ZIGGI Jacket – Style Arc. Couching Tiger, Hidden Cougar…

Style Arc Ziggi Jacket - I always seem to push my sleeves up!

Style Arc Ziggi Jacket – I always seem to push my sleeves up!

hmmmmm, not sure where to start with this one…

Firstly, I love that fabric and not because Mood Fabrics NY gave it to me as part of the blogger network I must sing its praises. I absolutely think it’s fabulous fabric, it really is. I hadn’t sewn with ponte-style fabrics before but have discovered why people adore sewing with them. They have enough ‘give’ to make sewing a breeze, they are firm enough not to cause the headaches of tshirt style knits in the sewing process. They have enough body to skim over lumps and bumps for dresses, skirts and jackets. I’ll be back for more!

I wrote more about the fabric in relation to this pattern on my Mood Sewing Network blog post – there was too much to say to write it all at once so I focused on the fabric at Mood Sewing Network and the pattern here.

So this post is mainly about the Style Arc Ziggi Jacket pattern and my thoughts on it. Ziggi seems to be one of those patterns that is tucked away in pattern stashes or on a sewing ‘wish list’.

I’ve had a jacket fetish going on – yes, it’s out-of-season sewing. I just sew what I feel like. It was STINKING hot on this day. About 33 degrees and the humidity was suffocating. Naturally it POURED rain the next day, about 160mm in a few hours, and the temperature dropped by over 10 degrees (Celsius). I had to do a massive detour to get home from the fabric shop that day as many roads suddenly closed due to flash flooding.

STYLE ARC PDFs

I purchased this pattern from the Style Arc Etsy shop.

This is a great way to purchase Style Arc patterns (note: not all of them are available) if you have been concerned about purchasing one-size patterns – or want to avoid postage costs.

It’s important that you realise that you might get three sizes (I purchased the 4/6/8 jacket pattern) however those sizes are NOT nested. You receive three separate PDF files, one for each size. So if you are hoping to grade between sizes… it’s not going to be easy… unless you particularly like taping together 48 pages of pattern several times. I don’t know… I’ve got better things to do with my time!

Style Arc Ziggi Jacket - it's a PDF carpet!

Style Arc Ziggi Jacket – it’s a PDF carpet!

This jacket can be made as a lined or unlined jacket. Unfortunately if you choose not to line the jacket the PDF has not been set up in such a way that you can just print the shell pattern pieces.

Ziggi is a monster PDF pattern to piece together, 48 pages in total. The only print option is A4 sheets. Hopefully one day Style Arc will also provide a print/copy shop version for A0 sheets and 36 inch wide paper as provided by companies like Grainline. I don’t mind PDF patterns however I do LOATHE trimming and taping together 48 pages. I know there are bigger patterns out there but I would prefer to pay a little more for printing and have several A0 sheets printed.

STYLE ARC INSTRUCTIONS

I think everyone knows Style Arc instructions are notoriously brief. I knew what I was getting myself into. I decided everything would be OK as there are many blogger posts about this jacket, including a sewalong by Sew Maris and Stacey Sews. If you are going to make this jacket – refer to these posts. And google – lots.

The instructions for this jacket are brief. Less than one A4 page in total. I think that is very brief considering all those zips and the lining. There are also no diagrams, other than diagrams of the jacket itself. I don’t have huge issues with this as I knew that before I started. I’m just pointing it out so if you do purchase this pattern you don’t get a shock.

I didn’t refer to the instructions much at all. I generally read sewing instructions before I start any project to see if there are any new or unusual techniques I need to be aware of or research before I start. Then I may refer back to them as a guide for order of construction or to see if the seam allowances vary as I’m sewing.

The pattern pieces have the stitching line printed on them. I personally hate referring back to pattern pieces to check seam allowances. I’d rather the pattern just said ‘sew the collar outer edges together with a 1/4 inch seam allowance’ rather than ‘Sew the collar outer edges together’. Call me picky but I don’t think it’s much to ask for a few more characters in the sentence.

ZIGGI ZIPS

It’s important to point out, before you rush off and buy supplies for this jacket, that the pattern requirements state 6 inch zips for the front pockets.

