Style Arc Violet knit jacket – in a woven

The Style Arc Violet jacket is designed for knits – it’s even in the pattern title!  But that didn’t stop me from sewing it in a woven.

Style Arc Violet knit jacket in vintage wool woven

My lovely friend Tanya sent me this beautiful vintage woven wool a little while ago. I absolutely adore the colour. For a person who never used to wear yellow, I have definitely embraced the gold and mustard ends of that colour spectrum in recent years!

Style Arc Violet knit jacket in vintage wool woven

Note to self: make sure that you steam out all the fold creases before taking blog photos next time! Wool is such a beautiful fabric to work with. It shapes, eases and steams beautifully. This jacket was such a pleasure to sew.

From the Style Arc website: VIOLET KNIT JACKET: A master piece of pattern engineering, the clever architectural lines once joined together create a fantastic slightly cocooned jacket. You will love it!  We made our sample in a wonderful sweater knit. The small inseam pockets are optional.  FABRIC SUGGESTION: sweater knit or Ponte.

violet-jacket

I made the call to sew this in a woven after looking carefully at the pattern.  The only area that became tricky was the armbands.  They would have been easier to sew in a knit, and getting all the seamlines to align nicely took quite a bit of patience.  (There are some sweater weight boiled wool knits in at The Cloth Shop in Ivanhoe at the moment that would be absolutely perfect for this jacket…I wonder if I need another one….)  Otherwise the wool was lovely!

Style Arc Violet knit jacket in vintage wool woven

I did include the teensy inseam pockets. They are small, really only big enough for a hanky or a train pass, but are easy to construct.

Style Arc Violet knit jacket in vintage wool woven

The back neck is rather high, and when I’ve worn the jacket since these photos were taken I’ve turned the back neckline over to form a “proper” collar.

Style Arc Violet knit jacket in vintage wool woven

Style Arc are known for the quality of their drafting and the currency of their styles rather than their instructions, but I found the instructions were perfectly adequate for assembling what is a bit of a jigsaw puzzle garment. It is really important to transfer all markings and refer back to the diagrams in order to assemble this properly. Take your time, read carefully, and it all comes together as it should!

Style Arc Violet knit jacket in vintage wool woven

I sewed this jacket in size 12 without any alterations.  Although I was originally a little cynical about jackets and outer layers without sleeves, I have discovered that they are actually rather handy.  In Melbourne winters we are mostly in heated areas, so they provide warmth without getting overheated.  If I want to go for a walk in the crisp winter air, I’ll probably put on something with long sleeves, but otherwise these vest-like and short sleeved jackets work rather well!

Me Made May 2016 1st to 22nd May

I am taking photos for “Me Made May” again, and this is how I wore the Violet jacket last week. It’s a wardrobe winner.

Hot Patterns Athleisure Layer Cake Tee

Phew, that blog post title really is a mouthful!  I recently sewed the Hot Patterns (name of pattern company) Athleisure (name of pattern collection) Layer Cake Tee (name of pattern).

Hot Patterns Athleisure Layer Cake Tee - main fabric was a gift, stripe and print from Crafty Mamas Fabrics

I haven’t sewn many Hot Patterns designs, but lots of them appeal to me. Postage from the US used to be a killer and definitely put me off purchasing, but nowadays they have the option of pdf downloads, so have become more accessible. The pattern description from the Hot Patterns website is as follows:

Layering is one of the secrets to a truly fashion forward look, so let your T do all the work for you in this layered beauty, perfect for all those tissue and lightweight knits,
especially bamboo, modal, silk and rayon knits with a little stretch and a lot of drape. This one *will* also work in heavier knits like French terry, interlock and lightweight ponte or sweatshirting, but please proceed cautiously to avoid a bulky silhouette!

Relaxed-fit dolman sleeved pull-on knit top has an inserted wrap-over cowl neckline, and an inverted center back pleat. Top features a contrast V-neck faux-tank insert at the neck, plus contrast double-layer lower sleeves and a double layered hemline with a gentle frill.

This super-cool T is going to take your casual outfits to the next level…make this in different textures of your favorite solid color and teamwith matching or contrast yoga or track pants for a modern post-workout or lounging outfit, or try it in contrast colors and/or prints to wear with your favorite classic, skinny, bootcut or boyfriend jeans for a super-cool off-duty look.

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So, it seems that this is the Hot Patterns take on a ready to wear top.  Works for me!

