adult's clothing · sewing

Maya and Daphne

More repeat patterns!  Today I present to you my most recent incarnations of the Marilla Walker Maya Top and Style Arc Daphne Duo pant.

Maya top and Daphne pants

I’ll start with the top. It was sewn back in July, so completely unseasonal. I was sorting through my stash and came across a small length of super soft black chambray (almost lightweight denim) and wondered what I could use it for. The Maya top popped into my head, so off I went.

Marilla Walker Maya top in lightweight denim

This is an incredibly simple pattern, but took me ages to sew! I remember that I slowed right down for this top, and really took my time. I used contrasting double gauze for the neckline and armhole/sleeve facings, and made bias binding from it as well to finish the hemline.

Marilla Walker Maya top

Marilla Walker Maya top

Marilla Walker Maya top

From the pattern website: The Maya pattern takes its influence from my Central American mother and family. It is a cap sleeve dress or top that is designed to hang well from the shoulders and have a wide fit from the bust down, much like a traditional Guatemalan Huipil. It is intended to be playful and fun and can really showcase an amazing fabric, whether that be a bold print or luscious fibre.

Although relatively simple in design, the variations are endless and there are several lengths to choose from ranging from a cropped top to a knee length dress with a hip length top and shorter dress length in-between. Other variants include a straight or shaped hem, button or plain front as well as an option for a sash belt.

The construction is straight forward and creates a tidy finish as you work through the instructions leaving no raw edges in sight.

FABRIC SUGGESTIONS – Light to medium weight woven fabric.

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I still remember that this was an extremely satisfying garment to sew.  Every fabric involved pressed beautifully, sewed easily, and the end result really pleases me.  I can’t remember what size I sewed – I’d need to pull out the pattern to find out – but suspect it was size 5 or 6 based on bust measurement.

Marilla Walker Maya top in lightweight denim

Athough it’s black, being chambray I feel that it’s a softer type of black and isn’t too harsh against my extremely pale skin.

Style Arc Daphne Duo pants in rayon

The Daphne Duo pants are a Style Arc pattern. I last sewed them in linen, and thought that rayon would work nicely. This fabric is from Spotlight – they have some terrific rayon and viscose prints at the moment. Just make sure that you pre-shrink them all before you cut out your garment!

Style Arc Daphne Duo pants in rayon

From the pattern website: A pant that is a perfect partner to our Daphne Duo Tunic. The side seam ankle tucks gives the legs an interesting shape and sets it apart from a regular elastic waist pull on pant. Using a stretch woven fabric for the back waistband allows this pant to sit on the waist without bulk across the hip. You will enjoy wearing this fashionable yet comfortable pant. FABRIC SUGGESTION Crepe, silk, woven that drapes. Stretch woven (we used Bengaline with 30% stretch) for the back waistband.

daphne-pant

I did as Style Arc did and used bengaline for the back waistband.  I always hold on to my bengaline scraps, so have managed to accumulate quite a few colours over the past few years.

Style Arc Daphne Duo pants in rayon

Style Arc Daphne Duo pants in rayon

There is also elastic in the waistband. The combination of bengaline and elastic with the flat centre front piece makes these pants extremely comfortable to wear and they easily accommodate my weight fluctuations. Now I’m tempted to see if I can find the time to sew just one more pair of these pants before Christmas!

Maya top and Daphne pants

adult's clothing · sewing

Fibre Mood Frances top

Fibre Mood patterns have been popping up here and there on Instagram and in blogs.  I haven’t delved deeply into them, other than working out that Fibre Mood appears to be a European online sewing commuity and pattern magazine, with individual patterns also available for purchase.

Fibremood Frances top in vintage crepe

I gave the free Frances top pattern a crack. It’s very similar to the popular Assembly Line Cuff top (which is not free) in that it  has cap sleeves gathered into elastic ‘cuffs’.  Fibre Mood describe the Frances top as Oversized top in lightweight fabric with short, loose, gathered sleeves. A round, wide neckline on the front. The top is slightly longer in the back and the neckline has a slightly deeper cut. Sizing ranges from XS to XXXL.

