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Fabric corrupts, fabulous fabric corrupts absolutely

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Apologies for butchering that famous quote, but I have my reasons…

I have been making Mark some t-shirts out of cotton knit that I am sick of looking at. I pulled out several pieces that were manly enough in colour and have been beavering away with the Men’s Metro T-shirt from Leisl & Co. One of the pieces was brown and I’m not much of a brown person so happily cut it out. Then I realised that this was a piece of gorgeous silk jersey.

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I didn’t have enough fabric to make this one long sleeved. I love these photos, he put his hand on his hip and left it there, even when he had clearly lost interest in the whole photoshoot activity!

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In addition to the brown, I have made two blue long sleeved shirts and a combination of red and blue made from scraps, which he is not allowed to wear in public!

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This one looks weird because I rotated the photo.

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What can I say about this pattern? It takes just over an hour to make up on the overlocker and that includes moving it to coverstitch mode. I was going to go into production mode, but the first shirt (size medium) was a little small, the next (size large) was still a bit small, and the third (XL) was just right. Now I have my sizing sorted, I can make them with gay abandon, but am now a bit short of knit.

This is where the “fabulous fabric corrupts absolutely” comes in, because he has asked for more silk t-shirts as they feel light and wonderful. I see an expensive trip to Tessuti or the Fabric Store on my upcoming visit to Sydney, but you know what? He’s worth it :)!

I should just mention that I managed to stashbust 6.75 metres of knit fabric on four t-shirts. A win!

Vintage make #3

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The second pattern I chose from Selvedge Shop as part of the prize for my 2014 vintage pledge is this Butterick 8609 from the 1950s.

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The pattern includes shorts in two lengths, a boat neck blouse and a jacket with a drawstring. I thought it would suit my summer lifestyle perfectly, and decided to make the longer Bermuda shorts so that I could appear in public in them.

For the  shorts and jacket I chose a white and grey spotted cotton/linen blend from my stash, left over from this dress. I was so short of fabric that I didn’t have enough fabric to make the drawstring so had to use a cord from my stash, and I had to use plain fabric for the under collar. I also had to make the sleeves shorter and attach the cuffs made from scraps, rather than making them as one piece.

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The blouse is from a random tiny piece of cotton lawn in my stash. It did not want to be sewn and caused me all sorts of problems, but I got there in the end. Instead of making the facings as per the pattern, I decided to use bias binding as the fabric is quite diaphanous and I don’t like the facings showing through. The blouse has tucks on the front and back and a side zip and finished up being very fitted over the ribs and has to be pulled down or it gets baggy over the bust, as evidenced below.

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One thing I notice about many vintage patterns is that they have high necks and the blouse in this pattern is no different. Apart from that, had I made it from nicer fabric, I might have been happier, although I do think that the loose upper body and the tight lower body creates a weird silhouette on me. Speaking of weird silhouettes, I felt really boxy in this outfit and mentioned this to a friend I was having coffee with and she suggested taking the sleeves in. I rushed home and did this and I think the outfit is much more acceptable, although I may not wear the shorts and jacket together in the future.

The jacket pattern called for hand sewn eyelets. Hmm, I started to do this and then decided that I would use metal eyelets instead. I know this wasn’t very purist of me, but at least I am secure in the knowledge that my eyelets won’t fray out as the cord is dragged through.

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I shall be making this again, but perhaps with the shorts and jacket made from plain fabric and the blouse from patterned. I had always considered this make to be a practice run to see what needed adjusting, and I have a bit of a list! The shorts were really long in the crotch and I had to take about 4cms off the top of them, so this needs adjusting on the pattern. I still have baggy bum syndrome, so I need to work out how to take some of the excess fabric out of the back, and I need pockets on both the shorts and the jacket!

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When I was laying out the pattern I decided that the shorts were too small in the waist, and I added about 2cms, then finished up taking out about 4cms, so I need to work out why the measurements of the pattern and my measurements aren’t lining up. They are still a bit loose in the waist, causing them to fall down a bit in the front.

I also followed the pattern directions and did not interface the waistband – why? It didn’t say to, so I didn’t. The waistband needs interfacing! I didn’t know if I would like the collar, but I love it. It’s the perfect size in my opinion, and I like the shape – even though I haven’t done myself up properly in this photo!

