corecouture

Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane


38 Comments

A/W ’16 Mustard

My husband, before he became my husband, used to tell a very rude joke and the punch line was “mustard, custard and you, you big sh***!”  Anyway………he doesn’t tell the joke anymore and my next outfit for autumn/winter is complete.

Same trousers as the burgundy ones but this time with added inseam side pockets and turn ups at the hem.dscn6753

I like cropped winter trousers: they remind me of plus fours and country living, and I can wear either boots or shoes. Worn today with the shirt you’ve seen before.

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Johnny Rotten as an English country gentleman

 

All fabrics are from Fabworks – I’m Fabworks head to toe today! (Not sponsored by them btw).

18 TwistThe trousers are Donegal tweed: Warm, mellow, sunflower, saffron and turmeric tones weave through this gorgeous Donegal Tweed herringbone, evoking memories of relaxed autumnal strolls and the resting evening sunshine. Woven with the ever-present charcoal warp to form a reassuring background of chevrons; the Donegal yarn sitting in the mellow sunflower and mustard warp has pale straw, saffron and honey coloured flecks. This 100% new wool has a reassuringly soft texture, but remains a medium weight with a great handle and drape.

I mean, really, how could you not not fall for that?

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An easy method to elasticate a waist is this:

  1. Measure the elastic to your waist, stretching a little, and sew the ends together to make a band.dscn6678
  2. Quarter this band with pins and then match each pin with the four seams, front, back and sides.
  3. Serge or small zig-zag this band (yes, that is bra strap elastic) to the inside of your garment, lining up edge to edge.dscn6679
  4. Fold the elastic over to the inside and zig-zag in place to form a waistband.dscn6683

Neat and easy

The trousers are lined too. The lining is slip-stitched to the ‘waistband’ and hides the serged edges.

Even neater.

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As Sunflower Chunky Ribbed Knit is a beautiful knitted all wool fabric from Avoca, it’s a superb, brushed fabric with a medium weight soft drape and handle, and due to being knitted rather than woven it has a good natural lengthwise stretch with some stretch on the width too! The beautiful sunflower coloured yarn with darker and lighter tones throughout, has been knitted in a double row ribbed construction that has alternating fine black bands knitted in between to create the chunky rib affect.

See what I mean? I fell for that one too.

The jumper is hacked from a Burda pattern for a cardigan. I prepared the pattern many, many years ago before I understood and realised that patterns require an organisational system  of their own. I can’t bring to mind the actual pattern number ….It’s the one with the girl standing in front of a barn door……..

I used the raglan sleeves and the back yoke and front (with a centre seam) but I just made up the V neck front and added a small patch pocket. I also made front and back different lengths and put small slits at the sides to mark the step.

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It was fun mucking about with the stripes on the pattern pieces creating some interest and directional movement. The sleeves are bias cut, the back yoke and pocket on the horizontal, the fronts and lower back on the vertical.

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To keep the V neck as a V, I faced it with some cotton bias binding as a stabiliser. The fabric doesn’t fray but I thought that narrow cuffs would be a nice finishing touch on the sleeves. All seams are serged just in case.

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And of course there were leftovers and cut-offs. I used these up in the form of a beret and a couple of scarves in preparation of anticipation of a cold winter.

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Other things….

The postman brought some lovely things recently, mainly courtesy of a Vogue pattern sale. Fabworks also sent me the checked cotton shirting (far right) after I ordered and paid for it.

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One plus one together makes this, not 2.

The selvage was too good to cut off and throw away so it was used as a trim on all edges; cuffs, collar, button band and hem.

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I had fun with the stripes on this fabric too and I do hope you notice the almost perfect alignment across the fronts!

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Life’s been quite busy recently including a very pleasant weekend spent in London, England. A few weeks ago I flew out early on Friday with plans afoot to spend a lot of money and spend a lot of money I did! The fruits of these purchases to be revealed soon. The highlight of the trip was dinner at Kate’s. Marijana was there too and we all wore our own individual, handmade, couture and unique versions of the Six Napoleon dress. We had a 6Nap party!

