corecouture

Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane


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AUFO

Or – to add another acronym to the lexicon of sewing terms – Abandoned Un-Finished Object. I’m giving you the punchline at the beginning here.

You know when all of a sudden and out of the blue you need an item of clothing that you do not own but you really, really want to have and so you spend near 100% of your precious shopping time, planning time, thinking time etc etc to find perfection. NO? Just me?

Today the holy grail is……A lightweight summer raincoat/trench: sling on with jeans; slide on over cotton dresses; slip into for shower proofness with pencil skirts and pussy-bow blouses; leave lying in the car for emergencies or pack for weekends away for just in case; pull on regardless just to nip to the shops or just because.

I found one in M&S but it has too many buttons and too elaborate with belt and flaps and other stuff.

I found another in Dunnes which looked perfect from the front but hideous from the back with an long inverted pleat (swing-like) and slightly too dark a colour – I was aiming for stone/off-white/ivory).

Zara had some offerings too but nothing that floated my boat. While they are delicious coats they are just not what I had in mind.

What’s a girl to do? Get a sewing machine, some material, a pattern and a wee bit of time – that’s what.

I found Waffle Patterns and the Bamboo Straight cut coat. – Now this is perfection – it fits all my requirements for a summer trench – now all I have to do is find the perfect fabric. The pattern was purchased, printed and tiled (PDF) and we’re ready to go.bamboo_019_1024x1024

I headed off to Croftmill and purchased some stone coloured, light-weight cotton along with 3m of Barbour (no less) lining.

Over the first week of the Easter holidays, all was cut out and anticipation was high, very high….

And here we have my part in the perfect Trenchcoat downfall.

First advice I can offer you is to follow the instructions – I did not and thought I knew what I was doing and we all know how that goes…

Windowpane pockets with flaps are disasters. Lots of wrinkles, tucks and sloppy sewing – bad, bad, bad. And no amount of pressing is going to get that lot flat!

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The cotton that was in stash that was used as interfacing shows through; not really that noticeable but to me it is.

Not everything I cut out and sew is wearable. Wisdom in sewing is knowing when to persevere and when to give up. This is now an abandoned project and I’m moving on to something more inspiring, exciting, colourful and hopefully more successful.

Back to M&S me thinks. Buy a coat and replace all the buttons.

…..or Zara to buy a coat and then cut 12″ off the hem….

Or Dunnes and sew closed the back inverted pleat….

Yeah, go buy and dog and bark yourself!

 

 

 


36 Comments

Panelled Toni

Neglectful, that’s what I am. I’ve been sewing nearly everyday since the beginning of July and I’ve hardly shared a thing with you. So time to stop sewing, take a few photos as proof and start blogging.

Style Arc’s Toni dress has been on my To-Do list for months: I printed the PDF way back just waiting for the right fabric to find its way home to me. Surfing the net turned up some hits and misses with this pattern – let’s just say it’s not your regular dress and most of the misses are just not getting the drapes right which is not the sewer but the fabric. Style Arc sell both paper patterns from their online shop in Australia: they are also on Etsy for immediate PDFs.

The simplicity of this pattern is the key to this designer dress. The wide side drape falls softly into the narrow hemline. You will love the flattering collar that sits high on the neck and continues into the front “V” insert panel. This is such a comfortable, easy-to-wear dress with a designer look. STYLE ARC 

 

Loose and draped and long and with the best collar ever, Toni encapsulates the classy art teacher; the confident woman; the I’m not buying M&S again this year; the individual.

Let me show you these:

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Cyberdaze

The Needle Works (double)

Material World

Pattern Review

MeggiPeg

 

Now, let’s step away from Toni for a moment and go to Mezzo  Couture and her ingenious use of bordered fabric. We all love a border print fabric but are often at a loss to make the most of it.

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A very lightweight rayon from Croftmill, vignetted white to pink with line sketches of flowers and roots in black. I bought 3 panels. The most obvious way to use this fabric is to have the graduated tint running lengthwise down the body, white at the neck to pink at the hem. Let’s turn it 90 degrees instead: now we have one colour at the front and one colour at the back.

Of course, nothing ever goes to plan and there’s a major problem to be solved……….

