Using the ‘right’ side of the fabric

Thank you for your kind comments on my last post about my reversible skirt. It is a bit ridiculous that making such a simple garment has been so pleasing, but it seems that lots of you are with me on this!

Now, I promised to show you the more mundane use of this fabric.

This simple dress is version #4 of Burdastyle 07/2011 #131.

It’s much roomier than the last version I made. I’m putting that down to the much looser weave of linen cut on the straight grain for #4 versus using tightly woven cotton cut on the cross grain for #3.

Linen and loose fitting – perfect for hot humid weather when I still need to look pulled together. It’s already been worn multiple times.

This time I cut the sleeves on (I butted the side bodice and cap sleeve pattern pieces together, ignoring the wrongly marked seam numbers)

The focus on pattern matching was balancing the vertical stripes down the centre back and front and matching horizontally though the side seams, – not the shoulders! As you can see.

Next up:

The last warm weather shirt dress for Felicity, in her choice of quilting cotton. Australiana rules!

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The dilemma of reversible fabrics

I know which side of the fabric is the right side, but what if I like the wrong side too? That makes it an unintentionally reversible fabric, right?

This fabric is a delightful Italian linen from a high end English menswear line. I was lucky enough to visit Ditto fabrics in Brighton in the UK last year, and this is one of my souvenirs. The right side is the classic navy and white plaid. The reverse has a beautiful bronze coating.

So, what to do?

I did what any sensible sewist would do. I squeezed two garments out of my fabric length.

And made one of them reversible. (I think that means I made three garments…)

The main garment hasn’t even been photographed yet. The squeezed-out-of-the-remnant-and-made-reversible simple pencil skirt? That’s today’s story!

The hem is fringed.

I zigzigged and then pulled out threads

The waist was finished on the brown side with grosgrain.

I turned under the seam allowance at the waist and topstitched the ribbon on. Hardly noticeable on the ‘right’ side.

The darts were top stitched down too.

The zip was exposed on the navy side

And even a more ‘exposed’ on the brown side

I ran the grosgrain ribbon down the seam underneath the zip, to cover the seam allowance.

Looks like that ribbon goes all the way from top to bottom, doesn’t it?!

The other seam got flat fell treatment

and a bias strip covered slit at the hem.

I love this skirt!

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Linen wrap skirt: BurdaStyle 02/2015 #109

More sewing for Felicity

This skirt was made with the same fabulous embroidered linen I’d used earlier for a boxy top.

It’s a lovely wrap style with box pleats front and back and enormous pockets.

Pattern: BurdaStyle 02/2015 #109B

Size: 36-44, I made a 42. It’s a bit big on Felicity, but, being a wrap style, this just means the centre front pleat overlaps a bit at the waist

I ran out of fabric and had to piece the waistband with plain white linen: Felicity’s skirt has a seam at the top of the waistband with plain white linen as the backing, and all of the back pieces and ties completely in plain white. She wrapped the ties back to the front in these photos and then wore a boxy over blouse, so you can’t see them at all.

I top stitched the pleats and flat felled the side seams. And then covered the seams up with enormous wrap around pockets. You could fit a novel in these, with room to spare!

I like this skirt and this style a lot. Perhaps I might steal it from her wardrobe. Or make myself one of my own…

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Fun Sewing: Cleo Dungaree Dress

Does a 50 year-old woman need a teal blue dungaree dress?

Did she sew one anyway?

Course she did!

And put all the pockets on the front …

…and the tiny slit at the back, because she didn’t pay enough attention to the (excellent) instructions.

Pattern: Tilly and the Buttons Cleo

Size: I made a 6 in the longer length

Fabric: Stretch cotton denim in my favouite colour. This fabric is a long term stash dweller; an online purchase from Gorgeous Fabrics over 4 years ago.

Jeans buttons are so much fun to hammer in.

Mine are from the Button Bar in Adelaide Arcade and they are the two pronged ones. They didn’t go in perfectly straight , because I am an amateur button hammerer, so I hope they hold okay.

