McCalls 6841 vest

This top was a bit of an experiment.  I’ve sewn McCalls 6841 before, but in view C.  This is view A.

McCalls 6841 vest

MISSES’ TOPS: Loose-fitting, pullover tops have draped front, and back collar. Wrong side may show. A: self-lined back and very narrow hem for front hemline. B and C: front pleated drape and narrow hem.
Designed for Medium Weight Wovens and Knits.

McCalls 6841 vest

This was made from scraps of a Spolight polyester knit that were left over from an earlier failed dress project. Great colours and interesting print. There was very little fabric to work with, so I pieced the back pieces with a centre back seam that also enabled me to get a fantastic print effect.  I sewed up the size Medium. This fabric has tremendous drape, which is perfect for the front cowl neckline. There are only two main pattern pieces, plus strips of fabric for armhole bindings.  It is worth making just to figure out the drafting and construction, although I struggled a LOT to get the inside facing seams looking half decent.  But when I sewed it up and put it on Ada, I knew that I would never wear it.

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But I did know who would wear it and look fantastic in it – my friend Jen, who loves to layer and loves colour. So I gave it to her, and she wore it to work the next day layered over a long-sleeved tee and straight skirt. It’s a wonderful vest – that neckline is super low and could never be worn without a top underneath – and I’m so pleased that it worked for someone! Now to get photos of her wearing it….

Style Arc Tia Knit Wrap Dress

As regular readers of my blog know, I love a knit.  I love a dress.  I love a wrap.  And I especially love a knit wrap dress – even better when it is not REALLY a wrap dress and will fly open exposing leg whenever a breeze passes by, but is a “faux” wrap that has a full skirt piece underneath.

Style Arc Tia Knit Wrap Dress in fabric from Darn Cheap Fabrics

This is the Style Arc Tia. The description says: This is a designer wrap dress that is easy to make and easy to wear. Make it in stripe jersey for an eye popping look or choose a plain jersey for a more understated feel. The all in one sleeve and shaped front overlay gives this wrap dress a point of difference to this timeless style.  

How could I NOT make this in a stripe, when the illustration showed how effectively a stripe could be used and when the pattern pieces had placement markings on them to make it even easier?  This stripe cotton/spandex from Darn Cheap Fabrics was just the ticket for this dress.  Substantial without being heavy, and not super-drapey or super-clingly.  Just right for something fitted.  The rusty orange/red of the stripes really appealed to me too.

Style Arc Tia Knit Wrap Dress in fabric from Darn Cheap Fabrics

I made size 12, my usual Style Arc top/dress size. However, it’s a bit too tight through the mid-section for my apple shape, which is particularly evident when I look at these photos of the back. I am currently in the process of losing some weight, so by the time that summer really hits I think it will be fine. Otherwise I need to remember to cut it a bit larger through the middle if I make it again. I shortened it a few inches at the hemline, but otherwise didn’t alter anything. Half an inch out of the back bodice length would probably have been a good idea, however.  The shoulder curve keeps the extended sleeve sitting in the right place, and the neckline also sits smoothly and doesn’t gape. I actually followed the instructions and stabilised the neckline with elastic before turning it to the inside and twin needling. It’s worked rather well.

Style Arc Tia Knit Wrap Dress in fabric from Darn Cheap Fabrics

But check out that stripe matching! High fives to me! I took much more time cutting this dress out than I did in sewing it, in fact. There are only four pattern pieces – the back, the front (cut twice), the skirt (cut twice) and the front skirt overlay. Each piece had to be cut separately with a great deal of care taken to match the stripes and keep them all running from thinner stripes at the top to thicker stripes below. The fabric isn’t symmetrically striped – take another look at it – so there was a definite “top” to it.

Style Arc Tia Knit Wrap Dress in fabric from Darn Cheap Fabrics

I left off the belt – why would I want to cover up those perfect stripe intersections? I used loads of pins to hold everything where I wanted it before basting on the sewing machine then whizzing the seam through the overlocker. Hems were stabilised then turned to the inside and stitched with a twin needle.

