Lounging Pajamas

Because these are no ordinary pjs!  I’ve finally upgraded my sleepwear collection this year, and these are the business.  I chose a couple of Mrs Depew pajama patterns earlier this year, determined that in my 40s I deserved better sleepwear than baggy tees and a couple of self drafted pants.  Last year I made a Kimono Robe, this year I’ve upped my game.

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Mrs Depew 1920s Pajama set 3068

The advent of Independent Pattern Month on The Monthly Stitch galvanised me to finally get cracking on these.   I thought the “New to Me” category would be perfect encouragement!  The pattern is Mrs Depew 3068, a reproduction of a 1920s pattern for a robe, top with either long or short sleeves and ankle length or knee length pants.  It’s one of those patterns you can see made up in fancy silk, trimmed with velvet and worn on the silver screen by a gorgeous platinum blonde.  I’m neither!

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I’d seen an interesting viscose jersey print on Croft Mill Fabric’s site, black with beige, but not all over (no longer in stock, unfortunately).  It looked abstract and I liked it for the pajama top.  The pattern isn’t drafted for stretch fabrics, but as I’m technically a size up from the largest size of the pattern, I figured stretch would be just fine!!  As it turns out, I think it would have worked just fine in a woven.  For the pants and robe I chose a beige viscose, also from Croft Mill.  There was black viscose in the stash that would be used for the bands on the pants and the robe.

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The pants were so quick and easy to make!  They consist of just two pieces, a leg and a band.  Couldn’t be easier.  I’m just not sure where those 20s ladies wore their pj pants, up under their boobs so the crotch depth worked, or with the MC Hammer look…  The crotch depth is – well, let’s just say they look like a baby elephant could fit in! 😀  For the sake of accuracy I’m photographing them as they are, but I feel they’ll have to be altered pretty soon.  I used the overlocker instead of French seams, you only have 1cm seam allowance (3/8 inches).  Although French seams are certainly do-able with just 1cm, I opted for speed!

Collage pj instructions
1920s Pj construction instructions

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The top was quick too, instructions for making are brief – think Burda on a major diet!  But there is a diagram to go with the minimal instructions and it’s numbered with corresponding notches on the pattern pieces, so it’s not all that tricky.  I left off the band at the bottom, the top was going to be long enough on me without it.  The neck band was interfaced with some of Gill Arnold’s knit interfacing to give it a bit of body and stability, as were the cuffs.  I decided to make the long sleeved version to go with the long pants as I’m intending these to be worn in the winter.  There is a small section of shirring at the shoulder instead of any darts.

collage pj details
Mrs Depew 3068 Details

On to the robe.  Again, only three main pieces – front, back, and sleeves (in two lengths).  The borders were cut in the black viscose and seamed together in one long length before attaching them to the robe.  It pays to stitch a guideline on the inside to iron under the raw edge so that topstitching from the right side catches all the insides nice and neatly.  Also, although the instructions say nothing (naturally) don’t stitch the mitred corners from the edge of the fabric, start 1cm in so you can turn the corner properly!  The sleeve cuffs are double folded rectangles inserted into the armhole.

collage pjs 20s

I really like this pajama set and will happily make another!  The viscose feels lovely and luxurious, and I’m sure it will feel cool even in the late summer.  I just don’t want to think of what it will look like after one sleep!   It’ll be like napping in linen… And I’m definitely going to alter that crotch depth issue with the pants.  *edit*  I’m not changing the crotch length any more, they’re so damn comfy to sleep in!!!

 

**UPDATE**

My fabulous pajamas have been shortlisted in the “New to Me” category of IPM2017 on The Monthly Stitch!  Woohoo!! 🙂  To vote for me (if you’d like) – and two other brilliant projects, follow this link.

 

Butter Mellow, Sunflower Yellow

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It’s Independent Pattern Month again!  I have given the whole thing a miss for a couple of years, but decided I’d like to enter again this year.  The fact that IPM2017 is in July instead of June really helped!  The first week’s category is dresses, and I had just the one!  Usually I’d make something for the girls, but neither of them are around at the moment, making fitting and photos a trifle tricky.  I could have chosen my good friend who has had me-mades in the past, but she really doesn’t like being photographed and I didn’t want to make her feel uncomfortable, just to get a free dress!!  So I asked another friend if she’d be interested – the answer! “Oh God, yeah!!”

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I wanted to make the Itch to Stitch Anza Dress, which I had a pretty good feeling she’d like, and I was right!  We chatted fabric choices while I took her measurements and then I went home to trawl the interwebs to find what she wanted.  I sent a few links with something along the lines of what we’d discussed, and then threw in a curveball, a graduated, ombre viscose with geometric pattern – the reply was instant! “That one!”

