About sewbusylizzy

Australian sewing blogger

Indie Pattern Month 2016 (+ Waffle Patterns silk Warabi Tunic)

Over at The Monthly Stitch they have regular monthly challenge or event. I like it, I don’t take part (I’m just not that organised in my sewing life) but I love to read all the different posts from all sorts of bloggers from around the world.

This June they are running Indie Pattern Month, and as part of that they have created ‘bundles’ of patterns, enabling you to try a number of different designers at the reduced price. I’ve really enjoyed all the interview posts with designers involved in Indie Pattern Month – a really interesting read. Some people prefer to support independent pattern designers and others are strictly Big 4 customers. I like both, I buy patterns that appeal to me. It’s that simple.

Indie Pattern Month, June 2016

Indie Pattern Month, June 2016

Yes, this post is an advertisement for the Bundle and I received the ‘Get Away Bundle‘ for free to blog about it here.

I don’t say ‘yes’ to many/anything things lately. Work, family and community commitments keep me very busy – and the sewing/blog is just a hobby for me – but I found the concept behind this month’s initiative interesting. Some of the funds raised will go towards creating a self-hosted platform for The Monthly Stitch blog, more storage space for the community’s imagery and the ability to implement other functions, such as forums. The online sewing community, in all its forms, I think is enormously valuable to supporting sewing as a hobby and viable industry. I don;t think I would have engaged with sewing to quite the degree I did and have without the online community support and resources it provides. Other funds will be going to the designers involved and a charity – this Bundle it’s going to Little Sprouts. So that’s where your money will end up. You end up with the patterns at a good price. Up to you!

What do you get in the Bundle and how much is it? Rather than provide a blow-by-blow description, pop over to the Monthly Stitch blog and read about it there.

Indie Pattern Month, June 2016

Indie Pattern Month, June 2016

You can buy the basic bundle for $21 or for $33 you can get all six patterns in the extended bundle (prices in $USD). This package is available until 6 July 2016.

The Sewing

My sewjo needed a kick in the butt. I already owned the Waffle Patterns Warabi (and another pattern from the bundle) but supporting this Bundle finally motivated me to sew the Warabi. So it’s not an intended pattern review so much as just me just sewing something I’ve been wanting to for quite some time from a pattern company that has long interested me – have you seen the Waffle jacket patterns? I do quite like the new Vanilla jumper/top, draped and very much my style. I printed the pattern eons ago and had the fabric waiting.

Warabi Tunic, Waffle Patterns

Warabi Tunic, Waffle Patterns. It’s a little big on me, should have made the smallest size and the silk just wants to collapse on itself, creating folds under the bust and arms… although it is a voluminous top.

Pattern: Warabi Tunic, Waffle Patterns

Simple! The ‘bodice is more or less the sleeves, wrapping over your shoulders and extending across the upper bust and back, creating a ‘crossover’ at the front. The front and back body pieces are bias cut. The neckline is finished with bias tape (self or purchased – I made mine from the silk), the hems are twice turned and it is French seamed throughout. If you haven’t tried some of these techniques, this is possibly a great way to dip your toe in without being overwhelmed with a complex pattern.

This silk didn’t mark with stitching, so I sewed a line of basting stitches which I used to turn/iron up the hems. I carefully removed the rows of basting stitches and machined the hems in place. This made for neat and even hems.

The print files are layered and you can choose which size/s to print. I think that’s very clever. There is A4 or A0 files – the presence of A0 files cheers my little anti-sticky-tape heart.

Waffle Patterns, Warabi Tunic

Waffle Patterns, Warabi Tunic

The instructions are clear and concise with clear illustrations. You are told what you need to know without excessive detail. I know some sewing people love lengthy instructions but there are ample words and illustrations to get you throughl.

Fabric

I’ve sewn this Warabi in a silk crepe de chine from Tessuti Fabrics, Sydney. It was a completely impulsive online purchase quite some time ago. It’s no longer on their site. Sorry!

Warabi Tunic, Waffle Patterns

Warabi Tunic, Waffle Patterns. Bonus bra strap and ‘derp’ face, must have been laughing at Banjo.

Thoughts

It’s a little wide on my shoulders. I think I need to put some stitches at the crossover part of the front bodice and also some strap keepers to stop the top sliding off my shoulders and wanting to pull apart at the bust.The seam keeps wanting to ripple, I suspect because of 1) fabric choice and 2) the bias bodice. I can live with it. And if I can’t, I’m pretty sure that it will find a new home easily, the fabric is gorgeous and feels lovely on the skin.

