adult's clothing · sewing

Style Arc Rae tunic and Georgie jeans

This is a blog post about garments that aren’t quite right.  Incredibly close to right, but that teensy bit off!  In one case it’s due to my fabric choice.  In the other case, the size that I chose to sew.

Style Arc Rae tunic in knit from Crafty Mamas with Style Arc Georgie jeans in stretch denim from M Recht

I’ve actually seen the Rae tunic pop up quite a lot in my feed reader and on Instagram. As Style Arc say:  The curved hemline and the, so popular, split sleeve give this great tunic top an easy, casual look. Simple to make with an all in one sleeve and body, this tunic will become your go to top to wear for all occasions. FABRIC SUGGESTION: Crepe, Silk or even a Knit.

rae-tunic

I chose to use a cotton/lycra knit.  It’s a beautiful quality fabric from Crafty Mamas Fabrics, and I adore the print.  Unfortunately, it really isn’t quite a drapey as I’d like.  A knit with some viscose in it would have been a much better choice.

Style Arc Rae tunic in knit from Crafty Mamas with Style Arc Georgie jeans in stretch denim from M Recht

I eliminated the centre back opening, cut the back piece on the fold, and used one strip of fabric as a neckline facing. This fabric was very easy to work with, and this really did come together incredibly quickly. I like that the upper arm openings are relatively subtle, and allow for wearing a regular bra. It’s a simple pattern, but as is usually the case with Style Arc, very well drafted.

Style Arc Rae tunic in knit from Crafty Mamas with Style Arc Georgie jeans in stretch denim from M Recht

I sewed straight size 12 without alteration. It’s definitely tunic length, with deeply rounded hemlines. I think that it would be wonderful lengthened to a dress. So this top wasn’t a fail for me, but wasn’t a woo-hoo make either. I’ve been wearing it, but it really deserves to be remade in one of the recommended fabrics.

Style Arc Rae tunic in knit from Crafty Mamas with Style Arc Georgie jeans in stretch denim from M Recht

So, to the jeans. I’ve been wanting a pair of white/cream denim jeans for ages. Back in the 1990s I had a pair of white Levi 501s. I wore them until they pretty much died – at which time I turned them into a skirt. Remember doing that? Unpicking the inseams, overlapping, adding a bit of extra from what you’d cut off the lower leg to the centre to fill in the gap? I’m sure that nowadays there are plenty of tutorials around to let you know what to do. Oh, I remember that skirt well – I trimmed the hemline with some amazing pink blue and white vintage jumbo ric rac. I wonder if it’s in landfill now or if someone is rocking a very retro look?

georgie-jeans

Style Arc describe the Georgie stretch woven jeans as follows: GEORGIE STRETCH WOVEN JEAN: Georgie has all the details of a traditional jean with the exception that its pulls on. This elastic waisted jean has the latest styling and shape along with comfort as it sits on the natural waist. FABRIC SUGGESTION: Stretch Bengaline or any stretch woven fabric.

Style Arc Rae tunic in knit from Crafty Mamas with Style Arc Georgie jeans in stretch denim from M Recht

Because I’ve put on so much weight I decided to go up a size from my usual Style Arc 10 to a 12. In retrospect, I could have stayed with the 10. These are that leetle bit too big.  Not enough to stop me wearing them – and I’ve been wearing them quite a bit – but just that little bit that means I need to hitch them up a bit from time to time.

Style Arc Rae tunic in knit from Crafty Mamas with Style Arc Georgie jeans in stretch denim from M Recht

There is also way more fabric in the back of the leg than I need. My weight gains tend to go straight to my belly and midriff. Although I still do get a little larger around the bum and hips, it’s proportionately much less, and from the thighs down I never seem to change all that much. This pair could have done with a short back waist length alteration and a flat bum adjustment.  The denim (from M.Recht) has plenty of stretch, as does the recommended bengaline fabric, so I could have stayed with the size 10 and just altered the waist elastic to suit and let the elastane in the fabric look after lots of the rest of the fit. I have another pair cut out in leather-look bengaline and will increase the size of the seam allowances when I sew it in order to make that pair a bit smaller overall.

