Sunday, 25 October 2015

Muse Tahi

Happy first birthday to Muse Patterns!

I've been testing again! When Kat first mentioned this pattern combo to me, I was there. I love shrugs and I thought this one would be great to go over my concert dress to replace the very old tie front cardi I was using. As for the seam detail on the skirt, I was sold, please let me test, please, please!

The shrug
This is great for stash busting, it uses such little fabric and is so easy to put together too. That easy that I forgot I was testing and completely forgot to read the instructions - oops!

I made the version with 3/4 sleeves. Honestly it is the simplest thing to make. Stitch the shoulder seams, insert the sleeves, sew up the side seam and sleeve seam in one go, hem the sleeve cuffs an then attach the binding around the raw edges and away you go!

I used less than a metre of fabric. My version gapes a bit at the back of the neck and the binding seems to be tight at the bottom of the back. I think this is really my fabric choice, trust me, trying to find notches cut in this fabric is nigh on impossible!

Now wearing this over my concert dress, I ideally would need to pin the front of the shrug to the straps on my dress, since it's a strappy dress. I can't be showing skin to all and sundry in concerts. I don't have a photo of this yet. However, with anything else I love the shape. I think it looks great over everything else. At most, an additional inch on the front would be good, but anything more than that is getting in the realms of FBAs and SBAs. As it is, this style suits everyone.

The details

Fabric:  Black fluffy fabric received from a swap from A Charm of Magpies, one of our WSNB-ers
Notions:  Thread and some cotton tape to stabilise the back of the neck.
Pattern:  Muse Patterns, Tahi Shrug, size 40
Changes made:  None
First worn:  For photos here at Truby King Gardens in Wellington with the Tahi Skirt and a Belcarra made in June.

Another one/recommendations:  This is a great pattern, definitely recommended even if you just want something quick and easy to make up. I've a feeling more could be on the cards for me. It comes with four different sleeve options, to cover all seasons. I've just taken mine away on holiday and it was worn every evening out!

The skirt

Ok, so the skirt. Those seam lines on the front, they were what drew me to this pattern. Just look how simple yet effective they are. I made this out of minimal fabric and even my pattern placement required quite a bit of pattern Tetris. I had to place the centre seamed piece at 90 degrees to the grain. It was just not possible any other way. Oh, and before you ask, the plain simple A-line skirt just wasn't an option!

To be honest I love how this shows on the final skirt. I reckon it was an inspired choice!

I thought the corner seaming detail on the front would also be really difficult but no, follow Kat's instructions and you'll be fine and dandy. Honestly, they are so easy, it's frightening just how easy they are.

The problem I had was with the zip... Due to the lack of fabric I decided to omit the centre back seam and use a side seam zip. Silly girl I forgot Kat has said all seams bar that centre back seam are 3/8ths. You try putting in a lapped zip with 3/8th seam allowance! Fortunately after ripping the zip out I realised that I'd cut too large a size and could easily take in 5/8ths seam allowance. Zip woes averted! It's still not perfect because I played around with the seam afterwards to get the skirt to fit but I was testing the pattern and was uncertain of my size. I cut a size 40 if that helps, since I'm between sizes. So I went up a size as I thought it would be quite fitted.

The instructions are really clear, I even followed the instructions to the letter for the zip. This is something I'd normally just go, lapped zipper, ok I know what to do!

I'm also shorter than Kat and ended up cutting about an inch and a half off the bottom. Personal preference for length also intervened.

This is going to make a great casual skirt in my wardrobe. I'm working out what I could use to make a fancy posh one, perhaps something floaty which needs lining in the long flared version?

The details

Fabric:  Tan coloured cotton drill, a remnant from Evans of Masterton, April 2015, I had 90cm of 150 wide!

Notions:  Thread, metal dress zip and waistband stiffening

Pattern:  Muse Patterns, Tahi skirt, size 40, which I took in.
Changes made:  I removed the centre back seam and put the zip in the side seam, and shortened it. 

First worn:  To Fabric-a-Brac here in Wellington, with my Belcarra, made in June. Photos here in Truby King Gardens

Another one/recommendations:  Like the shrug, this is another great pattern from Kat. The drafting and the instructions are really great. The corner seaming is so much easier than it looks and it's just so effective. I certainly quite like the idea of something long and floaty... Just check out that maxi floaty version on the website.

Kat gave me this pattern for testing purposes. All comments and opinions are my own.

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Rosie ESP

This is another of my pattern swaps from Indie Pattern Month from The Monthly Stitch. This second swap was for a printed pattern.

As the rules stated the pattern had to be from a company I'd never tried before and certainly Decades of Style are new to me. At the time, I didn't really know what I was going to make it out of, until I went shopping with Mel, Kat and Jenna, at the beginning of July and the rest they say is history!

So having never made one of these patterns before, I thought it best to make up a muslin of the bodice. Good plan - bust darts too high, front waist darts too long, bodice about 1/2 inch too short and with this, personally I found the front neck too high and the back neck too low - what a lot of changes!

