Black Lives Matter

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

SWAP photos sent in

SWAP photos sent in ready for the big reveal in a couple of weeks.
Part of me enjoyed dressing up in the outfits and trying combos and part of me just wanted to be done with it.

No photos here yet as it would be spoiling things, but I will post them once they are up on the Flickr site.

I did two collections this time
Amber glow and Botanical garden. I have shown hanger shots of everything on the blog but not of everything being worn.

I'm going away for a bit hence sending the photos in now, but will carry on with the 'Newspaper Collection' when I get back.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Wardrobe in a Weekend

SewingPlum has a very interesting article on how a Wardrobe in a weekend could be adapted for different body shapes.

It refers to an article on Sew Inspirational about a 6 piece wardrobe made in a weekend. I have to agree that all those floaty layers with not much shaping are not massively flattering to most body shapes.
The example wardrobe has two sleeves tops, a pair of trousers, a skirt and two floaty overshirt/jacket type thingies.

If I was going to do something like this (and you never know I might, as I am sufficiently addicted to wardrobe and speed sewing) mine would have to be something more like.

Cap sleeve knit top from Simplicity 4699.
This is super simple, a front and back, cleverly shaped to give a boat neck and little cap sleeves

Cowl neck knit top from HotPatterns 1089.
This could be worn alone or with the boat neck from the first top showing under the cowl.

Simplicity 2603 cardi wrap.
Can be worn over either of the previous tops, and can be tied in many different variations.

Straight skirt with invisible zip from Simplicity 9825.
Simple and neat can be worn with all the tops.

Burda trousers of some sort, probably my current favourites with side pockets and a back zip.

This is only 5 pieces, but I think that's probably all even I could manage in a weekend, so I could probably allow myself to buy a matching cardigan, though the belted cardi from Simplicity 6735 is very wearable.

In fact the whole wardrobe from 6735 is very wearable and on a serger could be really quite quick to sew.

I'm not sure when I might have such a weekend, but if I did get one..... perhaps I'd give the above a go!

Wardrobe Sewing

As may be apparent I am pretty much a wardrobe sewer. I was already interested in the concept of a mix and match wardrobe, right back to when I read in Mary Spillane's 'The Complete Style Guide' in 1991 a little section at the back on Wardrobe Planning for Your Season (The US version of this was called 'Color Me Beautiful, Looking Your Best', and is more easily obtained). Then later I cam across SWAP (sewing with a plan) on RustyBobbin's home page at the time, and then moved on to trying to sew wardrobes myself.

I am now completely a wardrobe sewer though on my own terms. I love all the wardrobing books, but am never going to own a knee length sleeveless shift dress in classic black despite their recommendations because its not my style nor flattering to my body shape.

What I like about wardrobe sewing is the sheer practicality of having clothes which were chosen to work together. I always loved the store displays in the department stores showing all the pieces of a particular collection worn in different combinations on 3 mannequins but quite apart from the cost of buying all those pieces at once, the hem lengths, jacket length, combinations of colours and some styles just didn't work for me.
So when I am wardrobe sewing I am doing my own version of one of those department store collections, only in this one all the colours suit me, all the hems are at the right length and all the styles I have chosen. I suppose it the long winded version of being my own personal shopper.

I know some people sew outfits, and that's great if that is what works for them. What I like about the capsules/wardrobes approach is beause the pieces mix and match my outfit is not thwarted by the fact that one item from an outfit is in the laudry waiting for enough items needing the same cycle, or special spot treatment. It doesn't matter becuase I have other bottoms or tops that would do instead.

Joy asked 'I would love to get a glimpse inside your closet! Do you find that you really wear outfits as they have been planned in wardrobes, or do you end of mixing up the assorted pieces?'
Thank you for the complement Joy :-)
I do mix the pieces up a bit between the capsules. My 'Inspired by the Sea' Collection in Navy and Teal overlaps well with last year's SWAP in Brown and Turquoise. But not at all with others. I must admit I generally avoid making something belong explicitly to a collection by having contrast buttonholes or something. For instance the recent waistcoat and top for the Newspaper collection, will work with the red pieces when I sew them, but I have deliberately left off any red accents (buttons/buttonholes/topstitching in red) as I could still wear those pieces with lime or teal from other collections if I wanted to.
I will make the black jeans in the collection with red top stitching though as I have other black jeans with turquoise or orange accents which I can wear with other colours.