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I look like a giant in comparison to my petite and neat sewing companions. Additionally their dresses were so much better than mine. Both ladies are fabulous and I’m so pleased to have met them online and then followed this up in person. Thank you Kate and Marijana, it was so much better than sitting in a hotel room on my lonesome wearing a party dress with no party to go to.

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37 Comments

A/W ’16 Burgundy

All this fabric was bought in July and is only being sewn up now, but then again it was always intended for this autumn/winter’s wardrobe, so I suppose it’s timely. For once there was a little bit of forward planning that might have actually worked out. I’ve been busy doing other things for a few weeks but I’m back home now and – sewing!

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The two fabrics on the right are from Minerva and generously gifted from my very dear friend Caroline on the day we went shopping with Mags. The far left fabric is from Fabworks and the burgundy ponte is a long forgotten purchase from somewhere, just patiently waiting for its time.

Lea wrapped dress already completed and worn multiple times – featured on Fabworks’ Customer Catwalk.

DSCN6504Eventually I actually got started on the A/W ’16 wardrobe, though it has been late because of the mild weather here and a personal reluctance to admit that summer has left.

One pair of cropped trousers – cropped because I bought only 1 metre planned for a pencil skirt and in real life I realised that trousers would be more practicable. (Fabric on the far right).

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Pattern: Vogue 1508, Zandra Rhodes.

I added front welt pockets and, obviously, shortened the length to suit the available fabric rather than style. They are lined, elasticated waisted and although made from polyester they look like  tweed and hence there is no wrinkling or shrinking, or wet-dog smell when wet with rain. I’d just like to point out the relative width difference between the pattern envelope and my actual trousers………

Worn firstly with some delicious silk from Joel & Sons (bought in a sale), and the fabric design and colour reminds me of autumn leaves, firesides and fireworks. This top was made in a very haphazard way – using a basic block and then sewing on the leftovers as a sailor’s neck and front tie and asymmetrical hip edges: just trying to use up every last scrap of this relatively expensive silk.

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Next, the trousers are paired with a fine mesh polyprint (second from right) and made up in McCalls 7247. This pattern is intended for jersey/stretch but I took a chance and it worked.

View D, at the bottom is the one I made.

While I added bands to the neck and cuffs I left them with raw edges so that they fray. Heck, un-hemmed edges are all over Vogue magazine; if it’s good enough for them, it’s certainly good enough for me.

If I wear it with enough panache, then it’s ‘designer’.

 

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I do need to wear my very reliable, RTW and cheap  burgundy cotton sleeveless T-shirt underneath but, heck, it’s winter and it’s going to get cold and your Mother always told you never to leave the house without clean pants (knickers), a handkerchief and a vest, just in case you were in an accident. Hopefully, I’m safe.

Then I added to the burgundy stash and purchased some jersey marl that I think is from MyFabrics but I’ve fallen out with them recently, so they are absolutely last-resort now. This was transformed into a Vogue 9193, a Marcy Tilton tunic.

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Trying to replicate the Tilton sisters, I tried to do a bit of artistic-stuff around the neck  with a double layer loose neck edge, which I’m not quite convinced worked out but then again this is not intended as a spectacular designer top, rather as a normal, everyday pull-on type of top. With the leftovers I sewed up a scarf-like thing, basically a couple of rectangles sewn into a hoop (worn on the right pic) and looks like a cowl neck.

So, one pair of trousers, three tops, a dress and a bit of ponte left to sew. Those of your follow the Vivienne Files will be capable of calculating how many outfits that will make. Personally I just reach into the wardrobe and hope for the best and not an orphan in sight!

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Next, I’ll move onto another A/W ’16 colour……..guesses?

 

 


12 Comments

Holly Rose

After last week’s regimented sewing time, this last week was slightly unusual.

I accompanied 24 students into the wilds of the Mourne Mountains for three days: no mobile signal, no Internet, no TV, radio or most of anything linked with the 21st century. My goodness, how will we cope? We did however, have hot and cold running water, a roof over our heads, beds and en-suites and tonnes of food, which definitely helped.

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Well, of course everyone survived. Which just goes to prove beyond absolute doubt that Instagram/Snapchat/Facebook/Pinterest/Blogger/Wordpress/Google/Bing/Android/i-anything/email/etc,etc,etc may be wonderful thingies but in reality do not enable us to survive!

