Sunday, 28 February 2016

First 2016 Sewing Resolution, Ticked Off

I do love an online sewing challenge, when I have time to take part,  so when House of Pinheiro threw down the gauntlet on Instagram for Sewvember  it gave me a kick in my proverbial design butt to put a coat on my project list for 2016.

This is NOT the coat I made, sigh, but the coat I was inspired by.  As luck would have it, my local fabric atelier More Sewing had the perfect coat fabric in one of my favourite shades at a bargain price - some knitted boucle slightly stretch knit in a fabulous sage colour.  The sewing gods were sprinkling their stardust on me.

I'd already pre-picked the garment pattern from my Patrones stash in issue 272, pattern number 42 - a vintage style fit and flare knee length coat with lapels, pockets and cuff detail. Not wanting to overspend in case of non wearability I dug out some dark lining from the loft (my other secret stash place) and set to work with my Christmas prezzie - aka my new Fiskars dressmaking shears .  The design is straightforward; 2 X centre back pieces, 2 X side panels and 2 X front pieces. Add to that lapel collar, facings, pockets and cuff trim, oh and 2 piece sleeves.

Stitching up was relatively easy with no awkward darts to consider - just some nice princess seams.  The fabric looks like boucle but is in fact a medium weight boucle lookalike knit - hurrah - no fraying seams and not even any need to overlock. It turned out to be the perfect coat material (well almost, but more on that next).  Note to self - ask Mrs. More Sewing what this fabric is, it's a dream to sew.  

So, I started on the stitching up , then ...... Disaster!!  The centre front on one side was cut from fabric that had faded.  There was no covering this up and I knew it had to be recut from a fresh piece of fabric so I hotfooted it back to the shop, where a replacement piece was supplied with no hesitation.  Obviously this was a supplier /manufacturer fault as the fabric had been correctly stored by both myself and the store.  Great service by More Sewing and to be thoroughly recommended.

Minor glitch sorted I ploughed on with the project and I'm happy to say the garment sewed up beautifully, and that included the lapels which I thought might give me trouble as the fabric is a bit thick when working in layers.  

The next conundrum was the pockets - patch in this case - how to attach them to the coat.  Not being keen to top stitch them on - the stitch line most likely goes wonky with thick fabric - I consulted my IG sewing friends and decided to go for hand stitching, very neat hand stitching that is.  This worked well and I think the plushness of the fabric helped to hide the stitches.  I also attached pocket flaps and, not being keen to throw a wobbly buttonhole, went for a snap fastener with button decor in the relevant place.  All good. 

After a full lining and hand stitching of the hem, all done prior to starting my new job and at a snail's pace due to attention being diverted by Everbody Loves Raymond and Frasier (perils of morning sewing) the final detail was added. I think these little cuff details really add something to the coat, after all, how many times have you heard: it's all in the detail?

The lining was an easy addition; such a relief as previous jacket makes have had that problem where sleeve and lining don't completely match - practice must be paying dividends. 

I pondered a while over buttons and even ventured out to my local thrift shop to buy some "suitable" fastenings. However, in the end I decided to go for three large vintage buttons I already had on my habby stash; I was so pleased with the finished effect, I almost want to make something else so I can vintage button mix again. 

Finally, I ran up a furry scarf from a small piece of faux fur to add some warmth and a little glamour to my new coat. 

It even withstands strong winds

All in all I figured I've had coat success in one of my 2016 projects and can now give myself a great big fat tick on the list.

As fierce details - suffice to say I can't remember the exact price of the fabric , maybe somewhere in the region of £10. It's 150cm wide and took 2.5 metres. 

The coat came in around £30 and I've already got loads of wear out of it, so, bargain!!!

Well, what ya waitin for? Get sewing a new coat before the cold weather comes to an end. 

Happy sewing. 

Linda xx

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Flutter By in Yellow

Sometimes you just find the perfect fabric.  Then you realise it's not gong to be that easy to work with. What's a seamstress to do?

Well this fabric find was from my local and l loved it so much that, after buying it in yellow, I went back for more and bought a length in fuschia.  It even got its own feature in Issue 18 of Love Sewing magazine.

So, nuts and bolts - the pattern I used.......

After some not insignificant amount of time spent thumbing through my vast pile of Burdas and Patrones I settled on Burda January 2014 pattern 108. 

The light to medium weight of this manmade fabric, coupled with the drapeyness, called for something that would show off its qualities. 

The most interesting aspect of this pattern is the shape of the pieces whereby the back folded around towards the front to form a batwing sleeve. I'd never worked with this pattern shape before and it was fine whilst I could play around with the fabric on the floor - the challenge was when I picked it up to sew the folds together.  Think draped origami and you get the picture.

