Ethereal and Swoon

Sometimes garment pattern names provide me with interesting blog titles that are a little beyond the prosaic.  Ethereal and Swoon?  That provides for all sorts of mental images!  So here is the reality.

Figgys Ethereal dress and Swoon Scarf Neck Cardi in knit from Darn Cheap fabrics

Both these patterns are repeats. The dress is the sleeveless version of the Figgy’s Ethereal dress, which I’ve made for Clare before here and for Stella before here. I left out the buttoned opening at the back and simply cut it on the fold.

Figgys Ethereal dress in knit from Darn Cheap fabrics

Size wise, this is the largest size that the pattern goes up to, which is the 8/9 years. There is plenty of width in it, and both the bodice and skirt length could easily be altered for a larger size. Clare is 11 and a half years old now. We cut the skirt to the second longest length, which I think is meant to be roughly knee length. It’s definitely above her knees, at a length that she rather likes.

Figgys Ethereal dress in knit from Darn Cheap fabrics

The armholes are rather low, so be aware of that if you are making it. Not too low to wear, but they do show her camisole underneath. I used the zig-zag stitch on my sewing machine to hem the dress and secure the bodice lining around the raised waistline seam. Construction was shared between the overlocker and the sewing machine. The edge of the bodice flounce was roll hemmed using the overlocker, in a contrasting mustardy shade.

Figgys Ethereal dress in knit from Darn Cheap fabrics

The jacket is once again the Swoon Patterns Scarf Neck Cardigan. Construction was entirely on the overlocker, although hems were turned once and secured with a zig-zag stitch on the overlocker.

Figgys Ethereal dress and Swoon Scarf Neck Cardi in knit from Darn Cheap fabrics

This is also the largest size, which I think is a 9/10. Plenty of room for winter and possibly also for next. Clare really likes these cardigans – she wears the other one frequently and this one is also entering into high rotation. She likes it with jeans too. Clare sometimes wraps it around and tucks it at the edges for a different look, but it mostly just hangs free.

Figgys Ethereal dress and Swoon Scarf Neck Cardi in knit from Darn Cheap fabrics

The fabric is from Darn Cheap Fabrics, from the $2 per metre table. I passed it over the first time I spotted it, because it’s not something that I would wear, but then I reconsidered it for Clare. And as it turns out, Clare really likes it! It’s a knit, probably acrylic, and fairly stable. Once again, not the type of fabric recommended for the Ethereal dress, but it works.

Figgys Ethereal dress and Swoon Scarf Neck Cardi in knit from Darn Cheap fabrics

You’ve seen the striped leggings before – they are from the Go To Patterns Leggings pattern. I rather like the way that Clare has styled this outfit – maybe a little influenced by our attendance at the screening of Pretty In Pink that was recently held at the Westgarth Cinema. (Clare really enjoyed the movie, but did giggle often because there was “lots of kissing”).

Figgys Ethereal dress and Swoon Scarf Neck Cardi in knit from Darn Cheap fabrics

This is the last garment that I have planned for the girls for a little while. Although there will be a Grade Six graduation dress to make for Clare soon, and Christmas dresses won’t be far behind. It’s a good thing that I enjoy sewing for them!

StyleArc Simone cardigan (again)

Yes, I repeat patterns.  This is my second StyleArc Simone cardigan.  But it won’t be my last.

StyleARC Simone cardi

This is another example of what difference a change of fabric can make. The last time I made this I used a very soft, rather thin, crinkled wool jersey. This time I used a much more substantial ponte and the resulting cardigan is far more structured.

StyleARC Simone cardi

Yes, this is the same fabric that I made Stella’s Swoon cardigan from. Matchy matchy. It’s from Clear It, and I think it’s from the Alannah Hill range. It’s rather spongy, and was hell to twin needle. I decided to use a zig-zag to stabilise the neckband and secure hems instead, with much better results. The rest of the construction was on the overlocker. This is a very straightforward cardigan to sew.

StyleARC Simone cardi

The pockets are far more architectural in this fabric, and don’t really drape. I still rather like them – it’s just a different look to the one in the pattern illustration.

The sleeves are the right length for me, but I rather like them folded up a couple of times. Or in beautiful spring-like weather, pushed up quite a bit! I made this in size 12, and it’s quite generous in fit.

StyleARC Simone cardi

This is a real wardrobe workhorse garment. It’s more than a little bit bright, but that makes it more than a little bit fun!

cocoon cardigan

There are so many talented people sharing information free on the internet.  One of those talented and generous people is Kelli from True Bias.  When I read her tutorial for a Cocoon Cardigan I quickly filed it away for future reference and just the right piece of fabric.  When I came across some soft merino jersey in Rathdowne Fabrics a little while ago I knew that it was time to get the tutorial out.

True Bias Cocoon Cardigan

This was a very straightforward garment to make, and it’s one size fits most. I am quite short, and if I make it again I’ll remove some of the depth so that it isn’t quite so long. However, I was looking for a comfortable, cozy, slouchy garment, and this is what I got!