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The girls were absolutely frantic, they just kept staring at their blank phone screens at any and every available moment like a signal might miraculously appear while the boys just sort of went “Yeah, no signal, OK. Got a football?”.

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Anyway, while they all went off hillwalking, kayaking, bouldering, mountain biking and other things involving fresh air, I sat on my well padded backside padding it a little bit more doing a constructive project – hand sewing.

BTW – I never take my students out unless the rain stays away and the sun shines – I’m lucky that way – Jinkes !!

A colleague had a baby in early September, well actually, his wife did.

14433048_10210567245760386_5165385499060978708_nI had already completed the quilt top awaiting the imminent arrival and it just needed quilting and binding – this was my hand work for three days. Hand quilted, the binding hand sewn and all completed in time for coming home on Friday to Wi-Fi, email, Facebook and all the other sh**e.

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The pattern for the quilt top is Jelly Roll Jam 2 . Sorry, I can’t remember the fabric but you might just be able to see pine trees, birds, bees and tents – all outdoor things.

The other side is backed with birds.

20161021_11380720161021_113815With the fabulous backdrop of the Mourne mountains here’s Holly’s quilt which is also in part a memory quilt for her father who went hillwalking and camping before Holly was born. I don’t believe he reads this blog so we’re safe.

James,  it will be years and years before you you can venture up the Mournes again……….

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I hope Holly loves the quilt –  James, but I’m sure you love her way more.

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45 Comments

Day by Day

Many of you comment how productive I am on the sewing front. I really appreciate each and every comment but I’ve never seen myself as being a quick sewer or producing a lot. If I don’t reply to individual comments please don’t take it personally – it means I’m busy, that’s all. Wendy from Boulder, Colorado sews for a living as does Mrs Mole; they have to calculate how long a job is going to take and charge accordingly. If you’d asked me how long a dress or pair of trousers takes me to sew, I wouldn’t have a clue.

I do sew, or do sewing related activities, nearly every day: sometimes I can relish in a dedicated couple of hours but often there’s only 15 -30 minutes available. Sometimes my sewing time is split over the day with a little bit here and little bit there. So this week I documented the making of a shirt, as much for your insight into my sewing week but also for me……….

Before Starting

dscn6610Fabric is draped on Doris for a day or two to help determine how it handles and what it should be transformed into. This helps me to visualise a finished garment and how much fabric I have to play with. When not staring at Doris, as I drive to work or go to sleep I’m thinking about patterns and design options. Once a decision has been reached – I stick to it and believe me, not all decisions are good ones!

Today we are focusing on the patterned piece under the mustard wool. A viscose jersey from Fabworks in mustard and pale lilac that I’m hoping will look like grey when worn with the right clothing. A retro 1950s design and would be probably be best used in a 2-way stretch pattern but I decided on a button down shirt.

Monday – 1hr, 45mins

Before going to work, I cut out the pattern pieces from the envelope and folded the fabric selvage to selvage. 15 mins.

Home from work and dinner in the oven, pinned the pattern to the fabric. 30 minsdscn6650

After dinner and a nap, back to sewing room to cut out the pieces.  Big scissors were then put away and small ones out, needles threaded with contrasting colour and settled down to tailor tack with radio on. Pattern pieces removed, darts pinned and a general tidy up.

Pieces pinned onto Doris. Nothing sewn. 60 mins.

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Tuesday – 20mins

Really heavy day at work – knackered. Cut out interfacing and just about managed to iron it onto the relevant pieces.  dscn6659Scanned the instructions in case there are any surprises. Threaded the machine and a bobbin. 20 mins.

