Sweet Lolita Gunmetal & a Giveaway…


I was meant to blog this weeks ago, it’s been a long journey but with a happy ending…

Lolita Gunmetal

Lolita Gunmetal – sweet but a little bit sassy

Yes that look on my face says it all – it’s been an epic journey. This is my Lolita Gunmetal.

Gunmetal

I was mention to blog this when the pattern was released… which was errrrrr some time ago… oops…

I’ve had a range of challenges, apart from it arriving in my inbox at my busiest time of the year (suck it up princess Lizzy)…

THE BLOOPERS

Officeworks printed my pattern and RESIZED it to fit – despite my very clear instructions not to do so. Unfortunately my store requires you to leave the file and come back to pick it up. as it turns out – even if you are there they still get it wrong. You can’t upload and order via their site as it resizes to fit. So you have to go in and then go back for the job, it’s a 24-48 hour turnaround. Painful. Unfortunately I was in a rush (too much family/work stuff going on & me not thinking clearly) and whipped up a test run. It was a bizarre shape and then I realised why…

I returned to Officeworks to explain what had happened. They didn’t offer to replace the job, I am so over the store I didn’t actually care. They offered to print it on the spot. I explained how to print it, I stood there and she printed the first page. She went to print the second page and said “Oh I better resize that onto the page“. “No,” I said, “Never resize my printing, they are patterns and useless to me printed as a resized file“. She printed the second page… and yes she had printed the first page incorrectly – but didn’t tell me that! No, I discovered it when I got home. I was really angry because she must have know the first page was incorrect and didn’t rectify her error.
Did I go back? No. I did send an email to Officeworks head office. Whatever, there is a Xerox shop across the road, I email a file to him and he calls me when it’s ready. Yes, he doesn’t resize to fit if I request. I know. Radical customer service.

Thirdly, and this is the corker, I finally ordered this sweet cotton viscose ‘Ring Around Roses’ fabric from Tessuti… and then sewed it up with a 5/8in seam allowance instead of a 3/8in seam allowance. Needless to say it with all those princess seams it didn’t fit… well not in a flattering way!

So I reordered the fabric – and some silk modal jersey to line it with and finally we have this sweet little top!

Lolita Gunmetal - frill details

Lolita Gunmetal – frill details

THE FABRIC

I was challenged to source fabric for this project, it’s actually hard to get decent stretch fabric where I live. It’s either a solid colour or polyester (note I do not wear polyester, not even RTW designer polyester, I prefer my skin to breathe, I know, old fashioned of me) – I initially planned to make a sexy gothic version. The pattern lends itself to it… however I hesitated as it’s really SewNotLizzy.

I’m loathe to just dismiss something “Oh that’s not my style“. The interesting thing to investigate is how to own the look rather than slavishly recreating someone else’s style. I really liked the idea of stripes but often find stripes harsh to wear – when I stumbled across the floral stripe fabric on Tessuti website I could just see it working beautifully. A sweet ‘country girl’ top. Yes, it’s a little like Grandma’s bathroom wallpaper but only if you let it be. I don’t think Gunmetal is for wallflowers…

My version is a little different to the pattern. The pattern using a sheer, lace or mesh overlay on the ruched panels, the mesh is attached to the fashion fabric and the top is also lined – with the fashion fabric or a contrast if you wish. I simply used the stripe fabric and a silk blend jersey as a lining. I do not put buttons or D-rings/lacing on the centre panel as I felt the floral pattern was sufficient.

Lolita Gunmetal

Lolita Gunmetal – wish I’d lined the peplum too – oh well must wear higher waisted jeans next time…. still favouring one side – one more visit to go to get ‘straightened out’

THE VICTORY

I’m not much of a frill girl and I was even more scared about ‘making’ frills from the fabric itself – I hate raw edges on my clothing so that wasn’t an answer for me. I did buy some lace trim but in the end I wanted those floral stripes as the frill so I just had to figure out how to do something with my overlocker other than neaten seams or sew stretch.

Hands up if that’s all you use your overlocker for? Me too… until this top. I took a deep breath got out my manual and figured it out… and it’s embarrassingly easy.

I have a Brother 3034D overlocker. You simply…

  1. Turn off your machine.
  2. Lift the foot.
  3. Turn the wheel until the needles are in the highest position and the loopers are extended (note I had to read my manual to figure out what was what – I know hilarious, I could thread it and neaten seams – and that was all I cared about until now!).
  4. You unthread and remove the left (outermost) needle.
  5. Open the front and remove this part (you might need to give it a little tug – sorry the kids are in bed and I don’t want to dive into the sewing room to find my manual to find out its name – I’ll update the post in the morning!)

