Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Seems Fitting

Let me be completely honest.
I was travelling blind with these trousers.
I am no fitting guru or altering expert but we were getting a bit stuck.
Zara and Elsa are a really unusual  shape and things were just not fitting.
Pattern image from the Oliver+S site
Both girls really liked the look of the Field Trip cargo pants. As Hugo (16 nearly 17)is still wearing the Sketchbook shorts (with a fly zipper) I thought there may be enough ease.
I used Swedish tracing paper for this task and it was perfect. You can cut and glue the pieces together and press with an iron but is still reasonably sturdy.
After placing the pieces against Zara's body I decided she needed an extra 3 inches across her backside. So I cut the pattern there.
I saved the offcuts of paper and glued them behind to give me the width.
I then sort of eyeballed  where the bottom part should go and glued that in place.
Using the existing leg line I re-drew the side seam. I just used some scraps of paper to piece it.
Here you can see the altered piece next to to original.
I had to add considerable height.
Due to the extra width I had to add to the front piece the knee section was far too narrow.
I drafted a new knee piece with the Swedish tracing paper and cut it (avoiding the notches)
I tried to get the lower knee 'true' and set in a 'V' and pieced and trimmed the lower end to match the original pattern as best I could.
The pocket bag also needed lengthening to fit my raised waist line.
I created the dart by fitting the pattern on her.
I then drew it in place.
The front leg needed a few 'goes' to get it right.
That was the beauty of the Swedish tracing paper. Just cut it and glue a bit more in place!
Once I was happy with the inner leg fit I pleated the front to remove the excess fabric.
I thought about darts but both girls were keen for pleats.
I fitted the side seams and trimmed back to a 1/2 inch allowance.
The best sewing tip I can give you is to sew the inside leg first and then fit and sew the side seams.
However, that does make attaching the Bellows pocket a b**ch.
Notice there is only one?
These were actually made for Zara so they are a wee bit firm on Elsa.
But she got up first!
Perfect trousers for school.
With a sneaky touch of pretty.

xx N


Somebodies forget to try on their winter uniforms.
Somebodies found out they only had woollen school skirts.
Oh dear......

And Somebodies did some serious grovelling.
The weekend before school went back I knocked the up some Oliver+S Nature Walk pants. I had already sized the pattern up to a 14 for Hugo a few years back, but I got caught out with the super firm Canterbury knit I used.
The front was fine but the back was way too low.
You can see how much I had to add to the back.
I was able to salvage the first pair with a yoga pant style top.
The Twins were well pleased.
The next challenge was to modify the Oliver+S Field Trip cargoes to fit.
I added a zip fly and fly shield and a fun splash of colour with a internal button.
To allow for the extra ease I had to add for their hips I pleated the excess fabric and top stitched the pleats in place.
I had to extend the back a great deal to cover Elsa'a derriere and add width to allow for her hips. Two serious darts took care of the excess fabric.
I did add a separate waistband as well and ran some elastic through the back casing for a perfect fit.
A scrap of measuring tape twill tape from the lovely Peta (from Purl Soho no less) upped the 'school' theme.
And some gorgeous Liberty binding from the gorgeous Justine matched the button and made them good&sneaky
The fit is spot on.
Nice high waist but good derrière ease.
Groovy Bellows pocket.
Worn here with the Field Trip tee.
With lots and lots of top stitching!

Now to make Zara's!

xx N

PS I do have some piccies of my pattern altering if anyone is interested? 

Thursday, April 24, 2014


You know I love my boutique pattern houses.
Oliver+S Figgy's and Clever Charlotte in particular for the Fab Five.

This is my favourite coat.

Its the Clever Charlotte Kestrel coat
Which I have made a few times ........
It has such gorgeous details but Boy, purple is hard to photograph!
Deep aubergine wool, wooden button, aqua silk thread......
And some pretty pretty lining.
As coat sewing goes, this one is pretty quick to come together.
Have a peep here

xx N

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Winter Kestrel

Liddy's winter coat?
The lovely Kestrel by Clever Charlotte.
My absolute favourite coat pattern.
This will probably be the last time I make it for Lidia.
As this is the size 8, the largest size, with a wee bit of length at the sleeves.
Photo lightened to show fabric texture.
I used a lovely chetWynd wool remnant in a deep aubergine.
Liddy's colour de jour.
This cloth was perfect for this pattern. It gathered and draped so well.
As sweet Liddy is very sensitive to itches, I lined the back of the scarf with bemsilk.
Lidia chose some large wooden buttons and aqua thread to sew them in place.
So that I could change them in the future (if Matilda wishes) I used sew in poppers.
Liddy selected some Tula Pink Parisville cotton for the main lining and we went with bemsilk for the sleeves to facilitate easy dressing.
A pop of fun on the inside.

