Saturday, 14 September 2019

Ottobre Woman Gorgeous Grey in Cream.

This is the last of my main sewing projects I have to catch up on . This is a raglan sleeve cardigan from the Winter 2015 edition of Ottobre Woman. I used a fine , thin cream woollen knit which although was not difficult to work with , I was a bit worried about . I thought it might possibly unravel or stretch out so I handled it very very carefully .

I changed the pattern by doubling the size of the long rectangular band , then folding this in half  rather than a single thickness band with a curled selvage front outer edge . I also eliminated the interesting pockets because I have never made this type before and I didn`t want to start on this fabric . If they went wrong it would muck up the whole cardigan . What I did follow on the instructions was to finish the seams and hems with a coverstitch type top stitch. I don`t own a coverstitch machine so I used one of the fancy stitches on my Pfaff . I carefully cut strips of tissue paper to stabilise under the seams before doing the stitching . Although the ` coverstitch ` is not obvious , the tissue paper made a big positive difference to how this went. The down side was carefully tearing away the tissue paper afterwards - a labour of love for sure.

A close up of the hard to photograph ` coverstitch ` top stitching . 
The cream cardigan turned out to be another good wearable basic which will hopefully see years of use.
Apart from this I have  made a pair of shorts and some pajamas for my daughters  ( I don`t have any photos ). I also refashioned a Liberty lawn blouse my Mum gave me by changing the puffy sleeves to fitted sleeves with a slightly gathered  elasticised hem . I am currently making up a Katherine Tilton shirt out of several scraps but I am having a holiday so  completion of that will probably be a few weeks away.

Thursday, 12 September 2019

Fait Main La Chemisier .

close up of the crinkly dotty fabric 

This top is about the second thing I made this year so my memories are a bit hazy about the process . What is not hazy is how much I love this fabric and the pattern. Some of my favourite fabrics are from the op shop and this is no exception and it only cost 50 cents. I love the small asymmetrically placed and shaped dots on the white crinkly fabric . There was only 1.2  metres but this was enough to give me some choices in pattern selection.
I went with this simple button up , dropped shoulder sleeveless shirt from yet another European sewing magazine my daughter bought me. It is obviously French and includes lots of great patterns of all sizes. Each individual pattern comes in limited sizes though .
I do remember changing the front facing which is part of the fronts and not a separate piece . The facing was only a narrow single fold type so I added the same width of the facing when cutting out the fronts so it could be a double fold facing ( does this make sense ? ) . This provides more support and looks neater inside .


The top is very comfortable and I wore it on a fantastic 6 day holiday to Luganville, Vanuatu to visit my daughter ( she gets around for sure ! )  where it was quite humid at times . I am about to go to Townsville  , Queensland ( to see another daughter !)  as well so it will  get good use up there too .  I will definitely be using this magazine again at some time.

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Lingerie .

When I made my grey woollen skirt earlier I was going to be lazy and not line it so I had made this petticoat to go under it . As it was I guilted myself into lining the skirt . However I have worn the petticoat heaps anyway. I used an apricot satin fabric with a hammered finish given to me years and years ago  by my Mum. This fabric has survived a couple of close shaves in being donated and now I`m glad that I didn`t .
I had enough fabric left over to make a matching camisole and one of the best parts of this whole project ( apart from stash busting an old fabric and making something totally useful ) was finally getting to use some beautiful vintage what I think you would describe as broderie anglaise. I have more leftover of this and another design and I have an idea on how to use some of this in an outer garment where others can see how lovely it is.
I used two old New Look patterns to make my cami/ petticoat set. I used the pull on skirt minus the flounce  on the right for the petticoat and the even older pattern on the left for the cami. I often use old patterns for my sewing since they don't seem much different anyway to newer ones being produced.

I have also made several pairs of acacia undies, a free pattern from Megan Nielsen. They are very comfortable and the pattern is full size so it is easier to work out if it will fit onto various scrap knits. This year I have used old T shirts that were not donatabled but the fabric was still pretty good baring some minor staining in places. I have adjusted the elastic amounts on the legs as from memory they were too large . It is a win win being able to produce comfy underthings and reduce land fill and the purchase of new items.  I look out for suitable lingerie elastic as this is something that really can`t be recycled.

