Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Emma One Sock you are tempting me....

I'm trying to resist... I'm meant to be economising.  But one day I see this gorgeous coat on the Sartorialist website.  Doesn't it look so simple and elegant?   Isn't it worn in a fabulously casual way?

And then the next day I see these fabrics on Emma One Sock.   The first is the short person's scale version.
And for those who can get away with a larger scale ......

Oh I can dream.  But realistically, although I love making and wearing coats, I do have a few already that I don't wear that much and I can hardly fit in the wardrobe.  And Perth isn't really cold enough for long enough to wear many coats.   And... I'm not a tall, willowy, stylish Milanese fashion maven so it wouldn't look anything like that anyway.   But.. I can dream...

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Burda 12/2009 biker jacket ... halfway

I just looked at the Wardrobe Contest thread on the Pattern Review website - yikes!  Somehow they are up to page 105!   Some have almost finished their wardrobes!  Some are raring to make 2 wardrobes! 

I have exactly half of one of the 10 required items.  However, I worry not, as after Wednesday I'll be freed from the obligation to spend every waking hour thinking about work and my long service leave will start.   I've never had the opportunity to have such a period of not working so I'm ecstatic! 

The sewing in the meantime has been slow.  There has been a lot of tidying up work required to be able to take a long period of leave.  But, hey... after 3 more days I'll have all the time in the world to sew.   

I'll have so much time to sew I will probably be sitting blinking at it thinking.... this is unnatural... I have time... what do I do?    

Now in the interim, the half a garment... This is the biker jacket from Burda Magazine 12/2009 - the sleeves, facing and lining are done but yet to go in. 

I'm a bit iffy about the fabric.  I'd love it if it didn't have the paisley bits.  It is looking a bit too mother of the bride outfit at the moment.  

The photo doesn't do it justice, but this is a zip with sentimental value!  Last October I went on holiday to San Francisco and visited Britex - and the only thing I bought was some gorgeous metallic Riri zips (unfortunately none matching).   They are the sort of zips designed for the exposed zip look.   But I suspect they will date quickly and need to be used, and bronze zip - this is your jacket.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Is there a sewing revival underway?

A few years ago sewing was looking very much like a dying craft.  It seemed that most women weren't taught sewing as a matter of course any more - and there was little imperative to make your own clothes given busy lives, the cheapness of clothing and the lack of inspiring fabric shops.  Even the people I knew that used to sew had stopped, citing lack of time. 

Once I got a letter from my favourite fabric shop with a rather heartfelt explanation from the management advising that the shop was closing down as women simply weren't sewing any more and they couldn't compete with the cheapness and choice of ready to wear clothes.  

I thought that one day I wouldn't be able to find patterns and fabrics (my excuse for stockpiling a lifetime supply in my wardrobe!).


I may be imagining it but there seems to be a resurgence in sewing and other crafts such as knitting and crocheting, particularly amongst young women.   It is different from how I learnt - at school and from my mum and in a fairly traditional way.  What I am seeing now is a more freewheeling, creative, often self taught way of doing things.  It is great to see!

My ears pricked up the other day when the following piece came on a prime Australian current affairs show.   A niche magazine ‘Frankie’; ‘featuring kitsch and crochet’ according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, is said to be bucking the trend of declining magazine sales.  It is described as thriving 'in a world where 'nanna' culture is revered, where quirky is the new cool and handmade is the new haute couture'.  

The video is here:  tp://abc.com.au/news/video/2010/06/08/2921938.htm

Now, I've never tried adding a video so the story is Here if the above doesn't work.

I'm definitely outside the demographic for the Mag but I liked the news story and I like the idea of it.  Like Burda Style and Etsy and news stories that the sales of sewing machines are booming - I'm really happy that sewing clothes isn't a dying art and that it is being taken up by a new generation. 

May it continue and thrive!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Burda 12/2009 Biker Jacket

What a blissful day!  A whole day for sewing with nowhere to be and no interruptions.

I signed up for the Pattern Review Wardrobe contest and most people seem to prepare a Storyboard showing each of their items and patterns.   I was getting a bit bogged down with mine.  I've looked through every pattern and pattern mag, traced loads of patterns, fossicked through my fabrics, discovered I don't have 10 fabrics that go together (unless they are all black) - and got stuck at 8 of the 10 required items.   Even then I keep changing my mind.   

