The emperor has too many clothes, and Burda 08/2011

Do all sewers have enough clothes, or is it just me? I’m not a speedy seamstress by any stretch of the imagination, but my cupboard is pretty much full. Handmade clothes just don’t wear out! I suppose I’m also less likely to get rid of them, for two reasons. Firstly, I like everything about them, unlike a bought item where I might like the style but not so much the fabric, or vice versa. And secondly, the time investment makes them more valuable than something ready-made. The internet tells me this is the sunk cost fallacy – but the insight doesn’t really help, I still want to hang on to it all.

One solution is to sew for others. There is clearly an increasing amount of this on this blog. I really like doing it. It’s hard to be sure what the recipients really think, but I think it’s appreciated, on the whole. When I was small my grandmother used to knit a lot of jumpers. Often the neck hole was too small, and my mother didn’t want to disappoint her by telling her. Most of the people I sew for are considerably less polite, and I trust that they’ll give me honest feedback!

Anyway, this is a blouse I made for my sister. It’s this one from Burda 08/2011. I used to have a hemp blouse in a similar style, which I wore to pieces, and so I was thrilled to come across this Burda pattern.

Burda blouse 08/2011

The fabric is a fairly heavy crepe, possibly rayon I think. It’s a gorgeous fabric and a stunning colour that always makes me think of my sister, for some reason. It definitely suits her. Another benefit of sewing for others: making things in colours you love but don’t love to wear.

Burda 08/2011

The only modification was to omit the side slits, and shape the hem up at the sides. I do this a lot and don’t know why so many patterns are cut straight across – I think a shaped hem looks a lot nicer.

burda shirt 4 edited

Anyway the main lesson from this pattern was to check the finished measurements – this could easily have gone down one size, maybe two. It’s not just too loose, but too big all over – the back opening looks too long, the sleeves are bracelet length rather than three-quarter, the hem’s probably too long… But it’s definitely wearable, and I suppose it’s better than being too small.

It’s one to make again… maybe even for myself. I would like another blue hemp top like this.

Advertisements

Ginger jeans, kind of, sort of

This is one of those Very Exciting Makes. You know the ones you’re extra proud of? Often they took extra time or used special fabric or were for a particular occasion. These are the first jeans I’ve made, and sneakily I decided to make them for my sister so I wasn’t forced to deal with them if they didn’t fit. Spoiler alert, they did!

I did a class with Maryanne at Made on Marion, called something like ‘copying a ready-to-wear garment’. I could probably have found enough online to work out how to do it, but WOULD I have? Probably not. It was great to block out a whole day to get it done.

jeans class 2

jeans class

There were four of us, each copying a completely different garment. I used some worn-out jeans of my sister’s, and it was interesting to see how three-dimensional the pieces had become, as they’d moulded to the shape of her body. I did my best, but probably most importantly, I sewed it up in a mystery denim with a fair bit of stretch.

jeans 4

jeans 5

I used the Ginger jeans pattern for the construction, and it was fascinating to see how much work is in a pair of jeans. It’s pretty worrying that they can be sold at such a low price. I threaded the Lotus with topstitching thread, but she didn’t like all the layers for the bar-tacks, so I ended up doing those on the Bernina. There were two things I wasn’t really happy with: firstly, it’s hard to work out pocket placement without the intended owner around to model them. Secondly, I don’t think I did the rivets right. They were supposed to just click into place (no hammering needed), but maybe mine were too long, or my denim was too thin? There was a lot of empty space and they stick out a bit. Admittedly I’m probably the only one who’ll notice.

jeans 6

It was really fun to see them start to look like proper jeans! And you already know this, but they fit pretty well. I’m keen to try them again in a denim with a bit less stretch, to see how that works.

jeans7

 

Merino cowl dress (for the win)

Don’t you love it when you do an experiment and it isn’t a Pinterest Fail? I impulse-bought some green merino from Levana, with an interesting chevron pattern, to make a cowl neck dress. Not having a cowl pattern, and having already done a significant amount of internet shopping that week, I scoured the web for a free pattern, and found this one.

