corecouture

Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane


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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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All for Free

One Pirate pencil skirt

One Sorbetto top

One pair Barb pants

A few metres of Jacobean Floral Fantasy – a pique waffle type ponte double jersey in stylised Jacobean floral print. Fairy tale tree of life branches with deepest green foliage, and exotic blooms in coral, turquoise, aqua, gold and chartreuse intertwine across the dark cream base colour – from Fabworks (not for free!)

Put these elements together and you too can get the astronaut’s wife look.

If you are not already aware, then I’ll tell you –  it’s Indie Pattern Month at The Monthly Stitch. Four weeks in July of competitions, challenges, inspiration and sewing fun.

Week 1 – Dresses

Week 2 – New to Me

Week 3 – Hack it

Week 4 – Indie Royalty (Two garments that work as an outfit)

There’s some amazing prizes too, so get those machines threaded up and the Indie patterns out…..

I’m not planning on entering any of the competitions but I have discovered some amazing Indie patterns and some lovely sewing already, so the site is definitely worth a visit.

The real benefit of sewing very basic pieces is the little personal touches that you can add to them. Some extras that I added include – front welt pockets to the Barb pants.

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And that deep elastic waist is so comfortable and stable on the Barb pants that I used it on the pencil skirt too.

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Suck it in girl…

The Sorbetto top when tucked in and worn with a belt could create the impression of a dress or in combination with the Barbs – a jumpsuit: the most impracticable and useless garment ever designed for women (am I alone?).

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With so many colours in the three main pieces, adding a solid coloured top/skirt/trousers triples the wearing combinations.

With absolutely no intention of matching patterns nor concern for pattern placement, all the pieces are easy sews – quick to cut out (each piece has two pattern pieces apart from the waistbands), quick to sew, easy to wear. Use stretch fabric, that’s the only condition.

I folded the front pleat to one side of the Sorbetto and sewed a few buttons for a mock closure.

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Those Barb pants are the best! Much more flattering than leggings and just as comfortable and an added bonus is that you can nip down to K-Mart or Tesco’s without looking like you’re still in your jammies. I reckon these would work for yoga/exercise pants as well as PJs.

Sorbetto top is the most versatile and adaptable sleeveless top ever – whenever I have 1/2 metre leftover, I always reach for this pattern. Easily worn on its own but just as perfect as a camisole or a layering piece in colder seasons.

The Pirate pencil skirt is fast becoming another staple and elevates a simple knit skirt to sophisticated yet comfortable work-wear if sewn in a solid colour for conservative boardroom-wear.

Hello to all new followers and readers of this little amateur sewing blog. I hope you find something worthwhile.

 

 


22 Comments

Batteries not included…

My little big world of sewing blogs is gradually shrinking: and I am wholly admitting my contribution in that reduction. I cannot deny it…. I have been sewing but not photographing, posing nor posting. Life, life, stuff, more stuff, technical stuff and ………….whatever……

Some of my blog-feed sewing posts are from people who have been blogging for 10 (this is totally admirable) and more years but the posting rate is slowing/sporadic/stopped.  I mean, here I am only six years in and feeling that I’ve had enough. I love the clothes I make (mostly). I love the clothes you all make (always), otherwise I wouldn’t do it: do I need assurance and confirmation in the comments section of my blog? Simple answer is – No.

However, I really do appreciate your honest feedback, comments, encouragement and engagement.

Genuinely, thank you all for years and years of reading this sh*t*, supporting and pushing me to go further, try new things, test new skills, designs, fabrics, patterns and techniques.

Would I be the sewer I am now without your contribution? Absolutely and categorically – NO!  

How can I ever repay that? I am constantly reading and keeping up to date with your sewing exploits and although I may not comment, this only means I don’t have the wit and repartie readily available to do so. It most certainly does not mean I don’t appreciate or learn from your experiences.

So, just to show you that I have been busy sewing and not just wasting my time being a mother, wife, teacher, friend, daughter, sister, aunt, examiner, exam marker, blog reader, sewer …..