I've found that I now have a basic set of colours I use over and over, so after a few seasons the colours start to repeat themselves. This definitely helps with getting dressed. I also have a wide range of fun necklaces and handbags in the various key colours so I can pull outfits together.

I also buy RTW pieces and mix those in as well. These are in the same colours as well. I tend to buy plain tshirts and dark pants, the occasional pantsuit, and RTW jackets. I'm not great at sewing jackets that fit, so RTW lets me be dressed without having to sew every item. I don't see that as cheating in any way. My goal is not to have an entirely homemade wardrobe, but to have one that's completely ME and works for my lifestyle.

I'm still working on that goal but its getting closer all the time :-)

No photos and rain

I still have not done my photos for the two SWAPs. I kept thinking I would do them in the garden, but after two weeks of lovely weather, the weather just changed and is now in a rainy pattern for the next couple of weeks.
So I suppose I'll just need to do them inside afterall.
I know it is helpful for people to see the garments actually being worn.
Today I am having trouble doing anything very useful which is a shame and have even descended to wearing comfort clothes - drawstring knit pants, tee and very soft waterfall cardi with flipflops - perhaps that's half the problem!

Saturday, 24 April 2010


I'm going to buy these sandals. They were comfy but have a little more style than the usual comfort sandals.
There are more elegant sandals out there, but my knees are not that great and comfort is important to me.
I tried them on today and would have bought them, but the queue was long and my time was short so I left them and will go back another day to buy them.

P.S. I went back and bought the sandals.

Newpaper Collection

Its the newspaper Collection, becuase it black and white and re(a)d all over!
A very old joke I know, and getting a little more ironic these days.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Black and white tee shirt

Here's a little tee shirt I sewed this evening from NewLook 6436 (OOP).
Its made from leftovers from a previous top. I am pleased with how it came out though and it fits nicely and will be good for summer.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Buttons added

I came to add the buttons to the buttonholes today and realised I had for some unknown reason in fact made 8 buttonholes instead of the 7 I had thought I had done.
Its done now so I'll go with it, but I prefer usually to have odd numbers of buttons becuase I think it is more aesthetically pleasing.
The mistake design opportunity came from measuring the space - finding it was 21 centimetres, splitting this into 7 and putting buttonholes every 3 cm. This of course results in 8 buttonholes instead of 7.

Anyway here is the resulting garment (hanger shot only).

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Charcoal and white stripe waistcoat

Charcoal and white stripe waistcoat in progress.

Still needs buttons and buttonholes and the side seams of the lining hand stitching closed.
However I am very pleased with it.

There will also be matching trousers with pockets and back zip, which are cut out but not sewn up yet.

The fabric is interesting becuase as well as the black grey and white in the weave of the fabric, there is also a copper thread which just add a bit of a glint.

Changes this time include. Tuck out of front neckline, slight addition at hip at bottom of the sides and little lined patch pockets just large enough for a blackberry.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Next wardrobe

I have pulled the fabric out for my next wardrobe. Its going to be in black, red and off white
I am planning 5 knit tops, 5 pairs of trousers, 1 dress and a jacket.

Tops, all knit
- black and white floral print
- black and white stripe
- red and white fan print
- white/black/red floral print
- ivory with black print

Dress, knit
- red/black/ivory print
leftovers as another knit top.

Trousers, all wovens
- charcoal linen
- black denim with red top stitching
- black pinstripe
- black with white stripe
- charcoal with white variegated stripes

after this it gets more vague. I have some black satin lining so can make leftovers from the pants into waistcoats. We'll see might be too much to have 4 waistcoats to go with the formal trousers
I also have some heavier black fabric and some red linen either of which might be a jacket or coat
and leftovers of some other fabrics in the same colours which could perhaps be more tops
red fan print knit (different red than the other one, so could not go together)
black and white print knit
both of these could have parts in plain black knit to make a whole top.

