a simple sew

It’s been an entire four months since my last post. Who would have guessed the world would turn upside down since then? I haven’t been sewing very much. I haven’t had the strength or inclination. I haven’t even been thinking about sewing lately. And this is a problem, because I need to start sewing my stash. I asked DD1 and DD3 to pore over my box of silks, choose a few lengths for kimonos or robes (dressing gowns) and once they had, the fabric sat on my sewing table for weeks before I washed it (yes, they will wash the garments, so I pre-washed – and in two cases, dried – lengths of silk charmeuse for their robes).

I’ve set small goals for myself: trace or cut out a pattern one day. Make adjustments to it another day. Lay it out on the fabric and, if it’s a good day, cut it out. Sew a few seams another day. I have found that limiting my sewing time to around an hour is best, as I feel energized and happy with work well done. So that’s my modus operandi these days.

But in the meantime, I thought I’d share this quickly-made tee from Simplicity 4076. The fabric is a rayon jersey from EOS which was purchased a few years ago. There’s not much to say. The pattern is a quick make, and I made up my usual size without any alterations.

One little successful sew under my belt is the ticket to more stitching, I think.

back view

Done: Burda 1/2016 #123 Coat Re-do

Burda 01-2016-123 redo frontAnd it’s finished!  I have a car coat that I am happy with, and that I have already worn more in the last week or so than I ever did in it’s first iteration.

Compulsory inside view of the back with ease pleats.  I am so much happier with this lining than the first make-do version!
coat re-do lining back
I kept the pretty blue silk piping on the inside.
coat re-do lining Here’s the inside view of the properly placed in-seam pockets, complete with pocket stay, attached to the front facing with ribbons saved from the Christmas Fiasconaro panettone. Do you do this? I keep all those decorative fabric ribbons that make boxes pretty: Maison Birks, Jo Malone, Fiasconaro, Pottery Barn, etc., etc. If anyone decides to dissect my jeans, they’ll be in for a surprise! They work surprisingly well when twill tape or some sort of tape is required in places. recycle ribbon
Here’s another picture of the inside. I didn’t underline this coat because the fabric is actually a sort of knit, and I wanted it to be ‘free’. I did reinforce the hems, seams and facings with a combination of silk organza strips (straight grain) and horsehair (straight for the front and bias for the sleeve cuffs).
coat re-do inside The grain across the high chest is now straight. The front is lapped, not snapped shut, so it looks off, but it isn’t. coat re-do shouldersBack view on my double in the workroom. I’m happy with the grain and the slimmer fit.
coat re-do 3 And then the back view on me. No glamourous fashion footwear here; just practical warm winter boots. Burda 01-2016-123 redo backAnd a side-ish view, both belted and unbelted. I usually wear it belted.
Burda 1-2016-123 side

I changed the placement of the belt loops, too, because they were too high in the original coat.  You can see closeup photos of the actual loop with it’s lining back (less bulk) and it on the coat with the belt drawn through it here.

I am so very happy with this coat now!  The fabric is from EOS, and it’s cozy and so pretty up close.

Burda 01-2016-123 redo tied

Woo hoo! First major project of 2020 is in the closet.  Now I’ve just to finish altering DD3’s jumpsuit and get some photos of it so I can show you here make from a couple of years ago.  Alterations are necessary due to height changes and the general slimming down that happens in mid-teen years.  After that, all my alterations are done and I can start on new things!

Remake & Re-fashion

green coat pocketsMy first project of 2020 is to remake the last winter coat I made back in 2018.  I intend to shorten it to car coat length so that I will actually wear it, as it has only been worn twice since it was finished.  There are several things that just bug me about the coat:

  • It is a BIG COAT, which is what I was going for in the first place, but I really hated my slap-dash-use-whatever-I-have-lying-around-the-house-that’s-the-right-tone lining (drapery silk shantung that had been washed in hot water and put through a hot dryer cycle with tennis and dryer balls to soften up the hand) because it just made it so…. so…. ridiculous to wear, I guess.  I really wanted a different lining – a softer, lighter lining; lighter than flannel-backed satin or kasha lining, typically used in winter coats.
  • The original Burda pattern is a tall pattern, and I didn’t bother to place the pockets accurately, so they sit about 10cm lower than they should on me.  I want to move the pocket up to where they will be useful and easy to access with my not-tall arms.
  • The R front facing and front edge bugs me.  It’s a grain thing, and I hate wearing it because of this.  I intend to straighten it out and do it properly.
  • It’s just too long and dramatic to get worn much, and I have other fabric for other dramatic coats in my stash that I hope to make up soon.
  • The contrast band of linen velvet is nice in a dramatic coat, but I do actually want to wear this coat, and the current length makes it rather a process to get in and out of the car.
  • It’s too wide.  I hate coats that fit small, and I was very enthusiastic in adding ease to my original iteration of this coat, so each side seam will be reduced by 4cm, for a total width reduction of 16cm.

