Thursday, July 29, 2010

Manequim pants

I'm trying to finish the remaining items for the Pattern Review Wardrobe contest in a sewing blitz (I'll photograph things when I have a few to put together).  It is bothering me.  So that means 3 more pairs of trousers and 3 knit tops. Sigh....

Trousers No. 2 are almost finished (the first were the May Burda olive green cargo pants). These are a remake of the trousers below, which were a download from the Manequim Magazine site.
I love them, although they are a real challenge to put together. The photo doesn't really show what they look like - the line drawing is more like it.  The pattern is a size 42 although it is huge!  They are obviously made to be very slouchy and worn on the hips.

This pattern was a free download although it seems to have disappeared from Manequim's freebies.  I guess the lesson is to download any free patterns you like when you can - as also happened with Burda Style, you can't rely on them staying free for very long!    Luckily this was the one PDF I did keep.

I've recently subscribed to Manequim as I have been checking out their website for a while and love their designs.  Melissa on Fehr Trade covered a couple of editions - Manequim - Fehr Trade - and I was sold!  The subscription process was quite easy, albeit slow; it seems to take about 3 months.  A 12 month subscription costs $135 US all up.   I just sent an enquiry to and got responses in English.   I'm excitedly waiting for my first copy!   
The fabric for the trousers is a lovely washed silk herringbone from Denver Fabrics (which is darker than it appears in the photo).   This is one of my favourite fabrics for floppy casual pants - it feels wonderfully soft, is opaque, has a good weight for pants and washes and sews well.   I notice that Sass and Bide use it a bit for trousers and jackets.

I'm a fair way through the pants and all is going well so far, although I had loads of trouble with the back yoke, being in a soft drapey fabric cut on the bias - yuck! 
My eye has also been caught by another pair of pants from June Burda, which (if they don't look terrible on) I may substitute for one of the pairs I was going to make for the Wardrobe Contest, but full length rather than 3/4 length.  

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Patrones 285 Jacket

After a mammoth effort I've finished the Patrones jacket and here are my initial pics.   It's gloomy weather outside so gloomy looking photos I'm afraid.
I'm all jacket-ed out for the moment so about to start on a couple of quick projects (I hope) to go with it - pants and t-shirts.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Next project - Patrones No. 285 Jacket

One lesson I've learnt from entering the Pattern Review Wardrobe Contest (recap:  10 items: 4 tops, 4 bottoms, 2 others, all have to go with each other) is that I shouldn't enter such contests!  I can think about making 1 item at a time, when the inspiration hits me and then I have to finish it as if I leave it... trouble. 

But thinking of 10 items at a time..... isn't working for me.  I'm not focussing and I think it is making me sew slower. 

I'm feeling marginally inspired to make something that is in my Wardrobe Plan so I'd better go with the flow before I lose the inclination.   And, I'm on my own until Thursday so I have no excuse not to sew like mad.  

The project is, yes... yet another biker style jacket!    This is from Patrones #285, which was definitely worth the money as I've made loads of things from it.  
The fabric is felt-y and embossed (forgot to write down what it was but I think it is a polyester) from Fabulous Fabrics in Perth. I am also planning to do the undersleeves and side panels in a black wool jersey. In my head I'm creating some sort of soft jacket like the ones shown on this page, Biker style jackets, - we'll see how that translates to reality! 
I have some doubts after sewing up the muslin.  I love the style in the pattern photo but this is a bare bones pattern.  The jacket is only as shown above, there is no facing under the zip, and it is entirely lined; with no facings at all.

The instructions are in Spanish so I could have missed something, but see the picture  below - there is nothing on the left hand side after the zip.  It looks funny doesn't it - like wearing half a front on one side.  It looks fine when it is done up  but weird otherwise.  But I have closely examined the magazine and no, nothing else forthcoming.  

This is the original muslin. 

I drafted the 'missing' front piece.  I'll describe how I did that in another post.  But for now, on to muslin no. 2 after I made a narrow back adjustment (I use this method back fitting adjustments from Threads), narrow shoulder adjustment, and taking 1cm out of the waist.

