Sunday, August 19, 2012

Black linen nirvana

I blame it on the cherry blossoms.  One look at the lovely splay of pink and I'd packed away my wool stash and reached for linen.  A whole spring wardrobe plan has been going around like a duloop inside my head.  Lovely linens and silks that have been waiting in the cupboard for just this moment turning into pants, tops, jackets and dresses.   But I must not get ahead of myself. 
I have been searching for the perfect pants pattern for years, but never achieved a fit that was flattering, wearable, and super comfortable.  So I decided to look closer to home.  Kenneth King's Jeanius course on inspired me to look at pants in the cupboard that fit and feel great.  I can't tell you how pleased I am with my new black linen pants, self-drafted from a well worn pair of grey slacks.  The linen is top drawer, thickly woven Italian - found at a dressmakers fire sale in Brisbane. I love the way they hang.  I've bound the waistband and fly seam with some snakeskin print ribbon, but the majority of the seams are overlocked.  The only thing between these pants and nirvana is the absence of pockets. Next pair...or pairs.  I have some white linen, which I will line and some beautiful grey wool bought on the Goldhawk Road in London.  Happy sewing...I know I am.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Slow sewing

Slow sewing, like slow cooking can yield great results.  And that's exactly what I've been up to...and I confess obsessive Olympic watching.  My camel cashmere coat is the first of the projects I've had on the simmer.  I wanted a soft cut jacket that could double for work or play.  I also wanted to use my remnant piece of camel cashmere bought a few years ago before the moths attacked it.

For this project I used Vogue 8756.   I don't recommend this pattern for anything heavier than a light knit, in fact I'm hesitant to recommend this pattern at all.  I cut a size 14 with a 3cm full bust adjustment.  Part of my slow sewing effort was to steam and mould the fabric into shape, starting with the shoulders which needed a shoulder pad and a bamboo sleeve head to look anything like the design drawing.  I chopped 5cms from each side of the drape collar piece to stop the jacket from looking too front heavy. After a lot of steaming, the folds sit quite nicely, much better than they appear in the photo.

The real winner is the fabric.  The fibres are long and soft, very luxurious to wear and a dream to sew.  The colour is camel not orange, much closer to the second photo.  My photographer, DD aged 16 and into special effects thought  "like it would look nicer and no I don't have time to another photo''.

My other slow burner is a red sheaf dress - my practice run for Susan Khalje's couture dress over at  I highly recommend this course, there are so many tips and techniques to take your sewing to new levels.  I've learned how to make a muslin correctly, how to apply organza underlining, hand picking zips and one little thing that I'll share - did you know that the top metal tab on your tape measure is equal to a standard seam allowance?  This fact is a prize for Burda magazine sewers.  The dress will stay simmering away while I catch up with the course video.

Meanwhile, I've cut a pair of plain black linen pants with a fly front.  Despite a cold, cold weekend, there is a whiff of Spring in the air.  I saw the first cherry blossoms yesterday.

Happy sewing!