My Autumn/Winter sewing and knitting plans

My sewing has been in the doldrums recently, I just can’t seem to muster up the enthusiasm to start a new project. I think this is a tricky time of year, in the spring I can’t wait to get started on some Summer dresses but now, well I’m more than a little apprehensive about the dark nights and cold Winter days that lay before me. I decided that while I didn’t feel like doing any actual sewing I should spend my time planning and getting organised. I have put together a list of projects and have not only got the patterns but the fabric and all the notions to go with them. So I have no excuse, if I publish my list here then I’ll just have to get on with it! I really want to try and concentrate on getting the fit right with my makes so have decided to make at least two versions of each pattern, using the first as a wearable muslin before cutting into my more loved fabrics!

I’ve been meaning to try some Deer and Doe patterns for a while, the patterns are drafted with an hourglass figure in mind and so offer the prospect of being a good fit for me. I tried their free Plantain long sleeved tee pattern when it came out at the beginning of the year. I loved it so much I made three which were in constant rotation before I had to change it up for me made May. It’s one of those patterns that looks very simple but seems to be drafted by fairies, it fits perfectly around the shoulders and bust and then gently flares skimming the waist and hips (and in the process hiding any wobbly bits!) I’m planning on making at least two more of these and have this stripey knit and soft duck egg blue jersey as the first contenders.

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I have also realised that I could use another basic skirt pattern in my wardrobe and love the inverted pleats of the Chardon. I’ve had this purple cotton in my stash for a while, meaning to make another Kelly skirt which never happened. I will use this first as a wearable muslin before cutting into this leafy green cotton that I got while on holiday.

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I’ve seen so many Belladones around the blogesphere and have wanted to try it for ages. Although it is a sleeveless dress I’m hoping to be able to wear it layered up with a long sleeved tee, cardigan and wooly tights. I’m going to make it up first in this Navy cotton twill (both fabrics are darker in reality!) I think I will actually muslin the bodice before, a rare occurrence for me! Once I get the fit right I’ll give this Autumn flower fabric a go.

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The Lady Skater was something that I planned to do last year but never got around to. I bought this purple Ponte Roma for it (it’s darker than the picture shows, as are all the other pictures!) but it kept getting bumped down the list and before I knew it Spring was here and it was flowery dress time! I’ve since found this heavy denim blue knit so I’m hoping to have a couple of work horse knit dresses to see me through the colder months.

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I’ve made Simplicity 2444 once before, the fit was nearly spot on but I had a slight hunchback thing going on with the zip. I hadn’t made any adjustments and should really have shortened the bodice to take my short waistedness into account. It’s such a great pattern and I love how the diagonal waist darts mirror the pleats in the skirt. I’ve been putting this off but I think with a couple of tweaks this could become a TNT dress pattern. I bought this grey cotton well over a year ago with no particular plan in mind. The flowers have a velvety nap to them and I think it will lend itself well to an Autumn/Winter dress. I’ve also just recently got this purple tartan (I’m a sucker for tartan!) and in my head I think it might work well with those darts, it could turn out to be a disaster in reality but I’m willing to take the gamble!

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So that is my current plan, I’m going to try and focus and not get distracted by other new patterns but since I’ve drawn up my list Deer and Doe have released the Bruyere shirt! I haven’t got any fabric for this yet but really want to try and squeeze it in somewhere!

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My knitting plans are a little easier and more practical. I will be needing a new hat and really like the look of the Wiksten Jul hat:

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I’ll be needing some arm warmers to go with it and have a couple of options:

The Kumara arm warmers:

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Or possibly these slouchy gauntlets:

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And finally I’m planning to knit Kate Davies’ Owl sweater because it’s cute and will make me happy when I’m wearing it!

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So that’s the plan, I’ve decided to start with the Grey Simplicity as I really want a new dress to wear and hopefully I won’t have to do much to get the fit right!

What projects do you have in the pipeline for the Autumn?

OWOP- a week of Scouts!

