A long time ago (in a land far away…..) I joined a Stash busting Group on Facebook. Yes, I see the joke too. It hadn’t occurred to me that this would be so useful – and it also directed me to a group that were issuing Sewing Challenges. What better way to induce you to sew. I love a challenge!
So, back in January I joined a challenge – the SSW:Deep Stash Challenge. It seemed like a breeze to sew eight (yes, 8) garments from patterns bought before 31st December 2016 before the 30th April deadline. A mere two a month would be a piece of cake. Or so I thought before my gall bladder interfered so much.
I started strongly in January with the Fehr Trade VNA sports top and the self drafted warm ‘leggings/trousers’. The top was blogged here as my Jungle January garment but I never blogged the trousers. They were made from warm lycra from Funkifabrics bought an age ago and have been worn pretty much constantly since. I love these trousers, and the top has been worn for both yoga and running and I can heartily recommend it. I even managed to use Butterick 6388 for the first time.
February was OK too, I made up the Savage Coco Presto top as a dress, and also made the first incarnation of Butterick 6388 as a dress. Loved them both. Both patterns that had sat around a while, the Butterick unused until January and now a strong favourite in my wardrobe. Details here.
Although made in March (I’m pretty sure) the dresses I made next weren’t blogged until mid April. Yet another Butterick 6388 – didn’t I say it had become a firm favourite? – and Vogue 1410 by Lynn Mizono. Both now well established in my wardrobe (I have even cut out another Mizono for summer – ever the optimist!) and I seriously can’t work out what I had against wearing dresses for so long as it makes getting dressed a breeze. No trying to find matching bits. That truly appeals to my lazy side 🙂
Following this I got seriously slow and almost gave up on the challenge. We had the break in Cornwall, followed by a manic week clearing jobs before my surgery, and then a week recovering. And reading old blog posts, sorting through patterns, and making plans.
The sharp eyed among you might recognise these flowered ‘what nots’ as the garment The Management called ‘scrousers’. The pattern was from Patrones magazine and was first made in July last year (details here) and worn more than I expected. I decided that they needed to be shorter and have pockets this time.
Since the originals can be worn facing in either direction I didn’t want to lose that when I added pockets. Easy alteration to do – side panels make adding the pocket a very easy alteration. There is a (very) minor nod to current fashion by using a floral cotton from very deep stash for these. Nice to clear that away, and I know that when it is positively tropical here in July/August I’m ready . Stop sniggering – I told you I was an optimist.
I really thought I had given up after making six of the eight garments required to complete the challenge and then I saw Carolyns blog and another of her gorgeous makes from her Japanese pattern book collection. Back on the horse Hood!
Now Carolyn had adapted the last incarnation of the top she made but I knew I had that book (She Wears the Pants by Yuko Takada), knew I had taken it off the shelf frequently with the intention of making several of the garments inside, and had made precisely ….. none. Time to change that.
I really liked the Square Top (No. 11) and decided to make that first – although I had cut out the other top at the same time. The ability to wear it in two distinct ways appealed, and though I like it as a straightforward top it really is very square. The clue was in the name so I should have known. I will wear it like this but I think I prefer the way it can be buttoned up, turned around, and worn as a shrug. Magic!
The red striped top is the Top with Epaulettes (No.4 in the book) that I had been admiring on Carolyns blog. Why didn’t I make this earlier!!!!! I freaking LOVE this top. This will be worn to death (despite the fact that I look a bit ‘Where’s Wally’ in it) and will spawn lots of friends in my wardrobe.
So that’s it. I actually got to the end (and well done if you have too) and made all 8 garments needed in the time allowed. Just.
What have I taken away from the challenge? Get those unused blessed patterns out and start sewing woman!
So what about digging out a pattern you have been giving house room to and never made, or an old favourite that could replace one of the worn versions you made and love. You must have liked a pattern enough to stump up cash to buy it so off you go! Which pattern are you going to make? I have an idea which of mine you will be seeing soon.
Yes, I know it is now August 4th but I have been waiting for the weather to improve to take photographs somewhere other than my cream wall. It was quite nice before the kids broke up from school but has been a bit spotty since then.
