#SewingCoco Party – Coco meets Miette!

I’m celebrating Tilly‘s Coco Party today with a stripy Breton-inspired Coco top paired with my midi and maxi Miette skirts.

Until yesterday evening, I hadn’t done any sewing this week, so Coco was the perfect quick basic pattern to get me back into the swing of things. I sewed the whole thing up apart from the neck and the hems on my overlocker in about an hour.

I really like that the blue and red top can be teamed up with both my blue and magenta skirts and each skirt brings out a different colour in the top! So versatile!

Well done Tilly, you’ve produced another great pattern to add to my wardrobe staples.

Cheers!

 

Project Sewn Week Three – ‘If the shoe fits’

It’s week three of Project Sewn and this week’s theme is ‘If the shoe fits’.

The designer contestants have come up with knock-out clothes and images again! It’s so inspiring to see their interpretations of the themes and how expertly they put their looks together. They truly are a talented bunch of ladies!

For the rest of us mere mortals, I think it’s great that we get to join in with the fun. This week though, I thought I’d have to bow out because I’m busy making for my children and haven’t had time to make something for this challenge.

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Sparkly ballet flats

Then, just as luck would have it, a trawl through my archives unearthed these photos taken in Italy last summer of an outfit not yet blogged about, which also happens to showcase this sparkly pair of ballet flats quite nicely.

So I thought, ‘if the shoe fits’……!

Grainline Studio Scout tee and Simplicity skirt

Grainline Studio Scout tee and Simplicity skirt and unknown furry friend!

This outfit is made up of a Cynthia Rowley Simplicity 2215 skirt and Grainline Studio woven Scout tee topped off with a Smedley knit.

P1260252The Simplicity 2215 skirt is a pleated skirt pattern with uneven pleats on the front and back pieces and pockets in the side seams.

Simplicity skirt

Simplicity 2215 skirt with uneven pleating and side seam pockets

Once you’ve marked out and basted down the pleating, this skirt comes together really quickly and easily – with just one catch! I found putting the zip and the pocket into the side seam a little perplexing. I managed to put them all in in the end by attaching the zip to the side of the pocket but it wasn’t the neatest of zip insertions!

Organic cotton batiste lining

Organic cotton batiste lining

The main body of the skirt is made from linen from the Hollander Stoff market and I lined the skirt with organic cotton batiste from Lebenskleidung.  I added a fabric covered button to close the waistband and zip fastening and hand stitched the hem for a neater finish.

Grainline Studio Scout tee in cotton eyelet batiste

Grainline Studio Scout tee in cotton eyelet batiste

The Grainline Studio Scout woven tee is one of my all-time favourite staple patterns! It’s so versatile and easy and can be squeezed out of just one metre of fabric – always a bonus IMO! I’ve made several of these now but this white one and my Breton striped one are the most worn.

Body of Scout tee underlined with white cotton batiste and all French seams

Body of Scout tee underlined with white cotton batiste and all French seams

For this tee, I used cotton eyelet batiste and underlined the main body pieces with cotton batiste – both from Anita Pavani Stoffe and did French seams on all seams including the armholes.

This cotton eyelet batiste is the same as I used to make my first Anna dress in black. I really love this fabric, which is why I was so pleased when I saw a blouse recently, made from the same fabric in a boutique in my town by Italian brand 0039 Italy for 150 euros! Mine cost a fraction of that to make! Isn’t it great when that happens!

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Don’t forget to cast your vote for your favourite outfit over at Project Sewn.

I’m so looking forward to the finale of the competition next week. What will the contestants pull out of the bag for that one, I wonder?

Project Sewn Week Two: ‘Make it Pink’ Challenge – The Lady Skater Dress

I’ve just finished this coral pink and red dress, it’s literally hot off the press, so I’m including it for the Project Sewn ‘Make it Pink’ challenge.

Ichy Coo Lady Skater dress

Ichy Coo Lady Skater dress

I’d seen this Marc by Marc Jacobs dress (see below) and fallen hard for the tonal colours and simple shape and thought that the Lady Skater dress pattern by independent pattern company Kitschy Coo would be a good match to replicate this fit and flare dress design.

