The sweater dress re-run

I try not to make the same pattern over and over again.  This is mainly due to the number of awesome pattern makers out there who design such beautiful patterns, most of which, I am desperate to try.

However, I made an exception here.

I made this dress for the first time last winter when I was freezing in Sydney. ¬†No-one ever believes it’s cold in Sydney. ¬†I suppose by the Northern Hemisphere standards, it’s not. ¬†It’s just that we aren’t set up for it and it often takes us by surprise. ¬†We are also often without central heating which means I needed to wear a blanket the entire time just to function.

This is the equivalent of said blanket, you can read all about this make here.

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Onto my latest make.

The fabric:

I spotted the fabric in Faberwood’s online shop and ordered it after seeing Fiona (Queen Faberwood) wearing this pencil skirt. ¬†Check out her blog post all about it. ¬†How cool is that?

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Photo: Faberwood

I am generally not a stripe kinda girl (I am sure there will be a collective intake of breathe here). I like a stripe but I don’t often wear them. ¬†This is a stripe fabric that I could not resist, a stripe on the diagonal. ¬†It has that Scandinavian contemporary cool feel about it.

The quality is exceptional. ¬†Something that I can always rely on with Fiona’s collections. The fabric is by Finnish brand, Ikasyr. It’s an organic jersey, mid weight stretch with great recovery.

My favourite part about this transaction was that Fiona delivered it to my Mum’s house in the UK (our Mum’s live minutes apart!) ¬†It was then passed to my in-laws and then brought over to Australia on their recent visit. ¬†It’s amazing what my family will do for my love of fabric.

The sleeve fabric was from The Cloth Shop in Melbourne, a super yummy grey stretch. I bought this piece many moons ago. ¬†It’s such good quality, I am kicking myself that I didn’t buy more.

The pattern:

The Sweater Dress by In the Folds¬†(for Peppermint Magazine) is a favourite. ¬†It was designed specifically with me in mind (it wasn’t, but I like to think so). ¬†It’s such an easy dress to wear, an easy dress to make and it fits me just perfectly. ¬†Oh yes, and it’s free!

As this is a re-run, I made no changes.  I cut a straight size 10.  I would normally grade out to a 12 but there is some volume around the hips which works for me.  It also has pockets and as with my first attempt, they sit flat!

Here it is;

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It’s such an easy dress to wear, I put a layer or two underneath for extra warmth.
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No pattern matching here!

 

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Super happy with the fabric and the sleeve fabric matches a treat.

The added extra:

There is always the odd off-cut or scrap piece.  This is particularly helpful when you have a 5 year old.  He asked me for a Batman outfit for the school disco, who am I to refuse?

I managed to get a pair of True Bias, Mini Hudson shorts and a Titchy Threads, Safari Raglan tee¬†from my scraps. Of course, there was no pattern matching, nothing like it infact. ¬†The stripes are going off in all sorts of slightly odd angles. He doesn’t care and so neither do I.

I even rolled out the freezer paper and dabbed on some fabric paint for that Batman logo. ¬†Such an easy process, it’s quite addictive. For a quick ‘how to’ check out Wendy’s blog and for some major inspiration, check out Shelley’s blog, she is the master of freezer paper stencils.

Of course a little cape was required so I added some velcro to the tee and some elastic to  the arms so he could do some proper flapping,  which he did, endlessly!

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Here he is with his buddies at the school disco (thanks for the photo Kristie!)

Maybe just one more sweater dress before the winter is out….

x

A new silhouette (aka does my bum look big in this?)

It seems like an age since my last blog post, how did that happen?

I haven’t sewn much lately, work is crazy busy and fun sewing projects seem to get put on the back burner. ¬†So I decided to take a stand. ¬†I put the hoovering, cooking and taxi driving to one side and thought about myself for once.

I have been wanting to make a skirt for ages but could never find the right pattern. We are also hitting autumn here and even though the humidity is unbelievable, I can feel a change a coming.  I need a transeasonal skirt and I found one in the form of a free sewing pattern from a Peppermint Magazine and In the Folds collaboration.

 

How cute is this? ¬†It’s a pleated skirt with lovely big pockets. ¬†I love it, but does it love me?