Coat Re-do 1

I’ve re-cut the lining from a lightweight satin-backed crepe fabric from my local Fabricland that was actually marketed as drapery fabric (???).  I laundered it to get that horrid polyester chemical smell out of it before cutting it out.  I used the old lining as a pattern, after making forward-sloping shoulder alterations and taking in the sides by a total of 16cm.

Coat re-do 2

So far I have completed the following alterations:

  • removed the lining
  • moved the pockets up 10cm
  • taken the side seams in 16cm
  • straightened the grain across the upper chest by doing a forward-sloping shoulder adjustment (Why didn’t I do this the first time around?!)
  • removed the lower velvet band
  • redid the facings, which, in combination with the shoulder adjustments, has made the fronts hang straight.  Happy day!

All that is left is to put the lining back in after deciding on the length I want.

More importantly than my news about remaking my coat, I want to thank each and every one of you for all your comments and kind words on my last post.  It may be cliché, but your wishes and encouragement meant so much, and on hard days, I go back and re-read them.

Lavender Tops

Back in the spring DD3 expressed frustration with the lack of choices in her wardrobe, specifically in the tops department. I must confess, after the last few unsuccessful projects that I made for her, I wasn’t very keen on risking more failures. They have seriously affected my sewjo.  BTW, this post was originally drafted in May……

I sent her shopping for RTW a few weeks ago,and told her to try on e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. she saw, even if it looked silly on the hangers, just to get her ideas flowing, and to take a lot of pictures so I could we what she liked. She came home with a $100 top from Wilfred, made of beautiful Japanese polyester, but the fit was off, and I didn’t care for the cost:product ratio. So she returned it, and went off to see what she could find that tickled her fancy in the Burda magazine collection housed in my sewing nook.

And I, browsing through my local Fabricland while purchasing thread for several new jeans projects for myself (I may not be trendy and stylish, but I love my me-made Jalie jeans and made three new pairs recently) stumbled upon a pretty lavender polyester satin crepe with a hammered finish. I purchased a 1.5m length, as it was the right shade of lavender i.e. not very pink, washed it, and set it on one of the sewing tables.

And she noticed it. And liked the colour. So I cut out two of the designs she had ear-marked, and suggested one that I had made for myself a while back, which she liked after she’d tried on mine.Burda 4-2016-114The first one is BurdaStyle 04/2016 #114, a very simple top with cut-on sleeves and a deep V neckline in the back. There is a band across the back shoulders which helps keep the wide neckline in place. There’s not much to say about this top. It’s very simple to make,  the most difficult part being the adjustment of the back band to a length that sits properly. In retrospect, it would fit her better if I’d done a square shoulder adjustment for her swimmers shoulders.Burda 4-2016-114 backThe second top is a repeat of Burda 04/2015 #103, which I’d made for me in 2017.  I had her try it on and she liked the style. Burda 4-2015-103It’s another simple sew, although getting the centre front V to sit properly took some very careful cutting. I have plans for at least two of these tops for myself. Burda 4-2015-103 frontThe last of the lavender tops used up some stash silk: lavender chiffon and a darker habotai for the longer layer.Burda 5-2014-128 silk It’s BurdaStyle 05/2014 #128, and DD3 wasn’t very sure of the design, but I loved the longer gathered back, and thought I’d take a risk while sewing up the stash fabric. I was prepared to thrift it if she didn’t like it in the end. Burda 5-2014-128 backThis top is short: I added a full 10 cm to the length.  Burda’s instructions are good and easy to follow, for once! I followed them to the ‘T’.

Burda 5-2014-128

I hand rolled the hems.

Burda 5-2014-128

And there we are: three new tops for her to wear. Funnily enough, the one she reaches for the most is gathered-back top. She’s going to wear it out first, mostly because the chiffon is rather fragile.

Ta da!

The lace tunic is finished.

The lace is quite substantial and the tunic has some weight to it. The silk charmeuse lining is wondrously comfortable, and makes this such a pleasure to wear.