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Well One Week One Pattern is over and I made it through the week!  Thanks to Handmade Jane for hosting this year!  It was actually easier than expected and I think choosing the Grainline Scout tee gave me a lot more versatility.  Here’s what I wore:

Day One

Broderie Anglaise Scout with Denim Megan Nielsen Kelly Skirt

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I like this top, although I don’t think i’ll wear it tucked in again as it makes me look really short-wasted.  I saw a girl earlier in a white top which had scalloped edges along the hem and sleeves, this gave me the idea to add a scalloped broderie anglaise trim to this top, I feel it needs something and that might be it!

Day two

Black sparkly knit Scout

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This fabric called to me in a kinda ‘ooh sparkly’ way!  It has a lovely drape to it and even though I rarely have occasion to wear sparkly tops I had to have it (I got some in a Chartreuse Green too). I had wanted to see how the Scout tee looked in a knit fabric and it worked really well.  I spent the day purging wardrobes and sorting uniforms but really enjoyed wearing this around the house!

Day three

Knit Scout tee with Colette Zinnia Skirt

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Another knit Scout although in a much finer fabric.  This turned out to be quite sheer so I had to wear a came underneath.  Not quite sure that the Zinnia is working for me here though, there’s a bit too much fabric going on in that skirt.

Day four

Sparkly Scout tee (again) and Grainline Moss Mini

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I think this is my favourite outfit of the week.  I’ve hardly worn this Moss skirt since I made it but it was really comfortable and I think it works well with my short stature.  I will wear it more often now and maybe make more to wear with woolly tights through the winter.

Day five

Green embroidered Scout with Miette cardigan

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This is my favourite Scout and has been worn a lot.  It’s a lovely fine pale green cotton with cream embroidery.  Wore it at work with my old faithful green Miette cardigan and jeans.

Day six

Blue Voile Scout and Chambray Hollyburn Skirt

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This Scout gave me the most trouble while I was making it, it’s a silk and cotton blended voile and very fine.  I used French seams throughout, the side seams and the neck binding went together ok but I really struggled setting in the sleeves.  I had a couple of puckers but there was no way to unpick them without completely ruining the top. I think I was rushing to get it finished and should have left it until the morning but you know how it goes! Anyway, I finished the sleeves the best I could and you can’t really notice the puckers (but I know they are there!) Again this was a very sheer fabric so I wore a slip underneath to preserve my modesty!

Day seven

Black and cream Scout tee and purple Miette cardigan

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Another well worn Scout, it’s a polyester fabric and a little bit slippy.  I added satin bias binding to the neckline as a contrast and also to stabilise it a bit better. Worn with my other faithful Miette.

And so there you go.  I’ve really enjoyed this challenge and it’s been wonderful seeing everybody else’s outfits around the blogosphere, kinda like a mini me made May!  I think it’s really tested the versatility of this pattern, it’s worked well in a variety of fabrics.  I love the knit versions, especially the black sparkly one, this will probably be my go to TNT t-shirt pattern now.

Did you join in with OWOP and if so how did you get on?  How well did your pattern work for you?

 

 

 

 

 

One Week One Pattern (otherwise know as owop!)

Tomorrow sees the start of One Week One Pattern, a sewing challenge, hosted this year by Handmade Jane. The concept is to wear one pattern for a whole week.

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I do enjoy a good sewing challenge and this will test how versatile a pattern can be, just by changing the type of fabric, print or simply styling.

I have opted for the Grainline Scout woven tee, I needed to pick something practical because I will be wearing jeans for at least three days of the week at work (trust me, digging and pruning in a dress is a no no!)  I already have three versions of the Scout in my wardrobe, all of which are woven. I wanted to see how the pattern translates to other fabrics so I have made three more; two knit versions and one in a very light cotton/silk blend. I will be posting slightly blurry bathroom selfies on Instagram (justsewtherapeutic) with the hashtag #owop14. I’ll also do a round-up post with pictures of each Scout modelled on Doris so you can see what they look like without all the blurriness!

Really looking forward to this and especially seeing what everyone else is wearing!

 

Are you taking part and if so which pattern have you picked?

