Sunday, 15 May 2016

This is my third Colette Wren and probably my favourite.

I have made two versions of the fitted skirt in ponte with long sleeves.  This time I made version 2.

.... and I like it.  The fabric is fabulous.  It is modal and silk jersey from Fabric Godmother, good value at £15 a metre, unfortunately they only have burnt orange left.  It feels gorgeous, though it was not really easy to work with and my overlocker really didn't perform well.  Still it feels so comfortable and lovely to wear and the colour is just lovely.

I cut my usual size Medium, taking 5/8" out of the shoulder width and the fit is pretty good.

For my last two versions I raised the waist by 1" and then decided the waist was a little high, so I returned the waist to its original place (it looks a little low at the back now).  So if you are taller than 5'4" you might find the waist needs lowering.

Everything went well except for the waist.  It is another gathered on clear elastic waist (like the Monetta) and I really do struggle with this.  You need at least 3 hands, and as you can see the waist has ended up rather lumpy, fine with a belt though.

I love the gathers at the shoulders and this was easy to do in the light jersey.  They make a nice fit on the bust.

Like my pervious Wrens I made a binding for the neckline rather than the suggested method of just folding the neck edge under.  The binding makes the fit snugger and feels much more robust.  I cut a long piece about 1" wide (as this fabric is really stretchy I didn't bother with this being on the bias but cut it on the grain) and made it about 1" shorter than the neckline length.  I finished it with a twin needle and I think it looks good.

So I'm happy with this one.  A few weeks ago I asked if anyone had any advice on the Inari Tee sleeves.  Well Karen has just blogged the complete answer and in reading this blog and watching the videos I have had a light-bulb moment.  I stupidly thought a lower armscye gave you more room and thus more comfort .... how wrong can you get.  It's well worth reading the post but also all the comments and watching the videos.  I now feel I can have another go at the Inari and sort the sleeve problem.

We've had some lovely days recently and Cumbria looks beautiful.  I had a lovely walk with Dan over the weekend, gorgeous blossom

 ... fat lambs ....

... the smell and the look of wild garlic ...

... and best of all the bluebells ...

Hope it is beautiful where you are and that the sewing is going well.  For us Brits the Great British Sewing Bee is back tomorrow night, so no doubt there will be some inspiration to be had.

Monday, 9 May 2016

Vogue 9006, Claude trousers and a visit to Rome

I'll start with Vogue 9006; a cowl top made in the most fantastic sandwashed silk (bought from Leons in Manchester and not available on their website).

I cut my usual size 14, and raised the waist by 1".  This top is cut on the bias, but I only did this for the front, where you need the drape for the cowl and cut the back as usual on the grain.

 I really like this pattern, it's a great pattern for those just beginning with silk because there are no zips or buttonholes

Buy Vogue Women's Tops Sewing Pattern, 9006 Online at

and with a bit of effort you can make it look great on the inside.   I used French seams throughout, including setting in the sleeves and it went really well .... look how pretty.

The trousers are Republique du Chiffon's Pantalon Claude.

This is a great pattern, and has helped no end with my trouser fitting problems.  They are pegged trousers and pretty comfortable, the only thing is the pattern is French, so it was an interesting challenge!  The pattern has welt pockets, which look great but I thought might add too much bulk at the stomach (and who wants that).  I made a practice pocket and it worked out well, but the final trousers are pocketless.

I cut a size 40 taking some of the fullness from the hip area, though I think I could still take a little more off.  As I have a high waist I added 1" to the crotch length, they are comfortable though I wonder if the 1" was just a touch too much.  This is my second pair and I there will be others tweaking the fit. 
 Just to prove I do wear what I make, here I am in Rome two weekends ago, having the most fabulous time.  What a wonderful city; culture, history, pasta, icecream, sunshine,


.. and even drinking icecold vodka cocktails in the icebar (-5 degrees!)
There was, of course, some fabric shopping at the wonderful Fratelli Bassetti Tessuti (wonderfully described here).  It has so much stock it is a little overwhelming!  (infact I think I look positively frightened!)
Determined to purchase something special I bought 3 fabrics
Gorgeous, particularly the bottom one which is 100% silk for a suit in a sort of dusty pink and which looks really Italian, and the leaf silk below on top.  I'm afraid there has been a bit of a splurge recently.
Sorry, for this really long post!  I have been photographing for Me-made May but I'm sure you will already have had enough!  So until the next time.

