adult's clothing · sewing · tessuti patterns

So many Athinas

Tessuti Athina Top

My goodness, this is the fourth time that I’ve sewn the Tessuti Athina top, and all were sewn within a six month period! To refresh, this boxy style top features an extended shoulder and dropped sleeve. There are two length options available. Sizes range from XS (86 cm bust) to XL (106 cm bust).  And did I mention that the pattern is free?

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I need to pull out the pattern to see what size I sewed – it was possibly the L.  Thisis the shorter length.  I have now done a forward shoulder alteration to this pattern, which works beautifully to stop the neckline from pulling back and choking me.  I really should consider this alteration as standard for me.  The older I get and the more time I spend on a computer screen (or sewing!) the more rounded my upper back and shoulders become.

Tessuti Athina Top

So, to this fabric. It is vintage – very vintage, coming from June’s stash (June is the mother of one of my friends, who is now in a retirement village and generously passed much of her stash on to me when she moved). It is quite lightweight yet warm. After discussion with Kim from The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe we think that it is possibly wool challis. It’s ever so slightly scratchy, but that isn’t a problem when wearing it. And there’s definitely that wool smell when the fabric is pressed.

Tessuti Athina Top

I don’t normally choose such small scale, delicate prints, but surprisingly I have worn this quite a bit. It is easily accessorised, and I feel good in it. And isn’t that what it’s all about!

Tessuti Athina Top

How many Athina tops is too many? I don’t think I’ve yet reached peak Athina. Depending on the fabric choice it is a top that can be worn for much of the year. I reckon that a couple in something very lightweight would be good for sun protection in summer (although proper sun protection also requires a collar). Speaking of sun protection, I recently had my annual skin check, and for the second year in a row I didn’t need any lesions removed! I’m so pleased. Keep using that sunscreen, everyone!

Tessuti Athina Top

adult's clothing · sewing

Style Arc Abigail knit top

This version of the Style Arc Abigail knit top was the second one that I’d made (I’ve sewn a third one since).  And like the first, I sewed it from a couple of fabrics.

Style Arc Abigail knit top

The body is sewn from a striped lightweight ponte. I only had enough of it for the body, so sewed the sleeves from a crinkled wool knit that originally came from the Darn Cheap Fabrics $2 table. I’m not sure if you can tell in these photos, but I matched those stripes along both side seams and the centre front seam. I reckon that I did a pretty good job of it! I do remember that I used an extraordinary number of pins.

Style Arc Abigail knit top

I really like the way that this top fits on me. It’s perfect for those days when I’m feel pretty senstive about my rounded mid-section. Fitted through the bust, then flowy, without being too voluminous.

Style Arc Abigail knit top

It really is so easy to sew a V-neckline when theres a centre front seam – the neckline is finished before the front seam is sewn. The pattern also has an attached choker style collar – I have never sewn it that way and wouldn’t feel comfortable with it around my neck, but I’m sure that there would be other people who would like that style.

Style Arc Abigail knit top

From the pattern website: This fashionable top can be made with or without the choker neck band. The swing silhouette makes this top stylish but easy to wear. The neck band is a current fashion trend but if you prefer a “V” neck top just leave out the neck band. Long or short sleeves? It’s your choice on this style. FABRIC SUGGESTION: Knit jersey or baby wool.

abigail-top

Oh, writing this review and reading the pattern description reminds me that I’d like a short-sleeved version for summer!  I’ll put that on my to-sew list!  Now, there is unfortunately a sad tale to tell involving this top.  Every time I have washed it, that body fabric has shrunk a little.  Clearly the softness of the lightweight striped ponte was due to a high viscose content, and it has got shorter and shorter.  Too short for me to feel good in it, sadly.  I have passed it on to someone else who is quite happy with the length.  The moral of the story?  Pre-wash those fabrics!  I generally put everything through the wash as soon as I get it home, but this one must have missed out.  Dammit.

