Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane



Here’s how another One Thing can lead to another, which can lead to many more…..I just love the trail of thoughts and ideas and discovering where they all end up. Starting points……

Mags sent me to Croftmill for grey ponte at £7.00 p/m: Elaine sent me to Kaliyana for asymmetrical zip jacket and the Anti-Suit: one of the lovely ladies from our Sewing Away Day donated a fine grey spotted cotton jersey: Julie wore a jacket on the same day that had droopy back pockets and was so casually impressive and understated that I want one: Anne showed the most beautiful Chanel suit this week: many, many other blog active sewers have been showing and telling their cropped/wide leg/trousers/culottes. I put in the hours of planning, cutting and sewing.  Armed with a bag of assorted open ended plastic zips, some almost-matching thread, some patterns and a bit of flexible time – this is the result from my too short half-term break.


Many patterns were gathered, edited and then finally selected to the finalists – Vogue 8641 five easy pieces, Vogue 1550 Paco Peralta, Vogue 8559 Marcy Tilton, self-drafted Three Bears T.

I’ll start with the jacket as it is a wee bit impressive, even if I have say so myself because there’s no one else writing this. We’ll call it an idea in progress.

Start with Marcy Tilton’s 8559 (OOP) cardigan-wrap top; no side seams and cut on the fold, no back seam either. A waterfall front, centre back seamed collar and shoulder seams. Clever pattern placement can easily incorporate selvedge edges too, although using the dark grey ponte fraying isn’t an issue and raw edges are abundantly on view. I added a whopping 9″ to the length, then got to work on adding zips!

Three zips on either side. Hopefully they form some sort of design feature on their own but they are also functional – an infinity jacket? I had to press gang Doris into modelling today because, quite honestly I couldn’t have been bothered. Hopefully you’ll understand why in a just a moment.


Left open and unzipped, the zips provide a bit of weight to help the fabric drape (ha – I like to believe this is similar to Chanel’s chain on the bottom of a jacket – dream on….).

Zip 1 – short centre fronts. Zip 2 – bottom right edge matching with a right hand side princess seam location. Zip 3 – 45 degrees on right hand side and shoulder width on left.


All the zips zip into one another; that is, zip 1 will zip into zip 2; zip 2 will zip into zip 3 and so on. This multitude of zips allows for a multitude of closure options; exaggeration of the draped front and hemline, cowl necklines, loose or square body shape.


Zip 3 zipping into zip 3 pulls and is quite difficult to do up so I might have to rethink the position of these ones. However, I can close zip 1 with zip 2 or zip 3 for yet more variations.


If zips do not provide enough variations for your taste, then add a sewn brooch to merely clip various points of the jacket closed to suit your mood and the weather conditions.


But wait, that’s not all. Being very impressed with Julie’s jacket, I added a deep strip of leftover fabric to the back and sides of the jacket matching the raw edges to provide those covetous voluminous back pockets and I also managed to get two at the fronts too. They will be very handy to hold emergency rations such as Kendall Cake and Mars Bars.


And because this ‘pocket’ band is on a different grain there is a gentle shading that I always find attractive in unique clothes. Other waste selvedge cut offs were added to the sleeves as mock cuffs, adding weight and extra finishing.


I did experience the dreaded jersey wobble – which could be an acronym from suburban New York for cellulite but I mean the stitching of a zip to stretch fabric. Is there a remedy? I know I could have added interfacing but this is an unlined jacket and visual evidence of reinforcing would be unacceptable. All suggestions welcome for both problems……….DSCN7564

The tunic top was quickly made from the donated cotton jersey in Vogue 1550. There’s nothing fancy or notable about this, apart from the fact that IT IS Paco Peralta. I didn’t add the signature inserts but did manage to do admirable mitred corners on the side drape points.

The pale grey ponte was put into use as a pull on pair of trousers from Vogue 8641 (OOP). Again, not too much to declare about these apart from adding two, shaped patched pockets on the front and cropped, more because of fabric restrictions than trends.

Finally, I just had to make use of the leftovers and cutoffs and managed to sew a Three Bears T (see link above) that became more of a sweatshirt. It has two layers below the bust seam that allows for minor variations of styling. There’s a few raw edge seams to follow the theme, such as cuffs, hems and bust line.

I don’t like the matchy-matchy trousers and top – too much like PJs. It looks much better with a dark grey bottom and believe me, I have many dark grey trousers to wear with this.


