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 · DCF Challenge · tessuti patterns

Simplicity 1318 – DCF Spring Challenge

I am rather excited.  Firstly, because I finished my Spring DCF Challenge* garment with a month and a half few weeks to spare (it seems that when I wrote this post I forgot that Summer starts in December!).  Secondly, because I sewed a top and a skirt to go with it – both from remnants.  And thirdly, because I am SO happy with the finished outfit!

Simplicity 1318 jacket with Tessuti Kate top and Colette Mabel skirt

It took Emma and I a little while to choose our Spring Challenge fabric this time around. Photos and web page links went back and forth, but when this woven viscose appeared on the Darn Cheap Fabrics Instagram feed, we both quickly said yes! When  I felt the fabric in person I was very pleased with our choice – it has a lovely handle with a slight slub throughout, and drapes beautifully.  And the colours – all those colours!

Simplicity 1318 jacket with Tessuti Kate top and Colette Mabel skirt

Simplicity 1318 is a kimono-style jacket pattern that has been around for quite a while. There are loads of reviews on Pattern Review, and a quick google image search brought up lots of lovely examples. This is a case where reading the reviews before cutting was extra helpful – despite my measurements fitting in the size Medium for this pattern, I cut size Small and am pleased with the resulting amount of ease.  I sewed view C, using one fabric as per the envelope cover photo.

simplicity-jackets-coats-pattern-1318-envelope-front

This is a very easy pattern to sew, as there is not a great deal of fitting adjustment to make.  It’s worth considering how long you want the finished jacket to be – I was happy to go with the pattern length as drafted – as you would need to fold this out of the front, back and band pattern pieces before cutting.

Simplicity 1318 jacket with Tessuti Kate top and Colette Mabel skirt

Rather than hand-sewing down the sleeve bands or the neckband facing, I chose to topstitch in coordinating thread. The lazy way out, yet adding another nice detail. This was a relatively fast sew. The only thing that took a little time was attaching the neck and front bands and facings. The band is interfaced, and sits nice and close at the back neck. The shaping and the support of the interfacing means that the jacket sits nicely and doesn’t feel as though it is slipping around on my relatively sloped shoulders.

Simplicity 1318 jacket with Tessuti Kate top and Colette Mabel skirt

The fabric pressed and sewed beautifully, and has just the right amount of drape. It doesn’t billow and float too much, but swishes instead.

Simplicity 1318 jacket with Tessuti Kate top and Colette Mabel skirt

While I was at Darn Cheap I spotted a couple of remnants in the remnant bin. I always find it hard to resist a remnant – both from a cost and a challenge perspective. And the two remnants that I picked up coordinated perfectly with the challenge fabric! So much so that even Helen who was helping me exert no-unnecessary-fabric-buying-willpower permitted me to buy them.

Tessuti Kate top and Colette Mabel skirt

The skirt pattern is the Colette Mabel skirt. This is the longer version of the pattern with side front panels and a kick pleat sewn into the centre back seam. This is such a straightforward, fast sew. The fabric is a very soft and stretchy yet substantial double-knit, very like a ponte yet feeling much nicer. I used every scrap.

Tessuti Kate top and Colette Mabel skirt

I did topstitch down the side front panel and the centre back seams, but you really can’t see that stitching in these photos. And I simply fused the hem with one inch wide Vliesofix tape.

Tessuti Kate top and Colette Mabel skirt

The top is the Tessuti Kate top. This is the third time I’ve sewn it. This is view A, but I bound the armholes and neckline with wide self-made bias, rather than turning the bias to the inside like a facing as per the instructions. This kept the armholes and neckline the same size as originally cut out. The last time that I sewed view A I felt that the armholes were a little too deep and the neckline a little too scooped. This time they were perfect.

Tessuti Kate top and Colette Mabel skirt

I sewed the size Large, and think that the fit is pretty spot on for me. Someone taller might want to consider lengthening this pattern a little, depending on where you want the top hemline to finish. I really like those mitred facing edges and the side splits.

