Houndstooth Richmond Blazer

When I was thinking of making my suit for the Sewcialite Soiree, Nina Lee mentioned that she was releasing a jacket pattern. It was released later than made it possible for using it for that jacket, but I snapped it up as soon as she did release the Richmond, so that I could make a copy of this jacket Claire Foy wore.

I was on the lookout for the right fabric for ages. I eventually settled on this fabric from Minerva Crafts. I also bought the lining from Minerva. The scale of the houndstooth is obviously smaller than on Claire’s jacket but it still kind of works. The fabric is super synthetic, though, so I probably wouldn’t really recommend it to anyone else as it’s difficult to iron into shape.

I made the size 8 and didn’t make any fitting changes as it’s drafted to be a relatively loose fit. The sleeves are a little tighter than I anticipated, though, so I definitely wouldn’t get a thick jumper underneath – not that I was planning on that anyway.

The pattern has 2 welt pockets, with pocket flaps and the instructions were really clear – so if you’ve ever struggled with this before, you won’t struggle with this pattern.

I think if I made another jacket, I would use this pattern rather than the Joe Blazer (which I made for the suit) as I prefer the way it fits. I also made the super wide lapels, which I liked for the suit, but I think I like the lapels on the Richmond better.

It doesn’t look like it, but I have pressed all the seams and the collar but it doesn’t really look like it – this is because of the super synthetic fabric.

I didn’t bother adding buttons or buttonholes as I figured I wouldn’t wear it done up. I might change my mind once I start wearing it though. I think I’d go for black buttons like in the inspiration pic.

I thought about putting some shoulder pads into this jacket to add a bit more structure but the fabric is quite drapey and it’s meant to be a slouchy fit so I decided against it. I do kinda want to make a proper tailored jacket with shoulder pads and stuff one day though.

I’m hoping to get a lot of wear out of this jacket once Spring finally arrives, as an alternative to a jumper or cardigan.

Sewing another jacket has also made me kinda want to make another suit…..

Have you made a jacket/blazer?

 

 

A Christmas Dress (in April)

Back in December (when Christmas was in the future), I was invited to a Christmas party for the band I’m in. I decided to make a new dress for the occasion – because why not!?

I was in the mood for something sparkly/shiny and found this amazing fabric from the New Craft House. I think I got the last metre, which was just enough to make this dress.

I used the Inari pattern from Named as the basis for this dress, but I wanted to add more fullness to the hem than the dress version is drafted with. I didn’t, however, write any notes about what I did. If memory serves, I placed all the pattern pieces on the fabric and extended the tee from under the arm to as wide as it would do for the width of the fabric.

Since this is a woven fabric, I used the facings included with the pattern but I think I stretched out the neckline of the dress a bit – it’s definitely wider than I would have preferred. Lesson for next time – stay stitch the neckline.

I do enjoy how slinky the fabric is and I hope this dress will be a little more wearable for more occasions than a lot of the other things I’ve made for specific events.

I think one of my favourite details of the Inari pattern is the sleeve cuffs.

Did you sew a Christmas dress/outfit this year? I bet you’re not as late sharing it as me!

 

 

A Pair of Archers

Ooooh, something new and different for me – more sshirts! And you’ll be pleased to know I’m making more shirts while I’m stuck at home!

These are yet more Archer shirts. I’ve made a few archers in my time (1, 2, 3) and the little alterations I made on the 3rd one make these fit pretty well.

The fabric is a lovely, soft cotton linen mix from Fabric Godmother. I bought it with the voucher my friends at my old job bought me…..back in June!

In my defence, I did make these back in September. I’ve worn them quite a lot since they were finished. Especially as I work in a bookshop which has to have the doors open so during the Winter I was wearing 6-8 layers to keep warm. Shirts are definitely a good layering piece!

I decided to just put one pocket on each shirt, and I changed the direction of the stripes for a bit of interest. I like how it looks – and I couldn’t be bothered to stripe match the pockets so this is a good way of avoiding some pattern matching!

I think these will be great shirts for when the weather is warmer (it has to warm up eventually, right?!). I’m picturing them with the sleeves rolled up, with jeans and sandals. I might be dreaming a lot of warmer weather as this Winter seems to have been going on FOREVER!

I still really like making shirts – the top-stitching is so satisfying! As I mentioned I’ve got a couple more I’m sewing at the moment but then I should probably pause on shirt-making as there are only so many shirts one person needs……while only having one pair of jeans!

Do you like making shirts? Do you have a favourite shirt pattern? I think mine is between the Archer and the Kalle.

 

 

Designer Inspiration: Yves Saint-Laurent

‘In 1985, Caroline Rennolds Milbank wrote, “The most consistently celebrated and influential designer of the past twenty-five years, Yves Saint Laurent can be credited with both spurring the couture’s rise from its 1960s ashes and with finally rendering ready-to-wear reputable.”‘ (source)

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YSL is credited with introducing the tuxedo for women, calling it ‘Le Smoking’. I was actually tempted to make a version of the original 60s tuxedo for the Sewcialite Soiree (for which I made a mustard corduroy suit instead) but decided if I got hot and took the jacket off, I would look like a waiter!

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I personally prefer the version above over the version below, but both must have been equally ground-breaking in a time when a lot of women probably didn’t even wear trousers, let alone a suit.

