Sunday, 29 June 2014

Yep, I'm a Sewaholic fan!

The final week of The Monthly Stitch Indie Pattern Month and I'm quite amazed with how much I've managed to make. I think it's time to admit that yes, I'm a bit of a Sewaholic fan!

This is the Gabriola skirt with an Alma blouse. I've actually now made up both patterns twice, the blouse I made about a year ago in white cotton with self-drafted puffed sleeves and the skirt as part of my Gabrianna dress from about two weeks ago.

The Alma blouse
It's made from a pale grey poly-cotton and I made up the neckline from view A with the sleeves from view B. I tried to self-draft some pleated sleeves, but they ended up so big... How big? :-)

They were unpicked and fortunately I had plenty of fabric left to cut out the elbow length sleeves from view B. Even so, I must have short arms, I cut about 5cm off the length of them! I originally cut the blouse in a size 14, but although I used the darts from the 14, I'd do better next time to cut a 12, the 14 is just way too big!

Sorry, a nice bit of squint in the sun there!

It's an easy blouse to put together. The notch in the neckline went better this time and lays a whole lot flatter. The blouse also has a side zip, which I put in the wrong side, so it's on the right side not the left, but after three goes of trying to put in the invisible zip and it finally being successful, I was not unpicking it to put it in the left (correct?) side. Really, are you going to notice? No I thought not.

I'm perfectly happy with the blouse, but having made it up, am not completely convinced the colour is really me. Time will tell I guess. It's winter and I've not been well this week, so I'm paler than I might be anyway.

The Gabriola skirt
The only time I've actually made up this pattern was as part of my Gabrianna dress, so to make it up as a skirt officially really was a must. This is a purple poly-lycra fabric which I picked up from Fabric-a-Brac in April. Yep, I was brave and decided to use a stretch fabric for a pattern made for wovens. Dear me, this use of stretchy fabrics, I must be going a bit soft in the head! But hey, just look here, it works! Just check out the yoke detail.

The fabric just has a one way stretch, so it wasn't impossible to deal with, but I certainly had to be careful so that one layer of fabric didn't stretch more than the other while sewing. I can lower the feed dogs on my machine, but I can't change the pressure of the foot, so I had to be very careful.

What is great though, is the weight. This fabric has quite a bit of weight in it and so the skirt hangs so well. It doesn't crease either :-) I certainly let this one hang before I hemmed it. With the stretch in the fabric it would have been completely daft not to. I did initially sew the hem with my double needle, but that was a stupid idea, the hem was completely all over the place. So I unpicked it and stitched it using a straight stitch on the machine. Yep, you heard it right here, I hemmed something on my machine!!

I tried to add a pocket in the side seam... Not my best idea, I put it in too low and it also hasn't pressed as flat as I'd like.

I put in a centred zip. I had to put this in twice too, since the first time the fabric puckered and stretched. I'd probably have been better to handpick the zip... I also used a hook and bar instead of a button. Judging by the white gap, I've a sinking feeling I haven't aligned it properly. :-(

Bother, it's only since taking the photos I've noticed that!

The details
Fabric:  Pale grey polycotton with a very subtle pattern from the Fabric Warehouse, Wellington, January 2013 (stashbusting!) It cost about $10 for 2m and I've used about 1.5m if you count two lots of sleeves! 


Purple poly-lycra mix with a flower pattern from Fabric-a-Brac, Wellington, April 2014. I think I had 2.5m which cost about $4. I think there's about .75m left of that. It had a kind of sheen to it which means it really shows up the grainlines in the skirt pattern.

Notions:   Thread, white and pale grey for the blouse and black and purple for the skirt. (I use white and black for seams for most of my sewing.) The colours are for top stitching only. Also an invisible zip for the blouse, a dress zip for the skirt, interfacing for both and a hook and bar for the skirt.
Patterns:  Sewaholic Anna blouse and Sewaholic Gabriola skirt  I think that makes me a fan :-) You can vote for me to win the last contest here.