Style Arc Rae tunic in knit from Crafty Mamas with Style Arc Georgie jeans in stretch denim from M Recht

I enjoyed sewing these, and did the topstitching with a triple stitch using regular thread. Lots of the rest of construction was on the overlocker. This pattern is basically the pants version of the Style Arc Charlie skirt, which I’ve blogged before here.  I’ll still get plenty of wear from these jeans, because they are comfortable, and I’ll always tops out over them.

adult's clothing · sewing

Lotus Blossom Blouse – for me

The Love Notions Lotus Blossom Blouse comes in a very wide range of sizes.  I’ve made the kid size before for Clare (you can see it here) and thought at the time that I should sew it for myself.  Last November at Sewjourn I did exactly that!

Love Notions Lotus Blossom Blouse in rayon knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics

From their website: Do the twist! This top is simple but packs a fun surprise. The dolman sleeved blouse is a flattering top meant for light weight drapey knits that are the same on front and back. The neckline features a gradual v-neck that is a breeze to sew. The back of the blouse can feature a special fabric such as stretch lace or a really cool scrap of knit you’ve been hoarding for years. The surprise in this blouse is the twist at the front. The shirt-tail hem really makes this top a great choice for just about any pants or skirt style. Available in girl’s sizes 2T-16 as well as ladies XS-XXXL.

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The are right – this is a quick and easy sew!  It is super important that your fabric look pretty much the same on both sides, as one half of the front piece shows the reverse as a function of making the twist in the bottom.  I chose not to do a back inset on this version.

Love Notions Lotus Blossom Blouse in rayon knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics

The fabric was a perfect choice – its a drapey viscose knit, not too thin, but not too thick. I think that it came from Darn Cheap Fabrics $2 table. The colour is very slightly marled in real life and has considerable depth.  It has just the right amount of drape for this top. I don’t think that a cotton/lycra would work half as nicely.

Love Notions Lotus Blossom Blouse in rayon knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics

The front neckline is finished before the twist is done and the centre front seam sewn up. This looks much more complex than it actually is. It’s important to pay attention to markings though. I suspect that I sewed the size Medium. I really think that I do need to sew this top again. Maybe I can add some long sleeves for winter? I’ve worn this one a bit for work, as it pairs really nicely with a straight knit skirt and cardi/jacket.

Love Notions Lotus Blossom Blouse in rayon knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics

So I think that they are right – this top IS “flattering”! It’s the right colour to bring out my skin tone, the V-neckline is a shape that I prefer, it doesn’t constrict or bind my pot gut and most importantly for me feels really comfortable on. Hooray!

adult's clothing · DCF Challenge · sewing

Style Arc Mary – DCF Summer Challenge

I know, I know, it’s not summer any more.  But I bought the fabric during summer, so I figure that this still counts as my summer DCF Challenge* garment.  And the last few weeks in Melbourne have definitely still been feeling like summer!

DCF Summer Challenge Style Arc Mary shift dress in broderie anglaise from Darn Cheap Fabrics

Sometimes it only takes Emma and I a second to agree on what fabric we want to use as our challenge fabric each season. Other times neither of us feels particularly inspired. We decided on this one when it popped up on Darn Cheap Fabrics‘ Instagram – I think it was about January by then, so well into summer! You will be pleased to know that we already have our autumn challenge fabric in hand.

DCF Summer Challenge Style Arc Mary shift dress in broderie anglaise from Darn Cheap Fabrics

The fabric is a broderie anglaise, with bright, almost fluorescent orange embroidery around eyelets cut into white cotton.  It’s not a style of fabric that I often purchase or wear, but part of the fun of the challenge is to sometimes work with something that isn’t completely typical.  And we all know that I do enjoy orange!  The holey nature of border anglaise means that lining is generally required.  I dove into stash to find the a printed orange/yellow cotton voile to line the front and back of the dress.  I also chose to cut strips to make my own bias binding to finish all the edges.