My Storyboard so far (subject to change as the mood strikes me) is: 
My wardrobe isn't very varied as you will see. Not one but 2 biker jackets! And 4 pairs of pants! But I'm aiming at casual clothes that I'll wear while I am on long service leave and I should wear these.  

So, finally, I've started my first garment which is a jacket from Burda Mag. 12/2009.  I have to confess I traced off 3 patterns and made muslins for each before settling on the one to make. 

First try -  nah, too blouson.   
 Second try - potential but too strangly - and too much fabric in the front. 
So, this is the one that I am making (without the shoulder topstitchings and twiddly bits).

In this fabric, which is a bit shimmery but not quite as shiny as the pic suggests. 

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Sequins and more sequins

I found a lovely little bundle sitting on my doormat when I got home today - a fabric order from Tessuti in Sydney.   I only bought a small amount of this but it is the MOST FABULOUS fabric -  nicer than I even imagined. 

There are more pearly bone or more gunmetal sequins depending which way you smooth it.  It is light and the sequins are sewn on a thin black jersey so it has a bit of stretch.  I have it here next to me on the sofa and keep stroking it.... aaahhhh.... 

I am doubly impressed as after work I had gone with a friend to a boutique having a sale, and kept fondling a black version of this Alistair Trung sequined cowl/scarf, which could be stretched all sorts of ways and looked very chic.  Even at 45% off the $495 price it was a little out of my budget!  But there on my doorstep when I got home was my own little sequined bundle. 

I don't think I'd wear a cowl but my fabric, narrower and backed with black chiffon may make a  great scarf and for a mere $13.75!   Although now I want more but am meant to be economising  - ewwwww the struggle!   I initially bought it to use on the shoulders of a t-shirt.  Now I think it would also be great as this floppy messenger bag - the Diana Bag on BurdaStyle.  Not worn all together I assure you!  A little of this fabric goes a long way.

Maybe the scarf will pep up my Wardrobe Storyboard for the PR Review contest, which is otherwise looking a bit drab... but more on that one next post!   Bye for now, off to gaze lovingly at my sequins some more. 

Monday, June 14, 2010

A rare treat

I had a rare pleasure this weekend - I went to a real life fabric shop, liked the fabrics available and browsed for a hour or so.

Some years ago when there were a number of fabric shops in the City, on late night shopping nights I had the ritual of spending an hour or two browsing fabrics and patterns.  It made me feel relaxed and happy.   The fabric shops eventually moved out into the suburbs or disappeared and now that little pleasure of inspecting fabrics in the flesh is mostly only available when I go on holiday somewhere.

Perth does have some fabric shops but most are craft shops with a limited fabric stock and the only shops with nicer fabric seem to be  so overpriced I tend to get a bit annoyed and leave without buying anything. 

But this weekend, I went to a fabric shop and it had some nice fabric in it and there were some affordable fabrics that I loved - and bought... and came home feeling relaxed and happy.   And here they are....

All but the grey tshirting are going to form part of my 'Wardrobe' as I am dying to make them into something.   So much for my aim of making it all from my stash hah!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Jacket infatuation - Burda 12/2009 No. 107

Pattern Description: Tuxedo Style Jacket.

  That isn't meant to be an artsy photo - I'm just really bad at taking photos at night.  That top is pink believe it or not!

Pattern Sizing: 34 to 42. I'm usually a 14 and made a 42 with 2 cm added to each side seam.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, but I left off the padded epaulettes and mine is more structured.

Were the instructions easy to follow? It depends how you want it to look. The Burda way would end up in an unstructured, lined cardigan style jacket. The only mention of the inner construction is "Interfacing: See pattern layout. Also interface hem allowances".

I wanted a slightly more structured version so interfaced it like a standard jacket and inserted sleeve heads and small shoulder pads.  

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I just love it - it is very versatile and looks good with just about anything - dress, skirt, narrow trousers or jeans. You can make it formal or casual. It is also easy to make!    

 Fabric Used: A lightweight Marc Jacobs Rayon/wool/lycra from EOS.  Lined in a yellow silk Anna Sui habutai from FabricMart. 