First worn:  I actually wore the skirt for the first time to work on Friday, but the combination was worn for these photos today :-) I took these in the local playground. It's just gone mid-winter which means it's now Matariki (Maori new year) and today the weather was amazing, wall to wall sunshine and about 15 degrees in the shade, ie a lot warmer in the sun! I was positively hot today! Not winter-like at all.

Changes made:  For the blouse - none, unless you count using darts for a different size to the finished size?  For the skirt - I attempted to put in an in-seam pocket, which ended up too low. I also shortened the length considerably, I think about 20 cm. It's still quite long, so I think even the full length would be too long for me and I'm about 5'6".
Recommend?  Oh yes! OK, I may be biased, but Sewaholic patterns are so nice to put together. They are well drafted and fit me really well with little or no changes. The instructions are also really clear and easy to follow.

Nikki no mates, it was just me and my camera in the park :-(

This skirt is great, the weight of the fabric gives it a great flow and I can swish in it too :-)

And swish!

Monday, 16 June 2014

Welcome the Gabrianna!

Oh yes, week three of TMS Indie Patten month and I've mashed up patterns from two of my fave indie companies; By Hand London Anna and Sewaholic's Gabriola. And so, I present to you Gabrianna!

My thinking behind the match... The Anna bodice I've made twice before and it's a lovely simple, easy to sew bodice, I also think it needs an elegant skirt. The Gabriola is new to my collection, and the elegant smooth lines of this skirt are a match made in heaven with this bodice in my opinion. I also love the fit of other Sewaholic patterns I've made up.

I actually cut the bodice and made that first before cutting out the skirt. Having not made the skirt before I didn't know how it would fit around my waist/hips, but thought I could play around with it to fit. So I measured the waist of the bodice, and cut the skirt to match that size. I still interfaced the waistband to keep it stable and give some definition.

This skirt is actually quite an easy pattern to make up. Yes, there are a lot of pieces, but it's quite a simple pattern to make up. Although I was in such a rush, that I actually stitched the side skirt panels the wrong way round, My skirt was very odd until I realised what I'd done! I wondered why I had enormous triangular hips sticking out! There was a lot of unpicking taking place!

I even put a pocket in the side seam. The in seam pocket pattern piece actually came from my Pauline Alice Cami pattern, so in theory, I've used three patterns in this dress. Perhaps it should be called the Gabricamianna? No, OK, we'll stick to Gabrianna ;-)

The zip is a navy blue dress zip which I had in my stash. So I was happy, I'm still not good at putting in invisible zips. Give me a centred zip and I'm happy!

I did find time to let this drop overnight. The fabric is quite stable and so I took a chance. I finished it by hand as usual.

I did not go mad to match the pattern, I think my poor brain has had enough pattern matching for now after my plaid cami! However, I did make the effort to try to line up the pattern. I would have been too obvious otherwise. So at least the colours line up on the skirt and bodice, etc.

It was pretty windy along the waterfront!

The fabric is a cotton which I got from Fabric-a-Brac in April. It's actually from one of my fellow WSBN ladies and when she saw this I think she was definitely happy to see how it had been made up. It cost me probably less than $5 and there's still about a metre plus left! As for choosing it for this dress, I wanted something which would show the lines for the Gabriola skirt. The best bit about this skirt is where the grainline is around the yoke and this fabric is perfect. It's not an obvious stripe, but I think the pink pattern lines show the yoke brilliantly.

The details
Fabric:  Blue, pink, green patterned cotton from Fabric-a-Brac, April 2014. I got just over 4m for less than NZ $5, that's about GBP 2.50 for UK folks and about US $4.30. Bargain or what?
Notions:   Thread (both white and blue from stash), interfacing for the neck facing and waistband, and a navy dress zip from stash. Lots from stash!
Pattern:  The Gabrianna = Bodice from By Hand London Anna dress + Gabriola skirt from Sewaholic. Oh, plus a pocket from Pauline Alice Cami dress! I think this definitely satisfies the criteria for TMS Franken-Indie.


