adult's clothing · sewing

Simplicity 1463

When I was at Sewjourn in November my friend Kathryn sewed up a gorgeous version of Simplicity 1463.  Since I had some spare fabric with me, I quickly borrowed her pattern pieces and gave it a go as well!

Simplicity 1463 in restash knit

There really isn’t much to this pattern. Front piece, back piece, cuffs, neckband. That’s it. It does however take more fabric than you’d expect, because those sleeves are cut on.

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Simplicity describe this pattern as follows: Make a scoop neck, high-low top with banded sleeves or great crossing back interest, and three V-neck tops with lace flutter sleeves, studs or a peekaboo lace neckline. Simplicity sewing pattern from Designs by Karen Z.  I sewed view A, the scoop neck top.  I do fancy giving view C a go at some stage, but I don’t yet own the pattern!

Simplicity 1463 in restash knit

The fabric is a lovely stretchy probably poly/spandex knit that I picked up at Restash last year. I did make sure that I centred the bold pattern on both the front and back pattern pieces. Size wise, I think I sewed the Small. I was happy with the fit through the body, but BOY those cuffs were TIGHT! Even in such stretchy fabric! I’d definitely make them larger if I sewed this again.

Simplicity 1463 in restash knit

This was really fast to make. Construction was on the overlocker, with hems secured via Vliexofix and twin needling on the sewing machine. I used the twin needle to secure the neckband as well.

Simplicity 1463 in restash knit

Sadly, this top has moved to the wardrobe in the spare bedroom too. The cuffs are just too tight to make it comfortable enough for me. My arms aren’t especially large, so watch out for that if you are making this top. Otherwise, I recommend the pattern.

adult's clothing · sewing

Simplicity 1318 – the wearable muslin

Before I sewed my DCF Challenge version of Simplicity 1318 (blogged last year), I sewed a wearable muslin to get a better idea of what size to choose.  This is a pattern that has been well used in the sewing community.  Both the reviews and the finished garment measurements printed on the pattern pieces indicated that there was plenty of ease.  I just wanted to check before I cut into my challenge fabric, so used some leftover Thai cotton double gauze to see if my guess on sizing was right.

Simplicity 1318 view A in thai cotton double gauze

I didn’t have much fabric, so this is view A, the short version without added bands. It was incredibly fast to sew.

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I used the overlocker to finish the raw edges but did most construction on the sewing machine.  I wanted to be able to pivot nicely where the sleeve joins the side seams, and to be able to press the seams open.  Narrow hems were turned twice around the front edges and neckline and topstitched in place.  The bottom hem and sleeve hems were wider but treated the same way.

Simplicity 1318 view A in thai cotton double gauze

There’s really not much to this jacket. I have however discovered that I reach more for longer-line jackets than cropped ones, and this has already been transferred into the wardrobe in the spare bedroom.

Simplicity 1318 view A in thai cotton double gauze

Oh, and size wise? This is size Small, despite my measurements suggesting Medium. Always check those measurements on the pattern pieces and take your own ease preferences into account!

adult's clothing · sewing

Cashmerette Turner dress

One of the dresses I sewed especially to take on our Thailand/Laos trip was a Cashmerette Tuner dress.  Shoulder coverage, knee coverage, so good for temples, yet comfortable in a knit.  That was the plan.  The plan worked!

Cashmerette Turner dress in Spoonflower cotton spandex print by Three Branches Design

I have had a fair bit of success with the cut of Cashmerette patterns.  I’m not a typical shape.  I am very thick through the midsection, with a pregnant-looking belly, and a very short back waist length.  My ribs are almost on top of my hip bones!  In comparison, my shoulders are fairly average, my hips are comparatively small, and I have a relatively flat bum and average size boobs.  Really, it’s a shape that is quite common in menopausal women – except I’m not quite menopausal (fast approaching though) and have always been this shape.  My size has varied quite a lot, but not my shape.  It makes for some fitting challenges, as most patterns are designed for a more defined waist.  Now, one of the reasons that I sew is because I can make what I like, but it’s still tedious have to make loads of alterations.  However, I’ve found that the smallest Cashmerette size (the 12 C/D) works pretty well as a starting point for me.

