Once you choose hope, anything is possible.

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

SWAKOP 2019 - Sage and Eggplant

SWAKOP on The Sewing Place.

You will make 2 groups of 4 or 5 coordinating garments. What they are is up to you and should suit your lifestyle. Each group must have a colour theme.. You will also make 1 bridge garment, a piece of garment that coordinates with both of your groups. This can be made in a neutral colour, a print, etc. Ideally it’ll be some sort of over garment (jacket, coat, cape, vest) that can be worn with most of the combinations you have in your groups.
My plan so far
I think a pink knit top would add a bit of interest to the coloured neutrals.

The Six Yard Wardrobe

In the book 'Sewing A travel Wardrobe' by Kate Mathews there are many interesting ideas for capsule sewing. One which caught my attention when I first bought the book, but which I've not fully put into practice is something called 'The Six Yard Wardrobe' originally conceived by Designer Joyce E Cusick.

from p58
 Joyce realised that if she consistently bought 6 yards (5.5m) of 45"(115cm) or 60" (152cm) solid color fabric, she would always have enough to sew a complete basic wardrobe that includes jacket, slacks, skirt, top* and sometimes a dress.
Today, all her travel wardrobes are created from six-yard wardrobes, plus a few print accent garments and an assortment of accessories.
(*I note the examples actually all have jacket, trousers, skirt and dress but I quite like the top and skirt idea as it can look like a dress or be separates). 

Sewing Plums Blog has discussed this a few times.

Wardrobe in a weekend

Wardrobe Plans

Books for wardrobe planning

I bought a few lengths of fabric in 5-6 metre lengths after this though never managed to make more than 2 garments out of one fabric at the time. I've got more TnT patterns under my belt now so maybe this would be realistic now, as my skills are a bit better.
I have to say that the economic nature of the pattern piece tessellation is very appealing to me.

Whether this works or not depends on
- the size and style of the garments (larger/more complex take more fabric)
- lifestyle and personality (I can make pencil skirts but will I wear them?)
- whether the fabric works for all the different garment types - lightweight suiting or a stable knit seem good candidates.

Before pinterest I used to cut pictures out of magazines and catalogues and gather them in scrap books. I remember one suit I was absolutely fascinated with. It was a 4 piece suit in a dark navy pinstripe. Skirt, waistcoat, jacket and trousers all made in the same fabric, maybe there was a dress as well.
It seems a fairly timeless concept, you could buy a navy pinstripe 4 piece set from Dorothy Perkins today.
 Wide leg trousers
 Mock wrap midi skirt


You could add waistcoat, city shorts, culottes to this list as well, perhaps a top.

Have you ever tried a 6 yard wardrobe, do you think they have a place in wardrobes today?

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Dark purple Eggplant jacket

I had enough fabric left from the dark purple eggplant trousers to squeeze out a cardigan jacket.
It is based on Wendy Ward's Kinder Cardigan, only with a narrower front band and a belt.
Mine is based on the mid-lngth cardigan (shown in ivory below).
From Wendy's site:
The Kinder Cardigan is a simple kimono inspired open cardigan without any fastenings. It is easy to wear and easy and quick to sew. It will quickly earn its place in your wardrobe as one of your go-to pieces.
You can make the cardigan in three lengths; short, which just skims the hip bone and looks great with fitted skirts and wide leg trousers; mid-length, which comes to just below hip (and yes, covers your bum); or full length, which is just below knee length and looks great with more fitted styles such as skinny jeans or leggings. There is also a choice of short or long sleeves, both finished with a cuff, and for the two longer versions you can add roomy patch pockets.
NOTE: the patterns are in 10 sizes which cover the following body measurement range: bust 80-121cm (31 1/2 to 47 3/4 ins), waist 64-105cm (25 to 41 1/2 ins), hips 88-129cm (34 1/2 to 51 ins)
This pattern is taken from the book a Beginner's Guide to sewing with Knitted Fabrics however I have sewn it in stretch wovens, non stretch wovens, knits with no stretch etc. This version uses a woven fabric with a small amount of stretch so is cut with the stretch going round the body for comfort.

Friday, 11 October 2019

Wardrobe Weeding aka Closet Clearout

Barb recently commented
"I love all your capsules, but how do you store all these clothes. I live in a very small house with tiny closet space. Do you purge and give away regularly, or do you have a great storage solution. Not judging, just curious."

I replied
"Hi Barb, good question - Well stuff shrinks, pills, get stained etc and so gets replaced. I'm quite hard on my clothing!
Some things don't get worn and get donated/given to friends or family.
So just because its in the blog sidebar doesn't mean its still in my house.
However, I do have 2 hanging rails in the built in wardrobe, a freestanding chest of drawers and other drawers and shelves in the wardrobe. I use the Konmari folding method for jeans, cardigans, knit tops, Pjs, camis, briefs etc, and use the narrow flocked hangers for hanging other items (except for jackets/coats which are on wooden hangers). I do store out of season/wrong size clothing in the loft on two hanging rails and in zipped bags. Coats mostly live downstairs in a cupboard. Scarves, bags, necklaces are in my study.
It probably is a bit too much and another purge is coming shortly :-)
Cheers Ruthie"
So the time has come for some Wardrobe Weeding.