    Just pull it out sideways...

    Just pull it out sideways…

  6. You need to adjust your stitch width and length (the dials have R on them for this purpose – go figure) and away you go.
    Adjust this one...

    Adjust this one…

    adjust this one...

    adjust this one…

This takes no time once you get the hang of it. I was quickly changing the machine between the two sewing methods by the end of the project and will be using it a lot more! I also hemmed my sleeves and peplum with this rolled hem method. Love it. It’s dainty for those finer fabrics and adds some body to the hem.

If changing the overlocker dials freaks you out – take a photo before you move them and use it for reference when you switch back. Worse case – read the manual – it’s actually helpful! I discovered stuff about differential feed and whatnot for sewing different fabrics – go figure. And that little piece you just pulled out? It slides back into position easily enough – it’s clearly meant to come out as there is a storage space for it inside the door of the overlocker…

MY CONSTRUCTION TIPS

My main piece of advice is to take this project slowly. Don’t rush as there are fiddly bits but your patience will be rewarded. I found it easier to work on the ironing board or a flat surface, especially with the ruched pieces.

After all my disasters I was so keen to get this version right… so I pinned, machine basted and then overlocked my seams. Yes it takes longer but it provided opportunities to adjust the gathers and seams. It was worth it.

Go a size up – I didn’t and it’s a very neat fit. My fabrics have a bit of give in them and the lining is very fine so it’s quite wearable but less stretchy fabrics might be challenging.

I was naughty and went against the grain for the centre front panel – I like the visual effect…

I’m glad I made it and have the pattern. It’s a flattering top, the comfort of knit with the benefit of princess seams and feminine details. Yes it’s a challenge but the reward can be great!

Gunmetal - back view

Gunmetal – back view

WIN A GUNMETAL PATTERN

Simply comment below and let me know you would like to go in the draw. I’ll announce the winner on Friday 10 January – heck I’ll even throw in the d-rings Amity sent me that I haven’t used. I know, I spoil you.

Yes this is a PAPER VERSION. You don’t need to worry about your home printer or Officeworks.

The Gunmetal Sewalong starts this week – so while you might not get it in time – you will have a great reference to make your own version.

Please leave an email – otherwise I can’t get in contact with you.

Pattern: Lolita Patterns Gunmetal (also has a dress version)
Fabric: Ring Around Roses & Snow Jersey from Tessuti

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96 thoughts on “Sweet Lolita Gunmetal & a Giveaway…

  1. I would love to win this pattern! I’ve seen the Lolita Gunmetal before but it just didn’t seem to be “me” so to speak. It looked a little too “edgy” or something… But seeing yours! I think it is one of the prettiest shirts I’ve ever seen! I think that the print added to the ruffles make this feminine without being froofy!

  2. Ohhhh I want to enter please! I have never worked with this pattern company and would love to try. I love your version, its very sweet!

  3. Great Gunmetal! You did such a nice job, changing some detail and adapting it to your personality… It’s a lovely pattern (like the others from Amity!)
    I had the chance to test this pattern but I had no knits in hand, sadly, so I’ll try the chance here and now!
    …and: such a nice tutorial forrolled hem, pinned 😉
    MammaNene @ SergerPepper.com

  4. I love reading your blog, and would love to go into the draw!
    Seeing the sweet side to the gunmetal is nice. You really made the style work for you.

  5. This is a lovely top and really my style. I don’t have an overlocker so I’d need to work something out for that, but it’s a really pretty, feminine top and looks gorgeous on you!

  6. Love your top, it’s sweet without going overboard with the frills. Glad it worked out in the end after all your difficulties.
    Please enter me in the draw, thanks!

  7. Looking at the pattern it’s one I would have never gone for but after seeing your version in that beautiful fabric I am definitely converted. Please put me in the draw!

  8. I’m glad you kept at it! And, I’d love to try out the pattern myself – I haven’t yet gotten to any of the Lolita patterns! Thanks for the chance to win one!

  9. I love this!! I love grandma wallpaper too, so I’m easily sold 🙂 Thanks for offering us the chance to have our own epic journey! I’d like to enter, if it’s okay to go to the US. flowercatdesigns at gmail dot com.

  10. I really like your version of this pattern! It’s my favorite I’ve seen yet. And please do include me in the drawing 🙂 kathhhhhy at gmail dot com. Thanks!!!

