children's clothing · kids clothing · sewing

Simplicity 1435

I keep on trying to figure out how best to keep up with blogging.  I really WANT to post everything I make here on the blog.  Not only is it a good reference for me, but I feel as though I am contributing to the general sewing community.  But I am SO behind!  I might try alternating between one of last year’s unblogged garments with one of this year’s.  I am fortunate to be going to Sewjourn not once but twice in the next month (hip hip hooray) so really do need to catch up!  I do post things on Instagram as soon as they’re made, but those are usually quick snaps in whatever light or location is available – so they are often on Ada (my dress form).  Anyway, enough navel gazing.

Simplicity 1435 in knit jacquard from Rathdowne Fabrics

This dress was sewn for Stella when I was at Sewjourn in November. The pattern is Simplicity 1435. Where WAS that fabric from? Wracking my brain….ah yes, it was a remnant from Rathdowne Fabrics.

simplicity-girls-pattern-1435-front-back-view

Simplicity 1435 in knit jacquard from Rathdowne Fabrics

Stella really liked this dress when she first tried it on, but I have to admit that I haven’t seen it worn a great deal over summer! I sewed a mixture of sizes. This one was a 7 for body width, 7 for armhole depth and and shoulder width and 9 for lengths. Phew!  Size 9 doesn’t actually exist in this pattern – it goes up to size 8 – I just cut it longer.

Simplicity 1435 in knit jacquard from Rathdowne Fabrics

Really, this sort of dress is SO easy to sew. There are some gathers at the sleeve cap, but the skirts are circular so there isn’t even much faffing around with the sewing machine to run gathering stitches. It was pretty much constructed on the overlocker, and I only needed the machine for those aforementioned sleeve cap gathers and to twin needle the hems.

Simplicity 1435 in knit jacquard from Rathdowne Fabrics

I always like a jacquard knit, although sometimes they can stray into the territory of looking “old-fashioned”, depending on the colour ways and patterns that have been knitted into them. I wasn’t certain about this one at first, but Stella really liked it and purple is always a lovely colour on her.

Simplicity 1435 in knit jacquard from Rathdowne Fabrics

I went through my knit fabrics yesterday (and weeded out the odd woven that had snuck in with them) and sorted and organised them better on my shelves and in tubs. I have some really lovely pieces – including some knit jacquards. So much I want to sew! My biggest issue is what to do with the “scraps”. I don’t mean little pieces of the size that quilters would keep – those go straight into the bin. I mean pieces that are large enough for a pattern piece or two or another small garment. At the moment I have TUBS full of these. Sometimes I use them, but clearly I often don’t, and they are taking up a LOT of space. What do you do with yours? Should I just turf everything that isn’t large enough for a complete garment? What to do!

Simplicity 1435 in knit jacquard from Rathdowne Fabrics

And for those of you who might have been wondering how my new job was going – I feel as though I’ve finally turned the three month corner. It’s still all incredibly new, and it will be a year before I feel competent, but I’m not quite as exhausted by it all and my brain is no longer exploding quite as much. I’ve probably been lucky to start at the time of year where there are a few public holidays so I’ve had some rest days! Adjusting to working a permanent three days a week has had some challenges too in terms of how I organise my unpaid work life (you know – home, kids, family organisation – let along sewing). It’s all good, but like any change, it’s has come with a few stresses. Thank goodness I’ve got sewing as therapy!

Simplicity 1435 in knit jacquard from Rathdowne Fabrics

adult's clothing · sewing

Hot Patterns Metropolitan Urban Gypsy Blouse

Well, you deserve a medal just for reading that title.  Hot Patterns have such long names to their patterns.

Hot Patterns Fast and Fabulous Metropolitan Urban Gypsy top in fabric from Darn Cheap Fabrics $2 table

I’d seen lots of women my age and older in off the shoulder blouses and dresses, so decided that it was worth a try and not necessarily to be left to the teen. This pattern appealed to me because of the way that the band was flat at the front and just elasticised at the back (a bit like the Style Arc Cara top). It also has some darts and sleeve interest.

