Monday, 25 March 2019

KonMari-ing the fabric stash...sort of...not really

I should first disclose that I have neither read the book nor seen Marie Kondo's netflix series however it has become so pervasive in everyday life that you can't escape some knowledge of the ideas.

We recently had visitors who needed to be able to sleep in the spare bed and not under the large quantity of fabric on it. So I transferred all of the fabric off the bed and into the sewing room and lo the sewing room is covered in fabric to be tidied away.

Creates Sew Slow: KonMari-ing the fabric stash...sort of...not really
On the sewing table are coat fabrics to go in the willow basket
On the floor are woven fabrics to be neatly folded into the two plastic boxes
This post was inspired not only by my recent bout of tidying up but also a YouTube video which demonstrates just how hard the KonMari technique is for sewers/crafters. The clip, Basically How Not to KonMari Your Sewing Stash with Bernadette Banner, is long but demonstrates the angst and dilemma we face with the concept.

There is a bit of a history of filling the bed with fabric and then needing to sleep in it. This is the bed in the other spare room before we moved in whilst the master bedroom was renovated. I didn't take a picture of the gluttonous sight this time.

Creates Sew Slow: KonMari-ing the fabric stash...sort of...not really

The variety of fabric was different this time but the look of the bed similar. In the last tidy-up I purchased three more 60-litre underbed storage boxes, my acquisition on this occasion is a large rattan trunk.

The spare bedroom post tidy up

Opposite corners of the bedroom either side of the window (you can see the bed in the corners of the two photos). The bed may be clear but there is still plenty of tidying to do. Luckily the visitors only stayed three nights so were able to work around the stuff.

Creates Sew Slow: KonMari-ing the fabric stash...sort of...not really

The art of KonMari

The KonMari part is that I wanted to be able to see all of the fabrics in the plastic tub at a glance and not have to rummage through it hoping to find the right fabric. Overtime I will go through all of the plastic tubs and fold the fabric up so it stands on edge across the width of the tub. Unfortunately they don't stand up on their own.

To help with the folding I cut up some foam core board the width and height of the tub. This means as I am folding the fabric I know it will fit into the tub. It makes the folding and organising that much easier but still not quick. It took nearly three hours to empty and refold 50 pieces of fabric back into the Liberty collection tub. From the fabrics sorted so far I can get between 25 and 50 pieces per tub (25 in the trouser fabric tub and 50 in the Liberty collection one).

Creates Sew Slow: KonMari-ing the fabric stash...sort of...not really
The trouser fabric tub with foam core template on top
If I was really embracing the KonMari concept some of my fabric would be disposed of, as having 24 60-litre plastic underbed storage boxes full of clothes fabric could be considered excessive. Or maybe I am embracing Marie Kondo's ideas because all of the fabric I have touched so far has brought me joy as it was stroked and appreciated whilst being folded up. Also whilst the re-folding of all the fabric is a chore the re-organised tub is a joy to behold.

The coat and jacket collection

I thought that if I purchased a large rattan trunk for our newly renovated bedroom it would be ideal for my coat fabrics as folding them small enough to fit into the underbed box makes them inordinately bulky. The added bonus is my beloved will have somewhere to toss his clothes (other than the floor).

As I wanted to be able to move it around when vacuuming my beloved put castors on it. This had the added benefit of strengthening the bottom! To stop the canes snagging my fabric I made a calico inner for the trunk which will also protect the fabric from the sun streaming in through our bedroom window.

Creates Sew Slow: KonMari-ing the fabric stash...sort of...not really
Rattan trunk with castors, inside the basket and the castor reinforcement
Creates Sew Slow: KonMari-ing the fabric stash...sort of...not really
Rattan trunk with calico inner in place, complete with a small selection of coat fabric!

The Minnie Mouse collection

After careful exploration of my fabric collection I identified quite a few fabrics suitable for my Minnie Mouse wardrobe - about two-thirds are from the collection. They were stacked up on the bed and sewing table but now they are all tidy in a plastic tub ready for use.

Creates Sew Slow: KonMari-ing the fabric stash...sort of...not really
Top: the red, white and black fabrics chosen for the Minnie Mouse wardrobe
Bottom: with the cut out leggings and a bit of left over silk popped on top
Creates Sew Slow: KonMari-ing the fabric stash...sort of...not really
The overflow - a few too many fabrics to fit into the Minnie Mouse plastic tub

The Liberty collection

Here is my tub of woven Liberty fabrics. This tub brought me lots of joy, even though folding the silk chiffon pieces was troublesome. There is another tub of mostly Liberty knits which hasn't been organised yet but I am expecting joy from it too!

