Space clothes: Vogue 1335 modelled

I like space clothes: the sort of thing BBC costume designers came up with for 70s and 80s scifi shows. Vogue 1335 definitely fits the description. Unfortunately we don’t have a post-apocalyptic wasteland round here to use as a backdrop for photos, so my garden will have to do.


The original looks like this:

Vogue 1335 envelope art

Finishing this project coincided with one of the UK’s rare heatwaves. I’m wearing this with my Vogue 1378 neoprene leggings and a black wool jersey top derived from Burda 122-4-2011. And I’m melting. The jacket shell fabric is wool.


Here’s the back. It holds its shape pretty well. The diameter at the waist is actually greater than at the hem on this design.



This is meant to be an oversized style but the sleeves in particular are very long. I added the usual two inches to the length that I always do with Vogue patterns and ended up removing it again. I also added two inches to the body length, which again I normally do, and that was about the right amount.


The pockets are very roomy.


They’re pretty high upon the body, but I think it works with the design.


The fasteners are a little bit fiddly! I’m glad I didn’t need the internal snaps that were on the pattern as well as external fasteners.


Not such a good picture of the jacket, but I like the Doctor Who monster pose. And it’s about the only shot I have where any of the lining is visible. The lining fabric is a heavy poly satin that just adds to the insulation factor.


So there it is. I’ll have to wait until the end of summer to wear this for real, but I’m really pleased with the result.


In search of long sleeves

The weather in the UK is atrociously cold at the moment and I am rapidly running out of warm clothes. Admittedly cold by UK standards isn’t all that cold, but it’s a problem when you’re not prepared for negative temperatures in the daytime.

When I bought clothes rather than making them I used to get annoyed by the fact that so few garments come with long sleeves and pockets. Making things with sleeves was one of the things I wanted to do. Fast forward a few years, and while my home-made wardrobe has plenty of pockets the long sleeves are few and far between. The two wool jersey dresses below are in heavy rotation right now.
Blue and orange doubleknit dress

Burda 122-09-2010

I don’t know quite what the problem is with sleeves. Certainly they’re a pain in the neck to insert in woven fabrics, but sleeves in a knit aren’t difficult. Even easier if you don’t set them in but sew them in flat.

Is it just that there aren’t all that many patterns for long-sleeved knit dresses around? Neither of the ones above really count. The blue and orange dress pattern was originally for wovens and the navy blue dress pattern didn’t have sleeves at all; in fact I think I might have used the sleeve pieces from the blue and orange pattern.

Right now I’m looking for wool jersey to remake the dress from Vogue 8866, which is a great pattern but my current version’s made of polyester so not warm. Anyone got any other favourite patterns for warm winter dresses they can recommend?

Disaster is narrowly averted

Thanks everyone for the comments on the Westwood skirt knockoff! Emily H. mentioned a pleated skirt from the August Burda. There are two in that issue and strangely enough one of them was what I was already planning to sew next. I want to sew the other one too but I don’t have any suitable fabric for it yet and I’ll have to grade it, so that’s a way off.

Here’s the technical drawing of the one I’m doing now.

I am making this in a beautiful 100% wool blue and black tonic suiting from Textile King, which is on Berwick Street in London. I really didn’t want to risk washing it so I tried pre-shrinking using a method I found on the Internet. You wash a big sheet and while it’s still wet lay it out flat. Lay the fabric flat on top, and roll the two together. Pop the lot into a bin liner, tie it closed, leave for a few days, then remove and iron the fabric. It worked pretty well for this fabric. It certainly shrunk a bit and it also got softer. When I bought it the fabric had a rather scratchy feel and that’s gone completely. I will definitely use this method again when sewing with wool, although next time I’ll use a towel rather than a sheet as it might crease the fabric a bit less. I’m not a great fan of ironing.

Here’s the fabric. It’s more of a royal blue than the periwinkle shade it’s come out as in the photo.