Unless you like shortening your zips, you will need to alter the pocket bags and facings to accommodate the 6 inch zips. I used 5 inch zips. I have long, skinny hands/fingers and decided I could get my paws into the 5 inch openings.

Longer sleeve zips are easy enough to accommodate, you just need to change the opening length.

Style Arc Ziggi Jacket - I was stupidly proud of myself when I finished my first zip pocket.

Style Arc Ziggi Jacket – I was stupidly proud of myself when I finished my first zip pocket.

That surprised me most about this make is how easy the zips were to put in. Yes, it was fiddly but I didn’t find it difficult. Sew Maris provides a fantastic blog post on this.

My Ziggi Zip Tips…

  • Take your time
  • Be generous with your zipper window facings – cut good sized pieces, you can always trim them back. I used silk organza for my facings.
  • I like to press my silk organza facings and take lots of time to roll them to the wrong side of the jacket and achieve clean straight edges and neat corners.
  • I also like to pin the facings in place before I baste the zips into the window opening. I always put an extra pin on an angle to the corner rather than just pinning around the straight edge. It seems to help pull out the corner of the facing and create a little more tension to create a nice sharp corner.
  • Hand baste the zip into the opening you create. It’s worth that little bit of extra time and makes tops sticking around the opening much easier and smoother.

If you would like to add sleeve gussets to your sleeve zips (not part of the pattern), Shams of Communing with Fabric has a great post on this – and Ruth of Core Couture has added some helpful tips here. I chose not to add sleeve gussets but you can certainly do so for an extra finishing touch.

Peekaboo Cougar Pockets!

Peekaboo Cougar Pockets!

I’m not such a huge fan of metal zips. I know they are ‘cool’ but clearly I’m not. They interfere with how the jacket sits on the body and moves. I’m just too picky about weird things I think. My zipper for the opening as a slight ‘wiggle’ in the teeth and that annoys me senseless.

POCKETS

I only used one of the pocket facings per pocket. Maris is right, you only need one. The pattern instructs you to cut four.

TOP STITCHING

I like top stitching. I really, really do. It’s not just the look I like. I also enjoy the process.

I use upholstery thread for my top stitching if sewing with my Bernina. I find it behaves better than top stitching thread. It could just be my Bernina has issues with top stitching thread thickness and I just need to fiddle with the tension – or perhaps my Bernina is just antsy about very thick thread just like she is about shirring elastic. I love my Bernina but she’s got some quirks – don’t we all?

I lengthened my stitch to 3. I used my edge stitching foot and put my needle over 2 ‘clicks’. I also always top stitched on the same side. It might be overly fussy of me but with something like top stitching I find the more consistent your method/technique is the more consistent the outcome is.

Style Arc Ziggi Jacket - back top stitching detail

Style Arc Ziggi Jacket – back top stitching detail

I always keep a hand sewing needle close by when top stitching. When I finish top stitching an area I use my hand sewing needle to take the top stitching thread to the wrong side of the fabric and finish the thread off. I guess that’s more fussiness but that’s how I roll some days.

I top stitched a large piece of fabric and then cut my yokes and upper sleeves from the piece. I also fused some Pellon the wrong side of the fabric so some extra body. I also put in shoulder pads to bulk up my silhouette and support the shoulders and sleeve heads.

LINING

I found the lining a b.i.t.c.h to sew in. I’m not particularly happy with it. It feels slightly off and Jodi of Sew Fearless had the same issue. I found the instructions entirely useless for this step. All I can say is good luck, it may involve cursing and a seam ripper. (NOTE: GingerMakes made an excellent point – it maybe sewing a woven lining to the knit shell – probably true!

Style Arc Ziggi - back view

Please tell me next time not to keep putting my hands in my pockets when taking photos – ruins the line of the jacket… but that’s what pockets are for!

THANK YOU

A big thank you to Ruth of Core Couture. When I was vacillating about this pattern and the fabric, I googled myself silly, researched Pattern Review (a time efficient way to check what fabric people used with a pattern) and finally contacted Ruth about her experience as she had sewn this jacket in a polyester knit, most reviews I’ve seen have been sewn in a woven. She provided plenty of advice and encouragement along the way. Thank you Ruth!