It feels oversized on me and perhaps not the best fabric choice. If I make it again, I will make the smallest size. I made size 36. Such is life!

It’s very simple but beautifully finished. It’s a pretty and slightly unusual shape. I think it could be a real winner in a summer wardrobe.

I think I need to wear a tank/camisole under this!

Oops… and a dog

Our gorgeous new/old dog - Jody, greyhound

Jody – she does this odd thing with her ears, most of the time one is pointing up and forwards; the other is lying backwards against her head. Maybe it’s got something to do with her hearing in both directions but it always makes me laugh.

I impulsively adopted this old greyhound a few months ago, my ‘horse dog’ as I call her.

She’s a former successful racer/breeder and she is nine. It’s unusual to see greyhounds of this ripe old age up for adoption, they are lucky to make it to five years in ‘the industry’. She must have been ‘a good dog’ to survive the odds.

While it’s not the smartest thing I’ve done, taking on such an old dog (average life span 10-12 years), I adore her and I feel good about it. She’s much larger than Banjo (in fact he runs under her hind legs if she is in his way) however they play together in the backyard and happily co-share the lounge room, bedding, family attention and meal time.

And if you are wondering what happened to that puppy… after five horrendous months of the puppy constantly attacking Banjo and Banjo having to live outside for the sake of peace, we admitted defeat (so hard to do) and found him a new household with multiple chihuahuas. It was pretty sad but everyone, Banjo and puppy included, are much happier. We were clearly just a halfway house on his way to his true home.

Our gorgeous new/old dog - Jody, greyhound

Our new/old dog – Jody, the greyhound. Yes it’s winter here and I’m barefoot again.

Pattern: Waffle Pattern Warabi Tunic (provided in the Indie Pattern Month June Get away Bundle – on sale until 6 July 2016).  Comes in sizes 34-48 (US 2-16) (UK 6-20), includes seam allowances/hems etc.
Fabric: Silk Crepe de Chine, Tessuti Fabrics (I think I paid $35 a metre, very indulgent purchase for me). No longer available – sorry. I used 1.5m.
Also see: Funk Bunny | The Compulsive Seamstress

Note: for this post I received the pattern bundle from The Monthly Stitch to blog about the bundle. All opinions my own.

This post first appeared on www.sewbusylizzy.com

Grainline Driftless and Tessuti Megan Cardigans

or the Tale of Two Cardigans…

Driftless and Megan Cardigan

Driftless and Megan cardigans

I confess I’m one of those people that decide they want a cardigan and then endlessly obsess over ALL the cardigan patterns. I do this for most garments. I comb through all the independent and Big 4 options. I’ll pour over blog posts, Google images, websites and in-store catalogues. I’ll decide what I want to make and then when I go to pick up the scissors… I’ll change my mind.

While Vogue 8780 continues to be one of my most worn and loved cardigans/jackets, I did want to find another cardigan pattern for a little variety.

I confess that I was luke warm when both the Grainline Driftless Cardigan and the Tessuti  Megan Cardigan were released. Nothing wrong with either, perhaps it’s the simple fact that cardigans are practical garments and it’s hard to get a blood rush about them?

To solve my usual inability to lock myself down to one pattern, I decided to make two different cardigans. I find sewing multiple versions of one pattern or different patterns of a similar garment interesting. Seeing how different fabrics change the same garment or comparing different features and construction of two garments is always interesting to me.

DRIFTLESS CARDIGAN

I’ve always found Grainline patterns to be endlessly wearable. I think Jen designs the perfectly practical, highly wearable designs that always seem to go together without a fuss. I also find her designs fit me well and so I keep returning to her patterns. My three Alder dresses and little linen Morris are some of my favourite things to wear.

Features

The Driftless body is very wide and boxy with dropped shoulders and very fitted sleeves.

The pockets remind me of the Vogue 1247 skirt and are constructed in a similar way – minus all the Hong Kong binding of course! I’ve noticed that these sorts of pockets are popping up in a lot of RTW cardigans this winter in Australia.

Driftless Cardigan - Grainline Studios. Front view.

Driftless Cardigan – Grainline Studios. Front view.

Construction

This is a very easy cardigan to construct – don’t let those pockets fool you. I managed to cut this out and nearly complete it in an evening. It’s largely constructed on the overlocker (serger) with the exception of the pockets, thread chains and hand sewing down the neckband.

Driftless Cardigan - Grainline Studios. Back view.

Driftless Cardigan – Grainline Studios. Back view. I do like how it hangs across my back. I am a definite ‘slouch’ girl.

