Ogden and Ginger

Hi everyone. I can’t believe we still had snow when we took the pictures for my last post. Since then we’ve already had two heat waves and spring is finally and truly here. I’m so excited! My sewing list for spring and summer is super long and I have already 4 projects cut out and ready to go. Now to find the time to sew them.

Before diving into frivolous summer sewing I made sure to fit a sensible project in first. One of the things in my wardrobe that I wear to death are black skinny jeans. The two that I own are not black anymore and I’m just waiting for them to fall apart. I have been looking for a new pair in the shops for ages, but I can’t find anything that works with my hip/waist ratio. True black stretch denim, however, isn’t easy to find either. So when I saw that Fabric Godmother offered some Super Black Super Stretch Denim I immediately ordered some. The fabric when it arrived was not as stretchy as expected, though still suitable for skinny jeans. For the pattern I went with my trusted Closet Case Pattern Ginger Jeans in a medium to high rise (I amended the rise for my second pair and have stuck with it for my third and fourth). As in my previous versions I used the pocket stay version, which keeps everything nicely together. The legs are slimmed down from the straight leg version as much as comfortable, making sure I would be able to still get the leg opening over my foot. Most of the construction was straight forward (by now I’m very familiar with all the steps) the only hick-up were the back pockets. With this stretchy fabric I made sure to pin the back pockets over a tailor’s ham but when I tried them on, they were still too tight and digging in. The second attempt then was too loose and they were sticking out. I finally managed to get them right on the third go but I’m wondering if there is an easier way of doing it. Any tips?

The final jeans definitely fill a gap in my wardrobe, though they are not quite perfect. There is some pulling/wrinkling at the front pockets and the back yoke and the jeans zip that I used is super chunky so the front doesn’t lie flat properly. Then there is the twisting of the leg, which I wasn’t able to get rid of by alternating the direction of the front and the back leg (which I thought I did). Finally, though not surprising with black fabric, these jeans attract lint like crazy (and are impossible to photograph). Still, I’m sure they will prove very useful and I’m glad that I ticked them off my list.

I’ve paired the jeans here with my espadrilles (a summer favourite, though I almost ruined them in a swamp excursion to see snake’s head frittilaria) and a new Ogden Cami. This cami started out as an 80s jumpsuit that I picked up at a flea market maybe 7 years ago. It was a double breasted jumpsuit in shorts length, which I could not pull off (I wish I had photos!) so I turned it into a slightly more wearable shirt dress. That got worn a couple of times but was still a bit too retro for my taste. It then recently ended up in the donation pile but got rescued in the last minute since I could not let go of this perfect sand-washed cupro. To squeeze it out I had to be creative with the centre front and back seams; also the length is slightly shorter than the original pattern but that actually works better for my short torso. The hem is preserved from the original garment. I made a straight size 6, as for my last version of that pattern, and it turned out really nicely. It’s the perfect little summer top.

I can’t wait to sew some more summer things. I’m super inspired by all the recent Me Made May posts!

Last days of winter

Hello again. So, it’s March but this week has been the coldest and snowiest I have ever experienced here in the UK (though today it started to warm up again). OK, for German standards this is not a lot of snow but over here it brought everything to a standstill. Which was fine with me, I enjoyed a couple of quiet days working from home, watching the snow fall. And while my sewing plans are already anticipating spring, I still have a backlog of garments I sewed up this winter and did not yet blog. Instead of writing individual posts I decided to throw them all together into a final winter outfit: a skirt (sewn up for Christmas), two turtlenecks, my winter coat (blogged here) and a self-knit hat.

