adult's clothing · sewing

Rushcutter dress

In The Folds released the Rushcutter dress a couple of years ago, and if Instagram is anything to go by it was very popular.  I hesitated, because it was a pdf, and dress pdf patterns take a fair bit of assembly.  Also, I figured that I had lots of patterns for loose dresses.  Fast forward a while, and Emily ran a Kickstarter campaign to get her patterns into print form. I do like to support a fellow Australian in her small business dreams, so I signed up and eventually received a printed copy of the pattern.  And a couple of months later, I sewed it up!

In The Folds Rushcutter dress in linen from The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe

First off, I need to say that this pattern is another big WIN for me. I really love the resulting dress! And yes, it’s a loose dress, but there was enough detail to make it a bit different to sew and much more interesting than the usual. From the website: The Rushcutter is an oversized knee-length, A-line dress, designed for woven fabrics, available in two different styles. The Rushcutter is beautifully designed and carefully drafted to include many interesting details, to make this a very enjoyable sew for sewers at a range of different levels. The pattern comes with fully illustrated instructions to hold your hand every step of the way.

View A features three-quarter length raglan sleeves, large side pockets, invisible zip, bound neckline and a wide hem facing.

View B is a sleeveless version, with back button closure. It features in-seam pockets, with neckline and armholes finished with bias binding. Included in the pattern is an optional waist sash, that is suitable for both styles.

both-dds

As you can see, I sewed view A.  I chose to sew size F, based on bust measurement.  Waist and hip measurement are fairly irrelevant in this style.  I didn’t make any major alterations to the pattern other than lowering the front neckline an inch.

In The Folds Rushcutter dress in linen from The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe

That beautiful mustardy yellow linen is from The Cloth Shop. It was absolutely divine to work with and to wear. I originally hoped to sew the entire dress from the solid, but I just didn’t have enough of it (one of the perils of buying fabric without a pattern in mind). I tossed up a few options for the sleeves and centre front, and settled on the printed linen blend that was a gift from Anna but I suspect originally from Joy’s in Geelong (now closed). Although the yellow in the print wasn’t the same as the yellow of the solid linen, it still pretty much toned and worked with it.

In The Folds Rushcutter dress in linen from The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe

The pockets are drafted so that they are a little wider than the side panels, and stand away from the rest of the dress. A subtle yet interesting detail, and very easy to sew.

In The Folds Rushcutter dress in linen from The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe

There is a curved seam that joins the bodice to the skirt, and this was also drafted beautifully. Although I didn’t manage to pattern match the print across the centre back seam, I did manage to line up the invisible zip perfectly.

In The Folds Rushcutter dress in linen from The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe

I’m definitely glad that I lowered the front neckline – that’s as high as I want a neckline to be! One of the benefits of sewing a garment well after the pattern is first released is that you can see plenty of examples on other people, and read about anything they’ve changed. The neckline is finished with bias binding sewn like a facing and turned to the inside and topstitched.

In The Folds Rushcutter dress in linen from The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe

I topstitched most of the seamlines for more definition and to provide support and a teensy bit of structure. Linen has a lot of inherent ‘give’, which is one of the reasons that I enjoy wearing it so much. I possibly overstretched it a fraction when easing the skirt to the bodice, as it looks to me as though there’s a little bit of fullness along that seamline that won’t quite press out. Otherwise, I feel that this dress is close to perfect for me! I’m quite happy with the length as drafted (so longer on me than on the average person), and I feel that this dress will get lots of trans-seasonal wear.

In The Folds Rushcutter dress in linen from The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe

As well as the patterns available for sale on the In The Folds website, Emily designs (free) patterns for Peppermint magazine.  These can be found here, and there are plenty of finished examples on Instagram and around the blogs.  After sewing this dress I am impressed with her design and drafting skills.  I’ll definitely be using more of her patterns.

adult's clothing · sewing

Wendy Ward Derwent trousers

Over the years I have discovered that as much as I love flicking through sewing pattern books, I rarely actually sew any of the garments they contain.  Yes, they’re great value – so many patterns for the price! – but they also require tracing of pattern pieces, often from large sheets with multiple overlapping lines.  Over the years I have also discovered that I am fairly lazy when it comes to tracing patterns.  I just don’t do it.  I have good intentions (Burda and Ottobre magazines, I’m looking at you!) but I very very rarely actually get around to tracing.  And as most of you know, I’m firmly in the cut out the printed pattern camp, even with vintage patterns.  Because I’d made that discovery, I’ve drastically reduced the number of pattern books that I buy.  I am happy to buy books on sewing techniques, but rarely buy one for the patterns.  However, I saw Anna‘s Kinder cardigan and Longshaw skirt, and promptly bought a copy of Wendy Ward‘s book A Beginner’s Guide to Sewing with Knitted Fabrics.