Marc by Marc Jacobs tonal dress

Marc by Marc Jacobs tonal dress

Here’s my version!

Coral organic single cotton jersey and red organic sweater knit

Coral organic single cotton jersey and red organic sweater knit 

I thought this coral colour teamed with the red gives the dress a vibrant flair. The bodice is made from coral pink organic cotton jersey, with coral pink organic cotton rib cuffs and the skirt is made from red organic sweater knit jersey all from Lebenskleidung.

When you make this PDF download dress pattern, you choose your size based on your body measurements. I was between sizes for the skirt so graded the bodice out to the waistline. I cut a size two for the bodice and sleeves and between a three and four for the skirt pieces.

I would describe the fit of the finished bodice as – ‘swimsuit -like’ which I wasn’t happy with at first but I’m getting used to now! The pattern instructions did suggest sizing up the bodice to the next size if your fabric isn’t very stretchy, which being 100% cotton, mine isn’t but for some unknown reason, I chose to ignore this useful piece of advice!

The sewing up of this is really quick and easy – this was a ‘one evening’ make for me. The pattern comes with extremely helpful and thorough making instructions – you really couldn’t want for more! I sewed the whole thing up on my overlock machine, including the neck-band which was probably a bit reckless for a first attempt but luckily worked out ok-ish!

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Yes, that is Olive Oyl on my scarf!

I haven’t hemmed the dress yet, this is the unfinished length, but I’m thinking I’m just going to overlock it because I don’t want it too short.

I put the dress on today to take these photos, with every intention to change back into my jeans as soon as I finished because it’s was such a yucky cold and stormy day. But these colours made me feel so happy and spring-like that I ended up keeping it on! I layered it up with one of my favourite John Smedley cardigans and a scarf and I was toasty and warm all day.

With John Smedley cardigan

With John Smedley cardigan

This dress feels like a departure from my usual style – not sure exactly what my usual style is, but this seems out of it. However I’m growing to like it. I feel like I’m wearing something too young for me, which it probably is, but it’s nice to wear something a bit girly for a change!

All in all, this was a joy to make (although I didn’t enjoy attaching the neck-band!) and the dress is a cute style.

Again, don’t forget, if you haven’t done so already, go over to Project Sewn and cast your vote for your favourite outfit!

Liberty print Archer shirt

Yay, I made a shirt!!

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This is the Archer shirt pattern View B from Grainline Studio and I absolutely love it!

Archer shirt by Grainline Studios View B

Archer shirt by Grainline Studios View B

My love for my new Archer shirt is akin to the love you have for a newborn baby. I just can’t stop looking at it and marveling at what I’m made! Not because it’s anything unique. Hundreds of people have made this shirt pattern, it’s not like I’m the first or anything, but making this represents a huge personal milestone.

I’ve finally conquered shirt-making!

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It feels like a sewing rite of passage on the road to self-made wardrobe greatness!

The sewing doors that this opens are very exciting. I can now make my hubby a shirt or tackle some more interesting garments for my children. Or just make more shirts for moi!

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Either way, I feel like I’ve jumped a hurdle and I’m moving forwards and it feels goood!

P1290201I made this during Archer Appreciation month December 2013 – well almost made it. I ended up finishing it off at the beginning of January but it was the Archer Appreciation fervor that got me motivated to make it in the first place.

I’d had the PDF pattern bought and downloaded for several months but was too initimitated by it to make a start on it. I’m so grateful for the Archer Appreciation drive for getting me going.

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I followed Jen of Grainline Studio’s Sew-A-Long for the shirt and it made making it a breeze. The sewalong  breaks the making process down into manageable chunks and holds your hand the whole way. The only tricky part for me was finishing off the collar, but even this wasn’t really difficult, I just waited until I had a chance to finish it in daylight, when I wasn’t too tired so that I could concentrate properly. I make most mistakes when I’m tired and rush things.