Style Arc Abigail knit top

adult's clothing · sewing

Winter Wear Designs Traveler Tee

I wonder how many pdf pattern companies there are?  I seem to keep on finding more of them!  This top is my first from the Winter Wear Designs pattern line. It’s the Traveler Tee.

Winter Wear Designs Traveler Tee

In this case it was the combination of woven and knit that piqued my interest – although in the end I sewed it entirely from knit fabrics. The colourful sleeves and front panel were leftover scuba scraps. The centre front seam is definitely not part of the pattern! Piecing the front was the only way that I could eke it out from my scraps. I am pretty impressed with my pattern matching all things considered!

Winter Wear Designs Traveler Tee

So, to the pattern details.  From the website: This is a knit/woven COMBO top with raglan sleeves and a scoop neck. The front center panel is made of apparel woven material, the sleeves and back are knit. This pattern has a Relaxed Fit with flattering shaping that gives fashionable comfort for any figure.  No matter where you are traveling, this top will get you there! There are 4 sleeve options:  Cap (this sleeve comes just past the shoulder), Short sleeve, Elbow length, and 3/4 length. The Pattern also features the option of a shirttail hem or a straight hem.  The front hem of this shirt is designed to hit at mid hip to be comfortably worn with jeans, shorts, and skirts.

woven knit combo

The pattern comes in a wide range of sizes, to cater from a 28 to 57 inch bust.  I chose to sew size Large, which is for a 38 inch bust, with finished measurement of 42 inches.  Next time I sew this I will probably grade down to a Medium through the upper chest and neckline.  I love the fit through the body though.

Winter Wear Designs Traveler Tee

I chose the shirt-tail hem option at the back, and the three quarter length sleeves. This pattern allows for lots of colour blocking play. There are lots of photos of finished garments on a range of shapes and sizes on the pattern website, giving plenty of inspiration and ideas for ways to combine fabrics. I don’t see why this can’t be made in all knits, like I did, but I really doubt that it would work in all wovens. The centre front can be in a woven, but the rest is best in a knit.

Winter Wear Designs Traveler Tee

The only slightly tricky part is getting a neat finish at the front corner insets. Follow the instructions, take your time, and make sure that you include all markings and pin carefully. Otherwise, this is an easy sew. I topstitched many of the seamlines to control and flatten the scuba seam allowances.

Winter Wear Designs Traveler Tee

Although I really like this top, and love the vibrancy of the print, I’ve given it away to someone I think will wear it better than me. I will definitely be using this pattern again in the future though!

adult's clothing · Lekala · sewing

Lekala 4805

I chose this pattern because I had some embroidered mesh in stash that I thought would work well for the sleeves.  And I was right!  It did!

Lekala 4805

The sleeve fabric was a remnant that I had picked up from Darn Cheap Fabrics some time ago. There was just enough of it to eke out the sleeves. And becaue the mesh was black, I ferreted through my stash to find a solid black knit to use for the body. I generally try to avoid black close to my face – I don’t think that it does me any favours – but I reckon that it works well in combination with the sleeve fabric, a coloured necklace, bright glasses frames and some lipstick.

Lekala 4805

The pattern is Lekala 4805, also known as ‘blouson with lace’.  It’s designed for knit fabrics, and because it is Lekala I ordered it to my measurements.  There is some very clever shaping built into those deep armhole seams – they basically incorporate princess seamlines as well.

Lekala 4805 line drawing

This was an easy sew, with an effective result.  The instructions are limited (like all Lekala instructions) but they’re adequate, especially since this is a very simple garment.  Recommended!

Lekala 4805

adult's clothing · sewing

Papercut Patterns Pinnacle top (again)

I wanted to try the Papercut Patterns Pinnacle top in a cooler weather version; the view with longer sleeves and a bound rounded neckline.  Fortunately I had picked up a lovely fabric at Restash that had no definite right or wrong side.  I thought that it would be perfect with this pattern as I could then use different sides for the inset V shapes in the centre front.