First worn:  Photos, followed by WSBN dinner last Saturday. The photos were taken down on the waterfront here in Wellington with Zara, Laura, Kat and, later on, Sandra. As you can see there's always a bit of fighting to be had on who gets the best photographer :-)

OK, Kat and I are friends really...

Changes made:  I shifted the darts slightly with the bodice, but the rest is as drafted. I think I cut between a 16/18 front bodice, 14/16 back bodice. The skirt I cut a 12, but the waist I ended up taking in more at the back. I always think I've got a broad back, but perhaps not! Oh and I definitely cut quite a bit of length off the skirt, since this is a maxi skirt pattern.
Recommend?  As a franken-indie mash-up, this worked like a dream. I think the skirt lines suit this bodice perfectly. I love the way the skirt still skims my hips producing clear lines. I feel like the cat that's got the cream in this creation and would definitely recommend you try it. 

I call it a success. In two weeks, I've made two happy dresses - yay! I think I can get away with this on some of our warmer winter days. Purple boots and purple cardi? Yep, I think so!

Thanks to Zara and Laura who wielded my big girls' camera. Oh and the outtakes, cos I know how much you love them :-)

 Don't ask...

There's a naked man about to dive in the harbour here in Wellington, 'nuff said!

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Plaid Cami

Yep, I've been busy sewing!

This is Pauline Alice Cami dress.


I first saw this dress on Dolly Clackett's blog and when I looked at it, I decided it was the shirt dress pattern I needed for this fabric. The fabric has been hanging around in my stash for a while and I was supposed to use it and give what was left over to fellow Wellington sewer Mel, but I was so long getting a pattern, she gave up and got her own and made up a dress ages ago!

Even so I still procrastinated... My muslin of the bodice was wrong, all wrong and in the end I decided I had to do my first ever FBA! HELP! Where's that book, website, etc, etc. Why was I so scared, it was easy! This pattern only has waist darts and for me I need a bit more which was why I did the FBA and gave the bodice bust darts too.

Then due to my fabric choice I had all the fun of pattern cutting combined with pattern matching! I'm after something easy next, what a headache this was with some of the matching it required! The skirt is just two rectangles and so I didn't use the pattern pieces for those, I just cut two widths of fabric so I could match the pattern perfectly. I even put in an in seam pocket...

Can you see the join?

I went for version B with the longer sleeves. These have a really cute cuff which is shown folded up, although I have seen some versions online where the cuff is left down. I had to cut one of these again as I realised I'd sewn it upside down and the pattern wouldn't match! I think I will now just add a couple of catch stitches to the tops on the inside seam to ensure they stay in place.

The pattern became quite an obsession in the end! I was so obsessed that each piece was the right way up and that it matched where it possibly could. I even recut one of the cuffs because it didn't match. Just check out this front placket!

The dress has a side seam zip and did I say it had pockets? Oh yes, it has pockets! I only put one in, as I decided I could cope matching the pattern with an inseam pocket and the bottom of the side seam zip!

One think I rarely do is top-stitch, but I decided with this dress that I would. There is top stitching down the button placket, around the sleeve cuffs and also around the collar.

The hem however is hand stitched. I think many of my regulars will know how much I love a hand stitched hem. Even when I was little, Mum used to sew and the last thing she ever did was hand sew the hem, I think it must be some kind of obsession or something which means something isn't finished without hand stitching the hem. Yep, I know there are two widths of 1.5m wide fabric, but that's no excuse for letting standards drop...

Oh, did I mention the pink grosgrain I used to finish it too?

What else can I say about this?

Fabric:  Blue, black and pink plaid cotton from Fabric Warehouse Jan 2013. There was 4m of this which I got for $30. Bargain! I think I've got about 1.5m left.
Notions:   Thread, interfacing for the collar, cuffs and placket, buttons from Spotlight and pink grosgrain ribbon for the hem from Made on Marion.
Pattern:  Pauline Alice Cami dress
First worn:  For photos at Truby King gardens, Wellington. Worn with a bought black belt, black tights and my bright blue snakeskin pumps. I also wore a petticoat to help the skirt stand out.