The Bombshell Swimsuit

As I have got older I have tended to avoid wearing a swimsuit in public. Although I love swimming I hate having to dry my hair with a dryer as I end up looking like Crystaltips.   I am also, like many people more than a little apprehensive about exposing so much bare flesh. Clothes are like my armour, I can use them to express who I am, cover my insecurities and highlight my assets. Without them I have a tendency to feel rather exposed and self-conscious  Consequently the two swimsuits I own are the vintage kind with the little skirts (aka Mom swimsuits!).

However, when Heatherlou’s Closet Case Files Bombshell Swimsuit pattern was released last year I was smitten by the design. I loved Esther Williams films when I was little and the bombshell has that vintage feel. In my favourite Esther film ‘Dangerous when wet’ she wears a white swimsuit which is a dead ringer for the Bombshell and she swims with Tom and Jerry in it! As more and more versions popped up on the blogesphere it became apparent that it was the holy grail of swimwear, super flattering with a good dose of old school glamour.

The bombshell only became a necessity to sew with an impending holiday to Anglesey. Now North Wales is not really renowned for being tropical or glamourous but it does have beautiful beaches and even if I was only going to be paddling in rock pools I wanted to do it as glamorously as possible!

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My first hurdle was finding the fabric, swimsuit lycra is hard to come by in the UK but this Ebay seller had a fairly good selection of block colours. I was undecided between Navy, Wine or Bottle Green, after a few days pondering I finally plumped for the green. I also got a metre of slightly finer skintone lycra for the lining. I was really surprised at how much fabric was needed, two and a half metres including the lining. I also needed five metres of swimwear elastic and opted for the 8mm white rubber type as it looked (and was) easier to work with than the clear plastic I had used before.

I used a ballpoint needle on my regular machine and also opted for the walking foot, I tried it without but it kept skipping stitches. I followed Heather Lou’s sew-a-long which was brilliant. I cut a size 12 and graded up to an 16 over the bust. the pattern is brilliantly drafted and comes together so quickly. I used my overlocker for the side and centre back seams, there was a lot of fabric to cope with, four layers, two of which were densely gathered, there is a whole lot of ruching going on in this suit!

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I knew I would need a bit of extra support in the bust area. I looked at swimwear cups in my local haberdashery but even the large size didn’t look remotely adequate. I ended up harvesting the cups from an old t-shirt bra and sandwiching them between the main fabric and the lining. I also stitched two rows of the swimsuit elastic underneath the bust to act as a kind of shelf.

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I did plan to sew it over a couple of days but once I started I didn’t want to stop, I couldn’t believe how much fun it was to sew! I think it took about five hours in total, including coffee breaks. I initially basted the straps at the position given on the pattern but when I tried it on there was an awful lot of spillage! After a bit of repositioning I found the right spots which provided the optimum amount of support needed to keep the girls under control!

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So how did it fair on the beach? I was concerned about so much fabric holding a lot of water but it didn’t take long to dry out after a quick dip in the sea. I must admit to getting a bit nesh in my old age though, as I did spend most of the time sat in the beach tent happily knitting while Big Mr and Little Mr braved the waves and went body boarding! (Beach knitting is now my favourite holiday activity!) Although I did throw a couple of Esther Williams poses I didn’t get chance to do any graceful swimming as the sea was a bit too rough, I will just have to suffice with doing a few handstands in the local pool!

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The Bombshell fit is perfect and gives the right amount of coverage without looking at all mumsey, I did feel ultra glamourous and most importantly confident, I could potter about the beach without being self-conscious! My whole body image has changed so much since I started sewing again, if you had told me a couple of years ago I would be posting pictures of myself on the internet in a swimsuit I would have laughed (manically!) but now I have accepted my body for what it is. It has served me well for 43 years now, it’s strong and healthy and does what I want it to do without too many complaints. I’m getting old enough to realise that life is too short to get hung up on perceived imperfections and we should really be amazed at what our bodies can do.

Has sewing for yourself changed how you feel about your body image?