I'm too short and chubby to be able to get away with much around my neck, and there is a lot of neck 'stuff' going on in this jacket.  See how long the cowl part is.  I'm guessing you just scrunch it up when you do the snaps up.  Oh, but I still love the shape!  It will probably look like I have no neck at all but I am persevering!

I've started sewing up the jacket and will post when I have some pics.

Friday, July 23, 2010

And the other one...

Square gusset t-shirts
Pattern Description:   Square Gusset T-shirt, downloaded from the Website 'How to Fashion Design by Bob Martin', Website.

Most of the interest in this is in the sides and back. The underarm gussets and bottom gusset give the tshirt its shape.

I've made 3 versions - as well as the green version.

Pattern Sizing:   S,M,L. A large seems to equate to a 14. It would be the easiest pattern in the world to size up or down as it just consists of a rectangle front (which includes the back yoke and neck), a smaller rectangle back, simple sleeves, top and bottom underarm gussets and a small gusset at the bottom.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?   Yes, although I changed the neck from a V-neck to a scoop neck. The neckline on the pattern is reasonably high.

Were the instructions easy to follow?   Incredibly thorough - with photos for many steps. There are a couple of bits where more info would be helpful - the v neck binding in particular.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I came across this pattern by accident on an internet search and I think it is great. It has an interesting shape and is very comfortable.

The results will be affected by the fabric. My first effort was in an 11 oz rayon lycra jersey, and it wasn't quite drapey enough and formed big yukky pouches under the back arms - not a good look. So I recommend a drapey jersey.

Fabric Used:   All out of lightweight rayon jerseys from Denver Fabrics. The green was the most drapey - the t-shirt kept growing.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

1. The v neck wasn't doing much for me so I have made it into a scoop neck.
2. On my muslin there were nasty back arm pouches so I reduced the gusset a little (see earlier post).
3. I hadn't made a t-shirt for a while and my neck binding wasn't sitting too well initially so I used this method from Threads Magazine threads neckline binding video, which did the trick.
4. I shaped in the sides a bit between the marker for the bottom gusset and the underarm gusset to reduce boxiness. It is a fairly loose and boxy style.
5. 5cm was taken off the bottom of each sleeve - long is part of the look but these are REALLY long.

Would you sew it again?   Would you recommend it to others? I have sewn 3 up and see more in my future - so yes, I would definitely recommend it to others.

Conclusion:   Love it. This pattern will be having more outings.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A pattern review

I'm finally getting around to doing some reviews on Pattern Review for the Burda biker jacket and the t-shirts I've recently made.   Phew.  I got a bit bogged down on the last tasks on these - and you are probably a bit sick of seeing them too.  Glad to have totally finished them and very ready to go onto something else.

The first (I'll post the other one tomorrow)...

Burda 12/2009 biker style jacket
Pattern Photo:           
Pattern Rating:           Highly Recommend
Pattern Description:   Biker style jacket.

Pattern Sizing:          36-44. I made a 42 with 2cm added to side seams.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?   It would have done, except for my fabric and some minor style modifications.

Were the instructions easy to follow?   They don't look too bad. I just find Burda instructions rather bamboozling and tend to read them only if I get stuck. The style is not very difficult to make.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?  This is a nice biker style jacket and is quite versatile depending on how you make it up. It fits nicely and is relatively easy to make.

Fabric Used:      Not entirely sure -there is definitely metallic - and I would guess that there is some viscose or linen.  Bought from Fabulous Fabrics in Perth.  It is lined with a gold coloured silk habutai lining. And the zip is a lovely decorative bronze metallic zipper from Britex.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:   I did my usual narrow back adjustment and narrow shoulder adjustment - note that the shoulders are very roomy and I had to reduce them more than usual. My pockets are also different. Instead of zip pockets (I didn't have zips that matched my main zips) I did flap and welt pockets (the pattern pieces came from Burda 9/2008 Model 121). I also added an epaulette.

My interfacing is more like a tailored jacket in that I have fairly seriously interfaced the shoulders. 
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?  I would definitely recommend it. I love this style of jacket.

