Not quite a roaring success for me – but wearable for someone smaller – maybe my daughter. I confess this is entirely my mistake as I didn’t check the ‘stretchability’ of the fabric before I cut it out. I think in a stretchier fabric this may be just fine. With one caveat.
The length. Oh dear. I did add 5cm to the pattern (before it was resized as directed in the book) but clearly with this fabric that is insufficient. It might need to be longer in any fabric. Perhaps even people who are 5’4″(petite in European sizing) would be ‘tall’ in the Pattern Magic measurements.
Anyway, I loved this pattern. Easy to make the pattern from the instructions given in the book, simple to have it resized by someone with a photocopier as clever as a room full of owls, and a breeze to sew together. This took me just over an hour to sew, including the time needed to switch the threads on the overlocker and coverstitcher. I used 4 thread overlocker for the seams, and 3 thread coverstitching round the hem and sleeves.I worked the neckline using the same method as for the draped t-shirt rather than the simple turn and sew from the book as I think that it looks better. Just personal choice. Shame it doesn’t fit!
I have had huge problems trying to upload the pictures and have given up. Find the pictures here. I will edit this post eventually to put them in but I really haven’t got the brainpower to work out whats wrong. (Ruth – have you sorted your problem. Maybe I have the same one?)
I’m not sure that The Management is impressed with this top. It was some of his comments that made me laugh while he was taking the photographs – sorry. Despite that I will be trying again in a more stretchy fabric which I hope will fit. I will be adding about 4″ to the bottom to ensure I don’t have to hold the front hem down in normal wear.
That is the two garments I had planned to make in February – completed well within time and at least one of them fits. I discovered that by pulling the hem on the draped t-shirt down to hip level it can be worn as a tunic with a belt and looks great (sorry, no photo). Also, we are almost at the end of the month and I can confirm that I have not broken my RTW fast.
I need to plan what I am going to make in March now. My daffodils have started to show flower buds, so they think spring is on the way even if I have doubts. Stash diving needed to find something appropriate.
I have enjoyed my time making the patterns for the two Japanese tops I am making as my February Garment(s) of the Month – and they really weren’t difficult.
The Drape Drape 2 book comes with the patterns included – but not in my size. In order to be able to have these enlarged at my local copy shop I did a ‘Burda’ on them and traced all three pieces on one sheet for enlargement. They were easy to trace off into one big pattern piece after that, and it is now cut out. The fabric is a piece of 4 way stretch jersey that I bought at Birmingham Rag Market. Who knows what the composition is – but I would guess at polyester rather than rayon by touch. As you can see it is another of my shy, retiring pieces. The piece was about 150cm square and the piece took almost all of the fabric.
The top from Pattern Magic Stretch Fabrics, the Two Peas in a Pod, needed to be drawn out from the instructions in the book but that was an easy task. As I said in my last post I had graded the blocks up to my size so I knew this was going to fit. I still needed to take it to the copy shop as it is finished by increasing the size of the back piece, and decreasing the front. Again you end up with very strange looking pattern pieces but after the Morley Courses I wasn’t too put off by that.
This fabric isn’t so stretchy – only across the grain – and is 100% Polyester jersey. It isn’t what I wanted to use but the other piece I chose wasn’t big enough. This took 130cm as that was how long the larger pattern piece is. The small piece could be cut from the remainder at the side after the back was cut out. I did add a little to the length of the original pieces as I may be a bit taller than the pattern was intended for (despite being only 5’4″). I can always shorten it again if this version is a bit long.
I really don’t think these will take too long to sew together once I get the right machines threaded ready to go. I do have other deadlines that I must meet before I start these but I hope to finish them before the end of the week.
Well, I managed to complete the garment for January in good time so I feel fairly chuffed. In addition to that I succeeded in staying out of the stores and didn’t but any RTW clothing at all in January – not even tights or other small sundries – so I am very happy. The Minoru jacket I made was almost entirely completed from stash fabric. The only purchases made for that project were the Thinsulate interlining, the NIKWAX wash in waterproofing, and some seam sealing tape. Very satisfying.