 

Plaid Grainline Archer Shirt

I have been sewing far too much icing recently and not enough cake. I love dresses and skirts but as I work on a horticultural project they are not very practical for day to day.  Looking for inspiration for the summer stashbust I came across this woven plaid. I’d bought 2 metres with a view to making an Archer shirt but then found out that the pattern needed 2 ½ metres and so it was put on the back burner. I later bought 3 metres of another plaid to make my first Archer, figuring I would need extra fabric to match the checks. When it came to cutting out however, I found I could squeeze it out of 2 metres and so my original Archer plan would work after all.

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My first Archer

I had been meaning to sew my other Archer for a while but it kept getting bumped down the list in favour of Summer sewing. It feels a bit weird sewing a thick shirt in summer but I’m thinking ahead to Autumn which unfortunately is just around the corner. We’re also off to Anglesey next week which can be a little breezy so the Archer will be the perfect cover-up.

I was a little apprehensive when I made my first Archer, although I had done cuffs, collars and plackets before I had never done a collar stand. I Looked at one of OH’s shirts and just couldn’t figure out how it was all attached. Encouraged by all the wonderful Archer’s on the blogesphere I decided to put my faith in Grainline designer Jen’s  sewalong and take it a step at a time.

I cut a size 14 and took a good 4 inches of the length of the arms (I have stumpy arms) and an inch and a half off the body.   It took a while to cut out because I wanted to make sure the checks matched.   The tutorial was a lifesaver, I don’t think I would have managed it with the instructions alone. There are a lot of little steps along the way and I found it a great project to keep chipping away at. I was amazed at how well the pattern was drafted and how everything fitted together so well. There is a fantastic ‘burrito’ way of attaching the yoke that is just genius! My only stumbling block did turn out to be the collar stand. There is a video on the tutorial and I must have watched it twenty times before I managed a vague grasp of how to do it. When it came to sewing my second Archer I followed Andrea’s of Four Square Walls brilliant tutorial of an alternative way to attach a collar stand which was brilliant, I’d highly recommend it if you need to attach a collar.  The whole make was a lot easier the second time around and all came together without a hitch. I finished it with some simple brass buttons which area good size and weight for such a substantial shirt. I am particularly pleased with the pattern matching and I’ve even managed to get the yoke centred this time around!

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(other half wanted to know why I’m always looking away in photos, it’s because a, that’s my best side and b, in all the photo’s when I’m looking at him you can tell I’m replying to his smart Alec comments!)

I have been living in this shirt since I finished it, my son has also tried to pinch it even though it’s a fair bit too big for him. I might make him one for his birthday in the same size so he can grow into it and when he grows out of it I’ll be able to wear it! I have got another Archer in the pipeline as I’ve got a couple of metres of fine white cotton with tiny daisies printed on it.  It will probably be easier to sew as there will be no checks to match but I probably won’t get around to sewing it until next year as it will definitely be a summer shirt, now it’s all about sewing for the coming season!

Are you still sewing for summer or have you got plans for your Autumn wardrobe?

I made a bag!

I’m feeling quite pleased because I’ve actually made something other than clothes! In an ideal world I would be making quilts, make up bags and handbags galore but with only a limited amount of sewing time in the week I have to prioritise. As I always have a considerable queue of garments waiting to be made, all non-essentials get bumped to the bottom of the list! I did make a window panel for the bathroom a few months ago out of some Moomin fabric (I was going to make a skirt but realised I had to draw the line somewhere!) but this only involved cutting out a square and hemming it so not really classed as a sewing project!

This fabric actually came out of another of my late night online impulse purchases. I bought a metre of this Michael Miller Paris Ville fabric without really knowing what to do with it. I fell in love with the street scenes of Paris and initially thought about making a skirt, but I had second thoughts as I really didn’t know how much wear it would get or what on earth I would wear it with. (also I can barely get out of the house in the morning without spilling coffee down me so white is not a good colour)

I really loved the fabric and decided it would get more use if I made it into a bag. After a bit of a search around all the patterns on the web I came across this reversible bag pattern designed and free to download by verypurpleperson.com. This seemed to be a win win situation as I was getting two bags in one! I used some gingham fabric from my stash for the other side, which was quite thick, to give the bag some body.

