Sunday Dinner Hostess apron:
- pattern: from the book Weekend Sewing, Heather Ross (borrowed from local library),
- fabric: cotton poplin,
- notion: sew-in interfacing
I really like jackets and wanted to make something warm, as an alternative to wearing cardigans and jumpers. This peplum jacket has a feminine shape - great if you don’t normally like jackets because they don’t have an accentuated waistline.
The alterations I made were mainly to reduce the princess seam for a smaller bust. It involved redrawing the curve so that it is more shallow, and shortening the length of the front pieces:
I really enjoy sewing pleats. I’m not sure why - there’s something very satisfying about making them.
This pattern is for an unlined jacket, so there aren’t any lining pattern pieces or instructions. I decided to add a lining. It will make the jacket more durable, easier to slip on and off, and because the fabric frays a lot.
I cut the lining pieces minus the facings, remembering to add seam allowances. I also added 1 inch at the centre back for the back pleat. I didn’t add ease to the pattern pieces, but I did sew any vertical seams with 1/2 inch seam allowance instead of 5/8 inch.
The peplum lining is unpleated, otherwise it would be quite bulky. I have let the peplum lining hang instead of hemming it to the shell. It was quite hard to find information on what to do in this case, as tailoring books tend to cover classic menswear styles - not pleated peplums, so I treated it more like a skirt.
I found this really useful pdf on adding ease and making a lining pattern.
I wanted an autumnal colour for the lining - inspired by the leaves I’ve seen around, but I didn’t see a shade that I liked. Instead, I chose a plum colour lining, which is lovely. I didn’t realise until I got it home that it’s the same shade as my cascade top.
I’m really happy with how this jacket turned out. It’s the first time making something with princess seams, which was actually fine to fit. I also find working with wool very satisfying. This is a wool blend twill suiting which has a good mix of drape and body, which really suits the design of this pattern.
Sometimes when you make separates you can end up with items that don’t go with anything, but this will go with quite a few things. I think even in the Spring, it could be worn as an outer jacket during that transition in seasons.
Aside from some households chores, today was a ‘sewing sunday’. I rent a tiny studio flat and everything I do in this space has to be multi-functional and kept tidy, otherwise it’s not good for a sense of well-being. I’ve started work on a jacket from a New Look pattern. The cut out pieces and instructions are laid out on the
sewing table bed, where I normally put things until I need them.
My lovely sewing machine sits on a very small fold-up table. When the table is not in use - it folds flat. I do all the pressing and keep pins, scissors etc on the counter top - which is covered by layers of blankets. When I’m not sewing - the counter top is in fact the kitchen counter.
It’s a very unglamorous sewing space, but I’m a great believer in improvising and making do. The jacket is coming along. I love how the orange tacking thread looks against the navy wool.
My last dressing gown was really old and in a terrible state. So, making a new one has been on my list for a while.
I wasn’t sure what type of fabric to make it in. I looked at cotton, jersey, and satin. The pattern needed something with drape. I came across this viscose (rayon) in a local fabric shop. It has a lovely drape. I like the print - it’s very cheerful - lots of roses, tiger lillies and daises. It has the look of vintage wallpaper or soft furnishings - a nice cosy feel and very feminine.
The viscose is quite slippery, not as much as silk, but not as stable as cotton. I pinned a lot to keep everything in place.
I didn’t attempt any fitting as there was plenty of ease. I just cut a size 10 with no alternations.
The changes I did make were:
I normally use fabric scraps, self-fabric, muslin or voile for interfacing. But, I thought I’d try some shop bought synthetic sew-in interfacing for the collar. But, I don’t like how it feels when I touch the collar, and it inhibits the drape and fold of the shawl collar. It’s the one thing I’d change, in retrospect.
I really like this dressing gown. It looks very pretty and the floral print gives it a nice vintage feel.
This is the first of my autumn/winter makes. It’s a really basic pair of trousers - a good wardrobe staple.
