corecouture

Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane


31 Comments

A/W ’17 O Collection Add-ons

It’s all very well having a few well sewn and well fitting trousers as part of my O collection (check out the last few blog posts for an update) but they are quite useless without tops. I am in Hemlock T-shirt overload…..

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Enough…….. Blue, grey, mustard, brown, forest green, dark green and I have some burgundy jersey in the waiting room but I don’t think I can face another one just yet.

I can sew up one of these tops in under one hour so please don’t think I’m mega prolific – it’s much quicker than going to the shops or trawling the Internet for a long sleeve T-shirt –  but I got a little bored and sometimes I added a centre front seam, sleeve cuffs, hem band, added little seam details etc etc etc. anything to ring the changes.

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Each one has a complementary scarf (a signature look of Oska) made from leftovers. Some are dip-dyed and some are bleached and some are as they are. Keeping the scarves relatively narrow ( 8-9″) means I can twist two together to create different look.

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Sometimes I cut the Hemlocks large and sometimes I cut them close to get different drapes, fit and looks. It also means I can wear one over another so that the neckline, hem and sleeves show below the top layer. Fabric properties also contributed to the finished look and fit. I’ve used organic cotton jersey, poly knits, poly jersey and practically any other fibre that has been transformed into a knit fabric.

I made a little cropped cardigan (middle pic) with more leftovers just in case I need another top over a top.

However, I do have to say that while I have made a plethora of Hemlocks and ennui is setting, these are the best ever, easiest and most versatile tops I’ve ever sewn.

Out the other side of sewing – I have really and truly completed another knitting job and this time it’s for me.

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Using Knitting Without Tears ; an Elizabeth Zimmerman yoke jumper in moss green with bright green highlights and the blame lies fairly and squarely at the feet of Kate. Drops Angora yarn which is soft and stable.

The sleeves are unshaped because I started with the recommended finished number of stitches and hence I avoided having to think about increasing every 4th row and all that stuff: they sort of resemble a gentle bell-shaped sleeve and one, I personally like.

I couldn’t decide whether I wanted a cowl/high neck or a low/round one so somehow I managed to get both!

The jumper is finished with a simple round neck in the bright green wool. Afterwards, I fired up the round needles again with twin yarns of the dark and bright green and knitted a 2 X 2 rib cowly sort of thing. I started with the number of stitches that the neckline finished with (top view), ribbed a few inches, increased a few stitches to create a flare (bottom view), ribbed a few more inches and cast off.

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I can wear the jumper in its natural state

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I can fold the addition in half and add a Polo neck

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I can add a cowl neck, wearing the looser edge on the outside.

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And when every other bit of my body is warm enough except my ears I can have a head band

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With a little bit of green wool leftover (sorry, I can’t help it) I’m now attempting socks! Honestly though, there are times when buying RTW makes a lot of sense……

In other news, please check out my long distance sewing friend’s brand new website – http://wendykarnish.com/

Wendy takes custom orders for outfits and clothes, makes all her own, of course and develops her own designs. She is now ready to sell some of these unique creations to a very select few lucky people.

I met Wendy in real life last September when she visited her sister who lives in Donegal. We had a very enjoyable afternoon wandering around L’Derry. We had the same lipstick, both shade and make, we ordered the same thing for lunch and we liked the same clothes, styles, colours and everything else. How wonderful to meet someone so like me!

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31 Comments

A/W ’17 O2

Sewing like a demon for the last few weeks has produced another outfit for my intended A/W ’17 O collection. This one focuses on navy and mustard but, of course, not limited to these two colours.

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Reversible jacket can be found here.

45wTrousers and Top: Fabric is from Fabworks – a fine checked wool predominantly navy and biege. The pattern is Vogue 9193, Marcy Tilton. The matching top is made from leftovers and is the free Sorbetto. 

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The T-shirt is yet another Grainline Hemlock in mustard/straw coloured viscose jersey from Minerva Crafts.  Honestly, this pattern is perfect with lots of room for versatility and adaption, place any original touches you like and is so easy to wear and sew.

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The scarf is leftover jersey, trimmed and sewn together – all raw edges. Boots are Clark’s, as usual – I hardly wear any other make.

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Hardly any alterations or modifications are involved in this outfit. The only thing is a few belt loops added to the trousers and a thread-through belt for when I want to tuck a top in, provide a little bit of visual interest and disguise the elasticated waist.

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When viewed from afar, the navy check has the appearance of grey, so the reversible jacket can be worn one way or another and still work. I do like the combination of grey and mustard, so I’m thinking this top will go with loads of other items already in my wardrobe.

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You will forgiven if you fail to notice much difference between outfits O1 and O2, apart from colour. This is becoming something of a nagging issue with me in choosing these designs – will my A/W wardrobe just be lots of the same thing? More like a uniform rather than the original and slightly offbeat clothes I thought they’d be.

Anyway, I’ll carry on for a bit longer and see what transpires. Greens next

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Better get stuff cut out and keep sewing then…

Would you prefer to see a complete head to toe outfit or individual pieces, bearing in mind that a lot of the tops are just T-shirts and the trousers are repeats of the same patterns?

Thanks so much for all your encouragement and comments and a big welcome to new followers : I hope you find some little bit of inspiration for your own sewing.

 

 


37 Comments

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!