Fibremood Frances top in vintage crepe

The fabric that I used is a semi-sheer crepe, from very deep stash (it’s vintage, passed on to me from someone else). It’s got the right sort of hand and drape for this pattern, and I love the contrasting white/red print, but it’s probably too predominantly black for me. It was easier to sew with than I thought. I did make sure that I stabilised the neckline before sewing and binding – I knew that otherwise it would stretch out.

Fibremood Frances top in vintage crepe

The elasticised cuffs were pretty easy to do. Essentially just sew a casing, and insert the elastic. I think that you could try this with different widths; wider might have been nice. Size wise, this is actually too big for me. I can’t remember what size I actually cut out, but in some ways it was fortunately that I cut out a larger one rather than a smaller one because I forgot that this pattern requires you to add seam allowances! If you sew it, don’t forget that seam allowances are NOT included. It’s a wearable size for me, but it feels thaat bit too voluminous all around. I am hoping that Mum will want to take this one off my hands – I can see it fitting nicely into her wardrobe!

Fibremood Frances top in vintage crepe

I’m not sure that I was excited enough by this pattern to really get into Fibre Mood at this stage. Having to add seam allowances is always a downer for me; I’m just not used to doing it. But they do seem to have some interesting styles, so I suppose that I’ll continue to pop over to their website from time to time and take a look.

miscellaneous · patterns · sewing

How I manage my pdf patterns

A little while ago someone asked me how I manage my pdf patterns.  Nowadays, I buy many of my patterns in pdf format.  Some patterns are only available in pdf format.  Others are cheaper when bought in pdf format – especially if you add on the cost of postage for hard copies.  With others I want the ability to reprint different sizes.  I’m not a pattern tracer; I never have been.  I always cut into my patterns and generally make any alterations directly on the pattern pieces.  There are some patterns that I want to be able to sew for multiple people of different sizes, and a multisized pdf pattern is perfect for that.  If I am sewing a pattern that I know will only be used for me, or has large pattern pieces (a coat, for example) I prefer hard copy.

pdf pattern organisation

This is a multisized pdf pattern that I recently purchased. I printed it out on sheets of A4 paper on my home computer, and assembled the sheets. There are many, many youtube videos and blog tutorials that show you how to assemble a pdf patter – just google. I generally cut off the bottom and one side of each sheet along the guideline, then overlap and sticky tape them together. I cut out each piece as it is taped whenever possible, rather than wait until the entire pattern is taped into one ginormous sheet. I really appreciate it when pdf pattern makes lay out the pieces in a way that essentially assembles one pattern piece at a time, but the majority just divide up one huge sheet into lots of A4. Printing at home obviously costs in paper, sticky tape and ink, but I think it’s quite economical. The biggest downside is the time that it takes to tape the patterns.

pdf pattern organisation

There is often the option to have pdf patterns printed at a copy shop. I tend to use either Officeworks – I just take in the patterns on a USB memory stick, and ask for black and white plan printing – or else I go to a specialist copy centre/printing service (Ivanhoe Copy Centre is my local). This of course costs money – at Officeworks it’s about $4.10 per A0 sheet. I store these patterns rolled up and secured with a toilet roll core. It holds them securely and I can write the pattern name on it!

pdf pattern organisation

After use I fold up the pattern pieces and pop them into a large ziplock bag. I find that ziplock bags keep things secure during the sewing process, and the instructions fit into them nicely too. You may have noticed too that I do print pattern instructions. I often don’t print all the pages – some of the instructions for pdf patterns are designed to be read on a screen such as an ipad or laptop screen rather than printed and are incredibly long – but I always like to have the basics about the pattern kept with the pattern pieces. Pattern illustration, measurements, what the seam allowances are. Because the bags are clear I can see what pattern is in each one. Then I tend to store them by pattern company and then by pattern type.