I was given this wool fabric by the ever elegant Catherine at Rachel’s meetup in April. (Thank you Catherine!) It’s lovely, warm and has a nice drape. There was only about 1 metre of it, but I knew I wanted to make some work trousers with it.
I have made up this pattern before as a pair of cropped trousers. I had to modify the pattern, as there wasn’t enough fabric to make it with the pocket design.
I also eliminated the fly front and decided on a lapped zip at the side instead.
I have sewn lapped zips before, but for some reason - I always seem to have a problem with them on trousers. It might be the waist to hip curve - I’m not sure. I did have to sew the zip three times. In the end - one side is machined and the other side is hand-picked. It doesn’t look too neat seam-wise, as the curve did stretch a bit during sewing. Some stay-stitching or tape would have helped.
These trousers will get worn a lot, so I’m happy with them.
There’s definitely a nip in the air. I’m trying to hold on to this glorious summer that we’ve had, but I can feel the air of autumn approaching. I’m very affected by the change in season. I wish I could embrace autumn/winter, but it fills me with some dread. I like summer warmth, the feelings of optimism and growth.
Last year I had to move to a new flat - so my time was taken up with flat-hunting and moving. It meant that autumn was busy and full of change. It helped me to stem the feelings of melancholy.
This year, I want to try and plan some nice things. Things that will foster feelings of optimism, nurturing and growth. Creating new experiences to hold on to.
Whilst everyone is putting away their suitcases for another year - I’m feeling that I want to plan some short trips. I want to resist the urge to hibernate too much, and instead think of the world as a place to explore and feel safe in - even in the autumn/winter. A day trip to Paris on the Eurostar or perhaps a short break to Spain to visit some dear friends.
On the sewing front - I want to make some things which feel warm to the touch and will have the same happy effect of wearing a lovely dress in the summer warmth.
I’ve started work on some wool trousers. I also want to make some sort of ‘house coat’/dressing gown, a knitted something, some items in cosy jersey…..
I want to stay in the present but also allow for daydreaming too. Do things which are comforting and nurturing.
This is the silk fabric that I bought from Claire’s Goldhawk Road meet-up. I was told by the shop-keeper that it’s a MaxMara silk. The texture makes me think that it’s crepe. The print runs diagonally in one direction.
This is the first time that I’ve made something in silk. It drapes beautifully, and takes on gathers very well. But, it slips and moves so much. It was hard to keep the grain straight and maintain precision when cutting, as it was easy to distort the shapes of the pieces. I pinned a lot.
To pre-wash the fabric, I used a very small amount of my normal washing gel and hand washed it. To condition it I used a little hair conditioner (yes, I did & it’s Aussie conditioner with nut oils). I figured if it was good for my hair and scalp, it would be fine for this natural fibre.
Marking was also tricky. The fabric didn’t work well with chalk. I normally use tailor’s tacks, so I stuck with this. I also used long running stitches in an off-white thread to mark the lines of the darts and the tucks.
The only adjustment I made to the pattern was shortening the sleeves by about 1.5 inches. I drew a new line 3.5cm from the ‘shorten/lengthen here line’, and folded the pattern piece to that line.
I wanted to cut the sleeves so that the stripes would be a mirror image of each other. It probably shouldn’t have involved so much head scratching, but it did. I ended up cutting one sleeve on the straight grain and one on the cross grain. (I think over time the sleeves might stretch differently though.)
I used muslin fabric for interfacing on the cuffs. It has a nice drape and is light without making the silk stiff. (If I had organza, I might have used that instead).
For the shoulders and side seams I sewed French seams. It looks lovely and is perfect for this fabric which frays a lot.
I tried the top on without a zip and it came on/off ok, I was glad about this as I think a side zip would have affected the drape and symmetry of the fabric.
I like the key-hole opening at the back. I used a snap fastener instead of a button, as I didn’t leave enough loop to get a button through. It works well and is much easier to fasten.
This top is the same pattern as the high flying birds top, but it has a totally different feel. It’s much more formal looking, and will look great with trousers and even with a suit (if I had one). It’s certainly very ladylike.