Flutter Tunic, Papercut Patterns & Giveaway

I didn’t expect to knock out another Papercut Patterns project so quickly… but when the inspiration strikes, one must sew along with it… meet my new Flutter Tunic (with a little bit of grrrrr)

Papercut Patterns, Flutter tunic, front view

Flutter Tunic, front view

This is a garment shape that people either love and shy away from. One of the responses I have had to this is “grrrrrrr” which is apparently manspeak for “sexy“. Not quite the response I anticipated to a loose & simple dress.

I planned to make the Flutter blouse – then I spotted this blue/blue/white splatter print rayon ottoman suiting in my stash… and it just seemed the obvious choice for the tunic. I love this fabric, it’s got a bit of weight to it yet has a nice drape.

Papercut Patterns Flutter tunic, side view

Flutter tunic, side view

I added 1.5 inches to the length as it seemed a little saucy… and then cut it off when I finished the tunic – perhaps I’m a hussy at heart after all :-) The added length transformed the  ‘flutter’ into a ‘feedsack’. On my frame and height, the loose silhouette needs to be balanced by a shorter length. I turned the hem up by 1.25 inches. I’m an un-statuesque 5 foot 4 if that helps with your future Flutter tunic length decisions.

THE PATTERN

The tunic has French darts to provide some shape to the boxy body. The shoulders are dropped, the sleeves are flared and the back hem dips slightly.

Flutter tunic - Papercut Patterns package

Flutter tunic – Papercut Patterns package (in the background is a hoarded silk I’m thinking about turning into a Summer Flutter Tunic…

My fabric is rather ‘busy’ so here is the line art so you can see the detail.

Flutter tunic - Papercut Patterns: line art, measurements and fabric requirements

Flutter tunic – Papercut Patterns: line art, measurements and fabric requirements

This is an easy sew… the most work is the bias binding on the neckline, which in this fabric was not at all fiddly and was easy to achieve a nice neat finish. I didn’t have quite enough fabric to cut the strip on the bias… so I cut it on the ‘semi bias’ ie at an angle but not quite 45 degrees… it seemed to work, probably helped along by the agreeable nature of the fabric.

Back neck detail

Back neck detail, finished with self-fabric bias binding. Sorry, pattern matching impossibility with this one!

THOUGHTS

  • This is an easy garment to make. There are a couple of darts, you set the sleeves in flat (then sew up the side seams all in one go) and the hem only has a slight curve to it. The neckline is finished with a bias strip. You could do this in a contrast fabric or trim as per the pattern envelope.
  • I didn’t expect to love this quite as much as I do. It’s one of the strangely fabulous garments to wear. I stitched it up with a sickening ‘sack dress anxiety’ sensation and got a big surprise when I put it on! I’m wearing it out to a work dinner tonight.
  • I like the wide neckline with the v-back.
    This wide deep neckline is growing on me...

    This wide deep neckline is growing on me…

  • Yes it is short… however as it is straight there is no ‘oops’ that can happen with the Saiph circle skirt tunic in a sea breeze (which happened once… in front of a bunch of bikies… seriously).
  • I can imagine wearing this with leggings, a long scarf and a light, loose wool jacket on colder days. I think it would make a gorgeous summer dress as well in a different fabric.
  • I suspect some people will be tempted to add shape to this silhouette with some darts or a belt… however I love it as is. I think the loose shape works in a shorter length. The legs get enough attention without drawing more attention to the rest of my figure. This is definitely ‘all about the legs’ garment for me.

DETAILS
Pattern: Papercut Patterns, Flutter Tunic/Top. I made the tunic in XXS, choosing my size based on bust measurement, no grading for my XS hips. I left the length as drafted, I am 5 foot 4.
Fabric: 1.5m Rayon Ottoman Suiting from Spotlight, Australia. About $15 per metre, I think I scooped this up during a 30% or 40% off sale.
Necklace: Jellystones
Boots: Avani, Duo Boots

Also see: Beautyfull Handmade Tunic & Blouse | High tea & Hydrangeas Tunic & Blouse | Jolies Bobines Blouse

GIVEAWAY
Katie from Papercut Patterns has generously offered to send one of my readers a Papercut Pattern of their choice – anywhere in the world – thanks Katie!

Just let me know the comments below if you would like to be included in the giveaway draw! (closes Sunday 6 July, 6pm – Australian Eastern Standard Time). My Sway Dress and Flutter Tunic are from the recently released Chameleon range. The full Papercut Patterns range is available here.

Note: Papercut Patterns provided this pattern for preview purposes. All opinions my own. No affiliate links in this post.

