Sewing and Sanding

so after the last few months of being house obsessed – I now have my workroom nearly back and the house stuff that was stored there is making its way back to the rooms of the house, and I am finding it rather slow to get back sewing again as I am still trying to figure on sanding doors and tables. I have given up on wall painting as my shoulder got rather sore from ceilings so after 3 rooms fully painted and 3 small rooms and hall to finish (they are all primed) we have decided to leave them for a while.

 

I had hand hem finished  a silk top while the renovations were going on. It was a pattern I was gifted and for a raw-silk fishtail skirt, it made a lovely blouse.

The main piece that takes up the most fabric with this piece is the bias collar, and the fishtail was a long bias piece so perfect for the collar. The cut was relatively simple. I had to seam a piece near the shoulder to get the full piece, and it doesn’t detract from the fabric, and there were pieces left over for the now ‘fictitious’ patchwork and applique I have deluded myself into thinking I may actually make!

The fit of the top is rather cute, and I think would make a nice evening piece, but ultimately I was more interested in trying out the pattern so it may not get worn till Christmas.

Its also a shame that these types of wedding/occasion silk and satin skirts end up in the charity shops. They really are a one wear item, so its nice to think they can make up into other more ‘functional’ pieces.

The other pattern I got to try out was a Vogue Blouse. I really liked the cut, the neckline and those sleeves. I made 2, one from some black cotton left-overs to the actual size of the pattern which was a snug fit, and the sleeves about 2 inches shorter. I had a white end piece of fabric, and cut another and gave a more generous seam allowance (rather than grading) and longer sleeves. I did not do the waist darts, as realistically my waist is widening, and it would have been a bit too tailored for a summer blouse.

I love the sleeves of this. There is a bit of drama to them. The blouse needs a fabric with a bit of structure, but this in turn means ironing and making it in white, means more laundering (I seem to attract more stains when I wear anything white…..) so its a high-maintenance piece! but one the first wear it got a few ‘did you make that’ and I think its possibly the quirky cut to the neckline as it does feel unusual. Its a comfortable piece, and if I were to make it again, I would make the sleeves longer again (so in total lengthen by at least 5 inches).

I have not done as much sewing this year with building works and returning to work full time (to pay for said works). I have a few projects in the pipeline which I will get to working on.

My new favourite toy is a hand sander and I managed to sand an old dining room table top (there was a broken dining table in the house for the last few years held together with some bolts and bits) which got sanded back. I have also stripped and sanded some doors here (still to be painted) and got rather ambitious with a chair (still to be finished).

 

 

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so many plans – so many patterns

It is also technically still winter  (Met Eireann/our weather board class December January and February as winter in Ireland) so I also see it as a time of semi-hibernation and taking it easy – January is definitely my tiredest month, probably because if also feels like the darkest one.

So rather than try and make a tonne of stuff (as if) I figured it would be a lot more productive to get all my favourite patterns that I actually own (as opposed to covet on etsy) and make a top ten to sew for the year from comfort of the sofa. So gathered em up, and then whittled down to a few that I have clothes that could be remade this year. (I do also have plans for a few self drafted ones too).

And the top picks werevogue 1

I am not too sure if I will get a make with this one. I love this era of Vogue illustration, and had been thinking of a high neck blouse as an alternative to polo necks. I also have a flimsy chiffon ‘play suit’ which may work if I try a sleeveless version of this? otherwise I am sure there a few other contenders I can try.

hollywood

The hollywood pattern I have a long time. I was full sure I was going to make it straight away when I got it, but no….it has languished. The main attraction was that the top uses little fabric, and I have some of my ‘precious’ silks that can get used here.

vogue 2The Vogue blouse I got before  Christmas. I was also given this stripe skirt by a friend, I am not too sure if I will make the sleeved version from the stripes, so I am also thinking of maybe a plain colour ……..vogue sybi

Sybil Connolly blouse, I have wanted to make a Sybil Connolly pattern sometime. I am a bit fascinated by her (especially after seeing her tweed patchwork full length 1950s skirt) so I am trying this blouse as I have an odd polka dot dress which I have not got a clue what to do with.

coats and jkt

Style Arc – Katherine Daze made this coat, and when I saw her coat I thought the ‘Jimmy Hourihan’ coat I had waiting could be used. I really have not a clue if it will work as I took the coat apart ages ago and its folded away…..

Vogue Moto Jacket – I thought some wool mens jackets could be upcycled with this one.

Simplicity Coat Pattern – I have a navy wool coat which is waiting a long time, and it has similar lines.

blaire

Style Arc Shirt – I only picked up this pattern to save on some postage when I bought the other. I have some cream silk shirts to re-cut, and thought to use them here, and a chance to use up more of the squirreled away silks

vogue 3

I hope to try this vogue pattern with a taffeta bridesmaid dress I was given

advance

I also have a charity shop wedding silk suit…….Its amazing the amount of flouncy-fancy-only worn-once-pieces that are in the charity shops, and I thought this Advance pattern could work here.

simp

The one I am working on (slowly) at the moment is this cute top- The pattern was a gifted trace that I have been meaning to make up for ages. I got this raw silk bridesmaid skirt (I assume) last month. I adored the colour and was rather impressed with the amount of bias in the fish-tail skirt, perfect for the collar.

