Stylearc Ethel Pants

I think what Stylearc does best is developing stylish patterns that can be sewn quickly, which is great for those of us who don't always have the time we want to sew.  This weekend I put together the Stylearc Ethel Pants.  

The fabric is a gorgeous linen, in a salt-and-pepper grey.  I have recently moved to Perth, and I had the pleasure of meeting up with sewing bloggers Meggipeg and Fadanista.  Not only did they give me the inside on fabric shopping in Perth, but they took me to a pop-up sale at Morgan and Marks, where they were selling off fabrics as well as clothing, and this linen was one of my purchases.  This linen is not so much grey as a mix of white and black threads.  I don't wear wear much grey, because it doesn't suit me and doesn't fit in well with my wardrobe, but this linen seems to go well with lots of colours.

Whether or not to sew a muslin is an ongoing debate; the cost and time of sewing a muslin versus potential cost and time of sewing a wadder.  One of the strategies I use to  skip a muslin and still minimise risk of a wadder is to develop a standard set of alterations for each pattern company.  For Stylearc pants I reduce the front crotch depth by 1 cm and extend the back crotch depth by 2cm.  I did that this time around, but I really don't think it was necessary to increase the back crotch depth!  

Now I am picking out fabric to make the matching Stylearc Ethel top.


Niizo Simple Day Casual Backpack

I had a lovely day today sewing up this backpack from Niizo, which I purchased as a kit.  

Front View.  I did learn some new techniques to sew on those leather accents.

Nifty pocket accessed through a side zip.

The kit includes canvas fabric for the outer, nylon for the lining and all the hardware and pre-punched leather accents.  All the components are great quality.  The only bit I changed out was the contrast lining for the top flap.  This contrast was from a tiny remnant I picked up years ago that has been patiently waiting for the right project to come along.

Inside view; one deep pocket and one smaller patch pocket.

Back view, showing back pocket.

The pattern includes some lovely details, such as these triangular tabs where the strap attaches to the bag.  

The final result is very professional looking.  The only bit I had trouble with was attaching the bottom of the bag, as there were multiple layers, including a layer of foam, and I did not manipulate the corners through all those layers as well as I would have liked.

In the interest of blogging completeness. I think the singlet I am wearing is an unblogged project.  It is Jalie 2565 made up in a snuggly bamboo / cotton / spandex  rib knit from Imagine Gnats.  I made 2 of these, with my usual alterations, only the rib binding pulled the armholes in tighter than usual, so the first one is sitting in the sewing room waiting to be unpicked and re-bound (ugh).  I cut the armholes lower on the second one and it is super comfy. 


Unicose Sports Bra

Have you tried Unicose patterns?  I had this pattern printed out for several months, but it took the PR active wear competition to give me the nudge I needed to get sewing.

Lining shots

 This is what the pattern instructions look like.

 This is how it fits.

Here is a copy of my pattern review.

Pattern Description: Sports bra with power mesh lining and key hole back

Pattern Sizing:XXS - 4XL

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?Yes

Were the instructions easy to follow?

No. The instructions are in Spanish. The instructions are very brief. The instructions were provided in diagrammatic form and I could not work out how to copy from the diagram to Google translate, so I had to manually type them into a translate package. Not all of the steps were included in the instructions, particularly for the lining. 

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

I like that it is a unique and modern style.
The sizing seems pretty good (though I would be more comfortable with a size up - personal preference). 

The unicose site was difficult to navigate. Treefrog has provided a good introduction to unicose patterns on her blog. There is also good information in this PR discussion.

Fabric Used:I used supplex for the outer. I went for a bit of bling, with a metallic lycra for the front contrast triangle. I used a power mesh for the large lining pieces, a wicking cotton lycra for the edge lining pieces and power netting for the lining front triangle. The strap edges are finished with fold-over elastic. I used a fairly firm elastic for the bottom band.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:My bottom elastic band is not as wide as the pattern recommends, because I used elastic that I had in stash.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?I am going to run in this a few times before I decide whether or not to sew it again. It is too tight for wearing all day, so I would just put in on for exercise and then take it off again. If I sewed it again, I might lower the sides and back so that it goes under my scapula.

As for my recommendations - I have rated this an advanced pattern. Mostly that rating is due to the instructions being both brief, and in Spanish, and the difficulty in navigating the unicose site. There are a lot of pieces to cut out. Some of the pieces are asymmetrical. No information is given regarding sewing techniques. There are lots of curved seams with a 1 cm seam allowance (I should have basted these first on my sewing machine, for more accuracy before overlocking - next time!) I could only recommend this pattern if you are already familiar with sewing activewear.

Conclusion: It is always fun to try out a new sewing pattern company, so I'm glad I gave this a whirl.


Home Sewn: Crystalline dress by Cybele

In a recent wardrobe cleanout, I came across a dress I made years ago but had never actually worn...I thought it deserved at least one outing before I discarded it.

The pattern for this Crystalline Dress by Cybele was published in "Home Sewn", which featured patterns from 10 leading New Zealand Designers.  It was published in 2012, which is probably when I sewed this dress.  It was the cover outfit for the publication.  I even chose a similarly coloured fabric.



I'm bundling a few projects together in this post.

The above photo shows a batch of bras that I made for my daughter.  I never thought that I would sew bras for anyone else, but I like sewing, and I have enough clothes for myself, and she needed bras, so there we go.  The bottom one is the Marlborough, and sadly, it was too small.  The top 3 are variations on the Boylston bra, which I have never made for myself, but I thought would suit her.  It is actually more fun sewing for her because the only fit changes I needed to make were to move the straps in, at both the front and the back.  I need a whole heap of fitting changes to get a bra pattern to fit me.

These cute swan knickers were made using Jalie 3886 Julia, using a cotton knit fabric left over from a dress for my daughter.  This panty pattern is great, but the matching bra I made was such a disaster that I didn't even finish it.  I think for the Julia bralette, I need to choose a larger size for the band than the bodice.  The band was way too tight.  Also, I find fold-over elastic to be too flimsy for bra straps, probably more so because this cotton knit is quite firm.  Also, the bralette darts seemed a bit odd.  I haven't given up on this pattern though, and will us it again, choosing a different size and different straps.  I still have enough of this fabric to make another bra, but I think I will make the Jalie 3131, as my last two versions were worn until they fell apart.  

This bralette is made using the free Barrett Bralette pattern from Madalynne.  I made this on the morning before I left for a long flight, and it was so comfy for the journey.  I am surprised by how often I reach for this one, because usually I prefer underwired bras to bralettes.  I did change the position of the straps at the back, as I have a lot of tops with cut-away armholes.

Another bralette pattern I like is the Hanna Bralette from Studio Costura.  I modified this pattern to make a couple of bikinis; two for myself and one for my niece.  They are good enough to swim laps in, or catch a few waves at the beach.

It seems to be getting a bit harder to find fabrics and notions for bar-making in Australia than it was a few years ago.  In spite of my extensive stash, I had to order a few bits and pieces to make the bras for my daughter, and I ended up ordering some duoplex and elastics from Nellie Joans in NZ.  I know about Booby Traps, but if anyone can give me info on Aussi suppliers for bra-making, it would be appreciated.

Happy Sewing xx