Now, on to February. I have long enjoyed looking through all of the Pattern Magic books, and now the Drape Drape options which are growing on my bookshelf. I have been slightly put off making from the books because they seemed somewhat unwearable (particularly for a lady of my size and vintage!) but after spending all that money on the darn books, and doing two courses at Morley College (which I can strongly recommend by the way) I really feel it is time to make something I will actually wear. So….
For February I am proposing to make two garments. GASP! I have decided to make the strange but lovely ‘Two peas in a pod – A’ from the Pattern Magic Stretch Fabrics book (don’t ask how long I have had this!), and Model 4 ‘One piece scoop neck asymmetrical top’ from Drape Drape 2 which my sister bought me for Christmas. In fairness the bulk of the work is in the patterns with these tops – once the patterns have been drawn out the sewing should take very little time. Again there is a however. I am nowhere near the dinky little Japanese sizes. Nothing like.
Thankfully ‘The Management’ is very mathematical as I am useless and he has shown me how to work out how to work out how much I need to have the patterns included in the Drape Drape 2 book I was given for Christmas need to be enlarged. This means that I can just trace off the largest size and ask for them to be reproduced at a larger % at the copy shop. Easy. I hope.
For anyone else mathematically challenged with the same size difficulties here is the way I was shown to get the size to ask for.
Divide your actual measurement by the pattern measurement and then multiply by 100. This should give you a number greater than 100 which will be the percentage to ask for from the copy shop. For example: (Increasing 2 sizes from books largest option)
Actual measurement (98) ÷ 100 = 109%
Pattern Measurement (90)
In principal this should be easy to do, tracing off only the size you want to use. Don’t forget that any included seam allowances will also be increased by the extra percentage so it will be worth drawing in the pattern excluding seam allowances pre copying.
The Pattern Magic Stretch Fabrics isn’t quite so easy as the patterns aren’t included. The blocks included suffer from the same ‘tiny model’ problem that applies to the pattern in Drape Drape. I have spent an afternoon grading them up to my enormous size (seriously – this makes me feel like something out of Gulliver’s Travels!) and the pattern adaption is very simple once you have a block that is your size. Again this needs to be taken to someone who has a clever copier that can make the increase/decrease needed for each piece. The calculations are given in the book to enable you to do this yourself but I am more than happy to pay for this to be done. It is more likely to be somewhere close to where it should be if I don’t do it!
I haven’t done any stash diving yet but I know that there should be a few options available to try these out. Only 24 days left to do this 🙂
Especially for Rhonda who asked me to flash the Minoru lining…..
….(The Management says I look like a Vulcan bomber preparing for take off. Beast.)
We all continued on Saturday morning cutting the pattern of our choice – Moni demonstrated the lovely Loophole B (which I have been admiring for some time) which several of us drafted. I was particularly happy because Claire had spent some time in the week between classes using her computer wizardry to grade the tiny Japanese sizes provided in the book up to a more ‘western’ size. It is actually quite sad to be a several ‘x’ l size when I have been working so hard at the gym to improve, but I was more interested in going home with a pattern I could actually use for myself. Thanks Claire!
We all worked pretty hard, and got through vast amounts of pattern drafting paper in what was an epic cutting and sticking session! We were all so devoted we missed our break but were very much ready for lunch when the time came round. Melissa, Claire, Tracy and I went for lunch at Wahaca. I hadn’t experienced Wahaca before and thoroughly enjoyed lunch – and although we all ended up with unbelievably messy hands we managed to keep our clothes clean!
Having completed our patterns after lunch we were all encouraged to toile as many different garments (as a class) as we could so that we got a wider overview of the work we had completed. I really wanted to make the pattern that would (I hoped) fit so I made Loophole B. Others made the crescent moon, Sharp and Snappy C, Apple peel leggings, and Jutting Edge. Sorry I didn’t manage to photograph them all.
Moni sampled the Jutting edge dress and tucked the ‘jut’ inside to give a lovely cowl effect. It really made a different look and made the dress very desirable. I can see a few of these being made by the weekends students.
Melissa made up the Sharp and Snappy C which looked really fun. She refers to this as the ‘Stegosaurus top’ which really works well as a description. By tucking the points inside you get a line of funny little pockets – useful on a night out. I presume you will be making this to wear on another occasion Melissa?