Hot Patterns Athleisure Layer Cake Tee - main fabric was a gift, stripe and print from Crafty Mamas Fabrics

I am not fantastically confident with Hot Patterns sizing. I measured around a size 14-16, but from past experience and discussion on the Hot Patterns Facebook group I was fairly certain that I would need to go down at least one size. I cut and sewed straight size 12, but possibly could have gone down to a 10.

Hot Patterns Athleisure Layer Cake Tee - main fabric was a gift, stripe and print from Crafty Mamas Fabrics

As is usually the case, fabric choice is key. Although this top looks like a number of tops layered over one another, the only place where there really are two layers is the lower sleeve. The pattern under-top is attached to the body of the tee at the same seam as the cowl neckline. And the lower frill and striped fabric are attached only at the bottom hemline (which does make for a thick seam actually).

Hot Patterns Athleisure Layer Cake Tee - main fabric was a gift, stripe and print from Crafty Mamas Fabrics

Speaking of fabrics, the striped and the pattern fabric come from Crafty Mamas Fabrics. If you are after high quality European knits, it is definitely worth checking Crafty Mamas out. They’re pricey, but the fabric is superb. The solid fabric I used for the body of the tee was a gift from a generous friend, and had the perfect drape so that this garment didn’t get too bulky at the seams.

Hot Patterns Athleisure Layer Cake Tee - main fabric was a gift, stripe and print from Crafty Mamas Fabrics

This is not a quick sew, as there are a number of component parts to assemble. However, it’s quite enjoyable and very logical. I wasn’t overly thrilled with all aspects of the instructions. They suggested binding the neck edge of the cowl, but the method suggested would have been extremely bulky and interfered with the drape. I just turned that edge twice with a narrow hem, which worked well. The instructions for the centre back pleat also appeared odd to me.

Hot Patterns Athleisure Layer Cake Tee - main fabric was a gift, stripe and print from Crafty Mamas Fabrics

They had you sew two lines of stitching at the top and the bottom of the centre back (in addition to the centre back seam, which I eliminated by cutting on the fold). But by doing this, I ended up with what was effectively a double box pleat with the centre of one pleat directly above the centre of the other. If I made this again I’d just do one larger box pleat – and I suspect that was what was actually meant to happen but wasn’t written accurately in the instructions.

Hot Patterns Athleisure Layer Cake Tee - main fabric was a gift, stripe and print from Crafty Mamas Fabrics

Either way, I’m very pleased with my Layer Cake Tee. It’s fun and relaxed to wear, The fabrics coordinate beautifully, and I really like that it looks layered but isn’t! Just be careful with the sizing and the instructions if you choose to sew this pattern.

Hot Patterns Athleisure Layer Cake Tee - main fabric was a gift, stripe and print from Crafty Mamas Fabrics

Montville shawl

Some of you will remember that I crochet as well as sew!  My crocheting has really taken a back seat over the past few years.  I had a sore arm and shoulder, so stopped for quite some time as the motion of crochet was aggravating it.  Anyway, in recent months I’ve started up again.  I’m making sure not to crochet for too long in one sitting, and so far all seems to be going well!  In March I completed a Montville shawl.

Montville scarf in Poems Socks yarn colour 965 and Zarina colour 1628

This is a lovely pattern, simple to crochet but highly effective. I always enjoy Addydae Designs patterns – Deanne writes clear instructions and the finished product is always pleasing.

Montville scarf in Poems Socks yarn colour 965 and Zarina colour 1628

This was crocheted in a combination of Wisdom Yarns Poems Sock in the pumpkin patch colourway for the body, and Filatura Di Crosa Zarina in teal for the edging. I used a 4.5mm Tulip Etimo Rose hook, which I find very ergonomic.

Montville crocheted wrap

Further details from the Ravelry pattern page are as follows:

Montville is the second in the Hinterland series of shawl designs. Intended to showcase yarns with long colour changes, its asymmetrical shape and simple lace edge allow your feature yarn to take centre stage.  The Montville shawl is worked sideways with the edging added afterward. It can be made in multiple yarn weights according to your preference. Suited to the confident beginner, simply choose your favourite yarn, grab a hook and get started! Pattern includes both written and charted instructions. Approximate Size: 61”/156cm wide (around the curve) x 15.5”/40cm deep after blocking. Of course, this is a suggestion only. You can make yours as wide as you wish. Yarn: Whatever yarn you like! This design can be worked up using just about any fibre and yarn weight. Cotton, silk, alpaca and bamboo blends would be the most ideal as they are more likely to drape gently. But if you are after a squishy warm winter shawl, 100% wool will also work beautifully. Gauge: For this design, gauge is not critical.Simply aim for a soft fluid fabric suited to the yarn you have chosen.