I often find when I’m sewing, it feels like I’m sewing in a vacuum. So I often reach other to other bloggers via email, twitter or messaging, particularly if I know they are experienced in certain patterns or techniques. I’ve always found people to be incredibly helpful and generous with their advice and encouragement. If you ever need some extra advice – don’t’ hesitate to reach out to someone else, especially if you have no IRL sewing circle to hang out with.

JUNGLE JANUARY

This jacket is a bit of a Crouching Tiger, Hidden Cougar… I roared like a angry beast during the making of this jacket (the lining caused me the most grief). I lined it with some cougar print fabric from my stash. This fabric has popped up a couple of times on my blog… here and here!

So this one is for you Anne! I feel like some old biker gang girl…. oh dear… perhaps I am a cougar after all!

The Hidden Cougar

The Hidden Cougar (crappy tank top underneath due to the heat!)

POSTS I FOUND HELPFUL

Other than the lining, I didn’t find this too difficult to make. It’s detailed and fiddly in parts but not that hard. I did lots of research and googling along the way and found these posts very useful.

General Ziggi Tips – Core Couture

Inserting the inseam zips

StaceySews: for a list of links to the Sew Maris and StaceySews Ziggi posts

FINAL THOUGHTS

I chose the Style Arc pattern over the Kwik Sew biker jacket due to the volume of online posts and help available for the construction.

The sizing seems largish for this particular pattern. I sewed size 6 based on my measurements and the comments about the Style Arc sizing accuracy. I think a size 4 would have been better on my frame, for your reference my bust measures 32 inches and my under bust measures 27 inches (I find it helpful when bloggers include their measurements as it is so hard to judge someone’s physical size and the finished garment size on them).

I think Ziggi is quite boxy despite what the pattern illustrations indicate. If you are considering sewing this because you think it’s more fitted and sexy than the Kwik Sew biker jacket pattern… it’s not as fitted as you think it is going to be. I increased my seam allowance to 25mm between my bust and hip to eliminate the boxiness of this jacket. Given the instructions, PDF, single size pattern files, wrong zip sizes, lining issues I had… if I wanted another biker jacket, I would try the Kwik Sew next time. Yes, the catalogue images are not very enticing but I’ve sewn plenty of ‘ugly ducklings’ and been delighted by the end result.

I seem to have written a lot in this post and I suspect I will think of more to add later!

ALSO SEE: Stacey Sews | Core Couture | Communing with Fabric | Sew Fearless | Sally Bee Makes (love this one) | A Challenging Sew | Clothing Engineer (shearling) | Meggipeg (gorgeous two-tone leather) | Sew Maris | Sew Judy | Sigrid Sewing | Dodgy Zebra | Sewing Pattern Review
And a Ziggi in progress (maybe) report: My Messings

Pattern: Style Arc Ziggi Jacket
Fabric: Wool Stretch Suiting from Mood Fabrics NY
Accessories: Sunglasses: Ralph Lauren (birthday pressie from my mum) | Key necklace: Tiffany & Co | Ring: sterling silver from some random little Hunter Valley shop during a girls’ road/wine trip

The Coat of Many Bloggers – Eagle by Vanessa Pouzet

This fabric haunted me. I saw it on the Mood Fabrics website and just needed it in my life and wardrobe so decided to select it for one of my Mood Sewing Network makes.

And then of course I couldn’t decide what to make. This is typical Sew Busy Lizzy style. Buy a fabric and then spend HOURS picking a pattern… and unpicking a pattern… and picking a pattern… and unpicking a pattern… you get the idea… I get so sick of my indecisiveness. I guess that’s my creative process and I just have to live with it. This jacket was the nearlyMcCalls-nearlyBurda-nearlyVogue-and-finallyVanessaPouzet project!

My Mood Fabrics Make that I've nicknamed the Coat of Many Bloggers - in honour of the amazing community of people that searched for the pattern, encouraged me and helped me translate the pattern!

My Mood Fabric Make that I’ve nicknamed the Coat of Many Bloggers – in honour of the amazing community of people that searched for the pattern, encouraged me and helped me translate the pattern!