9781782494683

However, the first garment that I sewed from the book wasn’t either the Kinder cardigan or Longshaw skirt – it was the Derwent trouser!  There was a sewn up sample at The Cloth Shop, (they always have the BEST garment samples) and that was the clincher for me.  Take two pattern pieces, some beautiful medium weight dark green marle viscose ponte, some wide elastic, and voila, a fabulous pair of winter trousers in approximately an hour!

Wendy Ward Derwent trousers in ponte from The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe

I chose pattern size based on my hip measurement, traced the pattern pieces, adding length after checking how long my current trousers are, then did a full belly alteration to the front pattern piece. This was a straightforward slash and spread, making a cut from the waistline down about six or seven inches then spreading it an inch at the waistline. That added another couple of inches to the front waist and belly area without affecting the bum and hips.

Wendy Ward Derwent trousers in ponte from The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe

The waist is finished with a wide elastic facing, sewn to the top of the waistline then turned to the inside and secured with stitches through the seamlines. The deep hem was secured with a machine blindstitch. I prefer deep hems on wide leg pants.

Wendy Ward Derwent trousers in ponte from The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe

In this photo it really looks as though I have a major wedgie, but these have been worn quite a few times and certainly don’t feel that way! I might check the back crotch curve of this pattern against the back crotch curve of my Fifi pants, and compare them. Honestly, if I hadn’t seen this photo I wouldn’t have had any idea.

colour blocked boiled wool scarf

The top I’m wearing is the Style Arc Kylie top, blogged here. It’s a favourite! However, I want to point out the colour-blocked boiled wool scarf. I sewed it following directions in this tutorial. The boiled wool is from The Cloth Shop. It’s lots of fun choosing colour combinations, and it’s a straightforward sew and very warm to wear. I’ve also sewed a wedgewood blue and grey version that I gave to my sister-in-law for her 60th.

colour blocked boiled wool scarf

This outfit feels very ‘me’. I find it a bit difficult to choose the right tops to go with wide-legged pants, but this one seems to work.  As always, it’s about getting the proportions right for your body – and feeling comfortable and yourself in the total outfit.

Wendy Ward Derwent trousers in ponte from The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe

adult's clothing · sewing

Style Arc Fifi woven pant

Enough of tops, let’s look at some pants!  This pair was constructed at Sewjourn a month or so ago.  The pattern is the Style Arc Fifi woven pant.  And before I show you photos – I didn’t sew the top, it was handed down to me from my cousin.

Style Arc Fifi woven pant

Using a phone camera to take blog photos does mean that the proportions are a bit skewed – things tend to get foreshortened, even though we do try to stand apart enough for that to be semi compensated for. You wouldn’t know from most of my photos that most of my 158cm height is actually in my legs, and that my torso is actually the short part of me; you’ll just have to believe me!

Style Arc Fifi woven pant

First thing I have to say – I LOVE these pants! Because I was sewing a pattern designed for non-stretch wovens I chose to sew size 12 (I often sew size 10 in Style Arc pants patterns). This is the same size I used for the Tully pants, so from the same block.  The fabric has been in stash for a long, long time (I have a feeling that it came to me from my friend Rachel) and has a slightly textured cross-weave and plenty of drape. It’s very dark grey, probably what you’d describe as charcoal rather than being black.

Style Arc Fifi woven pant

From the Style Arc website: Pull-on pant sewing pattern with a smooth front yoke, elastic back and side pockets. This new wide leg pant pattern gives you the option of 7/8th or full length. The Fifi Woven Pant is a simple pant to sew that will give you a sophisticated look. FABRIC SUGGESTION Crepe, linen and rayon.

fifi-woven-pant

I chose to sew full-length pants, then folded out a chunk of the length from the pattern to accommodate my height.  As it turned out I could have just sewn the 7/8 length, as I had to further shorten the pants considerably despite having altered the pattern!  That’s definitely what I’ll be doing next time.

