Monday, March 16, 2015

Vogue 8048 - The Mullet Version

Ah yes, mullets.  Before we go any further, I am not a fan of mullets as such, however the 'business up front, party in the back' does rather make me snigger.  And that takes me onto another waistcoat (vest) for the Old Folk (my father) - do you like the 'translate as you go' feature?!  You may remember that I made him a waistcoat at the end of 2014 - and he was thrilled with it.  My mother was a fabulously talented dressmaker, and I used some of her fabrics in the waistcoats and so that made it extra special.

For this version, I wanted something even more special, as this Friday the 'Old Folk' will become a Canadian Citizen.  Dad moved out here in 2010 after my Mum passed away unexpectedly and the time has now come for him to have his Citizenship ceremony.  It is a very exciting time and as you can imagine - quite moving.  Here you are, having chosen a different country to live in, and that country then deems you suitable to be a citizen.


But then, who couldn't love this country?

Anyhow, it seems appropriate that he has something special to wear. . . . . !  I quite forgotten about promising this, but Dad mentioned it a few days ago so I thought that I ought to jump to it, so this weekend I made him another waistcoat:


The outer fabric is a houndstooth from Mum's collection.  She would have bought it to make a pencil skirt.


Single welt pockets in the front. 


Fabric covered buttons.  The buttons are 5/8" and the buttonholes 13/16".  That extra space should make them easier to open and close.


With cream top stitching and edge-stitching.  All pretty staid right?  Until you take a look around the back and whoa!!!

Yes, you are quite right - Canadian flag fabric!


It is quilting fabric and has a great dense weave.  It is perfect!


Above is the inside, with the flag fabric on the inside fronts.


And lining (from Mum's collection again) on the back on the inside.  It should make it easier for Dad to take it on and off.


My label needed a bit of extra treatment to look appropriate on this special waistcoat - it looks a bit wonly here, but it was quite straight.  Honest!!


Last photo - this just shows you what it looks like if you open up the front.

I'm dropping this off tomorrow so Dad can plan the rest of his outfit, and I'll get some photos from the 'Canadian' on Friday after the ceremony!

I'm pleased with this - moreover, I know Dad will love it.  Having used some of Mum's fabrics, including 'Liverpool' red.  Not to mention that he gets quite tickled when something is made for him.

Hope you all have a great week!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

TG - 1, 2, 3

So far, so good - I've made three pieces for my Lagenlook/Tina Givens SWAP.  And I am really please with how the pieces have turned out so far.  Unfortunately I've not had chance to model the pieces myself - so 'hangar shots' will have to suffice.

OK, here we go!  First of all we have Jaqueline, and this is the photo from the website:


All these garments are from woven fabric, and I have made a pair of the trousers and two of the slips.  The first was in a white rayon and drapes beautifully.  Gosh, my photos look rather drab in comparison - I will need to learn to photograph like she does!



As you can see - pretty plain, nothing really to report.  I used my serger to complete a rolled hem and bound the neckline and armholes.  Those armholes are HUGE!  It is a good job that I will be layering this top as it verges on the indecent as far as the armholes are concerned!  I had to add two little darts to take in some of the excess fabric around the armhole - you can probably just see one in the photo above.


I sewed a small linen bias square on the centre back which will fray when washed - a little bit of whimsy!  And if I don't like it . . . . I'll just unpick it!

I then made another slip - after all, when I have been known to make just one iteration of a pattern?!  This time I used a gorgeous coral coloured linen.  I made a number of changes to the armhole and neckline (no armhole darts this time!) - I actually used my Sorbetto pattern which I had fitted many moons ago.  I did not include the bust dart or the centre pleat, and the fit is fabulous.  Really!




I have quite sloped shoulders, and as all the best sewing/fitting teachers will tell you - get the shoulders right and everything else will fall in place.  Well mostly.  But you get my drift!

And lastly - some trousers.  Ms. Givens appears to favour dropped crotch trousers, and I am not quite ready to embrace that as yet, so I used my TNT trousers pattern.  That dealt with the waist/crotch and I used the Jaqueline leg pattern for the pleats, binding etc.  I did shorten them a few inches so that they sit mid calf, rather than the designer ankle length, but will probably make a longer pair next time.  I used some tan ramie for these, and I am pleased with these as well.


I know, I know, hanger shots are not that inspiring, but I wanted to have a complete 'outfit' before taking 'person' shots, but also wanted to record my progress!  Next up with be the cropped top which is likely going to be based upon the jersey cardis that I have been making recently - Simplicity 2154.  I will shorten the top and then add a frill/peplum to get the 'feel' of the TG pattern.

