corecouture

Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane


11 Comments

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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30 Comments

No Fabric…..1

For a few weeks I didn’t have any fabric! OK, we all know that is a bare faced lie but really, all I had were offcuts, leftovers and scraps; no 2 or 3 metre lengths with which to create and sew. My money had all been spent on frivolous things like food and petrol and there wasn’t much to spare. However, with a need to sew I started delving into those leftovers…..so some posts coming soon on how you can sew without a fabric stash!

While riffling through the leftovers, for a piece large enough to place a paper pattern upon I found this – last seen in June 2014.

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To make sense of today’s post, you really should read this one first.

The plastic bag was emptied, all the pieces ironed and smoothed. A little bit of dedication, concentration and determination has now resulted in one finished dress that was started three years ago!

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Vogue Ralph Rucci 1381.

There was more thread, pattern pieces, basting, tacking, pressing, top stitching, understitching, quilting, cutting, clipping, trimming, hand sewing and machine sewing involved in this one dress than in a fully tailored jacket, waistcoat, trousers and coat combined!

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All the fit issues and reservations that I mentioned in June 2014 were largely ignored this time and I just went for a finished dress. While it’s not spectacular (despite all that work) it’s OK .  I lengthened mine (as usual) and raised the front gap and that’s all the alterations I did.

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The dress weighs a tonne! If I ever fall overboard while wearing this I’ll sink like a stone. In some places there are five layers of various fabrics and it’s fully lined; the linen wears really well, softening but not wrinkling too much. Although made in linen, this is not a summer dress but would ease the transition in early autumn / spring.

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The hem has a bias strip sewn to the edge, then pressed up and slip stitched. I think this gives a bit of weight to the skirt so that it hangs better. The belt is sewn to the dress on one side so that you don’t lose it. And those front pockets are the best ever.

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If you follow the instructions to the letter, then the pocket edges and neck facings would be finished with more bias strips. I’d had enough and the raw edges were serged. When it came to French tacking the lining to the skirt – that was one stitch too many and I called it a day.

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It’s finished and it’s been worn. I got compliments and pleasant comments and no one noticed the mis-matched zip, the gathers and wrinkling, the wobbly topstitching, the unsymmetrical quilting lines; or if they did, they never said. Can’t ask much more than that really.

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32 Comments

Do You Want More Gravy?

There’s a tradition in our house that, when cooking dinner, you always prepare enough food for the Uninvited Guest. If they don’t show up then there’s plenty for seconds or enough for dinner the next day. I learned this from my mother as a child and she still cooks this way. Another ritual at dinner is purely my mother’s – at a certain point, usually mid-way through the main meal, she will invariably ask each person “Do you want more gravy?”

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It has become a standing joke and now at every family get together dinners, we all take turns asking “Do You want more gravy?”

So what else could I name a quilt made for my mum and dad except “More Gravy”?

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The design is actually Spellbound found free at Moda’s Bake Shop. MBS-spellbound-pinI made mine a little bigger than the pattern for a generous drop off each edge on a double bed. I also choose gentle colours, vignetting from green – pink – blue, on a neutral cream background. A easy and quick way to increase the size of any quilt is to add borders and I added two.

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The fabrics are tea dyed cloth from Doughty’s, which is also appropriate for my parents as they drink gallons of the stuff and no matter what is wrong or what problems are worrying you, a cup of tea will fix it.

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The quilt is sewn in strips, left to right, the squares of one row beginning the row below. There are hundreds of little pieces to make one row:

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The reverse of the quilt has a centre panel made up of all the little cut-offs and a few patches of leftover fabrics.

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And of course there’s always more fabric left over, so I made two matching pillow shams.

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More gravy and cups of tea, sunshine and a handmade quilt – what could be better?

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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.


44 Comments

The Only Park Lane

DSCN7260A long, long time ago I bought a dress pattern from Merchant and Mills: the company started in 2010 and  I’ve a sneaking suspicion that I purchased the pattern not long afterwards. It is stored in a sturdy cardboard tube and the pattern pieces are equally sturdy manilla card that require weights and not pins to hold them to the fabric. It will last for years and years. I never made the dress. There were no pattern reviews, no Google images (apart from M&M’s, below); I was a little wary and then I lost the whole lot!

Quite recently I relocated The Park Lane and just happened to have a very fine windowpane wool that didn’t have a pattern partner, so the two were paired together.

The dress is simplicity itself: sheath style, shaped shoulders that elongate into short sleeves, funnel neck and comes with a tie belt, in-seam pockets. I don’t do belts on loose dresses as they create folds and gathers on my considerable sway back and looks terrible – belt was ditched. I ditched the pockets too because this fabric is practically transparent and the black lines of the window panes showed through to the right side.

 

However, without a belt the dress was even looser and, quite honestly, shapeless. There are two little dart/pleats at centre front which are relatively pointless – I added three more on each front, total of 8.

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I get to keep the shift style but with the extra pleats I get a bit of shaping at the waist and creates some construction interest too.

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I like this dress. It’s not weird, far-out dressing, just a classic shape with a wee bit of unusual that might make someone look twice – in a nice way!

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I have a small dilemma that you, dear readers, can help and advise on. I made the dress straight from the pattern and this is the length (which I personally like).

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Here it is pinned about 6″ shorter.

Which looks better?

It is difficult to raise one’s arms as the whole dress lifts up; I’m not planning on cleaning out the high kitchen cupboards so it’s not that much of a problem.

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I went with matching the horizontal windowpanes. They match up (mostly) at centre back and side seams.

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Merchant and Mills no longer sell this pattern and I’m truly wondering if this is the only one ever made – please let me know if you’ve made it too or know somebody who has.

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Should I sew another one?