adult's clothing · sewing

Style Arc Portsea Luxe Sweat

There is no clear explanation as to why some patterns get purchased and sewn up very quickly and others don’t.  Style Arc released the Portsea Luxe Sweat pattern at the beginning of this month.  A day later I had it purchased, printed, taped, cut out, sewn, and worn.

Style Arc Portsea Luxe Sweat in french terry from Clear It

Style Arc describe this pattern as follows: This rolled cuff short sleeve sweat is perfect for Spring days but also perfect for layering for cooler temperatures. Slightly oversized fit with a square shape, hi-low hemline and side splits. The lux top is ideal for all occasions. FABRIC SUGGESTION: Fleece, unbrushed fleece or sweater knit.

portsea-luxe-sweat

I had some leftover Clear It french terry from when I sewed my Style Arc Brooklyn knit pants. There was just enough to eke out the pieces for this top. I love it when that happens!

Style Arc Portsea Luxe Sweat in french terry from Clear It

This fabric was pretty thick, and I had to cut it out single layer (maybe my recent scissor sharpening wasn’t quite as effective as I’d hoped). It sews up nicely. It was mostly constructed on the sewing machine to facilitate topstitch seams that were pressed open, such as the front ‘sleeve’ seam and the shoulder seams. I overlocked other seam allowances together, and topstitched them down both as a detail and for structure.

Style Arc Portsea Luxe Sweat in french terry from Clear It

The print on this fabric really cracks me up. Poison bottles! I only bought it because it was cheap and I thought it would be useful for muslins, and have discovered that it actually makes me smile and it’s a great fabric to wear.

Style Arc Portsea Luxe Sweat in french terry from Clear It

Now I need to talk about the cuffs. The pattern is designed with a folded cuff, which is sewn to the sleeves then the side seams are sewn right up to the cuff edge, sandwiching the fold. In this thickish fabric it meant that I sewed through multiple layers, which was tough to do, and leaves plenty of bulk along that side seam. In future I would construct this differently. I would leave attaching the cuffs until last, after the side seams are sewn. The cuffs would also then be sewn into a ring, then attached, then folded back. This would reduce bulk enormously, and allow for the cuffs to be worn folded as designed, or unfolded.

Style Arc Portsea Luxe Sweat in french terry from Clear It

I sewed size 12, which is my usual Style Arc top/dress size. It’s a roomy style – designed that way – and I’m happy with the fit. It’s a bit cropped at the front, with a longer back, and side seam splits.

Style Arc Portsea Luxe Sweat in french terry from Clear It

I happily wore this over a cami on warmer days last week, then layered over a long sleeved tee on subsequent days. It really is a terrific layering piece, especially in these times where ‘stretchywear’ is what I’m reaching for each day. I’ll ferret through my stash to see if I have any appropriate fabric in a solid to sew another one. I’d like to try it in something a little drapier and slightly lighter weight. Just a bit.

Style Arc Portsea Luxe Sweat in french terry from Clear It

Style Arc have an Easter sale on at the moment and this pattern is one of this month’s freebies, so if you’re interested, now is the time!

adult's clothing · sewing · teen

Teen Spirit top

When we were in Borneo Clare bought a cropped sweatshirt.  It is fairly lightweight, so perfect for inbetween weather.   She’s been wearing it a lot, so I offered to sew her something similar.  This was made and photographed at the beginning of March.

George and Ginger Teen Spirit top

This pattern is the Teen Spirit Top, by George and Ginger. I love that their multi-sized patterns start at small sizes (tween 12 and 14 then adult XXS) which makes sewing for my daughters much easier.

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We chose to sew the long sleeved, cropped length and I narrowed the neckline. I added bands to the sleeves and the hem to tie them in with the neckband.

George and Ginger Teen Spirit top

The fabric is a knit from the Rathdowne Fabrics remnant bin. It’s actually fairly stable, without much stretch at all, and has a bit of a slub effect. Heavier weight than jersey, lighter weight than sweatshirting.

