Style Arc Celine dress

From the first garment that I made at Sewjourn to the last – I finished the Style Arc Celine dress just before heading home last Sunday!

Style Arc Celine dress in viscose twill from Darn Cheap Fabrics

I have had this pattern in my stash for quite some time – and now I’m wondering why I didn’t make it up sooner! The description and line drawing from the Style Arc website are as follows:

CELINE DRESS: This is the dress of the moment, slip it on and tie the extended ends in a knot at the front or leave hang loosely for fashion statement. This dress can be made with a short sleeve or bind the armholes for a sleeveless version

FABRIC SUGGESTION & DESCRIPTION: Soft flowing fabric such as Silk or Rayon

Style Arc Celine dress in viscose twill from Darn Cheap Fabrics

I used viscose twill from Darn Cheap Fabrics – they still have it in stock, and I’m fairly certain that I spotted the same fabric when I dropped in to Addicted To Fabric in October. It was lovely to work with and has that softness and drape that comes along with viscose/rayon. And the colours – absolutely me!

Style Arc Celine dress in viscose twill from Darn Cheap Fabrics

I made size 12, but took a big tuck through all the pattern pieces at waist level to petite it. This required a little reshaping of the extended sides that form the ties. There are no zips or fastenings in this dress – it slips on easily over the head, then ties at the front for fit. It was beautifully comfortable at work on Monday.

Style Arc Celine dress in viscose twill from Darn Cheap Fabrics

Not much more to say – I love this style, and now I rather fancy a sleeveless version….

Aeolian Tee

Firstly, thanks so much to all those who left such lovely messages about Clare’s graduation.  School is now finished for the year, and for Clare primary school is finished forever!  Of course we still have many years of connection to the school ahead of us – Stella is going into Grade 2 next year, and I am still school council president!  Primary school is far from finished for us as a family.  There were many tears at assembly this afternoon (a bit of group hysteria from many of them – and I am not very sympathetic to that sort of reaction) but most are looking forward to what is coming next.  Everyone is well and truly in need of a rest!

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The first thing I made at Sewjourn last weekend was a Pattern Fantastique Aeolian Tee. I always like to start off my Sewjourn visits with a relatively easy sew – a bit of a palate cleanser, if you like, to really get me into the sewing groove!

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I was so pleased with the drafting of the Celestial dress that I was very keen to give the Aeolian Tee a go. The pattern description from the website is as follows:

DESIGN
The Aeolian is the perfect boxy cotton tee, as tall as it is wide. It has a box-shaped sleeve, strategically inserted to the armhole for maximum 3D body.
Sized down, it makes a perfect sheath. Neat, but not tight. Excellent in a glamour knit for a super clean, mini, cocktail dress. Sized up it responds with mega drapes and kaftan-esque volume.
SKILL LEVEL
Easy to Intermediate. Comes with illustrated, step by step instructions.
SIZES
6-18 multi-sized pattern
View size charts
FABRIC
Knits
FORMAT
32 page pattern
11 page instruction booklet
All downloads are A4 PDF documents

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The fabric I used was a remnant from Darn Cheap Fabrics. It is a coated knit, and I think that it is still available. I only had enough to make a tee. The pattern comes in a variety of lengths however, from tee to mini to dress and maxi. It was surprisingly easy to sew. I constructed the tee on the overlocker, and topstitched with a twin needle on the sewing machine. I think that my twin needle threads are slightly different colours – I just used what I had available. I particularly like the deep hems included in this pattern. They add nice weight to the edges and help to ensure that the fabric hangs nicely.

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I made size Medium, for an easy fit. This pattern is simple in that there are only four pieces – front, back, sleeve and neckband – but because of this the drafting becomes super important. In my opinion the simplest patterns are the ones that actually require the best drafting; otherwise they are very ordinary. This tee is beautifully drafted. It popped up on Instagram recently made to the dress length in woven linen with a bias bound neckline. I am ABSOLUTELY going to make one!

