Swoon Pattern Sydney Crossbody Bag

Travel always necessitates sewing!  For a family trip overseas earlier this year, I decided that I needed a new day bag.  After much consideration, I chose the Sydney Crossbody Bag from Swoon Sewing Patterns.

The features I was looking for in a bag pattern were
- big enough to hold a jacket / cardigan and a water bottle
- zip closure to minimise losing stuff and to minimise pick-pocket access
- a few pockets to secure items, and at least 1 zippered internal pocket, but not so many pockets that it takes you ages of hunting to find where you stashed your whatsit.
- cross body style.

Some of the changes I made to the pattern were

  • I didn't use leather as the accent on the front, because my leather was so hard to stitch through
  • I used press studs instead of magnetic clasps on the front pockets
  • I used a press stud instead of stitches in the middle of the back pocket, so that the pocket was large enough to hold a magazine if the press stud was opened
  • It is hard to see in the photos, but I used leather accents to attach the D-buckles for the straps.  I finished the edges of the leather with leather edge finisher.  This was my first time using edge finisher.  I attached the leather accents to the bag with rivets.
  • I cut down the size of the lining pieces.  I often wonder why so many bag patterns have the lining pieces the same size as the outside.  This always results in extra folds of lining on the inside.  I know the difference in size depends on fabric choice, but they could have a go.  From memory, I took off 1/2 inch from all sides of the lining for the main panels, side panels and base.
  • I didn't interface as many pieces as the pattern suggested, because I think my fabric was sturdier than their suggestions.
  • My memory is hazy, but I think I changed the method of construction for the front zippered pocket so that there was no seam in the lining pieces.  
It is worth noting that this bag takes a lot of fabric.  The main bag is lined, the back pocket is lined, the front zippered pocket is lined, the front patch pockets are lined and there is an internal lined zippered pocket.  I used a gorgeous Nani Iro cotton canvas for the main of the bag.  I originally bought the fabric for a dress after I saw someone else wearing a dress from this fabric, but really, I think it is a bit heavy for a dress.  I used a mid weight twill for the main lining pieces, but after I realised how heavy all the layers of fabric and lining were going to be, I switched to a cotton lawn for some of the pocket internals.  I actually used a few different fabrics for the lining as I didn't have enough of any one fabric.  The strap is from almost the last of some ikea canvas I bought years ago.

The bag was a huge success.  The front zippered pocket was good for holding passports for everyone.  Now that I am home, I use that pocket for my phone and keys.  

The front patch pocket was easily accessible to those constantly asking for my lip balm.  Now that I am home, I have filled one of those pockets with all those extra cards from my wallet.  I could easily leave these pockets off a future version of the bag.

Unlike a backpack, I didn't have to constantly take my bag on and off as we got on and off buses etc.

I still haven't downloaded all my holiday snaps, but I have found one of it in action.

I have kept using the bag as my main handbag since returning home.  You may have seen it in a few of my recent posts.


Workout wear 2018

My entry into the Pattern Review mini-wardrobe contest was workout wear.  I have written up all the reviews over there, so will just provide links if you are interested in pattern details, fabric selection etc.

I started with the Jalie Isabelle leggings, which I modified to have a great big side pocket.

Next up was the Jalie Loulouxe skort, which I modified to be made up in a stretch woven.

The first top was the Greenstyle Creations tie-back tank.  I forgot to get a photo of it untied.

My second top was a self-drafted loose fitting tee.  Usually I run in tank tops, so this is a bit of a departure for me.

The final garment was the Stylearc Steffi Jacket.

 Whew!  Just getting them sewn and written up within the deadline was a workout in itself.


Jalie Vanessa Pant

When I bought some of the new Jalies, I took the opportunity to add some of their previous releases to my cart, including the Vanessa fluid pants.  I do have similar patterns, but I have seen so many great versions of these made up that I thought I would give them a go.

