Friday, July 3, 2015

Blast from the Past

For months, Zara has been at me to make her a top.
She saw it somewhere.
Maybe Maddie was wearing it? Or a lady at the shops?
Anyway, it was linen, cream coloured, had a chunky exposed zipper, short sleeves and a cropped length.
May I make it?

I have learned the hard way not to assume with teenagers. Of course I could make it, but find a me pattern.

She came up with this.
Mmm, that was not expected.
(I made this up in silver Thai silk to wear to a B&S Ball around 1993).
I thought a muslin may be wise.
I have a roll of calico I use for muslin making. I can write on it and it is quite stable to handle.
Seams on the right side make for easy adjustment.
Only one sleeve is needed.
I left off the darts to create the cropped boxy style Zara was requesting.
The sleeve required a lot of tweaking.
I pinched a lot of the fullness out and shortened it to a cap sleeve style.
The centre seam gave me the opportunity to get a lovely fit.
It ended up looking quite an odd pattern shape.
Zara chose some lovely nubbly linen from my stash. I sort of wanted to keep it for myself.
We looked at lining with Bemsilk and voile but then found the scantest piece of silk satin in ivory.
I hand sewed all the hems, with the nature of the nubbly linen they were quite invisible.
Speaking of nubbly linen, it frays like the billy-o.
Sewing for the Twins is opening up the world of more tailored sewing. During my research on coat sewing, I read the tip of clipping the seams at alternating increments to reduce bulk and create ease with out risk of seam weakening.
Just the job!
Zara was super keen for an exposed zipper.
As we were using very luxe fabric I was not.
I was pretty sure it would date badly.
We compromised, exposed teeth not tape.
Another sewing tip, sew the zipper from the bottom up, on each side, to reduce twisting.
And baste first, basting is your friend.
 There was a lot of hand sewing on this one.
I like to carefully catch my facings to my lining.
I hand sewed the sleeve lining to the sleeve edge as well.
There you have it, a very grownup shell top.
With a thoroughly modern twist.
Lined with silk satin.
I used hemming tape to avoid bulk.
I would have liked to make a zipper guard but Zara was adamant she didn't want one.
I hope it doesn't scratch her.....
She insists it doesn't.
A boxy cropped shell top.
Luxurious and decadent in silk and linen.
Evidently it feels like heaven to wear.
For my sweet angel.

xx N

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Zara's Choice

It is Zara's turn again.
(Zara and Elsa jumped quite a few turns at the end of last year and they have been waiting patiently for their 'go' on the rota).
Zara wanted a nice smart shirt and, quite by chance, chose a shirt pattern that I had sewed many many times for my self when she was a baby.
I remember the shoulders were a little wide for my liking, I think I may have added a shoulder pad? (It was the late 90's)
After fitting the side seams ( and tapering the waist quite a bit) it was looking the same on her.
I trimmed the shoulders, front 
and back.
I also pinched an inch from the width of the sleeve.
Zara picked some ombre woven cotton gingham from the stash.
MoP buttons, of course.
A double narrow hem looks neat when the shirt is left undone.
 We flipped the yoke and cut it on the bias.
Just a little bit Country.
Just a little bit snappy.
Perfect for work experience.
Miss Keller had a placement in a primary school.
We added some ease over her hips but may add a little more next time.
She loves it!
I totally love her!

Sunday, June 14, 2015


Elsa has wanted a red trench coat f o r e v e r!
Finally, it was her turn on the rota.
So I made her one.
After trawling through my vintage patterns she decided she really liked the look of this little number.
But with straight sleeves and epaulettes.
We used a beautiful heavy textured red wool and lined it with heavy de-lustered with the two-as-one method used in the instructions.
In retrospect, a bagged lining would have been so much easier and less bulk.
The collar was very well cut, a two piece bias under collar, interfaced on the bias with a straight grain section cut for the neck roll.
After sewing the collar facing in place and trimming, turning and pressing, the garment is tried on, the collar roll is established and safety pinned in position and then hand basted to keep it there!
It sits so nicely!  
At Elsa's request, I hand sewed all the facings in place.
It certainly kept me warm as I stitched it.
The centre back is cut in two pieces but I decided to cut the lining as one and added a generous vent.
I was completely won over by the back neck darts. Such an elegant detail.
The buttons are vintage, silver filagree. I didn't like them but I am very pleasantly surprised with how well they work.
I ran out of cloth and had to piece the tie in three. Elsa did not want a buckle and the joins don't bother her a jot.
They do bother me, exceedingly.
It also bothers me that I over pressed the hem creating a crease.
I want to steam that out but I need to pry the coat off of her.
Because she loves it.
The pockets are fully lined with the purple satin.
Elsa was away on work experience when I sewed this up.

Yes, that is a big a#se python and a cute monkey.
And I completely forgot to add the epaulettes in construction.
Elsa really wanted them so I made up four 'arrows' and hand sewed them in place.
I think we got away with it.
Thanks for popping by!

xx N

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Puppet Show Poppet

More Trixie sweetness.
An old favourite, the Puppet Show by O+S.
This time I made the dress with the hope that Beatrix will follow her siblings in growing 'up' rather the 'out' and possibly getting a good years wear from it.
Soft and silky Liberty Wiltshire.
Trixie's signature Liberty.
Her special flower shaped MoP buttons.
Stitched in black.
Plenty of length.
(size 6-12 months)
I love how the sweet collar frames her face.
I have a step-by-step cute for a sturdy version here.
'Cause this is too pretty to save for best.
Free bonnet pattern here
Remember the vintage dungarees and the pairing blouse?
The blouse I added the neck ruffle to and then realised it would cover the square neck line.....
Well, is looks cute with the Puppet Show shorts.
In pearly pink linen with black cotton lace.
And another pair in charcoal ramie.
Thanks for popping by!
xx N