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!

Is a kaftan a cocktail dress?

I think the photo answers that question!

I used Cris Wood Sews Envelope Dress zero waste pattern and a floral rayon I purchased on holiday in Glasgow in 2014 to make this ‘cocktail kaftan’.

Why was fabric purchased as a souvenir? Is that really a question for a sewist? I’ll answer it anyway. It wasn’t because it was Scottish in style, fabrication or colours – the only thing Scottish about it was that it availabe in a fabric store in Scotland. It was for the normal reasons I buy fabric – I liked it.

And then it sat in my stash for a long time – because I had to find the right pattern for this lovely fabric…

..and that turned out to be Cris Wood Sews Envelope Dress.

I didn’t intend to make a kaftan. I was planning more of a knee length Envelope dress.

The way the Envelope Dress is cut out means that the length of the dress is the width of the fabric. My fabric was 140 cm wide. I know that a knee-length dress is not 140 cm from shoulder to hem but I still wanted to cut it out this way, even with the likely need to trim it to knee length. Why? Because putting the ‘stripes’/’panels’ running vertically could be more interesting that having them horizontal.

Well, that was right – I like how they look in the vertical orientation.

It was also very clear as soon as I tried it on that it needed to stay this length and be a kaftan, not a knee length dress. So I added side slits rather than hemming it shorter.

Occupational hazard of posing with a fancy drink for blog photos

The Envelope Dress is a very easy ‘pattern’ to construct and the instructions are great.

If you haven’t made one yet, I highly recommend it – it’s a unique and fun way of constructing a garment.

Cheers!

Pink dresses: McCalls 7922 and Butterick 6677

An invite with a request to wear something pink. Some people would add a pink accessory. Not Felicity. She needed a new pink dress.

It was no surprise that there were several pink fabrics in my stash. But, also no surprise, none of them were deemed suitable. Apart from the delightful silk charmeuse with some pink in it that I had earmarked for something else, but lets not dwell on that….

It has pockets

So for attempt #1, a light weight poly cotton gingham from Spotlight was wrestled into McCalls 7922.

McCall's 7922 Misses' Dresses
McCalls 7922

I made View D in a size 14 out to a size 16 for the bust and shoulders with the neckline raised to that of a size 22. Why multi-sized? I wasn’t sure how to do an FBA on this style or how to petite the bodice so this was my fix for a fuller bust and a shorter torso.

Pretending to like it

I say wrestled because I really did not enjoy sewing this fabric. Perhaps it was the fiber composition. The end result was quite cute on but Felicity didn’t like how it felt. I’d say that was due to fiber composition, the knot and how that made it feel loose through the waist.

In other words, the dress turned out as the pattern designer intended, but that doesn’t mean it was a success! One wear and then donation was its fate.

Attempt #2 turned out so much better.

Obligatory matching mask

The fabric was a mid weight cotton woven in a very cute Australiana print (May Gibbs flannel flowers) lined with polka dot cotton voile.

Fully lined with polka dots. Because. Well. Why not?!

The pattern is Butterick 6677 and was previously used to make one of Felicity’s favourite dresses. This time I made View A in a Size 14 with an 2 cm FBA.

Butterick Dress B6677 - The Foldline
Butterick 6677

I lined the flounces with the same cotton voile I’d used to line the dress rather than hemming them.

Even the pockets got lined with polka dots. Love the way these two fabrics play together!

Attempt #2 went to the pink party.

This one’s a winner!

Handmade Halloween: Burda 07/2016 #111

“Mum can you make me a dress for Halloween?”

“Sure, what were you thinking?”

“Carrie. Pink prom dress covered in pigs blood. I’m thinking the same dress you made for Christmas in 2016.” Actually nothing like Carrie’s prom dress, but no problem.

Great I’m thinking. The Christmas 2016 dress is still around so I can check fit (a bit big). And I’d have the traced off and adjusted pattern somewhere. Turns out I didn’t, so I traced off and adjusted another one. This time in one size smaller (size 40 with a 2 cm FBA and then had to add 5 mm back to the side seams). It also has wider straps and higher neckline like last time, because comfortable bras needed to be worn, and lots of boobage on display was not part of the brief – Felicity was wearing this to work (in a bar at a bowling club, but still, we have standards!).

I didn’t have to buy fabric because we had a pale pink single bed sheet that was surplus to needs. I fully lined the bodice (easier than facings or bias!). Included pockets, Because. Pockets. Did not finish any of the seams. Because. One wear costume.

It’s actually very cute. I need to make this pattern again.

And then, red paint was added to simulate pigs blood.

Yes there was a face mask too

I don’t yet have any photos of Felicity in the costume, but I’m confident she looked great. And horrifying.

Liberty lawn robe: BurdaStyle 01/2012 #134

I’ve made myself a summer robe with Liberty lawn and I love it.