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Based on her measurements I traced the size 2 with D cup, grading out to the 4 at the waist, moving on t the 6 over the hip.  I’d printed off the A0 version of the PDF, it’s so well laid out!  There aren’t any pattern pieces overlapping onto different sheets and minimal wasted space.  The PDF is layered so you could just print the size(s) you needed.  Using an old sheet for the toile, it went together really well.

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The Anza Dress toile in a fetching pink sheeting

 

I followed all the instructions and used all the pieces, checking the pattern instructions as well as the fit this time round.  I’ve never used an Itch to Stitch pattern before, and now I’m quite tempted to try another.  The instructions are spot on, enough info if you need it, and clear enough to skim through and move on.  The toile fitted just fine, I like patterns with cup sizes, no need for FBA!  The dress is described as knee length – my friend is on the petite side but liked the hem length as it was, below the knee.  So I didn’t shorten the skirt part and thankfully there were no other adjustments required.

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The fabric is a viscose from Fabric Godmother, that is more like a voile, it’s a very lightweight viscose!  I had already decided when I saw it online that it had to be cut with the gold at the hem, graduating white through grey and into the solid black for the bodice.  The overlocker came in very handy for the construction, as did my daylight lamp…  Sewing black on black is a killer on the eyes as you get (a little) older!  The fabric was more challenging to work with than the old sheet had been!  Perseverance and patience were the name of the game, neither qualities I have in abundance.

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Ombre Border Print Viscose from Fabric Godmother
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Anza Dress, pocket and hem details
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Bodice details & vintage buttons

The dress itself took me two days to make, that’s including resetting the pockets about 4 times, and eventually recutting one front because I’d stuck the seam ripper through the fabric while taking off the pocket – again!!!  It was so wiggly!  Anyway, it’s all worked out fine in the end and I’m really chuffed with it!  My friend bought the fabric, the elastic and black bias binding I used for the drawstring came from the stash, as did the vintage faceted buttons.  They’d been sent to me by another friend who lives in the States.

 

 

We took the photos after work, (she’s a florist) and she’s informed me she’s not taking it off.  Her partner will have to take her out tonight, she has a lovely new dress to wear!  I think I might like to make another in linen, or a nice cotton, but I will steer clear of  viscose voile for this pattern, and never make one in silk…

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UPDATE!!

My dress has been shortlisted on The Monthly Stitch in the top 14 dresses, so the voting starts now!  Follow this link to cast your vote, and see who else is in the running with more fabulous dresses!

EXTRA UPDATE

Thanks to everyone who voted for my friend’s lovely new dress, I was one of the 8 winners of the dresses category and will be donating my prize of 3 Victory Patterns to the Makers for Grenfell fundraiser, run by Portia Lawrie.

 

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!!

Black & White and spotted all over!

DSC09796-1More sewing for me, and more spots!  The Monthly Stitch contributors had chosen Monosewn, black & white only as their theme for July.  I thought this was going to be a cake walk to be honest, I had so many fabrics to chose from I was quite literally swimming in the stuff!  The biggest problem was chosing what to make!

Out of the pile I narrowed the choice to a white cotton with black spots and a black viscose jersey, with black spots!  Pattern choices were a self drafted Carme-style blouse for the cotton and an asymmetrical tee similar to No4 in Drape Drape 2.  I faffed around & made up my mind & changed it again numerous times over the month, starting other projects just to keep me going.

In the end I settled for the cotton simply because I had other suitable fabric to use for the toile.  That’s the problem with toiling with jersey.  If you don’t use the exact same fibre content etc as your final fabric you’ll never get the same result.

I’ve pinned a number of photos of the types of blouses I like onto my Wardrobe Architect board on Pinterest, many of which are similar in style to Pauline Alice’s Carme.  My liking for spots is also pretty apparent.  Now I do have the Carme pattern but – the sizing doesn’t work for me.

Images from my Pinterest board.  Please visit the board for the source of the images.
Images from my Pinterest board. Please click the  photo to visit the board for the sources of the images.

Features of the Carme I like:

  • The front placket and neru collar.  The instructions supplied with the original pattern are pretty darned good.
  • Narrow cuffs
  • Roll back sleeves with tab to hold them up with.

The only thing I’m not that keen on for me is the tucked bib.  I think it’s too much detail on the top for me.  Although I wonder if it’ll look better if it had pin tucks instead of the 1cm tucks that come on the Carme.  No matter, this version has no bib.