Would you like to sew one? I have a full tute here
But now I sew the collar like this 

Mmmm, perhaps Tildy needs a new one too.....

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Sunki Love

I made Liddy a Sunki
I has to narrow the sleeves just a tad to fit my single metre of fabric.
With a gathered sleeve cap instead of pleats.
A great shape for my skinny girl.
Perfect for our Victorian Holiday 
Just Perfect!

xx N

PS The fabric is available here, you are most welcome!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Cappuccino Time

Now you know Liesl+Co released the Cappuccino dress and tunic, the replacement for the much sort after Portfolio?
Well, I sewed it up.
And it is lovely!
I did add an extra inch to the centre fold of the centre panel, as I do with my Portfolio dresses.
I took my upper bust measurement and then did a FBA, it was super easy and meant I could make the size10.
I slightly shaped the front downwards so it would work as a maternity top for me.
This gave me a lovely fit without lots of fabric gathering around my back.
The fabric is a stunning wool/modal I purchased from eBay, it is super stretchy and a bit of a cow to sew but the drape is unbelievable and it feels so nice on.
I did take some photos for a tutorial, not that I think you will need it, but here we go!
Stay-stitch the necklines from the shoulder to the front.
Don't skip this step, it will be helpful to stabilise the neck line whilst it is sewn.
  Interface one of the back neck facings and two of the four front neck facings.
Add any sizing labels now.
Pin two front necks to a back neck and do the seam with the facings, right sides together.
Sew and trim the seams and then press them open.
Matching the notches and seams, pin the neck facings to the neck pieces, right sides together.
Sew, reversing over the shoulders seams to re-enforce. 
Trim the seam and clip the curves.
Press the seam allowance to the facing (the interfaced side)
Edge stitch the seam to the facing.
Pin the neck band to the facing, right sides together, matching notches and shoulders seams.
Stitch together with a narrow seam.
Trim any uneven edges.
Overlap the bottom edges of the neck band and baste in place.
Baste and press well, let cool.
I added a good 2 inches to the centre front panel, this was plenty, anymore and it would have caused issues gathering to fit.
I also added some length  to the front and shaped it down to allow for my bump.
I can easily shorten it later.

Bump length!
Gather the top of the centre panel.
Gather the front section to fit the collar. Knot the thread ends to keep it tight.
You can see I was pushing it with my added width but this was a reasonably thick fabric.
Pin the bottom the neck band to the top of the centre panel, right sides together.

Sew, neaten and press the seam up, for now.

Sew the centre back seam, right sides together 
As I was sewing a knit I overlocked the seam and pressed it to one side. If I had used woven, I would have pressed the seam open.
Pin the shoulder seams, right sides together.
I used a thin strip of interfacing to stabilise the seam.
Sew, neaten and press the seam.
Pin the centre front panel to the side front panel up to the transferred notch.
Sew the other side but don't neaten yet!

Carefully clip into the notch.
Press the centre front seam down again.
Pin the neckband to the top neck starting at the notch.
Match the shoulder seams and notches.
Start pinning from here
Pinning lengthwise will help with the easing in.
Sew and check for tucks.

Neaten the raw edge starting at one hem edge and finishing up at the other.
Press well.
Remove any visible gathering stitches.
I had a wee gap here so I hand sewed the seams together, just to keep it nice and neat!
Press well!
Pin the sleeve to the bodice matching notches.
Sew, press and neaten the seam. Press again.
Pin the side seams matching the underarms.
Sew, press and neaten.
Stitch a turning guide at the hem.
Press up.
Turn and press the hem again.
As I am sewing a knit I can ease the front curve.
Pin and sew.
Prepare the sleeve cuffs.
Press one edge back by a cm and apply interfacing to the other side of the cuff.
Unfold the pressed edge and pin the ends of the cuff together 
Sew the seam and press it open 
A piece of dowel is very handy for this, thanks Liesl!
Re-fold and press the edge.
Pin the unfolded edge of the cuff right side to the sleeve wrong side matching seams.
Sew and press the seam towards the cuff.
Because of the bulky knit I graded rather then trimmed the seam allowance.
Fold the cuff over the seam and pin and top stitch in place.
Press well.
And you are done!
One Cappuccino.
With a terrific drape.
And a lovely shape.

 With room for my bump!

xx N