Fun to sew, fun to wear.

I love my Cleo!

 

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Party at the back dress: BurdaStyle 08/2014 #116

Looks like a sweet little dress at the front

But it’s all party at the back with its lower back cut out, full skirt and mullet hem

Yes, I added pockets.

Because. Pockets are a Thing.

Technical details

Pattern: BurdaStyle 08/2014 #116

Size: I made a 42 with a 2.5 cm FBA. I didn’t sew up the vertical dart that this adjustment added, just gathered the bodice waist into the skirt. The waist is elasticized, so you’d never know. Except I just told you.

The fabric was Japanese cotton from my local Spotlight store. It was only 105 cm wide, so I added a centre back seam to the skirt. With the selvedge in the seams so I don’t forget.

The centre back seam meant I didn’t need to add an eyelet or button hole for the ties to come out, because I could just leave an opening in the seam.

Burda’s instructions for the elastic and ties were particularly bad. I ditched them and just did what Dawn of Two On, Two Off did.

Other changes: I didn’t line the bodice, but used self bias binding for the neck and armscyes instead.

It’s about 6 cm shorter than Burda drafted, and Felicity is above average height. We were going for more of a sundress vibe than a long and flowing tea dress.

And look! Sunbeams!

I love this dress! Think Felicity likes it too…

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Short boxy tops: BurdaStyle 06/2015 #106

There has been a bit of (totally justified IMO) criticism of Burdastyle magazines lately.But it’s not all bad. Some of those boxy patterns actually turn out alright.

Let me show you my evidence

The cute Felicity version

The trial version without the collar and tie for Mum

For a boxy top I say this is a bit of a winner!

Technical Details

Pattern: BurdaStyle 06/2015 #106

For the mum version, I traced off the dress, BurdaStyle 06/2015 #107 at the blouse level

Size: 36-44, I made a 42 for both Felicity and myself. No we are not the same size. It’s boxy- no need for fancy fitting finnanigans

As you can see, I just turned the sleeve hem under. No proper 3 cm hem for me!

Fabrics

Both are from my local Spotlight store. Mine is a Japanese cotton, Felicity’s is a linen cotton mix with very cute embroidery.

I did flat felled seams on the linen. First time. Woohoo! Love my flat felling foot. Might have done them inside out. Oh well. Beginner.

I didn’t follow Burda’s instructions to cut the button band on the bias. I also doubled it for a bit of extra strength for the button holes (but didn’t interface it)

Buttons

Let me tell you about the buttons.

Mine are vintage hand-me–downs from a lovely elderly church friend. She’s English so they could even be from the UK via a wool coat that gone to a better place.

Yes you can see the selvedge showing through on the button placket. Yes I didn’t use interfacing. Yes I am slap dash. It was a trial version… and I excused??!

Felicity’s buttons are vintage courtesy of Portobello Road markets. Sewing souvenirs are the best souvenirs.

And for a trial version, mine has already had a surprising number of public outings.

I think I like this pattern!

 

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Dashiki Dress: BurdaStyle 07/2011 #131

And now presenting the second of my Philadelphia wax prints in dress form.

I took a long time deciding what to make and how to place the print. Pinterest was most helpful. Also an excellent rabbit hole to fall down in.

(click image for source)

There was lots of draping myself in my fabric length. Several things were auditioned and the highly valued opinion of the craft ladies sought.

As soon as there was a hint of female anatomy from the centre motif, however, that’s all I could see. Even placed horizontally it looked like someone had been working on fit and slashed the fabric to open it up. Being hot pink was not helping.

Then I saw this

Light bulb moment: highlight the border around each panel rather than the centre motif! Use a sheath dress style so I could wear to work if I wanted too.

My version

I repeated the border down the centre back too.

The centre motif on the panels is now only very partially visible at the side seams.

This is BurdaStyle 07/2011 #131 in a size 44

It looks a little tight in the photos, and it is. But it wasn’t. This was one of those occasions when I didn’t prewash the fabric. It turned out perfectly. Then I wore it and washed it. Put it on again less than a week later and it was a bit tight.

