adult’s clothing

Summer Frocktails – Simplicity 1733 again

I think that last minute sewing has become a bit of a Frocktails tradition for many people.  I happened to have a bit of time up my sleeve, and plenty of patterns and fabrics at my disposal, so I began Frocktails sewing weeks ahead of the actual date.  My first dilemma was about what to make.

Frocktails Options

I did of course ask the hive mind of Instagram to help me decide, but that didn’t end up helping at all as opinions were divided between all four patterns. So I just picked one and started sewing. As it turned out, it was very fast to make. So I picked out another one, and sewed that. Then a third. Then a fourth. And on the day of Frocktails? I sewed the fifth.

Frocktails Options

I’ve already shown you one of the dresses that I made – the Flutter dress. But this one is the dress that I eventually chose to wear. It’s Simplicity 1733, sleeveless and full length.

Simplicity 1733 in slinky knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics

The fabric is from Darn Cheap Fabrics (yes, from the $2 table). It’s a lovely slinky poly/spandex knit, in a coral that works beautifully with my colouring. It’s the same fabric that I used for Clare’s top.

Simplicity 1733 in slinky knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics

You’ve heard the details of Simplicity 1733 before in this post and this one, so
I’ll mostly share some photos. I did remember to take one mid construction of the bodice – this might help some of you to better visualise the way that the front twist goes together.

Simplicity 1733 in slinky knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics

I had my hair curled especially for the event as a bit of a lark. I wasn’t expecting to like it, but figured that I could wash it out if it looked terrible. I don’t think that I’ve had curls since a spiral perm in 1990. Anyway, I decided that it was a lot of fun, and others said nice things about it on the night! I might try it again one day. I actually felt a little bit “old Hollywood glam” with this dress and hair combination.

Simplicity 1733 in slinky knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics

I also sewed a simple embroidered mesh shrug to wear with my dress in case I got a little chilly. I used a remnant that was in stash, using the full width of the fabric so that the embroidered edges of the selvedges became the sleeve edges.

Simplicity 1733 in slinky knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics

This is a very simple shrug to make, and there are loads of tutorials on the internet explaining how to do it. Google “sew one seam shrug” or “sew shrug tutorial” or “free shrug pattern” etc and you’ll find something like this that will work for you. Essentially it is a rectangle folded in half and seamed from one wrist to the other BUT with a gap left in the centre for the body. The edges of the gap can be simply turned and hemmed, or you can do what I did and use some fabric to bind the opening (like you’d do the neck of a knit top).

Simple rectangular one seam shrug in embroidered mesh from Darn Cheap Fabrics

Simple rectangular one seam shrug in embroidered mesh from Darn Cheap Fabrics

To wear it, you just put your arms through the sleeves and the opening just curves around your back and neck. It does need soft and stretchy fabric to work effectively.

Simplicity 1733 in slinky knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics

As it turned out, I was warm enough without my shrug. So, to finish off, just a few more photos from Frocktails by Louisa Jones Photography.

Frocktails January 2016

Frocktails January 2016

Frocktails January 2016

The signature drink this time was the Tailor’s Tack.  I can’t remember what was in it, but it was delicious!

Frocktails January 2016

Thanks to Kat, Libby and Renee for organising the night – and to the ladies who coordinated some of the events around Frocktails, such as Friday night dinner, Sunday breakfast, and the epic fabric shopping trip (well done Anna!).  I couldn’t make it to the surrounding events, but the word was that they were all great fun!

Frocktails January 2016

Frocktails January 2016

The four of us work at the same place – but met through sewing!  We pretty much never run into one another at work.

Frocktails January 2016

(and no, I am not wearing Spanx).

Style Arc Maris top

Hello there!  First week of work and school almost done and dusted, hooray!  It’s been a very busy start to the year, but all is going smoothly.  So, onto more garments!

This is the Style Arc Maris top.  I strongly suspect that it is named after the wonderful sewing instructor and blogger Maris Olsen.