I have a few more self drafted patterns to test out and share….but for the moment, I am in no rush!

It has been a good way of getting a plan going for the year, as I got to tidy away the pieces and patterns I won’t be working on and have the ones I will work on to the fore….

And I also got to fold my stash of charity shop buys….(a good start is half the job)

sew cupboard

 

Anna Sui Denim Dress, Cynthia Rowley Black Blouse

Blouse and Denim Dress (2)

Cate at Vintage Gal had a wonderful post about Anna Sui in September.  I loved the dress she made from the Anna Sui pattern (vogue 1619).  I have looked (unsucessfully) for this pattern, but did get Vogue 1789.

I have started working full time and decided to make a few pieces of  winter work as this time last year I worked in a store with a ‘uniform’ so made some pieces to fill some gaps.

In all I have made 2 skirts, 2 sweaters, one blouse (this one), and one dress (this one).

Anna Sui Vogue 1789Vogue 1789 is a really useful pattern.  There are 4 different styles of dress and some made for knits, and some for woven.  I made view C and managed to eek it out of just over a metre I think.  The yokes are cut on the bias and the other main detailing is the darts and seams are top-stitched. I went rather ahead of myself when I cut the pockets and decided in my head it was a double welt pocket and then changed to what it should have been after cutting one, and ended up with uneven pockets.  I ended up darning these and turning the pockets to patch pockets and am still pleased with the dress.

The other nice detailing is the zip goes half way up and the yoke is a 3 button close above. I did the buttonholes with the singer buttonholer, this attachment is so worth getting, my husqvarna does nice electronic buttonholes but I find the singer ones as good. Besides making a ‘haimes’ (translates as mess) of the pockets, I am rather pleased with the dress, the cut is very tidy and effective, it sits just right. I hope to try the apron style next.

The other pattern I tried out was the Cynthia Rowley Simplicity 8264.  Its a much simpler pattern and I picked it up on a whim from ebay. The illustration shows a pleated collar and cuff as well as gathered, but the pattern is for a gathered , which I didn’t like as much.  I got the black off-cut in a charity ship for €2.50 and used half of it to cut this blouse.  Not too much to say, it was a quick sew, although I have yet to wear it as the shorter sleeves seem more suited to Spring.  The funny thing is, although I keep thinking I must make more blouses, in truth I rarely wear thing with collars besides base layers or sweaters with polo necks!

My other sewing has been my Christmas sewing and this year I used old denim jeans to make ‘hotties’.  I put it to a photo montage as the local ‘health food’ shop asked how I made them when I popped in to get the wheatgrain.  Funny how things turn over.  15 years ago I was in the same ‘health shop’ trying to figure which grain to use and the store assistant advised me, and fast forward (a bit too fast) and this store assistant last week didn’t realise you could make them with grain and asked could she put it on the stores facebook page, I did a small photo montage and steps for them.  (I sometimes do find it strange when I get these remarks re when you say you make or sew…. but then figure I did something similar when I was 15 and I kept repeatedly saying to my friend’s mother…..’you really made this mayonnaise…..that’s amazing…..’ and I think now with hindsight she must have wondered did I think everything came from a jar.)

This one I showed was rather plain here, but basically I will cut the legs of jeans about 12 inches long and sew one end and half sew the other, half or three-quarter fill with grain and sew up the ends (or lazily top sew it all shut as I do!).  The ones I made as Christmas presents I embroidered with initials so my niece and nephews don’t fight over who’s is who’s.  I use denim as its much harder wearing that the pretty cottons I used use! I use 750 g oat groats/wheat grain per bag, and heat for 2-3 minutes.

heat pack how to

Bianca 1 and Bianca 2 – skirt and shirt upcycle

I have been sewing a lot, and blogging less.  Some of my sewing has really been going in circles – normally I like to make something, finish and move on to the next but the last few months I have been sewing a few things at the same time, and dawdling on the finish.  Bianca making

I started these Bianca’s ages ago.  I used the Wear Lemonade Free Bianca pattern and thought it would be a cute update for this ‘blackwatch’ plaid skirt, which ultimately I think it is.  I cut the plaid as usual for the main body, but had not enough to plaid match sleeves fully so I only matched them on the cross grain.  Personally I don’t mind this as it looks even.  I did not like the Bianca collar and perhaps its because I don’t wear shirts (?) but eitherway I tried doing a more casual collar with notches.  I still think the collar is too tight but other than that its a sweet blouse.

bianca finish

 

At the same time, I decided I really needed a white blouse with peter pan collar so I upcycled a white shirt to make this.  To add a bit of interest I tried out a lot of the decorative stitches in the machine in a grey thread.  I have yet to put a button and loop close at the back but at least they are both now FINISHED!

white bianca shirt upcycle

 

culottes to blouse – one euro buy

I am developing a habit of justifying buying from the one euro rail on the basis that they are all moments away from landfill…… and am equally surprised at the amount of ‘good’ stuff that ends up there.  The downside is, I have to sew a bit faster so I am not hoarding. I did a photo of me wearing the original, but can’t seem to find it, which is probably just as well as they looked rather awful – more big knickers than culottes!