Hot Patterns Fast and Fabulous Metropolitan Urban Gypsy top in fabric from Darn Cheap Fabrics $2 table

The sleeves have ties at the bottom and are narrow hemmed. They are cut in halves, so it’s not as difficult to get around that curve at the top of the tie to turn the hem before sewing the sleeve halves together.  Tunic length is one of my favourite lengths for tops, and this has a nice curved hemline with the back slightly longer than the front.

Hot Patterns Fast and Fabulous Metropolitan Urban Gypsy top in fabric from Darn Cheap Fabrics $2 table

The darts at the front mean that you don’t have a whole lot of blousing over the boobs. They run from the neckline downwards, and the blouse sits smoothly. I did need to try it on to adjust the elastic to the right length to stay on me comfortably.

Hot Patterns Fast and Fabulous Metropolitan Urban Gypsy top in fabric from Darn Cheap Fabrics $2 table

Hot Patterns describe the Metropolitan Urban Gypsy Blouse as follows: When you’re in the mood to wear something pretty with a cool-girl vibe, reach for one of these beauties, perfect for light to medium weight crisp or fluid fabrics, like crepe, voile, chambray, ahirting, gauze, charmeuse or rayon; these also work gorgeously in knits like silk(y) jersey, rayon, linen or modal. Loose-fit, pull-on, off-the-shoulder blouses have a neckband that’s fitted at the front and elasticated through the sides and back; the bodice has a gentle A-line cut with bust darts. Choose your favorite raglan sleeve length; 3/4 with a tied cuff, or just above the elbow with a deep elasticated cuff. Blouses finish with a narrow shirt-tail hem at the upper thigh. Chest patch pockets are optional; we’ve also included an optional internal stretchy shelf bra as well as halter straps for easy wearing.  You’ll be amazed at how wearable these stunning blouses really are…tuck them into a high-waist tailored skirt or pant, wear them untucked over a skinny, flared or palazzo pant, or try them runway-style worn loose over a matching midi-length A-line skirt.

Screen Shot 2017-04-09 at 9.09.18 am

I chose to leave off the pockets, and sewed the view with the ties rather than the elasticated cuff.  You really do need wide elastic to make the gathering look good – it’s worth following the instructions!  I also didn’t bother with the halter straps or internal shelf bra – I just wear a strapless bra with this blouse.

Hot Patterns Fast and Fabulous Metropolitan Urban Gypsy top in fabric from Darn Cheap Fabrics $2 table

The fabric is a printed viscose woven from the Darn Cheap Fabrics $2 table. You have seen it before – I sewed my Mum a top from it. It’s nice to work with and the right weight and drape for this blouse. I think that I sewed size 10 (would need to pull the pattern out and check) although I measure around a size 14 in Hot Patterns. That seems to be how their sizing works for me. I made this in around November I think, and have worn it a couple of times. I rather like it on me, and feel on trend when wearing it paired with skinny pants and heeled sandals or wedges. It does have the slight annoyance factor of requiring a strapless bra, and you definitely need to remember to put plenty of sunscreen on those shoulders!

Hot Patterns Fast and Fabulous Metropolitan Urban Gypsy top in fabric from Darn Cheap Fabrics $2 table

adult's clothing · sewing · tween

Style Arc Ellie-Mae

I’m still blogging last year’s garments!  I have been doing a little bit of sewing since we got back from holidays, but at a much slower rate than usual.  I’m still adjusting to working in a new job, three days per week instead of two, and have been having lots of very early nights!

Style Arc Ellie-Mae tunic dress in cotton from Darn Cheap Fabrics

Apparently this year’s fashions are all about the sleeve and the shoulder.  This dress managed to incorporate both trends!  It is the Ellie-Mae tunic top from Style Arc.  From their website: ELLIE-MAE: This on-trend top/tunic dress is a gorgeous look with its flattering, elastic off the shoulder neckline. The raglan sleeve allows this style to flow beautifully. Soft ruffles fall from the hemline and the sleeves. Design your own look, why not use a wide lace for the ruffles? We made the top with a hem ruffle and the tunic dress without a ruffle. The choice is yours. The elastic neckline allows you to wear it off the shoulder or alternatively up on the shoulder for a more stayed look.  Wear the top with jeans or use the longer length as a tunic over your favourite pants, or as a dress.  FABRIC SUGGESTION: Silk, Crepe, Cotton, Broderie Anglaise.

ellie-mae

I sewed the dress version in size 4 for Clare.  It was very straightforward to make, being a basic raglan construction.   It was mostly sewn on the overlocker, with the machine used for gathering and securing hems and the neckline.  I used wide elastic in the neckline, and it has gathered it beautifully.