Thoughts

It’s a bit ‘Sunday afternoon’. Very casual, slouchy and not very dressy. I guess that sounds negative but it’s not at all. Those types of garments have a place in many wadrobes. Can’t be ‘fancy pants’ all the time! While it isn’t my favourite cardigan, it’s been worn a lot anyway as it’s ‘easy’ to wear, the type of garment you grab as you head out the door in case the breeze turns chilly. I don’t think my fabric choice helped. It’s some sort of cotton knit terry fabric… from the bargain table at Spotlight. I think it would be might nicer in a marle, slightly textured, merino knit. It may also be interesting with thoughtful colour choice as a colour-blocked cardigan.

I made view B with the split hem that is slightly lower at the back.

Driftless Cardigan - Grainline Studios. Back view.

Driftless Cardigan – Grainline Studios. Back view.

 

MEGAN CARDIGAN – Tessuti Fabrics

Now this lass and I became instant best friends. I’ve worn Megan a lot. She’s popped up on my Instagram feed quite a few times already. She was impatient and didn’t want to wait to be blogged. She simply screamed ‘WEAR ME – you know you want to’ and so I did.

I honestly had dismissed it as being ‘not for me’ as I had concerns about the fit on me, I thought the shoulders would be too wide and it would swamp me… thanks to the encouragement of Melanie, I decided to give her a try.

I do own several beloved longline RTW merino cardigans. They seem to go with everything from dresses to jeans, casual wear and a stylish office warmer on those chilly air conditioning days. Logically I should have made this cardigan a long time ago, alas I’m not always logical when it comes to my creative pursuits.

Megan Cardigan - Tessuti. Side View

Megan Cardigan – Tessuti. Side View

Features

Megan is a very simple cardigan, full length sleeves, flared side seams and a quirky side hem detail.

Megan Cardigan - Tessuti. Back View

Megan Cardigan – Tessuti. Back View

Construction

Again a very simple sewing project. Sewn up in no time at all on the overlocker with the shoulder seams having added seam tape to keep them in shape (I also did this with Driftless).

Megan Cardigan - Tessuti. Side View

Megan Cardigan – Tessuti. Oh that lovely little side hem detail:-) It makes my heart sing.

Thoughts

I adore this cardigan. I’ve received an amazing amount of compliments on it when it’s worn – which I think is the combination of the lovely flare of the hemline and the rather funky fabric that I paired with this pattern. It’s been worn a lot in its short life so far. I guess it also slots perfectly into that grungey casual vibe that I love to wear.

Megan Cardigan - Tessuti. Back View

Megan Cardigan – Tessuti. Back View – a nice flare without being overly cumbersome in ‘swooshiness’

The fabric I have had stashed for about three years, waiting for the right pattern as I feared the wrong choice would drop me into tragic acid wash territory. I picked this up at Clear It in Melbourne for the less than princely sum of $4 a metre. It’s certainly not high quality, a simple cotton interlock but it just seems to work with this pattern design.

Megan Cardigan - Tessuti. Side View

Megan Cardigan – Tessuti. front view

There will be many more Megans in my wadrobe in the future. The perfect layering cardigan.

ALSO SEE

Driftless: I simply visited Instagram and searched for the hashtag #driftlesscardigan

MeganMade by Melanie  | Clever Tinker  |  Boo Dogg  |  Rennous oh Glennuss

Named Asaka – everyone deserves a silk dressing gown

Asaka Kimono, Named Patterns

Asaka Kimono, Named Patterns

The thought of silk dressing gowns, nightgowns and underwear and whatnot is rather fabulous – but when it boils down to it, too often the flannel PJ pants, old tshirts and other less glamorous wardrobe detritus too often surfaces in my ‘lounge wear’ wardrobe.

So I am somewhat smug and self-satisfied to add a silk dressing gown to my ‘lounge wear’ wardrobe. I shall no longer lounge, I shall slink about in my silk Asaka – sometimes.

The pattern was a surprise, and very welcome gift, from the lovely Vicki Kate Makes. Some people just know the perfect thing to do to make you smile:-)

PATTERN

The Asaka Kimono from Named Patterns features:-

  • Open-front kimono with wide-cut sleeves
  • Two-piece sleeve with a deep vent
  • Relaxed fit
  • Long belt wraps twice around the waist
  • Longline hem (seems rather long to me but perhaps I’m conservative!)

The paper pattern does not include seam allowances. The Named PDF patterns do. I know there is probably some logic to that. I’m guessing some sort of European sewing ‘norm’? If you know, please enlighten me.

Asaka Kimono, Named Patterns, back view

Asaka Kimono, Named Patterns, back view

THOUGHTS

Gorgeous pattern.

