Slow Sewing

This year is going to be a different one for sewing. If you haven’t already noticed, things are going much slower. By this time last year I’d completed 22 projects, this year I’ve done 13 and am working on my 14th. It’s not as if I have less to make, or less fabric to play with. Just less time.
I have stuff I need to photograph, neither Camas Blouse have made it to the pages of the blog yet, despite them being completed late January, early February!  Here’s a glimpse.

Marking the seamlines on the reverse of the sequined shoulder yokes.
Marking the seamlines on the reverse of the sequined shoulder yokes.

 

The completed sequined shoulder.
The completed sequined shoulder.
A sneaky selfie in the back of the florists, the first outing for my Camas Blouse
A sneaky selfie in the back of the florists, the first outing for my Camas Blouse

I decided this year to get my act into gear regarding trousers too, the styles in the Burda magazines aren’t floating my boat and there really is a limit as to how many times you can remake a pattern, no matter how you think they look so different in different fabrics.  So I’ve managed to get a new pair of self drafted trousers up and running too.  I stole a couple of different styling ideas from different patterns I like, like pocket shapes and cuffs.  I’m pretty happy with the first pair, I think the proof will be in the wearing though, so I’m holding off rushing to make a new pair before I’ve worn these a couple of times to identify areas of improvement.

Sketch of the intended pattern and a pile of taped together bits of paper forming the pattern pieces!
Sketch of the intended pattern and a pile of taped together bits of paper forming the pattern pieces!
Adjusting the style lines after the first toile.
Adjusting the style lines after the first toile.
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Almost there, fly zip, topstitched square shaped pockets.

My current project is a simple v-neck tee from a self drafted block.  I’d needed to adjust the original block heavily, apparently Winnie Aldrich doesn’t really mean 0 ease when she says it for a tee block!!  I think it’s sorted enough, so I’ve marked the fashion cut and created the style pattern I’m after. I need to toile it today, so fingers crossed.

Simple shaped tee, 3/4 sleeves and a wide v-neck band embellished with beads
Simple shaped tee, 3/4 sleeves and a wide v-neck band embellished with beads

The one thing about making garments with jersey is that each and every jersey behaves differently. I’ve even had different results from the same bamboo jersey in different colours!! Does the dying process have an effect?? Who knows.  This time I’m using a pale grey viscose jersey I bought from Croft Mill Fabrics last year, it’s not one of those flowing jerseys, so hopefully it works well with the simple shape.  I decided to lift it from being a boring grey tee I’d dig out a tube of silvery beads and embellish a bit.  We’ll see if my hands behave enough for me to hold a beading needle long enough to get any beads attached!

Speaking of hands, I’ve been rushing to crochet enough granny squares to make a throw for daughter no2 before I have to stop.  Holding a crochet hook is not easy at the moment, but I’ve managed fairly well so far.  I crochet like mad when my hands behave and then have to leave if for days other times.  I hope I get it all finished and put together before she heads off to University in September.  I have a long way to go yet!

This was the last photo I took of the growing pile.  I have another 18 to add to this.
This was the last photo I took of the growing pile. I have another 18 to add to this.

Of course, just because I am not sewing much doesn’t mean I’m leaving the growing of the stash alone.  I persuaded Daughter No1 to attend the Sewing for Pleasure at the NEC last week with me, on the promise that I’d buy the ticket, lunch and any fabric she required.  Sucker.  We got a good haul, she left with silk and wool tops for embellishing, wool felt and silk woven pieces to add texture to her latest project.  Me?  Well, I left with these, amongst other things…

Cotton poplin for a dress and 40s stye shorts for daughter no1
Cotton poplin for a dress and 40s stye shorts for daughter no1
just one of the pieces of Linton tweed, this is a cotton weave, destined for an edgy, modern jacket for daughter no1
Just one of the pieces of Linton tweed, this is a cotton weave, destined for an edgy, modern jacket for daughter no1
Silk print onto cotton, the most amazing colours!  I got 2 lots of 2 metres, neither for me!!
Silk print onto cotton, the most amazing colours! I got 2 lots of 2 metres, neither for me!!
You can never have too many books to assist with fitting issues.  Everyone has a different opinion!
You can never have too many books to assist with fitting issues. Everyone has a different opinion!

