Herringbone Bomber

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I started planning this one right after finishing my first Papercut Rigel Bomber. Or at least when I’d worn it for a while and realised that the low neckline wasn’t going to cut it in colder weather. It’s still not up to the depths of the Swiss winter, but it’ll be fine in autumn, and I’ll be able to wear it when spring finally decides to put in an appearance too.

The fabric is a black and white herringbone-weave wool blend (blended with what? I don’t know) with a pink stripe running up alternately-pointing zigzags. Pink isn’t usually a colour I have much to do with, but it’s subtle enough not to offend my taste and it makes the whole jacket a bit less boring.

I lined the jacket using the same bagging-out method that I used on my first Rigel, and I also interlined it with some soft fabric that was the victim of an accidental dying incident involving some red jersey. It took me a while to work up the nerve to start because I’ve never inter- (or under-) lined before, and I knew from the start that the main fabric was going to fray a lot. To try and counter the fraying I used a rotary cutter to cut each pattern piece out really carefully (no impatient tugging at corners when lifting the pattern piece away) and laid them on a large board with a sheet of newspaper in between each pattern piece so I could pick one up without having to handle every other piece in the process. It worked pretty well and I didn’t have any problems with frayed edges.

The main change I made to the pattern was raising the neckline by 10cm which I did by just extending the centre front line upwards and re-drawing the neck curve on the main front pattern piece and then using this as a basis for re-drawing the front facing and lining pieces. I shortened the neckline ribbing by working out how much shorter I’d made the neckline and shortening the ribbing piece by the same amount (and then a bit more to make it hug the neck a bit more).

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I put a little hanging tab in there again, and a label, similar to last time – on a piece of lining fabric and the corduroy that the pocket linings are made from.

Another small modification I made is to make the pockets quite a bit larger so that I can get my whole hand in.
At primary school being seen with hands in pockets was a sure route to a telling-off, I remember one teacher threatening to sew up our pockets if we kept putting our hands in them. In reaction to this ever since I haven’t been able to stand pockets that you can’t get your hands into, like so many pockets in ready-to-wear women’s clothes. It’s just another reason to keep sewing my own.
The corduroy itself is a bit stiff in the pockets for the main fabric – the fabric at the front of the jacket hangs slightly oddly – but I’m hoping that they’ll soften with age and use.

I also wonder if I should have use slightly heavier-duty ribbing, but I could only find it in light grey and I preferred the contrast of the dark grey with the main fabric.

So, I’ve made peace with the jacket’s imperfections, and I’m really rather happy with the outcome. I did actually take it home with me at Christmas and the English climate allowed me to wear a couple of times. This was before I finished sewing up the lining but I made myself finish it when I got back. If I’d started wearing it properly without finishing the last little bits I would have ended up wearing it like that for the rest of my (or its) life!

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Here are some things I sewed

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Since my sewing machine has already gone to await me in my new flat, and I am sewing machine-less for two weeks, my mental “oh I’d really like to sew a…” moments have increased (possibly in similar style to the way I now say “oh I wish I’d practised the piano more” to my mother now that I know she can’t enforce practice any more). And since the tailing off of my blogging hasn’t coincided with a tailing off of my sewing habit, I’ve built up a bit of a backlog which I will now try and rectify in one over-crowded blog post to assuage my sewing cravings.

So first up, something I made *ahem* before Christmas: a green Moss mini skirt from Grainline Studio. I had some fabric left over from making the curtains in the van we went to Italy in, it’s a green heavyish cotton something (fabric identification isn’t my strong suit) and I totally ripped off Poppykettle‘s military green with a red buttonhole (although her buttonhole is rather neater than mine).

(It’s hanging wonky because of how I’m standing, not the skirt. It’s boring hard trying to take half-decent photos showing your garment!)

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I like the construction of the pockets – the top layer of pocket has a bit of extra fabric in it to give you room to get your hands in (something which we were told off for at school. I remember a teacher threatening to sew up pockets that she found pupils’ hands in)! I bar-tacked the bottom of the pockets to be on the safe side, which you can just see above with red thread (to match the button hole.)