Sleeve Splits: I love them. glamorous and practical. Doesn’t get much better! I turned my raw edges under twice and then stitched them down along the length of the entire seam on the outer fold. I couldn’t see how they would have stayed neat otherwise – and hand stitching on this fabric just looked awful. At least the stitching lines running neatly down the sleeve look a more like a deliberate design feature than the pucker of somewhat irregular and slightly puckered hand stitches.

Asaka Kimono, Named Patterns, sleeves

Asaka Kimono, Named Patterns, sleeves. Sewn by Sew Busy Lizzy

Neck band: I turned the neck band to the inside and then slip stitched it in place by hand (stiches not visible from the outside) rather than stitching in the ditch by machine. I almost always choose this option as I prefer the finish. As my fabric was very light, I chose to interface both sides of the neckband. It is quite firm but it also sits closed very modestly which is nice as a contrast to the slightly sexy sleeves and shorter hem length.

Seams: I used French seams at the shoulders and changed the constructions slightly to set the sleeves n flat and then French seam the body and sleeves in one long seam.

Gown hem: I chose to finish the hem with a narrow rolled hem. I wish I hadn’t. It’s OK but could have been better.

Sleeve hems: I did these twice. First time felt messy. The second I decided to run a row of basting stitches 1/4 inch and then another 1/2 inch in from the first row. I used these stitches to turn the hems up neatly and then slid the basting rows out before stitching down the hems. This was fussy but achieved a lovely neat result.

Asaka Kimono, Named Patterns, front view.

Asaka Kimono, Named Patterns, front view.

Belt: I interfaced both sides of the belt and made it as long as my leftover fabric would allow. It’s probably a little stiff but I’m sure it will soften with some washes. (errrr, totally didn’t note that it was supposed to wrap around my waist twice until I typed up this blog post!). I also made some simple thread chains and inserted these into the side seams rather than using fabric loops.

SEWING WITH SILK

Some silks are perfectly agreeable and some absolutely not. This one fell somewhere in the middle ground, somewhat compliant, somewhat slippery and somewhat precious – but loved my iron.

I’ve had this silk stashed for a few years. It’s nothing terribly expensive or from somewhere exotic (Spotlight in fact, when they had a blood rush and stocked some nice fabric for a week or so) however I continued to stash it in the hope I might one day be capable of sewing something half decent from something so pretty. Like Jen from Grainline says – practice, practice, practice – it’s excellent advice. And I would also say challenge yourself and be ok with the odd hiccup (I think I’ve got compulsive hiccups some weeks). I’ve got a long way to go. I’m OK with that.

While my Asaka is far from perfect, it’s certainly better than I might have achieved a few years ago. So the stash wallowing was worth the wait.

Asaka Kimono, Named Patterns

Asaka Kimono, Named Patterns

We took these photos a couple of weeks ago. Quite a warm autumn afternoon. This weekend we descended into winter at an alarming rate with a massive low pressure cell forming off the coast and moving south. Port Macquarie (and the entire east coast) has been absolutely hammered with rain and high winds. Naturally it was a the weekend of SewPort – it seems we sewed up a storm.

THANK YOU

Thank you to wonderful sewing friends like Vicki Kate Makes and the gorgeous girls of SewPort2016 who made me smile and laugh a lot this weekend (and eat lots of food!) – you can read about it here, thanks Rachel for writing a post up so quickly. Or here by Maria! A fun weekend of sewing, laughs and food with the lovely Maria, Jenny, Victoria, Jenny, Pam, Wendy, Christine, Anna, Alison, Emma and Ruth!

Pattern: Named Asaka Kimono.
Fabric: Silk, from Spotlight a few years ago (vague – sorry!)
Also see: Bimble & Pimble | Closet Case Files | What Would Maude Wear | Design by Lindsay | Domestic Coquinette
Location: deserted corner of Town Beach, Port Macquarie on a late autumn afternoon – also photographed three other garments, including my Relax jumper.

And… it’s also Everyone Deserves Pretty Lingerie Week over at Measure Twice Cut Once  with Susan. So indulge yourself with something pretty.

Relax by Ririko – lots of knitting!

This.never.happens.

I knitted a jumper… and we had a cold snap. I was pretty excited (and I hate cold weather) because I could wear my new jumper also straight away!

A elevator 'selfie' - the day the weather turned cold!

A elevator ‘selfie’ – the day the weather turned cold!

I don’t have much to say about this jumper except I do really love it – and am rather proud that I managed to plough through some much stocking stitch (which is also known as stockinette stitch) in a sport (5 ply) yarn.

