adult's clothing · sewing

Style Arc Sunny

I’ve made this top before – I think this could be my fourth version.  It’s a great shape for me.

Style Arc Sunny top

The Style Arc Sunny has a terrific cocoon shape, with that volume balanced by fitted sleeves. Like the Tessuti Mandy boat tee, fabric choice is extremely important. Because those sleeves are fitted, and there is a dropped shoulder seam around the bicep, you really do need a knit with four way stretch. If it is only two-way you’ll need to make alterations to make the sleeves fit comfortably. In a four-way stretch there are no issues at all. Style Arc Sunny top

The fabric is a fabulous printed knit that I picked up at Restash last year. I cut it from the scraps left over after sewing a dress (as yet unphotographed and unblogged) and didn’t have quite enough for the lower back piece, so I just used the same contrast fabric I was using for the neckband and called it a design feature. The printed knit has sparkly teal dots all over it – this top really glitters in the sunlight!

Style Arc Sunny top

From the Style Arc website: This is a new shape for a knit top. The oversized look becomes very flattering because of pattern drafting and the cocoon shape which is the new on trend look. Try it, you will love it!!

sunny-top

adult's clothing · sewing

Liesl + Co. Gallery Dress

Lately I have sewn a few garments that I complete, try on, then think YES!  Do you know what I mean?  This is one of those garments.  Something that feels just right – in fabric choice, in pattern choice, in the combination of the two, in fit, and in meeting my style.

Liesl + Co Gallery Dress in hand-woven cotton from Chaing Mai

The Liesl + Co. Gallery dress pattern has been in my stash for a while. I’ve seen lots of versions that I rather like, but also a lot that look to me a bit like grandpa’s nightshirt. I think that fabric choice is vital when sewing this pattern – especially if you are sewing the dress rather than the tunic.

Liesl + Co Gallery Dress in hand-woven cotton from Chaing Mai

From the pattern website: Relaxed-fit pull-on tunic (View A) or dress (View B). The tunic features cuffed three-quarter-length sleeves and a one-piece collar. The dress includes in-seam pockets, button-cuff full-length sleeves, and a band collar. Both versions include an inset front placket with a fun pleated detail, an inverted box pleat at back, and a curved shirttail hem that’s slightly longer in back. Effortless and feminine, this flattering classic-but-contemporary piece can take on many different looks depending on how you style it. And, really, isn’t that the fun part?  Suitable for drapey or lightweight woven fabric such as sateen, double gauze, shirting, voile, lawn, rayon, and silk.

olv-lc015gt_detail

The fabric is hand-woven cotton that I bought in Chiang Mai in January.  It’s a medium weight, so I decided to sew view B as illustrated with the long sleeves and band collar so that I could wear the dress now with layers underneath and over it and in Spring and Autumn without.  I love the variations in colour through the fabric as well as the textural qualities of the stripes.

Liesl + Co Gallery Dress in hand-woven cotton from Chaing Mai

As with all patterns from Liesl Gibson (her brands include Oliver + S and Lisette patterns for Butterick) it is beautifully drafted and the instructions are superb. I think they have the perfect amount of illustration and text, and find that they always have a lovely finish. I think that I sewed size 12 with size 14 body width, but need to double check that to be certain. I could possibly have gone down a size.

Liesl + Co Gallery Dress in hand-woven cotton from Chaing Mai

This was an enjoyable garment to sew. Construction was on the sewing machine. I finished the edges on the overlocker, but otherwise it didn’t get much use! It was a slower sew than many of my clothes, which was a very pleasant change. I really wanted to get all of the details right, so didn’t rush anything. I don’t deliberately rush as a general rule, but I am a pretty fast sewer. This dress had no deadlines hanging over it, so I took my time. There was even hand-stitching involved to secure the neck band!

Liesl + Co Gallery Dress in hand-woven cotton from Chaing Mai

The buttons on the sleeve cuffs are also from Chiang Mai. I think they work perfectly with this fabric! The sleeve cuff isn’t a traditional one with a placket. Rather, the cuff is attached to the sleeve with a “gap” that then becomes part of a fold when the cuff is buttoned to close it. I don’t actually need to undo the buttons to get the dress on and off (small hands).