Montville crocheted wrap

Vogue 9057 view D

2016-04-12 18.25.33

Vogue 9057 is the pattern that comes with the Tilton sisters’ Craftsy class, the Artful T-Shirt.  I really enjoyed the class, and although I’ve been sewing with knits for a long time I still learned a number of useful things that can be applied to sewing any tee.  Since the pattern came with the class, I thought that I’d better try it out!

v9057

Vogue 9057 view D in knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics

I sewed view D in an almost jumper weight knit from the Darn Cheap Fabrics $2 table. This knit doesn’t have a great deal of stretch and doesn’t appear to contain any spandex. It’s pretty much two-way stretch. I decided to sew size Medium (12-14) after checking the measurements of the pattern pieces. The envelope says that the 12-14 is for a 34-36 inch bust – well, mine is definitely more than that, but I knew from experience that there was likely to be adequate ease. I was right.

Vogue 9057 view D in knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics

I did take a decent fold out of both the front and back pattern pieces at waist level to shorten them to account for my height. I knew that these were likely to be quite long otherwise – once again, the tape measure helped to figure that out! I also didn’t pay much attention to the neckband pattern piece, but cut a long strip to the width I wanted and determined the length in the same manner as Gillian’s tutorial.

Vogue 9057 view D in knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics

Construction was shared between the sewing machine and the overlocker, with a zig-zag stitch used for finishing. I rather like the wide sleeve hem allowance included for the 3/4 view D sleeve – it would be very easy to apply the Craftsy class techniques to this pattern. Since making this top I have sewed view D a second time, and have sewn views B and C. I think eventually I will sew up every view. I like the fitted shoulder and upper chest to bust, with the gently flared body. Apparently the pattern is designed so that sleeves are interchangeable and necklines will nestle together – it’s a real mix and match pattern. I look forward to sewing more!

Vogue 9057 view D in knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics

Yet another Tessuti Fave top

If you’re after a fast, effective sew then I highly recommend the Tessuti Fave top (free pattern).

Tessuti Fave top in poly spandex knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics

This is another “one size fits most” pattern, so keep that in mind when you sew it up.  Because of the style it is fairly flexible.  I have sewn it without any body width or length alterations, but have lengthened the sleeves to full length.  This was done via the technical method of just keeping on cutting until I thought the length looked about right.

Tessuti Fave top in poly spandex knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics

This gives you an idea of the shape of this top. One pattern piece for the front, one pattern piece for the back. The sleeves are meant to be fitted, and indeed I think that if they weren’t the volume of the tee body would just swamp you. If you wanted to make this pattern smaller or larger it would be pretty easy to either slash and spread or to fold in to make it smaller. For reference, I’m 158cm tall, and wear roughly an Australian size 12 top in RTW.

Tessuti Fave top in poly spandex knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics

Fabric really is the key to making this top work. It needs to have loads and loads of drape. This poly/spandex from Darn Cheap Fabrics works perfectly. Lots of four-way stretch, which makes the fitted sleeves comfortable, and lots of drape so that it hangs down nicely. You really do need to choose something that flows. As you can see, I took advantage of the leftovers to make a coordinating infinity scarf. It’s rather long, so I can wear it hanging down as above, or double loop it to make it shorter as in the first photo.  I don’t use a pattern for these scarves/cowls – there are plenty of tutorials out there if you need one though.  I basically just sew the leftovers into a tube by stitching the long edges together, then joining the short ends together.  Easy peasy!

Tessuti Fave top in poly spandex knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics

Construction was on the overlocker (only four seams – one shoulder/arm, the other shoulder/arm, one side/underarm, the other side/underarm; it really is straightforward) and hems were stabilised with Vilesofix tape then twin needled. The neckline had the same treatment – turned to the inside and secured then twin needled. You could add a band or finish the neckline however you like.  This pattern has been around for ages, and you can see my other versions of it here.

Style Arc Pearl top

I am SO behind with blogging garments that I have sewn.  Every now and then I think I’ll just not bother, but then I remember that I really do like to document what I’ve made for future reference.  And I know that others appreciate seeing patterns on “real” people.  So I will catch up at some stage, with blog posts out of order, sometimes months after the garment is sewn.  So please bear with me!

