adult's clothing · sewing

Autumn dress for Mum

Another of the Christmas gifts that I sewed for my Mum was the Style Arc Autumn dress. I’d sewn myself a version around a year prior, and Mum expressed interest in one for herself at the time.

Style Arc Autumn dress in printed linen from The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe

I took these photos on an incredibly hot and dry day – you can almost see the heat radiating in the glare! Fortunately I sewed the dress from linen (from The Cloth Shop) which made it about as comfortable as you can be in those types of weather conditions.

Style Arc Autumn dress in printed linen from The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe

I sewed Mum size 16, without alterations. This dress is a little shorter than her usual preference – although I think that it looks quite perfect at this length. Because I’d sewn it before, constructions was relatively straightforward – except for that large pleat at the back yoke!

Style Arc Autumn dress in printed linen from The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe

From what I’ve read on blogs and instagram, pretty much everyone has trouble getting that pleat correct. I note that I think I have it as designed for Mum’s dress, but when I go back and look at how I did the pleat on my dress I reckon that I got it ‘wrong’ the first time that I sewed it. My tips: make sure that you have included EVERY marking. Have the pattern pieces close to hand. Study the illustrations. Pin the yoke to the ironing board to act as a width and marking reference. Pin the back piece just below it, aligning it with the yoke piece, starting at the outer edges until you get to the first markings. Then take it slow with the folds, patiently folding and refolding until all the marks line up correctly and the back piece is folded to the size of the front piece with all markings lining up as labelled. It does work in the end, trust me. But be patient!

autumn-dress

In included the inseam side pockets – always handy for a hanky if you are Mum, or a mobile phone if you are me – and included all the topstitching as marked.  Construction was mostly on the sewing machine, with the overlocker used to finish seam allowances.  I hand-sewed the collar stand facing in place on the inside of the dress.

Style Arc Autumn dress in printed linen from The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe

This dress has a number of details that make it a pleasure to wear. I particularly like the curved hemline, which works nicely with the slight fullness provided by the front pleat, as well as the back pleat. Note that the back pleat creates lots of room and airiness through the body of the dress, but the pattern piece narrows in again by the time it gets to the hemline so there’s not lots of excess there around your knees.

Style Arc Autumn dress in printed linen from The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe

The lack of closures also makes this a very easy dress to wear – just slip it over your head and go!

Style Arc Autumn dress in printed linen from The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe

When I sewed this for myself I wondered whether it would have benefitted from a high rounded back alteration – and I wondered whether I should have done one for Mum. It looks fine in these photos however. I’ll need to ask Mum how she finds it to wear.  I really love the colourway on Mum, and the fabric was definitely a pleasure to sew.  The more I sew with linen, the more that I love it.  This dress should be perfect for summer in the climate where Mum lives.

Style Arc Autumn dress in printed linen from The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe

And by the way – Happy Birthday Mum!

adult's clothing · sewing · tessuti patterns

Athina the Third

Athina the first and second were both such a success that I knew there would have to be a third!

Tessuti Athina top in checked linen from The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe

When I saw this crinkle large yarn-dyed check at The Cloth Shop my mind instantly paired it with the free Tessuti Athina top pattern. Except I left my run a little too late and when I popped in to buy the fabric, they were out of stock! I was left champing at the bit while I waited for another roll to appear. Then I was back in the shop quick smart!

Tessuti Athina top in checked linen from The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe

This top ticks so many boxes for me. It’s simple. It’s a yarn dyed check. It’s linen. And the green! What a fabulous green! I sewed size Medium again, with the sleeves at pattern length so that I could roll up a decent width cuff. I did remember to do a half inch forward shoulder alteration to the pattern pieces before I did any cutting out – something that I need to remember to do more often.

Tessuti Athina top in checked linen from The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe

This is very easy to sew and to wear. Of course, it crinkles – it’s linen! But I know that I will wear this for years and years and years to come.

Tessuti Athina top in checked linen from The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe

The neckline is finished with a bias cut strip, attached and secured like a facing. I tucked in a label too for fast identification of the back. Have I mentioned that I love this top?

Tessuti Athina top in checked linen from The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe

Anna loves this fabric too – you can see a terrific dress that she sewed from it recently on her blog.

adult's clothing · sewing

Style Arc Adeline (yet again!)

I did a little bit of sewing for my Mum as part of my Christmas gift to her.  I’ve sewn the Style Arc Adeline dress for her twice before (you can see the previous versions here and here).  It’s a style that Mum really likes, so I sewed it again!

Style Arc Adeline dress in crinkle linen from The Cloth Shop

This time I used crinkle linen from The Cloth Shop. To my eye, in real life it’s actually more blue than grey, but I’m not sure what colour it will look like on your computer monitor.