DCF Summer Challenge Style Arc Mary shift dress in broderie anglaise from Darn Cheap Fabrics

I underlined the front and back pieces by simply overlaying the fashion fabric on top of the printed voile and cutting them as one. I then treated the two layers as one throughout construction. I left the sleeves unlined. The print on the unlining provides some additional dimension to the garment.

DCF Summer Challenge Style Arc Mary shift dress in broderie anglaise from Darn Cheap Fabrics

The pattern is the Style Arc Mary shift dress, which I’ve sewn before. I’d already shortened the pattern by taking a fold out of both the front and back midway down, and decided to omit the pockets completely. There is enough going on with this fabric! I also cut the back piece on the fold.  It also made this a very quick garment to sew.

mary-dress

Because I’d sewn this before I knew that I’d want to make the neckline a little larger.  I’d already decided to bind it, but was a little concerned about the fabric stretching out.  After joining the fronts, backs and sleeves I ran a line of stitching around the neckline, about 5/8″ in from the edge.  I then trimmed away the fabric close to this stitching, then ran another line of stitching around also 5/8″ in from the edge.  I trimmed that down to a quarter of an inch, then applied the binding.

DCF Summer Challenge Style Arc Mary shift dress in broderie anglaise from Darn Cheap Fabrics

Since I had plenty of binding made I decided that the same trim would work nicely on the sleeve edges. And then again on the hemline!  (This photo also nicely shows off my latest Django & Juliette sandals…I am very addicted to this brand).

DCF Summer Challenge Style Arc Mary shift dress in broderie anglaise from Darn Cheap Fabrics

You need to consider edge finishes carefully when working with fabrics like this one, as all those holes mean that seams could easily be seen. I finished the raglan sleeve seams by overlocking them then pressing toward the body. A final row of orange topstitching holds the seam allowances in place and provides a subtle detail.

DCF Summer Challenge Style Arc Mary shift dress in broderie anglaise from Darn Cheap Fabrics

I think that I am converting to raglan sleeves. If they are well drafted – and these are – I think that they can fit really nicely. The key for good fit in a raglan sleeve is a shoulder dart. They still need shaping! The shoulder dart in this pattern in combination with the gentle curves of the raglan armhole allow this to fit really nicely across my back and shoulders and upper chest.  Raglan sleeves are also incredibly easy to sew.

DCF Summer Challenge Style Arc Mary shift dress in broderie anglaise from Darn Cheap Fabrics

So, although it took me ages to decide what to sew from this fabric, the finished garment is very satisfying. It feels nice and cool, and just skims across the body. And the colour is lots of fun – and you know that I enjoy fun in my clothing!

DCF Summer Challenge Style Arc Mary shift dress in broderie anglaise from Darn Cheap Fabrics

So, what has Emma sewn? Time to pop over to her blog Ernest Flagg and see!

* Emma and I started the DCF Seasonal Challenge a year or two ago – we buy  a couple of metres of the same fabric from Darn Cheap Fabrics each season, and each make a garment.  We then reveal it on our blogs on the same day.  It’s just a fun thing that we started when we realised how often we buy and sew the same fabrics (often from Darn Cheap).

adult's clothing · sewing

Trilogy top and Peta pants

These are both repeat pattern makes.  I first sewed the Hot Patterns Trilogy top for Mum here, and the Style Arc Peta pants here, so I knew that it would be pretty safe to sew both of them for her as a Christmas gift.

Style Arc Peta pants in linen from The Cloth Shop with Hot Patterns Trilogy top in mystery crepe from Darn Cheap fabrics

I’ll start with the top! I sewed size 14, as before, and used all the same techniques. The fabric was from the Darn Cheap Fabrics $2 table. It feels to be a viscose of some type, and it has just the right flow and drape to make this lovely to wear.  From the Hot Patterns website: Semi-fitted, pull-on styles have a gently shaped silhouette, with center front & back seams. ‘V’neckline and cut-on cap sleeves are finished with self fabric binding. Choose your perfect length; a midi-length dress, a mid-thigh tunic, or a lower-hiplength top. All versions feature a deep pleat folded into the front yoke for that essential bust shaping, plus a curved front and straight back hemline.