Just a quick note about the hat (I know you are here for the sewing). This was my first knitting projects in ages (probably 5 years) but over the Christmas break I wanted to have a project that I could pick up easily, so I decided to brush up on my knitting skills. I used the free Pome Hat pattern from Ravelry which I adjusted to add a turn-up. It’s actually a really lovely pattern. While it took me a little while to familiarise myself with the English knitting abbreviations (not sure if I ever knitted in “English” before) the hat was knit up in a couple of days. I used this Landlust Merino wool which was nice to knit up (though I’m really not an expert on wool) and is not itchy at all to wear. I really love the style of the hat. Unfortunately it’s slightly too loose (I’m a very loose knitter) so it’s not as warm as I’d hoped. Still, it was a lovely project and I’m glad to know that I have not completely forgotten how to knit.

Let’s move on to the sewing. I have the feeling that this was the winter of the turtleneck. There are now so many indie patterns featuring this style that I feel like every last person in the sewing world has made one. I have always been a fan, it’s the perfect style for someone like me who is always cold and constantly wears a scarf. I have sewn some in the past (see here and here) but I decided I could really need some more in my wardrobe. The fabrics for these two I picked up at Sewbrum in Birmingham last autumn. The blush rib knit is from Barry’s Fabric (a clearance fabric, probably viscose) and the silver green one from Guthrie & Ghani (not available anymore but they have other lovely options).

For the pattern I decided to use the Papercut Rise Turtleneck. I have made the Fall version before, which has a really cool shape but the over-cut shoulders make it difficult to layer and I was looking for a more classic cut, so Rise it was. For the blush version I made a size S.  The final top is quite slouchy and the neck collapses with wear. However, is is super comfortable in this drapey rib knit and I have worn it a lot over the last few months. As expected at that price (£2/metre), the quality of the fabric is not the best and it is starting to look a little worn now. Still it’s one of the garments I reach for all the time.

For the green turtleneck I sized down by just using a larger seam allowance. It worked quite well, in particular the neck fits a lot better but I could probably size down even further. While I finished the hems with bands on the blush version, I decided to go the lazy route and leave the hems raw. On knits I am still struggling to get a nice hem, so a raw hem gives me a cleaner finish. As expected this fabric is a lot nicer quality and is holding up well so far. And the green is clearly more flattering on me than the blush which is very close to my skin tone. Still I love the other one more, I’m such a millennial!

Finally this skirt. I know what you are thinking. Did you strip a 70ies sofa to get that fabric? And I do have to agree it’s not my usual pattern and fabric choice. It’s a cotton stretch mole skin from this ebay shop here where I also got the fabric for my coat. It was super cheap and this pattern is basically a collection of all my favourite colours so it ended up in my cart. I knew it had to become a mini skirt (anything else would have been too much in that print). Realising that the new turtlenecks would go well with it, gave me the final push to actually sew it up. The shape of the pattern is loosely based on a BurdaStyle skirt (not sure anymore which one, I should file my patterns better!) and then I just played around with the darts to get the right fit. To give the fabric more body I underlined it with a sturdy polyester satin. I did not have a suitable invisible zip in my stash so I decided to use a normal one and hand-pick it for a cleaner look. The waist is finished with a gold bias binding. Originally i was planning to fold it to the inside but then Christmas was coming up and I felt it could use a little sparkle. So I left it and added a hook and eye above the zip. The hem is finished by hand.

This is quite a fun skirt to wear. The simple shape works well with the bold print and for a mini skirt it is long enough so that I can even wear it to work. I might have to make more of these, looking at my wardrobe there is clearly a lack of skirts.

So that’s it, a summary of my winter sewing. Now I really am ready for spring. I’m already dreaming up a flowy summer wardrobe in whites and blues, preferably in linen. Am I too optimistic if I start sewing now?

And here a picture with me and my new friend the snow man, looking a little sad with the rising temperatures.

Flint and Ruby

Hi everyone, I am hoping you are all heaving a lovely autumn. I just got back from a week in Germany for a wonderful wedding. For everyone who read my last post, yes I did wear the orange dress in the end. And while it definitely stood out amongst all the navy suits and dresses everyone else was wearing, I really enjoyed wearing something colourful. This orange is really growing on me. Back here in the UK we are having quite a gloomy weekend. It’s becoming more and more difficult to get good light for photos, so please ignore the slightly weird colours in the pictures below.