Photos and coming plans

I do need to take photos of the items in both SWAPs as to date I have only done hanger shots.
Somehow this is a very hard thing for me. The faff of changing and taking the photos with the tripod and timer and so on, and then trimming the pics and stitching them together and uploading them.

I have a couple of other things I want to do, one is now the weather is warmer to have a wardrobe tidy and swap out the heaviest winter things and bring in the summer stuff. In May we are going away on holiday and I will want some summer things for that, though the more casual pieces.

I am also really looking forward to my black/red/ivory wardrobe but should not get started on that really until the SWAP photos are all done. Maybe though I will have a fabric tidy, put away the unused brown fabric from Amber Glow and pull out all the matching fabrics for the black/red/ivory wardrobe. This as yet does not have a name, though I think could be inspired by the name of a nice red lipstick which could be worn with it.
Red for me is a very happy colour, and I feel confident and bold in it.

I suppose it could be the 'Newspaper Collection', becuase its black and white and red all over! (a very old joke from when I was a child).

Friday, 16 April 2010

What I wore today

I was working from home but wanted to wear this outfit so I could take photos.
From the feel on my skin I can tell you this fabric is wool or wool mix, and is obviously a men's suiting. as you can see. But a high quality light weight one. I made good use of the 2.6 metre length I had, getting trousers, skirt and waistcoat fronts from it.
I like the waistcoat though the fit needs a little more refinement to fit perfectly. But waistcoat and trousers gives a long line which I like whilst allowing the top underneath to be something more fun.

Going forwards I might make a few of these trousers + waistcoat combinations and then throw a purchased plain jacket over the top. There is almost always enough fabric left from cutting the trousers out to cut waistcoat fronts.

I like having the pockets in the trousers, though I'd like to change the angle slightly and perhaps make the pocket deeper. I could also add little pockets to the waistcoat.

This would be a TNT work combo for me and very practical I think as its relatively smart and means I can wear sensible shoes to walk from the station, or when my knees hurt.

The pieces

New look 6735 Knit Top
New Look 6958 Waistcoat
Burda Magazine 02-10-102
Vogue 1265 Skirt

Wearing 'Coffee break'

Wearing the Coffee Break Mini Wardrobe

Sunday, 11 April 2010

RuthieK's Coffee break

RuthieK's Coffee break

New Look 6735 Knit Top

New Look 6735 Knit Top

Burda Magazine Feb 2010 #102

Here are the trousers I made from February Burda magazine.

SWAP 2010 #1 - Stripe Trousers

I am part way through a new Burda magazine trouser pattern, and am nearly at the point where I can see what the fit is like. This is in the same stripe fabric as the little waistcoat and the 15 button skirt, though I have sewed them in the reverse order than I cut them out.
I wanted to branch into a different style to get pockets, as I have felt a desperate need for pockets recently.

Looking at the trousers I get the feeling that the waist is going to be huge especially at the back but that the thigh/butt (my fuller areas) are going to be fine.

I also on a whim pulled out some black knit with a brown and cream print (which was a gift from YorkshireLass after I petted it in her stash cupboard) and quite fancy it as a knit top with a cream neckband. We'll have to see if that one pans out. Its a strong print so I think will need to have a simple pattern, something like New Look 6735.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Amber Glow - nearly there

Here's an updated slide for the Amber Glow Collection.
I only really need one more bottom and this can then be declared finished.
That's probably a good thing as I shall be away with work again and often only get to sew at the weekends.

Buttoned skirt completed

Today I sewed on the 15 buttons levelled the bottom of the skirt and machine hemmed it.

