I am so lucky that the only casualty to COVID-19 for me is garments I intended to make for a holiday. So far, that is, and long may it last. And for your family and friends too, dear readers. Keep safe everyone!
I do feel a bit weird to be posting about sewing when there are many more important issues.
I’m guessing you will forgive me. If you follow this blog, you probably won’t mind a bit of sewing trivia against a backdrop of uncertainty, working from home and self isolation.
I went to my local fabric store for thread and came out with thread and fabric.
The fabric is pretty cute. An oatmeal coloured marle cotton knit with rainbow freckles sprinkled throughout. Practically a neutral.
While I should have just bought the thread and left the fabric behind, I thought Felicity would like the fabric and that it would work as a top to wear with her cat skirt.
Right on both counts.
What pattern to use? After a long search through all my large BurdaStyle magazine collection, my smaller stash of PDF and paper patterns and some online exploration (long enough to have already sewn something!) we settled on shortening a simple shift dress pattern, Vogue 8805, into a top.
The fabric is a knit with some stretch but only in one direction, so I acted as if it was a delicate woven that needed stabilising – I used a straight stitch for all construction and added a woven ribbon to the shoulder seams.
Rather than finish the neck with bias binding, I trimmed to 1 cm by overlocking the edges, folded in on the stitching line and stitched the overlocked seam allowance down. This seems to have held up just fine.
This is size 12 with a D cup. I removed the excess fabric in the dart before sewing it and then overlocked close to the stitching.
This makes the dart look like a seam.
Such fun fabric. Goes with the cat skirt as planned but also look great with denim.
I love Joy the Baker’s blog. She suggested a recipe that couples could cook together on Valentine’s Day. I thought yes, brilliant idea! Who wouldn’t want to prepare shrimp etouffee risotto (spicy Cajun stew with prawns and risotto) together and then eat it?
He who Cooks was much less enthusiastic. He was right that the recipe was more winter than summer. He was right that we’d need to go shopping for ingredients – and how romantic is grocery shopping?! He was right that it was Friday night and this didn’t sound relaxing.
What he didn’t say was how annoying it was going to be for him to have me, the unskilled amateur, in his kitchen. Much better when I’m perched on a stool with a drink and out of the way.
I pushed on and made the risotto part of the recipe whilst telling him what to do with the prawns. Who even am I?
Here’s the risotto part way through, after he had interfered and taken the thyme leaves off the stalks. What are you doing I said? Joy doesn’t tell me to do that! At this point I’m sure he wanted me well out of the kitchen.
But he’s such a darling that he just smiled sweetly at me.
It was delicious. The risotto was gloriously creamy and the etouffee had fabulous depth of flavour. Perfect winter food. Yes he was right about that too. At least we were having a slightly cooler spell from the very hot summer weather that’s normal in February in Adelaide.
Eventually we got to relax on the front verandah. A squeeze of lime and we’re back to summer food I said. He was unconvinced.
The day after Valentine’s Day I got it right.
I sewed. I kept out of the kitchen. We went out for dinner.
This is what I sewed – a glorious digital viscose print from Emmaonesock made up as view B, Vogue 8921. This pattern seems to be OOP now – I’ve purchased it a few years ago after seeing excellent versions on other people’s sewing blogs.
I cut out a size 16 and almost entirely ignored the instructions. Have the instruction writers at Vogue patterns not heard of overlockers and stretch stitches? And why would you ever think a zip was a good idea in a light weight stretch fabric? And what about stabilising shoulders? Seriously. Someone needs to rewrite the instructions!
I used a straight stitch for the pleats and most of the rest of the construction, followed up with overlocking the seams. I stabilised the shoulder seams and side seams with a ribbon. If you buy fabric online from Tessuti Fabrics, you’ll recognise this.
I know. Not all the threads from basted the pleats have been snipped off. And probably never will now I’ve worn this!
For the neck edge I overlocked the edges and folded in the seam allowance to the inside, sandwiching a light weight iron-in strip of interfacing between the outside and inside. I fused it with the iron and then stitched it with a straight stitch. This gave a very secure and non stretchy neck line. It is drafted ‘date night low’ so I hate to think how much it might gape without this stabilisation.
I can’t believe I am posting an image of my cleavage on the web! It does show the neckline stitching as well though, especially through the lavender flower and white leaves.
the dress was a bit loose through the waist and perhaps a bit long through the back bodice. I stitched elastic the length of my waist measurement (80 cm) into the waist seam stretching as I went. Slightly wonky stitching as a result. You can also see the ribbon stabilising the side seam below.
