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.

 

Washed Linen Trousers

Another pair of linen trousers in my favourite Burdastyle pattern
Another pair of linen trousers in my favourite Burdastyle pattern

I love this fabric!!  It’s a charcoal and off white marl linen, of decent weight that I got from the NEC back in March.  I love the result of pairing this fabric with this particular pattern too.  The tee is the grey viscose from a couple of posts back and both items have been worn a few times on holiday.

P1140388-1There really isn’t much to say about these that I haven’t said about the pattern loads of times before!  The fabric wasn’t tricky to work with, definitely needed to be overlocked as soon as it was cut and I made sure to staystitch the upper edge while working with it to prevent stretching out.

P1140404-1P1140395-1Loving it with all shoes too! 🙂

Collage grey linenP1140407-1On a slightly sad note, those beautiful natural coloured herringbone linen trousers I posted about here, are no longer wearable. 😦  I wore them on my first day of holiday, and washed them later at a family member’s house but never thought to check the temperature the washing machine was set on.  Needless to say, linen washed at 60C never survives….  Gutted!!!  So now I’m on the hunt for another piece, Ditto Fabrics have none left. All suggestions for replacement fabric welcome!

 

I Put a Spell on You

Linen.  It’s one of my all time favourite fabrics to use.  It’s definitely put a spell on me!  I bought this gorgeous sky and white herringbone linen from Ditto Fabrics in January for a pair of trousers.  Unfortunately they don’t have any left for me to direct you to!  I decided not to use one of my usual patterns with wide legs as I had two in herringbone already. I went with a tapered leg style, number 103 from Burdastyle magazine April 2013.

Burdastyle trousers in sky herringbone linen
Burdastyle trousers in sky herringbone linen

I overlocked all the pieces before working with them as the linen frayed quite badly.  I made the 44, grading up to a 46 from the hip upwards.  I like the pressed pleat down the front and am pretty happy with the shape of the leg, although I might still shorten them a bit.  They’re already 6 cm shorter than the original pattern.

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The tee is a modified Maria Denmark Birgitte tee.   Fabric came in the same parcel from Ditto Fabrics as the linen, it’s a lovely soft navy blue viscose jersey.  For the pattern adjustments, I flared out the sides by 3cm and added a shaped hem.  Then  I cut a back yoke and cut the lower back on the fold with enough to add a small inverted pleat in the centre.  It’s just enough to have a bit more movement.

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Inverted pleat, back yoke and shirt shaped hem

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But I wasn’t happy with just one pair of trousers.  Oh no, I had to order plain blue navy linen from Fabworks Online to make another pair to wear with patterned (striped) tees!

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One more pair please!

Worn here with my self drafted cowl drape tee, this is exactly why I made the plain pants!  I realise I hadn’t gone into any detail about this tee, you saw it first back in January with my first pair of Birkin Flares.  I’ve not worn it until now, but it’s going into my suitcase next week, along with the blue trousers.  Both pairs of trousers and the blue tee form part of my “Sew Seasonal Wardrobe” for the Summer.

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Got to have decent pockets..
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Looks like I’m having a definite colour theme this year!

The tee is from my tee shirt block, I’d made the cowl drape pattern back in November last year to make something to wear to the dreaded wedding.  This is the same pattern, but with short sleeves.  The jersey is really something, also from Ditto Fabrics and from the same parcel as the blue jersey and sky herringbone linen!  Of all the fabric I ordered on that occasion from Ditto Fabrics, I have nothing left to find its way into my stash.  Nothing but scraps, it’s all been made up now!  Yippee!  Now what to make with the left-over bits…

 

No Sewing, Plenty of Shopping!

Well, not no sewing at all, but I haven’t got much to report right now as I have no photos! I have a blue viscose tee and blue and white herringbone Burda trousers and a new pair of gorgeous Birkin Flares.  But nowhere to be seen.  What I can show you though, is fabric shopping….

My favourite annual fabric shopping opportunity happened this week, Sewing for Pleasure at the NEC.  I always go on the Thursday, the first day.  You get the best picks first thing on day one!  I went prepared, a wad of cash in my wallet that was all I was allowed to spend and two large carrier bags in which to stuff my purchases.   I was meeting with an ex-student whom I hadn’t seen in about 2 years, so it was going to be a good day!  We had a fabulous time catching up and buying pretty things.

I started at Rosenberg & Son – the only place to start.  As usual there was a crowd 3 people deep all trying to get access to the front to feel and grab precious bolts of fabrics.  Some people have sharp elbows…  Anyway, once I finally reached my destination I bought 2.5m of floral printed twill for a friend (who’s making a dress), 1.2m of blue and white geometric print John Kaldor viscose jersey and and 2.5m of the prettiest green and blue parasol print poplin.  My plans for the jersey is to turn it into a tee of some sort – no idea which pattern just yet.  The parasol print will be the trousers from the pantsuit in the plus size section of the April issue of Burdastyle magazine.  It’s going to look good on the beach next month!!

