corecouture

Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane


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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!

 


43 Comments

SWAP A2, A3 & A2 Again

I’ve been away from blogging for a week or two so just to remind you that this is SWAP combination A.

Thank you all so much for such generous comments on Jungle January coat – it’s a welcome relief from forced coordination wardrobe planning.

In the silent weeks I made this.

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It was part of SWAP and the cornerstone of combination A – 3 garments that make an outfit and based upon my colour scheme of heather.

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Simplicity K1465 made in a ‘found’ mixed wool fibre tweed in pink and olive green houndstooth. The fabric came from an antique shop in Greyabbey and what you got was what you got. The pattern is a straight mock wrap skirt with a 360 peplum and a frill along the edge of the wrap. Fully lined, completely and utterly understitched, frill hand stitched down at crucial points; there isn’t a seam or join that isn’t sewn at least twice. The peplum and frill were laboriously hand frayed. The finished skirt length was totally determined by the amount of fabric.

Looked like this…

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Along the way I sewed a Paco Peralta Draped Top (A3) in olive green wool crepe to wear with the skirt. il_fullxfull.292016701I’ve made this many, many times before. This time I added a little back neck opening with a button closure. Otherwise, nothing’ s changed and it’s still a very stylish and classic contribution to any wardrobe. In fact, I don’t think I’ve made a SWAP in the last 3 years without a Paco Draped Top being part of it. It’s a foundation and at the same time an embellishment.

I have another me within my head and sometimes (actually, many times) she is 100% right but I have developed the ability to totally ignore her. She had severe reservations while sewing this skirt but I carried on regardless of her little voice that kept saying ” No. This isn’t you. This isn’t your style. You will never wear it.”

And what do you know – she was right again! I hate that.

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So, I unpicked and cut and salvaged and saved what I could and ended up with a straight skirt without peplum or frill or mock-wrap and too short.

Undeterred, or maybe foolishly, I couldn’t leave the blasted thing alone.

Also along the way I sewed a pair of winter Strides in olive green Donegal tweed – both pattern and fabric from Merchant and Mills.DSCN6064

As usual after every make I had a little bit of tweed left over; this was added to my not-peplum-anymore skirt.

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I made some pleats like this:

Sew a big long ring of fabric, overlock the edges and hem. Hemming must be done before pleating. Mark out regular divisions – I used 1″.

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Concertina the fabric to the marks and pin. Then tack securely.

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Press extremely well with a damp pressing cloth and lots of steam on both side of the fabric.

I sewed the pleats to the lining and catchstitched the lining to the skirt.

The skirt’s side seams were rounded to reveal more pleats. And this is the ‘new’ skirt

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Swishy hemline with an apron-effect top skirt….

that goes with my pink fleece jacket

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as does the new Strides

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I have absolutely no idea what part of SWAP is done or has to be done or even what part of SWAP I’m working on – I just seem to be sewing clothes in a couple of colourways and hoping that I’ll end up with 3 + 3 +2 +3 coordinating garments.

My first item, the pink coat, was cut down and altered into a short fitted jacket and now the peplum skirt has been completely refashioned using pleats. I’d save a lot of time if I just managed to sew it right first time!

I actually think I’m doing APWS – a plan with sewing rather than sewing with a plan.

With these four things plus the grey Vogue trousers I now have five garments – almost halfway there.