adult's clothing · sewing

Style Arc Marilyn dress

I had a WONDERFUL afternoon and evening last Saturday.  I got to visit Style Arc in person, and to attend Melbourne Summer Frocktails!

Visit to Style Arc

There were a couple of shopping days organised as part of the Melbourne Frocktails weekend. I wasn’t able to join the group on Friday or Saturday morning, but nothing was keeping me away from visiting Style Arc on Saturday afternoon!

Visit to Style Arc

Carly, Lyn and Liz graciously welcomed us into their place of creativity and answered our million questions about Style Arc. Questions about its history, their work histories, their design process, their printing process, you name it, I think that we asked it!

Visit to Style Arc

They also had some pre-printed patterns there at a discounted price for our group. They were incredibly generous. I had already placed an online order (or two) so was able to collect that on the day. It was pretty funny watching people ferreting through the boxes trying to decide which patterns they wanted! Style Arc has a considerable inventory nowadays.

Visit to Style Arc

I’ve been sewing Style Arc patterns for quite a while now, so as some of the other group members said, for me it was like visiting my spiritual home. I got to see samples in real life as well! So much fun.

Visit to Style Arc

These are three incredibly talented women. Between them they have extensive fashion industry experience, as well as fashion industry qualifications, and it’s no wonder that their patterns are so well drafted and are such current styles. I cannot believe that they can do everything themselves – but somehow, they do! They’re a terrific example of how a business can start small and then grow and evolve, taking things one step at a time.  And on top of that, they’re so NICE!

Visit to Style Arc

So yes, I’m definitely a fangirl. I think that maybe I already was. And I’m definitely taking you up on that offer of coming back for a coffee with Chloe one day!

Visit to Style Arc

Right, this post was meant to be about the Marilyn dress – because that’s what I wore to Frocktails!

Style Arc Marilyn dress in Spotlight rayon

Style Arc describe this dress as follows: MARILYN DRESS:  The ¾ length sleeve with its fashionable split opening and tie closure makes this simple, slightly “A” line, “V” neck dress something special. The pattern allows the choice of two different neck drops, traditional and a little lower if you dare.  FABRIC SUGGESTION: Silk, Rayon, Crepe

marilyn-dress

I sewed straight size 12, eliminating the centre back neckline opening.  I chose the lower of the two neckline options.  I took a very deep hem of around 4 inches by folding up 2 inches then another two before hand stitching it in place.  On the day of Frocktails, of course….

Style Arc Marilyn dress in Spotlight rayon

The fabric is printed viscose from Spotlight, bought a couple of years ago. I bet that there are a few of you who have this in your stash! It was the perfect weight and drape for this dress; a mid-weight that just hung as swayed as it should. Fortuitously there was some silk/cotton in stash that matched it beautifully, and I used it to line the sleeves.

Style Arc Marilyn dress in Spotlight rayon

Not only did the silk/cotton feel beautiful against my skin, it provided peeks of lovely contrast. The sleeves weren’t difficult to construct – there are handy diagrams that made the entire dress construction quite straightforward. Actually, this really isn’t a difficult style to sew. There are fitting opportunities with the centre back seam too.

Style Arc Marilyn dress in Spotlight rayon

I made certain to under stitch the neckline facing to prevent it from rolling out, but forgot to stabilise the V-neckline before sewing. As a result it stretched out a teensy amount. Please, if you are sewing this, make sure that you stabilise the neckline with either stay-stitching or a fusible tape!

Style Arc Marilyn dress in Spotlight rayon

I felt fabulous in my dress – even more so because Melbourne was being unseasonably cool and so could wear the animal/bird print coat that I’d made for Frocktails a year or two ago! As always, there were many fabulous dresses. I’ll leave you with a few snaps from the night. Most were taken indoors in very dim light on my phone so the quality isn’t perfect, but they certainly give you an idea of how many fabulous sewers there are in Melbourne!

Melbourne Frocktails Nov 2016

Melbourne Frocktails Nov 2016

Melbourne Frocktails Nov 2016

Melbourne Frocktails Nov 2016

Melbourne Frocktails Nov 2016

Melbourne Frocktails Nov 2016

Melbourne Frocktails Nov 2016

Melbourne Frocktails Nov 2016

Melbourne Frocktails Nov 2016

A great deal of work goes into organising events like Frocktails – so many thanks to Kat, Libby and Renay and the rest of the team for their hard work.  Special thanks go to Jane for organising the visit to Style Arc!  Woo hoo!  You can find more Frocktails photos using the hashtag #melbournefrocktails on Instagram.

children's clothing · kids clothing · sewing · tween

Style Arc Cara top – this time for the teen

When Clare saw my version of the Style Arc Cara top, she promptly declared that she wanted one too.  I pondered, because she’s not really in adult size patterns yet.  However, when I checked the Style Arc website I discovered that their patterns start at an Australian size 4.  I figured that it was worth a go.