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: Mine is made like a tailored jacket rather than the more unstructured Burda version. The only changes were that:
  • I made a muslin and made my standard narrow back adjustment and narrow shoulder adjustment.
  • I recommend adding on a couple of inches at the bottom as a hem facing - there isn't one e.g. pattern changes.
  • I left off the epaulettes and inserted small shoulder pads instead. I tried the epaulettes but while theirs look firm and elegant, I looked like I had mini bean bags on my shoulders. Hmmm ... maybe you need FIRM wadding!!!
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I highly, highly recommend it. It is really versatile and quick to make for a jacket. Not sure if I will make it again.... although it would be good in something a little metallic for evening...

Conclusion: I have jacket infatuation!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Wardrobe Contest and Burda Tuxedo Jacket

In my last post I  optimistically claimed that one more evening would see the Burda tuxedo jacket finished.  Hah!  A head cold struck and since then I've had the activity level of a sick snail.  

I have neeeearly finished the jacket...... I've given up on the padded epaulettes of the magazine version, but in lieu of those, I need to go back and insert shoulder pads.   It's a lovely pattern and I'm very happy with the jacket and will take some pics when it is totally finished.   

Some of my cold ridden sofa time was spent planning a wardrobe.  After mentioning SWAP wardrobes in an earlier post and saying that I wouldn't want to enter a contest - Pattern Review has a Wardrobe Contest.  This requires that 10 items be made by August 31 - 4 bottoms, 4 tops, 1 topper and 1 free choice.  All items must go with all other items and at least 1 has to incorporate a current fashion trend.   I'm tempted.

I'm thinking of a utility trend - casual urban clothes in earth tones and hopefully all or mostly from fabric and patterns I already have.  I've settled on 2 items to start with.

The first is a t shirt I came across entirely by accident - on a site called 'How to Fashion Design with Bob Martin'.   It looks kind of interesting and as it is only $5.99, I'm game to try it out.  The pattern and instructions came by email in a couple of days as promised and the instructions look very clear, with lots of photos (they get points for that).   The site will only permit showing the photo of the back, but the front and pattern details can be found at t-shirt pattern link.

The second item is a biker style jacket, in one of the 3 Burda Magazine patterns below (still dithering on which).
The inspiration is this Christopher Kane jacket (pic from this website link).  Fantastic fabric but doubt I've got much chance of finding anything like it so will be going with a Vera Wang bronze metallic linen mix.
Will post some pictures of the Burda jacket when I have a mo...

Friday, June 4, 2010

Burda tuxedo jacket - in progress

1 evening cutting out muslin and making fitting changes.

1 evening cutting out fabric, lining and interfacing and applying interfacing.

1 evening on inner construction and sewing shell of garment.

I reckon I may be finished tomorrow night - I've only got to insert sleeve heads, make the lining and affix lining and facing.  Oh, and make the puffy epaulette-y things - they may be a bit of a challenge.

And so far... it is looking like a spiffy little jacket.  

(It looks much less crumply round the neck on me than on the dressform).

I guessed at the best way to interface the lapels;  structuring them in the same way as a normal lapel (just upside down).  I'll see how that goes when I press it.  

All of the front and upper back and upper sleeves are interfaced with a light - medium fusible interfacing.  The grey areas are iron on bias tape.  The white tape is seam tape, stretched a tad.  In fact it is probably stretched too much and I may fix that.   There is also a bias strip of interfacing across the hem.  And, not shown in the picture but I also added a wedge of fusible heavier weight interfacing on the back and front shoulders. 

By way of fitting changes I did a narrow shoulder adjustment, narrow back adjustment and added a hem facing.  I also made corresponding adjustments to the epaulettes and the upper sleeve top.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Burda 12/2009 Jacket

I've embarked on this jacket from Burda's December 2009 mag.  I've prepared a muslin, worked out the fitting changes that need to be made and all is looking good so far.

Not that you could really tell from the magazine photo, but the more detailed photo on their website and line drawing seem to show a very cute, easy to make and wearable jacket.  I've been subscribing to Burda Magazine for a while and have hardly made anything from it.  I will go back and re-inspect my Burdas after this as there may be other hidden wardrobe gems.  

The pattern only goes up to a size 42 but I just added 2cm to each side seam and it fits fine.   The muslin indicated the need for a narrow back adjustment (for which I used this Sandra Betzina article Threads link), and a narrow shoulder adjustment.  A couple of inches also need to be added to the hem, as there is no hem facing and the jacket is pretty short. Apart from that all is looking promising.    The jacket is very simple in construction and there isn't much sewing involved.  This garment seems to depend more on preparation and inner construction - getting the fit right and interfacing.