adult's clothing · sewing

Mandy and April

These are both repeat sews – Tessuti Mandy boat tee and Style Arc April pants.

Tessuti Mandy tee with Style Arc April pants

The Mandy boat tee is made exactly as per the pattern. The body is a striped ponte (a remnant from The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe) and the sleeves are in a black viscose knit. It’s really important with this pattern (and any with a very dropped shoulder and fitted sleeves) that you choose a fabric with plenty of four-way stretch. Otherwise it will be way too tight across the biceps, and uncomfortable to wear. Fortunately both of these fabrics were fine in that regard.

Tessuti Mandy tee with Style Arc April pants

The pants were also sewn from remnants. They are a mixture of jacquard bengaline (also from The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe) and ponte (scraps from stash). It’s hard to see the texture in these photos, but if you squint a bit you can make it out!

Style Arc April pant in bengaline and ponte

These patterns have plenty of seams, which makes them great when trying to use up remnants. Style Arc describe this pattern as follows: Up to minute stylized knit pull on pant, make it all one fabric, or contrast side panels as seen on the cat walk and in the fashion magazines.

april-pant

I’ve sewn these quite a few times – you can see previous pairs here, here and here.  I made my usual adjustments of shortening both above and below the knee, but that’s it.  They’re fast to sew, mostly on the overlocker, and comfortable to wear.

Style Arc April pant in bengaline and ponte

The above photo shows the fabrics a little better, although the colour is more accurate in the other photos.

Tessuti Mandy tee with Style Arc April pants

This outfit was definitely a scrap/remnant buster!  I recently delivered two huge bags of scraps to Clare’s school, but usually keep larger ponte and bengaline scraps precisely for these types of garments.  I think that the April pant pattern will get a few more outings soon – there is a fair bit in the ponte/bengaline scrap tub needing to be used up!

adult's clothing · sewing

Hot Patterns Weekender Swingy Sweatshirt

Hot Patterns Weekender Swingy Sweatshirt

Now that Hot Patterns sell their patterns in pdf (only A4 and letter versions, no A0 option, but the postage on the hard copies of their patterns is a killer) I am starting to buy more of them. I think that I’ve also got the sizing worked out for me – in knits, at least.

Hot Patterns Weekender Swingy Sweatshirt

This is the Hot Patterns Weekender Swingy Sweatshirt (worn here with Style Arc Elle pants in bengaline). Their website describes it as follows: Get the laid-back cool and classic comfort of a sweatshirt or sweater dress, with a dressy, modern twist. Top and dress are designed for knit fabrics with a little body and stretch, like velour or stretch velvet, ponte or double knits, French terry, lightweight fleece, sweatshirt, T-shirt, or sweater knits. Pull-on A-line sweatshirt or sweater dress has a center back seam, angled side seams & bust darts for a neat fit. Mix up the details for the perfect look: choose a long flared sleeve or add a turn-back cuff; make the optional cut-in pockets or not; pick a boat-neck or a shapely semi-V neck. Make it your best length too, either a thigh-length tunic or a knee length dress. Sleeve and body hems and necklines are finished with deep stitched facings. These are the perfect throw-on-&-go pieces-try skinny or bootcut pants under the sweatshirt, pull on your favorite boots with the dress, maybe add a scarf and you’re d-o-n-e done…

hp_1211_weekender_swingy_sweatshirt_sweaterdress__20338-1481220171-1280-1280

It’s pretty obvious that I sewed the sweatshirt, pretty much as per the pattern illustration.  Boat-neck, pockets, cuffs on the flared sleeves.  My measurements put me at around a size 14 but I took an educated guess and sewed size 10.  That seemed to work for me. No alterations to the pattern.

Hot Patterns Weekender Swingy Sweatshirt

Actually, that’s not quite true. A couple of weeks after I sewed this (and while sewing the sweater dress from the same pattern) I unpicked the sleeve cap from the armhole seam and re-sewed it, shaving off around a centimetre from the “point” at the top of the sleeve. After doing this the entire sleeve sat much better on me.

Hot Patterns Weekender Swingy Sweatshirt

It’s a pretty wide boat neckline, as described. It covers my bra straps, but only just. That is something to consider depending on how you like your necklines. I did like that despite it being a boat neckline, it didn’t choke me. And my neck doesn’t get cold – because I have a plethora of scarves and shawls to choose from! The one in these photos was knitted by my Mum in Wollmeise. Thanks Mum!  I think that the pattern is the Settler Shawl by Libby Jonson.