After a not inconsiderable amount of folding, unfolding and re-folding I managed to get the pieces in alignment.  I actually did this inside out, i.e. right side to right side, as the fabric has a "high frayage" factor so I wanted to french seam them - indeed, I love a sewing challenge.

The main body of the top complete, it was time to attach the hem band and, joy of joys, no hemming of this seriously slippery fabric as the band is folded in half - more origami - and then slip stitched to the main body.

All in all, not an over long make, and and I felt well worth it to have something a little more unusual in my wardrobe.  It also turned out to be a useful travel wardrobe addition - not only because of the non crease fabric but also because it's so light and airy to wear typically in a hot climate, as evidenced below during a fabric shopping spree in Italy. 

Now to find a further suitable pattern for the pink variation of this cloth that I bought.

I love to style this garment in an oriental fashion, hence  the hair chopsticks, and it's also versatile enough to dress up or down, feeling equally at  home with a pencil skirt or jeans.

You can also read a write up of this pattern in issue 19 of Love Sewing Magazine as it was one of my Pattern Picks.

If you fancy something a little different, give it a go.  The pattern is available for download from the Burda website.

Difficulty rating - you need some sewing experience and patience to figure the folding. 

1 metre of 150cm width fabric, the drapier the better.

Happy sewing.

Linda x

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Love Sewing? You should with this pattern

As any of you who follow my posts will know,  most of my makes come from patterns in my stash of Burdas and Patrones.  So,  I took a little diversion when I found an ultra glam and versatile pattern from UK sewing magazine Love Sewing .  So special was this pattern I decided to use some saved fabric in my fabric pile and make this dress for my birthday outing.  Now, you know you have to have a special dress for your birthday.

The pattern in question was the Bardot Pattern, a freebie with Love Sewing issue 14 and which I was fortunate to get on back order.

It had all the perfect ingredients for the dress I had in mind;  off the shoulder neckline; 3/4 fitted sleeves; fitted bodice.  The pattern came as a full pleated skirt design, and this was the part I altered so I could have full circle skirt in order to wear a vintage style petticoat underneath, although on the day, I wore it without a petticoat as it may have got in the way, so to speak, but it's nice to have the option for wearability.

The pattern itself was an easy make.  Back boddice x 2, front bodice on a fold and 2 x sleeves, oh and a full circle skirt.  The fabric was a medium weight cotton sateen in white with mauve, pink and green floral design - a purchase from Athens during last years fabric shopping spree.   Once the bodice was made up and fitted to my liking, I added a bright purple satin lining.  Just cos you  don't see the insides of your make, doesn't mean they don't have to be nice - and a lining makes the garment feel lovely when wearing it. 

I felt a bit like the queen with my handbag and posh dress having my photo taken at the other worldly toilet pods in Sketch.

The dress continued to take me through my special day and was worthy of the art deco interior of the Park Lane Hotel and the ultimate vintageness of the Savoy where it held its own with the opulent decor.

Well that was the day of the Bardot Dress but....... I wasn't finished with this versatile pattern yet!

I loved this little bodice so much I had to dive again into my stash and out came some leopard print cotton jersey with elastane - perfect for an off the shoulder top in true vintage style.

I made up the bodice the same as for the dress, but this time omitting the zipper as there was clearly enough stretch in the garment to leave this out.

The other two amendments I made to this perfectly hackable pattern was to add some thin 1/2 inch elastic into a casing at the neckline as the jersey was super soft which made it comfy to wear but lacking the body to  sit firmly off the shoulder, and add in a self drafted peplum, a detail I love whether on tops or dresses as it adds a very feminine feel to a garment and is a great vintage style detail.

For anyone interested in drafting a peplum you simply measure around the hem of where you want your peplum added. That will be the circumference of your circle.  You then work out the radius by that old maths chestnut 2 pi R (there's a tutorial on my Melon Yellow post) and draw your circle from said radius.  The depth of the circle from your initial circumference will be the depth of your peplum.  DONT FORGET to add seam allowance where it joins together if you have a join in your peplum that is.

So, there it is - two of the options available for for this versatile pattern. If you've made the Bardot Dress yourself I'd love to see it either through a link here or on Instagram.  Check out DaisyCreatesIn Sussex to see more or copy me in so I can check out your makes and be inspired even more.

I used about 3m of 150 cm wide for the dress but this was for a circular skirt and I had a bit left over, plus a zip and some lining.
The top took about 1.3 metres (I can't remember exactly!!) plus a length of elastic.

Happy sewing

Linda xx