Creates Sew Slow: KonMari-ing the fabric stash...sort of...not really

As an aside on the far right is a bright pink floral fabric I purchased from Liberty way back in the late 1980's. It was made into a bolero jacket, shorts and culottes, which were hardly ever worn as finding an appropriate top was difficult. The culottes, jacket and a white broderie anglaise crop top were worn for my first date with my beloved. I still have the jacket and shorts hanging in my wardrobe but the culottes have been disassembled to be paired with a plain pink cotton lawn for a dress. Until this miraculous moment occurs they are sitting patiently in my Liberty collection tub.

The trouser collection

Now that I have collected most of my trouser fabric in one place I realise that I have quite a large quantity of black denim. I believed the myth that nice black denim is hard to find and obviously every time I found some I bought a piece. I am pretty sure there are some trouser fabrics lurking in other tubs that haven't been KonMari'd yet. Not sure when it all comes out of hiding that one tub will be enough, as I can think of at least six fabrics not in the tub yet.

Creates Sew Slow: KonMari-ing the fabric stash...sort of...not really

The forgotten collection

Whilst filling the rattan trunk with coat fabric I remembered the existence of some long ago purchased fabric. Now where was it oh yes in the wardrobe in the three larger plastic tubs I had conveniently forgotten when making my tub count.

Creates Sew Slow: KonMari-ing the fabric stash...sort of...not really
The forgotten three hiding in the wardrobe, with the top one containing neatly folded
map fabric plus coordinating pieces for an arty coat with half a tub of silk velvet
The majority of the original fabric in this tub was moved into the rattan trunk. I just gathered all of the bits for my arty map coat together along with some silk velvet and the tub was full. So how did I end up with so much map fabric?

Creates Sew Slow: KonMari-ing the fabric stash...sort of...not really
The arty map trousers!
When I purchased my WORLD map trousers a colleague gave me the dust bag (in the same map fabric) for a WORLD tote bag she had bought. This set me off gathering suitable coordinating fabrics for a jeans type jacket. I then discovered that I could buy more of the same map fabric from eBay which I did (enough to make another pair of map trousers as well as the jeans jacket). And now I have half a tub full of enough fabric to make several pairs of trousers and a full length coat never mind a jeans jacket. Hmm wonder how I ended up with so many tubs of fabric.

In with the new

Hopefully when I have re-folded and sorted all of my fabric in the KonMari way this new fabric will fit into an existing storage box.

Creates Sew Slow: KonMari-ing the fabric stash...sort of...not really
Red, black and white faux fur from The Sewing Workshop is destined to be a winter coat
Fabric on the right from Silhouette Patterns
Patterns, stencils and fabric in front is from Diane Ericson
I definitely have fabricitis - a reaction to the hypnotic pheromones given off by fabrics and home textiles. Very common among women, but rarely affecting men, the condition causes the sufferer to purchase copious amounts of fabric and textiles without purpose or need and to then stash said fabrics in a highly protective and secretive manner. Prognosis - no known cure.

New storage ideas

Having now spent many weekends folding fabric and generally trying to sort my sewing stuff out, as well as moving our belongings back into our nicely renovated bedroom I want a new storage solution for the sewing room. I'd really like the sewing room to look more grown up and get rid of my brightly coloured plastic draws. But what to do instead?

The other over abundance problem I have is sewing patterns so whatever the storage solution is there needs to be room for sewing patterns. Sewing patterns used to live in two relatively large plastic tubs, one for Vogue designer patterns and the other for smaller sized BMV patterns.  Then came a third plastic tub for my Silhouette Patterns.  And then four Andrea Moore carrier bags - Style Arc; Vogue DKNY and Donna Karan; and two of miscellaneous patterns with nowhere else to go.  Finally three A4 copier boxes for The Sewing Workshop; BMV Marcy and Katherine Tilton; and BMV dress patterns.

Instead of sewing I have been down the rabbit hole of possible storage solutions. Do I want a cupboard or a shelf system or.....

Given that IKEA haven't arrived in New Zealand yet cheaper options are a bit limited. Early on in my search I found these storage cubes which come in two sizes 40cm and 30cm, are modular, able to be clipped together to make various sizes and are made in New Zealand. If I decide this is the way to go they will be paired with the grey cotton fabric box.

