corecouture

Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane


16 Comments

Sucker for Sales 2

And here we are again…… fabric sales purchases and what to do with them. This time it’s a fluffy, soft knit made with a remarkable combination of fibres such as cashmere, mohair, a bit of silk and a few sparkly threads and from – yeah, you know where – Joel and Son…..a cut length of 1.5m.

The fabric is sort of like a boiled wool; it’s a knit, like a proper knit with no fraying but softer with a right and wrong side. It’s primarily grey (my favourite) but has tones of violet/lilac – more of a heathered look that is not readily recognisable in my crappy photographs. The inside is sparkly and I suppose could have been used the other way round for evening wear. I choose day wear. Believe me, this is a complicated fabric.

I pressurised myself into making something that warranted the price: not sure I achieved that goal but I did get a very serviceable skirt and top: that can be worn together and also separately which stretches the serviceability.

Skirt pattern is Vogue, Katherine Tilton 8837 (OOP). This skirt has four seams with a hip yoke, elasticated waist(!) and curved hemline with small splits. The instructions are for lapped over side seams but I ignored that bit.

Easy to sew up and easy to wear. I serged the seams for extra strength as it’s a pull on skirt and it looks nice in the inside too.

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The top pattern is based on Burda 0521012 /101, cut short due to fabric limitations and whatever serviceable piece was leftover was used as a pocket.

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I had a bad experience with this dress pattern previously but I’m learning to love it and see the potential in many other ways apart from a sack-like shift dress.

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I just used the selvedge edge of the fabric as the top’s hem. The deep V neckline was stabilised with some black satin ribbon to keep it from stretching any further. It is not a top to wear on its own….

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This little outfit has a relaxed, yet ‘pulled together’ look, I think. The skirt is very comfortable and worn with the top, it creates an outfit. Best worn with a white shirt underneath for contrast and to break up the solid grey. Perfect for wearing under a coat as it keeps me warm without creating bulk.

It may not be the most flattering combination for my body, but sometimes (often) practicality and comfort are the priorities.

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So, elasticated waists in trousers was first and now in skirts! The real benefit of elasticated waists is that you can wear either the trousers or the skirt high up at actual waist level or pulled slightly down to hips, which changes the length.

The other day, one of my students asked if she could ‘touch’ my skirt – such is the tactile, fluffy and comforting appeal of this fabric – just like being wrapped in soft, delicious natural fibres. I let her……..

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Well, the winter holidays are finished – back to work tomorrow and half-way through the academic year. Marking papers will intensify from now on and hence, sewing time is reduced. Blogging will also therefore be restricted but I’ll do my best, after all, sewing keeps me grounded, sane and clothed!

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I often think that I could survive wonderfully on permanent holiday – like retired – but I am actually looking forward to going back to work. I love my job, I’m lucky. I like the routine, the pressures and even the stress – it pushes and challenges me. Sewing is my escape. Without the constraints of employment I don’t think sewing would mean as much to me as it currently does. We are constantly learning about ourselves – see Felicia’s honest assessment of herself, her 2016 review of sewing and her developing style to get you thinking……..


80 Comments

Scuba Gardening

Frogs in a Bucket brought you plain and solid; Sewcraftychemist brought you stripes: both versions are absolutely fabulous with very accurate seam matching and are stunningly finished and flattering dresses, so much so that I had to make this dress. I have a bit of a posh thing to go to in July and thought I’d try this…. not in solid, not in stripes………

I bring you flowers!

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It’s not finished yet – need to hem and sort out the facing and maybe line the dress  but I’m feeling a wee bit guilty about not blogging and the sun was shinning.

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Burda 04-2016-119 – shift dress with asymmetrical neckline with detailed seaming.

It’s not a shift dress – it’s a very fitted dress! But don’t you just love those back darts?

I traced a size 42 and then fitted to body along the sides, taking in where I had to. I didn’t put in a back zip  – pointless, as the scuba stretches. And the sway back adjustment was a piece of cake as there is a waist seam, so just make a curved seam at the back. I started with the usual 5/8″ at the side and graduated to 1.5″ at centre back, then out again to 5/8″. Added 3.5″ to length and 1″ to bodice at waistline.