Sunday, 24 April 2016

A holiday dress; the Eliana

As you know I have a passion for mustard, and when Pauline Alice's version of her Eliana dress I decided to make a copy!!!

I made the dress to take on holiday to Rome (where I had a fantastic time - more next week and the fabulous fabric  bought there), but unfortunately  didn't get any photos of the dress there -  also please excuse the still pasty legs!

The Eliana is described as a semi-fitted dress with gathered neckline and waist with long raglan sleeves or sleeveless.

I cut the size 42 grading down a bit at the waist, however, I think it is a little big as there is such a lot of fabric under the arms and this makes it just a little less comfortable than a dress like this should be.  If I were to make it again, I would go down a size.

I raised the waist by 1", my usual adjustment. and added a couple of inches to the length.

The only other adjustment I made was that I didn't like the way that pattern made the cuffs with a binding, as they were loose and droopy, so I inserted elastic at the wrist in a casing and I think this looks much better.

The fabric is a gorgeous viscose which has a lovely hand and drape, presses and sews beautifully.  Like Pauline I bought it from France from Henry and Henriette.  They don't seem to have it any more, although there are some other gorgeous viscose fabrics!  Jess liked it very much, and perhaps it is more a ginger colour than mustard!

The pattern is fairly easy, except for the bias binding particularly round the key-hole, which I find very fiddly.  I think another time I would make it just a touch wider.  I hand stitched it all down because I would never have managed to machine stitch this width with any accuracy.

The sleeve is a raglan, which I like as it avoids my usual problem of having narrow shoulders.  There is a dart, but it doesn't stand out in any way.

The waist, has a one inch elastic casing, a little fiddly, and I secured a few points around it to stop the gathering becoming too uneven.

Overall I think this is a nice pattern; a comfortable dress which should suit most figures, with a jacket it will still be smart enough for work.  I may make another one (perhaps next year).   I'm clearly on to the spring/summer sewing now and we have even had some sun.

On a less successful front I have loved all the gorgeous versions of the Inari Tee dress, but my first version is a failure, mainly because it seemed very wide and even with two mall pleats at the neck the sleeves still feel in the wrong place and thus uncomfortable.  If I go down a size then I'm a little worried the bust may be tight.  This one will go straight to the charity shop, but I would love to crack this pattern.  Has anyone else had this problem - any ideas?

Monday, 11 April 2016

Vogue 7975: the Linton Tweed Chanel-style Jacket

Last time we had the skirt and top, this time the jacket.  

This is my second version of Vogue 7975.  I really like this pattern.  It's pretty straightforward, and because I made version C, the edge to edge jacket I didn't have to worry about doing a full-bust adjustment (I am a C cup and Vogue is designed for a B cup).  I cut my usual size 14 with a 5/8" narrow adjustment to the shoulders and raised the waist by 1", but these are the only changes I needed.

I love the fabric, which is Linton Tweed (yes the original Chanel fabric).  Unfortunately this particular design appears to be sold out, but they have many, many other great choices.  Linton Tweed is based in Carlisle, only 1 hour from where I live, and I bought this on a visit to their shop with my sewing buddy Gary.  This fabric goes beautifully with black, taupe, duck-egg blue and dusky pink. 

Most Linton Tweeds are have a rather loose weave which means I interlined all the pieced with polycotton, but because I wanted a fairly soft look, I only interfaced the facings.  It is a little challenging getting the seams overlocked before they fray too much.

I am exceptionally pleased with the pattern matching.  I took a long time cutting out (and single layers) and then did a bit of unpicking to try and get the best possible effect.

The only tiny slip up was on the neck edge, where you can just see a little difference at the front neck edge.

Stripes continuing into the sleeves. I love the two piece sleeves, much more comfortable, though a challenge to match stripes!

 The lining is a sort of bremsilk, which feels lovely, but was a bit thinner than I would have liked, so you can see the jacket seams through it.   I catch-stitched all the seams to the polycotton to make sure the seams stay nice and flat.

I would definitely recommend this pattern.  It gives a nice easy to wear jacket, and the lack of collar and button-holes make it a good choice for a first jacket.  I would also recommend some Linton tweed for the fabric.  In fact Gary and I went to the factory shop again this weekend and this time I bought some black to make myself a little black Chanel jacket (this time with buttons and I will be following tailoring techniques). 

This weekend I am off to Rome with Dan and Gemma, so hopefully my next post will have a few nice Italian fabrics to show!