Friday, 25 September 2015

Knit Dress in Black and White Stripes

I came across this lovely black and white stripe ponti on my first and only visit to The Remnant Warehouse in Sydney, way back in March. I have purchased from their online shop many times, so it was wonderful to visit the store in person and see and touch the fabrics. The staff are very friendly and helpful too. I just wish I could have spent more time there, but I had a very bored husband with me, so my visit was limited. The fabric blend is 72% Polyester, 23% Viscose and 5% Spandex.

I have been noticing lots of striped dresses in the shops so I assume they must be popular at the moment. I used the Tilly and the Buttons Coco Dress pattern as a base for my dress. This pattern is a firm favourite of mine, if you didn't already know.

I did quite a few design alterations to achieve the look I was after. The flare of the skirt was significantly reduced at the side seams to create a straighter shape.

The scoop neckline was borrowed from Sewaholic's Renfrew top (another favourite pattern).

Originally the neckband was cut with the stripes running in the opposite direction, but it was a disaster. Because the fabric didn't have quite as much stretch in that direction, it made the neckline gather up and not lie flat. I contemplated unpicking the overlocking stitches for a moment, but I then came up with a much easier fix. I simply trimmed the whole neckband and seam allowance off and started again. The neckband was re cut along the direction of the stripes and I carefully positioned it so that the neckband would show a centred black stripe. I then reattached it using a much smaller seam allowance, so as not to increase the size of the neckline too much. 

Although it is difficult to see in the photo, I added two fisheye darts to the back to provide a little shaping. The neckband and hems were all top stitched with a twin needle.

The stripe matching during the construction of this dress was quite fiddly. It involved pinning every black stripe very carefully, then basting the seam, checking for accuracy, unpicking parts and re basting, and then finally sewing the seam. I was using a walking foot too. I am a bit over sewing with stripes and can't wait for a nice easy plain fabric to sew.

These photos were taken last week in Dad and Elizabeth's garden during our visit to Wollongong. I'm loving all the spring flowers. Just wish this last blast of winter weather would go away, so I can enjoy wearing my new spring dress.

Happy Sewing

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Colette Mabel Skirt

Colette Mabel
The Colette Mabel skirt is the perfect pattern for a beginner sewist to try. There are three variations to choose from and the instructions are detailed and easy to understand.

This pattern ticked a lot of boxes for me: great wardrobe staple; uses knit fabric; and is quick and easy to sew. I have been admiring lots of Mabel's around the blogsphere for ages, so I don't know why it has taken me so long to give it a try.

This is actually the second Mabel I have made. The first one made a brief appearance during Me Made May.

I made Version 3 with the decorative seaming and kick pleat. My first skirt was made using black ponte purchased from Style Arc. This fabric was a high quality ponte with a nice amount of stretch and excellent recovery, and best of all... no pilling. The fit of this skirt is a little snug around my backside and I will only wear it with a long cardigan.

For my second skirt I used a navy ponte purchased from Spotlight. This is also a high quality ponte but is less elastic than the black ponte from Style Arc. I made a larger size to get the looser fit I was after. It actually turned out too big this time and I had to run the side seams in.

After looking at these photos, I think I should have just made the smaller size, as the fit is a little looser than what I was trying to achieve. I actually had to add some elastic to the waist to make it feel more secure after a few wears. It felt like it might fall down. (The smaller one in the black is fine without the elastic though).

You can see the decorative seaming on the front in the photo above. I top stitched the seam allowance down with a twin needle to highlight the design feature.

The hem was hand stitched for a nicer finish (although it is still quite noticeable in the photo's). I did construct the kick pleat a little differently from the instructions. You are supposed to sew the centre back seam and continue around the pleat, sewing it closed. You then fold it to the side, press and top stitch to hold in place. I had read on several blogs that after sitting in the skirt the pleat refused to hang properly. I sewed the centre back seam stopping at the start of the pleat. I overlocked the raw edges of the pleat sections, folded to one side, and top stitched in place across the top, leaving the pleat open. This has worked out well and as you can see in the photo above, the pleat is hanging just fine and I have been sitting in this skirt all day at work before these photos were taken.