Style Arc Cara top in navy tencel from Clear It

I managed to buy a copy of the downloadable pdf when Style Arc had a pdf sale on Etsy. I really didn’t feel like grading down my size 12 version! There aren’t many pattern pieces, so it didn’t take long to tape together the A4 pattern pieces. I don’t mind taping when there aren’t loads of pieces, and I was after immediate gratification. Downloadable pdf patterns are always great in that regard!

Style Arc Cara top in navy tencel from Clear It

I cut this as a straight size 4 without alterations. I figured that the length would be quite adequate for Clare, especially since in many ways her proportions are like mine – she has long legs for her height and a proportionately shorter torso. The fabric is navy tencel from Clear It. That reminds me – I need to sew up the pair of pants that I have cut out from the same fabric!

Style Arc Cara top in navy tencel from Clear It

I decided not to interface the front neckband, as the fabric is relatively substantial. This appeared to work out okay. I also made certain when I inserted the elastic into the back neckband piece that I could access it in case I needed to shorten it to fit Clare better. As it turned out, that was a good idea – once I was home from Sewjourn and she tried it on, I needed to shorten the back elastic by a number of inches for the top to stay up!

Style Arc Cara top in navy tencel from Clear It

This is a very straightforward garment to sew. I mostly used the overlocker for construction. Hems were finished on the overlocker, then turned to the inside in a narrow hem and stitched on the machine. Easy peasy.  Just watch out for them stretching out a little and rippling on sections that become bias (i.e. learn from my mistakes).

Style Arc Cara top in navy tencel from Clear It

This top has already had quite a bit of wear. Definitely a wardrobe hit with the teen – and it’s good to jump right onto the off the shoulder/cold shoulder/split sleeve trend before it disappears!

Style Arc Cara top in navy tencel from Clear It

adult's clothing · sewing

Style Arc Maris – yes, it’s number three

Style Arc Maris top in solid knit with printed silk woven

There’s really not a great deal to say when you get to the third version of a garment. This is the Style Arc Maris top. From their website: MARIS TOP: This top has an interesting front hem panel that continues to the back giving a fabulous silhouette. 
Use your own creative flare, mixing fabrics or colours for your own individual look.  We made our sample in Linen but would also work in a knit as well.

maris-top

Style Arc Maris top in solid knit with printed silk woven

Actually, I can comment on something regarding this version. My first was all sewn in woven fabric. The second was sewn all in knit. This time I used a woven for the yoke and bottom panel, and a knit for the body. The woven is the silk scraps left over from my Vogue 1482 dress, and the body was also from scraps, this time a golden mustard viscose. I had to piece the back upper sleeve areas, which are hidden after hemming the sleeve openings.

Style Arc Maris top in solid knit with printed silk woven

The yoke is self lined. I cut it twice, sewed around the front neckline right sides together, then attached it to the shoulder seams burrito style, encasing the viscose in between the yoke outer and yoke lining when stitching. I had already finished the back neckline with a strip of viscose, like a facing. This left me with nicely enclosed seam allowances and a clean finish around the neckline. I wish I’d thought to take photographs! The rest of the construction was fairly standard.

Style Arc Maris top in solid knit with printed silk woven

Three versions of this top in one year is probably enough!

adult's clothing · Bootstrap Fashion · sewing · Uncategorized

A three-fer: Riley, Henrietta Maria and Vado.

This will be an epic blog post.  Three garments.  I am exhausted just thinking about writing it, let alone thinking about you reading it.  Be warned!

Style Arc Riley coat in wool from Clear It

Okay, I’ll start with the coat. This is the Style Arc Riley Coat. From their website:  RILEY COAT: This cleverly designed and patterned coat fits all the boxes. Suitable for every season, Riley has a very “on-trend” shape with its deep panelled raglan sleeve and free flowing front. This coat is unlined and so easy to construct. FABRIC SUGGESTION & DESCRIPTION: Wool, Wool Cashmere, any Suiting, Linen or Ponte

riley-coat

I chose to use a wool blend coating fabric from Clear It to sew my jacket.  I didn’t purchase quite enough, but by judiciously piecing the facings I was able to cut out the entire jacket from my fabric.  The fabric restrictions did limit the amount of check matching that I was able to do.  I focused on keeping the checks balanced more than matched.