As Claire had been so kind and allowed me to use her graded block it seemed only fair that she tried the Loophole B toile that I finished (we were using the same size). She looked better in the photograph than me so here she is! I really like this and will probably try it in another fabric that can be worn as a ‘real’ garment. Fun, different, but also very wearable. Thanks Claire!
I have to make an apology, I didn’t get the name of the lady who made up the Crescent Moon. It looks really good from the front but there is a whole lot of fabric drooping on the back. I am not quite so sure of it’s wear-ability now – but maybe in a very light fabric it would work better. It is such a simple idea, and very quick to make, that I may just have to try it sometime.
This was a brilliant, and enormously enjoyable course which I am hugely glad I took. This book really holds no fear for me now, and I am much more confident about attacking any of the other patterns from the other books in this series. There are more Pattern Magic courses to be held at Morley next year, but I think I will have to wait until another book in the series is published before going back. Maybe I ought to try one of their other courses?
After the course finished I had tea with my daughter in her work break (Egyptian street food since you ask – very nice!) before going to see Gatsby in Leicester Square. What a great day.
Sunday started early with a walk around Ealing, where my daughter lives, but I was unable to go far as I have a sore knee at the moment (more about that in another post – and yes, it is relevant to sewing). Darling J, who didn’t really cook at all when she lived with us, cooked me a lovely breakfast before we went to the V&A to see the Bowie exhibition. Boy, have I been looking forward to that! Inevitably it was packed full, so it was a bit difficult to see all the exhibits, but I really enjoyed it. There is almost too much to see – and I loved all of the costumes that were on show. Some of them were made by the Japanese designer Kansai Yamamoto, so I felt that this really tied the weekend together. There was one particular suit with pointed shoulders, in a brown(?) snakeskin effect which was so Pattern Magic I was stopped in my tracks. I have been trying to find a picture but have not been able to get one – and no photographs were allowed in the V&A so I couldn’t take it there. All wonderful. Go if you can before it closes.
After enjoying all that the only thing to do was go and have lunch sitting outside in the sunshine, eating the best pizza that Ealing (and possibly the UK) has to offer at Santa Maria. So good, and heartbreaking that I couldn’t eat it all – but they did pack it to take away. I can strongly recommend a visit if you are in the area. I will be back for more next time I see my daughter!
The drive back home was actually very easy – no delay from the British Grand Prix traffic that I was anticipating. Guess what The Management had for me when I got home? Chinese food. So the weekends eating consisted of Mexican, Egyptian, Italian, and Chinese. Not a bad weekend 🙂
I can report that I had a truly wonderful day at Morley College on Saturday on the Pattern Magic Stretch Fabrics course – with another day lined up this Saturday. This course is designed to help us through the mysteries that are within Pattern Magic Stretch Fabrics, and is more than ably taught by Monisola Omotoso who informed us that we would be making three patterns that day. It was hard not to think she was being over ambitious – but guess what? All three patterns completed!
I knew that Melissa (of Fehr Trade – if you haven’t been there why the devil not?) would be there, and she was able to tell me that I would meet The Material Girl there too. How about that! It was a fairly big class at 14 students but it didn’t feel too cramped – and Moni seems to have super powers and was able to sort all of us out seemingly effortlessly (she probably had to have a large glass of something to recover when she got home but didn’t show it).
Somewhere through the day I had a light-bulb moment and things fell into place. Having spent months looking blankly at these books this is fabulous, and something I will be celebrating. Honestly people, if I can get there you can too. If you are still struggling and can get to London I can strongly recommend the courses at Morley.
The patterns we drew out were:
This is one of my favourites from the book and it was actually ridiculously easy to make this pattern. I will be making this for myself at some point in the (hopefully) not too distant future. I can see it being worn for smart occasions, but just as easily with jeans.
I wasn’t quite so certain about this one but it is kinda growing on me – I’m not sure The Management would be happy if I wore this though. Maybe fewer points?
Another that I wouldn’t have chosen myself but I am really starting to like this idea – and I suspect it would be useful in disguising the excess around the tummy area. Maybe. Possibly. I am sold enough to give it a try at some point. Boy, that wish list gets longer every post!