DSC09797-1It has the placket, the neru collar, the narrow cuffs & gathered sleeves & the tabs to hold the sleeves up.  It also has a little detail all of my own.  I added some bias detail to the Carme I made before & was definitely going to to be adding something to this one.

Details
Details

I dug a length of 16mm wide black grossgrain out of my ribbon stash to use on the cuffs and front placket.  At first I thought I’d edge the placket on both sides with the ribbon, but I’m quite glad there wasn’t enough, I like having it just on the left so it is only seen when the placket is unbuttoned.

Horsin' around
Horsin’ around

This such a comfy shirt!I can see myself wearing it at least once a week so maybe I’d better make another to give this one a rest!  I love it with the sleeves rolled up.  With Summer nearly over (sssshhhhh!!) the length is perfect for those days when a breeze gets up & you need more coverage.

DSC09813-1The construction of the shirt was pretty simple, I followed the instructions for the placket from the Carme & then everything else was straightforward.  The seams are all French, hem double turned & machined.  This is a shirt that can be run up in a day, an afternoon even!

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I call that a success story!  Now, I have 5 days until we head off to Cornwall for sun, sea and sand (in that order…)  I still need a couple of tops, so maybe I’ll make another of these, or maybe I’ll get my skates on and make that Drape Drape tee!  Panic? Me? Never…  :s

 

 

 

 

 

 

So much going on!!

It’s been a busy week and a bit.  There’s been a lot of sewing and cutting and a little bit of hair pulling thrown in for good measure!  The highlight of this week is definitely the news that I won the Sewing Indie Month’s Dressed to the Nines category!  How excited was I when I got that email?!?!?

I was sooo chuffed, so I have to say a very large thank you to all those who voted for me, and for Daughter No2’s pretty butterfly dress.  There were some fantastic entries from all over the world so it is a huge honour to have been chosen as people’s favourite out of all of them.  A massive thank you also has to go to Mari from Seamster Patterns for organising the whole party and keeping a careful eye over the proceedings.  The sponsors have been superb too, there are so many loverly prizes!!  I had thought of possibly passing a few on, spreading the love, you know.  But first I need to check that that would be allowed.

Over the weekend I also found out I’d won a prize in The Monthly Stitch’s New to Me competition.  That’s where the Carme in Liberty had been submitted, so that’s even more patterns for me! 🙂  So I definitely need to pass on a few, this community is so great I couldn’t keep all these goodies completely to myself.  So stay tuned, there might be something going on in the next week or so.

In the mean time, this is just a little bit of what I’ve been sewing up.  Last week I finally got my butt into gear and cut out the Gabriola from Sewaholic patterns.  I had initially thought to enter the Fan Girl section of The Monthly Stich’s Independent Pattern Month, then I thought I’d probably done enough for competitions lately!  But over the weekend Daughter No2 persuaded me to go for it, after all, I was going to be making it anyway.  The fabric is a pretty bird print chiffon from Croft Mill Fabric.

It was a devil to cut!  Loads of pins were required for cutting and even more for sewing!  Normally I don’t have an issue with chiffon, you take your time, breathe deeply and pin like mad.  This stuff needs GLUE!!  Anyway, things are progressing.  To go with the skirt I’m going to make the Renfrew tee.  Thank you so very much to Caroline from Croft Mill Fabric for finding me the right colour jersey to go with that bird print, and for getting it off in the post after I’d left it to the last minute to decide to have it!  🙂  I love good customer service!!

Gabriola in progress
Gabriola in progress

I have also made progress on my outfit for a wedding Husband and I will be attending in July.  I will go into more detail in a later post, but I’ve done the trousers in a navy cotton sateen from Fabric Godmother, it’s so beautiful!!  I lined the pockets with left overs of the Liberty used for Daughter No2’s Carme, little details!!

Goodies for wedding outfit
Goodies for wedding outfit

The spotty stuff is a slik chiffon that will become the blouse/top.  That’s it for now, I need to get cracking with stuff today.  In the mean time, here’s a look at the internal goings on in the Paris Snowball, as requested.  🙂

Overlocked seams and bound hem, the inner workings of the Paris Snowball
Overlocked seams and bound hem, the inner workings of the Paris Snowball

 

Sewing double – twice!

Bellatrix the Fourth
Bellatrix the Fourth

April for the Monthly Stitch sewists is “Sewing Double” month.  We all have those tried & tested patterns that we have no problem running up quickly, loving the fit, style, etc.  My favourite pattern this year just has to be Papercut Pattern’s Bellatrix Blazer.