Papercut Patterns Pinnacle top

If you look closely you can see that there is a difference in the predominant colours in each section. I really do like a jacquard – they’re such interesting fabrics. It fascinates me that patterns can be woven in rather than printed on. There are also lots of other colours woven in to this fabric – touches of brighter blue and yellow. So lovely!

Papercut Patterns Pinnacle top

I didn’t bother with the back slash opening or ties, and simply bound the neckline with a bias strip cut from the same fabric. From prior experience I knew that this top would be too cropped for my taste as drafted so I added a wide doubled band to the bottom for additional length. I also topstitched along the intersecting seams, both to stabilise them and to add interest.

Papercut Patterns Pinnacle top

Size wise I measured the Medium, but after reading many reviews I cut and sewed size Small. The sections that end up on the bias – especially the side fronts – allow more bust room. I think that this is a simple yet deceptively clever example of drafting.

Papercut Patterns Pinnacle top

From the pattern website: Such a versatile pattern! The pinnacle Top & Sweater has a cropped oversized fit featuring two detail front triangle panels inspired by a Pinnacle, a high, pointed piece of rock. Variation 1 has a deep V neckline with facing and can be made with a short or wrist length sleeve. Variation 2 has a round neckline with binding and ties and can be made with a short or wrist length sleeve. Variation 3 is a sweater with neck band and sleeve cuffs. Fabric: Variation 1 & 2: Light to medium weight woven fabrics. Cotton, Silk, Linen, Chambray, Tencel. Variation 3: Medium weight jersey knit fabrics.

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I don’t think that I am actually finihed with this pattern.  Maybe I should give the knit version with sleeve cuffs and hem band a go!

Papercut Patterns Pinnacle top

adult's clothing · sewing

Cashmerette Ellis skirt (with Concord top)

Back in March I sewed the Cashmerette Ellis skirt.  I generally only wear skirts that have an elasticised waist, and this one doesn’t, but because it is a Cashmerette pattern I thought that it was worth a try.

Cashmerette Ellis skirt and Concord tee

And you know what? It’s been a success! The joy of Cashmerette bottom half patterns is that she drafts a version for an ‘apple’ shape as well as a ‘pear’ shape. No, we are not fruit, but most people understand those terms now. I’ve always had a proportionately large waist in comparison to my hips, and a belly, even when I was slim. We apples are often under-represented in sewing patterns (we’re definitely under-represented in ready to wear). We’re not a majority shape, although our numbers do increase in the post-menopausal population. This means that I always appreciate it when I find patterns that take my shape into consideration.

Cashmerette Ellis skirt and Concord tee

That said, I really wasn’t sure what size to sew at first. My measurements put me at size 12 hips and 16 waist. In the end I decided that rather than grading from one size to the other I would ‘split the difference’ and sew straight size 14 in the apple fit. I have to say, the fit looks pretty good to me!

Cashmerette Ellis skirt and Concord tee

The black stretch denim was possibly from Rathdowne Fabrics. Topstitching was done with a triple stitch using regular thread in olive green. Banging in the rivets was rather fun too! The pocket and fly construction method worked really nicely – I followed the instructions closely. It interests me how many variations there are on how to do this well.

Cashmerette Ellis skirt and Concord tee

From the pattern website: Classic denim gets an update with the Ellis Skirt! Designed for stretch wovens, this skirt pattern promises a flawless fit with two pelvis options (apple or pear), a shaped yoke, fitted waistband, and tailored back darts. View A is an iconic jean skirt, featuring a knee-length hem, front slit, rivets, belt loops, and rounded 5-pocket design, while View B is a flirty mini-skirt with clever diagonal pockets and topstitching detail. RECOMMENDED FABRIC: Main: Mid- to heavy-weight stretch woven fabrics such as denim (10 – 12 oz), corduroy, or canvas, with at least 15% stretch across the grain. Lining: non-stretch cotton. 

cashmeretteellistechdraw_95fec551-8a22-4ccc-a959-d9a114c6bf6d_550x

I sewed view A, the classic jean skirt, but at the length of view B, the mini skirt.  I’m only 158cm tall, and I think that this was a great finished length on me at just above the knee.  I have some yellow denim in stash that might become the mini version of the skirt with the angled front pockets and square back pockets.