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Style Arc Peta pants in linen from The Cloth Shop with Hot Patterns Trilogy top in mystery crepe from Darn Cheap fabrics

I apply the bindings to the wrong side, then wrap them around to the right side and topstitch them in place. It’s like binding a quilt, really! It means that the outside of the garment always looks neat, as you can ensure that the topstitching is just where you want it to be.

Style Arc Peta pants in linen from The Cloth Shop with Hot Patterns Trilogy top in mystery crepe from Darn Cheap fabrics

This is a lovely style on Mum, and I’ve noticed that she wears the other one that I made last year fairly often as well. The pants are also a terrific wardrobe staple.  From the Style Arc website: PETA PANT: This elastic waist pant is a great new staple – make it with or without drawstring bottoms, its easy to wear and you will find it a great young fit that is still comfortable. FABRIC SUGGESTION & DESCRIPTION: Washed linen, washed silk – any woven that has drape.

peta-pant

Style Arc Peta pants in linen from The Cloth Shop with Hot Patterns Trilogy top in mystery crepe from Darn Cheap fabrics

This beautiful black Italian linen comes from The Cloth Shop in Ivanhoe. As before, I sewed them in size 18, shortening the pattern around three inches in total with a fold out of the pattern both above and below the knee. I’d left that alteration on the pattern pieces the last time I sewed these, so didn’t even need to take the time to do it all again!

Style Arc Peta pants in linen from The Cloth Shop with Hot Patterns Trilogy top in mystery crepe from Darn Cheap fabrics

Mum is around my height nowadays – somewhere between 5’2″ and 5’3″ – so the same height alterations work for both of us. Interestingly, I measured Clare yesterday and she’s now only an inch and a half or so behind us – although her shoulders are lower than that – I think that she might end up taller than me after all!

Style Arc Peta pants in linen from The Cloth Shop with Hot Patterns Trilogy top in mystery crepe from Darn Cheap fabrics

adult's clothing · sewing

Kwik Sew 3880

Kwik Sew is a pattern company that I think some people overlook.  I assume it’s just a styling issue, because the patterns are terrific.  Always well drafted and always go together well.  Just focus on the line drawings!  Anyway, I gave Kwik Sew 3880 a go when I was at Sewjourn last November (yes, that’s how behind I am with blogging).

Kwik Sew 3880 in knit from The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe

The website describes this pattern as follows: Pullover tops have dolman sleeves and scoop neckline finished with self-fabric binding, and sleeves and bottom edge are hemmed. A: Shoulder cut-outs finished with narrow hems. Pattern includes ¼” (6 mm) seam allowances.

k3880_a

There are usually patterns with shoulder cut outs in the pattern books, but at the moment they are especially on trend. I figured that this could be a good style to try as it provides shoulder/upper arm interest while being bra-friendly. The knit was a remnant from The Cloth Shop in Ivanhoe.  I love their remnant bin!

Kwik Sew 3880 in knit from The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe

I sewed the Medium, even though my measurements suggest the Large. I find that in general Kwik Sew have plenty of ease, and often go down a size. I do always check the finished garment measurements for each size on the pattern pieces to determine which size allows for the amount of ease I prefer. This is something that I do no matter what the pattern brand. I think that the sizing is fine, but as is often the case I don’t feel especially comfortable in a garment that is relatively fitted through the midsection on me. It wouldn’t be if you had a more “conventional” shape with a narrower waist. As it is I spend all my time sucking my gut in and trying to stand taller. No body confidence if you’re doing that all the time!

