Once you choose hope, anything is possible.

Sunday, 31 May 2020

Moody Blooms Part 1

I have (temporarily?) abandoned the black/red colour scheme for SWAP and gone for a new inspiration for summer - Moody Blooms.

The idea of this is florals with a dark background, in this case navy blue.

I bought the floral fabrics on holiday in Madeira in February (we luckily had a holiday pre lockdown).
Floral trousers using New Look 6216, my current TNT.
I cropped the length slightly on these as I'll be mostly wearing during some with sandals. I also never both with the front tie.
And a floral cardigan jacket (using the cardigan pattern from Wendy Ward's sewing with knits book)
Here's my inspiration, a floral suit!
(Though I will probably wear the pieces individually, with navy and colours picked out of the print)
There may yet be other pieces in the print.

Saturday, 30 May 2020

Room Refresh during lockdown

There is a conservatory off the back of my house. It is made of glass windows and a plastic roof and is quite tired now.
At some point I hope to replace it with a proper extension useable all year, but during lockdown I decided to make it as nice as I could with what I had available.

The blue striped blinds (panels really as they don't roll up) were made from an old King Size duvet cover (same pattern on both sides), the small cushions on the storage box were made from the matching pillowcases and the large cushion at the back from the foot of the cover (reusing the popper closing).

The blinds give some privacy from and to my neighbours - their washing line is only a few feet away behind the blinds!

I already had the white storage units, which are from Ikea and house my various craft materials, one has leather scraps, another calligraphy, silk painting, candle making, general craft etc.

The blue box with white stars is intended for a kids room and I picked it up in the supermarket, this houses all of my beading and jewellery supplies. It fitted perfectly in the gap between the storage units. Although both of my storage units are Ikea Kallax, they were purchased many years apart and are not quite the same, so look odd directly next to each other, but OK with something in the middle.

On the other side of the conservatory I don't have any blinds as this looks out into my own patio/garden. I have an old sofa on this other wall and its great to sit and chill out (or warm up) in here.

I've definitely used this room a lot more since I did this, and the very fresh feeling from the blue and white feels a bit like the seaside even though I'm 90 miles from the coast.

Saturday, 9 May 2020

What to sew?

The bunting was split between me and 2 neighbours and helped make our section of the street look a bit more celebratory for VE Day. I was glad to have the skills and materials to make the bunting as its was handy in the current climate as people were not able to just go out and buy decorations. People had used what they had kept from the Queen's Diamond Jubilee in 2012, sewed bunting like me, or printed out and/or coloured in designs found on the internet.
I wore my tee from Sewing Bee Round 1 back in January which got lots of positive comments.
I have various sewing plans in my head, contests I am part of and etc. But quite a lot of it feels rather irrelevant at the moment.

I am working full time from home which involves 8+ hours staring at several computer screens. I am grateful I am employed and healthy but it isn't a lot of fun sometimes.

Yesterday and today are nice warm weather, which highlighted the paucity of my hot weather wardrobe. But the forecast is for a cold front to descend from the north tonight, so hot weather clothing is not really an urgent issue.

I might do a small home dec project.

Wednesday, 6 May 2020

VE Day Bunting

I made some Bunting to remember 75 years since VE day, which is a holiday here on Friday.
Altogether I made 75 pennants. 25 each in red, white and blue and stitch them onto woven tape.
It seems a bit too much for the front of my narrow house, but maybe some of the neighbours will adopt a strand (its made as 3 x 25 pennant strands).

Saturday, 2 May 2020

Style Arc Marni Jacket from Scraps

I made this jacket from the scraps left over from three other makes.

I used the Style Arc Marni Jacket
And these scraps

which were leftover from sewing these jackets/cardigans
Unfortunately the plain red drapes very differently and looks a little odd on the dummy. I try doing a shot of me wearing it at some point.

Saturday, 25 April 2020

Red cardigan with pockets

After all that black I wanted a change to something a bit more colourful so I have switched over to red.
This cardigan is made from another double layer knit, but a much drapier one. The right side has a textured effect and the back is smooth.
I used the cardigan pattern from Wendy Ward's sewing with knits book again. As with the black cardigan its a little longer than the mid length version in the book, and the pockets ae partially stitched at the top leaving a 6" opening.

This replaces a RTW red cardigan of a similar style but lacking pockets and now a bit worn so I know there is a space in my wardrobe for a red cardigan.