Cashmerette Turner dress in Spoonflower cotton spandex print by Three Branches Design

I did remove waist shaping by cutting the pattern a size larger through the waist. Otherwise, this is exactly as per the pattern. From the Cashmerette website:  Elegance meets comfort with the Turner Dress! This everyday favorite features a softly flared skirt and a feminine lined v-neck bodice. There are three sleeve lengths – short, three-quarter and long – and whether you make it in cozy merino jersey or lightweight rayon jersey, this pattern will carry you through every season with style! 

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Now, there is nothing earth-shattering about this style in many ways.  There are heaps of patterns out there for knit dresses with a fitted bodice, sleeves, and a flared, circle or gathered skirt.  To me, the difference between this pattern and the rest of them is the drafting and the fit.  It’s for sizes 12 to 28, in three cup sizes (C/D, E/F, G/H), and from what I have seen around the internet, it WORKS.  I’ve seen some lovely versions in all sleeve lengths, sewn in fabrics from ultra casual to super formal.  Definitely a basic that is well appreciated by the size 12 and up dressmaker.

Cashmerette Turner dress in Spoonflower cotton spandex print by Three Branches Design

I always like a V neckline, and the bodice is lined. This provides a really lovely finish, and it’s easy to sew. It also reduces bra squish show-through, which I like too. The waistline is definitely raised a little. That is my preference, but keep it in mind if you’re sewing this dress and like your waistline right at your waistline.

Cashmerette Turner dress in Spoonflower cotton spandex print by Three Branches Design

Apparently there is a swayback alteration already drafted in to Cashmerette patterns, and I think that you can see that with the reduced amount of fabric pooling compared to many of my other garments. I really DO need to do a short back waist length alteration (done similarly to a sway back alteration) on all my garments! It clearly helps.

Cashmerette Turner dress in Spoonflower cotton spandex print by Three Branches Design

The skirt is nicely swishy. I had to cut the back piece with a centre back seam due to fabric restrictions. Speaking of fabric, isn’t this lovely? It’s cotton spandex jersey from Spoonflower. The print called Oriental Birds and is by Three Branches Design – who happens to be a friend of mine! The jury is still out a little for me regarding Spoonflower prints though. I’ve had three on their cotton spandex jersey base now. They’re comfortable to wear, and so far the colour retention has been pretty good too, but the print is definitely on the top – which you can see when you stretch the fabric – and the layers can sort of “stick” to one another if it is folded with the print touching print. I suspect that with Spoonflower you need to try different substrates to really see what you like best. There is no doubting that they have marvellous designs. I bought mine when they had a free international shipping offer, otherwise I find the cost prohibitive.

Cashmerette Turner dress in Spoonflower cotton spandex print by Three Branches Design

This dress really did work well for me when we were on holiday, yet in many ways it’s not quite “my” style. I definitely love the print, and the fit, but I’m not sure that the fitted bodice with fuller skirt silhouette is really me. Either way, this dress is staying in my wardrobe – and being worn!

children's clothing · kids clothing · sewing · tween

McCalls 7151 – the jumpsuit version

You might remember that I sewed McCalls 7151 in the dress version for Clare and it was an absolute fail.  However, not all was lost, because from that fail I worked out what adjustments the pattern needed to become a success.  Once I’d adjusted the front pattern pieces to raise the neckline, I sewed the jumpsuit version.  So much better!

McCalls 7151 in Spotlight rayon

This was still size 10. The raised front neckline worked a treat, and fitting was made that little bit easier because the front straps button on. You always need a way to get into and out of a jumpsuit!