I am often unsure about this shape on me. ¬†I am a pear with a tum, was this going to just exaggerate the bits I’m not keen on? ¬†I took a gamble and gave it a go.

I usually make a toile but in this instance I didn’t. ¬†It’s a forgiving pattern so I followed the pattern sizing and opted for a C, which is a size 10. ¬†Normally I would grade out one size for my hips but with the pleating and volume in the skirt I just went for it and cut the straight C. ¬†I am thrilled to say, it’s a really great fit. ¬†I can’t remember the last time I made something without some serious alterations. ¬†The only tweek I made was, unsurprisingly, to the length. ¬†I reduced the length by¬†6cm¬†and it sits perfectly on the knee.

I didn’t buy new fabric for this pattern, I raided my stash. ¬†I love the patterned fabric in the magazine but I wanted something plain. ¬†I KNOW… plain! ¬†Sometimes you just have to put the patterned fabric aside.

This stash fabric was found at my local charity shop. I think it cost me the princely sum of $3. ¬†Always hard to know exactly what it is, but I would say it’s some kind of brushed cotton mix with a very subtle herringbone texture running through it. ¬†And it’s purple. Yes, that surprised me too. I am generally not a lover of purple.

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The fabric was a bugger to work with.  It was quite drapey and moved around a lot.  It also kept collecting ironing marks, so pressing was an issue throughout the whole process. I think the pleats could do with sharpening up with the iron but I was too eager to wear it to be bothered with that!

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The pattern itself was pretty awesome. ¬†I haven’t done much pleating before, I have never really fancied them. ¬†The pleating was a¬†bit fiddly but with some proper chalking¬†up it was easy to follow. ¬†The top stitching down was a great idea as it flattens the pleats and takes out the volume round your tum. Top marks for instructions and design as always!

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But the big question is, does my bum look big in this?

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note: crazy kids making me laugh here!

Answer: Yes, probably, maybe, not sure… but really who cares?

I like it. I like the colour and I like the fact that I swish around in it. I love the fact that it has giant pockets. Time to embrace a new silhouette I think!

 

 

The Acton Dress: part 1 – pattern testing

Hurrah, The Acton Dress has arrived!

I am sure you know by now that I share a studio with Emily of In the Folds, the designer of the Acton. ¬†It has been in the works for some time and I have seen the evolution of this pattern from it’s humble beginnings to the glorious dress you see today.

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Emily & I at the Acton photoshoot last month

Back in April, Emily asked me if I would like to test this for her, of course I agreed. ¬†I wanted to test view¬†B which is the wrap skirt option. I knew that with my mum-tum this option would be the perfect cover up. It would remove the need to wear my ‘suck ’em up’ pants! ¬†(Before you say it, I know my stomach is not enormous, but it’s my main bugbear and I feel a bit self conscious about it!)

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I started out testing a straight size B but I soon realised that this size would be too big in the bodice. My issue isn’t the boob size, it’s the depth. ¬†I am very short in the body, which means my boobs don’t actually sit where most¬†sit, they are essentially higher. ¬†So for my first proper toile I made up a straight size A, not sure why I decided to go down an entire size!

There was a¬†‘new to me’ element¬†in this pattern. I have never sewn¬†princess panels before, how is this possible?¬† I think it’s because I often associate them with vintage style frocks, but with the racer back and the thin straps I think the design is more contemporary. I was surprised how easy the princess panels were to¬†place together and this is where my tailors ham came in very useful!

The wrap skirt is very unusual. From a construction perspective I had no idea how this would ever fit together. ¬†There is a moment when you are attaching the skirt to the bodice at the side seams and thinking ‘have I done something wrong here?’ and ‘this will never work!’ ¬†It does work!* ¬†I have to say I have never come¬†across anything like it before. ¬†A little bit of sewing magic happens right before your very eyes.

*(the instructions are now fuller in this area, more details have been added).

You can see from the photos below what I mean.  The skirt is essentially a giant square.