Symptoms: clothing is crushed on hangers and jumbled in drawers. It can be hard to find the things you want and you are potentially missing some gems. Out of season stuff is still in the wardrobe though not getting worn. Some items are not being worn or are beyond repair.

Diagnosis: Wardrobe weeding required. 

Prescription: Proceed in an orderly way, without overloading yourself. I find the Konmari method of everything in a big pile makes it too hard, and its better for me to work in smaller chunks.

Think about the overall storage space you have and whether you are using it in the most sensible/practical way. For instance baskets and boxes can be helpful to keep shelves organised.

Choose one drawer, shelf or section of hanging space. Work through it taking out anything worn out, too small, wrong season, wrong dressiness, wrong colours. Remove anything which needs an alteration or repair.

Pack away the wrong season items somewhere accessible (I label with size and season). Refold, rehang and reorder what is left. Put dressy items together, gym clothes together, weekend clothes together and office clothing together. Hang by type and in colour order. 

If something is a 'maybe' item, try it on, and try to wear it soon. That often helps decide if something is a keeper or not.

Put donations in a bag and tie the top up to make it harder to change your mind, put other items in fabric recycling.
Put out of season in a bag and move to the storage area.

Note anything which seems to be a wardrobe 'hole', for example my plain navy top for work was relegated to the PJ drawer so maybe a new one would be good.

so far two large bags for charity shop donation waiting to leave the house and another bag of summer clothing up into the loft. The drawers now close without getting jammed!

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

Eggplant trousers

Still on the purple autumn theme, here is the latest piece of the 6PAC.
These are New Look 6216 
I will put together a board showing all the pieces a bit later in the month.

Friday, 27 September 2019

Sofa Throw to Coatigan Refashion (Purple Marshmallow Worms!)

I had bought a sofa throw from Dunelm last year. Its basically a small knitted blanket (130cm x 180cm) from very chunky acrylic yarn.
I thought it would make a good cardigan/coatigan, so cut it out making use of the prefinished edges and the cables as much as I could.
The fronts are cut from the side and bottom of the throw using 2 finished edges. The collar is joined onto the front, and has a seam at the back neck.
The back is cut from the other end (so the cables run the other way). One sleeve is cut from each end, so one has the cable running the opposite way.

I don't knit so this is a way to get something which looks knitted by using a throw (or sweater knit yardage).
I've used this approach before but have to say this was the hardest to sew, rather like sewing purple marshmallow worms. It was very thick, the loops got caught on the presser foot and I had to be constantly vigilant to ensure I'd caught all the cut ends in.
I had a much wider seam allowance than usual, sewing first on the sewing machine with a lengthened stitch and then on the overlocker to secure everything.
The overlocker catchment bag is full of purple marshmallow worm casts and bits are in several places around the house.
Once I tried it on, I then wore it for the rest of the evening, I love the final result, it is very warm and snuggly. Perhaps not all that surprising given its basically made from a blanket!

Note re pattern - I don't really have a proper pattern for this, but its based on this Prima Pattern from November 2010. You could probably find something similar in Big4/Burda. Basically the front band is attached to the front and also forms the collar.
Mine is longer then the pattern here and less of a swing shape.

Thursday, 26 September 2019

Simplicity 2603 Plum Cardiwrap

In the same wonderful dark purple jersey I have now made a Simplicity 2603 cardiwrap for B as an option to wear with the floral dress.
She likes to wear it as in the far left picture, with one side thrown nonchalantly over the shoulder.
(I don't make these for me anymore, having concluded that it doesn't really suit my figure all that well).

Tuesday, 24 September 2019

Style Arc Molly Top

Here's the Style Arc Molly top in a dark purple (eggplant) jersey.
I've made some minor changes.
1 - widened the bicep area of the sleeve by curving the lines out and back in again.
2 - shortened the long sleeve by 2 inches, (but only taken a 1/2" hem).
3 - taken a half inch cover hemmed hem on the bottom.
4 - inadvertently made the tuck on the left!
5 - split the tuck into three smaller tucks which I then sewed together from the right side.
This was made specifically to work with the floral print skirt.
The necklace is hard to see but is a silver chain with lots of sparkly coloured dangles in pinks, greens etc which nicely pick out the accent colours in the skirt.

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Purple Floral Skirt

I made a dress for my friend B from a remnant of fabric.
Someone had already cut a child's dress from the fabric plus it had faults so the scraps left after B dress were a peculiar shape.

However I loved it and was determined to cut something for myself from it.
To add to the fun it has widthways stretch and a directional print.

Here's what I managed to make!


To get a whole skirt out I had to have it only knee length. Also one pocket bag is upside down and the waistband is in 3 pieces, the joins being covered by the three belt loops.

I used the pockets, waistband and upper body of NewLook 6216 trousers
Morphed with the centre of the straight skirt from Prima June 2019
I plan to wear it in the Autumn with this Merino sweater, opaque tights and shoes/boots.
It will also hopefully extend into an Autumn 6 piece collection in the purple tones.