Papercut Patterns, Flutter tunic, side view

These photos were taken in Port Macquarie, at the end of the ‘eat street’ in the CBD.

This post first appeared on http://www.sewbusylizzy.com

Sway Dress, a simple LBD – Papercut Patterns

Recently I sent Katie at Papercut Patterns an email because I was searching (unsuccessfully) for a copy of the Pleated Pants pattern and noticed that it was sold out online.

Katie let me know that it was indeed out of print (*sobs* she who hesitates is patternless). Then she told me she had a new trouser pattern coming out and would I be interested in trying it… well… yes!

Sway Dress by Papercut Patterns

Sway Dress

I know this is not even nearly a pair of trousers… Katie sent me a few patterns and I was swayed by the Sway Dress immediately. I know. I get distracted easily. #squirrel

Why? It’s a very simple dress and often I’m drawn to patterns with details or unusual shapes (hello Drape Drape). However it is something that I could see myself wearing in a solid or a floral. Dressed up and dressed down. While I wear a lot of fitted sheath dresses to work, so I tend to prefer softer, loosely fitted styles when I’m not at work. I guess I just feel more relaxed in them.

Swingin' in the Sway

Swingin’ in the Sway

While I had planned to make this is a floral, when I stumbled across this strange micro-pleated woven fabric in Spotlight it just seemed perfect… and on a bargain table!

I chose not to create a self-fabric belt – mainly because of the pleats in the fabric. I felt having the pleats run one way down my body and then another way across my waist would have been distracting. So I’ve used a black satin ribbon instead. This fabric does not fray at all so I let the dress hang for 24 hours and then re-cut the hem so it was straight (it did drop all over the place). Yes you read that right – no hem on this LBD.

I don’t like these photos. I’m just so tired at the moment. Everything feels a little blah and I had horrid hair after a morning at the beach – seaspray is not my hair’s friend. That’s life though – and we are here for the dress not me LOL. If I don’t blog now – who knows when I’ll do some more photos!

Sway Dress - back

Sway Dress – back neckline. Not a great picture but this is just to show the shape of the back neck (you can wear the dress either way)

FACINGS…

I used black tricot for the facings, interfaced with a light tricot interfacing. Yes I said facings… and like my Top with Epaulettes I think this is a superior way to finish this particular dress rather than bias binding.

As the dress is sleeveless, the facing is attached using one of those Houdini methods… you know those type of sewing steps when if you haven’t done it before, you read the instructions, google, re-read the instructions… take a deep breath and then sew. If you have sewn a button-up shirt using the yoke burrito method (as seen here on the Grainline blog)… then I think you will master this technique easily. While the yoke is different, you do rolled the dress over to one side and then wrap the shoulder around the dress – I know, sounds weird but works perfectly. While I could demonstrate this on my blog, there are plenty of bloggers who have already done so – so check out Poppykettle for starters. My lovely friend Marjorie in Brisbane also emailed me a tutorial as well – so this was easy – just needed a little sewing faith.

BELT LOOPS…

Rather than making self-fabric belt loops I created thread loops. I had not made these before… however thread loops are SERIOUSLY the simplest thing to create. I cut six lengths of Gutermann thread (just my normal thread) I tied a knot at one end. Then I set my machine to a zig-zag stitch with the width at 3 and length at 1. I held the threads behind and in front of my machine foot with a light tension and away I went. Yes, it’s that easy.

sewing thread loops

my first self-made thread loops

I found this tutorial on Coletterie very helpful.

THOUGHTS…

It’s such a simple dress, four pattern pieces. Sometimes that’s just what I love to wear the most – very simple clothes that fit (loosely) and flatter – that’s enough more days than not. This is one of those dresses where you can let the fabric sing. Now I want one in a floral (of course). You can bet there will be exactly that in my summer wardrobe this year.

An amazingly quick and gratifying make. I love the neckline and you can wear it either way. I love the V-neck, it’s not too deep or too wide.

This dress has a front and back centre seam. I did think about eliminating them – however with this fabric you can’t see the seams so I chose to leave them.

I love Papercut Patterns. I’ve actually got quite a collection, I just haven’t had a chance to sew them all, except the Saiph Tunic and the Bellatrix Blazer.

The patterns come in a sturdy cardboard package, the pattern photo can be removed from the package… where you will discover all the measurements and fabric requirements. These really do look and feel like excellent value for money – the sort of pattern you keep and display on your shelf. Check them out here.

The patterns are easy to trace and the instructions are thorough without being too wordy. You can cut up the pattern and cerate a booklet from the instruction section of the sheet – however I can’t bear to cut these lovely patterns up.