cowl dress

Happily for size 36 people, but sadly for me, it’s only in one size. I thought, ‘oh well, I’ll just add the extra inches at the centre seam’. In my experience, this sort of blind optimism often leads to disaster, but not this time. It meant that the cowl was deeper than planned, and the back neck was a lot wider than it should be. I added a box pleat at the centre back neckline, and it draped beautifully. Actually this pattern was released a couple of weeks later, also with a draped back, and I felt very on-trend.

cowl dress 3

I find that having an unexpected success like this really motivates me to sew more. Or maybe it’s just the time of year, now the days are getting shorter and there’s more inside time. Either way, there’s more to come…

 

 

Birthday present – Miz Mozelle

I was lucky enough to be able to visit my baby sister for her birthday this year, and I made her a dress for the occasion.

4

This is the Miz Mozelle from Jamie Christina.

I used a blue textured rayon, and jazzed it up with a bit of Japanese cotton bias binding. The cotton was swiped from fabric the Fashion Critic chose, for me to make into a shirt for him. Luckily we bought plenty so I think he’ll still get his shirt.

I think the rayon suits the blousy top.

7

The wrinkles are because it came straight from my suitcase.

It has an elastic waist so it’s a good choice if you’re likely to be eating birthday cake.

cake.jpg
We were.

Details:

  • Pattern: Miz Mozelle dress by Jamie Christina
  • Fabric: textured rayon from the Fabric Warehouse, cotton trim from Japan
  • Alterations: made one size bigger in the bodice and sleeves since the pattern is for a knit and I used a woven
  • Next time: don’t bother upsizing for a woven, there’s lots of room
  • More versions: herehere, here, here, PatternReview

Bunny pyjamas – Simplicity 9329

I always thought life was too short to make a quilt or sew pyjamas, and here I am, guilty of doing both. This grey bunny print flannelette just called to me. You know how it is.

front

I sewed these up at the Fabric Hoarders retreat a few weeks ago, and took them to Japan. These photos are on the phone, in a hotel room. Lucky pyjamas getting to go overseas!

back

The pattern is Simplicity 9329. I only had the XS-M version, so sized up. Flannelette is pretty narrow and pyjamas use a lot – these used five metres.

9329

(For my own records: I sized the trousers up to the shape I guessed a L would be. Added 5cm depth to the rise, lengthened the legs by 3cm. For the top, cut the M pattern piece with an extra 1cm at the waist and 2cm at the hips, and lengthened the sleeves 4cm)

I pattern matched the front, using Maryanne’s technique. Pretty proud of how it looks:

pattern matching

They have a drawstring waist and some flat piping around the pocket, which didn’t quite work out but I’m too lazy to unpick it.

I’ve totally changed my mind about handmade pyjamas. They’re such a luxury item,  because they’re so personal. Making pyjamas for yourself is like being your own friend. Mine have french seams along the sides and flat-felled seams around the sleeves, and I did those things just for me.

Gemma vs the Goldstream peacoat

I’ve borrowed the format of the title from Amanda because – hoo boy – this one was a doozy.

front 1

Once again, it’s a coat in the middle of summer. The Fashion Critic and I spent this afternoon sitting outside a bar on the waterfront, enjoying the sun and drinking cider. Then we took photos of him in a winter coat, poor guy. Between this and the constant threat of standing on a pin, I’m not sure why he sticks around.

sleeve buttons

I can’t decide which part of the coat to tell you about first. There were so many new things to learn, and so many improvised steps that worked out OK in the end, and so many things that went wrong that you never have to know about!

