Westwood homage

I have always been a great fan of the designer Dame Vivienne Westwood. I love how she manipulates and shapes fabric to contour the body. Her Red Label is her ready to wear, more accessible line, examples can be seen here. I also love what she does with plaid/check, tartan and tweeds, in particular the wonderful Harris Tweed for which she is an ambassador.

Vivienne Westwood Red Label - Floral print draped crepe skirt  Vivienne Westwood | Red Label AW12/13    Westwood Womenswear

This is my little attempt at the draping of a wrap skirt a la Westwood! The fabric is a remnant leftover from a make from many years ago, I had forgotten all about it, unfortunately there is not a lot of it. Challenge number one!

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Challenge number two was the fold placement on the waist and corresponding drape, (the extended folds on the waist would be chopped off and waistband added) if not done correctly this could add bulk to the waist and stomach region – not a good look! Matching the plaid of the over-lap to the side front – as seen in the first photograph, was a bit tricky but crucial for the finished garment to look professional. I will of course have to cut a front and back to allow for shaping at the side hips and waist and for seam allowance to be added, I think I have just about enough for that and a bit for a front facing on the overlap. I will incorporate a full lining and I have managed to source a lovely pale burgundy bemberg. I will finish the hem by hand blind stitching and not leave frayed as seen in the photo, as although not unattractive with it being a plaid/check its a bit too Braveheart. So an element of tailoring is called for.

I am unsure as to whether to have the back darts converted to folds, my worry is that it would draw attention to the derriere region, which I could do without. I am also toying with the idea of making the skirt sit lower down on the high hip as opposed to on the waist, for two reasons, firstly, I think it would work well and give a more relaxed look and also because I would have to find the fabric for the waistband from the piece. I think though this may move away from the Westwood aesthetic as her clothes, skirts in particular, emphasise the waist – she is after all a lover of the female form. More experimentation needed I think!

SONY DSCI made this skirt previously without a pattern by manipulating the fabric. With this one, there too were restrictions on the amount of fabric, this was a couple of bits of a curtain remnant. As a result there is no waistband and no hem but it doesn’t suffer because of it. I probably get more compliments on this skirt than any other I have made, which when you consider it cost almost next to nothing, that’s a real result.

Therefore this is an approach that can be quite successful and it is very satisfying, paradoxically because of the constraints when using up a left-over piece. A tailors dummy/dressform is a must though.

Skirt Parade

Finally finished the skirt featured cut and ready to go in the previous post.

I have been trying to track down this type of stretch denim for some time as I remembered having a skirt in this fabric many years ago and it was the most comfy and versatile skirt ever! Once I finally found the fabric online at Croftmill as Lightweight stretch denim, (unfortunately sold out, however they have another similar). I was then on the lookout for a suitable pattern and after I had made the chino skirt, well, Kismet! I was glad that I had a chance to practice the topstitching on the chino skirt because with this fabric I wanted to use a contrast thread and there was no hiding place for any mistakes.

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I could have carried the topstitching through to the back welt pockets and back and side seams, (the pattern didn’t call for it) as I have seen this on other denim skirts but I thought it could end up looking a bit too busy.

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I left it plain, which I am happy with. I made the zip shorter and to add a bit of interest I used the cotton ditzy flower print left over from the previous featured Jasmine and Sorbetto blouses as pocket linings on the front and back pockets and in the inside waistband facing. The waistband seam at the zip is slightly off, but I can live with it.

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I had enough of the stretch denim fabric left over to make one of my stalwart 1940′S Straight Skirts and I was so taken with the top-stitching on the other skirt I thought I would incorporate it into this to give a more relaxed feel to the normally traditional tailored skirt. Incorporating the centre front topstitching is an easy adjustment to the pattern, instead of cutting on the fold add on the seam allowance and cut two front pieces instead of the usual one. There is no lining on either skirts, so a quick and easy make.

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back view with top-stitched back vent.

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I love how the choice of fabric can alter the whole use and appearance of a garment.

Summer staple skirt and Trio of Tops

Following on from my earlier post – some time ago I know – feeling very guilty having deserted you all, but I am glad to say that things are back to normal round here, at last!  I have finally found the time to take some pics. I finished the skirt shortly after the last post and I have been wearing it pretty much constantly over the Summer – so versatile, comfy with that smart casual thing I normally struggle with.

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The Summer heat this year meant that sleeveless tops were the order of the day and as I didn’t want to spend much time indoors out came the TnT of the Jasmine and Sorbetto, no reinventing the wheel here!

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The skirt back has two welt pockets – which I hadn’t done in quite some time so I decided to do a little practice run on some spare fabric, noting the stages along the way, something I would recommend for any tricky treatment.

The finished zip is a bit too long, for the length of the skirt in my opinion I will bear this in mind for next time.

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Followers of this blog will know that I am never content with just one make and this skirt is no exception I have already cut out another skirt in a stretch, dress weight navy denim, but this time I am using a small navy flower fabric in the pocket linings to add a flash of interest.

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This first Jasmine is of a lovely floral cotton in a complementary colour with a silk charmeuse collar with bow front. I love the feel of the silk facing next to the skin.