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I bought some RTW black trousers way back and felt the need to make some  coordinating tops because I don’t really wear black much, so I started with monochrome ( left).  While I was Internet shopping for black/white/grey, of course I just happened to find colours and patterns and my self imposed discipline wavered and my finger slipped. I bought greens and flowers and blue and orange (centre-right).

I have silently joined and followed the Internet/Instagram bandwagon by sewing T-shirts, shirt dresses, camis and pants from popular Indie patterns. I do not have Instagram/Twitter etc etc. Should I? Am I the girl on the sidelines because I don’t have this social media stuff? Because, in reality, I can still cut and sew and wear my own clothes. I have made simple things that took 2 hrs from cut out to wear and a complicated dress that tooks 3 days.

On my bed, in front of your eyes includes – a Grainline Hemlock T (free down load), StyleArc pants, Bootstrap halter neck top, Burda peasant blouse, Vogue DKNY dress 1489 (OOP due to USA licensing regulations), downloadhacked Vogue/Atelier shirt dress, Pirate pencil skirt, Vogue culottes 9091, Ogden cami, good old Sorbetto top , Tessuti Fave Top and another T shirt hacked together from seeing a girl on the bus and whatever else I could make from leftover fabric.

 

If you ever have the chance to download a free PDF – take it! Save the virtual data and print out at your leisure. If you never print out or make the item – so what – nothing lost.

All in good time I will (hopefully) detail each of these items.

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I’m sorry for the hiatus. I’m Internet free for the next five days, no re-charging points, no Wi-Fi or 4 G which also means no electricity and no sewing machine – gasp-gasp-gasp ! Just plenty of fresh air, good company and bracing Irish coastlines.

Perhaps knitting will fill the void…………….. don’t need batteries for that!

If you have a preference for a preview – let me know and I’ll move it to the top of the list.

Since I started sewing for “summer”, we’ve had nothing but rain – C’est la vie.


43 Comments

Toni 3 with Mods

It’s a Toni Jim, but not as we know it……

First one was as per pattern: second one was as per pattern with the centre front seam left open.

Third one is this…..

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The other day I went away for the weekend to the north coast where I met a fabulous lady from America. I’ve now met two fabulous ladies from America who read this blog, sew and travel. They don’t specifically  travel to Ireland just to see me of course but it’s always nice to combine the two. Are all ladies who sew fabulous in America?

Wendy is from Boulder, Colorado (which I thought only existed in the Westerns). She teaches classes from a beautiful fabric shop and also sews very special things for a select client list. Her work is fabulous – can I use that word again without losing its potency?  But truly, her jackets are tailored but not conventional, little personal touches that elevate the wearer to absolute uniqueness: mostly sewn in silk or linen, always muslined first and lined. She makes her own patterns and is a living, breathing, walking encyclopedia about fabrics, style, techniques and colour. Wendy is building a website at the moment and I can’t wait to show you her work when it goes live.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, knowing that we were meeting, Wendy carried all the way from Boulder a length of fabric just for me. Truly kind. I’m rarely gifted fabric but when I am I always feel a little pressured into making something  special with it.

I received about 2.5m of burn-out cotton/poly jersey, very akin to a Marcy Tilton fabric. One side is pure grey, the other is black with random circles cut out to reveal the grey backside. You know how I love my greys…….

I really wanted to maximise all the fabric in one garment and decided a top/T-shirt just wouldn’t do. I opted for a winter version of StyleArc’s Toni dress, with modifications.

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First, I lobed off the pointy bits at the sides – mainly to fit on the fabric and secondly because the drapes just don’t work.

I also cut the back on the fold to avoid the centre back seam ruining the circles.

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I used the ‘wrong’ side of the fabric for the collar and eliminated the in-seam pockets in preference for front patch ones.It would be really good if both pockets lined up…..duh!