    • No I didn’t. I’m fairly standard sized and I figured the knit would take care of the rest. It would be a bit fiddly to adjust – not the princess seams at the front but the overlayed ruched section – you would just need to allow for that.

  11. Definitely a sweet country girl vibe! I really like how you did yours. And I like how you talked about fabric. I too am not in to polyester… or too many ruffles. Yours is sweet without being “cloyingly sweet.” Now all you need is a pair of cowboy boots!

  12. I have that overlocker too, and I’ve never tried that… thanks for explaining how! I’m glad you managed to get a good top in the end, but it sounds rather nightmarish! (Oh, and for the record, don’t enter me in the draw – I think someone else could appreciate the pattern more than me! 😉

    • Thanks Gillian 🙂 I’ve always been terrified of my overlocker – I had a bad first experience years ago with an near-impossible to thread Janome. My Brother is so easy to thread I’m game to try anything!

  13. Roof repairs have eaten my sewing budget, so I would love to win this pattern, as missed out on the 3 pattern bundle due to above x

  14. That’s so cute! I hadn’t seen the pattern before. I’d love to enter to win the pattern if it is open internationally (I’m in the US)!

  15. This is a pattern I definitely wouldn’t normally buy, but your version proved to me that it could be my style. You did a fantastic job! I’m also in shock of your printing conundrum. What a horrible experience.

    I’ve want to invest in a serger this year – do you like your Brother? That’s exactly what I want to be able to do – make a ruffled hem.

    • My Brother is plain and simple – but it’s very easy to thread and use.
      Years and years ago I had a Janome and it was so hard to thread – I’d never used an overlocker and I learnt to hate it with a passion! Eventually it died (I probably cursed it to death) and I got the Brother – it took me two months to get out of the box because I was so worried I would hate it like the Janome.
      I think for the price the Brother is great value – it’s a good entry level machine and in years to come I may upgrade but for now… and for the purposes I use it – it’s more than adequate!
      I’m not bagging Janome, as I know lots and lots of people have Janomes and adore them – clearly I got a lemon…

  16. Well, it was totally worth the wait, Lizzy! I love it! The fabric you chose is so pretty. I have the same problem with stretch fabric, I don’t like to order online as shipping costs are often astronomical and in person, I simply cannot find sheer stretch fabric. Cotton or bamboo jersey are around though, but finding it difficult to locate something to overlay it with.

    And, oooh, rolled hem!! I’ve never attempted that before. My overlocker is in need of maintenance right now, so I will not bwe using this stitch for the top.

    PS, don’t enter me into the draw, as I obviously already have the pattern 🙂

    • Neither of my fabrics were sheer – the striped fabric was very lightweight but not sheer. I didn’t want mesh or lace on my top so I omitted those layers and just ruched the striped front panels. The rest of the top is just shell fabric and lining – so two layers all around except for the front ruched panels which were ruched onto the silk jersey lining fabric.

  17. That’s a really lovely top, and thanks for the tip on rolled hems. I am also embarrassingly only threading and serging on my machine (due to sheer laziness at reading my manual). You have inspired me! I’ve walked slowly…slowing down…past that fabric many times, liking it, wanting it, but not quite being able to visualise something that wasn’t going to look overly sweet or old fashioned with all those flowers. But you got it so right. Great job!

    • Thanks Debbie – I was searching in vain online for striped fabric and then found that – it’s quite lightweight but very pretty. I’m not usually an old-fashioned floral girl but I do like this one. I think it would make a great cowl necked (day-tonight Maria Denmark) top. They are fun stripes. Not to stark, wide – just dainty!
      The overlocker hems are worth a try – I was amazed at how easy it was!

  18. This is so cute on you! I love it! Sorry it was such a hassle, but it really turned out nicely! Leave me out of the giveaway, though– I just don’t wear anything this fitted– but I’m excited to see who wins and makes this next!

  19. I’d love to try out this pattern–looks super interesting! I agree, I hate having patterns printed. But at the place I go, at least they don’t make me pay for their mistakes!

    • I don’t mind printing them – provided they print them right! I have come to love PDFs despite some of their hassles. I just cut out my size and trace around the pieces directly onto the fabric!

  20. Wow, this is just lovely in the floral! I understand you wanting to line the peplum til but honestly you have the figure for it as is, and it looks lovely!!

  21. WOW sewbusylizzy uses her overlocker as I use mine. I do not feel so dudly 🙂 though now you are a step ahead. Will need to try the new use – but only if I win the pattern lol otherwise bring on seam neatening!