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First purchases from Rosenberg, Viscose jersey, print twill & print poplin

From there I found Doughty’s.  All 2-3 stalls.  Why so many? Anyways, one of their stalls had a majority of quilting cottons, the others had a mixture of good fabrics, including a decent selection of ex-designer fabrics like Paul Smith.  I bought a metre of pretty navy and white seaside print cotton to make baby things for a friend’s soon to be born little girl.  February’s issue of Burdastyle has some really cute patterns for baby clothes.

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Seaside print cotton from Doughty’s Fabrics

They always have lots of lovely fabrics, this time I managed to buy from two of the stalls.  On 2 different trips I bought 2 metres of washed linen in grey and white (looks like a cotton & linen blend) and 1.2m of black and white stripe viscose jersey.  I have a pretty good idea the linen will become a pair of floppy trousers, although a friend suggested an unlined jacket, and the jersey is destined to be a tee.  Again, pattern undecided.

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Linen & viscose jersey from Doughty’s

 

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Montreux Fabrics

I found a new fabric store at the show this time, Montreux Fabrics.  They haven’t got their website up and running just yet but they did have plenty of gorgeous fabrics! I particularly enjoyed rummaging through the “remnant” baskets.  Their selection of jersey fabrics was really good.  I ended up only buying 2 pieces, 1.8m of plain blue viscose jersey, again it’ll be a tee of some sort, and 1.4m of white viscose jersey that’s destined for Del.

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Beautiful blue jersey from Montreux fabrics

Just when I thought I’d done all my buying, daughter No2 turned up!  My friend wanted to go back to Rosenberg’s so we tagged along.  Bad decision!  Or maybe not.  Two more pieces of fabric were added to my bags!  Daughter no 2 liked a piece of Liberty lawn for a vintage blouse and then fell for a large floral print stretch cotton for another blouse.  I will wait for her to come home for the Easter hols to pick the exact patterns she wants.

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Cotton prints from Rosenberg & Son

I killed a little time at the Bernina stand, I still wouldn’t swap either of my old machines for one of them.  The overlockers look even more involved than mine!  I looked at the coverstitch though, it has three needles and costs a mere £599.  To sew hems….  Twin needles are much cheaper!

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Overlockers at the Bernina stand

I browsed the patterns stands, picked up one Burda trouser patterns but on the whole I left the commercial patterns alone.

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Looking out bargains at Doughty’s, Interesting print choice & lots of commercial patterns

So all in all it was a pretty fabulous day.  My wallet was empty, feet only a little sore and fabric bags full!  It was all so worth it and I have plenty to sew in the next 4 weeks!

 

 

 

 

 

True Love

Moar linen trousers for me!
Moar linen trousers for me!

Linen trousers mean summer time to me.  I have said it before, and I will definitely be saying it again!  When everyone else is reaching for skirts and shorts, I’m swanning about in my long, wide linen trousers.  So here’s to true love, & making yet another pair of linen trousers – another version of one of my favourite ever Burda patterns, 116 from March 2004.  I cannot even begin to tell you how many times I’ve used this pattern, in both summer and winter weight fabrics.  The last one I made was this indigo and white pair in herringbone linen blend from Fabric Godmother last year.

So I thought I’d make another.  This time I’ve got the most beautiful natural linen herringbone from Ditto Fabrics.  The second I saw the fabric on the website I added 2 m to my basket.  I didn’t even need to think about it. I might have added some other colours to my basket while I was at it.  But that’s for another day.

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The pattern was cut and made in a day, for me this pattern is so quick to make, even when making sure details line up properly.  I love the shape of the hip yoke pockets and the way they intersect with the shaped back yoke.  There is no waistband on these trousers, but for that, they fit beautifully at the low waist/high hip.  This is the second of my makes for my Sew Seasonal Wardrobe and will oh so definitely be packed in my suitcase for our holiday next month.

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The intersection of the shaped pocket (left) and the back yoke (right) at the side seam.

Mr Compulsive and I will be spending 3 weeks in South Africa next month and I cannot wait!  It’s been 5 years since our last visit and I am very keen to see friends and family again.  My suitcase will be a bit empty going out, I’ll need the extra space for the return!  Hopefully I’ll be making a few fabric purchases & I will be looking for more vintage atterns to add to my collection.  I also hope we can find some mid-century modern goodies to bring back.  Top on the list are glass and ceramics, but we’ll look at anything!  Considering the last time we returned with a 1m tall African drum, and the time before we had a 2x3m rug over our shoulder, nothing is beyond the realms of impossibilities.

Collage trousers 116
Details

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New Burda linen trousers worn with white Maria Denmark Birgitte tee and Burda linen jacket
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This is my “Bloody hell it’s freezing, have you got enough photos yet?” pose.

Is anyone else firing ahead on sewing for a yet to come summer/winter?

Starting my Seasonal Sewing

With my sewing plans all laid out for easy viewing, I decided pretty quickly on what I wanted to start with.  It will come as a surprise to you that it is neither a Burda pattern, nor a self-drafted one!  In fact, what I wanted to start with wasn’t even a piece of fabric that had made it onto the pile this year, nevermind the season. So much for not getting distracted!!