I really like the pattern design. The shirt isn’t too fitted, just comfortable. Also the sleeves turned out the perfect length for me. This isn’t the first shirt I’ve made but it is the first well-made shirt that I’ve made and the other patterns that I’ve tried all had sleeves that were too long.

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I chose to make this first trial of the pattern in Liberty Art Fabrics tana lawn cotton because:

a) I wanted a small, busy print that would hide any mistakes I made – although this wasn’t necessary thanks to the great sew-a-long instructions!

b) Having seen so many great versions of this pattern and read so many glowing reviews, I was confident that I could go ahead and cut into some ‘good’ fabric because it seemed unlikely that I’d encounter any major fitting issues.

Liberty tana lawn cotton - great for layering

Liberty tana lawn cotton – great for layering

c) I love Liberty tana lawn cotton fabric especially for shirts! It’s easy to sew with and to cut out and it’s great for layering in the cooler months and light and cool to wear in the summer.

I bought my fabric from Shaukat online because it’s much cheaper than buying from Liberty itself. I didn’t alter anything on the pattern and the fit is really good. I did all seams as French seams.

I’ve got so many more of these shirts planned of course, this pattern is just so useful for my everyday wardrobe! It would really be a crime not to repeat it!

On another note – I’ve just finished rearranging and organising my sewing space and I think my youngest daughter is now settled in Kindergarten. So I’m rolling up my sleeves and getting ready for some serious stash-busting!

Watch out Burdastyle project page, here I come!!

Enjoy the weekend,

Christine

2014 – The Chinese Year of the Jumpsuit!

Did you know that 2014 is the Chinese Year of the Jumpsuit??

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Ralph Pink jumpsuit x Grainline Studio Archer shirt in Liberty

No?! That’s probably because I just made it up – but it should be! It’s still January and I’ve made two jumpsuits already and anyway, the animal theme is getting a bit old isn’t it??

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I made three jumpsuits last year and and I’m on a jumpsuit roll again this year! It started when I began searching for patterns to make something similar to this eye-catching  jumpsuit by Italian designer Luciano Soprani.

Luciano Soprani jumpsuit

Luciano Soprani jumpsuit

The closest pattern match I could find was this Ralph Pink jumpsuit. 

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Ralph Pink jumpsuit pattern

This has the same front opening that my inspiration jumpsuit has and unlike the other jumpsuits I’ve made before, doesn’t have an elasticated waist.

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The pattern comes as a downloadable PDF in multiple sizes. You can choose to print and then cut out whichever size pattern you choose, so there’s no need for pattern tracing. I made the UK size 8 and made no alterations to the pattern other than shortening the legs by about five centimetres and putting D-rings on the self-fabric belt.

Two D-rings sewn onto one end of the self -fabric belt

Two D-rings sewn onto one end of the self -fabric belt

I recommend adding two D-rings to one end of your belt as the belt fastener because they’re fabric savers – you don’t need as much fabric for your D-ring belt as you do for a belt that’ll be tied in a knot or bow. Also, once fastened, the belt sits flatter and doesn’t need constant readjusting like a bow or knot do. Plus I think D-rings look edgier!

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This pattern is a fabric eater depending on how wide your fabric is. Ralph Pink recommends using 3.5m of a fabric with good drape, such as silk. The pattern is cut as one whole piece, not bodice and pants pieces as it looks like the Luciano Soprani jumpsuit is.

Pattern cut into pieces spanning the whole length of jumpsuit

Pattern cut into pieces spanning the whole length of jumpsuit

For my first trial of this pattern, the only fabric I had in my stash in this quantity, that I was willing to sacrifice for a pattern test was this blue cotton. This has very little drape and is so crisp, it rustles as I walk but it worked fine just to see how the fit of the pattern was.

Ralph Pink jumpsuit pattern version one in cotton

I much prefer the pattern in this supple Italian linen/cotton mix from Anita Pavani Stoffe, that I chose for my second version.  As well as having a better drape, the fabric was also wide enough that I could squeeze the pattern pieces out of only two metres.

