Boat neckline dress from Craftsy class

Finally, finally, I have got past all those sloper muslins to sew a real dress in the Crafsty patternmaking class I am taking.

The pattern is self-drafted, with a boat neckline, waist darts, pencil skirt and exposed back zipper.  Last time I sewed an exposed zipper (back in 2008), only the teeth were exposed.  This time I went with the whole zipper tape exposed, as I felt this suited the fabric.  The zip is actually one amongst a bundle I bought on Ebay about 10 years ago.

The fabric (still available) is a stretch denim from EmmaOneSock.  The more faded colouring in the photos is most accurate, and the print is not as clear as the photos suggest.  The print has both a plaid  and floral design.  The plaid does not stay square, so I did not try and match stripes.  I couldn't even get  both horizontal and vertical stripes to stay that way, so I just went with vertical. 

I really like the colouring of this fabric.  Winter colours like black and grey and nave do not suit me.  This fabric has a grey base with greens and aubergines printed over the top, so I feel it is a subdued wintery colour that suits my skin tone.

The dress is fitted, but the fabric is stretchy, so I found it very comfortable at work today.


Bees and Dragonflies

Buying beautiful fabric is one of the most enjoyable aspects of sewing for me and I own quite a number of beautiful pieces.  This particular fabric caught my eye the moment it popped up on my computer screen.  I ordered it straight away, and then had to wait as it sold out and wait for the next lot to come in on back order, and then wait as it finally winged its way to me. 

Now, I am not generally an over-excitable person.  I read other blogs where people goo and gush over a fabric, or a pattern feature...sometimes thinking to myself...really, are you that excited about a princess seam? or a wool gabardine? or converting long sleeves to short sleeves?  I know, I know...mostly I keep my grinch thoughts to myself.  Now it is my turn to gush (and you are welcome to your own grinch thoughts!).  I found this fabric to be so beautiful that I couldn't bear for it to make its way to the stash and lose potency.  Straight from the mail bag, to the washing machine, and onto the cutting table.

All along, I knew I wanted this fabric to become a pair of wide-legged pants.  The fabric is linen, so I thought that elastic waisted would be best.  Initially, I was going to try a new Patrones pattern with flared legs, but I was a bit short of fabric, so I went with a pattern I had made previously.  I changed it a little by adding a separate waistband piece.  This was so I could have a slit in the waistband, off-centre to the front, where I could add a silk drawstring sash.  I haven't made the sash yet, so it doesn't feature in my photos.

My vision is to wear these pants with a silk sleeveless blouse.  I don't own that blouse yet, but my scrappy tank top fits with my vision well enough.

I could also go for a more summery vibe, by partnering them with my Tessuti Fave top (after looking at this link, I think this top has shrunk substantially since that first blog wearing...that must be why I don't wear it so much anymore...I should make a new one).

Today I wore them more casually with a linen tee, dressed up a little with heels. 

The print makes me happy.  I know that I will be wearing these for a long time...when the print fades and the linen distorts, I be able to keep wearing these as pyjama pants.  I will be wearing these for a long time.  And that makes me happy too.

PS I just saw that there will be more of this fabric available in June.  Just in case you want a piece for your very own.


Super Stretchy

I have just participated in KCWC, but in the can't-quite-fully-commit way that all my sewing seems to be done these days.  I managed about 4 hours of sewing.  Not daily.  Not keeping the "wild things" theme.

I sewed several pairs of what we used to call "bike tights".  "Skins" is a brand of sports clothing that is covet-able amongst children at the moment.  At upwards of $65 a pair, they seem like pretty pricy bike tights to me.  My boys each have one pair, and they wear them so often that I think that they get washed at less than hygienic frequency.  They get worn under shorts for football (all codes) and under looser shorts for gymnastics.

Last time I was able to order fabrics from Eclipse textiles, I ordered some Atlanta Plus, which feels like a pretty similar fabric to me (I don't currently have a supplier for small quantities of fabric from Eclipse...if you know of one, please put their details in the comments).

The first pair were a straight forward Jalie 2563.

For the next pair, I was inspired by the Fehr Trade Steeplechase leggings to make a pair with no inseam.  I did this by cutting a curvy side seam into Jalie 2796 compression shorts and sticking the 2 pieces back together at the in-seam.  In concept, this worked well.  In reality, none of my kids fit this pattern very well, saying that they are too tight in the bum and too loose in the legs.  Shame, as they look really good on.  I will have to apply that same concept to a different legging pattern.