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Flashing my giant square!
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The fabric was gifted to me by my lovely friend Jen.  A good choice as it is lightweight and has a really nice drape which works well with this design.
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Yes, my tum sticks out more than my boobs!
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I love the wrap feature & the bodice, it makes me feel confident to wear a dress that shows a bit of skin!
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Notice to pulling around the boob area

This was a good toile but after wearing it I could see there were a¬†few issues with the fit. ¬†It’s just a bit too tight. I had initially reduced the seam allowance on the side seams and at the zip to give me some breathing space but still it was not quite right.

There is some¬†‘back fat’ splurge going on¬†(not shown for obvious reasons). ¬†You can also see in the picture above that there is some pulling under the arm pit towards the boob, indicating it’s too small. I wanted the wrap to meet in the middle too and it doesn’t quite get there. Finally, I cut the hem too short, I was a little overzealous with the scissors.

But this really would have been a wearable toile¬†if I hadn’t burnt a dirty great hole in the back of it when giving it a final press. ¬†Tears were shed.

I enjoyed the pattern testing process and I have big love for this dress. ¬†It’s a great dress to try out new skills, especially with the unique construction. ¬†It made me determined to sort out my fit issues as I had a bigger plan up my sleeve.

…to be continued…

 

 

 

 

Get your dots on… join the ‘Sew Dots Challenge’

I recently decided to take part in the ‘Sew Dots Challenge’ created by¬†Rosie Martin of DIY Couture. It’s a simple challenge, to sew something dotty in October,¬†share a picture of it and¬†donate some money to RNIB.

The RNIB (the Royal National Institute of Blind People) is a UK charity that supports people with sight loss with a huge range of services. These services include emotional support and campaigning for public environments that respect the needs of blind and partially sighted people. RNIB run a campaign every October called Wear Dots Raise Lots to highlight the impact of Braille and to raise money for their services.

Rosie works on a project called Online Today, which helps people with sight loss to use digital technology.  All of these services mean that blind and partially sighted people are not excluded from everyday communication.

A¬†worthy cause and a fun challenge, so I signed up. ¬†To find out more, I watched this little vBlog made by Rosie. ¬†It’s cool, take the time to watch.

Onto my project;  For us sewing peeps, Rosie has been filling her Instagram feed with dot sewing inspiration which has been thrilling to see.  Everything from oversized dot mini skirts to mini dotted dungarees to monochrome dotty raincoats.

My thoughts when starting this project was to use fabric and a pattern¬†that I already owned¬†and donate any¬†money I would have spent. ¬†Dots are pretty thin on the ground in my stash and I can’t say I have sewn all that many pieces in ‘straight-up’ polka dots. ¬†These are the only projects I could find that are close to the brief.¬†I think¬†2 out of the 3 aren’t standard polka dot patterns. The first was made from a¬†polka dot tablecloth, the second was a random raindrop spot and the third more mesh than dotty.

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So time for some experiments. I decided to produce my own dotty fabric.

I found the perfect base fabric, a piece of white linen that was gifted to my by Margie (the gift that keeps on giving!) ¬†I always feel that linen is a ‘grown up’ fabric and that I was never mature enough to pull it off. ¬†Well today is the day I am doing linen, but of course with my own special touch. I started by hand painting some small¬†dots and then cutting into some freezer paper to produce some larger dots.

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I really liked the smaller random black dots so I abandoned the grey.  I liked the grey but they were quite patchy and I thought together they would be too much for me.

Now to choose a pattern. I settled on a Peplum top from Peppermint Magazine, designed by In the Folds.  A new pattern to me, but a free pattern.  Yes you heard me, a free pattern, just downloaded from the Peppermint Magazine website.  The top had been made in a light grey linen so I knew my white linen would work a treat.

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Image: Peppermint Magazine

My biggest issue was the peplum. ¬†Lets just say, I am not a fan of a¬†peplum. ¬†Anything that cuts me right at my ‘problem area’ is just not for me. ¬†So I just extended the top and eliminated the peplum.

The pattern has a lovely design feature on the shoulders which isn’t easy to see in this photo, but the diagram shows it in more detail.

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Image: Peppermint Magazine

I decided to paint the shoulder panels and then create a pocket to further achieve some dot loveliness.  It turned out pretty well.  What do you think?

