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!

 

 

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!

A Rooibos Dress in African Print

Rooibos dress from Colette Patterns
Rooibos dress from Colette Patterns

My idea of slow sewing certainly didn’t include stopping sewing altogether, but during the last two months, that’s exactly what happened!  I will  get back to the self drafted trousers etc, but in the meantime, I have been able to sew again, and this is the first project I’ve finished!  I definitely wanted to enter The Monthly Stitch’s Indie Pattern Month again this year, so that was part of the motivation.  Also, I was getting really bored of not sewing.

DSC09973-1You’d have thought while I was unable to sew that I’d be mindful of what I was doing online, but instead of living vicariously through everyone else’s sewing, all I wanted was to join in.  So if you can’t sew, you shop, right??  I have added to my pattern stash, and the fabric stash is a fair bit bigger too.  Ooops!

The first piece I bought was intended for this project.  I had the Colette Patterns Rooibos dress pattern from last year, but had never managed to find something to make it in  Not to mention that at the time daughter No2 had more than enough dresses in her wardrobe.  Still does if the truth be told.  But this was a match made in heaven.  I chose an African wax print cotton from Fabric Godmother.  I had thought of a Shweshwe fabric, but had already fallen in love.

Rooibos toile
Rooibos toile

Following many online disappointments and rants about the drafting of the patterns, I got a toile ready, with trepedation!  Colette Patterns are supposed to be drafted for “curvy” shapes, but the measurements on the envelope (once I’d converted them to metric) were pretty close to daughter no2’s, except for the hip which was one size up, as always.  I cut the 2, grading to the 4 from waist to hip in case she needed it. The shape of the skirt though showed I didn’t need that step, so I reverted to the 2 throughout.

Hmm, not exactly lining up!
Hmm, not exactly lining up!

I did have a couple of issues with the drafting.  The front midriff piece was too long to fit the front bodice, but only on that joining seam – the skirt pieces fitted the bottom seam of the midriff perfectly… You can see the little folded away bit in this photo of the toile. So I cut the centre front accordingly.

Pleated out section in front midriff piece
Pleated out section in front midriff piece
Extended back darts
Extended back darts

The other blip was the length of the back darts.  They are wide and very short, resulting in “back boobs”!!!  So not a good look.  I lengthened the darts to 7cm so they finished just below the shoulder blades, and the fit was greatly improved.  After trying on the toile, daughter no 2 decided the length as it was was perfect for her, which meant adding 3cm to the bottom so I could actually turn up a hem.  And that was all I needed to do to the pattern!  Thank goodness, because I had read many posts of despair from sewists using various Colette Patterns.

Completed toile.
Completed toile.

DSC09970-1The fabric was a breeze to use, I’d tossed it into the washing machine as soon as postie had delivered it, ironed it and waited for the opportune moment to get cutting.  Which means I waited for daughter no 2 to pin the pattern to the fabric – under my supervision – and manhandled my rotary cutter (left-handed) around all the pieces, trying not to cut into the pattern, and not go all wobbly.  It worked out pretty well.  The facings are interfaced with Gill Arnold’s fine sheer polyester fusible, the hem edge covered with a lovely chocolate brown seam tape and the seams finished with a simple zigzag.  I was not ready to shift heavy sewing machinery around in order to use the overlocker, and sometimes I think the humble zigzag gets overlooked in favour of its more glamourous cousins.

DSC09972-1I really like the way the dress turned out.  We eschewed piping and contrast pieces because the fabric was so beautifully printed and busy.  No attempt was made to pattern match, I really wouldn’t have liked to have tried!!  Now all we need is suitable summer dress weather so it can be worn, and not left languishing in the back of the wardrobe.

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This then, is my entry for the Monthly Stitch’s Indie Pattern Month 2015 Dresses Contest, which runs this week.

***UPDATE***

This dress has been chosen by the judges as one of the 15 shortlisted for your vote!!  pop over to the page showcasing all the other wonderful entries and pick your favourites.  You have 3 votes & I’d be very greatfull if you liked my dress enough to include it in your top three.  There are some fabulous dresses entered, so good luck in choosing just 3 to vote for!

ps, I have to add a bit here, kudos to all left handed sewists out there, during my enforced time as a left handed sewing machinery operator I have found it really cumbersome.  Everything is set up for the right handed of us.  Well done people, hats off to you!!