Cutting the dress out on the cross grain probably didn’t help: there is no give at all.

(Yes, I love that this pattern has a little capelet too. I still have two panels left and am very tempted to make a matching cape, inspired by this:

For my dress, I made the same changes to the pattern as previously: moved the neckline up a few cm, added a centre back zip and slit, and converted the princess seams to darts. This made pattern matching easier.

The first time I made this dress, the cap sleeves sat out like little wings.

This time I had a very good look at the pattern, and I decided Burda had the markings around the wrong way.

Now they look like cap sleeves.

And finally. With selvedge this good, it would be a shame to turn the hem up.

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Ghost Fish dress: BurdaStyle 07/2016 #117

My love of African wax print fabrics continues to burn strongly. Even after sewing two of them up.

First up was the ghost fish.

This is based on BurdaStyle 07/2016 #117

I really liked the asymmetric and wrapped straps of this design, but I wanted to check the fit and style before committing to the fabric I had in mind for this dress. So I traced off just the right side and mirrored it.

The Fit.

Ahem.

I forgot to measure myself and measure the pattern. I just traced out a 42. Well, at least that’s what I think I did. The bodice and skirt darts didn’t match up, so perhaps I didn’t?? Any way. Whatever.

It was way too tight through the bust and a bit tight through the waist. There was no way that zip was doing up all the way.

I could have donated this dress, but I really wasn’t ready to say goodbye to the fabric.

What to do? I’d already faced and finished the neckline so I didn’t want to open up the princess seams. Since they were already trimmed and overlocked (I know, rookie mistake), I wasn’t going to get much out of them anyway. And there were no side seams. A lovely design feature. But not so good when alternations are required.

So, I had to do it. Had to slice through where the side seams should be, and add a black ‘racing stripe’ down the side. Right through that beautifully positioned dark vertical stripe I had spent quite a bit of time on when cutting out. Oh well. It did give me another 3 cm in width.

Now wearable. And having pockets makes it both wearable and lovable!

Plus who wouldn’t love a navy and yellow dress with ghost fish?!

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Little Christmas cakes in baked bean tins

I know. Its halfway through January and no-one. No. One. cares about Christmas cakes. But they were so cute. I just couldn’t not blog about them.

This is almost entirely the work of He who Cooks. The sewing related contribution was very minor, and only added the finishing touch. Yes. It was cutting the ribbon and securing in place with a pin.

So. What did He who Cooks do?

Well. Baked bean tins are the perfect size for cuteness optimization.

Adding exactly the same amount of cake mix to each tin is greatly facilitated by the scientific method (AKA using scales to measure mass)

Here they are, ready for the oven with their brown paper coat fastened with a kitchen string belt.

A glazed fruit and nut topping. Much easier than icing!

Viola!

Cooking and sewing!

The recipe was from Butcher Baker Baby

Christmas Cake
12 mini (small baked bean tin) cakes

200g glace cherries
500g mixed dried fruit
500g sultanas
zest of one orange
200ml sherry  (He who Cooks used a mixture of sherry and whisky)
225g butter, softened
225g dark brown sugar
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
225g plain flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp mixed spice
50g whole almonds

1) Put cherries and other dried fruits plus zest in bowl and soak in sherry overnight.

2) Line the cake tin: Lightly grease base and sides. Line sides with a double thickness of baking paper that stands 5cm above tin. Make 1 cm cuts at base to help it lie flat. Line base with double layer of paper.

3) Preheat oven to 150°c. Whisk butter and sugar for 5 min till light and fluffy. Whisk in eggs slowly. When almost added, whisk in some flour to stop it curdling. Fold in flour, spices, fruit and almonds. Spoon into lined tin and make a small dip in the middle of the mixture. Wrap tin in a double thickness of brown paper and tie with piece of string. Cook for 60-90 minutes.

 

 

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Christmas dresses

It’s already a week since Christmas and I haven’t posted about Christmas sewing yet. Outrageous. Anyone would think I’ve been on holidays!