Style Arc Maris top in cotton linen from Darn Cheap Fabrics

Style Arc describe this as follows: This top has an interesting front hem panel that continues to the back giving a fabulous silhouette.  Use your own creative flare, mixing fabrics or colours for your own individual look.  We made our sample in Linen but would also work in a knit as well.  FABRIC SUGGESTION: Crepe, Silk, Georgette, knit

maris-top

I used cotton/linen from Darn Cheap Fabrics for my top, making the most of the scraps that remained after cutting out my orange Annie dress and a red one for my cousin.  Because I was using scraps I had to piece the front of the centre panel.  I chose to topstitch either side of the joining seam as a feature, and I then repeated the topstitching beside all other seamlines except for the side seams.

Style Arc Maris top in cotton linen from Darn Cheap Fabrics

I chose to cut wide bias binding so that I could completely bind the neckline and the sleeve hems. It was rather fun playing with the alternating orange and red colours. The stitching is all in red, and primarily done on the orange fabric. I know it’s a subtle detail, and it’s more difficult to see in photographs than in reality, but it’s one that I think really adds to the top.

Style Arc Maris top in cotton linen from Darn Cheap Fabrics

I sewed this in straight size 12, without any alterations. Assembly was fairly fast and straightforward, and I pretty much followed the instructions for the order of construction. The hemline is double folded and topstitched.

Style Arc Maris top in cotton linen from Darn Cheap Fabrics

The shaping of that bottom panel is really interesting, and I really like the way that it hangs in wear.

Style Arc Maris top in cotton linen from Darn Cheap Fabrics

Style Arc are currently trying a new option for their pdf patterns, instead of via Etsy.  This new platform allows an affiliate program, which Style Arc have invited me to join.  Anyone who has followed my blog for a while knows that I really enjoy their patterns, and blog about them and review them honestly.  Now I’ll get a bit of a financial benefit if you buy the pdf patterns through links on my blog (which will probably go straight to buying more Style Arc patterns).

The Maris top pdf is available for purchase here – and if you use the code thornberry20 you will get 20% off the price.  Everybody loves a discount!  Of course, if you want the hard copy pattern (which is what I used for my top) you can order it from their website, and the Etsy option is currently still available.  It’s up to you whether you use my links or not!

Style Arc Maris top in linen cotton from Darn Cheap Fabrics

This pattern will definitely get another whirl.  Obviously it really lends itself to colour blocking, but I’d also like to try mixing knits and wovens, or try an all knit version.  This pattern is definitely a winner for me.

Meg and Lola – again!

A while back a friend gave me a few lengths of fabric that had motifs printed centrally along them.  They came to her via her husband who works in the clothing trade.  I suspect that they may have originally been destined for scarves.  I love the colours and have been wondering for a while what to do with them, and eventually decided on turning them into a top.  I chose the Style Arc Meg raglan.

Style Arc Meg Raglan top with Style Arc Lola pants

This is a pattern that I have used before. Style Arc describe it as follows: MEG RAGLAN TEE: This gorgeous elbow length raglan sleeve Tee has a relaxed fit that is designed to flow with the body. It features a high low hemline and a high scoop neck. This style is beautiful made in a soft flowing silk.  FABRIC SUGGESTION & DESCRIPTION: Silk, Rayon, Crepe, or any soft woven fabric.

meg-tee

I love that this is a raglan pattern for wovens, and that it includes a shoulder dart so that the raglan sleeve is able to conform to the body nicely.  The mitred corners on the hemline are another example of Style Arc’s excellent drafting.  I chose to combine the scarf fabric – which is something slippery and probably polyester although I suppose that the potential is there for it to be silk – with linen for the sleeves and neckband to tone things down just a little.

Style Arc Meg Raglan top with Style Arc Lola pants

I sewed size 12, as I had done in the past. I attached the narrow bias cut neckband in a similar way to how I would do it on knits, with the strip folded in half wrong sides together, joined to the neckline right sides together with a narrow seam allowance, then turned, pressed and topstitched. I think I’d do this differently next time – maybe just cut a wider bias strip and bind the neckline so that it sits a little flatter.

Style Arc Meg Raglan top with Style Arc Lola pants

The panel fabric was very tightly woven and did not particularly like being sewn. I swapped to a finer sharps needle to topstitch it, but it’s still pulled a bit along the stitching. I suspect that only a sewer would notice.