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!

Wardrobe Architect Result

Picture the scene, you’re relaxing after dinner with a glass of something yummy & Husband announces we’ve got a wedding invitation from an ex-collegue of his.  First thought – “Oh heck, what on earth an I going to wear??”  Second thought, “How much time do I have?”  It turned out I had about 2 months, the two months that were to be taken up with Indie Pattern makes!

I had a wild plan to make something fabulous in a 50s style, something nipped and flared nudged at the edge of my brain.  Then I got real.  I’d never feel comfortable in a Fifties dress, no matter how beautiful it was, and I’d never – ever wear it again!  I’m not into having things in my wardrobe that only have one use.

Silk!
Silk!

I turned instead to my Wardrobe Architect board on Pinterest and came up with a plan.  I had initially planned to wear black – I know, it’s a wedding, not a funeral!  But I’m comfortable in black.  But I’d have had to buy all the fabrics for whatever I wanted and I really, really didn’t want to do that.  Digging through the piles of fabric on the sewing table I unburied the navy & ecru spot silk chiffon Husband had bought for me back in January.  I’d planned a cowl drape top with that.  I also had a piece of navy silk charmeuse in my silk box, just right for a camisole.  So I had a top and something to counter the sheerness of the silk – all I needed was something on the bottom.

Instead of inviting fate to mess with me too much I decided to play safe & make one of my tried & tested Burdastyle trouser patterns (102 from 07/09), I just needed the fabric.  I found a beautiful stretch cotton sateen in navy on Fabric Godmother and that was that!  The trousers were made as soon as the fabric was washed & dried.  Done!  And in plenty of time, I was not going to be rushing & still sewing 30 minutes before we had to leave!  I used a remnant of the Liberty cotton from the Carme for the pockets & to trip the lower edge of the waistband.

Trouser details
Trouser details – I changed the button to a plain blue one, this one could be seen through the silk!

Then the Indie stuff hit the big time & I lost sense of time completely.  Only once all the madness was over I settled to making the cami.   I used an out of print Butterick 5487 .  The pattern calls for it to be double layered but I didn’t have enough silk for that, so I cut one layer & loads of bias strips for the upper edges.  I used French seams for the inners & double turned a narrow hem.

DSC09715-1The top was always going to be self-drafted.  It took a couple of attempts to get the right amount of drape in the front.  The first time I didn’t open up too much & kept the waist darts in.  This looked fine, but I wanted more drape & no darts.  Trying again there was too much drape and the top was too baggy in front.  Third time lucky I was happy with everything.  The back is cut on the straight with darts for shaping, 3/4 length sleeves are simple & narrow and the front is dartless.  The toile was more fitted than the silk turned out to be.  Again, I used French seams throughout & double turned the hems.

DSC09718-1I had of course, left it to the 2nd last day to begin all this.  Why?  ‘Cause I get distracted with other things!  Instead of getting on with the blouse I made two vintage dresses.  Neither were desperately needed.  But I liked the patterns & the fabric & wanted to make them.  So I did.  The net result is that yes, I was still sewing 30 minutes before we were due to leave!!  I’ll never learn it seems.

DSC09712-1But I was happy with my outfit.  I’d have prefered the blouse to be more fitted and can always add darts to the front again, but the biggest let down were the trousers!  I’ve made this pattern so many times I’ve lost count, and there’s nothing wrong with that.  I decided to make them 4 weeks ahead of schedule – and then went on a little healthy eating plan!  NOOOO!  They were too big, and of course I only realised that when I put the whole lot on to go out!  BOTHER!  Now I need to add belt loops.

The end result is positive, I have a fab new blouse I can wear anytime and it looks even better with my pale beige & camel coloured linen trousers than it does with the navy, and that navy cotton sateen is just brilliant to wear.  It’s cotton so it breathes, the satin finish makes it pretty, although it does tend to attract light-coloured fluff and the stretch content makes it all so comfortable.

DSC09713-1I’ll never be one of those in a shop-bought pretty party frock, but I will be happy in my handmade stuff.  🙂

Have you made anything “out of the ordinary” for an occasion such as a wedding?