The day was made even better because my darling daughter met for lunch. As a runner she has known Melissa through the Daily Mile site for some time, but this was the first time they had met in person. We had a lovely lunch at The Three Stags and got back to complete the afternoon a little late. Sorry Moni!
After last Saturday these books no longer have the ‘fear factor’ that they had. I think just being elsewhere and with nothing else to distract me helped, but knowing that Moni was on call if I got in difficulties was a real bonus! I really want to draw out a couple of the others that I have been lusting over for months (pretty much since I got the book really) and I now really think I can. I am looking forward to next Saturday so we can actually toile some of the patterns. Should be very interesting.
Watch this space for future Magic!
I hope you are having a wonderful weekend. I was supposed to be away scuba diving this weekend but the weather conditions conspired against that so I have been having a busmans holiday and catching up on my sewing.
You may remember that I cut out another pair of the Burda trousers I was eventually so pleased with. This pair are a black needlecord with a little elastane in it. It has been impossible to get a good photograph wearing them, but they are now finished and I can confirm I am happy with this pair too. Strangely I had to take this pair in about 1.5cm on the seams over the hips – presumably the firmer fabric just made them more ‘sticky outy’ and needed to be more finely tuned. They are still a very comfortable, easy wear but it wont be a disaster if they shrink a little if dried outside in the sunshine. (Note the optimism!) I used some flame print cotton from stash for the inside of the waistband to jolly them up, and also cut bulk. I didn’t put the hip pockets on this pair, but did put patch pockets on the rear which I am more likely to use. I love this pattern, and it will be hard to move on and do my Patrones comparison now – but move on I must. I may end up back with the Burda which seems to fit well, but I do need to try the alternatives.
I have been working on a few projects recently but the one I decided needed to be given priority was my promise to the Management to make him some PJs. Why did I want to do this as a priority? The last two pairs of chain store PJs he bought in the same size turned out to be wildly different sizes, and both have given way on seams within a very short time of purchase. These were not ‘cheap’ garments – I am sure that we could have bought them elsewhere for less money but I can’t subscribe to the ‘wear it and chuck it’ mentality that is seen in the clothing industry at present.
The fabric was bought from Birmingham rag market for very little money and pre-washed ages ago. I even made the pattern from a cannibalized pair of his old PJs. I have to admit that I didn’t look too closely at the print on the fabric initially but when I did I had to buy it! Clearly this pair is just to test the pattern, but I have to say that he is remarkably pleased with them – and very happy to have his first pair of pj’s with helicopters on them.
As a trial this went very well but I will have to make some sensible pairs pretty quickly – I wouldn’t like to think of the treatment he would get if he had to go into hospital with these!
Mid week I had another trip into Birmingham with a list of things I needed to buy for customers. It was one of those days when nothing you wanted seemed to be available (one explanation given was that it was the end of the tax year so no new stock had been bought yet – it made strange sense to run down stock pre having to value it all for tax purposes). I was getting a bit frustrated and ended up in the Rag market (again) and bought three pieces of fabric for myself. Because I really need more fabric. Anyhoo, the details. The apple green is a fairly heavy cotton drill which I thought would make a great jeans style jacket. Or skirt. But not to be worn together. Ever. The orange is another cotton denim type, but a much lighter weight than the green. It looks like it will make great summer trousers. A bit Boden, don’t you think? The beige/grey/gold metallic knit could be made of anything and I really don’t care! I liked this and already know I want to make one of the twist type jumpers from the first Pattern Magic book from this. And all three pieces cost me less than £8. In total. Oh yes, there is 2.5m of green, 4m of orange, and 2m of knit. Bargainous!
I am planning to sew again tomorrow so I will start to clear the decks of things I need to do before I can start on this little haul. I can’t wait to make a start.
I spent a long time putting off making the ‘Collar with two distinct expressions’ because I really wanted this to me a completely ‘Magic’ garment – it wouldn’t have felt quite right to ‘frankenpattern’ this with a tried and tested shirt pattern – although it would have been much easier to just use the neck/collar measure from a known pattern and draft to fit. Anyhow….. I struggled with the sleeve. Yes, the information to make the block is in the book (page 40) – but it seemed to be missing some important information. Or else I am just dense. (Probably the latter).