Monday, 9 September 2019

Vogue 1501 - Rachel Comey Pleated Dress.

 This is one of my favourite projects of the year . The dress has a very clever design with the top of the dress only attached to the front skirt , lots of  pleats in the top and the skirt  and that the skirt tapers down easing some of the fullness . The back of the dress has the top hanging out and the skirt is plain .

The fabric used was given to me by my ex neighbour , a slightly shiny dove grey with blue and mauve daisies.  100% polyester  and I reckon it was bought in the 90s . I was a bit meh about it but as the dress takes almost three metres and I don`t have many fabrics of this length I was limited for choice ( I am trying really hard to stash bust here ) . In the end I really love this dress AND  the fabric used . BTW I only had 2.75 metres and it was enough for me to make the  dress with the size 14 skirt and size 12 top.

 I read a few reviews as I usually do before I made the dress ( and it is a popular pattern ) . A few people mentioned about the instructions for  lining  the bodice and I started over thinking this. However, in the end I went with what the pattern stated and it turned out really well , a very neat way of lining  with no seams showing . I was also a bit worried about all the pleats in the skirt pouching out with my fluffy stomach but they actually conceal it so big win there.

I`m not sure if this pattern is still currently available ( dated 2016 ) but  I would highly recommend it and as KS Sews says it also makes a great stand alone skirt . I really want to make this again one day even though it is quite distinctive.

Thursday, 5 September 2019

Burdastyle 04/2019 -Belt Bag Skirt .

I super love this issue of Burdastyle . There are so many designs I would love to make eventually.  But I got a quick start on the magazine by sewing up the skirt with the cute little belt bag pocket thing .
I used some really old striped twill which was leftover from a pants making saga ( more on that later ) . The fabric is at least 14 years old and I wonder if it just old enough to look dated , or old enough to look vintage or if I am ahead of a new stripey phase. Whatever,  it is 100% cotton, feels great and the colours in the stripes are quite lovely with pale blue, coral , soft browns and beige . And it was perfect for this pattern as the fabric was  narrow but long  and this skirt uses several  narrower pieces - two skirt fronts , backs and sides.
The skirt was fun and  not difficult to make but there are a lot of steps with the  zipped skirt , the belt , the loops and the pocket .  I made a couple of changes to the pattern. I  lengthened the button tab on the pocket bag to extend all the way to the top , just a look I prefer to the original and lengthened the overall skirt a few cms to stop at my knee . As per usual with Burda the fit was spot on for me.
As mentioned the fabric was left over from making some pants. Arguably pants are the  hardest garments to fit and I had basic issues from the start . It didn`t help that I was using a Patrones magazine in Spanish . I have now found with Patrones that it is hit and miss for me .  This is the pattern I used below.

Pants with two pleats at the waist , side zip , moderately loose fitting and tapering to the ankles.
The first version the legs fit great but I couldn`t get anywhere near to closing the pants at the waist . I went to the largest size and the waist fit but the legs were very loose. I then cut out my main fabric and took the leg seams especially around the thighs in .Of note I use size 44-48 for Patrones and size 38-40 for Burda , the sizing numbers are very different.  The pants are comfortable but not a success. I showed my family and asked if they were too baggy. My husband replied ` What for pajama pants ? ` !! My daughter was obviously diplomatic. I will wear the pants but not beyond the perimeter of my home.

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

Classic Skirts with Classic Mistakes .

More catching upwith . I made this skirt a couple of months ago using this Burdastyle skirt from September 2012. I have made it once before using a denim look wool. This time I used what is arguably my best fabric I own , a cashmere / merino blend fine woven wool which has been in my stash for 8 years.  I had been contemplating how much longer I will actually work for and well I am in the home run part of my career . 5 years ? 10 years ? I am unsure. What I was sure about is this fabric is not something I would use in an everyday garment but would be perfect for my work . So I thought I better sew it up .