George and Ginger Teen Spirit top

Current teen fashions are SO late 80s / early 90s! I look at some of Clare’s outfits and then describe to her almost identical onces that I wore back in the day. She wishes that I’d held on to a few of them. I have kept most of my late 80s / early 90s formal wear, but not the everyday stuff.  She’s especially sad that I didn’t hold on to my nubuck Doc Martens (my excuse is that they were trashed after a year of backpacking).

George and Ginger Teen Spirit top

I added a little label from Kylie and the Machine to the side seam, which really tickled Clare’s fancy! I think that I also added one inside that says ‘this is the back’.

George and Ginger Teen Spirit top

As you can imagine, this was an extremely straightforward garment to cut out and sew. Adding the bands made for very simple finishing. I pressed them all toward the body of the garment then topstitched to keep the seam allowances in place and add a tiny bit of detail. And that was it! Sometimes the very simple projects are just as satisfying as the very complex ones – it’s all about meeting the brief.

George and Ginger Teen Spirit top

adult's clothing · sewing · teen

Grecian goddess sundress

The school swimming carnival was four weeks ago!  Four weeks ago, in what feels like a different world and different lifetime.  Clare is in year 12 (final year of high school), so instead of having to wear PE uniform this year she got to dress according to a house ‘theme’.  Clare is in Clare House and their house colour is white.   The theme chosen was ‘goddess’. Out with the sheets!

Grecian Goddess Sundress

We have plenty of old white sheets in the cupboard, and I remembered that there was a free pattern online for a Grecian Sundress. I printed it out and cut it out at the smallest size. The main challenge was gathering the shoulders enough – I should have just done casings and threaded through some cord to pull it up tight; normal gathering with two rows of thread just wasn’t strong enough to pull tight enough gathers in this sheet. In the end I did a running stitch through it by hand with doubled thread so that I could manipulate the gathers more and tighten them.

Grecian Goddess Sundress

It was cool in the morning when they headed off to the carnival, so Clare layered a white tee that I’d made some years earlier underneath. I was pretty impressed with the waist shirring. My sewing machine generally doesn’t like to shir, but I remembered that if I reduced the bobbin tension about a quarter of a turn, it would be okay. And it was! Although I had to refill the bobbin about four times in order to do that amount of shirring. Tedious.

Grecian Goddess Sundress

The girls had lots of fun at the carnival; Stella managed to find herself a job as mascot for her house.

Grecian Goddess Sundress

Grecian Goddess Sundress Grecian Goddess Sundress

This is actually a rather lovely, simple dress pattern. Although this one is very much a costume, I’ll pull out the pattern again and sew it up in a proper dress fabric at some stage. Clare really likes a bit of shirring, and is very pleased that I’ve figured out how to do it effectively on my sewing machine.

Grecian Goddess Sundress

adult's clothing · sewing

Blackwood cardigan the second

Well, things have really ramped up here in Victoria since I last blogged.  Was that only two days ago?  Clare is at school today for the last day for who knows how long.  What a way to do year 12.  She’ll hand in some work, sit another assessment, then bring home all of her books and Stella’s.  We’ve kept Stella home, and Dan and I are working from home, if I can find the focus somewhere in me to work effectively today.  I tried to do some sewing over the weekend, a hoodie that was already cut out, and couldn’t even finish it.  I just couldn’t concentrate.  Weirdly though, crochet seems to be working for me!  Maybe because I can just sit in front of the tv, yarn over, hook in, pull yarn through, repeat.  Stella is playing lots of Minecraft, much to her joy.  At some stage we’ll need to find a new structure for our days, but today isn’t the day for that.  Today we’re just grieving all the losses and disappointments that are already behind us, and preparing for the many more that are ahead.  I know that sounds depressing, but we’ve never faced a situation like this one.  We’ll get through it and out the other side, but there’s lots of in between to go.

Blackwood cardigan in ponte from Super Cheap Fabrics

So, back to sewing. Good thing that I had a few unblogged projects! I cut out this Helen’s Closet Blackwood cardigan from the Super Cheap Fabrics ponte left over from my Lodo dress. I’ve now used up every scrap of the ponte.

Blackwood cardigan in ponte from Super Cheap Fabrics

This is size 14, in the B cup option. I shortened the sleeves a couple of inches before cutting out. Most construction is on the overlocker.

