Last week saw the end of a very good but busy work project, so what do I do when faced with a bit more time and mental energy than usual? Why, I sew of course!*
Liberty, but not as we know it
I received some lovely Liberty gift coins for my birthday, and because Previous Me knows Future Me so well, I had stashed some extra birthday cash along with it in the suede pouch, knowing I’d forget all about it and be pleasantly surprised. Which is precisely what happened!
So now armed with £60 to play with in Liberty, I decided to take advantage of a rainy day and go shopping. Now, I know loads of you go weak at the knees for anything Liberty, but I don’t. I find most of the traditional Liberty prints to be painfully twee and nothing I’d ever, ever wear. So I was thinking I’d see what was on offer in their jerseys, but first I got waylaid by the remnants table, where I scooped up a vaguely-African print silk twill (1m for £25, seen lower left).
The jersey selection was really small and mostly ditzy print (gag), but I kept being drawn to a dreamy, blurry, triangular print that came in a few shades, but only in Tana Lawn. I finally decided that if I kept coming back to this print then I should buy it and figure out a project later. So 1.5m of the palest colourway came home with me (seen upper left above) and brought my grand total to £58. Now that’s budgeting!
Refashioned suede wristlets
A friend had recently given me two skirts which no longer fit her, a suede one and a silk one, and mentioned that I might want them for the fabric. Of course! So I chopped up the suede one on Sunday, making two of the free Cake mini wristlets.read more >>
A lot of sewers like to “Sew with a Plan” (SWAP), but I prefer to call this a “Shortlist” rather than a “Plan”, so I’m free to still change my mind and add/remove items as I go along! My main goal here isn’t so much to create a capsule wardrobe that can be worn together, but more to use up fabrics and/or that have been in my stash for a while that I’d really like to just wear.
From the top down, in no particular order:
- KnipMode 12-2005 #10 – I’ve got some non-stretch denim aging in my stash from a few years ago, and I love KnipMode’s style lines for these. My wardrobe is in desperate need of more jeans, hence why there are two pairs in this Shortlist!
- Altered Burda 06-2012 #129 – Now that my stretch satin from Gorgeous Fabrics is in hand, I can finally make the final version of this dress after completing the drafting and muslins back in July. read more >>
- 2 yards Pro-Weft fusible interfacing, Natural
- 2 yards Pro-Weft fusible interfacing, Black
- 2 yards Pro-Tailor Deluxe fusible Interfacing, Dark Grey
- 2 yards Pro-Woven Fusible Interfacing, White
- 2 yards Pro-Woven Fusible Interfacing, Black
- When I was at the bookstore on Brick Lane buying James’s birthday card, I couldn’t resist this reusable wrapping paper (okay, it’s just fabric to me and you!) with London streetsigns. I love that it’s a London fabric without being OMG UNION JACKS THE QUEEN TOWER BRIDGE! I figure I could use it as a lining like I did with that Japanese tea towel and my bolero jacket a few years back…
- We were supposed to meet up with Pip and her boyfriend two weeks ago to celebrate Christmas, but we had to reschedule due to my swine flu, so I’m only just now able to sew up her present – a Nairobi bag made up in gorgeously soft red wine leather, bought in NYC from Global Leathers (I find it interesting that Americans would call this colour “burgundy”, whereas in the UK it’d be “claret”). I’m about halfway done and already I can tell she’s going to love it!
Yesterday was my birthday, and I wanted to start the year off right, so I got up early and ran the Sport Relief 6 mile run down on The Mall, and I’m happy to report that I ran a new PB of 46:38 for the 10k! Though I have my doubts as to whether the course was entirely accurate, since this is a full 5 minutes faster than before…
Then I came home and enjoyed the glorious sunshine, cupcakes, and the pressies James had in store for me – luscious new Wolfords, a beautiful hardback copy of Habibi, and a cool lunchbag that mimics the old school brown paper bags.
Oh, but there was one more thing…
So of course I had to sew a case for it!
I wanted something more classy than crafty, so I used bronze/black leather from the obi belt (which I actually hardly wear and is too big now!) and it’s lined with black sweatshirting leftover from James’s sweatshirt from a few Christmases ago.
I measured up the ipad and then cut the leather to be two conjoined rectangles of 21cmx26cm, plus about 6cm more length on one side for a closing flap, plus a facing (only because I didn’t have enough leather to do a self-facing
I used long strips of velcro (sewn on) for the closure, making sure the soft loops are on the flap so the iPad doesn’t get scratched as you slide it in!read more >>
The changing of the seasons… the circle of life… and another Nairobi leather handbag for me!
I’ve become a bit boring with my handbags, but I just love everything about the Hot Patterns Nairobi bag and my own little evolutionary improvements that I just can’t bring myself to mess with a good thing. My mustard handbag has lasted over two years of heavy, every day use now, but it’s on its last legs, so it was time to create a new one.
This bag is very similiar to the bag I made Pip for Christmas last year, but without the central strip (I find it just too big with it in!), and with my own special lining pockets added inside.read more >>
My first gift is a very special one, because it’s from all of you!