I’d given in to purchasing the Merchant & Mills workbook after seeing a couple of items online that I liked (and a couple I wasn’t entirely sure of).  I checked images and some blog posts, looking at some of the reviews of the book itself, not just individual patterns.  The one thing I couldn’t see was the sizes the book catered for.  They state the patterns go to size 18 and I managed to find some published photos of some sort of measurements, but they were never clear enough to see exactly what they were.  I thought I’d take a gamble & get it anyway, figuring if it wasn’t going to work for me I could always sell it.

I rather liked the wrap top, called Heron.  Wrap tops don’t always work terribly well on fuller busted figures.  I’d seen this post while conducting my research and figured if it worked on this lady, it wouldn’t look too terrible on me!  I also decided on a linen to make it in.  Deep in the fabric cupboard, in the linens box, languished a beautiful, light weight, warm grey linen.  This is one of those pieces that has a slight sheen to it, no slubs and the most perfect smooth texture.  It’s been hanging around for about 8 years, too gorgeous to make just any old thing from, but perfect for the Heron top.

Warm grey lightweight linen for the Heron
Warm grey lightweight linen for the Heron

The book arrived and was immediately devoured.  There are patterns I will make, others that I shudder at.  The overall asthetic is a bit arty teacher who doesn’t own an iron, but each to his/her own!  I did spot a problem though.  On each pattern page there is a helpful table of finished measurements, diagrams of pattern pieces, fabric requirements etc.  Nowhere could I find a size table. Nowhere.  Please tell me what the point is of providing finished measurements when you have no starting point??

I checked the Merchant and Mills website, perhaps it was there on the patterns you buy individually..  Nope, only finished measurements.  In frustration I googled “size table for merchant & mills patterns” which lead me to a PDF I could download and lo and behold, sizes!!  Am I going on too much about this? Perhaps, but it annoyed me that it wasn’t in the book.

Apart from that, this isn’t going to be a review of the whole book, I have only made one pattern so far!!  From the size table and finished measurements of the Heron I chose the 18 & made a toile in a lightweight calico.  I wasn’t worried too much about the fit in this exercise, but the look.  Sometimes wrap tops feel too enveloping and claustrophobic.  It seemed ok but I needed to make the ties longer, much longer!

Toiling the Heron from Merchant & Mills
Toiling the Heron from Merchant & Mills

The patterns are easy to trace, nothing like the Burda mazes.  Markings are shown with little rectangles and seam allowances are shown as notches.  Most are the standard 1.5cm but on this pattern the side seams are 2cm to allow the armhole openings to appear neater when topstitched.  It’s a really easy pattern to make, not taking long at all.  I used Gill Arnold’s fine sheer polyester interfacing on the front facing and shawl collar piece, this gave the fabric just enough body.  The ties were short for me, I lengthened the short, left piece by 10cm and added that length to the right piece.

I had it finished just in time to wear to Daughter No1’s graduation ceremony in Birmingham at the beginning of September.  I wore it with a plain white Marks & Spencer tee underneath and my pale linen trousers made just before I went on holiday.  After lots and lots of sitting during the day, here it is just before lunch…

Merchant and Mills Heron Wrap Top
Merchant and Mills Heron Wrap Top
Mr W, Daughter No1 & myself after the graduation ceremony.
Mr W, Daughter No1 & myself after the graduation ceremony.

I had thought it would look pretty good with a longer sleeved tee underneath, I think black, grey or white would work pretty well, so the next item to be made from the table of goodies was an off white viscose jersey.  I chose the Maria Denmark Brigitte tee, bought with a birthday discount.  A standard tee, nothing fancy, I chose the 3/4 slightly trumpet shaped sleeves and v-neckline.  It needed an FBA to fit across the bust but otherwise was just fine.  This is the first time I’ve made a Maria Denmark pattern for myself, & I’m hoping to use the sleeves from this pattern for the Day to Night Drape top.

Maria Denmark Birgitte in off white viscose jersey
Maria Denmark Birgitte in off white viscose jersey

Putting the Heron & Brigitte together works fabulously well, and even better with my wide legged black linen Burda trousers!

P1120934-1P1120923-1P1120917-1Ok, I know it could be longer, especially in the front, and Kimono sleeves always look funny on the fuller busted, so I don’t think I’d get it too much better than this.  But I’ve worn this top a few times now and can’t really complain about anything.  It also irons really well, & with linen that’s a massive bonus!

P1120926-1P1120915-1That’s the Brigitte tee sticking out, I like these sleeves very much, and may only change the length of the body of the tee.  For me I feel it’s just a wee bit too long, around 5cm or so could easily be lost from the length.  I do want to make anther tee to wear with this top, one with long, tighter fitting sleeves, probably in black.  I might also make another Heron top!  I found, buried deep in the ironing basket, a piece of dark grey wool with a fine mustard/gold pinstripe that would look fabulous in this pattern!  (Heaven knows where – or when – I got that fabric!)

Two out of 21 there, my next project was already chosen!  Here’s a glimpse…

Wrap Jacket #117 Burdastyle 09/2015
Wrap Jacket #117 Burdastyle 09/2015

More wrapping, we’ll see whether it works on my frame or not!

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.