Blackwood cardigan in ponte from Super Cheap Fabrics

Those are lovely deep pockets. I really like the way that the top of the pockets is constructed, as a double fold that is overlocked to the bottom half of the pocket. Much nicer than just turning and hemming the top of the pocket. I still did some topstitching of the seam allowances to secure them and add a little detail.

Blackwood cardigan in ponte from Super Cheap Fabrics

The cardigan is a lovely fit. The sleeves are very slim, and the overall long lines of this cardigan option make it extremely easy to wear. The front isn’t designed to close.  The neckband sits nicely at the back against my neck – and that’s even without a forward shoulder and/or forward head alteration!

Blackwood cardigan in ponte from Super Cheap Fabrics

Once again, this is way more black than I would usually wear, but with coloured glasses frames and some lippy, along with the low key colour in the print, I think that it works.

blackwood_front-1

I figure that this pattern will become part of my regular rotation, and I’d still like to make the shorter version. This is a time when I’m very grateful for my extensive fabric stash. I’m sure that my sewjo will return!  I am trying to work out what will be my favourite ‘working from home’ outfit for autumn/winter.

Blackwood cardigan in ponte from Super Cheap Fabrics

adult's clothing · sewing

More Lodo dresses

Well, in the two weeks since my last blog post the world has become a very different place.  I’m generally going to just stick to posting my sewing stuff here, but need to acknowledge that these are very strange and difficult times.  Stay home, stay safe, stay away from other people, let’s do all that we possibly can to flatten the curve.  Don’t wait for government instruction to just stay home – if at all possible, do it now.  We’re all in the same boat here and we all need to pull together – but separately! Stay away from the shops and the cafes and the restaurants except to get food, and only when you HAVE to.

In the meantime, these are the True Bias Lodo dresses I made a few weeks ago.  The first successful one that I sewed is here.

True Bias Lodo dress short version

This short version is sewn from printed ponte from Rathdowne Fabrics. It’s much more structured fabric than the previous version, so the cocoon shape is much more evident.

True Bias Lodo dress short version

Even this the shorter version doesn’t need the centre back seam to accommodate a walking split, I left the seam there for shaping. Like the previous version, this dress has a half inch sway back adjustment to allow for my short back waist length. It also has the same half inch forward shoulder alteration.

True Bias Lodo dress short version

This is pattern length for the short version of the dress. I’m 158cm tall, and wouldn’t want it any shorter! Fine when standing and walking, but no so fine when bending over. Overall I really like this Lodo.

Another Lodo dress

Isn’t that a gorgeous fabric? It was a gift, but I think originally may have come from Tessuti Fabrics. It’s also a ponte, but this one is super soft and drapey. I figure that it’s got lots of rayon in it. Fibre type really affects the feel and structure of ponte, even when it’s still essentially a double knit.

Another Lodo dress

This is pretty much the same as the black with goldish blocks one I sewed, just in a different fabric. Exactly the same alterations. I notice that using quilting cotton for the sleeve facings is making the sleeve edges stick out a bit – the ponte is very soft, whereas the cotton is more structured, even cut on the bias.

Another Lodo dress

Well, that’s it with the Lodo dresses for now – I think that my wardrobe has plenty! I have a few things to update the blog with and it looks as though I’ll be getting a whole lot more sewed up in the next few weeks/months. I am fortunate to be able to work from home, as is my husband, so in many ways things are carrying on in the new normal for us. Everything in all our calendars has been cancelled. Clare did Girl Guides last night via Zoom, and Stella has done her dance classes today via an online platform. School is still running but quickly enabling capability for school from home – Clare is in Year 12, so this has been a source of anxiety for us. Thank goodness for the technology that is keeping us all together and connected socially while being separated physically.

adult's clothing · sewing

Jalie 2918 delivers yet again

Jalie 2918 is my go-to pattern for t-shirts for my husband.

Jalie 2918 in knits from Darn Cheap Fabrics

I’ve been sewing this pattern for him for years now! I own the hard copy version of the pattern and have his size traced onto polytrace. The polytrace sticks slightly to the fabric, so it makes cutting and sewing one of these super fast. Put down the pattern piece, no pins or weights needed, zoom around it with a rotary cutter.

