Category Archives: ponte

Leather trimmed tunic

I have this idea that I need to practice fashion illustration. I have a fabulous set of Fashionary sketch books that have been sitting untouched for at least a month. I see beautiful fabric and I simply can’t control myself. A vivid picture forms in my head and I pounce on that fabric, much like what happens when a vampire sees blood. Now who’s been busy watching too many episodes of True Blood back to back…

So once again, my plans to sketch this dress fell through. However, I did manage to use up the rest of my little bitty leather scraps (from here) and my black ponte (from here), so I’m going to give myself a high five for scrap busting anyway.

The dress is basically a modified version of Vogue 8840 (seen before herehere, and here) with a bit of leather embellishment. I used a metal ruler and a sharp rotary cutter to cut dozens of 6mm strips of leather. I lined up a few strips side by side and basted them on the interfaced ponte with fabric glue, before stitching them down with a single centre seam. I then just kept lining up those strips until I liked the look of the pattern. 

 
I added leather strips to the front of the dress and to a panel at the bottom of the back of the dress. I only added the back panel because I was short of ponte. Yay for that though, because I think that back panel finishes the look!
 


V8840 is a pattern designed for a top. What I wanted was a slightly unfitted tunic that I could layer with layers upon layers of wool for a Midwestern winter. I’m pretty happy with what I ended up with.

Here are the modifications I made: 

  • lengthened both pattern pieces to turn the top into a tunic
  • fused interfacing on the inside of the entire front dress pieces and to the back panel. This was needed to stabilise the ponte for stitching on all those leather strips.
  • shortened the (short) sleeves by a few inches
  • brought the side seams in by about 2.5″ and adjusted the bust dart to deal with this
  • ditched the back seam and kept the back piece the same but cut on the fold (cheater broad back adjustment)
  • widened and lowered the neckline a smidgen
  • added a front zipper
 
 

 

 

 

 


Leather and double faced wool, for ‘winter is coming’

I saw this amazing double faced wool when it first showed up at Tessuti Fabrics, probably at the end of last year. It is pale blue on one side and charcoal on the other, and the perfect weight for making a snuggly winter jacket. Unfortunately, I wasn’t in the market for winter gear back then, so I had to walk away empty handed. But a few months ago I was lucky enough to recieve a gift card from my Mum (best gift ever!) and I spent it happily on this beautiful wool.

 


 

I made the coat using a Japanese pattern that I’ve used before (in my pre-blogging days). I purchased it, and all the other Japanese pattern books I own, from a very reliable Ebay seller, Pomadour24. I cut a size L and made several modifications. In the photos below, I’ve placed the original pattern pieces on top of my re-drafted pieces to better explain my changes.

  • I widened the sleeves a LOT. To do this, I slashed through the centre and created a wedge. I also shortened the sleeves so I could add cuffs, yet still achieve a shorter length.
Sleeves
  • I added cuffs with leather inserts. The leather I used in this coat was leftover from my leather shorts and leggings. Because I was working with scraps, I had to be creative with how I used it. The total length of my cuffs (including the leather insert) is 3.375″. The cuffs are folded over before attaching, minus a 5/8″ seam allowance.
Cuffs
  • The coat is a raglan cut. I lengthened the front piece by 28″ on the side seam and by about 16″ on the front. I should have extended the facing a little longer at the edge since this folds over. I need to adjust the pattern for this next time.
Front piece with self-facing

  • I lengthened the back by 32″. The photos show how I changed the hem shape.
Back piece
  • I sharpened the corners of the collar. This is a very subtle change to the original pattern but it actually impacts the look quite significantly. Notice the very comprehensive details I write on my own pattern pieces (I jest!). I really need to work on this!
Collar
  • I ditched the original pockets. They were actually quite useless in the first version. They looked good but they were placed too high on the side seams, making it awkward and fiddly to use them in real life. I drafted my own welt pockets and stuck them on the diagonal, using leftover leather as a contrast. I also ditched the buttons and used some little leather fasteners instead.
 
I’m pretty sure I’m going to love this jacket. It is super comfortable. It’s not too heavy and it looks fab with my leather blocked leggings. I can also pair my leather armbands (blogged here) with it if I don’t fancy wearing a long sleeved top on cold days.
 


Upcycling: Leather blocked ponte leggings

These leather blocked leggings actually started out as a leather skirt. I purchased the skirt on Ebay for $13. I found a skirt in the largest size I could find, the longer the better. Luckily, leather midi and maxi skirts seem to be in very low demand on Ebay, with most going for a steal, if they even sell at all.

