adult's clothing · sewing

Tessuti Lola tee

I was invited to a Halloween dinner, and really didn’t know what to wear.  I didn’t need a full-on costume, just something that was in the spirit of the occasion.  I had a Style Arc Besharl jacket in my wardrobe that had a pattern that could vaguely read as cobweb-like, and a pair of black pants – so I just needed something orange to go under the jacket.

Tessuti Lola tee

Stash to the rescue! Less than an hour later I had an orange tee-shirt to go underneath. The pattern is the Tessuti Lola tee (which I’ve sewn before). This tee has a terrific scoop neck, and plenty of abdomen room as it is slightly flared at the front.  I am not enamoured with the fit of the back on me though (which is the same as in most tees that I make – when will I learn to do that short back waist alteration!)

Tessuti Lola tee

Anyway, this tee served it’s purpose – I was quite happy with my finished nod to Halloween!

Tessuti Lola tee

children's clothing · kids clothing · sewing · tween

McCalls 7459 for Stella

Pinafores and overalls are all the rage at the moment!  Clare is keen for me to sew her an ‘overalls dress’, but the pattern we fancy isn’t available in Australia yet.  In the meantime, I sewed a pinafore for Stella!  This was also part of my ‘the kids are away and I miss them so I will sew for them’ binge.

McCalls 7459 size 12 in denim from M Recht

Stella was keen on a flared skirt – she likes to twirl! The pattern is McCalls 7459.

m7459_a

There are quite a few options with this pattern.  Stella definitely wanted the traditional overall style bib of views A/D/E, and preferred the flared skirt of A and B over the gathered skirt.

m7459

With that decision made, I needed to figure out what size to sew.  Stella has been through a major growth spurt this year – actually, a couple of weeks ago we had to throw out all of her shoes and buy replacements, because the ones in her wardrobe were three sizes too small!  Her feet are the same size as mine now!  She’s been growing up and up and up, but is still pretty skinny.  Choosing a size is hard.  In the end I sewed girls size 12.  It’s great in length, but probably still too wide.  Fortunately that really isn’t much of an issue with this type of style, and I do want to allow for a bit of growing room!

McCalls 7459 size 12 in denim from M Recht

 

The denim comes from M. Recht, and I have to say that it’s lovely stuff. I never regret buying denim from them – it’s excellent quality. I went to Jimmy Buttons for the hardware for the buttons and buckles. That reminds me, because I chose to make the straps adjustable I lengthened them substantially when cutting out, as I knew that I’d be threading them through the buckles. The pattern is designed for standard fixed buttons and buttonholes.

McCalls 7459 size 12 in denim from M Recht

There’s a zip in the side seam too – I used a fairly heavy weight metal one that I had in stash. There’s also a button at the waistband opening. I really don’t do a great job of hammering in those buttons – I often bend them a bit. It probably just takes practice, and I haven’t got the amount of pressure quite right. You need to bang hard enough for it to be secure, but not so hard that you make the button and it’s backing go out of shape!

McCalls 7459 size 12 in denim from M Recht

As you can see, the pinafore is topstitched throughout. I used regular thread with a triple stitch, as I find that this gives me the best topstitching effect on denim. I’ve tried using upholstery thread in the past, but still prefer the finish I get with regular thread and a triple stitch.

McCalls 7459 size 12 in denim from M Recht

I really hope that Stella gets some decent wear from this – it’s a trans-seasonal garment, and she really did need a few new things added to her wardrobe!  We’re fortunate that my niece has a daughter who is five years younger than Stella, so we pass everything that Stella has outgrown down to her to keep or to redistribute among her friends.  Stella’s wardrobe now looks the emptiest it’s ever been!

McCalls 7459 size 12 in denim from M Recht

adult's clothing · sewing

From scarves to a top

Inspired by Alfia’s refashioning class, I took a look at my wardrobe and pulled out a couple of scarves that I’d bought in Thailand.  I wear lots of scarves, but these two hadn’t been getting many outings.  It was time to turn them into something else!

Scarves to vintage Simplicity

The pattern that I used was a vintage one – Simplicity 8686, which looks pretty 1980s. I am often surprised at how current the 80s patterns are again – as long as the armholes aren’t as deep and shoulders as wide! Otherwise they really do seem to fit with current aesthetics.