Kwik Sew 3880 in knit from The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe

I did deviate from the instructions to do the shoulder cutouts, and bound them in the same manner as the neckline after sewing together the shoulder seams. This reduced their size a little, which I think was a good thing. I prefer to not just turn and stitch on curved openings, even though it’s quite a feasible option in knits.

Kwik Sew 3880 in knit from The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe

I think that these photos would have been better taken against a darker background – my arms blend in with the wall behind me, which makes the cutouts look weird! An interesting observation when I made this – my friend Kathryn tried it on as well. We both sew a similar size in tops, with tweaking for our different shapes. We’re also a similar height; she’s a few inches taller than me but not dramatically so. Anyway, this top was MUCH more low-cut on her than it was on me. Although I am short through the body in comparison to my legs, most of my short torso is from bust to waist, not from shoulders to bust. Whereas Kathryn is shorter from shoulders to bust, which meant that the neckline was lower on her than it was on me. There are SO many areas to consider when fitting clothing – it’s not as simple as bust, waist and hip measurement (plus height). It also made me feel better about my standard alterations – I do often remove length from garments between the bust and waist, but not above, despite having noticed others do so on their blogs. I think that for me I have been doing the right thing in that regard!

Kwik Sew 3880 in knit from The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe

Overall I think this is a great pattern. I’m not sure that the cutout is a look for me (I prefer the more subtle arm openings in the Style Arm Rae tunic or Marilyn dress), and although I love the colours in the fabric, this top has gone into the cupboard in the spare room for someone else to enjoy. It was a worthwhile experiment, but it just doesn’t feel like “me”.

Kwik Sew 3880 in knit from The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe

adult's clothing · sewing

Ogden plus Lena

True Bias Ogden Cami in thai cotton gauze with Designer Stitch Lena pants in rayon

It popped up everywhere on Instagram over the (Australian) summer and I was not immune.  I bought the True Bias Ogden Cami pattern and sewed one up.  I wasn’t letting my kids have all the fun in the mini version of this pattern!

True Bias Ogden Cami in thai cotton gauze with Designer Stitch Lena pants in rayon

The fabric is a beautiful soft cotton that I bought on my first trip to Thailand. It’s one of those fabrics where I wish that I had more.

True Bias Ogden Cami in thai cotton gauze with Designer Stitch Lena pants in rayon

And as usual, the photo shows off my short back torso and reminds me that I really need to start doing the appropriate pattern adjustment on pretty much everything I sew! Anyway, back to the pattern itself. I think that there is a great deal to like about the Ogden Cami. The description from the True Bias website is as follows: The Ogden Cami is a simple blouse that can either be worn on its own or as a layering piece under blazers and cardigans. It has a soft V neck at both center front and center back necklines, and delicate spaghetti straps. The neckline and armholes are finished with a partial lining for a beautiful, high end finish. Suggested Fabrics: Light weight woven fabrics such as crepe, rayon challis, voile, and lightweight linen.

Ogden Cami line drawing

True Bias Ogden Cami in thai cotton gauze with Designer Stitch Lena pants in rayon

I was between sizes, and opted to size down to the 12 rather than sew the 14. I really like the shaping of this cami – the curves are just right! I would however prefer a full lining, and if I sewed it again I’d definitely extend the lining down to match the outer. This would be a great pattern to extend to dress length. It does require a strapless bra however (unless you are happy to go without). My cami has actually become a pyjama top, purely because I prefer to wear a normal bra. I will probably use this pattern again for summer nighties too.  Looking at these photos, and thinking of how it felt in wear, the straps are probably a little wide apart for my shoulders.  However, bringing them in would involve some redrafting to maintain the front and back shaping.  Hmmm.  Will think on that further.

True Bias Ogden Cami in thai cotton gauze with Designer Stitch Lena pants in rayon

So, to the pants! These were a straightforward garment to sew and are super comfortable to wear. They are the Lena pants from Designer Stitch. From the website: The Lena Silk Pants are a relaxed and easy wearing pant. Featuring side slant pockets, pleated front, back yoke and elastic waistband these pants can be made in a casual fabric for daytime wearing. They can then easily transition into evening when made in a more upmarket fabric for some glitz and glamour.