Tessuti Kate top and Colette Mabel skirt

I applied the binding to the wrong side of the fabric first, then folding it over the seam allowances to the right side and topstitching close to the edge. This gives a nice even row of stitching and ensures that the binding is all attached nicely. I don’t like doing it the other way around then stitching in the ditch. Either the stitches wander a little on the right side, or part of the binding doesn’t get caught and stitched down on the wrong side. When I want to sew the binding to the right side first I have already made the decision that I will hand-sew it down on the inside.

Tessuti Kate top and Colette Mabel skirt

The top fabric is viscose crepe, in that colour that I see as rich purple but others will see as cobalt blue. There is the teensiest hole in the front near the neckline, but I hope that it isn’t obvious to others. The perils of bargain remnants. I think I pulled the bias binding a fraction tight at the upper back neck, as in these photos there appears to be some teensy wrinkles. Otherwise, I think this top is a great fit.

Tessuti Kate top and Colette Mabel skirt

When I put this outfit on I had one of those YES! moments. It was comfortable, everything fitted, and I felt great. And fortunately, I had the perfect shoes to go with it (thanks again eBay Django & Juliette sample size seller).

Simplicity 1318 jacket with Tessuti Kate top and Colette Mabel skirt

Fortunately I still have some of the fabric left over; not enough for a dress but possibly for a top. I’ll go pattern stash diving. I’ll definitely be using this jacket pattern again as well. It’s a perfect topper for in between weather and for when you need an extra light layer.

Simplicity 1318 jacket

So, I wonder what Emma sewed? Actually, I think that I already know! I’m going to run over to her blog and take a look.

Simplicity 1318 jacket with Tessuti Kate top and Colette Mabel skirt

* 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 · DCF Challenge · sewing

Vogue 9186 -DCF Winter Challenge

Well, I suppose that there are a couple of things that I’d better make clear right from the start.  This is the garment that I sewed as my DCF Seasonal Challenge* garment for winter.  And it’s a summer dress.  And tomorrow is the last day of winter.  It doesn’t look as though I’m doing a great job of being seasonal, does it!  Luckily for me, Emma and I make up our own rules for this little challenge.

Vogue 9186 in distressed denim from Darn Cheap Fabrics

So, to the dress. The pattern is Vogue 9186, which I originally passed over before stumbling upon these beautiful versions by Eli Cat of the blog Cat In A Wardrobe.  The high collar had been putting me off, but Eli had sewn one with a scoop neckline.  Well duh! If there are elements of a design that I don’t like, of course I can change them!  After all, I am the one doing the sewing.

Vogue 9186 in distressed denim from Darn Cheap Fabrics

(No, I still haven’t addressed that fabric pooling in the centre back issue. Head in the sand on that one). Vogue describe the pattern as follows: Very loose-fitting, pullover dress has mandarin collar, front band, partially elasticized waist with casing, side pocket, and shaped hemline, wrong side shows. Narrow hem. A: Cap sleeves. B: Long sleeves with placket and button cuffs.

v9186

I did initially contemplate sewing the long-sleeved version of the dress, particularly because I had chosen denim.  But then I read a few reviews that talked about how difficult it had been to set in the sleeves, and I considered the challenges of sewing the cuff plackets in the fabric I’d bought…and changed my mind.

Vogue 9186 in distressed denim from Darn Cheap Fabrics

So, to the fabric. It is a “shredded” denim from Darn Cheap Fabrics. It came in a couple of colours; this is the darker one. The photos above are NOT a good representation of the colour – it is actually a normal denim blue twill, woven from indigo threads one way and white threads the others. The square “holes” are in a regular pattern. I did pre-wash the fabric, not only to see if there was any shrinkage or colour leakage, but to see how well those shredded areas would stand up to washing. They did surprisingly well.

Vogue 9186 in distressed denim from Darn Cheap Fabrics

That’s a more accurate representation of the colour! The denim is nice and soft, not lightweight but not too heavy either. I hemmed the dress by turning a narrow double hem and top-stitching it in place, and I used self-made bias tape to finish the edges of the armholes and the neckline. The same fabric as was used for the bias tape was used for the shaped elastic casing that is sewn to the inside of the dress.