At this point in time my thinking is 4 wide by 3 tall of the 40cm cubes where the brightly coloured plastic draws are in the first picture in this blog post. With 2 wide by 4 tall of the 30cm cubes along the opposite wall for sewing patterns. At least one of the 40cm cubes will be used for my large sewing patterns (like Style Arc).

I will cogitate on this idea for a while longer whilst I fold up some more fabric. If only getting tidy and sorted didn't take so much time and effort. And all because of a little water which disturbed the order in my sewing room, creating the dilemma of how to get it back together with the same functionality as before.  Anyone would think that the drop of water had shrunk the room or maybe I was used to working in the semi chaos or Marie Kondo is having a bigger impact on me than I realised!

Monday, 4 March 2019

Vogue 1410 Lynn Mizono Winter Floral Dress

This is the third time I have made my adapted version of the Lynn Mizono dress. The previous two versions, which are slightly more faithful to the pattern, appear in my 2016 sewing retrospective but were made pre-blog. As this is a favourite pattern for a stylish dress with individuality, as well as only two pattern pieces, combined with a gorgeous fabric I thought it deserved a blog post all its own to explain how I got from V1410 to the Winter Floral dress.

The finished garment

On a very changeable Sunday in December I wore the dress in both its lengths. The optimism in the morning for a warm day (and the shorter length dress) didn't entirely eventuate, with the sunshine being no match for the cool sea breeze (long length dress).

However there was enough sun for this delicate English flower who needs to be careful in the harsh NZ sun. It is not often I venture outside without sunscreen but the weekend in Westport was much sunnier than forecast and I was caught out with insect repellent but no sunscreen. It doesn't help that I am allergic to most sunscreen so was very wary about buying some from the supermarket. Choosing to suffer from a bit too much sun rather than itchy skin for a couple of weeks was a definite error of judgement. Worst sunburn in years and months later I am still ultra careful about exposing my décolletage to the sun.

Back to the dress, versatility is its real beauty making it ideal for a travel wardrobe be it a weekend away or a longer trip. It is also a great fabric and the combination garners compliments from strangers, which is always an uplifting experience.

Creates Sew Slow: Vogue 1410 Lynn Mizono Winter Floral Dress

Creates Sew Slow: Vogue 1410 Lynn Mizono Winter Floral Dress

Creates Sew Slow: Vogue 1410 Lynn Mizono Winter Floral Dress

Creates Sew Slow: Vogue 1410 Lynn Mizono Winter Floral Dress
Carefully executed selfies taken at the Doubletree Downtown Houston
Jack and Charlie dress in the shorter length versus Winter Floral tunic with leggings

The fabric

A wonderful tana lawn from Liberty of London in a design called Winter Floral in the red colourway. This fabric was purchased from Liberty in person during our trip to the UK in May 2018.

Liberty describe this fabric as: "Taking inspiration from the joyful splendour of traditional African prints, Winter Floral depicts an array of dancing, sinuous botanicals. From the Garden of Temptation collection it offers a visual feast of rich, symbolic imagery. Inspired by the works of Hieronymus Bosch, it captures a hidden fairy-tale world of thick foliage and luscious fruits, presented with a delectably twisted sense of humour. The colour palette is hallucinatory and opulent, with creeping tropical fronds and acidic paisleys sitting alongside blushing, light-toned hedgerow flora and fauna. Dive into an aesthetic, allegorical other world of arcane temptations and decadent decay."

Creates Sew Slow: Vogue 1410 Lynn Mizono Winter Floral Dress

The pattern

Vogue describes this pattern as Very loose-fitting, pullover dress is sleeveless and has very narrow hem finish on scoop neckline and armholes, front and back pleats, inside button/buttonholes forming drape and three adjustable lengths, French seams, and narrow hem. Purchased lock and elastic cord forms front drape.

The adjustable lengths give you a mid-calf or above knee dress or a mid thigh tunic.

