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 ūüôā

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.

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 ūüėČ
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

Inari Dress, Named Patterns

or My Gigantic T-shirt Dress ūüôā

I had no inclination to make this dress. At all. Then I did. I’m not sure what triggered my change of heart, perhaps sunnier days or the Inari dresses and tops popping up here, there and everywhere… so I jumped online at Stitch 56 during a sale.

Inari Dress, Named Patterns, Sew Busy Lizzy

Inari Dress. Like everyone that has made this – I love how the seam brings the back of the dress around toward the thigh.

THE PATTERN

I purchased the paper pattern, it is also available as a PDF. If I have a choice between a paper pattern or a PDF, I will usually choose the paper pattern, unless the PDF comes with an A0 copy-shop file – then I have to think twice about it. Named paper patterns are expensive, however they are printed on bond paper and the instructions presented in a booklet – all packaged up in the neat envelope.

Here’s the trick with Named Patterns. The paper patterns come with no seam allowances… and the PDFs do (read about Named paper and PDF patterns here). I’d rather trace a pattern and add seam allowances than put together a bazillion A4s – even a handful of A4 is too many for me. I just added the allowances with a ruler as I traced – I know, I could add them by eye as I cut… but I’m a bit precise about some things (and hopelessly imprecise about others). The Inari is a simple pattern so adding the seam allowances wasn’t onerous… I am horrified at the thought of doing that for the Isla Trench Coat which is loitering in my sewing queue.

Inari Dress, Named Patterns, Sew Busy Lizzy

love that sloping side seam and split hem.

The pattern has a dress or a top option and two neckline finishes. The dress has a forward sloping side seam, meaning the back panel is slightly wider than the front, the hem is also split with the back being slightly longer than the front. I do love the small thoughtful details that seem to be core to the Named Pattern’s aesthetic.

The instructions are presented in a neat little booklet. I did find having the finished garment measurements and the pattern measurements on different pages rather odd – I like to compare these for each area of the body (for ease) before I choose a size. I also found myself jumping about the booklet to find things such as recommended seam allowances. I suspect there are elements to the Named Patterns which are put together in chunks for speed in layout and also translation purposes – some elements in a pattern are fairly standard (body measurements and general instructions) whereas other elements are individual to the pattern (finished measurements). Perhaps the Named instruction booklet layout reflects this. I’m not sure – it’s just a theory. 

I was momentarily bamboozled by some of the markings on the pattern sheet – ie the bust and hip line are marked on the pattern – at first I thought they might be shorten/lengthen lines. Perhaps there is a key somewhere that I missed but I had ‘lost’ this pattern in my sewing room so when I finally dug it up I was desperate to sew and didn’t spend too long puzzling through everything! A few Instagram comments later I was on the right track, the Named team are very prompt and helpful! Thank you!

I think all sewing patterns and instructions have their quirks – it’s just getting used to knowing where to look for things. Provided the actual garment goes together well, I enjoy seeing how different companies approach their patterns and instructions.

THE DRESS

I decided to make this in a white/denim striped ponte. This ponte composition is 64% rayon, 32% nylon and 4% spandex. It has a lovely drape and sheen that I’ve not often seen in ponte.

Inari Dress

Inari Dress – ponte is perhaps not ideal for this and wind doesn’t help! I confess I do love wearing a gigantic t-shirt regardless. 

Everything went together perfectly. The instructions are clear and the diagrams adequate.

Even though I used a stretch fabric, I opted to use the facing rather than a neckband piece as I love the finish on my She Wears The Pants (SWTP) Top and felt that the addition of stripes running in another direction around the neck would break up the clean lines of the stripes. I was after a very simple, classic shift. I understitched the facing to prevent it rolling out and added a line of stitching about 20mm in from the neckline as I liked that finish on the SWTP top.

Choosing stripes turned a simple sewing project into a much fiddlier project (I unpicked one sleeve three times, yes I basted, used a walking foot, unpicked and adjusted but it just didn’t want to play nice). It’s acceptable but not perfect.

I overlocked all the edges first. This usually concerns me (stretching and distorting the edges) but I decided to give it a go as directed by the instructions – and my seam allowances were only 1cm which are a pain to feed neatly through the overlocker after sewing. I pinned and basted the seams, then stitched them with lightening-bolt stitch on my Bernina. Due to the loose fit around the hemline, I chose to use a standard straight stitch to hem the dress. I liked the stripes running the other way on the sleeve bands and hand stitched the sleeve cuffs at four places to keep them securely in place.