pdf pattern organisation

As you can see I have a few methods of organisation. These have all developed and adapted as I have gone along, and they seem to work quite well for me. Patterns that I use for my daughters are in a couple of drawers in the wardrobe; the multi-coloured drawers beside my cutting table hold more ‘random’ patterns from a variety of companies. The expanding file holds Lekala patterns. Then we have my favourite piece of storage – the horizontal filing cabinet.  This one is from Officeworks.

pdf pattern organisation

This cabinet serves as a TV stand – yes, I have a TV in my sewing room – and also holds all my patterns from Style Arc (hard copies as well as the pdf patterns I have printed), Cashmerette, Liesl & Co, Pattern Fantastique, Jalie and patterns that I use for my mum. It’s excellent for patterns that are much larger in size than the standard envelope pattern. I don’t have any hanging files in it; I just stack the patterns on their side. It’s amazing how much fits in there.

pdf pattern organisation

I hope that give some of you some practical ideas on how to manage your pdf patterns. What works best for you will obviously depend on the space that you have available, and whether you prefer to trace patterns or whether you prefer to just cut into them (I still don’t really understand why anyone would take the additional step of tracing a pdf pattern that they have assembled and could easily reprint, but each to their own)! There is a myriad of pattern options available to us nowadays – don’t avoid pdf patterns; they open up a world of opportunity.

adult's clothing · sewing

Cashmerette Cedar dolman top

It’s another pattern repeat!  But with a twist.  Last time I sewed the CashmeretteCedar dolman top I sewed it in a woven fabric, with faced round neckline and faced ties.

Cashmerette Cedar dolman top in knit from The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe

This time around I sewed it in a knit, with narrow hemmed edges, and a v-neckline. None of these changes were difficult to do, and have given the pattern quite a different look to last time.

Cashmerette Cedar dolman top in knit from The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe

The fabric is a poly/lycra knit from The Cloth Shop, Ivanhoe, and has a lovely hand to it, as well as some excellent colours in the print. I really do enjoy the challenge of sewing garments from remnant pieces! I folded back the front pattern piece at the centre front neckline until it formed a good angle for the V-neckline, then cut it out. I used the same assembly technique for the neckline as I use when sewing the Style Arc Abigail top. It’s easy to get a good finish when there’s a centre front seam!

Cashmerette Cedar dolman top in knit from The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe

In essence, construction starts with the shoulder seams.  Then apply a narrow strip (about an inch) of the self fabric along the entire neckline, right sides together.  I stretch it every so slightly, keeping the strip taught as it is applied.  Then turn it to the inside, and topstitch it in place.  On the wrong side trim the strip close to the stitching.  Of course, I do press after every seam that I sew – it really helps to get a good finish.  Then sew the centre front seam, with either lots of pins at the centre front of the V to keep it in place, or after basting.  Then continue with the rest of construction.

Cashmerette Cedar dolman top in knit from The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe

From the pattern website: The Cedar Dolman Top is a casual, dolman sleeve top suitable for drapey wovens or knits, with a relaxed fit and an optional pretty knotted detail. Great for beginners, this pattern is as easy to sew as it is to wear. From yoga to brunch, the Cedar has you covered! RECOMMENDED FABRIC:  Midweight jersey or technical fabric with good drape (can be stretch, but not required) or a lightweight woven such as lawn, silk, or rayon. Light weight fusible knit interfacing.

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I sewed size 12 C/D.  Narrow turning and hemming the lower hem and tie edges seems to have worked out okay, although it does mean that the wrong side of the fabric can show on the ties.  I didn’t have enough fabric to cut the facings.  This has proven itself to be a terrific work top for a variety of climates.  I definitely recommend the pattern.

