corecouture

Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane


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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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Out of Step

The academic marking season has begun and my time and mind are being forcibly distracted away from sewing – my blogging updates are suffering the consequences and are therefore sporadic and random, so much so that I am now “out of season”.  We have had a wonderful week of sunshine and warmth to accompany it – as usual, just when the exam season starts the weather improves immeasurably. And so here I am wearing a lined boiled wool jacket with matching scarf (slightly wrinkled) in 25 degrees C!

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It’s a perfect example of one of those strange ironies of life – when it rains constantly and you don’t have a raincoat, then you go off and make one and then it stops raining for weeks on end. Or you don’t have a sun dress to wear when the temperatures unexpectedly hit 30, so you make one and the first day you wear it you need a cardigan, thick tights and a pair of boots because by now it’s freezing.

The third and final item from Vogue 9162, this jacket completes The Look.

There’s quite a bit of work involved in this unfitted, loose and boxy jacket, such as interfacing on all hems and full interfacing on the fronts – I didn’t as my fabric is stable. Welt pockets – Oh my!

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Catch stitching the hems to the interfacing and slip stitching the lining to the turned-up hems.

Hand top stitching around the edges and on and on…….

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Well, it’s finished and will now be folded and packed away until next A/W! I’m pretty sure Mother Nature is watching my sewing room: she waits until I have wools and tweeds cut out and sewn, then she tells the sun to shine, the rain clouds to dissipate and the temperatures to rise

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I know the jacket is supposed to be loose but mine is positively huge! I cut the medium size all round – for the trousers, shirt and jacket. The trousers are fine, the shirt’s a little big but the jacket’s a size all on its own. I suppose it has to be this loose to slip on over the oversized shirt without creasing it. The sleeves are really long. If you make this I think you could go down a size and still have room to play.

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I’d love to get all dressed up for you and wear all three items together but, honestly…..just use your imagination and put them altogether

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I’m out of step with my sewing makes and blogging too – I’ve got quite a bit to share but haven’t got round to taking pics or thinking of witty things to write. I’ll tell you all about the jeans in the next instalment.


44 Comments

SWAP A1 (again) & B2

I asked, you answered, I acted….

SWAP Combination A, first garment looked like this

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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!

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

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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 ….

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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

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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!


29 Comments

M&M Story

Now, here’s another story…….this has been a summer of reconnections and reconciliations for me.

Haworth - The Bronte's home village

Haworth – The Bronte’s home village

I was making myself look better than I am on Linkedin a few weeks ago when, for some reason, I began to think about an old friend of mine from way back when I lived in London and thought she might be listed too. We lost touch – no fall out or dramatics – our lives just headed off in different directions. So I began to search for Caroline. Couldn’t find her but I did find her husband and I messaged him.

To cut a long story short: they have divorced but I did get an email for Caroline and I contacted her. A few emails later I booked the cheapest flight option possible and flew to Manchester, England. We haven’t talked or met in 20 years but I have just spent the most relaxing, chilled out and pleasant 4 days in Lancaster with a very dear friend. It was like we had only said goodbye last week. It’s good to be impetuous sometimes!

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I packed my Merchant and Mills capsule wardrobe (sans dress) as I was travelling with only cabin baggage.

Four Bantams, one pair of Strides, one Curlew long sleeved top, one Haremere jacket and a few other items.

Caroline is a very talented photographer these days; she’s one of those people who is successful in whatever venture she tries. She kindly offered to photograph the remaining pieces in the Merchant and Mills Workbook for this blog. So most of today’s pics are in focus, perfectly lit and cropped.

Strides

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First up is the trousers from the Workbook – Strides. These were made in a lightweight wool blended with cotton and METAL! The metal threads hold the wrinkles and creases and the fabric looks like linen.

Strides are wide-legged, pleated in front and influenced by classic menswear. I haven’t worn pleated trousers since Bananarama! Slanted front pockets, front zip with inside fly guard and a waistband that sits at the waist.

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The pattern is easily adapted to make shorts or any other length of trousers you want. I traced and made UK 12 straight from the book without any alterations at all. They fit perfectly. I am so impressed with these patterns – really enamoured.

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While pleated and loose, Strides are not overwhelming or baggy; the pleats are minimal. Worn in these pics with two Bantams, white cotton jersey and black muslin.

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Inside, the fly guard is buttoned. Roobeedoo pointed out that there is a mistake in the instructions and they are a little confusing about what’s on the left or right hand side. Take your time and figure it out and it will be OK.

DSCN5474An overlocker (serger) is useful when making M&M patterns but not essential – your zig-zag stitch will do the job too for finishing seams. I’m so pleased with these trousers that they get the ultimate accolade of my label!

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The Strides are described as “probably the most advanced pattern in the book” but personally, I thought the Haremere jacket was.

The Haremere

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14 pattern pieces with lined sleeves and quarter lined shoulders; patch pockets (lined), two piece sleeves, dropped shoulders and a rolled shawl collar. No tailoring for a casual, relaxed look.

©CarolineGuthrie.com-4242Once again traced and made exactly from the book. The Haremere comes in sm, med and large. I made the medium. My sleeves are a touch on the long side so I’ve adopted the folded back cuff look which shows off the lining.

©CarolineGuthrie.com-4246Instead of overlocking the seams I Hong Konged them (rather badly) but it was my first time doing this technique so I’ve learnt a lot along the way.

This jacket is made in a grey/white striped linen with a cotton voile lining. I didn’t want to put a sweaty polyester on the inside. You could leave the lining out completely if you wanted a quick make but you do need to finish all internal the seams. The front facings and all the hems are interfaced for a little bit of structure.

©CarolineGuthrie.com-4245I had a bit of trouble finishing the inside where the front facing meets the hem so I sewed a couple of triangles to cover the mess. Otherwise, it sewed up fine.

DSCN5548This pattern can be easily lengthened to make a coat and will work in both lightweight and heavier fabrics like tweed.

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Thanks again to Caroline for taking the photos and giving me a home from home for a few days. You can check out Caroline’s photography at carolineguthrie.com – well worth a look!

PS: thanks to you all for such supportive and encouraging comments on my last post. I couldn’t reply to each one as I was away and couldn’t remember my own password! But I was, and continue to be, touched by your kindness.