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The touch of yellow just gave it some extra zing which I really liked.
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A slightly wobbly pocket, don’t look too closely.
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I like that you can still see the dots from the back

It was an easy sew. ¬†The instructions are very detailed. ¬†I was dreading adding the binding to the ‘V’ but the ingenious pattern piece really helped to make my ‘V’ sharp. ¬†I am also pleased with the pocket. ¬†It was my second¬†attempt at sewing it in place but I finally managed to make it as symmetrical as I could. ¬† It’s a bit wobbly so don’t look too closely!

It’s just the right amount of dottiness for me. ¬†I much prefer a random dot so this mini dalmation pattern worked a treat. ¬†Now all we¬†need is a warm sunny day.

Come on people… get your dots on! x

The ultimate winter warmer!

Is it a raglan sleeve sweater in dress form? YES!  Hooray to that.

For a Sydney winter, it’s the right kind of cosiness and I am never taking it off!

When Emily of In the Folds told me she has designed a sweater dress pattern for Peppermint Magazine I was on it. ¬†I don’t need convincing to make a sweatshirt, especially when I know she has had her hand in designing it. ¬†Are there pockets involved? Why, yes!

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Image: Peppermint Magazine Sewing School

Have you ever seen the Peppermint Magazine Sewing School?  If not, you must check it out.  There are some beautiful patterns available and they are FREE!!

I have had a lovely navy blue sweatshirt fabric for a while (a charity store find, of course) and it was the perfect fabric for this pattern.  You can see a softer stretch is used above but I had a heavier version with more structure.  But I gave it a whirl all the same.

I had to do a little hack though, so I reverted to my final scraps of gold knit. ¬†You may be familiar with my gold knit. ¬†I made use of it once before on this sweater and as they say, ‘if it ain’t broke…’. ¬†The gold is perfect with the navy blue and I had just enough for the shoulder hack.

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It’s super easy to add this shoulder detail. ¬†All you have to do is measure from the base of your neck to the tip of your shoulder. ¬†For me it’s 12cm. ¬†Fold the sleeve pattern piece in half and match the arm hole points, then draw a line at this centre point to 12cm. Now¬†graduate a curve, making it as deep or shallow as you like.¬†Add¬†seam allowance to both of your new pattern pieces. As I am no pattern maker, this isn’t an exact science, but it worked for me!

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un-ironed gold loveliness!

I was quite intrigued by the pockets. ¬†I wasn’t convinced that pockets would sit well. ¬†I have never sewn an inseam pocket in sweatshirt fabric before. ¬†I thought they wouldn’t sit flat but they do! ¬†It’s this little tip that makes them sit down. ¬†The devil is in the detail as they say.

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Image: In the Folds/Peppermint Magazine

I didn’t have quite enough fabric on one pocket so I had a do a little patch up job. ¬†It’s well inside the pocket so not visible from the outside.

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This pattern is incredibly easy. ¬†Definitely a good place to start for those beginners who¬†fancy their hand at stretch. ¬†You can sew this on a standard machine. I didn’t though, I used the overlocker for my seams.

I made one final change, I decided against the hem band.  I think it was the right choice with this thicker fabric.  Instead, I just overlocked the hem and turned it up once.  I even used a standard needle and straight stitch (eek) on my sewing machine.  I know, I am such a rebel.  But it worked a treat.

So here it is in it’s full glory

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A blurred portrait shot is so much more flattering when you are over 40 me thinks!!

Sometimes it’s nice to be able to smash out a dress in an hour or two. ¬†This is my new winter wardrobe. ¬†Lets see how many I can cobble together with my remaining scraps….

Punk it up!

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It’s 40 years since the infamous Sex Pistols gig at the Lesser Free Trade Hall in Manchester. It is often described as one of the most influencial gigs in history. ¬†I love a bit of punk, really, who doesn’t? ¬†Although I was only 2 when this gig happened, the music of the Sex Pistols had an affect on me some years later as a 15 year old looking to rebel. ¬†My rebellion wasn’t too bad, it mainly involved learning all the words to “Never mind the Bollocks” and getting my nose pierced!

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I have been listening to some really cool programmes on BBC radio, “New Rose and 40 years of the Damned” and my favourite so far, “Punk, the Pistols and the Provinces.” This made me really laugh, especially as it referenced one of the first gigs the Pistols played in Northallerton, Yorkshire and a Christmas Day gig they played in Huddersfield. Definitely worth a listen.