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Ralph Pink’s instructions were easy to follow and I didn’t have any major issues making this up. My only advice would be to take your time with the fly front. Care needs to be taken when sewing up the centre front seam on the crotch so that the front left piece can still overlap the right front piece once the seam has been sewn up. Then you need to decide how to close the fly. For my blue jumpsuit I went with buttons.

Buttons on fly opening

Buttons on fly opening

For the grey, I used poppers. I prefer the poppers.

Poppers on grey jumpsuit fly opening

Poppers on grey jumpsuit fly opening

I’m not finished with this pattern yet! I want to try it in a patterned fabric and I’m definitely making a lightweight denim one for the spring. I’m still searching for a teal green suiting so that I can finally make a closer match to Luciano Soprani’s wonderful jumpsuit.

Anyone else following this year’s jumpsuit theme?? What’s on your sewing table?

Happy 2014 and ‘Twinkle, Twinkle Little Skirt’!

Happy 2014 everyone! I hope you’ve all had a ‘Guten Rutsch’ (good slide) into the New Year, as they say in these parts!

I’m posting this skirt review later than I’d planned. Holiday travel, sick children and other seasonal distractions completely derailed my blog posting schedule at the end of 2013 and thus far this year – but I’m British, so I’m keeping calm and carrying on regardless!

This is Skirt Three of my ‘Schwarzwald Autumn/Winter 2013 skirt trio collection made from BurdaStyle skirt pattern 12/2012 #105.

BurdaStyle 12/2012 skirt pattern in sequin wool fabric

BurdaStyle 12/2012 skirt pattern in sequin wool fabric

The Schwarzwald inspiration for this skirt was the beautiful and sparkly frosts we get here in the Black Forest in winter.

Frosty Black Forest in Germany

Frosty Black Forest in Germany

To combat said chilly frosts, I made this skirt out of a thick wool fabric with a sequin top layer bought from Canepa Spa Outlet – the factory shop of Canepa Spa Italian designer fabric manufacturer at Lake Como, Italy.

Wool from Canepa Spa Outlet, Lake Como, Italy

Wool from Canepa Spa Outlet, Lake Como, Italy

The wool keeps me toasty warm even on the frostiest days. However the thick sparkly fabric adds bulk where I’d rather not highlight bulkiness and so if I were to make another sparkly skirt, I would definitely choose a slinkier sparkly fabric with better drape!

bulky fabric highlights all lumps and bumps!

bulky fabric highlights all lumps and bumps!

No need to ask ‘Does my bum look big in this?’, I already have the big, shiny answer!

Anyway, moving on!

Again this skirt pattern was super simple to make even in this thick wool although the invisible zip that I put in the back centre seam has misbehaved a bit and keeps jamming in the wool. I may have to replace this at some point.

Viscose lining and ribbon waistband

Viscose lining and ribbon waistband

I lined the skirt with a viscose lining and used more of the Mokuba grosgrain ribbon that I used for the other two skirts as the waistband with an invisible zip in the back centre seam with a hook and eye closing at the top.

Frumpy length?

Frumpy length?

I hand-stitched the hem after pondering for some time about ways to finish the hem off nicely. After I’d finished the skirt, I spotted a sparkly skirt on my travels in Zadig and Voltaire in France. For their version, they left the hem raw and the poly lining of the skirt protruded down below the hem a couple of centimetres, frayed for about a centimetre at the end, which gave the bottom of the skirt a softened look and also made it edgy looking. I prefer this finish so if I make this skirt over, I’d finish the hem like Zadig and Voltaire did.

Frumpy length?

Frumpy length?

The other main difference between their skirt and mine apart from the huge price tag of the Zadig one! is the length – Zadig and Voltaire’s skirt is fashionably mini.

'Twinkle, Twinkle Little Skirt'

‘Twinkle, Twinkle Little Skirt’

Despite my skirt being a frumpy length and exaggerating all my lumps and bumps, it does keep me warm and the magpie in me does like the way the fabric sparkles!

Have you made anything that may not have been the most flattering thing for you but you liked it and wore it anyway??