Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Sewn: Vogue 8904

Hello again all! And welcome to new readers, I hope you like grey!

A few years ago, I tried on this dress. It was something like $268, and beige, but I almost bought it because the fit was amazing. I felt like a million dollars. Well, except for the beige part. So when Vogue Patterns released 8904, by Marcy Tilton, I snapped it up. And then waited and waited to find the right fabric. I find that fabric shopping is the hardest part of sewing the wardrobe of my dreams sometimes, don't you?

At any rate, there was a scant 2 metres of this fun grey (I know, I know), subtly striped knit on a Fabricland remnant table this winter, and I knew it would be great for this pattern. There was not really enough, and I had to cut a few corners, but I did make it in the end.

And yes, this is my current favourite necklace. You'll be seeing it again.

Pattern Review has loads to say about this pattern, it was one of their top picks for 2013, so head over and check it out if you need more details. Yes, I made a couple of changes. I shortened the base layer above the waist by 1" (there isn't a lengthen/shorten line, I marked a line 2" above the waist and used that). I didn't need to alter the top layers, they still fit on nicely. I cut the bottom piece with the stripes running horizontally, to mimic the original dress, and altered the pattern sleeves to a cap sleeve. The sleeves are still a bit fluttery, but they are ok. And after looking over the instructions, I did my own thing. The first step was too machine baste around every tier piece - unnecessary.

Sneaky lengthening piece.  And side seam matching!

Oh, and since I didn't have enough fabric for the longer version (View A is short!), I cheated and stitched the lowest tier to the inside of the base layer for extra length. That way if the skirt layers flipped up, you would see a stitch line, but not the edge of the lowest tier. Not ideal, but better than not wearable. You can see a lot of wrinkling and puckering in the photos, but a lot of that is not visible in real life. Still, I think this dress does need to be fitted to work well, like the inspiration dress.




Instead of a neck binding, I just stitched the two layers together at the neck, incorporating some clear elastic for stability, and flipped the outside layer to the right side before basting it to the base layer at the side seams. It made for a super clean finish, which I topstitched using a zig zag.

The bad news about this dress is the fabric. If you look at it the wrong way, it pills, and the raw edges are starting to fray! I would love to make this dress again, so I'm keeping an eye out for something amazing.

Hmm. Perhaps some swayback alteration next time?

Marcy Tilton does have her own online fabric shop, but with the current exchange rate, and shipping & duty, that's just not an option right now. Check out those stripes! But when I find some more suitable fabric, I will be trying this dress again. 

Till next time!

Friday, 17 July 2015

Sewn: Named Alexandria Trousers / Butterick 6182 Top

I'm back again, and you may be feeling some deja vu - yes, I have sewn a second pair of Named Alexandria trousers, still grey, but this time, in a woven. Ta da!


I used the same size as my previous knit pair, and I'm happy with the fit. The fabric is a lovely lovely tencel from Leo's here in Toronto. They have it in loads of neutral colours, I was hard pressed to choose! I made one change to the waistband, and created a flat front band from pocket to pocket, using fusible waist banding for a crisp finish. No messing around trying to cut shifty fusible bits for me (I usually only have knit interfacing on hand, I find it good for most projects, but frustrating to cut!). Basically, these are as close to the Eileen Fisher trousers of my dreams without drafting my own as I am likely to get.

Prepared waistband interfacing - quick and easy!

It's been a while since I made a white top, but they are one of my wardrobe workhorses, so I was overdue for a new one. This is Butterick 6182, a Lisette pattern. I bought the pattern specifically for the top, the dart placement and boxy shape really called to me.