The pattern and tutorial is really easy, I added patch pockets to each side and think I spent more time adding these than I did sewing the rest of the bag! It’s all stitched together inside out and then turned the right way through the handles. Then it just needs the top of the handles joining, a quick press and a bit of top stitching and it’s done!

The finished bag measure 20in (50cm) from the top of the handles to bottom of the bag and 16in (40cm) across, it’s a perfect size and can fit a surprising amount of stuff in it!

I used most of my metre of Paris Ville but that was due to matching the pattern around the bag and also the pocket. I only used half a metre of the gingham so you could probably squeeze the whole bag out of a metre.

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I’m really pleased with the result, it’s a perfect bag for summer. It’s made me realise there’s more to sewing than clothes and I feel the need to dabble in some different projects!

 

Do you have any other sewing projects which you enjoy? Any good suggestions on what to have a go at next?

 

Outfit along Myrna Cardigan and Simplicity 1803

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Lauren of Lladybird fame and knitwear designer Andi from untangling knots have been hosting a knit/sew along with a difference, to make a dress and knit a cardigan thereby creating a whole outfit. I signed up straight away, having already knitted two Miettes and a Marion of Andi’s designs. I love her patterns, they have a vintage feel and seem to go with everything, they are also perfect to wear over dresses.  Andi’s new pattern released for the outfit along was Myrna and the dress pattern suggested was Simplicity Project Runway 1803. You could use any patterns you wanted but I decided to give these ago as they were new to me and looked kinda cute.

Here’s the Myrna description which explains everything far better than I could!:

‘This sassy cardigan is the perfect layer to keep on hand for breezy summer nights and cold movie theaters. Its full short sleeves keep it from being too warm, and the cropped length is perfect to go with airy dresses and full skirts. Eyelets surround the edges of the cardigan, and a keyhole on the back adds a fun extra detail. The sweater is knit seamlessly from the top down. The upper back is knit first and then put on hold. Stitches are picked up and knit for the upper fronts, and the pieces of the body are joined together when the underarms are cast on. The cardigan has waist shaping to give it a fitted look, and once the body is complete, stitches for the sleeves are picked up from the armholes and shaped using short rows. The cardigan fits best with 0-3 inches of negative ease.’

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I used Cascade 220 yarn in 813 Blue Velvet, a worsted weight yarn. The ball band suggested 4.5mm needles but the pattern stated 5mm so I went with the 5mm.  Based on my measurements I opted to knit a large, bearing in mind the pattern has 2 inches of negative ease. I must admit that I didn’t knit a gauge swatch but just dived straight in and cast on. This is the knitting equivalent of not making a muslin and all my mother in laws fault!  I used to knit a swatch to check my gauge but she never has, she just picks up her needles and starts knitting. Out of laziness and a sense of living dangerously I have since done the same! There was a mistake on the gauge stated on the pattern, it was given at 18 x 24 stitches but should have been 18 x 28. It was only when this problem was flagged up on Ravelry that I began to have a quick panic as I was well into the body by then. I tentatively reached for the ruler and began to count, the knitting fairies must have been looking on me favourably as by some fluke I was spot on the 28 stitches that the pattern had been written for!

Myrna was, in theory, a quick knit but I must admit that it took me a lot longer than it should to finish. I seem to have difficulty doing things when I have to, it kind of feels like homework! I have this problem with our bookclub and am always frantically skim reading the set book the night before the next meeting! If I had knitted a couple of hours each night I would probably have had it finished in a fortnight. As it was there were considerable periods of neglect and I only really got a spurt on as the deadline began to loom!