Inari Dress, Named Patterns, Sew Busy Lizzy

I went BARMY sewing the sleeves… and then I got to a point of begrudging acceptance. I still haven’t overlocked both pieces together in case I have a bout of ‘yes I can fix it’. I suspect not as the fabric is starting to show signs of wear from being unpicked THREE TIMES.

Named Patterns drafted for someone about 5 foot 6 or more (172cm), I am 5 foot 4 (165cm) – so I shortened it by about 40mm (1.5 inches) around the hip line.

I don’t think it’s the most flattering dress I’ve made but I love it nevertheless. It’s a sack, a drapey sack and hangs like one… but I love it anyway.  Obviously choosing stripes wasn’t a master stroke for figure flattery – however I love the classic nature of stripes and how easy they are to pair with a range of jackets, shoes and accessories for a different look. The ponte rayon has quite a bit of drape – I’d be interested to make this in a woven and see how it looks.

Would I make this again – yes. I’ve got the same fabric in red stripe for my ‘Christmas dress’.

Inari Dress, Named Patterns, Sew Busy Lizzy

I do have hips under all that fabric – here’s proof. Blowing a gale – hem flapping everywhere!

Pop over to Instagram to see how I wore it to work on casual Friday recently…this combination gives it more shape – with a vintage denim jacket, resin jewellery and a pair of leather high-heel sandals. I guess the obvious choice with this dress is to do the red/white/blue combo – maybe another day!

Pattern: Named Patterns, Inari Dress/top
Fabric: approximately 1.3m ponte (slightly less?) from Spotlight (purchased at a 40% sale for about $14)
Shoes: Nine West (purchased at a cancer fundraiser ladies night for $5 – massive score!)
Necklace: Polka Luka.

Also see: Funkbunny | The Long & Winding Bobbin | Dresses & Me | Cut, Cut, Sew | Sew Amy Sew | Miss Castelinhos| Sewing and Cocktails | Closet Case Files | Offsquare | Fiona Makes | Up Sew Late (plus a tutorial for a hem facing)
and the one that sold me? BEE MADE – I want this dress!

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Jeans in June & July – my not-so-skinny Named Jamie Jeans

Yes, I’ve finally finished Jamie! My Jeans in June & July was rudely interrupted by a holidays – and life.

My daughter has nicknamed these the ‘Milky Way Jeans’ due to the slightly sparkle to the fabric. Photographs are not brilliant sorry – taken by sprinting out the back before the afternoon light faded and rain set in. Blurgh – hate winter.

Now these are the skinny-jeans-that-ain’t .

These simply do not cling to my legs in a skinny manner which seems odd as the hips are fine – I need to alter the pattern – for my legs and my waist which is much smaller in comparison to my hips/junk trunk. Some people refer to this as ‘swayback’ I much prefer ‘junk trunk’.

Me - trying to figure out whether I've been blessed with skinny thighs or child-bearing hips...

Me – trying to figure out whether I’ve been blessed with skinny thighs or child-bearing hips…

PATTERN THOUGHTS

While I’m not crushing on this make on me (at all)¬†– I do like the pattern.

I love the top-stitched seam up the front. I used a grey top-stitching thread (increasing the stitch length to 3) to highlight the slight sparkle in the fabric.

I do like the angled front pockets & contrast trim (I used the reverse of the fabric). I love how the inner front pockets are attached to the seams and hence never ride up. Tricky design feature.

Named Patterns: Jamie Jeans. Front view

Named Patterns: Jamie Jeans. Front view

I sewed as many seams as I could before changing over my thread to top stitch the seams – otherwise I think you could go crackers.

The instructions are OK but I think if you are relatively inexperienced, especially at fly fronts, you might freak out a little. If you are attempting these and never sewn a fly front – check out Grainline’s tutorial – it’s excellent!

You need to know which side (right or¬†left)¬†of the front centre pieces to trim for the fly front – the pattern does not make this clear – it just directs you to¬†cut one of each. I cut them out the same (with the full fly flap thingie – I’m a technical gal) and then adapted the other side as I sewed the fly front – it’s a simple matter of trimming.

When you join the legs at the centre seam, the instructions tell you to offset one of the sides slightly so you can sew a ‘jeans seam’. Brilliant but having sewn on the back pockets you run the risk of them being slightly ‘off centre’ relative to the back seam. My pockets were slightly off everywhere – which I noticed after I sewed the legs together. Doh! I sensed an impending disaster so elected to not totally destroy myself on these.

