Pencil skirts and turtle necks

No, I have not yet made an A-line skirt.  But I have made five pencil skirts and two turtlenecks. Why isn’t there a sewing related version of the Twelve Days of Christmas? Ahem, I digress.

Five pencil skirts. Why? Well.  All of the skirts in my wardrobe made from my go to TNT pencil skirt pattern had ‘shrunk’. Not sure why…..I’m sure it’s nothing to do with my chocolate habit.

I turned to a new pegged pencil skirt pattern, BurdaStyle 10/2012 #145 and traced off a size up (a 46).

Five skirts later and I have a new TNT pattern.

My first version was a wearable muslin – a stretch woven with an elasticised waist, no walking vent and no zip. Baby steps. The fit was a bit on the big size.

Still, I’ve worn this skirt quite a bit. It’s a good cool weather casual skirt. Yes it creases. Yes that is a Monroe turtleneck. More on that later.

Encouraged by this I made a second version in a grey pinstripe woven with no stretch. Lovely fit through the hips but the waist was a bit on the big size. Perhaps I’m not a 46? Perhaps I should have added the waistband this style is drafted with?  Despite the looseness, I have worn this a lot this winter. It’s fabulous for work in my corporate environment.

I then jumped to a yellow double knit jersey with an elasticised waist. Because I wanted a yellow skirt and I had this fabric in the stash. Yellow brightens up my work day!

I made a mistake with the cutting out though and forgot to extend up the waist to incorporate the elastic. No problem I thought. I’ll just cut out a separate waistband/ facing.

See that annoying bubble? That’s what happens when you attach a facing waistband with over-locking and then add elastic.

Another ‘innovation’ for this skirt was to line it with tricot. Lovely to wear.

I still haven’t hemmed the lining. Bad sewist.

Version four was made in souvenir fabric. A Japanese linen cotton woven from Raystitch in London last year.

By this stage I’d nailed the fit.

This skirt is lined and has a grosgrain ribbon waistband/facing

The final version was in pleather. And I seem to have a lot of silly and overexposed photos of it

I added a centre front seam and a curved hem.

Not the best skirt to sit down in!

Everything got topstitched. I couldn’t iron it flat but I could sew it flat.

This skirt was lined too. Leopard print seemed the only suitable choice for faux ostrich.

I used an invisible zip. I suspect I’ll regret that soon when it breaks and I have to unpick it. I top stitched here too.

I faced the hem with premade wide bias binding. And top stitched that too. This project was top stitching heaven.

And the two turtlenecks? You’ve seen them already.

They were made with Tessuti’s free Monroe pattern.

I cut the neck band down to half the height. A swan like neck I do not have.

My stripy version was shortened by 5 cm but the ‘foxes in London’ print version was exactly as drafted.

The print on this fabric is almost too cute for words.

I’ve got to say, though, that the lack of accuracy slightly annoys me. A fox as big as a bus??! A row boat the size of three trees?!!

So that’s my story of basics. My wardrobe thanks me.

Posted in Sewing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Secret pajamas maxi skirt: BurdaStyle 12/2015 #115

I’ve been trying some new silhouettes, styles, techniques and fabrics recently. Not all successfully.

I think this skirt might, just, however, sneak over the line into the success category. Although I am challenged with styling it.

Dowdy with my liberty shirt.

More successful as pseudo evening wear with a velvet top. Think how much better this would look if I’d stopped by the hair and makeup department before photography!

I know. It’s hardly revolutionary for a sewist to make a maxi skirt. But that’s not the point. It is for me. I haven’t made or worn a maxi skirt for years. It’s pencil skirts all the time for me.

This non pencil skirt is BurdaStyle 12/2015 #115B

https://burdastyle-assets.s3.amazonaws.com/patterns/technical_drawings/000/004/902/115-122015-M_large.jpg?1448854194

I went a bit off piste and used a double knit, swapped out the normal interfaced waistband for an elastic one and skipped the zip. That turned the skirt into secret pajamas.

The yoke is a nice feature.

I like the lines of the wrap front.

