Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Best trousers ever!

No word of a lie, these are not only the best trousers I have ever made, but they are the perfect style for me which makes the painful experience of tracing from a Burda pattern sheet totally worth while!

These are made up from a really lovely culottes pattern from this years April Burda magazine and have got the volume that I love in a wide leg trouser and also the deep pleats at the front which help to cover my not so flat anymore tum. I don't even normally buy Burda magazine, but as fate would have it this issue happened to be in my local Sainsbury's and I really wanted to try this cover pattern. It has not been stocked before or since, so it was definitely 'meant to be'. ;-)

Burda patterns, for those who haven't come across them before, are all on one big sheet in the middle of the magazine. All lines overlap and I have yet to decipher how they are arranged on each sheet. Luckily, as the cover pattern, the pattern pieces were relatively easy to locate and highlighted in pink. It took me a while to discover that the pocket pattern piece was on the trouser leg and that I had to draw the fly shield and waistband myself, but not too painless a task. I don't mind putting a bit of work in as Burda are supplying us with a great amount of patterns each month for just £4.99 an issue!

Size wise I fell into the largest of the standard sizes, so traced the 44. I was expecting all sorts of fit issues like too much ease or something, but as you can see these fit like a dream. Lucky really as I didn't toile and I cut straight into my 'good fabric'. The fabric is a really drapey pale chambray that I bought on a recent meet-up in Walthamstow. When  bought it I thought it was mainly cotton, but it's too drapey and silky. It must have some man made fibre or maybe viscose in it, but it's a dream to work with and as it turns out perfect trouser material! It was only £3 a metre and I used pretty much the whole 2 metres in these trousers.

I had to stand on this little table for you to see them properly. I did a deep hem of 5" to make them a suitable length for me, so these come out looong!

I don't normally like to show off my backside, but look at the fit and the drape of the fabric!!! I feel like one of those 1930's beach babes! One thing to note about this pattern is the extraordinarily long bum darts. I halved mine, because they were running down my leg otherwise which just seemed weird.

The instructions are always really criticised I've noticed for Burda patterns, but I didn't use them, ha! To be fair there is a lot more detail on this particular pattern being the featured pattern of the issue, so it may not be quite so devilish to figure out. Inseam pockets, fly front fastening and deep pleats are the main features.

Lots of lovely fabric in the legs!

I plan to make at least one more pair for now in this black and white ikat spot drapey fabric (viscose?). I'm rubbish with anything that isn't cotton, silk, wool or linen I must admit. I only bought 1.5 metres, so may need to shorten them or take out some volume from the back leg, but these will be awesome!

For the waistband and any straight waistband I make I always insert this rigid tape stuff. I don't know what it's called, but it's in any haberdashers and just gives structure to a garment. The trousers didn't really come together until the waistband was complete and this is part of the success of this make as they basically hang from the waistband like a curtain hangs from a curtain pole. For the right garment a straight waistband can be brilliant. FYI, this is narrower than the one I actually used, but just gives you an idea.

The experience has certainly been positive and has not scared me off of trying Burda again. What about you, do you shy away from it or love Burda magazines?

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

selfless sewing

Selfless sewing is not one of my strengths I must admit, but I have been trying to make an effort to provide clothing for my nearest and dearest. I certainly enjoy seeing them wearing the things I make, but definitely struggle with the initial motivation. I'm sure you understand...

First up is the most recent and intensive make, the Jedediah shorts. First of all, what an amazing pattern and cut. I am so pleased with how these turned out. They are super flattering and not at all run of the mill (in my opinion). I do find some of the bigger pattern companies totally uninspiring when it comes to menswear, but these are spot on! I did come a cropper with my choice of fabric though, as I used a very tightly woven brushed cotton twill. Amazing quality, but absolutely resistant to needles or being made into anything full stop! That aside, I hope that these will wear really well. The only other thing is that my waistband piece came up too short. I cut it straight from the print out so no tracing errors. I'm not totally confident it wasn't my mistake, but a few other people said they also had the same problem, so it may be an issue with a particular size maybe? I made the 34 waist FYI.

The only other thing I want to go back and do is a bar tack at the pocket opening. It is in the instructions to do so, but I didn't because my machine was just saying no. I can see they are not going to withstand all the junk that James stores in them though, so need to do something. I had to hand stitch the top of the belt loops, so maybe I'll do the same to secure the pockets.

Next up, I have been doing some kiddy sewing. I have been enjoying sewing for the girl lately having made her very few things to date. I've been happy for her to wear all of Evans hand me downs really, but now that she is developing her personality more it seems only right to dress her a bit differently.

I made this little dress out of stripe jersey scraps left over from my sailors tee and I am pretty jealous I can't wear it actually.

It was just a simple self draft that I'm going to use for t-shirts, sweater dresses and maybe some cardis for the winter.

I also made her a little cotton top using my sailors top pattern. I printed it out at a really small scale by accident last year and made my son a t-shirt which fitted really well, so decided to try it out on a woven top. I added a bit extra to the width of the body and sleeves to make getting it on and off a bit easier and created a button placket to the back. I also integrated the shoulder gussets into the main body, so it's a boxy top with a square neckline. Simple!

 The buttons can be worn to the front or the back, so I plan to use this for a little jacket pattern for her for the Autumn.

