adult's clothing · sewing

Style Arc Adeline (again)

Style Arc Adeline dress in African wax cotton from Dusseldorf

This is the fourth Adeline that I have sewn – but I daresay that it will not be the last! I’ve sewn two for me (one now resides in my cousin’s wardrobe) and one for my Mum. Mum definitely wants another one too!

Style Arc Adeline dress in African wax cotton from Dusseldorf

Because I’ve sewn this dress so many times it was actually very quick to sew it again. I used the shortened pattern that I used last time, in size 12. No other alterations.

Style Arc Adeline dress in African wax cotton from Dusseldorf

I really do love this pattern. It’s such an easy style to wear! The V neckline is terrific – I stitch the facing down to provide a nice topstitching detail. Not that you can really see the topstitching on this fabric!

Style Arc Adeline dress in African wax cotton from Dusseldorf

From the Style Arc website: Great designer style dress which is easy to sew and wear. The slight cocoon shape and its roll up sleeve makes give this style a casual but trendy look. FABRIC SUGGESTION Linen, Silk, Crepe.

adeline-dress

Isn’t that fabric superb?  It’s African wax cotton that my sister-in-law Jeanette brought back from Dusseldorf when she visited Europe earlier in the year.  She’s great at giving me fabric souvenirs from her travels!  And she actually brought back enough of the fabric for both of us to make and Adeline – hers is in progress as I type!  Matchy-matchy sister-in-law!  It makes me giggle every time I think of it. And yes – we will get photos.

Style Arc Adeline dress in African wax cotton from Dusseldorf

Once again I have nothing but praise for this pattern. It’s terrific.

adult's clothing · sewing

Leni and Besharl

Those of you who read my blog regularly know that I am a sucker for Style Arc pants – especially (probably only) those with an elasticised waist.  I’ve already sewed the Style Arc Besharl jacket (the Besharl top is currently cut out awaiting construction) – here are the Besharl pants!

Tessuti Leni top and Style Arc Besharl pants in Thai cotton

I had a length of Thai cotton in stash with embroidery running lengthwise near the selvage. I thought it would be fun to use the white embroidery as a feature near the pants hemline. This meant I had to cut the pants out on the cross grain. I made my usual alteration of shortening the pattern pieces about an inch and a half before cutting out.

Style Arc Besharl pants in thai cotton

These pants have a fun tucked at the bottom of the outer side seam. It’s easy to do and brings in the volume. The waistband is fully elasticised, with wide elastic encased inside a wide waistband and stitched down in lots of parallel rows. This means that you really need to get the length of elastic right for your waist. I probably could have cut the elastic a little shorter – these are fractionally on the loose side when I wear them.

Style Arc Besharl pants in thai cotton

Size wise, I sewed the 12 pant. I often sew size 10 in Style Arc pants – especially those in a stretch fabric – but with my weight gain thought that I’d be better off trying the 12 in a woven. My hips are close to Style Arc’s size 12 measurements (my waist is WAY bigger – hence the choice of elastic waisted pants) and overall I think these fit quite well.

Style Arc Besharl pants in thai cotton

From the Style Arc website: In a relaxed yet tailored fit, these pants have an elastic waist band and inseam pockets. The cleverly designed tuck at the hem gives these pants the on trend look of the season. Go casual with our Besharl Tee and flat sandals or add our Besharl Jacket for a more sophisticated look. FABRIC SUGGESTION Linen, rayon, crepe or even a knit fabric.

besharl-pant

You’ve already noticed that I also made a top from the same fabric.  It’s the Tessuti Leni top, with a couple of modifications. The main one is an increase in the length. I also left off the hem facing and just stitched a narrow hem.

Tessuti Leni top (lengthened and no hem facing) in thai cotton

Once again I was playing with limited fabric quantities, so figuring out the most effective layout was a challenge. I thought hard about how to best align and centre the embroidery along the bottom of the front – then after I had cut the front pieces out I realised that I had oh so carefully cut it out in a way that did not centre the motifs at all! It’s going to annoy me forever, but there wasn’t enough fabric left to recut. It was much easier to align the embroidery along the back yoke.

Tessuti Leni top (lengthened and no hem facing) in thai cotton

I’d sewn this top once before. It didn’t make it to the blog – I took a couple of quick photos, and rapidly realised that despite the fabric being rather lovely I would never wear a top quite that cropped, with a hemline that stood away from the body quite that much. It has however been re-homed.

Tessuti Leni top

The green version was sewn in size Medium, which is a size smaller than Tessuti suggest for my bust measurement. I reprinted and cut size Small for the navy version, added around three inches to the length by inserting a section mid-way through the pattern pieces, and eliminated the hem facings. I also cut wider strips of bias from the fabric scraps to bind the armholes with, rather than using them like a narrow facing turned to the inside.