 Such a fine fabric deserves to be made into something that will be used in the long run and this classic A line skirt with a single deep inverted pleat is perfect .It is easy to sew but what I forgot from making this skirt before is that I added several cms to the length of the skirt when cutting out . So this version is a bit short for my liking ! Oops !

 If I wear the skirt with dark stockings I feel OK but I feel as if I have to keep pulling my skirt down.
On the plus side I only used less than half of the fabric so I will be able to make another slightly longer skirt next time . In the meantime I have worn this skirt a few times this winter so all was not lost.

I also made another classic skirt but instead of making it too short , I made it too big.  You see I used a Polish Anna Moda magazine pattern and I assumed that like most other European magazine patterns I had to add in the seam allowances . Not so ! They are included . The magazine is great with lots of good Simplicity and New Look patterns.

I made what is the equivalent of Simplicity 8175 , a very popular straight skirt with a front slit and curved waist band and slant  front pockets. I used some navy crepe with a slight stretch to it , left over from some Burdastyle pants I made last year . I did try on the skirt while I was making it and took in the side seams but the too large curved waist band and pocket openings could not be fixed . There are no photos , it just didn`t look good.  Such a pity . I used some lovely silk to line the waist band and pockets and invisibly hand stitched the hems. Writing up this blog post was the stimulus to donate the skirt so I hope someone gets to enjoy it. I will definitely be making this skirt again using some more navy crepe I have .

Only a 50% success rate but at least I used a ` precious ` fabric .

Friday, 23 August 2019

Plethora of Pale Blue

Patrones Top. 

Simplicity 8601

 Moving on with my catch up blog posts I made three ,yes three pale blue tops all from magazines my daughter bought me from Europe. I also managed to use fabric which I have stored for a long long time ( between 9- 14 years ! )
The two tops pictured above were made in response to my first semi failed one . I don`t have pictures of that top but I will show the pattern involved.

My semi-failed top was made from a Polish Diana Moden magazine . It is a  knit top with a frilly V neck . The pattern included darts which I was a bit surprised about being a knit but I went with it  anyway. I should have trusted my instincts because the darts were way too low for me and it just looked wrong. Luckily however it suited my mother`s shape better so she now has it . I used a fine ribbed pale blue knit which Mum gave me anyway .  Apart from the darts I was impressed with the pattern. The sleeves fit in the armscye perfectly and the amount of ease in the body was just right. I had no idea how to really sew the plain back neck collar to frilled front section so I just kind of fudged that bit and it looked a bit messy but Mum didn`t  care.

The first pale  blue top pictured  was sewn  from a Polish version of Patrones  .  I have  made four Patrones patterns now and two have been good and two have taken a bit of work to get something wearable.  This top in the former good category . It is  a very simple pullover top with a back neck slit  and cuffed sleeves. The pattern is based on an actual RTW clothing company Triana by C  that I assume is Spanish .

Back of Patrones top . 
 The back slit opening was finished off with a tab with a button hole . I find loops to be flimsy to use and tricky to make . This idea was inspired by pinterest .

The front tie knot top is from the  German Meine Nahmode magazine which is a compilation of Simplicity and New Look patterns - I counted 14 different patterns ,which in Australia would be at least $75 dollars worth if the patterns were on super sale. ( I write down the pattern numbers on the magazine so I can check the reviews easier ) The knot top seems to be a very popular pattern. I lengthened the front pattern pieces which form the tie knot because I noticed in many reviews the tie was very short  . I also had some trouble easing the sleeves in and so I have some little puckers which I could not entirely eliminate . Despite this I really like it . I rarely tuck in tops these days so any blouse which is designed to be worn outside of pants etc  is a winner for me.
I`m really impressed and jealous with how many sewing magazines are published in Europe . Australia used to have Australian Stitches but that never included sewing patterns . There are some Australian crafty magazines around but absolutely no garment ones that I am aware of.
Anyway my daughter could not have bought me better souvenirs than this and she knows how much I appreciate them !