You can expect to see a few more Mabels popping up here in the future. I have already earmarked some fabric in the stash.

Happy Sewing

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Blue Grainline Morris Blazer

The new Morris Blazer from Grainline Studio has certainly been doing the rounds out there in blogland. I finally succumbed and bought the PDF version.

Grainline Studio Morris Blazer
After doing lots of internet research, reading many reviews and looking at many Morris Blazers made up on many different body shapes, I decided to make a couple of small changes to the pattern. I cut a size 10 based on my bust measurement and I lengthened both the sleeves and the body by 8cm (about 3 inches).

I am quite long in the body and relatively tall about 173cm (5' 8") and cropped jackets don't suit me very well. I am happy with the new proportions these alterations achieved.

This jacket is quite boxy so if you are after some shaping, this is not the pattern for you. I like the way the jacket fits and it turned out just as I had expected.

The sleeves are only just long enough with the extra length I added and I may add a bit more length for the next one. The original pattern is not intended to have full length sleeves, this was just my preference.

The hems and front openings are finished off with a separate interfaced facing. This provides some structure to these key areas. I did find that the front facings tend to want to flip out a bit during wear, so I may catch them down with some hand stitching to keep them in place. The front edges are finished off with top stitching.

The hem facing is also top stitched which creates an interesting line at the front points. The fabric I used for this blazer was a Monaco Double Knit in Sapphire Blue purchased from Knitwit last year. This was one of my disappointing online purchases that was nothing like I expected and totally unsuitable for what I had intended to make, and therefore has been sitting in my stash for quite a while. Well, if you wait long enough, the perfect pattern turns up. This fabric was ideal for the Morris Blazer and Knitwit currently has this fabric on sale and it comes in lots of lovely colours too.

As you can see in the photo above, I simply overlocked the raw edges of the facings rather than turning them under. I had matching thread in the overlocker, so I thought this would look ok and reduce any unnecessary bulk. 

I can see a few more Morris Blazers in my future, and I can see why this has been a very popular pattern. It is quick and easy to make as well as being easy to wear.

Happy Sewing

Sunday, 6 September 2015

A Stripey Coco Top

My blogging mojo has been non existent over the winter. I find it hard to get good photos when the days are shorter and I seem to have gotten out of the habit of even trying. That doesn't mean that I haven't been sewing. I have lots of sewing to share with you and now that Spring has arrived, I can feel my blogging mojo returning.

Tilly and the Buttons Coco with contrast yoke.
To kick things off, I have made another Coco. It is no secret that I love this pattern, I have made several versions of this pattern already. This time I was using up some ponte left over from previous projects so I thought I would try a Coco with a contrast yoke and pocket. Tilly has a tutorial on how to do this here.

It really pays to take your time and plan your garment carefully when working with a striped fabric. Stripes that don't match at seam lines can look very amateurish and I am constantly amazed to see this in RTW clothing quite often.

I am glad that I spent the extra time matching my stripes at the side seams and on the sleeve seams. I also chose to join the contrasting yoke on the striped fabric so that the white stripe was a constant width.

The contrast yoke is also on the back. I made a straight size 5 as usual, with no changes to the pattern. The seam allowance between the yokes and front/back pieces were top stitched to keep them lying flat.

To avoid stretching out the neckline I sewed a line of stay stitching just inside the fold line. I then applied Vliesofix Bondaweb Tape, purchased from Knitwit, to the edge before folding over and stitching with a twin needle. This is the first time I have used this product and I couldn't be happier with the result.

The hems were secured with a twin needle too, which I continued up and around the side slits. You can still see the pink marking pencil dots I placed to indicate where to turn. It is a little tricky getting neat turns with a twin needle. I raise the needle, carefully turn the garment and then lower the needle so that it matches up with the previous stitching as close as possible. 

The pocket was a bit of an afterthought. I felt that the red needed to be repeated on the shirt to tie the yoke in and create a balanced garment. 

Love my new Coco top and it has been a very useful addition to my casual weekend wardrobe.

Happy sewing