Style Arc Fifi woven pant

Everything lined up beautifully on these pants. The seam of the flat front part of the waistband matches exactly with the curve of the pants pockets, and it was very straightforward to alter the elastic length to work with my shape. I really am best in pull-on pants that have elastic in the waist – my waist to hip ratio makes that the most comfortable and generally the best fitting option for me.

Style Arc Fifi woven pant

Construction was straightforward and shared between the sewing machine and the overlocker. I did simple topstitched hems, but this fabric really did deserve a hand-stitched hem. I might go back and unpick and redo them accordingly (or I might not). I’m definitely going to sew up this pattern again – I plan on doing the shorter version in linen for summer.

Style Arc Fifi woven pant

adult's clothing · sewing

Style Arc Parker tunic

This is the third piece of the Style Arc Parker outfit – you’ve already seen the pants and the coat.  Although they were designed and released as an ensemble, that’s not the way that I’ve sewn them (although the pants and coat do work together).  I sewed up the Parker tunic in voile from stash – it’s a lovely fabric, but I don’t think it’s the right choice for this top.

Style Arc Parker tunic in AMH voile

The Style Arc website describes this top as follows:  Instantly update your wardrobe with this versatile tunic. You will love this beautiful V-neck top with a cap sleeve and shaped hem. A great piece to wear on any occasion. FABRIC SUGGESTION silk, rayon, crepe or washed linen. parker-tunic I sewed size 12, which is the size that I usually sew in Style Arc tops and dresses.  That generally fits me best across the shoulders and upper chest, and I choose styles that have loads of waist ease.  However, this top looks a little tight across the bust, and the self-faced cap sleeves stick out more than I’d like. There is adequate room elsewhere.

Style Arc Parker tunic in AMH voile

I expressed my reservations about this top when Clare was taking the photos – she thought that the length was awkward, and the proportions probably not right for my height. I didn’t make any alterations to the pattern before sewing, and this may have been better shortened. I don’t shorten tunics routinely – after all, they’re meant to be long tops – but this one may have benefitted. Given the faced, curved hemline, I’m not going to try altering this after the fact. It has gone into the spare room wardrobe for someone else to enjoy.

Style Arc Parker tunic in AMH voile

I really like the V neckline, which was successfully sewn by just taking things slowly and using plenty of pins. I will give this pattern another go, but I think that I’ll try sewing it in a knit. Not a super stretchy one, but one that drapes a little more and feels less snug across the boobs. And I’ll shorten the pattern pieces a bit too.

adult's clothing · sewing

Style Arc Sian top

Kate of the blog Fabrikated recently hosted a ‘Dress Like Frida’ sewalong.  Over a number of weeks she introduced readers to Frida Kahlo‘s clothing style, including inspiration images, links to a recent exhibition, and links to patterns.  We were encouraged to use Frida Kahlo’s style as inspiration, adapting it to our own personal circumstances and cultural heritage.  This is what I came up with.

Huipil inspired version of Style Arc Sian top in hand woven cotton

I actually had way more plans in my head for this sewalong than the single top that eventuated. I had pulled out numerous fabrics and trims from stash and played around with them, but due to a variety of factors I only ended up with one item. This top is based on the Style Arc Sian top. I decided to focus on fabric and trim choice and keeping the style lines of the top simple, but didn’t want to go the whole way of sewing a traditional square huipil. Maybe another time – loose simple garments are often my choice anyway!

Huipil inspired version of Style Arc Sian top in hand woven cotton

Style Arc describe the Sian Combo Top as follows: This is a great staple to have in your wardrobe. The dropped shoulder is very flattering along with a comfortable silhouette. Create your own style by using different textures or colours; knit or woven… the combinations are endless. FABRIC SUGGESTION & DESCRIPTION Crepe, Silk, Georgette or Jersey knit.

sian-top

As you can tell, I made a few changes.  I used size 12 throughout, and cut the centre front on the fold, making sure that I took the seam allowances into account.  I left out the front split, and folded out the gathering from the upper back before cutting out.  The front and back princess seams provided slight shaping, and acted as lines to place the braid along.

Huipil inspired version of Style Arc Sian top in hand woven cotton

The centre orange braid is actually bias binding that I’d made some time ago. Because it was bias it was perfect for finishing the curved neckline as well. The other two braids were in stash, and the main fabric is hand-woven cotton from Thailand, left over from another garment. This top used much more trim than you’d think! I paired it with linen trousers rather than sewing a traditional long gathered waist skirt to go with it – I knew that I’d never wear the skirt.

