Stylearc Autumn Dress

I loved this print and bought the last of the roll from The Fabric Store on my visit there.  Luckily, there was just enough to make up the Stylearc Autumn Dress

These photos were taken on a very windy day, but you can see most of the features of the dress.

The collar is a nifty design, with the neck opening ending in a deep pleat.  This means no need to sew buttons or buttonholes!  The collar stand finishes flush with the collar, so there aren't those annoying curved bits to fiddle with.  All of these features make this a much quicker sew that your standard shirt-dress. 

There is a deep pleat in the back.  Like everybody else, I had trouble following the pattern directions to make this pleat.  I think I had it right the first time, because it fit the yoke, but then I doubted myself and and spent a a while fiddling around before just doing it the way that made sense to me.  

I sewed this on holiday, when I did not have my overlocker, so I made the yoke with a yoke lining, similar to the typical construction of a shirt, in order to minimise exposed seams.  

You can see that the sleeves are cut on.  I never like the bunching that happens at the back with cut-on sleeve, and would have preferred this pattern to have set-in sleeves.

Here you can see that the dress has pockets and a curved hemline.

I think this is a great dress pattern, chock full of nifty features and relatively quick to sew.  I made it at the start of winter, so have not worn it after the day it was made, but I am looking forward to wearing it when summer arrives.


Stylearc Savannah Knit Top

I don't need to dress for the cold very often, but Friday night soccer games all seem to played in valleys, where it feels at least 10 degrees cooler than anywhere else in town.  I thought I would freshen up my winter wardrobe with a Savannah knit top.  Originally, I bought the pattern to wear as a t-shirt.  I was drawn to the details on the line drawing, but when the pattern arrived, the recommended fabrics included light sweater knit and light ponte, so I suddenly doubted my original choice of a viscose jersey.  Instead I went with an unusual pique-textured cotton from EmmaOneSock.  

The pattern has simple lines, but interesting details.  There are deep facings on the hem and sleeve. The pattern suggests using a contrast fabric for the facings, but this was a tricky colour to look for a suitable contrast in my stash, so I used  self fabric for the facings.

Here you can see the side hem detail.

This curved split is echoed in the sleeve.

The neck edge is finished with a facing and there are unusual folds in the shoulder seam.

I had a little trouble with the pattern, but that was because I tried to fit on the run.  I bought a 12, and in this fabric, I probably should have stuck to the 12.  Instead, I tried to narrow the chest and bust area in the front, and then reduce the sleeve to a size 10...only, being a single size pattern, I was guessing.  The sleeve seams have been moved so show of the sleeve hem split, so it wasn't as straight forward as using a 10 sleeve from another pattern.  My sleeve side seams did not match up.  In the end, I pin fitted the sleeve seam on my paper tape body double.  The sleeves are quite narrow, and my fabric is not that stretchy, so I probably should have kept it simple and stuck with the 12 sleeve.

The final garment is not the most versatile piece in my wardrobe.  The colour is unusual (it is a bit darker and browner than the photos suggest) and it was not the snuggliest choice for a sweater, so it might end up a bit of an orphan. I would like to try the pattern again in another fabric.


Twinkle Sews Take Manhattan

This month, Pattern Review are having a pattern stash competition.  The winner is the person who sews the most patterns from their stash, but I decided to use this competition just to sew up one pattern in my stash that has been sitting there for a long while, and that I will regret not ever getting around to sewing (sadly, I have a lot of patterns in that category to choose from).

I bought the Twinkle Sews book in 2009.  I did make a handful of garments at the time, but not all the ones I wanted to make.  I bought the fabric for the Take Manhattan tunic on a trip to Tessuti not long after I bought the book, and they have been sitting paired together for the past 8 years.

Finally, today, that project has been realised.

The main fabric is a very light, floaty fabric.  I never knew the exact composition, but I believe it is a melange of natural and synthetic fibres.  it is slightly sheer.  It is warm for its weight, and a tiny bit scratchy, so I think that there is some wool in the mix.

I didn't make any fitting changes to the pattern.  I need to add some more room across the back if I sew this again.  It looks okay here, but the fabric has no give, and I can feel it pulling in the back when I move my arms in front.

The design is described as an overblouse.  I did put it on over a brown t-shirt, over black jeans, but the whole ensemble then had a a bit of a Friar Tuck vibe about it.