Now, I did have to make some changes to the the pattern to get it to work for me. I think the finished version does look like the pattern envelope, but it required some tweaking. I originally cut the size 16, according to my bust measurement. However, when I pinned the tissue together to check the length, I discovered that the upper bodice is very very short. I ended up taping the shoulders/neckline back on, and using the size 22 cutting lines to get the bust marking at my actual full bust. The darts sit just below the fullest part, and I think that's a flattering spot for them. If the darts were higher, there would be a definite maternity vibe on me. Even with the additional inch in length from shoulder to bust, I used a band to finish the hem to preserve the body length, and yes, I realize this is a cropped top. It was just too cropped!


For the hem band, I cut a piece 2" deep, the width of the hem, and folded it in half with the right sides facing out. Then I put the band under the raw edge of the top, and stitched it on with two lines of stitching from the right side. The fabric was too thick for the neck binding/facing, so I used a heavy white jersey from my stash instead.




The fabric is a textured white knit, part of last year's Textile Museum haul. It seems like a cotton blend, it's not that quilted poly stuff that was everywhere this winter (which I also love). I was tempted to make a dress out of it, but I love it for this top. There is some left over, so you may see it again, depending on how much there is. It has loads of body, so I was able to turn the sleeve bands up and they stay put.




 I'm really happy with how this outfit turned out, and I love these pieces so together so much that I have yet to wear one without the other! But I have no doubt that I will, they are both standouts.






Sunday, 24 May 2015

Sewn: Named Alexandria trousers

Well, here at Button and Needle, we've skipped right over spring into summer. But this latest addition to my spring (and most likely fall and winter) wardrobe really came in handy.

Way back at the end of March, my appendix and I parted company. It was a surprise, as I'm sure it is most of the time, and when it came time to go back to work, my skinny jeans just weren't going to cut it. At all. I turned into a big puffball, and in a possibly pain med induced fit of desperation, I decided that making my own sweatpants was preferable to dragging myself to the mall to buy some. Also, pyjamas at the mall - not a line I want to cross.


So, meet my secret pyjamas - Named Alexandria trousers in charcoal grey loop back fleece. So so very comfortable, and also work appropriate! I purchased this fabric at Fabricana out west, without having a plan, but knowing it would come in handy. And I had been searching for a casual pleated front trouser pattern for a while when the Ticket collection was released. I had the pattern taped together and cut out before the appendix incident, so it was ready to go.

I cut the size 42, based on my hip measurement. My waist is hovering in the 44-46 size range, and there is still plenty of ease at the waist to create the gathered look without any alterations to the pattern. I didn't size down for working with a knit, but I am very happy with the easy fit.

The back pockets.

I cut the front "corner" piece and inner pocket bag in one, by simply pinning the two pattern pieces together along the seam line. And I didn't add the drawstring at the waist, as I really don't like them, unless they are on real pyjamas. The back pockets are on the low side, which was fine for this pair, as I won't be tucking shirts in to them, but might be too low otherwise.

A peek inside the pocket/pleat.

These came together so easily, I just plunked myself down at the serger and whipped them up on Sunday afternoon for work on Monday morning. In order for the pocket to hide under the second pleat, you do need to pay attention to the notches, but if you follow them, you'll be just fine.




All in all, these are a welcome addition to my closet. And I love the pattern, I think it's really versatile, and I can imagine a few different pairs fitting into my life very easily!

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, 8 March 2015

On the Watson Wagon

Welcome to March! And welcome to my newfound love, lingerie making!

There must be something in the air these days, it seems like bra making posts are popping up all over the place. And eventually, my interest was piqued. The combination of the Watson pattern from Cloth Habit and the fabric kits from Blackbird Fabrics was too powerful to resist.

Hello ladies!

First let's talk about the Watson in general. I'm an underwire girl all the way, but in all my sewing adventures I had yet to make a bra (well, with the exception of the Pneuma), so this looked like a good project to get my feet wet. I struggled with the sizing at first, measuring my rib cage at 31", upper bust at 36" and full bust at 39". This led me to choose the 34C. (For reference, I generally wear a 34D). I merrily cut everything out, and followed the excellent sew along start to finish over the course of an afternoon.