Creates Sew Slow: Vogue 1410 Lynn Mizono Winter Floral Dress

The pattern alterations

This pattern is a TNT having been made twice before without sleeves. From the very beginning I loved the idea of a skirt that could be buttoned on the inside for different lengths. The fullness on top created with the gathers of the elastic cord to form the front drape and the full skirt are not my best look. I really do need to follow the wisdom of a fitted half and a looser half otherwise the outfit closely resembles a sack. Given my attraction to a skirt that could be worn at different lengths the obvious change was for a more fitted bodice to provide the necessary balance to the fullness of the skirt. When I first made this dress I used the bodice from Silhouette Patterns #400 Traditional Blouse which has fish eye darts for waist shaping front and back. These fish eye darts can either be sewn as darts or as pleats similar to the original dress design. The Winter Floral dress has the darts and the Jack and Charlie version has pleats.

I always trace my patterns rather than cut up the original. For my version of V1410 the bodice of Silhouette Patterns #400 Traditional Blouse was matched at the waist and centre front to V1410 and the new pattern traced blending the two parts together at the side seams. Essentially I blended from the size 10 at the bust (40") to the size 6 just below the waist (49") and continued at the size 6 to the hem.

By matching the two patterns at the waist it lengthened the bodice and lowered the V1410 bust point 2". This is not unusual for me I generally lengthen the bodice and lower the bust point at least 1.5" on most Vogue patterns.

For the sleeveless version I narrowed the shoulder strap 1" in from the shoulder point and raised the armhole ⅝". This gave me a slightly cut in strap on the shoulder and the appropriate bra coverage.

Creates Sew Slow: Vogue 1410 Lynn Mizono Winter Floral Dress
Original V1410 front pattern piece underneath
Left: SP400 on top; Right: adapted sleeveless V1410 on top
Creates Sew Slow: Vogue 1410 Lynn Mizono Winter Floral Dress
Original V1410 back pattern piece underneath
Left: SP400 on top; Right: adapted sleeveless V1410 on top
For the Winter Floral dress I wanted sleeves but was too lazy to create a new pattern piece. So the pattern piece for V1410 was placed on the fabric and overlaid with my trusty Silhouettes Pattern #400 to cut the fabric with the necessary changes for sleeves (shoulders widened, armhole lowered). The sleeve from SP#400 was used for the short sleeve.

The sewing

I was worried about the Liberty tana lawn not being opaque enough as a dress so I underlined it with a plain red cotton lawn. The reason I underlined rather than lined the dress was to retain the buttons/buttonhole in the side seam that enable the dress to be worn at various lengths and I wasn't sure how I could do this if I had the dress with a separate lining.

I sewed the dress and the interlining at the neck edge, trimming, pressing and understitching before turning wrong sides together. Now that the neck edge was neatly finished the outer fabric and interlining were treated as one - the darts were sewn and the side seams were sewn with French seams.

The sleeves are not interlined. They were attached to the bodice with French seams. The sleeve hem was turned up and machine sewn.

Creates Sew Slow: Vogue 1410 Lynn Mizono Winter Floral Dress

A buttonhole is made in both side seams just above the hem before the hem is sewn in place. Once the buttonholes had been added the hem was turned up and hand stitched in place.

Creates Sew Slow: Vogue 1410 Lynn Mizono Winter Floral Dress

The six buttons were hand sewn to the side seams as indicated by the pattern markings in my motel room in San Francisco. The dress was then worn to travel to Portland the next day.

The outfit of the day

Out and about on the west coast of New Zealand wearing bare feet or United Nude Lev Wrap low heel in red. With warmer or cooler temperatures depending on the wind this was a fabulous choice of outfit as it could be worn as a short and long dress at various times through the day.

Creates Sew Slow: Vogue 1410 Lynn Mizono Winter Floral Dress
Cape Foulwind
Creates Sew Slow: Vogue 1410 Lynn Mizono Winter Floral Dress
Cape Rocks and a visiting Weka
Creates Sew Slow: Vogue 1410 Lynn Mizono Winter Floral Dress
Creates Sew Slow: Vogue 1410 Lynn Mizono Winter Floral Dress
The Truman Track
Out and about at the International Quilt Festival
As already mentioned this is such a great dress to travel with it can be worn at the shorter length during the day and then lengthened at night or it can be worn as a tunic with leggings.