The dress on the other hand came together very quickly. I used 2 metres of the blue cotton with gold flowers that I had been saving since I bought it two years ago (still have two metres left!) I decided to go for bodice C with the notched neckline and the pleated cap sleeves. I cut a size 12 after Laurens warning that Simplicity add 4 inches of ease in their patterns! I also shortened the bodice by an inch which I do to everything now because I am on the short side. It was quite an easy pattern but had a large facing which spanned the whole of the shoulder and was stitched to the top of the sleeve cap. I’d used medium weight interfacing for it as I wanted to try and add a bit of structure to the notch but it flopped anyway! I’ve not made anything with a facing for a while and I’ve decided that I just don’t like them! I think if I made this dress again I would try and figure out a way to line the bodice. The only change I made was to move the inseam pockets to the side seams instead of either side of the centre front panel as the pattern called for. I put my hands in my pockets a lot and they of course naturally fall to the side, I thought it would be a bit weird having pockets up front like some kind of kangaroo pouch! I used an invisible zip which was an absolute pig to get in! I wrestled with it and ended up unpicking it three times before it finally went in at the fourth try. It’s still a bit sticky, goes up OK but doesn’t want to come down again. I was on my own when I first tried it on and couldn’t get back out, was desperately trying to contort myself around, having a claustrophobic panic attack in the process, was on the verge of taking the scissors to it when it finally succumbed. Must remember I need help to unzip in the future! I also made the tie belt as I thought it needed something around the waist (and I wanted a bow!)

I spent ages looking for buttons for Myrna, I wanted gold daisy flower ones to pick out the flowers on the dress. I tried Ebay, Etsy, online button stores as well as my local haberdashery but couldn’t find the right ones. After a few weeks I half-heartedly searched Ebay again and found the perfect ones which had just been listed! I’m not happy unless I find the right buttons and I have in the past spent more on the buttons than I did on the fabric for a dress!

Anyway, here’s some a lot of pictures:

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I’m quite pleased with how the outfit has turned out and loved the concept of combining sewing and knitting. I think if I knit Myrna again I would size down, she fits perfectly over the boobs but is just a tiny bit too big under the arms and back. Maybe this is due to my lack of gauge swatch or using slightly bigger needles or maybe I just need to figure out how to do a full bust adjustment in knitting!  I think she will get a lot of wear anyway!

Doing a complete outfit has made me realise that I tend to make things without thinking of how they will combine with my wardrobe. I think in future I will try and get some kind of coherence with my makes and highlight what colours are missing. I need to get past the ‘oohh pretty colours’ thinking I am prone to when choosing yarn and fabric. At the moment I’m craving a Mustard Miette but will have to have a good look at what I have in the wardrobe to wear with it!

Do you have a plan with your makes or are you seduced like a magpie to bright and shiny things?

Vintage Maria Drape Skirt

I had a rummage through my stash looking for long lost projects to make as part of my stashbust. I came upon this piece of vintage curtain fabric, bought from the local flea market last year, I think it cost £8. It is getting so difficult to find vintage fabric nowadays so I snapped it up with a view to making a rather lovely vintage skirt. That was as far as it got before languishing at the bottom off my stash chest, until now! It is quite a heavy fabric so did take up a fair bit of space in the pile so I thought I’d create a bit more room by finally putting it to use.

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The problem with this fabric was that although it was two and a half metres long it was only 57cm wide. I knew I wanted a skirt with a bit of body and flare but it was too thick to make a gathered skirt. I raided my skirt patterns but couldn’t find any which could be cut with my limited fabric and so I decided to have a go at drafting my own. I knew I wanted it fitted over my tum and hips and so I thought I’d go with stitched down pleats or tucks.

I cut two pieces for the waistband along the crossgrain as I couldn’t spare anything off the length. I planned to stitch the waistbands together at the sideseam, fold it double and attach a side zipper which would go all the way to the top of the waistband.

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After cutting the waistband I cut the remaining fabric into two equal pieces. I tapered the sides a bit to add some shape and reduce the bulk around the top of the skirt.

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Then it came to figuring out where to place the pleats. Half the waistband measured 16 inches. I roughly calculated that I could fit six pleats in total at a depth of one inch each. I decided to put three pleats either side and so spent quite a while measuring, fiddling, pinning, unpinning and fiddling a bit more until the pleats were more or less even and the waistline was matching the waistband at 16 inches. I did exactly the same for the back piece and then stitched the pleats in place on the inside. They are actually more like tucks as I stitched them as you would do a tuck. I did two rows of stitching and backstitched a few times at the bottom as I didn’t want them to come undone, this has unfortunately happened with the stitching on the pleats of my Colette Zinnia, I guess they just couldn’t take the strain!

