Basic skirt block

My plan for Saturday was simple: go to fabricland, don’t get lured into buying tons of fabric (maybe, if they still have that black wool/cashmere mix … I still need a warm coat!), grab some thread, fusible interfacing, a couple of zippers, new needles. Go home and sew up the muslin for New Look 6010. Added bonus points for using the massive bedcover I scored a little while back in a charity shop.

But then I made a mistake and looked out the window. I now wished I’d taken a photo for you … it was raining. Raining like it would never, ever stop again. It was raining when I woke up in the morning, and it was raining when I went to bed, and it didn’t stop even for a minute in between.

Now, I know that that’s the kind of weather England is famous for, but in all fairness, here in Brighton it happens rarely. Usually, when it does, it’s in winter. And it’s utterly depressing.

It was clear to me that I had no desire to venture out in that storm – did I mention the rain was flying sideways? It was.

So I decided to get myself another cuppa, and catch up on the roughly 430 sewing blogs I follow. This lead me to discover that there’s a free tutorial on Burdastyle on how to make a basic skirt block (amongst others, like bodice, dress, trousers … so much fun in the future, I just know it!). With me having planned sewing time, but not being able to obtain the thread (and not willing to press ahead with non-matching thread, of which I of course have several miles), I figured why not spend the morning trying this out?

skirt block drafting

Sadly, this is the only photo I took of the process, but in all fairness, there isn’t a lot more to see. With some paper (I used brown paper), a ruler, a measuring tape and a calculator, it took me a good hour to draft the block. French curves come in handy, but aren’t totally necessary.

When I was finished, it was still pissing down. Why not sew it up quickly?, said I to myself. Luckily, I had a bit under a meter left from my leopard print for the Temperley Knock-off, and I thought the somewhat wild fabric would save the skirt from being utterly boring, not having any details to speak of.

While it’s not perfect yet, I’m very chuffed with the result:

Leopard pencil skirt front

You can just about see the wrinkles in the front – that’s the part that needs  a bit work. I’m afraid the dreaded “prominent abdomen adjustment” is dangling over my head …

Leopard pencil skirt back

What you can’t really see here, as I wasn’t going to do a bum close-up, so you’ll have to take my word for it, is that the back waistband fits perfectly. It lies flat, no gaping, not a wrinkle in sight. Which kinda, sorta consoles me about the fat belly thing.

Ladies raincoat – fixed!

You remember that a few weeks ago I mentioned in passing that I (mostly) fixed the weird pulling in my Ladie’s Raincoat?

Well, I wore it out the other day, with my brand new designer jeans mock up, and a handmade hat, and the look was so hilarious it’s kinda cool. Which means, of course, you totally deserve to see it 😀

Ou est la baguette??

This probably says more about my youth than anything else I’ve ever posted, but I felt very french when I looked at this picture. The 60s coat (which is actually 70s, but to me looks 60s), the skinny trousers, the beret … that screamed film noir to me.

Because I’m ramming my fist down the pockets like I was digging for gold, you can’t really see that the issue is indeed mostly fixed. So here’s another headless photo as proof of that:

Fixed Ladie’s Raincoat

And next week, we’ll make a journey into the wonderful world of bum wrinkles. Stay tuned!

Temperley Knock-off – it’s done!

The Temperley knock-off is done. It’s been mostly a success – there are a few minor details that could be better (like, you know, the fit) but overall I’m pretty happy with how it turned out and expect this to become a pair of trousers I’ll be wearing quite a bit in Summer.

The next photo is a bit blurry, for which I do apologize, but I like the posture, so I’ll torture your eyes with it anyways:

Temperley Front – fuzzy

Although I used the same size I used for the black jeans, which fits like a glove, this one turned out a bit big. It’s not horribly huge, so still very wearable, but I certainly have learned a lesson about different fabrics and how that influences the fit.

Let’s look a bit closer:

Temperley knock-off front

As you can see, the fly front is a lot better than last time. For starters, it’s the right way around \o/. And the actual zipper isn’t peeking out – yay! It’s still not perfect, but it’s really hard to see the imperfection with this busy fabric, so I’ll call it a success.

Temperley knock-off back

Those wrinkles right under my bum … I have them, to a lesser extent, in all the jeans I’ve made so far, and they will be my next fitting mission. I don’t think they’re too bad, though – or?

All in all, the frankenpatterning worked out great, and I’ve added a pair of non-boring jeans to my wardrobe – for far less than the £225 designer jeans cost. I might have to do this more often now.

What do you say – do you check out your favorite designers, and if you see a totally adorable piece, try to replicate it? Is it legit?

New Slippers!

Instead of the promised finished Temperley, I’ll give you a pair of new slippers today.

It’s winter, and my old ones held up admirably but finally were falling apart. Okay, only one of them did – I think I sewed on the sole slightly off kilter, so I pulled the heel down, and hence walked a hole into it. Sad. I loved them very much.