Creates Sew Slow: Vogue 1410 Lynn Mizono Winter Floral Dress
Left outside the Hilton Americas hotel: Untouched World Moonless Lofty Merino Cardi,
Jack and Charlie Dress and United Nude Rico Boot Neon Red Disco
Right outside the George R Brown Convention centre: V1410 Winter Floral dress,
DKNY Navy & Milk Dot Leggings and United Nude Zink Patch Mid Pop Mix booties

Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Papercut Fjord Elongated Red Cardi

Every collection of clothes in my wardrobe has to have a cardigan, I used to have a red cardigan which I don't remember purging from the wardrobe but it wasn't there last time I went to wear it. So a cardigan was an essential need for my Minnie Mouse jeans wardrobe.  This isn't the planned cardigan, that is Vogue 8653 a Marcy Tilton pattern that will eventually appear in a lovely fleecy red Merino. The Papercut Patterns Fjord cardi shot to the top of the list however because of the fabric and the Pattern Review Sewing Bee round one challenge.

For a nano second I considered sewing the cardigan for the PR Sewing Bee. Living Coral in its literal sense as the colour of the year Pantone 16-1546 was a non-starter. Coral is not a colour that features large in either my wardrobe or fabric stash. However I found the words used to describe Living Coral very evocative.

"Vibrant, yet mellow PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral embraces us with warmth and nourishment to provide comfort and buoyancy in our continually shifting environment.  Living Coral emits the desired, familiar, and energising aspects of colour found in nature. In its glorious, yet unfortunately more elusive, display beneath the sea, this vivifying and effervescent colour mesmerises the eye and mind. Lying at the centre of our naturally vivid and chromatic ecosystem, Living Coral is evocative of how coral reefs provide shelter to a diverse kaleidoscope of colour."

I saw my chosen fabric as vibrant and buoyant, embracing me with warmth and comfort, and together these are extremely nourishing and energising for me. Watching the image of the fish swimming amongst the coral I could clearly see this gorgeous vibrant red amongst the colourful kaleidoscope. I also saw my choice of red as conveying the danger living coral is facing from mankind with tourism, global warming and local pollution causing the diminution of coral reefs.

Even the fabric cooperated it was waiting for me at home on Thursday, was washed on Friday and I had until 6pm on Saturday (19 January) to finish my entry (sewing, photos, review etc) which would have been a challenge but not completely unachievable. So why no sewing bee entry (aside from the sheer terror at the thought of progressing to the next round)?

(Un)fortunately the rules did not suit my vision for pattern and fabric, which was for a mid-calf length cardigan not one between waist and knee length. After a momentary pause I decided  compromising that vision for Sewing Bee wasn't an option. That choice wasn't at all influenced by the terror! Once Sewing Bee faded from my mind so did the urgency to get this finished or even started.

The finished garment

For some reason this cardigan was quite hard to photograph. This could have been because of the temperature (low 30°C) with bright sunshine.

Creates Sew Slow: Papercut Fjord Elongated Red Cardi
Posing in front of our gorgeous (if somewhat stunted*) silk tree
Creates Sew Slow: Papercut Fjord Elongated Red Cardi

Creates Sew Slow: Papercut Fjord Elongated Red Cardi

Delicate silk tree flowers
*the silk tree is stunted because a much larger pine tree fell on it in its formative years and whilst it has finally developed the canopy of the silk tree it will never regain its lost inches in height.

The fabric

This fabric was a recent purchase from Elliott Berman Textiles specifically for a lengthened Fjord cardi and is described as a darkened high risk red. It is 100% wool, 60" wide and imported from Italy. "This deep colour boiled wool is ideal for a Fall/Winter jacket or coat. It has a nice fuzzy finish and soft drape."

Creates Sew Slow: Papercut Fjord Elongated Red Cardi

What is not mentioned in the description is the course texture with that most despised of wool properties scratchiness.  If I had been able to feel this fabric before purchase I would not have bought it. It did soften slightly after its gentle woolly wash with wool wash liquid. Since making I have washed it in two cups of white vinegar which didn't really alter the softness much either. Maybe my disappointment with this wool is because of the easy access I have to high quality New Zealand merino which is always baby soft. In hindsight I should have bought merino and boil washed it myself.

I was in too minds about using this wool for its intended purpose but decided I had nothing to loose. Otherwise the fabric would have been consigned to the stash never to see the light of day until it was finally disposed of. As the pattern had never been used before I was more than happy to sacrifice this wool if it turned out not to be a wearable muslin. Of course if I had my brain engaged when I made this it would have been underlined to protect me from the wool but I didn't so it isn't.

The pattern

Creates Sew Slow: Papercut Fjord Elongated Red Cardi

This pattern is described as "Cosy at it’s finest! This super comfy cardigan features angled side pockets, a wide neckband and two length options. Inspired by a Fjord, a long narrow deep inlet."