The back hangs nicely too (or would if I properly straightened it)

I also like the freedom of movement this style gives me! And it doesn’t seem to come at the expense of wardrobe malfunctions.

You really have to try hard and flip that top wrap layer up to show much leg.

This is a good pattern.

Who knows what will happen next? Perhaps… gasp…an A-line skirt instead of another pencil skirt?!

Or … I’ll use a Frixion pen for the first time?

I am so adventurous!

 

Posted in Sewing | Tagged , , , , | 17 Comments

My jacket journey to Itch to Stitch’s Hvar

My wardrobe is lacking in me made work appropriate winter jackets.  Not really surprising. Jackets, done properly, can be a lot of work.

So, I purchased a lovely silvery grey ponte from Tessuti with a soft but semi-structured jacket in mind. And spent a delightful few days looking through my patterns and being distracted by all sorts of other projects before settling on BurdaStyle 08/2013 # 106.

106b_0813_b_button_jacket_large

I made a toile from leftover scuba to check the fit and to see how the style might look in a semi structured stretch fabric. Yes, I used two different remnants.

Gorgeous isn’t it!

And then I got cold feet. I decided that a woven stretch cashmere wool blend in my stash would be a much better match for this pattern. And also, a lot more work because proper tailoring would be required. So that project is still on the to-do list.

I still wanted to use the silvery ponte, so my next pattern choice was the Hvar Jacket by Itch to Stitch.

Itch to Stitch Hvar Jacket

This is a new to me pattern company.

I couldn’t possibly cut into that lovely silvery ponte without a toile! But I didn’t have enough of any other stable stretch fabric I was prepared to sacrifice for a toile.

So this time I committed to making a wearable muslin from a stretch synthetic suede that has been in my stash for almost as long as I’ve been a mum (Felicity has just turned 20…)

Yes, you know where this is going: silvery ponte still in the stash. I’m thinking it would make a great winter frock…

I’m very happy with my new suede blue jacket! It’s a nice mix between waterfall cardigan and formal jacket. With none of the work of tailoring or even lining.

This is a straight size 12 made up in a stretch synthetic suede. This fabric has about 10% stretch in one direction only.

I took the sleeve hems up a cm or two more than drafted but otherwise this is straight out of the packet, so to speak (it’s a PDF).

It’s not perfect but I’m happy enough with the fit. Good decision to make a wearable muslin. It’s very wearable!

And that blouse underneath the jacket?

I started making it last year and then got distracted.  It’s BurdaStyle 04/2010 #114 in Liberty’s strawberry thief tana lawn

114_shirt_large

I traced a size 44 and cut out as instructed except no pocket and no back loop. I’m happy with how it fits.

My efforts to pattern match paid off. There is something very satisfying about getting pattern matching right!

I didn’t use standard interfacing. Instead I used a cotton linen remnant as a sew in interfacing. I know no one can see it. But I loved this fabric and although the dress I made from it is long gone, it can live on with me in this shirt.

The ‘interfacing’ was fabric bought in the USA, the Liberty was purchased in the UK, the pattern is from Germany, I used Closet Case Files instructions from Canada for the collar points and the whole lot was sewn in Australia.

Multi-nationalism at its best!

Posted in Sewing | Tagged , , , , , | 7 Comments

Sophie wins: BurdaStyle 03/2018 #117

M of Nonsuch and I have just enjoyed a delightful sewing weekend. One of the daughters benefited more than either of us planned.

So. How does that work?

Something to do with everything looks good on her perhaps?

M made Tessuti’s Alice top in a delighted watermelon linen from Spotlight. It was remodeled into a cropped top and claimed by her daughter. Read all about it here.

I made BurdaStyle’s Cardigan 03/2018 #117 in a smudge-y gray oyster knit from my stash.

770x967_bs_2018_03_117_heft_large

I know. It looks like a shapeless garment. It is. I was seduced by Meg’s version and I thought it might work as part of a corporate wardrobe.

Mmm. No.  It is really so much better on S as part of a casual outfit than it is on me as something to wear to work.

And in other news, Smitten Kitchen has the best recipes for delicious cake!