So while¬†rumours circulate that HRH is honouring the “Year of Punk” (can’t be true?), I thought I would honour it in my own special way with reference to the Queen of Punk herself, Dame Vivienne Westwood.

As winter has just arrived here in Sydney, I needed a jacket, so I made a kimono! ¬†What it lacks in structure, it makes up for in sleeves, fullness and (a hint of) tartan! I love Dame Viv’s¬†use of tartan in everything she designs. ¬†For me it just has to be red. ¬†Look at these glorious pieces.

I decided to copy an existing kimono that I love and that fits. So, no pattern for me, I am such a rebel!  It is a vintage find and it has such beautiful sleeve details.  What I wanted was to achieve a more practical wearable, every day version.

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I find denim to be the fabric of choice at the moment.  I found this royal blue denim on sale at Spotlight which is always a thrill.  The tartan lining was gifted to me.  And what a gift it is!  Such beautiful lightweight red cotton tartan.  A big thank you to you, Margi x

It is a fairly simple construction but I made a couple of tweeks. ¬†It has no shoulder seams, so I added them, it made more sense to me as a pattern. ¬†It also had a centre back seam which I didn’t need as it had no shaping. ¬†I managed to draw it up. ¬†I then asked my studio buddy to check it (that’s Emily of In the Folds). ¬†She made a couple of adjustments, but nothing major so I wasn’t far off track.

I was very surprised at how well it¬†came together. ¬†Especially as I had to just ‘best guess’ on construction. I made a last minute decision to add some lined pockets. ¬†A good decision I think. ¬†I inserted them between the¬†side seam and the collar extension (is that what you call it??) ¬†I made the basic denim kimono and then made the tartan lining.

The major struggle for me was inserting the lining.  As the jacket has these sleeve vents, it really confused me.  After a couple of goes and failing miserably, I admitted defeat and asked the guru (Emily ) to help.  Of course she just pinned it all together and it worked!

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I found my best punk inspired boots and jeans for this shoot!

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There is plenty of volume in these sleeves, I feel like I have shopping bags under my arm pits.

 

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I think the hem could be a little longer. ¬†You can also see the neckline isn’t fitting very tightly.
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Hello tartan lining, how I love thee!
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You can see the sleeve vents in more detail here, I like the hint of tartan you can see.  I added some bar tacks to keep the lining in place.
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Super pleased with the pockets, the placement and the lining.

I really wanted a grungy shoot and I think with the roadcone I fashioned into a tripod and the garage door in it’s full ‘rundown’ glory, I think it works.

There are a couple of issues with this make. ¬†Firstly I think it could do with being about 5cm longer on the hem. ¬†Also, I should have tapered the collar seam at the back so it fits a little flatter. ¬†Other than that I am super pleased with it. ¬†So pleased infact that I have worn it every day and I am yet to finish it. I still need to sew the hole in the lining and tack the lining in to the seam allowance in certain spots. ¬†Question is, will I ever do this? ¬†It would be more punk to say, “NO, F*** IT!” ¬†But of course I won’t, there is nothing to rebel against these days!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dry eyes drafting (the no tears approach to pattern drafting)

I have dabbled in pattern drafting before. I even went to night school about 10 years ago to learn all about it. I learnt a lot, then children came, as did memory loss and time to myself.

But as the kids get bigger and I am finding a extra few minutes in the day, I thought it was time to give it a whirl again. I had a quick look over my college notes, read a bit of Winifred Aldrich’s Metric Pattern Cutting and abandoned them all to the ‘too hard’ basket.

I have to say there is a much easier way. Now I am sharing a studio space with Emily of In the Folds, I am trying really hard to absorb her talent by osmosis. While I work on that, I thought I would use her web tutorials on pattern drafting and go for it!

I had seen a very basic sketch in the sewing bible AKA The Reader Digest Complete Guide to Sewing and knew that I wanted that skirt. Most people get inspiration from more interesting sources, but clearly not me!

