Finally, a hat

I have been meaning to sew a hat for ages.  In fact, I cut up a very old and worn hat about 15 years ago, with plans to make a new version.  The hat pieces ended up in one of my pattern boxes and it has taken until now to bring that project to fruition.

The outer fabric is a Nani Iro Mountain View Canvas left over from a dress.  The inside is a linen cotton blend.  I have added a woven, sew-in interfacing in the brim. 

 This inside shot shows that I have not made the hat reversible.  Instead, I have used a soft ribbon to cover the seams from attaching the brim to the hat.  I have copied this method from the original hat, only the original used a bias casing instead of a ribbon, and threaded a tie through the casing so that the hat could be tightened.  This is a good idea, but I remember the tie always being undone because I don't like things being tight on my head.  I'll just have to hold the hat on in the wind.

The wide brim gives plenty of shade, as shown in the next couple of photos.

The hat and t-shirt in these photos are both new today.  I whipped up the t-shirt before changing out the matching thread on the overlocker from a previous project.  Gotta minimise thread changes!  The pattern is the Basic InstincT by secondo piano.  The fabric is a rayon lycra jersy from Imagine Gnats (no longer available).  Because the fabric is much drapier than the one I used in my previous version of this pattern, I ran the sides in a little more and hemmed the sleeves a bit shorter.  I also rounded the hem on this version.  I probably should have sized down a pattern, to take the shoulders up a bit as well, but I wanted to sew this up quickly and did not want to trace off a new size. 


Vionnet inspiration for Frocktails

This year I decided to have more fun with my sewing.  My efforts to be more sustainable meant that I wasn't sewing much, because generally, I don't need any more clothes.  However, sewing is my therapy and it keeps my brain ticking through the more dreary aspects of life i.e. it is essential for my mental health.  I don't want to take up new hobbies, because that would mean acquiring more stuff.  Instead I decided to sew some things that I have always wanted to sew, whether it be to try a new fabric, pattern drafting technique or construction technique.  

I have always been drawn to 20's / 30's styles.  When I visited Melbourne, I went to see the Terracotta Warriors at the NGC and then by chance wandered into the Krystyna Campbell-Pretty Fashion exhibition, which I didn't know was showing (sadly my family got restless and I didn't spend as much time looking at these dresses as I would have liked).  

The next day I visited the Alannah Hill outlet next door to the Fabric Store in Fitzroy, and purchased 6 m of a salmon polyester charmeuse, on sale for $5 / m (I also bought a matching georgette and metres and metres of ribbon, which I made up in a different twenties inspired dress, to be blogged another day).  Evening dresses from the thirties take such a lot of fabric, but this price point made it viable.  The wheels started turning in my head and I decided to look up some Vionnet designs for inspiration.  

I visited the Metropolis Bookshop in the city  to see if they had any of the Vionnet books.  They didn't, but I can well recommend this bookstore because they have a great selection of fashion and pattern drafting books (I purchased Fashion Pattern Cutting by Zarida Zaman).  You have to know about this bookstore because it is 6 floors up (I think 6??) in Curtin House on Swanston St, so it is not a shop that you are just going to wander past.  I stumbled on it several years ago when a friend took me to a bar in the same building...yes, everybody else was keen to start sipping cocktails and I was wanting to sit and browse all the fashion design books.

When I got home, I ordered the Bunka Vionnet book online.  The internet is a wonderful thing.

My favourite design in the book was Pattern 14.

I decided to make a skirt and top, rather than the dress as shown.  The dress as designed is very elegant,; there's no arguing with that.  There were two reasons that I didn't make a dress.  Mostly the reason was because the weight of the skirt would drag down the top, and I think ti would be essential to muslin the dress in the same fabric as the final version to get the fit right, and I did not have a spare 6m to play around with (The fabric was cheap enough that I probably could have, but I was back on the other side of the country by this time).  The other reason is that I am very pear shaped, and drop waist dresses are not the most flattering for my shape.  I decided to make a skirt and top in keeping with the spirit of the original design.

For the skirt, I knew I wanted to keep the draped section at the centre back, so I created a skirt yoke that dropped down in a V, to mimic the shape of the original dress back bodice.  I liked the fullness of the skirt, but I decided to incorporate some of the fun panelling seen in many 30's designs.

I borrowed this book from my local library.  It is a huge treasure trove of inspiration.

There are plenty of line drawings and catalogue pictures.

It also has plenty of photos of actual garments being worn on real people.  This is a great reminder that many of the styles do not look exactly like the line drawings.  I bet this socialite was happy when the wrap dress was invented.

