Sunday, 22 September 2013

My new winter coat!

I have been busy again! This time I have been making a new winter coat! I have had this pattern forever. It was in my mums sewing box, but now it is in mine and I've always liked the look of it. It is designed to use a reversible fabric or a shearling, as all seams are exposed. I found this 100% wool double sided fabric for a bargainous £5.99p/m and decided to give it a go. I only bought 2.5 metres, which was a little scrimpy, but I managed to get my coat out of it.

 I made a few very minor alterations to the pattern, by making it shorter than the longest length, so it falls just at my knees and also adding toggle fastenings rather than a belt

I have used patent leather for the fastenings to contrast with the flatness of the black wool and horn buttons. I only placed 2 on the coat, but may need to make a third a bit lower down.

I decided on a contrast orange binding for all hems. This is a neater finish than I would have got if I tried to turn under and machine and adds a nice point of interest. It also co-ordinates nicely with my swish new orange leather bag!

Some interior shots to show the construction. It was a bit of a chore to sew as the double sided fabric is so thick and I constructed it using lap and fell seams, which my poor little domestic machine struggled with immensely. The machine stitching looked worse on the inside, which was highlighted by the use of black thread against cream fabric, so I decided to cover all seams with brown cotton tape. This hasn't made for a perfect finish, but is a vast improvement.

 You can see that this fabric is a dodgy dye batch (hence the amazing price), but I don't mind. Overall I am so pleased with how this turned out and it is so warm and cosy. It's like wearing a blanket and you can wear nice thick jumpers with it when it's really cold out. Overall, I'm pretty pleased with myself and it cost less than £25 to make! In fact the leather and the buttons were the most expensive components!

Sunday, 1 September 2013

'V' button front shirt dress

This is the last dress I will be making for a little while. I have had the fabric for this project for some time and was just waiting for the right dress to come along to apply it to. It's a soft drapey viscose twill type fabric and has a kind of retro look to the print which, if I really squint, reminds me of  gorgeous Eley Kishimoto dresses.

The pattern is yet another from 'Stylish dress book - Wear with freedom' and is also a button fronted loose style, which seems to be my favourite at the moment.

original from book

I messed up again with the pattern! I somehow managed to add hem allowance to the back, plus extra as per the instructions, but completely missed this on the front. The dress front ended up quite a way off the length that it should be (10cm!). How annoying! I have fixed this by adding in a bottom panel, but realise this looks pretty rubbish. I think I will make up a little frill in the same fabric to cover the seam, but also go round to back of the skirt. Anyway, here's the finished garment.

Dress front

Self covered buttons - a pain to make!

Dodgy hem!

Dress back

Close up detail of fabric

Some accessories that I thought would complete the look nicely...

Eley Kishimoto tights

Tatty Devine necklace
Hobbs shoes

Monday, 26 August 2013

Vintage coat rework

I bought this coat from a charity shop last winter thinking that it would be my new favourite item!

 Firstly, I love the mohair blend fabric and secondly I thought that the fact it was a size 18 would give a great oversized look that I had seen and liked alot. In reality it just always looked too big. The problem with this is that it is very structured on the shoulders, so was too bulky up top. If it had a raglan sleeve or more of a shoulder slope then maybe I could have carried it off. I still love the fabric and thought it a shame to not do anything with it. Even looking at the pictures now, I think that it should have somehow worked as  coat, but it really didn't.

I decided I would like a vintagey shaped boxy jacket with a more contemporary silhouette. The sort I would love to buy from Cos or Marimekko if I had the money!

This is kind of what I mean. Easy shapes that look clean and are easy to wear.

I have this vintage Vogue sewing pattern for a boxy jacket that I referred to for neckline and shoulder ideas and also provides a visual link to the vintage and contemporary look I am going for.

I was hoping to avoid having to make buttonholes, as they could have ruined the finish, so retained as much of the original detail as possible in my rework. I cut the jacket, so that the hem, button front, pockets, lining and sleeve hems were all in tact. This helps to make it look less handmade. It also made this a REALLY quick project that I completed in just a couple of hours once I had considered and planned my approach.

The finished jacket and how it was originally part of the coat.

I pinned some simple pattern pieces to the front of the coat and lined up the centre fronts before cutting the shape of the neckline and shoulder slopes. The cut stops at the side of the coat, but there is no side seam on this garment. I did the same with the back and made a big enough straight cut down the sides to insert the sleeves. I then cut the sleeves from the original coat as far up as I thought I wanted the length of the sleeves to be. I machined the shoulders of the main fabric and lining sewed and topstitched the neckline before inserting the sleeves, finishing the armhole lining by hand. The only change I may make is to source some nicer buttons, or to make some cover buttons with the remainder of the fabric.

