Friday, 23 October 2015

Style Arc Barb's Stretch Pants and another Coco

The Style Arc Barb's Stretch Pants have been the most worn garment in my wardrobe over the last twelve months. I'm really not sure why I have never blogged about them until now, although they have made several sneak appearances in previous posts.

Style Arc Barb's Stretch Pants with boot cut alteration.

The size 12 fitted well straight out of the envelope, without any fit alterations. You may notice that I have added some flare, beginning around knee level and increasing down to the hemline. I prefer the boot cut style over the straight style. Here is a photo taken last year of my first pair of Barb's, made without any alterations.

Style Arc Barb's Stretch Pants without any alterations.
I didn't like the way they seemed to get caught up on my shoes and not sit properly. 

I have made two pairs with the boot cut alteration, one in black and one in navy and these have been on high rotation in my work wardrobe. The fabric is Style Arc's bengaline and has held up extremely well with all the washing and wearing they have been subject to.

The waist band sits quite high on the waist, (much higher than Style Arc's Elle Pants), and I find them very comfortable. The waist band sits very flat and is quite unobtrusive under tops. Please excuse the wrinkles in the photos as these had been worn to work all day. I'm very happy with the fit, considering these are made without any fit alterations.

The fit in the back is quite good too, without too much wrinkling going on. Sorry, this is not my best angle.

Tilly and the Buttons Coco Tunic with Sewaholic Renfrew Cowl
Now, onto the Tilly and the Buttons Coco Tunic. I think I have lost count of how many times I have used this pattern. Definitely money well spent. For this version I borrowed the cowl from the Sewaholic Renfrew. The fabric was a lovely soft drapey knit of unknown composition which worked very well for this top. The cowl is so lovely and cosy.

This combination has been a favourite lately for work. It's just so easy to wear and so comfortable.

Happy Sewing

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Style Arc Franki Dress

I am a big fan of Style Arc patterns and I have had the Franki Dress/Top pattern in my pattern stash for a while now. After my recent binge shop at Spotlight where I spent over $300 in under an hour, I now have quite a selection of polyester/spandex knits just waiting to become summer dresses.

The Franki is a jersey cowl neck dress/top with slightly extended shoulder line. Hugging the neckline at the back and falling softly into a front cowl. 

Usually a size 12 in Style Arc patterns fits me well with very little alterations required. However, this was not the case with the Franki dress. I found the bodice area to be quite loose and I took the side seams in by 2cm each side from the base of the armhole, tapering to nothing at the waist line the get a nicer fit.

Then I had the opposite problem in the tummy/hip area where it was a little too tight. With only 1cm seam allowances I couldn't do much about that, other than to loose a couple of kilos which has helped immensely.

The shape of this dress is quite relaxed and not too figure hugging which I like. It is quite short though. I only turned up a 2cm hem, trying to preserve as much length as possible ( I am about 5'8")

The back neck has a stand up collar which hugs the neckline and after reading several other reviews of this pattern, I decided to interface the back collar section. This did add some body to this quite thin and very drapey knit which certainly helped to stop the collar collapsing.

The armholes were way too low and causing bra exposure. In order to fix this I shortened the armhole binding by about 20cm, which helped draw the armhole circumference in, thus raising the armhole. It is still a little low, so next time I will raise the armhole on the pattern before cutting out. I found the armhole binding to be very narrow and fiddly to apply, so I also widened mine.

The armhole extends past the shoulder line and really hugs the upper arm. This could also be more pronounced due to the tightening of my armhole binding. I chose to leave the binding exposed in an attempt to further fill in the armhole area. I top stitched the seam allowances down with a twin needle to prevent them flipping out.The armholes are not restrictive in any way though, and the dress is comfortable to wear.

The cowl at the front sits very nicely when arranged, but the minute you move there's trouble. I came up with a very effective way of getting the cowl to stay put and to totally eliminate any gaping/flashing scenarios. My solution was to sew a lingerie keeper to the centre of the cowl facing, near the raw edge, which I then clip around my bra at the centre front. I know this won't work with every bra out there, but it works like a charm with mine. It holds the cowl in position and keeps the fabric snug against your chest too.

I wore my Franki dress to work today with my Grainline Morris Blazer which felt like a good combination. I love it when a new addition to the wardrobe works well with what's already in there.

I will leave you with a parting shot of Ollie who was catching up on pats after I had been at work all day.

Happy Sewing

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Style Arc Elle Pants and a Couple of Coco Tunics

Way back in May I made another pair of Style Arc Elle Pants. I have been working on the fit, and in addition to raising the waistline and a large calf adjustment tried previously here, I have added a Flat Seat Adjustment. I was trying to reduce the amount of wrinkles at the back, upper thigh area. Here is the photo I posted during Me Made May 15.

I am wearing them here with another Tilly and the Buttons Coco Tunic. This one is without pockets and has the retro funnel neck collar. I love this tunic but I do find it difficult to style. The collar gets in the way of a scarf and necklaces just don't sit right at all.

The fabric is chocolate brown stretch bengaline purchased online from Style Arc, and is good quality. These pants have been worn all day at work and are now quite wrinkled unfortunately for the photos. The fit at the front is quite good. 

I think the flat seat adjustment did improve the fit at the back, compared to my previous Elle's, but there is still room for improvement. I suppose some wrinkles are necessary or you wouldn't be able to sit down.

I had some more of the cream ponte in the stash so I made another Coco Tunic, this time with the scoop neckline borrowed from the Sewaholic Renfrew.

This one has been much easier to style with scarves and necklaces. My daughter gave me this necklace and I love how it ties in with the colours of the outfit. I don't usually wear autumn tones, but I don't mind this outfit on me. Maybe my colours are changing as I am getting older.

I have a fairly rectangular figure with little waist definition, but I love how this tunic gives the illusion of a waist and hips. 

Does anyone else wish they had a stylist when taking blog photos? I find is so hard to get good photos with the garment sitting just right, when I am using the tripod and remote on my own. So often, it's not until I'm editing the photos that I notice all the faults. I guess most of us have this problem.

Happy Sewing

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Pink Fleece Tops

Mum gave me a large piece of pink fleece from her fabric stash last year. It took me a while to get to it but I have now used it to make two different tops, based on the same pattern. I know you are probably sick of hearing me rave about the Tilly and the Buttons Coco, but I find this pattern is a great base to work from.

The first top I made way back during Me Made May 15, and those who follow my blog got a sneak peak back then.

This was a straight size 5 with the boat neck and two front pockets. I have worn this a lot over winter as it's lovely and cosy in the fleece. The only draw back is that it seems to keep shrinking with every wash, despite pre-washing the fabric. The sleeves are now quite a bit too short.

The second top was based on the same pattern with quite a few changes. I straightened the side seams from the underarm down to the hem, removing all shaping to create a boxy effect. I borrowed the scoop neckline from the Sewaholic Renfrew as I have done before, and I cut a high - low hemline.

This top was really just a bit of an experiment and has resulted in a wearable muslin. I have learnt a bit during the process and there are things I will change for the next one.

A close up of the side slits and the overly exaggerated high - low hem. I will lengthen the front next time so the difference is less exaggerated.

I had intended to use a knit ribbing band to finish off the neckline, but when I pulled out the ribbing, the colour was not a good match. So I stabilised the edge with clear elastic, turned and top stitched with a twin needle. This worked out quite well. I am wearing it with my Grainline Archer blogged here. 

(These photos were taken during our overnight stay on a yacht in Pittwater, just north of Sydney, for our first wedding anniversary.)

Happy Sewing