Friday, 13 November 2015

A Winter Jumpsuit - Burda #130

Every now and then I stray off the vintage path and make something from the present day. This Burda jumpsuit caught my eye, partly because it reminded me of something which Clare at Sew Dixie Lou brought my attention to:

Joan Collins in 'Tales of the Unexpected', 1980

It's a massive stretch from Joan and her zips to Burda 09/2011 #130, but stick with me:

(Is it me, or does Burda Girl look massively depressed, so much so she's taken to drinking alone, while staring out the window, wondering where all the time went, or something...)

This is one of a number of projects waiting to be blogged, but I've been too busy wearing them. This jumpsuit has been a particular favourite, though I somehow couldn't get it to photograph at it's best. Excuse all the wrinkles and draping, the fabric was misbehaving!

I used a wool/poly/lycra blend from my new local supplier in Walthamstow, The Man Outside Sainsburys! (#TMOS), which was only £3 per metre. It took 3 metres, so a total of £9 - bargain! It's one of those in between colours, a bit brown, a bit grey, a bit khaki, but it handles beautifully and the stretch makes it really comfortable to wear.

Here's the back:

I'm used to wearing quite fitted styles, so something this loose and draped is a total departure for me. At times it feels like I'm wearing pyjamas. Unlike the girl in the photo, I have boobs and an open front to deal with, so I had to add a hidden hook and eye and press stud to keep it decent:

As I usually do with trousers, I lined the back seat section for stability and comfort:

I'm not a big lover of PDF patterns, but this one was really inexpensive - £3.99 - and wasn't as painful to put together as they usually are. 

The instructions are a bit vague, but it all went together pretty well. The only thing I would recommend is to use an invisible zip for a sleeker look; I used a lapped zip and it sticks out a bit. Might change it later...

Some other details - 

The sleeves are pretty long, but going by the picture they are meant to be rolled back in a cuff, as are the trousers. And there's pockets, which is always a plus!:

And I think that's it! See you soon!

Thursday, 8 October 2015

From Paris to Walthamstow - Butterick 5281

 In July, went on a quick trip to Paris with my family where I couldn't help but have a quick look around the fabric shops in Montmartre. It would be rude not too, after all! And that's where I found this beauty: 

I love nautical clothes, jewelry, motifs, and so on - I don't really know why, other than it makes me feel like I'm on holiday. I'm terrible at swimming!  As usual I had no real plan, so I bought about 2.5 metres, and I think it was about 12 Euros in total - not too bad when you think a coffee in Paris is about 4 Euros... 

I added it to my sizable stash, and didn't give it any more thought until I saw that Weaver Dee had a sale on patterns, where I got this lovely little dress: 

Butterick 5281
I didn't immediately put the fabric with this pattern, but it somehow just clicked one day when I was looking through my fabrics that they would work together. But before I cut into it, I wanted to make sure that I got the fit just right - now for the tracing and slashing, which there was A LOT of!

You may have noticed that the pattern is sized 6 - 12. I'm between a 12 and 14, depending on the cut, but being a total cheap-o, there was no way I was going to buy 2 patterns. I figured I was experienced enough to size it up in the places I needed it, and the draping over the right shoulder and left waist absorb any fullness I needed to 'hide'.

I won't go into all the details because quite honestly I can't remember everything I changed but mostly I added 1/2" to the centre front and back, pinched some fullness out of the armholes and swung them into the gathers at the waist and pleats over the shoulder. I also lengthened the bodice by 1". 

Phew! After all that, here's the finished dress, as photographed on the streets of Walthamstow:

After mucking around with the toile for ages, the actual dress went together really well. I really like the way the draping works over the shoulder:

 Here's a close up of the gathers by the waist:

The neckline actually opens on the left so that you can get it over your head; the instructions tell you to close this with press studs, but I decided to change this and instead of snaps used buttons, which I got from Walthamstow market:

I lined the whole dress with a light poly cotton, again from Walthamstow:

And finally, some shoulder pads were put in to give it that 40's silhouette:

And that's pretty much it - see you soon!

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Film Noir Dress

Hello! I've been away from the land of Blogs for a while because of life and stuff. I've just moved house - the first time in 20 years! - which has disrupted my sewing and knitting out put. But I made sure I made one last thing before the big move, which I'm sharing with you now.

I've had this pattern for ages, and while I always loved it, I never really felt I had the right look for it until now. According to the Vintage Pattern Wiki, it's from 1951 - it definitely has that haughty, Parisienne fashion look about it from that time:

Simplicity 8424, 1951

And even better, I had a length of black, grosgrain-type fabric I acquired during the swap at the Sew Brum meet-up which Claire from Sew Incidentally had donated.

The finished dress has a feel of something a no-good dame from a film noir would wear. Or if you're familiar with the work of artist Ryan Heshka, it kinda has the pointy-boob, big hip thing going on that one of his scary women would wear:

Mean Girls Club - Ryan Heshka

And here it is:

As you can see, I decided to pursue the film noir theme to its logical conclusion and take some shadowy photos in my new back yard.

Apologies for the wrinkly look in the photos - there's something about this fabric that just resists all ironing. I've tried steam, heat, spray starch, alone and in combination - it just doesn't want to know. Hence the crinkly lapped seam in this photo:

But it's still a great dress to wear. I particularly love the pockets, which sit away from the body and make your waist look smaller:

Close-up of pocket
Other details:

The buttons at the neck are covered in the same fabric as the dress:

I reinforced the base of the button facings and the pocket seams with embroidered arrowheads:

It's hard to see, being black on black, but there's an arrowhead on the left!
And I lined the skirt in red, as well as finishing the hem, as always, with matching bias:

The only fitting adjustment I made was adding some extra room in the bust; other than that it all went together pretty well.

