corecouture

Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane


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Same but Different

A little diversion (or two) from my own personal A/W wardrobe which features some sewing for others. Based upon the available evidence I have come to the conclusion that I do not make subtle quilts!

DSCN7371Well, maybe one, but all the rest are riots of colour, patterns and random designs. I follow my personal edic for quilt making: buy fabric, cut it up, sew it back together again and that’s the quilt done.

My oldest cousin’s eldest daughter (have you all followed that line of ancestry?) had identical twin girls at the end of summer. Imagine – two of everything!

My mother knitted two little jackets, other people bought two baby gros, two jammies, two cots, two Moses baskets, two cardigans, two of anything….a double buggy, two car seats etc etc etc…..

I contributed to the next, next generation by sewing two quilts – almost the same but different, as will be these two little girls: identical but with individual personalities.

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The Hungry Caterpillar collection of fabrics featured widely, boosted by Kaffe Fasset designs and a few odds and ends.

These are not pretty pink and pastel shades but vibrant, rainbow, crazy. Hopefully gender ambiguous and therefore can re-used for other offspring.

The block is really simple: a 5″ square with 2.5″ border on two sides. When assembled, it makes a four patch with edges. One fish, one heart, one, rainbow, one alphabet.

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Each quilt has 2 X 3 blocks and are probably more suited to lying on a cot or baby bed rather than a pram or crib.  They measure in and around 28″ X 42″, but that’s an approximation. Always suitable to laying on the floor too. The babies are tiny and currently both of them will easily lie side by side on one of these quilts together. I’m hoping that in time they will both claim each quilt as their own.

I did succumb to a little gender identity to suit the current recipients – one quilt has a pale pink backing and the other a pale lilac. Names and dates regulatory.

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Zoe and Sophie – welcome to the world…..

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I hope you both make it as colourful and as chaotic as your namesake quilts.

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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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A/W 2017

All the leftovers from spring/summer are used up so it was time to buy some real fabric for the Autumn/Winter 2017 wardrobe. But what to buy? What should I make?

Enter Oska – my inspiration for this year. They are a German clothing company with real shops and online and I have fallen head over heels in love with their designs and styling. This is who I want to be this year…….

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Oska design on the basis of silhouette types:

A-silhouette – feminine, figure-flattering, subtly elegant
Box-silhouette – casual, comfortable and urban
H-Silhouette – reduced, purist and variable
O-silhouette – expressive, authentic and individual
V-silhouette – casual, relaxed and variable

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Clear simple shapes and choice materials stand for an unostentatious but unique look. It is a style, which does not disguise but brings out the personality and is at the same time casual and elegant.

I delved into the pattern stash and lo and behold, I already own a number of patterns that are suitable and others that will work, with a little tweaking.

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I ordered a lot of fabric from Fabworks (they really are delightful people to deal with)

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Mostly wools, tweeds, a bit of cotton jersey and some cotton shirting. And I think I’ll have to be buying more…..

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The style aesthetic can be summed up as:  loose, layered, cropped wide trousers, unstructured coats and jackets, simple white shirts and plain tops, coordinated.

We can call it art-teacher chic or restricted Lagenlook; but I want to make this style my own. Have I found it? My Style I mean. The elusive holy grail of the middle aged woman and the sewer…..

Time to get started and find out.


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No Fabric…. 2 & 3

To cut a long story short and to skip to the chase I’ve made two more things without fabric.

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First up, cotton jersey leftover from Donna Karan dress. Enough for a T-shirt with sleeves or something longer without sleeves. Out came my old favouriteMerchant and Mills Bantam vest except this time I cut the vest in half and inserted a mid-riff band to make it into a dress.

A bit boring on its own and time to spare to sew without fabric, I beaded the neck and along the edge of an added pocket.

The beading took about 4 weeks! It’s dense and heavy; sparkly and shiney.

 

Needless to say, summer has long gone from our shores.

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The middle band had to cut on the cross grain due to fabric restrictions but I quite like the subtle change in tone between the blues.

 

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Next, is another favourite skirt from StyleArc – Zoe. Wears like a pencil skirt walks like an A-Line. Designed for wovens.

This up-to-the-minute longer-line pencil skirt incorporates clever design features to set this style apart. The darted back line finishes on the front and the front side seam moves towards the centre resulting in a slimming silhouette.

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This fabric is leftover from Vogue 1531.

And then I managed to pick up a long line cardigan in the sales that coordinates perfectly – much better in real life than in the photos.

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To sum up: I  finished a long awaiting linen dress, I’ve made a beaded sun-dress and a fully lined skirt – not bad for having no fabric!

Lessons to take away: buy for a project and maybe buy just a little more than you actually need so that you can add to the leftover pile and just look what can be made from that pile. However, use the leftovers, otherwise it will get out of hand!

The autumn/winter 2017 wardrobe has now thankfully arrived – albeit in kit form – plans and ideas to follow…………

 


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No Fabric…..1

For a few weeks I didn’t have any fabric! OK, we all know that is a bare faced lie but really, all I had were offcuts, leftovers and scraps; no 2 or 3 metre lengths with which to create and sew. My money had all been spent on frivolous things like food and petrol and there wasn’t much to spare. However, with a need to sew I started delving into those leftovers…..so some posts coming soon on how you can sew without a fabric stash!

While riffling through the leftovers, for a piece large enough to place a paper pattern upon I found this – last seen in June 2014.

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To make sense of today’s post, you really should read this one first.

The plastic bag was emptied, all the pieces ironed and smoothed. A little bit of dedication, concentration and determination has now resulted in one finished dress that was started three years ago!

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Vogue Ralph Rucci 1381.

There was more thread, pattern pieces, basting, tacking, pressing, top stitching, understitching, quilting, cutting, clipping, trimming, hand sewing and machine sewing involved in this one dress than in a fully tailored jacket, waistcoat, trousers and coat combined!

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All the fit issues and reservations that I mentioned in June 2014 were largely ignored this time and I just went for a finished dress. While it’s not spectacular (despite all that work) it’s OK .  I lengthened mine (as usual) and raised the front gap and that’s all the alterations I did.

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The dress weighs a tonne! If I ever fall overboard while wearing this I’ll sink like a stone. In some places there are five layers of various fabrics and it’s fully lined; the linen wears really well, softening but not wrinkling too much. Although made in linen, this is not a summer dress but would ease the transition in early autumn / spring.

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The hem has a bias strip sewn to the edge, then pressed up and slip stitched. I think this gives a bit of weight to the skirt so that it hangs better. The belt is sewn to the dress on one side so that you don’t lose it. And those front pockets are the best ever.

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If you follow the instructions to the letter, then the pocket edges and neck facings would be finished with more bias strips. I’d had enough and the raw edges were serged. When it came to French tacking the lining to the skirt – that was one stitch too many and I called it a day.

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It’s finished and it’s been worn. I got compliments and pleasant comments and no one noticed the mis-matched zip, the gathers and wrinkling, the wobbly topstitching, the unsymmetrical quilting lines; or if they did, they never said. Can’t ask much more than that really.

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