Wednesday, 28 September 2016

A tale of 4 pairs of jeans

I love the refashioners series and despite not thinking I was going to get time to participate in this years event, I was still buying pairs of jeans any time I saw them cheap in a charity shop.  I really wanted a dungaree dress and when my flatmate moved in and brought her 2 versions for me to covet, my envy was tipped into action.  When I also found myself with some unexpected spare time I realised that I could also join in with everyone else on the refashioning fun.

So I started with these 3 pairs of jeans (as the title says, I originally had 4 but then I realised that one of the pairs that I had bought in a charity shop actually fitted me pretty well as they were so they went into my wardrobe!)  The pair on top were an old pair of mine that actually when I came to harvest fabric from them, I realised were too threadbare almost everywhere to use (it's embarrassing that I was still wearing these not all that long ago).  So I was left with the bottom 2 pairs which were each bought in different charity shops in Penge for a couple of quid each.  The dark pair were a large pair of men's jeans and the light ones were a size 8 women's pair (not a lot of fabric-grr!)

I had this Simplicity pinafore pattern from 1973 in my stash which I've been returning to and meaning to make over and over and finally there was a pattern and fabric match.  I used the bodice pieces but knew I wasn't going to have enough fabric from the jeans to use the skirt pieces.
Image result for simplicity 5862

I started by unpicking the back pockets on both pairs of jeans and I loved the designs that they left, particularly on the pale jeans and knew I wanted these to be used in the bodice to make a bit of a feature.  Ideally I would have stuck them front and centre but I didn't think the pocket boob look they gave would have been a good one.  I did get to use the actual pockets on the front which I think look cute and are practical.  

I always have to extend the bodice pieces of my 1970s patterns, I guess I'm taller/have a longer torso than your average 1970s woman.  However, I didn't do it this time and I really don't know why.  I guess I was focused on the refashioning part of my task and neglected to engage my usually sewing knowledge!  It's a shame because the shortness of the bodice is the one thing I don't love about this dungaree dress.  Having made the bodice, I simply created 2 panels of the denim with darker strips on the outside and lighter ones in the middle and then cut them to fit the bodice pieces and round me  and finally I hemmed it.

I think the dungaree dress with a stripey t-shirt is such a classic look.  I am wearing the dress with my newest Dolores t-shirt in these photos.

In the photo below you get a better view of all the top stitching that I did/redid on the straps, hem, around the pockets and waistband.

My sister took most of these photos on a recent trip to Lisbon.  I have a sneaking suspicion these may be the best photos you get for a while as the daylight in the UK is shortening rapidly.  I hope you all get a chance to get your refashioners projects finished in time.

Monday, 19 September 2016

One week, one pattern

7b05f6d3-2f9f-4fa3-8a5e-cb97bbdb159aWhen Hannah announced that she would be running OWOP this year, I knew that I wanted to take part.  I'd loved taking part in 2014 when Jane hosted and I used the lady skater pattern.  This time I decided to use the SoZo Dolores dress and top pattern.  I already had 3 versions of the top made up, versions 1 and 2 can be seen here and I decided that this was the perfect excuse to give the dress a go.  I can knock versions of this up in a about an hour, so I reached for this blue and red rayon knit that I had in my stash and got stitching.  Scroll down for an exciting peek at it.

So how did my week turn out?

Day 1.  I spent most of the day in my peacock Dolores top before changing into some glad rags for a wedding.

Day 2.  After the wedding I went for a paddle on Margate beach in my yellow Dolores top.  The water was really pretty warm.

Day 3.  Peacock top again.  It was at this point that I realised that I was going to have a problem as a heat wave had hit London and 2 out of 4 of my possible makes for this week had long sleeves.

Day 4.  The hottest ever September day, I finally ventured out at about 7 to get a photo of my new dress.

Day 5.  I enjoyed the sunshine at my local lido, wearing my Sew over it ultimate shorts and yellow Dolores top to cycle down there.

Day 6.  I enjoyed the last of the summer sunshine again at the Lido and my dress was the perfect thing to throw on over the top of my swimsuit.

Day 7. The solution to my lack of hot weather apparel was obviously to make myself another Dolores top!  This one was on my to make list but just got bumped up the list rather speedily!  I bought this amazing stripey jersey when I was in Amsterdam.  I love the varying stripes and it feels like everyone should have a stripey top in the wardrobe and somehow I didn't have one yet.