So that’s me for now.  I have lots to sew and lots to crochet and lots to photograph!  Daughter no1 will be home for the Easter Hols soon and I have lots of things I want to make for her before she goes back to University, so I’m going to have to hurry up just a little.

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Sewing Cake – or something you want, but don’t need.

The Monthly Stitch has an amnesty running this month for those of us who wanted to join in with a challenge, but either ran out of time or steam!  August is a rubbish month for me to sew in, it’s summer, school holidays, we go away for a bit & the other half takes time off to relax too.  I got some things done, but not the “Sewing Cake” challenge.  Now as I read it, “cake” in the sewing world is the stuff you don’t necessarily need in your wardrobe, but is is most certaily the pretty stuff you want! Scratch that, that definition belongs to frosting!  Trust me to get it all wrong!  🙂  Just goes to show there’s always something new to learn.  So, cake is normal stuff, everyday sewing, and the stuff you want but don’t need is the frosting.  What have I made then, cake or frosting? 

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On re-reading the “blurb” for August’s challenge I realise I can make whatever I like, as long as proper cake is involved somewhere, either as a print on the item, or as something to eat!  I’m off then to make something cake-y & will photograph Daughter No2 with it just as soon as she’s home from school later.  In the mean time, I think we need a new definition, cake is fancy, yummy & not somehting you should be sewing (eating) everyday!  Or is the every-day sewing stuff really bread?

birthday TMSI’d bought 1.5m of pale blue cotton chino twill from Croft Mill Fabric last year, with the intention of making a pair of trousers.  Needless to say that didn’t happen, then we got the Papercut Bellatrix pattern and all thoughts of trousers went out of the window.  Daughter No2 has 5 of these already, so did she really need another?  No.  But she wanted one!  Therefore, this Bellatrix Blazer is most definitely cake!  It’s also the first Bellatrix I’ve made since the Paris print one where I haven’t had to squish in the pattern pieces.

Bellatrix Blazer - CAKE!
Bellatrix Blazer

I lined the jacket with some blue floral print cotton lawn I’d bought from the Remnants House in Bude whilst on holiday last year.  I’d grabbed it, then afterwards decided the print was too busy for me, so it languished in the stash.  I tried to sell it to someone who’d love it more, but that failed.  When the decision was taken to get on with the Bellatrix, I knew what the lining would be!  Of course there is loads left over, but one of my students kindly agreed to take it off my hands to make a skirt.  The sleeves were going to be lined with white haboutai, but when I went digging in the linings box I couldn’t for the life of me find it!  oops..  Instead I used a bit of lilac lining left over from goodness knows what.  It works really well with the pale blue & the print of the lining.  Job well done, I’ve used all stash materials!

Floral cotton lawn for the lining & pocket bags
Floral cotton lawn for the lining & pocket bags

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Once cut out and interfaced this jacket is quick to go together, after making 5 already, I should hope it would!  I do think that this one needs some closure though.  At the moment Daughter No2 is too busy wearing it for me to add something to it, but I did get some interesting closures for an edge-to-edge finish from John Lewis a while ago, so perhaps I’ll be adding those.  All in all a successful project and one I could get done quickly to get me back into the swing of things.

DSC09631-1Daughter No1 pinned a black lace skirt to her Pinterest board for me to look at, found here.  Would you know, I have black lace (albeit without a scalloped edge) from Kat from the Stash Swap last year, and black satin in the silks box, so I really should be getting on with that.  She also wants the Day to Night top from Maria Denmark so I need to check the jersey stash to see if I have the right stuff.  I’m determined to make decent inroads into the stash, but there’s so much loverly new fabric coming into the shops right now…  I must resist.

