corecouture

Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane


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Wearin’ Designin’ December

The A/W O collection is nearly complete so I turned my sewing attention to knocking off a few Issey Miyake Pleats Please pieces. This was driven, inspired and encouraged by Linda, Nicedressthanksimadeit.  for her annual Designin’ December event.

“Why buy when you can make it yourself – better and for less money?”
We have all seen something we LOVE either in the stores, online or on the runways, but don’t actually want to buy for some reason.  So I propose that we sew that garment that we see/want.  Now if you are lucky and you already have an exact pattern, either an indie pattern, your own self-drafted, or a “Big 4” pattern, that you can use – then go for it!  If you have to alter a pattern that you already have, or draft your own pattern, you can do that too.  Whatever works for you.  Let’s make what we see and want!

Here are my designer originals….

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…..and here’s what I made

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The olive green plisse poly was found on eBay for a song – 3m for a paltry £12. It looks much more shiny in the photos than in real life which is more like a sheen than a shine.

The black crinkle fabric for the duster coat is from Croftmill and I used the wrong side on the right side – bit classier in my opinion.

Trousers

Two patterns were involved – Vogue 1550, Paco Peralta for the leg width and length and Vogue 1508, Zandra Rhodes for the elasticated waistband.

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I just laid both pattern pieces on top of one another and cut the shape I wanted – no drafting needed and no pattern was harmed in the making of these trousers.

The plisse poly is slightly stretchy and doesn’t fray – here’s me ‘hemming’ the trouser legs:

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I made the trousers with a deep elasticated waistband and a few belt carriers added to hold the self fabric, non-edged, single layer tie belt. Simple.

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Top

I used Drape Drape 2 asymmetrical top and, while this is not an exact copy of the Miyake original, it served my purpose admirably with its lopsided look and Japanese aesthetic.

After sewing up the one-piece piece of fabric, the front neckline was truly low! I may have made an error somewhere in the cutting or sewing – who knows?  Easy fix though, I wear the top back to front. However, I did add another little pleat at the old centre front which is now the new centre back to draw the neckline up a bit. With me here?

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The sleeve edges and neckline are turned over and sewn but the hem is not – it matches the trouser hemming technique.

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Coat

Using StyleArc’s Toni dress as a basis for the coat I lengthened the sleeves by simply cutting long along the pattern lines; the front seam is not sewn closed but turned in, sewn and left open, I added a single button closure; the side seams are sewn as far as the ‘drape’ to create side splits. There are no pockets.

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I added some cuffs to the sleeve hems just because I had a little bit of fabric that suited the purpose.

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Buttoned up and showing the height of the side splits.

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Here’s an out-shot showing the actual right side of the fabric in the inside which I choose as the wrong side (bottom left) – everybody still following me here?  I just thought the matt side was classier and a good contrast to the sheen of the plisse. You can also get an idea of the waft and drape of the coat.

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The Designin’ December outfit was paired with Trippen boots, pearls, full make-up and blow-dried hair. I was actually going on a very posh night out – hence the extravagance – I don’t usually hang around the house looking like this! Actually I do………..no I don’t!

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Many thanks to Linda for getting me involved and for those of you out there who are inspired by designer clothes, it’s not too late to join in.

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Show us your Designer Original photo and how you put together your Designer me-made COPY.

Hopefully I’ve done that and in your opinion – did I get a designer outfit for around 34 quid  instead of £ 1,500?

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O1 Jacket

As promised, here’s the low-down on a few of my pieces for O1 specifically, the reversible jacket made as part of my O autumn/winter collection and the doubled layered top. My first outfit has the really imaginative title of O1 and this jacket will also form part of the equally imaginatively titled O2 ensemble.

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The fabric is a double sided wool knit – navy and grey – comes from Fabworks.

The pattern is Vogue 9162: Kathryn Brenne design which includes shirt, trousers and the jacket. I made all the pieces last year so I already knew what was involved in the construction of the jacket – the original is fully lined with hand top stitching and acres of interfacing – there were many modifications made for this version, mostly eliminations!

Interestingly, when I look back on the photos from May 2016 I see a change in myself; I don’t know if you do too- but only 18 months ago and I appear completely different. Maybe it’s a state of mind. One of the added benefits of blogging is not just a diary of sewing but the alterations in one’s self:

I started this log of sewing adscn0495nd other things back in November 2011 – almost six years ago – and while the photographs document the onslaught of age I also see a change in personal style and knowingly personal attitude.  I’ve lost weight, started exercising regularly and generally am feeling much better about my life and really comfortable in my own skin – clothes are just the accessories.  I also found a hair stylist who understands and knows me and what’s more important, knows what suits me – invaluable!

Look at that hair! I thought is was great at the time! I still have the boots, scarf and the jacket  and still wear them.