So where does the disaster come in? The pattern calls for 1.55m of 140cm wide fabric, not that I bothered to check this in advance because everyone knows a tiny little skirt takes less than a metre, right? Wrong. Not when it has pleats and is self-lined.

My piece started out 150cm wide and probably a bit over 1.5m long so I thought I had plenty. The fabric was cut very off-grain, so I probably lost 5-10cm length in straightening that up. I don’t know how much it shrank when I wet it because I didn’t measure, but some. Then I added 5cm to the length of the skirt when I traced the pattern. This becomes 10cm in terms of fabric because the skirt pieces are all cut double with the hem on a fold, another thing I didn’t really think about in advance.

So after I’d cut all the skirt panels I didn’t have enough fabric left for the four yoke pieces. This was a new experience because normally I buy far too much fabric and have large bits left over. Eventually, after much rearranging, I managed to squeeze all the pieces out of the remaining fabric by cutting the inside back yoke out upside down. That’s bad on shiny fabric as the shine might be directional, but it’s the inside piece so it won’t show. And I have marked it very carefully with my new favourite gadget, the chalk wheel. So all was not lost but you can bet I’m going to check the yardage in advance next time.

Fabric shopping in Glasgow

I can really recommend the fabric shops in Glasgow. Good thing I have a lovely husband who was prepared to put fabric in his suitcase because I ran out of space in mine.

I only managed to visit Mandors and Remnant Kings but that was more than enough. They’re both central, easy to get to, and strangely situated well above ground level.

I started with Mandors. This is huge. As well as dressmaking fabric it sells haberdashery, furnishing fabric, and patterns. I only looked at the dressmaking fabric and there was enough of that to occupy me for a long while. The range was amazing but I think the best things were the woollens. After a lot of agonising I settled on some beautiful red tweedy stuff for Vogue 8667. I never know the correct names for fabrics so it may not technically be tweed. It’s 100% “pure new wool” woven and a lot more chunky and textured than suiting fabric. There are fibres of two different shades of red.

Incidentally what is the difference between “new” and other wool? Do they recycle wool? Is “new wool” the first stuff off the sheep, kind of like extra virgin olive oil? Does it make any difference in practice?

Mandors is quite pricey but much better value for money than the West End in London. Pity the train fare to Glasgow more than redresses the balance! The whole shop is very well organised. Fabric is arranged by type and colour. Every bolt had the price, fibre content, width, and care instructions attached. You take a ticket to get in the queue for cutting and can mark bolts you’ve selected so they don’t get tidied away while you’re browsing for other things. It wasn’t busy enough to justify any of that while I was there but that was a weekday. I suspect Saturdays may be a different matter.

I nearly didn’t find Remnant Kings at all. The address is Argyle Street, one of the longest and busiest shopping streets in Glasgow. I wandered up and down searching while my iPhone was insisting I was right on top of it. I couldn’t see it until I looked up and noticed a sign in a first floor window. The entrance turned out to be round the corner from the street address.

Remnant Kings was smaller than Mandors and had a lot less stock, but they had just finished a sale and hadn’t got their new stock in yet. As well as dressmaking fabric they also do haberdashery and a very small range of furnishing fabrics. There is also an odd little corner full of cheap plastic accessories for fancy dress – devil horn hairbands and the like. However there’s another branch that I didn’t visit that specialises in furnishing fabric.

I got 4m of cheap and cheerful poly viscose tartan to attempt my Yohji Yamamoto knockoff and a beautiful black wool remnant with a gold stripe from the bargain bucket that’s going to be a Vivienne Westwood skirt knockoff.

Remnant Kings is a lot cheaper than Mandors but everything’s still well laid out and labelled. Except my tartan but trust me to pick up the only bolt without a label in any shop. In shops where only samples are on display I always pick ones that the staff can’t locate the bolt for. Apologies here to anyone who’s ever been behind me in the queue.

And if that wasn’t enough I found the August Burda in WHSmiths! It’s been quite difficult to get hold of round my way since Borders closed down. There’s lots of really good things in it but that’ll have to wait for another post.