STILL TO COME…

The Guise Pants (traced). I was initially a little hesitant about these – the back waist is elastic however I’ve seen some great reviews (Gingermakes and Jolies Bobines – and I am going to try them. In basic black. I’ve also cut out the Flutter Tunic .

GIVEAWAY TO COME…

Katie has offered a Papercut pattern as a giveaway – I’m a little tired this week so let’s do it with my next Papercut make! Watch this space.

Pattern: Sway Dress by Papercut Patterns, I made XXS cut to the longer hemline.
Fabric: Mystery woven from Spotlight (bargain table)
Shoes: Urban Soul (I do love these crazy shows but they have a history so I’m not overly fond of them… #itscomplicated – chosen by Miss 10 for these photos). I really need a pair of classic black patent heels… I got distracted last shoe shopping trip… it happens #squirrel

Note: Papercut Patterns provided this pattern for preview purposes. All opinions my own. No affiliate links in this post.

This post first appeared on http://www.sewbusylizzy.com

Book Review: Sewing For Your Girls

When Tuttle Publishing sent me the much-anticipated She Wears The Pants to review, they also sent a copy of Sewing For Your Girls. Talk about different ends of the spectrum! Today I’m blogging about the Girls book a the little blouse I made from the book.

Giselle blouse 3

THE BOOK

I must say this book surprised me. Japanese pattern books are famed for their scanty sewing instructions and daunting pattern sheets! Sewing for your girls is not one of ‘those’ books.

Sewing For Your Girls published by Tuttle Publishing

There are seven relatively simple patterns – along with a variation on each basic pattern (oops sorry – forgot to take a photo of one, it’s No.1 an A-line smock… and it’s nearly 10pm now). You can click on the images below to enlarge them.

It has by far the most comprehensive sewing instructions I’ve seen in a Japanese sewing book in a long time. I learnt a few new tricks – I love that! Nothing of rocket science proportions but little clever things that just make life easier.

A typical pattern instruction page... the instructions are brief but point to the more detailed techniques section of the book which contain LOTS of photos!

A typical pattern instruction page… the instructions are brief but point to the more detailed techniques section of the book which contain LOTS of photos!

The book includes a guide for no less than 70 dressmaking and basic sewing techniques. Each of theses are accompanied by step-by-step photos. In fact some techniques are extensively demonstrated…. for example when I attached the collar to this shirt, the book provided a 20-step guide, each step was paired with a photograph.

This is the 'how to attach a collar' technique section of the book - it's very detailed!

This is the ‘how to attach a collar’ technique section of the book – it’s very detailed!

The pattern sheet has some over-lapping and it’s printed in one colour. However, it is not overcrowded and tracing is quite straightforward. You just need to remember to add seam allowances!

The pattern sheet is not as crowded as other Japanese books I have used - and much, much easier than a Burda sheet!

The pattern sheet is not as crowded as other Japanese books I have used – and much, much easier than a Burda sheet!

I prefer to sewing something from a book when I’m talking to you about it. I think it’s integral to the experience of a sewing book when the book is primarily about patterns. That said, I don’t claim to have sewn every pattern or read the book or pattern in ‘editing’ terms. With translated books or measurements converted between metric & imperial there are often slip-ups just be conscious you need to exert a level of awareness – I often double check everything. Just.in.case.

Everyone asks about Japanese sizing, so here is the chart for your reference.

Sewing For Your Girls published by Tuttle Publishing

Sizing chart: Sewing For Your Girls

THE BLOUSE

Cute. I love this little blouse. It was utterly delightful to sew. Giselle wasn’t keen for photos – fair enough, she had surfing to do. So today’s post has a blouse minus the body.

I absolutely loved making this blouse, a real joy. Better still, she loves it.

I absolutely loved making this blouse, a real joy. Better still, she loves it.

NEW TRICKS

What did I learn? Frills have been few & far between on my blog… so these little bias cut frills were new to me. Rather than running a gathering stitch up the centre of the frill, I ran a gathering stitch up either side of the centre.

A simple and neat way to create perfect little frills.

A simple and neat way to create perfect little frills.

I also learnt to run a line of gathering stitches around the seam allowance of a Peter Pan collar curve, gently gather the seam allowance up so the allowance curves over into the collar itself, a light press, trim off the excess seam allowance (and gathering stitches) and then turn the collar right side out… perfect collar curves!

THOUGHTS

This book was quite different to what I expected – far more detailed instructions and construction photographs than I have found in other Japanese sewing books.

The clothes are simple but I often preferred to dress my girls in simple, play-friendly clothes when they were little. Many of these patterns would be perfect for sweet floral and kooky lawns, voiles, linens and poplins. Let the fabric sing and the child play unfettered by fussy clothes I say!

