Sunday, 13 October 2019

Black velvet wrap top - Burda Style 116 01/2012

This little top is my cardigan to wear over my PJs next week when I have my hip replacement operation. To be fair I have intended to make this top for many years. I think I probably bought this pattern back in early 2014 when I first bought a few Burda patterns. Its before I ever bought a magazine.

I was a bit put off making this by the fact it has back darts and this is a very stretchy lycra fabric. In fact a dancewear type of quality so just about as much stretch as possible.

Anyway I used my walking foot. I bought this absolutely ages ago and never so far got round to trying it out and boy is this brilliant for sewing knits. Its actually on my machine because I have been experimenting with ( non) stretch faux and real leathers but more on that in the coming weeks when I will blog about it while I am recovering. It sewed my darts fantastically. And just in case you wondered the walking foot is a bargain basement one from China. They said it fitted Janomes and I decided for about £3 I would try it because it was not much of a risk really and I would save about £12 on the then price of the Janome version. So glad I bought it, and it works really well, though I have never had a proper Janome version to compare with, but I personally cannot find nything wrong with the copy.

So anyway I never got round to sewing this pattern.

I actually made some quite difficult stuff:My bugs dress,
This is really meant to be made from stretch fabric being a 60s pattern so making it from a non-stretch cotton and having it work was quite an achievement bearing in mind I had not sewn anything for 20+ years. At the time I was convinced it was difficult sewing stretch so avoided it but in the last few years I seem to have sewn more stretch than woven non stretch. Just shows you really!

gold fish dress,

and the free pattern that I used for the festival dress (which you can find in the "Projects with a pattern" part of the US site)
at that time and since then have bought many many magazines both current and old ones that I have seen on Ebay.

Anyway till now I have not ever got round to making up this particual top pattern despite I actually paid for it as a download. I am so glad I have now got round to it because its lovely.

I will probably make at least one more from a different coloured velvet and perhaps a non-stretch chiffon version as well. But that will not happen now for around 7 weeks at the earliest. Mind you I will add soem warning ifyou decide to make this the instructions are evenfor Burda a complete puzzle. I assumed from the picture you need to gather the front sections onto the ties. I actually added 3 pleats on each side at CF where the tiees join. I also missed off the bias round the neck and just overlocked and twin needle stitched it all.

Order of makings was: Sew back drats, attach shoulders, insert sleeves, sew side seams with sleeve seams ( my fave method) because the notches were in line - I did check first. Overlock the bodice front and round neck and bottom of front. Then overlcok edges of ties. Pleat or gather the CF panels onto each tie and then turn over all edges and twin needle to finish it off - and its a very long bit of sewing. I sewed straight since obviously the twin needle does not go round square corners ( obvious really but I messed up several previous garments cos I never heard/read anyone state this but then you learn........) so this means stoping at corers and then starting again for the next stretch. Long but easy. Do not go too fast and you do not mess up.

A surprisingly easy top to make in the end.

I really like it though it actually has loads of fabric in it which you do not expect from the picture. The ties are very long and wide. I love it though, and expect to be wearing this throughout this winter so its not just for my hospital visit. At least I will feel well dressed when I am an invalid anyway!

So thats it now for the PJs kit that I am taking into hospital. I am not making a dressing gown cos I have several perfectly good ones already and I like them despite them being from Sainsburys or somewhere similar.

I have however, made quite a few other items over the past few weeks which I will endeavour to blog about over the next few weeks when I cannot actually do any sewing. I also have plans for a few other projects which I will let you know about later - if they come to anything.

This time next week I will have my new hip and be recovering and while I am looking forward to being able to walk again, I am so scared. I know its a normal routine op these days but really when its happening to me not someone else it really is very scary.


Sunday, 6 October 2019

New hair for my unemployment.

I lost my job cos I have to have 6 weeks off for my hip replacement. Its the start of term at Universities in England and they need me there. I get it, but cannot believe they have cancelled my contract just because I have to have a hip replacement. Of course they made other excuses and there is absolutely nothing I can do about it but there it is really. The coversation began " its not about your hip but.........." and the boss said thats the end of my contract. Yes I am very upset about it.