McCalls 7151 in Spotlight rayon

I adore those buttons – I am pretty sure they came from Notionally Better in Thailand! The fabric is printed woven viscose from Spotlight a couple of years ago. This range was a lovely weight – everything I’ve sewn from it has worked out beautifully.

McCalls 7151 in Spotlight rayon

I think that the back is the nicest part. I really like the way that the straps join at the centre back. There is a bit of faffing around to get everything lined up and finished nicely, so you do need to take your time a bit in that area. Otherwise, it was easy to sew.

McCalls 7151 in Spotlight rayon

And the racer back crop top sits nicely underneath! As it turns out, even though Clare likes her jumpsuit, she hasn’t worn it much at all. She says that when it’s hot enough for sleeveless tops, she doesn’t want long pants. And you know what? I sort of understand that.

McCalls 7151 in Spotlight rayon

For me, when it’s hot enough for sleeveless tops, I only want to wear dresses! Nothing with a waistband. So I’m pruning back the number of sleeveless or tank style tops in my wardrobe, as I’ve discovered they get very little wear. We all reach for different things depending on the weather and on what we feel most comfortable in for that weather.

McCalls 7151 in Spotlight rayon

I do have a couple of patterns for more wintery jumpsuits in the stash for me – I wonder if I should give one of them a try? And as for this jumpsuit – I reckon that Clare will have grown out of it by the time that summer rolls back around again. It will transition to Stella’s (vast) wardrobe and we’ll see what happens there!

children's clothing · kids clothing · sewing

Simplicity 1435

I keep on trying to figure out how best to keep up with blogging.  I really WANT to post everything I make here on the blog.  Not only is it a good reference for me, but I feel as though I am contributing to the general sewing community.  But I am SO behind!  I might try alternating between one of last year’s unblogged garments with one of this year’s.  I am fortunate to be going to Sewjourn not once but twice in the next month (hip hip hooray) so really do need to catch up!  I do post things on Instagram as soon as they’re made, but those are usually quick snaps in whatever light or location is available – so they are often on Ada (my dress form).  Anyway, enough navel gazing.

Simplicity 1435 in knit jacquard from Rathdowne Fabrics

This dress was sewn for Stella when I was at Sewjourn in November. The pattern is Simplicity 1435. Where WAS that fabric from? Wracking my brain….ah yes, it was a remnant from Rathdowne Fabrics.

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Simplicity 1435 in knit jacquard from Rathdowne Fabrics

Stella really liked this dress when she first tried it on, but I have to admit that I haven’t seen it worn a great deal over summer! I sewed a mixture of sizes. This one was a 7 for body width, 7 for armhole depth and and shoulder width and 9 for lengths. Phew!  Size 9 doesn’t actually exist in this pattern – it goes up to size 8 – I just cut it longer.

Simplicity 1435 in knit jacquard from Rathdowne Fabrics

Really, this sort of dress is SO easy to sew. There are some gathers at the sleeve cap, but the skirts are circular so there isn’t even much faffing around with the sewing machine to run gathering stitches. It was pretty much constructed on the overlocker, and I only needed the machine for those aforementioned sleeve cap gathers and to twin needle the hems.

Simplicity 1435 in knit jacquard from Rathdowne Fabrics

I always like a jacquard knit, although sometimes they can stray into the territory of looking “old-fashioned”, depending on the colour ways and patterns that have been knitted into them. I wasn’t certain about this one at first, but Stella really liked it and purple is always a lovely colour on her.

Simplicity 1435 in knit jacquard from Rathdowne Fabrics

I went through my knit fabrics yesterday (and weeded out the odd woven that had snuck in with them) and sorted and organised them better on my shelves and in tubs. I have some really lovely pieces – including some knit jacquards. So much I want to sew! My biggest issue is what to do with the “scraps”. I don’t mean little pieces of the size that quilters would keep – those go straight into the bin. I mean pieces that are large enough for a pattern piece or two or another small garment. At the moment I have TUBS full of these. Sometimes I use them, but clearly I often don’t, and they are taking up a LOT of space. What do you do with yours? Should I just turf everything that isn’t large enough for a complete garment? What to do!