Liesl + Co Gallery Dress in hand-woven cotton from Chaing Mai

There are in-seam pockets in the side seams, and the back hemline is longer than the front. I did take a fold out of the pattern to shorten it about an inch and a half before I cut it out. It’s still a bit longer than I would often prefer to wear, but not significantly so. The neckband and placket instructions are excellent and the end product is very neat.

Liesl + Co Gallery dress neckband and placket

I’ve already worn this dress a few times, and have felt terrific in it each time. It’s definitely a YAY garment for me. I will possibly sew it again with the three quarter length sleeve in a lighter weight fabric for warmer weather.

Liesl + Co Gallery Dress in hand-woven cotton from Chaing Mai

adult's clothing · sewing

Hot Patterns Swingy Sweaterdress

Maybe you remember the Hot Patterns Swingy Sweatshirt I blogged a month or so ago?  It was really a wearable muslin for this Hot Patterns Swingy Sweaterdress.

Hot Patterns Swingy Sweaterdress in knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics

I was always more attracted to the semi-V neckline option of this pattern, and thought that it would work well with this bold chevron printed knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics. Because the print it so full on, I decided to keep the rest of the dress simple and chose the cuff-less sleeve option and left off the pockets.

Hot Patterns Swingy Sweaterdress in knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics

I had bought the fabric before deciding to use this pattern, so had a little creative pattern cutting to do. I’m pretty impressed at how well I have managed to match the stripes across the centre back seam.

Hot Patterns Swingy Sweaterdress in knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics

The sleeves are actually faced and then the facing secured by twin needle stitching. As with the sweatshirt, the wide sleeves can get in the way a little bit, and it’s hard to fit a coat over the top. Fortunately I have a cape that works!

Hot Patterns Swingy Sweaterdress in knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics

This was very easy to sew. I did however have a problem when taping the pdf together. The pieces that are used to lengthen the sweater into a dress did not line up properly with the size lines of the main pattern pieces, so I needed to make some corrections to keep the width correct while adding the length. It wasn’t a big deal, but is something to be aware of.

Hot Patterns Swingy Sweaterdress in knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics

Construction was on the overlocker, but I used the twin needle alongside the front seams to highlight them. I also twin needled the neckline facing in place. As with the sweater, I trimmed off the point at the armhole shoulder seam, which made the sleeve sit much more nicely.  I sewed size 10, which seems to work for me in Hot Patterns knits (I measure at size 14).

Hot Patterns Swingy Sweaterdress in knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics

I’ve been wearing this with a cowl that was sewn from the scraps, but really, a print like this doesn’t need much accessorising!

Hot Patterns Swingy Sweaterdress in knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics

From the Hot Patterns website: Get the laid-back cool and classic comfort of a sweatshirt or sweater dress, with a dressy, modern twist. Top and dress are designed for knit fabrics with a little body and stretch, like velour or stretch velvet, ponte or double knits, French terry, lightweight fleece, sweatshirt, T-shirt, or sweater knits. Pull-on A-line sweatshirt or sweater dress has a center back seam, angled side seams & bust darts for a neat fit. Mix up the details for the perfect look: choose a long flared sleeve or add a turn-back cuff; make the optional cut-in pockets or not; pick a boat-neck or a shapely semi-V neck. Make it your best length too, either a thigh-length tunic or a knee length dress. Sleeve and body hems and necklines are finished with deep stitched facings. These are the perfect throw-on-&-go pieces-try skinny or bootcut pants under the sweatshirt, pull on your favorite boots with the dress, maybe add a scarf and you’re d-o-n-e done…

hp_1211_weekender_swingy_sweatshirt_sweaterdress__20338-1481220171-1280-1280

adult's clothing · Lekala · sewing

Lekala 4590 tunic/dress

I’m about 10kg into the overweight category, and most of that is firmly deposited around my middle, especially on my front.  This is where Lekala patterns are a godsend.  Enter Lekala 4590.

Lekala 4590 tunic in textured knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics

Lekala patterns are ordered to your measurements.  How fabulous is that!  It does take a little while to figure out their ease – generally their drawing of the garment on a person helps with that – and it also takes a little while to figure out what tweaks you need.

