corecouture

Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane


17 Comments

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.


10 Comments

Hybrids

I had intended to create a new Alabama Chanin collection this summer but my desire for instant gratification triggered a flurry of machine sewing and I’ll be lucky to get one AC skirt finished at all. I had a tonne of cotton jersey that was ordered in prep DSCN5343for hand sewing but it was crying out to be made into something to stop me feeling guilty about not meeting my own goals and objectives. There now follows a collection of stuff that has no skirt to match……..

First, Drape Drape 2 asymmetrical top. I received the book as a birthday present – lovely, and traced off the eponymous top immediately. Ironically, this was hand sewn, AC style. Reading reviews, everyone said that the sizing is small so I graduated the pattern up, especially around the hips for me, but I think the neckline is now too loose. Small adjustments to be made on the next (and there will be) one.

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The body is pale grey with dark grey neck and hem bands attached with embroidery thread using a slightly stretchy back-stitch. The single side seam and the sleeve hems are hand sewn too.

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Next,  Alabama Chanin’s corset top. This pattern is included in the new Patterns book but I had it already traced off from one of the earlier books. Except this time the serger was employed and not a hand stitch in sight.

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The top is double layered with a neutral coloured cotton jersey as this is a very fitted top and it needs a bit of strength. No embellishments apart from a little strip over the back neckline; the armhole bands are machine stitched with a large zig-zag.

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I do like how the back is dipped lower than the front in this top – means when you sit down there’s no flesh on show.DSCN5404

Finally, Alabama Chanin’s classic jacket from the Patterns book except my version is a little weird. A simple pattern with front, back and one-piece sleeves but I cut a load of 1″ strips and sewed these onto the jacket to resemble a check or a convict?

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I serged the side seams and then sewed the strips sort of straightish onto the ‘flat’ jacket.

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And the benefit of sewing your own stripes on is that you can be sure they match across the seams…

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It’s a great wee jacket – cardigan-like, easy to wear yet finishes a very simple outfit. Mine is the length it is because of fabric limitations but the pattern comes with various lengths including a long version. The edges are finished with a handsewn band. I didn’t add pockets and I miss them.DSCN5396I did make a fundamental mistake with the stripes though – I sewed them with a straight stitch and some rows have broken. If you are mad enough to try this for yourself – use a small zig-zag or lightning bolt stitch to allow for natural body stretch and movement. I’m going to have to go back and mend the broken bits before the stripes start falling off!

And finally a scarf and brooch. The scarf is what’s leftover from the dark grey and I’m being bold calling it a scarf – it’s a bit of fabric! The brooch is beaded and slightly resembles a flower.

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Gather your bits and pieces together – strips of fabric, brooch pin, beads and thread: start with a circle of fabric and I put a bit of batting behind mine for a bit of structure. Turn under a hem and you’re ready to go.

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Start on the outside edge and sew on one of the strips. This one was gathered first but it’s easy to pleat as you go.

DSCN5371The next strip covers the raw edges of the first and so on until you reach the centre.

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I beaded the centre but another little circle of fabric works too.

DSCN5375The back is a mess, so cover this up with another circle of fabric and sew on the pin. I used larger circles that show at the front of the brooch too.You’re not aiming for perfection here – merely the hint of a bloom of some sort – a hybrid.

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Pin to your scarf or lapel and wait for the compliments! In my experience, people always comment on the brooch and not the clothes beneath!

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So, there you have it – Alabama Chanin patterns made on a machine and a Japanese pattern made in AC style. DSCN5410DSCN5398