There are similar designs on Ravelry in heavier yarns which would be much faster to knit up, however I had always lusted after a fine knit jumper in a neutral tone and decided to challenge myself.

Pattern

The pattern is Relax by Ririko, purchased on Ravelry (links at end of post).

I liked the wide boxy body with the fitted sleeves; a plain knitted & slightly rolled neckline; and the ‘eyelets’ running down the body from the underarms.

Relax by Ririko, Ravelry

A tiny thoughtful design feature. Relax by Ririko, Ravelry

It sat in ‘my favourites’ for some time before I decided I could manage to commit to sooooo much stocking stitch in a sport/5-ply yarn. There are similar styles in heavier weight yarns but I really wanted a drapey fine gauge yarn.

Relax by Ririko, Ravelry

A simple boxy shape. Relax by Ririko, Ravelry

Yarn

Given the considerable time involved in the project, I decided that I would indulge myself with some quality yarn. So after much agonising over colourways, I ended up choosing MadelineTosh Pashmina in Fallen Cloud. It’s a merino/silk/cashmere blend (75%/15%/10%) and it’s truly divine to knit with. I really happy with the drape of the finished jumper and the lack of ‘scratchiness’ that I used to associate with home knits.

Needles

I also purchased Knitpro Symphonie needles from an Etsy supplier (links at end of post) as they are also lovely with work with (and to look at).

Time Commitment

I tried to knit ten rows most days… some days I would knit more… and some weeks I didn’t get a chance to knit at all. I did want to finish in time for winter and felt that having a finishing goal would inspire me to pick the needles up and get through it.

I cast on 31 January and finished on 14 May. I’m not a fast knitter and while I’ve considered changing my technique, my tension is extremely consistent. So I stick with my rather clumsy knitting style – I’m not seeking a gold medal in the knitting Olympics, I just knit to relax and create the odd garment that I want.

Relax by Ririko, Ravelry

Back view: Relax by Ririko, Ravelry

Derp Moment

I had never done a ‘three needle bind’ off so I diligently followed a Youtube clip, beautifully cast off my shoulders, knitted my sleeves… and then realised I should have re-read the instructions as the ‘three needle bind’ off in this occasion is done so the seam sits on the outside of the garment. Derp.

I considered my options. 1) Plough on or 2) frog the sleeves, frog the three-needle bind-off and start again. I decided on option 1 after a few days of consideration. To be honest, it wasn’t the time involved that put me off. I had started this project at the end of January so another week wasn’t really a deterrent. While I think the external seam is an interesting design feature, the top also looks lovely without it and probably even more austere which I didn’t mind. So I’ve left it.

Relax by Ririko, Ravelry

Relax by Ririko, Ravelry

I did bind off the first sleeve – and then undo it and bind off again ribwise – the pattern doesn’t state to bind off ribwise (logical to a long-time knitter I guess) but it looks much better.

I finished the neckline and also didnt’ like my bind-off. So I ripped out the neck (only 7 rows) and started again. I bound off using a slightly larger needle and it ‘rolled’ in a much nicer fashion.

Techniques

I learn a few new-to-me knitting techniques in this project.

  • Three-needle bind-off
  • Frogging a bind off
  • picking up a dropped stitch several rows on (wow, that saved a massive heart attack!)

Youtube is an invaluable resource. When I get stuck knitting, I pop over to Youtube and search for the knitting technique that is causing me some bamboozlement (yes, that’s a technical word for knitting numpty moment) and I watch a few clips until I find one that makes the most sense to me.

While I’ve always used mattress stitch before (I learnt this very useful stitch when I made sculpted teddy bears), I watched a couple of Youtube clips specifically on mattress stitch and knitting and then made a special effort to make the side seams as invisible as possible. I was pretty chuffed with my efforts (I know, fat head).

Mattress Stitch: Relax by Ririko, Ravelry

Mattress Stitch: Relax by Ririko, Ravelry

Final Thoughts

I think I will knit this again, perhaps next year in a richer hue. I just adore the simplicity and positive ease of garments like these.

I quite enjoy knitting, and while I love a challenge of lace and cables as much as the next, just being able to pick up the needles and mindlessly knit was more enjoyable and relaxing than I imagined.

This project was a pretty big indulgence for me (considering exchange rates and postage!) but worth every cent spent and minute creating every little stocking stitch.

Pattern: Relax by Ririko, Ravelry
Yarn: MadelineTosh Pashmina, Fallen Cloud. Purchased from yarn.com
Needles: Knitpro Symfonie Wood Fixed Circular Needles, from CollieCraft1 on Etsy

Relax by Ririko, Ravelry

Just in time for winter! Relax by Ririko, Ravelry

Busy and still sewing… Named, Sewaholic, Burda and more!