Vogue 9186 in distressed denim from Darn Cheap Fabrics

In order to alter the neckline, I cut out the dress front and back pieces but omitted the neckband and the front placket pieces. I then sewed the back neckline darts as per the pattern instructions, as I know that I can always do with a little more shaping in that area.

Vogue 9186 in distressed denim from Darn Cheap Fabrics

I had decided that I like the neckline of the Tessuti Pia dress, so pulled out those pattern pieces and overlaid them on the front dress piece and the back dress piece, lining up the edge of the pattern pieces with the centre front and the top of the shoulder. Then it was a simple matter to recut the neckline, while retaining some of the back neck dart shaping. From there on this was a very quick dress to sew. Shoulder seams, finish the neckline with binding, one side seam, apply the elastic casing, other side seam, finish the armholes with binding, hem the dress.  I sewed size Medium (12-14) without any alterations.

Vogue 9186 in distressed denim from Darn Cheap Fabrics

You do need WIDE elastic to go in that casing for it to sit nicely. It really needs to fit just inside your lines of stitching. I think that I still need to redistribute the gathers just a little, but I do have to be careful fiddling too much with the fabric. It’s on the delicate side. So overall, I recommend this pattern, and suspect that it might get another outing at some stage. I’m really looking forward to seeing what Emma has sewn with hers.  I have a little bit of the denim left too.  I wonder what that might become – and whether I’ll have to fight the girls for it.

Vogue 9186 in distressed denim from Darn Cheap Fabrics

* 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 · DCF Challenge · sewing

Style Arc Dixie top – DCF Autumn Challenge

The seasons are flying by.  It’s the last day of autumn – and I’m only just getting my Autumn DCF Seasonal Challenge* garment up on the blog!  Thanks Emma for your patience.

Style Arc Dixie top - Autumn DCF Challenge

This is the Style Arc Dixie top.  I’ve been meaning to sew this for ages, and now that I’ve made it I don’t know why I didn’t do it sooner!  Especially considering that the weather in Melbourne is now getting very cold and I probably won’t be able to wear it until Spring.

Style Arc Dixie top - Autumn DCF Challenge

From the Style Arc website: DIXIE WOVEN TOP: This is just a great top. The curved front and back yokes make it a fashionable style that can be worn on any occasion. Colour-block this style in your favourite colours to create your unique look. FABRIC SUGGESTION & DESCRIPTION: Silk, Crepe, Rayon or any soft woven fabric.

dixie-top

Emma and I chose a geometrically patterned polyester woven from Darn Cheap Fabrics for our Autumn challenge.  This is an unusual polyester.  It feels a bit like crepe, and has a matt finish, but when I look closely at it the weave is a regular but very slightly open weave and definitely isn’t crepe at all.  It pressed well, frayed very quickly when cut, and appears to gather static rather quickly.

Style Arc Dixie top - Autumn DCF Challenge

I adore the colours, and the print.  This will work beautifully for me as a work top.  I sewed straight size 12, and it’s almost fractionally snug across the boobs.  This could be partly because the curved seam above the bust is topstitched – and there is a similar seam curved seam at the back – and therefore the garment is quite stable at that point and doesn’t have a great deal of give. I decided to omit the back neckline slit and the loop and button closure, and just seamed the centre back shut.  Interestingly, I appear to have a centre back seam in the lower back section as well – I wonder if I did that deliberately, or if it was omitted from the diagram, or if I just made an error?  These things do happen!  Either way, the backs could have easily been cut on the fold, and that is what I will do when I sew this pattern again.

Style Arc Dixie top - Autumn DCF Challenge

I find that curved hemlines can be slightly tricky to sew.  They need to stay narrow if you are just doing a “turn, press and stitch” hem.  I chose to overlock around the edge of the hem before turning it to the inside about a quarter of an inch – just a little past the overlocking – then topstitched it in place.  The overlocking draws it in a little bit around the curves, which helps with the smooth edge, and keeps the edge flat and neat.  After a burst of steam from the iron it sits really nicely.  Other options for curved hemlines are shaped facings or the use of bias strips.