Tessuti Leni top and Style Arc Besharl pants in Thai cotton

From the Tessuti website: This boxy, cropped style features a narrow v-neck, extended sleeve and a lovely wide hem with facing. The Leni Top pairs perfectly with high-waisted pants, shorts and skirts. Suitable for woven fabrics e.g. good quality, medium weight linen, crisp cotton, silk dupion, jacquards, pique cotton etc. Not suitable for very stretchy or fine fabrics. 

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I’m pleased with this top and pants combination. The top was a good pattern for a situation where I needed to play a bit of pattern tetris – there are a few pieces and I was able to move things around to maximise the fabric that was available to me. I always like a V neckline, and the neckline facing makes the top sit well. All in all this is a casual win.

Tessuti Leni top and Style Arc Besharl pants in Thai cotton

adult's clothing · sewing

Closet Case Charlie Caftan

Oh, what a nice lot of alliteration that title was!  Yes,  I sewed the Closet Case Patterns Charlie Caftan – although I sewed view A, which is hardly a caftan at all in my opinion.

Closet Case Patterns Charlie Caftan in linen from Tessuti

Now, I’ll say from the outset that there are things about this dress that I like and there are things about this dress that I don’t like. I’ll start with the things I don’t like. Firstly, I sewed size 14, in line with my bust measurement. It’s too big. I think that a 12 or even a 10 would have been fine. Secondly, the linen that I used (from Tessuti) was more substantial and a heavier weight than this pattern deserved. Combined with choosing a too-large size this means that the dress stands way away from the body and I think that I look rather huge in it. However, the dress standing way away from the body also makes it incredibly cool and comfortable!  I don’t think that every item in my wardrobe needs to be conventionally ‘flattering’ – I like to wear a bit of a variety of silhouette – and the print and colours are definitely very me.

Closet Case Patterns Charlie Caftan in linen from Tessuti

I’ve had the lovely linen in stash for a little while, and was working with quite a limited quantity when cutting out this dress. Because of fabric limitations I wasn’t able to pattern match the way I would prefer – especially at the side seams. It’s not too bad – the centre front skirt seam lined up beautifully – but not too great either.

Closet Case Patterns Charlie Caftan in linen from Tessuti

I really do like those front darts and the front inset piece. They’re a very nice detail! There have been lots of blog posts from a variety of people plus a sew along about getting the front inset sewn neatly – I think that I just followed the pattern instructions.

Closet Case Patterns Charlie Caftan in linen from Tessuti

I included the side seam pockets – in a mid weight linen like this one it I don’t find that the skirt gets dragged down too much by objects in the pocket. They do come in handy for a phone and a hanky! The pattern description from the pattern website is as follows:  Nothing says summer elegance quite as well as a dramatic caftan. Get Caftan Body ready with Charlie, a fresh take on this warm weather staple. All versions feature a deep V neckline, kimono sleeves, inset center panel and roomy pockets. View A is modern and architectural with striking pleats beneath the bust. For a softer, more romantic dress, Views B & C feature a gently gathered bodice with an optional waist tie for a figure skimming silhouette in two skirt lengths. You may also choose between a dramatically wide kimono sleeve, or one slightly higher cut for more coverage. SUGGESTED FABRIC Light to medium weight wovens such as linen, chambray, tencel, linen, silk, chiffon, rayon challis, crepe de chine, batiste and voile.

As I’ve already said, the linen that I used was right at the upper edge of the suitable fabric weight for this style.  I chose to sew the slightly higher cut sleeve, as per the diagram for view B.

Kelly Anorak jacket

I am quite keen to sew view C at some stage – I just need to get the size/fabric combination correct.  Overall I was quite happy with the instructions and drafting of this pattern – everything went together well – but I know that the finished dress is not ‘perfect’.  However, I am likely to wear it quite a lot!

Closet Case Patterns Charlie Caftan in linen from Tessuti

adult's clothing · sewing

Hot Patterns Trilogy Tunic

I was really hoping that I’d be able to squeeze a dress out of these fabric leftovers – but alas, no matter how I tried to wrangle it, there just wasn’t enough!  So a tunic it was.

Hot Patterns Trilogy tunic in rayon from Darn Cheap Fabrics

The fabric is a textured rayon woven from Darn Cheap Fabrics – I used it to make a jacket and had a fair bit left over. Because of the limited quantity there was not attempt made to balance or match the pattern – I just had to go with what I could do!