While dredging in a not oft used drawer I rediscovered these leopard print wrap pants. I mainly use them on holiday but on a warm day they were perfect. It got me wondering how the pattern would be as shorts.
As it turns out I’m not sure I like them. I suspect the problem is that in shortening the whole thing they have lost some of their appeal. They catch the breeze more easily when long, and don’t look quite so ‘tubular’. I think I may try again but add a bit of fullness to the pattern pieces so that they look a bit more like a wrap skirt. The pattern is very simple – just two pieces cut from the width of a fabric piece with a U shape cut out to give the crotch space. I added the darts from my skirt block to the waist to give a little shape and used the full width of the 150cm wide fabric for the pink. I cut them a bit longer than necessary so lost a bit of fabric when I shortened them. The ties are just strips made long enough to tie in a bow front and back. The style does mean that loo visits are a bit of a fandangle but I like them regardless. The long ones. These were made from some polyester crepe which I know washes and dries quickly making it perfect for hot climates – if a bit sticky. I’m happy to have this used now, even if I don’t wear them very often.
You may remember the odd shaped pants from the last Patrones I reviewed. Well, the leapfrogged the Thai Fishermans pants that I cut the pattern for at the same time. They took no time to make up and I love them!
I made these in some rayon that had been in the stash forever. I liked the colour but never really knew what I wanted from the fabric so was quite happy to risk it with a project I wasn’t sure I would like. How wrong could I be? These are very comfortable to wear – breezy as you like for warm days – and despite expecting The Management to choke when he saw them he has declared them ‘very smart’. Wonders never cease! He also decided that they were ‘skrousers’ as they didn’t quite fit either category.
The seams made me think that it would have been useful to have included some in seam pockets, and also that I might prefer them a little shorter. I remembered that a shorter, much more involved, version was included in the ‘She Wears the Pants’ book I bought some time ago. I recall sniggering a bit when I saw them but I now think they would be well worth a try. Summer suit weight perhaps? This book is another of the wonderfully odd Japanese pattern books (the patterns are supplied) which would never fit me but I can crib ideas from them. Despite the title there are few ‘pants’.
Anyway, that makes three garments made for me (along with the Jasper Hoodie) in July and the PJ’s for The Management using 10 metres in total. Not quite as much as I bought this month but a small dent in the stash 🙂
Lucky me! My dear friends G and H came back from Spain with another issue of Patrones – and there is so much in this one I want to make that I will need to retire early!
I really liked this skirt (attributed to Ralph Lauren) and knew that I had seen it before. The picture on the left was from a Hola! magazine I bought on my holiday in Madeira a while back. The Patrones version has curved sections on the front splits but the original is squared off. This isn’t clear from the picture which is why I always check the tech drawings in the ‘making up’ section. I have noticed on a few prior occasions that the pictures don’t always quite match the garment as shown. The jury is out on which version I prefer, but with the wide overlap this should be decent even in windy weather.
I adore the yellow top in these photos. I know I wouldn’t wear it exactly as it is shown – I couldn’t show my tum without scaring the horses. I think as an extra layer over a dress, or t-shirt and trousers, it would look good. I would probably want to make it shorter too. But hey! It’s in one of my favourite colours! The trousers are also very interesting. I’m very tempted by them but I know The Management would be horrified. Maybe that is reason enough to give them a go 🙂 . I saw a very similar patter which is available here from Burda.
The other pattern I liked was for Thai fishermans pants. I have seen lots of references to this style but haven’t ever worn them myself. They look as though they would be very comfortable, particularly in warm weather (I have a good imagination – there would be no need here in the UK in our ‘summer’ at present). Can anyone tell me if they are as comfortable as they look?
I loved this jacket. The front view is in the ‘mash’ of all the designs (above), and is attractive enough, but I thought the pleat in the back gives this an extra ‘easy to wear’ feel. I have a number of fabrics that could probably work for this but if I go ahead I would like to be able to make it part of a wardrobe sewing ‘plan’. Elizabeth at The Fabulous Dr. E’s blog is a master (mistress?) at this and I have threatened to follow her lead on many occasions and failed. Maybe it’s time to do something about it. My wardrobe would certainly be grateful.