Style Arc Dixie top - Autumn DCF Challenge

The instructions suggest that you ease the sleeves into the armholes, and I found that I definitely needed to do this.  No skipping the easing stitches in this top!  They set in quite nicely with the judicious use of pins, and also responded well to a tailor’s ham and shot of steam. And by the way, ignore the fact that the pattern illustrations says that the sleeves are 3/4 sleeves – I made them exactly as per the pattern and they finish just above the elbow.

Style Arc Dixie top - Autumn DCF Challenge

I applied the neckline binding to the wrong side of the fabric first, then turned it to the right side and topstitched from the right side.  This keeps the topstitching nice and even near the edge of the binding and there are no concerns about not catching it in place on the inside.  If I am not hand-sewing binding in place I always apply it to the wrong side of the fabric first.

Style Arc Dixie top - Autumn DCF Challenge

This pattern would look wonderful sewn in contrasting fabrics with the front and back yokes and sleeves done in one fabric and the body of the top in another.  You could also use sheer fabrics for the yokes and sleeves.  I’ll definitely be sewing it again.  And I definitely hope that I am a bit quicker off the mark in completing my Winter DCF Challenge garment (especially since we haven’t even chosen the fabric yet).  I’m looking forward to seeing what Emma has sewn with her Autumn fabric!

* 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 · DCF Challenge · sewing

DCF Seasonal Challenge – Summer 2016

How is this for just squeezing Summer’s DCF Challenge* in?  Even with an extra day this summer, I’m getting my blog post up with only a few hours to spare.  Hopefully the autumn challenge garment post will be a little less tardy!

Uptown Top in Darn Cheap Fabrics woven viscose

Emma and I bought this woven viscose from Darn Cheap Fabrics when she was down in Melbourne during the summer holidays.  We came this close to buying silk for our challenge this season, but eventually the miser in both of us kicked in and we decided that the viscose would be much more practical and significantly more budget friendly.  Not only do we have similar taste in fabrics, but we have similar spending preferences!  I wasn’t entirely certain what I’d make when we bought the fabric, but thought that a top I could wear to work would be good.  And that’s what I ended up with – a top that I can wear to work, or wear casually.

Uptown Top in Darn Cheap Fabrics woven viscose

I have to admit that the pattern choice was entirely inspired by Anna.  I saw her version of the Uptown Top (from a little known to me pattern company called A Verb For Keeping Warm) and I very quickly hit the pdf pattern purchase button.   This was the pattern that I had been looking for to pair with this viscose!  The pattern company describe the top as follows: The Uptown Top is a flatteringly oversized garment, designed to be worn with a great deal of ease. Make it with the hip band and it is the perfect length to wear with tights or leggings, or make it without the hip band and it will be your new favorite top to pair with jeans or a skirt.  Wear the Uptown Top for a night out with your friends, or as a cool, lightweight layer at the beach this summer! Sew it in a variety of fabrics for different moods and occasions. 

Uptown Top in Darn Cheap Fabrics woven viscose

Yes, it is super simple.  The front and back pieces are almost rectangular, although the shoulders do slope down gently.  I lowered the front neckline an inch or so.  The sleeves are elongated triangles that are sewn to the sides of the front and back pieces.  They are sewn together across the shoulders and up most of the sides, leaving an opening at the top of the side for the armhole.  This means that there is no gaping – hooray!  I didn’t bother with the hem band, but turned up a two inch hem.

Uptown Top in Darn Cheap Fabrics woven viscose

I decided to sew the middle size, which is for a 44″ finished hip measurement.  This top is designed with plenty of ease.  It’s certainly not a top for those who like waist definition or a more fitted silhouette.  The triangular sleeves allow for lovely curved drape at the sides of the top, while leaving the front and back fairly straight.  It’s a little reminiscent of the Style Arc Hedy dress.

Uptown Top in Darn Cheap Fabrics woven viscose

You can see the shape of the top very well in these photos.  Most construction was on the overlocker, with the hems and neckline binding on the machine.  If you make this top, remember to overlock the edges of the sleeve separately before stitching them together on the machine – this makes it much easier to turn the armhole opening to the inside for a narrow hem later on.

