Thursday, 26 June 2014

NOT The Wrong Trousers

Actually the very right trousers.  More right than many RTW trousers I've purchased over the years. 

Rolling on from Me Made May and my pledge to myself to construct more separates I dived into my Barcelona haul of fabric and pulled out some  grey twill - 1.3 metres of perfectly soft cotton, just right for a pair of 3/4 pants.

The pattern used for construction was a Patrones Number 364 from 2008, pattern number 51 - 3/4 trousers with faux pocket flaps and a cute  leg split.  I didn't actually keep the split in as my original intention was to bling up my pants with some nice buttons on the flaps and splits but when I found these babies.........

...... I decided less is more and opted for embellishments on the pocket flap only.  A good job as the buttons were a costly £2.60 each from my local fabric emporium.

Construction commenced with sewing the pockets first, then the fly front which I was very pleased with, not having sewn a fly closing for a not insignificant amount of years.  I followed my Readers Digest sewing bible to the letter and inserted the fly shield just right.  Onto the leg seams;  previously I have made trousers by constructing each leg and then fitting one inside the other, right sides together, and stitching the crotch.  I opted for a different make up with these and instead, after sewing the crotch/back seam, sewed the inside leg seams together.  After laying the trousers out on the floor this is what they looked like:

After basting the side seams it appeared the fit was too big for my frame and I ended up lopping off a good inch or so to bring them in to my measurements.  This is where I was glad I had sewn the inside seams first as it saved a lot of unpicking and, fortunately, side seams amended, fit nicely.

Post fitting they felt a little low slung but the wide waistband with self facing soon fixed that and after a few tweaks the trousers fitted like a dream.
Looking a little creased after sitting on a train for the journey to London but still feeling very comfortable outside the Queen's residence.

I didn't go in here (today!).  I would've spent a fortune!

Next time I think I would consider the addition of belt loops but, in the meantime, what a joy it is to have pants that fit.

Ease factor:  Not so bad, say a 4 out of 10 with the fly zipper being the most head scratching part of the make.  I did have to " re-sew" the outside seams to take them in to fit though.
Cost:  1.3 metres of twill at 7.90 euros a metre, so just under 10.3 euros.

Happy sewing

Linda x

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Patrones Extra Number 38 - an Overview

Ola!  I used to buy Patrones on a regular basis, even taking out a subscription from their Barcelona headquarters for my monthly fix - emails were fun!

Then, around 2009, in my opinion, the content got a bit iffy and they changed the pattern instruction layout so I didn't bother to renew my subscription and thought I'd just purchase on an ad hoc basis. Tho not available on the high street (except in Spain of course) there are a couple of places on the web where you can get Patrones if you Google around.  Now, joy of joys, Patrones seems to have got its act together again  and on my recent trip to the land of tapas I managed to find no 38, made over to it's old style and containing within its pages the most beautiful patterns.

Feminine delicate frills adorn the first section.  I have to admit to being a real frill fan and am currently working on a floaty georgette top full of frills to be unveiled soon, but more of that later. So this skirt is really cute and looks like an anytime addition to a sunny day wardrobe.  First thoughts are "what's in my fabric stash I can use for this baby?"

Moving swiftly on,  a big grin ensued when I turned the page and found this beaut with nice button detail and, as I'm an 80s kind of girl and I love boat necklines too, this has to be a future make.

Swoon!  This skirt is effortlessly chic and, although I don't have those pins, (actually I have a few hundred pins),  I love the pockets and tie and I thought a little modification in the form of a lace underlining/skirt may save my un- model like legs from overexposure. 

Apologies for the blurriness - maybe it was the excitement at seeing that this gorgeous dress could be mine if I can find the right fabric that set my hands a-tremble.  Just loving the drape on this style.

Finally for this overview,  a quirky little suit with cute back detail that just calls out for some winter type fabric, maybe a nice boucle or something with a close weave so that the seams can take all that sitting/standing/movement.

All this for the princely sum of 4.95 euros - you lucky Spanish seamstresses!
Happy sewing
Linda x

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Fabric Finds in Barcelona

Now ............. a delightful fabric find in Spain.  It's not just for beach holidays!

After five days in the cloud, wind and small amount of sunshine on the Costa Brava we spent the final two days of our spring break in Barcelona.  Tourist sites ticked off it was time to find couple of the gems this city has to offer to a sewing fanatic.

Although Las Ramblas is great for strolling and people watching and yes, you have to marvel at Gaudi's unfinished Sagrada Familia, it was the fabric shop finds that got me reeling like I'd stumbled across Aladdin's Cave.  Stumbled not really being the right word as the plan was to find them beforehand,  and it took a bit of head scratching and map peering, and more than little footwork to find these gems.