THANK YOU
A big thank you to Colette of Colette’s Sewing Stuff for bringing this sweet fabric to the March Brisbane meet-up. And a thank you to the ever-lovely Vicki-Kate of Vicki-Kate Makes for sending me a sweet little gift package a few months ago which included these perfect little buttons!

THE DETAILS
Pattern: Basic Pattern #7 from Sewing For Your Girls, published by Tuttle Publishing
Note: Tuttle Publishing provided this book for preview purposes. All opinions my own. No affiliate links in this post.
Fabric: from the march Brisbane High Tea, donated by Colette
Buttons: from Vicki Kate Makes

THE WEARER
This is the blouse recipient, my dear little crazy poppet Giselle Violet. A fuzzy iPhone snap taken one night… one of those sweet little moments in life. She’s in her school uniform and wearing a much-loved beanie crocheted by the boss at work!

Giselle Violet

Giselle Violet

This post first appeared on http://www.sewbusylizzy.com

 

Ahoy! She Wears The Pants (again)… No 4 Top with Epaulettes

I’ve been wondering… how many t-shirts patterns does one need to own? For me it was at least one more when I spotted this one in She Wears The Pants

Just a quick post today. I’ve got four posts in the wings… some posts take longer to write than others – however a simple jersey top doesn’t require much chatter or links. It was a very bright winter day – so forgive the harsh shadows and enjoy my winter’s day!

She wears the pants - jersey top 1

Yes, another make from She Wears The Pants (book review here – giveaway closed).

This is my third make from this book, so far I’ve made the Gathered Blouse and the Square Top. I really like this book, it’s very much my style… although apparently I can be somewhat bossy (I like to think of it as assertive) so maybe the title appeals to me as well LOL. It’s been a welcome addition to my sewing library – thank you Tuttle Publishing!

I scooped up a remanent of striped cotton jersey at Spotlight recently and immediately thought of this top. I had loved the softer blue stripe in this fabric for some time… however had not purchased it as it has little stretch and drape. When I picked it up again, I thought of this pattern and thought that the fabric having less drape/stretch would make it perfect for accentuating the slight bell shape of the sleeves and body of this top.

Back view: She Wears the Pants - No 4 Top with Epaulettes.

Back view: She Wears the Pants – No 4 Top with Epaulettes.

I stripe matched as best as I could, the side seams and shoulders (covered by epaulettes LOL so no point but I did it anyway) are great – the sleeves into the body not so much. The stripes are printed, not woven into the knit.

She Wears the Pants - No 4 Top with Epaulettes

No 4 Top with Epaulettes. Neckline facing, button and epaulettes

The epaulets are simple to make and you just baste them onto the shoulders before you set the sleeves in. I thought about omitting the epaulettes then decided they would tie in well with the nautical, quirky shape of the top. I like them.

I love the neckline finish. It has a facing instead of a binding. I know some people loathe facings but I really like the finish on this top. The neckline sits beautifully (it is understitched as well). I like how the facing is stitched down around the outer edge, it is a nice finishing touch.

Thoughts…

Yes, it’s another t-shirt pattern and there are a lot out there. I do like the shape of this one. I think the boat neckline and the slight flare in the sleeves/body are really sweet.

I like the sleeve length, I tend to shove or roll up longer sleeves – this length is perfect for me.

I think I love the fit of some Japanese patterns across my shoulders and upper bust – and the easy fit through the body.

I cut the body at the longest length as I tend to wear low-waisted garments but hate belly flashing. The ancient 3/4 jeans in these pictures are particularly low cut – and I should toss them… but I love the leg length for a beach walk so I keep them.

Other than the hems & epaulettes, I constructed this top using my overlocker. I serged lightweight hem fusing onto the hem edges, turned the hem allowamces to the inside, pressed and finished with two rows of stitching on my machine.

Please note the sizing of this book definitely is on the smaller scale. Japanese patterns often have a lot of ease but you need to take this into account when considering purchasing this book. I cut a size XS and a body length of Large (my sizing hovers between XS & S and my height makes me a slightly taller than a Medium in this book’s sizing chart – which you can find in this post.).

Pattern: She Wears The Pants, No 4 Top with Epaulettes.
Fabric: Combed Cotton Jersey, Spotlight Australia (about $9 for the piece)

Also see: CSews, Very Kerry Berry

It’s winter here – but you would not have guessed it today. The weather was magic.

Bonus Banjo Photo Bomb

because no beach photo is complete without my dear old hound.

… because no beach photo is complete without my dear old hound.

Note: Tuttle Publishing provided this book for preview purposes. All opinions my own – I just keep sewing garments from the book because I like it so much!
No affiliate links in this post.

