Tuesday, 29 December 2020

Art fabric: Burda Style 06-2011-106 top, fabric wrestling.

 Last year, my mother took a trip to Arnhem Land, Northern Territory. She had a lovely time, and whilst she was there, visited Injalak Arts, where local people produce, amongst other artworks, screen printed and handpainted textile art.  

Mum had a few things going on after this trip, such as moving house, but a few months ago she arranged to come to my house for a sewing day. She wanted to make a wrap skirt with her fabulous screen print. She then turned up at my house, not only with her skirt fabric, but with another piece, she'd bought as a remnant bargain,  about 60cm of a heavy twill/ light cotton canvas, with quite thick multilayered paint and a wide unprinted margin. The print is by Joe Guymala, and is called Mayhmayh (Different Birds). Despite this title, I am quite sure that there are a kangaroo, an echidna, a lizard and an insect or two in the print as well....

She thought I could make her a top from this fabric.

I tried very hard to persuade her to do something else with this canvas - a gorgeous cushion? A tote bag ?  No, it had to be a top. She was sure that I could manage to make something wearable, even though the fabric was stiff and heavy.

I spent most of the sewing day reading my Burda magazines. Such a hard life that I have.

Eventually, I came up with this candidate, Burda Style 06-2011-106.

 technical drawing from https://burdastyle.ru

It wasn't quite right.

I altered the pattern - small bust alteration, more A line shape, round neck line with back opening instead of a slip-on-over-the-head V, more sleeve overhang. The final version met with  qualified approval.

With some trepidation, I cut out the top, and there was not enough fabric for the length that Mum wanted.

I made the top, mostly, anyway. I made a placket and cloth button loop for the back neck fastening from self fabric. This was tricky to handle in the canvas, so I used bias binding to finish the neckline and sleeves - turned in for the neckline and as a bound edge for the sleeves.


The top then hung in my sewing room looking balefully at me every time I went in. 

I kept introducing trim fabric candidates from my stash, but nothing suited.


Eventually I took the top to our local quilting shop, and found a tone on tone green that was instantly appealling


I hemmed the top, with a side split, in the green quilting fabric.


My mother is very pleased with it.



Monday, 28 December 2020

Tessuti Apron - more Christmas Sewing

 The last thing I sewed for Christmas was for myself. Naturally my first thought was to sew myself a new and gorgeous frock, but given that I was to spend Christmas with only my immediate family to whom my default appearance is in gardening clothes or pyjamas, I have made myself a sensible apron instead.

Of course I could not just make an apron in any old pattern  I had used before, this is indulgent Christmas sewing for myself after all. I thought I'd try the Tessuti cross over apron, which is a free pattern.

                                                    technical sketch from https://blog.tessuti.com.au

I had some gift fabric to use, a very large remnant of IKEA canvas that a friend had given me last January, and I thought this pattern, with only a few seams, would be a good choice for the large print, and the simplicity of the pattern a good match with the heavy canvas.

I like this pattern. It uses a little more fabric than described to just cover my knees (I'm 165cm tall), but the construction is well described and simple, with a neat finish. I did tweak the front insertion of the straps a little, using hand basting to achieve a sharp corner, but otherwise made this apron exactly as the instructions told me to. That is very unlike me.


I am very pleased with the apron and it was put to good use for all our Christmas cooking. 







Friday, 18 December 2020

Pyjama/lounging shorts BurdaStyle 11-2009-132

 Christmas sewing deadlines are approaching, and I am really enjoying the sewing. The extra push to finish these easy items is very motivating, and I feel quite productive.

This pyjama short pattern is another old favourite, Burda Style 11-2009-132

   technical drawing from BurdaStyle.com.ru

My standard alterations are to raise the waistline and add an internal waistband to both allow the shorts to sit higher on the waist and to allow for a nice 1" wide piece of elastic at the back. I also lengthen the legs a tad so that they sit at mid thigh, or lower. Sometimes I use the piped double hem, sometimes I don't.

This year I've gone wear-all-day-pyjama-friendly (you all know why) and have added lined patch pockets to the front of the pyjamas, in a phone friendly size. Only the girl's young women's pyjamas have these as my son claimed that pockets in his pyjamas would be superfluous. These shorts are again victims of my excessively tidied finishing techniques with French seams at the inner legs and bias bound Hong Kong seams at the outer leg seams and the crotch. They do look pretty inside.


