Stylearc Amber Woven Top in Guipure Lace

This is my entry into the sewing with lace competition over at PR.

Really, I'm not sure why I even bought the lace.  I'm not a lace sort of person.  I guess I just like trying out new sewing techniques.  Perhaps that is why I have a wardrobe full of clothes I never wear :)

Well, there were a bunch of new techniques for this.  Here are some notes from my entry.

Cutting out.

- I traced my pattern in full, without seam allowances.
- I placed the pattern on my lace to best use the lace pattern. I decided to use the finished edges as the hem of the top. My lace had two finished edges, but they were not the same design. I did not have enough of the lace to lay both the fronts and backs on the one edge, so the hem design changes from front to back. I would have liked to have had symmetrical motifs on each side of the centre front strip, but my lace did not lend itself to this feature. This is my first time working with guipure lace, and I did not think of these things before I bought it. 
- I hand basted my seam lines
- I cut around the basting, to the nearest motif. Where possible, I avoided cutting through motifs

Darts and seams - floral lace to floral lace
- I lay the basted seam lines on top of each other, and then decided whether to use the motifs from the underneath panel or the upper panel, changing as required, up the length of the seam. I cut away the motifs I decided to discard
- I pinned the seam to tear-away paper
- I stitched the underneath and upper motifs together, using my sewing machine, with a zig-zag stitch of 2.5 width and 0.5 length
- I pulled away the tear-away and trimmed the motifs from the wrong side
- where required, I filled in any gaps with a small motif, again using tear-away to stabilise the lace during stitching

Seams - floral lace to mesh lace
- again, I lay the basted floral seam on top of the basted mesh seam on top of tear-away paper
- I think it would have been too difficult to zig zag around the floral motifs to attach them to the mesh lace
- instead, I put my free motion foot on my machine and stitched around the floral motifs with small stitches

Seams and darts - mesh lace to mesh lace
- I sewed the should darts as regular seams, using tear-away to stabilise the seam as I sewed it.
- For the sleeve seams I experimented with different fagoting stitches on my machine, but none of them worked as well as I hoped. Instead, I lay one strip of the mesh dots on top of another strip of mesh dots and sewed a straight stitch in a line down the middle of the dots. Again, the seam was backed with tear-away for the stitching.

Lace to denim
- sewed as a regular seam

The neckline edge was finished with a double fold bias strip made from a silk charmeuse that I dyed to match.

The hems of the sleeves and top were left as the finished edge of the lace.

This was my first time working with lace and I enjoyed it. I find the lace a bit scratchy to wear, and I don't normally wear such frou-frou garments, but it's always good to try something new. I'd like to have it as a wear-often garment, rather than as a save-for-special occasion, so I will start by wearing it to book club this week! I want to try it with different coloured camisoles and see what works with the lace best.  I have a nude camisole under it for the photos...that is not my skin!  The nude one does look a bit weird around my bra.  I think a pink one would dull the lace.  Maybe black? White? As always, photos around here are taken in a hurry, so I went with the first option.

The pattern used was the Stylearc Amber Woven Top.  This is the third time I have made up this pattern, and each top looks very different.  You can see my cotton version and silk version in earlier blog posts.

The lace is from EmmaOneSock.  (The little circle mesh lace is still available in pink and blue, and there is a black version of the floral lace).


Funny Fabric Story

I heard this story on the radio yesterday - made me laugh!  I thought you fabric lovers may appreciate the link.

I went to the fabric store she is referring to.  It was over twenty years ago.  I didn't have such a fabric obsession then (I didn't have much of anything, to be honest.  Very low on funds).  I didn't even have a stash.  Not one piece.  For some reason, my boyfriend and I decided to make everyone hats for Christmas.  One day, when we were wandering through the city, we saw this dusty little shop with all these rolls of fabric, on the floor, filling up the corners.  I remember buying a purple wool with a white check stripe running through it.  I just spoke to that boyfriend about it (he still lives with me!) and he doesn't remember it at all.  I've often wondered if the shop was still there and why I never heard about it, but it sounds like it must be gone.


Stylearc Elani Tunic

This garment is a real departure in style for me.  We only have cool weather for a few weeks of the year, and every year my wardrobe comes up short.  I thought it should make some tops with sleeves.  Not that this really has sleeves.  This is the Elani Tunic from Stylearc.