Two Christmas dresses were sewn this year.

One for me. One for Felicity. Both Burdastyle patterns. Both in novelty cottons from Spotlight. Both with pockets.

Mine was BurdaStyle 04/2016 #114, lengthened to the dress length of #115 and added #115’s in seam pockets. Appropriately sack-like for Christmas dinner eating.

Felicity chose a more fitted style. But I added a bit of ease in it when I did the FBA. Christmas dinner reasons.

Felicity’s dress is based on BurdaStyle 07/2016 #111

Her version has

  • wide shoulder straps for bra strap hiding reasons
  • less full box pleats for narrow width fabric reasons
  • a shorter skirt, for fashion reasons

It was excessively hot here for Christmas. Cool cotton dresses were perfect.

And now its 2017. Thank you and best wishes to you, the wonderful online sewing community.

Happy New Year!

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Silk chiffon tablecloth dress: BurdaStyle 03/2015 #121

Another awards dinner. What a social whirl wind my life is! Ha. It is. So. Not. But it did mean that another dress required.

The wonderful online sewing community* gave me courage to cut into a silk chiffon that has been in my stash for far too long

*Thanks @bimbleandpimble for hosting #bpsewvember!

This fabric was perfect for this style (Burdastyle 03/2015 #121)

Lining a silk chiffon dress would have been an excellent idea, but instead I purchased a short RTW slip in black.

The black slip ends just above the mid thigh side slits (where my fingers are in the photo below), but all the horizontal lines in the fabric mean it’s not a sharp cutoff line

The only things I did differently to last time was to omit the in-seam pockets and use self made bias rather than a facing for the neckline. The V was a bit tricky. Best not to look too close on the inside. Oh and I also used a selvedge strip to reinforce the zip opening.

I tried not to over stress about pattern matching at seams (impossible shifty fabric to cut out..), so I’m pleased that it turned out not too bad through the centre back zip

So that’s me using the same pattern again… I’m even thinking of making a third version of this dress in a knit. Apart from basics like pencil skirts, I never do that. Have I inadvertently got older and wiser? Heaven forbid!

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Black tie: BurdaStyle Designer original 12/2013 #130

This time the fancy evening frock sewing was for me. He who Cooks and I had a black tie event to attend.

I love how this dress turned out.

I have used this pattern before: Felicity’s year 11 formal. Hers was a fluorescent abstract print. Mine is much more like the designer intended. Black.

Technical details

Pattern: BurdaStyle 12/2013 #130.

Size: 36-44, I made a 42.

Fabric:

I’ve been keeping a cotton nylon self stripe in my stash for just the right project. This was it!

This fabric has great body and it wonderfully crisp, so it was perfect for the bodice and waist tucks. Plus, french seams were a joy to make in this lovely well behaved fabric.

It’s sheerness was not a problem for this design, because there’s a fitted bodice underneath the crop top and the skirt is also lined. I’m pulling the outer skirt away from the lining in the image above, and you might be able to see the slight sheerness of the crop top in the image below.

The tulip skirt shape is flattering and very easy to wear. A long slit at the back helps even though the shape is very pegged.

As you can see, I left the lining loose.

Changes I made:

The main change was to add a beaded embellishment to the neck line to accentuate the style lines.

This lovely beaded trim was from M&J Trimmings in the Garment District of New York City. Sewing souvenirs are the best!

I used two of the flowers on the back too.

The other change, and you can see the evidence (stitching!) above, was to use bias binding instead of facings on the crop top, and for the hem and slit. M of Nonsuch kindly donated the bias binding. So much easier than cutting out self bias. Thanks M!

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Valedictory Dinner in a Halter Maxi Dress: BurdaStyle 06/2016 #106

Valedictory: bidding farewell, this weekend, to secondary schooling.

Just an exam or two (or in Felicity’s case, about 14!) and it’s all over. So lets go out in style.