Jalie 2918 in knits from Darn Cheap Fabrics

Then it’s a simple matter of shoulder seams, neckband, sleeves, then side seams (including sleeve seam). I fuse vliesofix tape to the sleeve and body hems before I sew up the side seams. It makes it even faster to then turn and fuse them in place before twin needling to secure.

Jalie 2918 in knits from Darn Cheap Fabrics

I also twin needle around the neckband to secure it and add detail. Other than using the machine for twin needling, these are entirely sewn on the overlocker.

Jalie 2918 in knits from Darn Cheap Fabrics

Dan likes his tees to have entertaining prints. I found these three at Darn Cheap Fabrics. The animal print and the ‘nope’ grumpy cat print are both super soft cotton/spandex knits. They feel really delightful against the skin. The music notes are on a cotton jersey.

Jalie 2918 in knits from Darn Cheap Fabrics

The ‘nope’ tee elicited lots of commentary when it was worn during a work conference last week! It’s great to make people smile.

Jalie 2918 in knits from Darn Cheap Fabrics

We’ve decided that it’s easier to get blog photos when there is a prop involved.

adult's clothing · sewing

Pattern Fantastique Calyx smock

The more I sew from Pattern Fantastique, the more I like their patterns.  You possibly remember that I have already sewn a number of Aeolian tees and Celestial dresses, and my Falda jacket is worn frequently.  Guess what – numerous Calyx smocks are now on my agenda!

Pattern Fantastique Calyx Smock

This is a pattern that I’ve been eyeing off for some time – Anna has a particularly lovely version. When a proportion of sales were being donated to bushfire relief last month I finally invested in the pattern. From the pattern website: The Calyx Smock (Pattern #104) is named after a part of the flower where petals and fruit form. Balanced between the decorative and utilitarian the idea stems from a memory of my Mother’s hairdressing apron she wore in the late 70s combined with the handmade gathered smock she dressed me in at the same time. Fabric: The Calyx Smock is suitable for many woven fabrics. From fine sheer light-weight silks for some full floaty romance to mid-weight Denim paired with a Glacial Skivvy when winter layering is needed. The limit is to fabrics too thick to bind after gathering: Thick denim and jumbo cord, coat weight fabrics. Calyx_site_drawing_e2b385ab-f60c-42aa-bdd7-c62692318379_1024x1024 There are five lovely examples of this smock on the Pattern Fantastique website, with both the dress and the top version shown. Each version can be sewn with a shorter, almost cap length sleeve, or an elbow length sleeve with a wide hem that can easily be turned up to make a cuff if preferred.

Pattern Fantastique Calyx Smock

The hem is finished with a wide, shaped facing, although you can just turn a simple narrow hem if that suits the fabric better – or just if you want to! I like a wide faced hem, so chose that finish. Wide hems just add that bit more substance and shape.

Pattern Fantastique Calyx Smock

The neck binding extends into ties at the back. I often skip these types of closures and just cut pieces on the fold – I have a small head and rarely have to undo them to make dressing easier – but this time I did as I was told and included it. I’m glad that I did – there is a centre back seam, also widely self-faced, that adds a nice bit of detail and also makes the opening easy to do and fairly hardy.

Pattern Fantastique Calyx top

The neckline gathering and binding was the most time-consuming part of sewing this top. The instructions included exact measurements for how much to gather up each section, which was really useful. Then it just took lots of pinning and patience to get it all right! If you sew this just make sure that you don’t rush it, especially the part when you turn the binding to enclose the seam allowances and stitch it in place. I did this by machine after using a million pins; some people might find it just as easy to hand-sew the binding in place.

Pattern Fantastique Calyx Smock

Isn’t this fabric lovely? When you look at it close up it has a jacquard woven through it, with the colourful print over the top. It’s lightweight and floaty and was perfect for this top. I think it was originally from Joy’s in Geelong, who are no longer in operation. I sewed size 12, without any alterations.

Pattern Fantastique Calyx Smock

Now I need to decide which fabric to make my next Calyx from! I do have some hand-woven printed silk that I bought in Thailand that needs to become a garment – maybe that will be it. Although I’d also like to sew the dress version. So many things to sew, so little time to do it all in!