I understood that I needed a centre line which was 55cm long (although this would vary according to what you wanted the final sleeve length to be) with a line at right angles 14.5 cm from the top. I did think that this may make the sleeve head a bit shallow and after checking my own Winnie Aldrich block found it wasn’t too far out so went with it.
The next instruction was to draw the shape of the sleeve cap. I was lost. What was the measurement of the horizontal line? I went and contemplated with tea and biscuits. Still not really sure of what to do I measured the armhole of the Bunka block to find out how big the cap should be. On my block the front and back armholes were equal at 25cm , so that was the measurement I used to make a diagonal line that went from the top point and met the horizontal line at 25cm. After I drew in the shaping, using the curve guides in the book, I was very happy (and not a little shocked) to find that I had 2cm ease which I knew would go well into the armhole using a blouse fabric. I was also happy to find that the width was my top arm + 5cm ease.
At this point you could just draw lines down from the horizontal line (top arm) to the wrist or follow the book instructions for a more shaped sleeve. After my short course at Morley I was able to understand the pattern symbols – it had been unclear before then – and was able to understand that where sections had the same symbol they should also have the same measurement.
The only change I made to the bottom section of the sleeve was to move the dart from the wrist to the elbow point. This makes a much less obvious dart, and also much smaller.
In conclusion, I was happy with the way this sleeve turned out. It fitted into the Bunka bodice block that I had drawn in college very well and without too much fiddling. The only balance points you have to work with are the centre of the sleeve cap and the seam at underarm point but that didn’t cause any problems.
I have to say right now that this method isn’t necessarily the correct way of making this sleeve block -only the way that worked for me. I not a teacher, or a professional pattern cutter but I know I would have appreciated the opportunity to see how someone else had managed this. I hope I don’t cause offense by showing my method – and I would be very happy to see if anyone else has used another method which worked for them.
I am less intimidated by the Pattern Magic books now and I am looking forward to trying more of the designs when I get the opportunity.
Hmmm. I really hadn’t expected to take so long before I was able to show you my Pattern Magic shirt with the special collar. I have no excuses – I have just been unreasonably slow. But here it is!
This was my first attempt at anything using the Bunka block drawn out on my course at Morley College. This block was made using three (yes, three) measurements from my body. Bust, waist and back length. That’s all. Winnie Aldrich uses nine measures for her bodice block which I still had to adjust significantly. I confess I had little faith in this Bunka block being remotely close with only three points of reference – and also I am hardly a typical ‘Japanese’ figure. So prepare to be amazed. IT FITS!
I made few alterations to the body – the dart into the armhole was left there, I lengthened the body to hip to allow tucking, and I put a little shaping into the back so I wasn’t entirely shapeless. I can’t quite believe that it has worked so well – I would only want to narrow the shoulders a tiny bit
if I when I use this again. I will also use a bit of seaming to lose the darts and add a bit more waist shaping. Other than that this is a winner.
The fabric is cotton with a little elastane which came from stash. It has lurked for a while as I was unsure of the colour – almost exactly the colour of Blu-Tack. There was already a matching thread in my stock, and even more amazingly I had enough abalone shell buttons in the right shade and size to complete the job. Who would have believed it – I didn’t need to buy anything for this project!
When I make this style again I will slightly reduce the size of the lower collar section as it is a bit big (It makes me think Travolta in Saturday Night Fever). The main collar section that sits over the top has to be a little bit larger than the two underpieces or it pulls a bit. I did use all the drafts from the pattern magic book but in all honesty it would probably have been a lot easier to just draft the collar to fit a tried and tested blouse/shirt pattern. I know that without the time at Morley I would still just be stroking and admiring these books but I can see them getting out more now. I did struggle a bit to use their instructions for the sleeve block so when I work out the best way to explain what I did I will post. That doesn’t mean it is necessarily the ‘right’ way of doing the sleeve but it worked for me. Hopefully it will take less time than this post!
I am calling this SAM8 – and drawing a line under the SAM2012 as I think I have taken long enough. It would be embarrassing to still be finishing these after January. Still four short but since I am a glass half full sort of gal -Hey! I made eight shirts last year!
