corecouture

Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane


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Before it’s Too Late

As part of Catch-up Blogging, I have to show these trousers now before they fall out of season. They’re made with a navy wool tweed (admittedly a light tweed) but are really for winter wear. I’ve had the fabric for quite a while now and was intending to sew a smart pencil skirt at some time in the distant past, but there you go – no skirt but trousers. Do you often do that? Buy fabric with one plan in mind, only to change later.

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The pattern is Vogue 1508: Zandra Rhodes design. Simple straight legs, elasticated waist but with some added “Corecouture” bits and piecimgres-1es. The envelope photo shows the trousers as narrow legged but in reality mine are neither wide nor narrow – sort of in between.

I’ve made them before in a heavy tweed and was very pleased with fit and style.

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The Alterations

Firstly, mine are cropped. I do like a cropped trouser and with only 1m of fabric there had to beimgres-2 some concessions made somewhere. I know that some of you are not fans of cropped trousers and I am conscious that sometimes they look like they were made with too little fabric so I made a little feature out of the shortness. The hems are curved at the outside seams. I took the idea from vintage Vogue 1522 , Perry Ellis design – so a little 1980s vintage touch and emphasises that the cropped length was intentional.

Curved seams are never easy to sew. I used some bias tape to help keep the roundness and pressed like a mad woman. Sew the bias tape to the hem, clip if necessary: fold to the inside right along the edge, pin and press; topstitch in place and press again. It also helps to do this before you sew the trouser legs together at the inside seams so that you are working flat. Just leave a wee bit of bias tape hanging at each side to be slipped stitched over the hem of the inside seam.

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Trousers without pockets are pretty useless. Mostly I use my pockets for posing and not really for holding things but to me, they are essential part of a garment. I made single welt, slightly angled front pockets. See here for how to…..

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I didn’t line these ones but wear my trouser-petticoat underneath. These are brilliant; can be worn under any trousers that don’t have lining, including RTW, and fulfil the functions of all the benefits of lining – reducing creasing, preventing sagging at bum and knees, helps the hang of the fabric and an extra layer for warmth on colder days.

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All you have to do is use some good quality lining (mine are cotton/silk blend), use any old trouser pattern – no pockets, waistband or anything and if they are a bit loose that’s OK. Sew some elastic to the waist, overlock or hem the ends and you have a very useful trouser-petticoat.

But of course, as versatile as a pair of navy trousers are, it’s always best to sew a coordinating top – remember – outfits, not orphans – ONO!

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Nothing new here I’m afraid. Back to Vogue 1247 (OOP) and possibly the best pattern ever drafted with a bit of remnant viscose jersey picked up for a fiver at the Spinning imgresWheel in Belfast.

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It drapes beautifully and with those colours of blues, red-orange and white can be worn with a wealth of others. Not many alterations done here apart from lengthing the sleeves by simply cutting long and leaving off the cuff. The interesting piecing at the front is lost in the fabric pattern but it really does help with shape and drape.

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I might have added an inch or two to the length but it’s been so long ago that I can’t remember rightly. I was probably just using as much fabric as I could. By the way, I didn’t French the seams, the at-the-moment very well behaved overlocker did that bit for me. I’ve probably just put a curse on it now………

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Now I am well aware that my photography is pretty crap and I am not photogenic but could I just point out – primarily to those sewing bloggers who have a trillion ads on their pages – just because you’ve taken the photographs doesn’t mean you have to use them all. Front, back and sides are usually enough. It’s like writing an essay that just repeats itself, there’s nothing new added. Just saying………

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Hello to all new followers, you are very welcome and I’m quite surprised that as I haven’t posted in a month or so that you still think it’s worthwhile to add this blog to your feed. I am truly appreciative. Please share your ideas and thoughts in the comments, even if they’re not related to my current sewing projects.

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Until the next Catch-up Blog……….