Style Arc Tia Knit Wrap Dress in fabric from Darn Cheap Fabrics

I’m fairly sure that I’ll sew this pattern again, maybe in a print (which would be super fast to cut as well as to sew). It will be a great pattern for the warmer days when I don’t want to wear one of my usual sack style dresses.

Style Arc Carly jumpsuit

While I was making “fun” items, I made a jumpsuit.  Yes, a jumpsuit.  On a plump, short forty-six year old woman.  Quite different to Debbie in her recent vintage jumpsuit pattern mashup!

Style Arc Carly Jumpsuit in fabric from Darn Cheap Fabrics

What the heck, I say! Why not! In fact, why not make it in animal printed polyester satin from the Darn Cheap Fabrics $2 table?  Despite the recommended fabrics being crepe, rayon or silk?  Anne, I thought of you when I stroked that satin!

Style Arc Carly Jumpsuit in fabric from Darn Cheap Fabrics

Why not go absolutely all out! If making a “wearable muslin”, you may as well have fun with it!

Style Arc Carly Jumpsuit in fabric from Darn Cheap Fabrics

So, for the pattern diagram and description of the Carly Jumpsuit from the Style Arc website.

This very stylish jumpsuit features a cross-over blouson bodice with tucks falling from the shoulder line, into the channelled elastic waistline. This pant has no side seams. Optional welt pockets and a false fly.

Because I was making a hopefully wearable muslin, I left out the welt pockets and the false fly. It just made it all much faster. I had issues with the waistline casing – trying to follow the instructions there was rather disastrous. The casing just wasn’t wide enough to do what was requested. It needed to be at least double the pattern piece!  In the end I folded the casing width in half around the elastic then sewed the casing into the bodice and pants seam as I joined the two together. This means that on the outside of the jumpsuit you just see the bodice/pants seam – when not covered by a belt – but on the inside there is a narrow piece of fabric containing elastic. Clear as mud? It also means that this is probably shorter through the bodice than intended, but that isn’t a problem at my height.  The lack of side seams and subsequent impact on grain makes the legs twist around a bit, which is pretty obvious because of the darker wavy lines in the print.

Style Arc Carly Jumpsuit in fabric from Darn Cheap Fabrics

I sewed size 12, my usual Style Arc top/dress size (I often make a 10 in pants). I think the sizing runs pretty much true to the average Australian ready to wear. There’s no hiding the lower body bulges in this style – especially in this fabric. The bodice is slightly blousy, and it needs to be so that you can get the jumpsuit on and off! I find it quite easy to get into but I really do have to wriggle a little to get out of it. The neckline is pinned closed in these photos. I need to replace the pin with a proper snap! You can’t sew it shut or else you could never get it on or off. I shortened the pants quite a bit both above and below the knee, as I usually do. Otherwise there are no alterations.

Style Arc Carly Jumpsuit in fabric from Darn Cheap Fabrics

When I walked out in this my husband said “NO”. The kids liked it. A quick instagram/email poll of my sewing friends was divided, but mostly positive. I think that this jumpsuit would be great in a draper fabric, such as a rayon or silk crepe de chine. I would also feel better in it a couple of kilos lighter. But either way, I’m glad that I stepped out of my comfort zone and just gave this a go! Now I wonder if I will actually WEAR it?

a little bit of colour….

I am often heard saying “I do like a little bit of colour”.  Actually, I rather like quite a lot of it.  That’s not to say that I don’t also sew and wear neutrals, because I do, but I find it very difficult to resist purchasing fabrics like this one.

Tessuti Tokyo Jacket in digitally printed poly crepe from Darn Cheap Fabrics

Bright digitally printed polyester crepe – so bright that it is close to fluorescent! I came across this fabric at Darn Cheap Fabrics early in the year. It was in the remnant basket practically begging me to take it home – so I did. I have taken quite a while deciding what it should become, and in the end chose the Tessuti Tokyo Jacket.