Sunday, 15 September 2019

Wearing the McCall's 4394 Dressy coat

I earlier posted about sewing McCall's 4394.

Here I am wearing the coat, I have my hair up in a French pleat, Gabor shoes, makeup etc. Not my normal look, but felt smart for the wedding.

Thursday, 12 September 2019

Dark Grey Stretch Trousers

Dark Grey Stretch Trousers (bengaline I think)

These used New Look 6216 again
I omitted the drawstring but added 5 belt loops.
They are a fairly boring basic, but I've worn the ink and sage versions a lot, so expect these to get lots of wear too.

Saturday, 7 September 2019

Autumn Collection Plans

Technically Autumn doesn't start until 23rd September but 1st September onwards is often classed as Autumn, plus the weather has cooled and I've changed to a slightly warmer duvet (though not yet put the heating on) so seems practical to start planning Autumn clothing.

I'm thinking Deep Purple this year as a slight variation on the Burgundy and Berries I've done for recent years.

From EJVCs original plans
Skirt or trousers (neutral)
3 blouses/tops (1 to match, 2 to complement)
1 Layering top/cardigan (to match skirt/trousers)
Jacket (co-ordinating neutral)

Then in 2018 EJVC changed the plan slightly to
The basics of autumn:

  1. A jacket or cardigan in your neutral colour.  This layer sets the tone for the whole collection, so think it over carefully.
  2. A second lighter layering piece in either a tone of your neutral or your colour- cardigan sweater or shirt for example, or unlined jacket.  Autumn is tricky, it’s nice to have layers in two levels.
  3. Two tops – one neutral, one in the colour.
  4. Two bottoms — in two tones of your neutral.
I do try to sew 6 pieces but not always exactly as suggested.

So far I have

A dark purple merino RTW sweater.

A plain dark purple jersey. This will be a top.

Some scraps of the floral fabric from B's dress. Which might be enough for a skirt for me if I am very careful with single layer cutting.

Some dark grey stretch woven (bengaline?) this will be for trousers.

A plum coloured cable throw which will be cut up into a long coatigan.

A length of purple/various hounds tooth jacquard which will be a jacket or light coat.

It will be a lot of fun!

Sunday, 1 September 2019

McCall's 4394 dressy coat completed

Burgundy brocade coat from McCall's 4394 is completed. For this version I made the pattern as is, with some slight widening in the sleeve for a full bicep and shortening the sleeve lining by 1.5" so I could turn back the detail on the sleeve cuff.
Its fully lined with a floral satin. The lining was from deep in stash, bought I am sure from the roll end shop in Warrington. The brocade was from the curtaining section at the local Economy Fabrics and the pattern was from the swap box there.
I made a size 18. Its pretty roomy for going over a short sleeved dress. I could have probably sized down but I suppose it means I can also wear it over something chunkier.

It has pockets hidden in the front princess seams, they are hidden beautifully and don't interrupt the line.
For something with simple lines it has a lot of pieces and took quite a long time to sew up. The end result is fairly elegant though.
This is my wedding guest outfit, for a wedding which is in a traditional parish church and then has the reception and evening event in a nice hotel.
For the church I'll wear the coat and look appropriate, then later I can take the coat off to reveal the lace detailing!

I bought (not sewed) the dress which I'll wear underneath. It was from the sale at DP some months ago and its not available anymore. It has lace on the shoulders and sleeves and a keyhole back. The main areas are from the more substantial plain fabric.
The purchased dress is slightly darker than the coat.
Everything will get another press before the actual day.

Thursday, 29 August 2019

McCall's 4394 dressy coat in progress

Long out of print, I'm sewing this lined princess seamed coat to wear over a RTW dress for a wedding in 2 weeks time.

It has beautiful lines, but a lot of pieces so its taking time to sew and press the various panels and pieces together.
My version is in a dark burgundy zig zag jacquard outer with a floral watercolour style floral lining. Both fabrics fray a lot.
Let's hope I can get it completed in time.

Friday, 23 August 2019

Prima September 2019 Shift Dress

I made this simple shift dress for my friend B from the Prima September 2019 pattern.
(Prima is a UK women's magazine that includes a free sewing pattern for subscribers only).
I've used a remnant of stretch woven floral fabric. It was an absolute pleasure to sew. 
It has a 2" hem (hemmed with the blind hem stitch), armhole and neckline facings and a back neck opening with button and loop. I sewed a size 10 in the knee length with the boat neckline.
I was careful with the print placements, inspired by the far left example in the magazine.
The fabric absolutely makes it. There's a bit left over and I'm wondering if I could squeeze out something for me. A skirt would make the most sense.

Friday, 2 August 2019

Self drafted shrug

Here's a batwing shrug, which I drafted myself, using a similar but different RTW shrug as a starting point.
It is a one size fits many item, designed for a friend who has to wear a neoprene sleeve for lymph problems which makes it tricky to get jackets over the arm, but which she'd like to cover up when going out.

I love it and am very tempted to keep it for myself, however there is some fabric left over and I will make something for me from it, though maybe not exactly this.