Uptown Top in Darn Cheap Fabrics woven viscose

I made my own bias binding using an 18mm bias maker to finish the neckline.  The pattern does come with a facing option, but I tend to prefer binding in soft drapey fabric like viscose.  I chose to sew the binding to the wrong side then turn it to the right side and topstitch it down.  After a shot of steam from the iron the binding curves beautifully around the neckline and adds a tiny bit of extra detail.

Uptown Top in Darn Cheap Fabrics woven viscose

I wore this top to work today with Style Arc Linda pants in navy and heeled court shoes, and felt great in it all day.  I wonder what Emma has made from her seasonal challenge fabric?

Uptown Top in Darn Cheap Fabrics woven viscose

* 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 · DCF Challenge · sewing

DCF Spring Challenge 2015 – Sway

Many regular readers will know by now that Emma and I have a quarterly seasonal challenge where we each use the same fabric from Darn Cheap Fabrics to make a garment, then reveal it on the same day.  I always look forward to seeing what Emma has come up with!  For Spring we chose a vibrantly printed viscose from Darn Cheap Fabrics.

Papercut Patterns Sway dress in woven viscose from Darn Cheap Fabrics

Unfortunately many of these photos haven’t come out well; I think that there was sunlight glaring off the phone when Clare was taking them, but beggars can’t be choosers and these are all I am likely to have.  The pattern is the Sway dress by Papercut Patterns, in the longer length but without the waist tie.

Papercut Patterns Sway dress in woven viscose from Darn Cheap Fabrics

This is the first time that I have used Papercut Patterns – they recently had a sale which was finally enough to make me hit the pdf pattern buy button. The website description of the pattern is as follows: The classic sway dress every wardrobe needs. Loose fitting and gorgeously flowing, make it as the short variation or long variation with waist tie. It has a centre front and back seam with a scooped and V neck so you can mix up the look by wearing either neck options to the front or back. It also features side seam pockets. 

Papercut Patterns Sway dress in woven viscose from Darn Cheap Fabrics

I left out the side seam pockets.  I usually include them if I am sewing pants, but for dresses I only include pockets that are a feature of some kind.  Those that are hidden in the side seams generally won’t be used.  The neckline and armholes are faced with a combined facing applied “burrito” style before closing the side seams.  This works beautifully and ensures there is no visible stitching around the neckline or armholes.

Papercut Patterns Sway dress in woven viscose from Darn Cheap Fabrics

I left this dress hanging on Ada, my dress form, for over a week, and boy did those bias side seam areas drop!  I intended to level out the bottom and cut and hem it around knee length, but after discussion with Clare and one of her friends one day decided to leave the hem shorter in the centres and longer at the sides as a design feature.  The girls both thought that it looked “cool” and I figured that if I’m unhappy with it I can easily shorten and level it later.  I finished the hemline with bias tape made from the same fabric.

Papercut Patterns Sway dress in woven viscose from Darn Cheap Fabrics

I sewed this as size Medium, since the only measurement that really mattered was the bust measurement.  This gave me just enough ease, and kept the neckline and armholes fitting close to the body.  The armholes are heading toward the low side, but I found that they didn’t expose any of my bra and stayed next to the skin.  One of the lovely things about this dress is that you can wear it either way around, so can have the V or the scoop at the front or at the back.  The V neck didn’t expose my bra at the back either, so overall I was pretty happy with the pattern drafting.

Papercut Patterns Sway dress in woven viscose from Darn Cheap Fabrics

This dress does swish and sway beautifully as you move.  I adore the colours in the print, and like most viscose it is very soft and comfortable to wear.

Papercut Patterns Sway dress in woven viscose from Darn Cheap Fabrics

Now I just need to see what Emma has made!

adult's clothing · DCF Challenge · Lekala · sewing

DCF Winter Challenge – Lekala 4108 short jacket with Itch To Stitch Lindy petal skirt

We are right in the middle of winter, and the polar vortex has well and truly landed in Melbourne.  I must have been influenced by the predictable sea of Melbourne black when I selected the fabric for Emma‘s and my Darn Cheap Fabrics seasonal challenge.  I have been actively trying to get black out of my wardrobe, but there were enough shards of colour in this fabric to persuade me to buy it anyway. I also thought that it was something that Emma would definitely like.