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‘At the age of 17, Saint Laurent moved to Paris and enrolled at the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, where his designs quickly gained notice. Michel De Brunhoff, the editor of French Vogue, introduced Saint Laurent to designer Christian Dior, a giant in the fashion world. “Dior fascinated me,” Saint Laurent later recalled. “I couldn’t speak in front of him. He taught me the basis of my art. Whatever was to happen next, I never forgot the years I spent at his side.”‘ (source)

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‘Although Dior recognised his talent immediately, Saint Laurent spent his first year at the House of Dior on mundane tasks, such as decorating the studio and designing accessories. Eventually, however, he was allowed to submit sketches for the couture collection; with every passing season, more of his sketches were accepted by Dior. In August 1957, Dior met with Saint Laurent’s mother to tell her that he had chosen Saint Laurent to succeed him as designer.’ (source)

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‘In 1957, Saint Laurent found himself at age 21 the head designer of the House of Dior. His spring 1958 collection almost certainly saved the enterprise from financial ruin; the straight line of his creations, a softer version of Dior’s New Look, catapulted him to international stardom with what would later be known as the “trapeze dress”. Others included in the collection were dresses with a narrow shoulder and flared gently at the bottom. At this time, he shortened his surname to Saint Laurent because the international press found his hyphenated triple name difficult to spell’ (source)

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Saint Laurent was fired by the House of Dior in 1960 after less than stellar follow up collections but sued them for breach of contract and won. He then set up his eponymous line with his partner Pierre Berge.

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One of Saint-Laurent’s most iconic designs must be the Mondrian dress (which had a resurgence a couple of years ago thanks to the Sewing Bee). It’s so completely 60s! I do love it. Maybe I’ll make a version one day?!

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‘In the 1960s and 1970s, the firm popularised fashion trends such as the beatnik look; safari jackets for men and women; tight trousers; tall, thigh-high boots; and arguably the most famous classic tuxedo suit for women in 1966, Le Smoking. The 1965 Mondrian collection was particularly renowned. Saint Laurent also started mainstreaming the idea of wearing silhouettes from the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s.[citation needed] Yves Saint Laurent brought in new changes to the fashion industry in the 60s and the 70s. The French designer opened his Pret-a-Porter House YSL Rive Gauche in 1967 where he was starting to shift his focus from Haute Couture to Ready-to-wear. One of the purpose was to provide a wider range of fashionable style being available to choose from in the market as they were affordable and cheaper.’ (source)

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And, of course, like most big name designers of the 60s and 70s, Yves Saint-Laurent released sewing patterns!

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I love the yellow version (unsurprisingly)

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I think pattern envelope designers (from the big 4) could learn something from times gone by!

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I love this coat!

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I kind of love this dress, but I’m not sure how well it would work on anyone with boobs! I guess that’s true of a lot of 60s fashion though.

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What’s your favourite YSL look?

Sequined Bomber Jacket

Quite a while ago Fabric Godmother had this amazing sequined fabric and I had to snap some up!

And my immediate thought was to make a bomber jacket out of it – especially after googling to find inspiration pics and finding out that loads of designers make sequined bomber jackets.

Sorry not sorry for all of the photos, I’m in love with this make and want to wear it all the time!

The pattern is McCalls 7100, which looks terrible from the styling on the pattern cover, but is actually a great bomber jacket pattern when you look at the line drawing. I actually had this pattern in my mind for if I ever decided to make a bomber jacket after seeing Sew Dainty’s lovely floral version.

I made the size small and made no changes – it’s only semi-fitted and I didn’t want it to be skin tight, though I don’t think I’ll  be able to get a thick jumper underneath!

The ribbing I got from my local sewing shop, along with the zip. I’m not sure I love it as much zipped up, but I’m glad there is the possibility to zip it up. I used a pack of cuffs for the cuffs (obviously!) and 2 packs of ribbing for the hem band and the collar. Luckily this pattern comes with a pattern piece for the collar so there’s no guess work involved.

This jacket is not lined, but since the sequined fabric was see-through I underlined it and bound all the seams with a matching binding, also from my local shop. The lining fabric was (I think) from Minerva Crafts. I think the colour was peach as I kind of wanted it to look almost like my skin tone was showing through, but the fabric was a but more pink than I thought it would be – but I think it looks okay.

The binding isn’t my neatest work every, but it serves the purpose of enclosing and hiding all the raw edges.

I really like the detail on the front where there is a square of matching fabric either side of the zip before the ribbing is attached.

I went for black ribbing, zip and pocket flaps (which are made of some mystery black fabric I had in my stash) because the lines on the sequins are black and I thought it would be the most neutral colour to pick out of the sequins – and the easiest to match in all the different bits.

 

Do you every make something and think ‘this is bonkers, I love it’?!? I have! And I’m so glad I’ve got something silly to wear to cheer me up in the dark times we’re currently living through.

I think that’s why I love sewing so much – you can make something you can imagine in your head into a real garment you can wear. And I find what I wear can really affect my mood – if I wear something colourful or that I feel really reflects my style and what I want to present to the world then I’m in a much better mood than if I wear something dull (or have to wear 8 layers of clothes to be warm enough to be at work!). Do you find that?