I drafted a skirt from my personal skirt block.  I joined the skirt front to the skirt back and closed the darts by adding flare to the skirt.  I drew in lines for the inset panel and cut it separate from the combined yoke / front.  I extended the back skirt in line with the yoke seam to create the back drape.  I added extra fullness to the skirt front.  I really should have added more fullness to the front skirt, as I did not get the effect I was after (go and look at this gorgeous dress to see what I wanted).  That's the problem of not making a skirt muslin.

There is no closure on the top; The pattern pieces are cut on the bias and I relied on the bias of the fabric to slip it over my head.  You can see the grainlines maked on the pattern pieces.  The CB is on the left side and the CF on the right.  I started with one of my personal patterns and manipulated the darts / side seams, rather than use the grid / pattern from the Bunka book.  I made two muslins to refine the fit.

A few construction photos.  This inside view of the front shows that I made a facing.  I interfaced the facing with a lightweight interfacing, but I wish I hadn't interfaced at all, as the interfacing interfered with the bias drape of the top and it did not fit me so well once the facing was added.

Inside back view of the top.  I used a rolled hem on the top, but for the skirt, I just overlocked the hem and turned it up the width of the overlocking.

I used an invisible zipper at the skirt back.  I used petersham for the skirt waistband.  Petersham is actually a bit difficult to get hold of these days.  This one was not a great quality.  I'm not sure what it is made of, but I tried dying it to match the fabric, using my bra-making dyes, which are suitable for nylon and silk.  It did not take enough dye to fully match, but it was better than white.   The skirt yoke does not have any side seams.  Instructions for constructing a petersham waistband usually include steps to tack the petersham down to the side seams.  I was not able to do this, and the petersham did have a tendency to flip up a little.

Here is a close up of one of my inset skirt panels.

Perth Frocktails gave me the perfect opportunity to complete and wear this outfit, so I actually have photos of the outfit being worn.

A side view, showing the angled seams of the top and the inset panel of the skirt.

The back view, showing the drapy bit at the CB of the skirt.  The back cut in triangles of the top are not as dramatic in my version compared to the original, but that is because I wanted my top to be able to be worn with a regular bra.

 It was windy and I was running late so I don't actually have a great front view of the outfit.  These photo do show how swishy it felt.

I had a blast at Frocktails.  It was so fun to meet so many sewists and discuss all the finer details of dresses and fabrics and construction.  Thanks to the committee for Perth Frocktails for organising such a fab event, and to the sponsors (goodie bags!!) and thanks to all those ladies who saw that I was on my own and welcomed me into their sewing discussions.


Trigg Shorts

I was recently introduced to Elbe Textiles, and as I am not in need of new clothes, I purchased the Trigg shorts pattern to sew for the blokes in my house.

Trigg beach is our favourite, and we find ourselves there most weekends, so it was easy to photograph these Trigg shorts on Trigg Beach :).

I  actually sewed up 4 pairs in a single weekend.  The print fabrics are all from Spotlight.  The tiny black / white check is a linen remnant leftover from my Ethel pants.  The watermelon print is for my younger son, who loves bright clothing.  The pears are being worn as pyjamas.  The pears are the longer length and the other 3 are all the shorter length.

After the first pair, I used a slightly narrower elastic, as I think the 5 cm wide elastic was a very snug fit in the waistband piece.  Another option would be to make the waistband a little wider, but I had some 4.5 cm wide elastic handy so I used that instead.


Another Jalie Nikita

Posting about my first Jalie Nikita inspired me to sew my next version, this time two sizes up.

Here you can see that this is a much better size for me and the back hangs much more nicely.  This soft bamboo fabric from Pitt Trading drapes beautifully. 

Here is the interesting side seaming and you can also see a thread hanging from my new Jalie 3351 shorts, made up in a super soft nylon spandex, also from Pitt Trading.  

Here is the front, already dirty because I had been for a run, then to the markets, then made smoothies before these photos were taken.  That mango seed was a slippery sucker.


Jalie Nikita

I was so excited by  the new Jalies, that I made up this Nikita pattern when it was first released, during out winter here.  It has only just got warm enough to wear it now.  Only in that time, I have had to stop running and I have taken up swimming 3 times a week.  I am not a strong person and struggle to build muscle, but swimming does seem to have built up my lats and this top is on the tight side (same with a lot of my summer tops, which is a bit sad).  My bust size is still a T on the Jalie chart, and I made a size U, grading out to a W in the hips, but clearly I need to allow extra room across the back.   I'm not sure if I also need to lower the armholes, or if this won't be a problem in a larger size.

I used a t-shirt from a fun run to test out the pattern and I did have to piece in a little bit of fabric to get it to fit.  I used this same fabric for the armhole bands.

I have a lovely soft bamboo lycra to use for my next version.