Cashmerette Cedar dolman top in knit from The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe

sewing · teen · tween

Mix It Up Dress

Sometimes it is really difficult to sew for others.  Getting the sizing right, getting the combination of fabric and pattern right, getting the fit right, and attempting to ensure that the finished product matches with the vision in the other person’s head.  Sewing for Stella is no exception.  She really does know what she likes, and is quite particular about how she wants things to fit.  So I try to involve her in the sewing process as much as possible.

George and Ginger Mix It Up dress in Spotlight performance knit

Stella chose the fabric and the pattern for this dress, and chose which elements of the pattern she wanted. It’s the Mix It Up dress by George and Ginger, and I was drawn to it for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it starts with tween sizes. Hooray! It’s not easy to find patterns that work for Stella – she’s really shot up in height over the last year and is changing shape, but she’s still very slight and has narrow shoulders. We’ve had the frustration of trying to find clothes that fit to her specifications in the shops (although Pavement has proven to be successful, if anyone is looking to buy tween/teen clothes) so it really is handy that I sew. The other reason we liked the Mix It Up pattern is because it allows you to do exactly that – mix it up!

George and Ginger Mix It Up dress in Spotlight performance knit

From the pattern website: The Mix It Up Dress is an all-in-one design that’s perfect for mixing and matching your favorite styles!  Five front bodice, five back bodices, six sleeve lengths (including sleeveless) and five skirt versions–all interchangeable and ready to be customized just for you! PATTERN OPTIONS:

  • Front Bodice – yoke, horseshoe, leaf, keyhole and asymmetric
  • Back Bodice – yoke, square, diamond, keyhole and full closure
  • Sleeves – sleeveless, cap, short, elbow, 3/4 and long
  • Skirts – full circle (peplum, mini, dress), half circle (peplum, mini, dress), handkerchief (peplum, mini, dress), hi-lo tunic (short and long) AND fitted skirt to add to peplum, hi-lo or stand alone

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Stella liked the look of the Leaf front bodice and Keyhole back bodice, with short sleeves and a Hi-Lo skirt.  I started off by sewing a muslin in a lightweight stretch scuba type of fabric that was in my stash and had been rejected for other projects.  Size wise I used Tween 12, the smallest size.

Mix It Up muslin

Mix It Up muslin

I was so glad that I’d done the muslin! I’ll start with the obvious issue – that hi-lo skirt isn’t a full length skirt – it’s for a tunic or to be used as a peplum in conjunction with a straight skirt! Clearly I failed to read that part of the pattern information properly. So this muslin is way too short as drafted. The second issue was the waist seam – it’s way too high. Stella’s circumferential measurements are much smaller than the corresponding size for her height. The armhole depth was okay, so I figured that if I added an inch and a half to the bottom of the bodice pieces that would get the waist seam into a better position.

George and Ginger Mix It Up dress in Spotlight performance knit Stella chose the fabric – it’s a very stretchy fabric from Spotlight, I have a vague recollection that it was labelled as a performance knit or similar. It’s a lighter weight fabric than my initial muslin, which made it very easy to do the keyhole and back ties, as well as getting a nice result on the ‘leaf’ front bodice. The bodice of this dress is fully lined, and easily constructed. George and Ginger Mix It Up dress in Spotlight performance knit

I added four inches all around to the length of the hi-low skirt. Why didn’t you just use the pattern pieces for the full circle skirt, I hear you ask? Two reasons – I’d already printed and taped the hi-lo piece, and I wanted to cut the skirt completely on the fold and have it seamless. I also moved the ‘hole’ template about an inch toward the skirt back to alter the degree of high compared to low so that it was slightly less dramatic. The skirt was hemmed with a simple straight stitch. It could do with another press.

George and Ginger Mix It Up dress in Spotlight performance knit

She’s happy, and that’s what it’s all about! There’s every chance that this pattern will be used again – Clare has been eyeing it off too and suggesting combinations. Although the sizing starts at Tween 12, it goes up to Women’s size 26. Take a look at the pattern page or join the Facebook group to see some of the combinations that others have sewn.  George and Ginger also have a YouTube channel with sewalongs etc.  Excellent pattern support for those who prefer it.

adult's clothing · sewing

Style Arc Rae tunic

Yes, another repeat pattern.  But this time I got it all right!