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Image from Readers Digest ‘Complete Guide to Sewing’

So I gave it a whirl. ¬†I clicked onto the Pattern Making¬†section of the In the Folds website and started by using the skirt series icon. ¬†First step, drafting a skirt block. I have drafted a skirt block before via Winifred Aldrich’s book. ¬†It’s quite mathematically complex. ¬†I have no idea why, because when I used Emily’s tutorial it was very easy. ¬†Draw a block and then slice it up, that’s the basis of it really. I did go wrong, and I know where, it was down to measuring myself & a bad calculation (we will get to that!)

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Image by In the Folds РEmily took this little shot of me in the studio, mid-drafting!

So, in order to achieve my¬†skirt, I followed the Cut & Spread technique¬†tutorial, which is how to draft an A-line skirt. ¬†So much easier than it sounds. ¬†I then moved onto pockets.¬†I love the pockets but I wanted them to be more exaggerated to show off the contrasting fabric I had chosen. ¬†I found the drafting side pockets tutorial and went for it. ¬†The last step was drafting a waistband. ¬†I can’t wear straight waistbands, so I opted for the shaped waistband. ¬†The final stage was¬†adding seam allowance (how to add seam allowance). ¬†It sounds like it took me 10 minutes, it didn’t it took longer but it wasn’t a slow process by any means. Quite surprising really. Time to toile!

So, as I am happily drafting all of this and I start thinking to myself, ‘this shape is rather exaggerated, I didn’t realise there was such a massive difference between my waist and hips’. ¬†But I ignored these suspicions (mistake number 1) and moved on to the toile.

My dummy is exactly my measurements so I knew it was wrong when I pinned it on. It might be hard to see here but the hips were big and almost ‘avant guard’ in size and the waist was teeny tiny. ¬†So I went back to the skirt block and worked out why, a simple miscalculation. Easy to resolve. ¬†I fixed up the skirt block and then subsequently the A-line block, tweaked the seam allowance and the pocket pieces and away we go again! ¬†It wasn’t that big an issue really but made more sense once I had re-drawn it.

Now the pattern was ready to go and so down to fabric.  I had a lovely lightweight denim that I wanted to use, the fabric from Joys Fabric Warehouse that I made my Rushcutter hack from.  I also had a beautiful vintage piece of beige cotton with bright red and orange trees that I wanted to use in the pockets.  It was a present from my sister, she has good taste!  It also worked really well with the denim.

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I love the selvedges here, the mis-registration of the colours is rather lovely!
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Nearly done but no quite right yet.

I tried it on and it sat really well around my hips, the slope of the A-line was good but it was about 3cm too big around the waist.  This is due to bad measuring on my behalf (or my body dysmorphia as Emily calls it!)  A tweak to my skirt, my pattern and the blocks and I think I have finally cracked it!

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What did I learn? ¬†Apart from the obvious, ‘I DRAFTED MY OWN SKIRT’, I learnt that you should always double and triple check your calculations. I also learnt that finding a friend to measure you is invaluable!!

I am super proud of this make, it feels like a massive achievement.  It also fits me really well and is very flattering.  It also takes me away from my usual boxy silhouette. When I look at these picture I am shocked at how slim I look.  Body dysmorphia again!!

The biggest and most surprising realisation though, is that with my new haircut and in this A-line skirt I look like my Mum, circa 1978!

 

The Rushcutter hack

I have been hacking again. Not in the clever, nerdy or illegal way, just in a small way with some fabric and an awesome pattern.

I have been wanting to make the Rushcutter dress pattern into a top for a while, ever since I made my first Rushcutter dress.

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My first Rushcutter made from pre-loved fabric

It lends itself well to a top, it’s quite voluminous so perfect¬†for hiding¬†those wobbly bits (my stomach not my boobs!).

THE FABRIC

I had a lovely lightweight denim from Joys Fabric Warehouse. I bought it with my Frocktails Raffle ticket win (hooray)! It’s a great fabric with a lovely drape. I knew it was going to be good when I washed it and no white lines appeared, you know how it sometimes can with denim.

I also wanted to use the last scraps of my gorgeous vintage floral drill.  I had patched my jeans and made a skirt with it and all I needed was a little bit.