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I have styled this with my Style Arc Lola pants and a necklace and earring set bought at a local craft market. My sandals were purchased during our trip to Thailand. I’d really like a pair of these pants in linen or viscose or silk in the same shade as the yellow in the necklace. Something to keep in mind the next time I’m in a fabric shop! I highly recommend this pattern – simple styling, easy to sew, but beautifully drafted and a current shape.

Grade 6 Graduation Dress

Tomorrow is Clare’s last day of Primary School.  Seven years – where did that go!  Last night was their Graduation Ceremony.  The kids met at school at 5pm then walked to the local Italian Club (where they have spent many cultural and sports days over their time at primary school) and had dinner with the teachers and support staff.  By 7pm they were back at school, as were many of their families and friends, for the formal part of the evening.

Grade 6 Graduation dress - Figgys Scirocco in Alannah Hill floral silk

The children all looked wonderful – almost all of them dressed up, including the boys. They each gave a speech about their time at school, sharing memories and thankyous. Each received a certificate and their school report, then they all sang a song together and presented five short plays before the principal spoke to conclude the evening.  Clare received a special certificate that especially commemorated her “Love of Learning” – she was thrilled.

Grade 6 Graduation dress - Figgys Scirocco in Alannah Hill floral silk

It was a special celebration – but I didn’t cry! The kids are so ready for high school, and it was very touching to hear their appreciation of their time at primary school but also their anticipation as they stride into the future.

Grade 6 Graduation dress - Figgys Scirocco in Alannah Hill floral silk

And unsurprisingly, there was a fair bit of focus on the graduation dress leading up to the event! Clare and I decided on the Figgy’s Scirocco dress some time ago, and when I spotted this floral Alannah Hill silk at Clear It one day I knew it was a perfect match.

Grade 6 Graduation dress - Figgys Scirocco in Alannah Hill floral silk

Choosing appropriate styles for Clare can be a real challenge. She is almost twelve years old now, but is still very tiny as compared to her peers and hasn’t yet hit puberty. Some of us are late starters! She wants to look pretty and age-appropriate despite her stature, and I really think that this dress hit that sweet spot exactly. The pattern was size 8/9. After trying it on we added an extra flounce to the bottom. It is still above the knee, but not absurdly short. This was easy to do – I just cut another of the lower flounce and attachment pieces. The back twist was a bigger problem.

Grade 6 Graduation dress - Figgys Scirocco in Alannah Hill floral silk

I had noticed in images online that the fit around the back can be difficult. We drew up the back elastic quite a lot to make the skirt fit at the waist, and then I unpicked the already sewn centre twist, folded the narrow ends of the triangle in another inch each, retwisted, then hand-stitched them together again. This made the back about two inches narrower than drafted, and it then sat nicely. The bodice is fully self lined, and I didn’t make a muslin first, but the alterations were just as easy to do after the fact. It also eliminated the bagging of the back where it joins the skirt waistline that I had seen in lots of photos.

Grade 6 Graduation dress - Figgys Scirocco in Alannah Hill floral silk

We found the narrow lace for the front trim in my stash. Clare spent many hours on YouTube learning how to do her hair, and did the fancy braid herself. Impressive! I suspect that there may have even been a light application of eyeshadow and lip gloss. Stella found the china rose earrings in a drawer on the weekend and they matched the outfit perfectly. I think that I bought them at Royal Doulton when I was in England 25 years ago.

Grade 6 Graduation dress - Figgys Scirocco in Alannah Hill floral silk
Congratulations to my special big girl as you move on to the next exciting chapter in the book of your life. We are incredibly proud of you, and love you more than we could possibly say. It is such a pleasure to watch you growing up into such a wonderful young woman.

mother and daughter - grade 6 graduation
(And now that I type this, the tears are flowing after all!)

Soleil for Stella

Before I start detailing garments I made at Sewjourn in December, I’d better finish blogging the ones I made at Sewjourn in November!

