All posts by caroline

New Look 6731 Blouse

Having identified several pretty printed viscose fabrics, I decided to use part of a 5+metre length remnant of the ‘Golden Palm Leaves’ print viscose challis purchased from Rainbow Fabrics at a cost of £14.18 for the length. An absolute bargain!

I used a ‘new to me’ pattern – New Look 6731with a simple hack of full length sleeves with placket and gathered into a cuff. I have previously used this sleeve pattern on other blouses and dresses. I cut a 22 at the shoulders and bust, grading out to a 24 at waist and hips. Cutting out took just 1.8 metres (x 140cms wide) which still leaves a generous 3+ metres remaining to make a dress.

This project reminded me of why I prefer to use my personal bodice block and then hack different designs onto it. There were several adjustments that I had to make.

  1. Slope shoulders x ½ inch at the shoulder point which also raised the underarm.
  2. Reduced shoulder width x 1½ inches and re-draw the armscye front and back.
  3. Make a 2 inch sway back adjustment and then add 2 inches to centre front bodice (and facing) length grading to 0 at the side seams to allow for full bust.
  4. Ignore the front body darts but use shallow back body darts to insert the narrow ties.
  5. I added a full sleeve into buttoned cuff which is the type of sleeve that I prefer.

Construction of the collar and facing was straightforward and I used French seams throughout. The only other change to construction was to omit the back neck facing. I simply turned in the seam allowance at the back neck and top stitched into place.

This fabric was very fluid and that made the construction a little like ‘herding cats’ but I got there in the end. The nature of the fabric also made machining buttonholes more ‘trepidatious’ but again persistence paid off. I applied fraycheck to the reverse of each buttonhole as I could see they were very fragile.

Conclusion: Whilst I like the shaping and construction of the shawl collar I am not enamoured with the blouse itself. I intend to transfer the collar design to my TNT bodice, add the back tie feature and make a shirt-tail shaped hemline on another blouse in the future.

Project #66 completed 7th October 2021

Not quite Texas pants #6

Hot on the heels of the Texas pants #5 and having seen the Mustard Baby cord piled next to the latest ‘Smooth Sailing’ Blouse I knew that the next project needed to be trousers. As I am not yet ‘ready’ to toile the ‘Smooth Sailing’ trousers, my version of Texas it had to be.

Cutting out took just 1.70 metres (x 140cms wide) of the 2 metres purchased recently from a_fabrics an eBay seller for a total of £19.78. To be honest I was a little disappointed in the quality of the fabric. It seems to me to be very thin and although it is listed as Baby cord I was expecting something with a little more substance. A lesson learned. The pocket linings were cut from scraps of the Autumnal coloured ‘fruity’ cotton lawn recently used to re-fashion one of my Vogue 8577 dresses.

Construction was plain sailing (if you will excuse the pun!) the only alteration to version #5 was to extend the front crotch depth by 1 inch.

The side seams are top stitched and the deep hems are also machine stitched. Once again I omitted the ‘paper bag’ top of the waistband as I am unlikely to wear the trousers with a top tucked in.

Apart from the ‘Smooth Sailing’ blouse I have a good selection of viscose and cotton prints that will coordinate well with the Mustard colour.

So much so that I am considering making a ‘Jane’ pinafore dress in a Mustard corduroy, denim or drill so that I can get even more wear out of these pretty prints.

Project #65 completed 2nd October 2021

Wearing History – Smooth Sailing Blouse

Inspired by Bobo_Bun and a few other Vintage costume lovers on Instagram I checked out the patterns on the Wearing History Patterns site. I came across a delightful blouse and trousers set.

Inspired by looks from the mid 1930s to the early 1940s this pattern is a perfect capsule wardrobe for vintage basics. These basics can easily time travel to the 1950s or modern wear. The blouse is dressy enough to pair with skirts and casual enough for jeans. It has short puffed sleeves and the cuffs are cut on the bias.

The trousers can be cuffed or uncuffed and can be dresses up or down. Cutting lines are included to make the trousers into shorts and matching playsuits with blouse and shorts in the same fabric look picture perfect for Summer vintage looks. Trousers hit at a high natural waist and have release tucks at the front and fitted to the back with darts.