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THE PATTERN

I used View A of the Rushcutter, it’s my preferred version. ¬†I do like the sleeveless version but there is something rather wonderful about these sleeves. ¬†I just can’t resist them.

Screen Shot 2016-04-03 at 7.31.33 pmThere was very little to do in order to hack this dress.  Obviously reduce the length.  I went for a hip length which means no need to deal with pockets.

I also had to change the back panel. ¬†I didn’t need a full invisible zip so I closed the back panel seams on my pattern piece and cut it on the fold. This gave me the¬†option of whether to add a short invisible zip or¬†a button closure. ¬†I chose the button closure, mainly because I didn’t have the right size zip to hand and also I really liked the pop of the emerald green button. ¬†Either would have worked but I like this option. ¬†And that was the only change.

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I love the emerald green button here!

Here it is in it’s full glory! ¬†I really love¬†the floral panel. ¬†I know, it’s impossible for me to make anything plain. ¬†Must try harder…

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I am wearing this with my Esther Shorts (Tessuti Fabric pattern), maybe a matching pair is in order!
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I like the volume in this top, but it does mean you have to wear something slimmer on the bottom half to balance it.

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Of course, I couldn’t resist some sky blue bias binding throughout (don’t look too closely!)

I know I am going to wear this to death. ¬†It’s such a great fabric and I really like this shape. More of these to come I think.

 

 

 

 

My raglan journey continues with ‘The Rushcutter’

I first spotted this pattern when Emily at In the Folds started the countdown to her Rushcutter dress launch!  A raglan sleeve and big pockets, my two favourite things!

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Since then I have met Emily in the flesh, we live very close to each other and I would say that we have become firm friends (even though she is years younger and way cooler than me!)

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The Gingers Unite! Ridiculous selfie on our first meeting.

The reason for my delay in starting this project is that I have been wanting to find the right fabric.  Emily is a big believer in second hand fabric, she is interested in who made your clothes and who sewed them together.  She introduced me to Fashion Revolution and made me think about my wardrobe and the nature of fashion consumption.  So, in order to make the perfect Rushcutter, the fabric had to be second hand at the very least!

So here it is, a bold choice with a vintage twist. Perhaps it was once a curtain? ¬†Who knows, but I love it. ¬†Baby pink and lemon¬†yellow, a gingers’ dream! ¬†It has lots of movement and a lovely drape, I want to say it’s a brocade? ¬†It’s hard to know when it’s a charity store find, but when a $5 price tag is attached, it’s hard to say no. Would love a second option though, anyone?? I knew it would be a bugger to sew and I was right.

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I chose view A, I really like this version, I am a sucker for a three quarter length sleeve. As you know I love big pockets but I decided against pockets in the end. I cut out inseam pockets but then felt¬†they weren’t needed with this¬†dressier fabric.

I was a little apprehensive starting this project.  As I now know Emily, I really wanted this to be a special make and most of all, I wanted her pattern to be great.

There was no need to worry,¬†this pattern is a joy in itself. Some serious thought has gone into producing the pattern and the instructions, it is incredibly detailed. ¬†It’s the little things that make it good, like the notches (see photo below), the cheat sheet and the photographic instructions which don’t assume, they hold your hand if you need it. ¬†It’s all backed up with tutorials on her website¬†too.

So onto the make! As I am a big raglan sleeve fan I was interested in seeing how these sleeves were constructed.  There are shoulder darts on the raglan sleeve, I have never seen or done that before.  It adds a lovely shaping to the shoulder area.

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The front panel is broken down into two sections with this really lovely curved seam. I was a bit worried about getting this right but it worked, even with this fabric.

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The zip was my only issue.¬†Invisible zips are fairly new to me, it’s not quite invisible but I totally blame the fabric for that as it was¬†such a slippery sucker. ¬†I overstretched the fabric while inserting it and ended up with this. An easy fix by just trimming it down at one side, but it did mean my zip finished too high. ¬†I have since cut down the top of the zip and added a hook and eye to finish.¬†Not a major issue, maybe a stabiliser would have helped here.

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I did manage to match the horizontal seams though, thanks to a nifty little trick in the instructions.

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A favourite little touch was the bias binding inside.  I found this vintage yellow binding in a charity shore in Byron Bay some months back, it is the perfect match!