Style Arc Ellie-Mae tunic dress in cotton from Darn Cheap Fabrics

The fabric is a beautiful printed voile, originally from Darn Cheap Fabrics (but it came to me via Anna’s stash – thanks Anna!) and it was perfect for Clare. Very easy to work with and just the right weight and hand for the elastic gathering. It ironed well, and the sleeve frills were easy to gather too.

Style Arc Ellie-Mae tunic dress in cotton from Darn Cheap Fabrics

It’s really important to get that elastic in the neckline the correct length, and there is no way to do that effectively without trying it on. It has to be just right – not too loose, so that it stays up, and not too tight, so that it tries to move upwards or feels uncomfortable.

Style Arc Ellie-Mae tunic dress in cotton from Darn Cheap Fabrics

Clare has worn this a couple of times now. She does find that when she lifts her arms the whole dress moves up a bit and she gets what she describes as “an underarm wedgie”. But overall, this is a great success.

Style Arc Ellie-Mae tunic dress in cotton from Darn Cheap Fabrics

I had enough of the fabric left over to whip up an Aeolian dress/tunic for my cousin for Christmas. No modelled photos of that one however, just these on Ada.

Pattern Fantastique Aeolian dress in woven fabric from Darn Cheap Fabrics

This was also a simple sew, especially considering that I’ve sewn this pattern many times. Raglan sleeves, constructed on the overlocker, sewing machine with contrasting thread used to topstitch beside the shoulder seams, secure hems and to secure the self-made bias binding that was used to finish the neckline.

Pattern Fantastique Aeolian dress in woven fabric from Darn Cheap Fabrics

adult's clothing · sewing

Style Arc Ada knit top

This pattern has been around for a little while, but I only sewed it up last year.  I find it interesting how I can overlook a pattern for ages, then all of a sudden look at it with fresh eyes and become enthused.

Style Arc Ada in knit remnant from The Cloth Shop

The Style Arc Ada knit topFabulous top with interesting design lines. Clever square arm hole and side panel with inserted pocket. FABRIC SUGGESTION: Any knit fabric, single knit jersey preferable.

ada-top

My fabric is a knit remnant from The Cloth Shop.  I adore the colour and the chevrons.  There is a metallic thread knitted into it too, which does have the effect of making the fabric feel slightly scratchy.  However, not unwearably so.

Style Arc Ada in knit remnant from The Cloth Shop

This was an easy sew, with construction shared between the overlocker and the sewing machine. I used a twin-needle to finish hems and to secure the neckband. As always, I use this method to get the length and distribution of the neckband just right.  I find it works much better on deeper curves than simply quartering the neckline and neckband.

Style Arc Ada in knit remnant from The Cloth Shop

This is size 12 without alterations. I rather like the slightly drapey side pockets.

Style Arc Ada in knit remnant from The Cloth Shop

The scooped neckline is not too high, not too low. There’s lots to like about this top, especially if you prefer things that are not fitted through the waist. It works particularly well with skinny pants (these are Style Arc Misty jeans).

Style Arc Ada in knit remnant from The Cloth Shop

adult's clothing · sewing

Style Arc Rae tunic and Georgie jeans

This is a blog post about garments that aren’t quite right.  Incredibly close to right, but that teensy bit off!  In one case it’s due to my fabric choice.  In the other case, the size that I chose to sew.

Style Arc Rae tunic in knit from Crafty Mamas with Style Arc Georgie jeans in stretch denim from M Recht

I’ve actually seen the Rae tunic pop up quite a lot in my feed reader and on Instagram. As Style Arc say:  The curved hemline and the, so popular, split sleeve give this great tunic top an easy, casual look. Simple to make with an all in one sleeve and body, this tunic will become your go to top to wear for all occasions. FABRIC SUGGESTION: Crepe, Silk or even a Knit.

rae-tunic

I chose to use a cotton/lycra knit.  It’s a beautiful quality fabric from Crafty Mamas Fabrics, and I adore the print.  Unfortunately, it really isn’t quite a drapey as I’d like.  A knit with some viscose in it would have been a much better choice.