Let’s bring you back to the present……

Double faced (two sided) fabric is made with two separate fabrics that are bonded together. It tends to be heavy-middle weight, obviously, but is perfect for reversible garments or those whose inside will be on display, like the revers of a jacket or a turned back cuff. On the whole, this type of fabric does not fray so leaving edges unfinished and naked can only add to the overall style.

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There are various ways to sew seams on double faced fabric, depending on what you want the final the garment to look like:

  1. Sew as usual; no special treatment or considerations. This produces a ‘raw’ edge on one side that displays both sides of the fabric and can be attractive. It is best to trim the raw edges evenly.

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2. Flat felled seams, as in a shirt, which results in a tidy, neat finish but tends to be bulky and lumpy, depending on the weight of your fabric. Sew the seam as usual, trim away one side, fold over the untrimmed edge over the other side to hide the raw edge, sew in place.

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3. A half flat felled seam. Sew as usual and trim one side of the seam allowance; fold over the larger seam and stitch close to the edge. Less bulky than 2. On one side some colour of the reverse will be visible.

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4. Overlap seam. Match the seam allowances on both pieces and overlap, ie. lay one on top of the other. Sew both seam allowances close to the edge like an edge stitch. Much flatter than 2 and 3; the reverse side tends to show on both both sides, however minutely and might well add to your final design.

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5. Separate the two layers by pulling apart. It helps to hand tack or machine with a very large stitch to mark the seam allowance as this stops you separating the two fabrics too far. Sew one layer as usual, right side to right side. On the reverse, trim the excess from seam allowance, on the matching seam allowance fold over and under the trimmed side – totally encompassing the raw edges of the original seam. Hand stitch the reverse fabric in place using a fell stitch or slip stitch – whatever is best for your look, fabric and finished garment. This produces a neat, relatively flat seam that is equally tidy from both sides. The downside is that this method is time consuming and laborious.Slide5You then have the option of machine top stitching the finished seam or leaving as is, albeit with an extremely good press.

For instructions on sewing with double faced fabrics, download this and keep it for future reference. It’s really useful.

I opted for No. 5 seams to sew O1 jacket but didn’t do the machine top stitching, just left the hand stitching to pucker and display for all to see.

There are pockets on both sides of the jacket – rather, there are pockets on one side with an opening on the other: navy side has a welt opening, the grey side has patch pockets that cover the welt’s insides and are the actual pockets. The stitching that sewed the patch pockets on the grey side defines the pocket on the navy side.

The collar is a 2X2 rib, knitted on large needles in mottled grey wool. The fabric was separated around the neck edge, raw edges folded under and the knit collar sandwiched between the two. Machine stitched in place. I took this idea unabashedly from Shams – thank you.  

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Along all the edges – fronts, hem and cuffs – I separated the two layers, folded under the raw edges and slip stitched together for a neater, tidier finish, although this is unnecessary because the fabric doesn’t fray. I just liked the more ‘complete’ look.

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What I didn’t do: a lot!

No lining. No interfacing. No front facings – these were cut but trimmed narrower for the jacket’s fold over. No hand top stitching. In fact, all I cut out was a back, two fronts and sleeves. I lengthened the body by a few inches. The sleeves are just folded back to whatever length I fancy on any given day which means the reverse side, whatever which one, is always on show.

There’s no closure on the original jacket and no closure on this one either. I’ll have to get one of those impressive and elaborate safety pins to hold the front closed.

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My jacket is too big. My original is too big too and I should have remembered this or at the very least, read my own blog! The sleeves are mega long and I always fold them up.  Anyway, I’ll still be wearing both (not together mind you)  while going for that oversized look.

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May 2016

Which now makes me wonder if I have always had a secret hankering for an Oska look without actually admitting it. When I surveyed my pattern stash I found quite a few that fitted with the aesthetic and I have a few completed items that will already work with my intended O collection.

I still love a pencil skirt and a fitted dress that defines the waist and skims curvy hips but loose, relaxed clothes certainly have a strong pull, especially for the everyday. Maybe there’s a way to combine the two…..

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Double Layered Top

The double layered, front-split top was self-drafted. Made from cotton jersey, elbow length kimono sleeves, scarf-type collar (cut from whatever was leftover) and is as versatile as it is practicable.

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Underneath layer tucked in with outer layer loose. The fronts have centre front seams that allow for the split to made easily.  It’s just a scooped neck T-shirt with an off-centre round edge collar.

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All loose; It can be worn on its own but I usually have a long sleeved T underneath – I like the contrast colours worn together.

The layers are both right side out and the hems in the sleeves are sewn on the inside which does require a wee bit of fabric manipulation and 3D mental rotation but there are no raw edges on show.  All finishing was done on the serger/overlocker.

