FINISHED! A Lounging Liberty Kimono

I have been wanting a kimono to lounge about in for ages.  I’m one of those people that loves nothing better than to change into pyjamas at the end of the day and then potter around in them for the rest of the evening.
I have had the Liberty Book of home Sewing for a while and have had the kimono book marked but haven't got around to it until now.

I've also had the Liberty Fabric Growing Fonder from the AW13 Liberty Art Fabrics collection,  in my stash for a little while as well.  My love of the fabrics by Mo Coppoletta is well documented, having sewn with Joy and Sorrow and Daydream.

Growing Fonder explores and re-interprets the famous Liberty peacock feather, it was the first design Mo created for Liberty, so he wanted to adapt a subject that defined Liberty at a glance. Mo feels Liberty epitomises English style, rooting itself in its turn of the century heritage.

Growing Fonder was also the first Mo designed fabric that I bought and it is an intricate and beautiful print that I couldn’t resist, but there was something about the colour scheme and the ombre effect that rendered it difficult for me to make into a garment.  Mrs Pomeranz had no such trouble and has made a gorgeous dress for sale on her website.

We are going on holidays in a couple of weeks so I decided that the time was right to make the kimono as I have a lot of lounging planned and decided that this would be a good use of the Growing Fonder fabric. I wanted a contrasting fabric for the binding, just as in the book.  I went to Addicted to Fabric as they have a good selection of Liberty there so I thought I’d be able to find something. It was hard though. Harder than I thought it would be to find something within their range of Liberty that also suited the aesthetic I was trying to create. I think I found it though with the Torsten B. A pattern from the SS14 Gallery of Prints collection by Liberty Art Fabrics.
Inspired by the unique structure of retro fabric and the optical shapes found within them, the Torsten fabric design represents Liberty’s eclectic Men’s Designer Collections Department. 

The Basement fabric story celebrates Liberty’s eclectic Men’s Floor. Each design pays homage to a different area or department, taking on the intrinsic mood of each individual space.

I looked at it when I was at Addicted to Fabric with my sewing friends a couple of weeks ago, but then went back to get it on Friday after turning it over in my mind for the whole week.

It is a masculine print, but I think it has a bit of an art deco feel when combined with Growing Fonder and works better than you would expect by just holding it up against the fabric.
The pattern is straight forward, although you have to draft it as the book doesn't come with patterns. I added side seam pockets and omitted the belt straps because I didn't need them.  I couldn't perfectly match on the sides because I only had 2 metres of fabric. In the end I don't mind as the peacocks match, just not perfectly on colour.

I machine attached one side of the 'binding' and then hand stitched it to the opposite side. My stitching in the ditch is always a bit rubbish and on the weekend we had a 6 hour drive to some family events so I utilised the time to hand stitch in the car.

Oh how I love this make. It is already getting nightly wear!

FINISHED! Baby Cords

Nothing much to see sewing wise around these parts at the moment, except these baby pants. 
Last week I had to quickly put together a new baby present so turned to the new Oliver + S Lullaby Layette pattern. I know I really should have done the jacket as well.. it's super cute, but I was a bit lazy and instead I just made up the pants in left over cord from my Rigel Bomber and bought a little pink cardigan to go with it.  A pair of soft cord pants are a must for a little baby!

It's a cute little pattern with nice little pockets on the back. I promise I did hem these evenly, despite the photo! Even though this is a simple pattern it comes with thorough instructions.  I like instructions that make me a better sewer and Oliver + S patterns definitely do that.

If I have to make any more baby presents I might try the other options in the release.  I feel like my natural instinct now is to try and make a baby present, maybe supplemented with something bought.  Presents can be a quick, in between project, while I think about what to make next.

P.S. It's lucky I only have boys because I would so be wearing coordinating outfits with a little girl!

FINISHED! An Autumn Rigel Bomber

I feel like it's Rigel mania. Everyone is making one up or looking at fabric to make up.  It all started with Sophie at Cirque de Bebe with her spotty sensation which resulted of course in my first failed attempt.  Since then there has been just so many great ones it's hard to keep track of them. When I was shopping with Amy in January she bought some fabric for a version, the other week Amanda bought some fabric for hers and Kylie bought some on Saturday for another super cool one. All of them, super fun fabric and colour and print.  Just last week Clare posted her lovely ladies and Belinda her Curtain Call one and I thought damn it, the time is nigh to face my demons (and insecurities) and just make that damn bomber before Rigel mania passed me by.
So, after ruining the spotty fabric that I was going to make my first bomber out of, I started thinking about a bomber for Autumn (even through summer).  I had in mind that I would buy some Liberty cord but when I was at Tessuti in January, I ended up purchasing some of the Nelluto Autumn Cord which I had been eyeing off in the other colour ways online last year but was too slow to buy.  The weight is similar to Liberty cord.  I already had the ribbing and the zip from my failed attempt so while they may not have been the absolute perfect match, they work.  So this is definitely a subtle Rigel.   The cord being a deep colour with flowers which of course hasn't photographed particularly well. Perhaps there is a more flashy version in my future - with mis matching sleeves and bodice. But first let's talk about this one.
My previous experience with Papercut Patterns has shown that the sizing runs large. So I made an xxs. I made no other alterations to the fit.