Style Arc Adeline dress in crinkle linen from The Cloth Shop

I sew size 16 in this pattern for Mum, without any alteration. When I sew it for myself I shorten the pattern a bit, but Mum prefers more length. She’s around my height nowadays, but used to be a couple of inches taller than me.

Style Arc Adeline dress in crinkle linen from The Cloth Shop

I really like the wide facing on the curved hemline. It provides stability and to me is a fabulous style. The pockets are also terrific in this solid colour.

Style Arc Adeline dress in crinkle linen from The Cloth Shop

I’ve sewn this so often that there isn’t much more for me to say about the construction. Construction was shared between the overlocker and the sewing machine. I ensure that I use quality interfacing on the neckline and hem facings, and make sure that I use a gazillion pins to hold the facings where they should be before topstitching, which is especially important on this crinkly fabric.

Style Arc Adeline dress in crinkle linen from The Cloth Shop

I really like the way that the neckline sits too. It stays nice and close to the body. As you’ve probably figured out by now, Mum and I have quite similar body shapes, although she’s more busty than I am. The styles that work well on Mum tend to work well on me, and vice versa.

Style Arc Adeline dress in crinkle linen from The Cloth Shop

Feedback is that this is a very comfortable dress to wear in this very hot summer. I think that the fabric choice was perfect – the crinkles in the linen allow for movement and comfort, while the fibre keeps you cool. I love it when a dress that I sew works so well for the recipient!  I think that I’ve now sewn six Adeline dresses.  Oh my!

 

adult's clothing · sewing

Another striped draped t-dress

I first sewed the You Sew, Girl! Draped T-dress back in January 2011.  Yes, that was a while ago!

You Sew Girl Draped T dress in viscose knit from The Cloth Shop

And wouldn’t you know it – this is my sixth version, the fourth in a stripe! You can see two of the other striped ones here and here (there was also a red/white striped version but I don’t think it was ever blogged). I’ve sewn it in a solid once, and in a print once. (And actually, since I wrote this blog post I’ve sewn a seventh dress, this time as a gift).

You Sew Girl Draped T dress in viscose knit from The Cloth Shop

This fabulous stripe is viscose spandex knit from The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe. I needed 2.5 metres in order to be able to match the stripes along the edges. This is a one pattern piece dress – the front and the back are the same, then the front neckline is cut deeper. I cut a strip for the neckband a little less than two inches wide. When doing neckbands from stripes the finished neckband width really depends on the width of the stripes and what I think will look best.

You Sew Girl Draped T dress in viscose knit from The Cloth Shop

As always I determined the length of the neckband by following the method described in Gillian’s tutorial. Construction was on the overlocker, with the hems finished by machine with a twin needle. I also twin needled down the neckband seam allowances to secure them.

You Sew Girl Draped T dress in viscose knit from The Cloth Shop

I used double sided Vliesofix tape on the dress hem before stitching, and I think that it’s actually stiffened it a little too much and has made the hem a little wavy. That might ease up with washing. I sometimes attach a fishing sinker or washer to the inside seam allowance of the point at the side drape so that it falls nicely, but haven’t done it yet with this version of the dress and the folds seem to be draping as they should.

You Sew Girl Draped T dress in viscose knit from The Cloth Shop

Stripe matching required lots of careful cutting – I cut one side of the dress, then laid it exactly on top of the fabric right sides together to line up the stripes accurately before cutting the other side. That had the added advantage of having the front and back all ready for the stripes to be carefully pinned together. Sewing this in a solid or print makes it a very fast dress to sew, by the way.

You Sew Girl Draped T dress in viscose knit from The Cloth Shop

My dress is size Medium. It’s extremely comfortable to wear, and I think we all know that there will be more versions of this pattern in the future!

adult's clothing · sewing · teen

Vintage Style 4728 shorts

Clare and I had fun trawling through my stash of old patterns late last year in search of skirt patterns.  She’s a mix of sizes, but for skirts will generally fit into a women’s 6 or 8.  She was looking for fuller skirts, that ended above the knee. Then we spotted this one:

Vintage Style 4728 shorts in double gauze from Clear It

This pattern is from 1986, and I do think that the cover art is a perfect example of the fashions of its time. The pattern description is as follows. Misses’ Skirt, Trousers, Culottes and Shorts: Flared skirt, slightly tapered trousers, culottes and shorts are gathered front and back onto waistband with side-front pockets which form buttoned opening.

Vintage Style 4728 shorts in double gauze from Clear It

So as you can see, we decided on the shorts! The fabric is double gauze from Clear It, left over from an earlier project.

