Blue and orange Closet Core Cielo top and Burdastyle 07/2012 #134 skirt

This was an indulgent project. Not because the fabric was precious or special. But because it was totally decided upon on a whim.

Which shoes?

This project leapt ahead of other projects that would have been more practical and actually filled a wardrobe gap. Just because I felt like sewing the three 1 metre lengths by 115 cm wide pieces of fabric left from an earlier project.

I have to admit that it was very satisfying to sew so organically and without a plan. When I overthink projects they sit uncut and unsewn. Yellow roses spring coat I’m talking about you!

There is some sentimentality associated with this fabric

Eating crepes from a street vendor on Avenue des Champs-Élysées 

Bought in Paris with Felicity

Best fabric weights ever

Cut out, for a previous project, at M of Nonsuch’s place on a rug, with Mr Bingley. There was still cat hair on these remnants five years later!

The remnants are also those bits of the fabric on which the pattern was printed a bit off grain. A whim with a sewing challenge. What more could I want!

I picked simple patterns – the Closet core’s Cielo for the top in a size 16 and a Burda pencil skirt made in my new larger size – 46 waist and 48 hips – Burdastyle 07/2012 #134. I didn’t add the hem darts but I angled the side seams in about half the amount to sort off get the same pegged effect.

There wasn’t enough of the alphabet fabric for a top and skirt, or of the stripey squares for either, so the top got a bit of both. In hindsight, stripey squares on the back might’ve been a better idea than using them on the front.

those shoes…hahaha

I surprised myself by not only having blue and orange shoes that worked with these new garments, but also having other me-mades that work – a blue and orange top, an orange coat and an orange shirt (not pictured). Of course plain black works too.

Who knew orange and blue were neutrals and could play so nicely in my wardrobe?

The spring coat I haven’t made yet: BurdaStyle 03/2010 #101

This was the final pattern I auditioned this summer for the beautiful yellow roses fabric. And it’s a winner.

https://burdastyle.ru/vikroyki/palto/palto-burda-2010-3-101-b/ Yes the Russian Burda site – its the absolute best for BurdaStyle archives

So. Why haven’t I actually made it up? Well. Timing. March seemed the wrong time to make a spring coat for an Australian sewist.

But I do very much love my trial version.

I used an African wax print cotton and made the pattern 5 cm longer than the jacket length (style #102, not shown in the line drawing) but with the coat length 3/4 length sleeves. The largest size is 44 so I drafted out to a size 46. A size 44 probably would’ve been fine

No lining, no interfacing.

Of course I absolutely adore it anyway!

It is the absolute best to wear with a wide and oddly shaped long dress (can you tell I’ve become a woman of a certain age?!) on a night out with my very stylish friend M from Nonsuch.

It’s also been worn to work. More times than is probably healthy.

It’s one of those garments which gets unsolicited compliments every time it’s worn. It’s the print. It’s almost indigenous Australian art like. I get that comment too. And that’s my cue to tell them about African wax prints. Never let an opportunity pass for textile education!

I added patch pockets. Just letting you know in case you hadn’t noticed my hands shoved into them in the photos above. Pockets are always a good idea. It was also fun pattern matching them. Really, they’re stealth patch pockets.

I also couldn’t resist adding one of KATMs awesome labels to the sleeve cuff.

Other important details are that all the seams were flat felled and bias binding was used on the hems and facings

Great pattern. Remind me to use it again in September!

Style Arc’s Adeline African wax print dress

I really, really love this dress and I am wearing it, again, right now as I press publish on this post. I’m surprised to have arrived at the end of summer without having made at least one more version. Four Lodos and then distraction in the form of lovely yellow roses fabric might be the reason….

I’m very late to the Adeline party – this pattern has been out for some time and there are multiple lovely versions showcased on sewists’ social media sites.

Better late than never? Definitely!

The Adeline is a cocoon shaped dress with a high low hem.

Adeline Dress Sewing Pattern By Style Arc - Easy Designer Dress
https://www.stylearc.com/shop/sewing-patterns/adeline-dress/

The robust body of my fabric illustrates this shape very effectively!

This is a size 16, printed at 98% by mistake. I made it up in an African wax print cotton bought in a market in Bordeaux, France a couple of years ago as a sewing souvenir. It was a typical wax print length of fabric – almost 6 meters long but only 120 cm wide.

This meant I had to piece one of the cut-on sleeves with the integrated cuffs. The seam is pattern matched but hidden under the turned back cuff. Only noticeable when ironing!

I also pattern matched the pockets – one perfectly and the other one with room for improvement.

It’s a very subtle mismatch (it’s the pocket on my right) – the yellow flowers don’t align. This is because I cut this pocket piece across rather than with the grain. Not on purpose.

I didn’t try so hard with the neck and hem facings- just centered the large teal design – but this worked out surprisingly well.

This dress was sewn at a holiday house at the beach. Yes I am that person who takes their sewing machine on holiday. The overlocker didn’t get to come so the seam finishing is old school zigzag. Which you can see if you look at the image of the neck facing above very closely…

This is the smug look of a sewist who is very pleased with their work and delighted to have another garment that matches these shoes.

Today, like most times I wear it, this dress is being worn with trainers, but it’s nice to know I can dress it up with these shoes if I want too. Shoes only seen on sewing blog posts? Surely that’s not a thing!

Green lantern dress: based on BurdaStyle 07/2016 #117

Several African wax prints were selected by Felicity when we had mother & daughter time in Paris two years ago. This fabulous green lantern one has been patiently waiting to be turned into a dress since then.