How did you all get on with your one week, one pattern?  

Friday, 16 September 2016

Super funky coat sewing

Any of you who follow me on Instagram may have seen this photo that I posted as part #vpjuly as my next vintage project.  
This year I have been using my vintage patterns way more than before, I managed to complete my target for my Vintage pattern pledge back in July, so this is a bonus Vintage item and I'm happy to say its a good one!  When I took the photo, it was still very much just an idea. But then Melissa put out a call for bloggers for her Sew Long Summer blog tour and gave me the motivation I needed to take on a more challenging make than I've attempted before.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I love Style 1970s patterns. This one was an eBay find a couple of months back.  As well as sewing from more vintage patterns, I have also bought quite a few this year.  I now need to sew even more vintage styles to justify all that spending!

I found the fabrics on Walthamstow market on a visit organised by Kerry and I thought they'd make a perfect coat. Marie bought some of the outer fabric too and I'm excited to see what she makes with it. Luckily these fabrics were really not expensive so the fact that I don't really do muslining would be less problematic, if it all went wrong.  The fabrics are some kind of synthetic and I think the geometric one is an ex Zara fabric, it has lots of metallic threads in it and frayed like crazy, I keep finding metallic thread bits in odd corners of my house now!  As the poly content of the main fabrics was not going to keep me warm, I bought a thin wool/cashmere remnant on Goldhawk rd to use as interlining. I know it's an Autumn/Spring coat but it's also the UK and we have very odd seasons, also I am always freezing so need all the help I can get.

Like most patterns of this age it's a single size pattern which has pros and cons.  It means I don't need to trace off the pattern pieces which I hate to do and have no compunction about cutting out the pattern pieces.  On the other hand I can't grade between sizes which means a bit more work when adjusting the pattern pieces.  I didn't have to make too many adjustments, I added extra at the hips and when sewing up I used a 1cm seam allowance on the sleeves and around the arm holes as I always need a bit more room for ease of movement.  At some point I will learn to make the adjustments need to properly allow myself better arm movement as this is a problem I regularly have.

I was taking a jacket making course along side making this coat which was very helpful as the instructions made my head hurt.  Vintage patterns have many fewer instructions and they are often not very well explained, I guess at the time everyone would have learnt at school or been taught by a family member and so would have known how to do many of the things which are not explained in any detail in the instructions.  For example at one point they instruct you to 'make bound button holes'!  Now aside from the fact that I would have needed much more hand holding than this to be able to create a bound button hole, there was not a chance in hell of me actually making them for this coat.  This was another area where the jacket making course was invaluable, they told us about this place in Soho that will create professional buttonholes for you in 5 minutes on industrial machines!  I took my coat along to DM buttons and had them do my buttonholes.  They informed me that I'd marked my buttonholes on the men's side, oops!

The poly content of the fabrics made them a total nightmare to work with in some ways.  They do not press at all well, to the point where I think I'm going to have to stitch down my lapels!  The outer fabric has no give in it at all, actually a wool would have been more forgiving, hopefully the next version will be a bit easier to manipulate when sewing.  The lining fabric had quite a lot of stretch to it which made sewing them together particularly painful, especially at all the handstitched hems.  The addition of the interlining also caused some problems and there is some buckling in places on the coat that I think has to do with the multiple layers pulling in slightly different areas.  The buttons were vintage wooden ones that I had in my stash, I have no idea where they came from originally but I think they work well for this coat.

This is a fun coat which I'm excited to wear once the weather breaks.  However, for the time being it's going to sit in the cupboard as London weather appears to have mistaken September for the new summer and getting these photos was actually painful!  Not that I'm complaining about the extra sunshine!

As part of the blog tour, some lovely pattern companies have offered us all some discount codes:
Zierstoff Patterns-20% off   Code-zierstoffpatterns20  Ends-17/09/16
Blue Dot Patterns-25% off patterns.  Code-SewLongSummer  Ends-17/09/16
On the Cutting Floor-50% off patterns.  Code-SEWLONG  Ends 17/09/16
Also taking part in todays tours are:
Sewing by Ti
Musings of a seamstress
Tales of a tester
At Margareta's house
Sewing a la carte
Birds of a kettle
Check out the fabulous things that they have made.  The full line up for the week can be found on Melissa's blog.  I'm off to enjoy the final summer sunshine, what ever the blog tour is called, I'm so not ready to say sew long yet!