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And then the realisation hit that while I had plenty of fabric for trousers I had very little for coordinating tops etc. Christine sent me to EmmaOneSock…..a mega amount of dollars lighter I’m hoping to complete some of these outfits in time for winter. Of course, I completely adore and appreciate everyone’s advice, suggestions and information -and I know Chris was trying to help and be a good sewing friend however, I do have a mortgage to pay and while I still own a dining table, I need to put food upon it!!! Mind you, hopefully, I’ll look damn good serving.

And we if can’t afford heating, I have a cosy jacket (or two) to wear!


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AUFO

Or – to add another acronym to the lexicon of sewing terms – Abandoned Un-Finished Object. I’m giving you the punchline at the beginning here.

You know when all of a sudden and out of the blue you need an item of clothing that you do not own but you really, really want to have and so you spend near 100% of your precious shopping time, planning time, thinking time etc etc to find perfection. NO? Just me?

Today the holy grail is……A lightweight summer raincoat/trench: sling on with jeans; slide on over cotton dresses; slip into for shower proofness with pencil skirts and pussy-bow blouses; leave lying in the car for emergencies or pack for weekends away for just in case; pull on regardless just to nip to the shops or just because.

I found one in M&S but it has too many buttons and too elaborate with belt and flaps and other stuff.

I found another in Dunnes which looked perfect from the front but hideous from the back with an long inverted pleat (swing-like) and slightly too dark a colour – I was aiming for stone/off-white/ivory).

Zara had some offerings too but nothing that floated my boat. While they are delicious coats they are just not what I had in mind.

What’s a girl to do? Get a sewing machine, some material, a pattern and a wee bit of time – that’s what.

I found Waffle Patterns and the Bamboo Straight cut coat. – Now this is perfection – it fits all my requirements for a summer trench – now all I have to do is find the perfect fabric. The pattern was purchased, printed and tiled (PDF) and we’re ready to go.bamboo_019_1024x1024

I headed off to Croftmill and purchased some stone coloured, light-weight cotton along with 3m of Barbour (no less) lining.

Over the first week of the Easter holidays, all was cut out and anticipation was high, very high….

And here we have my part in the perfect Trenchcoat downfall.

First advice I can offer you is to follow the instructions – I did not and thought I knew what I was doing and we all know how that goes…

Windowpane pockets with flaps are disasters. Lots of wrinkles, tucks and sloppy sewing – bad, bad, bad. And no amount of pressing is going to get that lot flat!

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The cotton that was in stash that was used as interfacing shows through; not really that noticeable but to me it is.

Not everything I cut out and sew is wearable. Wisdom in sewing is knowing when to persevere and when to give up. This is now an abandoned project and I’m moving on to something more inspiring, exciting, colourful and hopefully more successful.

Back to M&S me thinks. Buy a coat and replace all the buttons.

…..or Zara to buy a coat and then cut 12″ off the hem….

Or Dunnes and sew closed the back inverted pleat….

Yeah, go buy and dog and bark yourself!

 

 

 


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The Woman on the Tube Train

Not quite The Girl on a Train, but will show that you can get inspiration for sewing from anywhere – trains, the Underground, books, TV, movies, each other……

Not blogging doesn’t mean not sewing: I’ve been doing the latter but not the former so in an attempt to rectify that here’s a few recent makes.

First up is the Anderson blouse from Sew Over It. Inspiration for the pattern came from Gillian Anderson’s character in The Fall. Her wardrobe consisted of silk blouses, dark pencil skirts and Louboutins,  ’cause you know how easy they are to wear all day, every day!

Previously I made this blouse in a very fine pale peach wool but the colour was all wrong for me and although it was a thin wool there was no drape and the whole thing was a waste of fabric and time. Needless to say the pattern went to the back of the pile.

I read lots of reviews about the Anderson blouse and every one of them stated that a fluid, drapey fabric is a must: there’s also a consistent wardrobe malfunction with the front wrap over – with varying methods for dealing with this – from wearing a camisole to wrapping the fronts high up to the throat. Here’s a super version by Heather but I don’t think one sewer didn’t make some alteration or adjustment to the pattern. The conclusion from all this research is that is a blouse that MUST be worn tucked in…. and tucked in tightly! If you don’t like tucked-in stuff, then this is not for you.

I came across this digital print poly satin on Croftmill in greens and pinks and decided that I’d give the Anderson a second chance. My notions box is quite depleted at the moment, so any pattern that doesn’t require buttons, zips, hooks and eyes is an attractive option.

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Leaving off the drawstring hem and cuffs, this was quickly sewn up on the serger and as long as I stand erect with shoulders back and the fronts well tucked in, the front doesn’t gape at all.

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Always there are leftovers so I decided to line a coat with them…….

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One day while I was visiting London earlier this year, a woman got on the Tube and sat opposite me. She had on an apple green jumbo corduroy coat, 1970s style, a black shift dress and apple green opaque tights. The coat looked so lived in and comfortable that I quickly determined that it must have been a favourite item in her wardrobe. She wore it so well – casually stylish; effortless.