Tessuti Tokyo Jacket in digitally printed poly crepe from Darn Cheap Fabrics

I used up every scrap of my fabric making this jacket. I went with my measurements and cut out the Large, but would possibly size down to a Medium if I made it again. I might make it again – it’s that bit more structured and shaped than many of the kimono style jackets that are very fashionable at the moment, and because of the collar band it stays nicely on my shoulders. The pockets are an unusual touch, but not hard to construct. Especially if you slow down and read the instructions!  The sleeves are a dolman style, cut in one with the body of the jacket.  The website description is as follows: Our Tokyo Jacket is a loose fitting, relaxed jacket with three-quarter length magyar sleeves. The neckline, cuffs and pockets are trimmed with a band that provides smart and simple detailing. This jacket is suitable for all ages and can be dressed up or down. Best made up in drapey fabrics such as viscose, polyester, wool crepe as well as medium weight silk. Not suitable for jersey fabrics.

Tessuti Tokyo Jacket in digitally printed poly crepe from Darn Cheap Fabrics

There wasn’t enough fabric for me to really play around with print placement, so it is what it is. I’d have preferred it if the dominant bird wasn’t doubled up in the way that it is, but beggars can’t be choosers. The cuffs mirror the pocket fold nicely, and overall construction was straightforward. Most was done on the overlocker, with topstitching on the machine. The fabric behaved surprisingly well during cutting, construction and pressing. This pattern would be gorgeous sewn in silk crepe de chine.

Tessuti Tokyo Jacket in digitally printed poly crepe from Darn Cheap Fabrics

So there you go – more than a little bit of colour, and definitely a great way to keep the fun in what I wear.

animal Myrtle

The name Myrtle makes me think of florals and gentle colours.  Not animal print.  Especially not shiny animal print.

Colette Myrtle in knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics

This was a second sew of the Colette Myrtle dress. Last time I sewed size Large, and was intending to sew the Medium this time. But I forgot. Oh well. It’s still quite wearable! I did make one substantial change,however. I cut the back bodice piece twice and lined the bodice completely, rather than just at the front. This meant that I didn’t need to bind the back neckline or armholes.  I did take around an inch out of the neckline when I cut the back bodice pieces by shifting the pattern piece across the fold at the neckline edge.

Colette Myrtle in knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics

(Oh my, that double chin! Eek!) I altered the construction by sewing the back bodice outer and lining together at the back neckline. Then I sewed the front and back together at the shoulder seams, outers together and inners together. The next thing was to finish the armhole seams. I laid the top down with the right sides out then rolled one armhole back around to meet its counterpart right sides together – the burrito method that is often used for yokes. I sewed around the armhole, pulled everything back around the right way, then repeated the process on the other side. After that it was a simple matter of sewing up the side seams with the front and back outers right sides together up to the armhole and the front and back linings right sides together as well. Oh, I should have photographed the process, but many of you will get the general gist of things. I should have stabilised the armholes and the back neck with fusible tape before sewing, but I didn’t and they grew a little bit. I was rushing and being lazy. Live and learn.

Colette Myrtle in knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics

The front neckline drapes beautifully in this fabric. I love the way that the cowl falls in a V shape. I took a fairly deep hem and sewed it to just above the knee. The elastic in the waistline casing is very soft and quite wide, which makes it very comfortable to wear. It sits fairly high up, even on my short torso.

Colette Myrtle in knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics

So there she is, my animal print Myrtle! The fabric is a very soft and stretchy knit and came from Darn Cheap Fabrics. A very satisfying sew.

Colette Myrtle in knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics

By Hand London Victoria blazer

I had high hopes for the By Hand London Victoria blazer.  After all, it isn’t every day that I pay that much for a pattern!  But for some reason, I put off actually making it.  Maybe I was distracted by something else…oh look, new, bright, shiny…. Anyway, it worked out well for me that I did hold off for a little while, because the lovely Rachel started making one but half way through didn’t like it on her, and passed it on to me!  So this blazer is actually a combined effort – Rachel provided the fabric and made the outer; I added the cuffs and the lining and sewed it all together.  And kept it.