At the end, I had made a very pretty bra for a someone who is much smaller than I.

I could just barely get the band fastened, but it was far too tight and I was squeezed out everywhere. One issue that I had overlooked is that the pattern comes in from the top of the band to the bottom, and I am pretty much straight down through my torso. Also, it was just too small.

As for the cups, lets just say they runneth over. There was just nowhere for me to go!


The side view really shows the difference in size. 36E is on the left.

But I was undeterred, and jumped right back into things with version 2. This time I opted for the shorter band, and after comparing pattern pieces to some of my existing bras, cut the 36E. And it fits! This is definitely a lounging around the house eating bon bons bralette, but it is totally wearable.

The winner! Not sure what's going on with the lighting here though.


I found the kit from Blackbird had everything that I needed, although the fabric is shinier than I had thought - gives me a bit more of an American Apparel feeling than I was looking for. The elastics are great, and the back closure is a real winner. It feels nice and soft, and was easy to attach. And they are now available for purchase individually! I had enough elastic for both bras, but I did need to get more strapping for #2, along with rings, sliders & closure of course. The lycra from Blackbird is a bit on the lightweight side for me, if I'd had more of the power mesh left, I would have experimented with lining the cups with it. But there's always next time.

There's one other thing I noticed during this journey - I used a different machine for #2, and the feed dogs are a bit wider set. This made for some frustrating moments when the fabric just would not feed evenly, or the seam allowances got stuck in the plate. Changing the presser foot pressure didn't really help, but by that time, I just wanted to see how I was doing size-wise. It's given me something to look for if I ever do replace my current machine, which gave me no trouble for #1. Here's a peek inside so you can see what I mean:

See, not so nice. Lots of dragging and catching.

Even though it took a second try to get a wearable result, I'm hooked. I haven't had this much fun sewing something in ages. I mean, it's usually enjoyable, but this was truly fun!

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Sweater Weather: Brooklyn Tweed Coda

Hello out there, greetings from the winter wonderland that is Ontario! I know we're not alone, and that most of eastern Canada and our southern neighbour states are under a big blanket of snow. What better way to while away the cold days than knitting?



This started out as a Brooklyn Tweed Coda, which is a lovely pattern. The front has a cable along the raglan seam, and the back has an arched cable across the upper back. However, the more experienced knitters of Ravelry who had posted photos gave me pause. I really didn't like how the back arch looked, and I knew I would not want to wear it with the arch on the front (the pattern is designed to be reversible). So, I boldly changed course partway through - a bit of a leap for my second ever sleeved sweater, admittedly!

Well hello - come check out my cables.


According to my Ravelry notes,  I started this sweater in September, though it does seem like it's been longer. Some projects just like to linger with us, don't they? Not helped in the least by my decision to alter the pattern, and discovering that one ball of yarn (Textile Museum sale haul!!) was just a ball of really short strands.  So, here's what I finished up with, and a quickie recap of what I changed, for the record.


Yup, no arch here.

Once the front was finished, I went ahead and knit the back the same way, but I added another 8 rows of the pattern to bring it up higher at the back neck. Then I did some fun math, starting the sleeves from the bottom up, and decreasing using the original pattern as a I guide. I finished off with some short rows to shape the sleeves at the top, and used the original neck ribbing from the pattern. I made loads of mysterious notes, but I'm not 100% sure I could recreate this again.

The itch factor is medium, there may be some collared shirt sewing in my future...

Oh, and size wise, this is the 41, on most days that should be 3" of positive ease, which is one of the mysteries of knitting for me. It definitely looks more roomy on the model, but I'm pretty happy with how this turned out. And I love the colour - it matches my favourite mustard jeans, which would make a pretty snazzy outfit, I'm sure. I'll leave that to your imagination for now, that's a whole lot of mustard!