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I added full length sleeves by just using the pattern as a cutting guide at shoulder height and shaping down the width to fit my wrists – essentially two rectangles. And when folded back the insides match the collar and pocket tops.

It’s loose and long and I just adore the collar. Housewifey with a touch of elegance. So easy to wear – pair of boots and you’re ready!

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The dress still has flare and drape even without the pointy bits but somehow is also elongating and skims the body without bulk or being baggy.

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Thank you very much Wendy . This dress will (has) become a very firm wardrobe favourite.


63 Comments

Where’s my Lea?

I’m over 50 and sew a lots of things but really….

I positively 100% knew that I had purchased and printed StyleArc’s Lea wrap dress pattern after reading Sew2Pro’s review. The actual date of said download is a mystery but I am absolutely sure I owned it.

About 4 hours later: found the pattern. Hah! not that old……although I wasn’t sure if it was tiled and taped and ready to go. What joy when I discovered the pages taped and the pieces cut.

DSCN6400Great. Lay the pattern pieces out on Aeolian Ripples from Fabworks- an Avoca jersey knit in burgundy/green and perfect transitional colours for that summer to autumn look. It is also my first step towards my burgundy pieces for A/W.

 

1 hour later: All the pieces are pinned to the fabric and I discover that the pattern pieces had previous pin holes. This means that I had actually pinned each pattern piece to another fabric at some time in the recent past. Could I remember which fabric – no?

LEA-DRESSI showed my husband the pattern drawing and asked if he had ever seen me in this dress. Answer – no. So, maybe I pinned and then abandoned. Yeah. That’s the answer.

Except….each pattern piece had all the notches cut.  I figured that one does not pin and cut out pattern pieces without marking notches. What the ******?

I racked my brain and memory banks for a previous Lea wrap dress. I resorted to old-fashioned private detective techniques – I  tapped phones, sat outside my own house for 48hrs in a van,  planted bugs in the bathroom, all in the cause of  looking for evidence. The wardrobe provided no tangible clues and I came to the conclusion that I had previously cut out all the pieces, made the dress and gave it away. But I still could not think of the fabric used or even a memory of doing all this.

I lay awake for weeks trying to think of when I had made Lea: what fabric had I used; what occasion was I sewing for?  My family queried if I had anything on my mind – YES ACTUALLY – I obviously made a dress but I have no recollection of it and I can’t find the physical item!

So I figured the only way to deal with ghosts is to face them and so I made a Lea Wrap dress (another?).

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I may have sewn wider seams that the pattern allows for (in fact I did) which would account for the top not covering the bits it should cover, so a coordinating camisole is essential.

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Lea Wrap dress is a classic/basic wrap dress with collar a la DVF and 3/4 sleeves. Not complicated and eternally fashionable and stylish.

I love the collar on the dress and the front wrap really does stay wrapped. There are no darts and the sleeves are sewn as in T-shirt construction: one big side seam. Using a two-way stretch is paramount.

The only fiddly bit is sewing on a narrow binding along the front that hides the raw edges of the collar and neatens up the front edges. This needs to sewn on the right side out, then trimmed, turned and top stitched in place. So glad this fabric is busy and you can’t see the wiggly, uneven topstitching line.

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I have ‘thickened’ over the summer weeks so time to do something about that or else I won’t get into any of my clothes. I find that my home made clothes are such a good fit that a weight gain of more that 2kg tells. RTW on the other hand seem to have a 5kg weight gain built in.

I lengthened the dress by 4″ because I like a below-knee skirt – it lengthens the leg and covers knobbly knee caps. I also added an inch or two to the sleeves. The waist ties are the length they are because that was all the fabric there was.

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I have bombarded you, dear readers, recently with posts and makes. I have been playing catch-up with myself; I sewed so much but never took pictures or the time to write. I think I’m almost up to date now and I thank you for your patience. After six wonderfully relaxing and sewing weeks my summer holidays are drawing to a close. Then, as we say here, it’s back to porridge.

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I still can’t find my first Lea wrap dress though.

Have you seen it?