I loved this Italian Carolina Herrera Plaid Suiting from Mood Fabrics NY as soon as I saw it. I’m a complete sucker for anything blue. I adored how the weave of this plaid produces almost a holographic look and graduates softly between black/white/blue. It’s not a harsh plaid with solid lines.

I had originally thought to sew McCalls 6442 (which I have always loved and had stashed for ages) however it just didn’t feel right for this fabric.

Italian Carolina Herrera Black/White/Blended Blue Plaid Suiting from Mood Fabrics

Italian Carolina Herrera Black/White/Blended Blue Plaid Suiting from Mood Fabrics

I had wanted to sew a more traditional coat but keep coming back to the idea of a waterfall/draped long-line loose jacket. I’ve always found it best to go with the heart when you sew. If you look at a fabric and immediately envisage it made up as a certain item of clothing… then go with that.

Strangely I like plaids, checks and ginghams if they are slightly messed up when sewn up. I like the juxtaposition of the orderly fabric pattern set with a design which throws out the regularity of the fabric print/weave. Others are the master of stripe and pattern matching such as Lauren aka The Mistress of Plaid who makes the most amazing things.

My Hot Mess Dress of 2013 is one of my favourite makes so  I decided to find my ideal Messy Plaid Jacket pattern.

My jacket crush, the fabric and Burda Style 10-2012 #103. Perfect pattern match but horrid on me

My jacket crush, the fabric and Burda Style 10-2012 #103. Perfect pattern match but horrid on me

Then I stumbled across an image on Pinterest – I know that fabric… tweeted about the perfect coat and where could I find the pattern? Orange Lingerie suggested Burda 10-2012 #103 which I had in my stash – which is indeed the nearly perfect match…

So I made a super rough muslin, BurdaStyle patterns with their lack of seam allowance and somewhat wacky instructions always make me nervous… and while the coat fitted – the collar absolutely dwarfed me. Sorry no picture as I was ‘home alone’, the dog turned it into a sleeping mat for a week – and it rather grossed me out to put it back on after that!

So I decided to make another muslin (this never happens) of my favourite draped jacket/cardigan pattern, Vogue 8780 – and this definitely did not work in a woven – the arms were uncomfortable…

I tweeted along the ‘woe is me’ lines about the lack of draped patterns for woven fabrics..

Then a miracle happened.

  • The Perfect Nose tweeted a new jacket pattern called Eagle from Vanessa Pouzet – who I had never heard of…
  • Vicki Kate Makes saw the design, thought it was just what I’d been looking for and tweeted me (thank you VK!)…
  • I broke out into joyous celebration – the pattern was found… I tweeted and Stephanie of Love Teach Sew also purchased it. She has translated and made up the jacket – just not finished yet. She was enormously helpful in providing some assistance in understanding the pattern – not to mention encouragement – which I badly needed as I felt quite daunted by the project. Thank you so much Stephanie!

This pattern is in French, it has diagrams but they don’t convey the full construction process – and no I can’t speak French. Never mind I thought… there’s always Google Translate! Unfortunately I seriously think some Googlebot-thingie was doing a mechanical giggle as it translated for me as I just got more confused!

CONSTRUCTION

The construction is slightly unusual. I haven’t sewn too many jackets but I have never sewn a lined jacket with this order of construction.

  1. You sew lining and shell back pieces together along the hemline (leaving a gap for turning).
  2. You attach the shoulder pieces to the front shell and lining pieces.
  3. You sew the front shell and lining together along the front and hem seam. You turn them right side out.
  4. You then attach the back to the fronts along the side seams – overlapping the back hem (hard to explain but it makes sense as you sew it – you just need some blind faith) as the back is longer than the front until this point – you stop before the armhole.
  5. You sew the shoulder seams.
  6. You sew the neckline
  7. You then attach the sleeves to the lining and then the shell. Yes I’m serious.
  8. You then machine the sleeve hems. I personally love machining my jacket sleeves hems. It’s a bit of a brain buster the first time you do it – but it is worth learning.
  9.  Turn right side out – and sew up the lower jacket hem.

Sorry, I’m writing from memory so I will amend the above construction order if I find it to be wrong when I find the pattern in my sewing room (my work life is at its annual peak right now so time is scarce) – however in essence this isn’t your ‘usual’ jacket construction – well not that’s I’ve experienced.

