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!

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

adult's clothing · sewing

Style Arc Ada knit top

This pattern has been around for a little while, but I only sewed it up last year.  I find it interesting how I can overlook a pattern for ages, then all of a sudden look at it with fresh eyes and become enthused.

Style Arc Ada in knit remnant from The Cloth Shop

The Style Arc Ada knit topFabulous top with interesting design lines. Clever square arm hole and side panel with inserted pocket. FABRIC SUGGESTION: Any knit fabric, single knit jersey preferable.

ada-top

My fabric is a knit remnant from The Cloth Shop.  I adore the colour and the chevrons.  There is a metallic thread knitted into it too, which does have the effect of making the fabric feel slightly scratchy.  However, not unwearably so.

Style Arc Ada in knit remnant from The Cloth Shop

This was an easy sew, with construction shared between the overlocker and the sewing machine. I used a twin-needle to finish hems and to secure the neckband. As always, I use this method to get the length and distribution of the neckband just right.  I find it works much better on deeper curves than simply quartering the neckline and neckband.

Style Arc Ada in knit remnant from The Cloth Shop

This is size 12 without alterations. I rather like the slightly drapey side pockets.

Style Arc Ada in knit remnant from The Cloth Shop

The scooped neckline is not too high, not too low. There’s lots to like about this top, especially if you prefer things that are not fitted through the waist. It works particularly well with skinny pants (these are Style Arc Misty jeans).

Style Arc Ada in knit remnant from The Cloth Shop

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.