Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Anna and Victoria go to tea

Look! I made a jacket (oh and another dress)!!

The jacket is the By Hand London Victoria blazer. I've not made a jacket and really needed a light jacket for the summer. This was intended to be a wearable muslin and I think it worked.

The pattern is actually really easy to put together. It is designed to be relaxed and has a LOT of ease. There is about 9" (18cm) of ease around the bust, so I decided to go down a size, which would give me about 7" of ease.

The problem I had was my old lady arms which are obviously larger than they need to be. I ended up with tight sleeves and had to let them out a wee bit. I managed to let out the seam by about 3/8" which has helped, but it's not ideal.

A couple of things I don't agree with, the patterns states that there's no need to finish the seams on the lining or shell, I've overlocked the seams to the shell and the lining has French seams. I just feel as if I've made an effort doing this. I don't like throwing things together!

The jacket doesn't have a facing, the lining is attached to the edge of the jacket and the collar is attached to that. My fabric choice means that it doesn't lay very flat. I need to steam the whatsits out of it so it will lay flatter. I might even stick a couple of catch stitches in too.

As to my fabric choice... Ha ha, well the black shell is actually an old long black concert skirt of mine which I grew out of a few years ago. I decided it was perfect to try out this pattern. There wasn't enough to cut the back piece on the fold, so I gave it a centre back seam. I don't think this detracts from the jacket at all, in fact I really like it! I think the black fabric is a kind of viscose. It does crease, I have to use a warm iron, not a hot iron to press it and erm (no I haven't done a burn test on the remains! The lining is a shot purple/blue lining fabric which I used to make a Simplicity jumper dress about a month ago (not get blogged about). So it's all made from leftovers! My kinda make.

Ha ha, this was the only photo I could find of the original skirt. This was the early 90s!

Next time, I think I'll have a play around to make the sleeves bigger and also line the sleeves. I don't really like attaching the lining to the armholes and I honestly think they would better lined. I'm not convinced by the cuffs either. They are attached with a French seam to the sleeve and personally I think my fabric has ended up making these a bit bulky. I might consider a different way another time.

Lining finished by hand to the bottom of the back and attached to the armhole

As for the dress... I really don't think this needs much more introduction. It's another Anna dress. With the V-neck front. I forgot to lengthen the bodice and it really could do with an extra half inch, but I'm quite happy with it. I have noticed though that where the boat neck version fits nicely, the v-neck bodice has a tendency to gape. Anyway, this is the 3rd time I've made the dress as a whole and the fourth time I've made the bodice up (one bodice made for my Gabrianna dress). I just love this pattern, It's great if you're feeling a bit meh and can't be bothered, as it's quick and easy to make up and is so easy to fit.

The details...
Blazer - Viscose? from an old black concert skirt. Lining left over from another make, but from Fabric Warehouse
Dress - Cotton from Fabric Warehouse early November (it didn't make it to stash!)
Notions:   Thread, and a zip and some interfacing for the dress.
Pattern:  By Hand London Victoria Blazer and By Hand London Anna Dress
First worn:  Sunday to the WSBN 2nd birthday party at Martha's Pantry in Wellington, photos taken by Mel

Worn with:  Sandals from Mischief a couple of years ago.
Changes made: 
Blazer - I actually shortened the long length jacket by 3 inches (lack of fabric!) and put a centre back seam again because of a lack of fabric. I didn't put any pockets in the side seams. Otherwise no changes made and I also followed the instructions properly!
Dress - Just realigned the front pleats and shortened them to fit me better. Otherwise no changes.
Another one?
Blazer - This was always intended to be a wearable muslin, so I'm pretty tempted to. It's a really comfy jacket to wear, but next time I will possibly make the sleeves better.
Dress - I should think so, I love this pattern! Surely the fact I've made so many says something?

And I've realised I've managed to make something else in time for The Monthly Stitch challenge!

Current Challenge: November

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Papercut circles - I'm in love

This was the first Papercut Pattern I've made and I have to say I'm besotted with this one.