Frankly red is a bit bright for me though it is in my Sophisticated palette from Imogen Lamport. I've found I can wear it but it needs a red lipstick for best effect.

Sunday, 19 April 2020

Black 6 piece collection

Here's my latest collection in slightly uncharacteristic black.

It all started off with the musical notes shirt. I'm in a choir and we had a social event, so I thought a musical notes shirt would be ideal. Its not particularly good quality cotton fabric, and I'd originally bought it to make a bag for my choir music, but it was a bit lightweight.

I then made some black bengaline trousers which I finished and immediately took away on holiday to Madeira (more about that in another post). They were great for the flights but a bit too heavy to wear whilst we were there. However I've worn them a lot since we came back as they are just so practical.
They had just come through the laundry in this photo -  always a good sign!

Next I went back to the shirt pattern again and did another version in a proper shirting. I even found some lovely black backed pearl shank buttons in the button box which worked perfectly (when does that happen?).

After that I thought I'd try a new trouser pattern, so worked with Butterick 6947. They needed quite a few alterations to work but I'm pleased with the final outcome. The pinstripe has no stretch but works well after the alterations.

Next I decided to use the leftovers from the black quilted coat I made in January and found a suitable pattern in my stash of Prima patterns. The inseam pockets are made from the black bengaline, and the fronts and collar are cut in a single piece to reduce seaming.

And then I went back to an old favourite and made an open fronted cardigan from Wendy Ward's book. (I have worn out several cardigans made from this pattern).

Although the pieces can all be worn together I will probably wear with colour as all black and white is not my best look.

Saturday, 18 April 2020

Black Jaquard cardigan

I think this is going to be the last black piece, as I've done a full 6 PAC now and I think sewing colours would feel more cheery.

The fabric is a double layer Jacquard knit. I cut with nap so the knitted pattern goes the same direction on all the pieces. 
I like to have some texture in my fabrics so this is great because its a plain colour but has the texture I like.
This is the front and back together, you can see the pattern better on the back.

I used the cardigan from Wendy Ward's book 'Sewing with Knits'. I made the middle length, lengthened slightly.
I find the giant pockets bag out a bit, so I stitch the edges of the top closed, leaving a 6" gap in the middle to get your hand in.

Tuesday, 14 April 2020

Zip front jacket

Here's my latest project a zip front jacket, using Prima Feb 2010 and the leftover quilted fabric from the coat I made right at the start of the year.
 Here it is worn open over the floral shirt.
 The back showing the panel seams
 And the front zipped up. I really liked the way this looks.

I used this Pattern from Prima magazine Feb 2010. To avoid to much seaming in this bulky fabric I converted the collar in an attached collar and cut the two fronts and the collar as a single piece without a seam. It gives a lovely clean finish which I really like.
It has inseam pockets in the front panel seams. I made them larger and more rectangular (copying a favourite RTW jacket) and they have been hand stitched to the zipper tape for security. The pockets are made from black bengaline left from the black trousers as I thought quilted pockets would be too thick.

My version is also a couple of inches longer and has a front zipper instead of hooks (the original design was made in faux fur).
Here are the last 5 pieces together. I have a jacquard knit black cardigan cut out as the next piece.

Monday, 13 April 2020

Black striped trousers finished

I've reworked and finished the trousers from Butterick 3947.
I added a separate casing for the back, 5 belt loops. The front has been shortened by 5cm (2 inches) and the band reattached. The back was shortened to match the chalk markings and the new casing attached.
Front with flat waistband

Back with elastic casing and alteration for large and low derriere (look odd on hanger but good on person).
Here's a close up of the fabric, the pinstripes are made of double stripes alternately in white and pale grey, with the pale grey also having an outer stripe of an invisible thread which sometimes catches the light.
The fabrics was from deep stash, a 2m cut which seems to be a nice quality wool mix suiting. I have no recall whatsoever where I bought it. 

Saturday, 11 April 2020

Trying Butterick 6947 Trousers

I pulled out this OOP Butterick pattern from 2000 (mine is size 14-16-18) from the pattern collection, when I was thinking about making culottes, instead I decided to make the trousers (far right).

I thought I'd help myself with the crotch curves by copying them off the black bengaline trousers and transferring onto this pattern. This involved altering the back pattern piece quite a bit but just changing the curve slightly on the front.