I recently received a Google Adsense payment, and I always try to spend these exclusively on sewing supplies to feed back into this site. The last payment bought me four Patrones issues and some Spoonflower knits, for example! But I’m trying to pare down my fabric to fit in my tiny sewing room, and I already have more patterns than I can sew, so I thought I’d spend the windfall on some really nice interfacings from Fashion Sewing Supply!
You bought me:
This should be enough to keep me in interfacing for a year years, and this stuff just feels incredible – the Pro-Tailor stuff especially feels so silky soft! I can’t wait to try this stuff out…
For my birthday, I received some sewing books that I requested!read more >>
It doesn’t seem that long ago that I was first laying out my initial plans for this mini wardrobe, but now I’ve had some time to step back and have a look over what I managed to accomplish last month. I made this wardrobe mostly for myself, to use some luscious fabrics from my stash in combination with patterns that really appealed to me, but I also kept one eye on the contest requirements running over at PaternReview.com to make sure I remained within their rules, too. Here’s my entry into their contest, or you can just read on below…
I started with a blue viscose, draped knit top that I’d bought from ASOS and really liked, but I wanted to wear with both casual and dressy bottoms.
To coordinate, I sewed:
1. Jalie jeans – I’d made a muslin but the waistband was horrible so I had my work cut out for me on this pair using great quality stretch denim from Mood in NYC, plus some London streetsign fabric for the waistband facings and pockets. I used my vintage hand crank Singer machine for all the topstitching, plus I got to use my vintage buttonholer attachment and high quality rivets for the first time! I fixed all the waistband issues in this pair and these are now my favourite jeans. Read more…read more >>
I’ve now finished the fourth garment in my March Mini Wardrobe plans and I think you’re going to love it as much as I do!
I bought some utterly luscious grey leather when I was in New York in September, and I’d thought about a few different patterns (even going so far as muslining one I never showed you), but I finally settled on the long, slim pencil skirt from the August 2010 Burda magazine (#128).
Since we’re talking about leather here and you cannot unpick any stitches once they’re sewn, I made a muslin, which revealed a few minor fitting issues which needed fixing in the final skirt. Other than that, I shortened the length to make it above the knee (which also eliminated the back vent) and removed the centre front seam to improve the look.read more >>
You’ll get to see my Manequim silk blouse tomorrow, but in the meantime I thought I’d give you a progress update on the fourth item in my March Mini Wardrobe, the leather skirt (Burda magazine 08-2010 #128 – though #127 is nearly identical).
I’m making this skirt in some utterly luscious grey leather I bought while on honeymoon in New York, and despite having sewn with leather loads of times before, this is my first real leather garment. So knowing what I know, I knew I had to make a muslin first because once you sew leather, it’s done – the needles holes are permanent so you can’t rip out stitches!
I made up a quick muslin at the end of February, and, unusually for Burda, the size 42 was too tight over my hips. Rather than trace a bigger size (boring!) I drew two long lines up the front of the skirt on either side of the centre front. On the waistband and yoke pieces, I added 2cm width to each line, and for the lower skirt piece, I made a triangular wedge which tapers to nothing at my marked hem.read more >>
We were supposed to meet up with my friend (and former bridesmaid!) Pip and her boyfriend back in mid-December to celebrate Christmas, but we had to reschedule due to my swine flu, so I’m only just now able to show you her present – a Nairobi bag made up in gorgeously soft red wine leather, bought in NYC from Global Leathers (I find it interesting that Americans would call this colour “burgundy”, whereas in the UK it’d be “claret”).
I sewed this up before Christmas (so you saw a sneak peek in my 2010 roundup), but she asked me to hold off posting about it until she received it. I actually made this same bag for her a few years ago in black corduroy, and she famously texted me later that night exclaiming “I can fit a whole bottle of vodka in here!”
When I made the Nairobi bag for myself, I usually leave out the strip that joins the two halves together as I find the bag is just too big for my liking with it in, but Pip asked me for the bigger size, and bigger she got!read more >>
Are you ready for some random sewing goodness? Let the randomosity begin!
When I was in NYC on our honeymoon, I went a bit mental in Global Leathers and I found this awesome bronze leather with a black suede reverse in their scrap bin for $10! Steal! It was plenty big enough to make this obi belt, and I reckon I’ve got enough leftover to either make this again as a gift, or make a ruffled wristlet for me..
Cidell, Ghainskom, and Dawn have all already made BWOF 06/09 #151 ages ago and I’d kept this in the back of my mind since I saw theirs. This is the perfect pattern for this leather because not only do you get to see both sides, but it’s fully reversible, too!read more >>
This might possibly be my longest running project-to-post duration since I drafted and sewed up this cute wristlet last February using some scrap leather and some vintage lingerie fabric for a lining. I made it as a gift for a neighbour who wanted to remember a dear departed friend who left her a stash of vintage fabrics, and I loved the resulting wristlet purse so much that I felt compelled to share it with all of you! But I had problems digitising the pattern so it languished… but recently I was inspired to take another stab at it and I love the way it turned out!