Recommended fabrics are: medium weight jersey knits.

The pattern alterations

For style preference, to achieve a 44" long coat cardigan, I lengthened the back (3), and front band (5) pattern pieces by 23½" (including a 1" hem as the hem band wasn't used). The side front (2) and centre front (1) pattern pieces were lengthened by 2" because I wanted a deeper pocket. Then a new pattern piece was created to attach to the bottom of the side and centre front pieces, 12⅝" wide by 22¼" long. I also lengthened the sleeves by 4" plus a 2" hem instead of using the sleeve cuff.

The height of the front band at the back of the neck was reduced by 1", and re-shaped to blend back into the original band width at the notch.  I did this to remove the rolled edge of the shawl collar as I felt it was too small to get a really full shawl collar so would rather have a stand-up collar.

I used the size small for the bust and waist grading out to the size large at the hips. Measuring over the dress I was wearing at the time this gave me 1" of ease at the bust, 3" at the waist and 3" at the hip. I kept the ease at the waist and hips the same to try and give the illusion of a waist through a little bit of shaping.

The only alteration I made for fit was a 1½" sway back adjustment. As the pattern has raglan sleeves I didn't do my normal forward shoulder adjustment.

For the future the length of the front band needs to be reduced by 2" so that the collar snugs into the back of the neck.  Not quite sure how to tackle this change on the front band pattern piece as it is cut double width and folded in half. Maybe it is as easy as reducing the overall length of the pattern piece by 2" and stretching it more around the neck. Think this will be a trial and error experiment next time I make this cardigan.

Creates Sew Slow: Papercut Fjord Elongated Red Cardi
Top left: protruding back collar; top right; collar hugging back of neck
Bottom left: dart created in neckband; bottom right the wedge removed from the neckband
I was able to alter this in the finished garment because the selvedge of the wool fabric was used at the outer edge rather than folding the band in half. At the centre back seam a 2" dart was made by sewing 1" further in at the selvedge tapering to nothing at the neck edge.

The sewing

This was sewn on the overlocker with red thread rather than black to emphasise the lines of the cardigan. Even though it is only visible on the inside I was still slightly fixated on the whole coral imagery, and as I was making it I saw the seam lines as a nod to the coral branches. Now it is made and I have taken pictures of the inside it looks nothing like branches.

Creates Sew Slow: Papercut Fjord Elongated Red Cardi
Inside the Fjord elongated red cardigan
Amazingly I even followed the instructions as I made this. They were good apart from only sometimes mentioning to press the seams. On the positive side when they did mention pressing the seam they told you which direction to press it, very useful for beginner sewers.

Outfit of the day

It isn't really the weather for this as an outfit of the day. I have carried it to Wellington on a couple of occasions and wore it more indoors than out. Our building is super air conditioned to the point of freezing the occupants and here in NZ we are not used to the concept of taking a layer off to go outside.

Instead of an outfit of the day here are my beloved and I at the end of a very arduous photo shoot. The difficulty was I kept shutting my eyes as I squinted at the sun and beloved couldn't see the screen of my phone very well when taking the pictures. Those pictures where I had my eyes open often had strange shadows across my face and outfit which made it difficult to see the lines of the cardigan. Many photos later we had enough to use for the blog so a very big thank you to my other half for his patience and perseverance.

Creates Sew Slow: Papercut Fjord Elongated Red Cardi

Sunday, 17 February 2019

The Minnie Mouse Wardrobe and Silhouette Patterns Lana's Jeans

So off I go again down the rabbit hole of collecting more fabric than I can ever use to create a wardrobe based on a particular colour theme. The star of the show is the Minnie Mouse fabric used to make a pair of jeans using Silhouette Patterns #3300 Lana's jeans.

In the PBS programme Fit to Stitch series six episode one, Peggy Sagers the host is given "homework" to create an inspiration mood board - a collage of ideas that can be used to put a fashion collection together. I find that I don't need a mood board just a piece of fabric to generate ideas for a collection. This is true for my quilting as well, where the quilt is generally based on a print fabric with the other fabrics chosen to compliment and boost the feature fabric.

The wardrobe

So I started off with the Vivienne Files classic four by four template and as usual got carried away and produced a four by three grid as well. Some of these fabrics have been long standing members of my stash and others recent purchases specifically for the Minnie Mouse Collection.

