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:

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.
Easy to Intermediate. Comes with illustrated, step by step instructions.
6-18 multi-sized pattern
View size charts
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.

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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Eva the third

I had a flying visit to Canberra in late October for my aunt’s 90th birthday celebrations.  While I there I managed a very quick trip to Addicted to Fabric.  Wow, what a wonderful fabric shop!  Large, light, bright and friendly.  And in addition to many beautiful fabrics, they had a number of sample garments hanging up on display.  Many of these were the Tessuti Eva dress, made in printed cotton sateens.  I have made the Eva twice before, but always thought of it made from fabrics like linen.  But after I saw these samples I was convinced – I needed one in cotton sateen!

Tessuti Eva dress in cotton sateen

As with my previous versions, I used size Medium. I have wondered a few times if I should downsize to the Small, but I know that in wearing – in contrast to when standing for photos – I prefer my garments to have more ease rather than less. I just find it more comfortable. I also shortened the skirt by taking a significant fold out of the pattern piece of the lower skirt.

Tessuti Eva dress in cotton sateen

In the sateen the lantern shape of the skirt is emphasised. It doesn’t collapse, but rather it becomes more sculptural. I really love this effect! I also copied Addicted to Fabric by using bias bindings around the edges rather than using bias binding as facings turned to the inside, as per the instructions. This makes the armholes and neckline a little smaller, and it makes them a little more defined and sculptural like the skirt shape. I also bound the hemline.

Tessuti Eva dress in cotton sateen

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. This is the opposite to the instructions for the binding on the Tessuti Ruby top, where you are directed to attach the bindings to the outside, turn to the inside enclosing the seam allowances, then stitch in the ditch to secure. It is SO difficult to do that stitching in the ditch neatly on the outside while ensuring that you catch all of the folded edge on the inside. Unless you prefer to hand-stitch your bindings in place on the inside, try doing things the opposite way as I just detailed. I’ve recently made a Ruby top and followed their binding instructions rather than doing it my own way, much to my chagrin!

Tessuti Eva dress in cotton sateen

The fabric was a gift from Anna, and it’s just perfect for me! Thank you so much! I really, really like this dress, and will definitely be using this pattern again. It fits right into my lifestyle – and my Funkis clogs and Elk jewellery work really well with it too.

Marilla Walker Sailor’s Dress

As most of you know, I buy plenty of sewing patterns.  There are more patterns in my collection than anyone could ever possibly use – especially because the collection started back in the late 1980s and has exploded exponentially over the last few years.  Pdf patterns have been a dangerous addition to the pattern world.  It is SO easy to just click that button and buy a pdf pattern, especially after a glass of wine on a Friday night.  Many of my friends are aware that I generally have a $10 maximum price limit for pdf patterns (which I will break for Oliver + S but rarely for others), which is one of the appeals of Lekala patterns.  After all, pdf patterns take a whole lot more work for the sewer than a printed pattern, and I’m the one paying for the paper, ink, sticky tape and packaging.  So I find it REALLY hard to resist a cute pdf pattern that is FREE.  Like this one – the Marilla Walker Sailor’s Top/Dress.  What did I possibly have to lose?  Other than some paper, ink, fabric and thread, that is.

Sailors Top as Dress by Marilla Walker in striped knit

Oh boy, those narrow stripes strobe terribly on my computer monitor! This is a one size pattern, pretty much a UK/Australian size 12, but since it’s such a relaxed fit I checked the finished measurements and figured that it would work okay. Despite being super simple in many ways, there are some lovely details that elevate this a little above the ordinary tee shirt dress. Especially the underarm gussets.

Sailors Top as Dress by Marilla Walker in striped knit

See those little squares? They give terrific range of movement. I constructed this dress entirely on the sewing machine, which gave me the ability to control where the seams of the gusset stopped and started. The instructions were okay, but if you haven’t inserted underarm gussets before you might want to research them a little. I didn’t have any hassles. The other terrific detail is much more obvious – the shoulder gussets! These give the shoulders and neckline shape, and are super easy to do.

Sailors Top as Dress by Marilla Walker in striped knit

The nicest thing about the neckline though is the binding that both stabilises the inside and adds a bit of hidden fun. I used contrasting bias binding, because that was what I had nearby.

Sailors Top as Dress by Marilla Walker in striped knit

The neckline is the same height at the front and the back – actually, this dress doesn’t really have a front or a back; it doesn’t matter which way around you wear it. That does mean that the front neckline is fairly high, so you might want to be aware of that if you don’t like the feeling of fabric high up against your neck. Otherwise, there’s not much more to say! I might wear it with the sleeves rolled up next. The top is just a shorter version of the same pattern. I might copy Sarah and make a sleeveless version with contrasting shoulder gussets – imitation as flattery!

Sailors Top as Dress by Marilla Walker in striped knit

This pattern is wonderful with stripes, as the shoulder gussets play with them so beautifully. And did I mention that it is free? Four of us tried it on at Sewjourn, all different heights and different shapes, and we were surprised that it looked good on all of us. Of course, it won’t fit all sizes, but wouldn’t be hard to to adjust to make it larger or smaller, since it is essentially based on rectangles.

Sailors Top as Dress by Marilla Walker in striped knit

The fabric I used was a cream and olive green/grey stripe that I suspect came to me from Anna’s stash. It is a lovely quality with a bit of substance without much cling, which is perfect for a dress like this one.  Such an easy casual dress for casual weekends.

don’t say I never sew anything for my husband

Because while we were away at Sewjourn, I sewed him these:

Kwik Sew 3298 briefs

They are a “wearable” muslin of Kwik Sew 3298 briefs, view B. They were made from cotton/lycra scraps that were lying on the floor, combined with fluorescent yellow elastic that I was in my stash. They were actually rather fun to make, and quite quick. Most construction was on the overlocker, with the machine used just to attach the waistband elastic (poorly as you can see) and to hem the legs. I’d like to make more for him, but need to go down a size – the size I used was the pattern size already cut out, and I suspected that they would be too big. But it was worth making them just to watch the girls laugh hysterically when I showed them what I’d made for Daddy while I’d been away.  And to watch them laugh even more when they persuaded him to try them on.

He refused to model them for the blog, so the Kwik Sew pattern envelope guy will have to do.