So, there you have it – four pieces that became an outfit and what’s better, they can all be worn with existing wardrobe items that hopefully coincide with Oska and Kaliyana aesthetics.

This has got me thinking of joining SWAP this year although I am late to the party. My primary colours being grey and adding highlights of whatever colour I like because grey is such a neutral. Is there a colour that does not wear well with grey?


This style of dressing is definitely not form fitting, no pencil skirts or slim-line trousers here but so comfortable, transitional and, dare I say it, unique?


I mean, how many of your jackets have back pockets?

Now, in which pocket did I put that Mars Bar?


The Artist, Her mate and a Pink Lady

More T-shirts this week ….but I do have loads of knit/jersey to sew through first,so please bear with me. I am beginning to regard these as tunics, not T-shirts because of the length and flare. Personally I like the length and flare but a T-shirt to me is relatively fitted and hip-length. Slide1

The Artist is not for me but for someone else who is an artist and needs some artistic clothes. Five fabrics this time with gold trim and matching infinity scarf because what else are you going to do with little left-overs? The hem is asymmetrical and I added godets at the side seams for extra flare. One sleeves is black lace and the other is patterned mesh. A good mixture of scuba, viscose, cotton, lace and mesh – oh my!



Her Mate is for me and not quite as artistic but uses the same fabrics and style: here you can see the extra triangle in pink polka dots.


The Pink Lady is literally what’s still left over and can be put to reasonable use.

All tunics are view D from Vogue 9057 and inspired by the Craftsy class Artful T-Shirt by the Tilton sisters. A good stash buster for panels, godets, sleeve bands and cuffs etc but bear in mind that you do need a decent 1m of fabric for the main body of the tunic and get as wide as you can.

The knits/jerseys are at last diminishing, just a little bit left to go  – normal sewing shall resume shortly.


I have bought more patterns in the recent Vogue sale, a Japanese pattern book and I’m slowly coming to the very sad conclusion that I do not have enough cash to buy the fab fabrics I want; not enough time to sew everything I want to sew; not enough social occasions to wear all the clothes to! Any suggestions?






SWAP A1 (again) & B2

I asked, you answered, I acted….

SWAP Combination A, first garment looked like this



I listened and contemplated your very appreciated comments (thank you), then I got to work……….

Method: Lob off a wack of fabric from the bottom and remove patch pockets.


Put on Doris and pin out two shaping darts at the back

and two fitting darts on the front – sew.

Fold over the big collar to narrow it and do some stuff with trims and topstitching along the hem, darts and other edges

Make a buttonhole and sew on an almost coordinating button found in stash. My little Janome’s buttonhole contraption won’t sew a hole for a button this big so I just cut a rectangle and small stitched in place for extra reinforcement. The fleece won’t fray.

So almost back to the original plan. I should have stuck to it the first place and not try to be smart.


Worn today with the first garment for SWAP combination B (slate greys).


The most delicious Italian finest fine wool in tiny herringbone bought from Joel & Sons in their end of year remnant sale. Made into Vogue 9162. I am planning on making all three items from this pattern for SWAP B. The pattern includes a loose-fitting, lined jacket with welt pockets, an oversized shirt and these wide-legged pants.

Slide3The wide legged trousers have in-seam side pockets and an elasticated waist (honestly, I really did type that and I made them and I wear them!).

Let’s have a word about elasticated waists – the good things are that you don’t need a matching zip, buttons, hooks and eyes to finish; easy to make; easy to fit; easy to pull on and off. The bad things are that it’s an elasticated waist! Gathering, bunching, I can’t help associating them with women of a certain age……and it feels like I’m not sewing a ‘real’ garment and taking an easy way out.


Anyway, the trousers are actually quite good. They are supposed to worn with loose shirts on the outside to hide the elastic, so nobody but you and me will ever know. Just in case I ever decide to wear a short top or tuck in a shirt I added belt loops and made a button belt for a more polished look.


The trousers are unlined so I always wear my trouser-petticoat to prevent bumming and kneeing in the fine wool. These are always excellent for extra warmth in wintery weather.

BTW – just look at the difference in my colouring when I wear just dark grey and how much warmer I am wearing the pink jacket, so I might now have to rethink the solid grey combination for SWAP combo B!


Only second garment in and once again a possible change of plans.


SWAP will have to be put on hold for a week or two while I go on safari for Jungle January. Actually, my contribution for 2016 is heralding from the frozen heights of the Himalayas rather than the heat of the savannah ….