Friday, 9 April 2010

Amber Glow: striped waistcoat

Here's the striped waistcoat I finished last weekend but did not manage to photograph.
It has a plain black satin back and lining and a black satin ribbon tie at the back.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010


Sorry no photos, have been working a  lot.
Also have not sewn any buttons on the skirt.
Away with work tomorrow as well, may have some progress on Friday

Monday, 5 April 2010

Skirt with 15 buttonholes

I came back to the skirt today and tried a few fixes. I removed the front pleats and made them into slim darts instead. I folded the front bands in half and top stitched them down, and I added an extra piece onto the waistband/facing type thing and sewed it on, top stitched and stitched the facing in place and then made 15 machine buttonholes on the left placket. I think I'll save sewing on the corresponding buttons until I am sitting in a hotel room tomorrow evening (away overnight with work). Ironically the waistband is now slightly loose, but I think I will resolve that by running some wide elastic through the back facing as though it were a casing, just to snug things in a little.
I still need to add a 2" hem which I think I might just stitch in place by machine, without even doing a blind hem. As the facing and plackets have a lot of top stitching already I think it would be in keeping to have a top stitched hem as well. In fact I may do two rows of stitching, one 1/4" from the edge and the other 2" from the edge. That should give a nice weighty hem.
I have been debating whether all the buttons should be operational, or if the ones in the centre should have the buttonholes left un-slit and the buttons sewn through both layers. If I have all the buttons working I think I would hand stitch the plackets together at the back to avoid any possible wardrobe malfunctions.

Slow progress

This morning I was all fired up. I took my freshly laundered black fabric with fine tan stripes and decided I wanted to have trousers, skirt and if any leftovers a little fitted waistcoat (vest).
I started by tracing off the trousers from Burda magazine Feb 2010 #102. I laid this onto the fabric and had to have the legs one below the other.

I then cut the skirt out alongside the trousers, and finally waistcoat fronts from the remainders. The waistcoat was too short last time, but I had kept the finished garment. I tried it on and determined where my waist came, and added 2 inches at the lengthen lines. I then cut the back and lining from black poly lining fabric.
Then I did all the interfacing for all three garments.
At this point I then started sewing up the waistcoat becuase it appealed to me, and I have to say I am pleased with the outcome. The waistcoat is completed and works really well with the animal print knit top and brown skirt. Instead of the back fabric belt, which I thought would be too heavy on the light weight lining, I used a short length of ribbon which is a femine touch on a slightly masculine garment.

Next I moved onto the skirt adding darts, pleats etc, only to discover when I came to sew it together that I have cut one of the fronts back to front - so I turned it upside down and now there is a notch missing at the hem.
I then wrapped the pieces of the skirt around me, and I now have serious doubts that it will fit me.
So I've stopped and shall go off to bed and see what inspiration strikes in the morning.
I may be able to gain enough from narrow side seams and folding the front bands in half rather than all the way back to the fabric. I plan to use more but smaller buttons than the original as theirs is a bit of a joke with five HUGE buttons as the closure.
Anyway if it doesn't work out I can always recut it in my favourite skirt pattern and have a zip instead of buttons.

SIGH. Oh well tomorrow is another day and the waistcoat is cute.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Amber glow - plans

I called Jenni tonight and she has been very helpful to bounce ideas off. And I now have a way forward with some more pieces for the Amber Glow.
I have some black poly/viscose light weight suiting fabric which I plan to make into a pair of pants and a long skirt. The skirt is from a old Vogue pattern I bought today for 50p on a market stall.

The fabric is black herringbone with fine brown stripes running through it and will be comfortable to wear as the weather gets warmer, it also plays very well with the animal print knit top and cardiwrap already made. I can imagine the trousers and skirt in this fabric and how and where I would wear them which is always a very good sign I think.

The fabric is in the washing machine getting prewashed as I cannot bear it if it were to shrink after being sewn up, so I shall go and thread the machines ready, get out a zipper, choose buttons, check over the pattern pieces etc.

Friday, 2 April 2010

Chocolate faux suede skirt completed

Here's another piece for the 'Amber Glow' Collection, a chocolate brown faux suede skirt with a flounce at the hem.
The flounce comes from another pattern and is morphed on to my favourite straight skirt pattern.

Jaycott's order arrived

Here are my various goodies from Jaycott's. The light weight charcoal interfacing is great in skirt and trouser waistbands when they are a dark colour. And I have a replacement invisible zipper foot - which I use regularly, plus all kinds of handy little tools which should make sewing easier.