    • LOL I had a horrid first experience with an overlocker which was impossible to thread – the Brother is so easy that it’s given me confidence to try more things! You know if you figure out the hems – there are all manner of things you can avoid hemming with a double needle etc. Might be worth the effort LOL!

  22. What an absolute pain with the printing! But what a wonderful version of this top you ended up making! Hopefully, you think it was all worth it in the end because it’s great!

    You don’t need to enter me in the drawing, I just wanted to tell you I really like your finished top. =)

  23. Love that top on you Lizzy. I would love to own a top like that too but please don’t enter me for the giveaway. My 2014 list must not change from what it is so soon in the year!

  24. Hi Lizzy What a pretty top! I love how you interpreted the pattern and made it your own. Thanks for for the laugh (with you) about the printing and seam allowance woes. For some projects I’m sure I have a brownfinger and everything turns to s__. Good on you for mastering the overlocker stitch!

    • Ah you gotta laugh about these things, strangely all the drama just makes me more determined to win… maybe I should take up marathon running…
      I think I’ve been suffering from that brown finger syndrome a little – I’ve had some shockers!

  25. Your blouse is beautiful. What great styling and fabric choice!
    I discovered your blog from the Pattern Review site. I have been following your blog for quite a while.
    I have not yet joined PR yet and am always lurking. I have never ordered a pattern from an IPC. Please enter me in the drawing so I can to make this (hopefully as awesome as yours) and discover what the independent pattern companies are all about.
    My email is katr52 at yahoo dot com.

    • Hi Kathy! Thanks so much, I like putting my reviews up on Pattern Review as I do use it to check out patterns I am considering and also to see makes on different shapes and sizes. You are in the draw!

  26. what an annoying printing experience! you can leave me out of the drawing, but i just wanted to chime in–that part is called the stitch finger. i’m always shocked that people are scared to change their serger set up, i’m constantly fiddling with mine! anyways, i love what you did with the pattern, beautiful make!

    • I was scared because my first overlocker was a beast engineered by the devil himself – it was a monster to thread, noisy and just… well… awful! Now I’ve got a bit more courage with my Brother – at least I can thread it easily!

  27. Thank goodness your version turned out pretty – All’s well that ends (and ends and ends) well, I guess! Beautiful top, I would love to see this made into a dress!

  28. I love your version of this pattern which is probably more up my alley – I initially dismissed the pattern at not being my style. Now the crazy December period is over I can think outside the box a little about possibilities for this pattern and would really like to try something similar to yours. My email is s.julian[at]xtra.co.nz

  29. I love the version you’ve made – it’s a little more grown up than the gothic versions, and it really works. Well done. I’d love to be in the draw (michelle@bishop.net.nz)

  30. I’ve done the same thing- too small is not a good thing….I feel your pain- am pleased to see you stuck with it and finished!! Shows a sign of a determined sewer!! You GO Girl!!

  31. That top is super cute on you, I like the sweet floral-ness (??) of it, instead of going with the expected. Please don’t enter me in the draw – I am sure there are others that would like it 🙂

  32. There’s something about the bones of this pattern that makes me want to sew it. I love a deep, square neckline… it’s a gorgeous top, and a great fabric choice. Throw me in the barrel!

    • Thanks Mel 😉 the top has great structure and interesting for a knit – something that people dismiss as quick and easy. A lot of pinning and basting when into the construction of this top. All the fiddling was worth it though and I love the fact it is lined. Just feels like ‘more than a knit’ if that makes sense

  33. Great perseverance on this top considering all your set backs – it turned out wonderful! I’ve thought Gunmetal wasn’t quite my style but your version has shown me the pattern has another side to it that is more “me”. I’d live to be part of the giveaway.

  34. Ooo err. Inspiration time. Perfect style and fabric for me. Nobody’d see us if we wore the same. (No one will think I’m a twin)
    I would love to win but am very shy about putting my email address on public place…
    Unless there’s a clever way you can email me directly?
    But thank you for all your ideas, makes me look forwards to the summer again.

  35. it’s a gorgeous, perfectly feminine gunmetal – love it 😉 Please, don’t enter me in the draw, my to sew list is far too long, but I do look forward to seeing more ‘soft gunmetals’ inspired by you, as well as edgy ones, appear in my blog feeds 😉

    • nawwww, thank you – I am quite tempted to sew up another ‘sweet one’ in a plain knit with white hemmed edges. Think it would be simple and pretty – without too much fuss 🙂

  36. Pingback: Sew Hat Binge & the Gunmetal WINNER | Sew Busy Lizzy

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