Selvage Designs Soleil dress

The pattern is the Soleil dress by Selvage Designs. It is designed for knits, utilising rib knit trim around the edges of the pocket, armholes, and neck and back openings. I really love the back opening detail (although it’s not terribly sun smart – but the pattern does include a full back option).

Selvage Designs Soleil dress

I think that I made this as size 6T – which falls between size 5T and size 6. Weird sizing descriptions! It fits her rather well, actually. The instructions were quite good, and the overall style is very pretty. I shared the construction between the overlocker and the sewing machine.

Selvage Designs Soleil dress

I bought the fabric at Super Cheap Fabrics in Sydney Road, Brunswick. It’s a jacquard – the colours and pattern are knitted into the fabric, and the cream lines are all raised. I also bought the neutral beige colourway. Now I wish that I’d bought more of both. It was great to use and has washed really well.

Selvage Designs Soleil dress

I haven’t used rib knit for edges for a long time. It’s SO easy to use! You do need to remember to stretch it much more than if you were using self-fabric bindings, but the nature of the knit allows for that. It was fortunate that this cream rib knit was already in my stash. I’d looked for other matching (or even dramatically contrasting) rib knit trim without success before returning to the depths of stash to find this one.

Selvage Designs Soleil dress

Stella calls this her “happy dress” – what more could I ask for!

Back from Sewjourn

Three trips to Sewjourn in one year – I do feel rather blessed.

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And this time, I managed to pace myself a little better than usual! There were still plenty of finished projects, but I was in bed before midnight both nights.

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I sewed some repeat patterns and experimented with others. We enjoyed champagne and prosecco, and dinner at the pub.

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Although I mainly sewed for myself, there were some items sewn for the girls. Sadly Stella’s dress is way too big and will need some serious alteration. Not looking forward to all that unpicking – it’s a fully lined dress!

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There was a small sewing injury when I snagged my foot around a machine cord and somehow managed to create a very sore bruise – and it was my pedal foot! I bravely soldiered on.

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So over the course of the weekend I sewed ten items. And feel rather positive about most of them! There were some wonderful garments produced by the group, many of which I rather wanted to steal. It’s lovely to share ideas.

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Proper blog posts on all the items that I made, with details of the patterns and fabrics used (and hopefully decent photos) should appear over the next few weeks. Thanks again to my wonderful sewing companions. I had a blast!

EDITED TO ADD:  A few people have asked about how you go about having a “Sewjourn” type of weekend.  It’s easy really – grab a few like-minded friends, find a place that you can rent for the weekend – preferably one that is set up for craft retreats (such as Sewjourn or The Retreat or Millhouse Retreat, all of which are near Melbourne but if you do some googling and research I bet there would be plenty of other appropriate places), load up the car with your sewing projects and equipment – and some chocolate and champagne – and off you go!  It’s about diarising the weekends, choosing somewhere not too far from home in order to maximise sewing time instead of travelling time, and the rest is up to you.

Tessuti Ruby top

There are a few remnants in my stash that are just enough to make a top or a blouse.  I don’t wear collared shirts very often (actually, I don’t think that I wear them at all nowadays) so when the Tessuti Ruby pattern came out I thought that it may well be the perfect pattern for using up some of those remnants.

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The fabric is a cotton/silk blend from Darn Cheap Fabrics, and it was oh so lovely to work with. Not too slippery, because of the cotton content, yet retaining that lovely light and silky feel. Definitely a fabric blend that I want to use more often! Because it is slightly sheer it was always destined for a simple top. Tessuti describe the Ruby as follows: Ruby Dress/Top – this simple sleeveless top/dress features a high neckline, cutaway armholes with self binding on armholes and neckline plus keyhole back opening. The style is slightly flared at the hemline and makes a perfect floaty garment for the warmer months. Suitable fabrics for this top/dress include light to medium weight linens or linen blends, rayons, viscose and silks.

