Over the past few years my clothing aesthetic has shifted. Part of that is the move into middle age, shifts in body shape, and just the effects of time and change in what I see in the world around me. I clearly remember flicking straight past the “art” patterns in the pattern books, skipping over patterns designed by people like Marcy or Katharine Tilton. Nowadays I get excited to see their new releases. Yes, things change!
Both the Tilton sisters are known for a style often referred to as “art-teacher chic”. To me, it’s a style that doesn’t follow the body contours closely. Interesting shapes and details, often asymmetric, often layered, with mixtures of colour, fabric types and print. Yes, they’re often worn by middle-aged women – well, I fit into that category so am very happy to embrace these styles!
I’ll start with the skirt. It’s rather an unusual shape. The pattern is Vogue 9060.
Now, there’s no denying that the shape is unusual. I think it’s pretty much a “lantern” shape. I used stretch bengaline from stash (originally from the Darn Cheap Fabrics $2 table) that is actually a fine black and grey stripe). It had the body needed for this skirt to keep its distinctive shape.
The seams were sewn on the overlocker then topstitched, which also helped to retain the shaping and keep the curves from sagging. I used the same stretch bengaline for the waistband, cutting the narrower of the two waistband options. It’s a simple yoga-style rectangular waistband that attaches to the top of the skirt so it can just pull on.
I possibly sewed size Medium, the 12-14. I didn’t make any alterations to the length – the pattern pieces are unusually shaped – but this fits fine on me. So, on to the top. It’s Vogue 9057, a pattern that I have used a couple of times now and will continue to use. It’s also the pattern that comes with their Craftsy class The Artful T-shirt.
I sewed view D in size Medium, the 12-14 as well, but had already folded length out of the pattern the last time I made it, so it was adjusted for my short waist length. I swapped the View D 3/4 length sleeves for the view A/B full length ones – all the pattern pieces are interchangeable. The body of the top was sewn in a wool blend knit from stash. It’s a fairly light knit, and would be semi-sheer if held to the light. The colour is actually a blend of dark brown and black. I paired it with stretch mesh in black with brown dots for the sleeves and the neckband. I’m not quite sure but I think it was from the Darn Cheap Fabrics $2 table as well.
Construction was on the overlocker, with the machine used for hemming and securing the neckband. I really like this pattern – it’s definitely made it into TNT status.
Lastly, the vest. It’s not a Tilton pattern – it’s the Style Arc Lizzie Wrap. And this is one of those situations where the finished garment did not look like the pattern illustration.
From the Style Arc website: This fabulous up to the moment wrap will be a great addition to your wardrobe, wear it over your favourite top studded to create a sophisticated funnel neck or let it cascade into a flattering front drape. Features two welted pockets, use a large stud to make a fashion statement. FABRIC SUGGESTION & DESCRIPTION: Ponte, Wool Melton, any fabric with some drape for the body but stable enough for the funnel neck to stand when studded.
I used a softish woven remnant from Rathdowne Fabrics, a combination of brown with a bit of black through it. There was no way that it would stud to create a neckline like the picture. And even with the front open, it draped quite differently. I really had to fiddle around with it quite a lot when I put it on. I made sure that I finished the edges of the facings very neatly by turning them to the inside and pressing because they were exposed in wearing as the fronts of the vest draped and folded. Topstitching them down secured the small pressed hem and gave a nice detail on the outside. I finished the armholes with bias strips cut from linen and used like a facing then stitched on the wrong side.
I’m really not sure where things went wrong with this vest. I did have to squeeze the pattern pieces onto the fabric, so there may have been operator error with layout issues. Also, I left off the welt pockets. The instructions left me scratching my head, and I have contacted Style Arc about them. They are going to put a tutorial on their website for this particular style of welt pocket (it has curved pocket bags on the inside and a large single welt on the outside).
I’m happy enough with the finished vest but it is not what I was expecting or hoping to make. It will be worn, but I might choose other vest patterns over this one in future. However, the combined outfit is a winner in my books.