Hot Patterns Trilogy tunic in rayon from Darn Cheap Fabrics

The pattern is Hot Patterns Fast and Fabulous Trilogy dress, tunic and top. I’ve sewn the top a few times now, and was quite keen to sew it as a dress. Next time! I sewed this in size 10 from memory (but would need to check the pattern pieces to confirm) which is a couple of sizes smaller than Hot Patterns suggest for my measurements.

Hot Patterns Trilogy tunic in rayon from Darn Cheap Fabrics

I cut my own strips of bias to make fairly wide bias binding for the neckline and armholes. I applied the binding to the wrong side, then turned it to the front, enclosing the seam allowance, and top-stitched it in place from the front. It’s important to make the bias a decent width so you don’t run the risk of it fraying a little in the wash and threads peeking out (yes, I learned the hard way). It’s worked beautifully on this top.

Hot Patterns Trilogy tunic in rayon from Darn Cheap Fabrics

There’s not much more to say about this tunic! Great fabric, simple pattern, and easy to wear. Definitely fast too. I think that I prefer the top length on me to the tunic. It’s good for work though!

Hot Patterns Trilogy tunic in rayon from Darn Cheap Fabrics

children's clothing · kids clothing · sewing · tween

Hey June Woodstock tee

I’m a bit of a sucker for a novelty fabric, especially when it’s on sale.  I like the idea of fabrics and clothes being fun!  So when this fluoro stretch lace was on the $2 table at Darn Cheap Fabrics I picked up a couple of metres.  I bought a couple of metres of the yellow/green colourway as well, but that it still in stash.  The pink however has been transformed into tees – one for Stella and one for Clare!

Hey June Patterns Woodstock tee in fluoro stretch lace from Darn Cheap Fabrics

So, this is Stella’s tee. It is lace, so it does need something underneath it. Stella has chosen to wear a bright orange and pink crop top under her tee – the colours go exceptionally well! The pattern is the Hey June Patterns Woodstock Swing tee, which is a free pattern I have blogged about before. Once again this is size 12.

Hey June Patterns Woodstock tee in fluoro stretch lace from Darn Cheap Fabrics

Because I was dealing with lace I needed to think carefully about the finishes I would use and how I would construct the tee. I was able to buy matching fluoro thread from Rathdowne Fabrics, and ended up constructing the tee on the overlocker. I used the overlocker to do a rolled hem on the bottom of the tee, and I added strips of the fancy shaped lace edging onto the sleeve edges to act as a hem. I used matching elastic to bind the neckline, in the same way you would use fold over elastic. It wasn’t actually fold over elastic, but was wide enough to achieve a similar result with a bit of persuasion. It would have looked better if I’d pulled it a little tighter during application – but I didn’t, and re-doing it wasn’t really an option.

Hey June Patterns Woodstock tee in fluoro stretch lace from Darn Cheap Fabrics

Garments like this are fun to make. It’s far from perfect, but Stella has worn this one a few times already, so it’s clearly a welcomed addition to her wardrobe. Nothing like a bit of colour!

Hey June Patterns Woodstock tee in fluoro stretch lace from Darn Cheap Fabrics

adult's clothing · sewing

Style Arc Autumn dress

The second that Style Arc released the Autumn dress pattern earlier in the year I popped it into my shopping cart.  There were so many things about it that I loved!  As it turns out I didn’t get it sewn until a couple of weeks ago – but luckily, it was worth the wait.

Style Arc Autumn Dress in double gauze from Clear It

This is the perfect trans-seasonal dress for me. It’s loose, it has shoulder coverage, and such delightful details. That collar! The front V neckline with deep pleat! The amazing back cross-over pleat! A yoke! Curved hemlines! All the fun things.

Style Arc Autumn Dress in double gauze from Clear It

So, what does Style Arc say about this pattern? From the website: You will love this versatile dress that can be worn on any occasion. The knife pleat down the front and the crossed over knife pleat falling from the back yoke makes this dress a flattering alternative to add to your wardrobe. The extended shoulder line along with the stitched front detail, shirt tail hem line and inseam pockets really sets this great dress apart from the rest. FABRIC SUGGESTION Crepe, Silk, Linen, Tencel or any woven dress fabric.

autumn-dress

I chose to sew size 12, and to shorten the dress a bit at those handy lengthen/shorten here lines.  I’d already seen finished versions on a couple of people that had made me pause to considered what might be the best finished length on my 158cm tall frame.  I’m happy with my decision to shorten.

Style Arc Autumn Dress in double gauze from Clear It

This was not a super fast garment to sew. To sew the collar takes a little time, as does setting in the side seam pockets and getting the hemline curves neat and even. But what took me the longest was getting the back pleat right. It’s a very deep pleat – I found it most helpful to look at the markings on the pattern piece and photos/illustrations of the back of the finished dress in order to get it right. Both Mie and Meg have sewn this dress and provide illustrations and explanations of the back pleat if you need some assistance. Like most things, take your time, have a fortifying beverage (I was at Sewjourn when I made this) and just do it!

