adult's clothing · DCF Challenge · sewing

Mandy and Mabel – Darn Cheap Fabrics Autumn challenge

Those of you who follow my blog may remember that Emma and I have a seasonal sewing challenge with fabrics from Darn Cheap Fabrics.  Emma lives in Sydney and I am in Melbourne, so unless a trip to Darn Cheap coincides with one of Emma’s trips to Melbourne, it is left up to me to decide what fabric we will be using.  Oh, the pressure!  And it’s not as though it is easy to take photos of different fabrics and text them to Emma for her approval.  Darn Cheap Fabrics in Heidelberg is situated in a building that was once a bank.  It is a phone reception black hole!  Anyway, I chose a polyester fine gauge sweater knit, because I loved the print and thought that Emma would too.

Tessuti Mandy Boat tee and Colette Mabel skirt both in knits from Darn Cheap Fabrics

I instantly thought of a Mandy tee for this fabric. Something that would be easy to wear and a quick instant gratification sew. It’s a one size pattern and I sewed it without alteration other than folding out the pattern at the shorten/lengthen line to accommodate my 158cm.

Tessuti Mandy Boat tee and Colette Mabel skirt both in knits from Darn Cheap Fabrics

This fabric was surprisingly easy to sew. I used the overlocker for construction and my machine with a twin needle for the edges (after first securing them with double sided fusible tape). It pressed easily and is nice and soft against the skin.

Tessuti Mandy Boat tee and Colette Mabel skirt both in knits from Darn Cheap Fabrics

While I was at it I also sewed a Colette Mabel skirt. I used the longer version with the back kick pleat and front panels, in size Medium. This is also a super fast garment to sew. As per usual, construction was on the overlocker with the hem secured with a twin needle on the machine. The fabric is also from Darn Cheap, and is a heavily textured jacquard poly that is very difficult to photograph.

textured poly knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics

I played with the photo a bit to show you what the texture is like. The original photo actually came up white on the phone screen when I took it instead of black! Made me think of all the recent discussion of the black/blue/white/gold dress. This is a great bottom weight fabric, and I’ve also used it for a pair of Elle pants. Substantial, with a bit of interest in the texture. Yes, it’s poly, but although I have a natural fibre preference I don’t have a strong poly prejudice. There is good poly and bad poly (just like there is good linen and bad linen, good cotton and bad cotton….it all depends on the quality of the fibre). This one is a good poly.

Tessuti Mandy Boat tee and Colette Mabel skirt both in knits from Darn Cheap Fabrics

If you look really, really closely in the above photo you can see the texture. Sort of. If you get your eyes really, really close to that computer monitor. With a magnifying glass.

Tessuti Mandy Boat tee and Colette Mabel skirt both in knits from Darn Cheap Fabrics

Anyway, I like both pieces, and both definitely survived the wardrobe cull that Anna helped me with this weekend. Fired on with her moral support and the occasional “you can do better” I removed about half the garments from my wardrobe drawers, rails and shelves. I’ll pass them on to friends and the leftovers to the op shop. It feels fantastic. I recently read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, and I think that helped to spur me on. I am generally rather tidy and organised anyway, but the volume of clothing that I had was quite overwhelming. It has been great to thank some of it for its service, and move on.

You can check out the fantastic garment that Emma made from her fabric over here.  I have enough left for another top, and am now wondering what pattern I should use.

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13 thoughts on “Mandy and Mabel – Darn Cheap Fabrics Autumn challenge

  1. Love both pieces and you have paired them with the perfect accessories. My dress is going to get so much wear this winter, its such a fantastic fabric – great choice!

  2. I like the fabric you picked! No wonder Emma is happy with it. The moment I saw the fabric, I thought I’d like some! You’ve made a great outfit, including the coordinating blue tights!

  3. Love this outfit Lara. I’m thinking I should make more silhouettes like this…pencil skirt with loose oversized top to hide all the wobbly bits. I have also just read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and found it really helpful in culling my wardrobe. Just tried the Mabel and I love it but I will need to make a larger size before I can wear it.

  4. Nice fabric design and a great look Lara (especially the blue tights). I

    have become a Kondo devotee too. I did my clothes which was difficult, but now I am getting through the rest of the house with greater ease. I will be blogging my experience which has led to many insights…

  5. Fantastic choice of fabric – this might just be the knit of autumn! Looks great as a Mandy with your Mabel, and thanks for the textural closeup, I do like an interesting black.

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