By Hand London Victoria blazer

First things first: this is the BEST fabric. It is metallic coated linen and it’s just superb to work with! This was the left-over fabric from a beautiful jacket that Rachel made a couple of years ago.  Very special stuff.  It creases the second that you look at it but that doesn’t seem to matter because it is so lovely.  I lined the jacket in some fabric that I think Anna gave to me – goodness, this really is a combined effort!  It is lovely and slippery and makes the jacket very easy to wear.  The pattern description reads: The Victoria is a casual blazer featuring 3/4 length sleeves, a turned up French seamed cuff and side seam pockets, with cropped and sleeveless variations. Designed with a generous amount of ease for a laid back style, this blazer is the perfect throw-it-over-everything wardrobe staple.

By Hand London Victoria blazer

But what you really want to know is what I thought of the pattern overall, isn’t it! Well, I’m not convinced. There are things about it that I really like. The shaping around the neckline is lovely. The rest of the blazer is very boxy, which I rather like too. Everything fitted together well and the sleeves set in nicely. The cuffs are attached with a french seam, so they look attractive if folded back or left down. By the way, the collar and cuffs of this blazer were sewn with the reverse of the fabric out – they’re exactly the same linen, just the non-metallic side.

By Hand London Victoria blazer

BUT – I don’t especially like the lapels. And I noticed that in most of the photos I have seen of this jacket, people are holding the lapels flat. Otherwise they open up and flap around and don’t lie back against the rest of the jacket, possibly because they aren’t really an integral part of the blazer fronts with a roll line but are just sandwiched between the blazer outer and the lining. At the back the collar is very narrow and doesn’t even cover the neckline/stand seam.

By Hand London Victoria blazer

I think that the biggest issue with this blazer is that it is lined edge-to-edge. There aren’t facings down the front edges or especially along the hemline, so as designed it’s difficult to get the hem to sit flat without the lining either peeking out or pulling it up. This all adds up to a relaxed casual style, but I’d prefer my blazers to have a little more structure to them. Not much – after all, and I am huge fan of stretch fabrics and cardigans, so I’m not looking for heavily tailored structure – but enough to have everything lie where it should lie.

By Hand London Victoria blazer

All that said, I will wear this blazer. I think that this pattern would look rather good without the collar or lapels, as the shaping around the neckline is rather lovely, but it could benefit from facings through that area.  However, I won’t rush to make up this pattern a second time.

In-House Patterns Kimono Tee

This pattern was on my Pinterest board of “pattern ideas” for a little while, but not a long while – my “buy it now” finger got too itchy one Friday night after work and a glass of wine!  I was rather certain that this was a pattern that would suit me.  And yes, I think that the finished product bears that out!

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The pattern description from the website says: This is the perfect pattern for quick sewing and easy wear. Designed specifically for knit fabrics and a D bust cup, this top features a contrast lace yoke, front bodice gathering, and flattering “V” neckline. The extended shoulder line and easy fitting bodice will keep you cool and stylish all summer long. The top also features a centre front and centre back seam for added interest and gives you the option to make this a colour block style. This is a multi-size downloadable PDF sewing pattern in women’s sizes XS – XL. This pattern is great for a beginner; an expert will find it a breeze!

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I took a punt on sizing and cut out size Medium, even though my bust measurement was more like the Large. The pattern is designed for a D cup – and I’m a C cup – so I figured that there would be enough ease in the finished design to accommodate and the Medium would be better around my upper chest and shoulders. I didn’t make any alterations to the pattern at all, and am very pleased with the fit.  The gathers are a lovely feature and help it to sit just right.  I used both the sewing machine and the overlocker during construction.

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And yes, it was easy to construct. I used the last scraps of my Tessuti Jaywalk fabric, and barely managed to get the front and back pieces out of them. The back is actually pieced together! The top has a centre front and centre back seam, but both could be left out if you like and the pattern cut on the fold (although the V-shaped neckband is definitely easier to attach with that centre front seam). The yoke is from some black pleather (pleather – a fancy word for FAKE LEATHER made out of some type of polyurethane, I suspect) that was in the stash. I wore this on the weekend with black Style Arc Elle pants and my Collette Dinnigan scarf (made by buying a length of fabric then hemming the edges on the overlocker) and felt very smart!

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And yes, there is already another Kimono Tee cut out…