She Wears The Pants - published by Tuttle Publishing

My top is the make on the cover – note the pants are not included in the book’s patterns.

This post first appeared on http://www.sewbusylizzy.com

 

Square Top (2 ways) from She Wears The Pants

In complete contrast to my Gathered Blouse with its multitude of construction details, today I have much simpler garment from She Wears The Pants. I thought this garment was an interesting comparison.

The Square Top

The Square Top

The Square Top

This is a linen knit from The Fabric Store in Brisbane, last piece on the roll, purchased when I was in Brissy in March. I loved the vivid colour (there is no such thing as too much blue in my opinion) and had always been curious about how linen knit would work as a garment. As soon as I saw the Square Top, I imagined it in a slightly more textured knit, linen knit seemed the perfect choice…

I had read a bit about mischievous behaviour of linen knit so did some research. Some sites recommend ‘dry clean only’, other sites suggested that this could be carefully washed at home. I have this personal philosophy that any fabric or garment must be subjected to my ‘my lifestyle test’. It’s a rather simple test: if it’s not going to survive my washing machine, it’s probably not going to survive my lifestyle. Fact. There are some exceptions to the rules, evening wear and hand-knitted garments – but most garments will only be in regular rotation if I can easily wash and wear them.

So I washed it in a lingerie bag in my machine, using a gentle cycle, wool wash etc. It shrank and distorted *sad face*. This was followed by a slight panic attack as linen knit is not cheap. Fortunately as it dried it on a rack, I gently coerced it back into shape and all seemed well. Then I didn’t have quite enough fabric… *horrified face* so some of the pieces, armbands and neckbands from memory, are not cut on a grain as directed, rather across it. Given the excessive ease in this top, I’m not losing sleep over it.

Square Top - back view

Square Top – back view. Due to the view of the rectangle bosy, it drapes into an uneven hemline. A nice change from the ‘high-low front-back’ shape

I didn’t interface the neckband and I really should have – the instructions tell you to. That’s a complete DOH! moment by me #idiot. I thought it might create too much structure in the neckband and I really wanted the top to ‘droop’. That’s been achieved but due to the weight of the fabric, the buttons were distorting the buttonholes at the shoulders so I’ve sewn across the neckband near the shoulders so the buttons are not bearing all the weight of the garment.

I haven’t cut the all buttonholes open along the neckline as I felt it would look messy.

Square Top from She Wears the Pants

Square Top, worn as a shrug, from She Wears the Pants. I’m just not this cool. Fact.

I rather like this top when you wear it as a shrug. I’m not a massive fan of how it’s worn in the book, the armbands look like you have lost two arms or suffered from a serious wardrobe malfunction while getting dressed.

Square top as a shrug

Square top as a shrug

To achieve this look, I simply left my arms in the armbands and pull the top back over my head. The lower band becomes the outer band of the shrug if that makes sense.

I’m thinking about cutting all the buttonholes as I would love to do them up so the back of the shrug has a neat row of buttons along the back – it’s a rather cool design feature. Then again the peekaboo back is also rather fun if you wear a contrast coloured tank underneath. I suspect I’m a button-up girl.

These photos were taken on a very windy morning and the photos were taken inbetween wind gusts. The back looks a little like a sail!

Square Top as a shrug - back

Square Top as a shrug – back

I find the name ‘Square Top’ rather amusing as the body shape is more of a ginormous rectangle. Maybe if I made it in yellow, I might look like droopy Sponge Bob Square Pants. As yellow isn’t really my colour, we will never know.

Square Top from She Wears the Pants

Square Top from She Wears the Pants: line art

Seriously, I can’t write much about a massive fabric rectangle with armholes and feature buttons. It’s a fun and easy-to-sew garment. It’s quirky and can be worn a few different ways. It’s fun. Chose your fabric wisely, I think too much slinkiness and could transform into a massive puddle of fabric with buttons weighing it down – too much structure and it becomes rather boxy.

What do you think? Too big?? Too funky?? Versatile??

Pattern: Square Top from She Wears The Pants, from Tuttle Publishing
Fabric: linen knit from The Fabric Store, Brisbane
Also see: Handmade by Carolyn | Top Notch

There’s a giveaway for this book on this post… along with a book review and the Gathered Blouse.

Side view - Square top, She Wears The Pants

Side view – I do like the button feature.

Note: Tuttle Publishing provided this book for preview purposes. All opinions my own. No affiliate links on this post.

