Saturday, 22 November 2014

A Tale of Three White Tees

My wardrobe was seriously lacking some basic white Tee shirts so I set about to remedy the situation. I had four metres of a lovely quality cotton lycra jersey purchased from Spotlight back in July. I really splurged on this fabric, paying $20.00 per metre with the idea of making some good quality T-Shirts that would stand up to lots of wear. I had several patterns to choose from in my pattern stash and first I chose the popular Kirsten Kimono Tee by Maria Denmark.

This is a great pattern...simple design, easy to sew and comfortable to wear. I cut a straight size BL based on my bust measurement.

There does seem to be excess fabric pooling at the lower back. Probably should do some sort of sway back adjustment before I make the next one.

Although the front is sitting nicely in this photo, it was a little too firm around the tummy and did gape slightly at the front neckline. To fix this problem for the next one, I thought I would angle the centre front edge of the pattern when positioning it on the fold for cutting, so that the neckline is reduced and the hem line is widened. I love the kimono sleeves (no sleeves to set in). I finished off the neckline with the binding as instructed in the pattern. All seams were sewn first on my sewing machine and then finished off with the overlocker. Hems were all sewn with a twin needle. This fabric was easy to sew and behaved very well.

My second choice was the Style Arc Ann T-Top

I cut a straight size 12 which is my usual Style Arc size. I got over confident and overlocked the neckband on without first attaching it with the sewing machine. This would have been fine if it had been the right length but it was way too long and resulted in a very loose neckband. This involved a lot of very tedious unpicking. I reduced the length of the neckband and resewed it, (I may have been a tad over zealous as it looks a little too short now, creating a slight gathered look). I am happy with the fit through the shoulders and chest but the lower portion of the shirt is too loose and saggy...bordering on frumpyville.

The back fits nicely apart from being a little clingy to the lower back fat. (I was very disappointed when I saw this view, better get back on the treadmill)

The sleeves are a nice length too and there is plenty of fabric to do a decent 2cm hem which looks nice. I do like how the shirt is loose around the ribcage area which does camouflage a bit of excess padding in that area. The gathering at the side seam is done by sewing on some clear elastic (stretching as you go) to the seam allowance before sewing the side seams. This step was quite tricky to do neatly. 

For the next one I will need to add some width to the lower back piece and reduce some width from the lower front piece. Then I think I will have a flattering fit and remove the frumpy factor.

The third pattern I used was another one from Style Arc. The Style Arc Polly Top

This was probably not the most ideal fabric choice for this pattern. Something with a bit more drape would have worked better. I made a straight size 12 as usual for Style Arc patterns, cutting the short sleeves which are a cute shape but only allow for a very narrow hem. This pattern was a bit of a brain teaser to work out the front pleat but if you really study the line drawings in the instructions it does work out. 

I was a little concerned that this looked like a maternity top but after looking at the photos, it's not too bad. I like the way it skims over my fat rolls. I had read that this top had quite a low neckline...not on me however. Maybe this is due to the effects of age and gravity?

I am super happy with the back view...not a fat roll in site. Maybe I should substitute this back pattern piece in the Ann T-Top. 

In the photo above you can see the neck band more closely. It is quite narrow and initially I had planned to turn it completely to the inside, but with the very bulky seam allowance this was impossible. The gathering doesn't sit quite right and this may be because my bust is sitting lower than the pattern was designed for.

In the photo above I am trying to show you how the pleat is constructed. There is a triangular piece that is stitched to the neck binding and is then hidden by the extended pleat section being folded over the top and secured to the inside of the neckline.

This has been an interesting exercise and I have learned a lot from comparing these three patterns and studying the photos and the way they fit me. I have a little over a metre of this fabric left so hopefully I can apply these lessons learned and create the perfect white tee for me.

The skirt I am wearing in the photos was made pre blog and it is McCalls 3341 sewn in a cotton sateen.

Happy Sewing

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Another Tropical Scout Woven Tee

Here is Tropical Scout Woven Tee number two.