Because the fabric was a little scratchy, I decided to make the cowl lining in a different fabric.  The silk crepe de chine that I used to line the bodice wasn't a close enough colour match, so one night I spent hours hunting through my fabrics for a better choice.  It took me a while.  Usually I have something in mind before I go digging, but this time I was coming up blank.  I started with my remnants, then trawled through the piles of new fabrics and finally I pulled out my box of "the good stuff".  I don't usually like to cut into a new length of fabric for one piece like this, but I had no project in mind for this particular fabric, and as a family member delightfully pointed out, I won't get it all sewn before I die.  I may as well use it now.  This charcoal black silk has a gold thread running through that matched well with my main fabric.  I got this contrast fabric from EmmaOneSock, and I believe it was labelled as a Calvin Klein fabric.

For many of Wenlan Chia's designs, the delight is in the details.  This tunic has a lined bodice.  The inner neck edge of the cowl is finished with a bias strip.  Here you can see the buttonholes for the drawstring.  My drawstring is a little shorted than the pattern because I wanted to use the selvedge and this is what I had in a single strip.

The top of the kangaroo pocket is finished with rivets.  The pocket has top-stitching down the centre so that it doesn't gape open.

My rivet stems were purchased to go through denim, and I was worried about them hanging in space at the back of this fine fabric, so I stuck in a couple of pieces of batting behind the rivet.  This sits between the bodice and the lining.

I thought I would save myself the trouble of sewing a neat narrow hem in crepe de chine lining, and finished the edge with a strip of lace instead.

Possibly, I sewed the lace on the wrong side of the lining.  I sewed the lining with french seams, but used my overlocker on the main fabric because it frayed so much.  The main hem is a blind hem.  I used a not narrow, not wide double hem on the sleeves, which I forgot to photograph.  

This was an exercise in slow sewing for me.  I don't get the time to sew all I want, and I don't get through as much as I want in that time.  I need to be mindful not to get frustrated at the lack of progress, but to enjoy each of the steps (though I will never enjoy taping together all those pdf pages).  Sewing is my hobby, but it is not always a relaxing hobby, and I need it to be.

The projects that I have made from "Twinkle Sews" have been some of my favourites.  You can see them all by clicking on the "Twinkle" label.  I still have my eye on a couple more of the designs in the book.


Craftsy course princess seam draft

In a big tidy up of my sewing room recently (though not as recent as today...it is a mess again...sigh) I was dealing with some projects that were lying about taking up room.  One of these was the muslin for a princess seam dress, which I made many months ago when I was right into my craftsy drafting courses.  I transferred the changes back to my pattern and made up the dress using a stretch sateen from Spotlight.

Here are the results.

I am happy with the fit, and I was happy enough when I looked in the mirror, but I am not loving the look in these photos.  That is one of my problems lately...I like how I look until I see a photo of myself.  I like to document my sewing in this blog, but I certainly don't love the taking and looking at photos part.  

To be fair, I have never really loved princess seamed dresses.  I don't mind them in a bodice, but not so much a dress.  I think they look, not so much frumpy, as matronly.  

I have a bit of a problem with a silverfish infestation.  I got the house treated, but that didn't seem to solve the problem.  Last weekend I totally emptied out my wardrobe and hit it with some lavender oil.  I thought it would be a good chance to do a Marie Kondo clean out at the same time, which I have been meaning to do for a while.  Turns out I couldn't do it though.  Even if I don't wear the clothes anymore, I still love the fabrics.  I just went and bought more coat hangers instead.  Not for this dress though.  I had no trouble putting it in the "move on" bag.


Victory Pattern Simone Dress

I have long admired Victory Patterns, for their unique designs, but this is the first time that I have made one up.  A friend lent me her copy of the Simone Dress, after I admired a gorgeous version that she made for her daughter.

This is a wearable muslin.  I don't normally do wearable muslins, but I was out of muslin fabric and I had this cheap Spotlight fabric that I was planning on using for a caftan.  I made some changes to the paper pattern before I started.  From memory, the changes included lowering the back neck, and using my dress block to adjust the bust darts and yoke shaping to fit.  I left off the zipper, but you can see that the back of the dress is not as fitted as it could be.

The slit in the front neck is quite low, so I might raise it a tad next time.

The side view shows the high-low hem.  I hacked about 15 cm off the back skirt, because it seemed to hit a spot on my calves that was driving me crazy as I walked around.  I didn't shorten the front skirt at all.
Here is the back view.  All the back flare seems to be concentrated at the CB.  If I make this again, I would adjust the skirt piece to distribute the flare.

I'm not sure if I will make it again or not.  That's the trouble with wearable muslins...you end up with a version in not so nice fabric, that may not do the pattern justice, and does not excite you enough to want to make a second version.  I think I would like it better in a drapier fabric.