But on the bright side, this gave me the opportunity to make a new pair. Lovely as the old ones were, there were a few things I wanted to make better.

For one, they’d really grown. So I couldn’t really lift my feet while walking around, my usual mode of transportation within the appartment became a bit of a shuffle, and I feel a bit too young for that.

So I sat down, dug out my notes from last year, and started. After having located some Lithuanian wool on Ebay. Now, don’t get me wrong when I say I had a specific, non-high-tech yarn in mind when I bought this. This is meant as a compliment. What I needed was a yarn that felts beautifully, and I find that most of the UK and EU yarns I usually buy just don’t do that.

The construction is rather simple: I knit a rectangle that’s slightly tapered at one end, sew the top together, put another seam there to close the toes, and yet another one for the heel. Then I chucked them in the washing machine with two old towels and felted the heck out of them (white cotton, no prewash).

New Slipper Embroidery

I even added a teensy bit of embroidery … one day, I’d like them to be at least a little bit pretty on top of being super comfy, lol. This … well, let’s say the longest way starts with a single step, non?

My last pair were initially made without added soles, and it didn’t take long until I’d walked (shuffled?) holes in them. At which point I added a pleather sole, and a felted insole for extra comfort.

This time, I went for two different sort of quilting padding, and the pleather again. Here they are just before being assembled:

New Slipper Assembly

The stacked sole in the background is glued together … okay, I poured a generous helping of glue onto it, which sadly did exactly nothing. In the end I basted them, and then held them in place with safety pins before sewing them on.

And an hour of hand sewing with (OMG, THIS IS BETTER THAN SLICED BREAD) waxed thread later, they’re done:

New Slippers!

I think they achieve everything I was after … the right one is a teensy bit tight, but I’m full of hope that’ll sort itself over time. They are warm, cozy and the different sole construction definitely makes the soles cushier.

Yay – what do you think of the new slippers? Have you ever made your own?

Frankenpatterning – Temperley knock-off update

You guys  must think the earth opened and swallowed me whole!

Well, that’s kinda what I feel like, but in actual fact, I’m still here. Yay. No whinging, so moving on.

I have started to put the Temperley knock-off together – so far it’s looking good, but we’re not at a stage yet where I can try anything on for fit, so we’ll see.

And would you believe it? I used tailor’s tacks! Yes! See, here’s proof:

Temperley knock-off tailors tacks

I did attach the pockets, but that’s where I had to stop for a bit. This weekend should hopefully see the finishing line for these trousers:

Nearly there …

Stay tuned!

Butternut squash and apple soup

Before this sewing blog, I had a little blog where I shared recipes.

You probably don’t know this, but at one point in my life, I used to be a chef. And I still love to cook, and occasionally, I cook something I find good enough to share.

This soup is such an instance – it’s a rather classic fall/winter combination, and I’m pretty sure 4 months from now we’ll all have butternut soup coming out of our ears.

Today’s soup is a little bit different, tho, and super quick and easy to make.

You’ll need:

1 butternut squash, seeded, peeled and cut into roughly 1 inch cubes

1 cooking apple (I used a Cox, the apple should be on the tart side), peeled, cored and cubed

2 cloves of garlic

2 tbls olive oil

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp harissa (I used Steenbergs’ Harissa with rose)

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

1 pint chicken, vegetable or whatever you prefer stock

While you’re chopping up your veggies, pre-heat the oven to 200C/390F.

In a medium bowl, mix the olive oil with the spices. If you want it spicier, you can use more harissa, or add some chili. Add the cubed butternut and apple, slice the garlic and toss all together. Transfer to a cookie tray (I line mine with baking parchment) and cook at 200C/390F for 30 minutes. You want them slightly charred, but not burned.

Bring the stock to a boil in a medium pot, reduce heat, add the roasted veggies and puree (I use a hand blender), add more water if necessary. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve and enjoy.

Quick jumper

I don’t have much to show you today, I’m afraid. Just a little jumper I made.

But to make it a little more exciting, and just so you don’t think I can’t take super goofy and fantastically unflattering photos of myself, I give you the “pensive stare with no make-up” photo.

Yes, that’s right, my head is in this photo! And yet again, with no make-up. So, wallow in this opportunity to laugh with me about my crazy woman photo face:

Crazy woman photo face

Contrary to what this might look like, I’m not having angelic visions at the time of the taking, I was rather practically pondering when and how hard it will be raining. There’s shopping to be done, you know 😉

Anyways, the jumper – not much to tell about it. I snatched the fabric (which is 100% plastic of one kind or another, according the the hissing and spitting and melting and stinking from the burn test) in fabricland, because I’ve been desiring a simple, black-ish jumper for a while now.

The pattern I used was my self-drafted t-shirt pattern. Which came together without any issues. How boring.

Still, I like how it turned out.