The centre back pleat was a bit of a pain to manipulate so that it lays flat but adding a small flower appliqué helped tack it all down into place. There is a facing which I interfaced with silk organza, under stitched, and then ‘topstitched’ invisibly 5mm away from the neckline in order to keep it in place. I also discreetly secured the edges of the facing through all layers so that it wold behave as one layer.

My solution for the side seams was to use a true Hong Kong finish, using the silk underlining, and then stitching an appliqué on the interior of the hem to hide the bottom 4 cm of seam allowance.

Another close up of the hem and side seam finishing.

I’m pleased with how this turned out.

Winter Coat: Burda 1/2016 #123

So, one of my goals for 2018 was to make jackets and coats: I had declared it “The Year of the Coat”.   I managed to make one.
Green CoatI finally got around to the project at the end of April. I pulled two pieces of fabric out of stash:  a lovely green/brown ‘bubble’ wool from EmmaOneSock in 2013and a piece of velvet linen, purchased randomly from Scalamandre’s Third Floor around the same time. I had this from BurdaStyle’s January 2016 in mind for both: Burda 1-2016-123It’s a ‘tall’ pattern, but I wanted something long and dramatic.  So I left the length, and adjusted the waist length by 2 inches (5cm). Here’s the back: green coat back
I did not like the tie collar (and the linen would not have worked for it, imho), so I frankenpatterned Vogue 2590 (an OOP Montana military-style coat). collar collageI love the high collar, and I must say, working with a Vogue pattern vs. a Burda magazine pattern in the same project was a sober reminder (and an elated reminder) of why I love Vogue patterns so much: there were more markings on the collar pieces than the entire front coat pattern piece from Burda.  A clearly marked pattern makes construction so precise, and easy construct with (relative) perfection. Well, I am happy with it, anyways!

The coat does not have buttons. I debated doing the hand worked buttonhole exercise, but opted for the large snaps Burda suggested. I like them! And, no, I did not bother to try to choose a fabric that would match the coat so they could be covered. I just put them on. Finis!

Some details of the interior finishing:lining

There are in-seam pockets. green coat pockets
Here’s the side view.
green coat side

A loooong belt tie. green coat tie
A tall, statuesque drink of water I am not, which is perhaps accentuated by the tie belt. But I love the length and drama of wearing such a coat.

Vogue 8896

Note:  I began this post in July.  I cannot believe that an entire year has gone by already.

It’s been a crazy last few months, and although I have completed a couple of commissions, whipped up some new pairs of  slim Burda 01/2016 #135 pants, altered and mended clothing and made a winter coat, it’s only this weekend that I have finally managed to get some pictures of a recent make!  Woo hoo!  This coming Tuesday is DH’s birthday, and it’s also July, which means Summerlicious in TO.

Birthday + Summerlicious = reason for a new dress.V8896 The fabric is a rayon-lycra knit from my local Fabricland, purchased last summer (or the summer before…..???) because it was a) on sale; and b) looked so cheery.  Actually, it probably reminded me of some project I’d seen in Burda Magazine that I really liked, so I purchased it.  Unfortunately for me, I never make a note of pattern + fabric combinations that randomly pop into mind, especially at that critical moment when they are actually in mind, so I cannot remember what made me think this would be a great maxi dress. In the interest of time (no time to trace a pattern!), I opened my binder of Vogue dress pattern envelopes, pulled out Vogue 8896, measured the flat pattern, laid out the fabric, and cut.. I made some changes to the shoulders – adding width in the back to match the front shoulders so I could sew channels and run ties to create the gathers instead of just gathering the front into the width of the back shoulders. V8896 shouldersI used my favourite neckline edging (a long strip of fabric, cut across the grain, 5cm wide and a few cms shorter than the actual to-be-finished armscye or neck opening) and finished the armscyes using the same technique before stitching the shoulder seams so it would be a neat finish for the ties.V8896 waist

The skirt was quite heavy, and in the interest of keeping it in place at my waistline without having to constantly adjust it, I stitched the seam 2cm wide instead of 1.5cm and ran 1.5cm wide elastic through then entire length, from left front to right front ties.

And then wore it out to dinner!

Vogue 8896 frontI do have more projects to show you.  I have been under a self-imposed deadline to get some things done, photographed and blogged before December 24, when my sewing area will be co-opted into Christmas Dinner With The Family space.

Updated December 30th: And here we are…. at the end of the year… The good news: I took photos of my one finished coat project for 2018. Fingers crossed for posting!