Style Arc Riley coat in wool from Clear It

I eliminated the centre back seam in an effort to save fabric, but otherwise this is sewn pretty much as per the pattern. I did add topstitching beside certain seemliness, as the mood took me.  The description is correct – it is easy to construct.

Style Arc Riley coat in wool from Clear It

There is no closure on my coat. It can be worn with the collar folded across and pinned in place, but I’m not likely to wear it that way. I sewed size 12, which is my usual Style Arc top/dress/jacket size, but could have gone down to a 10 in this jacket.

Style Arc Riley coat in wool from Clear It

I really enjoyed working with this coating fabric. It has great texture, was easy to sew and press, and the hand-stitches securing the facings are invisible. Hooray!

Style Arc Riley coat in wool from Clear It

If you have long arms, you might want to consider lengthening the sleeves. It wouldn’t be too difficult to draft a lining either, if you prefer one. There are inseam pockets in the front seams, and I really like the angles at the centre front hemline. I am not certain that lapels at the front like this, with nothing at the back neck, is the best look for me. To me it looks very “front-heavy” which I am anyway. I think I prefer a jacket with no collar at all or one that has a roll collar at the back. Will ponder on that further. But I do recommend this pattern.

Style Arc Riley coat in wool from Clear It

So, to the top. This is the Henrietta Maria top by Scroop Patterns.

Scroop Patterns Henrietta Maria top in wool crepe from Rathdowne Fabrics

I have been reading the designer Leimomi’s blog for some time, and have always been impressed with her sewing knowledge and the thought that she puts into garments. She is a trained pattern maker and is a fashion and textile historian. This is her first pattern, and I was very impressed with both the quality of the drafting and the quality of the instructions.

Scroop Patterns Henrietta Maria top in wool crepe from Rathdowne Fabrics

I sewed this in a wool crepe remnant from Rathdowne Fabrics. It was a great choice for this top. Wool crepe is such a divine fabric to work with! It presses beautifully, and has wonderful drape. Now check out all those cartridge pleats. Just sewing the pleats took around two hours. Crikey.

Scroop Patterns Henrietta Maria top in wool crepe from Rathdowne Fabrics

I finished the inside edge of the neckline self-facing with lace, and the lower hemline with a narrow double-turned machine stitched hem. This is actually quite simple to sew, you just have to be patient because of ALL THOSE PLEATS. Have I mentioned that there are a lot of pleats?

Scroop Patterns Henrietta Maria top in wool crepe from Rathdowne Fabrics

The website describes this pattern as follows: The Henrietta Maria is a versatile, wear-anywhere trans-seasonal shift dress or top, with full raglan sleeves and cunning pleats that shape the neckline and sleeve hems. The top can be made with a straight or shaped hemline. The dress has set-in side pockets.

Dress it up for evening in chiffon and satin, make it as your go-to summer wear in cottons or viscose (rayon), or effortless winter office wear in wool crepe. Worn loose, the top and dress are great on straight figures. Belted or tucked in, they flatter the most bodacious of curves.

Recommended Fabrics:
The Henrietta Maria works best in fabrics with good draping qualities, such as lightweight wool crepes; viscose crepes; silk & synthetic crepe de chine; lightweight draping cottons such as cotton voile; and wool, viscose & cotton challis. Silk or synthetic charmeuse satins, chiffons and georgettes also work well, but are trickier to work with.

henrietta_maria_hero_image_1024x1024_a4d49077-65bf-43a9-8ab0-68a36e755ea4_1024x1024

I sewed view B, with the curved hemline.  I think that I sewed size 40, as per my measurements (it is about three haircuts ago since I sewed and photographed this, so my recollection of some details is a little hazy).  I’d rather like to sew the dress version for summer in a cool drapey fabric – but ALL THOSE PLEATS.  I might need to sew some other summer garments first.  This is a great pattern – highly recommended if you are looking for something a little out of the ordinary.

Scroop Patterns Henrietta Maria top in wool crepe from Rathdowne Fabrics

So, now to the jeans. These are the next step along my quest for non-stretch denim jeans that fit my decidedly non-standard shape. I used the Bootstrap Fashion Vado Designs boyfriend jeans. The rigid denim is from M. Recht.  From the Bootstrap website: The best-fitting jeans custom-sized sewing patterns are here. These ‘boyfriend’ style jeans have plenty of design ease around thighs and hips and require minimum measurements.They are extra long and designed to be worn rolled up. Ease: 4 3/8″ (11 cm) at hips and thigh.

Bootstrap Fashion Vado design your own flare jeans in rigid denim from Rathdowne Fabrics These are the jeans on the right in the picture above. I’ve sewn the flared version in the centre photo before, and you can read that review here. So, the jeans on me.