I have been on an unexpected blog break for a few weeks. There are a few times of the year when work, life, family collide and the result is utter chaos. This is one of them.

Rather than bore you with some chest-beating wail about everything that is going on, I’ll simply say amongst the endless storm of life, I’ve been grateful for small pockets of sewing, it has felt like the calm among the chaos.

Firstly – the winner of Stylish Remakes Giveaway is PHYSIC KATHLEEEN (I wonder if she knew that was going to happen!). I’ll send you an email Kathleen to organise postage of your book.

Secondly – what have I been sewing. A bit of everything to be honest. And many things probably won’t make the blog – for all sorts of reasons, some times it about finding the time, the ‘worthiness’ of blogging a simple item or it becomes one of those garments that I wear and totally forget about documenting (which is probably why I should!). So I’ve decided to just provide snapshots of those types of projects.

Here’s a few of those:

NAMED PATTERNS BEVERLY BIKINIS

Named Patterns Beverly Bikini - a selfie

Named Patterns Beverly Bikini – a selfie

This project lifted me out of a post-Christmas and work stress fog. I was inspired to give these a go after Measure Twice Cut Once launched a sewalong. For those of you in the Northern hemisphere and about to enjoy summer, I recommend these as a fun swimwear project. My first piece of swimwear and nowhere near as daunting as I thought it might be! Sorry – no photos. I thought about it but just don’t feel comfortable – but I applaud those that do. I’ve been destroyed by carrying to two rather large babies and regardless of how awesome they are… I really do hate my stomach. We all have things we dislike about ourselves and for me, it’s my stomach – disaster zone! Such is life. Will some indie designer please release a pair of one-piece cut-outs that are a bit skimpy and sexy? Thank you😉
Pattern: Named Beverly Bikini

BURDA DOLMAN DRESS

Dolman Dress 06/2012 #134 - I really do need another of these!

Dolman Dress 06/2012 #134 – I really do need another of these!

One of those fun dresses that is incredibly simple to make and makes you feel rather sexy. This is a rayon knit from the Spotlight remanent bin. It has low-cut armholes and I omitted the shoulder details due to the busyness of the print. I opted to make a very skinny tie belt – which you don’t see under the fold of the ‘bodice’ or upper part of the dress. I use it to simply to keep the dress from slipping down and to provide some waist definition.
Pattern: Dolman Dress 06/2012 #134.

SEWAHOLIC CAMBIE

Sewaholic Cambie - No.5. Yes unhemmed. I had was camping and just completed some handsewing. I knew there would be no blog pictures, I couldn't resist trying it on for size...

Sewaholic Cambie – No.5. Yes unhemmed. I had was camping and just completed some handsewing. I knew there would be no blog pictures, I couldn’t resist trying it on for size…

Yes, it is unhemmed. I never took blog photos of this as it was a birthday gift. I took this camping to finished some hand sewing on the lining and dress, I hemmed it with some bias tape when I got home. I couldn’t resist trying it on for size. I do so love this pattern, a beautiful dress inside and out – and an utter delight to sew.
This is a cotton sateen from Spotlight.
Pattern: Sewaholic Cambie

And a sneak peek of some upcoming finished projects!

April & May 2016 projects

April & May 2016 projects

Style Arc Taylor Skirt

aka Attack of the Crazy Butt Chevron!

I think this skirt will polarise people. It’s a love-hate garment. Some people will love the design and others may get a cold shiver from the back seam… and maybe even the front one!

I couldn’t resist this pattern and purchased it along with the Kylie Top – which I made for my Mood Fabric project.

Style Arc Taylor Skirt, image courtesy of Style Arc http://www.stylearc.com.au/

Style Arc Taylor Skirt, image courtesy of Style Arc http://www.stylearc.com.au

I was immediately drawn to the intersection of the vertical and sloping stripes. I absolutely love a bit of ‘crazy’ when it comes to stripes, checks and plaids. I DON’T like badly matched patterns however I do love designs that play with the patterns and create interesting lines.

There isn’t too much to say about this skirt. It is

  • easy and fast to make
  • striking to wear
  • Knit fabric
  • Pull-on – elastic at the waist and no zipper/fastenings

My photos were taken ‘on the run’ in a recent lunch break – I’m EXTREMELY time poor at the moment… but that’s another story. And I have a few marks on my legs and feet due to recent field hockey escapades (yes, I didn’t know I played hockey either – that’s another story!). I cut off quite a lot of my hair recently – it had to go and I feel better for it (another story). I also didn’t manage to tuck my top in neatly, creating a few ‘bumps’ – so in essence, this is crazy, rushing, manic, working mum, dishevelled me!