I have to say that I am loving these garments.  They are pretty quick and easy to make, they fit well (when I sandwich them with my TNT's for shoulders, crotch curves etc) and the fabrics are gorgeous.

The next pattern on my list is the Phoebe:


Closely followed by the Peplone:


And the Briare, which incidentally is a freebee pattern!


I am having to be very careful with fabrics - I don't want to look like someone from Little House on the Prairie, so I have a lot of plain fabrics planned so far, and have swapped out a couple of the patterned fabrics I had as I think that they will look a bit too cutesy . . . . but that means I can use some of my more brighter and bolder fabrics.  Watch this space!

A word or two on these patterns, there is not much in the way of line art.  if you are interested, it is worth downloading the instructions (from the website, and free of charge) to get an idea of pattern pieces and style lines.  I think that they are are great starting point if you have some TNT's that will assist you with fit, like I have done.

Finally, I was pleased to see that Beverly Johnson, the Fairy Bra Mother, has a new Craftsy class - Sewing Bras Designer Techniques.  I managed to pick up my class for half price, and will be making some designer bras over the next few weeks.  Details to follow!

I think that I am getting a handle on my Spring sewing, and the SWAP - are you sewing into the new season?

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Thinking Lagen Look

I am sure that you have all heard of Lagen Look - a style of layering clothes, quite often involving layers of trousers, dresses and tops, asymmetric or hankerchief hems, loose fitting garments that work together and with others - a kind of smart/casual look.  Now I am not at all an expert on this style, but there is something about it that rather intrigues me. I couldn't quite put my finger on it until I realised that some of the clothes that I wear, and enjoy wearing actually fall into this area.


These are some of my favourite work combinations -  and will be a great starting point for my next adventure (and as an aside, I rather like the slightly longer hair . . . . ).  Now I want to move more towards the casual look - shorter jackets with longer shirts/dresses, cropped trousers, Oooh!  I can't wait!

I have been prompted to investigate this look/style further as I will be working from home more often from now on.  Although I get to dress quite casually at work - jeans is the norm for most of my colleagues, I do like to dress more smartly - I've got to wear my lovely clothes somewhere!  However, I now have the opportunity of doing my job from home, so will be spending more days in my home office and as much as I like my PJ's, I was looking for something that was just as comfy but still work appropriate.  Sort of!

Now there are quite a few mainstream patterns that I think would give me this aesthetic such as these:






Source: Vogue 8793


And these lovely patterns that were gifted to me from the lovely GMarie - thank-you so much!  So many patterns . . . . . !  I think that she knows me better than do myself!

I downloaded a few patterns designed by Tina Givens, in particular the Jaqueline suit and the Phoebe top and trousers.  So I am busy cutting and taping right now - these pattern pieces are HUGE in comparison to the jeans and cropped cardis that I have been making of late (I think that the shorter cardis will look great with a longer top hanging under).  I've also sorted out some fabrics to play with:


There is a lovely mix of cotton, linen, ramie and bamboo.  Oooh, purdy!

Well, I am off to play now - I should have some photos by the end of the weekend . . . . . but in the meantime, how well do your sewn clothes match your life?

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Fit for a Queen

The lovely Mrs Mole who blogs about the brides who come to visit her, over at Fit for a Queen, has recently featured my disaster with McCalls 6844, a pattern that seems to universally popular . . . . except with me.  She has a 'Sew Bad Saturday' feature - which she describes as:

'let the pattern makers see what happens when real people with real bodies try to re-create their visions on the front of the envelope. Get helpful comments and suggestions from other sewers thinking about venturing into purchasing your pattern choice…in other words…save them the trouble!'

Do take a look - it may save you some time and money!!  And if you have something to contribute - let her know, we are all in this together after all!

In the meantime, I've been making some more cute pouches that are being auctioned to raise money for Galgos del Sol:



I hope that they raise lots of money!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Late to the Party - Simplicity 2154 with a side of Ginger

If truth be told, I am not one of the cool cats, that jumps on a new pattern as soon as it is published, makes it up without delay, and then posts fabulous photos online to make everyone else drool over it with envy and longing.  In fact, I fall into the 'envy and longing' hanger on category and on a number of occasions, by the time I come to buy the pattern it is fast on it's way to becoming OOP.  Such was the case with Simplicity 2154, a retro suit pattern.  It was the cardi that I was interested in - I love cardies, and have made one or two in my time, so this last weekend I thought that I would have a play, using up some leftover lengths of fabric.