This is my second pair.  My first pair was made in a chambray from Spotlight, just guessing at the fitting changes I would need.  I made a few more tweaks to the pattern before sewing this version.

The fabric is a tencel from EmmaOneSock, and a much lovelier quality than my Spotlight version..  It looks grey, but the frayed threads after washing show that the threads are black in one direction and a mix of white and olive green in the other.  I prewashed the fabric at least 3 times, because I have had issues with tencel in the past, in that it continues to shrink wash after wash after wash (sadly these Stylearc jamie pants have quickly become too short and tight).

I love the look of woven joggers of others, but somehow the reality has never looked the same on my legs. I don't have supermodel legs.  Even though these have an elastic waist, I thought I would work on the fitting, to remove the saggy under-the-bum bit, and make the pants a little more streamlined through the thigh.

I followed a fitting tutorial by Lena of Iconic Patterns for a flat seat adjustment that actually works.  I wouldn't have thought I had a flat seat, but it seemed to do the trick.

I'm pretty happy with the outcome.  I'll have to remember this fitting method and apply it to some of my other pants patterns.

I did borrow the hem detail from the Stylearc Jamie pants, with its cuff front and elasticated back.  The legs might be a little long, but I am short the tencel will shrink some more in spite of all my pre-washing.

This wasn't the outfit I was planning on wearing.  I had a lovely new white linen Stylearc Teddy top picked out, but I was heading out for breakfast and didn't want to end up with egg on my white linen.  So instead I grabbed this self drafted tank top that I have been meaning to blog anyway.  The side seams wrap to the front, which was necessary to get the top to fit out of these beautifully matched remnants.  The front is linen remnant that I bought in a Miss Matatabi sale and the rayon back is leftovers from a jumpsuit I made my daughter.


Stylearc Melody Tunic

The Stylearc Melody Tunic was a freebie with one of my pattern orders. It is always fun to get a freebie, isn't it?

Actually, the tunic looks better in the photos than it did in my mirror today.  It feels very oversized, to the point of not feeling great to wear.  I think the problem is the fabric choice.  The fabric was described as "a lovely yarn dyed cuprammonium rayon semi-opaque jacquard weave graphic with a slight bit of texture, and a soft pink blush coloring (PANTONE 11-1306)".  I am not familiar with cuprammonium rayon, but I am crushing this colour at the moment, so I thought I would give it a try.  It feels heavy, slippery and a bit plasticky / synthetic to wear.

This photo shows the curved hem and the back gathers.

Close-up of the collar, faced neckline and sleeve with elasticated hem.

Not sure if I will keep this one or set it free?


Tessuti Claudia Dress or Striped Linen Dress 1

This is the other stripy linen dress I made.  My friend told me not to wear it with a yellow t-shirt, unless I wanted to get mistaken for B1 or B2 :)

The pattern is the Claudia dress, from Tessuti.  The fabric is also from Tessuti.  I had a pair of blue and white striped shorts that I made and adored when I was a teenager, so I couldn't resist buying this similarly striped fabric.

I ordered the pattern and the fabric at the same time.  I cut somewhere between a small and a medium.  I bought the amount stated for 140 cm wide fabric, but it took a bit of jiggling to get the pieces to fit, so I can recommend buying a bit extra.

I made the straps wider than the pattern, so that I could wear a normal bra, though I have to pick the right bra for the straps to sit in the right place at the front.  I adjusted the strap length so that the bust dart sat in the right spot.  I cut down the height of the apron at the front and took the side of the apron in a bit.  I could have just gone with longer straps, but then the bust dart would have been in the wrong spot and it the dress wouldn't have covered my bra at the sides. 

The linen is quite a loose weave, so I think I would have been better off using a different fabric for the facing.  This one is in self fabric and doesn't sit too well, even with under-stitching.

The side splits are a lovely detail.  I like the way the pockets are sewn.

I have been hankering after an apron dress for a while, but I don't think that this dress has tempered my craving.  I think I need to make one with more of a bib front, to be worn over a t-shirt.