If you are nervous about plaids and all that pattern matching. Don’t be. Look for simple patterns or patterns where you can play with the plaid rather than be hemmed in by its rigid nature.

Italian Carolina Herrera Black/White/Blended Blue Plaid Suiting from Mood Fabrics.  Vanessa Pouzet Eagle pattern. Sewn by Sew Busy Lizzy

The Eagle Jacket – side view. When you move the fabric seems to play tricks on your eyes. It’s quite unusual. And my legs are doing some weird pigeon-toed spin for your entertainment – you’re welcome…

CUTTING OUT

While this pattern may be draped, there was still some plaid matching to be done. To match the plaid I decided to cut the pieces out flat. So I created a full pattern piece for the back and two of the front piece so I could lay them flat and double check that all the plaid would intersect correctly at the side and front seams. I know you can pin your fabric, matching the plaids and cut on the fold… I just prefer this way…

And a confession… I often use a sharpie to trace around my patterns if I know that they excess fabric will be trimmed off. With a bond paper PDF it is so much easier than trying to pin it to the fabric. There – I’ve said it.

To match the sleeves, I cut these out last – after I had constructed the body of the jacket. I often work that way with pattern matching if I know I have plenty of fabric to play with – I cut out a piece at a time as I sew. I put the sleeveless jacket on my dressmaking form, held the paper pattern pieces up to the armhole and marked where the black plaids on the armhole were meeting the sleeve and marked this on the pattern piece. I then laid the marked pattern pieces on the fabric, matching up the plaid and the pattern marks and then cut out the sleeves. Due to the leather shoulder pieces it was impossible to match the back and the front. So I elected the match the front piece and front sleeve.

The shoulders are leather – cut from a piece gifted to me by my lovely friend Susan of Measure Twice, Cut Once from her stash. The shoulders also mean that there are a few less seams to pattern match. You can focus on matching the side seams and the fronts.

This fabric has enough drape to fall into a single fold when left unbelted.

This fabric has enough drape to fall into a single fold when left unbelted.

I think the full flare of this coat unbelted, it’s massive and swingy – perhaps swamping me a little but I love coats and tops that billow about. There is something fun and dramatic as they swing around your legs and body as you walk, especially if you walk as fast as I do!.

Wearing it unbelted, the jacket fronts hang with a single fold, when I belted it I folded them back to get a ‘plaid origami’ look. I also love how it transforms from a freeform coat into quite a soft feminine shape with a belt.

I can't help myself - I always push up my sleeves unless it is bitterly cold.

I can’t help myself – I always push up my sleeves unless it is bitterly cold.

I must say, this jacket isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea. But it’s mine (always black tea with two for me). The patterns isn’t particularly difficult… once you figure it out. Clearly I battled with my language limitations but it was a fun challenge.

And now I have a big snuggly jacket for my January holiday – yes January is still my summer but we will be in alpine Tasmania for a week which can be hot – or sometimes throwing down a bit of snow at that time of the year.

Fabric: Italian Carolina Herrera Black/White/Blended Blue Plaid Suiting
Pattern: Eagle by Vanessa Pouzet (French, untranslated)

I’ve just got to say – this jacket epitomises the reasons why I love sewing and blogging. Lots of people helped and encouraged me. It was like being wrapped up in a big warm sewing hug when you ask for help. Corny but true. Thank you!

 

I went to Frocktails in Brisbane last weekend, I combined it with a work trip… I think I squashed in too many work appointments and took too much work with me – oh well, tax deductible travel I guess! So many lovely people… while this photo wasn’t taken at Frocktails it’s one of my favourite pictures of the weekend… this is me and my lovely sewing friend Busy Lizzie (I think it’s fate we launched our blogs within days of each other with the similar names – what are the chances?) who is so supportive in some many ways and has become a great friend. Mwah, you are a treasure!

Busy Lizzy and Busy Lizzie

Busy Lizzy and Busy Lizzie (I’m in an unblogged red/white/blue variegated stripe Drape Drape dress and Lizzie in her Miz Mozelle dress)

This was taken at the lovely Marjorie Sews’ home – not only did she cook a cracking dinner but she also let us play with her hat collection… yes people she made these. Check Marjorie out on Instagram – so very very clever and an absolute sweetheart… and I do want to buy that red/white/blue hat one day Marjorie!