For this trial run I wanted to make the blouse and used the remnants from a Superking-sized duvet cover that was originally used for two dresses. I had to play around with the direction of the stripes, cut the yoke with a centre back seam and also cut the pockets and collar in the contrast floral print. All the yoke, collar, pockets and sleeve cuffs were cut in the fashion fabric and interlined with plain White poly/cotton lawn to avoid ‘show thru’ of stripes to the top fabric.

The first changes that I made to the pattern were to round off the corners of the collar. I thought that the sharp acute angles did not suit the floral nature of the print used for the collar. To reflect this change I rounded the corners of the pockets as they were also cut in the floral print.

I had cut a size 49 for the bust grading out to 54 for the hips but quickly discovered that I did not need the extra at the hips if I removed the tucks front and back.

I stitched all the seams (including setting in the sleeves) with French seams as I wanted the blouse to reflect the sewing methods of the period. This added bulk at the lapel where the facing of the yoke joined the facing on the body of the blouse. I will be making the garment again but next time will draft a separate all-in-one front facing.

I did not use a bias strip to neaten the inside collar edge. Instead I opted for my usual method and turned in the seam allowance and top stitched in place.

I was a little disappointed in the volume of the sleeves. Mine have come up very large and do not look like those pictured on the internet.

Next time I will be adjusting the fullness to provide a closer fit at the cuff.

Conclusion: I enjoyed making the blouse and think it looks effective in the stripes/floral combination. I will be making another in a 40’s style ditsy floral cotton print and also plan to make the trousers to complete the vintage look.

Project #64 completed 28th September 2021

Autumn print Vogue 8577-refashion

My take of the Vogue 8577 made in an Autumnal toned fruit print cotton lawn was originally completed in September 2019.

Since then the Covid pandemic and lockdowns have taken their toll so that now the dress is too small in the bodice.

The fabric was purchased at the Festival of Quilts and after making the dress there was a large remnant. I am so glad that I kept it!

With some pattern tetris I was able to cut a new bodice and sleeves using my ‘Harley’ pattern. The back bodice has a centre seam and the front facings are pieced. I used some fine White cotton as a lining for the bodice and sleeves which provides some additional structure to this fine lightweight cotton lawn.

I re-visited Sian of Kittenish Behaviour’s vlog where she gives some hints and tips for sewing the Vogue 8577 and this helped enormously when fitting the bodice to the skirt at the front where there was a continuous facing plus lots of buttons and buttonholes to contend with. All bodice seam allowances were trimmed with pinking shears and the side seams pressed open and flat. The lining was turned up and hand stitched to the waistline seam.

I re-used the buttons from the original bodice plus the spare so there are 7 buttons on the bodice.

I am delighted with how the dress has turned out and it will form the key element to yet another capsule collection for Autumn. Notice how well the print coordinates with my latest elasticated wide belt and suede wedge-heeled espadrilles.

Project #63 completed 23rd September 2021

Texas pants #5

I just don’t seem to be able to leave this pattern alone. Once the bit is between my teeth I am determined to make the pattern work!

For this latest version I used the ‘hacked’ size 22 and some Grey stretch polyester suiting that has been in my stash for at several years (inherited from a great friend who died 10 years ago). The pocket linings are made from a remnant of duvet cover that I used for toile dressmaking.

Nowadays my version of Texas bears no resemblance to the original by StyleArc patterns. I have reduced the front crotch length, extended the back crotch length, shortened the length of the legs, removed approximately 2 inches from each of the side seams, shortened the pocket length by 2 inches, removed the ‘paper bag’ top of the waistband, only did single lines of top-stitching and changed the order of construction. So now they are at most a size 20, probably nearer an 18.

Whilst I am pleased with the end result I must conclude that at present, due to a bloated tummy, I do not have a figure for trousers but when worn with a long tunic or over shirt they are fine.

I plan to transfer some of the design details from the ‘Texas’ to a button-through skirt for construction later in the Autumn season. Watch this space.

Project #62 completed 17th September 2021

Catherine’s Quilted Panel

I had previously posted photographs of my quilted cushion covers and panels to my sister. As I was panning to visit her I decided that this technique would be a good project to show to Catherine that she would enjoy and also make some panels of her own over the coming Winter months.