True Bias Cocoon Cardigan

There are gathers at the upper back to the neckline for some shaping around the body, and this is a very straightforward sew. Kelli’s instructions are terrific, and in this jersey the cardigan folds and falls in a very soft and warm way.

True Bias Cocoon Cardigan

I used vliesofix tape to stabilise hem edges before twin stitching them in place. Interestingly, I recently acquired a vintage pattern that includes a very similar cardigan, although for a woven! Everything old is new again.

vintage Vogue 8458

If you’re looking for a quick sewing fix that doesn’t really require fitting, or to make a gift for someone else, this is a wonderful tutorial to use.  I have worn mine surprisingly often this winter!

True Bias Cocoon Cardigan

pyjamas for Clare

Clare has been asking for new winter pyjamas for ages.  I finally sewed up a couple of pairs just before we left for Thailand – and she definitely didn’t need winter pyjamas there!

pyjamas for Clare - Oliver + S Hopscotch top and Ottobre pants

I used the same patterns that I usually use for pyjamas – the Oliver + S Hopscotch for the top, and Ottobre 06/2009, no.35 for the pants. When Oliver + S digital patterns were last on sale I bought a digital copy of the Hopscotch pattern, as I keep on using it and it’s easier to reprint it each time I need to go up a size. I used size 10 for the top, and traced the Ottobre pants in their second largest size. As it turns out the pants are a little big, and Clare has to fold over the waistband to keep the crotch from hanging halfway to her knees. However she still finds them comfortable.

pyjamas for Clare - Oliver + S Hopscotch top and Ottobre pants

The floral is a cotton/lycra knit from Spotlight – I bought quite a bit at the time and you’ve seen it on the blog before but finally there is none left – and the stripe is a lovely cotton/lycra knit that was given to me and is now also all used up! I made two pair of pants and two tops, each trimmed with the other fabric. Clare can mix and match them however she likes.  Floral top with striped pants, striped top with floral pants, floral top with floral pants, striped top with striped pants.  As the mood strikes!

pyjamas for Clare - Oliver + S Hopscotch top

I’ve raved about the Hopscotch pattern before. It comes together so easily and so nicely! The v-neckline trim and front gathers are very pretty. I used a zig-zag to secure hems and for topstitching.

pyjamas for Clare - Oliver + S Hopscotch top

Not much more to report about these really – Clare should be right for winter for a couple of years now, and the last pairs have been handed down to Stella. It’s two years since I made these spotty ones!

pyjama top - Oliver + s hopscotch knit top; pyjama pants - Ottobre 6/2009 patt.35

Wow, haven’t they grown!

pyjamas for Clare - Oliver + S Hopscotch top and Ottobre pants

raglan Knitwit top

Raglan sleeves are so easy to sew.  Those simple diagonal seams (well, simple as long as your fabric is stable or you have stabilised the bias cut) are so straightforward to join; no sewing in the round or easing sleeve caps!  They lend themselves to casual styles, in my view.  I avoided raglan sleeves for a while because I didn’t think that they did my narrow shoulders any favours.  They probably still don’t, but that hasn’t stopped me from being drawn to raglan sleeved patterns recently.  I pulled an old Knitwit pattern out of stash to have a bit of a play.

Knitwit basic tee pattern (c) 1988

Yes, that IS an ’80s pattern. Copyrighted 1988, in fact. I did a Knitwit course back in 1990, and it was very useful in getting me comfortable with sewing knits.  You really don’t have to have an overlocker to sew knits – it was possibly another fifteen years before I bought an overlocker.  This course was a great introduction – it’s sad that the courses are no longer available.

I decided to give the raglan sleeved top a try, combining some fabrics that I had in stash. I cut size 14 (since that was already traced!) and whizzed it through the overlocker.

Knitwit raglan tee pattern (c) 1988

Yes, that is oversized, and yes, those are very low armholes! It’s pretty much a batwing look, and pretty much expected of a pattern from its era. The print fabric is a viscose jersey remnant bought from The Fabric Store a year or two ago, combined with a solid knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics for the sleeves.

Knitwit raglan tee pattern (c) 1988

The sleeves needed to be shortened about an inch. I added a simple neckband from the scraps of the jersey print, and twin-needled it to secure it.

Knitwit raglan tee pattern (c) 1988

This was very quick and easy to make, and I quite like the finished garment as a casual layering piece, but won’t use this pattern again in this form.   However, I’ll definitely be giving raglan sleeves another try.

I actually wore this top over a long-sleeved tee, with a scarf and jacket over the top, and was happy with the finished outfit – not that you can see much of the top in the photo below!  I am trying to remember to share how I actually wore my finished garments, as it gives a better idea of how things fit into my wardrobe and overall style.

Knitwit raglan tee pattern (c) 1988

Elle and Barb and Linda

Wow, that was some URTI!  I am still coughing and sneezing, but am definitely much improved thank goodness.  A few weeks ago I sewed up three pairs of StyleArc pants, and thought that you might like to see the similarities and differences.  Anne of Clothing Engineer has an excellent blog post about sewing StyleArc stretch woven pants here that is well worth reading.

