Thursday, 16 February 2017

Style Arc Adeline Dress #3 in Tencel

Style Arc Adeline Dress
I just can't leave this pattern alone. This is Style Arc Adeline Dress # 3 for me. You can see # 1 here and # 2 here.

It is a simple cocoon style dress yet, I feel effortlessly stylish when I put it on. This was my first experience sewing with Tencel and I am in love. After a little internet research I learned that this is a natural fibre produced from wood pulp, similar to rayon but more sustainable. It is soft, drapey, breathable and wrinkle resistant. What's not to love? I found it similar to rayon, but a little better behaved when it comes to cutting and sewing. It pressed beautifully. I used a microtex needle size 80 which worked very well.

For this version I cut a size 12, as usual. The only alteration to the pattern was a forward shoulder adjustment which I explained in this post. Such a minor adjustment that has a big impact on comfort.

The look can be changed easily by the addition of a scarf or a statement necklace. This lovely gauze scarf was a great way to keep the chill at bay in my air conditioned office .

As the fabric was quite plain, I top stitched all the seams to add a little visual interest. It also kept the seam allowances nice and flat. The neckline and hemline facings were also top stitched. 

I made a silly mistake when top stitching the side seams. I had completed one side perfectly and then went on to do the second side. Half way up the second side seam I realised that I had forgotten to lengthen the stitch to match all the other top stitching. I might have uttered a few swear words under my breath and proceeded to unpick my mistake. After I had unpicked quite a lot, I realised I was unpicking the wrong side. More swear words ensued and it was thrown in the naughty corner for a couple of days. 

The cuffs are a lovely detail and are so easy to do. This is a great pattern that is so well drafted and goes together very easily. I really can't stop singing it's praises.

I love it when an outfit turns out just as I had imagined it would.

Happy sewing


Monday, 6 February 2017

Style Arc Courtney Top from Leftovers

The Style Arc Courtney Top is a great pattern for trying out some colour blocking. I was rummaging through my fabric stash looking for something suitable, when I came across the left over floral cotton/linen blend from this dress and the white linen left overs from this shirt. I had just enough of both the fabrics to combine the two and create this top.

Style Arc Courtney Top
This top has some lovely design features and was fairly quick and relatively easy to construct. There are no darts or closures to worry about and the fit is meant to be loose, so there are no fitting issues to deal with either.

I love the combination of the plain and the busy fabrics. I think the white tones down the busy print and the combination has worked well. I am wearing it here with my purple Colette Mabel skirt which tones in well with the purple flowers in the floral print.

Even in this cotton/linen blend fabric, the shape of the blouse is not too boxy or shapeless. I love the interesting detail that the back yoke and gathers give to the back. I cut a size 12 and made it up with out any alteration to the pattern. It was drafted beautifully and went together easily.

I top stitched all the seams, except the side seams. I like the extra detail it adds to the top and it also keeps the seam allowances lying nice and flat. The arm bands are designed to be turned up like a cuff, but I preferred them left like this. The white arm bands help tie in the front panel and give a nice balance to the garment.

The raw edge at the hem was over locked and turned up and secured with a top stitch. I wanted to preserve as much length as possible. If I was to make this again I would lengthen it a couple of centimetres, especially if I planned to wear it with pants, rather than a skirt. I have a long body and I find a longer top suits my figure better.

The neckband is a length of bias cut linen stitched to the neckline and then cover stitched to finish it off. I have still got my L plates on with my cover stitch machine, but I was pretty pleased with how this turned out. A little bit wobbly on one shoulder, but not too bad.

I am quite pleased with my Courtney Top and very pleased that I was able to create it out of some left over fabrics too. I can see a few more of these in my wardrobe soon.

Happy Sewing


Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Style Arc Elsie Woven Overshirt in Polka Dots

Style Arc Elsie Woven Overshirt 
I have made the Style Arc Elsie Woven Overshirt. It's hot off the sewing machine last night and worn to work today. The perfect shirt for our unseasonably cool day of 20 degrees Celsius, compared to the day before yesterday when we experienced 43 degrees. 

Style Arc Elsie Woven Overshirt
From the Style Arc Website: This square shaped shirt features the trendy reverse revere, patch pockets and roll up sleeves. A must have shirt in your wardrobe for all seasons.

I made a size 12 without any alterations. The fabric is a navy and white polka dot rayon purchased from Spotlight back in November last year. Being rayon, it has a lovely drape which tones down the boxyness of this shirt, as described by Style Arc. However, it was a nightmare to cut and sew.

I decided to take my time, and sew in shorter stints over several days, to reduce the frustration. I was able to start each time with renewed enthusiasm. There was a bit of unpicking and resewing as that rayon seems to have a mind of it's own, but I'm glad I persevered and I am pleased with the result...not perfect, but good enough.