‘She Wears the Pants’ a review, a blouse and a giveaway

I’m not a country girl… it really gets up Willy’s nose…

Gathered Blouse from She Wears the Pants

Gathered Blouse from She Wears the Pants

Given my current fascination with Japanese pattern books, when Tuttle Publishing contacted me about reviewing a couple of their titles, it was an irresistible offer. I received She Wears the Pants (released this month) and Sewing For Your Girls (I will review this soon – I have a backlog of projects!).

She Wears The Pants - published by Tuttle Publishing

THE BOOK

The garments: This book does have a range of garments – from mini dresses to tshirts, shirts and jackets, pants and culottes. Yes, I was incredibly tempted to make that draped mini dress but I’ve got three draped dresses – my wardrobe needs other types of garments! I really like the range and style of these garments.

Some of the garments from She Wears the Pants

Some of the garments from She Wears the Pants

This book had been around for some time before being translated. Several of the garments have been made Top Notch (velour top, draped cardigan, draped dress, square top) & Handmade by Carolyn (tapered trousers, square top); and Meggipeg (Gathered Blouse).

Not all of the garments pictured are patterns in the book, ie the tank with the short/culottes pictured above or the pants with the mustard top pictured below.

There is one knitted garment in this book – a belt stole. There are some tippets – one of these is pictured below.

She Wears the Pants - back cover

She Wears the Pants – back cover

There is an excellent review of this book and more images on Japanese Sewing Books.

Photography: I might be precious but I did find some of the photography a little bewildering. The images are very dark and this is exacerbated by the matt stock they are printed on. Some of the garment details are very hard to see in the photographs. It seems to me that these images are more about projecting a mood, intended as ‘fashion’ or ‘inspiration’. The construction section of the book has line drawings that provide the design details. I love line drawings.

She Wears the Pants - example diagram

She Wears the Pants – example diagram

Instructions: The instructions are brief. There are some general instructions. In some cases, such as sewing on a collar, it is outlined once in a projects and then other projects simply refer back to those earlier instructions. Having some knowledge of garment construction is helpful. Like many Japanese pattern books, diagrams form a large part of the instructions. I don’t mind this – I find it interesting to puzzle through a project and think about how the project has been constructed and the other approaches I could take.

Sizing: Japanese sizing is small. I fit into the Small category & Medium height. While Japanese sizing puts some off I would say that they often allow A LOT of ease, in some cases much more than you might expect. Csews wrote about it in this February blog post.  My second make from this book swims on me. It’s meant to but it could fit most sizes.

 
Title: I find the translation of this title odd. To me, ‘she wears the pants’ means something completely different to ‘she’s got mannish style’. To me ‘she wears the pants’ means that in a relationship the ‘she’ wearing the pants is in control, the dominant partner/personality or the boss of the relationship. To me, having ‘mannish style’ simply means a girl dressing in a ‘tomboy/masculine’ style. Handmade by Carolyn mentioned the translation of titles on her blog recently, in particular talking about this new title and her preference for the Japanese title. I don’t mind either way but I do interpret the new title as meaning something completely different to the original title. That said, it doesn’t impact on the contents of the book!

She Wears the Pants - pattern sheet

She Wears the Pants – pattern sheet

Pattern sheet: There are two double-sided pattern sheets. They are printed in a single colour and while the print is quite clear, the sheets are quite ‘busy’ and it took me quite a while to find one piece! Each sheet does have a list of the patterns on it, and the pattern pieces you are looking for – which is very helpful. Most of the pieces are listed around the edge of the pattern sheet with a line going from the text at the edge to the pattern piece… not always! There are some lurking in the middle of the pattern sheet swamp and you may need some patience to hunt them down.
When confronted by a busy pattern sheet, I find each piece and trace around it with my fingers. This might sound odd but when I am tracing a piece I have a general idea of the shape of the pattern piece and don’t make many mistakes.

Seam allowances: This book does not include seam allowances. The layout diagrams indicate how much allowance you should add as this can vary from the hem to the side seams etc. I don’t always add the recommended allowance, I tend to add what I prefer to work with in different areas of the garment – which just comes with experience.

Different approaches: I do think that with any translated book that you need to really think every step through. Not only may there be some issues with meaning and possibly conversion of measurements between metric and imperial, I think that there are many ways to approach garment construction and you need to be mindful of that when sewing outside your ‘usual’ patterns and books.

 

THE GATHERED BLOUSE

I love clothing that was a touch of quirkiness without being too odd. The Gathered Blouse ticked that box for me.

Gathered Blouse - while this is photographed buttoned up I prefer it slightly unbuttoned... that's how I wear all my shirts.

Gathered Blouse – while this is photographed buttoned up I prefer it slightly unbuttoned… that’s how I wear all my shirts.