Bootstrap Fashion Vado Boyfriend jeans in denim from M. Recht.

Bootstrap Fashion Vado Boyfriend jeans in denim from M. Recht.

Bootstrap Fashion Vado Boyfriend jeans in denim from M. Recht.

So, right to it. I don’t love the way that these look on me from the side or the back at all. So much fabric around the upper thigh! Yes, the pattern description does say that there is plenty of ease there, and on a more typical shape it probably works well. But my legs are so thin in comparison to my torso that it’s hard to eliminate that excess while still having the non-stretch denim fit the rest of me and me still being able to move.

Bootstrap Fashion Vado Boyfriend jeans in denim from M. Recht.

I do need to emphasise however that the fit is actually GREAT from the perspective of the waist and tummy and hips fitting me – that normally NEVER happens – and the length, which is spot on.  These are also incredibly comfortable for a non-stretch pair of jeans! I do need the belt to keep them in the most comfortable position, despite me being very accurate with my measurements, but that is because without that extra bit of cinching (and consequent muffin-top) all my pants fall down. It’s why I usually go for an elastic waist. With a waist-hip differential that is so small – plus most of the measurement being on my front – most skirts or pants fall down on me.

Bootstrap Fashion Vado Boyfriend jeans in denim from M. Recht.

I was very happy with the construction of these jeans. Bootstrap Patterns have lots of detail and photos in their instructions now, and everything went together nicely. I also got some rivets for the back pockets, and in combination with the red topstitching am very happy with the final look of these jeans. I did place the pockets much closer to the centre than the pattern suggested, based on some of my existing pairs of jeans.

Bootstrap Fashion Vado Boyfriend jeans in denim from M. Recht.

Pockets were sewn from quilting cotton. I chose not to flat-fell any of the seams, as I feel that I get a similar effect with the seams overlocked then topstitched. I know it’s not as “authentic” a jeans technique, but I’m just as happy with the finished result.

Bootstrap Fashion Vado Boyfriend jeans in denim from M. Recht.

I often wonder why I put so much effort into waistband and upper pants details that will never been seen other than on this blog. I never, ever tuck anything in.

Bootstrap Fashion Vado Boyfriend jeans in denim from M. Recht.

Bootstrap Fashion Vado Boyfriend jeans in denim from M. Recht.

So, my final verdict? I think that Bootstrap Fashion (and Lekala) patterns are GREAT. I love the made-to-measure aspect and the price, and the ability to customise things like tummy and buttock protrusion. If you haven’t tried them, I really do think that you should! It does require ACCURATE measurements, and lots of them, and tweaking to find out what the fit adjustments really do. But once you’ve got it sorted, it’s wonderful – especially if you are not a “standard” shape.

Bootstrap Fashion Vado Boyfriend jeans in denim from M. Recht.

As for me and my non-stretch jeans quest? Basically, it’s over. My shape really is best in elastic waists and stretch denim. These jeans aren’t likely to get much wear at all.  In the future I’ll keep sewing my tried and true Style Arc jeans from stretch fabrics. But don’t let that put you off giving Vado jeans a go – I honestly do think that they work beautifully for lots of people, and have seen quite a few of them on blogs that look fabulous.  There is no questioning the fit.

Style Arc Riley coat in wool from Clear It

kids clothing · sewing · tween

Modkid Cassidy Dungaree Dress

Sewing for my girls is getting harder.  Finding the right match between style, fabric, sizing and pattern – especially for the teen.  Clare is almost 14, but much smaller than most of her peers.  I was the same at her age, and it seems that my genes are strong in this one!  She has a strong sense of her own style, which is much more colourful and individual than many of her friends, yet she wants to dress in ways that make her seem like a typical teenager rather than a kid.  I completely understand that!

Modkid Cassidy dungaree dress in printed corduroy remnant from The Cloth Shop

The Modkid Cassidy Dungaree Dress pattern goes up to a girls size 12, which is what I used for Clare.  Their website describes it as follows: Cassidy is a playful dungaree style dress that can be layered over long-sleeve tees and leggings in the cooler months but also worn by itself or with a tank top underneath for the warmer months. This pattern will be a favorite for back-to-school and Holiday sewing.  SUGGESTED FABRICS: Bottom-weight fabrics like denim, corduroy, twill or canvas, 54″-60″ wide. 