Lekala 4108 jacket and Itch To Stitch Lindy Petal skirt in scuba from Darn Cheap Fabrics

As it turns out, Emma liked this fabric so much that she already had some of it! There is another funny coincidence in what we chose to sew as well – but you’ll have to pop over to her blog to find that bit out. So, back to what I made. The jacket is Lekala 4108, and the the skirt is a free pattern from Itch To Stich, the Lindy petal skirt.

Lekala 4108 jacket and Itch To Stitch Lindy Petal skirt in scuba from Darn Cheap Fabrics

So, I’ll start with the skirt. First off, the pattern is free – that is always a bonus! I cut out size Small for the hips but graded up two sizes to Large for the waist as per my measurements and didn’t make any alterations to the length. The waistband is cut separately, but the elastic isn’t fully encased. It’s a different waistband treatment to usual, and it seems to work okay but if I used this pattern again (and I probably will) I’ll encase the elastic in the waistband completely and sew it on to the top of the skirt.  I twin needled the hems to secure them in place.  Scuba is very easy to sew with; the edges don’t require much finishing, and it’s quite stable.  It is of course polyester to the max, but in Melbourne winter a bit of polyester doesn’t really go astray.  We need the warmth!

Lekala 4108 jacket and Itch To Stitch Lindy Petal skirt in scuba from Darn Cheap Fabrics

I’m happy with the fit and the length, although I am wearing it rather high up on my “waist”. The taller among you may need to be aware of the finished length at the centre front where the two “petals” of the skirt overlap one another.  Okay on my 158cm, but it might be a little more revealing on some.  Overall verdict on the pattern?  A definite winner. Lekala 4108 short jacket 186_technical_drawing_924

The jacket is Lekala 4108. I have learned a lesson with Lekala – wait for an illustration on a person so that you can gauge the overall proportions rather than just relying on the line drawing of the garment itself. I had no idea that this pattern was going to be so cropped – although the description “short jacket” should have given me a clue. The sleeves are also cropped, so overall this really isn’t the jacket that I had in mind.  The line drawing was extremely deceptive, in my opinion.  A cautionary tale for all!

Lekala 4108 jacket and Itch To Stitch Lindy Petal skirt in scuba from Darn Cheap Fabrics

There was also an issue with the drafting at the centre back of the jacket. It kicked out terribly where there is a seamed and faced band. I unpicked it and resewed it after removing a wedge of fabric, which has improved things and made it lie flat, but my fix has left the overall finish at the centre back hemline looking less than professional.

Lekala 4108 jacket and Itch To Stitch Lindy Petal skirt in scuba from Darn Cheap Fabrics

Otherwise the fit is good, as I hoped it would be with Lekala’s made to measure patterns. I should point out that scuba is definitely not one of the recommended fabrics – Lekala suggest “blouse fabric, lining” and it’s designed for wovens. I also left out the lining. So really, is this a fair review of the pattern? I’m not sure. I’m half tempted to sew another unlined version for summer in a woven fabric, but have a whole lot of other summer jacket patterns ahead of it in my mental sewing queue.  As expected the instructions were rather brief in parts, and I would like it if there were more notches and markings on the pattern pieces to help with alignment and generally keeping things the right way up.  Despite these minuses, Lekala patterns are definitely great value for money.

Lekala 4108 jacket and Itch To Stitch Lindy Petal skirt in scuba from Darn Cheap Fabrics

So to the final verdict – will I wear this?  I have a rather strong feeling that I won’t.  The skirt might get some wear with other garments, but in this combination, or the jacket alone?  I’ll have to wait and see.

Lekala 4108 jacket and Itch To Stitch Lindy Petal skirt in scuba from Darn Cheap Fabrics

Emma’s blog post should be going up around the same time as mine (if I know how to schedule things properly!) so head on over and see what she made from the same fabric.