17.11.17

Vogue 1507 (Rachel Comey)

When Vogue 1507 was first released, I thought it looked kind of ugly.  Spotlight had a great sale on Vogue patterns recently, and I really took my time going through the pattern books, buying up any patterns I thought I might use (I think they worked out at $6 a pattern, which is really cheap for here.  Sadly, not all the designs I picked out were in store.)  I sometimes buy the designer patterns to read, even if I don't think I will make them, because often they have interesting construction or design details.  Vogue 1507 has a lot of great details and beautiful construction techniques, and I decided to give it a whirl.

I chose a cotton + steel rayon challis, which has a much softer drape than the fabric used for the pattern envelope, so the resulting garment has quite a different look.


My daughter has grown so much this year, that she has gone from being way too tiny for adult patterns to a size 8 in just a few months.  I cut the size 8.  I basted the under layer and back sections together and did a quick fitting.  I took up the shoulders to about the size 4 line, so I used the size 4 sleeves (I think that the back yoke pattern piece has the wrong sizes printed on it.  The main pattern pieces are sized 4 - 12, and the yoke 6 - 14).  The grading on this pattern looked a little odd, in that the front neckline width hardly changed from size 4 to size 12.  It gaped on her, so I took in the under-layer at the CF and the over-layer on the seams for the centre front panel.


I put a few stitches in the CB, so she can just pull the top on without having to tie the back knot.  The back knot is not sitting at its most prettiest in this photo.  


Here you can see the split sleeve.  I only had enough fabric for one layer in the sleeves.  Also, I shortened the sleeves by about 10 cm, so that they would not overwhelm her.


I used a contrast fabric for the front panel.  It took a lot of auditioning of scraps from my remnant pile to find something that worked here.  In the end, I have layered a cotton voile over the top of a peach rayon.


The pattern instructions give beautiful finishing techniques, but I did not use them because, well, sewing for teenagers.  The over-locker really sped things up, and I used a rolled hem instead of narrow hemming the edges.  I did not have the right colour thread for the rolled hems and used a pale blue for the upper looper, a pink for the lower looper and which for the needle thread, and it looks okay.

Now I am wondering if I should make a yellow floral version for myself, before I put the pattern away?

15.11.17

Stylearc Jamie Pants

I have been wanting a pair of green trousers for a while now.  There are so many shades of green that "green trousers" isn't really enough of a description.  I was thinking of a darker green that could be considered a neutral.  So I was pretty excited when I saw the EmmaOneSock listing for fern green viscose rayon garbardine   (I'm thinking about buying the loden colour next).  Good quality plain fabrics just doesn't seem to come by often enough.



For the pattern, I went with the Stylearc Jamie Pants, which are just choc-a-bloc with details.  There are patch pockets, knee patches, an interesting cuff that is folded at the front and elasticated at the back, drawstring, back welt pockets and on the inside, the fly facing has a really lovely shape.

I was all set to cut these out, wanting to get them made as quickly as possible, when I observed that the crotch shape looked quite different to my usual trouser patterns.  I am still fairly new to Stylearc and haven't worked out the fitting changes I need, so I put my scissors down and went hunting for some calico to make a muslin.  Lucky I did, because I couldn't actually do these trousers up.  The pants are pretty close fitting, and combined with my own fit issues, the zip wouldn't close even though there was sufficient fabric to go around me.

I didn't mean to set out on a pants fitting journey, but it took me 3 muslins to get to a point where I was happy.  Clearly, far from perfect, but I don't know how to make them better and now I can do them up.




I would love to get help fitting a pants block, but I don't tend to live anywhere near a pants fitting workshop.  I'll put it on my bucket list for when the kids leave home.

Now some close-ups of the details.

Lovely cuffs.

I used grommets for the drawstring waist.  The gathers at the top of the pocket are due partly to lousy ironing, but also took a fitting dart in the trouser underneath and just eased the pocket in to fit rather than put a dart in the pocket.


Patch pockets.  I put the pocket facings on the outside of the pockets.


Knee patches.  I shortened the legs of the pattern, but if I make these again with knee patches, I think the patches need to be a bit lower on my legs.  I must have shortened in the wrong place.


Back Pockets 


The fabric care was for dry-cleaning, but I don't get my regular clothes dry-cleaned.  The fabric does shrink  or tighten up in the wash, and then relaxes with ironing and wearing.