 I had read via The Sewing Forum and Sewing in Athens blog the location of the fabric stores in the city and (heaven) there were three all in one short street!  The easiest way to find these wondrous retailers is to take the Metro to Urquinaona where the Street Caerrer de Roger de Lluria is just north of the Metro stop.  You can see directions on the Google Map here.  The shops are clustered in a small area near the metro end of the street and very easy to find.

Kicking off with an explosion of colour with all types of fabric on offer was Ribes y Casals with an eyewatering amount of bolts and rolls.  There were some great bargains to be had and, indeed, I had some.  Purchases included soft jeans fabric as one of my post Me Made May promises to myself was to make a pair of jeans and the perfect fabric in the form of a soft pale demin was on offer here.  Others amongst the haul included some soft multi coloured georgette for a top, a beautiful polyester silky fabric in pale blue with a "paintsplash" pattern, some striped jersey, 30 cms of soft lilac with tiny sequins to mix with some (as yet unfound) jersey for a tee and some wool suiting in a dark grey check to make some trousers that actually fit me as shop bought never fit at the waist and hip at the same time.

Fortunately for me, with my limited Spanish, a lady in the store that speaks English was dispatched to help me with my purchases.  She explained how many of the fabrics were on sale and I managed a purchase of 6 pieces for just over 50 euros.

By this time Mr P was tiring of waiting in the sun so I helpfully directed him to an establishment called Casa Alfonso just across the street for a refreshing beverage. This place is very worth a mention, if not only for your long-suffering other non-sewing half  to relax as it's one of the best little cafe bars Barcelona has to offer.  In my case it was a mid-shopping glass of wine stop off as I recharged my batteries ready for part two of my fabric shopping expedition.  I also highly recommend the chocolate cake!

Look! They even had a table made from a vintage Singer treadle machine!

A large selection of charcuterie is on offer in case you fancy a snack, or a little non-sewing related something to take home.
Anyway, back to the important stuff!  Fortified with cake I meandered on to the second shop, conveniently next door to Casa Alfonso, Donna Teixits.  

This shop was smaller than Ribes y Casals, but every bit as worthwhile a visit. As you can see there is a huge choice and shown here are a variety of mainly poly cottons.  Hmmm, this took some time, especially as the shop was busy in any event.  

Here's some of the goodies I managed to bag to increase my stash.  Included were some soft baby blue cord for 3/4 trousers, grey poly cotton with hearts - soooo cute - as yet undecided on it's construction, some grey cotton satin (not shown but in the making and soon to be blogged) and 3 metres of fabulous monochrome glasses/moustache/hat print (I'm salivating at the thought of a 50s style dress already!)  Mr P also picked out some blue check poly cotton for a shirt - he definitely earned that one and I really must make him something soon for being so patient.

There was also another shop a little further up the road but, after two hours and 100 euros, I thought I best call it a day!  Maybe I'll check it out on a return visit one day - or maybe someone else can check it out and blog about it.  I think it's called Teixits y Retalls.

Anyway, enough fabric shopping for now, if ever that's possible, and I'll leave you with a pic of a quirky building somewhere between Placa de Cataluñya and Urquinaona.  I felt I was being watched as I passed by.

I'd love to hear about any fabric finds you've made abroad and tips for increasing your fabric collection. 

Happy Sewing

Linda x

Thursday, 5 June 2014

An Asymmetric Skirt

Well, back to earth after the heady excitement of  Me Made May 14 and I thought I'd post about my Day 24 skirt as it really didn't come out well in the post and I do think it's worthy of a better photo than that of the me made day.

I do love mixing fabrics and after seeing a picture in a magazine recently of an asymmetrical skirt, I thought I would have a go at making it and also combine two of the fabrics in my stash.                   

The pattern is one from my collection of Burda and is a fairly simple wrapover pattern.  It wasn't originally asymmetric, so I amended the pattern pieces so that the front of the skirt has differing lengths.  I used a lovely grey linen that I got from Leicester Market as a one-off end of roll.  I then cut an extra piece for the right skirt front from black daisy fabric, purchased earlier this year as a remnant from Ditto Fabrics in Brighton.  Being a bit sheer I use the daisy fabric on top of the regular linen right front piece.

I graduated the rear pattern piece of the skirt to meet with both the skirt front, not too heavily as it would have looked odd, more from the front than the back!  I think the deep waistband really suits the style and adds a block of colour to the right front for balance.