Papercut Patterns are designed and made here in NZ and I can't really believe it's taken me this long to make one up. There will be more Papercut in the future, I promise! Papercut love has made it to this blog!

If you haven't already guessed, this is their circle top and I made up two in pretty quick succession...

It's so clever how Katie has drafted this, but conversely the pattern is so simple, a big circle cut on the fold with two holes for sleeves, two sleeves, two cuffs and strips for the binding around the edge. That is it.

Attaching the sleeves is not a problem. I think the hardest part is actually trying to get the binding around the edge tidy, but fortunately with the knit fabrics it's not obvious that I've not made the best job!

That's about all I really have to say. The first one I made from this purple and black merino which I got from the Fabric Warehouse pop-up store. I made this true to the pattern. I find the cuffs a bit deep for me, but it's still a fab top to wear. I love the way the stripes work!

I think it was only about a week later and I happened to be in the Fabric Warehouse - again - oops! I found this mustard/lime green wool. This fabric is so thick and warm. It's lovely. This one, I made the cuffs not so deep and I'm much happier with them that way. This second one went together in an afternoon, all except finishing the binding.

I was invited down to sew it at Kat's and she let me use her overlocker! At the time, I'd never used one and it was such an eye-opener. I loved it. It was so quick and easy for the knit fabric and this pattern. All I needed to do here at home was finish off the binding! Easy, peasy!! But a warning, that binding takes a long time! I think nearly as long to attach that as it does to make the rest of the top!

The details...
  1. Purple and black striped merino from Fabric Warehouse pop-up shop (November 2013)
  2. Lime green merino wool from Fabric Warehouse, September 2014, this didn't make it to stash!
Notions:   Thread
Pattern:  Papercut Circle top

Changes made:  I made a change to the second circle top to make the cuff shorter. This was just personal preference on my part. On the first one, I top stitched the cuffs down using my double needle to give a tidier finish.

Worn with:
  1. Purple and black striped merino circle top, cream Renfrew, RTW skirt from M&S (UK), black tights, Everybody pumps (photos taken by Kat sometime in August on Mt Vic)
  2. Lime green wool circle top, pink and green shirt (not blogged about but made last February with my culottes), purple Gabriola, green shoes from Overland

Another one?  Well I've got two of these now, but they are such an easy make, so I'm tempted. I'll see where the mood takes me! I've got a white knit downstairs which I reckon will be perfect for a summery evening one...
Recommend:  Oh yes, if you want an easy top to make which can be worn anywhere this is your answer. They are so easy to make and wear. I'm also so happy with how much in my wardrobe these both go with - who says black goes with everything?

And I can do this with these tops too :-)


Thursday, 30 October 2014

Crazy Cat meets acid!

I blame this all on Mel. She saw the post on Miss Crayola Creepy's blog and convinced us (the WSBN) that it would be a great thing to do in a group.

Well you know sewing and cats seem to go together well and lots of us have kitties which try to stop us sewing by sitting on fabric, dragging balls of wool all over the house, etc. And so, the WSBN Crazy Cat lady challenge was born. [A wee bit of artistic licence allows us to add the word "Crazy"...] A date was chosen and... oh, we'd booked to go away! :-( Was that going to stop me? Never! So to cut a long story short, the Crazy Acid Cat skirt was born!

I bought this fabric from MrsC's shop Made Marion. It's a kind of fine cotton twill, so quite stiff, but presses like a dream. I knew straight away after seeing the fabric how to make it up.

Originally I toyed with the idea of drafting my own skirt from my pencil skirt block, but then Fabric-a-Brac happened. The perfect place for old patterns. I spied two A-line skirt patterns and nabbed them both. Well at 50 cents for one and $1 for the other I couldn't really let them go!

In the end I used the Practical Pattern 6568. Has anyone ever heard of this make? The pattern is for a size 12, but I decided I could soon grade it up, it's a long time since my waist was 25.5"! I added an inch to each of the side seams based on the pattern measurements and my own.