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It was easy to put together after that, I sewed the side seams (no pockets because I didn’t have enough fabric and thought they might gape a bit with the fitted top of the skirt) and then attached the waistband, interfacing both sides. I put a standard zipper in the side seam and took it to the top of the waistband so not need for a button. I turned the hem up using the selvage and was finished!

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I’m quite pleased with the result, although when I asked my other half what he thought his reply was that it looked like an old curtain! I countered this by informing him that it was vintage and if Julie Andrews could do it in the sound of music then so could I! (Hence the Maria Drape Skirt!

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It is quite a heavy skirt so I think it will probably work better in the winter with thick black tights and a sweater. It was only after taking these photos that I realised that the skirt is quite well camouflaged with the flowers and greenery in the background!

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I think this skirt was a bit of a nostalgia trip for me, taking me back to my teenage years when I wore nothing but ‘vintage’ which was then called second hand. In abundance, dirt cheap and therefore affordable to a fifteen year old indie chick! We had a wonderful shop called Jins which was full of clothes from the twenties onwards. I was quite lucky being short and a bit curvy as clothes from the fifties fitted me perfectly. Most of these clothes have got lost along the way but I still have a couple of dresses and a beautiful New Look style shawl collared coat which I will probably never be able to fit in again but can’t bear to get rid of. I just like getting them out and admiring them every now and a again. A bit like all the shoes I have which I can’t walk in but occasionally put on to do the ironing in! I guess I am a bit sentimental about clothes, I’ve still got the top I was wearing the night I got together with my other half! I just think clothes hold memories, sometimes more tangibly than photographs.

Do you have any sentimentality when it comes to clothes? Have you any treasured outfits which hold memories for you?

Navy Peekaboo eyelet Laurel

After the Chambray I bought for my planned Colette Laurel turned out to have a fault (and subsequently turned into a Hollyburn Skirt) I had to come up with a plan B. I had three metres of this Navy Cotton Eyelet in my stash (I also bought some Teal and Purple at the same time, couldn’t decide which I liked best so had to get them all!) It’s not embroidered like normal Eyelet but seems to have been laser cut with flowers printed around the cutouts.

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I’ve had a cotton Laurel on my list for a while now but it kept getting bumped down. The Summer Stashbust is really making me look at what I’ve got and finally getting around to putting past plans into action. I’ve made two Laurels previously, the first was a Royal Blue and Black Polka dot knit version which has become a ‘pottering around the house dress’. The second was in some Green Polyester which felt horrible but I really loved the colour! Both of these didn’t do the pattern the justice it deserved, it really needed to be Cotton.

I cut a size 12 and managed to get out of putting a zip in by cutting the back piece on the fold, I had done this with my previous ones and it worked well. The first step was to put on the patch pockets, I’ve got a cardboard template I use which is about 1cm smaller than the pocket, I just fold the fabric over the template and iron it into shape. I shortened the sleeves by around 4 inches and squared off the last 2 inches so I could hem them rather than using bias tape. Once I had sewn the side seam I tried it on to check how much I could realistically take off and still be able to get the dress over my head, I repeated this, stitching a centimetre further in each time, until I got to the point where I could comfortably wriggle into it! It was only then that I finished the seams with my overlocker, I have been so careful not to get carried away with it after my last brush with danger!

I finished the neckline with readymade bias tape which I had in my stash, I was trying to conserve fabric and managed to squeeze it out of a metre and a half, so I still have a metre and a half left for something else! I gave it a two inch hem to take my short stature into account and it falls just above my knees. It does however ride up a bit when I am sitting down and bending over is a complete no go! I wore a Navy slip underneath to preserve my modesty as I didn’t want any peekaboo moments through the eyelets. It is however a perfect summer dress as it has built in ventilation and the breeze just flows through those cutouts!

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Overall I’m really pleased with how this turned out and I know it will get a lot of wear, it’ll be perfect on a breezy day, especially as there won’t be any chance of my skirt blowing up (this just happened with my Cambie, must remember: windy days not good for flarey skirts!) The pattern is the perfect shift dress and very quick and easy to make, only taking about 3 hours. I know there will be more on the way (possibly in Teal or Purple Eyelet?!)