Now then, I imagine I am like many people who love the idea of a jumpsuit but remember them from the first time around. They certainly look neat – this one is lovely on its own, but it would be offended if you wanted to put a t-shirt under there for decency or warmth. However. How many of us remember (and hated) having to get almost naked whenever there was a need to go to the loo. I love this, but I’m not sure I want to go down the almost naked in loos route again.
Being an extreme optimist I thought these shorts might be good for when it does get warm. I am getting used to wearing my running shorts now (and no-one has run away screaming yet) so I might be willing to try them in general wear. I know I wont look anything like this lithe young thing, but I’m ready to give it a try.
I have had a few editions of Patrones over the years but I think this one is one of the most useful in a while, and since I am currently planning things to make for myself you might even see some of these made up. No sniggering at the back!
My dear friends G and H brought me another issue of Patrones back from Spain, and I think this one is particularly nice.
I was immediately taken with the jacket on the cover. I can’t decide whether it is the style or the colour I like best.
This picture is small, but here are the designs in this issue.
This is a better picture of the jacket. It looks like something that could be styled for so many occasions that I am really tempted to add this to my already massive wish list. It seems to be mid way between a ‘jeans style’ jacket and something smarter. As someone who rarely has reason to wear the tailored jackets I so like this might be a good compromise. The shell top underneath with a longer back is also very appealing.
The top shown right is pretty too – although at my age it would need to be longer to cover my tum. The trousers are a very simple design – such a simple design that I stopped making these many years ago after I got my C&G qualification. Perhaps it’s time to revisit the style. The magazine has them shown at mid calf – I’m not sure about that length but an easy fit, elasticated waist trouser would be a good travel option as long as they didn’t start to look like the sort of ‘pair of comfy pants’ so beloved of elderly ladies.
I also love these very wide trousers, and I think they look wonderful made in very soft fabric for summer. This particular design is extremely wide. And long. I understand the ‘look’ but I must be getting old – my first thought was for the safety of the person wearing them. Maybe it’s just me that can fall over ‘flat Henrys’ but I would be guaranteed a fall by the end of the day in that length trouser.
Again I can’t remember the last time I wore this style but I am very tempted. I have recently altered a pair I liked for a client and took the opportunity to make a pattern from my block whilst the idea was fresh in my head. Maybe those first.
I really liked the blue top on the left. It starts off as an ordinary shirt down to waist level but then gets an asymmetrical peplum for interest. Classic but with a little twist. I’m not sure its for me as I have a UFO I rediscovered recently with similar detail. I love the design but I’m not sure it likes me. I really need to bring this UFO out of hiding and decide what I am going to do with it – I really hate unfinished stuff.
The shirt on the right is an absolute classic shape with nothing different except for the buttons being hidden under a front placket. Nice.
This coat was pretty special too. The design is credited to Alberta Ferretti and though simple I just love it. Maybe it’s just the fabric? I really liked the styling around the neckline which could be made in any sort of wonderful trim you wanted. I have been reading blogs by both Kate and the Demented Fairy recently and wondering why we don’t make more use of trim. Maybe it’s time to break out not just in style but also the bling.
The jacket to the right was just fabulous in my opinion. If I were even to consider making it for myself I would want to make the bolero section separately so that in effect I would have three jackets. The style is very ‘Chanel’ and I know I have a selection of Linton tweeds in my stash that almost qualify for a pension. Definitely time to make some of them up. I think I have been avoiding them as they seem to have attained ‘ too good to use’ status. (No I’m not gloating, honest).
I thought you might benefit from seeing the tech illustration for this jacket. I’m warming to this design as part of my wardrobe but struggling to see myself wearing it if I am entirely honest. Despite that it goes on the growing wish list.
These are just a few of the really lovely deigns in this issue. I only wish I had more time to sew, and more occasions to wear fabulous clothing. Anyone else really have problems with sewing for the life they want rather than the life they have?
Every dressmaker I know will identify with my day yesterday. I have known for weeks that I had a lovely night out planned with friends. I have also known for (the same number of) weeks that I didn’t have anything I wanted to wear to the event. Hence the manic day yesterday.