The quality of leather of the skirt was nothing like the gorgeously soft and glossy lambskin that I’ve used before, but it was perfectly fine for this project. The skirt was listed as ‘new’, but the leather actually looked as though it had been washed. I’ll give it a bit of TLC with leather cream and I’m sure it will come up better. 

For the making of these pants, I kept all the seams of the skirt intact, but I did cut off the hem and buttons so that I could lay it flat as a single layer on my cutting mat. You can see some of these seams on my legging panels. I think the random seams add to the interest factor.

 

 
 

I used a beautiful black ponte knit for the back of the leggings as well as for the front knees. Breaking up the leather on the front of the leggings was necessary due to the amount of leather I had on hand. But placing the ponte at the knees also meant that these pants do not restrict my leg movement at all. They are super comfy!

The pattern I used was Vogue 8859, a Marcy Tilton pant. I’ve used this pattern before in my pre-blogging days. I’m completely useless at making notes on pattern pieces (although I am trying to work on this). One thing that I love about blogging is that I have pictures and pattern modifications documented in a way that I can easily go back and look up again. Anyway, I remembered these pants fitting really well the last time, except for being a little too high in the waist. These are the only photos I have of my last version.

Isn’t this the most fabulous ponte knit ever! I think the print was called Dragonfly Fantasia.


In my first version, I ended up hacking off the waistband after I’d sewn it, before restitching the elastic back on, a little lower down. This was a messy modification, but perhaps even messier, was my 2012-self attempt at recording this change by simply putting the hacked off portion back in the pattern packet!

So to summarise my modifications in this pattern:

  • removed 1.5″ of length through the crotch
  • removed the yoke
  • narrowed the waist through the back crotch seam by 1.5″
  • drew up a waistband to stitch to the top. I inserted my elastic through the waistband instead of directly to the pant as specified in the instructions.
  • skipped the pocket
  • added 1″ in leg length

This was an incredibly simple make. I think the panels of leather have turned a very basic, everyday pant into something a little more special. I know I will get heaps of wear out of them during winter. I also quite like the look of them dressed up with my trusty ‘white’ make from back in May.

Little red drop waist dress

We’d only been in the neighbourhood for a few months when I started hearing about this little street party that is held annually on the Fourth of July. Apparently, there is face-painting, a ticker tape parade that begins in our cul-de-sac and ends in the next, bagpipe playing, lots of fireworks and much merriment that runs late into the night. I was warned that it starts in the morning, and that everybody dresses in red, white, and blue.

Generally, I’m not a huge fan of costumes (says the woman who just made three Elsa dresses for her girls). Well, to rephrase that: I don’t like making things that will only be worn once or twice. So my first action was to investigate the girls’ cupboards. Miss Six was sorted, or so I thought. Until she informed me that her perfectly suited (cool and comfy) red jumpsuit was not an option. She was going to wear her blue Elsa dress, and it fit the rules because it was blue. Okaaaaay, so I can’t actually argue with that logic.

I chose this option for Miss Two, but of course, it was also kicked to the curb in favour of the blue Elsa dress. Of course middle child also had to join the Elsa party, so at this point, the Fourth of July outfits in this house are all Elsa dresses. I’m wondering if I can add some red ribbons to their hair.


So in order to bring a little balance to this party, I decided to make something for myself. I had a little bit of red ponte left in my stash, purchased from Tessuti several eons ago. I love ponte knits and Tessuti fabrics often get the most delicious prints in from Italy. But I quite like their solids too. Ponte is insanely easy to sew and very flattering to wear.

I used the pattern I drafted for my first Jaywalk entry, but because I was dealing with a more stable ponte knit rather than a more stretchy jersey, I had to make some changes. I slashed the front to add bust darts and widen it a tad. I also added an extra 2cm in width along the entire length of the CB.

 

This was a quick make and intended for a only few wears, so I didn’t take much time to work out the fit with the new pattern changes. I think I need to add a couple of fish eye darts in the back to fix those back wrinkles. The length is barely acceptable at the front, but I simply didn’t have enough fabric to make that flounce any longer and I wasn’t willing to compromise with a different fabric. It’s ok for a day…as long as it isn’t windy.


I quite like this little red dress paired with a crop top. I’ve mostly been wearing this top as a vest over my Jaywalk dress, even though I originally made it to pair with it’s matching Esther shorts. There’s a little bit of blue and white in it which I think will give me a pass by the costume department for our street party.