Style Arc Meg Raglan top with Style Arc Lola pants

Since I was working with a limited amount of fabric I wasn’t able to match the print exactly at the side seams, but I don’t think it is entirely problematic. Style Arc patterns are usually full sized, which really helped with getting the print placement how I wanted it. So, to the pants!

Style Arc Meg Raglan top with Style Arc Lola pants

The pants were sewn in linen from Tessuti, and definitely show the characteristic wrinkling of linen. Please note that these photos were taken at the end of a working day after about nine hours of wear! I have to take the opportunity to get my photos done whenever it presents itself. I ordered the linen online, and when it arrived it was a much lighter weight than I had anticipated.  I was quite dubious about using it for pants, but went ahead anyway and as it turns out it was okay.  I have sewn the Style Arc Lola pants a multitude of times – just do a search for them on my blog if you want to see the previous pairs. Size 10, elasticised waistband with a flat centre front insert, front angled pockets, and a nice little elasticised back hemline feature. Definitely one of my favourite patterns for lighter weight pants.

Style Arc Meg Raglan top with Style Arc Lola pants

Style Arc also have a dress pattern that I suspect is very similar to the Meg raglan tee, that is already in my stash. Maybe it should move up the extremely long to-sew queue! However I’m still focusing on sorting out my winter work wardrobe. And since Stella went back to school yesterday, Clare goes back to school on Monday, and I go back to work on Monday, I’m not going to have much time for non-seasonal sewing!

Style Arc Meg Raglan top with Style Arc Lola pants

Hot Patterns Trilogy Top

Although there are a few Hot Patterns in my stash, I haven’t actually sewn many of them. They are multi-sized patterns, and because I am relatively inexperienced with their sizing, I have often been too lazy to trace and but unwilling to cut.  Some are now available as pdf downloads.  I am quite happy to print, tape and cut those!  I have the Fast and Fabulous Trilogy Shift Dress, Tunic and Top a try.

Hot Patterns Trilogy top size 14 in woven viscose

The website describes this pattern as follows:Make yourself these 3 easy pieces, perfect for drape-y wovens like rayon challis, charmeuse, soft  linen, silk(y) twill, crepe or gauze, but also fab in fluid knits like silk(y) jersey, rayon, or linen jersey.  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.  Showcase those eye-catching prints or your favorite solid colors in these fabulously breezy pieces…wear the dress ‘as-is’ or belted; try the tunic over a crisp cropped pant or a boyfriend jean, and team the top with a slouchy wide leg trouser or a long, lean midi skirt for effortless chic.

Firstly, if you are ordering a pdf download from Hot Patterns, make certain that you order the correct paper size for the country that you live in.  This is very important.  If you don’t you will have huge frustrations when it comes to taping the pattern together.  (As a side note, there are some free pdf patterns by Hot Patterns on the Fabric.com website – these are all designed to print on letter size paper rather than A4, so Australians, be careful with taping if you use those patterns.  One edge will need trimming but the others will need a gap filled.  I can’t remember which is which right now).  Then you need to choose size.

As I’ve mentioned before, choosing size can be tricky.  Hot Patterns have a myriad of measurements on their sizing chart to help you to decide.  I cannot remember finding finished measurements printed on the pattern pieces, but I could of course have just pulled out a tape measure and used that to check, remembering to subtract seam allowances.  I could have chosen by high bust measurement, as is often advised.  In the end I just went with size 14, which was closest to my measurements.  I was pretty sure that it would be too big for me, but had an ulterior motive.  I thought that this fabric would be great for my Mum.

Hot Patterns Trilogy top size 14 in woven viscose

The fabric is a woven viscose, and I bought it as a remnant so was working with a set amount of fabric. I cannot for the life of me remember where I bought it, even though it wasn’t very long ago. Darn Cheap Fabrics? The Cloth Shop? Spotlight? Not sure. There was just enough for the top.

Hot Patterns Trilogy top size 14 in woven viscose

Because I am a relative newby to Hot Patterns, I followed the instructions. I found that they worked quite well.  I particularly like the deep front pleat that is caught into the shoulder seams.  I bound the neckline after sewing the centre back and shoulder seams, then sewed the centre front seam, resulting in a lovely crisp V.  As usual I applied binding to the wrong side before wrapping it around and topstitching on the right side.  Sewing was very quick – I think that the “Fast and Fabulous” tag is quite right.  The overall silhouette of the top is similar to the True Bias Sutton blouse and the In House Patterns Kimono top, but there are enough subtle differences for me to be happy to have this pattern as well.