Don’t forget the By Hand London pattern giveaway – you have until Friday midnight GMT to add your creative reasons as to why you should win either the Anna or Elisalex pattern.

I’ll leave you with Daughter No2’s model pose…

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Sewaholic Fan-Girl

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The final instalment of Indie Pattern Month is the Fan-Girl, Ultimate Level.  Now I don’t know about ultimate here, but I have managed to make up two Sewaholic patterns.  Initially I thought about this combination, but then after all the other competitive sewing I wondered if I really needed to enter another competition.

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I’d bought the Gabriola skirt pattern after spotting the most beautiful bird print chiffon from Croft Mill Fabric.  I had great plans for this fabric and Daughter No2 draped herself in it when it arrived!  The grey jersey for the Renfrew is from Croft Mill too, Caroline helped me greatly in chosing the right stuff, so a big thank you there!

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The Renfrew tee has been made up by me a number of times now, this will be the fourth for Daughter No2!  I cut the 6 on the shoulders, grading to a 2 at the waist and then out to a 4 at the hip.  I also had to lengthen the shoulder by 2cm.  She didn’t want the waistband part of the tee, so I ran a line of twin-needling 1cm from the raw edge and didn’t turn up a hem.  The Renfrew, as always goes together well, it took  a couple of hours on the overlocker, perfect for a quick make.

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The Gabriola however, was a completely different kettle of fish.  The print ran across the fabric, so I thought I’d cut the pattern pieces on the cross grain.  This was not one of my brightest ideas, as it turns out.  It was slippery as heck to cut and even worse to pin together.  I used French seams everywhere except to attach the skirt pieces to the yokes.  There I used a flat fell seam.

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Good for swirling in too!
Good for swirling in too!

I wasn’t sure what to do with the waistband – at first I didn’t want to make it too stiff, but I was concerned that the chiffon wouldn’t be strong enough with just a fine interfacing.  After asking for so ideas from Tashia on twitter which weren’t forthcoming, I decided to start with interfacing with the fine sheer polyester fusible.  I bought a length of white 4cm wide grossgrain ribbon and handstitched the waistband to the ribbon with a herringbone stitch.  This has worked out quite well & now I can be sure it’ll be secure enough with the button & buttonhole too.

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Obviously the skirt needed to be lined, but with what..  The more common linings wouldn’t be suitable here, I couldn’t use an acetate or cupro and silk would have been too expensive and not suitable for a teenager to wear every day.  I bought some white cotton muslin for the job, and used it for the toile too.  This I constructed using Mock French seams so that I could alter it quickly and easily if I had to.

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The cotton does alter the hang of the chiffon, the skirt would have been far more drapey with a more fluid lining, but Daughter No2 likes it as it is, and I am not unhappy with the result.  I let the skirt hang for a day to see how much dropping there would be and had a pain of a time evening up the hem!  In some places 6-7cm had to come off, and in others it was fine.  I did away with the 2.5cm hem idea too, just using the rolled hem foot, but hemming the lining properly.

Window shopping
Window shopping

Daughter no2 loves the skirt, it’s so pretty and feminine and she cannot wait to wear it out & show it off to her friends!  I love how it looks with her biker jacket and the grey for the teeshirt has worked so much better than the predictable blue would have.

Jump! :)
Jump! 🙂

 *** UPDATE ***

Voting is now open and will close on Friday 5 July at midnight UCT.  Click on the button below to go to the voting page where you’ll find all the entries.

Little Miss Smarty Pants

Miss Smarty Pants
Miss Smarty Pants

I have decided to delegate the Smarty Pants to Daughter No2.  I mean, she looks so smart in these pants, so why not!?  These are the trousers mentioned in my previous post, no 110 from Burdastyle 11/2013 in a damson coloured stretch cotton satin from Croft Mill Fabric.  I originally over-ordered the fabric to ensure I had enough for a pair of trousers as well as a vintage dress which I need to turn into a coat/mac.  I haven’t got round to doing the alterations necessary for the coat but Daughter No2 was desperate for these trousers.  So I gave in & cut, anyway, I can always buy more fabric, can’t I?