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Details: Pattern is Butterick 8609 from the 1950s. I chose to stashbust all my fabric for this, so used spotted cotton/linen blend from Spotlight and some cotton voile of unknown origins. The buttons on the jacket and shorts are from my stash and are vintage, and the drawstring and toggles for the jacket was from my Mother’s stash. The zips used on the shorts and the blouse were recycled and these, and the bias binding on the blouse were all in my Mother’s stash too. Feeling very pleased that I destashed 4 metres of fabric and lots and lots of notions! Shoes are dove nuotano gli squali.

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Vintage swimsuit

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This is Simplicity 7498 and if you think you’ve seen the fabric before, you would be right – this is what I used for my Bombshell, my Bombshell coverup, and for some Speedos, and yes, I still have more, even after this make!

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One of my personal aims this year is to challenge myself, and although this looks like an easy make, I had to grade the pattern down several sizes, which I am really hopeless at. I almost had no idea where to start with this pattern, so I took about an inch off either side of the back seam and a bit off the front side seams. Then I cut out the pattern and basically made it up to see what needed to be done.

The first issue was the “bra” part. I could have put a few pairs of socks in either side and still have room over! I unpicked it and took about 2cm off the bottom of the cups and the top of the bodice. I also took about 3cm off the length of the straps. It was starting to look better. I tried to adjust the pattern as I adjusted the fabric.

I then needed to take another 3cm off either side of the centre back seam, which required more work than you would think as the top part is totally faced.

The bodice has a lapped zip, which I handpicked as my machine was jumping around on the lycra. Of course once it was in, I realised that I could get the darned top on and off without using it!

You can see in this photo that all my adjustments threw my pattern matching off. Decided I don’t care at this point!

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Once the bodice was done I had to make the “shorts”. These really looked like large bloomers rather than shorts. Here is a photo of the back shorts pattern with my Watson bikini pattern laid on the top. The big difference is that the shorts are cut on the bias, which would be interesting, but the thought of gathering those leg openings to fit me made me quail.

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To be honest, I had no idea how to start grading this part of the pattern, so I made the Watson bikini instead. Next time I might make an actual bikini from one of the many patterns in my stash.

Here is a rather immodest photo of the bikini – this is the least offensive one I could find!

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All that was required then was to test them in actual water. I wondered if the bodice would float up around my head – it did float up a little bit, but only to my hips, which I can put up with.

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Yes, I swam without getting my hair wet as I had to go out after this photo was taken and I didn’t want to wash my hair again.

I love this swimsuit. I can drift around the house in it and not feel too embarrassed if we get visitors. It is comfortable for lounging around in, and I can swim in it. A total success, I would say!

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The details: Pattern is Simplicity 7498 from 1976. This is one of the patterns I chose from the Selvedge Shop as my prize for the 2014 Vintage Pledge. The fabric is more of the red and white lycra I bought on super, super, special from Spotlight.

Jungle January Jumpsuit

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Sorry, couldn’t resist the alliteration in that title!

This is a follow up jumpsuit made from Simplicity 6959, but this time I made it from the lightest, softest, drapiest, viscose knit, instead of a very stiff sheet. I want to be a little less conservative this year and figured that this fabric and design might be a good start.

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Now, if you can remember the ’70s, you will remember that we wore our trousers long – right down to the ground, so I wanted to emulate that here. What I didn’t realise is that the jumpsuit would grow during the evening, so by the time I returned home, it was very long, in spite of my hitching it up around the belt.

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The jumpsuit is made in panels – two per side, so eight altogether, with a zip front and kimono sleeves. It comes together quickly once it’s cut out and all those tailor’s tacks, so beloved of pattern makers in bygone eras, are put in.

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This fabric was not a lot of fun to sew though. I washed it before making it up and it stretched out of shape all down the selvedges. I rewashed it, I steamed it, but to no avail. I was in despair as I really wanted to make this up. In the end I decided to give it a go and see what happened. I managed to cut round most of the distorted sections, but some of the panels went off grain. I am not sure that this has made much difference – nothing seems twisted, so I think I got away with it. My sewing machine decided that it didn’t like the fabric at all, so it is made almost exclusively on my overlocker.