Felicity and I have had various ideas about what to do with it, but nothing had seemed right until she suggested using the same pattern as my ghost fish dress.

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This dress is based on  Burdastyle 07/2016 #117– made symmetric and without the straps.

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Mine was a sort of size 42. I got her to try it on to see how far it was from her size.

Of course it was too big for Felicity though the waist and hips. But the fit through the bust wasn’t too bad.

So. I could trace off a new copy of this pattern in her size and then do an FBA, or I could use the pattern I already had and just take it in from the bust down. A cheaters FBA.

You know what I did.

We both love the dress. This story ended well!

Souvenir T-shirts are nice, but souvenir fabric is the best

I’ve been on the most glorious holiday to the UK. Some quality souvenir shopping was done. You would think I would come home and immediately sew some of it. Or perhaps some of the souvenir fabric from Madrid from my last trip that I wrote about in my last post?

But no.

Even older souvenir fabric was still waiting to be sewn.

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This wax print fabric comes with lots of lovely memories of being in Montmartre with Felicity last year.

It’s a striking colour, has great body, and who doesn’t want a frock with a pot or two or twenty on it?

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This was not the easiest fabric and design to match to a pattern, and then to cut out. I had some misgivings about a large jug and pot on the bodice front.

All three of the different pots in the design found their way onto the dress –  even if the small round ones feature only on the back shoulders!

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A rich brown regular dress zip was the exposed zip feature. I stabilized the edge of the knit under bodice with iron-on interfacing. Yes that’s a little bit of the facing showing at the top of the zip, and I did use a piece of hat (?) elastic for the button loop.

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The over bodice edges were self faced, and trimmed with cream premade bias binding from the stash, as were the seams. Can’t accuse me of not finishing this dress off nicely!

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This really is a fabulous pattern BurdaStyle 12/2013 #130. I’ve used it before, in its full length glory, for a formal dress for both Felicity and for myself.

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The skirt has a tulip shape due to the deep inverted pleats at the waist. I love the way it phloofs out. As well as looking great, there is plenty of room for pockets.

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I did intend to turn up a narrow hem, but Felicity loved in with its selvedge sentence. So that’s the way its staying.

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Now that’s out of the way, let me tell you about my much more recent souvenir fabrics!

TMOS (The Man Outside Sainsburys) in Walthamstow Market did not disappoint. Plus M and I had a bonus unplanned meet up with Karen of Did You Make That?

TMOS walthamstow market1

I bought a print woven rayon and a solid silk jersey. One of the side shops selling all manner of trims also tempted me with their cute pink embellished buttons.

Other London fabric purchases were from Raystitch. I came home with my own pieces of fabrics used in display garments in the shop: the navy and cream linen cotton of the dress on the left and a grey irish linen wool blend of the dress on the right.

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A few patterns also made their way into my suitcase from Raystitch and Sew Over it. What fabulous shops both of these are!

Leicester exceeds expectations with its marvellous Richard III exhibition and museum. Plus we stumbled upon two fabric stores in the centre. Just like that! Without even trying!

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Shop #1, Crafty sew and so, had the most delightful triple crepe (the solid colours at the back of the photo). I wanted to bring at least three of them home, but common sense prevailed and I finally settled on red and nothing else. Still wish I had some of the teal. And the purple..

Shop #2, Material Magic, won my heart with an embroidered medium weight grey wool. The coffee shop afterwards was good too.

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And I am saving the best to last.

Linton Tweed.

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All these lovelies were shipped home to me by the fabulous Linton Tweed staff.

Why so many? Well.

They had 1 metre length at two for the price of one, and  remnant box of almost 1 metre lengths for 5 pound.

Resistance was futile.

 

Another African wax print dress: BurdaStyle 07/2011 #131

The two fabrics used in this dress are souvenirs from fabric shopping in Paris with Felicity last year.

The pattern is BurdaStyle 07/2011 #131 in a size 44 with the cap sleeves swapped out for regular sleeves from BurdaStyle 10/2012 #118

I moved the neckline up a few cm, and used my stipey square fabric on the bias for the side front panels.

The handsome Mr Bingley (Nonsuch‘s sewing assistant) helped me place the pattern pieces just right.

Other changes were a centre back zip and slits on the side seams.

I didn’t have a long enough zip, so I added a button and loop at the back neck.

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This dress pattern now will enjoy a break! After 5 versions I think I need to try something else…

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.

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?!

Philadelphia and African wax prints

If you’ve been reading my blog for a little while you know I have the greatest job in the world. I work with wine and I get to travel to science conferences in all sorts of interesting places. This year has been exceptional.

My latest trip was to Philadelphia.

I managed to squeeze in an afternoon at the Creative Africa Exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

The textile exhibits and the African wax print fashions were wonderful.

Love the use of the border print up the side of this princess line dress, and through the yoke.

And how can you not love a coat with enormous balls of wool, a chicken family dress or a dress featuring huge shoes?

Embellishment details

The fabric designs are so clever, and fun!..

Love these sewing related ones! And the hand bags.

I came home with some African wax prints of my own from Fabric Row (4th St).

An Angelina print, for my very own dashiki dress perhaps?

and another yellow ‘plaid’ design

My fashion critics at home have already named this one ‘ghost fish’.

Have I convinced you that wax prints are awesome?

The Creative Africa exhibition is still on for a few more days until September 25. If you’re in the area, don’t stop to think about it…. just go!

And then visit the Thinker afterwards. He’s just down the road from the exhibition.