The great thing is that because it’s a small purse, you can really make this out of leather scraps, or even an old leather skirt or jacket from a charity shop (thrift store or op-shop)! Or it doesn’t even have to be from leather at all, it’d work equally well in corduroy, denim, or even felt! And because it’s a wristlet, you can keep your hands free for drinks & canapes, or for beers & barbecues!
Download the free pattern by clicking the image below!
To anyone linking – please link to this page, not directly to the pdf file!
I hope you all enjoy this and please email me any photos if you make one for yourself! I’d rate this as an Advanced Beginner project just because of sewing the zipper, but it’d make a GREAT first leather project if you’ve never sewed with it before.
Text instructions are included in the downloadable file, but I wanted to provide photo instructions to make it easier for beginners to sew this, too. But when I put the photos in the file itself, it turned out way too big so I compromised and I’m offering them here instead!
Using the exterior fabric, cut out two copies of the purse body, two copies of the flap, one of the ruffle, and one of the strap (or omit the strap for a ruffled clutch). The interior circle from the ruffle is unused and can be turned into a decorative flower by pinching the centre and securing with a few hand stitches. read more >>
While my mom was staying with us over the summer, she absolutely fell in love with my mustard yellow handbag and called dibs on something (anything!) made from the remaining leather. Since I didn’t have enough to make another Nairobi bag, I started looking through my stash and fashion mags to get some inspiration, and lo! from the Feb 09 Burda WOF “Australia The Movie” accessories feature (not on the website I’m afraid), there was the perfect handbag, already in yellow even!
There were only two pattern pieces to trace – the main bag body (I doubled the paper pattern so it was the full size rather cut than on the fold to make it easier to lay out on the leather) and the small flap. All the other pieces were rectangles of various dimensions that Burda list in the instructions – the only one I actually used was the piece for the side and bottom of the bag.read more >>
This bag was long overdue, so I finally managed to squeeze in another HotPatterns Nairobi bag this weekend, made for about the 6th time now(?) I think!
It was originally a download-only freebie pattern, but it’s been long discontinued until a few weeks ago, when they started selling it again in paper form for a limited time! I highly, highly recommend getting this pattern if you don’t have it already!
I find it’s really difficult to photograph bag linings once they’re done, so I’ve taken some photos of the lining before assembly so you can clearly see my pockets!read more >>
At the end of last winter, my beloved handbag was looking decrepit and sad, and I forced myself to throw it away (but not before taking a memorial photo). The exterior was brown suedette, with the last remnants of James’s dogs playing poker fabric as the lining.
I used that bag to its death, but I knew that come colder weather, I’d set out again to make my 5th (I think?) Hotpatterns Nairobi bag. This pattern was given away as a free pdf when they first launched the site, but as far as I know, it’s not available anywhere any more.read more >>
Wow. After nearly two years, I finally finished my boyfriend’s black velvet pirate jacket. Lined with gold satin, with functional pockets, functional buttonholes, brass buttons, tons of interior pockets for his gadgets, and hidden pocket inside the cuff for his Oyster card. There was so much handstitching on this and velvet is such an jerk of a fabric that I seriously wasn’t sure I’d ever finish it. I had problems at pretty much every step of the way, the majority of which stemmed from the fact that you can’t iron velvet. At all. Made in a different fabric, with non-functioning costume parts as indicated on the pattern, this would be a fairly straightforward project.
But since he wanted silk velvet and satin and for everything to function, plus have pockets absolutely everywhere, combined with a hem a mile long, this turned into a complete nightmare of a jacket. The handstitching alone took more manhours than I actually want to think about without bursting into tears. I did manage to make one big mistake near the end, even though I was so careful to NOT do it in my planning. It would’ve been impossible to fix without a complete deconstruction (and stitching lines remain in velvet forever), so I just left it as is. See if you can tell what it is from the photos, and I’ll reveal all below…read more >>
BurdaStyle held a pattern competition in June and July to search for new styles to turn into open-source patterns for their site, with a prize of $500 for the winner (not quite as impressive with the devaluing dollar, but still a nice chunk of change)!
I’d done loads of pattern alterations before, but never created a pattern from scratch. I had a vision of a simple lined sheath with a gathered, dropped, and curved shoulder seam and a wide neckline. The side opening could be buttoned, zippered, or even corset laced, and since it was lined you could even make it out of semi sheer or holey fabrics like lace. I saw a lot of possibilities in my mind’s eye, but even after 3 muslins, the shoulder seam still didn’t work out quite the way I wanted, but that was more down to my sewing than the pattern itself. Still, the pattern was simple versatile, and left wide open for customisation, which didn’t seem far off the ethos of BurdaStyle itself.read more >>
My friend Pip asked me if I would copy one of her favourite handbags as her Christmas present.
Only in black leather.
And with a big buckle that was actually a snap.read more >>