Friday, 21 July 2017

Style Arc Salma Wrap (or is it the Shirley Shrug?)

The Style Arc Salma Wrap was sent to me by Style Arc, a few years ago, as a gift, for sending on an order that I received in error. I really can't complain about their customer service as I have only had positive experiences, even when things have gone wrong.

I can't find the Salma Wrap on their website now, but there is the Shirley Shrug which appears to be identical to the Salma Wrap. They must have given it an update.

I was trawling through my patterns looking for something suitable for this lovely blue/black textured silk/cotton knit I bought from Knitwit last year when I was in Perth. It is the same fabric I used in my Adeline Dress only in a different colour. When I came across this pattern, I thought it would be ideal. The knit is low stretch, but has a lovely drape and it has worked out well for this pattern.

The Salma Wrap (Shirley Shrug) has quite generous proportions and will work well as an extra layer over many outfits. Here I am wearing it over my Style Arc Wallis Pants, and a Black Merino Deer and Doe Plantain Tee (tunic length), but it would work just as well over a dress.

It is a very simple pattern...only one pattern piece, of which you cut one pair. The two pieces are joined with a long seam horizontally across the back. I pressed this seam open and top stitched the seam allowances down to create a nice neat finish. The side seams were sewn the same way. All the hems were turned twice, using Bond a Web to stabilise them before top stitching.

This was a very quick and satisfying project, and I'm glad to have this fabric out of my stash and into my wardrobe.

Happy sewing


Saturday, 15 July 2017

A Modified Coco Dress for July's MAGAM

July's theme for MAGAM (make a garment a month) is Seasonal Stashbuster. I outlined my plans on IG earlier in the month: 

"I am planning to sew this lovely tartan double knit from my stash into a winter dress, loosely based on the Tilly and the Buttons Coco Dress. I will reduce the flare of the skirt, add vertical darts at the back, add a bias cut split lapped collar and bias cut patch pockets. Hope it turns out as good as it looks in my head." Well, here is the completed dress:

It has turned out just as I imagined, apart from the lack of plaid matching of the sleeves to the body of the dress...woops. I somehow forgot this detail at the cutting out stage. At least the sleeves match each other. I did all the cutting out in a single layer so I could line up the stripes. The tartan double knit (from Spotlight) had only been in my stash for a few weeks and I was originally planning to make a casual winter top, but after washing it I felt it was more suited to a dress, and this is the eighth time I have made up the Coco dress/top pattern so I have certainly got my money's worth.

I did match the plaid at the side seams, but failed to get a good photo showing this. The bias cut pockets are exact mirror images of each other and I was very happy with this detail.

The vertical darts created a nice fit through the back. I completely fluked the position of the plaid at the centre back of the collar, but love how it is nicely balanced. All the hems were hand stitched so they remained invisible.

Bias cut split lapped collar

I just love the bias cut split lapped collar. It gives the dress a bit of a retro vibe. I wish I had added some interfacing to the collar because it has turned out a little floppy in this double knit, so I will have to remember that for next time.

This will be a nice comfy work dress and I think it will get loads of wear.

Happy Sewing


Thursday, 6 July 2017

A Self Drafted Poncho

Self Drafted Poncho
I have been wanting to make a poncho for ages, so I did some research on Google and came up with this. I'm really pleased with my first attempt, but already have a few ideas for poncho's I may make in the future.

I found a simple tutorial at Hammers and High Heels for this cute poncho. The photo on the left was Carla's inspiration and the photo on the right is what she made.

After studying the tutorial, I quickly realised that the poncho made following the tutorial was not going to look like the inspiration photo. It clearly had a separate collar. So then I googled how to make a split lapped collar and found this wonderful tutorial at Off The Cuff - Sewing Style and I was off.

I used this lovely Indigo Wool Ponte from Knitwit that I had left over from my Style Arc Estelle Ponte Jacket. It's lovely and warm and perfect for this project. I cut a rectangle with the long side twice as long as the short side. The measurements I used were 160cm x 80cm. I then folded the rectangle in half to create a square and tilted diagonally so that the hem points are at centre front and centre back.

There is only one shoulder seam to sew. The other shoulder is on the foldline. I cut a small neckline at the top diagonal point (just big enough to squeeze my head through) and then I tried it on. To get a nice fit over the shoulders the seam needs to be curved over the shoulder and the other shoulder needs a dart added to follow the shoulder curve. This was all trial and error and took a bit of sewing and resewing to get it right. I also recut the neckline once the shoulders were sitting correctly.

Once I was happy with the size and shape of the neckline, I measured it and followed the collar tutorial, linked above, to add the split lapped collar.

I love how simple, yet effective this collar is. My only regret is that I didn't make it wider so it would have been a little more snug around the neck.

For a nice neat finish on the inside, I pressed the shoulder seam and dart open, and top stitched the seam allowances down. The hems were turned twice and top stitched.

This poncho has been a welcome addition to my wardrobe and can be worn over many outfits, including those with wide sleeves that are impossible to fit a cardigan over. I did find it tends to stick to my sleeves a bit, restricting movement. Nothing the addition of a slippery lining wouldn't fix. I have lots of ideas swimming around in my head for future versions.

