Saturday, 31 December 2016

Sewn: Style Arc Violet

 Hello out there! Well, since my last post we have left summer behind, skipped over fall, and are truly in winter. And winter means sweaters. Without further ado, I give you the Style Arc Violet.

This was a case of the fabric definitely dictating the pattern. I was travelling in Spain this fall, and we serendipitously came across a great flea market in Barcelona. For someone from North America, these European markets are a thing to behold! There were old things, new things, high-end faucets and junk from people's old sheds (so it seemed). And there was fabric! At least a dozen different stalls, plus some that specialized in haberdashery. The prices were excellent, and the selection was pretty great. Lots of novelty print and not a lot of finer fabrics, but some really fun stuff. This paisley print is almost a sweatshirt type knit, but with a twill weave appearance. At 3 Euro a metre, I was in!

So, the pattern is described as a "master piece of pattern engineering", and it is most definitely something that I could not have drafted myself. The front pieces form what is a sort of shawl collar around the back of the neck, and the back is two pieces that curve around to the front. There is a seam in the centre back of the lower back panel, but I cut that piece on the fold to preserve the continuity in the print. The hem is finished with a deep band that disguises tiny tiny pockets. I made mine as deep as the band, and they are just big enough for my phone. I was inspired by Carrie, who made a grey Violet, and has lots of nice clear pictures on her blog for you to check out.

Here's a slightly out of focus shot of the way the armholes are finished, with a neat band ending in a lovely angle. I used my serger for the bulk of this project, but I did baste those bands on with my regular machine first to get that angle sitting precisely.

And bonus, there was enough fabric left for a scarf! It's just a tube that I managed to sew together incorrectly three times before getting it right, but I'm happy with how it turned out, and it means I can admire this fabric with loads of other outfits, too.

Happy New Year!!

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Sewn: New Look 6446

I have made a jumpsuit, and it is glorious! Well, after that opener, I think it might be obvious, but this is one of my favourite makes, possibly ever. New Look 6446, a jumpsuit or dress with a sort of apron style bodice.

So, after my previous culotte experience, I saw this post on Not Dressed As Lamb. I almost ordered her jumpsuit right then and there, but caution got the better of me. A few days later, I was window shopping with a friend and tried on a blue denim jumpsuit. It really didn't fit, but the style looked very promising. That night, while searching for a top for my culottes, this pattern practically threw itself at me, and the rest is history.

Although I really love the white version, I figured that blue would probably get more wear. I picked up 2 yards of this stretch denim look at Queen Textiles here in Toronto, overlooking that the fabric was 54" not 60" wide. I managed to cut all the pieces I needed, but decided to abandon the belt for now. I didn't have anything with the right stretch or weight to make a muslin, so I resigned myself to fitting as I sewed. Oddly, the front pant was far too wide, and I ended up going down 2 sizes in width to get the side seam to sit at my sides. I knew that the stretch would most likely mean taking things in, but that was not what I expected!

For the bodice front, I traced the size 16 on to the fabric and basted it in place, and did not like what I saw at all. I tried shortening the darts, but that still looked weird. After playing around with some pins, I ended up continuing the waist dart into a princess seam, which took a lot of width out of the upper portion. I am fairly narrow through the upper chest, which is not something that I correct for a lot, as in loose fitting garments it's not usually an issue. In this case, though, I cut the top band after sewing the new princess seams in place, measured, and cut the size 12 band. When I went to sew it on, I had to take another 1 1/2" off, which makes it considerably narrower than the pattern! Another thing to keep in mind about how my bodice fits, is that I usually shorten bodices by about 1" to accommodate my short waisted-ness. I didn't do that here, opting to wait and see how my draped front turned out. So I also have more coverage at the top and under the arms. I'm glad that I did things that way, though, as otherwise my bra would not be covered. So although I definitely started with the pattern, things changed considerably along the way.

Just look at all that coverage! No bra straps on display here.