The boy was in desperate need of some t-shirts, so I whipped him up a set of three and also three pairs of shorts (not these shorts, these wouldn't be quick!). The jersey was mainly from the cloth house mega sale (still got loads of that to use) and the chambray for the shorts was all refashioned from unworn clothes. A quick solution, but they will get worn for ages by both the boy and then the girl.

This awful photo shows them all wearing me-made t-shirts! James is wearing the Metro tee another fab fit and the kids are wearing self drafts, Evans shorts are the free Oliver and S sunny day shorts, which are brilliant and are graded to last until these two are quite a lot older.

So that's what's been keeping me busy lately as well as pattern stuff, but it's nice to have a change. I plan to make selfless sewing part of my routine, so that I don't feel overwhelmed by everyone (the kids) running out of clothes, but only time will tell!

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Wool Victoria blazer and how to add a facing

Catchy title eh?

I love this pattern, the BHL Victoria blazer that is! I was so excited about it when I read Winnie's post about her comfy jersey version and once again when I recently read Lou's post detailing her chambray Victoria, but I still held back! I could kick myself for not buying it sooner, but I was always bothered by the fact that the lining seemed to peek around to the front on many versions I have seen. I have always loved the shape however and as a non-blazer wearer could totally see me wearing this.

To resolve any issues I had with the lining I decided to create a facing from the pattern pieces. I do however expect that BHL's reasons for not including a facing are both a design and construction decision, so am not criticising the pattern.

Check out this grey wool! This make was a complete freebie in terms of fabric. I wish I had photographed the coat that was refashioned into this before I cut it up, but I totally forgot. It was actually a really gorgeous swing coat from H&M that I have had for ages. I remember that J-Lo was seen wearing it at the time (I bought it before her ok) seen here in black. It had very crisp sunray pleats when new, but they really started dropping out and the style was no longer what I wanted to wear. The fabric is a thick Melton wool, so I didn't want to get rid of it and there was plenty of it to turn into something else. The only issue has been getting those pleats out! They are still slightly visible on the left front and back panels, which I actually came to terms with and started to like until I realised that they have dropped out of the right front almost completely making it look odd. I can forgive it, but how annoying?

Apart from adding a facing to the inside I also added some welt pockets borrowed from my Freemantle coat pattern. Oh yeah and I integrated the front lapel onto the jacket front rather than having a separate piece. The fabric is thick, so I wanted to limit the bulk on the front and having four layers of this fabric on the centre front could get wonky! The lapels are now slightly wider than the collar because I had an idea about adding a button fastening, which I have now dismissed as a bad idea. Continue reading for info of how to integrate your lapel into the jacket front.

So, here's my funky lining! It's a gold silk/lurex mix dupion which I have had in my stash for so long I have no idea what I bought it for. I guess it was going to be something dressy, but was likely to remain unused forever. May as well use it to liven up a grey jacket then?

I love it, but regret using it for the sleeves slightly, but that may be because of the heat wave we are currently experiencing! At present the sleeve linings feel sticky and not great. These clothes are just for demonstrating how I will wear this jacket and it is actually boiling here today!

BTW, I lined the jacket using a method I like best rather than following the instructions. I am using a totally different fabric than the pattern calls for and amended accordingly. I basically hand stitched everything inside for a nice finish and had the lining turned up shorter than the outer hem.

To keep the collar in check I under stitched the seam allowance to the back of the neck, which is always covered by the collar.

The inside facing has no topstitching at all, but the under stitch really helps to neaten things. Handy label hanger loop! Eek, ignore the little tuck in the lining. How did that get there?

The cuffs are also a change from the pattern. I extended my sleeve so that I could have a deep turning on the inside to turn the cuffs up. Seams here would have been too bulky again in this fabric and I can also turn them down to be a bit longer.

Want to know how to make a facing piece for your lining? Of course you do.

  • Mark a line from your hem to the bottom of the dart and parallel with the jacket front on your pattern piece. Continue the line from the bottom of the dart to the bottom of the wedge (marked in red).
  • Mark the bottom of the wedge in red and cut up the jacket along your new line, or trace the two new pieces.

  • Add a 1.5cm seam allowance to these two new pieces. seam allowance runs straight up from the hem to the bottom of the dart and then blends into the red mark that you made previously (bottom of the wedge).

These two pieces now form your jacket facing and front lining. The facing piece wraps around the neck as per the instructions, so there is no need to create a back neck facing piece. Apart from joining this seam, the rest of the construction is as per the BHL booklet.
I am going to show you how to integrate the lapel to the jacket front, but this will make it 1.5cm wider than the collar. If you want it the same width as the collar then you will need to make it narrower by this much.
  • Cut the lapel piece in half down the length
  • Stick the lapel to the jacket front without overlapping and mark where the lapel ends (in red). This mark should be 1.5cm below the top of the lapel and 1.5cm in from the edge of the jacket front. This point will need to marked on the fabric with a tailors tack or chalk and used as the end/pivot point for the collar.

The facing and lining can then be made for this piece in exactly the same way as I just showed you!
I'm not going to go into great detail about construction for this mod, but hopefully it would start to make sense from the instructions provided with the pattern.
I think that's all I'm going to cover, as this post has now taken much longer to write than I hoped.
Verdict is that this jacket is a dream. It's not perfect, as there are some seams where there shouldn't be due to the fabric I had to play with and those creases are a bit irksome, but in many ways it's just perfect because of all these things! It's certainly going to get a lot of wear and I'm itching to try a lighter summer weight version in linen. I've finally caught the Victoria bug!
Bye, I hope you're all enjoying the weekend so far! x