Lekala 4590 drawings

For me, entering the measurements on the “main” tab – my height, full bust, underbust, waist, hip and full hip – seems to work quite well.  The “full hip” adjustment puts more of the waist measurement at the front, which is where I need it. It doesn’t just distribute the circumferential measurement evenly between the front and the back pattern pieces, so I end up with the back waist measurement smaller than the front waist measurement. Perfect!

Lekala 4590 drawings

I’ve tried some of the other adjustments on this tab, such as narrow shoulders, before, but through trial and error have discovered that I don’t actually need those.

Lekala 4590 drawings

Lekala  patterns are very reasonably priced, so it’s well worth trying out a few of these adjustments to see which ones you do and don’t need.  They have a few free patterns as well, so it really is minimal risk to order, print and re-sew with each of those changes to see what works best with your shape.  Even if you only go with the basic measurements, as I do, with Lekala you end up with a pattern that requires much less alteration than most.

Lekala 4590 tunic in textured knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics

The fabric is a substantial textured knit that was a gift from a lovely sewing friend but originally came from Darn Cheap Fabrics. It probably isn’t my best colours – a much cooler palette than usual – but I really like the fabric and it is very cosy to wear. The neckband is meant to be interfaced for structure – I decided to leave out the interfacing as the fabric is pretty beefy.

Lekala 4590 tunic in textured knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics

Lekala 4590 tunic in textured knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics

There are pockets in the angled side seams. I made them from the same fabric as the rest of the dress, but they would have been better in something more lightweight.

Lekala 4590 tunic in textured knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics

Although Lekala patterns (and Bootstrap patterns) are drafted to your measurements, you still need to choose patterns that you feel most work with your shape. Their patterns will fit, but will they look and feel good on you? I still don’t choose patterns with a fitted waist; it’s just not my style. If you haven’t given Lekala (or Bootstrap Fashion, who use the same software) a go yet, I highly recommend them.

Lekala 4590 tunic in textured knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics

adult's clothing · sewing

Style Arc Maxine maxi dress

I have an extensive fabric stash.  Much of the fabric in it could maybe be described as vintage – it dates back to the 1980s.  And no, I haven’t been hoarding it since then – lots has been given to me by people destashing (especially friends’ mothers when downsizing their living arrangements).  This piece of permanently pleated knit has been in my stash for a very long time, and I think it probably does date back to the 1980s.  Who else remembers tube skirts and jackets made from this stuff?

Style Arc Maxine Maxi dress in deep stash fabric

When I came across the Style Arc Maxine maxi dress I knew that I finally had found the right pattern for the length of fabric. From their website: Simplest of dresses that can be made in an afternoon this Maxi dress with its extended shoulders and a gorgeous “V” neck is a must have.Note this pattern is made for a crinkle pleated fabric which stretches out by 30%. If making it in a normal jersey we suggest you go up a size.   Fabric suggestion: Knit jersey, pleated crinkle.

maxine-dress

I actually sewed this dress up last year, so the pattern may be a year or so old by now.  And yes, it’s about as simple as it gets.  One pattern piece for the front, one for the back, raw edges on the neckline and armholes.  Shouldn’t that be a super fast and simple garment to sew?

Style Arc Maxine Maxi dress in deep stash fabric

Well yes, it should. But in this fabric? NO IT WASN’T. I have no idea what the composition of this (ancient) fabric was but it was a complete bastard to sew. No matter what needle I used the stitches skipped and missed and overall it was completely unenjoyable. I ended up having to sew each seam with a straight stitch on the machine three times each to make sure that it was secure enough given how much stitch skipping had taken place. Good grief.

Style Arc Maxine Maxi dress in deep stash fabric

I left the side seams open from about the knee down, and did end up turning the seam allowances to the inside and using a zig-zag stitch to secure them. Don’t look too closely at the quality of that stitching either. I left the hem raw. No way was I mucking around with stitching across those tiny permanent pleats.

Style Arc Maxine Maxi dress in deep stash fabric

The neckline and armhole edges were left raw as well, thank goodness for that. The fabric doesn’t ravel at all, and the neckline shape is a really lovely V. So, my verdict on the final garment?