Its very scary cos I now have no job to go to after I am repaired. Which of course I will be. A little worrying to say the least.

Never mind maybe it will all work out for the best in the end. Always has and life goes on etc etc.

Time to write book number 3 then I think. I have planned it since 2016 and so far not written it. I can do my experiemnts in the next few days then write it as I get better. Its a book about how to make your own mineral make-up if you want to know. I may tell you a bit as it progresses although this is not a blog about making cosmetics - thats what my other books are about as well and you can buy them from Amazon if you want to have a look.
But this blog is and always hasbeen about sewing and occassionally food or knitting or just stuff like this post.

Then theres the fact there is now less than 2 weeks till the actual operation itself which is also very scary.  I have the op on 17th October if it happens on time - well its the UK NHS after all so who knows but its planned for then anyway. Will happen soon even if they postpone for a few days.

The upside though - I can be me, for 6 whole weeks!

 Possibly even for 8 whole weeks before I must again conform to the crap status quo and look " normal" for my job - whatever that will be next.

So for now at least I can have my hair how I like it. So this is my choice for my operation:

This is 3 layers as follows:

Colour Freedom dyes ( bought from Superdrug) :
Pink Pizazz
Mystic Purple and
Indigo and I love this very much. Stops me feeling like an old lady.

Its better from the back than the front cos this is after all about the hair.............
Look like I am praying and yes I feel abit like maybe I should!


One slightly unexpected thing about this operation is when I was told back in March I needed to have the hip replacement I gave up drinking alcohol and I really have been surprised at the fact I have lost so much weight. Yes I know they tell you you need to drink less when dieting but I really have not given up anything else or dieted as such and its been several months but I seem to have lost loads of weight. I never even realised till we took these photos but I have.

I need to get toned up now but can do that after I have had the op but I am reasonably happy with my body now if only it will work properly. What you cannot see on these photos is I need a stick to walk or else I walk like a chimp ( as my lovely partner has told me!). He is right though!

So these leggings I made a while ago ( and the happlily fit me again!). You can read about them here

The top is new from New Look and was very cheap in the sale. Its mesh but lined int he bodice and I really want a pattern similar to this because I love it. Feel very Olivia Newton John in Grease. Makes me feel good anyway and especially with my new hair.

At least this has taken away the "I am just an old lady now" feeling. 

Cos no! I am not!


Sunday, 29 September 2019

Cami-tops for my PJ bottoms

So these are 2 small cami-tops to go with the PJ trousers I made for the operation I have in a few weeks time. I made the trousers here:

Both are kind of made from the same Burda pattern as this dress from the November 2016 issue of Burda Magazine and is dress 113 or top 112 though I used the dress pattern rather than re-trace. I think my tops are quite a bit longer than the 112 version as well but much shorter than this green velvet dress.

If you want to read more about this dress click here.

Well as you can see my dancing skeletons fabric top went a bit wrong in that the cups are upside down. Sad but still wearable since more than likely I will wear a wrap top over it anyway. My ops next month, so October, so likely not to be very hot weather. Mind you this is Engalnd so who knows?

Its still preferable to some Sainsbury or Asda PJs which is probably what I would end up wearing otherwise. I had no spare fabric from this so could not re-cut them and had to go ahead with this or scrap the idea entirely. Its a shame the facing inside the back is actually cut the right way up! There was not enough though to re-cut it into a second attempt at the cups. I lined the cups with plain white cotton.

Then for the camo version I just used the back of the pattern and totally ignored the front, so much easier to make. I sewed and then overlocked all edges, added stretch black velvet ribbon for the straps and trimmed with gothic looking lace (both from Ebay).

I like this and it answers a query I have been mulling over for quite a while as in - why not just use the back piece and save the hassle of making the pretty cumbersome and time consuming front cups? I think I prefer the cleaner look of the camo top to the skeleton top. The Burda pattern has a 1930s or 1940s feel to the slip dress top. The camo version below feels more 1990s.

It does not really matter because these are both Ok for the hospital and thats all they are intended for.