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Ann from Designer Stitch has been a freelance designer to industry and a teacher in Australia for many years, and also runs her own sewing school.  It is nice to see another experienced and well qualified fashion designer releasing pdf patterns that have been extensively tested and are in a wide range of sizes.  These pants are a bit of fun, and definitely fit into current trends.

True Bias Ogden Cami in thai cotton gauze with Designer Stitch Lena pants in rayon

The drop crotch, in combination with my relatively flat rear and narrow hits, definitely results in baggy bum, but that’s always a function of this style! I shortened the legs before cutting out, knowing that I wouldn’t be able to make adjustments to the hem after the fact as the lower leg is a shaped,self-faced “cuff” piece.

True Bias Ogden Cami in thai cotton gauze with Designer Stitch Lena pants in rayon

As is usual for me, I left out the drawstring, and used fairly wide elastic through the waist. I love those deep front pleats, and the slanted pockets. The fabric is a drapey rayon woven with a self-spot that was in deep stash, which gives them a little texture. Another of those fabrics that I wish I had more of! I wore these quite a lot while we were overseas, and always felt good in them. I think they’d be lovely in a patterned silk, which is one of the fabric suggestions.

True Bias Ogden Cami in thai cotton gauze with Designer Stitch Lena pants in rayon

adult's clothing · sewing · Uncategorized

Vogue 8909

I suspect that Vogue 8909 has been around for a little while.  Kim from The Cloth Shop recommended the pattern to me, and I’m glad that she did.

Vogue 8909 pants in navy tencel from Clear It

The Vogue website describes the pattern as follows:  Fitted (below waist) pants have elastic waistband and purchased ribbon drawstring, yoke back, side-front seams, no side seams, and side-front pockets. A, B: Elasticized leg bands. B, C:Stitched hems.

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v8909

I sewed view B, with the elasticised cuffs.  The fabric is navy tencel from Clear It.  I’m quite pleased that tencel is around again.  I used to have a pair of orange tencel jeans back in the 1990s…and actually I wish that I still had them!  Ah, the memories.

Vogue 8909 pants in navy tencel from Clear It

I shortened these quite a bit by taking folds out of the pattern pieces before cutting, one above the knee and one below. I think I took out about three inches in total. I thought that I’d actually taken out too much length at first, but when I look at photos of these pants on a model on the Vogue website they are meant to be a little above the ankle.

Vogue 8909 pants in navy tencel from Clear It

It took quite a bit of fiddling to get the ankle elastic just right. My first attempt was way too tight and the pants rode up and sat on mid-calf. After loosening them a bit, and trying them on sitting and standing, I managed to find the sweet spot.

Vogue 8909 pants in navy tencel from Clear It

Rather than sewing three channels of elastic for the cuffs and for the waistband I chose to just use one channel with wider elastic for both. There is a fake fly at the front. I’m not completely certain why I both with these sorts of details sometimes, as they are only seen here on the blog, but at least I know that they are there.

Vogue 8909 pants in navy tencel from Clear It

I eliminated the drawstring completely. Overall I really like the fit of these pants. It was difficult to get good photos of them – I find pants difficult to photograph well in general, and my phone camera does some weird things to the proportions and makes my legs look super short (they’re actually quite long in comparison to my torso) – but I think that you can see that they while having a relaxed fit they are not sloppy. There are pockets in the slightly forward sides seams, which could be eliminated if you wanted a super fast sew, but are quite handy to have otherwise.

Vogue 8909 pants in navy tencel from Clear It

The top I’m wearing with them in these photos is the Tessuti Kate top, blogged here.  I suspect that this pattern could get another outing at some stage. It ticks many of my boxes (especially that one for an elastic waist) and I’m very pleased that Kim suggested it! Worth adding to your stash.

Vogue 8909 pants in navy tencel from Clear It