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Once the panel is folded for cutting it’s 5″ (10cm) short! There was a bit of patching and hacking and make-it-up-as-you-go-along style of sewing and I got the width needed to make the dress. NB: you need at least 48″ wide fabric for a single cut.

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I’m only standing in front of the laundry just to show you that sometimes the sun does actually shine here and  it can actually get very warm. Having said that, white on white is maybe not such a good idea….

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The drapes at the sides might need a weight stitched in to hold them down but this fabric is so lightweight that I’m wary of doing that and am happy to let things flow.

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There’re pockets – but you all knew that already

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I absolutely adore the collar but my little dumpy not-ballerina neck is not the best to showcase it. Just as well it can be worn folded down.

Indulge me enjoying the sunshine – you look at the dress and I’ll document this historic weather moment; the sky so blue it is reflected in the white sheets.

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A Jekyll and Hyde dress this one – white on front and pink on back. Just a different way to use a panelled fabric.DSCN6419

Construction is fairly simple and straightforward: two fronts and backs with centre seams and remember StyleArc use 1cm. Collar and revers are the most complicated and really they’re not that complicated – take your time and mark the notches as you cut – the notches are very important. The side pockets are inseam and attached just above the flare for the ‘almost’ drapes’.

 

One of the last things to be sewn closed is the centre front, which got me thinking……

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22 Comments

6Nap – The Skirt Plot

d7c25edc67374953149e8e261cd02e96“There are no limits to the possibilities of monomania,” I answered. “There is the condition which the modern French psychologists have called the ‘idee fixe ´ ,’ which may be trifling in character, and accompanied by complete sanity in every other way. A man who had read deeply about Napoleon, or who had possibly received some hereditary family injury through the great war, might conceivably form such an idee fixe ´ and under its influence be capable of any fantastic outrage.”

The skirt is mega….it really doesn’t matter what your preferred design is or your gathering/pleating method but if your cutting table, floor space or other substrate is not big enough, then move to one that is.

DSCN6380DSCN6374I did some really hard maths from my Storm Trooper skirt and it measured out as a ratio of 1.7 from short drop to pointy bit drop and the actual golden scale is 1.6 – so I consider this an achievement. I scaled it up to my measurements and went to the largest flat cutting table I have readily available- the lawn (I use that term advisedly – no croquet played here).

 

 

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I marked the five crucial points with tacks and patches, then placed my metre rule as close to the desired angle and – cut! For a size guide, the top edge is in the region of 2m; as it’s doubled, there’s close on 4m of fabric at waist.

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I kept the fold so only side seam needed.

This not-skirt-yet needed something to be draped upon. I quickly made Paco Peralta’s half circle skirt in the lightweight burnout cotton. Sewed up both side seams – no zip needed. This is the underskirt, partly for structure and partly for modesty.

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Off we go…..my pleats are turning into gathers and the weight of the top skirt is dragging the underskirt down. My fabric is a stretchy mesh so the not-so-precise pleats and folds are somewhat arbitrary. I was never going to achieve crisp pleats like the original using this fabric.

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I’ve been at the “let’s see if that works” point in this dress’s construction since the beginning. I joined the party late and didn’t really plan and plot. I can put the corset top on and I can pull the skirt on without any zips  (benefits of using stretch jersey) but I’m not 100% sure when I attach the two together that I’ll be able to wiggle and squirm my way in. This may well be a Hanger Dress only.

The corset top is now attached and the skirt hem is faced with red jersey for weight and body.

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Almost finished. Only a few little hand sewing and tidying up things to do and then see if I can get into it…..

 

 

Oh look – snap!

When our visitor had disappeared Sherlock Holmes’s movements were such as to rivet our attention. He began by taking a clean white cloth from a drawer and laying it over the table. Then he placed his newly-acquired bust in the centre of the cloth. Finally, he picked up his hunting-crop 8 and struck Napoleon a sharp blow on the top of the head. The figure broke into fragments, and Holmes bent eagerly over the shattered remains.

Next instant, with a loud shout of triumph, he held up one splinter, in which a round, dark object was fixed like a plum in a pudding. “Gentlemen,” he cried, “let me introduce you to the famous black pearl of the Borgias.”

https://sherlock-holm.es/stories/pdf/a4/1-sided/sixn.pdf

 

 

 

 

 


33 Comments

Holiday Holiday Holiday Top

Nearly four weeks….but I’m back!