Welt pockets.  Oh how these terrified me. I fumbled through the first one not at all sure what I was doing, but it all seemed to click with the second one. I finally realised that if I just sat the pocket down, instead of turning it over and over in my hands like some worry kerchief and ironed it as it should be, then it worked. Everything was fine.  I think I might love welt pockets now. Well, that might be going too far.
Despite liking the welt pockets...  lets face it, the insides are not nice and need to be covered up (sorry to go on, but the pattern really should have come with a lining) so I drafted a lining in some slippery yellow fabric.  This was my first time drafting a lining so I thought and thought about it disecting every single Rigel I saw.
So, this is how I lined it. I drafted a lining using the pattern pieces minus the facing (plus seam allowance).  I added a centimetre to each piece for ease and I added an inch or so onto the back piece, cutting it in 2 pieces. I sewed the lining together (minus a number of inches on the back seam. I attached the lining to the cuffs (turning the sleeves inside out and then some, attaced the hem and then the facing. I think in hindsight the cuffs should have been last!  I also had to unpick a few times to get the lining on properly as it was pulling on one side because I foolishly didn't put any notches for lining up so of course it went off a bit. I also had to hand stitch the small portion of the facing to the ribbed hem and lining.  There is probably a better way to do this but it worked for me.
Other sewers have mentioned this, but attention is needed with the zipper, if it's off then it's obvious. I think mine is ok.. phew!  The only thing I might change next time would be the weight of the interfacing - it might be a little stiff.  I hadn't thought about that until I saw these photos.
It's funny how much I doubted myself with this jacket, beating myself up because everyone could make one but me. But in the end I did it! I learnt welt pockets, drafted and lined a jacket, worked with ribbing and an open ended zipper. Will I make another one? Maybe. I need to be convinced on the style for me, but I really like the autumnal look and feel of this cord.  The days are getting shorter here, the seasons are turning and a bomber is a nice transeasonal piece.
Oh and a quick note on this photo. Have you seen "L'├ęcume des jours" (Mood Indigo) with Romain Duris, Audrey Tautou and Gad Elmaleh (I LOVE Gad by the way.... do see "Un bonheur n'arrive jamais seul" (Happiness Never Comes Alone).  Anyway, we watched it on Sunday night. They do this fun dance in it called le biglemoi where their legs become really long. There is something weird going on with my legs in this photo (the shoes!)... like I'm doing le biglemoi!

FINISHED! Coco in a spotty ponte

My eldest Oliver has piano just near Addicted to Fabric on a Saturday for half an hour, which is just the perfect amount of time for a quick dash in for thread or zippers or needles and to see what new fabric there is.  Last week on such a dash for needles I came across this luscious Italian Ponte: ever so slightly ribbed (very very thin), navy (yes!) and with spots.  Well, there wasn't any way I was leaving that behind and I knew that Tilly's new pattern, Coco, which had been swimming around in my subconscious was going to be bought just as soon as we got home. And so it was bought.
I stuck the pattern together on Thursday night, cut it out and sewed it up a bit on Friday and finished it on Saturday.  I made the funnel neck top version as I only had 1.2 metres, though this would look great as the dress option.  Ben keeps asking me to make more as he adores this make on me and was just suggesting this afternoon the different colourways I could have! I'd love to make one with a slightly bigger funnel or maybe the next make will be the boat neck version.
I cut out a straight size 2 and it fits like a glove.  More fitted than I thought it would be but it is very flattering. The instructions are for a normal machine, so I just went with that instead of sewing straight up on my overlocker, using the stretch stitch on my machine rather than the zig zag stitch for the sides.  I used the zigzag stitch for securing the funnel seam and the cuff seam though. All the seams are then pressed open so it has a fabulous 'flat' feeling on the sides. Love this!
I used the overlocker to tidy up all the seams - though of course it wasn't necessary but it's just felt more finished somehow. 
There isn't really much else to say on this. I took my time, even though it was relatively simple and I really like the results.  The pattern is lovely, it is so comfy to wear and that ponte is just so divine I might need to buy more! Tilly is having a Coco Party on the 21st March.  Are you joining in?

FINISHED! The Draping Chandeliers Dress

Do you remember when I became obsessed with this fabric? Well, I ended up buying it despite it being way above my skill level. My original intention was to make either this Pattern Runway or this Burda dress.  I even went as far as to muslin the Burda.  I might do another post on that dress. Anyway, I like those styles. Short but with sleeves.  Arm coverup!  Anyway, when the fabric arrived, I just didn't feel that style was right and felt that those hanging chandeliers needed a longer dress. I had been a bit stingy and bought less than 2 metres so thought I'd go with tried and true dress.. the Drape Dress from the best named sewing book ever "She has a mannish Style". Easily my favourite of all the Japanese sewing books I own.  This dress takes no fabric so I thought I was on a winner.  I have made this dress before, here and here.  The difference though is that those dresses were in a slightly stretch fabric and shorter.
These photos are a study in why I should only photograph in the morning.  I look tired. And I was. But I wanted to see what the dress looked like on.

I will say that I am happy with my cutting - my chandeliers hang straight - especially at the back where it really counts. I tried to get the placement of the 'busy' part of the chandeliers in a drop waist position, however with this aspect I'm not convinced it turned out exactly right, perhaps I could take a bit more length off it. The dress is much tighter than previous versions, the fabric obviously doesn't stretch, but I also decided to french seam the sides which meant I lost a bit on the sides.  
The fabric is just so beautiful, but I'm not sure about the dress.  I was going to wear it to a wedding tomorrow but have decided on an a different hand made one because I just don't feel great in this one. I need to think about it a bit more and consider what next with it. 
For now, I'm making up a Coco and considering hitting the buy button on some fabric for another Kanerva.  I love that top more and more with every wear.