If you are in Brisbane sometime before 15 February 2015 then you must check out Future Beauty: 30 Years of Japanese Fashion. I went and saw this with Lizzie and Marjorie. Loved it – thought it was fascinating. And I really do want to see Undressed: 30 Years of Underwear in Fashion and Costumes from the Golden Age of Hollywood. Why are there always too many things I want to see?! And then there is The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk in Melbourne… argh!

Hello-and-Goodbye Summer Dress, New Look 6048

While the Northern hemisphere waves goodbye to another summer… in the Southern hemisphere we are impatiently waiting for ours to arrive. I agree, I am rather spoilt… we took these photos mid-August on a quiet local beach while walking the dog and I wasn’t cold, it was a beautiful day.

Spring is nearly here & a sundress is an eminently sensible way to celebrate. Thank you Mood Fabrics for supplying this for my Mood Sewing Network post – much appreciated!

New Look 6048 - my Hello & Goodbye Summer Dress.

New Look 6048 – my Hello & Goodbye Summer Dress. Grinning like a goose as the waves catch me unawares!

Once I spotted this beautiful black & white lightweight stretch cotton on the Mood Fabrics website I was head over heels in love. I love a classic black/white print, however it’s the pop of aqua that makes this fabric gorgeous. Mood was most helpful in pairing it with a beautiful contrast cotton sateen for me, this one is Hawaiian Ocean Blue Stretch Cotton Sateen. Thse fabrics have a lovely weight to them, not too heavy and not too light (I know, sounds suspiciously like a breakfast cereal commercial!).

I love this combination, it is light, crisp and summery. I also have a particular fondness for cotton sateens. They are marvellously easy to sew with and endlessly versatile… not to mention coming in a wide variety of gorgeous colours and prints.

White-Black Lightweight Stretch Cotton Print from Mood Fabrics

White-Black Lightweight Stretch Cotton Print from Mood Fabrics

This fabric is lovely quality and a generous 58 inches wide, giving you lots of room to play – perfect for those wider or circle skirts. It has a touch of lycra which adds a bit of crosswise stretch to the fabric – hello comfortable sundress!

I had planned to make a Vogue Vintage frock… however I kept coming back to New Look 6644 and in the end I gave into my instincts. The pattern itself is easy to sew, which isn’t why I chose it, I simply love a sweetheart neckline and the bodice has princess seams. It’s got three lovely deep pleats across the front and back, giving the skirt some fullness, without too much heaviness.

I decided to fully line this dress with some cotton lawn from my stash.  I always have several metres stashed as it seems to be useful for all manner of projects.

Lining a dress might seem onerous or double the sewing time, I find lined dresses last longer, wear better and crease less. I also often make the lining to test the fit. It’s an excellent timesaver because if it does indeed fit… you are half way there!

New Look 6048 - fully lined

New Look 6048 – fully lined. I like my lining to be several centimetres shorter than my shell, I’m not one for peekaboo hemlines.

If you are considering lining this particular dress, when you line the bodice you just need to layer the shell and lining wrong sides together. The top contrast band is then attached to both fabrics along the neckline on the wrong side then turned over to the front of the dress and slip-stitched down. It’s a very simple and neat finish.

I also decided to give the dress a little more structure by adding some lightweight boning to the lining seams. I used rigilene (which looks like this), which is made from woven nylon rods and can be sewn directly onto the seams. For a sundress I don’t think you want very rigid boning, just something with enough structure to support the curve of the dress seams so it sits nicely over your body. I love how this dress sits with a some added soft structure and shape.

New Look 6048 sewn in White-Black Lightweight Stretch Cotton Print for Mood Fabrics

Side view – New Look 6048. Yes… for the pocket junkies, this dress is just the ticket.

I opted to use a white invisible zipper for this dress. I did worry for a little while about the white zipper tab showing at the top of the dress… however I actually really like the white contrast against the aqua and decided to leave it white rather than painting it with nail polish to conceal it.