14.11.17

Plaid Undies

In my student days I did not have money to spend on clothes and mostly got around in over-sized t-shirts and elastic waist shorts.  Several years in, I decided to splurge a little of the earnings from my summer job on a navy tartan Elle McPherson bra and knicker set.  Sadly, I only got to wear it once before somebody stole it from my clothes-line.  It was such a splurge in the first place that I did not feel able to buy a replacement set.  Several decades on I thought about replicating the stolen set using my left-over plaid and some navy lingerie lycra.  At the last moment I changed my mind and went with this super soft pink wicking polyamide elaste blend from Funki-fabrics instead (which is actually brighter than my photos suggest).  


For the knickers, I used the Evie La Luve Frankie Panties.  I wrote a review over at PR, but the short version is that there are lots of great options for using lace and trim in this pattern, but the fit was a bit long in the crotch for me so they are a little on the saggy bum side.


For the bra, I started with the cups from the Harriet bra.  I had a set of pink straps already made, but they were short straps, so I extended the strap portion of the upper cup.  Instead of just turning under the edge of this extension, I inserted elastic piping, which continued between the lower cup and the lace, which is a lovely detail.  I swapped out the frame from the Harriett pattern for one of my own drafted patterns, so that the straps joined straight onto the back and so that I didn't have to do any pattern matching on the frame.  I knew that the cups from the Harriet would fit onto my frame because I fit the Harriett to use my usual wires.

I still have trouble getting the hooks and eyes sewn on neatly.  I always measure the height of the back band, but somehow it always ends up too high.

I have enough plaid left-over that I could still make replace that navy set from so long ago.

9.11.17

Marfy 1272 in Liberty Plaid

This is my entry into the PR sewing with plaid competition.


The fabric is a Liberty lawn, purchased from The Fabric Store.  Initially, I was going to sew a loose popover top with this fabric.  Then I was watching an episode of "Death in Paradise" where Florence was wearing a close fit plaid shirt.  I have mentioned before that a lot of my day-to-day wardrobe inspiration does come from Death in Paradise.  Whilst I don't actually live in the tropics any more, it still gets pretty hot here.  I didn't copy Florence's shirt, but rather changed my thinking to a short-sleeved more fitted top.  I remembered Marfy 1272, which I have never made up because fitting clothes with sleeves scares me.  Marfy 1272 is from the 2007 catalogue.  Yep, I've had this pattern for 10 years.  I actually haven't bought a Marfy pattern since, because they are really expensive to get sent here, and I told myself I couldn't buy any more if I hadn't made up the ones I had already bought.  Now I've made this, I am free to peruse the Marfy catalogue once again.

This was sewn for a plaid competition, so there was always going to be a lot of plaid matching going on.  Notice, how I used an unbalanced plaid?  No?  I didn't even know what an unbalanced plaid was until I was reading up in preparation for sewing this.  Now I know that unbalanced plaids are harder to work with than regular plaids, and don't work so well for bias details. Anyway, just so you can fully appreciate my plaid matching awesomeness, I am going to show you the muslin, so that you can see the design lines.  I didn't sew the pocket flaps, epaulets or button tabs on the muslin.



The design has a strong 70's uniform vibe. Which means, that if I ever what to dress like Dwayne or JP from "Death in Paradise", this pattern would be a good place to start!

My plaid is unbalanced, but the thick navy stripes were equally spaced, so I used those as my base for distributing the panels and matching stripes.  


The oblique pocket flaps  are very groovy.  I matched the navy stripes from upper bodice to sleeve flaps.


There are 4 panels in the back, but you can hardly tell, with pretty good plaid matching.  I did cut the collar upside down, so the navy stripes match from collar to yoke, but the pale pink stripes don't.   I didn't think it mattered enough to warrant remaking collar stand and collar (given that I am not very good at sewing collars and find making one set stressful enough).


The design changes I made to the pattern were;
  • lengthen top by 2.5 inches
  • omit epaulets (only because I did not have enough of the lovely navy buttons).  
  • omit belt
  • roll up sleeves
 The fitting changes I made were
  • 1 cm square shoulder adjustment (affecting back yoke, front, collar and collar stand)
  • forward shoulder joint (affecting sleeve)
  • narrow chest (affecting front bodice, sleeve flap and side panel)
  • added width at the hips
 Here are some more photos of me wearing the top.

The collar is pretty big.  The collar stand is high.  Having the collar so high up on my neck makes the top warmer to wear, so I would probably cut it down a bit if I made another version.



 I decided not to match the sleeve tabs.  I think if it all matches too well, some lovely details get lost.




Here is a sneak peek of what I did with the left-over fabric.  I'll get all the details into a separate blog post.



31.10.17

Zebra print dress

My original zebra print dress now has wear holes and is sagging out of shape.  When I saw this zebra print knit from EmmaOneSock, I thought it would be a fun replacement for the original dress.  I used the same pattern, Vogue 8552.