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Order of construction went like this:

  1. Sew front bodice and back bodice but leave centre back seam open. Sew together at shoulders, leaving side seams open too.
  2. Make facings, leaving centre back open and right side together, sew to bodice all the way around armholes and neckline. Trim and clip. Under stitch as far as possible.
  3. Pull the left back through the left shoulder seam and same for the right hand side.
  4. Press with a damp pressing cloth, 3 or 4 times.
  5. Sew centre back seam and facing all in one. Here’s a video to show you how.
  6. Sew front skirt and back skirt.
  7. Attach skirts to bodices.
  8. Put dress on and pin along both sides seams evenly to fit. Sew side seams and side seam on the facings in one go.
  9. Press, press, press
  10. Hem. (Yet to do)

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The whole of the front of the dress is cut on single layer fabric and you need about 1.5m . I got 2m which meant I could position the pattern pieces over certain flowers and fussy cut. There’s no way I was even going to attempt to pattern match. I’m making a long relaxed very fine wool pink coat to wear over and wanted more pink and purple flowers at the front as the coat will be open. The fabulous fabric is from Fabworks – Pretty Kitsch! Notes about scuba….

  1. Scuba – a spongy fabric that will not take a precision press
  2. Scuba – does not wrinkle  so can roll up in a suitcase for travelling
  3. Scuba – stretches to fit the body, even after a very large lunch or dinner
  4. Scuba – irony! – make a body con dress for people who have body con issues
  5. Scuba – disguises lumps and bumps – don’t know how, just accept and embrace it.
  6. Super to sew with; easy, stretchy, doesn’t fray.

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So, go sew this dress in geometric, animal, paisley, checks , colour blocks………

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37 Comments

The Letterless Letterman

Pay attention now, today we are going to learn something about men’s fashion……There is extra information and learning resources in the links below and I expect you all to do your own research and independent reading in preparation for your assignment due next week.


A bomber jacket:
typically made in leather or shearling with a collar, two front pockets and sometimes a zipped pocket on the left sleeve.

81DNbhWN8kL._SL1214_A Harrington jacket: usually cotton twill traditionally with a tartan lining, two front pockets and collar.

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A Letterman jacket: often made in wool, sometimes with raglan sleeves; two front pockets and collar in rib knit.

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All jackets have common features – rib knit around the hem and sleeves, pockets, length just above hip/below waist and were created for practicable menswear: bomber jackets for WWII pilots, Harringtons for golfers and the Letterman (also known as the Varsity Jacket) closely linked to Harvard University’s baseball team.

Easy now girls – here are some pictures of movie stars in jackets.

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Mmmmmm Steve…..        Right, where was I? Oh yes…

Thanks to your previous knowledge and expertise you recently directed me to a range of patterns suitable for teenage son who requested a jacket. I ended up selecting Burda 09/2014 134 as it is downloadable (almost instant) and cheap £3.99.

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All tiled, taped, seam allowances added and cut out; for your information, there are no separate pieces for the pockets you have to trace these off the front pattern and the waist and sleeve bands are just measured rectangles. The jacket has an applique letter, single welt pockets, separating long zip and is fully lined. The instructions were written in a language that I have never encountered before so for a simple looking jacket this was a major learning project. When all else fails, slip stitch the lining!

 

 

My son is very conservative in his colour palette – navy. I chose a navy quilted poly and a navy cotton/silk lining. His preferences lie in the plain and unadorned: absolutely no logos on his clothes, I have ripped out the Nike tick from sweatshirts and Hollister T-shirts are relegated to sleepwear only. After some consultation, we arrived at the final design – he refused to have the letter on his Letterman and wanted a Harrington collar instead of the rib knit version and most definitely not tight or fitted. In readiness for the next four years of learning, discovery and fun we proudly present the Letterless Letterman…with a rather reluctant model…

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Unzipped

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Zipped

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Back

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Action shot

For those of you who had to wear school uniform do you remember all those woven name tags that had to be sewn into shirts, skirts, trousers, socks, pants, shoes, blazer and anything item that was not tied down? Well I found a few left over from primary school days and of course one had to be sewn into this jacket – just in case there is another one exactly the same at uni!

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Leftovers were made into a scarf (with name tag too).

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Fully lined

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I always have a problem joining front facings to the hem. I have to ‘patch’ the join in nearly every jacket I make and this one was no exception. Any suggestions about what I’m doing wrong or better still, how to do it right, will be gratefully received.

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Over the next few weeks children who once were little will be heading off to university.

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Good luck, work hard, enjoy yourselves, phone your mothers once in a while and do your own washing before you come home!