Scarves to vintage Simplicity

I used view 1, the striped version on the pattern cover, and lengthened it considerably. As well as wanting to keep my tummy covered, I wanted to make the most of the scarf fringe. Then I played around with the yoke pieces and the remaining scarf to figure out what layout would work best for it.

Scarves to vintage Simplicity

The scarves were of quite different weights, and this has affected the way that the top sits, especially at the centre back of the yoke. The yoke scarf is very loosely woven, and it really needed stabilising. I did this by using scraps of the other scarf to make inside bindings for the neckline edge, and also used the more stable scarf for the sleeve cuffs.

Scarves to vintage Simplicity

This was a really fun experiment, and I am confident that it has resulted in a top that will definitely get summer wear.  It’s definitely worth examining the line drawings of those 80s patterns, as it doesn’t take much to transform them into something that works well now.

Scarves to vintage Simplicity

children's clothing · sewing · tween

McCalls 7708 for Clare

During the last school holidays my husband took the girls on a road trip to visit the town he grew up in (Mount Gambier, in South Australia).  I had to stay behind and work, but while they were away I also indulged in some ‘I-miss-you’ sewing and made a garment for each of them.  I’ll start with the top that I sewed for Clare.

McCalls 7708 in viscose from Darn Cheap Fabrics

This is McCalls 7708, a girls’ top pattern.  I think it’s basically the kid version of the very popular McCalls 7542. I find that girls’ pattern still fit Clare better through the shoulders and upper chest than most adult patterns at the moment.  Clare is finally taller than me (by a whole 3cm) but is not very broad at all.  For skirts/shorts/pants we vacillate between the size ranges, depending on the cut and what measurement is the most important (waist versus hips).

m7708_a

McCalls description of the pattern is rather brief. ‘Tops have sleeve variations and back button closure.’  Oh really!

m7708

I texted a link to the pattern to Clare so that she could choose the sleeves that she preferred, and she chose view D, the floaty sleeves that overlap at the top.  They’re very dramatic, yet straightforward to construct.  The sleeve edge is narrow hemmed before the sleeve head is overlapped at the markings and basted, then the sleeve is inserted as usual.

McCalls 7708 in viscose from Darn Cheap Fabrics

McCalls 7708 in viscose from Darn Cheap Fabrics

After a quick look at the pattern pieces I was certain that I’d be able to cut the centre back on the fold and dispense with the centre back opening. There would be plenty of room to get this on over Clare’s head. I elected to finish the neckline with bias binding sewn on right sides together then turned to the inside and machine stitched in place. It’s a finish that I often use for necklines, rather than using facings, and I really like it – especially in shifty fabrics like this printed viscose woven from Darn Cheap Fabrics (yes, it was leftover from another project).

McCalls 7708 in viscose from Darn Cheap Fabrics

McCalls 7708 in viscose from Darn Cheap Fabrics

I was a little concerned that the top might be a fraction short, but it turns out that she really likes this length. It works well with her higher waisted bottoms, but there’s still enough length to tuck it in if she wants to. And I have to say that this top goes beautifully with her new glasses from Dresden (made from recycled fishing nets)!

McCalls 7708 in viscose from Darn Cheap Fabrics

adult's clothing · sewing

Refashioning with Alfia Galimova

A month or so ago (yes, I am that far behind with blogging again) The Cloth Shop in Ivanhoe popped up on Instagram telling us that Alfia Galimova was going to take a class to refashion men’s shirts (into something for women).  I don’t think that I’ve even been as fast to sign up for a class!  I have been following Alfia on Instagram (you can find her at @alfia_designs and @alfia_galimova) and at other places around the internet (such as here).  She’s incredibly talented – her illustrations are as amazing as her clothes – and she definitely has her own unconventional style, which really appeals to me.  She sees details and manipulates fabric in a way that I could never come up with myself.

Refashioning class with Alfia

Refashioning class with Alfia

Alfia brought along a rack of refashioned clothing from her own wardrobe. It was fascinating to examine each piece, seeing how she’d reworked and combined things. Sometimes it was a simple as turning things around and adding a seam or two. (That’s Kim of The Cloth Shop peeking out from behind the rack). Our list of what to bring to class included a large men’s shirt, which was what we’d be refashioning. Clare and I had fun at Vinnies choosing shirts that we thought might work!