There were no invisible zips to be found in my colour, so I went with a centre zip with hook and eye at the top. I can get the zip up by myself, but of course I can't do up the hook. Which means I couldn't undo the hook myself.... so I should just take it off, as it's pretty much useless. The pattern also calls to line the bodice, but in my sturdy fabric I opted to use facings instead. The top band is faced anyway, so I just needed to make pieces for the front underarm and the back.

To recap, here is my laundry list of pattern adjustments:

Started with the size 18 bottom (adding 1 1/4" in rise length to front and back) and 16 top.
Finished with the size 18 pant back, 16 bodice back, 14 pant front, and probably size 6 front band. The bodice front I essentially draped right on myself. Scooped the front and back crotch approximately 1/4" each.

Summer seems to be releasing it's grip at long last, but I have worn this beauty a few times in the weeks since it's been finished, including twice to work last week. It's official, this is true garment love. And it's opened up a whole world of style possibilities - I've picked up a second jumpsuit pattern, and I've been thinking... I don't wear a lot of dresses, but I could just add the bodice to pants instead of skirts! If I still feel this way next spring, be prepared for one-piece dressing at long last!

Has anyone else had any sewing epiphanies lately?

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Sewn: Butterick 6178, New Look 6459

Sewing Dare complete! Thanks to the amazing Gillian over at Crafting a Rainbow, I have branched out and made culottes, undoubtably the pant silhouette of 2016. Here's the dare:  "I”m going to dare you to sew up a trouser style that is a little new and different! Maybe culottes, maybe fashion jogging pants, maybe flares, loose rayon trousers?" 

Well Gillian, here they are! These are Butterick 6178, a basic culotte pattern with either voluminous pleats or a more simple shape (my choice, View D).

Many of the patterns that I am drawn to are very easy fitting, with elastic waistbands (or no discernible waist at all - overalls, anyone?). So, when it came time to cut something with an actual fitted waist, I made a muslin. My waist and hip put me in a size 18, so I went ahead and cut them out, with my only alteration to lengthen the crotch depth by 1/2". Much to my surprise, the muslin fit very well, so I cut into my good fabric.

I'm not sure what to call this colour - acid gold? I was looking for more of a mustard yellow, but didn't have much luck. So, since this was a dare, I just went for a bold colour in fabric that took my fancy. It's a crisp cotton sateen, that I pre-washed & hung to dry. It was nice and smooth before I washed it, and now it's full of tiny wrinkles that won't press out. Bummer.

A couple of things bug me now that these are together about the fit - I could definitely shorted the front rise at the waistband by 3/8", as they have a wrinkle there. And I wasn't sure about the darts, I thought they could all be a bit shorter. But I wore them all day today, and I think the darts are fine. But one thing I did notice after wearing, is that I'd like to transfer about 1/2" from the front side seam to the back. I just feel that the side seam is not quite at my side!

Not entirely sure what has my attention down there...

The pattern called for a regular zipper, but I just could not find one in the right colour, and went for a beige invisible zip instead. Honestly, I much prefer invisible zips, so no problems there.

Of course, after I had made these beauties up, I couldn't find any tops to wear with them! Most of my boxy tops are just a bit too long, hitting me at a tough spot in these voluminous pants. So, what's a girl to do? Make a top to go with, naturally!

The top I decided on is New Look 6459, modelled on the cover with the coordinating cropped pant - perfect. For this one, I did not make a muslin, instead jumping right into the size 16. I did check the finished measurements, but ended up recutting the front (after the facings were on and everything), and cutting a new one with a full bust adjustment. I wish I had a "before" photo for you, because it was pretty disheartening. gaping armholes, tight across the front (and the back a bit, too). Sadness! I knew it would never be worn, and I had enough fabric for a new front. I've resolved to embrace pattern adjustments in the future.

The fabric for the top is a heavy weight white blend,with a pique effect on one side and a slight stripe on the other, with a bit of stretch. I cut my pattern on the cross grain (no doubt not helping the tightness across the back) so that my stripes would run horizontally. I really like the crisp fabric for this pattern, and can picture it looking great in a barkcloth. If one crosses my path...

I love this armhole shape!

