Saturday, 28 June 2014

White Coco

After falling in love with all the "Coco's" popping up on so many sewing blogs, I finally weakened and bought the pattern. Here is my test version:

Coco by Tilly and the Buttons

I just love the whole flattering shape of the Coco and the funnel neck is such a fun retro detail. I used some sort of cotton sweater knit that I purchased on sale from Bargain Box Fabrics for $3.00 per metre. This fabric had only a small amount of stretch and almost zero recovery so I had to make allowances for this.

Front View

Based on my bust measurement I made a size 5 with no alterations. I was very pleased with the fit and I wouldn't change anything for my next one, except for the length. I think it is a little too short for me, but would be fine on you younger girls (I am 5 foot 7 inches tall).

Back view

This fabric had a nice amount of drape and hangs quite nicely. To avoid stretching out too much I added some clear elastic to the neckline and the sleeve hems which has given them some much needed stretch recovery. I used some purchased cotton bias tape at the hemline for two reasons: 1. so I didn't have to lose too much length when turning up the hem and 2. to add stability to the hem and avoid stretching out when sewing the hem. This worked really well. 

Sleeve hem

All the hems were stitched using a twin needle, although this detail is difficult to see on this fabric.

Funnel neck detail

 The funnel neck was such a cute feature and so easy to do. Due to fabric constraints I had to cut my funnel neck in two pieces. I measured the length of the front and back necklines on the stitching line and then added seam allowances and cut my funnel neck as two pieces, one front and one back, so that the seam lines matched the shoulder seams.

I will have to wait for the weather to warm up before I get any wear out of this dress, but I have a few ideas for a warmer version, now I know it fits.

Happy Sewing

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Style Arc Elle Pants Revisited

After digesting all the helpful comments on my last Style Arc Elle Pants blog post, I have made some more. 

Teal Style Arc Elle Pants
I purchased this lovely teal stretch bengaline from Style Arc. It is very good quality and beautiful to work with. This time, I tried a large calf adjustment. I couldn't find any info on this adjustment in my fitting books so I asked Google and found a wonderful tutorial on Colette Patterns Sewalongs

Back Pattern piece with large calf adjustment.
I added 2cm width at the hemline (in line with the grainline) on the back pattern piece. This gives more room at the back calf area without changing the seam lines, so everything still fits back together OK.

Side view
This adjustment has really improved the fit. The pants aren't getting caught up on my calves every time I move now, making them even more comfortable.

Back view
There are still some wrinkles but not as bad as my first pair, now that the fabric can hang better.

Close up of front
The waistband sits lovely and flat. Style Arc recommend using 35mm wide elastic. I used 20mm wide non roll elastic which worked out fine.

Close up back view
I previously raised the waist by 5 cm, but for this pair I lowered it by 1cm just fine tuning the fit. (So for this pair the waist was raised by a total of 4cm from the original pattern). I found that the original pattern was quite low waisted which is fine for the young slim girls out there, but for us more mature ladies it just cuts the muffin top in half...not a pretty look.

Midnight Style Arc Elle Pants
When I joined the Style Arc Membership Club I received this Midnight Stretch Bengaline as a free gift. It was just the right amount to make another pair of Elle pants. These were made exactly the same as the teal pair. Midnight is a very dark navy blue. The colour has a lovely depth and the fabric, like the teal was great quality and beautiful to sew.

Back view
I have styled these Style Arc Elle Pants with my Style Arc Stacie Jean Jacket. I'm really loving these Style Arc patterns and I took full advantage of their great sale recently for Style Arc Club members, so I plan to make quite a few more of their patterns soon.

Happy Sewing

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Kielo Wrap Dress for Winter

While trawling through the sewing blogs, I stumbled across The Kielo Wrap Dress by Nameda Finnish clothing pattern label founded by sisters Saara and Laura Huhta. This is a very simple dress, but also quite elegant.

Image from the Named website

Line Drawing

After stealing the idea of making a wintery version of this dress from Busy Lizzie in Brizzy (thanks Lizzie for the inspiration), this is the result:

Front view

I used another piece of my Ponte de Roma purchased from Lincraft during their sale a few months ago. I am wearing it here with my Grainline Archer shirt made last year. These photos were taken after wearing this outfit to work all day.

Using their size chart, I cut a size 42 which was a little smaller than my bust measurement. As I was using a stretch fabric I figured this would be OK, and I was right. The fit in the bodice is good. I shortened the dress at the back slit notch, which has brought it to just below knee length.