The pattern is the Thread Theory Goldstream peacoat. I muslined it first, but then was too nervous to make any changes, so it’s a straight size L.  The shell is a grey wool blend from the Fabric Warehouse. The whole thing’s interlined with some flannelette from the stash to make it extra snuggly. Want to see the flannelette?

flannel

It’s almost a secret but I put a little patch inside the inner breast pocket, as a reminder.

pocket flannel

Interlining was a new technique to me. I didn’t decide to do it until I’d already cut out the pieces for the shell. So I laid out my flannel and put each piece of shell on top, wrong side to the flannel. Then I basted the shell to the flannel before cutting round each piece. This is pretty time consuming, so you’ll want to drop a few hints to the future owner of the coat, about restaurants you might be wanting to go to, or maybe some part of the house that needs a clean. In fact you’ve probably got enough time to drop hints about both.

Then I was impressed by the non-wrinkliness of this guy’s version, and decided to use horsehair canvas on the front pieces (is there anything that Made on Marion doesn’t have tucked away? I have yet to find out. They certainly had horsehair canvas. I was hitherto unaware of the existence of such a thing).

hair canvas

I pretty much used the Thread Theory tutorial to attach it, first basting it and catch-stitching it along the top edge, then taping the roll line (did I really write that sentence? This coat makes me feel like I’ve been moved up a grade at school).

Construction was pretty straightforward. I used Gertie’s easy way of setting in tailored sleeves.

It’s lined with some snazzy striped silk. Ooh yeah this stuff feels good.

lining

Last stop, buttons. I think these are part of the reason the coat looks a bit special. I did Spanish snap buttonholes (ideally followed by a glass of sangria, I guess, otherwise they may as well be regular snap buttonholes). I learnt the hard way that it’s really important to cut the oval backing bits on the bias, otherwise they don’t “snap” into place at all (they just pretend not to notice you, while you’re pulling at them madly trying to turn them to the inside). After a bit of swearing, and lots of unpicking and re-cutting, the ovals turned inside as directed, but tended to pop out again, so I used iron on hemming tape to get them to stay put.

shank button

The buttons came specially from As Cute As A Button, a specialty store in San Diego. Mighty expensive, but I think worth it. But I discovered the horrors of the shanked button! This double-breasted coat has two rows of buttons, one row that go through the buttonholes and one that’s just there for effect. The former need a shank, but the latter don’t, and just dangle looking silly and sad without a buttonhole to go through. Not to be defeated I enlisted the help of a jewellery-making friend, who sawed off the shank and made a new hole closer to the body of the button. Dangly buttons begone! (Heaven forbid any fall off, now that they are truly limited edition buttons).

This was my Big Project of 2015. I’m really glad I took it on. And the Fashion Critic will be nice and warm all winter, even when I’m not around to snuggle him.

 

 

 

Here comes another one – New Look 6968

new look 6968 3

And this one wasn’t made in a day. It’s version A this time, but without sleeves.

6968

The fabric is a cotton sateen from the Fabric Warehouse, which I bought when Penny (from Dressesandme) was in town.  Actually I think she’s now better known as Penny (formerly from Dressesandme) – I’m not sure where else she’s found these days. Anyway for me this fabric has a memory attached to it, which is the best kind of fabric really.

pattern

I just love the neck detail, and obviously with this print I had to sew it VERY VERY carefully so the darts were symmetrical.

pleats

I wasn’t sure if it’d end up looking like a Magic Eye print, causing passers-by to gaze at me crosseyed and shout “I’ve got it!”. But no-one has (yet), so I think it’s OK. Did Magic Eye even make it out of 1993? Let’s move on, quickly.

You may have noticed the zip at the top there – I attached some ribbon to either side of it, and it’s the loveliest way to make it a bit special. I machine-stitched it to the facing and lining on one side (right side of facing to wrong side of ribbon), and slip-stitched the other side to the zip by hand.

tape

There’s a blind hem, and a kick-pleat at the back (or a vent? I always wonder if kick-pleat is the right term. It isn’t a pleat).

new look 6968 2

And you’ll be seeing this one again, I’m afraid. In fact, I already have fabric purchased for iteration 3. I really need to branch out and make some new patterns.

new look 6968 6