So, there we have it, sewing dare complete, bonus garment to boot!

Thanks Gillian for pushing us all to try new things, and for the incredible job you do machine the dared to the dare! I'm calling this a success.

Has anyone else taken on a sewing dare?

**big shout out to NB for taking these pics! Thanks!

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Sewn: Style Arc Maggie Shirt

Hold on to your hats - there's more than a hint of colour here! This is the Style Arc Maggie shirt, and it is wonderful.

 I've had my eye on this pattern for a couple of years now, it's a style that's always appealed to me: short grown on sleeves, simple stand collar, yoke, and the icing on the cake, a half placket.

So I had been keeping this pattern in the back of my mind for a while, when I remembered this great fabric that I picked up last summer while visiting friends in Stockholm. The print is big and bold, and I could finally picture the Maggie in action.

The fabric is very silk-like, but I'm fairly certain it's polyester. But it's beautiful, and feels great against the skin. Cutting, however, was a bit of a trial, as I had only 1 metre, it's very slippery, and I cut on the floor. (Side note, this is the size 12, and my fabric was 60" wide - a larger size would not have fit). Naturally, after carefully placing the pieces, I reversed the right and left front, and now the tricksy placket is on the wrong side, but at that point, I just went with it. The print is busy enough to hide my mistake!

Oh, the placket - I spent a good hour trying to figure it out by folding the paper pattern this way and that, searching (fruitlessly!) for information online, and finally just went for it. It looks just fine, but I'd like to revisit and improve on the method if I make this again! I felt like a contestant on the Great British Sewing Bee, stumped by the lack of step by step illustration! There is a centre front seam, but the placket is part of the right and left side fronts, not a separate piece. I ended up with a raw edge hanging free inside, which seemed as though it should somehow be tucked in. I resorted to fray check and a bit of hand sewing to keep things in place.

Placket innards

It's actually quite long when untucked.

There's a nice inverted pleat at the centre back, too.

All in all I am very pleased with how this turned out, and I would recommend the pattern, just take your time with the placket, and let me know if you've figured out how to finish it off neatly!

Until next time...

Saturday, 4 June 2016

Sewn: Kwik Sew 3897

I have joined the overall revolution! At first I wasn't entirely sold on them, but after a few outings, I kind of love them.

These are Kwik Sew 3897, and they are a pretty classic overall, easy to put together. This was my first Kwik Sew pattern, and I really liked it. No excess notches or markings, just a nicely drafted pattern.

This dark denim was from the remnant section of Fabricland, and of course it was in two pieces. This made it necessary to get creative with my cutting, and I made a few changes to the pattern. Some were for style, and some to deal with the fabric shortage.

First off, I decided to square off the pockets, for a more streamlined look. I also shortened the back between the waist and the straps by 2", and added a seam on the back leg at the knee - these were both due to the fabric situation, but I'm glad I shortened the back. It sits fairly high between the shoulder blades even with my alteration. I left the front alone, though. I also scooped the back seam in above the waist once I had them almost together. Oh, and I also narrowed the straps and used child size overall clips. Sadly, they did not come with the sliders to hold the tails of the straps in place, so they are currently had sewn down. 

Here's a nice close up of my "design feature" fabric save - I quite like it, actually. Looks on purpose to me!

There was a boat load of top stitching in this project, and I used Guetermann's jeans thread in colour 339 (on a grey spool, on the "jeans" display in the store). I love this thread! It is nice and subtle, not quite as thick as some of the other jeans topstitching threads that I have - the gold & bronze ones. It's a big spool, and got me through two projects, but I snapped up another spool just to have (believe me, this is unusual behaviour, I love nothing better than to finish things up and not replace them!) I think this thread belongs in my neutral arsenal for good. My machine was perfectly happy with the topstitching, but balked at buttonholes, so I had them done professionally. Best four dollars I ever spent.

Now I just need to add a few more overall-friendly tops to my wardrobe, and summer is all set!

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Sewn: Burdastyle Illusion Jacket

Well, hello there! Long time no post. However, there has been some sewing!

