from my bedroom window

I’ve managed a little sewing between sorting out my parents, their house, business and lives in general, not to mention looking after the invalid. (That’s my new name for Mum, please, don’t tell her)  Things were going swimmingly with the double hip replacement until her x-rays before her 4 week check up when a break in her femur was discovered!  So she was whisked back into hospital immediately and underwent surgery for a third replacement!!  So we’ve had a bit of a setback and my return home has been delayed by 4 weeks.

img_20161101_105213.jpg
Top 1, navy and white hibiscus print

I think the parents felt a little bad, so Dad offered to be carer for a Saturday morning, leaving me a little “me time” to get some sewing in, or whatever I fancied.  So I used the time to finish two tops I’d cut out for Mum.  This is a stashbust x2.  I brought over a really pretty Rose & Hubble rose print cotton which I thought she’d like in her favourite pattern for tops, Burdastyle top 134 from March 2004 magazine.  She had a couple of fabrics to use up too, so I picked out a navy and white mystery fibre content hibiscus print. (I’m pretty sure it’s 100% polyester, but she loves it).

The only issue I had was with the cotton.  The print wasn’t on grain so the roses, which should have been printed on the bias, don’t run straight down the top.  This is one of those situations when grain definitely has to trump print!!  But now I know why the fabric was less expensive than it should have been…

The top is so quick to put together, and all pieces are bias cut.  A little time was wasted trying to get to grips with Mum’s sewing machine, it doesn’t behave quite like mine do, but I wasn’t going to waste more time working out the overlocker.  The last three tops I made for her I ran up on my overlocker at home.  Boy do they get made quickly like that!!  The original pattern has raw edges on all hems and around the neckline, but Mum isn’t a fan of that unfinished look so I added 1cm hems and bound the neckline with self bias double folded.

dsc_0013-01.jpeg
Top 2, rose print blue and ecru cotton

Both tops are a hit and now I have a bit of sewjo back.  I brought over a pair of trousers I’d cut at home but run out of time to sew up before heading over.  The pattern is 106 from Burdastyle April 2016.  I loved it from the moment I saw it and bought metres and metres of border print viscose when I was in South Africa back in April/May to make a few pairs.  Needless to say, I never got round to using that stuff up at all, until now.  So on my sewing table at the moment is a half finished pair of viscose trousers that I’m very keen on finishing this weekend!  If I don’t get digging in the garden again….

dsc_0051_1-01.jpeg
Making the back garden pretty and cared for again.

BTW, Mum is getting better.  Although it’s quite literally, one step at a time.  Recovering from the operation is one thing, but a broken leg takes it to a new level.  Thankfully neither us has run out of patience just yet and we’re getting through her stash of wool quite nicely too!  Soon we’ll have empty yarn boxes to throw out and piles of crochet granny squares to donate to the local craft charity.