Stylearc Dixie

I think my endless summer might have finally come to an end.  I know that many others may not find Queensland weather to be cold, but this week is the coldest I have been in years.  I can't remember when I last wore jeans and I actually went running in capri length leggings this week.  This means that I can change the way I think about what I wear, and therefore what I sew.

First up, I have sewn a Stylearc Dixie woven top.

The pattern illustration is colour-blocked, although I have chosen different colour blocking for my combination of fabrics.
  • My yoke is made from a Japanese fabric that I bought in Japan several years ago.  I'm not sure what this fabric is called, but it seemed terribly expensive for a little square and has a crepe-y sort of texture.
  • For the back and neck binding I have used a linen from Tessuti (Turquoise Flip). I haven't sewn with linen for a long time and I really enjoyed working with this fabric.  I did use a different method of applying the binding than the pattern instructions suggest.  I made bias binding with folds on each edge using a bias-binder thingy-ma-jig.  I sewed in the line of one fold, as I attached the binding to the inside of the top.  Then I folded the binding in half, with the other folded edge turned under and top-stitched from the outside.
  • The front body and sleeves are made from a crinkle woven remnant from The Fabric Store.  The crinkles mean that the fabric stretches out quite a bit with movement.  I lined the front body with a lightweight cotton, as it was a bit sheer on its own.  I cut the hem of the lining shorter and straight across.

The line drawing describes the sleeves as 3/4, but the illustration and pattern show elbow length sleeves.  My sleeves look a lot fuller and floppier than the illustration because of my fabric choice.  The crinkle fabric stretches out when I move my arm.  Re-wetting the fabric shrinks the crinkles back in, so the sleeves will come back to shape each wash.  Initially I used the blue linen for the sleeves, decorated with trims to match the yoke.  They were very elaborate, but I found these sleeves way too restrictive.  I knew that restrictive sleeves would stop me wearing the top, so I ripped them out and put in the crinkle sleeves, which don't look as smart but are infinitely more comfortable.

The pattern has a curved hem.  The instructions given are for a split hem, which did confuse me for a while.  I contacted Stylearc and they are going to change these instructions.  I just thought I would mention it as no other reviewer has mentioned this and I thought I was misunderstanding the instructions for a bit. 

The back has both horizontal and vertical seaming, which is a nice detail and allows for easy alterations for more back shaping (although I didn't think to do this until I finished all my top-stitching).  The neck closes with a button and loop.

So does this mean I need to change the name of my blog?  I'll have to think about it.


Blue Ponte Skirt

There seems to be some sort of disconnect between the person I think I am (avid sewer, can whip a few new garments to spruce up the wardrobe each season) and the person I actually am (person with a large sewing space and expanding fabric stash who only sews easy projects in shorts bursts of activity during the school holidays).

I guess the solution is to like wearing clothes of simple design and simpler construction.  Which this skirt is.

I used the same patrones pattern as this skirt, added as much length as my remnant would allow, eliminated the back darts and extended upwards from the waistline to accommodate a sewn-in elastic waistband.

Quick sew.  Quick blog post.


Steeplechase leggings

I have noted that all the other pattern testers blogging about their Steeplechase leggings  have very sporty shots of their leggings in action.  It was so hot here when I was testing this pattern that I could only wear shorts to run in.  I am still only wearing shorts and can't bear to wearing leggings of any length.  So I thought I would make a winter version of this pattern....a lounging pair with yoga style waistband.  My only other yoga style pants are so old and worn they are hardly fit to wear.  Because it is still so hot here, I have only put my steeplechase leggings on long enough to take photos for Melissa...so these are the photos you get as well...don't compare me to all those other sporty models popping up in the blogosphere!

I was in such a hurry when sewing these that I made all sorts of mistakes.  Well, not at first.  First, I made all my marks, because the pattern pieces are rather unusually shaped, and sewed each leg together correctly.  Only then, I assumed that I had sewing one leg inside out (which I hadn't), so I cut the stitching off (it was overlocked), losing all my marks and proceeded to sew the leg inside out for real.  Then I sewed both legs together, only to discover one leg faced forwards and the other backwards.  So I cut the stitching off again and resewed it all correctly.  Then I put the waistband on back to front, as you can see.  This is just a lounging-at-home version so I have left it.

The big deal with this pattern is that there is no inner leg seam.  I don't generally have a problem with legs chafing, so this didn't necessarily excite me as a pattern feature...only then when I put them on, I was genuinely surprised at how comfortable they were, even in my soy-bamboo-earth motherish fabric that doesn't have especially great stretch or recovery. So, come winter, I will make a running version of this pattern, with the nifty back pocket.

And speaking of running, I have just completed my fastest-5k program (well, a slightly modified version).  I knocked 3 minutes off my 5k time and this week, for the first time ever, I am not the slowest runner in my running club :)


A Second Stylearc Amber

...and some more photos from my weekend in Sydney. 

For this version of the Stylearc Amber top, I kept more to the colour blocking suggested by the pattern. 

The main fabric is a mesh woven fabric, with little pears all over it.  The sleeves are a dark chambray.  I have used this fabric for 2 projects now, each before using it for its intended purpose...hopefully I still have enough for the original project.  The strip and external facing are leftovers from a cotton camisole I made last year.


Burda Asymmetrical Top

I visited Sydney last weekend.  A versatile player in my weekend wardrobe was a Burda top made up in a very soft, grey, bamboo knit sourced from Oddz and Endz in Noosa.  The pattern is 02/2014 #135A.

I wore it on the plane, with black linen pants (not shown).

I wore it to a play, with my big red skirt.

I wore it to Bondi, where we were nearly blown away.

I did make changes to the pattern.  In the photo below, the back is in the upper portion of the photo.  Other reviewers found the top too short, so I wanted to add some length.  In the back this was simply a matter of splitting and spreading the pattern.  For the front, I wanted to reduce the amount of the drape, as the original pattern looks a bit as though you are carrying a spare belly around.  I split the front and overlapped at the split to reduce the amount of drape.  I then split and spread the bottom sections to increase the length.

I was happy with the fit, though looking at the photos, the upper arm is pretty loose.  I finished the neck edge with my coverstitch machine and binders.

I bought this same fabric in red and am wondering if I should just make up the same top again?  Only looking at the sleeves in the photos, I think I need to adjust the fit of the sleeves in the upper arm.