Back view
I copied the long hemline shape which dips lower at the sides. Maybe this is to accommodate those ladies with hips, that I am sadly lacking. Not sure if I like this feature. It may look better if it was straight all the way around.

Side view
When bringing the ties to the centre front, they overlapped slightly which made it all a bit bunchy in that area. If I sew this again I may take some off the side seams so that they just meet when tying at the front.

Close up of front ties
The ties are plenty long enough, wrapping right around my waist to tie at the front. I think the most difficult part of the construction of this dress was turning the ties right side out after sewing the seams.

Close up of dart and top stitching

The dart is probably a little high but it works in the Ponte. I really should realise that this is a standard required alteration for that gravity has taken a hold. The neckline and armholes were overlocked and then turned under and top stitched using a twin needle. This is a nice clean finish without added bulk in the Ponte. I am really pleased with how well these openings sit with no gaping at all.

Shaped hemline
Here is a closer view of the shaped hemline. I turned it up twice by 1.5cm and top stitched using a twin needle. The fabric sewed beautifully with no tunnelling that can be an issue with using a twin needle.

I'm a bit on the fence about this pattern. I thought the waist tie would cinch in my waist in a flattering way but I look very rectangular after looking at these photos. My dear partner said I looked like a school girl (I think he was just referring to the grey fabric with the white blouse).

Let me know what you think.

Happy sewing

Sunday, 15 June 2014

A Tragic End

I am deeply saddened to inform you of the tragic demise of my Colette Beignet Skirt. We have had a love hate relationship since construction, however we were on good terms just before the accident. Here's some memories to cling onto:

In her infancy, soon after construction.

Performing well during Me Made May 14

After her makeover...a new lease of life
And then tragedy struck...and it's all my fault. I decided to wash my skirt in the washing machine. I used cold water and special wool wash detergent but sadly this is the result:

Skirt after washing
I am shocked at how much this skirt has shrunk. You can see how far the lining is hanging below the hem of the skirt.

I prewashed this fabric (unknown fibre content) before construction to avoid a shrinkage problem. When I washed it the first time after construction it shrunk, which I blogged about in my original post, and I fixed the problem by turning up the hem lining again. I didn't think it would continue to shrink with each wash, especially not at this alarming rate.

Close up of the accident.
I am particularly upset by this tragic event because I have only recently invested quite a bit of time and effort into this skirt, replacing all the buttons. I think I will salvage the buttons and dispose of the remains in the rubbish bin. At least I have some photos to keep the memories alive.

Has anyone else had a shrinking tragedy?

Happy Sewing

Friday, 6 June 2014

Deep Red Peplum Cardi

You may have seen a peak of my McCall's 6844 Deep Red Peplum Cardigan during Me Made May. I have previously made View B in royal blue, but was a little underwhelmed by this pattern, despite it being pattern of the year for 2013 on Pattern Review.

This time I made view C which has a peplum with a shaped hemline. I used this Deep Red Ponte De Roma purchased from Lincraft.

Front view
I lengthened the hemline by 8cm because I thought the original length would not be flattering on my figure, and I am so glad that I did. I am really pleased with this length.

Side View
You can see in the side view how the hemline dips lower at the back. The peplum gives my rectangular figure some much needed curves.

Back view
As before, I made a straight size Medium with no alterations other than increasing the length of the peplum. I also interfaced the front band which has made it sit much better and I regret skipping this step in my blue version.

I interfaced the front band.
The peplum is really just a circle skirt joined to the bodice. The pattern instructions did include a great tip for hemming the peplum. First stitch 6mm from the lower edge of the garment, using long machine stitches (as you would for gathering). Then turn up 1.5cm hem at lower edge of garment, turning in 6mm on raw edge and tucking under. You can then use a pin to pull the gathering thread to ease in the fullness, and press (pinning as you go).

Here you can see the loop of the gathering thread that has been pulled to ease in the fullness.

This was a very long hemline.
The hem was top stitched using the width of my presser foot as a guide. You will notice that I have moved the needle over to one side to get the desired distance from the edge of the garment for the stitching line, while still being able to use the edge of the presser foot as a guide.

Close up of side

Close up of peplum skirt.

Inside view. Seams were all finished on the overlocker.

Overall I am very happy with this cardigan so McCall's 6844 has redeemed itself. I can now see why so many have raved about this pattern. Just keep in mind that the sleeves are very fitted and will need to be widened if you intend to wear anything with sleeves under it. I would recommend interfacing the front band and securing it in a few places with a few hand stitches so that it sits properly. And I would also recommend lengthening the peplum on version C so that it sits at a more flattering position.

Happy Sewing