This was the first time I had done a) a fly zip, and b) flat-felled seams. I think they came off fairly well although I pressed (and flat-felled) the front seam in the wrong direction to work properly with the fly. Note to self: when flat-felling a front seam under a fly opening, sew seam first and press to the RIGHT hand side of the garment before pressing over the seam allowances to flat-fell. I managed to bodge it all together with a couple of bar tacks for security (in matching thread this time so no-one will notice). The flat-felled seams on the back yoke don’t match up perfectly which is something I’ll have to think harder about next time round.
Another thing that irritates me a bit (which could be down to my technique, although I’ve also noticed it on other bloggers’ Moss skirts) is that the waistband kicks up a bit on both sides where it meets at the centre front. I’ve cleverly managed to cover this up in the photo of the skirt on me above, but you can sort of see it on the one side in the flat shot below.

I lined the pockets and the waistband with some leftover red fabric to match the buttonhole and zip to make the skirt neat on the inside.

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Ok, still here?
Right. Next up is another pre-Christmas quickie which I made just before going home for the holiday. It’s the Back is Back top from Vanessa Pouzet, who doesn’t seem to be so well known in the non-French sewing blogosphere. But I have contacts in that realm who give me inside information. It’s also potentially intimidating to tackle a sewing pattern in French, but the internet is a wonderful place full of translation websites and the like, and it’s not a hugely complicated pattern.(French independent pattern companies are also a LOT cheaper than the English-language indie pattern companies. This is a slightly above-basic yoked sleeveless top, and the cost is 4 euros. #justsaying).

This particular pattern has a plunging v-back in two different depths. I think the deeper v looks really elegant in the pattern picture (much more classy evening-wear than the shallower more day-wear variation) but I wanted to be able to wear a bra under the top without it showing, so I cut the back v to stop just above the back of my bra. I used some black viscose crêpe for this, and for the yoke I used lace as similar to that on the website picture as I could find.
Due to my time constraint and my seriously depleted French (it used to be pretty good… until I started learning German) I didn’t read the instructions properly and botched the finish of the back. I think sewing the back seam after binding the neckline would have been more sensible, rather than automatically sewing the centre back seam as the very first step. Still, under low Christmas party lighting, who’s going to notice?

 

If you’re still here, well done. This turning out longer than I expected it to.

On the subject of French patterns, here’s another gem: it’s the Trop Top from Ivanne S. A seriously multi-variation pattern for much less money than other independent companies might charge. It has so many add-ons, collars, sleeves, cuffs, button back, peplums (pepla?) that the reams of French instructions are, again, a little intimidating for non-French speakers, but totally worth it if you’re willing to spend a little time on Google (other search engines are available).

I’ve only made two of the same version (jersey, with cuffs) so far, but I really like the  button-back, back v-neck version in broderie anglaise at the top of the website page.

Front of one top, back of another.

The last two things I want to put up are two things that I sewed in a panic when I realised I’d agreed to send my sewing machine on ahead of me two weeks in advance of me moving – I dunno, maybe in case something goes horribly wrong in the move and I can never use it again!

The first of the two are Ooh la leggings from Papercut, in some navy blue cotton jersey (I think it’s 100% so I’m not sure how well the recovery is going to hold up in the knee area. I like the seam lines down the front and back, they give the leggings a bit of je ne sais quoi over other leggings. I top-stitched all the seams, not just the ones that the pattern suggest top-stitching because, not having a serger, I want a bit more security than the zigzag stitching provides.

The one thing with these leggings is that the front comes up a lot higher than the back, I think next time I’ll try and cut the front piece a bit lower.


I also made a quick Tiny Pocket(less) Tank which I cut on the bias as an experiment to see how differently it hangs.

I think that’ll do for now.