New Look 6048 - back view

New Look 6048 – back view

Cotton sateen and stretch cotton are just lovely to sew with. They have a little more weight than a basic poplin and are far more forgiving to sew. Not to mention the slightly lovely sheen that the fabrics possess, giving a humble sundress a little more wow.

I would advise not ignoring those pattern instructions advising you to staystitch your edges, the lycra stretch does need to be contained as you don’t want a gaping neckline! I think this pattern is particularly suited to cotton sateen as the neckline is staystitched, stitched and then understitched… AND the contrast band is interfaced, making it far less likely to stretch out.

I think this dress would look lovely with a patent black belt and simple heels.

Now I’m off to sit out the final days of my winter… and embrace some welcome warmth and sunshine. I am one of those people guilty of clinging to their summer dresses as autumn approaches and wearing them in the fading days of winter, teamed with cardigans and jackets in a desperate bid to pretend the colder days will soon be gone…. I’m not the only one that does that… am I?

… I think I have just enough of this amazing fabric to whip up a print summer blazer with aqua highlights… *trots off to sewing room again*

Fabrics from Mood Fabrics NY: White-Black Lightweight Stretch Cotton Print (1 7/8 yard) & Hawaiian Ocean Blue Stretch Cotton Sateen (1/4 yard)
Pattern: New Look 6048 (I made size 6 – I should have made a 4 but perhaps the slightly looser fit will be more comfortable in summer!)

this one is simply because I know many of you love a good whippet photo bomb… (note: most of my photos are taken with the whippet on quiet local beaches where dogs are permitted unleashed… I think he rather loves blog photo times!)

Whippet photo bomb

Banjo: serial whippet photo bomber!

Mood Sewing Network – a Mini debut

*faints* *gasps* *giggles* *runs outside in pjs to read email to husband*

That was my reaction to receiving an email from the revered fabric kingdom Mood Fabrics NYC expressing an interest in little old me, Sew Busy Lizzy in far-flung Australia joining the Mood Sewing Network.

My first outing as a Mood Sewing Network blogger

My first outing as a Mood Sewing Network blogger

So many bloggers I have followed and admired since I started blogging are part of this network – the skill, personality and individual style of this crew is quite fabulous. In fact since I started sewing I’ve become so enamoured of Mood Fabrics it was already on my travel plans for 2014! Yes I will be in NY in October – I can’t wait!

I can’t tell you how I agonised over my first Mood make. I felt I needed to be fancy, couture… then a sewing friend said that perhaps I was asked because I had a distinctive style, perhaps Mood just wanted me to be ‘me’. Suddenly it all became easy.

It’s so easy to become swallowed up by what you might imagine other people expect of you. Defined by your own expectations. Trying to be the best version of yourself – which too often is framed by what you imagine others expect.

At the end of the day?

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” (quote often attributed to Oscar Wilde)

Mood has so many fabulous fabrics… the range feels endless. Fabulous fabrics destined to be ‘fashion’ makes ­- fabulous individual creations, the very reason why we love to sew. I really wanted my first Mood make to be ‘me’… in extraordinary fabric (of course – this is Mood Fabric after all)… something I couldn’t obtain elsewhere…

So denim it was (I have suffered from a lifelong denim affliction – I strongly believe there is no such thing as too much denim in a wardrobe, jackets, jeans, vests, skirts, shorts, capris, dresses – just waiting for a medical term for this obsession. True, I don’t ‘do’ ‘double denim’… this girl has some standards).

Not just any denim but Italian denim… printed with a bronze damask design… I fell in love with this Italian Printed Denim. I love the slight grunge style of the print. It’s decadent but not quite perfect, it’s not gold but bronze.

Mood Fabrics Italian Printed Denim

Mood Fabrics: Italian Printed Denim

I’ve often read about how metallic denims lose their lustre or print in the wash… me being me decided to throw caution to the wind when preparing this fabric for sewing. I threw it in the washing machine on a ‘normal’ cycle, hung it up to dry… and guess what? The world didn’t end.

And then I sewed… a Grainline Studio Moss Mini Skirt. While some might argue that a simpler pattern might have sufficed and the construction details are hidden, I love the fact this fabric gives this simple yet classic fly-front skirt design a rockstar makeover.