I got these silk culottes last month.  The silk is a lovely shade of lilac, and they were a home-made pair of culottes from probably 1982.  The maker went to great trouble to sew tiny machine stitches (I have given up on sewing tiny stitches for silk – I truly don’t see the point, as ultimately they are a pain to undo).  I took it apart with some difficulty, rescued zip and reused lining, cleaned and starched the fabric and set to making a blouse.

I had decided on a boat-neck tucked blouse and made up a pattern and made up a toile, and then made up the blouse.  I have not done a lot of this style of tuck/drapes and am happy enough with the way this came out, but would like to try some more to experiment a bit more with these styles.

The cut was straightforward (centre seams on straight grain – I could have tried putting the front off grain but thought to play it safe for first time).  I sewed seams, and tucked the front and back, then attached the lining to neck and arm openings, before sewing shoulder seams and then hemming.  As with all good plans, I decided to change mid-course, and changed the direction of the tucks by the time I used the silk so as the centre seams would be more hidden, so I don’t think they sit as well as they should, but I had gotten rather tired of fixing them so I just finished them off!

I had a bit of a do to attend last weekend, and I thought the top would look so amazing with a pair of black dress trousers. Ha-how wrong was I – either I have gotten bigger or the trousers smaller, and in truth its the former, so I decided 2 things:- one, never eat sweets again (…wild gamble…) , and two, to make a pair of new trews.

I bought some stretch denim on sale 8euro a metre, and ran up a pair of cigarette pants from last years pattern.  I was surprised what a quick sew it was, they were done in an hour or two, and I even did pockets!  And bonus, they work with the summer halter make from a few weeks ago!

 

 

McCalls 7241 – A simple sew

While I have been sewing for years, that doesn’t mean it been anyway consistent, or even improving, if anything, in the in-between times when I was no longer sewing regularly or our of necessity, I had gotten worse, and this fabric was a case in point.  I picked it up some years ago on a whim thinking I would just whip up a tunic and I cut it slightly off grain on one side (slippy fabric)  as well as a less than perfect choice of lining (I cut the lining off a skirt and inserted it……. and only wore it once or twice as it was so badly made

So last year, I unpicked it and starched it, and couldn’t figure what to make, so I put it to one side of a while.  Two weeks ago, I had a particularly  rotten day at work (which to be fair never happens as I only work part time and with nice people) and came home grumpy and decided I needed a treat and got this pattern on a whim ignoring the postage costs vs pattern costs……I am glad I did as it was a quick sew, and a fun piece and while  I could have drafted it, there is something nice about being given all the steps and tested pattern,  and I am shallow enough to be easily swayed by those cute illustrations.

Recutting was a bit of a squeeze and I used pen to mark out (naughty).  Recutting also showed up the original bad cut.  I lined it this time in a fine cotton (its like handkerchief fabric) from the TWI remnant bin and it was perfect as it has woven lines which helped in keeping the hem even.  No facings as the lining does that, the ties are threaded through the top and the bottom is elasticated.  This top would also work well for vintage scarves I think.    I had hoped the pen marks would not be visible after laundering but no such luck…. but I am sure they will go in time!

A very quick sew, and very pleased with top (another style I usually don’t wear), and I have always loved the print on this fabric, and some good came from having a rotten day at work!

Action shots are by number one photographer and roller blade buddy Catriona….

 

 

1 metre make – Advance 5232 Liberty Silk

I am sure I am not the only one who either buys too much or too little fabric.  Some time ago, I bought 3/4 metre of this Liberty Silk (because it was relatively expensive I bought ‘too little’).  Its really lovely.  I could not figure out what to make with it, but eventually  tried out Advance 5232 – a lot of the 40s patterns are  economical with fabric (post war fashion etc).  I had photographed the cutting plan at the time, now on other laptop… but suffice to say, it all just fitted in.  The back seam is cut on the selvedge (.75cm is the print and the rest of the seam is the cream selvedge edge).  There were tiny scraps left.

 

 

There are probably a few things I should have figured in sooner.  One being, I rarely wear prints, I feel they are fussy, and the second, I find small gathers a bit fussy too, and yet here I was!

I also used the silk setting on the Brother Jones Machine, which was a bit silly as really all it did was sew tiny tight stitches that I cannot undo easily (I did not know this is what it would do as I never had a machine with this setting).  So the blouse is half made (no hems) and in wardrobe (it was taunting me in the work room).

It was only a post on WeSewRetro Facebook that got me thinking about it again – that it will have to be finished.

I am going to take off the yoke as the top stitching is uneven and too far in, but didn’t really want to start until I figured whether the collar should be changed.  Would a solid colour collar look better?  Neither colour I have here is correct, and now that I have photographed a block colour beside – I think I am better with leaving as is….. the yoke will be removed and sewn back but not top-stitched – and a button and loop on back.

UPDATE – 10 APRIL

took off the yoke today, reattached, hemmed and button and loop – now finished and it looks far better without the top stitch! Also located the cutting layout photos!