60 Comments

St Paddy’s Day Blues

Right you lot, stop distracting me with your Kantha coats and Japanese draped tops and patchwork quilts – I’ve a SWAP to finish.

Today is St.Patrick’s Day and I usually wear something green but today I’m in blue.

Three more items done for SWAP ’15 and likely two that required the most work (at least I hope so, or else I’ll never be finished in time!).

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Corset top and pencil skirt, reverse applique with leaves, and a long cardigan/coat, single layer with applique strips around hem and sleeves.

DSCN5105The top and skirt are relatively small items to sew in that they are fitted and there’s not a lot of fabric involved and so hand sewing round all the leaves didn’t take as long as say a flared maxi dress.

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The corset top pattern comes from Alabama Stitch Book and I love it – form fitting, flattering and wears really quite like a – corset. Bit of structure with just a few running stitches; hard to believe this is possible in cotton jersey.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The skirt is self drafted pencil skirt – essentially two rectangles wide enough for my hips and curved at the waist and hem. No darts or waistband, I rely on the cotton jersey to stretch and fit.

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The cardigan is Burda suit coat because I liked the piecing and thought this would show off the stitching better.

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So a recap on completed items:

1 pair of trousers

1 long sleeved T-shirt

1 maxi skirt

1 cardigan/coat

1 corset top

1 pencil skirt

1/2 a bolero

2 tops/3 bottoms and a wildcard – good grief, I’ve a lot to do. Only 6 out of 11 and I have to figure out a refashion/reversible item yet.
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I need 5 tops/3 bottoms/ 2 wildcards/ 1 reversible by end of April.

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I may have to instigate radio silence until then…..

 


22 Comments

Remember Clover?

You know that flush of enthusiasm and excitement you feel when you get new fabric?

I had thought I’d go all classy and monochrome and so I have been stocking up on whites, ivory, blacks, monochrome tweed etc. But the fabric bundles just sat there as I became increasingly distracted by colourful chiffon prints and orange mohair. I did manage to make a black and white coat which has seen a lot of wear recently but I deviated big time.

Miss Diana from Chrysalis sends out her winter ’14 samples and I succumbed. I ordered a wool twill in the most delicious colour called dark chilli, a couple of metres of the softest thistle coloured knit and, wait for it, shiny gold denim! The sewing machine has been smokin’!

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First up, the wool twill: No. 29, Dark chilli chocolate, 100% Wool, 144cms, Pure wool Venetian twill.

A fantastic colour that is brown when brown is placed beside it, aubergine when purples are present and a good dark neutral for loads of other colours and it isn’t black! The fabric is fairly heavy so no flowing skirts or wide-legged trousers but something tailored and fitted. Most of my trouser patterns (apart from jeans) are wide legged having decided some time ago that this was my preferred style and suits me best. I did, however, jump on the Clover bandwagon a few years ago and I dug out the pattern again.

Kate has been forensically investigating tailored trousers for her impressive SWAP ’15 and maybe she subversively sent me down the slim legged trouser route – I’m glad she did.

DSCN4853A cold but wintery bright morning to showcase Clovers 2014.

Fully lined, with turn-ups, a lapped side zip and the cute front pockets. The new 7/8ths length to show off shoes and boots.

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The pattern stipulates a fabric with a little bit of stretch – 2% Lycra or such, but this wool twill has none. These are not yoga pants!

To complete the Clovers I had to go to a real live shop for lining and thread. Armed with my swatch, I bumped into the remnants rack and found a cotton poplin that otherwise I wouldn’t have looked twice at but the colours were perfect: yellows, purples, browns, touch of green. On the spot I realised I needed a blouse to wear with the Clovers.

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And then I needed a cardigan to go with the Clovers and the blouse….. off to Minerva to pick up another batch of knitted mohair but this time in saffron yellow.

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and of course I had the original thistle knit, which just happened to co-ordinate with the Clovers and the blouse……

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So from one pair of trousers, I have linked a blouse and two cardis, and re-invigorated a lot of other items in my wardrobe.

In the meantime, have a great New Year: may you all have good sewing, good ideas and to quote

may your bobbin never run out half way through the hemming……”

 

  • Trousers – Colette Clover
  • Blouse – Kwik Sew 3782 (OOP, shame as this is an all time favourite)
  • Yellow cardi – Burda pattern 08/2012/117D with mods   
  • Thistle cardi – self-drafted: How to make the thistle waistcoat in the next posting….

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