Stepping Out

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While neutrals are decidedly within my comfort zone, bold, stand out colours are most certainly not!  However.  After making the gold and black Anza Dress last month, I had a bit of the fabric left over.  The lady I made the dress for didn’t want the remains for herself, so it went into the stash.  But not for long!  Also in the stash was the remains of a decent amount of plain black viscose.

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Deciding to prove my point about using Burda top 124 from 5/2015 for left over pieces of lengths of fabric, I decided those two fabrics would be perfect.  There was enough of the print for the front and sleeves, the plain black was used for the back.  This time I didn’t cut the keyhole opening but instead converted it to a slit, like the sort you’d get on a shirt cuff.  The bias for the bindings was cut from the print viscose, plain grey sections for the slit and the coloured sections for the neckline.

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I really like how it’s turned out!  Although it feels longer than the other versions.  That might just be because of the startling band of colour at the hem.  Otherwise, it’s great!  I’m not sure how much longer we have to wear short sleeved, lightweight tops this year, the weather has turned decidedly autumnal and it’s nowhere near the end of August yet!

An update on the other sewing, the 1920s sequin dress only needs a hem.  After many, many hours of cutting out sequins and then sewing them back on again, I think I’ve had enough!!  I’ve also finally started working on my Morgan Jeans, having done two and a half toiles last month and actually cut it out 2 weeks ago.  Hopefully they’ll be finished this week.  There are other things still on the cutting table, but I’ll get there – eventually!!

 

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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.

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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!

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

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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.

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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.

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Measuring the hem very carefully!
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Happy that the pattern lined up well around the leg
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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.

Know You Better – with photos!

All done!  Photographing projects in this weather is not easy!  I waited for daughter No2 to come home from school to do pics, but it was way to dark by then.  We did take some photos indoors, but the lighting isn’t that good.  So back outside this morning, in the rain!  Grrr.  How do some of you bloggers manage to get such good shots indoors?  Anyways, without further ado, here’s my take on Burda’s pattern #108 from 11/2012.

This fabric is devine to wear!  The only thing I’d change when I do this pattern again, and I will make another, is to cut the necktie/band on the straight.  Especially if the fabric has as much movement as this viscose!  Despite putting it on twice, the one side has twisted, which is most annoying!  If I had cut it on the straight grain instead, that wouldn’t have happened.

With the addition of darts at the back, the blouse fits much better.  And now there’s plenty of fullness in the sleeve too!

Fuzzy again, but at least I’m kinda smiling!  I love that fabric!!  I wonder if it came in other colourways – and where I can get my hands on some…

Grim concentration to make sure no shaky hands!  hehe  Self portraits aren’t easy.

Janene over at Ooobop! has posted a review of December’s Burda, so I guess I have more to make!!