I am wearing it today with my Style Arc Elle Pants in navy stretch bengaline. These were made back in 2014 and are starting to look a little shabby. Must be time to make some more.

The Elsie has some lovely details. I particularly love the reverse revere collar. I used a lightweight fusible knit interfacing from Spotlight in the bands and cuffs, which worked very well with the rayon. I decided not to add the patch pockets as the rayon was a bit sheer and the polka dots showing through the pockets was not a good look. 

There is a box pleat at the centre back which creates the loose fit. The yoke is unlined, and does feel a little flimsy in the rayon. This could easily be remedied in any future makes.

The high low hem and side splits are very on trend and I love the backside coverage it provides. The hem was simply overlocked and turned up 1cm and top stitched (mitred corners). I did stabilise the edge with Bondaweb before top stitching and it helped a lot. Next time I would add to the hem to allow it to be turned up twice as it would give a much nicer finish.

I followed these instructions to sew the binding on the sleeve slits, which was excellent. Style Arc's instructions are really just an order of construction. I feel that they got this a little out of order, sewing the sleeve binding after the sleeve had been sewn to the body of the shirt and the side seams sewn. This was quite difficult, but would have been much easier if done while the sleeve was flat. So do step 11 after step 8 and before step 9.

One issue I did have with the Elsie while wearing it today, was that the sleeve tabs kept falling out of the sleeve slits. They do seem to be unnecessarily long...something I will change in the next one.

Overall, I am loving my new Elsie Woven Overshirt and I can see it going with several other garments in my wardrobe too.

Happy Sewing


Saturday, 7 January 2017

Learning to use my New Cover Stitch Machine

Christmas gifts I received recently included a Janome CoverPro 2000CPX cover stitch machine... something I had been dropping lots of hints about in the lead up to Christmas. I also received the clear view foot, as everyone on IG had suggested it was a necessary accessory. I did hubby's Christmas shopping for him and ordered it online from for the sale price of $849.00 with free delivery. This sale price is still current and goes up to $999.00 on 16th January, so if you are after one you had better get in quick. My daughter sent me this adorable Liberty pin cushion shaped like an apple along with a gift card for Spotlight. My son has ordered The Tunic Bible by Sarah Gunn and Julie Starr, which was out of stock, so I am looking forward to receiving it mid February. These were all very welcome additions to my sewing room.

I squeezed the CoverPro in between my overlocker and my sewing machine on my sewing desk. I think this set up works ok, even if it is a little crowded. I just have to be careful to use the right foot pedal with the right machine.

I'm so glad I got the clear view foot too. It makes it so much easier to line up the stitches when sewing in the round. I really knew very little about cover stitching so I searched for info on the internet and I discovered that Craftsy had a new course for beginners on sale, at the time, so I bought it straight away. I'm so glad I did, as it was very informative, explaining the basics as well as showing the more decorative ways of using the cover stitch.

I decided to sew a nice simple project for my first go at using the CoverPro. So a Maria Denmark Kirsten Kimono Tee fit the bill nicely. I have made this tee before and I have tweaked the pattern to improve the fit on me, by lengthening it and scooping out the neckline.

The fabric is a lovely 100% cotton jersey purchased from Spotlight. As it had no lycra or spandex component I used a scrap of white cotton/lycra for the neckline binding.

I used Bondaweb T10, an iron-on adhesive to secure the hems before cover stitching. I buy this from Knitwit. This resulted in nice even stitching with no tunnelling.

I did find it difficult to keep the stitching straight and wrap over the raw edge consistently. I found that it's better to sew slower rather than faster for the best result. I used a piece of tape as a hem guide which worked just fine. I'm not sure it would be worth the cost of purchasing the accessory specifically for this purpose. I did a pretty rough job of cover stitching the seam allowance of the neckline binding down, completely missing the raw edge in places. It looks ok from the outside so I left it as it is, vowing to improve that on the next one.

I was keen to try again, so I dug this red striped cotton jersey out of the stash. This is another Spotlight purchase from a few years ago, but it was printed terribly off grain. I thought I could make it work in this simple tee, so I cut it out, ignoring the grain and focusing on matching the stripes.

This stripe matching business adds so much time to what should have been a very quick sew. I meticulously pinned every stripe and sewed the side seams on my sewing machine, later finishing the seams on the overlocker once the stripes were matched.

Both pairs of shorts worn with these tees are RTW, purchased from Rockmans in the 50% off sales leading up to Christmas. These are the first RTW garments I have bought in ages but I could not have sewn these myself for less than what I paid for them.

The sleeve hems were cover stitched before the side seams were sewn.  