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I was originally going to pair this with my vintage Chanel bag, but as we were attending a stand up function, I went for one of my Japanese bags instead, which weirdly made me much happier, although this is not an evening bag and is therefore a bit big.

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I was pleased that this jumpsuit hit four targets – it fitted into Jungle January, I stashbusted some fabric, it fitted my vintage pledge, AND, the party we were going to had a black and white theme. Score!

My only change this time was to alter the collar. I did this on the last iteration but went too small. This time I left the back of the collar longer and just took a bit of fabric from the front, resulting in something much more wearable.

The details: Pattern is Simplicity 6959 from the 1970s, fabric is viscose knit from Spotlight, shoes are Letizia from Letizia, Claremont, the belt is stretch sequin from Secret Closet, and Keshi pearls are from Heaven Wrapped. Final note, I also wore my Jungle January undies with the jumpsuit, giving me a very coordinated outfit. Unfortunately I couldn’t resist flashing the bra at anyone who showed any interest. Luckily, most of the unfortunate recipients of my bragging were friends, although I did make a couple of new friends in the process!

Jungle January undies

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It’s Jungle January so I’ve made jungly underwear! This is fabric left over from another, as yet unblogged, make. It is a stretchy viscose and is so, so, soft.

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The pattern is the Watson bra and undies, and for this one I focused on getting the inside of the bra neatly lined.

What I did:**

Firstly I sewed the back band and the cradle and the cradle lining together, enclosing the lining in the seam.

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Then I sewed up the cups and their lining separately and joined them at the “neckline” together with the elastic

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That was the easy bit done. Next up I needed to join the cups to the cradle. I turned them inside out, and then I sewed them on one at a time, tucking the cradle between the two layers. This was really difficult to photograph. What I did was take the right side of the cup lining and the right side of the cradle lining and pin them together. Then I tucked everything inside and pinned the right side of the outside cup to the right side of the outside cradle,  This reminds me of sewing shirt yokes where the whole shirt is rolled into the yoke. Forgive me if you have no idea what I’m talking about! Here is a photograph of what you finish up with – it’s like a little parcel. The bit of white you can see is the bottom edge of the cradle. This bit is a fiddle and took multiple pinnings to get it right. Snip the pointy bit at the centre of the cradle and this will make it easier. Just keep in mind that this can be done!

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When you have done this for both cups, you need pull them right side out through the unsewn side seam of the cup, and then topstitch. Unfortunately, because of the construction method, you have to topstitch around the cup, rather than around the bra band as the seam now points up instead of down. This doesn’t seem to make any difference to the comfort.

This is what the inside looks like now, including a bit of offline topstitching!

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The rest of the bra came together as per the instructions. All the remaining raw edges are hidden under the elastic, so I didn’t worry about doing anything tricky.

** After I had done all this and written this part of the post, I remembered that Carolyn had done a tutorial on how to do this. I revisited her post and felt that we had sufficient differences to make my post worth putting up. I will say though that Carolyn’s method looks easier than mine!

The last thing left to do was to put a little trim on the bra. I used two sequins and a tiny bead. Then I found a hole right in the front on the undies – gah! So I darned it and covered it with the same trim. Looks alright!

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This is the second Watson set made with the regular cradle, and my first attempt at getting the inside neatened in an organised fashion. I made this white lycra set before the jungly set and found it to be amazingly comfortable, and is my favourite underwear set to date. I used drop beads to finish off the bra on this set.

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Flat Bottom Flo Pants.

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This is yet another pattern from my 30% off haul from Style Arc in December – a trouser pattern designed for those of us who are challenged in the derriere department, unfortunately called Flat Bottom Flo.

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I bought this pattern in the hope that it would solve my baggy trouser syndrome, and solve it, it did.DSC01760-2

I compared the pattern with a regular trouser pattern. Firstly, the side seams are moved around to the front a bit.

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I think that this must have the effect of pulling the fabric tighter where it is normally baggy at the back, although the Style Arc blurb claims that it has a slimming effect. Hmm, maybe.