So now, all I need for the op, is a wrap top to wear over these. I have yet to decide which pattern to use for that but I will write about it once I have decided. Three weeks left of sewing then I have to stop for at least 6 weeks. It going to absolutely kill me! I suppose I had better do some knitting instead. I could do with a few warm jumpers for winter.

Anyway I am really quite pleased with these tops even tho I managed to slightly ruin the look of the skeleton top. If I find a bit more of that fabric I will possibly have to make a second one of them and scrap this version.
Till next week then, with, hopefully, a velvet wrap top to go over these..........

Friday, 20 September 2019

striped lycra high low fishtail skirt and flared stripey trousers

I made this skirt before in faux stretch leather and I absolutley love this skirt. Its made from a costume pattern so I suppose the fabric I used ths tie is actually more apt being stretch dancewear grade lycra. The new version is dark grey and white stripes and I ahve had the fabric for ages. I bought it for 99p for loads. I think about 7m and I still have loads left. Maybe  will a body or similar next.  The skirt is finished with stretch black lace edging which I think works well. Its a lovely end of summer skirt although this picture was taken a while back in July.

You can see from my green version its got a godet effect tho not real godets but the pieces are cut with the godet as part of the main skirt. Its a high low which doesnot show well in any of these photos. Kind of Edwardian I feel.

I made the top ages ago and the edging is the same fabric as this skirt and it kind of works well as a set which is accidetal but I like it very much. 

I also made these flares from the same striped lycra fabric. I was very unsure about making these. They are from a circus costume pattern  but are very "in" right now or will be this time next year because they are on the catwalks now. pattern is the same as I used for the red leggings but you cut them shorter and add the circle part at the hem.

Perhaps the striped fabric is actually not the best for this pattern cos the circles look slightly weird cos ofcourse the stripes go all over the place once cut in a circle, but I like them all the same. They are more wearable than expected because I admit I made these just cos I could rather than to actually wear but they are more wearable than I thought and not as outrageous as expected - at least not when on a beach anyway.

Thanks for reading and see you next week when I hope to finally finish the coat I have been attempting to make for the last 12 months.

Monday, 16 September 2019

Pyjama trouser x2, pink top and paper bag trousers.

 I have to go in hospital in about a month's time. Its not a bad thing. Its for a total hip replacement (THR) operation which I need badly, since I now have to use a stick to walk the pretty long distance from where we park to where I work. I am still OK for short distances and inside buildings. According to my doctor and my consultant I should have been using a stick since March so I have done OK.

I decided in the end to use one not only to help me walk but also to stop me wearing out my knee in the good leg because it became so painful I could hardly use it at all and I really do not want to end up with a knee replacement as well and several people I know have had to have that after their THR due to over use of the opposite knee apparently. Note that I have not "officially" been told this by a doctor, but only by friends, so it could be their knee replacements were unrelated to their not using a stick but when several different people who do not know each other all tell you the same thing its probably best to listen, so I am.

Anyway mid October they are doing my op which although I was worried and wondering should I try and wait a bit etc ( due to being young which means I will definitely end up having a second one in 20-25 years time which is currently a huge operation) in the end though, I cannot wait for it to happen. I need to feel normal again and be able to be me and walk and cycle and very importantly be able to walk my dogs again. They are a year old this week and need long walks and I am unable at present to even give them short walks. Had I known this would happen we would never have had them because its not fair to my partner or my dogs. I will not be able to run after the op or at least they advise against it because running is high impact, but you cannot do too much cycling which I love and walking so I reckon time to get fit again as well. The problem with my hip has caused me to be very un-toned and flabby and unfit. I do not actually weigh any more or take a bigger size in clothing but I look un-toned and fat to what I expect myself to look.
And I stand weird. I am unable to stand up straight like you are taught in school.

It simply hurts and my leg gives way and I fall over.

I have really noticed this in the photos on this blog.

Not for much longer!

The one small problem with going into hospital though is my lack of PJs.

I do obviously own PJs but they were all bought for me by my Mum for Christmases and tend to have stars and holly and robins etc on them and be made of flannelette since they have to keep you warm in winter.