So, lately I've come to the conclusion that I actually have enough clothing, which has lead to some more intentional sewing. I was inspired by the #MakeNine hashtag, and made myself a Pinterest board to keep me honest. I've had a bullet list on my phone for ages, but I find the images helpful. Also, nine items is a reasonable goal for both my available time and mental energy. I may well make more than nine garments for myself this year, but it's nice to have a goalpost.

First on my list was a new winter-ish jacket or coat. I've made it through the last few winters with my trusty basic black parka, and I have to level with you, I really like it. It's lightweight, keeps me warm, and I don't worry about it getting grubby - there is a lot of schlepping and public transport in my life. However, there are times when I would like my outerwear to be a bit more... elegant. And also slightly more fun. Enter the Burdastyle Illusion Jacket.  I'm drawn to anything grey (shocker!), and I liked the simple design with the "illusion" sleeves - the black sleeves are part of the coat, they are attached at the armhole. The asymmetrical front closes with three giant snaps, for a nice clean finish.

Not too bad...

Naturally, I threw caution to the wind and did not make a muslin. Sigh - I think I used the Burda size chart, which put me in a 44 bust. I recently made up another Burda pattern in a 40, with no alterations, and the fit is pretty decent. So, suffice it to say, this coat is just way too big!

What on earth are those sleeve/shoulder things doing?? The armholes are very large, very low, and kind of nonsensical, as the inner sleeves are designed to be closer fitting. It looks ok from the front, but the back - yikes! It's obvious to me now that I should have a) made a muslin, and then b) sized down through the shoulder/armhole area. The upper short sleeves really stand out from the body, especially under the arms - and I used lining on the inside, they were supposed to be a double layer of wool! My photographer has also suggested compressing them from the top seam, as well.

I also struggled a bit with what to wear underneath for these photos, which is probably not a good sign in a coat. I do wear a lot of scarves, but this neckline is really open. It looked particularly ridiculous with a collared shirt, but you'll just have to take my word for it.

Unfortunately, I can't see myself wearing this coat. I have no fabric left, not even scraps, but I may try some alterations if I'm feeling really adventurous in the summer.

So there you have it, a wardrobe sewing fail! Although it was nice to to a bit of light tailoring for a change...

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Knit: Fair Isle Band Sweater

Well hello 2016! I'm a bit out of practice on the blogging front, so here we go.

This is the Fair Isle Band Sweater with Short Sleeves (a bit of a mouthful!) from Anna Wilkinson's Learn to Knit, Love to Knit. It was the only pattern that really grabbed me from the book, but it was love at first sight.

This was my first try at colour work, and I think it was ok. I'm pleased with how it turned out, but my technique could use some work. It was basically a wing and a prayer. If I ever want to use more than two colours, I'll need to get some professional advice!

Speaking of colour, I love the names for this yarn - it's Classic Elite Fresco, in Onyx and Root Beer! I picked it up at with my Christmas money last Boxing Day. It was lovely to knit, but the fuzzy pills are a bit of a worry. I'm nervous to shave them off, but it may come to that sooner rather than later.

Hmm, a but blurry! But also a bit fuzzy. It's a theme! Also, here's a hint of what my hair looked like in the 90's. Definitely time for a trim.

I love this top, and I have already worn it at least half a dozen times since finishing it off in December. It's been a mild winter so far, so the short sleeved sweater has been perfect. One thing I've noticed while wearing, though. The whole thing slides back quite a bit, so a forward shoulder adjustment would have been nice. Something to look out for in future projects. Also, this is the largest size, bust 41" and I hover around 38". I added 6 stitches to the front only, to give myself a bit more room, and I am glad I did. Even when my gauge is spot on, I'm finding it tough to get a grip on ease in knitting.

Pattern on the back, too. One of the best parts of making your own clothes, if you ask me.

And check out my first neckband picking up stitches! I was a bit worried that it wouldn't turn out well, but I used this tutorial to figure it out.

I think I'll keep it short and sweet - thanks for stopping by, and if you have any knitting sizing/shape advice, please pass it along!