There was actually not that much fabric spare. Originally I thought it wouldn't matter what way up the fabric needed to go, but actually it was important...

Spotty cats down or spotty cats up?

Mr N decided the cats looked like they'd been on acid and hence the acid crazy cats were born, he also decided the spotty cats needed to be up.

The skirt was so quick to go together, well lets face it, an A-line skirt with a pleat front isn't really rocket science!! I hardly used the instructions, except for the pleat, just the pattern pieces! That's lazy from me, I could have drafted it myself! I cut this out on the Saturday evening after Fabric-a-Brac and had done all but the buttonhole and hem by the end of Sunday.

I finished the seams with my overlocker, which made life a whole lot easier. For the waistband, I used waistband stiffening. The zip is a lapped zip in the side seam and I added a green button to match the crazy cat eyes on the fabric.

The hem is just finished on the machine. And, er, that's about it.

The deets...
Fabric:  Cotton twill in cream and black with crazy cat pattern from Made Marion September 2014.
Notions:   Thread, a dress zip, waistband stiffening and a button from stash
Pattern:  Practical Pattern 6568, an A-line skirt pattern from Fabric-a-Brac October 2014, which was graded up to fit.
First worn:  Last Friday on the way up to the Forgotten Highway and worn here in New Plymouth on Sunday with a RTW top from Monsoon, UK; green cardi from Glassons and pumps from Overland. Yes, it was windy! [Other photos take on our deck at home when it was slightly less windy, but still windy nonetheless!]

Another one?  I actually am really pleased how this pattern turned out. I had the idea that the style might not suit me much, but it actually looks good and I love wearing the skirt. It's great for windy Wellington weather, as it's not too full and I reckon it'll get year round wear. Woohoo!

Oh and you wanna see where the photos were taken in New Plymouth? Just check out this cool bridge!

Te Rewa Rewa Bridge, New Plymouth

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Giselle for Frocktober

My second dress finished this month of Frocktober is the Kate and Rose Giselle dress. This is the sewalong dress for the Third week of the month on The Monthly Stitch.

Upcoming Challenge: October

I bought the pattern some time ago and spent my time cogitating and ruminating over which fabric to use. I eventually went with this border print which I bought last year some time. Strangely enough, it's the second lot of fabric which I've bought which my WSBN firend Mel has also bought. We must be twinsies in another life!

This fabric is actually a border print, which for some reason I didn't realise until I laid it out to cut out! Not sure what planet I was on, but...

I found the instructions really clear and easy to follow. As I've probably mentioned before I'm very much a follower of images and then read the words if it doesn't make sense, and this pattern didn't disappoint. The images in the instructions are clear and easy to follow.

I made up a muslin of the bodice first, simply so I could check where the underbust seam lie. As you can see it was just a bit high and so I had to extend the bodice pieces. I extended these by about an inch. To match with this, I took the corresponding amount off the fitted lower bodice pieces. I also found when making up the muslin that I could use a normal 5/8" seam allowance. I used this for the muslin without checking the pattern and found it fit perfectly and I could still get the bodice over my head.

The length of the bodice itself was perfect for me. Quite a change from many patterns which I find I have to lengthen the bodice.

I got quite geeky about the pattern placement. With the shape of the bodice I had to be careful that I didn't end up with the fabric patterns in odd places, so I took a lot of time and great care to ensure that the back was centred, the front pieces were exactly the same and even the sleeves and ties have the same placement! I did toy with the idea of using a continuous piece for the lower bodice as in the sleeveless version, but in the end I stuck with the pattern as it was.

 I also put the sleeves in as the pattern states. I learned to inset a sleeve before ever putting a sleeve in flat and so I've never been afraid of insetting sleeves in this way.

I didn't actually use the pattern pieces or even the measurements for the skirt. I prefer to cut skirts to my fave length (about knee length) and also I wanted to ensure the pattern matched. Just check this out...

All the seams are finished using French seams. The fabric is very fine and frays easily, so this seemed the best option. I used my new overlocker to finish seams on the waist and around the armholes.