Anyway, this is me, mid-construction, going ‘holy back seam!‘ Followed by a raging internal debate about how did my butt look in this, could I live with those stripes and could I manage to wear something that drew so much attention to my nether region!

Me having a slight ponder mid construction... "Holy Back Seam!? Can I wear this?" Taylor Skirt, Style Arc

Me having a slight ponder mid construction… “Holy Back Seam!? Can I wear this?”

Anyway, more about the ‘butt seam’ later…

FABRIC

I found some rather firm striped ponte at my local Spotlight, I purchased 70cm as stated in the pattern yardage requirements. This might well be enough for a plain fabric but it’s not enough if you are planning to muck about with the stripes. Fortunately my fabric was double-sided and I managed to squeeze it on (just – there is a little bit of selvage in my seam!). 

I should have assumed I needed more for stripes but perhaps I’m used to Big 4 patterns that tell you to allow extra yardage for that sort of thing.

This resulted in much swearing and a mini tantrum

This resulted in much swearing and a mini tantrum

PATTERN

This is an EASY pattern to make.

There are two darts at the side waist. There are just two pattern pieces. You sew the darts; sew the two pieces together; top stitch the front seam; attach the elastic, turn it to the inside & top stitch it down; and then hem the skirt (I used a twin needle on my Bernina for my hems and stitching down the elastic). That’s it, more or less.

The Taylor Skirt sides are shaped with a dart. There is no side seam.

The Taylor Skirt sides are shaped with a dart. There is no side seam.

Yes, the instructions are ‘Style Arc Sparse’ but if you have any sewing experience I don’t think you are going to have any issues. I barely read instructions for patterns like this!

excuse the creases at the waist... I'm swivelled around because clearly I can't stop looking at that seam either!

excuse the creases at the waist… I’m swiveled around because clearly I can’t stop looking at that seam either!

Let’s talk about that ‘butt’ back seam. There are a few stripes in there (on my butt – just to make sure you don’t miss them) that don’t meet up. Given the shape of the seam (or my butt) and probably fabric’s stripe spacing/sizing, there was no way to make these meet. I did try! It’s not perfect however I can live with it as the chevron, as an overall effect, is well matched. However if you hate it – I understand why. It’s going to polarise people. Just do me a favour, and try not to spend hours inspecting my butt… as it’s starting to get awkward now LOL.

THOUGHTS

This is a long skirt… I actually cut an inch off before I hemmed it. I still feel it hits my leg in a bad spot and makes my legs look clunky. However I do think it needs to be long in order to achieve the visual effect.

Taylor Skirt, Style Arc

Taylor Skirt, Style Arc

I think it needs something with some firmness to the fabric, however it needs a good amount of stretch so you can walk!

The front opening split does bother me a little. When I look down, it doesn’t sit perfectly flat which drives me a little mental. However from most angles it looks OK so I’m trying to ignore that little quirk. It would also be the body of the ponte – it is quite firm  however I like how it “holds everything in place” if you get my drift.:-)

I’d definitely consider making this again as a work skirt. I actually don’t own any knit skirts and this is comfortable. I do love the funky stripes and think it might be a contender as a work wardrobe option. I just have to just remember to take smaller steps (I walk/stride/run like an elephant on speed) and be more ladylike. Chances are slim. The skirt will just have to learn to adapt.

It is very fast and easy to make. I did fiddle with the back seam and also the hem however you can make this up in no time at all.

It uses a very small amount of fabric and I think would look great in a plain or textured fabric with contrast top stitching on the front seam – perhaps the back as well.

Love or hate it – it is impossible to ignore.

Pattern: Style Arc Taylor Skirt, size 8 (purchased on sale, I paid about $8.40)
Fabric: Ponte from Spotlight (not available online). 70cm (not really enough for the striped option) $5.40
Other: Top is just an old RTW, Rocket Textured Pumps from Jo Mercer.

Note: I HATE sticking together A4 sheets – give me an A0 pattern sheet any day!

 

PS: there is a book review and giveaway on my post: Stylish Remakes
Post update: I published this & left for work, wearing this skirt. My colleagues love it. And no they didn’t realise I’d made it!

Stylish Remakes – book review & giveaway

or The Long Overdue Book Review Post!

I have a slight addiction to Japanese pattern books. It’s been reasonably well documented here.