I give you pink:



And lilac:


And stripes (Oooh!  Looking a bit grumpy here - and this was the best pic out of the batch!):


And to finish off, a bright cheery one!  You may recognise the fabric from another cardi that I made a few weeks ago.



So, what can I tell you about this pattern?  I love it.  The only changes I made was to chop 2" off the length, and one inch off the shoulder length.  Other than that - this was a 'straight out the packet' sew for me.  I will probably play around with the sleeve and draft up another, slimmer fitting one that comes down to my wrist - this one is designed to be cropped a little higher.

The pattern comes together very easily - unfortunately I managed to loose the instructions, so I made it up in my own way.   The only issue was with the front facing - I had to search around a little to work out how to attach it and I am really pleased with the results.  All the seams are overlocked/serged, and then most of them are top-stitched in place.  I did have some fun with the facings and used some pretty ribbons:


Most are 7/8" or 1" with the exception of the blue ribbon which is 1.5" wide.  The cream facing is the only grosgrain - and I did wash them all first, so that there won't be any 'shrinking' surprises! I also used snaps on these cardis - The thought of so many teeny tiny buttonholes did not fill me with joy and happiness.  I am happy with my decision - the snaps work well with the casual vibe of these cardis.  Aaaaaaand, there are another four in the wings - just waiting for some more snaps to arrive to finish them off!  My Pattern Review can be found here.

Why yes, thanks for noticing, I am wearing more jeans in these photos!  I now have the blue stripes that I mentioned in the last post (see the pink cardi above), some plain black ones (patterned cardi above) with black top stitching, and some thinner blue/black jeans with purple topstitching (lilac cardi).  Here are a couple of close up that show the stitching and the gorgeous co-ordinated pockets, zips and waistbands.  First are the blue/black denim with purple stitching:




And here are the black ones - not sure what happened with the zip colour when I took the photo, but it does match, honest!


This last pic shows that I add a small piece of leather to act as a washer in between the waistband and the pin that gets hammered into the jeans button.  I use a small punch to make the hole in the fabric, and was concerned that the (cough, cough) stress on the waistband might pull the pin out, and this small piece of leather (cut from a bag of offcuts I picked up somewhere, very cheaply!) works perfectly!


So, what is next?  Well, I think that I need some lightweight tops to wear with my jeans, and under a cardi - they would be perfect for layering, and also on their own when (if) Spring arrives.  I have seen quite a few versions of the Gibson blouse, and the Sutton top, and have both of them downloaded and printed!  I also picked up some of this gorgeous fabric which will almost certainly end up as small pouch bags (like I used for the Princess and the Pea)!


How is you sewing coming along?  What plans are you working on?

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Jeans Waistband - My Upsidedown Method!

I just wanted to share how I constructed the waistband on my recent Ginger jeans.  It is probably a standard method - but I like to think that it is something that I dreamed up myself and that it is a totally new!  In any case - here is what I did!

The outer waistband piece (which I have interfaced here) is attached in the usual manner, right sides together along the waist.  Incidentally, one of things that I learned during one of my sewing classes is that you should fit your waistband to your body - then attach it to your trousers, stretching it if needed.  I find that this works especially well with the jeans and gives a nice snug fit.  It probably does not make too much difference to those of you who have lovely hour-glass or pear shaped bodies, but for those of us that are cylinders, a bit of cinching in at the waist works wonders and stops my jeans falling down!


As you have probably noticed with these jeans,  I did not add a fly shield, so I need to extend the waist band a little to attach the button.

Next up, sew the facing of the waistband along the same sewing line where you attached the outer waistband.

Square off the edges, and trim/grade the seams if required.   I run my serger along the waist seam.  It tidies it up and leaves a nice even seam allowance.


The next job is to press the waistband (outer and facing) up.  Now look at that lovely tidy seam you have where your waistband attaches to your jeans!


Now you need to get your 'ironing-on'!  I marked the top edge of the outer waistband with 1/2" chalk line and pressed it down.  The facing is then pressed down to match - the top two edges need to match exactly but you can maneuver the facing as you sew along.


On the photo below you can see that the pressing looks mismatched where I moved the jeans for the photos, but you get the idea.


Look how flat and level it all looks!


All you need to do now is your edge and top stitching.  I do this from the right side and for these jeans I edge-stitched with a contrast thread about 2mm from the edge - this closes up the top waistband edge.  I then edge-stitched with matching thread using my 1/4" foot.  Below you can see how tidy this looks from the inside as well.


Add the button and buttonhole and you are good to go!



How about you - what tricks do you have to make your garments look better than the rest?!