Simplicity 1435 in knit jacquard from Rathdowne Fabrics

And for those of you who might have been wondering how my new job was going – I feel as though I’ve finally turned the three month corner. It’s still all incredibly new, and it will be a year before I feel competent, but I’m not quite as exhausted by it all and my brain is no longer exploding quite as much. I’ve probably been lucky to start at the time of year where there are a few public holidays so I’ve had some rest days! Adjusting to working a permanent three days a week has had some challenges too in terms of how I organise my unpaid work life (you know – home, kids, family organisation – let along sewing). It’s all good, but like any change, it’s has come with a few stresses. Thank goodness I’ve got sewing as therapy!

Simplicity 1435 in knit jacquard from Rathdowne Fabrics

adult's clothing · sewing

Hot Patterns Metropolitan Urban Gypsy Blouse

Well, you deserve a medal just for reading that title.  Hot Patterns have such long names to their patterns.

Hot Patterns Fast and Fabulous Metropolitan Urban Gypsy top in fabric from Darn Cheap Fabrics $2 table

I’d seen lots of women my age and older in off the shoulder blouses and dresses, so decided that it was worth a try and not necessarily to be left to the teen. This pattern appealed to me because of the way that the band was flat at the front and just elasticised at the back (a bit like the Style Arc Cara top). It also has some darts and sleeve interest.

Hot Patterns Fast and Fabulous Metropolitan Urban Gypsy top in fabric from Darn Cheap Fabrics $2 table

The sleeves have ties at the bottom and are narrow hemmed. They are cut in halves, so it’s not as difficult to get around that curve at the top of the tie to turn the hem before sewing the sleeve halves together.  Tunic length is one of my favourite lengths for tops, and this has a nice curved hemline with the back slightly longer than the front.

Hot Patterns Fast and Fabulous Metropolitan Urban Gypsy top in fabric from Darn Cheap Fabrics $2 table

The darts at the front mean that you don’t have a whole lot of blousing over the boobs. They run from the neckline downwards, and the blouse sits smoothly. I did need to try it on to adjust the elastic to the right length to stay on me comfortably.

Hot Patterns Fast and Fabulous Metropolitan Urban Gypsy top in fabric from Darn Cheap Fabrics $2 table

Hot Patterns describe the Metropolitan Urban Gypsy Blouse as follows: When you’re in the mood to wear something pretty with a cool-girl vibe, reach for one of these beauties, perfect for light to medium weight crisp or fluid fabrics, like crepe, voile, chambray, ahirting, gauze, charmeuse or rayon; these also work gorgeously in knits like silk(y) jersey, rayon, linen or modal. Loose-fit, pull-on, off-the-shoulder blouses have a neckband that’s fitted at the front and elasticated through the sides and back; the bodice has a gentle A-line cut with bust darts. Choose your favorite raglan sleeve length; 3/4 with a tied cuff, or just above the elbow with a deep elasticated cuff. Blouses finish with a narrow shirt-tail hem at the upper thigh. Chest patch pockets are optional; we’ve also included an optional internal stretchy shelf bra as well as halter straps for easy wearing.  You’ll be amazed at how wearable these stunning blouses really are…tuck them into a high-waist tailored skirt or pant, wear them untucked over a skinny, flared or palazzo pant, or try them runway-style worn loose over a matching midi-length A-line skirt.

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I chose to leave off the pockets, and sewed the view with the ties rather than the elasticated cuff.  You really do need wide elastic to make the gathering look good – it’s worth following the instructions!  I also didn’t bother with the halter straps or internal shelf bra – I just wear a strapless bra with this blouse.