Style Arc Maxine Maxi dress in vintage permanent pleated fabric

I actually really, really like it! It’s SO easy to wear. The (heinous) fabric just skims over all my bulges, and I think that the colour is very stylish. It actually washes very easily, then is just hung to dry on a hanger. Definitely no ironing required. I imagine that today’s technology has provided permanently pleated/crinkled fabric that is much more pleasant to sew than this was. If you have something like it in your stash, I definitely suggest giving this simple pattern a go! It does what simple should do – be exceptionally well drafted. There is nowhere to hide when you are working with simple shapes and minimal pattern pieces, and I think that Style Arc are masters of drafting these well.

Style Arc Maxine Maxi dress in vintage permanent pleated fabric

adult's clothing · sewing

Another Style Arc Nina

This is a repeat – well, you knew that from the title of this blog post, didn’t you!  I think it’s the fourth time that I’ve sewn the Style Arc Nina cardigan.

Style Arc Nina Cardigan in ponte from Darn Cheap Fabrics

The pattern description on the webpage isn’t especially forthcoming.  Fabulous waterfall front cardigan.  That’s all it says at the moment, but I notice that their website is in the process of a major makeover.  Maybe that’s all it ever said?

nina-cardi

I sewed this one in orange ponte, I think from Darn Cheap Fabrics.  The pattern instructions suggest finishing the edges with a rolled edge (on the overlocker) finish.  I chose to turn a hem of around 1cm and use a zig-zag stitch to catch it in place.

Style Arc Nina Cardigan in ponte from Darn Cheap Fabrics

I’ve been wearing this with the sleeves rolled up a bit, so clearly they need shortening! Next time I have bright orange thread in the sewing machine.

Style Arc Nina Cardigan in ponte from Darn Cheap Fabrics

This is easy to sew, with most construction done on the overlocker. Yes, I have orange overlocker thread! I’ve sewn it in a few different types of knits now, and think that it works well in all of them. This is size 12 without any alterations.

Style Arc Nina Cardigan in ponte from Darn Cheap Fabrics

Not much more to say about this one really. I like it, or else I wouldn’t have sewn it four times! I doubt that this pattern is ready for retirement yet either.

adult's clothing · sewing

Style Arc Beth pants

I’ve sewn a number of different Style Arc stretch woven pants patterns now.  It intrigues me how they manage to alter the draft for each one!  Many look similar, but there are slight differences in how they look, and in how they feel on.  I wear the Elle, Barb and Linda pants quite a lot, the Barb and Linda especially for work.  The leg width varies between each one.  The Beth pants add some further detailing.

Style Arc Beth pant in bengaline

Okay, a photo of black bengaline pants. You really can’t see anything much at all, can you! Here’s the pattern description and illustration from the Style Arc website:  Pull on woven stretch pant with wide waistband and the perfect leg shape.

beth-pant

It has become patently obvious to me that for my thick middle and pot belly, I really do need to utilise the stretch in a fabric like this stretch bengaline to get the fit and comfort that I prefer.  There is nothing quite like a pull-on pant with elastic inside the waist in a stretch fabric for me to feel flattered and comfortable.  I just cannot get a transition from waist/belly fit to fitting nicely around my thighs and hips any other way.

Style Arc Beth pant in bengaline

These photos were taken at the end of the work day, hence the wrinkles. They’re really not too bad all things considered.

Style Arc Beth pant in bengaline

As you all know, no-one else will ever see the tummy/waist area of my pants in day to day wear, so in many ways that pleather detail is useless. But I know it is there, and that alone pleases me!

Style Arc Beth pant in bengaline

These are the most comfortable pair of work pants that I’ve sewn. I really like the width of the waistband, which makes the rise that little bit higher. I’ve sewn size 10, which works for my legs and hips, even though my waist is around size 16. The stretch of the fabric takes care of the rest of the fit, and I cut the waist elastic length to suit me.

Style Arc Beth pant in bengaline

Style Arc’s stretch woven patterns make perfect work pants for me (here paired with a Cashmerette Appleton tunic). These are a new favourite – although I wonder whether the Sage pants pattern that I have cut out ready to sew will be a favourite as well?