And so that’s another metre and a half out of my stash, which makes my Summer Stashbust tally at 7 metres so far! (I keep dreaming about how much fabric I’ll be able to replace it with when it ends in September!)

 

How are you doing with your Summer Sewing? Have you had any me made wardrobe malfunctions?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chambray Hollyburn Skirt and Spotty Scout Tee

Do you have a favourite item of clothing that you pull out year after year? Every summer I reached for my Top Shop Chambray Skirt, it was older than my Son (he’s going on eleven) and had been worn to death. It went with everything and had just the right amount of flare, the perfect summer staple. This year I realised it was not only starting to look a little past it but was also getting too small for me (or rather I was getting too big for it!)

The great thing about sewing your own clothes is that you can wish something into being, and so I set out on a quest to replace my treasured skirt.

The fabric wasn’t a problem as I had two metres of Chambray that had originally been destined to be a Colette Laurel. However, when I looked closely there was a fault running through it, so although I wouldn’t get a dress out of it, with a bit of creative cutting it would be perfect for my skirt.

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Next I needed to find the perfect pattern, it needed front pockets, fitted around the waist, flaring out over the hips and ending around the knees. The Sewaholic Hollyburn skirt pattern ticked all the boxes. Here’s the description:

‘Especially for beginners, this is the perfect flared skirt! A wardrobe essential, the Hollyburn Skirt has just the right amount of flare. It sits right at the waist for maximum figure flattery, and features super practical pockets!

Based on the popular Lonsdale Dress pattern, this skirt pattern includes three different lengths with three different amounts of flare. The shorter the skirt, the more flared the silhouette! Additional details add emphasis to the waistline, with optional button tabs to feature pretty buttons, or belt loops to show off your favourite belts.’

I made view B, which on someone of average height would fall just below the knee, I cut a size 14 but shortened the length to a size 0. I didn’t bother with the belt loops or tabs as I knew I wouldn’t be wearing anything tucked in.  It was really easy to put together, but I hit a stumbling block when I came to attaching the waistband. My skirt pieces were a good couple of inches bigger than the waistband. Now normally I would just chop the extra off the side seams and go from there but this time I actually looked at the instructions. Tasia suggests easing the extra fabric in, something I never would have thought of myself but thinking about it makes perfect sense! I basted the skirt to the waistband, easing in as I went, after a while unpicking a few tucks I finally got it to fit and stitched it down proper. The whole make was really straightforward, only taking about three hours (including half an hour easing in the skirt) and I had an almost perfect replica of my old faithful skirt!

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I can’t believe it took me so long to try the Hollyburn, it could be made up in a load of different fabrics, the drape or body of which would achieve very different looks.   I’ve already got a few versions of the skirt in my sewing queue.

I decided to have a root around and see if I could rustle up a top to go with my new skirt. I found this length of cream and black polka dots in my stash. I turned to the tried and true Grainline Scout woven tee, of which I have four. I don’t know what size I cut but each time I have ended up taking them in quite a bit at the side seams (I should really recut the pattern). I did get a little carried away with my overlocker though and came perilously close to disaster. When I tried it on it was a little too snug around the hips! I managed to salvage it by shortening it by a couple of inches and I actually prefer it at this length. (I have learned my lesson and since stitched side seams on my regular machine and actually tried things on before loping off the excess with the overlocker!)

Anyway, so pictures,  excuse the crumples, I had been wearing it all day!:

Chambray Hollyburn skirt and spotty scout tee   Chambray Hollyburn skirt and spotty scout tee

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 I now not only have a replacement for my well-loved skirt but a fab spotty top to go with it! I Have also managed to sew another three and a half metres from my stash making my summer stashbust tally at five and a half metres!

This has started me thinking about other much loved clothes from the past that I can recreate, top of the list is a pale blue gingham shirt that I lived in while at University, but that would mean buying more fabric so I guess that will have to wait until the end of the stashbust!

Have you got any loved clothes from your past that you’d like to recreate?