The darts were an easy job, but the neckline was going to bit that bit more difficult with raglan sleeves and the facing. I didn't work it out mathematically, I just extended the back neckline and shortened the front. I think the tops of sleeves ended up being diagonal, but hey, can you see it when it on? Nope. I've not changed it drastically, just enough to make the neckline more comfortable for me. To be honest, it probably amounts to about half an inch off the front and added to the back (not a great deal). There are darts at the neck for the sleeves which give the shoulder shape. As for the facing, I didn't actually cut that until I'd got the neck as I wanted it.

To be honest, I hardly followed the instructions at all. The instructions tell you to attach the front skirt to the front bodice and same with the back and then stitch the whole side seam. Nope, I made up the bodice, then attached the skirt in one piece.

My invisible zipper was a nightmare. For some reason the second side all puckered and I had to redo the zip - I hate unpicking zips! It's not perfect now, but with this fabric, you can't see it. Oh and then when I put it on, the top of the back was gaping! ARGH! So I ended up unpicking 3-4 inches at the top of the zip so that I could take in the excess which was about 3/4 inch each side! I am aware that my head tends to sit forward, but this was more to take in than usual. However, it now lays flat!

Troubles and issues aside, I bumbled through them as usual. If you want someone who redrafts something from scratch because the fit isn't perfect - don't look to me. A bit of adjustment here and there never hurt anyone! Famous last words! :-) I'm not sure if the bodice is intended to a bit more fitted, but I actually like this as it is and I reckon I've got a great dress which also has pockets!

I finished the seams using my overlocker and was really lazy and even finished the hem using the blind hem stitch on my machine! I know shock horror, I didn't hem it by hand! :-)

The details
Fabric:  Orange and red rose cotton and rayon (I think) from the Fabric Warehouse, July 2015.
Notions:  Thread, an invisible zip and interacing for the facings.
Pattern:  Decades of Style, ESP dress from the Decades Everyday Collection, size 40 which was actually too big once I'd made it up.
Changes made:  Bust darts lowered by 3/4 inch, bodice lengthened by 3/4 inch. I kept the front waist darts the same length, so the top end of these were lowered. The front neckline was lowered by half inch, and the back neckline raised by the same.
First worn:  For these photos after Fabric-a-Brac, in Truby King Gardens.

Another one/Recommend:  Once I had sorted out my fitting, I actually found this dress really quick to make. My fabric choice is perfect, the dress feels floaty and girly. Once the warmer weather comes, I suspect this dress will got a lot of wear. I would certainly recommend it. The pattern itself comes in a zip lock bag and is made with really nice thick paper. I don't know if I'll make another yet. The pattern is great and the raglan sleeves are a really nice different touch. I might be tempted! Bother, perhaps I should have redrafted that neck properly... Oh well.

Oh and you wanna know what happens when you take photos of a couple of outfits at a time...

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Jo Sharp fitted cardigan

So, I knitted a thing. This took for ever, but hey, I finished it and I love it!

I first saw this cardigan on Carolyn's blog and whenever I saw it it kept saying to me, make me, make me, you can do it, nothing really fancy to do, it's mainly stocking stitch. The more I thought about it, and having got two berets and a baby blanket under my belt in recent months, I took the plunge.
I think it was just over a year ago when I bought the wool from Mrs C's shop, splashed out on some KnitPro needles and went for it!

To be honest it was pretty simple to make up, I'm just a slow knitter and sewing still takes priority! I didn't knit a swatch. The baby blanket was actually really good for me to really test how my tension is and I'm proud modest enough to say that it's pretty good and KnitPro needles are great for maintaining your tension.

I tended to knit it in fits and starts. I'd get loads done and then I'd want to sew something which then took priority. I did have a couple of moments when I realised I'd somehow managed to decrease too many stitches and had to unpick loads of it to get back to where I could count the stitches again. (I've not had enough knitting practice to be able to count and pick up stuff easily.) I constantly forget how to increase stitches and I found the Twist Collective really helpful for this. I tried to make one right and left for the back, but I have to say one of them I got holes, so I didn't use that method for the front.

This pattern is knitted flat and bottom up and then the seams sewn up. I didn't mind the sewing up, but then I don't mind hand sewing anyway! I found picking up the stitches around the neck frustrating, more due to inexperience than anything else. As for the lace trim, I thought I'd never finish it! It's knitted sideways, so that the rows are actually perpendicular to the rows on the main cardigan. It wasn't difficult, but it was hard if a stitch was missed or I'd made a mistake. I got there though and I attached it to the cardigan and happily sewed these lovely buttons on to reach the finish line!

The details
Yarn:  Turquoise Rare Essentials yarn Double knitting/8ply from Made Marion, August 2014 I think! It's 80% alpaca and 20% merino and really love to knit with. I used 11.5 50g balls for size 39.5".
Notions:  Thread and buttons, also from Made Marion
Pattern:  Jo Sharp fitted cardigan, view
Changes made:  None, I'm not clever enough for that!
First worn:  Probably at home one day, but here for photos in Rotoura at the North Island Sewing Meet by an appropriate tree!

Another one/recommendations:  I certainly recommend the pattern. Even if you're a beginner knitter, it's really easy to knit up and the fit is great. I love the length of the cardigan and the 3/4 sleeves. This has had a fair bit of wear already. I love it.