christmas sewing

I gave up on sewing ‘for christmas’ some time ago…. when I got sense!! I used try and make some pressents and also a ‘christmas outfit’, and while most got done it was always with compromises (omitted details, and dodgy hems) – I pretty much stopped doing a lot of it in the last 15 years, and just doing a christmas card drawing as my christmas effort.

Most of my sewing plans for the year remained undone. To be honest, I have been doing less sewing as realistically my wardrobe has enough clothes, and I like and wear them all (except for the ones that mysteriously have become too small) so it all seems complete. The re-sews now are a bit more contemplated and much slower – and also this year was fairly distracting with everyday seeming the same with a consistant wary-ness – I even think the reason I started wearing scent the last few months was to have something different….. I have also started wearing earings again (I think I am trying to distract myself with shiny things), and I changed roles in work, to a 5 day week in the hospital (I miss my 4 day week but there is a new roof to be put on our house, and again, I think there may have been an underlying desire for change) .

I was strangly relieved/glad when the shops opened again here after the last lockdown even though I am not an avid shopper – again, I think is the distraction, seeing as cinemas are closed or when open very little is showing, and travelling to other towns to galleries if open is off the cards. At least I can still meet a friend for walks and chats weather permitting – and as of tomorrow we are in a level 5 again (ie lockdown).

The day before the October lockdown, I had popped by a charity shop and saw a nice large womens herringbone tweed suit. I only had so much change in my purse and was 2 euro short of the price tag so I figured I could get it when the shop opened again – and sure enough I called to the shop about 3 days after the reopening in December, and it was not there! But I did find a man’s wool trousers marked 5 euro in the womens section.

The waist size meant I would have enough fabric for my hips, and the wool was a lovely quality. I am always surprised by how big the pockets are in mens trousers. I place a pattern on top to check if there would be enough fabric, and there was for slim cut ‘ankle grazer’ – Burda trousers from the September issue.

The cut was fairly straigh forward, I decided to go for a side zip, and kept the back pockets as well as the small ‘watch pocket’ to the front as my ‘dumb phone’ fits nicely in it. I reused the front lining in the same way as well as the zip and the hook closure. I have photos below of the cut.

I was unsure what to do for the waist, but decided to keep with the original pattern and have a waistband. I rarely use waistband, preferring a faced waist but as I could not introduce additional darts at the back, due to the back pockets already being in place. I ended up easing the trousers into the waistband and then using the steam iron to flatten the ease into place, and shrink in the wool – below photos are before steaming…… wool is the most agreeable fabric to work with!

so it all sewed up fairly quickly. I was even happier when I picked up a perfect blouse in the charity shop a week before christmas, so all set. Its a nice simple cut – and interesting fabric of black chiffon like discs sewn on to similar fabric. Its probably to be worn with less underneath as only the front has a layer of lining, but works very well with a black base layer (and sensible warm) as well as the super new-used boots.

By the time christmas morning came, I was in two minds on whether I should just spend it in pyjamas seeing as christmas visits would not be happening this year, but I parked that idea – and happily spent christmas morning listening to some old tunes, and new tunes (Brian Eno LP for Christmas), and started into a new book – while the dinner roasted away in the oven.

Wishing everyone the very best for 2021 and a brighter new year.

Plaid remade – finally

I had to look at my old blog to find the photo of this skirt ‘before’ – I got it about 2014, and had been trying to figure what to make on and off since. My denim Anna Sui dress may now be too small (I live in hope) so I figured I could make a new one, and should I suddenly shrink (unlikely) I could take it in (dream on).

I started making the dress at the end of summer and finally getting to blog about it just coming on to Christmas ….. its a funny thing Covid, time seems to stretch out and then its gone in a flash.

I had to size up – and am feeling pretty cheated. I hadn’t realised there would be such a body change with perimenopause (which can only make me wonder whats next…but best not to over think it!). Figured in the end that something that fits is better than a dress that rides up when walking!

I put the strongest plaid lines to the centre front and worked out from there. I cut the yoke on the bias, and only when I saw it cut figured it would look better with a ‘mirror’ cut so had to so a small scrap sew to get the full cut. I miscalculated the back forgetting about the button overlap, but figured it would be concealed in part with buttons so perhaps it would not be so bad – then again, the shoulder seams match so well it. As the fabric is a loose-ish weave with different sized strands (by comparisson to a tweed for instance), I cuut the lining and basted to each piece (rather than making each separate). I omitted pockets as the jeet pockets seemed like a waste if the fabric was to be reused in the future, and the patch pockets felt fussy.

There is a comfortable amount of ease, and in all I am very happy with the dress. Its a well designed pattern – and its great to wear. I am glad I interlined it, and also glad I maanged to pick up a pair of square toe leather boots in the charity shop a few wees ago which work well with it!

The next project was a 3 way shawl (pillar to post pattern in the pattern links). It works well with the dress and for work (as the hospital can be rather warm, but I still need a cardigan to layer with my coat when I go outside).

My other charity shop find was this 2euro black coat. It was rather tired and the lining was badly ripped. I think it was longer once as the hem looked altered and there was a strange collar on it which was roughly done. The buttons were frayed, and also hanging off. The plus was, it had a great generous cut and wonderful weight (v warm) as well as a true vintage look. As it was impossible to fully revive it without recutting a lining, and try to recover the buttons etc, I figured I should just repair as best I could, and wear as the vintage piece it is. I trimmed the frays on the buttons and reattached – patched the interlining, and patched over the large tear on the inside. I took off the collar and steamed it in the steam cabinet about three times to fully revive the fabric. It looks so much fresher now.

Sewing was going rather slow for most of this year, and yet I seemed to spend a huge amount of time doing ficticious online shopping! or pinning new recipes on pinterest. I can only figure it was from shops being closed and my routine browsing of charity shops was being missed. We are now out of our ‘level 5’ lockdown and I have a few charity shop pieces picked up, and some christmas time off and a renewed sewing plan……

Hoping you are all keeping well and keeping safe – Wishing everyone a very happy christmas and a tonne of real hugs in the new year (sketch below of this years christmas card)