The other difference is that the crotch curve is quite straight. Here is a comparison with the StyleArc Elle pant, which is designed for the same type of fabric. The flat bottom Flo pattern is on the bottom, so the difference is quite marked. It looks shorter because there is a back yoke to be added.

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These trousers are probably going to become my go to trousers for everyday wear. They are very fast to make up and are extremely comfortable. The recommended fabric is bengaline or something similar, which I thought would be too hot for the summer, so I used cotton with a small amount of spandex, which is perfect, and came from my stash.

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When I was making these trousers I did wonder what I was going to wear with them, but my Weekend Getaway blouse proved to be perfect as it has an identical pink cast to its fabric.

Review of the pattern:

Pattern Description (as per Style Arc website): Every butt has a different shape! This stretch pull on pant is for those with a flatter bottom. The back side seam comes to the front giving this slightly narrow legged pant a slimming look and the back yoke adds to this flattering shape.I would describe this pattern as a simple, fairly straight legged pant which accommodates a flat bottom perfectly.Pattern Sizing:4-30

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, although I feel as though my legs looks wider than those on the drawing and as described on the pattern. I would not call these narrow legged pants – on me. I also think that having the two-tone colour in the drawing gives the style more definition than I’ve got.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Style Arc always have minimal instructions, but they are perfectly adequate as these are simple trousers to make.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I hate the title of the pattern. Flat Bottom Flo – really? However it’s a perfect description of what you’re getting, so who cares really. Apart from that, I am happy that I am not spending the day worrying about the baggy appearance of the back of my trousers.
Fabric Used: I used stretch cotton from Potter Textiles which is a perfect summer weight. I shall make some winter weight ones from bengaline as recommended.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: None at all. In future I might consider narrowing the legs a little.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I am already planning more of these. I have some bengaline in my stash, and I think they might also be ok made up in a nice firm ponte.
Conclusion:
The pattern does what it says – accommodates a flat bottom. I’m happy :)

Brown linen Ultimate Trousers for me

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Having made Mark the brown linen trousers, I found that I could jigsaw a pair out for myself from the left over fabric, eliminating my entire stash of this fabric.

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I used the Sew Over It Ultimate Trouser pattern; a slim fitting cropped pant with an invisible zip in the side seam and which is designed for woven fabrics.

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I have seen so many gorgeous iterations of this pattern that I just had to buy it and make a pair or two for myself. However, my ankles go to a point and cropped pants make me look ridiculous, so I lengthened the legs by about 5cms.

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I do need to sort out a flat bottom adjustment for these trousers too.

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I’ve dithered on this pattern for quite a few weeks now, and finally decided that I had nothing much to lose except a bit of leftover fabric so I whizzed these babies up in very short order, using an invisible zip that I had bought in the Fabric Cave in Sydney for 50c.

Now I need to discuss my problems with side zips to see if others have these or is it just me? I find that if I have to rezip the trousers during the day, I need to hold my top up with my teeth because I need both hands (plus more if available) to get the zip done up. If I have a top with a lot of fabric, I need more teeth. Then there is something about my body which, when confronted with a side zip, decides that all the fat/squishy/wobbly bits rush over to the gap that I am trying to zip up and get pinched as I zip. This is where I need the extra hands – two to keep the sides together and two more to (a) push in the fat bits, and (b) pull the zip up. I did consider lying on the bed like we used to do in the 1960s in order to move the excess adipose tissue over to the non-zip side, but it’s a bit tricky doing that at work :). Having said all that, these trousers were actually not too difficult to zip up, although I did need the aforementioned teeth to hold my shirt out of the way.

Apart from my zip issues (and hey, there’s nothing stopping me putting the zip in the back seam), I really like these trousers and will possibly make more, although not for a little while – I have a big list of makes in my head.

The details: Pattern is Ultimate Trousers by Sew Over It, made from brown linen from Potter Textiles. The blouse is from my vintage pledge makes last year, and which I wouldn’t have considered wearing with these trousers except they appeared in the ironing pile together and I could see they were a match made in heaven.

Speaking of the vintage pledge, I am doing it again this year and here is my pledge:

I, Sue, from Fadanista, will make a vintage pattern every month, and will attempt to resize one really difficult pattern.

I am also participating in Jungle January this year and am hoping to wear my first make for both these pledges next weekend.

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