Style Arc Pearl top in viscose lycra knit from Tessuti

This is the Style Arc Pearl top. Details from the Style Arc website are as follows:

PEARL KNIT TOP: The gorgeous draped side panel cleverly creates an interesting pocket detail.  The asymmetrical hemline adds a stylish effect to this on trend top.  Mix it up by using different textures or colours.  FABRIC SUGGESTION: Jersey knit, any soft drapery knit, t-shirt knit

pearl-top

I sewed it in size 12, in a viscose/lycra knit from Tessuti (a Christmas gift to myself – does anyone else do that?  I bought it and wrapped it and put it under the Christmas tree…) The colours are absolutely me – especially when my hair is freshly dyed.  The neckline is higher than I would prefer, and to me it looks a little higher than in the illustration.  However, I do have a forward head and rounded upper back, so on my shape necklines can often look and feel higher than illustrated.  That is something that I need to keep in mind as I get older and spend most of my time looking forward (either on the computer for work or pleasure or sewing or reading or crocheting or texting).  Scoop that front neckline lower, and consider other appropriate adjustments!

Style Arc Pearl top in viscose lycra knit from Tessuti

This top is not terribly fitted, which suits me fine, especially at the moment where I am experiencing some cognitive dissonance with my weight gain and consequent increased belly deposits. I don’t intend to change my diet or exercise regime, so my weight isn’t going to drop. I enjoy food and a glass of wine, and have found that every time I have dieted in the past I just end up fatter six months later. Intellectually I am fine with my weight and shape, especially since all my other health indicators are well within range, but sometimes how I look in the mirror doesn’t match up to the picture of myself that I have in my head! So tops that skim my midsection work very well for me.

Style Arc Pearl top in viscose lycra knit from Tessuti

The main appeal of this top is of course the little draped pocket. It’s actually very easy to sew, being incorporated into a few seamlines, and adds an extra touch to what would otherwise be a fairly basic tunic length tee. I really like the slim sleeves, especially in this fabric, and feel that they balance out the less fitted body of the top.

Style Arc Pearl top in viscose lycra knit from Tessuti

I think I’ll use this pattern again, and do recommend it. Just make sure that you choose a knit with nice drape so that the pocket can hang well.

Style Arc Hazel dress

I came across this bright digitally printed scuba knit at Spotlight a few months ago, on sale.  I don’t actually go in to Spotlight for fabric as a general rule (I have many other sources that I think provide better quality for the price) but do go in to take advantage of their pattern sales.  Sometimes I can’t resist a browse among the bolts, and that is when I spotted this.

Style Arc Hazel dress in printed scuba from Spotlight

I love the colours – so bright! – and I love the abstract nature of the print. Those touches of yellow throughout are perfect for me too. The pattern is the Style Arc Hazel.

hazel-combo

HAZEL COMBO: This cocoon-type dress is Style Arc’s take on the exciting new oversized shape of this season. We’ve provided so many options for you with this pattern. Make it with or without sleeves. Make it with or without hidden pockets. You can even choose to make it as a top! 

FABRIC SUGGESTION & DESCRIPTION: Soft Ponte, Wool boucle, Stable jersey knit with drape or any fabric with a slight stretch and drape

Style Arc Hazel dress in printed scuba from Spotlight

Scuba fabrics are very easy to sew. I’ve made a few garments from scuba now, and have found that the fabric does vary a bit in thickness and drape. They’re all 100% polyester double knit, and have a cool feel to the skin and lots of body. Not having to finish edges makes them a quick sew too. But for me the main appeal is the variety of prints and the intensity of the colours that are used on them.

Style Arc Hazel dress in printed scuba from Spotlight

This one really shows the shape of the dress. It can be made without the 3/4 sleeves, and can be shortened to a top. I don’t think that I’ve finished with this pattern yet, actually. I’d like to try it in some softer knits than scuba, and the seaming really lends itself to colour blocking if that is what you are in to. There are little pockets hidden in the front seam between the bodice and the skirt, which are rather cute and just big enough for a mobile phone or work ID card.

Style Arc Hazel dress in printed scuba from Spotlight

Construction was shared between the overlocker and the sewing machine. I can’t remember encountering any issues, but I did sew this a couple of months ago. Construction was fairly logical, and I assume that the Style Arc instructions – that I think included a diagram or two – were quite adequate.  I did a fair bit of twin needle topstitching to highlight seam lines and to secure hems and facings.

Style Arc Hazel dress in printed scuba from Spotlight

I sewed straight size 12, choosing according to hip measurement as the rest of the garment is oversized enough to accommodate bust and protruding tummy. I have discovered that batwing sleeves like this are difficult to wear under other things. I need to consider what jackets or coats I have before I sew too many more of them – that dropped armhole and all that fabric in the sleeve area doesn’t fit easily under more fitted garments. Something to keep in mind!

Style Arc Hazel dress in printed scuba from Spotlight