The Management went out for the day at about 7.30am and wasn’t expected back until late, so at 9am this was the state of my top. I am glad to say that the pattern had been traced off and cut out during the week so I can’t be accused of being totally unprepared!
The fabric I used is a woven viscose with a sequin design that I think looks a little like raindrops on a window for the body, and satin for the placket and neckline detail. Not what I would tend to wear – but it was meant to be a fairly ‘glitzy’ occasion so I didn’t want to let the side down. The pattern is a very simple design (from my wish list of a little while ago) so I didn’t refer to the instructions in the magazine at all. I put the back and front yoke pieces together and cut them as one piece to avoid a shoulder seam. I did put a balance mark at the shoulder point to enable the sleeve to hang correctly, but really couldn’t see the point of having a seam other than as a guide for this. And it saved a little time. I cut the inside yoke piece in plain cotton – no-one would want to have sequins on the inside of a garment. It was easy to use the burrito method to enclose the seams before sewing the sides and putting in the sleeves. I should probably have taken 1cm off the shoulder but it isn’t critical.
I did cut the body and sleeves a bit longer than advised, and probably should have cut them even longer. I am only 5′ 4″ tall so if you want to make this and you are taller than that I would check the length before you hit your fabric. The only other change I made was to cut the front plackets in one piece (folded down the centre rather than seamed) as the satin I was using was a little heavier than ideal for the job and I wanted to cut bulk, and also I seamed the centre front for about 4″ as I couldn’t find any fastenings I really liked. I had been looking whilst shopping when this was still at the planning stage, and also tipped out all three of my button tins in the hope of finding treasure in there. Sadly not. Closing this with stitching kept this ‘decent’ and no-one was aware it was meant to be any other way.
After multiple interruptions – what a fool I am to think that I would get a quiet Saturday since ‘he’ was out – the top was finished in plenty of time for me to rush out and buy supplies for another job before collapsing into a well deserved bath and preparing to go out.
I had a fabulous night out, ate and drank far too much, sang loudly (everyone did!), and played a tambourine for the first time in decades. All in all a great success. And the top was good too.
WARNING – This post is picture heavy!
After a weekend catching up on odd jobs (you know, the sort you really try to avoid by doing anything else), and collecting hedgerow fruit for jelly, I felt I deserved time on the sofa to do a proper review of these two magazines.
Patrones is given to me by my wonderful friends on their return from Spain – but I don’t get every copy so it feels like a treat every time. This issue has a number of garments I would love to make though i suspect I will have to be selective.
I really likes the top and jeans that are on the cover – but why is the detail on the front hidden by the models hair. So frustrating! I turned the page and discovered that the blue top (Model 9) was also really nice, I probably prefer this one, but the trousers wouldn’t be so good for me.
There are a number of really nice garments, all pretty current, that would be good to make but I really liked the skirt shown with the pink top. I wouldn’t make it exactly as it is but since this is just a full circle skirt with the waist hole offset it will be easy to move the balance so that it is longer in the front. The top is nice too, but I think I would prefer to wear this with something that was a little more fitted. Since this is so simple I will almost certainly be making this sometime soon. I think it could be made in something ‘casual’ and work really well with boots for the winter.
The last garment in the magazine is a great (subtle) colour blocked dress. It is in the section marked ‘Tallas Grandes’ so I will have to grade the pattern down a little if I make this. It is a really useful shape, and all of the seaming (though curved) gives lots of opportunities to alter to fit. I don’t speak, or read, Spanish so I have no idea what their model was made in but I could see this in a wool crepe or even a ponte jersey. Fabulously flattering, and probably likely to stay in your wardrobe for years. This may also be a make – but it has competition in the Burda magazine.
I haven’t included the cover picture – there are going to be lots here – but the contents pictures are here for you to enjoy.
By the time you get to this t-shirt/top you have already passed a number of very wearable garments – but I was just picking out the ones I hoped to make at some point. This top appealed as it has princess seams which make it very easy to adjust for people with non-standard pattern sized busts. It is shown made in stretch crepe satin but I reckon it would work just fine in any jersey. The shoulder wrap is made separately so you could wear this with or without to give a different appearance. Nice!
