Bits and Pieces

Burda Jacket.

Burda Jacket

Burda Jacket

The idea of doing a step by step account of this pattern was abandoned when I took the cut pieces with me to London. Sewing there was like taking a step back in time – basic machine balanced on piano stool with the edge of the bed serving as a chair. Patterns were drafted on top of a chest, and fabric cut on a teeny bit of floor space.

Those front pockets are faced back with lining only. I’m not sure how they are intended to be closed between the bottom of the opening and the hem. A few options suggested themselves to me. I didn’t want top stitching and settled for slip stitching them to the jacket body. With a free arm machine, I’d have tried stitching inside the pocket. That might work, and would give a neat strong finish with no visible stitching. In some fabrics, cutting a facing might be a good finish to the opening and avoid having the lining peeping out when the pocket opens in movement.

The collar didn’t sit as well as I’d hoped. I blamed the  fusible, perhaps a softer finish would be better. It’s pretty wide, coming right to the shoulders. On the plus side it looks good turned up.

Fabric – Owning Up.

Stash reduction looks like a busted flush. Just pretend not to notice.

A length of linen look fabric and some heavy wine red satin came from a store on Brick Lane you could visit for the experience of seeing The Most Fabric Crammed into the Least Space. You’d find it on the Whitechapel Road end, right side if you walk from that direction. It’s not for browsing. You can hardly squeeze in through the door in single file. Rolls of stuff are piled up to a height of what could be two storeys, each side of a foot wide passage. The lady proprietor has an enviable ability to recall what she has stored where. Ask, your fabric will be found. Prices are reasonable.

Further up I popped in to Crescent Trading hoping to land on bright green habotai, but actually bought a length of red twill silk and one of cerise, both at £8 pm. Do you know how that happens, seeking green and buying red?

Turning on to Bethnal Green Rd what should there be but another fabric shop! I bought a remnant, actually a printer’s sample I think. The pattern called out seductively to my credit card. There’s not much of it, ideas vague up to now.

Print Sample

Print Sample

There are some nice tweedy looking fabrics in this shop, but not much else. It has a boutiquey feel, with prices to match. They give you a fabric bag to carry your stuff home in.

Free Bag

Free Bag

In John Lewis I bought a liquid gold crepe backed satin. This actually had a purpose. Most of my sewing in London consisted of altering garments for one who has shrunk two sizes, which means my admiration for mrsmole’s patience now knows no bounds. I never want to see another zip in need of ripping out, but one job was more up my alley. A trouser suit with a Chanel style jacket trimmed with gold binding had lost its blouse to a klepto friend. The satin from JL was perfect and I squeezed out a skirt using the crepe side with satin accents. The jacket was ok, the trousers became a skirt, so two outfits from just over a metre purchased. At that time JL had some coloured laces on sale, which I only just resisted.

In Berwick St I bought a pale green habotai to line a long skirt made with that fantastic green flower print silk dd bought in a Joels sale.

Printed silk

Printed silk

The habotai scraps look as if they’ll fit with the printers sample, making the Berwick St price for basic silk lining just a teeny bit easier to swallow.

At the other end of the scale I bought some fabrics in Shadwell for £1.50 pm.

Back home in sweltering heat yet another pair of comfy trousers seemed like a good use for one of these market lengths. The inspiration for this pair came from some seen on stage in The Truth. (A funny play, the perfect distraction from problems).

Trousers in Truth Mode

Trousers in Truth Mode

The style was less baggy and narrower in the leg than the last pair of lightweight elastic waist trousers, below.

As Finished as They'll Ever Be

As Finished as They’ll Ever Be

I used a standard pattern, omitting the waist darts, adding inseam pockets, and making a waistband elasticated from the position of the front darts. I kept the side shaping.

The whole world seemed to be wearing a variation on boiler suit one piece styles in London. I’ve enough left of the fabric to make a matching top to fake the look without  bathroom inconveniences should my waistline ever come home to Mama. Who am I kidding? Matching separates might be a good idea though.

Animal Pandemonium

An ongoing spinoff of those curveballs life whizzed my way is this lovely little one year old, now desperately needing a permanent home.





Other distractions I found time for in London were the Georgia O’Keeffe retrospective and the Mona Hatoum exhibition, both at Tate Modern. I think the last day of the Mona Hatoum is tomorrow, if you’re in London I recommend.






About jay

I design and draft patterns
This entry was posted in Fabric, Sewing Patterns, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Bits and Pieces

  1. seweverythingblog says:

    The jacket pockets are beautiful; and thanks for sharing your stash building shopping spree.
    I am currently sewing in primitive conditions in my own home; sitting on a footrest with the machine on a rickety folding tray and using the guest bed as an extension to the left. Hopefully, the guest bedroom will revert back to my sewing room very soon. I say that a seamstress WILL sew – wherever.


  2. Tia Dia says:

    That jacket looks lovely. What interesting lines!


  3. Fabrickated says:

    Ha ha ha. I can just picture you with the piano stool. I was interested in India to see most of the sewing machines being used on the floor and soon got into the habit myself. But in order that I might wait patiently for my new sewing room to be constructed I am learning to knit.


  4. sew2pro says:

    What a lovely, sleek pussycat. I hope he finds a nice home soon. I’m off to see O’Keefe soon.
    Love the jacket by the way.


    • jay says:

      He is a really gentle little soul, and the first cat I’ve known who doesn’t come and sit on the pattern paper and fabric when you’re cutting out, but watches from a convenient perch. I hope you enjoy the O’Keefe. There’s a lot to see, some I loved, some not. The flower paintings have an almost sculptural aspect.


  5. I admire your persistence in sewing in less than ideal circumstances. The fabric you bought looks lovely, and the shopping trip quite an adventure. We are coming to London at the end of September and plan to see the O’Keefe exhibition then.
    I hope puss finds a good home. We are animal free at the moment and I’m not sure what The Management would think of another beast.


  6. Aunt Mayme says:

    Lovely journey! I would love to be in London sometime and enjoy the the travels you did. Your patched together sewing room shows courage and commitment to a craft that you are devoted to. And well displayed in your post.

    Your Four Legged Furry is such a darling. I really love cats for their personalities, their seeming aloofness (it’s just a “preference”, that’s all!) and their ability to extract love from all of us.


  7. mrsmole says:

    Last time I was in London trolling through shops it was for beads…back in 2001 when I took the train from home (Southport) to visit the big city. Wish I could do a run through for fabrics now but 6000 miles is a wee bit too far to travel! I could picture you balancing on a stool and cutting out fabric on a chest of drawers…yes, we sewers can manage less-than-perfect conditions although sewing on the floor would be way outside my comfort zone! Love your fabric finds and the jacket is yummy! Best wished finding a permanent home for George…he looks a real gentleman!


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