I made the front waistband longer as I am flatter at the front but swaybacked.

I then partly constructed the trousers and tried them on to see if I could manage without the back zip. They have a fixed front waistband, a centre back zip and a back elastic casing to two parts either side of the zip. This seemed overkill and I wanted to avoid the zip if possible.

Overall they were too long in the waist and I didn't like the way the back casing would have an angle in it (from my alteration). I marked either side of 1 inch elastic with a sliver of soap (I prefer soap to chalk on dark fabrics).

Here's what that looks like.
The white lines are drawn above and below the elastic belt and are broadly where I want the waistband to be. The front has the waistband attached but flipped up.
The back includes the casing but flipped up.
The lines are a bit wonky as I'm doing this for myself whilst wearing them, so I will smooth them out to something sensible.

So this time I will trim off from the top of the waist, but that will affect the pockets. They are large with a big opening so they will still be usable once shortened, but it may be best to shorten the tissue in a different place for next time.

I'll show you what they look like once I have done that and finished them properly.

Tuesday, 7 April 2020

Black floral shirt

 This is my next piece for SWAP 2020, a woven shirt using the same pattern I used for the musical shirt. I made it the same way except with different cuffs (wider than the pattern but narrower than the folded over cuffs of the musical shirt).
I even had the perfect buttons deep in stash, white pearl with a black back and shank, which sit beautifully.
I love how this came out.
The pattern I used is from March 2020 Prima Magazine (a UK women's magazine).
I shortened the shirt dress pattern to be a shirt.

Monday, 6 April 2020

Black bengaline trousers

These black trousers are made from bengaline (a stretch woven).
I used New Look 6216 again. 
For this version I left off the front tie, but added 5 large belt loops. I also made the pockets, longer and wider and changed the opening to be more jeans style (top entry) which keeps the contents more secure. I also scooped the back crotch for my low derriere.
Whilst they are not much to look at they are super comfortable and have already been worn a lot.
These will be part of my SWAP 2020 (which now has an extended timeline to 30th June 2020).

Sunday, 16 February 2020

SWAP-ish sewing so far

My two entries for the sewing bee were a diversion and don't fit with my SWAP plan. The rules this year are different, so I want to make top and trouser outfits and then have a choice of layering pieces which can work over any of the outfits.
Some of the tops and bottoms won't work well together, but others will and this is OK.
First up is the black quilted coat, this will work over any of the outfits.
For the second layering piece I am planning a long red cardigan. (not yet sewn).
The animal print knit top, needs a plainer bottom, so some black bengaline trousers are in order there.
A plain black knit top with some interesting details would work well with the tartan trousers.
And I'm planning a knit top in red jersey with a splash print on it.

After that if something can work with either a plain black top or plain black trousers and go under the coat or cardigan it can be in the collection.
I want to use the silk which inspired the whole collection. This will be another top.
Maybe some grey bengaline trousers would be another good piece as there is grey in the animal print and the silk.
And then leave things open for piece 11 as there are lots of ways that could go - red dress, red top, red skirt, black dress, black pinstripe tailored trousers....

Thursday, 13 February 2020

Musical Shirt - Prima magazine March 2020

The Sewing Place has a contest called "It’s all about shirts".

I wasn't sure to start with if I were going to enter, then several things came together.

- choir were having social event
- Prima magazine arrived and had a shirt dress pattern in it
- I came across some fabric I had bought with musical notes on it.

End result was a musical shirt!

Here's the finished shirt, looks at a distance like it might be a paisley or floral design.

But get up close and you can see the musical notes.

The collar came out nicely and you can see the silver rose buttons I used.

Here's the cuff. I cut it extra wide and put 2 buttonholes in the cuff, then folded it back and used only one button through both buttonholes (sort of gives a cufflink effect).

Here's the pattern from March 2020 Prima Magazine. I measured a RTW shirt and cut a curved hem.

It's a simple pattern with no bust darts, the cuff opening in the side seam and a cut on placket, so quite a relaxed fit. I surprised myself with how much I enjoyed sewing this, even the collar and buttonholes. I would use it again though probably for another shirt not the dress.

If you are in the UK you can order this pattern through their chargeable phone line (or wait a bit until it turns up on ebay). I've never tried this method as I am a subscriber and have the pattern come with the magazine in the post.
It looks like it would work out at £3.00 for the pattern and you still have to trace some of it off....