Hot Patterns Weekender Swingy Sweatshirt

I used the textured side of a green/blackish mid-weight sweater type knit that was in stash as the right side of the fabric. Oh where, oh where did I get this? Was it Rathdowne? Was it at Restash? I really cannot remember – but it’s great fabric! I really like those curved pockets and the wide cuffs. The wide sleeves can be a little annoying though – they don’t fit well under other garments, so to keep warm I’d be better off layering other garments underneath this sweatshirt rather than trying to find things to go over it. I do have a few cape-type things that would work though. I really don’t think I’m likely to jump on the statement sleeves trend in a big way, because I just can’t figure out what to put on top to stay warm! Maybe in summer.

Hot Patterns Weekender Swingy Sweatshirt

So, the verdict? This pattern is a winner. Hot Patterns have a very active Facebook group, if you are interested in sewing their patterns. I find that more people who sew them post their than in blogs or on Instagram. There are some terrific versions of this pattern popping up, and I bet that there will be more.

adult's clothing · sewing

Style Arc Cross Over Kit

This pattern has been in my stash for ages.  It was plotter printed – quite different to the fancy printing that Style Arc do nowadays, so must have been from some time ago.

Style Arc Cross Over Kit in stretch crepe from Spotlight

Style Arc describe the Cross Over Kit as follows:  This knit wrap top has a full under piece and an over wrap piece that pulls through a side buckle wear it by its self or team it with a contrast cami underneath. Short sleeve pattern also included in the pattern pack. FABRIC SUGGESTION & DESCRIPTION: Jersey knit.

crossover-kit-t027

I used a printed stretch crepe from Spotlight, and a vintage buckle that was in my stash.  This was very easy to sew.  Construction was on the overlocker, and hems done on the machine with a twin needle.

Style Arc Cross Over Kit in stretch crepe from Spotlight

Style Arc suggest wearing this over a contrast cami, which would have been better than doing what I did and using a safety pin on the neckline to make it work appropriate. I found this a very comfortable top to wear, especially underneath a long line cardigan/jacket.

Style Arc Cross Over Kit in stretch crepe from Spotlight

I sewed a size 12, with some side seam shaping removed to give me more belly room. I am still tossing up whether the “ruching around the belly helps to minimise it” theory is actually correct. I suspect that it probably is if you have a more defined waist than I do, but it runs the risk of looking like sausage casing on me. This top is loose enough that where it gathers into the buckle doesn’t actually stretch the fabric too tightly over my tum, but I have tried others (like the Issy top) where I just haven’t felt comfortable with where the gathers lie.

Style Arc Cross Over Kit in stretch crepe from Spotlight

So, verdict? I do like this top, and it will work well in my winter work wardrobe (especially considering that it will usually have other items layered over it). Comfy, easy to wear. Just remember that camisole!

adult's clothing · sewing

Style Arc Maisie designer dress

This Style Arc Maisie designer dress was half sewn during a recent trip to Sewjourn.  I began with the bodice – and the knit fabric I was using did NOT agree with my sewing machine or overlocker at all!  Far too slinky and the machines just chewed it up.  I quickly threw the bodice pieces into the bin (and the rest of the bodice fabric followed suit when I returned home), figuring that I would have something else in my stash that would work.

Style Arc Maisie designer dress

So only the skirt was sewn at Sewjourn – but when I got home I quickly ferreted through stash and found something suitable for the bodice! The dress was completed that night.

Style Arc Maisie designer dress

The skirt was sewn from cotton sateen (with a small stretch component) from Darn Cheap Fabrics, and the bodice is a mid-weight double knit in a mottled green/black. I used the smooth side as the outer; the other side is more textured, almost like a french terry but not quite. I wish I could remember where that knit came from!

Style Arc Maisie designer dress

I sewed size 12, my usual Style Arc size for tops and dresses. The fit is not perfect – usual back bodice issues and some slight folds above the bust at the armhole (FBA needed?) – but I really, really like the finished dress. It’s SO easy to wear! And yes, there are pockets in the side seams.

Style Arc Maisie designer dress

Style Arc describe this dress as follows: The slightly cocoon shaped skirt with asymmetrical design lines balances well with the angled waisted knit bodice on this designer dress. The interestingly shaped pattern pieces come together easily for a quick sew. FABRIC SUGGESTION: Bodice – knit jersey, sweater knit. Skirt – knit or stretch woven.

maisie-dress

I enjoy the patterns that Style Arc label as “designer” – they have more unusual shapes and silhouettes, and many of them work nicely for me.  This dress was an easy sew, and it’s great to wear.  Choose your fabric combination carefully though – the bodice needs to be able to support the weight of the skirt.

Style Arc Maisie designer dress

adult's clothing · sewing · tessuti patterns

Mandy the…I’ve lost count

So many Tessuti Mandy boat tees.  SO many.