For the third pair, I man-i-fied Jalie 2563, by cutting out a crotch panel and following my own tutorial to create more room in the crotch for the boy bits.  That is the pattern piece on the left most in the photo below.

And now for the super stretchy bit.  Nearly 2 years ago, I replaced my bottom of the line Janome overlocker with a Bernina 1150 MDA.  The Bernina has a much nicer looking stitch, but I have found that I am more likely to end up with holes or stitching coming apart on my close fitting lycra gear, (including a set of dance costumes that I made :(  ).  I went back to the manual this time, to see that I had chosen the optimal stitch setting, and discovered a 3 thread super stretch setting.  This stitch uses both the needle threads, so at first glance, it looks like a 4 thread stitch.  There is no upper looper thread.  Instead, an upper looper converter accessory is attached, so that the upper looper thread no longer carries thread and the lower looper thread is diverted so that loops are formed.  All news to me.  I have really pulled on the length of these seams, and they have not broken threads.  I thought that this was worth mentioning, for other self taught sewers that may have not picked up on this detail in their manual :).

And the verdict.  My younger son is happy to wear the first pair.  My daughter has claimed the second pair, after they were rejected by my older son...but she says they are a bit tight, so we will have see if she wears them.  The third pair look really good on my older son, but he is not keen to wear them, as they are not "skins".  Maybe when I show him the list of jobs required to earn enough money for skins, he will come around??  Not sure.  Might have to keep them for the younger son to grow into.


Stylearc Dixie

I think my endless summer might have finally come to an end.  I know that many others may not find Queensland weather to be cold, but this week is the coldest I have been in years.  I can't remember when I last wore jeans and I actually went running in capri length leggings this week.  This means that I can change the way I think about what I wear, and therefore what I sew.

First up, I have sewn a Stylearc Dixie woven top.

The pattern illustration is colour-blocked, although I have chosen different colour blocking for my combination of fabrics.
  • My yoke is made from a Japanese fabric that I bought in Japan several years ago.  I'm not sure what this fabric is called, but it seemed terribly expensive for a little square and has a crepe-y sort of texture.
  • For the back and neck binding I have used a linen from Tessuti (Turquoise Flip). I haven't sewn with linen for a long time and I really enjoyed working with this fabric.  I did use a different method of applying the binding than the pattern instructions suggest.  I made bias binding with folds on each edge using a bias-binder thingy-ma-jig.  I sewed in the line of one fold, as I attached the binding to the inside of the top.  Then I folded the binding in half, with the other folded edge turned under and top-stitched from the outside.
  • The front body and sleeves are made from a crinkle woven remnant from The Fabric Store.  The crinkles mean that the fabric stretches out quite a bit with movement.  I lined the front body with a lightweight cotton, as it was a bit sheer on its own.  I cut the hem of the lining shorter and straight across.

The line drawing describes the sleeves as 3/4, but the illustration and pattern show elbow length sleeves.  My sleeves look a lot fuller and floppier than the illustration because of my fabric choice.  The crinkle fabric stretches out when I move my arm.  Re-wetting the fabric shrinks the crinkles back in, so the sleeves will come back to shape each wash.  Initially I used the blue linen for the sleeves, decorated with trims to match the yoke.  They were very elaborate, but I found these sleeves way too restrictive.  I knew that restrictive sleeves would stop me wearing the top, so I ripped them out and put in the crinkle sleeves, which don't look as smart but are infinitely more comfortable.

The pattern has a curved hem.  The instructions given are for a split hem, which did confuse me for a while.  I contacted Stylearc and they are going to change these instructions.  I just thought I would mention it as no other reviewer has mentioned this and I thought I was misunderstanding the instructions for a bit. 

The back has both horizontal and vertical seaming, which is a nice detail and allows for easy alterations for more back shaping (although I didn't think to do this until I finished all my top-stitching).  The neck closes with a button and loop.

So does this mean I need to change the name of my blog?  I'll have to think about it.


Blue Ponte Skirt

There seems to be some sort of disconnect between the person I think I am (avid sewer, can whip a few new garments to spruce up the wardrobe each season) and the person I actually am (person with a large sewing space and expanding fabric stash who only sews easy projects in shorts bursts of activity during the school holidays).

I guess the solution is to like wearing clothes of simple design and simpler construction.  Which this skirt is.

I used the same patrones pattern as this skirt, added as much length as my remnant would allow, eliminated the back darts and extended upwards from the waistline to accommodate a sewn-in elastic waistband.

Quick sew.  Quick blog post.