The elastic has made the dress a bit blousy. I might take it back out.
See what I mean?
You can also see the side seam (through the large lavender flower) isn’t hanging true but is pulling towards the front. I don’t know if it’s a fitting issue or a design fault . The front drapes are stitched into the side seam and might be pulling the seam? Perhaps I should go back and stabilise this seam with ribbon too.
So the morale of the story? I need to remember that he cooks and she sews.
My new year’s resolution to sew my fabric collection (AKA stash) is still going strong.
Formerly too-precious-to-use fabric continues to break out of my fabric collection and into my wardrobe.
This gorgeous fabric comes from Mood in NYC and was purchased 5 years ago. A beautiful cotton voile with a huge pattern repeat featuring birds, flowers, botanicals and the odd old map or two.
It has almost been a dress several times, but I never got to the cutting out phase.
This time I broke the jinx and its now a Cielo top
I used French seams for construction and bias binding on the neck and hems. This is a size 14.
The neck and hems are an inch higher and longer than drafted because I attached the bias binding flush with the cut edges rather than in the seam allowance.
I didn’t add the seperate back yoke – there is plenty already going on with this top and one of the shoulders looks like it has a yoke anyway.
Pattern placement was a bit of a head scratcher, but I settled on the pinker and brighter section on the front and the yellower and more muted section on the back.
This top works well with my grey blue linen wide leg pants (love the yellow wall, don’t love the messy hair so much – it was very windy)
It’s a beautiful match with a new pencil skirt.
This is BurdaStyle 11/2019 #110, at the #111 length and without the D rings, made as a size 44 with size 42 waist.
My fabric is a stretch cotton in dove grey with a lovely sueded feel to it.
I was not careful enough with cutting out so the front was a touch bigger than it should be. I added two small tucks to the front and solved the problem.
This pattern has the front pockets drafted as a single piece. It acts almost like a tummy control. And inaccuracies in cutting out this piece and the front skirt mean that extra design features such as tucks need to be added.
So, to sum up how I’m feeling.
Love, love, love my top. Glorious fabric and beautiful lantern sleeves.
Very happy with my skirt. It’s a neutral basic that I need in my wardrobe and its lovely to wear.
190 grams brown sugar (this much sugar makes it more cake like than bread, next time I might dial it down a bit)
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon spiced rum (apparently this is optional and Deb suggests bourbon. I used Sailor Jerry, because there was no bourbon in our house and I could not bring myself to use the single malts in banana bread)
1 teaspoon bicarb soda
Pinch of salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon (Deb uses only 1 teaspoon but I love cinnamon)
1 teaspoon nutmeg (again more than Deb )
Pinch of ground cloves (I forgot to use this, but I will next time. I love all the spices)
190 grams plain flour
Preheat the oven to 170°C.
With a wooden spoon, mix melted butter into the mashed bananas in a large mixing bowl.
Mix in the sugar, egg, vanilla and rum.
Sift the flour with the spices, salt and bicarb soda , then mix into the wet ingredients
Pour mixture into a buttered 10 x 23 cm loaf pan.
Bake for 50 minutes to one hour, or until a tester comes out clean.
Delicious. Not sure how long it keeps. This loaf was all gone within 2 days.
My traced off pattern was a size M so I made it a bit smaller for Felicity by placing the centre front and back in from the fold and selvedge by about 1 cm in.
Sequinned fabric makes such a mess when you cut out!
I know you should remove the sequins from the seam allowance but I didn’t this time because it was invisible thread on a black background and I couldn’t bring myself to do it. My bad. This is not couture! I did stabilise the shoulder seams and then covered them with a strip of the mesh selvedge to stop any scratch Ines. So. Not totally bad sewing…
Wonder clips were so much better than pins for this fabric.
And my machine sewed through those sequins like it was easy. I did use a thicker needle than normal.
I bound the neck and armscyes with purchased poly satin bias binding. I sewed it on onto the wrong side a bit within the seam allowance then brought it over the sequins to the front. This meant the neck and the armscyes were finished with the seam allowance still included. Clear as mud? Sorry. The bottom line was that the neck was raised by 1 cm and the armscyes extended by 1 cm.
Remember how I said I could only just fit it on my fabric length? Once it was sewn up and tried on it was clear I had made it too long. And it needed to be shorter. I cut 8 cm off. And left the hem raw.
It has been worn. Apparently not scratchy despite the sub standard sewing techniques. And the bonus thing is that I can fit into it too.