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Looking at the photo of the back, I wonder whether it could do with a bit more flare at the back or if it is simply sticking to my jeans? Anyway, I really like this top. So simple, but nicely cut. I was very hesitant about it at first because I could tell that it would need either a strapless or cross back/racer back bra. But what do you know, I do have a convertible bra that will cross at the back, and it works just fine underneath. I really don’t like my straps showing!

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I made straight size 12, as per my measurements. I did do a few things slightly differently to the pattern instructions. Rather than interfacing the back opening facing and just neatening the edges, I cut two of the back facing, interfaced one of them, then sewed them together right sides together, leaving the top neck edge open. Then when I turned it right sides out I had perfectly enclosed edges. The seams of this top are french seams, so I really wanted the entire finish enclosed. Having the double layer of fabric also makes it a bit stronger and in this light fabric it doesn’t really add bulk.

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The other thing that I did was raid my daughters’ hair elastics for one that matched to use as a loop closure, rather than doing a thread loop. I find these more sturdy and the elastic helps with getting the top on and off. I can actually slip this top on and off without undoing it.

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The other thing is what I SHOULD have done differently. I followed the instructions for applying the binding, which meant that I was then having to stitch in the ditch from the right side hoping that it would all catch the fold of the binding on the wrong side (and no, it didn’t and I had to re-do parts). So next time I will follow my own advice as detailed a couple of blog posts back: When binding necklines, armholes and hems like this it is much simpler and neater to apply the binding to the WRONG side of the garment, then turn it to the outside of the garment and topstitch in place, enclosing the seam allowances and covering the seamline. This way you will make sure that the binding is secure and the stitching will be straight and even on the outside. It won’t matter if it wavers a fraction on the inside. Or else you can apply it as instructed and then hand-stitch the binding in place on the inside if you don’t want any visible stitches on the outside.

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I have cut out another Ruby, in dress length, and am planning on getting it sewn this weekend at Sewjourn! Yes, I am off again!  A fraction too close to Christmas for comfort, but conversely at an ideal time to stop and smell the roses before the last week of school and all the associated activities.  I’m looking forward to it!

Flo and Ginger

I realise that some of you have been waiting for this blog post with baited breath – because like me, you couldn’t resist the appeal of a pattern named the Flat Bottom Flo!

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I think that I ordered this pattern almost the second it was released, and sewed it up when I was at Sewjourn at the beginning of November. The line drawing and pattern description from the website are as follows:

Every butt has a different shape! This stretch pull on pant is for those with a flatter bottom. The back side seam comes to the front giving this slightly narrow legged pant a slimming look and the back yoke adds to this flattering shape.

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I used a grey/beige with fluoro yellow spots stretch bengaline from Super Cheap Fabrics in Brunswick for what I was hoping would be a wearable muslin. These are size 12, and despite making my usual “short person” alterations by folding out some of the length both above and below the knee, I still had to chop another couple of inches from the bottom before hemming.

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But as far as the fit is concerned, I’m really pleased! Since I made and photographed these I’ve actually lost a bit of weight, and reckon that I could have actually made my usual Style Arc pants size which is size 10. Yes, I can see those wrinkles at the back thigh, but otherwise the fit is great around the waist, hip and bottom, and you do need to be able to move in your clothes! I rather like the way that the seam is shifted towards the front, although apparently that isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. And the back yoke is lovely too. All in all, I am very pleased with these pants and will be returning to this pattern regularly.

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The top is the Style Arc Ginger. The fabric came from Darn Cheap Fabrics, and is a burn out type of knit. From the Style Arc website:

This is the top of the season made simple. Clever drafting makes this top easy to sew without losing the look.
All in one sleeve, full front wrap with shoulder tucks falling into a draped bodice.

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This was not super easy to sew, but only because of my fabric choice. I did have to take my time and read and process the instructions, but I’m very pleased with the end product. I made size 12.

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I’d like to give this pattern another whirl – it works beautifully in a drapey knit, and would be fantastic in a viscose jersey. I really like the completed outfit, and will definitely sew both patterns again. Another Style Arc win for me!

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