61 Comments

A/W ’17 O1

This year it has taken three weeks of timetabled classes for me to become accustomed to constantly check my (apparently old-fashioned) wrist watch [does anyone else still wear one of these?] in order to ensure I am where I should be at a pre-designated time and additionally be well prepared for the scheduled lesson. This is the first week since the beginning of term that I haven’t been zombified by Friday. So, here I am out the other side and the best thing is that there has been time for sewing!!

Slide1You and I and been very patiently waiting for my homemade version of Oska. I am slightly wary of using the tradename just in case I get sued or something, so from now on my autumn/winter 2017 collection will be known as O.

 

I was hoping to visit a real live Oska shop in London when I was there for a short weekend a few weeks ago. However, my lunchtime flight was cancelled (not Ryan Air!) and I didn’t arrive until 11.30 at night. I believe most shops are closed at this time and the next day was spent in a hotel conference room with no windows before heading directly back to Heathrow. No shopping done at all, not even browsing. Going to an Oska shop is still on my To Do List.

I was very pleased to read your comments on my O plans and how many of you admire this style. Thank you. On with the show….

O1 constitutes one pair of trousers, two tops, a scarf and a jacket: worn today with a pair of Clark’s dark grey short biker boots.

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This is layered look – so let’s dissect.

Trousers: Marcy Tilton Vogue 9035 made in some Tencel type fabric in dark grey picked for for a fiver on the bargain table at the Spinning Wheel in Belfast. Pants (loose-fitting through) hips have waistband, yokes, side-front/side-back seams, no side seams, pleated lower edge, stitched hems, and fly zipper closing. All have topstitching.

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V9035Love ’em! Fitted at the waist and through the hips but flare out along the legs with pleats at the ankle to bring them back into narrowness. Two major issues though – no pockets (which is verging on catastrophic) and the interfaced back yoke which doesn’t have a facing – like honestly – we’d wear trousers with the interfacing showing! We may be home sewers but we do have standards. If you are making these, cut two back yokes and sandwich the interfacing in between; then treat as one piece.

The tops and scarf are made in cotton jersey that is somewhere between a T-shirt and sweatshirt weight in sky blue – no idea where I bought this from but I wish I could remember because I’d love some more in white, navy, olive, black and any other colour that’s available.

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Top layer top is a self made-up pattern: double layered with a front slit; elbow length kimono-like sleeves and scarf-like collar. The front slit allows for the bottom layer to be tucked in while the top layer hangs loose.

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Underneath is a long, long sleeved Grainline Hemlock T-shirt. Get your free pattern here.

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The scarf is just a long strip of leftover cotton jersey, dipped dyed at the ends and middle for a slight ombre look and ties the blues to the greys.

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To top it all off, the jacket is Kathryn Brenne Vogue 9162 with mods. Made from double faced wool jersey, in navy and grey. To be honest, the jacket deserves a write up on its own, so for now we’ll just look at it and I’ll provide in depth details another time.

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The best thing about the jacket is this….

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It turns inside out.

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Only three weeks until half-term… just where does the time go?


11 Comments

Back to Black

My goodness! Thank you all so much for all the very constructive, knowledgeable and well thought out responses as to the “what length of dress” question. I have read every one and will follow the majority – I shall henceforth shorten the Park Lane. What I did like from your suggestions was that I should make this dress again in a solid colour and try the longer length. Mrs Mole (God bless ‘er) suggested that I not only shorten the dress but rip out the side seams and re-create the entire thing! Maybe…..all good ideas are not out the question, only my time and inclination to do them.

Anyway, back to other stuff. The black and white/ivory combination has got me on a roll.

I never wear solid black close to my face – it makes me look half dead – so I normally drape a coloured scarf or something around my neck to break up the mono-colour. I’ve recently taken to sewing tops in black/white and every shade of grey in between. This is in reaction to colour and encouraged when I bought a pair of black RTW trousers……

This was also an opportunity to catch up with those Interweb favourites – Fave Top, Grainline Hemlock T plus a few others. Quick easy sewing and easy comfy wearing.

Ink splattered jersey from MyFabrics made into Hemlock T.

I made the Katherine Tilton trousers V8837 (OOP) for a remotely located friend whose measurements I didn’t have and surprise, surprise, they didn’t fit her, so she returned them. I nipped in the centre back seam and now I have a pair of lounging pants, however still baggy that need a little bit more tweaking but they’re perfect for the sofa and watching box sets.

I had enough Jackson Pollock ink splattered fabric left over for a M&M Bantam – part of the Merchant and Mills Workbook– love this top.

And, would you believe it?  The shawl below is merely the shape of the leftover’s leftover. Just trimmed, hemmed and worn as is. Bonus!

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Then another Fave Top in a multi sized polka dots patchworky  jersey from Fabworks.

And then enough left over for an Ogden Cami. And it doesn’t matter how straight your seams are with this fabric……but STAY STITCH the neck line.

Now on to a more intricate but not difficult top: Bootstrap halter-neck top in a chiffon-like poly decorated with large brush strokes bought from an eBay shop ages ago. Just in case you don’t know this – Bootstrap take your measurements and produce a PDF pattern to fit – no alterations or tweaking needed.

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So, lots of things to wear with plain black or white trousers and I’m absolutely sure will also service red, blue, chartreuse, green, grey, along with the eternal jeans.

Nothing too difficult or complicated about any of these tops which makes them speedy sewing projects and (hopefully) impressive coordinates that add to my wardrobe and versatility.