Named Patterns: Jamie Jeans. Back view

Named Patterns: Jamie Jeans. Back view.
Just way too baggy through the legs.

MY MAKE

These are by no means a stellar sewing affair. Overall I’m pleased¬†– with the exception of the obvious fit disaster and the back pockets being slightly skewiff – meaning I’m unlikely to actually ever wear these. I’m a bit of a jeans junkie so I’m rather picky when it comes to my denim threads – never about brand but about always look & fit. The fabric is quite stiff and I suspect never going to succumb to ‘old beloved comfy status’ softness – very important jeans feature in my little world.

I’m pretty chuffed with my top stitching and overall I don’t think they look too homemade.

Named Patterns: Jamie Jeans. Side view

Named Patterns: Jamie Jeans. Side view

Fabric: this is a sparkly black denim from Spotlight – costing me about $22.50 for the jeans. So it wasn’t an expensive experiment.¬†I think the fit will never been quite ‘right’ in this fabric. It’s not soft and pliable, the fabric just doesn’t soften up with washing¬†– hence I doubt you could make a nice snug pair of skinnies. I do have some Bettina Liano denim in the stash for my dream jeans…

SIMPLE JEANS SEWING ADVICE

When sewing jeans – wear a pair. Or at least have a RTW pair at hand – I found this enormously helpful.

Named Patterns: Jamie Jeans. Checking out my own legs...

Named Patterns: Jamie Jeans.

TOOLS OF THE TRADE

I’ve been sewing my jeans on my cheap & cheerful Singer Heavy Duty Machine. While it doesn’t have the finesse of my beloved Bernina – it’s a blast to sew on. It’s heavy (funny that) and ploughs through most things. It’s got this delicious little hum and is rather like the mongrel dog you can’t help but like, despite it’s lack of decorum and looks.

WHAT’S NEXT JEANWISE?

hmmmmm, I’m not sure… do I rush a pair of Angela Wolf jeans or take my time over the next month or so? I’ve checked out the Wolf¬†pattern and am really impressed by the presentation and detail. Loads of resources and the pairs I have seen make up look great. Love bootcut jeans – so classic.

I’m also rather obsessed with Jess Jeans by Iconic Patterns, while labelled ‘skinny’ these hug the thighs and then flare out ever so slightly – which I think is much more flattering. I stumble at the¬†button fly¬†front – I will need to convert that which is easy enough.

I’m also massively impressed by the Jalie Jeans made up by Chris… I’ve got this pattern – won on the giveaway from the ever-lovely Vicki-Kate¬†ages ago.

I’m kinda desperate for a high-waisted denim pencil skirt (very purple person just posted exactly that I’ve been planning to make! I love her blog – she’s a great sewist)¬†– which I know doesn’t really fall into the Jeans in June & July category but it’s calling my name hard…

LIFE

Somewhere along the line in the last few weeks, I’ve parted company with several kilograms. I’m weighing in at a not-so-hefty 48 kilograms. Don’t freak out. I’m short and slight – usually weighing in around 50 kilograms (except for when I was 9 months pregnant and I cracked 58 kilograms – I went on to have a nine pound baby). I lost my appetite and¬†I started running/exercising more (it clears my head which is rather a mess some days). I think I will return to my weights class which I so loved until I put my back/neck/shoulder out so significantly¬†at the beginning of this year. It wasn’t just the back injury that put me off. I became¬†rather perturbed by the biceps that popped out of my arms when I put my hair up – and my runty shoulders getting ever bigger. However those classes made me happy in a weird way so I’m going back.

Life can be complicated and difficult. No doubt compounded by rarely sitting down on my typical weekdays¬†until 9pm. I’ve found it difficult to write, read or think. I’ve felt ‘blue’ (great for denim not so great for life). It’s¬†created a sense of inertia that has been so very difficult to fight. However… I know that when I do write that I do feel better & more ‘me’ whoever that is¬†– so I will blog more. In fact I¬†have many things to blog, they have been sitting there for months.

COMING UP NEXT

A giveaway! Yes another one. Watch this space…

Sew Busy Lizzy: Name Jamie Jeans

Me… taken from ELH’s height… I’m 14 inches smaller than him…. yes he’s tall…

Jeans in June & July 2014