Finished jacket front. The oriignal pockets are now nearer closer to the armpit than the hip.

finished jacket back
 Overall verdict - I love it!

Sunday, 25 August 2013

'J' Dress with lovely pintucks

Well, this time I do not have an image of the original from the book as I have not had time to take the picture, but here is the finished garment.

I have gone for a simple smock style (again!) and have adapted the finishing slightly by not including a functional button down front and adding in side pockets. The material is a medium weight woven cotton in very fine white and navy stripe.

I have added non-functional mother of pearl buttons for a bit of extra detail and used a navy thread to add contrast to the overall lightness of the dress, but tie in with the fabric weave.

The gathered details to the sleeve head, cuff and back neck all add feminine detail to this very simple tunic.

Inside detail of side pockets

Friday, 23 August 2013

'V' Button placket dress

I often think I have more than half a brain, but it did not seem so when it came to this project!

Original from book

I started out feeling really good about it having traced and cut the paper pattern, followed by the fabric (which I really love). I then put it to one side for a few days, whilst I got on with some other bits only to return to some obviously incorrect looking pieces. I took the sleeves I had cut and instantly noticed that the sleeve heads looked too narrow. I ran to check the pattern book... yep, I had forgotten to add any seam allowances! Doh! I was so annoyed with myself. Could I be bothered to forge on with this thankless project? Normally I would walk away immediately, as there's little point spending time on a project which is not going to end well, but a thought in the back of my mind was saying that maybe this could just work. One of the saving graces of most of these Japanese styles is that they are so loose fitting that a few centimetres shaved off here or there doesn't have to end in disaster. Here is the finished article!

My version

 The only major problems my earlier mishap caused was that the button placket had no seam allowance to join to, meaning I would have either had to insert a little pleat beneath the buttons as I was 2cm short of fabric down the centre front where I had cut out a section for the placket, or add an insert to keep the front nice and smooth. I preferred the smooth option, but it meant more work. I inserted a contrast band right around the placket to add the missing 2cm, which does not compromise the original design. The other idiot thing I did was to use the cuffs from another pattern cut ready for a blouse project. The cuffs on this dress are supposed to be thin bias binding strips, not 2" deep cuffs!

Anyhew...despite all of that I couldn't be happier with how this turned out. The denim fabric I chose has worked really well and the reverse side provided a perfect contrast for all the trims. I added pockets into the side seams, as I cannot bear to not have pockets and I have used my favourite orangy red plastic buttons that I have completely overused on past projects, but don't care!

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

'B1' Draped collar dress

My first make from the Feminine wardrobe book, had to be this draped collar dress.

Original from book
I love the shirt hem and gusset detailing to the bottom of this dress and is something that I have applied to my own designs in the past. I found this lovely printed voile from a very cheap fabric shop in town and think it suits this style perfectly.

My version

I was a bit stingy when buying my fabric and only bought 2 metres, which meant that I did not have quite enough to cut the collar on the true bias or the sleeves in the correct direction of the print. I ended up cutting the sleeves with the width ways pattern running down the sleeve instead of lengthways and the collar I just cut on as much of a diagonal as possible. I think it's worked out fine considering. The pattern is so big and busy that you can't notice the direction of the cut so much and the drape of the collar is still there, which is better than trying to cut with the grain.

'A' Front tuck blouse

Here is my first completed make from the Stylish dress book - simple smocks, dresses and tops!

Original finished object from book
I have decided not to offer myself as a model, as there is A: no-one here to take the photo and B: My tummy makes everything stick out too much.

My finished version

This is a simple pleated front, roomy top that I liked because of the frill detail to the sleeves. It should also see me through the rest of my pregnancy pre and post as it more than covers my tummy. Like I said, this top is roomy!

The design was easy to put together and the instructions helpful. The lengthiest process was tracing and cutting the paper pattern, which made my eyes go a bit funny due to the maze of lines on each pattern sheet. It's all good though.

I have decided to be organised about storing the patterns as I cut them and pop them in plastic sleeves with a photo of the garment in the front. Normally when I draft my own patterns I'm very disorganised and fold them up and pile them in a box somewhere so that I have to unfold each one to find out what it is. This is much better!