Thursday, 25 February 2016

Vintage Pledge 2016 - a Bit of Leopard

Hello! Once I read about the Vintage Pledge for 2016 on Marie's blog here, I knew I couldn't not get involved. After all, I have more than I know what to do with:

Just a few then...
I decided to start with McCall's 9722, which is a TNT for me. I love the simplicity of the design - it's just one piece and a waistband - and the draping at the waist is flattering and comfortable.

My old leopard skirt was looking the worse for wear, and since I consider leopard a wardrobe basic it was important it was replaced. I spotted this lovely stretch fabric at Fabworks Online:

The skirt fabric is the top right; I went a bit leopard crazy and got the pink jersey for a t-shirt
And here it is:

Picture taking coincided with wash day and my hair being up in a beehive, so Mr Needles decided it would be apt to go full-kitchen sink drama and take some photos while I pegged out the laundry.

The skirt is very easy to make, as it's just a center back seam with a zip and a waistband. I strayed from the vintage path and put in an invisible zip, where normally I would hand pick the zip on a piece like this. But they're still such a novelty to me I want any excuse to use them!

I shortened the length to just past the knee, rather than the vintage mid-calf. The pattern calls for the back vent to be sewn closed, making it in essence a pleat, but I turned it into a lapped split instead. 

And the whole lot was lined with some deep purple poly from my stash:

And that's really it! This is sure to be just the first of many vintage patterns I make up this year. 

See you soon!

Monday, 8 February 2016

Caped Capers!

I'm on a mission to reduce the mountain of fabric I currently have, though with each piece of stash used I inevitably have to buy more to supplement whatever it is I'm making, be it lining, contrast trim, and so on. Baby steps, I suppose.

In a bid to start, I dug out some lovely tartan wool from Abakhans, which I've had for at least 5 years:

I considered a skirt at first, but I really wanted a cape or jacket or something along those lines. This was partly inspired by the cape I made for Mr Needles  which I drafted myself. It was so easy, I decided to give it a go.

I started by making a muslin which looked like this:

This was just the basic cape shape, with no provision for arms or anything. I didn't really want this sort of thing, so after playing around for a bit I settled on the shape below, which is somewhere in between a jacket and a cape:

I made a few adjustments to the shoulder shape, the length, added a hood pattern and drafted facings, then started cutting out. I quickly realized that the fabric wasn't going to be heavy enough on its own, so I decided to interline it with some black cotton sheeting. In order to keep it in place while I was working with it, I tacked the cotton pieces to the outer fabric along the lines of the tartan, as you'll see below. The tacking was then removed once the pieces were all sewn together:

Wrong side of hood piece with interlining and tacking

Right side of hood piece with tacking

I did this with all the main pieces, before applying the interfacing which I attached by hand - forgot to take photos of this step, unfortunately! 

I like my projects, especially coats and jackets, to have weight to them; once I machined it all together, it still didn't feel quite weighty enough. I decided to abandon my original lining, a shiny poly, and considered other heavier options, like quilting. I couldn't find any I liked; then after a stroll along Walthamstow market I happened on some black fleece - problem solved!

And here it is all finished up!:

I only had 2 metres of the tartan; if I'm honest, 2.5 or 3m would have been ideal to match all of the seams. But I just decided that some seams would match, some would 'half-match', and others wouldn't match at all. And you can always cut some bits on the bias and thus avoid matching altogether!

There's no back seam, so no matching needed there!

I made extra matchy efforts with the front:

And the hood, which was cut on the bias, got extra attention on the seam:

But the side seam got what I call 'half-matching' - I matched the horizontal lines, but not exactly to the right parts of the tartan - you'll see what I mean below:

Close up of the side seam - sort of matched...
But the shoulder seams - forget it! I've got better things to do:
Not really matched shoulders. Oh well...
Because I thought the front was looking a bit plain, I added a little tab at the last minute for some interest, and to pull the hood in around the neck:

Here's a picture of the linings and facings. The fleece was such a good choice - despite the big drafty sleeves, the jacket is really warm!:

One last thing - I love the simple silhouette of the jacket/cape, but it does have a rather limiting effect on the movement of your arms. Reaching up high for anything does mean the whole jacket lifts up with your arms; not a big problem, but for that reason I stopped the buttons at the waist:

And I think that's it. I leave you with a picture of me looking rather goofy with the hood up:

See you soon!

Outfit details:
Jacket - homemade, tartan wool from Abakhan, fleece lining from Walthamstow market
Shoes - Dries Van Noten
Gloves - knitted by me!
Brooches - Russian Dolls from Budapest, Spanish Galleon from charity shop