Sunday, October 25, 2020

Liberty Pants

 This is another glorious excuse to sew with Liberty Tana Lawn fabric. Last summer I made some shorts with the remnant of a dress, and they were so amazing to wear that the need to have some long trousers made with it became irresistible. My problem with wide trousers is that they are not becoming to my protuberant abdomen, so I came up with a solution: to make a jersey low waist yoke, which would embrace my belly and hold the pants in place as if it were a waistband. 

I used a me made pattern (following Aldrich's book instructions for the easy trouser block), which I had to narrow to fit it into my sparse 1 m fabric. 

It took several fittings to adjust to the waist band, which I had to place at the right spot, right under my protuberant abdomen. I used some cotton jersey elasticated with spandex. 

Well the result is gorgeous, comfortable and very practical to wear inside (we must ineligibly think about another confinement) and outside. They will also be perfect to travel whenever it will be possible again. 

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Black Cotton Knitted Sleeveless Dress

 Wonderful project in all senses. 

I was invited to a big family reunion last June. That same day, when I arrived home, I decided it should be a knitted project (three months for a sewn project was not challenging enough, ha!). So that very first day I browsed in Katia's website looking for a nice summer dress and I found this one. It was perfect: sleeveless, cotton, possible to be knitted with circular needles (an easy variation), fast and simple but with a small cute detail. I ordered the cotton right away and started studying the pattern.

The first variation I made, apart from the circular needles, was to space the little holes further: ten rows and 10 stitches apart instead of six. It was an afternoon event with kids as protagonists, not proper to be too sexy, or even attempt to. 

This is a down to top pattern. To check that I was going in the right direction, I applied arithmetic and compared it with a good jersey model repeatedly. I only changed one lateral decrease, made it a bit sooner in the waist area, but I checked again and went back to follow the instructions meticulously. 

I also changed the neck cut, lowering them (back and front) 2 cm. 

And I made the shoulder straps narrower, as if they were for the lesser size. 

The result is gorgeous and it was a success in all senses. What I do not like about knitted dresses or skirts is that they deform in the bottom area after you sit for some hours in it, pitifully. Still, it is worth it. 

I knitted every day during all summer to be able to finish, even during our coronavirus travels (nature and social isolation). I set the objective at the beginning that I had to knit one ball of yarn a week. There were 8 of them, so thus it would be finished in 8 weeks and I'd still have two extra weeks for unexpected surprises. In practice, it took one extra week because I had to undo the whole neck line for some unforgivable mistake. But I still had one extra week to vapor it, and leave it to dry flat, try it on, sewing some suspender fixers at the straps, and not to stress at the end. 

The weather that day was nice, and I felt great in my new black cotton knitted sleeveless dress.

On Ravelry

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Red Gingham Vintage Shirt Dress


Well, to be short: lovely fabric, shitty pattern. 

I bought this gingham in Ray Stitch, London, for a blouse, but at the last moment I decided the pattern I got in Lisa Confort's shop in London would be perfect for this fabric. With very clever maneuvers I managed to squeeze the Sew Over It's Vintage Shirt Dress out of 1.20 m of fabric. Just like a small miracle. It was a pity not to be able to make pockets or a face mask (a pandemic must), but the dress was possible, so there I went. 

What a disappointment! I do not usually buy these expensive individual patterns, but I have some of them, and the Agnes Top had proved to be awesome, so I thought it was a sure bet. Nothing further from reality! Obliterating the fact that I hate patterns with seam allowances included (which include the extra work of transferring them into paper and then taking the seam allowances off), this pattern has major major flaws: 

  • The waist cut is way too high. Regretfully my seam allowances were very sparse (fabric saving!) and I could only add a couple of cm, so it is still too highly placed.
  • Armholes are way too big, specially in the underarm. I could repair it, maybe, but I was in a hurry, so I left them like that. Not gracious at all. 
  • Waist is way too big. I had to deepen the 4 waist darts 1 double cm each (So I subtracted a total of 8 cm and it still has a lot of ease). And I have an inverted waist, so this makes no sense at all. Deepening the waist darts resulted in too big ungracious darts. 
Well, as you can see, these are all major issues that make a pattern useless. I have quite a few of better options if I ever want another shirt dress. And now I've lost my trust in Sew Over It forever. 20 euros for a total mess. 
Although it is not a masterpiece, not by far, the dress is still wearable, comfortable and practical to work in the school. And the fabric still is awesome. 

Sunday, September 6, 2020



I made my 1st bikini last summer. I had to make several trials to learn, and I accepted a final red version that I've been wearing a lot, despite it being too tight at the neck... well, the top was tight in general. Having still some fabric left, and after ruining my red one in a friend's too chlorinated pool, I decided it was the prefect excuse to make a new one and continue learning. 

This gorgeous recycled nylon is from Calico, and I bought it in Funky fabrics

The 1st modification was to get rid of the lining. This gorgeous fabric is not sheer, and the lining does not stretch in the same way, so it prevents the top to fit properly. 

The 2nd was to change the elastic band. Watching YouTube tutorials about making bikinis, I realized there is some elastic made for swimming wear. It's called natural rubber, and we can find it online in black or white, and several widths. 