 


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Re-Entry

Many of my blogging buddies seem to be taking sabbaticals – as I apparently have too – although not intentionally. Things just get in the way. I’ve been sewing and making, just not taking photos, posing, showing and telling. As the Easter holidays are fast approaching I should have more spare time and I’ll try to make more of an effort; attempting to match my blogging with my sewing.

I’ll start with a nice little simple  jumper (UK), sweater (US) – did I get that right? A gentle slide back into blogging. A useful top layer on chillier days and summer evenings.

I started with Vogue 9193 Marcy Tilton top and pants and a soft wool mix from Sherwood p1030377Fabrics in a very delicate shell pink (it comes in pale blue too). The knitted fabric has a lace-like quality. Easy pattern with cut on sleeves, scooped neck and loose fitting. Each pattern piece is cut on a single layer because of the slanted hemline, so pin everything on before cutting just in case……..

V9193I only cut out the top sections of the pattern, not the bottom bits with the pocket and lengthened one side to 22″ and the other to 26″ for an asymmetrical hemline.

The edges are finished with the selvedge for a neatness.

I added one patch pocket on the longer side just because.

There was a leftover piece of the knit fabric and I’ve been seeing a lot of poncho/shrug things in the shops. On closer inspection, these are a bit of fabric folded over with a seam at one shoulder and a hole for the head. Easy-peasy.

I took my bit of fabric, folded it, seamed the open edge, overlocked the long edges, found a button that matched and stitched this mid way.DSCN6967

I have two openings in my version of the poncho/shrug and can wear it diagonally over my jumper to offset the asymmetry and add an extra layer. One hole for my head , the other for my arm.

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But the little add-on can be worn as a hood or as a draped scarf – very versatile.

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Worn today with a pair of burgundy wool Clovers, from Colette this shade of pink seems to go with practically every other colour. It’s almost a neutral.

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There you are – a soft re-entry back to blogging with a soft and easy jumper.

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Every Quilt I’ve ever Made

Firstly, that title sounds like I’ve been making quilts for 100 years – I haven’t. It’s been two years.

Secondly,within 10 minutes of starting to patchwork and quilt I started to gather and collect all my scraps of fabric from every project. You know how that goes…….

Thirdly,  if you are a quilter you might want to look away now. This is not accurate block making nor a precise method of patchworking but it certainly uses up those scraps.

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So following Demented Fairy’s good advice, I sorted all the scraps into colour-ways and stuffed them into plastic freezer bags and stashed them away.

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However, fast running out of freezer bags and space I decided it was time to do something with all these scraps. Now, when sewing clothes, your scraps might be in the region of 0.5-1m. With patchworking, the scraps are 2″ -4″ and below!

So I delved in and dug out a bag: this one happens to be mostly orange.

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The scraps were then pressed, laid out for possible colour combination options with some being removed, then roughly sorted into shapes ready for sewing.

And start sewing random bits together……..1/4″ seam allowance and a pale grey thread.

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When it becomes too difficult to sew any more pieces, like the angle is too acute and there are no more straight edges, trim to make the patchwork squarish and carry on.

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I kept up this process until the block was close to 15″ or so. Pressed really well…….

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…..and then just picked another bag and started the process all over again, and again, and again. Then all of a sudden, I had 20 blocks! Each block was then trimmed to 14″ in a rare attempt to square things off. Can you spot the original start point in this block?

I bought some plain yellow (now I have scraps of yellow!) and made a quilt top with all these random blocks with 2″ yellow sashing – 4 X 5 blocks and big enough to lie atop a UK king-sized bed.

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In this quilt, there are fabrics left over from summer dresses, shirts, totes, skirts, scarves, wash/cosmetic bags and, of course, other quilts.

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So, I’m feeling quite pious at this point. I’ve put the otherwise useless scraps to good use and made a quilt top. But of course, that’s not the end of the quilt. It now needs wadding and a backing to make it complete. I went and bought some of my favourite fabrics by Kaffe Fassett for the backing (I now have scraps of backing).

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Fabulously bright and happy. The quilting of all layers includes wiggly lines on each block and straight line sewing along the sashing. It looks good from both sides.