Saturday, 24 January 2015

Rigel o Rama

This is my second foray into Papercut Patterns. I actually purchased this pattern with last year's Christmas money, but didn't get around to making it up until last month. And now, with Rigel Bomber Jacket January, I'm right on time.


I had a chunk of grey quilted fabric left over from my last dress, but not enough to make a whole garment. So off to the fabric store I went, and returned with some black quilted fabric, that is unfortunately a slightly lighter weight. I was really hoping for something more similar to the grey, in both weight and style, but I was impatient. Naturally, I found some remnants of other amazing quilted knits a few weeks later, but what's done is done. I really thought this fabric would be a good match for the style of garment, but now I am not so sure. See, Gillian, we are in a similar predicament!



I cut a size Small, as that's the closest to my measurements, but there is something about this jacket that feels big. It seems like the shoulders and upper chest are large, but the body is ok.  Also, the neck seems kind of large and low. I did raise the front opening 1", because it seemed to hit me in a weird spot, but that didn't seem to work. I'm also not in love with the low quality ribbing, which is not a true black, and is too floppy.



The instructions were nice and clear, the only thing I did not do was interface my welts or pocket opening. The wrong side of this fabric is nice and sturdy, and the risk of fraying pretty much nil. I did enjoy making the welts, and aside from them, I whipped up this whole garment on my serger, which is always fun.

Friends, this project is a fail for me. I like boxy, but I feel like a lump when I put this on, which so far has only been for these photos. So many people have made really great Rigel jackets, but I am just not one of them. I'm not 100% sure, but I think the raglan sleeves have a lot to do with it. Particularly with this colour blocking, I don't think they are doing me any favours.

Sad. And out of focus to boot.

A bit of a bummer to start the year off with, but I'm just going to post this, and move on!

Here's to happier sewing ahead!

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Fourteen and a half!

Hello there! Yes, I'm still sewing away in my little corner of the universe, but the time sure has been flying by. To get me back into the swing of things, I thought I'd share one of my favourite recent makes, McCall's 3074, a "Pounds Thinner" pattern.



Vintage patterns hadn't held much appeal for me until recently. I'm not 100% sure where I picked up this little tidbit, but somewhere along the line, I learned about the half size patterns of the 1960's and 70's - patterns drafted not only to be petite, lengthwise, but a bit more generous through the middle, and with a lower bust. Basically, these patterns were drafted with my figure in mind. At 5'7, I'm not petite, but I'm certainly short waisted, and after shortening bodices, I usually need to expand the waistline of patterns by a size or two. I get around this a lot of the time by choosing straighter cuts, which I love, but I couldn't resist the siren call of the half size sewing pattern!



And judging from this post from Dress a Day, I'm not alone. Okay, on to the dress.

This is View A, without the collar. There is are seams centre front and back, and seaming diagonally to shape the bust. The back also has a seam at the waist, as well as darts, and opens with a zip centre back.


 The fabric is an amazing quilted knit that I first spotted over on Sewaholic last year. Check out Tasia's post for loads of tips on how to deal with these fun quilted knits, it's excellent. At any rate, when visiting out west last summer, I found the last couple of metres on the bolt at Fabricana, and I was over the moon. This was the fabric the pattern had been waiting for, and it all came together beautifully.

The fabric is very thick, and doesn't really press at all, so the centre front neck is a bit bulky. I trimmed the seams as close as I dared, and really gave it a good whack with the iron, and it's not bad. I also put in an invisible zip, because I prefer them. I find I get a reliably neater finish, and I enjoy putting them in.

Top stitching!

I top stitched all the seams, except the centre back - I didn't want to draw attention to the zip, just have it blend right in. The hems and facings are cross stitched in place, since the fabric has a fused backing, perfect for invisible tacking.








This was a really fun and satisfying project, and I love this dress! I've even snatched up a few more half-size dress patterns to try the next time the vintage bug bites. 

Thanks for stopping by - and Merry Christmas!