This view shows shows the underside of the front.  I turned the daisy fabric to the inside and just stitched it to the linen.  If making one like this you could always secure the front overlap with a discreet tie, but I prefer just to wear with leggings.  I think I'll be getting a fair few wears from this over the summer.

Now for a brain teaser........

I'm just amazed at the form partially sewn fabric takes.  Can anyone guess at what my current project might be?  Answers (not on a postcard) please in the comments.  

Happy sewing.

Linda xx

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Me Made May 14 - The Second Half

Further to my weeks one and two overview I thought I would condense the second half of the challenge into one post as I've been busy reviewing all the me-made creations and have also been away on holiday.

The style has been ramping up and I've now enough favourites now to keep me going with inspiration for quite some time.  Here's my appraisal of how things went with Daisy.

Week 3 started with an old summery favourite I call my Venice dress - purely 'cos I made it for a trip to Venice (Patrones 268, no 9), followed on Friday by a new make from my Leicester stash - the drop waist daisy dress with a smidge of a bow (another Patrones).  Worn here with a white skirt.

Day 17 saw the yin to the yang of my London dress (day 10) with my Paris dress, similar style and well suited to the nice weather that day.  I felt rather continental.  Day 18 being the first day of my holiday I donned my old New Year's Eve 1999 dress, unworn for many years, for evening cocktails.

A bit breezy by the pool on Day 19 but I was determined to wear my me-made and out came the citrus bright halter neck dress. I love these colours but am aware that the lining needs a little tweak.
Another evening me made on day 20 with the Hello Flower dress recently made and blogged.  I felt quite elegant. 

 Day 21 was Stars but no Stripes day in my comfy day skirt with gathered elasticated sides - perfect for throwing on over a bikini or with a little tee, hotly followed by my "made for holidays" one-shoulder poolside dress on day 22.  The peacock print caused some consternation when sewing but it all worked out in the end.

Another old favourite - i.e. nearly from the last century - came out for dinner on Day 23.  I just love this grey silk dress I made for my honeymoon in 2000 and on Day 24 it was time for a spot of fabric shopping in Barcelona so I sported a mixed fabric fake wrap skirt, soon to be blogged.


Back home by Day 25 and the sun shone so I dug out my old linen 60s print dress and did a little gardening. Bank holiday Monday (Day 26) and the green circle theme continued with a floaty chiffon top made in 2005 for a wedding. (Apologies - the photos are back to front for these two days),

Back to work on Day 27 saw me sporting a very old self stripe skirt, which almost got thrown out a while ago, with my silk tank, another silk purchase from India - topped  off with my "dressmaking necklace" - cute scissors included.  Day 28 and a return to day 1's skirt teamed with a teal blue 2005 made blouse for a fresh look.

One of my three Burda stretch dresses made up Day 29s outfit, blogged here at The Lampshade Dress.  With its fun print  a sewing top made its debut on Day 30, this being my most recent make and although no "panic" sewing was the order of the day, this was in the pipeline anyway and I really couldn't resist it.  The majority of the fabric stash shown was picked up in Barcelona - I'll be keeping you posted in case you fancy a shopping trip there soon.

Finally, a wave goodbye to Me Made May 14 on Day 31 with my favourite frill dress and a tinge of sadness at knowing there would be no more daily creations and interactions with the fabulous sewists from all over the globe. However, I'm sure there's going to be some "keeping in touch" with me makers via their blogs so not so sad really.

So, what did I get from the challenge?  I did realise that I do make a LOT of dresses and really should concentrate on making other things too.  Apart from interacting with a whole load of wonderful dressmakers from all over the world I identified the gaps in my wardrobe as being:
  1. Me made trousers - especially some great print ones (thank you Nishi in Singapore)
  2. Base layers - both plain and patterned and quirky tops and leggings to wear underneath dresses/skirts/on their own (thank you Thisismoonlight in Australia)
  3. Lounge wear - so many makers had made t shirts/ leggings/ jerseys (thanks Carolyn S in Perth) - I will definitely be working hard on this one!
  4. I'd also really like a peplum top (thanks Sue@AColourfulCanvas in Canada)
  5. Maybe some underwear (not shown but thank you Zozowahine of Brighton for the idea)
Others inspiration givers, way too many to mention here, but I'll be re-checking you out over the coming months.

To see all the lovely me mades and the final comments please go to:

And last, but not least,  a big thank you to Zoe of for organizing the whole shebang, not forgetting cute modelling assistant, Delores.  What a star.  Roll on May 2015!

Happy sewing

Linda x