Technical details:

Pattern: Burdastyle 06/2016 #106

Size: 34 – 42, I made a 40, sort off, with an FBA, slightly larger waist, a bit higher through the back, plus a swayback adjustment. In other words, I adjusted the pattern to fit….after several muslins.

Fabric:

The outer fabric is a digital printed polyester chiffon from my local fabric store: Ferrier Fabrics. It had a slight crepe-y feel and wasn’t totally terrible to sew with, like polyester chiffons are wont to be.

The inner bodice/underlining was constructed from a remnant of navy polyester taffeta, leftover from an evening dress I made and wore when I was pregnant with Felicity (lots of lovely memories sewn into this dress!). The skirt was lined to mid thigh with acetate lining in navy. I used a simple A-line skirt shape for the lining.

It’s a good design: boning in the bodice give the structure needed, and then the draped and twisted and crossed over, over bodice, adds the softness.

I did the cross over opposite to the design, because this worked better for Felicity.

It was a very lovely evening. Even bad iPhone photos taken in the semi dark can’t take away the smiles!

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Liberty Love in a blouse: Burdastyle 10/2012 #122

I finally did it!

Did what, you ask? Cut into my Liberty of London fabric.

It only took two and a half years.

Purchased in London in April 2014.

Sewn and worn in Adelaide in October 2016.

I’ve understood the love for Liberty prints for a long time. Now I totally get the love for sewing Liberty.

Especially this print. I can have hot pink buttons and yellow button holes.

And look how good it looks without proper ironing… this was photographed straight after the blouse had been to craft night to have buttons sewn on, then folded up and squished in my craft bag for a couple of days.

Technical details

Pattern: BurdaStyle 10/2012 #122

Size: 36-44, I made a 42, with a 1 cm sway back adjustment – I added a centre back seam for this.

I’m not convinced it made a lot of difference. This style is loose fitting

Changes I made:

I modified the yoke flaps like last time when I used this pattern for Felicity. They are cut out doubled so they end up with a fold at the lower edge. Burda says to finish and turn in the neck edge so they’d turn out like a loop, but I sewed the neck edges together with right sides to right sides. Mine look more like gun flaps from a trench coat.

I added little slits on the ‘cuffs’

I love this fabric

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Sequins: Burdastyle short swing jacket 11/2013 #115

I’d overlooked this design when I’d received this issue, and hadn’t considered it since. Something about the scratched old photo look, beanie and graffiti just didn’t appeal.

But look at the line drawing.

Perfect for sequins….a minimum of seams for which sequin removal would be required, and a drape-y style that would allow lots of movement.

And then I saw what Tanja W. created from this design!

Image from Tanya’s ‘Karl meets Coco’ project page on Burdastyle.com 

No more hesitation! This was clearly an excellent pattern for what I had in mind for some sequined mesh in the stash.

I wanted a light topper for a sort of boring evening frock I’d worn to the same event the year before.

The event was a black tie affair in the Great Hall of our National Parliament, so I figured a bit of sequined bling would work.

Lets talk about the fabric.

My sequined fabric is not your traditional sequined number. It is made up of clear plastic sequins sewn onto mesh, and then the whole thing is printed in an abstract almost wood grain pattern.

As you can see here where I’m part way through removing sequins for the neck binding strip, the sequins weren’t all beautifully lined up before printing, so there’s a bit of extra randomness to the design.

The colours are muted greens and browns, but the shininess of the plastic catches the light, so there is an overall silver-y fish scale-y effect.

I removed sequins from every seam allowance and from the hem. It took a very. long. time. And I chose a design with very few seams and then omitted a few more (like the centre back pleat and seam).

I omitted the facings too. The back neck was faced with a strip of the mesh cut across the grain so it was stretchy (after removing all the scratchy sequins). The fronts were cut out with a straight çut-on facing using the selvedge. The selvedge had a wide non sequin part, so that worked well.

I am still finding sequins everywhere.

I don’t think I’ll be sewing with sequins again in a hurry!

But it is a fun jacket to have in my wardrobe. I might even wear it with non evening wear

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