Cashmerette Ellis skirt and Concord tee

The tee that I’m wearing in these photos is also from a Cashmerette pattern, the Concord tee. I sewed size 12 C/D bust, graded to 14 waist, graded back to 12 hips. This is the banded short sleeve version, with the scoop neck. The fabric is cotton/spandex from Clear It. I did pay attention when cutting out to avoid having a large dark medallion on each boob. Now, you all know that I will never wear this tee tucked in like it is in these photos; but this is the best way to show you all the waist detailing of the skirt. I am definitely an untucked person.

Cashmerette Ellis skirt and Concord tee

This skirt has proven itself to be very comfortable to wear, and importantly it stays up on my relatively hipless shape without completely strangling my mid-section. That’s a definite win for me!

children's clothing · kids clothing · sewing · teen · tween

Modkid Shelby for Stella

So, here is Stella in her three versions of the Modkid Shelby pattern!  Firstly, I sewed her a cropped, short-sleeved top.

Modkid Patterns Shelby top

This is sewn from cotton/spandex – fairly typical t-shirt fabric. For Stella I sewed size 10, with the length of size 12.

Modkid Patterns Shelby top

This size combination appears to work fairly well for Stella. She’s grown so much taller over the past year – actually, despite the two girls being four and a half years apart in age, they’re now only around one clothing size apart, and are very similar shapes.

Modkid Patterns Shelby top

Hems were finished with a simple small zig-zag throughout. The finished length is just above the belly button, which she seems to like. This top has had a bit of wear since I made it, as has the next version that I sewed.

Modkid Patterns Shelby top

This time I sewed the long-sleeved version with tie front overlay. The stretch jacquard knit is from Super Cheap Fabrics.

Modkid Patterns Shelby top

I had attended an overlocking class shortly before I sewed this top, and took the opportunity to practice my rolled hemming skills on the edges of the front overlay pieces that tie together. This actually made for a nicer tie than the conventional turn and stitch, as the rolled hem resulted in minimal bulk.

Modkid Patterns Shelby top

This fabric was softer yet with more recovery than the blue knit that I used for Stella’s first top, and I think it gives a very pleasing result. She’s worn this one quite a bit over winter.

Modkid Patterns Shelby dress

Finally, I sewed her a dress! This is in lightweight scuba that came into my stash from a friend, possibly originally from Spotlight. Once again I sewed size 12 length with size 10 width.

Modkid Patterns Shelby dress

By this stage I’d sewn this pattern quite a few times, and I can now zoom up one of these garments very quickly. I used a straight stitch to secure hems, and due the fabric thickness I narrow hemmed the front overlay tie edges rather than trying a rolled hem.

Modkid Patterns Shelby dress

Lightweight scuba type fabric can be quite satisfying to sew. No ravelling, very little shifting, some soft structure. Yes, they’re polyester central, but they definitely have a place. They also tend to be very smooth to touch, so Stella quite likes the way that they feel.

Modkid Patterns Shelby dress

It’s often challenging to sew for Stella because she is very particular about what she does and doesn’t like. She was consulted at every step of the process when I sewed these garments, and fortunately it’s worked out well, as they’ve all had quite a bit of wear. We’re currently in the process of deciding what she’d like as her grade 6 graduation dress. We’ve finally identified a couple of patterns, and I’m going to give them a go in some stash fabric to see if she’s happy with the finished product. I never know until the final fitting! Fortunately, this dress was a winner over winter.

Modkid Patterns Shelby dress

Once again, these three garments are good examples of how different fabric types affect the sewing techniques that you use and the finished effect.  For more details on the Shelby pattern and to see the three versions I sewed for Clare, see my earlier blog post.