I've only made four pairs of women's shorts this year,I like sewing pyjamas, but if the number required is too high, the pleasure decreases dramatically, so only one niece, my two daughters and my son's girl friend have made the female list.


The first pair is for one of my Melbourne nieces, who can't use soaps/bubble bath/body lotion from online shopping (all my other nieces have very similar un handmade presents this year-). I posted these to her 8 days ago, 2 days before the domestic postage Christmas deadline, and they haven't arrived yet. Post is really really slow this year.  

Cotton medium weight shirting, The Fabric Place, about 2012

I'm entering these items in the Fabric Stash Challenge at Pattern Review, hence the fabric provenance listed below. I would like some more room in my fabric collection for new fabric acquisition.

For my elder daughter


Quilting cotton- I think it was from Lincraft about 3 years ago

For my younger daughter


Cotton plaid from Fabric Mart, at least 5 years ago

 For my son's girlfriend

Quilting cottons, the contrast from JoAnne's Fabric Michigan USA 1997 - and the main fabric from Stitch Bliss, 2009


I've used Imperial Batiste for the pocket linings and some of the inner waistbands - from a roll purchased in 1996. 

I took some trouble with the pattern matching of the pockets, and am quite pleased with how it has turned out. No one in my family will notice this,but it is satisfying to me . I might have to look at these pyjamas on a person in the future, and I have saved myself pattern  misalignment annoyance that would irk me later on.

I'm hoping to use the last weekend before Christmas to make myself a new dress to wear at Christmas lunch. It will need to be quite roomy.....

Sunday, 13 December 2020

Kwik Sew 2022 Men's boxers/pyjama shorts


 In the next instalment of Christmas pyjama sewing, are 3 pairs of pyjama shorts for my husband, my son, and my daughter's boyfriend. The boyfriend pyjamas were the scariest, because I have not made him anything before. 


Normally,  I find that sewing men's clothing is not scary, but a little dull. To ameliorate this situation, I usually chose an amusing-to-me fabric. The boyfriend shorts do not have this light relief, I'm playing it safe. He has a dull green stripe of a light twill cotton:  provenance A Fabric Place 

The patternKwik Sew 2022, which I have used many times before, but the pyjamas above have several variations from the original. 

I use the pattern for the knit version (B), but cut it out one size wider than the measurements of the recipient would indicate due to my use of woven fabrics, and then I add a 3/8'' seam allowance, as the 1/4'' included is far too skimpy for well finished seams. I then add a waistband and a drawstring with an elastic section.

I finish the leg seams with french seams and bind the crotch seam with bias binding.




 I construct the fly, then stitch it closed at the centre front as the males in my house prefer a faux fly for pyjamas.

The fabrics for my husband's and son's pyjamas are new purchases, with some whimsy. For my son, an extra long pair of shorts in a print of tiny tortises, and for my husband bees and honeycomb, as he is a hobbyist aparist. Both of these fabrics are quilting cottons.



Very fancy pyjamas Burda Style 11-2009-129 and 11-2009-131

 Every Christmas, I make a lot of pyjamas. Mostly I make these for my children, my nieces and my nephew, but more recently, adults in the family have been making noises about their exclusion from this tradition. I am flattered, and also mildly rebuking myself for making a rod for my own back. 

Very Important People, deserve beautiful pyjamas. Hence my abandoment of simple, quick to sew pjs for this Burda extravaganza in order to provide my mother with a suitable set of lounging garments. 


Doesn't look so fancy? Let me tell you, there is a lot of work in these.


See the piping, the hand stitched shawl collar with shoulder dart, the useless decorative pocket with more piping?

 This is a cleverly designed top. The garment is fastened with a single line of stitching below the bust line, yet covers everything with no gaposis -for a slim lady like my mother. The extended shoulder provides a reasonable sleeve, and as I've chosen to finish the sleeve hem with bias binding rather than turn in the edge as instructed by Burda, the finish at the armscye is not bulky.

 Technical drawing from https://burdastyle.ru

I used thread loops for the sash as I assume that one removes the sash on going to bed and no-one wants to lie on a lumpy 8 layer seam for fabric loops as per Burda's instructions. 