Tessuti Mandy boat tee in remnants

Tessuti describe this pattern as follows:  This oversized, boxy top has a boat neckline and three quarter fitted sleeves with drop shoulders. This top is perfect for all seasons and is best made up in cotton, wool, viscose, linen knits.  

This is a free pattern, and it’s “one-size-fits-all” (yeah, right). The way it fits you will depend on your size and shape, and the amount of ease that you like in your clothes. I lengthened the sleeves to full length, but otherwise this is exactly as per the pattern.

Tessuti Mandy boat tee in remnants

Be aware that the neckline is fairly high and wide – it is a boat neckline after all. I use fusible double sided tape (Vliesofix) to stabilise and secure the neckline before twin-needle stitching it in place. I do the same for the body and sleeve hems. The rest of the construction is on the overlocker.

Tessuti Mandy boat tee in remnants

The fabrics were scraps – the body a medium weight wool blend knit that was a gift from a delightful fellow blogger some years ago, and the sleeves in a soft and stretchy poly/spandex knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics. I used the remaining chevron print to sew up a simple tubular cowl.

Tessuti Mandy boat tee in remnants

This loose casual style works well for me. I don’t generally like high necklines, but I think that in this case it is counterbalanced by the neckline width and I don’t feel too strangled. Some of my friends take width out of the neckline, or the entire body. Some cut it shorter, or longer. Others alter the sleeves to add width: they are very fitted as they are. I think that the fitted sleeves counterbalance the generous body nicely. I have another friend who narrows the body in a bit toward the hips. It’s an easy pattern to play with.

Tessuti Mandy boat tee in remnants

I have a suspicion that the number of Mandy’s I’ve made over the years could be in double figures by now…

adult's clothing · sewing

Simplicity 1463

When I was at Sewjourn in November my friend Kathryn sewed up a gorgeous version of Simplicity 1463.  Since I had some spare fabric with me, I quickly borrowed her pattern pieces and gave it a go as well!

Simplicity 1463 in restash knit

There really isn’t much to this pattern. Front piece, back piece, cuffs, neckband. That’s it. It does however take more fabric than you’d expect, because those sleeves are cut on.

simplicity-tops-vests-pattern-1463-envelope-front

Simplicity describe this pattern as follows: Make a scoop neck, high-low top with banded sleeves or great crossing back interest, and three V-neck tops with lace flutter sleeves, studs or a peekaboo lace neckline. Simplicity sewing pattern from Designs by Karen Z.  I sewed view A, the scoop neck top.  I do fancy giving view C a go at some stage, but I don’t yet own the pattern!

Simplicity 1463 in restash knit

The fabric is a lovely stretchy probably poly/spandex knit that I picked up at Restash last year. I did make sure that I centred the bold pattern on both the front and back pattern pieces. Size wise, I think I sewed the Small. I was happy with the fit through the body, but BOY those cuffs were TIGHT! Even in such stretchy fabric! I’d definitely make them larger if I sewed this again.

Simplicity 1463 in restash knit

This was really fast to make. Construction was on the overlocker, with hems secured via Vliexofix and twin needling on the sewing machine. I used the twin needle to secure the neckband as well.

Simplicity 1463 in restash knit

Sadly, this top has moved to the wardrobe in the spare bedroom too. The cuffs are just too tight to make it comfortable enough for me. My arms aren’t especially large, so watch out for that if you are making this top. Otherwise, I recommend the pattern.

adult's clothing · sewing

Simplicity 1318 – the wearable muslin

Before I sewed my DCF Challenge version of Simplicity 1318 (blogged last year), I sewed a wearable muslin to get a better idea of what size to choose.  This is a pattern that has been well used in the sewing community.  Both the reviews and the finished garment measurements printed on the pattern pieces indicated that there was plenty of ease.  I just wanted to check before I cut into my challenge fabric, so used some leftover Thai cotton double gauze to see if my guess on sizing was right.

Simplicity 1318 view A in thai cotton double gauze

I didn’t have much fabric, so this is view A, the short version without added bands. It was incredibly fast to sew.

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I used the overlocker to finish the raw edges but did most construction on the sewing machine.  I wanted to be able to pivot nicely where the sleeve joins the side seams, and to be able to press the seams open.  Narrow hems were turned twice around the front edges and neckline and topstitched in place.  The bottom hem and sleeve hems were wider but treated the same way.

Simplicity 1318 view A in thai cotton double gauze

There’s really not much to this jacket. I have however discovered that I reach more for longer-line jackets than cropped ones, and this has already been transferred into the wardrobe in the spare bedroom.

Simplicity 1318 view A in thai cotton double gauze

Oh, and size wise? This is size Small, despite my measurements suggesting Medium. Always check those measurements on the pattern pieces and take your own ease preferences into account!