Happy Sewing


Sunday, 2 July 2017

Grainline Studio Farrow Dress

Grainline Studio Farrow Dress

I joined in the MAGAM sew along with @sarahlizsewstyle last month on Instagram, for the first time. The theme for June was 'Sew New Season'. I decided a lovely winter version of the Grainline Studio Farrow Dress would fit the bill.

My MAGAM sewing plans posted on IG

The fabric is a poly cotton jacquard that I bought at Spotlight. It was quite a heavy weight fabric and I thought it would have the ideal structure and drape that would work well for the Farrow Dress. And as it turns out, I was right. Don't you love it when your fabric choice works out? My plan was to top stitch the main seam lines to make them stand out in this busy floral design. Unfortunately, the fabric frayed like crazy when cut, and I had to handle it with a lot of extra care, not to mention the mess it made in my sewing room.

I persuaded hubby to take some photos on our front stairs this morning and I like how these shots emphasise the quite structural design lines of the Farrow.  It's not just another A-line dress, it's a little bit more than that.

The high low hemline is quite dramatic and I love it. The length is quite short in the front and sweeps down to knee length at the back.

I was initially concerned that the dress would be too voluminous and look like a tent dress, but my fears have been dismissed since viewing the photos. My measurements put me between a size 10 and a size 12 and after reading the amount of ease allowed, I decided to go with the smaller size. This may have been a mistake, as the sleeves have turned out uncomfortably tight. In fact, it was difficult to perform normal elbow bending tasks such as cleaning my teeth and applying make up. The fit through the shoulders and bodice, both front and back is spot on so next time I would allow a bit of extra width in the sleeves to make them more comfortable. I probably do have enough fabric left over to cut new sleeves and replace these tight ones. We'll see if that happens...

I don't like high choking necklines and they are not at all flattering on me, so I removed 2.5cm from the entire neckline. This meant that the facing needed redrafting to match the new neckline, so I took the easy route and finished off the neckline with some lovely black satin bias binding.

The hem line was also finished off with the black satin bias binding. All hems were hand stitched so they would be invisible from the right side. I did use the sleeve facings but I found them very fiddly to sew as the wrist openings were quite small and would not fit over the free arm on my machine.

The pockets are quite cleverly designed and are hidden in the angled seam line. The top stitching was done with a triple stitch, using normal sewing thread. I am very happy with the result. The seam lines have been highlighted very effectively. I did follow along with The Farrow Dress Sew Along and it was very helpful.

Very happy with my new Winter dress, apart from the sleeve issue, so I really should make the effort to fit new sleeves.

Happy Sewing


Monday, 12 June 2017

Grainline Studio Archer #3...The Floral Version

I finally completed my 3rd Grainline Studio Archer Button Up Shirt towards the end of May. You may have seen it in action during Me Made May.

I started this shirt back in April, but my husband had an accident while out on a mountain bike ride, fracturing his pelvis. He spent four days in hospital and then required a lot of help at home to do just about everything. Needless to say, my sewing had to be put on the back burner for a few weeks. Glad to say he has recovered well and is now back at work.

I made this version with the same adjustments as I made for my 2nd version. This time I avoided using a poly cotton blend, and chose this pretty Japanese Lawn (Cluster Floral Pink) 100% cotton, from Spotlight.

I'm wearing it here with my Style Arc Elle Pants in Denim look stretch bengaline, also from Style Arc. The cotton lawn was a dream to sew and pressed beautifully. I didn't have any of the issues I had with my second version.

It was really hard to photograph this pretty fabric as the light is so harsh at this time of the year. I'm really happy with the shape and fit of the shirt.

Instead of buttons, I used these pretty pink snaps that I had in my stash. They were such a good match and I love how they turned out. I only had nine of them, and I needed 8, 6 for the front and 1 for each cuff. I managed to wreck the first one by trying to install it upside down, so the pressure was on to not make anymore mistakes.

All the top stitching was done in white thread. I did add a little extra width to the side seams and arm seams, when cutting out, so that I could do proper flat felled seams.

I love how flat felling makes the inside look as neat as the outside. It's well worth the effort even if it is a bit fiddly sewing down the length of the sleeve.

I found it works out fine if you take it slowly and let the fabric bunch up behind the foot as you go along. I'm really happy with how this Archer turned out and I have worn it a few times already. All the photos were taken by my husband down at our local beach.

 While I was scrolling through Facebook the other day, I stumbled upon a funny coincidence. This add popped up for a new movie "The Shack" and I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the actress was wearing my shirt. I'm sure it is the same fabric. 

Happy Sewing


Thursday, 1 June 2017

Me Made May 2017 Wrap Up

Me Made May 2017 is over. This is my fourth time participating, and the most enjoyable so far. Here are my last three days of the month, followed by my reflections on the experience. If you are interested you can see week one here, week two here, week three here and week four here. A reminder of my pledge for this year can be found here.