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It’s teenage son’s girlfriend’s birthday in March so guess what’s she’s getting as a 20th birthday present? Which reminds me that teenage son will not be a teenager for very much longer – like where did those years go?

Every finished quilt needs a title and a label. This one is called “The Learning Years”. I have learnt so much about patchworking and quilting in the past two years and teenage son’s girlfriend is at university – so it’s a title that refers to both our journeys.

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Of course, there’ll always be more scraps………

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Bin ’em!


36 Comments

Sewing the 70s Today

Thank you very very much for all the lovely comments on my Sewing the 70s dress. It was wonderful to hear that so many of you had made this dress first time around and even more wonderful that you are still sewing 40 years later. I hope that seeing the pattern brought back happy memories for you and isn’t it surprising that we can remember each and every pattern we ever sewed? I think this shows the level of emotional involvement we put put into our makes.

Welcome to all new readers and followers too. Lovely to have you join us and thank you.

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Today is the showcase of the third and final dress made from my Craftsy rayon haul. I dscn6881loved the Simplicity 5728 so much that I made another, this time in a rust coloured rayon with stylised cream sprigs and twigs. Instead of just showing a few photos of me in a dress, I’ve detailed the method I used to create the single welt pockets in the skirt. NB: this is what I do and is not necessarily the right or best method available.

I’ll intersperse the instructions with a few pics of the dress too.

This version of the dress has a decorative button at the neck, a fitted belt with a heart-shaped fastener and I moved the centre back zip to the side so that I can get dressed all by myself.

I read and noted every comment made on version No 1. Wendy gave a little tip on adding height to those gathered sleeves – thank you, I got the height I wanted.

Mrs Mole mentioned platform shoes, so here’s me in my new Trippens – a modern nod to platform shoes. Thanks, I’d forgotten about that particular style of footwear.

The pattern has instructions for adding lace around the collar and some of you mentioned contrast collars and trims to showcase the Italian collar. I didn’t add trim in this version but I wish I had – maybe next time??

dscn6870A few asked about the stays in version 1.  These are strips of fabric stitched between pockets at centre and from pockets into side seams. Just keeps everything smooth and flat. The top of the pockets are stitched into the waistband.

Thanks again for each and every comment. I truly appreciate your time and effort and only sorry that I didn’t reply to each one but life’s been a bit hectic recently and meant that I had a lot of time spent away from keyboard……..and sewing machine.
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Pockets

These pockets can be inserted into any skirt or trousers.

You will need:

Fusible interfacing – 2″ strips at least 6″ long, 4 in total

Ruler, pencil, pins

Fabric for pockets or 3-4″ wide strips of self fabric if you don’t have enough left for pockets or your fabric is bulky.

  1. Decide on the location of the pockets – close to the centre seam will produce small, shallow pockets or closer to the side seams for a ‘whole-hand’ pocket.
  2. Pocket opening will always be 51/2″ . This is a golden rule.
  3. Pockets can be vertical or horizontal, or as in this case, slanted. Slanted is an old couture trick to visually create a narrow waist and flattering the figure. They are also easier to actually use. Generally, with a slanted pocket there is a 2″ offset from top to bottom but this is personal choice.
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Side zip that doesn’t require endless turning and twisting to get it up or down

  1. If there are two front pieces in a skirt then sew the centre seam. If not, mark the centre line and use this as a guide. For trousers, keep both fronts separate but constantly check that the pockets, left and right, are at the same height and width from the seams.
  2. Drape the skirt front upon your body or mannequin and mark your chosen pocket placement with some chalk or pins. Practice pretending to use the pockets to confirm the location. When happy,  tidy up with a ruler for precision on a table top.
  3. On two of the fusible interfacing strips, draw out the pocket opening: the centre and 1/4″ either side of this. Remember, always 5 1/2″ long. Iron to the inside.dscn6871

5. On the inside of the skirt, machine stitch along the outside pencil lines (not the centre). Start in the middle of a long edge with 1mm stitch length, change to normal stitch length and at corners and ends revert back to 1mm: go all the way around and finish off with more 1mm stitches. This does 4 things; holds the interfacing in place, prevents fraying, strengthens the pocket opening and clearly marks the pocket on the right side.