This is exactly the same as my previous Tropical Scout Woven Tee. The fabric is a very bright tropical print spun rayon purchased from Spotlight. I noticed that Sew Busy Lizzy used this exact same fabric for her second Holly Jumpsuit, By Hand London. She described the fabric as "This is a very soft drapey rayon… feels like heaven – looks like a Hawaiian riot!" which I found quite amusing. I tend to be drawn to bright colours and it hadn't even occurred to me that this print may be a bit over the top.

I am wearing it here with my navy Style Arc Elle Pants. These have been a great match and I have worn this outfit a lot already.

I travelled over to Perth last week to visit my daughter and grandson and I managed to pack only me made clothes (except for one pair of Capri jeans and underwear). I felt this was quite an achievement and made me realise just how much of my wardrobe I am sewing myself.

The photo above was taken at the top of Lesmurdie Falls overlooking the city of Perth. We had a lovely morning hiking down to the bottom of the falls and then back up to the top. 

I did manage a quick visit to Spotlight at Rockingham, but was a little disappointed with the choice of fabrics. I picked up a couple of pieces of a linen/cotton blend which I am planning to make Vogue 1382, and an outrageously bright floral print scuba knit, which I have yet to decide what to make. I also got a Buttersuede in khaki which will match my Style Arc Stacie Jeans Jacket beautifully. I'm thinking of making this into a skirt. Back to work tomorrow and hopefully, back to sewing very soon.

Happy sewing

Monday, 3 November 2014

Tilly's Coco in Chevron Stripes

Here is my third Coco by Tilly and the Buttons. 

I am really loving this pattern for it's versatility. It's such a blank canvas that's so easy to make your own. Here are my first and second Coco's.

For this one I used the same shape with the narrowed skirt, as I did in version two.

I chopped the sleeves off short because I wanted this dress to be suitable to wear to work during the warmer months. In hindsight, I should have added a little width to the sleeves to make them a little looser fitting and improve the look. I did make the underarm length of the sleeve about 2cm shorter than the outer side. Hope that made sense?

The back does have a little wrinkling going on at the waistline. I didn't have this issue with Coco number two, so I am hoping the fabric will relax and drape better after a couple of washes.

The fabric is a chevron printed ponte, in navy and white, purchased from Spotlight back in July. The chevron stripes actually ran parallel to the selvedges. I was quite disappointed when I realized this, because I had pictured this dress with the stripes running horizontally. This fabric was very stable and there was little difference in the amount of stretch running either way, so I took a chance and cut the pattern so that the stripes ran horizontally as I wanted. This worked out fine. I tried to position the darkest part of the print to the waist area, to create a slimming effect, with the lighter parts at the shoulders and hemline.

I sewed this dress on my sewing machine using a very narrow zig zag stitch. This gives the stitching enough give so that it doesn't snap when put under a bit of pressure. I could have just used my overlocker, (but I would rather unpick a single line of stitching than an overlocked seam) if I make a mistake. I did go back and finish off the seams with the overlocker after I was happy with the fit.

Chevrons were impossible to match at side seams.
During the cutting out stage, I thought long and hard about matching the chevron stripes at the side seams. After much head scratching and Googling, I decided that it is impossible to match chevron stripes on curved seams. (Please correct me if I am wrong.) I did the best I could and made sure that at least I had the same width chevrons continuing from front to back. I was pretty chuffed with my seam matching at the underarm intersection.

I turned the hems up 2.5 cm and top stitched with a twin needle. I really like this finish, and if you measure accurately you can position the top stitching right on top of the raw edge, making a very neat finish on the inside.

The neckline looked like it might gape a bit, so I stitched some clear elastic (slightly stretching it as I sewed) to the neckline, using a zig zag stitch. The edge was then turned under (enclosing the elastic) and stitched down using the same twin needle finish as the hem lines.

This has worked well and the neckline sits nice and close to the body.

I omitted the pockets for this one. I thought the print was busy enough without pockets.

 I don't think you have seen the last of this pattern yet. I still have quite a few other ideas I want to try out and this is a great comfy dress suitable to wear to the office too.

Happy Sewing