When I discovered Miss Matatabi last year, I ordered some Kokka 3 min. corduroy (you can see my corduroy dress here). They had a picture of the blue colourway made up into an oversized top which quite took my fancy.  I didn't buy the pattern at the time, but kept thinking about it, until I decided that the Stylearc Elani would give me the same sort of effect.
Image result for kokka pattern 

After reading Meg's review of the Elani Tunic, I left off the pockets.  My cuffs don't fold back.  This wasn't intentional.  I block fused some rayon to use for the neck, hem and sleeve facings, thinking that they would sit better in a lighter fabric than the corduroy.  I did remember about the cuffs before I sewed the sleeve facings on, but by then I had made facings in the rayon and couldn't be bothered making another set.  Not a big deal, I know, but sometimes you need to get finished and get on with other stuff. 

I don't think my tunic looks as good as either Meg's or the Stylearc model.  Not sure if it is just fabric choice, or body type or if I should have sized down.  Anyway, hubby liked it and was surprised I changed out of it to go out to dinner.


Stylearc Angela Blouse

Confession Time...do you have any sewn garments that are still UFOs just for the sake of a little hand-stitching?  I made this shirt back in January, and it has taken me until now to sew the buttons on.  It's not that I hate hand sewing.  I use to carry it around with me to do whilst I was stuck waiting for someone.  Now my kids are older, I am doing a whole lot of dropping off and picking up, and not so much waiting anymore.  It took a gymnastics competition and a dance recital for me to get these buttons sewn on.

I have never been great at shirt-making, so I followed along the Craftsy course "Sew Better, Sew Faster: Shirtmaking with Janet Pray".  I think that worked, because this is the nicest shirt I have sewn. I meant to sew several more shirts straight afterwards, to cement the techniques learnt in my brain, but was distracted by other sewing whims.  Guess I'll have to watch the course again.  I do like Janet's courses, but find I have to watch them at 1.5 pace, because of my impatience.

The pattern is the Angela Blouse by Stylearc.  I chose my size based on shoulder measurement, rather than bust measurement, and am really happy with the fit (I would be at least a size smaller based on bust measurement).  I made no fitting changes to the pattern, because I was concentrating on construction technique, rather than fitting (can't do too much at once!).  I did change the cuff to a regular width, instead of the wide cuff that comes with the pattern.   I meant to lengthen the sleeve to accommodate this change but forgot.  Happily, the sleeves are not too short and mostly I will wear them rolled up anyhow.

The fabric is from Miss Matatabi.  It is sublime.  Even nicer than Liberty.  I didn't pre-wash the fabric, as I thought cutting it un-washed would improve my chances of stripe-matching.

Speaking of which...there is a whole lotta stripe-matching awesomeness going on.  Both horizontal and vertical.  At the front....

At the sides...

Even on the cuff placket, which makes it almost invisible.

So glad I got the buttons sewn on and can finally wear this.


Tropical Print Running Outfit

I was sent to my sewing room for a mental health day, and decided to make a running outfit for the Ecofest Trail run.  My family thought it was a great joke...I could blend in amongst the trees and  miss a few kilometers and no-one would be any the wiser!

The tropical print is from funkifabrics.  My daughter and I squabbled over who would get to use it. In the end, I bought some in the Titan weight for me and some in the regular weight to make swimmers for her.

The top pattern is Jalie 3679.  I used a dark grey supplex for the yoke, the tropical print for the bra, a wicking cotton for the bra lining and a slubby cotton for the outer tank bit.  I left off the hem band, because a hem band would make it harder to use the top as a sweat rag for my face whilst running :).  The top was actually a lot easier to sew than I expected.  The only time I struggled with the instructions was step 22 when it said to sew fabric and lining together.  It took me a few moments to realise that they meant the seam allowances of the yoke and yoke lining.  Here is a close up of the back.

The leggings were made using my favourite leggings pattern, first made here.  I made a few changes to the pattern, which meant that every piece had to be adjusted and re-traced, but I am really happy with how they fit, so it was worth the effort.  The best feature is the huge side pocket.  I prefer side pockets because I don't like the waist elastic too tight and waistband pockets tend to drag the pants down when I fill them.  You can just make out the pocket in the photo below, if you know where to look.  It is in the side panel that curves down into the mesh insert.

I love a bit of matchy-matchy, (and bright colours, and wild prints) and it is fun that I get to do this in my exercise wear when I try to show a little more restraint for my "normal" clothes.