Conclusion:          Very nice little jacket and blessedly easy to make.

Monday, July 19, 2010

How to Fashion Design with Bob Martin T-shirt - Part 2

I've been on a t-shirt making spree (I have no t-shirts to wear now I am on hols).   The pattern is the one I mentioned a few posts back, downloadable from a website How to Fashion Design with Bob Martin
The interest is in the back and underarm area, where the gussets give the t-shirt its shape.   It is very similar to a Vivienne Westwood Anglomania t-shirt I found at a sale a few years ago and wore to death (and have unpicked for remaking in the near future) so I am sure to get lots of wear out of this one.

The first version is in a lovely and soft, drapey green rayon spandex jersey from Denver Fabrics.  Unfortunately, it was so drapey it got bigger and bigger and bigger... so I'm about to unpick the side seams and take off an inch on either side - and take quite a bit off the sleeves. 
I've also made up a light grey version with dark grey contrasting gussets.   For this one I changed the neck to a scoop neck and took in the sides by 1.5cm and the shoulders by 2cm.  I'll get some better photos when I see some sun. 
And... a plain grey one is about to be finished. 

When I did a muslin for this top, the jersey was less drapey and it made very unnattractive back arm pouches.  I'm not sure this would be  a problem in a more fluid jersey, but to make sure I took out some of the volume of the lower gusset.   Original gusset pattern piece:
New gusset piece:
This pattern has gone on my tried and trusted patterns list and I'm sure will be getting lots of outings.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Burda 5-2010 cargo pants - finished version

Taking photos of yourself wearing your sewing projects is an interesting exercise as it illustrates that how you see something in the mirror can be quite subjective.  I tried my cargo pants on in front of the mirror and thought, oh yes, flattering and they are finished and I'm really happy with them.  Then I photographed myself in them and thought... ewwww, need some more work!

So, back to rejigging the pants.  I took another 1cm off the side seams and a tad more at the knee, which required taking off the pockets and moving them inwards.  So, this is the final version (it is a very crease-y fabric):

I like them and they feel as comfy as track pants so I see myself wearing them a lot.  I can't see myself using this pattern again though. The shape I thought the pattern would be and the shape it actually is are too different and the final fit is a bit iffy.  If I wanted to make more pants in this style I'd dig out a tried and trusted narrow pants pattern and graft on the pockets - and not sure if in the same place. Are the pockets deeply unflattering on the hips? I'm not sure.

My other inspiration item for these, apart from the Guardian selection I mentioned in my earlier post, is from Netaporter and the Balmain Spring 2010 collection.    Under the splits is chain mail!  Wow.  Not something you would be shoving in the washing machine!
Next post will be the Bob Martin t-shirt which is the green t-shirt I am wearing above and currently - a little BIG.    

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Burda 5-2010 Cargo Pants

I'll take a photo of these being worn when I get a chance to photograph them in daylight, but I've finally finished my cargo pants from Burda 5 - 2010.    It has been truly winter this week in Perth - pouring with rain, stormy, cold and wild.  Great sewing weather as you don't want to stick your nose outside, but not great for photographing things.  

Now, my fashion inspiration for these is from the Guardian newspaper in the UK (a fantastic site for crafters - which I will return to below) Guardian guide to Khaki

This is the pattern in the Burda Mag.
I love the design details of this pattern and they fit nicely and are really comfortable.  My only warning if you are thinking of making these is that Burda describes them as 'slim cut' but noooo..... they so aren't.   I took 1.5 cm off each side leg seam (that is 3cm per leg) but I think they could do with coming in another 1cm.  I don't want them to be a tight skinny fit but they are still a bit too roomy.

Sorry, my pics don't really do these pants justice as you can't see the shape well - you'll have to take my word for it but they are high waisted and slim cut, and the fabric is an olive colour (looks brown in the photos).   I finally finished them last night and washed them - I reckon cargo pants need to look a bit worn in.  These are the bellows pocket (i.e has pleated sides).

Funny, I have been subscribing to Burda Mag for a couple of years but never made anything.  Now I'm having a Burda blitz.  I do love their fit.  Everything I have made recently fits beautifully.