There is not much to say about the pj bottoms other than the contrast fabric hem is a double layer facing so that the pj's can be rolled up to make a cuff, that I have made the cuff a tiny bit more narrow than the leg of the pj's, hence the pleat, and that the waist drawstring is 1" wide elastic sewn to some rouleux cord made from the contrast fabric. I have used french seams at the sides and bound the crotch seam with bias binding for longevity and comfort. I have also topstitched the top of the pyjama waistband, keeping free of the elastic, so that the waistband does not roll.

I am entering this project in Pattern Review's stash contest, as everything in these pj's is over a year old, and although there is no way I would win this contest, I like to see how much I can sew from my stash.

I've used a quilting cotton for the main fabric, a rather nice quality one that has been lurking in my stash since 2009,  and another quilting cotton, about 2 years old for the self made piping. Instead of hot-to-wear fusible interfacing I've interlined the collar and facing with a percale cotton, over 50 years old. It is from the same sheet that I used for last year's family pj collection, but is the boring white bit.

The pj top says it takes 1.8 m of fabric, but that doesn't include the lining for the collar and facing or the sash, or the fabric for the piping, so say another 50cm for all of those together. (2.3m=2.5 yards)

The pj trousers' main fabric is cotton percale, with the double cuff - 2.15m in total per Burda (2.35 yards), no extra for the cuff is counted as my mother is petite and the trouser legs are a bit shorter than the pattern.

Friday, 20 November 2020

McCalls 7365, a man's tie

 My son has just graduated from high school and and we attended a formal graduation dinner. I am grateful that he is actually had a formal and a graduation, these both having been in doubt until last week, but to our great good fortune our state is now over 65 days without a case of local Coronavirus transmission and high school graduations are taking place. 

The last two times I had a family member graduating from High School, I got to sew a gorgeous frock for their formal. This time I got to buy a smart suit, because I am much more wise than I was when I tried to sew some tailored trousers for my husband. Tailoring is not my forte. We even bought a shirt. The suit is a normal day wear suit, apparently wearing black tie to a formal is overdoing it (according to my son and his male classmates)

Fortunately for me, my son could not find a tie that co-ordinated with his girl friend's frock. He searched through my excessive extensive silk fabric collection and pulled out a sari, which had 3 shades of blue in a jacquard like pattern.

Now we all know that sari silk is not silk twill and is far too thin and loosely woven for a proper tie. Even my son, feeling the fabric, said that it wouldn't work. Ha! Maternal super-sewing powers to the rescue. 

I block fused 1 metre of the least embellished section of the sari with black fusible woven interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply . Alas, they no longer ship outside the USA, and I am trying to eke out my remaining supplies, but surely a high school graduation is worthy of rare extravagance. This gave the fabric a pleasingly firm but not stiff hand, very similar to the one piece of silk twill that I have in my stash. Due to my inexperience in block fusing, and the silk insisting on sliding all over my ironing board, there are a few small pleats in the interfacing, but no bubbles, so I felt that I could deal with these imperfections through fussy cutting.

Next I went searching for a pattern. There are multiple internet instructions that have you draft a pattern, but I did not feel like making a practice tie to check the dimensions and instructions. I seemed to remember seeing some fabulous custom made ties on Miss Celie's Pants and in my usual fashion, beneifted greatly from other people's research.  Renee used a published pattern, and I just happened to have a published pattern from the same parent company. I think I bought it for the shirt.


McCall's 7365 was published in 1994, but the width of the tie was deemed okay by the recepient. The pattern is an op-shop find, and had previously been used, with the tie cut out to the shorter of the available lengths. Although my son is 6 feet tall, I thought I'd stick with the pattern as it presented itself to me, mainly because the 1 metre length of fused fabric was only just enough for the longest pattern piece, all the pieces being cut on the bias, and I knew that if I extended the tie in to the gold embroidered section of the sari fabric, none of the uber conservative men in my household would wear the finished product.

The pattern did not tell me to use special interfacing, but some internet research indicated that using wool interfacing or interlining is traditional and makes a more robust, yet soft tie. I gleefully cut into some very luxurious tropical wool weight suiting that had been nibbled by insects, and used this for interlining. It is probably nothing like wool interfacing, but using up some of the fabric was greatly satisfying to me. Take that insects ! The tiny pieces of lining fabric that show on the reverse of the tie are remnants of silk-cotton sari fabric that I just happened to have lying about after making my own frock to wear to the formal. This is subversive sentimental sewing that my son will not notice.