Only one page further on was this dress. Made in a stretch wool twill, it has about a gazillion seams. Seriously, take a look at the tech drawing on the page. Again, this is great if you have to adjust the dress anywhere (have you ever tried to fit a dress from the ‘fast and easy’ department that has few seams and probably no darts? What are we – paper dolls?). I am slightly doubtful that the seam down the centre front of the skirt is necessary and will check to see if it is cut on the straight grain before making a decision, but if it isn’t contributing to the shaping I will probably cut without a seam. This is a strong contender for this winter. However.
This dress is available in the plus size section and starts in my size. It is also shown (in black) with a cute collar but the photograph was ‘faded’ over a section which made me wonder what it was hiding. The model is striding out in the picture I chose – but is that a bit of pooling over the stomach? The darts all point to the mid point on the waist and I wonder if that may be a problem for someone (like me) who has a tum. I really like this so I may just have to try it in something not too expensive to see how it works. Sadly, time is always at a premium and there are two other possibles here.
Something that is almost certain is that I will be trying these slim trousers which are made up in jersey. I already have the jersey in my stash (with a reasonable amount of lycra included so I shouldn’t get a soggy butt) so I will trace this pattern very soon. And probably pair them with the Patrones top.
I have missed loads of other great garments from these magazines – both were really good and had loads of extremely wearable (and wantable!) garments this time which is not always the case. All I need now is the time to make them up!
I have decided that I am going to try to be more organised but also kinder to myself. If I don’t get todays ‘to do’ list finished that isn’t a reason to beat myself up (as so many of us do). It is a reason to celebrate how many of the things on the list we did manage.
Bye for now, and be kind to yourself too 🙂
Before I show you the Patrones dress I have to confess that The Management and I ran away for a few days in the beautiful Lake District. We spent a couple of days staying in Windermere, and visiting lots of wonderful places (including Beatrix Potters house!) and generally having a wonderful time.
The trip was partly the reason the dress got made up at all, but also the reason it was thrown together so darn fast. Despite the lack of ‘fine finishing’ I like it! I discovered that it could have been made even more quickly by leaving the zip out altogether and just sewing up the back seam (I discovered that when I forgot and took it off without undoing the zip – obviously I had to put it on again just to check I could). The original was made with an exposed zipper, which would have been a nice feature, but I was working with a concealed zipper. Next time probably no zipper at all.
The way I am standing in the picture is very odd – and I look even thicker round the waist than usual. I know I am thick waisted but it doesn’t usually look quite so bad. Anne from Pretty Grievances should approve of the animal print shoes and belt! The dress is very simple – but has lovely detail on the sleeve head. There is a dart right at the top, and over the shoulder is a flat seam (not terribly obvious in the magazine picture or my own photograph), the fullness is gathered into an area about the mid third of the armhole. I sewed the elastic with a triple stitch zig zag from the end of the dart down the centre of the sleeve, stretched so it made the fabric gather a little. Again, a simple idea but I think it looks very nice.
This was such a quick and easy dress I suspect I may make it again – but I might ‘fiddle’ with the design a little.
Whilst we were in the Lakes we ran into an exhibition called the Kendal Wool Gathering. I knew nothing about this before our visit so it was just good luck that I was able to go see. And buy. The Management was very taken with a couple of Alpacas called Quinn and Quibble – apparently alpacas are useful not only for their fabulously soft fleece but also because they don’t like foxes or badgers and so guard a flock very well. Who would have guessed? I don’t think they would have had any problems looking after the wild pom-pom sheep!
I did buy some goodies, fueling my new sock knitting addiction. The yarn was generally at the ‘better’ end of the market and I could have spent a massive amount of money. I think I was fairly restrained in only buying four lots of yarn and a bunch of buttons. However, I now have a whole new list of suppliers which I imagine will be used in the future. Take a look at this lovely lot!
I am almost finished the toe-up socks I was making so I will have those to show you soon. I am loving knitting them – and they are a great portable project. I already have a request from my mum who would like some for Christmas. Aaargh! There. I have said the ‘C’ word. I do love ‘the season’ but I didn’t want to refer to it quite so early. Sorry everyone!