Vintage Style 4728 shorts in double gauze from Clear It

I do rather enjoy working with printed patterns from this era. I learned to sew using them, and they really do give me pleasure. They are SO familiar to me! We cut straight size 8 for Clare. The pockets tuck into the side seams but form part of the opening at the front.

Vintage Style 4728 shorts in double gauze from Clear It

The buttons are also vintage, from stash, and are the only closure. You can see the slanted front pocket edge in the photo. Because of this opening method, the pockets aren’t actually as deep or as secure as you might think. The teen does keep on putting her mobile phone into the leg opening rather than into the pocket!

Vintage Style 4728 shorts in double gauze from Clear It

The gathers at the front and back provide lovely fullness to these shorts, and they really do work in the same place as an equivalent skirt. Clare tie-dyed the tee with a friend as some school holiday fun. She also dyed her hair!

Holiday hair - Clare

Clare’s hair is waist length, so she needed a friend to help her to get the ombre pink to purple effect! They’re just temporary colours that wash out after around 8 washes (Schwarzkopf Live Colour range; we get them from Priceline) and it’s become a bit of a school holiday tradition to have ‘holiday hair’. If it’s done right at the beginning of the holidays it is all gone by the time that school goes back – Clare’s school is quite strict about ‘unnatural colours’ in hair.

Holiday hair - Stella

Of course, Stella wanted to be in on the action as well. Her choice was ombre blue ends! They really do enjoy this bit of holiday fun. I’ve still got a few of last year’s projects to get up on the blog, so will try to get that done over the next few days. I’m between jobs at the moment, and as you can see we haven’t gone away on a ‘big’ holiday this summer. We’re all enjoying the time at home, pottering away and getting lots of things done that we never usually have the time for. Yes, there is lots of organising and sorting and tidying up and throwing out going on! As well as reading, watching movies and Netflix, and from me, sewing.

Vintage Style 4728 shorts in double gauze from Clear It

adult's clothing · sewing

Style Arc Eme

The time between Christmas and New Year is one of my favourites.  Expectations have evaporated, there are leftovers in the fridge, most people are on leave, Melbourne has cleared out (which makes it great to be here) and I lose track of what day of the week it is.  I’ve pottered around the house, getting lots of chores done in a relaxed pace according to my own timetable and no-one else’s.  Actually, I’ve barely left the house!  The first few days of last week were baking hot which made me very grateful for air-conditioning; fortunately Melbourne has done what it usually does and the last few days have been delightful with cool nights and days in the mid twenties.

Style Arc Eme dress in linen blend from Darn Cheap Fabrics

Anyway, this is what I wore on Christmas Day. We hosted lunch for 18 people, it was hot outside, and this dress kept me comfortable throughout. It’s the Style Arc Eme dress.

Style Arc Eme dress in linen blend from Darn Cheap Fabrics

From the Style Arc website: Eme is our new summer cocoon shaped dress that is perfect for the beginner sewer, with no fastenings or trim details required. The loose-fitting shape allows for cool fitting during those hot summer days and the lovely darts at the hem complete the cocoon look. With its simple design lines Eme is the perfect pattern for colour blocking. FABRIC SUGGESTION Linen, rayon, silk, cotton, fine wool.

eme-dress

First things first – that line drawing is VERY deceiving regarding the length of this dress.  I know I’m short at 158cm, but in the illustration the dress ends above the knee.  Mine ends well below it.  Actually, most finished versions that I’ve seen definitely look longer rather than shorter.  You might want to take that into account.

Style Arc Eme dress in linen blend from Darn Cheap Fabrics

It is a simple dress that is straightforward to sew. If you left out the side seam pockets (I included them) you really could ‘whip it up’ in very little time at all! Like all simple things, it needs to be well drafted in order to look good – and in my opinion, this dress is great. The neckline is a great shape, and finishing it with a wide topstitched facing adds a lovely bit of detail. The sleeves can be left longer, or turned back to form a cuff, which is my preference.

Style Arc Eme dress in linen blend from Darn Cheap Fabrics

The darts at the hemline – two on the front and two on the back – really do give that lovely cocoon shape. I know that it’s not a silhouette for everyone, but it’s definitely one that I like a great deal. No fit and flare in my wardrobe! The hemline also has a wide facing, which gives it body and a little more detail with topstitching.

Style Arc Eme dress in linen blend from Darn Cheap Fabrics

The fabric came from Darn Cheap Fabrics. It’s current stock, and I’m pretty sure that it is linen/viscose blend. The colour is wonderful! It was great to sew with and to wear as it combined the best properties of both fibre types. The Eme is a great alternative to that other Style Arc staple, the Adeline.