I also decided to baste the elastic band before zigzagging it with the machine to distribute the fabric excess evenly. 

This elastic bands are 10% shorter than the length they have to cover. So, first we must make even parts with pins in both pieces, pin it  in the wrong side and baste it pulling the elastic band but not the fabric. 

Once it is basted, it is very easy to stitch it with the machine using a wide zigzag. 

Finally, we turn the elastic towards the inside of the piece and zigzag it again, pulling the elastic band as we sew, but not the fabric. 

It is important that we use polyester thread to resist chlorine and sun. (sorry, planet)

The pattern for the bottom is Megan Nielsen's Acacia underpants free pattern, which is totally awesome once you have set your correct size and the correct amount of elastic band. 

For the top, I used the rub-off method to copy a beloved old bikini of mine. 

No fails this time, the process went smoothly and I made two gorgeous bikinis. They are perfect for me when I swim, they are nice and comfortable, not pulling anywhere and keeping my boobs and rear covered while I swim. I totally love them, and I plan to make more versions in other colours. 

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Liberty Minsihorts

I ended up with 35 cm left of gorgeous Liberty fabric after making my short/sleeved dress and I had this idea of making some shorts for home wear, which is the most useful and sensitive department to be making clothes for at present, if making clothes is a must, as it is for me...

I used an old rubbed-off pattern of mine, but gave some more ease at the sides and center seams, being these woven instead of jersey.

At the end, I stitched it even wider at the waist than it is here, at least 1.5cm more at each side (+6cm total).

I self enclosed all seams, which I always do with Liberty fabric, and enjoyed it so much as usual.

The result is an easy going modest piece of clothing I cannot take off, haha! I am wearing them now, and I wear them a lot around the house and also when I go on small errand, like shopping, or the public pool. 

I am fantasizing with long Liberty pants with a ribbed top piece... I am addicted to this fabric!

Sunday, August 2, 2020

White Cotton Swiss Dot Long Sleeved Beach Dress

I love long showy titles like this one, yes!
Even when the dress is simple and easy like this. 

The fabric is from Goldhawk road in London, I bought it 3 or 4 years ago and it has been patiently waiting for the perfect pattern till now. Being it white and sheer, it could only end up as a long sleeved beach dress, for those chilly nights having dinner in a terrace in Costa Brava, my favorite spot in summer, at least for a week. 
The pattern is from BurdaStyle magazine. It is cut on the bias. 

  Truing the pattern on the dress form.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Liberty Short-Sleeved Françoise Summer Dress

Well, I can't stop making summer dresses in Liberty fabric. It's SO awesome! This is my third, the 1st being a 3/4 sleeve and the 2nd sleeveless, so nobody can accuse me of repeating my projects, I needed a short-sleeved one!

Once you've sewn with or worn Liberty cotton Tara Lawn on your skin, you will never stop wanting more, believe me. It is soft and crisp at the same time and so sweet to work with... very light and cool when you wear it, but it is not sheer and it does not wrinkle like most cottons. Well, it is expensive but worth it, if you like their mostly flowery patterns. I bought this one in our last trip to London and it is candy for my eyes, my hands and my skin. The only pity about it is that I was in a hurry to finish it for my students' graduation day, I made it in two days of glorious sewing only. Too short!

The pattern is also a recurrent one, this is my third, but my previous ones were wool and viscose, both for winter and I wanted to try it with a light fabric and short sleeves. It proved as lovely as the thicker ones. The skirt side A seams are too pronounced, and they can point awkwardly at an angle sometimes, but it is still very becoming to my figure, feminine, elegant and also informal and cool. Now that I think of it, maybe the center back seam should also have more of an A shape, to be more equilibrated. I will try it next time, because I will probably make another Françoise some day.

The procedure was my usual one. I have the muslin pieces stored and I used them to mark the pattern into the fabric with tailor tucks. First I stitched the invisible zipper to the two back pieces and finished the central back seam. I then basted it and try it on to do the 1st fitting without attaching the sleeves. It seemed perfect. I proceeded to machine stitch darts and sides, self-enclosing the seams. I love to do this with Liberty fabric, it is so well-behaved!

I stitched the two seams in both sleeves and self-enclosed them too, attaching them to the dress bodice.
I had a 2nd fitting then, to decide the length of the sleeves. Everything looked perfect, so I went on to self-encase the raglan seams (these are tricky) and finishing the sleeves and the dress bottom hems, also self-encased.

The final step was to make the neck. I cut a shaped strip using the patterns all together, to avoid any seams in the facing. I applied to the dress, right sides together, pinning it and machine stitching it following the tailor tucks, and they were placed following the original pattern.

This was done between pressing and ironing again and again the pieces, the darts, and seams (first open, cut them, press the to one side) and the finished self-encased seams.

To complete the outfit, I made a gorgeous and very comfortable face mask, to go with the pandemic style. It is the most beautiful and nice to wear of all the ones I have... so I've been digging in my remnants bag for Liberty's 24x24 pieces. I will be sewing more face masks next.

With the remains of the fabric (I had 1.5 m in total), I made these wonderful mini shorts for the summer.