Style 3304: a playsuit in white

I’ve made this pattern before. It’s a vintage one, Style 3304. Last time, I modified it to a short version (long story!) in some fun Marc Jacobs fabric. This time, I was dreaming of white.

 
  

The pattern itself is simple enough to make, but not particularly well fitting without a few adjustments. I learnt this from my last make. The changes I made this time were:
– adding elastic in casing in the top back of the bodice for a better fit
– lengthening the bodice by 0.5″
– widening the legs towards the bottom by about 2″ and adding elastic to the hems
– I also converted the straps to adjustable
– you’ll notice I didn’t bother serging the edge of the facing. I used fusible interfacing on my facing (I always do, even though instructions rarely say to). The ponte doesn’t fray, but would be even less likely to do so once fused with facing, so to reduce bulk (and a possible seam line being seen) through my lightweight fabric, I chose not to finish the edge.

 

The fabric I used was a very lightweight ponte knit from Fabric.com. It is the same fabric I used for my Kanerva hack a while back. It shrinks a LOT after washing so I gave it a thoroughly mean pre-treatment before sewing. But it is a beautifully soft, creamy white and it is a truly lovely fabric to wear.

 
 

 

I’m pretty happy with my slouchy new jumpsuit. As always, I love the pockets, and it is just so comfortable that I suspect I will be dressing it down for the school run way more than I will be glamming it up.

Dressing up my culottes with a cropped Kanerva

Now this was the top I’d originally intended to wear with my culottes, before I was seduced by the novelty factor. If you look closely, you can see the back buttons match those on my waistband. This time, I’ve glamorised the old culottes a little with some sky high heels and a cropped Kanerva by Named.

I really like the Kanerva top. My first one was made in a lovely Liberty of London from Tessuti. It fits well enough but I was keen to try it in a fabric with more stretch. I chose a lightweight ponte knit for this version, purchased online from Fabric.com.

Ponte knit is so comfortable and practical to wear and it suits the Kanerva perfectly. The cropped version is a great length for me as it is short, but doesn’t really show any tummy if you wear a high waist pant (bear in mind that I am 5″10 so the cropped version will come down longer on some). I made a few small changes to the pattern again this time. I started with a size 40, then:

  • lengthened the arms by 3cm
  • took about 2cm off the front neckline and shoulder seams
  • dropped the back neckline by 1cm
  • narrowed the waist a little by taking 1cm off each side seam
  • I also removed the front waist dart and increased the bust dart ever so slightly
  • I cheated with the back. The buttons are just for show. I overlapped the back edges to keep the centre back where it should be, and created two seams (one false) on each side. I then sewed the buttons straight down the middle without buttonholes.

 

 


New Look 6016 tights and top

I feel the deadline looming when I will need to pack away my sewing machine for the trip ahead. Has anyone else travelled with a sewing machine? I’m actually a little worried about keeping it safe. But I have found myself two big foam boxes (used by cafes/restaurants to pack veges) which I think I will join together by taping around the machine’s hard cover, and I am hoping that this will be enough protection. I might box it up in cardboard too.

But in the meantime, I am working my way through what I would like to call my ‘rainy day’ stash. These are the lengths of pastel viscose and knits that I have purchased with my daughters in mind; snaffled up from the remnant table at Tessuti Fabrics knowing that they would best suit simple swing dresses, tops or tights (for little girls), all the while knowing that I would never get around to sewing them. Selfless sewing if you will.

I made a few modifications to New Look 6016 when making Miss Four’s outfit. The pink, long sleeve top is a size 4.

 
  • I widened the sleeves (made them straight, not tapered)
  • added cuffs
  • added 2cm to the hem (she is very tall)

The latte ponte pants are also a size 4, but I added a bum ruffle (bum flare sounds a bit rude!). I’m not completely happy with the bum ruffle. I’d make it much smaller and higher next time, or add one in the front too. But I AM pleased to say that this feature had the desired effect in terms of wearability to Miss Four. She LOVED the bum detail. In fact, her song throughout the photo shoot went a lot like this. “I look so cool. I look so cool. I look so cool”.  Accompanied of course with the requisite bum wriggling. I am optimistic that these will be the first pants she is happy to wear this winter.

Little Miss Two’s top is a size 2, with the same modifications on the sleeve as the other top. I didn’t change the length (she is tiny!) but added a bottom ruffle just because I could. You might recognise the ruffle fabric from here. Drop waaaaaiiiiiist!