Style Arc Eme dress in linen blend from Darn Cheap Fabrics

adult's clothing · sewing · teen

True Bias Ogden cami – from mini to adult

Last Sewjourn I whipped up a mini Ogden cami for Clare.  (Side note: whenever I type ‘whipped up’ I smile.  What a funny expression to use in a sewing context!  And although the implication that whatever is ‘whipped up’ is done in a frenzy, I didn’t rush my way through this.  It’s just not a complicated garment; there are very few pattern pieces, and no tricky finishing techniques).

True Bias mini Ogden cami in rayon from Rathdowne Fabrics

The fabric is printed woven rayon came from Rathdowne Fabrics and was left over from another project. This is the Mini Ogden cami, sewn in size 10 which was the largest size. I doubted that Clare would be a girls size 10, but the chest measurement looked like it would work, and from past experience I knew that for this pattern I needed to select the size based on circumferential measurements.

True Bias mini Ogden cami in rayon from Rathdowne Fabrics

The first thing that I had to do when she tried it on was re-cut the straps. As designed, the size 10 straps were WAY too short for her height.  I cut out and sewed a new set of straps, adding about four inches to the length, then attached them where they best lined up with her bra straps. I’m old fashioned in that way – I prefer underwear to be covered rather than exposed (unless it’s brightly coloured and worn with an outer garment that suggests it is clearly meant for exposure).

True Bias mini Ogden cami in rayon from Rathdowne Fabrics

Now to me there wasn’t enough boob room in the front of the cami. Yes, it fits, in that it goes around her and isn’t skin tight, but the underarm seams are digging in. Time to pull out the adult version of the pattern and give it another go.

Screen Shot 2018-12-21 at 7.45.22 am

The above diagram is the mini Ogden.  The adult version is a little different, which you can see in it’s line diagram below.

Screen Shot 2018-12-21 at 7.54.52 am

The adult version has a front and back lining piece (it comes down as far as under the bust) and there is no elastic in the back.  Rather, it has a gently curved V neckline like the front.  After checking out the measurements for the adult version I knew that I’d need to sew a muslin.  Clare really needed a size somewhere between the size 10 girls (designed for a 28.5 inch chest) and the size 0 women’s (designed for a 32 inch chest). I found some fabric in the stash, printed and cut out the size 0, and sewed up a wearable muslin.  Then made just-awake Clare try it on with her pyjama bottoms.

True Bias Ogden Cami - size 0 no mods

The fabric is printed cotton from deep stash – maybe originally from Spotlight. It’s not as soft and drapey as the rayon I used for the mini Ogden. I used some plain white fabric I found elsewhere in stash for the partial lining, which was much softer and was possibly rayon.

True Bias Ogden Cami - size 0 no mods

Now as you can see, the fit of the women’s cami here is WAY better than the mini Ogden. However, as I’d anticipated, the neckline was much too wide and the shoulder straps were too far apart. Clare felt really exposed in this version and wanted more chest coverage. Interestingly, that’s how I felt in the Ogden cami that I made ages ago. When we pinned out a chunk along the centre front and centre back, everything seemed much better.  I cut out a second version of the cami, this time from rayon, but after having folded out 5/8 inch along the centre ‘on the fold’ edge. Yes, I did remember to do this to the lining pieces as well as the front and back pieces! In total this removed two and a half inches from the total circumference of the pattern, while retaining the side seam shaping and the overall neckline shaping.

True Bias Ogden Cami - size 0 no mods

Apparently this is drafted for a C cup bust – which Clare doesn’t have.  However, I didn’t do a SBA.  Once change at a time!  And as it turns out, I didn’t need to.  This version fitted so much better!

True Bias Ogden Cami size 0 with mods in rayon

This alteration also raised the neckline a bit at both the front and the back. Clare was really pleased with it. Not sure that the fabric colour is the best for Clare – her skin tone blends into it a bit – but she’s already wearing it quite a lot! She chose to wear it for her early 16th birthday party celebrations (January birthdays often mean that friends are all away at party time, so we chose to have a pre-Christmas celebration this year).

True Bias Ogden Cami size 0 with mods in rayon

You can see how much better that armhole fit is. The back is deep, but finishes above her bra. Bra straps are still exposed a little bit, but not dramatically so, and the cami straps are in a comfortable place on her shoulders.

True Bias Ogden Cami size 0 with mods in rayon

We’re really pleased with the fit of this cami now, and have fabric queued to sew more. I might even give this pattern another go for myself with similar alterations (cut a larger size than I did last time, then move the pattern piece across to shift the neckline and strap position). Clare is also keen for me to sew it as a slip dress. I have a feeling that this will be a very useful garment in the teen wardrobe over this Australian summer.

True Bias Ogden Cami size 0 with mods in rayon