This week I have another great pairing of indie patterns for you: the Tessuti Ruby Top and the Megan Nielsen Flint in the culottes length. Both of these are patterns that you can’t really escape in the online sewing world and I was really intrigued to try them. Let’s start with the culottes. I made the Flint before in the shorts length and really liked them. It’s a pattern with lovely details and comes together really quickly. From the beginning though I knew I wanted to try the culotte length as well. While I have made a culotte jumpsuit before which I then converted to culotte trousers, I never really got a lot of wear out of them. Due to the shiny fabric, they might be just a little bit too fancy for everyday wear so I wanted to make a more casual version. The fabric, as so often, came from my favourite shop in my hometown and is a drapey linen chambray,  perfect for this style of trousers. On my last pair I wasn’t 100% sold on the pleats at the front, so I followed the tutorial on Megan’s blog and converted them to a flat front. I love how sleek it looks! I also opted for the button closure this time, with both of the buttons facing to the inside to further add to the minimalist look. This now makes them a lot easier to pair with tops that are not tucked in.

In terms of sizing I did the same as with my Flint shorts. I made a size M, taking them in by roughly 3 cm in the waist. I followed the instructions for construction for everything except the crotch seam. You are told to clip the seam along the curve, but on my shorts I’m afraid the seam will tear due to the fraying fabric. So this time I serged the seam and topstitched it down for a mock flat felled seam. This feels a lot more secure. Just before hemming, I tried them on and decided to take 5 cm from the width of the leg; it felt like too much fabric for my taste. I hemmed the culottes at the length indicated in the pattern.

So what’s the verdict? My husband calls them my clown pants… And while I rarely listen to him for fashion advice, I do feel a little bit frumpy in them. I’m not sure if it’s the length (maybe they need to be a tad longer) or the amount of fabric in the leg that I’m just not used to. Also styling them for autumn is a little bit difficult. I might have to wait until next summer for the final verdict. The pattern itself is really lovely though.
I’m probably not the only one who fell in love with this Liberty of London silk georgette Jellie when Papercut Patterns launched their latest collection and used it for their sample of the Kobe Top. It’s sold by The Fabric Store; ironically I couldn’t find it here in the UK. I had never ordered from them before and this fabric alone would not have justified getting this shipped from New Zealand. However, my husband only wears merino T-shirts and I decided to order some of their merino fabrics to make him some and this fabric slipped into the shopping basket.

The fabric is as beautiful in real life as on the screen but very delicate and sheer. I knew I would have to be careful with the construction and chose a simple pattern. I liked the idea of pairing this delicate silk with a modern shape to make sure I would get some wear out of it. After some deliberation I settled on the Tessuti Ruby Top. I like the cutaway armholes and the dart-less flared shape. To get the fit right, I made a quick muslin from cotton scraps. The fit was quite good, I only had to shorten the straps by 2 cm. For the final version I also shortened the hem a bit. I made it even shorter in the front so I would be able to wear it with high waisted skirts and trousers without having to tuck it in. In terms of construction I decided to add a centre back seam which would make constructing the keyhole easier.

Happy with the fit I moved on to the silk. I used spray starch against the shiftiness but it still was difficult to get everything straight. I knew pattern matching the back seam would almost be impossible, so I decided to ignore it and just mirror the two sides. I’m happy enough with how it looks. In the end I will never really see it… I fully lined it with some white viscose voile that I had in my stash. This gives it enough opacity and also helps with a clean finish on the inside. The seams are finished with my serger, which handled the silk really well. The hem is serged and then folded up once. Even though I let the top hang for a couple of days and was very careful when I evened out the hem, it still looks a little wonky. I’m trying to embrace it, but I might have to re-do it at some point. Other than that I really like how this turned out. It’s lovely to wear and adds a nice pop of yellow to my work wardrobe.

Oh and this is how half of the pictures turned out from that photo shoot, it was a very windy day.