Sunday, 28 June 2015

Its all sew pants - cigarette pants, trews, ankle grazers..............

Trousers are something I find easier to buy off the rack, I find making trousers a pain and fitting issues too fiddly so buying off the rack and taking the waist in often seems easier (my waist is two sizes smaller than hip).  Making tops, skirts, dresses and coats are what I prefer, and yet I wear jeans more than skirts on average due to practicality.  

Part of my sewing mission has become to make a handmade wardrobe and now I needed to make some trousers!  I started a pair last month, and based it on a butterick pattern I had done a toile for last year.  I cut the trousers from a linen pair, but the weave was tighter, and the fit was awful.  In part its a vanity issue, as I was in part relying on the ease allowed in a pattern rather than just using my brain and a full set of exact current measurements (seriously, there are times when I have worked from an old set of measurements thinking that these measurements still apply.....dream on......).

So I figured I would take a break from them, and in the meantime, I found these jeans (stretch fabric and a size too big) in the charity shop and also in the colour I needed, so I figured I would do this one from scratch.
recut refashion jeans

I drafted a Jeans block with current exact measurements, and laid it over the Butterick 2704  to combine the two.   (I love the high waisted fit from waist to high hip fit in the Butterick) I used the jeans block for the leg however, when I laid it over the trousers fabric, it just about  fitted  and the leg line of the jeans were in a different direction (coincidentally the same as the Butterick).  So I adapted the leg, and started on a muslin. The fit for the most was great, except now there was too much fabric under the back seat, and I was relying on partner J for critique, and a make-up mirror as a rear view on the full length mirror.    I tried a 'fish eye' dart, but it didn't improve anything, and even Allyne Bane (sewing guru go-to book) no insights, so I went with taking the excess fabric out in a dart going straight up the middle and it fixed it a lot so I undid the muslin leaving dart in place, and retraced the pattern, then I went ahead with pattern and cut.  

recut refashion jeans

I had to chance a few things when cutting the trousers from the jeans, I left the front pockets of the jeans intact, but sewed them shut as they would be too high up.  The front zip was removed but the stitch marks are still there but not hugely noticable and are in the correct place for a ''zip'' (the real zip is to the side which I prefer), so actually look fine, and I removed the back jeans pockets and I later replaced them after sewing the trousers.   The stretch fabric gave a generous fit so I took the side seams in about 1cm more and got a smoother fit again, the photo below is before the trousers were taken in. The fit before (mirror photo) is a nicer trouser fit (the left leg is the unaltered, the right leg is half taken in...), but the fit after taking them in, seemed to suit a jeans fit more 

recut refashion jeans

 I am so very happy and the trousers were worn straight away (which is always a good sign) and I finally have a proper trouser block sorted now - which is just as well as I have a pair of wool trousers to re-cut this Autumn!  The simplicity top still needs to have the tucks adjusted at the waist by taking them up one inch which I knew needed to be done, but really know now after seeing the photos! (the outfit got its first 'outing' in these photos, and after a 90 minute drive and 5 hours of watching irish dancing, the photos were taken .............. ) 
recut refashion jeans

While this was going on,   I have repaired my favourite jeans with sashiko mending (thanks to seeing it done by Karen, at RUDE) and its brilliant, I love the integrity of these repairs, its not trying to hide it, but makes the repair a thing in itself.  I normally darn on the machine using a zig zag type stitch, but ultimately it doesn't work that well with the stretch denim, I think it stresses the fabric more, so this time, I ironed black woven vilene (all I had) on the inside, stretching the jeans a little as I pressed, so the vilene had a wrinkle (deliberate) to accommodate the stretch.   I then did some running stitch with button thread, but then started a type of cross stitch.  What I did was a bit crude, but I love it.  I really like the honesty of the hand stitch and its also a lot more sympathetic to the denim than the machine darn (I think) and  its stronger as it moves with the fabric it a more sympathetic way.  There are some gorgeous examples on pinterest, very inspiring! 

Friday, 19 June 2015

simplicity 2120 -summer top from pillowcase, needs, wants and must makes

My sewing this last few weeks has been a bit chaotic  We are getting some building work done (windows, and external wall fixes).  We bought an old terraced house 2 years ago and are doing chunks of it over time, so huge heavy blanket lined curtains were taken down, some blinds made and still dust everywhere. I don't like or loathe making blinds, but as I can sew, I feel obliged to make my own, and luckily found some curtain fabric in the charity shop that suited perfectly, and while I was there, I saw this pillowcase.  

simplicity 2120 - pillowcase to top

I wanted to try out the simplicity pattern for a while, and have in mind to remake a yellow silk top, but cannot decide on sleeves or not, and thought I would try it first with the pillowcase.  There was not enough fabric, but I figured I could add some white fabric for facings.  Then, I thought some blue trim could make it less patched up, and put that in the mix,  The lace trim was a bit fiddly, but the sewing straightforward. 

simplicity 2120 - pillowcase to top

simplicity 2120 - pillowcase to top

I cut as much of the bodice as I could from the pillowcase, and  I put the trim and a strip of white fabric at the hem line, and I put a block of fabric at the neckline.  I relaid the pattern again, and shaped the armholes and neckline then marked in the darts and tucks and went from there. 