Getting back to the Guardian, they have great crafty articles and also recently mentioned this artist - Kate Jenkins, who makes these truly amazing knitted works Guardian - Kate Jenkins.   Beautiful.   

Saturday, July 10, 2010

My decluttered sewing room and Burda 5/2010 cargo pants

My hands are up, Ikea!  I surrender!  I confessed to being mortally afraid of going in your store and by Ikea karmic retribution my new flatpack table was missing its assembly instructions.   Ikea stress!  

My bacon was saved after an internet search and the revelation that the US Ikea site has assembly brochures available online.  Phew!  So 8 hours after starting and in the wee hours of the morning, my cabinet and table were together and my sewing room had gone from cluttered to a place with SPACE.

The table is my favourite.  The sides go down so the table can be put against the wall when I'm not using it and it has storage - 3 quite roomy drawers on each side so I can put all my cutting out/tracing stuff in there.  

And in the pic below, on the left, the chest of drawers.  This was quickly filled up with fabric.  

At the moment the view isn't the most attractive as it is all the old furniture that I moved out of the room and onto the verandah until it finds a new home.
Even more satisfying is that this room was formerly known as the 'Man Zone' but has been reclaimed - yay!

And thanks to my Mum and Sister, who I asked to give me Ikea gift cards for my birthday to buy sewing room furniture.  Thanks Mum and Tamsyn!

So, I've got the room organised.  I've decluttered.  Now... time to get on to some actual sewing.   I'm going to the Burda sewing club tomorrow so have been cutting out a project to take along to work on - cargo pants from Burda 5/2010.  These are a bit of a mystery item as they look good in the line drawing but a bit baggy and nondescript in the magazine photo.  After making a muslin I'm still not quite sure if they are meant to be a bit jodphur-y shaped or not.  

 I was inspired by these DKNY Resort 2010 trousers, although this kind of slightly baggy style ends up looking just frumpy on me rather than cool and stylish, so mine will be narrower in the leg. 
These Burda trousers had a similar look.
The line drawing... looking good...
But the photo in the magazine is a bit offputting... hmmmm... do they look like they don't fit the model?    They look too big.
The fabric I am using is a Coach cotton/lycra mix (colour described as 'loden') from Emma One Sock.  It is just about the perfect khaki trouser fabric.  Perfect weight and stretchiness for a casual pant.   Fabulous.  It looks less glossy after a wash - like most cotton/lycra mixes, but this is a very nice one.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

How to Fashion Design with Bob Martin - T shirt pattern

I've been on leave since last Thursday and having a great old time, but haven't hit the sewing room much so far. 

Spending lots of time in my house made me realise how much STUFF is in it, particularly in my sewing room.  So, I've been having a bit of a spring clean.  I went on a foray to Ikea for some new sewing room furniture - which is being delivered in the next few hours - I'm excitedly pacing the floor waiting for it.  Although when it comes to trying to put it together I'll be a bit less excited!

Do you think there is such a thing as Ikeaphobia?  I mortally dread going in there.  It is my version of hell... with trolleys.  Once inside the doors there is no escape until you are spat out the other side with another hundred thousand customers hours later.  Going there during the school holidays added another dimension of fear.  

I was impressed, though, that Ikea currently has a 'Sew Me What You Got' competition using Ikea Textiles - and you can win a $1500 gift card, which is a great idea and a great prize.   Although as it involves going into the Store to buy the fabric... noooooo too scary.

On the actual sewing front, I've cut out muslins for a jacket,  t-shirt and 3 pairs of trousers.  The first muslin I've sewn up is this t-shirt that I came across on this site How to Fashion Design with Bob Martin.   I love the shape in the pattern pics.  It looks comfy but a little bit different. 

My trial effort.
It isn't too flattering on me - not sure this is the best shape for rectangles.  It sort of hangs there and you can't see it much from the photo but has giant round pouches under the back of the arms which is a very bad look if you do anything but clamp your arms to your sides.   This needs tweaking!   I'll try cutting down the very large underarm gussets and see how that goes.

Next post when I've sewn something / constructed some furniture.....