I can see this red/black/winter white collection being my theme for 2019. I do have a couple of other collection ideas - one based around another piece of fabric and the other inspired by a pair of shoes. These other ideas are germinating and may become an entry for two Pattern Review contests, otherwise it is going to be a red, white and black year.

Creates Sew Slow: The Minnie Mouse Wardrobe and Silhouette Patterns Lana's Jeans
Row 1: Victory Patterns Ulysses trench; Sew Chic Phantom jacket;
Silhouette Patterns Lana's jeans; Megan Nielsen Flint trousers
Row 2: Papercut Patterns Fjord Cardi; Style Arc Maris top; Silhouettes Patterns Lana's jeans
Row 3: Alabama Chanin School of Making Panel Tank top; Oki Style Sine top;
How to do Fashion Kastrup top; V1415 Tom & Linda Platt tunic A
Row 4: Named Patterns Mintto Swing top; V9112 Marcy Tilton Cirque dress;
V1563 Issey Miyake dress; Named Patterns Kielo Wrap dress
Creates Sew Slow: The Minnie Mouse Wardrobe and Silhouette Patterns Lana's Jeans
Row 1: V2973 Montana jacket; V2734 Anna Sui jacket; Self-drafted leggings;
Megan Nielsen Flint trousers

Row 2: V8653 Marcy Tilton Reversible jacket; Silhouette Patterns Traditional top;
V1410 Lynn Mizono dress; Self-drafted leggings

Row 3: Alabama Chanin School of Making Panel Tank dress;
Merchant & Mills Camber Set dress; Megan Nielsen Floreat top;
Named Patterns Kielo Wrap dress
So far I have made Silhouette Patterns #3300 Lana's Minnie Mouse jeans; the black and white Victory Patterns Ulysses trench coat; the Papercut Patterns red Fjord cardi and Silhouette Patterns #400 Traditional Top (now sadly out of print). I also have Vogue 2973 the Montana leather jacket cut out but haven't quite achieved the confidence level necessary to stick the needle into it! Not a very good start to my wardrobe given that I like to think I can produce a garment a week, had two weeks off over Christmas and February is well underway.

The finished garment

I just love my Minnie Mouse jeans. They were made in a Liberty print for my UK travel wardrobe and I thought they fit well but not as well as these ones after a bit of expert Peggy fitting.

Creates Sew Slow: The Minnie Mouse Wardrobe and Silhouette Patterns Lana's Jeans
Minnie Mouse jeans on the Kaikoura shoreline
(where you expect to find the chimney breast from a long departed house)
Creates Sew Slow: The Minnie Mouse Wardrobe and Silhouette Patterns Lana's Jeans
Icebreaker butterfly merino tee with Minnie Mouse jeans and United Nude Kiko shoes
Creates Sew Slow: The Minnie Mouse Wardrobe and Silhouette Patterns Lana's Jeans

Creates Sew Slow: The Minnie Mouse Wardrobe and Silhouette Patterns Lana's Jeans

The fabric

This is a firm cotton fabric found in the home dec section of Fabric Vision. The fabric positively yelled to become a pair of jeans and so it did within a couple of weeks of purchase. Minnie Mouse was washed in Coca-Cola (only the original version works) before use and the fabric softened quite a bit. The washing in Coca-Cola to soften jeans fabric is a Peggy tip so quite apt it was needed for this fabric.

Creates Sew Slow: The Minnie Mouse Wardrobe and Silhouette Patterns Lana's Jeans

After much debate with myself I decided not to make any attempt at pattern matching the tossed Minnie Mouse heads. Having been caught out before I spent ages trying to determine if the fabric had a stripe because I would have tried to match that across my legs.  I couldn't find one so just treated the fabric as if it had a nap and laid all the pattern pieces in the same direction.

The pattern

This is a great pattern for a pair of non-stretch jeans, which when made to measure are surprisingly comfortable to wear.

Creates Sew Slow: The Minnie Mouse Wardrobe and Silhouette Patterns Lana's Jeans

The pattern alterations

The pictures are all of my Silhouette Patterns #3600 Ralph's Pant muslin produced in the class with Peggy. I was very naughty and despite seeing the benefits of making a muslin of Ralph's Pant I didn't make one for Lana's Jean I just used the end result of the changes to Ralph's Pant and replicated them in my Lana's Jean pattern.