These are all patterns that I have sewn up before.  All three are very simple pull-on styles with elasticised waistbands, designed for stretch wovens like stretch bengaline. They are all size 10, shortened both above and below the knee to accommodate my lack of height. I measure more like a size 14 or 16 around the waist, but the size 10 works better for my hips and because they are designed for stretch fabrics and have an elasticised waist they still fit me around the middle. I cut the waist elastic to the same size as the waistband (both smaller than my actual waist measurement) and that appears to work for me.

Firstly, the Elle pant. I made this in grass green ponte from Darn Cheap Fabrics.

StyleARC Elle pants in ponte

StyleARC Elle pants in ponte

Whoa, all those wrinkles along the back thigh! These are great from the front, but aren’t quite right at the back there. The ponte has the least stretch of all the fabrics I have made these in, which makes them firmer. However, I do need to be able to move in them.

Next up, the Barb pant, which has a wider leg than the Elle and I slightly higher rise. I made these in stretch bengaline from Style Arc.

StyleARC Barb pants in stretch bengaline

StyleARC Barb pants in stretch bengaline

It’s interesting to see the differences that varying the fabric type and leg width can make. Lastly, the Linda pant, which is a wider leg once again. These are made in a stretch woven from Darn Cheap Fabrics that is thicker and heftier than stretch bengaline, but stretches almost as much (which is quite a lot).

StyleARC Linda pants in heavy poly/lycra knit

StyleARC Linda pants in heavy poly/lycra knit

This is wonderful fabric to wear. It stretches in both directions and feels really comfortable, yet supportive around my middle. The paprika stretch bengaline is much lighter weight, and makes a bit of a noise as the legs pass one another. Both the Barb and Linda patterns are more for work, whereas the Elle are for casual. Well, that’s how they are for me anyway! Fabric choice really makes a difference to fit. I have made all three of these patterns in different fabrics now, and notice how some are far more flattering and comfortable and just fit better than others. And they are all the same size. I don’t suppose that others would notice, but for me it’s an interesting observation. And because I prefer photos of whole people rather than just bits of them, here are all three pairs of pants with the rest of me as well.  The top is the Maria Denmark Olivia Oversize Tee (blogged here).

StyleARC Elle pants in ponte

StyleARC Barb pants in stretch bengaline

StyleARC Linda pants in heavy poly/lycra knit

Oh look, same pose!  I am so predictable.  Looking at these photos again I realise how much weight I have gained – I possibly should have gone up a size.  Ah well, the benefits of hindsight!  It just makes that bit of difference to how well things hang.  Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while will be aware that my weight fluctuates quite a bit, which can be challenging in terms of what size to sew at any given time.  If my weight stabilises at its current level I will possibly grade these three patterns up a bit.  They’re such staples in my wardrobe!

 

more swooning

Well, it seems that Stella passed her URTI on to me.  But there is an upside – although we cancelled most social engagements over the weekend, and while I did feel rotten and still do – I didn’t feel so rotten that I couldn’t sew.  So while the kids rested up and watched tv and played with the dog and enjoyed the knitting nancy, I put the pedal to the floor and got quite a bit of sewing done.

Swoon scarf neck cardi in ponte from Clear It

This is the Swoon Scarf Neck Cardi, a free pattern for girls (and there is a women’s version). You’ve seen it before, on Clare. And you’ll see it again! I printed off a second copy (one of the advantages of pdf patterns) and quickly taped and cut the size 5/6 for Stella. Stella is 7 years old, but quite small.

Swoon scarf neck cardi in ponte from Clear It

The fabric is a super spongy ponte from Clear It (most likely from the Alannah Hill range). I’d already made myself a cardigan from it (as yet unblogged) and already knew that it would handle best with the overlocker for construction and a simple zig-zag stitch to secure the hems. So that is what I did. The edges were only turned once to the inside as the fabric is quite substantial but doesn’t fray, then zig-zagged along the edge.

Swoon scarf neck cardi in ponte from Clear It

On my monitor the fabric looks incredibly bright, and a fuchsia shade. In real life it is still bright, but more towards a candy shade of pink than a fuchsia. It is quite substantial, and clearly contains a fairly high percentage of lycra. Just perfect for a child’s cardigan. Stella styled it with a dress that I originally made for Clare, and a coordinating orange hair clip. I think she’s done a great job of her outfit!

Swoon scarf neck cardi in ponte from Clear It

I like the pointed hemline and the curved princess seams at the side fronts. Although very fast to make, it’s a fashionable style and has just enough detail to look quite “now”. Maybe I’d better tape up the women’s version of the pattern too.

Swoon scarf neck cardi in ponte from Clear It

And last but definitely not least, thank you all SO much for your lovely comments on the girls’ Eowyn and Ellie costumes.  I really enjoyed making them, and am pleased that you all seemed to enjoy seeing them as well!  And now time for more painkillers and a little more sewing…..