Should’ve made a shirt

I’ve had this small floral woven cotton in my stash for a while. It’s always been earmarked for a shirt. Shirting weight, small floral. Makes sense doesn’t it? Light grey and white. Perfect as corporate wear.

But I had an idea in my head that I wanted to use the Closet Core Cielo dress pattern for. And I needed a wearable toile because the hips are a bit tight on the last Cielo dress I made.

Yes I used the shirt fabric. And played around with a coordinating fabric on the back yokes and as a sort of flat piping on the sleeve cuffs.

I have successfully tested the sizing (too big – took in the side seams).

But I haven’t made the best use of this fabric – too light both in weight and in colour.

It’s a fail.

So some further experimentation couldn’t really make it much worse (spoiler alert – it did).

I asked myself: Could Cielo be used as a very casual interpretation of a Chanel jacket inspired dress? Likes these from the Chanel Spring 2022 RTW collection?

Chanel Spring 2022 RTW image source: Vogue.com

The answer is maybe but probably not. The loose fit makes it a very loose interpretation of Chanel gloriousness. It might be more successful in a more appropriative fabric.

What did I do? I added a strip of contrast fabric at centre front-the length was determined by the amount of remnant I had . I topstitched it in place. I then added two bands to the top of the pockets. The topstitching of these was tricky to do with machine sewing but looks ok if you’re not close. I didn’t have enough for a neck band.

I wore this dress on very hot days only. When I’m not likely to be seen in public….

I should’ve made a shirt. But it was fun whilst it lasted.

Pink Tais turns into a Closet Core Sienna Jacket

If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you’ll know I love to buy fabrics whilst travelling. You’ve been warned! This is another one of those posts where I talk about what I sewed from fabric I bought a long way from home.

A brief but wonderful trip to East Timor in 2019 resulted in two fabulous pieces of tais cloth.

Have you come across tais before? I hadn’t.

It’s woven by the women of East Timor and is an important part of their heritage. The designs vary regionally. I purchased mine from the Tais market in the capital, Dili, where  “bright colors and solid panels reflect the focus on tais commerce” according to Wikipedia.

The cloth is traditionally used for clothing and is also ideal for cushions, tablecloths and other soft furnishing uses – our hotel included tais in its décor as you can see below in my photo displaying my souvenirs on the lounge by the pool.

But you already know from my blog title that I don’t use my pink tais in soft furnishing!

I made a jacket

I was very limited by meterage. My pieces are 1.6 m long by 120 cm wide. And that 120 cm width was achieved by hand stitching two 60 cm wide pieces together after they were woven – the looms are narrow.

It was tricky to find a jacket pattern that would work.

My solution was to use Closet Core’s Sienna jacket view B but 9 cm shorter, with the lapels and collar in hot pink cotton twill, no belt, no outside breast pocket and the lower pockets both shorter and squared off. And no stress about stripe matching or the placement of that one brown/cream marled wide stripe on each piece!

I intended to add buttons to make up for the lack of belt and fastenings but I’m a bit on the fence about it.

Not sure I really need them, and buttonholes could be tricky in this loosely woven fabric. Perhaps large snaps? What do you think?

All the cut edges of the tais love to fray. I was not intending to line the jacket so it need to look good on the inside.

A Hong Kong finish seemed like the perfect solution.

Since I have a stash of vintage bias tape, already folded in various shades of orange, red and yellow, there was no stopping this idea. Not even the fact that I didn’t have enough of any one colour to use for all the seams, because… have you seen this fabric?

I had a lot of fun.

And I’ve used up a lot of my vintage bias tape stash. Which revealed that the tape had been stored on cards for recording your measurements for foundation garments…

Figure problem??? Glad I live in this century!

The pink twill lapels didn’t escape the contrast Hong Kong finish either.

I refrained from decorating the inside breast pocket – one tiny (and insignificant in the scheme of things) bit of restraint! If you can call choosing to add a hot pink secret pocket a sign of restraint….

Pretty on the inside

Those lapels are not only pink on the revere, they are also perfectly straight from top to bottom – which is not how Closet Core patterns drafted them.

Yes I did draw the new cutting line onto the fabric with a ball point pen. I like a bit of danger in my sewing room

Why did I straighten the lapels? Because the selvedge of the tais was beautiful – a bit like a grosgrain ribbon – and I wanted to preserve that on the edge of the jacket. I used the selvedge on the centre back seam too.

I don’t think my label looks that wonky in real life…

How did I manage an uncut selvedge and a cut facing? I’ll try and explain (and you’ll understand why no-one should hire me to write sewing instructions..)

I pressed the seam allowance to the wrong side of the long edge of the facing and then sewed the top edge of the facing to the collar and top of the lapel in the normal fashion.

After turning and pressing, I topstitched the collar and top of the facing of the lapel.

Then continued to ‘topstitch’ the long edge very close to edge of the outer fabric and the facing with its edge turned under.

The other edge of the facing was then stitched to the coat, as per normal.

The inside makes we just as happy as the outside – here’s the back.

The fridge at the ends of the tais is attractive, but I didn’t work out a way to incorporate it into the design. Perhaps that was a wise move – it was quite tangled after a gentle prewash.

I’m very happy with this jacket. Its wonderfully bright and deliciously soft and slouchy.

Now, what will I do with the blue tais??

Fabric really is the best souvenir!

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?

Jenny Shorts

This is another winner pattern from Closet Core Patterns! And I’ve only just scratched the surface by making the shorts.

The first version was a trial using an unloved fabric from the stash. Bright happy colours but not on my good list for showing some dye run during prewashing.

You know how this turns out don’t you? Much loved garment… worn multiple time since being finished….

The #KATM label on the pocket says it’s all. You really can’t buy this.

I confused myself when putting in the side lapped zip on the first version, so it goes the wrong way.

And that means the button tab on the waist band also goes the wrong way

This has not stopped Felicity from wearing the shorts. A lot.

For the next pair I moved the zip to the centre front and constructed it as a proper fly.

Why a green zip? It was in the stash. And it’s a lovely green. Also it’s vintage – from my mum’s notions stash)

Like all Closet Core Patterns, the instructions were excellent. Very happy with how the fly turned out.

This version has pockets on the back but not the front. Design choice by the client. Lack of pattern matching due to fabric constraints! We did spend some time selecting which dogs to feature though, from the limited choices.

The pockets on these shorts also have a #KATM label but you can barely see the pockets let alone the label. So here’s a photo I prepared earlier.

Loud patterns are really another form of camouflage

Both shorts are made from cotton drill from Spotlight.

Love this pattern! Did I say that already?