This weekend we enjoyed her Cannoli Cake

.and just in case the link doesn’t work, here’s the recipe, with the very minor changes made by He who Cooks;

Cannoli Pound Cake
1 cup caster sugar
Finely grated zest from 1 orange
Finely grated zest from 1 lemon
1/2 cup olive oil
250 grams ricotta cheese
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 pinches allspice
1 1/2 cups plain (all-purpose) flour
1 cup mini-chocolate chips
about 1/4 cup walnuts and the same of apricots, chopped small

Heat oven to 175°C. Coat a standard (8 1/2-x-4 1/4″) loaf pan with butter.

Place sugar in a large bowl, and add zest. Whisk in olive oil, ricotta and eggs. Sprinkle baking powder, salt, cinnamon and allspice over wet ingredients, then whisk to combine. Gently stir in flour, then chocolate, nuts and apricots until just combined.

Scrape into prepared loaf. Bake in oven for 55 to 65 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out batter free. Let cool on wire rack in pan for 15 minutes, then invert out onto rack to finish cooling. Cake is great the first day, and even more amazingly moist on the second and third. Just ask the craft ladies!

Very yummy.

Posted in Cake, Cooking, Sewing | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Comments

Orange dress: BurdaStyle 09/2010 #122

Despite the fitting woes with sewing stretch fabrics into garments for me, I’ve had a success with sewing for Felicity.

This dress is made from a very orange viscose based ponte and BurdaStyle 09/2010 #122: one of Burdas best patterns, IMO.

Look at all those fabulous style lines!

122_large

Pretty good IRL too

I made a size 20 with a 2 cm FBA. Not so easy to work out how to do it with this pattern. I winged it by sticking the upper front pieces together, pretending the gap out to the side was a dart, did a regular FBA, then redrafting them again as single pieces. Clear as mud? Mmm, not so much to me either. Wish I’d taken photos. Luckily this was stretch and there was some negative ease, so it all worked out okay

The sleeves have a bit of a Star Trek vibe to them. And they are not sitting as well as they should on the right side. But we love them anyway!

This is a very cute dress. Felicity is wearing it here with a RTW roll neck sweater, tights and ankle boots, but its also good on its own.

In other news, I’ve had a business trip to Spain. And managed to squeeze in a tiny (tiny =  less than 10 metres worth) of fabric shopping.

This is my haul from Barcelona

Clockwise from left:

  • An embroidered navy viscose woven
  • A red polyester jacquard border print
  • A light grey embroidered prefaded cotton woven
  • A darker grey woven linen with a coated surface.

Aren’t they lovely? They’ll likely have to spend some time in the stash until I’m ready to sew for summer again though.

I love souvenir fabrics!

Posted in Sewing | Tagged , , , , | 15 Comments

Third time’s a charm? BurdaStyle 02/2014 #141

Not a very accurate title, as fourth time may be the charm. But whatevs

Diagonal Panel Dress (Plus Size) 02/2014

I really like this pattern. Have wanted to make it for a long time. Finally it made it to the top of my to sew list.

141_0214_b_large

As I was drafting it, I realised how fabulous it would be as a simple sheath dress for border prints. And I had a laser cut faux suede in my stash that would be perfect.

I could not get this idea out of my head.

I know the fabric has absolutely no stretch (its backed with some sort of black synthetic layer).

I know sheath dresses are uncomfortable in fabrics with no stretch. Ask me how I know. African wax fabric cut on the cross grain, I’m looking at you.

I know I’ve put on weight and am probably not the same size. Perimenopause, its all your fault, not my diet or lifestyle.

I went ahead anyway.

You know how this ends.

The style was fine.

The cut outs on the hem worked really well.

It has a lovely darted sleeve head.

But the sizing, not so good.

Sadly it’s too tight through the upper body and sleeves. So tight I can’t move my arms to even try and zip it up. Once zipped up it dreadfully uncomfortable and reminiscent of sausages. I’ve spared you the photographic evidence.

The dress is now waiting for me to lose weight. Or turn it into a skirt. Now that’s an excellent idea!

But I still saw possibilities with this pattern. I added width to the pattern and made another version in a scuba print.