 I do have some shorts PJs for summer but they are old and worn and October is very variable, so it could be really cold here, so I do not want to only have shorts or Christmas PJs when I have to be in a public ward.

So time to make Pyjamas!

And this makes for a very good blog post I think.

The hospital directions of what to bring with you tell you you need elastic waisted shorts or skirts to wear  apparently when doing physio and generally recovering. made these circular culottes/ shorts here for this bit a while back and with a few other pairs that I already own I should have that bit covered.

But the PJs remained a problem till last weekend when I decided time to get to it and make what I am going to need since there's now less than a month to go.

I do not need many PJs since I will wear a gown the first day for the actual op and they send you home on day 3 so 2 pairs should work fine.

This is pattern: See and Sew B5910 and its possibly the easiest pair of trousers I have ever made.BUTTERICK PATTERNS B5910 Misses' Top and Pants Sewing Template, Size A in One Envelope
It has no pockets which possibly would make them better and more useful but I am not sure about adding any extras right now since they could impact on the scar and hurt. Right now though I do not know if I will have a side scar or rear scar. It depends on the particular surgeon and I never thought to ask. Maybe I should have put side seam pockets in. Well I may live to regret not doing that but I never did.

 So: elastic waist PJ trousers:

I have had the black dancing skeleton fabric for ages. I love it but it did not seem suitable for wearing as a dress other than on Halloween so I have not yet found a use for it. I did consider a jacket lining but that seemed a bit of a waste, but as pyjama trousers yes, no problem. And very me. I cannot remember what fibre this is but think this one is 100% cotton but it could be polycotton. It probably is polycotton in fact since it does not seem to crease.

Similarly with the polycotton camo fabric. I had this for ages as well and I bought this for a summer dress. This would work as a dress but I need something for now and its cheap to replace so time to use it. I love the colour of this fabric and its very on trend right now so its just perfect to bring a bit of "me" to my life as a hospital patient.

This is also good as a project because its very easy to make PJ trousers, its fast and I really need to wear something that does not make me feel like an old lady.

I do feel like an old lady.

Don't get me wrong. Half the people having this op are over 70 and I am only 55 but having something I like to wear that is more me will definitely help me to feel OK with this I think. Its important not to lose sight of who you are. Though in fact the other 50% of patients having this particular op tend to be my age or mid-50s.

I have also managed to clear 4m of fabric from my stash which is also a good thing. Yey!

That is, ignoring the left over bits, but I may make some cami-tops with them next weekend. Depends on if the pattern I have will fit onto the bits I have left.

I have also made the tea bag trousers using Mood fabrics Primrose Pants free pattern. This is the same fabric I used for the culottes and I have tons of it. Its really a cotton curtain fabric but whatever, it makes a great fabric for trying stuff out or for emergency hospital clothing.

Could even be wearable after, you never know, though really I do not love Tea bags. I wore them as a teen and its not really how I want to look these days but needs must etc and the pattern was free. I intend to donate to charity after the op.

They probably look best with the tops tucked in but to be honest I hate that look.

I am more a tops over them person.

They do have front pockets as well which is good.

They are meant to have mock back pocket flaps but I am likely to have a scar somewhere there so never put them on because I can do without additional irritation if you know what I mean.
 Finally I made the pink top worn with these last week. It was aimed at a work top but I think it will go great with my PJ trousers or my tea bags for the hospital visit so I am including this here.

Its made from Burda 6722. I have made it a few times before and as usual managed to cock up the construction.

It does work but I had to bodge it.

I always misunderstand Burda and I put the stitching for the straps in the wrong place and have to redo it or rather add some stitches to hold it in place where the front and back flaps over. This time I never took it to bits I just added some stitching at front and back neck.

I think you are meant to sew the straps higher that I did so I had to add extra stitches so they only go part way accross the shoulders.  It works OK and when on, no one can see this but its not really how it should be. I should have had a look at my previous versions before making this one. Well you cannot win them all so they say.

I am actually very pleased with all of these items and they should make my being in hospital a bit easier than it may otherwise be. 

I am also quite surprised how much I actually really love my PJ trousers to the extent I may even wear them on a beach in summer as actual trousers. Well who's to know really?

And thats it for this week.