Style Arc Rae tunic in knit from Crafty Mamas with Style Arc Georgie jeans in stretch denim from M Recht

I eliminated the centre back opening, cut the back piece on the fold, and used one strip of fabric as a neckline facing. This fabric was very easy to work with, and this really did come together incredibly quickly. I like that the upper arm openings are relatively subtle, and allow for wearing a regular bra. It’s a simple pattern, but as is usually the case with Style Arc, very well drafted.

Style Arc Rae tunic in knit from Crafty Mamas with Style Arc Georgie jeans in stretch denim from M Recht

I sewed straight size 12 without alteration. It’s definitely tunic length, with deeply rounded hemlines. I think that it would be wonderful lengthened to a dress. So this top wasn’t a fail for me, but wasn’t a woo-hoo make either. I’ve been wearing it, but it really deserves to be remade in one of the recommended fabrics.

Style Arc Rae tunic in knit from Crafty Mamas with Style Arc Georgie jeans in stretch denim from M Recht

So, to the jeans. I’ve been wanting a pair of white/cream denim jeans for ages. Back in the 1990s I had a pair of white Levi 501s. I wore them until they pretty much died – at which time I turned them into a skirt. Remember doing that? Unpicking the inseams, overlapping, adding a bit of extra from what you’d cut off the lower leg to the centre to fill in the gap? I’m sure that nowadays there are plenty of tutorials around to let you know what to do. Oh, I remember that skirt well – I trimmed the hemline with some amazing pink blue and white vintage jumbo ric rac. I wonder if it’s in landfill now or if someone is rocking a very retro look?

georgie-jeans

Style Arc describe the Georgie stretch woven jeans as follows: GEORGIE STRETCH WOVEN JEAN: Georgie has all the details of a traditional jean with the exception that its pulls on. This elastic waisted jean has the latest styling and shape along with comfort as it sits on the natural waist. FABRIC SUGGESTION: Stretch Bengaline or any stretch woven fabric.

Style Arc Rae tunic in knit from Crafty Mamas with Style Arc Georgie jeans in stretch denim from M Recht

Because I’ve put on so much weight I decided to go up a size from my usual Style Arc 10 to a 12. In retrospect, I could have stayed with the 10. These are that leetle bit too big.  Not enough to stop me wearing them – and I’ve been wearing them quite a bit – but just that little bit that means I need to hitch them up a bit from time to time.

Style Arc Rae tunic in knit from Crafty Mamas with Style Arc Georgie jeans in stretch denim from M Recht

There is also way more fabric in the back of the leg than I need. My weight gains tend to go straight to my belly and midriff. Although I still do get a little larger around the bum and hips, it’s proportionately much less, and from the thighs down I never seem to change all that much. This pair could have done with a short back waist length alteration and a flat bum adjustment.  The denim (from M.Recht) has plenty of stretch, as does the recommended bengaline fabric, so I could have stayed with the size 10 and just altered the waist elastic to suit and let the elastane in the fabric look after lots of the rest of the fit. I have another pair cut out in leather-look bengaline and will increase the size of the seam allowances when I sew it in order to make that pair a bit smaller overall.

Style Arc Rae tunic in knit from Crafty Mamas with Style Arc Georgie jeans in stretch denim from M Recht

I enjoyed sewing these, and did the topstitching with a triple stitch using regular thread. Lots of the rest of construction was on the overlocker. This pattern is basically the pants version of the Style Arc Charlie skirt, which I’ve blogged before here.  I’ll still get plenty of wear from these jeans, because they are comfortable, and I’ll always tops out over them.

adult's clothing · sewing

Lotus Blossom Blouse – for me

The Love Notions Lotus Blossom Blouse comes in a very wide range of sizes.  I’ve made the kid size before for Clare (you can see it here) and thought at the time that I should sew it for myself.  Last November at Sewjourn I did exactly that!

