Monday, 28 December 2015

Style Arc Esme Designer Knit Top

The Esme Designer Knit Top appealed to me the minute it was released. The relaxed fit and stylish design lines ticked all the boxes. I have been making the most of the Christmas Holidays by spending time in my sewing room over the last couple of days, much to my daughter's disgust. She just doesn't get the fact that I love to sew.

Style Arc suggest using ponte or scuba knit to make up this top. I have a lovely printed scuba knit ear marked for this pattern, but I decided to use this less precious rich purple delux ponte from Spotlight, to make a test garment.

I made one alteration to the pattern before I started, and that was to add 5cm to the length of the front and back pattern pieces. I added the length in just above the top of the side split. I am long in the body and I knew that I would not find the length flattering on my body, as drafted.

I am happy with the length after my alterations and the fit is ok as drafted. I made a size 12. I love how beautifully the collar sits at the neckline. I was a little dubious about cutting the collar on the bias in a knit, but this has created a lovely result so I am now sold on the idea. The collar only worked folded over. I couldn't make it stand nicely as illustrated on the pattern envelope.

The instructions suggest sewing the seams, pressing them open and then top stitching them down as a feature. I went with this suggestion and am very pleased with the beautiful neat finish this created. All raw edges were overlocked to create a neat edge, before the seams were sewn on the sewing machine.

The front and back hems, side slits, side seams and armhole edges, were top stitched with one continuous line. I did press and pin quite extensively before beginning the top stitching, but I am very pleased with how neat this turned out.

The back collar points turned out beautifully and this was quite easy to achieve. The instructions were clear and also provided diagrams for this step. This ponte was very well behaved and all the corners and points turned out so well. Not something I always have great success with.

The skirt was also made to wear with this top. I used the Colette Mabel Skirt pattern, combining the style of version 1 with the length and kick pleat of version 3. I have made the Mabel skirt twice before and am still working on the fit. This one is made from a scuba knit from Spotlight. I used the purple ponte to line the waistband. I have also inserted elastic into the waistband to make it feel more secure. 

The kick pleat is constructed in the usual way, as opposed to the Colette way of sewing it closed. I think it sits better open. There was enough delux purple ponte left over to make another Colette Mabel skirt, which can also be worn with the top to create a different look.

Now on to the next project...

Happy sewing

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Style Arc Misty Stretch Pull-On Jean

Summer is here and I have found my wardrobe lacking in the casual pants department. I recently purchased the Style Arc Misty Stretch Pull-On Jean pattern and I had a 1 metre piece of stretch bengaline (also purchased from Style Arc several months ago with plans to make a skirt), marinating in the stash. I realised that this would be enough fabric to make a shortened version of the pants...perfect for the warmer weather.

This pattern appealed to me because of the "jean like" features included: front mock pockets, coin pocket, mock fly, back yoke and back pockets. Yet the comfort factor was retained with the elastic waist, and the ease of wear with the "pull on " style.

Style Arc Misty Stretch Pull-On Jean
I enjoyed sewing these pants in short bursts whenever I got a spare moment during the week. There are lots of little steps that fitted in well with short time sewing opportunities.

The fabric is a good quality stretch bengaline in a denim look colour, however it is much more light weight than stretch denim. It is quite stretchy and has excellent recovery. I made my usual Style Arc size 12 and these were cut and sewed with no fitting alterations.

The only alterations I made was to remove 30 cm from the hem line to create the 3/4 length. I also changed the method for attaching the elastic waistline. I had read that the exposed double layer of elastic was not so comfortable against the skin (and I couldn't buy any 3cm wide elastic), so I used the Style Arc Barb Pant waistband, which encases the elastic inside a waistband. This has worked very well and the pants are very comfortable.

I was very disappointed when I saw these photos of the back of the pants. I didn't realise there was so much wrinkling at the back. I have been trying to find out how to fix this issue but there doesn't seem to be any clear cut solutions. I think I need to add width to the back leg but I'm not entirely sure about how to do this. Should I add it to the in-seam, or the side seam, or both. Or should I cut and spread the pattern piece, adding width at the centre of the pattern piece? I welcome any suggestions or advice please.

I am happy with the pocket details. All the top stitching was done with a twin needle, as instructed. I just used a normal Gutermann poly thread in a pale grey and I am pleased with the result.

I was pretty pleased with my seam matching at the yoke considering I sewed this seam on the overlocker. Don't you love it when things work out well, when you are not really expecting them to.

Unfortunately, all the top stitching details will mostly be hidden because I will always wear these pants with a longer style top. Looking forward to your words of wisdom regarding my wrinkling issue so I can apply them to my next pair.

Happy Sewing

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Style Arc Kate Dress... with some changes

I knew it wouldn't be long before I sewed the Style Arc Kate Dress again. My first version has become a firm favourite in my wardrobe and been worn at least once a week since completion.

My second version was made specifically to wear to my work Christmas Party which was being held at a fancy restaurant on the river front. I chose to stay with the 3/4 length sleeves as I knew we would be dining alfresco and it could be a little chilly on the water. There were a few changes made to the pattern for this version: I lowered the waist by 3cm and retained the extra length at the hemline. I also did away with the gathered front piece and just cut one pair from the left hand front.

This fabric was another poly/spandex knit purchased from Spotlight. It was quite lightweight and gave me a lot of grief during the sewing process. There was a lot of Bondaweb iron on adhesive used on all the hems to give  enough body for my twin needle stitching to lay flat. The print had some large darker areas and some large lighter areas and this proved a bit of a challenge to get the dark and light areas distributed evenly over the dress. I ended up with too much of the lighter area on the front, so I switched the overlap...problem fixed. You may have noticed that this version ties on the opposite side.

The neckline was lowered by 4cm at the back between the shoulder seams and then tapered to nothing at the waistline on the front. This gave the dress a more "party like" vibe as opposed to a "modest and work appropriate" vibe that the original pattern gives.

Self fabric binding was used to finish off the neckline. This time I didn't turn the binding to the inside. It gave a less bulky finish to leave the binding exposed and secure the seam allowance down with a twin needle. This gave a nice secure neckline with no gaping issues at all.

Very happy with my new party dress and I can report that I felt appropriately dressed, comfortable and feminine at my Christmas Work Party last night. I can assure you that I have not finished with this pattern yet. I have some short sleeved, work appropriate versions in the pipeline so stay tuned.

On a sad note, my Bernina 350PE died a very sudden and unexpected death, just as I was finishing this dress. There was a loud POP! and then ...nothing, no lights, no screen, no life.
It has been packed up and sent back to Bernina for repairs, hopefully covered under warranty. In the meantime, I have dug out my faithful old Bernina 1005 and dusted it off. Despite being totally neglected since the arrival of my new Bernina almost three years ago, it still sews like a dream. So the sewing will continue!

Happy Sewing