As I've mentioned above, this fabric is very fine and see through. Consequently I decided to line the dress. I've lined mine in a very different way to which my fellow WSBN and TMS editor, Juliet, is lining hers. I knew from the muslin that I'd need to either wear a slip underneath or a cami top, so I decided to use some fine plain cotton to make a lining. The lining is completely self-drafted. The bodice is cut on the bias and the skirt lining is a considerably less full version of the main skirt (very useful for modesty in the Wellington wind!) I then cut the straps and the edging on the bias and made bias binding strips. The straps are attached to the dress using bar tacks and the lining is also attached to the dress at the waist. The lining is also finished using French seams!

The details
Fabric:  Fine cotton border print from Arthur Toye and plain pink cotton lawn from Fabric Warehouse

Notions:Thread, no interfacing at all.

First worn:  In Auckland at a conference just over a week ago and here for photos at Fabric-a-Brac in Newtown last weekend, photos taken by Kat.
Changes made:  The top bodice pieces were extended by about 3/4" to cater for my girlies, the corresponding lower bodice pieces were shortened by the same amount. The skirt pieces were self-drafted to pattern match. The dress is also fully lined with a self-drafted lining.

Recommend?  Oh I feel so girlie in this!! The colours are so happy and cheerful - no black for me!! I feel great in it. I've had loads of compliments too! My fabric choice was perfect. It was really hot in Auckland and I was as cool as cucumber in this and even better it gave me a bit of protection from the sun on my arms. It is actually a really quick make as well. Yes, mine took longer because I added a lining, but without that, it's fast.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Autumnal La Sylphide - in Spring!

I've joined the Papercut fan club...

And this won't be the last Papercut pattern I make either! Papercut are based just across the Cook Strait from us here in Wellington, and it feels great to be supporting something local.

I didn't make up a muslin, which I've taken to doing recently, but I kinda wish I had. The fit isn't awful, but it could be better. The waist measurement was smaller than mine, but only by the smallest amount, so the waist on the bodice has about an extra 3/4 inch applied to it.

The skirt pieces were far too wide for my fabric, so the skirt is not as full as on the pattern. I ended up cutting the skirt pieces less curved so that they didn't look odd. Even so the waist on the side seams has gone a bit baggy somehow - it's not obvious with a belt. I also lengthened the skirt, I certainly don't have the legs for the Papercut length! There's about 8 inches extra on the length.

The pattern was really clear and easy to follow. The instructions are great. They are thorough with clear illustrations. I've seen on some blogs that the sleeves are quite tight and narrow, but I decided to cut the sleeves as per the pattern and they are perfect for me and I certainly don't have tiny arms.

The fabric is a quilting cotton I got from Arthur Toye before they closed. It was originally just going to be a blouse, but somehow the La Sylphide pattern just won over. Cutting out the fabric I noticed that it certainly frayed, it was awful with bits of burnt orange cotton everywhere, so I ended up finishing all seams using French seams.

In some ways the fabric was not the best choice, it's obviously quite thick and stiff and so the neck tie sits a bit proud, but if I tie it well...

The details
Fabric:  Quilting cotton in a burnt orange with star flowers from Arthur Toye closing down sale, Jan 2014.

Notions:   Thread, interfacing for the tie band and button placket, plain matt black buttons from Wellington Sewing Services in Kilbirnie.

Pattern:   Papercut Patterns La Sylphide dress
First worn:  For work just over a week ago. Worn here at Fabric-a-Brac in Newtown today, photos taken by Kat. Where I just happened to be joined by Jo wearing her La Sylphide!

Changes made:  The waist made about 3/4" bigger, the skirt less full and lengthened by about 8 inches.

Recommend?  A great pattern, it feels fab to wear, and I get loads of compliments wearing it. I'm already contemplating number 2 from some viscose fabric I have. So I think that means I recommend it ;-)

Oh and cos it's October, or should I say Frocktober, I'll be joining in the party over at The Monthly Stitch.