I know.  I’ve both sized up and used a fabric with stretch. Not the cleverest move.

This scuba print has the best pattern (also I love my strawberry thief background).

I finished the neck with bias binding. And scuba meant no zip and easy zig zag hemming. Colour matched of course!

It’s a very comfortable dress to wear, but this ridiculously busy print hid the fitting issues.

It’s too big through the back and the bust darts are too low.  But I only know that because I made third version. I don’t notice any of this with this fun dress.

The third version was made with a ponte and another stretch woven from my stash, both with LOTS of 4 way stretch.

Look at all that extra fabric through the back!

I really am not winning with my fabric choices!

But my children are delightful.

Bottom line is that

  • I love this pattern
  • I wish I had been smarter with adjusting the fit
  • A fourth version, that fits perfectly, with some of the width taken back out, needs to be made
Posted in Sewing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Sewing Competitions

Sewing competitions. Why do I enter? Because I love the community feel of being part of something bigger than me and my sewing machine.  Not so much because I think I could actually come first. The skill of entrants in these competitions is truly humbling.

Plaid matching and excellent grading and looking as good inside as out? And everything else fabulous about sewing? Love it. But not anywhere near as much fun when it has to be done to a deadline and someone else’s schedule!

Tessuti Fabrics runs a competition every year and the fabrics are always interesting and often very desirable.  I didn’t participate the last two years and regretted this, either when the fabric sold out while I procrastinated, or after the competition ended and I saw what could be done with the fabric in the hands of fabulously creative sewists. Or both.

This years competition fabric was a cotton linen viscose spandex blend plaid. It wasn’t instantly appealing… but FOMO struck so I purchased.

Then, what to do? I fell down a Vivienne Westwood early nineties Anglomania rabbit hole. Pinned lots of inspiration and potential patterns.

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/fc/44/41/fc4441ecd62d3423f7692f68d0da35c0.jpg

Draping would be so much fun. Ruth of Corecouture has made some fabulous garments this way. Studio Faro is another inspiration.

Then reality hit. Very busy at work. No way I had time to play with draping and pattern making if I wanted to make the competition deadline. I should have stopped there and realised the competition was the problem. I didn’t.

Even my sewing machine was trying to warn me with this project!

I wanted something draped and maybe a bit twisted to have fun with the plaid.

What about Burda? Surely Burda had some skirt designs over the last ten years that were Westwood-esque? I could make a top too. Combined they would look like a dress, but I’d have options with other garments. The colours should work with my sort of summer corporate wardrobe SWAP. Good plan I told myself!

Burda didn’t disappoint. Several options, but I kept coming back to this.

Flat pattern measures told me I needed to draft a size up. Bit tricky with the strangely shaped pattern piece, but a competition should have some challenges shouldn’t it?

img_1492-2

Decisions, decision, decisions. Should I put the waistband on the bias or straight grain? The back skirt is on the straight grain, so I went for bias for the waistband. Love how this looks.

I love the bias binding finish on the inside of the armscye too. What can I say? Simple pleasures!

But what about the front of the skirt? It’s a mix of directions. I went for the front waistband on the straight grain. Hindsight says it would be better on the bias too.

I shamelessly copied Ruth and made a matching top using Paco Peralta’s draped front top pattern. BTW this is a fabulous pattern. I already have several versions in my wardrobe and wear them a lot.

So, how do they look together?

Hmm. Interesting. Almost like a dress.

The top will probably get worn more often on its own. Like this. Perhaps with better shoes. Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE these shoes. But I do  wear them way too much.

Also I added about 5 cm length and next time I won’t. I know. I could just reduce the hem on this one right now.

But then I’d lose most of that lovely upside down V on the side seam.

And what did everyone else make from this fabric? Some absolutely spectacular things. On Pinterest here, and on Instagram with #tessutisklinescomp.

Note to self. Buy the competition fabric if it appeals. Sit back and watch what everyone else does if unsure or uninspired or time poor or all of the above. Make something later, when I feel like it.

Posted in Sewing | Tagged , , , , , , , | 32 Comments