DSC07306-1The pattern is great.  Daughter no2 seem made for the shape of Burda trousers, including the length!  I always have to lop 5-6cm off for myself, but they are just right on my little giraffe.  She’s 174.5cm tall, so generally we have a problem with shop trousers being waaay too short – which is why I make them instead.  The fabric behaved perfectly, it irons like a dream & has enough, but not too much, stretch.  I took in the side seams (making the 34) 5mm each, so effctively narrowing the pants – from the hip – 2cm each.  She felt they were a little baggy before.

DSC07308-1I overlocked everything before starting sewing & hand stitched the hem in place.  The button & zip are from my stash.  As you can see, she’s pretty chuffed with them!  This outfit is completely handmade.  The top is a vintage Simplicity pattern I made last year (see my Vintage Belle blog for details) & the swing jacket is what I made for my Jungle January project in 2013.  As it’s half term here in the UK this week, she’s taken a day out from studying & masses of 6th form homework to go out with her friends, & this is what she went in!

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smarty pants CollageIt’s not even that cold today, & thankfully no rain is forecast either!  But, rain or shine, I must get on with my own trousers.  I have some gorgeous caramel coloured linen from Ditto Fabrics that’s just begging to be used & a whole pile of patterns needing to be traced!

 

 

Trousers – “For me, or not for me?” That is the question!

Grrrr, I have to confess to major irritation with my trouser toiles.  It seems the Hot Patterns patterns don’t suit me.  Not the garments & certainly not the instructions!  I set about making a toile of each of the patterns I wanted this weekend.  When I use a pattern for the first time, I like to use the instructions as printed, then I can see where to deviate (if necessary) the next time.  All was well until I got to the fly zip.  Now I can do a fly zip, 5 minutes & it’s done.  The instructions for these patterns bamboozled me to such an extent I ripped the entire lot out & threw it on the floor for 30 minutes while I stormed downstairs for tea & chocolate!

I don’t know who the instructions are written for, but they made absolutely no sense to me whatsoever.  One I’d calmed down I returned to the scene of the crime & inserted the zips my way.  Done.  Then to put them on – yeah.  They don’t sit right, & I don’t like them – either of them – at all!!  Apparently they’re “really easy to make following all the tutorials on youtube”.  I don’t want tutorials on youtube!!  If you cannot make the instructions clear enough on the item I paid money for, I’m not interested!  gggrrrrr.

So I recon it’s back to good old Burda for trousers – at least I know they fit, & I know where I need to alter them!  But I cannot decide from the pile of magazines with marked “possibilities” which to start with.  My Smarty Pants selection is going to have to change.  So in the truest sense of procrastination ever – I started something else!  🙂

Trousers 110 from BurdaStyle 111/2013
Trousers 110 from BurdaStyle 11/2013

Daughter No2 loved this pattern when she spotted it in the BurdaStyle magazine back in November.  I have some beautiful damson stretch twill with a satin finish from Croft Mill Fabric that will look fabulous made in this pattern.

Working drawing & gorgeous stretch twill
Working drawing & gorgeous stretch twill

I traced the pattern this morning & made a toile in some spare fabric, a madly printed cotton.  I used it because it was the only piece I had that was the right size & roughly the right feel for the finished garment.  I reconned without Daughter No2’s wacky taste.  The minute she saw them she thought they were the “real thing”! You’ve never seen such excitement – & then disappointment when I said it was just a toile!

Toile fabric
Toile fabric

As you may have already guessed, I have succumbed to the request & will be making these “wearable” once I have finished the twill version!  She’s nuts, but I wouldn’t swap her for anyone else!  🙂