Changes made:  I did an FBA which meant I ended up with bust darts. The front waist darts will also have been shifted to fit my shape better. The skirt pieces I didn't use the pattern pieces for, I just cut two widths. No other changes made.
Recommend?  Definitely. Even doing the FBA was not a problem and only because I've perhaps a bit more than the pattern asks for around the bust! The drafting is great. The sleeves are not too tight, which can sometimes be an issue, but the fit of these is great. The instructions are really clear and easy to follow, with pictures for most steps. What I really like about the instructions is that for the version you want to make, Pauline has said exactly which pieces need printing to save printing the whole pattern. Each pattern piece states which pages are required to piece it together, eg the long sleeves are on pages 4, 5, 8, 9. Such a simple easy thing which is a great touch as far as I'm concerned as it certainly saves on the printing costs.

Can you tell I like this dress? Not obviously the the number of photos is it? It also fulfills another of The Monthly Stitch Indie Pattern month challenges. You can now vote for me to win even more awesome patterns here

I've never made up one of Pauline Alice's patterns and this is definitely New to Me.

Thanks to one of my fellow WSBN ladies who took these for me. Of course, it wouldn't be a post without a couple of outtakes...

Monday, 2 June 2014

Eva in the Pink

I've made another knit dress...

This is the Eva dress from Your Style Rocks, which is a free pattern when you register on their website.


I loved the style of the dress as soon as I saw it on the website, but it's actually taken me about 2 years to make it up! I eventually found some ponte knit from Spotlight which I decided would fit the bill perfectly. I've made this up for the Dresses contest for the first week of The Monthly Stitch Indie Pattern month.

The pieces are all cut out on the flat, there are no cuts on the fold here! I did however find it a tight fit. I had enough fabric, according to the pattern requirements, but had to play around with the placement to get the dress cut out. At least I'd access to a large format printer so I didn't have to join the dots with the pattern pieces.

The instructions are very brief. There are few images - I think just two to show you how to do the front draped piece, but apart from that, there are none. The pattern recommends adding a bias cut piece of interfacing to the shoulder seams and back neck. It seems very odd to add a bias strip with a knit fabric, so I've used knit interfacing on the neck and added cotton tape to the shoulder seams.

The instructions for the back neck are very confusing. I understood that the back neck facing was meant to be folded in half and attached to the bodice and then stitched to the inside. This was where I found the double knit was the wrong fabric. I couldn't stitch the facing to the inside as it was too thick, so I attached it and left it on the outside. I did have to slightly trim the sleeves to fit having done this.

The front draped piece is double fabric. It has a "lining" which ensures the draped piece keeps it's shape. This is a nice touch and I like it.

The seams are all double stitched. The sleeves I hemmed using the machine, but I hemmed the skirt by hand.

The touch I really like is the pleat on the back. This really adds definition to the back of the dress and adds a lot of shape. It's easy to sew, the back is pleated across and stitched by hand.

The details
Fabric:  Raspberry coloured ponte knit (double knit) from Spotlight, April 2014.
Notions:   Thread, interfacing for the neckline and tape for the shoulder seams.
Pattern:  Your Style Rocks Eva dress
First worn:  Here at MOTAT (Museum of Transport and Technology) in Auckland this last weekend. I got a bit carried away with the mirror maze :-)
Changes made:  None as far as I know, unless the back of the neck, but this was due to the lack of instructions.
Recommend?  The dress looks like it does on the tin, which is certainly a good thing in my book, but I would recommend something other than ponte. The knit is great in some ways because it has so much more structure, but for the draping on this dress, it doesn't really work. The cowl neck just seems to fold to one side unfortunately. It is quick to make though.

And an outtake from the museum photos...