Style Arc Rae tunic in knit from The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe

The first time I sewed the Style Arc Rae tunic I used a fabric that wasn’t quite drapey enough – it was a cotton/lycra, and this tunic really does need something that will fall a little closer to the body. Well, this fabric was perfect! It’s a polyester knit remnant that I got from The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe.

Style Arc Rae tunic in knit from The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe

As well as having the right drape, it has wonderful colours in it. As you know, I generally try to minimise the amount of black clothing in my wardrobe as I don’t think that it does much for me. But the reds and corals and turquoises in this print really bring this fabric to life. And it’s great for accessorising!

Style Arc Rae tunic in knit from The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe

The pattern was released a couple of years ago at the height of ‘cold shoulder’ and split sleeve popularity. I really like the split sleeve on this design as it shows some arm but not too much, and still has bra coverage. It’s also very very easy to sew. The curved hemlines were stitched in place before sewing up the side seams – so much easier with such a definite curve. I suspect that I used double sided fusible tape (probably from here) to secure then prior to stitching.

Style Arc Rae tunic in knit from The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe

From the pattern website: The curved hemline and the, so popular, split sleeve give this great tunic top an easy, casual look. Simple to make with an all in one sleeve and body, this tunic will become your go to top to wear for all occasions. FABRIC SUGGESTION: Crepe, Silk or even a Knit.

rae-tunic

The line drawing shows a centre back seam with a button and loop closure – while this is a lovely detail, I didn’t need the opening and simply cut the back pattern piece on the fold.  If I sewed it in a woven I might consider including it but as I have a fairly small head I probably don’t need it in order to get the top on and off.  This pattern really does need fabric with good drape – as suggested a crepe or silk or drapey knit; I think that rayon would work really well too.

Style Arc Rae tunic in knit from The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe

I did some work in a hot climate earlier in the year, and this top was great!  Comfortable moving between the heat outdoors and air conditioning indoors, and work appropriate with my black bengaline Elle pants.

Style Arc Rae tunic in knit from The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe

adult's clothing · sewing · tessuti patterns

Demi pants in rayon

Earlier this year I sewed the Tessuti Demi pants in a fairly rigid denim, which was not the recommended type of fabric, but has been fun to wear nonetheless!  Recently I sewed the pattern again, this time in a woven rayon.  Just the type of fabric this pattern was designed for!

Tessuti Demi pants in Spotlight Rayon

The fabric came from Spotlight. They have some marvellous rayon prints this year! There’s a really nice combination of colours in this print – the smaller darker spots are really more of a blue than a black. I sewed the same size as last time, and the pattern pieces were already shortened to take my height into consideration.

Tessuti Demi pants in Spotlight Rayon

I used very wide elastic in the waistband, which is very comfortable to wear. You can’t really see the pockets because of the print. They are in the side seams, and are topstitched to the front of the pants.

Tessuti Demi pants in Spotlight Rayon

The tucks at the hemline give the pants their interesting balloon shape. There’s a deep tuck on both the front and the back leg pieces near the outer leg seam. The hems are bias bound.

Tessuti Demi pants in Spotlight Rayon

From the pattern website: This pull-on, cropped pant pattern features an elasticised waist and full leg with side stitched down pockets. A clever pleat detail at the front and back hemline is finished with a bias bind band at hem. Comfortable and stylish, the pattern is quick and easy to make and suitable for day or night. Ideal for woven fabrics including linen, lightweight wool, cottons, viscose and crepe. Not suitable for knits or stretch wovens.

Demi pants line drawing

I think that these will get lots of wear when we head to Borneo after Christmas. Length to keep off the sun and the bugs, although I’ll still need plenty of DEET on my ankles. Insects (especially mosquitoes) love me.

Tessuti Demi pants in Spotlight Rayon