It seems indulgent to use such delightful fabric for clothing I don’t wear in public but

  • I do wear it most days a week, even if only briefly
  • I have a large stash of lovely fabric
  • this is not my only piece of Liberty lawn
  • Liberty lawn is expensive but not rare, and
  • beautiful fabric should be sewn

This is BurdaStyle 01/2012 #134B in a size 48 with extra width added to the front edges and the front bands also a bit wider than Burda intended.

I like my robes generously sized!

@sewover50 put pattern mixing in my mind so I used a coordinating rainbow striped lavender cotton gauze for the front bands, sleeve bands and belt.

This gauze is a long term stash dweller. My initial intention for it was a balloon blind or drapes for my toddler daughter’s room – yes that daughter who is now 22 years old.

Liberty lawn really is the best- lovely to sew, feels delightful against your skin, and beautiful patterns and designs.

Perfect to wear while you’re still waking up with your first cup of coffee on a warm summer morning

Pink linen shirt dress: Burda 07/2004 #135

I’ve really gone back to the archives of my Burda magazine collection for this one. Moving up into the Plus size range will do that to you!

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This pattern is so old that the only Burda website that has it is the Russian one: : https://burdastyle.ru/vikroyki/platya/plate-burda-2004-7-136/

I’d learnt from my mistakes about sizing and this time I traced a size 46 with a 2 cm petite adjustment above the bust and out to size 48 hips. I omitted the band on the sleeves and went for the shorter length of style #136.

This dress is wonderfully comfortable to wear. Being made from lovely linen helps.

This is a very beautiful cross dye linen from Emmaonesock in hot pink fibers in the warp and sand in the weft. It has gorgeous sheen IRL and an overall salmon pink colour when you’re not looking at it up close.

I purchased it in 2018 so this particular fabric isn’t available anymore but it looks like other similar cross dye linens are still on the site. Yes I am tempted. No I haven’t succumbed. Yet. Also, I’m not affiliated in any way, just a very satisfied customer.

I wondered about the smallish hip level patch pockets. Would they look like they’d slid down from the bust? Would they add too much of a lab coat vibe? The verdict? – they are just fine.

And all those wrinkles? It’s linen. I’m embracing the wrinkles. These photos were taken after the dress had been worn for most of the day, but it did look almost this wrinkly within about 10 minutes…

I used ‘rescue buttons’ from a shirt of Chris’s that would have otherwise ended up in landfill, and thread leftover from a previous project. I love it when I have everything I need for a project already in the stash.

I didn’t interface the button band, and I folded it to the right side rather than the wrong side. There really is no wrong side to this fabric, and I liked the faux sewn on band effect this gave me.

I love this dress! Beautiful fabric is key. Did I say that already?!

Something old and something new

Well this is an unexpected bonus. My new sparkly linen top works very well with one of my old favourites.

This skirt was recently rescued from the depths of my wardrobe. It’s a bit faded but still loved!

But let me tell you about the fabric in my top.

It’s a coated linen from The Fabric Store in Sydney.

No I don’t live in Sydney. But I have worked out I can fit in a quick visit to The Fabric Store on the way to the airport if my Sydney meeting finishes by 3:30 PM. And lots of them do.

Both The Fabric Store, and Tessuti Fabrics Surry Hills store, are located close to Central train station. Hop off the T8 line out to Sydney airport. Take a short walk there and back, then continue on your way to catch your flight. With new fabric…

The Fabric Store also has an excellent and extensive selection of Liberty. Even some on sale. I resisted. This time.

So jealous of sydneysiders with these two stores as their local fabric stores!

This is a repeat pattern make. I didn’t notice that the darts are a smidge low the first time I made this. But this plain linen shows everything! Even wrinkles after 5 minutes of wear.

At my age (#fashionoverfifty), I’m embracing the wrinkles!

This is an excellent pattern. Uses less than a metre of fabric. I can see several more in my sewing future!

Bella and Kalle in pink linen for summer

Cool loose-fitting linen dresses are a must for summer holidays.

Bella and Kalle provided just the right styles and my local Spotlight had a good selection of linens to pick from. All I needed to add was a sewing machine and some time!

Pink floral Bella

The linen was a little see through so I lined with cotton batiste.

Not strictly necessary, but it does make the colours pop, and there are no awkward underwear show though moments.

Such a lovely loose style that the lining has no impact on its comfort in hot weather. It might even ‘improve’ it by making it more tent like?!

I shortened the sleeves, slashed them and added ties. Sort of like a full bicep adjustment, but with a style outcome.

Flamingo Kalle

This is such a satisfying pattern to make. Last time I made the crop top, lengthened, with the stand collar. This time it was the shirt dress, at the length as drafted, again with the stand collar.

So many satisfying details.

I added pockets. The same lovely ones that are included in the Bella dress pattern. Because. Pockets.

I used pale pink pre-made bias binding rather than self-fabric bias on the hem because I didn’t have quite enough fabric.

Why pale pink when the flamingos were white and so were the buttons?

Availability –  within 2 metres of sewing machine. Funny – I would never have selected this ahead of white, but I think it works better than white would have, on the finished garment. I have so much still to learn!

But one thing I have already learned is that this is an awesome pattern.