Refashioned shirt

Essentially, we were doing to turn the shirt around so that the collar became an armhole. We sliced off the sleeves, used a template for the neckline opening and sleeve placement, cut accordingly, then used one sleeve to add length to the body and the other sleeve to fashion a collar.

Refashioned shirt

Refashioned shirt

Refashioned shirt

Most of the attendees commented on how handy those buttons across the front would be for a breast-feeding mother!  However, most of us did not want to risk the potential of a wardrobe malfunction, so sewed the button placket closed.

Refashioned shirt

Refashioned shirt

I was so excited by my refashioned shirt that I decided to grab a second Vinnies shirt that I’d taken to the class and start turning it into a dress! This time I used a large chambray men’s shirt, and didn’t use the sleeves as I was instead adding some stash fabric for the skirt. I used bias binding to finish the neckline.

Shirt becomes dress

Shirt becomes dress

I unpicked and moved the front pocket to a more appropriate (and potentially useable) location.  The hem of the shirt was utilised along the edge of one armhole, with the collar as the other armhole.

Shirt becomes dress

Shirt becomes dress

This dress was actually super fast to make!  It probably took me longer to decide what fabric to use for the skirt than it did to alter the shirt.  On the skirt I utilised the selvage as the hem.  So there you go – some fun refashioning, that is very wearable and definitely a little bit quirky!  Bring on summer!

Shirt becomes dress

Refashioned shirt

Alfia opened our eyes to the potential of using garments differently to the ways that we are used to.  To reimagining, reshaping, and generally to experimenting and just seeing how it goes!  What a wonderful class – it definitely took me well out of my comfort zone, but in a very welcome way.

adult's clothing · sewing

Rushcutter dress

In The Folds released the Rushcutter dress a couple of years ago, and if Instagram is anything to go by it was very popular.  I hesitated, because it was a pdf, and dress pdf patterns take a fair bit of assembly.  Also, I figured that I had lots of patterns for loose dresses.  Fast forward a while, and Emily ran a Kickstarter campaign to get her patterns into print form. I do like to support a fellow Australian in her small business dreams, so I signed up and eventually received a printed copy of the pattern.  And a couple of months later, I sewed it up!

In The Folds Rushcutter dress in linen from The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe

First off, I need to say that this pattern is another big WIN for me. I really love the resulting dress! And yes, it’s a loose dress, but there was enough detail to make it a bit different to sew and much more interesting than the usual. From the website: The Rushcutter is an oversized knee-length, A-line dress, designed for woven fabrics, available in two different styles. The Rushcutter is beautifully designed and carefully drafted to include many interesting details, to make this a very enjoyable sew for sewers at a range of different levels. The pattern comes with fully illustrated instructions to hold your hand every step of the way.

View A features three-quarter length raglan sleeves, large side pockets, invisible zip, bound neckline and a wide hem facing.

View B is a sleeveless version, with back button closure. It features in-seam pockets, with neckline and armholes finished with bias binding. Included in the pattern is an optional waist sash, that is suitable for both styles.

both-dds

As you can see, I sewed view A.  I chose to sew size F, based on bust measurement.  Waist and hip measurement are fairly irrelevant in this style.  I didn’t make any major alterations to the pattern other than lowering the front neckline an inch.

In The Folds Rushcutter dress in linen from The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe

That beautiful mustardy yellow linen is from The Cloth Shop. It was absolutely divine to work with and to wear. I originally hoped to sew the entire dress from the solid, but I just didn’t have enough of it (one of the perils of buying fabric without a pattern in mind). I tossed up a few options for the sleeves and centre front, and settled on the printed linen blend that was a gift from Anna but I suspect originally from Joy’s in Geelong (now closed). Although the yellow in the print wasn’t the same as the yellow of the solid linen, it still pretty much toned and worked with it.

In The Folds Rushcutter dress in linen from The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe

The pockets are drafted so that they are a little wider than the side panels, and stand away from the rest of the dress. A subtle yet interesting detail, and very easy to sew.

In The Folds Rushcutter dress in linen from The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe

There is a curved seam that joins the bodice to the skirt, and this was also drafted beautifully. Although I didn’t manage to pattern match the print across the centre back seam, I did manage to line up the invisible zip perfectly.