Gathered Blouse – while this is photographed buttoned up I prefer it slightly unbuttoned… that’s how I wear all my shirts.

This blouse has a very full back, is quite cropped at the front with a slightly longer back. The collar is rounded and the front pockets are slightly angled. The shoulders are dropped and sleeves arejust below elbow (on me anyway), quite full with pleats at the cuff with a simple finished slit  and button cuff closure. The combination of a ‘mannish’ shirt with some soft feminine features was interesting to me. Funnily enough the detail the pattern is named for is not photographed in the book – the gathered back. Unfortunately my shirt got creased in the car – but you can see how full the back of the blouse really is.

Sorry - shirt and car seat was not a happy marriage and my back is creased.

Sorry – shirt and car seat was not a happy marriage and my back is creased.

I have always steered clear of patterns without seam allowances for shirts as the accuracy required for creating a good button band, collar band and collar scared me. As I was working with this pattern that had not seam allowances I decided to re-think my former shirt making techniques and took a different approach.

The back is very full and the hemline dropped.

The back is very full and the hemline dropped – strong breeze is blowing. Oops, thought I had ironed this to death but must have missed that last bit of hem!

I decided to use sew-in interfacing rather than fusible for the first time – which has given the collar some lovely structure and I’m quite taken with it now. I traced these pieces directly onto the sew-in interfacing – without the seam allowances. I then added the allowances as I cut out. I then used a fabric glue stick to attach the interfacing to the collar, band etc. This provided me with the exact sewing line and everything went together perfectly… I think I’m sold on this method!

I can't see myself every wearing it buttoned up, I always wear my blouses/shirts slightly unbuttoned. I just did this for the blog.

I can’t see myself ever wearing it buttoned up, I always wear my blouses/shirts slightly unbuttoned. I just did this for the blog picture. I know, I spoil you and make a goose of myself far too often.

For some reason I imagined this blouse in a chambray fabric with jeans – a bit of a take on the country girl that I’ve never been. I might have spent two years at boarding school in the country but I was a ‘fish out of water’. That’s a whole other story and not for here in the middle of a sewing blog :-)

 

BUT WAIT… THERE’S MORE…

I’ve made two things from this book – I’ll post the other shortly!

 

GIVEAWAY

I had already pre-ordered this book before Tuttle contacted me so I’m giving this one away. Leave a comment below to be included in the draw.

The draw closes on Sunday 17 May at 6pm (my time EST Sydney/Australia). Open to anyone, anywhere in the world.
Pattern: Gathered Blouse from She Wears The Pants (English version), published by Tuttle Publishing.

Fabric: it’s a mystery fabric (seems to be a chambery, fine linen type fabric) from The Make It Fabrics in Logan, Brisbane. This place is a rather unexpected treasure trove, a tip off from blogless Alison (thank you thank you!). Busy Lizzie was the most obliging chauffeur on a recent trip to Brissie – mwah. Finished with matt metal buttons from Lincraft.

Note: Tuttle Publishing provided this book for preview purposes. All opinions my own. No affiliate links on this post.

Sea Change Top (by the seaside): Lily Sage & Co

I’ll confess, I’ve quite a fan of Debbie of the Lily Sage & Co blog. Debbie is Australian (in Kansas) and she has a truly distinct style. I was intrigued when it became obvious she was in the throes of designing patterns. When she put out a call for pattern testers, I couldn’t resist.

And yes, the pattern name had this Aussie coastal sewing girl at ‘hello’.

SEA CHANGE FRONT 3

Debbie has designed the Sea Change top to be worn with high-waisted pants and skirts. From the pattern description: “The Sea Change top is loosely fitted, with wide kimono sleeves. The hem is designed to fall just below the natural waist for a modest, cropped look that will both complement and showcase high waist pants and skirts. The top length can easily be lengthened through the top. The armbands and bottom hem band can also be altered in length for different looks.”

I don’t think I have a single high-waisted skirt or pant in my casual wardrobe. :-)

My work wardrobe is all fitted sheath dresses (no top-bottom coordination and very little ironing required – excellent choice for a working mum) with just a couple of black high-waisted pencil skirts and shirts. My casual wardrobe is in the opposite direction!

My casual attire tends to be hipster jeans, skinny jeans, denim skirts, tshirts, shirts, shirt dresses and shorts. So was I going to wear a cropped top with my casual clothing? Well not by itself.

Sea Change Top 02, designed by Lily Sage & Co, side view

Sea Change Top 02, designed by Lily Sage & Co, side view

Confession: I hate my stomach. Really hate it. I know people say to wear your scars with pride… but I can’t, so I don’t. And if I don’t have to, why should I? Because others think I should? I’m ok but my overall shape, I wear enough body-con clothes to prove that… I just don’t like my stomach. Don’t try to rationalise this one with me, I’m allowed my irrational quirks. So I don’t often run the risk of flashing my stomach if I can avoid it.