Wednesday – 1 hr

At long last, sewing actually begins in the evening. Machined all the seams I could. This is where my sewing technique might slightly differ from others’. I don’t always follow the prescribed sewing order: after sewing all the darts for example, I then completed the sleeve seams and made the upper collar. I can go no further until the pieces are pressed. 60 mins

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Thursday – 1hrs, 50 mins

Before dinner (leftovers, so I have more sewing time) I began with pressing all yesterday’s sewing. 20 mins

After dinner, back to the machine to complete any other sewing that needs to be done; button bands, shoulder seams and collar attached. Then the machine is pushed aside and everything that needs hand slip stitching is done – inside collar, sleeve vents. Bit more pressing and everything pinned back onto Doris. 1hr, 30 mins

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Friday – 2hrs

Before dinner, sewed side seams and pinned in sleeves. 20 mins

After dinner, sewed in sleeves (one ripped out and sewed again, so that makes three!). Attached cuffs. Pressed. 1 hr.

Personal fitting: sleeves are too long so have created a design feature of folded back cuffs. I had already added 2″ to the length at cutting out stage and am happy with this. 10 mins.

dscn6670Searched in notions box for suitable buttons and found some forgotten items and interesting things, procrastination activity. 30 mins

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Saturday 1hr, 45 mins

Morning time in my jammies slipped stitched cuffs; made button holes, sewed on buttons. 1 hr

Before lunch sewed hem and pressed finished shirt. 45mins. And it took 3/4 of an hour to run a straight seam around the bottom of this shirt because….

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I swear the two fronts were the same length before I sewed the buttons on…..

Sunday

Wearing and photos

 

Total time = 7hrs

Fabric =£14.00 – 2 metres @£7.00 (Fabworks – superfine gauge single jersey in a lustrous and slinky, fluid viscose and elastane blend, printed with a Bloomsbury/modernistic style)

Time = £70 (@ £10p/hr)

Pattern = McCalls M6649 free with an Craftsy class that cost $19.99 (about £100 at today’s exchange rate!) or $12.50 for the pattern alone.

Total materials and making = £94.00

Sunday night – Write and publish. Go to sleep planning next project.

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Monday – Cut out something else……….

 

 

 


43 Comments

Toni 3 with Mods

It’s a Toni Jim, but not as we know it……

First one was as per pattern: second one was as per pattern with the centre front seam left open.

Third one is this…..

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The other day I went away for the weekend to the north coast where I met a fabulous lady from America. I’ve now met two fabulous ladies from America who read this blog, sew and travel. They don’t specifically  travel to Ireland just to see me of course but it’s always nice to combine the two. Are all ladies who sew fabulous in America?

Wendy is from Boulder, Colorado (which I thought only existed in the Westerns). She teaches classes from a beautiful fabric shop and also sews very special things for a select client list. Her work is fabulous – can I use that word again without losing its potency?  But truly, her jackets are tailored but not conventional, little personal touches that elevate the wearer to absolute uniqueness: mostly sewn in silk or linen, always muslined first and lined. She makes her own patterns and is a living, breathing, walking encyclopedia about fabrics, style, techniques and colour. Wendy is building a website at the moment and I can’t wait to show you her work when it goes live.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, knowing that we were meeting, Wendy carried all the way from Boulder a length of fabric just for me. Truly kind. I’m rarely gifted fabric but when I am I always feel a little pressured into making something  special with it.

I received about 2.5m of burn-out cotton/poly jersey, very akin to a Marcy Tilton fabric. One side is pure grey, the other is black with random circles cut out to reveal the grey backside. You know how I love my greys…….

I really wanted to maximise all the fabric in one garment and decided a top/T-shirt just wouldn’t do. I opted for a winter version of StyleArc’s Toni dress, with modifications.

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First, I lobed off the pointy bits at the sides – mainly to fit on the fabric and secondly because the drapes just don’t work.

I also cut the back on the fold to avoid the centre back seam ruining the circles.

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I used the ‘wrong’ side of the fabric for the collar and eliminated the in-seam pockets in preference for front patch ones.It would be really good if both pockets lined up…..duh!

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I added full length sleeves by just using the pattern as a cutting guide at shoulder height and shaping down the width to fit my wrists – essentially two rectangles. And when folded back the insides match the collar and pocket tops.

It’s loose and long and I just adore the collar. Housewifey with a touch of elegance. So easy to wear – pair of boots and you’re ready!

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The dress still has flare and drape even without the pointy bits but somehow is also elongating and skims the body without bulk or being baggy.

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Thank you very much Wendy . This dress will (has) become a very firm wardrobe favourite.