Huipil inspired version of Style Arc Sian top in hand woven cotton

I’m fairly pleased with the end result. It’s definitely inspired by Frida, but I feel that it’s been brought into a context that I find more wearable. This sewalong also had me thinking and reading about cultural appropriation and how it may apply to clothing and sewing.  My general feeling is that those of us who love textiles tend to participate in cultural exchange and cultural appreciation rather than cultural appropriation, but I can see that there is the potential for there to be a fine line between the two.  I found this article, this article and this one to be interesting discussions on the topic.  As a white Australian of English/Scottish/German ancestry, so part of the dominant culture here, I feel that I still have so much to learn.

adult's clothing · sewing

Vintage Butterick 3224 top

I figure that most people reading this blog know that pattern companies re-use pattern numbers.  It’s often quite interest to see what images pop up when you google a pattern!  The first instance of Butterick 3224 is a 1920s jackets (boleros) pattern.  It pops up again in a 1970s top, dress and pants pattern.  Then you get the beauty that I recently sewed – the 1985 top and skirt version.

Vintage Butterick 3224 from 1985 in linen

I was in year 12 in 1985, and that illustration on the left pretty much indicates my hair goals at the time. Lady Diana, what a style influence you had!  I was pretty sure that this pattern would work again in 2018.

Vintage Butterick 3224 from 1985 in linen

View B is the longer version of the top, and finishes right at the waist. There was no way that I was going to wear a top cropped at that level, so I cut a band of fabric, sewed it into a tube, folded it in half wrong sides together, then sewed it to the bottom of the top. Hey presto, self-faced wide hemline.

Vintage Butterick 3224 from 1985 in linen

Now I do need to let you laugh at me a little here, because I certainly laughed at myself. After constructing the shoulder seams and neckline, the next step was to sew front and back together at the side seams. Instead, I sewed the front to the front at one side seam, and the back to the back at the other. I held it up, felt extremely confused, then realised what I’d done! Out with the unpicker…

Vintage Butterick 3224 from 1985 in linen

There was one other difficulty with this pattern – it turned out that there were no instructions in the envelope. Some assistance from friends on Instagram who had sewn the pattern or similar meant that I was able to puzzle out how to construct the neckline with the insets without too much trouble. The markings on the pattern pieces really were key to getting it right! I sewed size 14, and the fabric is linen.

Vintage Butterick 3224 from 1985 in linen

The upper body is very roomy at size 14; but the bottom width, not so much. This is because it’s designed to hit at a cropped waistline – no need to fit over hips. If I wanted to make it longer again I’d need to alter it to swing out a bit more, or include side seam slits.

Vintage Butterick 3224 from 1985 in linen

This was a fun sewing experiment, and I think that this top works quite nicely with my Style Arc Lola pants. I still haven’t quite decided whether it will stay or go though – I have other brown tops that I suspect I am likely to reach for before this one. Time will tell.

adult's clothing · sewing

Marilla Walker Maya top

Unlike the last two garments I showed you, when I put on this top I sighed a definite YES.

Marilla Walker Maya top in linen remnants

When I went to Sewjourn recently, all four of us decided to sew our own version of the Marilla Walker Maya top. It’s been around for a few years now, and I had to admit that I had passed it over due to it’s simplicity. That was really short-sighted of me!

Marilla Walker Maya top in linen remnants

Because really, simple shapes are my jam. Yes I like interesting details, or fabulous fabrics, but the clothing that I feel the best in is usually quite straightforward.

Marilla Walker Maya top in linen remnants

From the pattern website:  The Maya pattern takes its influence from my Central American mother and family. It is a kimono/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 sewed size 7, which was closest to my bust measurement, but could have gone down to size 6.  The fabrics are linen scraps from stash, and the choice of colours and the contrasting bottom panel were entirely depending on the size of the scraps.  I really like the colour combination. The yellow linen was originally used to sew the Style Arc Lola pants I’m wearing with the top, and a brown pair that is also still in my wardrobe).  I really do like working with linen.  Essentially this is view A, without the front pocket, and with a curved front and back hemline.  I cut the pattern at the shorten/lengthen line to divide it for colour blocking (and remembered to add seam allowances when I cut it out).  The instructions have you finish the curved hem before sewing together the side seams, which is an excellent tip that gives a very nice finished result. All the topstitching is done in brown thread.

Marilla Walker Maya top in linen remnants

This is a look that I feel very comfortable in.  It’s more ‘me’.