So the end verdict – yes, this top is about two sizes too big for me, as I suspected it would be, which makes it perfect for Mum.  It looks terrific on her and I’m sure that it will be worn quite a bit in the hot town she lives in.  And as for me? I plan to sew myself the dress – in size 10.  This top was the first garment I sewed in 2016.  A pretty good start to the year!

Comparing Apple(ton)s with Apple(ton)s

My blog posts about my Appleton dresses have garnered a bit of interest.  I thought that it would be worthwhile to compare the two dresses side by side, with most other factors taken out of the equation.  Photos taken on the same day.  Same underwear.  Same shoes.  Different necklaces but of similar shapes.  Same location, same lighting, same poses, dresses tied the same way. So here you go – these were only taken a few minutes apart.

Comparing apple(ton)s with apple(ton)s

Comparing apple(ton)s with apple(ton)s

Comparing apple(ton)s with apple(ton)s

Comparing apple(ton)s with apple(ton)s

Remember that these are the same size – 12 C/D, and the fabric is type is extremely similar.  The fabric in the pink spotted dress is slightly softer; I think that it has more viscose than the blue/green which I now suspect has some poly in it.  Otherwise the only difference is the colour and the print.

For reference, my original blog post on the pink spotted dress is here and the original blog post on the blue/green reptilian print is here.

I think it’s interesting!

Tessuti Kate top (again)

I think that this was one of the last garments I sewed in 2015.  It was certainly the last one that I wore, to a friend’s house for dinner on New Year’s Eve.

Tessuti Kate Top view B in Merchant and Mills linen from Stitch56

The pattern is the Tessuti Kate top. I’ve sewn it before, but that was view A with the scoop neckline. This time I sewed view B, with the higher front neckline and back slit opening.

Tessuti Kate Top view B in Merchant and Mills linen from Stitch56

I decided to enclose the armholes and neckline with binding rather than face them with it as per the instructions. This led to slightly smaller armholes and a slightly smaller neckline. I used my 25mm bias tape maker with strips that were cut 48mm wide rather than the the width of the pattern pieces that were provided. I attached the binding to the wrong side of the top and then wrapped it around to the right side, enclosing the seam allowances. I was then able to topstitch it in place neatly from the right side.

Tessuti Kate Top view B in Merchant and Mills linen from Stitch56

There was one thing that I hadn’t thought about in advance when doing this though. I’d finished the centre back opening and included the bias fabric button loop right at the top of it as per the instructions. But then when I enclosed the seam allowances in binding, the neckline finished the binding width above the loop that I had already sewn. If I’d been thinking ahead a teensy bit more I’d have included the button loop at the top of the binding, rather than below it. However, would anyone other than a sewer realise?

Tessuti Kate Top view B in Merchant and Mills linen from Stitch56

The button is a vintage one from stash. Now, I really need to talk about this fabric. It’s linen in the colour Sulphur by Merchant and Mills, and was bought from Stitch 56.  It is expensive linen, and costs way, way more than I would usually pay for fabric, but I absolutely adore it.  It’s the same linen I used for my Style Arc Ethel top and pant, and not only is a delight to sew, but it’s wonderful to wear and to launder.  Definitely a quality fabric.  It also comes in a superb colour range.  Highly recommended for when your budget allows and you want something special.

Tessuti Kate Top view B in Merchant and Mills linen from Stitch56

Once again I sewed size Medium, which is perfect for me in this top. The darts are in just the right place. Tessuti describe it as cropped and boxy. It’s the right length for me, and as most of you know, boxy is the shape that I definitely prefer in tops. I feel best in boxy – no point trying to define a waist that isn’t there, and it is way more comfortable not to have fabric close to my mid-section. I don’t prioritise dressing in a “slimming” manner so the current prevalence of boxy styles is right down my alley. I think that it always will be!

Tessuti Kate Top view B in Merchant and Mills linen from Stitch56

This is such a great top – I feel fantastic in it, and suspect that it will be my staple sleeveless top pattern from here on in.  The side vents are perfect too.  In a solid colour it is a wonderful blank canvas.  I love it with these semi-precious stone beads that my Mum bought through a bus window in India one day!