You might think that means no crop tops… actually no. I’m a layering devotee which probably explains my love of draped clothes. So the Sea Change has the potential to fit nicely into my wardrobe.

SEA CHANGE BACK 2

Where I live it doesn’t get very cold, so this top could easily be paired with a fitted long-sleeved tshirt with jeans on a colder day, or a tank on warmer days. I do love wearing very loose tops, I feel relaxed in them.

Construction

I sewed this in a rather ‘un-me’ patterned knit – however I love the colours in this. Blue and green – who said they would never be seen without a colour in between?… ah yes, some of the ‘well dressed’ conservative people I grew up and went to school with. More on that in a future post…

As far as sewing knits goes, this is an easy sew. I used my machine to baste the hem and sleeve band edges together before attaching to the top with my overlocker/serger.

The sleeve and hem band fabric was a fairly slippery black knit (from the stash) which wasn’t a lot of fun to work. Basting the edges together before attaching them to the main body, as per Debbie’s instructions, helped tremendously.

The front and the back pieces are very similar… which may be why I managed to sew the neckband on backwards! I had marked the back piece (I always put two pins through my back pieces) but still managed to stuff up. I had overlocked the neckband seam but made myself unpick it and reattach it. I always find the thought of unpicking an overlocked/serged seam is worse than the reality of doing it. It takes a little longer but it’s not as bad as some other unpicking I have completed lately!

Cutting

If you have directional fabric – be mindful that you need to flip either your front or back  pattern piece over as the pattern layout as the front going one way and the back the other way on the fold. If you have printed this at home or at the copy shop it’s on bond paper so you can’t see through the paper. In this case I mark the notches on the wrong side of the pattern piece so I don’t forget to cut the notches.

Edited: the pattern and instructions have been updated to reflect this comment.

The Sleeves
I suspect there will be some fearing the peekaboo armhole incident. Yes, the sleeves are enormous and low – however they are so enormous that the fabric tends to foil most peeking opportunities. As I always wear a tank under billowy or tops, it’s not a drama for me. If people get their jollies looking that my tank top, they can knock themselves out for all I care.

Sea Change top 02 designed by Lily Sage & Co, sewn by Sew Busy Lizzy

Sea Change armholes

The Length

I’m on the shorter side of average, I’m 5 foot 4 or just over 1.6 metres tall. I am quite long through the waist – for me this is a short top.

You can lengthen the top or sleeves by increasing the depth of the hem and sleeve bands. I’d only increase the hem band to the same depth of the sleeve bands but that’s just me. I think the volume/width of the body is balanced by the cropped length.

Thoughts?

People will love this top… or not… I like that as it’s quite different in style and shape to many of the other PDF tops available. Kimino style jackets and tops are quite popular at the moment and this is rather ‘now’. I think it’s a reflection of Debbie’s rather unique style. It’s ‘not another tshirt’ and it looks great on different body types.

I confess I didn’t expect to like as I was sewing it up, I was thinking ‘this will swamp me’… but I like it and enjoy wearing it. I wore it most of the day after these photos (took four garment photos this day including my Morris Double Take) – just getting changed when my friends arrived for dinner that night as I rather stank of butter chicken after a long afternoon in the kitchen!

This top is designed to be made in a knit or woven. It does use quite a bit of fabric due to the width of the top, between 170cm and 190cm.

I think this top looks very cool in a striped fabric… check out some the links below for that!

There looks to be two more patterns in the Lily Sage & Co workshop. It will be interesting to see what happens next!

PATTERN
Lily Sage & Co
Sea Change Top – I made XS.

FABRIC
M
ain body: knit of mystery composition from Dancing Fabrics in Port Macquarie.
Contrast bands: mystery knit from my stash aka The Fabric Swamp.

Pendant
Elk – a gift from a friend. I haven’t seen this piece online but their range and design aesthetic is lovely – you have been warned.

ALSO SEE
The Somnolent DachshundThornberry | Hannah Jane Fellows | Handmade by Carolyn | Miss Castelinhos (love the striped version!) | Grosgrain Green

Debbie supplied the Sea Change Top pattern to test and then resent the amended pattern after testing. All printing costs, opinions & fabric my own.

I will be back soon – I have three blogs posts waiting for you! Perhaps they include a giveaway… or two…

Thank you also for all your lovely comments lately. I’ve been a little swamped by life but I am finding time when I can to reply to all the comments and emails. Thank you!