Love Notions Lotus Blossom Blouse in rayon knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics

From their website: Do the twist! This top is simple but packs a fun surprise. The dolman sleeved blouse is a flattering top meant for light weight drapey knits that are the same on front and back. The neckline features a gradual v-neck that is a breeze to sew. The back of the blouse can feature a special fabric such as stretch lace or a really cool scrap of knit you’ve been hoarding for years. The surprise in this blouse is the twist at the front. The shirt-tail hem really makes this top a great choice for just about any pants or skirt style. Available in girl’s sizes 2T-16 as well as ladies XS-XXXL.

Screen Shot 2017-03-17 at 8.39.22 am

The are right – this is a quick and easy sew!  It is super important that your fabric look pretty much the same on both sides, as one half of the front piece shows the reverse as a function of making the twist in the bottom.  I chose not to do a back inset on this version.

Love Notions Lotus Blossom Blouse in rayon knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics

The fabric was a perfect choice – its a drapey viscose knit, not too thin, but not too thick. I think that it came from Darn Cheap Fabrics $2 table. The colour is very slightly marled in real life and has considerable depth.  It has just the right amount of drape for this top. I don’t think that a cotton/lycra would work half as nicely.

Love Notions Lotus Blossom Blouse in rayon knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics

The front neckline is finished before the twist is done and the centre front seam sewn up. This looks much more complex than it actually is. It’s important to pay attention to markings though. I suspect that I sewed the size Medium. I really think that I do need to sew this top again. Maybe I can add some long sleeves for winter? I’ve worn this one a bit for work, as it pairs really nicely with a straight knit skirt and cardi/jacket.

Love Notions Lotus Blossom Blouse in rayon knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics

So I think that they are right – this top IS “flattering”! It’s the right colour to bring out my skin tone, the V-neckline is a shape that I prefer, it doesn’t constrict or bind my pot gut and most importantly for me feels really comfortable on. Hooray!

children's clothing · kids clothing · sewing

Mini Ogden Cami – as dress

There are plenty of “pattern hacks” out there involving the Ogden and Mini Ogden Cami patterns.  I was not immune to the appeal – it is a nice basic that lends itself to transformations and alterations.

True Bias Mini Ogden Cami as dress in embroidered cotton from Chiang Mai

For this dress I chopped the cami pattern off at belly button level, then added a gathered skirt. I retained the subtle shaping at the bottom of the cami front and back pattern pieces to reflect the original hemline curve, and used the same shortened front pattern piece to cut a full lining for the front from a toning cotton.

True Bias Mini Ogden Cami as dress in embroidered cotton from Chiang Mai

The fabric is a beautiful embroidered cotton that I bought in Chiang Mai on our first trip there back in 2014. It took me a while to use it! I really wanted to show off the beautifully shaped and scalloped border, so cut a length of the fabric, sewed one seam up the centre back, gathered the straight edge and then, ta-da!

True Bias Mini Ogden Cami as dress in embroidered cotton from Chiang Mai

It’s very fast to sew a dress when there is no hemming required! Actually, this was fast to sew overall. Do make sure that you check finished pattern measurements before deciding on what size to sew – I had to take this in quite a bit to fit Stella because I chose size based on her height rather than chest measurement of the finished garment.

True Bias Mini Ogden Cami as dress in embroidered cotton from Chiang Mai

I’ve seen variations on this cami done by just extending it to dress length, by adding a skirt to make a dress with a dropped waist, by cutting it off higher then adding a skirt to make an empire line dress, by putting the lining on the outside to make an overlay, and the list goes on! It’s a great basic for tweaking – and of course is lovely sewn exactly as per the pattern.

True Bias Mini Ogden Cami as dress in embroidered cotton from Chiang Mai

I really dislike the term “pattern hack”. To me, hacking something means cutting into it in a random and careless way. And that’s definitely not what I’m seeing most of the time when people talk about “pattern hacks”! They are talking about taking a pattern and changing or tweaking it, generally in ways that do require skill, thought and care. Then again, I don’t like the term “sewist” either….maybe I’m just a bit grumpy and perimenopausal! And don’t get me started on what I think about the use of the word “flattering” nowadays….surely it isn’t just me!