Day 29 Monday:

Back to work wearing all Stylearc garments again. A Marita Knit Dress in a printed ponte and my very handy Nina Cardigan in black merino knit.

Day 30 Tuesday:

Off to work on the coldest morning yet, this season, wearing Vogue 8805 in black ponte and black and white printed scuba knit with a Deer and Doe Plantain tunic in black merino underneath. Also wearing my  New Look 6249 coat in a black wool blend knit. Drove through frost for the first time this year on my way to work brrrr.

Day 31 Wednesday:

Last day of the challenge. Off to work wearing my Stylearc Adeline dress in a khaki silk/cotton knit with a Deer and Doe Plantain tunic in cream merino underneath.

My thoughts:

I have enjoyed participating in Me Made May this year, much more than previous years. I have put that down to two factors: my 'me made' wardrobe is by far the most comprehensive it has been since I got back into sewing in 2012, and my very patient husband was available to take the daily photos, usually as I was running out the door on my way to work.

I introduced a new colour to my wardrobe, in the form of a rtw scarf in a bright orange. I have always been told that orange does not suit me and I should avoid it. However, I think the pop of orange has worked well in my existing wardrobe.

As I pledged to only wear 'me made' garments (except underwear, jeans and accessories), this increased the challenge and forced me to think outside the box, to come up with new outfits that were going to keep me warm enough. I realised I was relying far too heavily on a rtw black waterfall cardigan, that was getting quite shabby. This prompted me to replace it with a black merino Stylearc Nina Cardigan sewn up during the month. I have two merino Deer and Doe Plantain tees and two more tunic length merino plantains. I utilised these garments extensively as layering pieces under some of my warmer season outfits which would have been too cold to wear otherwise. I plan to by some more merino knit from The Fabric Store Online to make some more of these handy layering garments. I realised I need to make more warm casual tops for weekend wear and some more jackets/coats for work.

A selection of my favourite outfits

Something I hadn't thought of at the beginning of the challenge was sleep wear. All my pyjamas and dressing gowns are rtw. Time to start sewing my own sleepwear, I think. A few patterns spring to mind: The Carolyn Pajamas from Closet Case Patterns; Fifi Pyjamas from Tilly and the Buttons and the Asaka Kimono from Named Patterns.

Well, Me Made May may be over, but I plan to continue to wear 'me made' everyday. I feel quite accomplished for sticking to my pledge for the entire month and posting daily photos on IG. Thanks so much to all the lovely people who took the time to comment on my daily posts. I have so enjoyed following the other participants and the friendly banter shared amongst fellow sewists. Sewing would be a lonely hobby if it wasn't for social media. And finally, a huge thank you to Zoe for hosting this annual event.

Happy Sewing


Sunday, 28 May 2017

Me Made May 2017 Week Four Roundup

This is my forth time participating in Me Made May, and it is probably my most enjoyable experience, so far. (Read this years pledge here.) I think this can be attributed to two factors... my 'me made' wardrobe is at its most comprehensive and my very obliging husband has been available to take the daily photos. In the past, the daily photos, (although not compulsory), have been a bit of a chore to take, using my camera, tripod and remote.

Day 22 Monday:

Back to work wearing a Stylearc Hedy Designer Dress in a red marle double knit with a Deer and Doe Plantain tunic in cream merino underneath. The reds are appearing more pink in the photo than they are in real life.

Day 23 Tuesday:

Digging deep into my handmade wardrobe and I rediscovered my Stylearc Sammi Woven Pants in grey poly suiting, which I haven't worn in ages. Also wearing a Grainline Studio Archer shirt and a self drafted top in pink fleece. The close up shot shows the lovely burnout pattern in the fabric of my shirt.

Day 24 Wednesday:

I am wearing all Stylearc garments again today. The Kate Dress in a poly/spandex knit called fireworks and a Nina Cardigan in a navy merino knit.

Day 25 Thursday:

Off to work wearing all Stylearc garments. A Sara skirt in black bengaline, a Ginger top in poly knit and a 'hot off the sewing machine' Nina Cardigan in black merino. I have been meaning to sew this cardigan since last years' Me Made May revealed the need. Better late than never, and I think this cardigan will be worn a lot.

Day 26 Friday:

Last day of the working week, wearing Stylearc Andrea Woven Vest in a wool blend, Stylearc Wallis Pants in black ponte and a Deer and Doe Plantain tunic in black merino. 

Day 27 Saturday:

Went for a walk at my local beach this morning, wearing Grainline Studio Archer shirt in floral japanese cotton (yet to be blogged) and Stylearc Elle pants in denim look bengaline. Enjoying the glorious weather, considering winter begins next week.

Day 28 Sunday:

Just arrived home from church this morning, wearing my other Stylearc Hedy Designer Dress. This one is the longer length and the fabric is a bamboo print in a poly/spandex jersey with a Deer and Doe Plantain tunic in black merino knit underneath. My merino tees and tunics as layering garments have enabled me to wear some of my warmer season garments into the cooler season.

Only three more days to go...

Happy Sewing