I was going to try and write a long explanation about the fundamentals of Peggy's fitting technique but I don't need to because Peggy has just published a piece on the Silhouette Patterns' website Understanding Fit working through LCD (length, circumference and depth). This is also covered in the webcasts (all of the webcasts are listed here). The webcasts Peggy did with Lora are really helpful, EF The Great Eight shows the pants roughly about 50 minutes in. There is also a Fit to Stitch episode (number 108) about jeans which includes the Coca Cola tip and fitting.

If crotch depth is too long there are wrinkles right underneath the buttocks this is removed by pinching out a dart at hip level at centre back tapering to nothing at the back side seam. This may or may not need to be repeated on the front depending on if you have excess fabric gathering around the crotch.

If there are diagonal wrinkles from below the outseam just below the hip pointing to the inseam this requires a dart at the inseam at the top of the leg tapering to nothing at the back side seam. Because the front and back of the legs are joined at the inseam whatever dart is taken in the back needs to be carried around to the front tapering to nothing at the front side seam.

Creates Sew Slow: The Minnie Mouse Wardrobe and Silhouette Patterns Lana's Jeans
Trousers Front
Reduce crotch depth ⅞" at centre front tapering to nothing at the outseam (side seam).
Remove inseam length by ¾" at the top of the thigh tapering to nothing at the outseam
Creates Sew Slow: The Minnie Mouse Wardrobe and Silhouette Patterns Lana's Jeans
Trousers Back
Reduce crotch depth by ⅝" at centre back tapering to nothing at the outseam
Remove inseam length by ⅞" at the top of the thigh tapering to nothing at the outseam
Creates Sew Slow: The Minnie Mouse Wardrobe and Silhouette Patterns Lana's Jeans
Adding ⅜" seam allowance to outseam stitching line and removing excess fabric
Creates Sew Slow: The Minnie Mouse Wardrobe and Silhouette Patterns Lana's Jeans
Original Lana's Caesar Jeans versus Minnie Mouse version

The sewing

As I had used the trouser muslin to make alterations to my jeans pattern, which are more closely fitted cupping the buttocks rather than falling straight down, I wasn't entirely sure how well the alterations would work. So I put the jeans together slightly differently and basted them in many places so I could check fit before sewing permanently.

All seams were sewn at ⅜" on the sewing machine and then the seam overlocked. In order to not have to keep changing thread I set up my Singer Featherweight for the top stitching, with red Gutermann topstitch thread, and a slightly tighter top tension at 4.5 rather than the normal 4.

Creates Sew Slow: The Minnie Mouse Wardrobe and Silhouette Patterns Lana's Jeans
Top stitching the inseam
Sewing order:
  • Pockets were sewn to the back and I am really proud of the pattern matching I achieved.
  • Back and back yoke pieces were sewn together at the centre back seam and overlocked, then the back yoke was sewn to the back.
  • Front pockets, fly front and zipper were inserted as per the instructions (Peggy's instructions are excellent and the finished product looks very professional). 
  • Centre front seam was top stitched before the inseam was sewn (the centre back seam was not top stitched until later).
  • Inseam was sewn, overlocked and topstitched.
  • Outseams were overlocked then basted together.
  • After trying the trousers on I had to alter the back yoke by removing ½" at the top of the centre back seam tapering to nothing where it met the back of the trousers. As well as removing ⅝" from the back yoke piece at each side seam tapering to nothing where it met the back of the trousers.
  • Side seam is top stitched from the top of the back yoke to just below the bottom of the pocket bag.
  • Waistband attached, buttonhole made (not without its challenges) and button sewn on.
  • Last but not least the trousers were hemmed.
Creates Sew Slow: The Minnie Mouse Wardrobe and Silhouette Patterns Lana's Jeans
Superb pattern matching on the back pockets

Outfit of the day

The Minnie Mouse jeans went on a day trip to Kaikoura over the Christmas holidays. This is the first time we had been to Kaikoura since the earthquake in 2016. It was very interesting to see how far the sea bed had risen and the distance to the sea in some places.  Kaikoura is suffering from the same fate as Christchurch in that it takes time to replace the damaged buildings but as much as you can tell from a day trip it does seem to have retained its soul.

Creates Sew Slow: The Minnie Mouse Wardrobe and Silhouette Patterns Lana's Jeans
Silhouette Patterns #312 Giorgio's red top with #3300 Lana's Minnie Mouse jeans and Hōgl sandals
Creates Sew Slow: The Minnie Mouse Wardrobe and Silhouette Patterns Lana's Jeans