I have spent the past few days lounging on the sofa – but not in a good way. I followed the fantastically swollen mouth (due to the abscess) with an equally annoying cough and cold. It has meant that I have not been able to sleep so anyone checking their comments and thinking the time of my comments was wrong – no, I really was online at stupid o’clock.
The benefit of not being able to do anything noisy through the night for fear of disturbing The Management is that I have finished the back of the cardigan I am knitting. I always like knitting in winter. I am making ‘Harriet’ from Kim Hargreaves ‘Quirky’ book which hadn’t been going too well but is accelerating away now. The yarn is an all wool Rowan Felted tweed in a colour I think was called Avocado. It very nearly matches my sofa.
As I have been so tired I have barely been keeping up with the sewing I have been obliged to do for clients so I haven’t started any more sewing for myself. However, after looking at my output last year and comparing it to the wardrobes produced by some of the bloggers I follow I am determined to make more – but only things I am pretty sure will fit into my now meager wardrobe (after my October clear out!) and more importantly life style. In common with an awful lot of people I seem to like sewing for the life I would like to have rather than the one I do. Boo hoo. I also want to do things that although they will fit my needs will also challenge me a bit.
Step up Pattern Magic 1 , the collar with two distinct expressions. You might remember I attended Morley College late last year to attend their Pattern Magic course. I came back all enthused, determined to make something I could actually wear, and then life took over. Well, I now have the Bunka block drawn out in my own unique (!) size rather than the standard ‘person in miniature’ sizes provided in the book so all I have to do is complete the pattern and start sewing. Easy! I am slightly ashamed to say that I have been stroking and admiring the garments in this book since December 2010. Definitely time to make something.
I must also take the opportunity to thank Anne from Tulle and Tweed who sent me the wonderful Laughing Moon Ladies Victorian Underwear pattern and DVD. I feel so lucky! If you haven’t been to Anne’s blog go and look now. You wont fail to be impressed I’m sure. Whilst the patterns as pictured are not likely to be needed very often I am quite certain that elements from this will be very useful. Thanks again Anne!
Oh yes, the pirate shirts. Only one person stuck their neck out and declared which shirt she thought Molly had made – and she was right! Good guess Sheila C. It was probably a bit unfair of me to have even put the question out there as I was both surprised and delighted at how well a sewing machine with so few ‘bells and whistles’ compared with my computerised machine. I think the whole exercise showed me how little we really need to turn out really good garments. Much better than the mass produced cheap clothing so many people have to cope with. Aren’t we lucky we can sew.
There are a number of things this time that I like but I feel may be a bit ‘young’ for me. Not the lovely motorbike type jacket on the front cover – I would happily wear that (and I wouldn’t have thought of making it in cord, hmmm).
I also like this jacket with fabulous peplum detail, and lovely slim sleeves with a full head. Though I would have to leave off the front pocket detail in view of my build. Don’t need anything extra there. Oh no. This issue has nine jackets, all of which are appealing in their own way, but these were my favourites.
I loved the tuck detail on this skirt. I would quite like to make this – I could probably get away with the boots and opaque tights route but I am not sure that the extra fabric will be flattering over my tummy. Only way to fine out is to try it , right?
However, I will be starting this fabulous blouse for my daughter. I know the short sleeves aren’t exactly seasonal here in the UK but it is so cute, and I know that she will look lovely in it. I have made a start in a lovely mulberry cotton mix stripe which I had from stock (there is a little left) which has a little elastane so it will stretch a bit with movement – always nice. She is coming to stay over the Christmas break so I am hoping to get it finished so that she can take it away with her. I wasn’t certain about the neck bow (which is separate so could be left off) but she has declared it as needed so neck tie it is. I have the pattern traced from the magazine, and the fabric cut out so I should have something to show soon.
I will be counting this as one of my very delayed ‘Shirt a Month’ offerings (Remember those?). These stalled after April (I am so ashamed) and I have no excuse. None. I can’t think why they stopped at four but I may have a late flourish. It might even include something from Pattern Magic. Possibly. (Hi Petra!)
Off to sew. Like a maniac.