Mood Sewing Network: Grainline Moss Mini Skirt in Italian Printed Denim

Mood Sewing Network: Grainline Moss Mini Skirt in Italian Printed Denim

I’ve found this pattern wants to sit low-slung on me – which delivers the look I was after and suits the grunge element of the design.

Lovely design details... front slant pockets, top stitching, fly front and more - I would even been fooled into thinking it was RTW!

Lovely design details… front slant pockets, top stitching, fly front and more – I would even been fooled into thinking it was RTW!

 

OK. Yes. Rather proud of this pattern matching. #sorrynotsorry

OK. Yes. Rather proud of this pattern matching – yes there is a vertical seam running down my centre back. #sorrynotsorry for showing off.

Just a few tips when sewing with this fabric… a part of the selvedge is not printed – so I decided to trace around the pattern pieces with tailor’s chalk on the right side to avoid running pieces onto the non-printed section (you can just see later on what happened when I didn’t do this with the inside waistband). I’m that girl who is guilty of squeezing every inch out of her fabric. So I traced each piece carefully. While it takes a little longer it’s easier to pattern match and you will make the most of your yardage.

Going crazy with chalk.

Going crazy with chalk.

This fabric did not bother my Bernina sewing machine at all and I used a denim needle. Likewise my Brother overlocker had no issue with the fabric. While the drape is stiff, the fabric itself is not overwhelmingly heavy.

I did quite a bit of top stitching which finishes the skirt beautifully by holding down the seam allowances and adding a professional finish. Fabric that is this fabulous deserves a good finish. I’ve rather proud of its innards too – that’s what is so nice about being a sewing blogger – I can’t wear my makes inside out but I can show you guys!

Grainline Moss Mini Skirt - insides

The insides – because I can’t wear it inside out…

I couldn’t find a bronze button that perfectly matched (I’m a little bit OCD about some details) so I finished the waistband with a heavy black trouser hook & bar from my stash. I also chose to use a metal jeans zip from my stash as it adds to the ready-to-wear finish of the garment. If sewing a fly front freaks you out completely – I strongly recommended a few things:-

  1. Use Jen of Grainline Studio’s excellent fly front tutorial
  2. Get your hands on a RTW garment with a fly front and use it as a reference (and do yourself a favour and use a women’s garment as a man’s fly does up the other way)…
  3. and if you are terrified – try making a muslin first to gain some confidence.
Grainline Moss Mini Skirt

oh and I’m also not keen on unzipping my fly while the skirt is on – so here is the non-risqué version of the fly front

Funnily enough as I was hemming this garment a blog post from Grainline Studios popped up and guess what? It’s Moss Making Month over with Stephanie at Makes the Things and Sara at An Elemental Life – how’s that for coincidence – for once I’m running ahead of schedule. Unintentionally but I’m OK with that.

We are hitting autumn in my part of the world – it never gets truly cold in my beautiful seaside Port Macquarie, Australia. I’m often barefoot on the beach in winter and we never see a frost. Seriously. However the days are getting shorter and it was a race against sunset to take these pictures after work. I love how the fading evening light really brings out the amazing metallic print of this fabric. A little bit rockstar!

If I’m not looking my usual relaxed self – I was fretting about the fading light and my deadline… but I was also taking tips from the Posing Super Coach…

GrainlineMossMini_moreposingtips

I know – heaven help me when she hits her teenage years. She’s going to be a whole lot of hilarious trouble.

Thank you Mood Fabrics… I’ve got a mini skirt my non-sewing friends are lusting after!

Still figuring out how to wear these boots... but I'm getting used to them

Still figuring out how to wear these boots… but I’m getting used to them

The good news… as I originally planned to make jeans… I think I’ve got enough for a fitted dress or a high waisted skirt… watch this space…

Fabric: Mood Fabrics: Italian Printed Denim
Pattern: Grainline Studio Moss Mini Skirt, size 4 (as suggested to me via Instagram by Unique Schmuck – thanks Oanh!)

Also See: Vogue 8330 skinny jeans by Kadiddlehopper I was so tempted to make jeans initially – but it would have been hard to top these amazing jeans…

Now there is a ton of awesome makes going on all the time over at the Mood Sewing Network – so get yourself over there now and put them in your blog reader…