Once home the hunt was initiated for jumbo cord in green – found at long last on Croftmill. Not in apple green but sea green instead.

The pattern is Vogue 1266: semi-fitted, lined, slightly flared coat, above ankle length, princess seams, two-piece sleeves and back centre split. Lots of variations with collars, pockets and cuffs.

I went for view B – double breasted but with the front welt pockets with flaps from view A and the cuffs from view C. You need a whopping 4m of fabric for this coat.

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I just love the way the corduroy nap creates different shades of green.

 

I cut my usual 14 but ended up doing alterations by nipping in tight at the waist and raising the shoulders/sleeve heads by about 2″. I wanted a more close fitting coat.

dscn6802It’s not perfect – I messed about too much with the front princess seams and they’re wrinkling and stretched but then I also wanted a coat that looked like I’d had it for years and had that well worn look, just like the woman’s on the tube.

dscn6813This is intended as an everyday coat not special occasion and I’m hoping that with more and more wear it will soften and mould and last for years.

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There’s a puckering/wrinkle in two places on the hem that I just can’t figure out. It looks like the lining is caught but it’s not and there are no stray stitches either. Another good pressing may be in order.

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c57d989594c64506123ee3b90765053fIt billows out as I stride along and reminds me somewhat of a WW1 great coat.

This coat was worn by officers and was usually made from heavy wool and tailored specifically for them by their Savile Row tailors.

Obviously much better made than my humble version but there’s a historical link here. Check out the development of the trench coat, for example.

I had contemplated adding epaulets and a belt but was too impatient to get the coat finished and worn that I never did.

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Now, you all knew that the coat came first, didn’t you? dscn6811

I haven’t done a Best /Worst 2016 post but this coat, despite all its flaws, is definitely one of my favourites; the Anderson blouse  – not so favourite…….

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And to finish the 2016 sewing blog posts : Cat endorses WW1 great coat/1970s corduroy inspired by woman on a tube train coat.

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Thank you very much for all your support,encouragement and feedback in 2016.

Thank you also to all of you who read my previous post and donated to MS. Truly, you are generous and big hearted.

Here’s wishing everyone a very Happy New Year and may all your sewing dreams come to fruition in 2017.


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I Can Kantha 2

With the seasonal transition fully fledged I bought another Kantha quilt to cut up and sew into a long, loose coat-like thing. First one here.

This quilt is mainly blue and white with a little bit of green in the border; plain blue back and those fabulous hand wrought running stitches.

The pattern chosen is from The Pattern Company – a German company who have thousands of patterns online. The only gripe about the Internet site is that the pictures are too small when scanning for designs.

Anyway, this is not a new pattern but one I’ve made before way back in 2012 as a summer-weight raincoat. This newer version was hacked and lengthened and widened and actually bears no resemblance to the original at all.

 

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Makes me wonder why I used a pattern at all!

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The finished coat has that unique hand-made wonky look which is a combination of the original fabric and my rather laissez-faire approach to pattern cutting……

The coat is reversible so the seams were flat-felled.

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Side seam: flat-felled

I managed to place the pattern pieces so that I could use the original hand sewn edge finish of the quilt as my hem on both the body and the sleeves.

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And today has the perfect conditions I envisioned for this coat – clear blue skies, brilliant sunshine but with that nip in the air that reminds us that it’s now time to pack away the cotton skirts and sleeveless sundresses.

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As usual, I can’t bear to not use any viable leftover fabric, so I sewed the remnants together and made a long scarf, which could also act as a belt should I ever desire.

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To make pockets that are accessible from both sides on reversible coats/jackets see here.

In summary, make a window-pane opening with a flap or welts on one side and on the reverse add a patch pocket positioned to cover the messiness of the welts on the inside. One pocket- two openings.

My sleeves are too long but that’s the result of using the original edges of the quilt. I usually fold them back to reveal the plain blue insides, or if wearing the other way, the border pattern.

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The hand running stitches are a pattern all on their own and too good to hide away.

Underneath the coat today is Bootstrap skinny jeans and a RTW vest. I think of this coat as a dressing gown that is perfectly acceptable to be worn outside in public but it has that homely, comfort feeling – just like wearing ‘a quilt’!

I certainly could have made it a lot narrower and more fitted and it probably would have looked ‘more polished’ but with this style I can wear sweaters underneath and still slip it on. Personally, I like the looseness as it retains some of the original quilt qualities – wrapping up in comfort. It also bellows out majestically behind me when I stride along.

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Sewing projects are slightly on the back foot at the moment as the new term settles in and the better part of my time is spent on salary paying duties. However, just because I’m not producing finished  items to wear, rest assured I am scheming and planning and watching everything you produce……..sewing by proxy!