There was nothing particularly difficult about the tie construction, except  a little fiddling to get neat points, with the lining rolling nicely to the back of the tie. Renee has some very useful pictures of her technique, which off centres the mitres of the outer and lining fabric, but I was quite happy with my first attempt via the McCall's pattern instructions, which do not offset the mitres. I think my success with this less persnickety technique was due to the very light weight and non traditional fabric that I used for the lining.

The McCall's pattern instructions advise you to construct a pressing guide for the tie from oakboard. I did this, and hand sewed  back of the tie with the two pieces of the pressing guide in place, the tie laying flat on my coffee table whilst I watched a movie. I then lightly pressed the tie, and  only a small amount of fabric wriggling was required to remove the pressing guides afterwards. This is not a technique I have read in my internet reading, and probably isn't necessary if you've made dozens of ties, but I found it very helpful in maintaing the shape of the tie whilst hand sewing the slippery bias cut silk. I'm sorry that I forgot to take a photograph of this step in progress.

Overall this was a technically interesting sewing project and I enjoyed it thoroughly.  It is very pleasing to be able to sew something for my son other than pyjamas.

Sunday, 8 November 2020

Baby sewing: Burda Style Magazine 02-2016- 141,143,145 and 146

 It love making baby clothes, and the more ruffly and cutesy, the better.

To my great good fortune, friends of mine are expecting a baby in January. There is apparently a 90% chance that this baby is a girl, and today I am going to my friends' baby shower. I indulged myself.

I started with Burda Style 02-2016, which has a wide selection of patterns for new babies.

First up were these overall type rompers,02-2016-141 A . I adore the ruffles that you can see both front and back. This is an unusual to me constrution of a little pair of panties/nappy covers, with an attached full front making the  overall. I can see that this is practical for keeping the garment up at the waist, but frankly, it seems a little wasteful of material and construction time - why not just extend the front directly from the pants and rely on the elasticised back for fitting? Despite this quibble, I like the pattern and think that the rompers will be quite practical. 

As I used a poplin fabric, which does not have a lot of body, I made a half lining for the overall bib, extending to just below the front waistband.

Burda has you attach the straps with buttons to the back elastic waistband. I thought this would be problematic, elastic  being thick and stretchy and hard to hand-sew through, so instead copied something I'd seen in RTW baby clothes.

 This back loop is sewn to the body of the panties, and also attached just above the elastic, and the straps button to themselves. I put in several buttonholes, hoping that this adjustablility will increase the wearing life of the garment as  babies tend to grow length wise more rapidly that width wise.

The reversible bonnet 02-1026-146  was a very quick addition, and I have only changed it by using little pleats instead of gathers. This outfit is Burda size 62 cm, which is apparently for about a 3 month old baby. I thought that I would give this outfit with a purchased plain white short sleeved onsie to extend the life of the garment into the slightly cooler Autumn temperatures. I am not interested in sewing plain white knit onsies. There is a lack of frill and ornament and sewing pleasure in the construction of such admittedly useful garments.

My friends are from Sri Lanka, and I used some (remnant) fabric from a  hand woven sari that they had bought me for the ruffles and one side of the reversible bonnet . This sentimental nod to the baby's heritage appealed to me so much that I made the baby another outfit from another section of the same sari.


This little dress is number 02-2016-143,  scaled down to size 52 cm (Newborn, per Burda), and I've left off the sleeves because a January baby in the Antipodean Subtropics does not need sleeves - or clothes at all really :).  I've made a nappy cover from the romper pattern 141. I suspect that the baby will wear the nappy covers more often than she wears the dress.

The contrast, which I used for the turn back pocket lining, the turn back facing and for the bias binding for the armscyes, is from some scraps of a Liberty Tana lawn.

I couldn't stop when I saw that I could squeeze out another outfit from the rest of the Liberty remnant.

This little dress is number 02-2016-144, with added angel ruffles instead of a sleeve, and a superfluous embroidered pocket for my entertainment. I left off the Peter Pan collar, and instead used a contrasting bias binding to finish the neck line.

In my imagination, if the baby does something messy at either end and only manages to dirty one part of the outfit,  half of the other outfit can be swapped in. Capsule sewing for babies is my new hobby

On reflection, I think my enthusiasm let to excess sewing. I decided just to give my friend the 2 dress, 2 panties capsule set today. I will leave the overalls until the baby arrives.  I might do some boy-baby sewing as well, just in case.....