Now that I’ve got my big winter coat sewing out of the way, I can turn my attentions to filling in a few gaps in my winter wardrobe. Sewing these things now means I can get another good 3-4 months of wear out of them before moving on to short sleeves and lighter jackets (no really, for the past few years we’ve had flurries and hard frosts in April or May).
So I’ve gathered together the patterns I’d most like to sew along with fabrics I’ve got in my stash that would help fill my wardrobe voids…
Starting at the top of this collage, we’ve got:
It’s been a while since I’ve bought or sewn from a La Mia Boutique magazine. It wasn’t any sort of conscious decision, but it’s a bit difficult for me to get ahold of since the newsagent that used to stock it is no longer a newsagent, and RD Franks sells out of it within hours of getting any instore… The styles were also usually a bit too “out there” for me, in the way that Italian fashion can sometimes be – always vibrant and interesting, but not necessarily something I’d want to wear myself.
In any case, I’d been hearing reports and seeing scans from others that La Mia Boutique was getting a lot more wearable these days, so I jumped on two recent issues when they came up for sale from a UK ebay seller (afer having a previous order with a UK magazine shop mysteriously cancelled weeks later with no explanation).
I absolutely knew I wanted to grab this issue since littlejazzbird gave a pretty comprehensive rundown of the best patterns in it (seriously, go see the scans on her site! She’s sewn up a lot of LMB patterns recently, too), but there were a few more I wanted to highlight…
I’m a big fan of the occasional “quick knit top”, but this time around, I wanted a knit top with a more challenging design to give my brain more of a 3-D spatial workout.
I was really intrigued by the pieces for KnipMode June 2011 #15 when I first saw the magazine, and even after tracing it out and laying the paper pieces together, I still wasn’t 100% sure how they were going to fit together.
I thought it best to make this up using scrap fabrics (just in case!), so I pulled out a couple of those awkward, less than 1m offcut fabrics from my stash:
To be honest, while I enjoyed the challenge of constructing the design, I wasn’t so sure about how the design would look on me throughout the entire construction. But as soon as I tried it on for the first time, I was struck by how well my colourblocking worked, and how nicely Jonathan Saunders the look is!
I get to tick three separate SS11 trends here – colourblocking, muted hues, AND volume! All in one top!
As good as my word, I sewed up a muslin for my birthday dress (next week, birthday fans!), which will be the draped jersey dress from the Feb 2010 La Mia Boutique magazine, #6:
I sewed up the muslin in a viscose jersey, chosen for its very similar draping to silk jersey (with the bridesmaids’ dresses also in silk jersey, I bought TONS of this!), but it is pretty thin and see-through so it’s really only ever going to be good for muslins. After sewing a size 44 in the turtleneck and finding it quite roomy, I decided to go with a 44 here, too, even though I should be a 46 according to their size charts. This is sewn up exactly as per their paper pattern, with no alterations.
Here’s the front, side, and back views of the muslin:
I’ve gotten as far as I can on my secret other project while I wait for supplies (mostly new labels – can you believe I’ve sewn through the last lot of 120-odd Fehr Trade labels in the past two years??), so I cut out my muslin pieces for my birthday dress. If you’ve got a good memory, it’s this luuuurrrrrvely draped number from the Feb 2010 La Mia Boutique magazine, #6:
What I normally do for foreign language patterns (La Mia Boutique is in Italian) is look at the pieces and get a brief order of construction in my head. Usually I work from the top down, starting with assembling the front bodice pieces then join to the back at the shoulders, then finish the neckline, then if it’s a knit, attach the sleeves at the armscye and sew up the side seams, or if it’s a woven, do the side seams first them attach the sleeve in the round. After sewing for a while, you begin to see that most pattern instructions have you sew things in roughly the same order, so you can just do those here to suit this particular pattern.
But for more complicated patterns like this one, I like to sit down with a pen and paper and mentally go through the whole process, visualising how the different pieces interact and the pros and cons of doing which seams in which order (like “if I do this first, is it going to make it awkward to serge that?”). It’s a great mental exercise in spatial thinking, and one of the most pleasurable aspects of sewing for me.
And it means I don’t have to type in every single word of the foreign instructions and figure out what the translator’s trying to tell me (sewing terms are not the best translated! )!
So since I was writing these out anyway, I thought my order of construction might help others who were eyeing up this pattern.