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6. Prepare the welts. Take some leftover fabric, about 4″  x 6″. Fold on the long edge and use some more fusible interfacing for extra strength. Press well. Mark 1/2″ from the fold and you can even stitch this in place. The pocket opening is 1/2″, 2 x 1/4″ = 1/2″. See I can do maths!

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7. Pin the 1/2″ line marked welt to the lower stitching line on the outside, making sure they line up. Have the folded edge away from the pocket opening, so raw edge is towards the side seams.

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8. Stitch the welt in place from the wrong side over the same row of stitching.  Stitching should start at the top of the rectangle and finish at the end.

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I now have to move to another project to show you the final stages as I forgot to take photos on the dress. Same process though.

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9. Time to cut!!!. Slit through the skirt only along the pocket centre line. Stop a good 1″ or so from each end and clip to the corners, creating triangles. Push the welt and raw edges through to the inside. Manhandle this and don’t let the fabric take charge of you. Press very well.

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10. On the inside, flatten out the little triangle tabs at each end and stitch them to the ends of the welt. Go over this line two or three times, just to make sure.

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11. Nearly there. Now just to add the actual pockets to the inside using the raw edges. Bottom pocket piece should be the shell fabric. I didn’t have enough left, so I patched some remaining scraps to lining. It just means that if your pockets gape a little bit then they match the outside.

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12. Stitch remaining pocket to the other side and join the two pockets together.

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Press well again. Job done. If you like you can always add a few hand stitches at the corners to doubly make sure that nothing will unravel.

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You should end up with a couple of pockets that are practically weightless and invisible but so useful, even if it’s just for posing! This method has worked well in this flimsy rayon and is just as effective in the heavier wool tweed shown above. Change the weight of your interfacing to suit your fabric though.

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You know, I love dresses and it’s obvious, from the number of comments posted on my dresses rather than separates, that you do too but I actually rarely wear them. It’s a shocking admission, considering I make so many and fantasise about making many more. Must try harder – must wear more dresses.

I’ve kinda/sorta been a wee bit promoted at work. It’s a posting that takes me away from my students for one whole day a week –  a desk job!  I’ve decided that henceforth and until this contract finishes, Wednesdays shall be Dress Day. Now there’s a weekly blog post idea – want to join in? Even if you don’t work outside the home, you can still wear a dress for one day of the week, or maybe you already do and it’s just me who doesn’t.

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I liked the photos of my reflection in the wardrobe doors – that’s why there’s two of me. There isn’t really, thank goodness.

 


36 Comments

Sewing the Genuine 70s

A quick look on ebay, few clicks later and I bought a real life vintage 1970s dress pattern – Simplicity 5728 printed in 1973. I won’t do a full pattern review because most (if not all) of you will never make this dress.

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The fabric is one of the rayons I got from Craftsy sale: black with flowers and foliage.

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Updates for 2017 include a 32″ length on the skirt, an invisible zip and a belt rather than ties. I did include single welt pockets in the skirt too – so useful.  Otherwise the dress is as the dress is: long sleeved with cuffs and something called an “Italian” type collar and a centre back zip. there was only a white plastic buckle in the notions box so it got a few coats of nail polish to turn it deep pink.

So, to the dress. Pics are a bit fuzzy – apologies in advance.

I love my pockets; I love the Italian-style collar, although I’ve never heard of it before.

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0b32c388ceb7322f876e5d745f557ceeItalian style collars are from men’s dress shirts and describe the amount of spread between the collar points and length. (I think).

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I love the length – it looks good with shoes and boots alike. I love the gathered sleeves.

TIP: If you can’t put a sleeve in without gathers, then just put in a gathered sleeve!

One more rayon to go, then off to mark 10,000 exam questions and a quick trip to London.

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I shall be maintaining radio silence for a week or two but I haven’t gone away, you know!