My interest in Japanese style, design, arts & crafts spans much further back into my creative life when I made patchwork quilts. My first sampler quilt was inspired by a navy Japanese quilting cotton. Anyway that’s another story!

Stylish Remakes - Violette Room - Tuttle Publishing

Stylish Remakes – Violette Room – Tuttle Publishing

Last year Tuttle Publishing contacted me about one of their upcoming titles, Stylish Remakes by Violette Room.

Violette Room is a fashon company, founded by Bunka Fashion Institute Graduate Mari Hamano.

I was curious about this title, as in addition to my interest in Japanese arts and crafts, I also have a passion for ‘op shopping’ (secondhand/charity/thrift shops) and vintage clothing – well documented on my Instagram feed. My most recent find being a pair of Rock & Republic jeans for $1 – perfect fit!

Stylish Remakes is a soft cover book with a range of projects to “upcycle and reinvent your tired old clothes and thrift store finds into trendy new threads”.

This book isn’t your typical Japanese sewing pattern book. While there are instructions, there are no pattern sheets. It is more of a guide of how to go about the process of upcycling and embellishing your clothes or thrift shop finds.

While I generally sew up something from a book I review, for this particular review I didn’t see the point as every single experience is going to be completely different. Your outcomes are going to be dependent on having or sourcing clothes to upcycle and embellish, so I see this book as an inspirating starting point.

Some of the possibilities…

Embellishing

  • Adding a fancy bow or collar to an old tshirt or sweater.
  • Add ruffles or a peplum to a man’s shirt to create a more feminine silhouette.
Stylish Remakes, Violette Room. T-shirts

Stylish Remakes, Violette Room.
T-shirts

Upcycling

  • Sew a new skirt from a pair of old shirts (My teenage daughter thinks these are awesome – she’s a free spirit who wear the most amazing Doc Marten boots you have ever seen so I think she would rock this look… not to mention the fact she moved my second sewing machine into her bedroom… and whipped herself up a pair of flannel PJ pants this weekend).
  • Pair up a skirt and top, sew them together and create a new ‘dress’.
  • Use an old t-shirt to create a baby’s onesie.
Stylish Remakes, Violette Room. Flannel Shirts

Stylish Remakes, Violette Room. Flannel Shirts


Create

  • Create a dress or a bag from bandanna scarves.
Stylish Remakes, Violette Room. Bandannas

Stylish Remakes, Violette Room. Bandannas

THE CONTENTS

The book has been organised into chapters:-

  • T-shirts
  • Flannel Shirts
  • Borders
  • College Sweats
  • Gabardine Coats
  • Bandannas

All up there are 25 projects, all presented with lovely clear photography.

THE INSTRUCTIONS

If you are at all familar with Japanese sewing books, the layout and presentation of the instructions is standard to these translated sewing books. The instructions are concise but sufficient – and accompanied by a number of clear and well captioned illustrations.

Stylish Remakes, Violette Room. Instructions

Stylish Remakes, Violette Room. Instructions

THOUGHTS

While I don’t think this is quite the book for me, as I can’t imagine myself dressed in quite so quirky a fashion, my daughter loves it! So it’s the first book in her personal sewing library. She appears to have inherited my great love of thrifting so I suspect she will be seeking out some clothes to refashion on our next thrift shopping expedition!

If you have never thought of thrifting or upcycling your clothes, perhaps Stylish Remakes might be an interesting place to start.

Stylish Remakes, Violette Room. Gabardine Coats

Stylish Remakes, Violette Room. Gabardine Coats

GIVEAWAY

Comment below and tell me your best vintage find – clothing, pattern, sewing machine or anything else – I love a good thrift find! Giveaway closes 6pm, 24 April 2016 (Australian EST).

Book: Stylish Remakes by Violette Room, published by Tuttle Publishing

 

FASHION REVOLUTION

Tomorrow sees the commencement of Fashion Revolution week, running from 18-24 April. What’s that? from http://fashionrevolution.org/

We believe that fashion can be made in a safe, clean and beautiful way. Where creativity, quality, environment and people are valued equally.

On 18-24 April, Fashion Revolution Week will bring people from all over the world together to use the power of fashion to change the story for the people who make the world’s clothes and accessories.

Fashion Revolution was born when on 24 April 2014, 1,134 people were killed and over 2,500 were injured when the Rana Plaza complex collapsed in Bangladesh – the worst industrial accident in the garment industry. I’m not here to write a blog post about it – however it makes for interesting read and will make you think about a whole range of issues. You can read more here.

 

Note: for this post I received a copy of the book Stylish Remakes from Tuttle Publishing to review. All opinions my own.

This post first appeared on www.sewbusylizzy.com