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I went a bit crazy and added it to the neckline, cuffs and hemline. ¬†It looks neat in these sections but I have to say there were a couple of slip ups. ¬†I won’t be beating myself up about that though, overall it looks good and I do like the odd flash of yellow you get now and again.

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So here it is!  I cut a size B and because of my height (I am 5ft 3) I reduced the hem by about 10cm.  I also reduced the three-quarter length sleeves by 5cm too.  I made no other adjustments to the fit.  The pattern specifies that there is plenty of ease which as you can see works really well for me.  Often with a small top half I never get a good fit on the bottom area, it works perfectly for my pear-shaped proportions.

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Just admiring my new Gorman shoes!
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Excuse the sunnies, it was very bright!

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So, the first of many I suspect. ¬†I am already on the look out for some denim. ¬†I am excited about the possibilities, changing up the front panel and experimenting with the pocket options. I wonder if I could make this in stretch? I digress…

I love my new frock and I especially love the baby pink and lemon yellow fabric. What is happening to me?

 

Raglan, the King of Sleeves!

I love a raglan, I am drawn to them. I first made a raglan in stretch for the little one, a¬†Brindille and Twig pattern. I couldn’t believe how easy it was to make. It convinced me that I never needed to buy a sweatshirt for the my toddler¬†again.

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Trying to find a larger sized pattern for the big boys seemed to allude me, so I decided to draft a version based on there measurements (luckily they are about the same size).  Whoop Whoop, it worked a treat thanks to some help from Metric Pattern Cutting by Winifred Aldrich.

I backed this up by drafting my very first pattern, of course a raglan sweatshirt. ¬†It’s one of my favourite pieces, mainly because I drafted it and also the awesome bling on the shoulders. ¬†I am sure you have seen this many times before.

I am getting to the point I promise.

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I don’t really know what it is that makes me love a raglan so much. ¬†Maybe it’s the simple construction or maybe the flattering fall of the sleeve. ¬†Whatever it is, I love them and it inspired me to find the perfect¬†raglan sleeve dress.

The first one I made was a very simple self-drafted number based on my sweatshirt. I didn’t want a stretch version though, so I just added a little extra width, basically enough to fall easily over my hips. ¬†A boxy shape, my favourite shape. I then added more ease on the three quarter length sleeves. ¬†It is possibly the most impractical item I own, it’s in white! ¬†WHY?? What was I thinking! ¬†The kids are not allowed to come near me with food! ¬†This ultimately means¬†I don’t wear it much, shame really because it’s rather nice.

The main fabric was a charity store find, it’s a cotton mix with quite a nice drape. ¬†The sleeve fabric is a cotton lace I found at Lincraft many moons ago. ¬†There is nothing fancy about this make. ¬†Just some homemade bias binding around the neck, hemmed sleeves, and¬†a chunky hem at the bottom.

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A more practical colour option was in order and I wanted to try a ‘proper’ pattern! So I tried the raglan sleeve dress in the Japanese pattern book, Stylish Party Dresses.

I used some black crepe that I found at the charity shop. ¬†I have been holding onto it for ages looking for the right project but I think this was¬†the one! I wanted to make it a little special so I used the last bit of my quilted bronze fabric. ¬†This is the reverse side of the fabric I made my Frocktails dress ¬†in. ¬†It’s such a wonderful colour, I just couldn’t help myself. ¬†I seem to have a thing for bronze shoulders!

I didn’t have enough to make a full sleeve, which is why I opted for the shoulder panel. It’s a minor tweak and easy to redraw, I wrote about it here.¬†It’s amazing how much you improve as you sew, I just re-read that post and wondered who wrote it, lol!

The neckline was also quite high on the pattern so I dropped it by a few centimetres. The pattern calls for a button closure but as I had dropped the neckline I could get it over my head so I ignored this step.

I quite like it, although I think it is perhaps a little short! I will see how I go and then maybe drop the hemline by about 5cm. I rather like it and I am glad I used the last scraps of the bronze as I love it so much!

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I am currently working on the ultimate raglan, the Rushcutter dress by In the Folds. It has some really interesting elements in it, I am excited about this one.

Watch this space…