Style Arc Autumn Dress in double gauze from Clear It

So, on to the fabric. This is cotton double gauze (hence the wrinkles) from Clear It. I bought it a year or so ago – it’s such a wonderful colour! And it’s delightful to wear. It’s probably a little more structured than this dress is designed for, but it still works okay.

Style Arc Autumn Dress in double gauze from Clear It

Looking at these photos I wonder whether this pattern may have benefitted from a forward/rounded shoulder alteration – it looks as though it is slipping back a little on my shoulders. However it didn’t feel like that was an issue when I was wearing it.

Style Arc Autumn Dress in double gauze from Clear It

Mum has put in an order for this dress for summer! I have seen it around the blogs a bit – there are also lovely versions by Katherine and Paola.

Style Arc Autumn Dress in double gauze from Clear It

adult's clothing · sewing

Butterick 5883

A couple of weekends ago I went to a wedding.  It was a lovely wedding – very low key and relaxed.  The ceremony was attended by just 8 people in a registry office, then the bridal party joined the rest of the guests at a function room for canapes and drinks.  My friend and her new husband looked SO happy the entire time – I’m thrilled that they’ve found one another!  But the point of this blog post is what I wore (yes, let’s keep the focus on me and my sewing) – Butterick 5883.

Butterick 5883 in vintage John Kaldor polyester

This is a dress that has been in the works for quite some time. I’ve had the pattern for ages – actually, when I googled it for this blog post I notice that it’s now out of print, so if you’re interested in it I suggest you locate it sooner rather than later! It’s a Suzi Chin Maggy Boutique design. From the Butterick website: Bias, self-lined, pullover dress has front shoulder pleats, concealed front neckline slit, wrong side showing on right neckline and drape, left armhole binding, and very narrow hem. FABRICS: Crepe De Chine, Faille, Georgette. Unsuitable for obvious diagonals. Designed for light weight woven fabrics. 

b5883_a

b5883

This pattern was a bit of an “out there” one for me to sew.  Did you notice that bit about being cut on the bias?  In my experience bias cut dresses either skim over the body beautifully, or else they cling to every curve including the ones I don’t want to emphasise.    I really had no firm expectations about how this would turn out once it was finished and on my body.

Butterick 5883 in vintage John Kaldor polyester

I used vintage John Kaldor polyester from deep stash for the dress outer, and a slippery mid-weight poly something from the Darn Cheap Fabrics $2 table for the bias cut lining. The lining fabric matched my skin tone really well, and provided opacity as the red printed poly was just that teensy bit sheer. I finished the neckline and armholes of the lining with bias cut from the print, so that if they peeked through it wouldn’t be all that noticeable. As it turned out the lining stayed perfectly in place, and allowed the outer fabric to flow beautifully across my body – none of that clinging to curves that I feared might happen! I wish I’d thought to take some photos of the lining.

Butterick 5883 in vintage John Kaldor polyester

The cowly foldy bits (great technical terms there) are narrow hemmed. I managed a narrow double folded hem on the sewing machine, which was surprisingly easy in this fabric, but you could definitely do better doing a rolled edge by hand. The ruffle that is inserted into the one side seam wraps over to form a sleeve on that side of the dress, whereas the sleeve on the other side is a simple extended shoulder.

Butterick 5883 in vintage John Kaldor polyester I narrow hemmed the inserted ruffle piece, but once again it could have been done as a rolled hem by hand.

Butterick 5883 in vintage John Kaldor polyester

Butterick rate this pattern as “easy”. I’m not quite as certain about that rating. There aren’t masses of pattern pieces, but there is a whole lot of bias going on. The lining is not identical to the outer dress, and some thought needs to be given when attaching the lining to the dress. It’s fully attached to the back neckline, which finishes the back neckline nicely, but at the front the lining is a scoop neckline that is completely free of the dress. Like most things, if you mark the pattern pieces carefully and take your time it will all work out okay.

Butterick 5883 in vintage John Kaldor polyester

Now I’m trying to remember what size I sewed and whether I made any alterations. I actually sewed this dress what feels like ages and ages ago! Instagram tells me that I finished it in August, but I know that I cut it out last year. That one took a while! I suspect I sewed size 14, and looking at the finished length on me versus on the pattern illustration I possibly didn’t shorten it.

Butterick 5883 in vintage John Kaldor polyester

I felt very glam and stylish in this dress at the wedding!