As always I’m in two minds about wearing animal printed fabric. This is the 5th year of me joining in and every year so far my efforts are inside, under or otherwise somewhat discreet. This year I’ll either look devastatingly Parisian or else a very poor imitation of Cruella de Ville.

101 Dalmations - Live Action Remake.Copyright: Disney.

101 Dalmatians – Live Action Remake. Copyright: Disney.

Just for fun – spot the snow leopard






CCN Ep2/S1

Second edition of CoreCouture News….

I went away at the week end with a couple of friends and a good time was had by all. As a consequence, there was no sewing done but plenty of shopping, trying on, browsing and talking and we managed to sort out our fashion fears, dressing for occasion angsts, marriages, children and even the world – so rest assured, you can all sleep peacefully tonight – me and my mates have it sorted!

I did wear my AC coat over jeans in Fermanagh but honestly it is so unseasonably warm here in Northern Ireland that my summer gear is still in rotation – I’m still wearing linen trousers and cotton tops in October!


Top50-winner-160Quite honestly, I have absolutely no idea how this happened or actually what this little blog is doing here, however, apparently Corecouture has been voted as a Top 50 Sewing Blog by Burda fans. I’m guessing that I’ve scrapped through at number 50 but nevertheless, it is an honour and thank you very much to anyone and everyone who voted for me. I had no idea I was even nominated which makes this win ever better.

Part of the ‘win’ is a prize of 5 free patterns and a free on-line class on tailoring, which is brilliant as my next big make is a jacket. I’ve done tailoring before but you can never know too much.

The 5 patterns I’ve chosen are a mish-mash of styles and sewing ability but I tried to fill the gaps in my pattern stash and just a little bit of what took my fancy: I also have most of the fabric just folded and waiting to be made into something fabulous for A/W 14/15- here’s hoping!

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Needless to say, I’ll be making some Burda patterns in not too distant future. I have to admit that my success with Burda has not been without its tribulations in the past, mainly due to to the tracing issues – but I’m ready to give it another go and more than willingly to be proved wrong, especially as the styles and fashion look as good as this…..

Blog Hopping

The absolutely  inspiring and role model – Sewing Elle has nominated me to do a Blog Hopping. There are some hard questions to answer but I’ll do my best – so add her to your blog roll. You should add her to your blog role anyway…..

In typical academic methodology, I’ve researched blog hopping and it is similar to linky-things( technical jargon, you understand)

A Blog Hop is a linky list that is shared between a group of blogs so people “hop” from blog to blog seeing the same list on each blog. 

Anyone who blogs knows how time consuming and fraught with tribulation the process is – the sewing, the pressing, the styling, photos, light, etc, so I’m taking this seriously and hopefully the results will bear fruit to the efforts invested.

Which kind of takes me back to Burda….. obviously they want to use blogs as marketing tools. I’ve been offered a percentage commission on any Burda product that I advertise on this site. Whilst tempting, this is not what I starting blogging for  -this is primarily for you!  Definitely not for for my readers to be bombarded by adverts and deals and most certainly NOT for me to make money. If I like a pattern, or learn from an on-line class I am more than happy to share this with you without personal benefit: I have a full-time job which I love to bits and sewing is a hobby – see the difference?

I’ll probably be relegated to “beyond” the Top 50 Bloggers now!


Belfast Sewers

The doyen of frocks Ozzyblack Beard (she is our own home-based Dolly Clacket and you should add her to your blog role too – no commission, honestly) and I are attempting to arrange a get-togther of local sewers and crafters. I’m afraid I’m falling into the Irish attitude of ‘whenever’, but if you are interested and from NI, ROI or any where in the world, email myself or Lynne and we will try to arrange a day and time properly – like they do in New York, London and Brighton. We can’t promise garment district shopping as there are only one and half fabric shops in the greater Belfast area but we can at least have a pleasurable morning/afternoon together: swapping fabric stashes, patterns and sharing website and experiences. While Ozzy and I are both sewers of garments, we would love creative and artistic folks to join us too. We can all learn from each other. Lynne, I promise I’m seriously thinking about this but weekends away with friends are sooo good and it takes a few days to recover………..



After all the hand sewing stuff for Alabama Chanin (which is totally addictive, yes I agree Mrs Mole) I did fire up the Janome and sewed some things. These are Indie patterns, probably downloaded and taped together about a year ago but I’m only getting around to making them now.