Named Quinn Shirt

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I bought this pattern in the Named advent calendar sale. I’ve had it in my sights for a while because although I love the Archer shirt pattern, the interesting cross-over collar, button placket and French cuffs mean that this shirt is just a little more dressy. And sometimes I want something a little bit smarter. Continue reading “Named Quinn Shirt”

Camas

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Well, just to break the Grainline trend for a bit (although only temporarily), here are a couple of blouses from Thread Theory, which brought out the Camas blouse (their first pattern for women) back in the spring. I bought it almost straight away as a PDF (and then sort of wished I’d waited, and got the hard copy) and made one up in this anonymous flowery jersey fabric which I bought online. It’s really pretty, but I have no idea what the fibre content is – it feels like viscose, and is extremely fluid and light. Unfortunately after several washes the colours are beginning to look a bit tired – I’m far too lazy to handwash! Continue reading “Camas”

Morris

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When this pattern came out, Grainline Studios was only half on my radar. Every time I saw a Grainline pattern I thought they looked so well-made that I thought they were way out of my league. But then I got a couple of their other patterns under my belt (including the Archer shirt, which I knew was much more complex, construction-wise) I stopped being scared of it. And then I came across some lovely ponte in a sale which just shouted “Morris” at me. I had a look at other patterns for more casual cardis, but the Morris pattern kept coming back into my head, and in the end I caved in and clicked ‘buy’ (and then asked my poor long-suffering mother to cart it across the Bernese Oberland to me.) Continue reading “Morris”

Archer

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Well, I finally took a leap and moved myself from fairly easy-construction garments to shirts. There are a lot of Archer shirts around the blogosphere, and I’m only going to keep adding to it, because I love the pattern. But I’m not going to write a lot about it, because frankly the sewing blog community is full of more experienced people who have a lot more intelligent things to say about shirt construction than I do. Continue reading “Archer”

A Heffalump Linden

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This is my current favourite item of clothing in my self-made (or, if you insist, me-made) wardrobe (or possibly my entire wardrobe). At least, it is as the moment, but my first chambray Archer shirt is coming up on the outside, and when I’ve hemmed it and put the buttons on, it could well be neck and neck. (Or collar and ribbing. Ha!) But anyway, I’ll let the jumper enjoy it while it still has the edge.
It’s the Linden pattern from Grainline Studio, made from some lovely cotton interlock printed (in case you hadn’t noticed) with elephants.  Continue reading “A Heffalump Linden”

The last throes of summer: more Tiny Pocket Tanks

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Every time I think that summer is fading into autumn, and the relief of cooler days, the sun pops back up and says “hey! How about a nice cup of 35 degrees?” and I have to pull out the summer clothes again. That said, unless we get an Indian summer, I expect that last weekend will have been the last bout of swelter for this year. So in honour of that, here is the last of my summer sewing, in the form of some more Tiny Pocket Tanks.  Continue reading “The last throes of summer: more Tiny Pocket Tanks”

Time for Tee

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I’ve been trying to sew clothes that fit into the wardrobe of RTW clothes that I’m comfortable wearing day-to-day, ones that don’t need ironing and that aren’t made of such delicate fabric that I don’t want to wear them to work and risk damaging them. This means jersey. I don’t want to be sewing clothes that I’ll only wear on special occasions and I’m fairly boring when it comes to work wear. I tend to go for jeans and a plain shirt. This means t-shirts. Continue reading “Time for Tee”

Remake: Tiny Pocket Tank

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My wee sister’s a bit of a globe trotter. As I may have mentioned before, I am not in the least bit jealous of this. Not at all. Not even one tiny little bit. The upside of this (not that there’s a downside, not even a green ugly head-rearing one) is that she brings back gorgeous fabricky offerings from far-off lands (mostly India.) I haven’t quite got her trained to select fabulous bolts of fabric, pack them up and send them straight to me in Switzerland (you she wouldn’t even have to carry them around with you her! ;) ) However, when she spent some months on the subcontinent a couple of years ago, she didn’t resist the call of the local markets, or the call of the clothes sellers who make up clothes in whatever size requested. She’s an inch or so taller than me, and proportionally very similar, so most of her clothes fit me quite well (although you certainly wouldn’t find me going through her wardrobe when she’s away. Not at all.*innocent face*) Continue reading “Remake: Tiny Pocket Tank”