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Next up is the same sleeveless Jasmine in a very small floral print in turquoise, I made the short sailor collar in the same fabric this time. The little loop is in a light wool turquoise suiting as I plan to make a panelled skirt with this fabric – I like these little touches as it feels then the blouse and skirt will be like a two piece – I have a muslin to do of this skirt which will form a future post.

The last of this trio of Jasmines is in the same small floral print only this time in navy. This is with the gathered sleeves and long tie and I absolutely love it!

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…..so much so I also used this fabric for a little loose fit Sorbetto, with a little rouleaux bow and inverted pleat, left loose for a casual feel

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…one Sorbetto a Summer does not make!

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…..a variation on a theme, two button pale blue shirting and white binding on the armholes and neckline for a fresh feel.

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Plain box pleat front – as the detail is on the back with the addition of a button placket and panel of vintage buttons.

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makes in the pipeline

Hi all, sorry about the break in posting, I’ve been distracted by a number of things happening here. Disruption at the house with work being carried out on our bathroom, ongoing puppy training, weather being great (which isn’t usual) and getting out into the great  outdoors and things being full on at work. Holiday’s are lined up for a well-earned rest – apart from some (hand) sewing that I will be taking with me!

But I haven’t been idle, I have a number of projects on the go and will post the finished articles soon. Don’t you find that  you have so many things you want to make that quite often you don’t know where to begin or what to do next?  I do have a wish list of things I want to do this year, chief among them is a skirt suit and a Donegal Tweed tailored jacket, I have been accumulating all the components and sourcing buttons etc., so itching to get started, though probably be Autumn before I do.

For now though I have a skirt, blouse, Sorbetto tops on the go – filling out some gaps in my wardrobe.

121_0613_b_listing  Burdastlye skirt and blouse

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Chanel Giveaway……a winner!

Thank you to all who stopped by to comment on my little Giveaway. Apologies, for not getting back to you all sooner I know I said the draw would be 1st July-  but I have been away and then work has been very busy, also my internet connection has been  problematic. Added to that we are having freak weather here! Sunny mid 20′s and when that happens everything goes on the back burner and we head out to the lochs for a spot of kayaking.

I have some makes in the pipeline and I will be posting shortly, weather permitting!.

Anyway without further ado my trusty assistant shall pick a winner.

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And the winner is………Clipped Curves, Congratulations, please let me have your postal address and I will send on.

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Thank you all again

200 followers milestone – Coco and Igor DVD Giveaway

I have reached the remarkable milestone of having over 200 followers to my little corner of blogland and I am thrilled to bits.

I started this blog as a way of documenting my makes and to share some of the tips and techniques I have learnt over the years. However I was not expecting the many wonderful upsides of blogging with fellow sewcialists coming back to say that something I have posted has inspired them to have a go, whether it is something entirely new that they would not have attempted before, or a little tip they were unaware of. This wonderful sewing community with its funny, inspirational, generous, insightful, clever …I could go on, participants, has turned out to be one of the most joyous aspects of my sewing life.

By way of a thank you to all my followers, first up – group hug (oo0oo) and secondly a little give-away.

                                  

I recently watched this DVD, principally because I watch pretty much everything to do with Mme Chanel and because it was billed as being especially stylish and I have to say, it did not disappoint.

Almost everyone has seen Coco, the film with Audrey Tatou, which is an absolute favourite of mine, as I believe it to be the most accurate depiction of her life and Audrey seems utterly believable to me as she has the charm I understand the real Coco possessed, displaying the single minded determination which would have been required to make it, especially for a girl of her background and means, at that time.

This film differs in that it is based on a fictional account of the possible affair between Coco Chanel and the Russian composer Igor Stravinsky. I won’t go into detail on the story nor offer a critique of the film but just say that the clothes, as you can imagine, are especially wonderful…..a little taster…..

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Please note that this DVD is particularly saucy, so you might not want to watch it in front of grandma!

To win a copy of the DVD just leave a comment below and I will draw the winner on 1st July 2013.

Good Luck and Thank You x

Tracing a Burdastyle pattern – and introducing Pepper.

I’m an avid fan of the Burda monthly mag. I think for the cover price and number of patterns in each edition, this magazine is a must in most sewistas’ pattern stash. Admittedly, on the odd occasion there is nothing worthy of note and more than once I have looked it over from cover to cover and been left a bit deflated. That said, I have gone back over the same magazine at a later date and lo and behold something I had overlooked suddenly inspires. Also, and this is more likely the case, another blogger’s make, often re interpreted, leaves me scrabbling for the referenced copy in an attempt to shamelessly imitate.

The biggest bugbear is of course the tracing of the pattern from the maddening pattern sheet!

Everybody has their own way of doing this, however I suspect the most common way is to trace the pattern through tracing paper.

I thought I would show you how I copy these patterns – in fact all my patterns.  I never cut from a pattern sheet, I like to keep the patterns whole – there is a particular kind of pleasure to be had from re folding the pattern back into the envelope – Yeah, I know, I don’t get out much!

I use a method which involves a pin tracing wheel through the pattern onto copy paper. This negates the need for tracing paper which one would have to peer through and given the number of pattern pieces in each sheet this can be problematic.

First up I cover my cutting table with a piece of towelling (this was leftover from a previous make) which gives a degree of thickness that allows for the spikes of the tracing wheel penetrate through, enough to leave their mark on the paper  but not the surface of the table

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The brown paper is laid over and weighted.

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Pattern selected – in this case this an A- line casual skirt

SONY DSCNext up the tracing materials consist of the correctly selected pattern sheet, tracing wheel, pencil and for adding the seam allowance a seam gauge.

SONY DSCAs previously mentioned lay the pattern sheet over the copy paper and weigh down. I like to use a small puppy who goes by the name of Pepper!! Please let me introduce to you our new puppy girl, a little cocker spaniel who is just the cutest sweetest thing! We are totally smitten. She is 10 weeks old and is our second family dog. Our first lovely dog Barney died 3 years ago – he was a Beardie Collie, completely bonkers and the children’s best pal growing up. We have taken this time to come to terms with losing him and deciding on our next pet.

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Locate the pattern pieces by circling and once traced with your tracing wheel mark off .

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trace the pattern pieces, add the seam allowances use your French curve to neaten edges, the finished pieces prior to cutting out.

I tend to set aside a day for cutting out patterns, I almost never sew and cut out in the same day, I feel it’s a different mind-set and in actual fact I find tracing and cutting out fabric quite therapeutic.

Finished cut pieces ready for fabric cutting.

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…..and my lovely assistant….

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Burdastyle Vintage shift # 134 5/2013

I was leafing through the Burdasytle May edition feeling a little bit uninspired when I came across this little beauty. Its taken from a 1960′s Vintage Pattern and it was love at first sight

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Apart from the great design, I especially liked the fabric choice in this – which is a beautiful bright geometric type print in silk and the colour-way is my absolute favourite,  riot of blues.

It is not evident from the picture above, that the dress is fitted at the bust and slim through the waist panelling and darts, skimming the hips – Yay! and a little bow detail, gives I think a quintessentially 60′s vibe. The line drawing gives a more accurate representation of where the fit is on this.

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I decided that I would like this to be lined, I found a lovely lightweight lawnish type cotton and decided that I would use initially as a muslin/toile to perfect the fit. The neckline was a bit low for me showing wayyy to much cleavage so I did a shoulder adjustment, which seemed to do the trick. I am rather short in the body so there was no real need to alter anything else.

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I managed to source a similar fabric to the one featured as this was what had first drew me to this pattern and I was delighted to find a medium weight glazed poplin which fit the bill perfectly.

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I adjusted the pattern cut the fabric made up the dress inserted the zip and put on my dress form (inside out) and then put on the muslin/toile/lining, wrong sides to gether and tacked on. I left off the sleeve facings as I wanted to have the lining in place before I attahced those; thus helping to anchor the lining. I did not put on the bow and tape detail as it is lost in the print, also I will wear this casually with a little cardi and I think the bow is a bit fussy in that instance.

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This was such an easy dress to put together – even with the lining which I would always recommend especially on something so fitted as it feels substantial on the waist – no stretching or bulging. I have to say the style is one of the most flattering I have ever worn; I love it…..and before you ask Yes! I will use this pattern again, next time I will do in a plain medium weight shot silk fabric with perhaps a matching evening coat and I would then go for the bow detail and perhaps carry it through to the coat. Ahhh! I just have to find somewhere to go with it!!

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Vintage pin-tuck Blouse revisited

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Back when I was undertaking my blouse-athon I featured a vintage pattern blouse I made for my daughter  (Vintage pin-tuck blouse ) and mentioned that I would probably make one for myself at some point. As luck would have it I  managed to source a nice fine linen which I softened with a couple of robust high temperature washes.  I initially did not incorporate any trim but after a number of people remarking that I looked like a member of the clergy I felt it needed something to remove the austere look. I have used this trim application before on a corset and have always loved pale blue and white together. The linen lace insert trim I picked up on my last trip to France (they excel at such things!) and I added the ribbon from my earlier project. I have worn this blouse a number of times and I love how it lifts everything I put with it out of the ordinary. Heavenly. …And there endeth the lesson!  O:-)

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Application: The GB Sewing Bee – Filming Autumn 2013

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Hi, Just a quick post to show the additional make of this little top previously  posted The Great British Sewing Bee make# 2 from the Book , in cream vintage lace, over cream viscose and silk. Neckline and inside armholes are bound with self-made bias binding, as outlined in previous post.

Also, to let you know how to apply to be one of the contestants on the next series filming of the GB Sewing Bee in Autumn 2013. Take the link and apply,  I received this directly from Love Productions, the team behind the series, unfortunately as I used to work full-time as a costumier I’m not eligible to apply – bummer :(. The rules and application are on the website; www.bbc.co.uk/showsandtours/shows/beonashow/great_british_sewing_bee so if you are in the UK or rolling in dosh and can jet in for filming – hark at you!, then give it a go. Who knows you could be the next media darling, elbowing your way into the London nightclubs and sharing a ciggie with Kate Moss or Mossy as she’s known to her pals.Good Luck!!