The summer has been slow to start here, so although I started this top 3 weeks ago, I only put a zip in yesterday!  Temperatures are on the rise and it feels like the weather is not fully committing to summer yet, so I have not got a chance to wear it outside yet.....and  I am looking forward to wearing it.  The only thing I think could be changed, is to raise the waistline a half inch.  I am high-waisted and think it sits a bit low, but then on the other hand, maybe it looks more casual like this? wearing it for a day will be the only way to find out..  The tucks also give it a nice casual look....and equally the tucks will be easy to move up a quarter inch, and the pattern has the back yoke higher than the front, so in profile it looks uneven, and when I make this again, I will put these at the same level.
simplicity 2120 - pillowcase to top

Other than that, I am planning the next bits of sewing, and they are broadly:- needs, wants, and musts..

The 'need' is to make some pyjamas, the ones I have are coming beyond redemption and my pjs tend to be old tees and leggings and they are even bit worn out by the time they become jim-jams,  so I am thinking of making some nice (and some swanky) ones in the next while, this in part came about due to my fixation on 1930s beach pyjamas that featured on the we sew retro facebook post in February.

The 'want' is a pair of blue trousers (ankle grazers) for the summer as ultimately I find I wear jeans or trousers more than skirts, and I have one pair of very faded black ones, so hoping to make a blue pair (a match for the pillow top).  I am assuming we will get some fine weather, as I am also planning a shibori summer dress!

And the 'must' is to make an irish dancing costume.  The promise I made my niece last year to make a solo dress is on and so is the pressure.  I am trawling pinterest for ideas, so my feed is now a mix of demure vintage and OTT irish dance dresses (its a case of more is more in that world).  I have made a bodice to check her measurements, and hopefully we can pin down some ideas as I think the deadline is September..................

Friday, 12 June 2015

simplicity 8029 - skirt to halter for fi

Finally the temperatures have increased.  I made this top some time ago for my friend Fiona, and have only gotten around to posting it to her this week, and posting it here now! 

I got this silk skirt some time back, I loved the subtlety of the colours, bu they are not colours that I wear, but would suit my friend Fi, and I also wanted to try Simplicity pattern.  Fi can wear those 70s styles so well, and I am unsure if she will wear this but I thought I would do it anyway!  

It is a simple front tie halter.  and convertible to some kind of cape, which I think can only be useful if you want to shield your shoulders from burning.....   It looks a lot more functional in the illustration!

I used up all of the fabric from the skirt, and used the lining to bind the handkerchief edges and line the 'bra' part.  I did a fair amount of hand sewing in the finish as it was a very very very thin silk.

Friday, 5 June 2015

spadea 256 by fontana - maxi skirt to mid knee dress

up sew upcycyle refashion skirt to dress

I was a bit aprehensive picking up this skirt at the Charity Shop.  The colour was lovely, the seams were minimal, and the label New Look.  New Look is like Pennys/Primark / Forever 21 - very fast fashion, very basic quality fabric.    However, I also wanted to try out this Fontana Dress so I picked this on up.  The fabric is viscose, so lovely drape, but so easily creased.  The Spadea pattern is incredibly simple which is just as well as I believe their instruction can be minimal regardless of the complexity of the pattern.  Its really a back, front, facings, tie and loop.
up sew upcycyle refashion skirt to dress

I starched the fabric to make it a bit easier to handle and hand basted the lining as  I wasn't taking any chances here as the fabric was so thin - seriously, it could pack into its own evening purse.   Its only in the last year that I have lined pieces in this manner, previously I always did the lining separate, and it always hid the seam finishes of the outer layer,  the fabric used for these garments were the correct weight so didn't need the support of the lining working as an interlining and, and most things I make have very simple lines.  This and the Pauline Trigere dress are the only patterns I have used to date that specify attaching lining, and while I can see the advantages,  I don't like how my seam finishes are on show as I generally finish with a zig-zag.  I could make the supreme effort and do hong kong seams, but I am always thinking I may get a serger in the future.  I have not tried an overlock foot on my machine, and am curious about the finish - has anyone used these? I find the zig zag can buckle the seam edge with lighter fabrics...  
up sew upcycyle refashion skirt to dress

So as I said... I basted the lining, just to be sure.  Then it was just a matter of darts which were straight forward, and the facings.  There was not enough fabric for the facings so I got a small amount of polyester in a contrast colour and used that.  The tie was made of a mish-mash of scraps running in different directions.  I was not going to get pedantic there - originally I was going to use the contrast colour, but it looks a bit like over kill so I didn't.  The dress is cut 10cm shorter than pattern as thats all the fabric I had, and this has the hem at knee length which I prefer. 
up sew upcycyle refashion skirt to dress

I have yet to put a zip in the dress and hem.  I don't have any occasion to wear it in the near future so I have left as is but it is hanging in my wardrobe as opposed to work room cupboard, so it is just waiting for a suitable moment!  as a by-the-way, there is a good amount of 'livability' in the dress, I made the pattern up without alteration, and it easily fits my (non-conforming) hip measurement (up to 2 sizes bigger).when I sit down............................. very happy with dress, simple and effective.