In The Folds Rushcutter dress in linen from The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe

I’m definitely glad that I lowered the front neckline – that’s as high as I want a neckline to be! One of the benefits of sewing a garment well after the pattern is first released is that you can see plenty of examples on other people, and read about anything they’ve changed. The neckline is finished with bias binding sewn like a facing and turned to the inside and topstitched.

In The Folds Rushcutter dress in linen from The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe

I topstitched most of the seamlines for more definition and to provide support and a teensy bit of structure. Linen has a lot of inherent ‘give’, which is one of the reasons that I enjoy wearing it so much. I possibly overstretched it a fraction when easing the skirt to the bodice, as it looks to me as though there’s a little bit of fullness along that seamline that won’t quite press out. Otherwise, I feel that this dress is close to perfect for me! I’m quite happy with the length as drafted (so longer on me than on the average person), and I feel that this dress will get lots of trans-seasonal wear.

In The Folds Rushcutter dress in linen from The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe

As well as the patterns available for sale on the In The Folds website, Emily designs (free) patterns for Peppermint magazine.  These can be found here, and there are plenty of finished examples on Instagram and around the blogs.  After sewing this dress I am impressed with her design and drafting skills.  I’ll definitely be using more of her patterns.

adult's clothing · sewing

Wendy Ward Derwent trousers

Over the years I have discovered that as much as I love flicking through sewing pattern books, I rarely actually sew any of the garments they contain.  Yes, they’re great value – so many patterns for the price! – but they also require tracing of pattern pieces, often from large sheets with multiple overlapping lines.  Over the years I have also discovered that I am fairly lazy when it comes to tracing patterns.  I just don’t do it.  I have good intentions (Burda and Ottobre magazines, I’m looking at you!) but I very very rarely actually get around to tracing.  And as most of you know, I’m firmly in the cut out the printed pattern camp, even with vintage patterns.  Because I’d made that discovery, I’ve drastically reduced the number of pattern books that I buy.  I am happy to buy books on sewing techniques, but rarely buy one for the patterns.  However, I saw Anna‘s Kinder cardigan and Longshaw skirt, and promptly bought a copy of Wendy Ward‘s book A Beginner’s Guide to Sewing with Knitted Fabrics.

9781782494683

However, the first garment that I sewed from the book wasn’t either the Kinder cardigan or Longshaw skirt – it was the Derwent trouser!  There was a sewn up sample at The Cloth Shop, (they always have the BEST garment samples) and that was the clincher for me.  Take two pattern pieces, some beautiful medium weight dark green marle viscose ponte, some wide elastic, and voila, a fabulous pair of winter trousers in approximately an hour!

Wendy Ward Derwent trousers in ponte from The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe

I chose pattern size based on my hip measurement, traced the pattern pieces, adding length after checking how long my current trousers are, then did a full belly alteration to the front pattern piece. This was a straightforward slash and spread, making a cut from the waistline down about six or seven inches then spreading it an inch at the waistline. That added another couple of inches to the front waist and belly area without affecting the bum and hips.

Wendy Ward Derwent trousers in ponte from The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe

The waist is finished with a wide elastic facing, sewn to the top of the waistline then turned to the inside and secured with stitches through the seamlines. The deep hem was secured with a machine blindstitch. I prefer deep hems on wide leg pants.

Wendy Ward Derwent trousers in ponte from The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe

In this photo it really looks as though I have a major wedgie, but these have been worn quite a few times and certainly don’t feel that way! I might check the back crotch curve of this pattern against the back crotch curve of my Fifi pants, and compare them. Honestly, if I hadn’t seen this photo I wouldn’t have had any idea.

colour blocked boiled wool scarf

The top I’m wearing is the Style Arc Kylie top, blogged here. It’s a favourite! However, I want to point out the colour-blocked boiled wool scarf. I sewed it following directions in this tutorial. The boiled wool is from The Cloth Shop. It’s lots of fun choosing colour combinations, and it’s a straightforward sew and very warm to wear. I’ve also sewed a wedgewood blue and grey version that I gave to my sister-in-law for her 60th.

colour blocked boiled wool scarf

This outfit feels very ‘me’. I find it a bit difficult to choose the right tops to go with wide-legged pants, but this one seems to work.  As always, it’s about getting the proportions right for your body – and feeling comfortable and yourself in the total outfit.

Wendy Ward Derwent trousers in ponte from The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe