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Thursday, 23 May 2019

Linen Legs

And a third Me Made May post! I made these trousers in the summer to be a lightweight pair to wear to work on hot days. But they are still getting wears little more than a week before winter because the temperature hasn't cooled down yet. They're soft and light and very easy to wear, work appropriate but not overly formal. The top was also made a few months ago, mostly to wear to work but also as a step above casual.

I'm pretty sure the fabric for the trousers is a linen/cotton blend. I bought it as a remnant from an op shop for $2 and there was no tag or detail, but it feels and looks like linen but without so much creasing. I did a burn test and it turned to grey ash, so it is either cotton or linen or a combination. Luckily because it isn't pure linen they don't crush too much, but they do show some creases by the end of the day.

The pattern is Simplicity 8243, a 1940s blouse and trouser pattern described as 'sportswear'. While this is my first time making the trousers I have used the pattern before, making the blouse as my Liberty Blouse. They are a vintage pattern but they don't look costumey. The line drawings on the pattern envelope make the trousers look very loose and wide-legged, but they are actually fairly fitted from the waist to the hips. I noticed the same thing when I made the blouse, the 1940s illustrations are more exaggerated than the final product. 

These are very simple trousers, wide, straight legged, with small pleats at the front. The pockets are stitched closely in to the side which holds them a bit too tight, unfortunately as with so many women's patterns they are also on the small side. The trousers have a centre back invisible zipper and a hook and bar at the waistband. The zipper is an invisible zipper, but I didn't have an invisible zipper foot so it isn't the best insertion, but at least being charcoal in colour it doesn't stand out too badly. Because the fabric is a linen blend all the seams are overlocked to prevent fraying.

The top is the Tonic Tee from SBCC Patterns, made in a floral lycra jersey I got last year from a Spoolettes fabric swap. I'ts a very soft yellow-cream with a touch of pink, with small floral and leaf print. I made the extra small, which was the second smallest size. I chose that size as it's just a little looser which works well for a top that can be worn for work. Because it's slightly looser it looks better when tucked into something with a fitted waist.

 I've been wearing this top and trousers since I made them but only photographed them this morning. Me Made May has been good for getting me to get around to post my backlog of makes, as I document what I'm wearing each day. Whether I keep this pace up after the end of the month is a different question!

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

The Embroidery Skirt

This is my second Me Made May post, but this skirt is not a new one. This was made last year in October. I even took photos of it, but didn't check any of them until after finishing when I discovered none of them were full sized or properly framed. For some reason it has taken me until now to get around to photographing it again even though I've worn it frequently.

The fabric is from The Fabric Store and is a gorgeous embroidered linen cotton. It was such an eyecatching fabric that I picked it up. I knew the fabric needed the be a skirt to take advantage of the print without the garment being overwhelming, and I didn't want to make anything complicated to take attention away from the embroidery. I thought a simple skirt, that was gathered or pleated in some way, would be the right way to use the fabric.

I bought a one metre piece, and the fabric was about 1.5 metres wide. Because my idea for the skirt was something fairly simple, the only decision I needed to make was which way to cut it. The embroidery is in staggered rows down the length of the bolt. My original thought was to cut lengthwise in between the rows because I was nervous about cutting through the flowers, but when I held the fabric against me to check how it looked it just didn't seem quite right.  When I turned it the other way, it looked great.

I had been very nervous that cutting through the embroidery would cause it to fray and fall apart. But using my overlocker to finish the edges of the fabric on all sides helped to stabilise the print. I decided to pleat rather than gather to minimise the bulk around the waist, and to allow the embroidery to feature as clearly as possible.

I inserted the zipper first and then used pins and my dressmaker dummy to pleat until the skirt fit. The skirt has a circumference of almost 2 metres but my waist is only 60cm, so there was a lot of pleating to do. The pleats had to be overlaid on each other to get it down to the right size. There was a fair bit of trial and error in the size of the pleats and how far to overlap them until I got it right. To hold it all in place I hand basted, machine stitched two rows of stitching, and then covered the waist with blanket-width bias binding.

Because there's a lot of fabric the skirt is quite heavy to wear. But it is fitted well so doesn't slip down. The pleating also gives the skirt a slightly full shape which swishes and moves when I walk. This skirt should have made it onto the blog ages ago, and has already had many wears. Hopefully it will have wears for many years to come!

Thursday, 2 May 2019

Drifting Wolf

Me Made May time! My pledge, as the last few years, is to wear me mades every day this month. And I also plan to get back on track with blogging by posting anything I wear that I haven't yet posted. To start with is my newest make, finished just yesterday.

Both the top and pants are from Papercut Patterns. I've made quite a few of their patterns and really like them. For me, I find there are very few adjustments I need to make, and the instructions tend to be fairly simple and clear.

The pants are the Peter and the Wolf pattern, which is now sadly out of print. I've had the pattern for a few years after picking it up for $10 at The Fabric Store. However, pants are daunting to make, and these pants have what looks like complicated piecing so I had put them to the side as too hard for now. But pants are the one clothing item where I still own a lot of store bought clothes, so I'm trying to make a concerted effort to replace them with my own creations.

The legs have two front and back pieces, angled pockets, front insets, back yoke, a waistband and even facings for the curved hems. This number of different parts is honestly huge for a pair of pants. I really shouldn't have been so daunted, because this pattern was amazingly straightforward.

The fabric is a lovely mid-weight mid-stretch cotton sateen with a moderate sheen from The Fabric Store. The pattern envelope version is made in a neutral grey with satin for the pockets, yoke and front insets so they stand out. As these are pants for work I didn't want to do something too out there, so opted to use the reverse side of the fabric. Rather than showing up as different colours, it just works to highlight the construction of the pants. Each seam is also topstitched, which also helps to show off the creative shape of the pattern.

These pants weren't hard to sew. I found the pattern stepped out the process for making very well, and the legs having centre and side pattern pieces suits the skinny fit. I didn't do any adjustments, but I'd think it wouldn't be too hard to make any changes needed to fix the fit. Hemming the pants was a bit harder, as the point at the front is difficult to make sharp. Because my thread was black and the fabric is black I wanted to be careful not to cut through the stitching line, so when I turned the facings inside I wasn't able to get the point as pointy they should be, but the shape is pretty close to what it's meant to be.

The top is adapted from the bodice of the Adrift Dress. I've made the dress before and found it a bit short, particularly in the bodice, so I lengthened it for this top. As I've made the dress before and it's a simple shape. The fabric is a bamboo jersey from Tessuti in a rich royal blue. It's beautifully soft, and was very easy to sew up.

I'm extremely happy with both these makes. I've already been wearing the top for a few months, and the pants are certain to be a favourite and a pattern to make again.