This is the fourth incarnation – and most certainly will not be the last!  The fabric is a gorgeous pistachio-y green medium weight linen that was part of my haul at the Sewing for Pleasure 2 weeks ago at the NEC.  It was going to make a vintage bolero to go with an early 50s sundress I’m making but….  I miscalculated the conversion from yards to metres.  I bought 1m but should have got just 20cm more and it would have worked.  Never mind, as you can see, Daughter No2 is pretty pleased I cannot do Imperial to save my life.  As usual, she’s come out the winner!

DSC07857-1Only one problem, 1m is barely enough for Bellatrix.  I had to cut the sleeves on the cross-grain to fit them in & had to forgo the matching facing pieces on the peplum thingie.  I had toyed with the idea of doing some contrast fabric for the welt strips and the front that forms the outer collar, but it would have restricted the number of outfits Daughter No2 could have paired it with.

DSC07854-1The lining…  I did say at the end of the last post with those MAD trousers that the lining in the jacket would look familiar  🙂  I used almost the rest of the handpainted cotton for 90% of the lining for the jacket, the exception being the sleeves.  I dug out some left-over bremsilk for the sleeves.

DSC07859-1I used Gill Arnold‘s fine sheer polyester fusible on the linen peplum pieces, the front & facing front & on the back above the shoulder blades & into the armholes.  For extra structure on the shawl collar I used a fusible canvas, also from Gill.  If you’re going to use a stiff interfacing like this, make sure you remove the seam allowance – you do not want that bulk in your seam!

Interfacing , front & undercollar and the back
Interfacing , front & undercollar and the back

As usual, the whole thing went together really quickly, and..  I have fixed the sleevehead vs armhole issue!  YAY!  The answer (for me anyway) was to raise the sleevehead 1cm, keep more of the height on the front than the back, and merge the extra into the existing shape at the front & back notches.  I forgot to take a photo to show what I mean, but next time I’ll put up a picture.  This adjustment has now finally worked, the last time I didn’t leave enough height on the front, so it was still a little short when fitted into the armhole.

DSC07852-1The sleeve fits really well now, and there is plenty of movement without the drag lines that appeared on the previous versions.  So, there it is, four Bellatrix blazers since the start of the year.  I have some pinstripe cashmere blend wool that I think will be enough to make another – that can wait a little though, I have a feeling another couple of linen or cotton canvas blazers are lurking in my near future! How many times have you used one pattern?

DSC07858-1Three blazers

Three blazers

Clockwise, left to right: le Bellatrix Blazer français, Curtains for Bellatrix and Bellatrix III

I have another “sewing Double” project to be getting on with this month, so bye for now, I have silk chiffon to cut up!  🙂

“I love your trousers – where did you get them?”

"Oh, I didn't buy them, my Mum made them..."
“Oh, I didn’t buy them, my Mum made them…”

First time out with these, standing in the queue waiting to pay for her handful of Creme Eggs the trousers have been noticed.  These are the trousers that shouldn’t have been – just a quick toile, you know.  I had this fabric in my stash, I’m pretty sure it’s a hand painted/blocked piece, all cotton.  I think someone was going to make a quilt with it as it had a seam up the middle and I did think I could finish that off, but I don’t do quilts.

DSC07809-1I do do trousers.  I was toiling style number 110 from BurdaStyle November 2013, the pattern I used for the Monthly Stitch’s Smarty Pants month of February.  Once Daughter No2 had them on, she decided she rather liked the mad print & asked me if they could be made “wearable”.  I raised my eyebrows and looked askance at her -“Seriously?”

DSC07810-1Oh, she was serious alright!  Sure, no problem..  They got shoved in the cupboard because I had other things to be getting on with at the time.  All they needed was all the seams neatening, (because who neatens seams on a toile?) a fly zip insertion (ever done one of those when the trousers are pretty much finished already?) an inner waistband & interfacing & the hem and cuffs turned up & stitched.

DSC07814-1I decided to do it today.  I wanted a quick job…  Well, they’re done now & as usual, she loves them!  I keep seeing all the things I would never do on a “proper” pair, the pattern doesn’t line up from the trouser front onto the waistband, the front legs have a different part of pattern to the backs, the pattern doesn’t line up from the fronts onto the hip yoke pockets either & the centre front is slightly off pattern centre.  These things would bug the hell out of me if they were mine, but she seems fine with it all!

DSC07811-1Would you wear madly printed trousers like this?  They’re definitely not in my wardrobe comfort zone, but this would be a very boring world if we all dressed the same, wouldn’t it?

DSC07817-1Now I have my fourth Bellatrix Blazer to finish off – you’ll see a familiar fabric as the lining.

Happy Mother’s Day to all those who celebrate today!