I had yet another birthday and took a Ford Mustang (the only one in Northern Ireland) out for a spin up the motorway. I can’t tell you exactly how fast I drove but…..very.

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It makes me look young and slim doesn’t it? Unfortunately there’s a 12 month waiting list and with a price tag bigger than what we paid for our house, it doesn’t look like I’ll own one soon. Wearing Jungle January’s snow leopard coat – black and white always goes with red.

The exam marking is drawing to a close and becoming manageable, so thoughts are turning more and more to my first love – sewing. Me DS

Let me introduce you to a new-to-me pattern company – The Maker’s Atelier. Based in England, Frances Tobin produces some beautiful classic pieces – think Merchant and Mills without the arty bit. Not cheap and only on paper but neat little envelopes tied with string and they possess an enduring quality.

I’ve started with the Holiday Top – relaxed, boxy with a couple of options.

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All you need is thread; no zips, buttons, hooks or eyes, not even interfacing. There are little details like the hemline splits and the soft fold-over collar is both classic and casual.

The pattern comes with separate pieces for long and short sleeves: collar or hood.

Stocked up on linen from Fabworks, I started with the short sleeved shirt in the eternal-go-with-anything off-white.

I loved this so much, I carried on and currently now have another three.

Lime green – hood, drawstring made with self fabric

 

Inky indigo – long sleeved, collar

 

Lime green – mid sleeved, collar and patch pockets

As with most Internet fabric purchases you have to buy whole meters, so with the leftovers (about .75m each)  and the machine threaded in the right colour, I also got a simple white tie-neck top and an indigo vest with arty pleats and asymmetrical hemline.

Bonus, bonus.

Worn with the Holiday Tops are my custom fit Bootstrap Skinny jeans – currently at two pairs. Type in your (true and honest) measurements, get your PDF, print, cut out: sew without measuring, trying on or anything and wonders of absolute wonders – a perfectly fitting pair of jeans! Oh, I did my usual 1.5-2″ reduction in the back thigh length to eliminate baggy back thighs – did it work? Did it? It always does.

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This first pair (blue) I sewed with traditional 5/8″ seam allowances, then I read the instructions and there’s a 1cm allowance! So the ‘good’ fit, just might have been a too tight fit…….They are made in a heavy linen-look weave cotton with absolutely no stretch whatsoever. The colour is lovely though, not denim, not royal blue but tending more towards Forget-me-Not blue. From Ray Stitch.

These are not low-rise jeans, mine go all the way up to my waist and a perfect fit they are there too – no gaping or tightness – I don’t even have to lie down on the bed with a shoestring to get the zip up. The second pair were sewn with 1cm seams and are a little looser in that I can get them off without having to turn them outside out over my ankles. I did crop the length a bit for a summer-look but sure, it’s easy to lengthen the next pair.

The second pair are made with cotton twill, again from Fabworks ( I wonder if do they do loyalty cards?). It’s called Hashtag but I opted for the reverse grid side. I did try to get the horizontal stripes to match across the seams but did not achieve a uniform result: sometimes they match sometimes they don’t………

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Photobombed by a husband and a suitcase – he’s not leaving, it’s son arriving…….

The payments are being deposited from the marking – so time to start planning, prepping and purchasing for my Six Napoleon dress.

 

 

 

 


46 Comments

Get Ready….

Payday! I have purchased in the region of 5 metric tonnes of ‘jersey’

Everything from stretch lace and mesh to scuba with a few cottons and viscose in between.

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I also purchased the Tilton sisters’ Artful T-Shirt class from Craftsy. Blogs and loads of useful information and ideas: one blog each Marcy here and Katherine here. Be prepared for covetable items and just not enough time in the day or a big enough sewing room……

This week I expect some striped jersey and a few bonus fabrics to arrive too, which brings the total jersey count up to one trillion metres.

Stripes from Girl Charlee UK.

Patterns and flowers (above) and bonus plains from Fabworks.

Then I updated the machine needle stash with a few packets of ballpoints from John James Needles.

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The serger is threaded; the colours fit with SWAP and I seem to be on a wine/berry colour phase at the moment; the Vogue 9057 pattern has arrived all the way from America; I’m eating healthily and being nice to other people………

I must be able to sew a T-shirt or two out of that lot!