Hot Patterns Fast and Fabulous Metropolitan Urban Gypsy top in fabric from Darn Cheap Fabrics $2 table

The fabric is a printed viscose woven from the Darn Cheap Fabrics $2 table. You have seen it before – I sewed my Mum a top from it. It’s nice to work with and the right weight and drape for this blouse. I think that I sewed size 10 (would need to pull the pattern out and check) although I measure around a size 14 in Hot Patterns. That seems to be how their sizing works for me. I made this in around November I think, and have worn it a couple of times. I rather like it on me, and feel on trend when wearing it paired with skinny pants and heeled sandals or wedges. It does have the slight annoyance factor of requiring a strapless bra, and you definitely need to remember to put plenty of sunscreen on those shoulders!

Hot Patterns Fast and Fabulous Metropolitan Urban Gypsy top in fabric from Darn Cheap Fabrics $2 table

adult's clothing · sewing · tween

Style Arc Ellie-Mae

I’m still blogging last year’s garments!  I have been doing a little bit of sewing since we got back from holidays, but at a much slower rate than usual.  I’m still adjusting to working in a new job, three days per week instead of two, and have been having lots of very early nights!

Style Arc Ellie-Mae tunic dress in cotton from Darn Cheap Fabrics

Apparently this year’s fashions are all about the sleeve and the shoulder.  This dress managed to incorporate both trends!  It is the Ellie-Mae tunic top from Style Arc.  From their website: ELLIE-MAE: This on-trend top/tunic dress is a gorgeous look with its flattering, elastic off the shoulder neckline. The raglan sleeve allows this style to flow beautifully. Soft ruffles fall from the hemline and the sleeves. Design your own look, why not use a wide lace for the ruffles? We made the top with a hem ruffle and the tunic dress without a ruffle. The choice is yours. The elastic neckline allows you to wear it off the shoulder or alternatively up on the shoulder for a more stayed look.  Wear the top with jeans or use the longer length as a tunic over your favourite pants, or as a dress.  FABRIC SUGGESTION: Silk, Crepe, Cotton, Broderie Anglaise.

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I sewed the dress version in size 4 for Clare.  It was very straightforward to make, being a basic raglan construction.   It was mostly sewn on the overlocker, with the machine used for gathering and securing hems and the neckline.  I used wide elastic in the neckline, and it has gathered it beautifully.

Style Arc Ellie-Mae tunic dress in cotton from Darn Cheap Fabrics

The fabric is a beautiful printed voile, originally from Darn Cheap Fabrics (but it came to me via Anna’s stash – thanks Anna!) and it was perfect for Clare. Very easy to work with and just the right weight and hand for the elastic gathering. It ironed well, and the sleeve frills were easy to gather too.

Style Arc Ellie-Mae tunic dress in cotton from Darn Cheap Fabrics

It’s really important to get that elastic in the neckline the correct length, and there is no way to do that effectively without trying it on. It has to be just right – not too loose, so that it stays up, and not too tight, so that it tries to move upwards or feels uncomfortable.

Style Arc Ellie-Mae tunic dress in cotton from Darn Cheap Fabrics

Clare has worn this a couple of times now. She does find that when she lifts her arms the whole dress moves up a bit and she gets what she describes as “an underarm wedgie”. But overall, this is a great success.

Style Arc Ellie-Mae tunic dress in cotton from Darn Cheap Fabrics

I had enough of the fabric left over to whip up an Aeolian dress/tunic for my cousin for Christmas. No modelled photos of that one however, just these on Ada.

Pattern Fantastique Aeolian dress in woven fabric from Darn Cheap Fabrics

This was also a simple sew, especially considering that I’ve sewn this pattern many times. Raglan sleeves, constructed on the overlocker, sewing machine with contrasting thread used to topstitch beside the shoulder seams, secure hems and to secure the self-made bias binding that was used to finish the neckline.

Pattern Fantastique Aeolian dress in woven fabric from Darn Cheap Fabrics