Modkid Cassidy dungaree dress in printed corduroy remnant from The Cloth Shop

I used a remnant of printed corduroy from The Cloth Shop for Clare’s pinafore.  (I just can’t bring myself to use the word “dungaree” – that’s just not a term Australians use).  There was a small tear in the fabric, which I forgot about when I was cutting it out.  Fortunately the back and front skirt pieces are the same as one another, so I made sure that I placed the tear at the back of the skirt.  I repaired it with some fusible interfacing underneath and zig-zagged it to secure, then placed another pocket flap over it to hide it.  I think it worked well!

Modkid Cassidy dungaree dress in printed corduroy remnant from The Cloth Shop

I used quilting cotton to line the bodice and the straps. The most difficult part of making this was finding decent hardware. I bought buckles and hammer on buttons from Spotlight, but have to say that the quality was abysmal. The buttons bent as soon as they were hammered on – and I wasn’t overdoing things, I’ve done this before – and I ended up going through twice as many as needed to have some that worked. The buckles also feel flimsy. I will buy this sort of hardware elsewhere in the future – I was extremely unimpressed with these.

Modkid Cassidy dungaree dress in printed corduroy remnant from The Cloth Shop

Otherwise, this was a fairly simple garment to make. There are lots of topstitching opportunities, and I always enjoy a lined bodice. I don’t think that the fit at centre back where the straps join is as good as it should be. They needed to be angled more, and I notice that other examples of this dress have the same issue. Note for next time!

Modkid Cassidy dungaree dress in printed corduroy remnant from The Cloth Shop

The front pockets are also fully lined with the same quilting cotton as the bodice. It’s always good to have somewhere to put your hanky. The flaps on the bodice and back skirt are just that – there are no functional pockets there.

Modkid Cassidy dungaree dress in printed corduroy remnant from The Cloth Shop

This should still fit next winter as well, with any luck – it’s a style that is rather adjustable and forgiving.

Modkid Cassidy dungaree dress in printed corduroy remnant from The Cloth Shop

children's clothing · kids clothing · sewing

Book week 2016

It was book week a couple of months ago (yes, I am very behind with blogging so everything that appears here was sewn months ago now).  Stella decided that she wanted to go as Billie B Brown.

Book Week costume 2016

The school was focusing on Australian authors, and as it happens Sally Rippin is not only Australian, but local to us! I liked that element of Stella’s choice. Most of the “costume” was easily found in her wardrobe, but Stella really wanted a pinafore like the one on the book cover. Enter Lekala 7198.

Book Week costume 2016

This is a pattern designed for wovens, and I was using a knit from stash, so I eliminated the side zipper. I also left out the back belt and the front pockets. The pattern was folded down at the strap level to create a straight edge, and I traced off a facing to match. The straps were made from wide bias binding and were inserted between the dress and facing.

Book Week costume 2016

Buttons were added at the centre front for decoration. Stella enjoyed having input to every element of the design process, referring back to the book cover as we went along.

Book Week costume 2016

Of course, this was all done the night before it was needed. Some things never change. And the finished costume?

Book Week Costume 2016

Yes, she was pleased!

adult's clothing · sewing

Negroni shirt

Collette Negroni shirt in Liberty from Shaukat

My husband really does get the sewing crumbs from me. Every now and then I sew him a t-shirt, but if I am honest about the proportions of sewing time spent on me and the girls as compared to him, the amount of sewing I do for him is miniscule. But every now and then I pull a rabbit out of the hat.

Collette Negroni shirt in Liberty from Shaukat

This is the Colette Negroni shirt in Liberty cotton from Shaukat. It is such beautifully silky fabric to sew and to wear. I’ve sewn him the Negroni shirt twice before – a short-sleeved version here, and a long-sleeved version here. This one is also a size Medium but with the sleeves shortened considerably by taking a large fold partway down the pattern piece.  I
left off the collar button loop.

Collette Negroni shirt in Liberty from Shaukat

There is a pocket on that left shirt front – can you see it? I used one of the alternative pockets that are provided via the Colette blog here.  It’s the divet version.  You can just make it out if you look carefully.  I didn’t make any effort to match the print, but the very nature of it means that it is fairly well camouflaged.

Collette Negroni shirt in Liberty from Shaukat

As you can see in these photos, he really does NOT like modelling for blog photos – but knows that that is the price you pay if you want me to sew for you! The girls did give him a hard time about not knowing what to do with his arms. Maybe we need to find him some posing pointers!

Collette Negroni shirt in Liberty from Shaukat

The back yoke is done burrito-style, and those two small back pleats allow for a little more movement. I like the curved hemline as well. As it happens, I have another couple of lengths of Liberty in stash that are earmarked for more shirts. Maybe one for Christmas?

Collette Negroni shirt in Liberty from Shaukat