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

Vogue 1309 Issey Miyake Twisty Turny Top Modelled !

As requested super glam modelled shots of my top . I even brushed my hair ( well I thought I had ) , put on lippy ( can you tell ?? ) and wore matching earrings ( at least that bit was OK ! ) .
This is my second Issey Miyake Pattern I`ve made and I have been impressed both times by the design details. I have one more of his patterns in my collection and I`m keen to try it out.

Tops - from Burda Easy to Advanced Vogue Designer .

 My next post is about two tops I made from the completely  different end of the spectrum.
First up Vogue 1309 an Issey Miyake pattern from 2012  which is classified advanced . This is the first time I have ever sewn an advanced pattern . I had read the reviews prior to making  this and to say I was intimidated is an understatement.  I got there in the end but it was not all smooth sailing.

Vogue 1309 front . 

  I used fabric from my neighbour ( who I mentioned in my  last post and showed pictures of  her latest kind donations ) . The pictures do not show up the richness of the colours in this fabric but if you think of magnificent peacock hues then that would come close. I am pretty sure this fabric dates from the 90s being a shiny polyester but I love the abstract pattern and colours and I am happy with how it suited this pattern.
vogue 1309  back . 

 This pattern is incredibly clever and it starts with just three rectangles ( and bias binding ) so you think how can this be advanced as the cutting out is the easiest thing ever . Then you cut a slash down the centre of the largest rectangle and then the fun begins . Well it was fun to begin with as I thought I was doing OK . But as I got to the end I thought I have mucked up somewhere as nothing was making sense.

vogue left side with zip 

  I must have twisted one of the shoulders around so I unpicked a couple of seams and luckily was able to untwist the whole mess . Then it  all made sense and I was able  to finish the top. At one point I was feeling quite the failure that I could not get it right and was lamenting the potential loss of a lovely fabric .

Vogue 1309 right side

As everyone else has said in their reviews it is absolutely essential to carefully mark all the circles and squares on the pattern . I used coloured numbered dots and even wrote the colours and numbers on a separate piece of paper to keep track of it all and this helped me.
I did not use bias binding as recommended on the pattern to the inner slash but over locked it and I also over locked all the outer edges of the rectangles . On the pattern the outer rectangles are left unfinished and I don`t know of too many wovens that would not fray in time .

When I finished the top I noticed that it felt quite tight on the left side but the right shoulder strap area was loose and in danger of falling down and revealing more than I would like. So I unpicked along the left side of the top with the long middle sized rectangle until it felt comfortable and added in a wedge of fabric here. On the right shoulder I tacked it down to the underlying fabric so hopefully I won`t do any inadvertent public flashing.  There were also places where the overlocking stitch could be seen externally so I made narrow hems on the machine there. The pattern recommends an open ended zip but since I didn`t have one of those that matched I just used a regular zip and there were no issues in doing so .

I am glad I made this pattern successfully ( eventually ) . It really is like the sewing version of Twister and you need your wits about you and your eyes by the way  ( the lettered circles and squares are small and faint ). I look forward to wearing this on an evening out.

 So top two . The just about easiest ever T shirt made from Burda Easy January 2018 edition which is also my first ever Burda Easy project . My daughter bought me the magazine when she was in Europe and this version is in Polish . I know absolutely no Polish although my paternal grandmother`s family immigrated to Australia in the 1830s from Prussia ( which is where Poland now is ) as a useless aside for anyone to know.


 The front is a slight scoop and the back is V shaped but it is not a deep V so it can be worn with the V in front as a bonus. I used a white ribbed cotton interlock with a small mauve floral but since I see this as nightwear fabric this top is relegated for PJs only  . This is a really useful little pattern and and  I will make it again .Burda Easy is unlike the usual Burda Style magazine. There are not so  many styles  in each edition but the patterns are printed separated on tissue paper like your usual envelope patterns so need to go cross eyed tracing tangled messes of lines. There are  also clear step by step construction diagrams .

 I am happy with the end result of both projects. Next up more tops !