This dress is surprisingly comfortable to wear; I might even make another one, if I ever get my sewing things unpacked... Anyway, it's great to be back on the Blog-wagon - see you soon!

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Crimplene Capers

Ever have those times when you set out to do one thing, and end up discovering something else on the way? I did exactly this about a year ago when I set out for Ikea one day. Living in London, I don't bother with a car which on the whole is fine, except for when you want to go to Ikea. On this day it just so happened that there was some insane road construction happening en route, which meant the bus stops were all moved around. I walked around for what seemed like ages and was just about to turn around and go home when I decided to look for this infernal bus stop on a side street. That's when I came across Cannon Street Jersey Fabrics. I'd heard about the mythical 'jersey warehouse of North London' from several other sewists - could this be it? 

Ikea was long gone from my mind by now. I wandered in; it was a large warehouse with bolts of fabric piled upright in no particular order. A lot of it was jersey, but there were some wovens too. What really stood out were the rolls of crimplene type fabrics sprinkled throughout. I was really taken with their 70's goodness, but as is always the way when you come across surprise fabric, I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to make or how much to buy. So I randomly went for some charcoal coloured wool weight sprinkled with silver stars, for about £2 per metre.

Close up of the Crimplene - the silver section on the left is the back
This sat around in the stash for a while until I felt inspired to do something with it. Then I got I flash of sewing inspiration and decided to make this:

Butterick 6950
Believe it or not, this is one of my few TNT patterns - no practical trousers or sensible skirts for me! I've made versions of it before here and here. This time I made the shorter version - here it is:

The flared skirt and puffy sleeves actually take up more fabric than you'd think, so it was a bit of a squeeze getting the pattern to fit into 2 meters. Corners had to be cut. For example, the hem had to be faced with lining so I could get as much length as possible out of it:

Hem facing
And I had to do some sneaky piecing together at the corners of the side seam:

I also had to forgo the tie at the back, and reduce the sleeve band to about half it's size. But other than that it all went together pretty well. I've never sewn with this sort of fabric before and wasn't sure about seam finishes or whether to use stretch or plain stitches. It's slightly bulky when there are several layers, so my beloved French seams were out of the question. But my new(ish) overlocker came in handy for seam finishes:

I've worn this dress loads since I made it; it just somehow works for lots of different occasions. It's been to a gig, a nightclub, a hen do, and several dinners.

And that's it- see you soon!

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Minerva Bloggers Network - Butterick 5298 and the Tartan Challenge

It may be spring, but there are still some chilly days - going jacket less still isn't quite a possibility. That's why I decided to make Butterick 5298 to wear on these in-between days.

As you can see, it's a re-print from Butterick's archives of a swing jacket from 1946, I loved it the moment I saw it - the wide shoulders, the deep cuffs and wide sleeves - what's not to love? And I love anything swingy and swishy. I also wanted to re-create a dressy looking Pendleton-type jacket, with a more feminine look to it.

Source - Vintage Vixen
As for fabric, I loved the working with the fabric I used on a previous Minerva project of mine, my Christmas tartan skirt, and it's the perfect look and weight for what I was trying to achieve. And despite being warm and soft like wool, it's actually a clever mix of polyester, acrylic, and rayon, so there's none of the scratchiness that comes with wool.

I actually had a fair bit left over from the skirt (I'm terrible at estimating fabric quantities...) so I only needed a little bit more to complete the jacket, which luckily was still in stock at Minerva.

And it turned out I had just enough! It took 3 evenings of crawling around on the living room floor to get this monster cut out, and I used pretty much every scrap:

This was all that was left...

More than anything, it was tiring cutting this out because of all the decisions that had to be made regarding what would match and what wouldn't. I wanted to match the obvious, such as the centre front and back:

Centre front and yoke matching at the neckline. I marked the centre front with a yellow tacking stitch to help

I also wanted to match the front and back yoke to it's respective pieces. But when it came to side seams and cuffs - forget it! Side seams were left to do what they wanted, and with the cuffs I was sneaky and cut them on the bias, so no matching needed!
Cuff detail

As is always the way with me, I put more work than was probably necessary into the insides of the jacket. I didn't want to use stiff, glue-y interfacings that would affect the drape of the cloth, so I opted for sew in hair canvas. I cut all the pieces - yoke front and back, front facing, cuffs - with the seam allowances removed so there would be no bulk in the seams. Then it was all attached to the pieces using herringbone stitch:

Back yoke with interfacing stitched in place
I also cut long strips of bias and placed them in the sizable hem to add a nice weight:

Bias strips stitched in place, and then hem attached to it
Enough of the detail - here it is!:

And it has pockets!:

Side seam pockets

The collar grows out of the yoke, then fastens with a single button. This was meant to be a bound buttonhole, but I couldn't be bothered, so I sewed a snap on under a button from my stash. 

Despite being loose and swingy, the shoulders of the jacket are very fitted and sit quite snugly, so the jacket sits firmly in place. This is partly down to the curved seams at the shoulders, which round shoulder pads are stitched to:

Pressing the shoulder seams open 

It's all lined with a bright red polyester, which was sewn in by machine, but then attached at the hem by hand. 

And that's pretty much it! If you like the look of the fabric, head over to Minerva and check it out.

See you soon!