Knowing the difficulty I had with cover stitching the neckline on the first tee, I took particular care with this one, achieving a much better result.

I can see that my skills will improve with practice. I am so glad that I watched the Craftsy course before I started practicing as I didn't have any significant issues at all with that new found knowledge fresh in my mind.

I have had a lovely two and a bit weeks off work for the holidays. I managed to sew two dresses and two tees, participate in Christmas and New Year festivities, enjoy family visiting and do some gardening. Well, all good things come to an end and it's back to work on Monday.


Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Style Arc Adeline Dress #2

On Christmas Eve afternoon I got the silly idea to sew up my second Style Arc Adeline Dress to wear on Christmas Day. I did have a bit of a head start, as I had done all the cutting out and fusing the interfacing to the facings the night before. I thought it would only take a couple of hours as I had sewn it before here, but sadly I was a little over ambitious and I didn't finish it until 9pm and then I still had Christmas food to prepare. Anyway, all the stress has now been forgotten and these photos were taken yesterday in my mother's garden during it's second wearing, at a family New Year get together.

The fabric is a cotton linen blend purchased from Spotlight in a very colourful floral print. This fabric behaved very well and was a pleasure to sew and press. It was also nice and wide and I was able to eliminate the centre back seam. Also, wrinkling that is usually an issue with linen has not been a problem. I don't know the percentage of linen to cotton in this blend, but it wears very well with little wrinkling.

I made my usual Style Arc size 12 and I did make a couple of pattern alterations to this one in order to improve the fit. I shortened the length by 3cm at the lengthen/shorten line to give it a more summery vibe and I did a forward shoulder adjustment following this guide from Sew Hopeful.

The shoulder seam on the Adeline Dress is a relatively straight line. I removed a wedge from the front shoulder, 1.5cm at the sleeve edge tapering to nothing at the neckline. I then added this wedge to the back shoulder. This worked very well and the dress sits better on my shoulders, without wanting to slip back all the time. 

It is very important to stabilise the neckline to avoid any distortion or stretching. I did this by sewing some narrow cotton tape to the stitching line on the wrong side. It worked beautifully and the neckline sits perfectly. All the facings (neckline and hem) were under stitched and then top stitched so there is no problem with them flipping out or misbehaving at all.

The photo above was taken as I was attaching the patch pockets to the front. I posted this on IG, not knowing if I was going to be able to finish it in time for Christmas. I was very happy when I did manage to finish it in time as it was perfect for our Christmas Day weather and it was comfortable and stylish...but best of all, there was plenty of room for all that Christmas over indulging that tends to happen on Christmas Day.

I think I have a new favourite dress, and judging by the number of Adeline dresses popping up on my IG feed, it is becoming a very popular pattern. My darling grand daughter wanted to join in the photo shoot and this shot was just so lovely of her that I had to include it.

Wishing all my followers a wonderful 2017 filled with the joy of sewing.


Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Style Arc Olivia Dress

According to the Style Arc website: "A great every day dress to have in your wardrobe that is very easy to sew. The flattering extended shoulder line along with the elastic waist makes this dress suitable for different occasions. Dress it up with your favourite designer belt or use the belt pattern to create your own look in a contrast fabric.

Style Arc Olivia Dress

This pattern has been around for quite a while and there are many lovely versions out there in blogland. It has taken me a while to finally purchase the pattern and try it out and I have not been disappointed.

I used this pretty tear drop printed rayon from Spotlight, but it was a nightmare to get those stripes lined up before cutting. Even though I spent quite a lot of time pinning the fabric to ensure the stripes matched, it still managed to shift and not be as perfectly aligned as I had hoped for. Next time I will steer clear of any striped patterns, especially in shifty rayon.

The only alteration I made to the pattern was to add an extra 1.5cm to the bottom edge of the bodice and the top edge of the skirt. I wanted to make sure there was plenty of fabric to be able to overlock the raw edges of the elastic casing with ease. This worked out very well. Some people have commented that the arm holes are too low and their bra is exposed, but I did not have this issue.

The bodice is maybe a little too blousey at the back, and could benefit from a little shortening. This may be due to the extra length I added to accommodate the finishing of the casing. I will need to think on this before I make another one.

I didn't make the belt included with the pattern. This narrow gold belt worked quite well with it. The neckline facing was top stitched down so there are no issues with it flipping out at all. The dress turned out very long and I ended up turning up a 5cm hem twice to achieve this length. This gave a nice weight to the hemline too. These photos were snapped in a hurry on Christmas Eve morning as we were about to head to the shops for our last bit of Christmas grocery shopping. It was cool and comfortable in the rayon and I would recommend this pattern as a nice simple wardrobe staple. Many different looks could be achieved depending on fabric choice and I think this would work well in a knit fabric too.

Happy Sewing