No time for ‘action’ photos right now so here is Doris in all her glory wearing the latest from Corecouture – these are – Named Flan blouse, Grainline Moss skirt and self-drafted jeans





Steam pressing, real life photos and fabric and sewing details to follow….. stay tuned – `I’m not getting paid anyway” LOL


Knock off & Giveaway

You may have noticed a little- bitty ‘Pin It’ button over there on the right – Yes, I settled down one evening, put the brain in gear and got to grips with Flickr and Pinterest – all the rest can go to pot but I (think) am active on these platforms at least. I may not Pin too often and forget to upload to Flickr but I have the option now I suppose.

I’d rather have a direct interaction with my virtual friends and the following is an example of what I like…….

Marianna’s latest challenge is a Vivienne Westwood inspired item. I saw a check (plaid) in a local shop quite recently and this was the perfect excuse to go and buy it. I managed to get the end of roll – 4.5m for the price of 3! Can’t be bad. At the same time I bought 4m of poly-cotton for draping purposes.

I do like VW – she wears her own clothes for a start which is a good thing and although some designs are a bit weird, she makes clothes for real people who have curves and short legs and they always look fabulous. Her dresses make the stick thin Hollywood actors look like real women and the real curvy women look voluptuous and delicious. Just look at Nigella and Helena! Two style icons but totally different and they both rock in VW.

I like her because she’s a woman, she’s British, she’s stayed the pace – she just celebrated her 65th birthday, she’s not afraid of the big bad wolf or speaking her mind, and she has adapted and changed with the times.



Using my Christmas present to myself, because you have to be sure you get what you wantDraping The Complete Course,  and surfing for many hours of totally justified research on Goggle images, I have spent many a happy hour in the sewing room this week not actually sewing but draping, designing, pinning and generally having fun with fabric.



In the book – There is even a chapter in the book on VW! But I started with the bias drape camisole and worked from there.


The book comes with a DVD which has yet to be played! Yeah, I know it all….. heard that before?

My inspiration is this (yes, I know this where I’m supposed to link to my Pinterest board but I haven’t built one – the pics are here instead):


So I draped and cut and generally mucked about and this what happened……




The poly cotton was ripped into squares and pinned on Doris: drawn all over with a child’s felt-tip pen: hacked with scissors into a sort of shape: pinned together: removed and tidied up to use as a guide for cutting out the fabric.

Drapey sort of neckline; sleeveless (so far); full-ish skirt with asymmetrical hemline; off-centre bodice point; weird one-sided bodice dart. I’ll be going for a side zip and an in-seam pocket. And I wish I looked like Doris from the side – flat tummy and no sway back!

No pattern, no instructions, no rules – anarchy! Vivienne would be so proud!

The fabric? Cotton/linen blend in muted greys and air-force blue with white and neutral highlights. Here are the bits cut out and pinned onto Doris to get a general idea of the finished dress.



OK, that bit about no rules is maybe wrong…. there is a glaring mistake – can you spot it?

I have some patterns that remain uncut, haven’t even been taken out of their envelopes so they’re up for grabs. You have to follow this blog to be in with a chance and in a random selection of old and new followers who come up with the correct answer in the comments section the winner(s) will be chosen. Will post globally.

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Vogue 8499 – Marcy Tilton Pants and Skirt – size 14-20, Easy

Vogue 1022 – Issey Miyake Pants and long jacket – size sm-med (10 – 14), Average

Vogue 8932 – Jacket and Vest – size 12-20, Easy



Vogue 1312 – Lynn Mizono dress, size 16-24 , Easy

Vogue 1307 – Today’s Fit Sandra Betzina trousers, all sizes, Easy

StyleArc’s Rosie Top – size Aus 12

You can pick one or as many patterns, or even all of them – whatever you want! If there’s more than one person interested in a particular pattern there’ll be a ‘names-in-the-hat’ draw. The selections will be made on the 20th May 22.00 GMT. Please make sure you leave a trail with an e-mail address so I can contact you to get your postal address. 

Most of these patterns were bought in sales – yeah just like the bargains in RTW! Will I never learn? I’d love to able to wear Marcy Tilton because I love her unique style but I just don’t have the hips. Some of the patterns are duplicates and some are just in my stash for no apparent reason apart from the fact that I liked them. And so,one week in to Me-Made-Made ’14 and it’s making me review what’s good and what’s not for me.

What’s not good for me just might be good for you!

Good luck!