Vogue 9067 top and Style Arc Brooke skirt

Sewing Vogue 9067 was an interesting experience.  It’s a Vogue pattern that I’ve seen pop up on quite a few blogs now.  At first I saw more about view A, the sleeveless top.  Then attention seemed to switch to view C.  As it happens, view C was the one that I bought the pattern for.

v9067

Vogue describe this pattern as follows: MISSES’ TOP AND PANTS: Very loose-fitting, pullover top has back neck slit, button/loop, and seam detail variations. A and B: back extends to side front, no side seams. C: bias neck binding and sleeve and hemline flounce. Semi-fitted pants. D: straight-legged, partial elasticized waistband and stitched hems. E: tapered, elasticized waist and side pockets. A, B, C and E: narrow hem.
FABRICS: Silk Crepe, Lightweight Broadcloth, Jersey, Challis.

Vogue 9067 top with Style Arc Brooke skirt

Okay, on to my top. Did you note that bit about the top being described as “very loose-fitting”? Here are details from the back of the pattern envelope and the finished measurements on the pattern piece itself.

2015-10-31 21.59.17

My bust measurement is currently around 40″.  According to the back of the Vogue envelope, that would put me in size 18, which is the Large in this pattern.  I had bought the smaller size combination, knowing from experience that I am much more likely to sew somewhere around size 12.  So I checked the finished bust measurement, printed on the pattern tissue.  For the XS it was 44″.  That would give me around four inches of ease, which would still be plenty and result in a loose top.  CHECK THE FINISHED GARMENT MEASUREMENTS BEFORE YOU CUT! Only the bust measurement was important for this top, since it flares out even more through the waist and I didn’t have to worry about the ease there.

Vogue 9067 top with Style Arc Brooke skirt

As well as cutting the XS, I did a little bit of petite-ing and took some length out through the body. The fabric is a voile that had been in my stash a little while. You can probably see in the photos that I took a considerable amount of care when cutting to keep the motif placement pleasing. The sleeve ruffles were cut as a single layer and narrow hemmed rather than being self-lined, and I left the back neck opening out completely.  I chose to bind the neckline with bias binding made from the same fabric.

Vogue 9067 top with Style Arc Brooke skirt

This is a very pretty print, in colours that I really like individually, but it wasn’t the right choice for this top for me. Other than the creasing in the above photo, it just feels too “delicate” and I think that from a distance it reads rather pale. However I do like the overall silhouette and would like to sew this again in a more drapey fabric. The voile is just a little too airy. I’d rather something that stayed a little closer to the body. So, on to the skirt.

Vogue 9067 top with Style Arc Brooke skirt

This is the Style Arc Brooke skirt, in the shorter length.  From their website: This on trend asymmetrical skirt has a full wrap that will allow you to wear this skirt with confidence that it will not fall We have given you two full patterns in two different lengths that gives you the choice of the mini skirt or the more sophisticated knee length. You will feel fabulous in either!  FABRIC SUGGESTION & DESCRIPTION: Linen, cotton twill, wool gabardine.

brooke-skirt

I constructed this as per the instructions, except I left the front darts off completely to allow more stomach room.  This resulted in quite a comfortable fit.  I think I sewed size 12.  Mini length on me is above the knee, but only just.  That’s what happens when you are 158cm tall!

Vogue 9067 top with Style Arc Brooke skirt

The fabric is orange rigid denim from Crafty Mamas that had been in stash for a little while. It has a bit of a slub running through it and was easy to sew, as denim generally is. Although this skirt fits well, I have only worn it once so far. It needs a bit more “playing with” to work out what tops go with it best. I’ve realised that I tend to reach for skirts with stretch in them before those sewn in rigid wovens. Back to that central theme of comfort, I suppose!

Vogue 9067 top with Style Arc Brooke skirt

So overall? If you make this top, beware of the pattern sizing! I like the overall silhouette of the pattern, but will make it again for myself in a different fabric and pass this one on. It just doesn’t feel like “me”. The skirt will get more tries – it’s a matter of how to incorporate it into my wardrobe. I like the hemline at the front and it’s a good fit, and the colour definitely fits into my wardrobe.