I prepared a panel of natural Calico and drew on the 4 squares in anticipation of the quilting. I pinned wadding to the reverse and prepared the sewing machine – my Brother 550SE (commonly referred to a ‘baby Brother’) with Dark Blue thread in the top and the bobbin.

I stitched the first couple of squares to demonstrate to Catherine the method and then it was down to her to finish the panel.

Didn’t she do well?

Project #59 completed 8th September 2021

Quilted Cushion Panel #4 #5

Inspired by the result of my ‘playing’ with changes to the starting point of the quilting lines on the previous cushion cover, I tried a new block outline. This was an unequal hexagon and by changing the starting points I produced some lovely curves.

Once I had completed the 4 blocks within the ‘hexagon’ I was left with 4 strange triangular shapes. I filled those with more straight line quilting so now I had a standard square shape that was outlined with 3 rows of border quilting.

To compliment this version of Navy threads on Natural Calico I decided to make yet another panel in the same design but with the colours reversed. So this time White thread on Navy Polycotton remnant from making Scrubs last year.

Project #60 #61 completed 11th September 2021

Quilted Cushion Covers

Way back in 2019 before the Pandemic I attended a Patchwork & Quilting class where we were shown how to quilt in straight lines to produce curves. This is a very simple method similar to those nail and string pictures that we used to make back in the 1960s. Now, nearly 2 years after that P&Q class, I have finally completed the original panel and converted it to a cushion cover.

I so enjoyed the project that I immediately set about completing another project that had been sitting in the ’roundtoit’ pile for a very long time!

Simple stitching can produce such a great result that I am sure there will be more straight line/curve quilted panels in the future.

Projects #56 & 57 completed 3rd September 2021

Breton top #9

Back in February 2021 I made what I thought would be the final Breton top #8 but since then I have fallen out of love with a couple of them and they have been sold on eBay!

I particularly wanted a similar colour/print block as the one that I made for my sister (Breton top #6) so here it is. I used the White with Navy stripes Ponte Roma plus the White background floral textured Ponte Roma (both fabrics purchased from an eBay seller).

The alterations to the Fraser pattern by Sewaholics were similar to those before; extended body length, no hem band, the neckline front is lowered by 1½ inches and widened by ½ inch at each side neck point. Once again the construction was made a lot easier with the gentle curve of the front yoke.

All seams basted on the sewing machine before being sewn with the overlocker. The yokes and neckband were top stitched on the machine. The single turned hem on the sleeves and body were overlocked prior to twin needle stitching in place. I took care to ensure that the Navy stripe sat on the edge of the hem and stitched with White thread on the White stripe with the twin needle.

So, that’s the final final (!) Breton-style top completed.

Project #58 completed 6th September 2021

Yet another recycle?

Oh yes! I have made at least 5 versions of the Vogue 8577 and unfortunately some of them no longer fit across the bust. This particular version is the very first one that I made according to the pattern in so far as there is a midriff yoke and the giant pockets in the skirt.

Another two hours of unpicking during Friday morning sewing get together resulted in a separate bodice and skirt. I no longer have any remnants of the fabric that I used for this dress so having had a cogitate decided to attach a contrast bodice – made using some pretty Broderie Anglaise from deep within my stash. I would later add a belt so that the finished result would look like a blouse with contrasting skirt.

Having previously completed this type of ‘hack’ I was fairly confident about attaching a new bodice to the skirt. Again I used my ‘Harley’ bodice pattern but this time with the re-drafted sleeve. I just love how the gathers at the sleeve head sit and the length is just right. As there are many holes quite close together in this Broderie Anglaise design, I used some plain White cotton for the facings and all seams were flat felled into place.

The bodice went together well and I soon had the ‘recycle’ completed. I top- stitched the facings in place with a narrow seam allowance tucked under so now there are no excess seam allowances inside the bodice.

The final decision to make was regarding buttons. Should I use plain White buttons on the bodice, or the same Pale Turquoise that came off the original bodice? The decision was easy as I found that I did not have any suitable White buttons in my stash. I think the Pale Blue ones look very nice.

I am now waiting for an elasticated belt to arrive to complete the look and in the meantime I have some pretty alternatives from my wardrobe to compliment this new faux ‘blouse and skirt’ ensemble.

Project #54 completed 24th August 2021