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!

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 · sewing

Trilogy top and Peta pants

These are both repeat pattern makes.  I first sewed the Hot Patterns Trilogy top for Mum here, and the Style Arc Peta pants here, so I knew that it would be pretty safe to sew both of them for her as a Christmas gift.

Style Arc Peta pants in linen from The Cloth Shop with Hot Patterns Trilogy top in mystery crepe from Darn Cheap fabrics

I’ll start with the top! I sewed size 14, as before, and used all the same techniques. The fabric was from the Darn Cheap Fabrics $2 table. It feels to be a viscose of some type, and it has just the right flow and drape to make this lovely to wear.  From the Hot Patterns website: Semi-fitted, pull-on styles have a gently shaped silhouette, with center front & back seams. ‘V’neckline and cut-on cap sleeves are finished with self fabric binding. Choose your perfect length; a midi-length dress, a mid-thigh tunic, or a lower-hiplength top. All versions feature a deep pleat folded into the front yoke for that essential bust shaping, plus a curved front and straight back hemline.

hp_1191_ff_trilogy_shift_dress_env_f_outline__27122-1436480357-1280-1280

Style Arc Peta pants in linen from The Cloth Shop with Hot Patterns Trilogy top in mystery crepe from Darn Cheap fabrics

I apply the bindings to the wrong side, then wrap them around to the right side and topstitch them in place. It’s like binding a quilt, really! It means that the outside of the garment always looks neat, as you can ensure that the topstitching is just where you want it to be.

Style Arc Peta pants in linen from The Cloth Shop with Hot Patterns Trilogy top in mystery crepe from Darn Cheap fabrics

This is a lovely style on Mum, and I’ve noticed that she wears the other one that I made last year fairly often as well. The pants are also a terrific wardrobe staple.  From the Style Arc website: PETA PANT: This elastic waist pant is a great new staple – make it with or without drawstring bottoms, its easy to wear and you will find it a great young fit that is still comfortable. FABRIC SUGGESTION & DESCRIPTION: Washed linen, washed silk – any woven that has drape.

peta-pant

Style Arc Peta pants in linen from The Cloth Shop with Hot Patterns Trilogy top in mystery crepe from Darn Cheap fabrics

This beautiful black Italian linen comes from The Cloth Shop in Ivanhoe. As before, I sewed them in size 18, shortening the pattern around three inches in total with a fold out of the pattern both above and below the knee. I’d left that alteration on the pattern pieces the last time I sewed these, so didn’t even need to take the time to do it all again!

Style Arc Peta pants in linen from The Cloth Shop with Hot Patterns Trilogy top in mystery crepe from Darn Cheap fabrics

Mum is around my height nowadays – somewhere between 5’2″ and 5’3″ – so the same height alterations work for both of us. Interestingly, I measured Clare yesterday and she’s now only an inch and a half or so behind us – although her shoulders are lower than that – I think that she might end up taller than me after all!

Style Arc Peta pants in linen from The Cloth Shop with Hot Patterns Trilogy top in mystery crepe from Darn Cheap fabrics

adult's clothing · sewing

Kwik Sew 3880

Kwik Sew is a pattern company that I think some people overlook.  I assume it’s just a styling issue, because the patterns are terrific.  Always well drafted and always go together well.  Just focus on the line drawings!  Anyway, I gave Kwik Sew 3880 a go when I was at Sewjourn last November (yes, that’s how behind I am with blogging).

Kwik Sew 3880 in knit from The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe

The website describes this pattern as follows: Pullover tops have dolman sleeves and scoop neckline finished with self-fabric binding, and sleeves and bottom edge are hemmed. A: Shoulder cut-outs finished with narrow hems. Pattern includes ¼” (6 mm) seam allowances.

k3880_a

There are usually patterns with shoulder cut outs in the pattern books, but at the moment they are especially on trend. I figured that this could be a good style to try as it provides shoulder/upper arm interest while being bra-friendly. The knit was a remnant from The Cloth Shop in Ivanhoe.  I love their remnant bin!

Kwik Sew 3880 in knit from The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe

I sewed the Medium, even though my measurements suggest the Large. I find that in general Kwik Sew have plenty of ease, and often go down a size. I do always check the finished garment measurements for each size on the pattern pieces to determine which size allows for the amount of ease I prefer. This is something that I do no matter what the pattern brand. I think that the sizing is fine, but as is often the case I don’t feel especially comfortable in a garment that is relatively fitted through the midsection on me. It wouldn’t be if you had a more “conventional” shape with a narrower waist. As it is I spend all my time sucking my gut in and trying to stand taller. No body confidence if you’re doing that all the time!

Kwik Sew 3880 in knit from The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe

I did deviate from the instructions to do the shoulder cutouts, and bound them in the same manner as the neckline after sewing together the shoulder seams. This reduced their size a little, which I think was a good thing. I prefer to not just turn and stitch on curved openings, even though it’s quite a feasible option in knits.

Kwik Sew 3880 in knit from The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe

I think that these photos would have been better taken against a darker background – my arms blend in with the wall behind me, which makes the cutouts look weird! An interesting observation when I made this – my friend Kathryn tried it on as well. We both sew a similar size in tops, with tweaking for our different shapes. We’re also a similar height; she’s a few inches taller than me but not dramatically so. Anyway, this top was MUCH more low-cut on her than it was on me. Although I am short through the body in comparison to my legs, most of my short torso is from bust to waist, not from shoulders to bust. Whereas Kathryn is shorter from shoulders to bust, which meant that the neckline was lower on her than it was on me. There are SO many areas to consider when fitting clothing – it’s not as simple as bust, waist and hip measurement (plus height). It also made me feel better about my standard alterations – I do often remove length from garments between the bust and waist, but not above, despite having noticed others do so on their blogs. I think that for me I have been doing the right thing in that regard!

Kwik Sew 3880 in knit from The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe

Overall I think this is a great pattern. I’m not sure that the cutout is a look for me (I prefer the more subtle arm openings in the Style Arm Rae tunic or Marilyn dress), and although I love the colours in the fabric, this top has gone into the cupboard in the spare room for someone else to enjoy. It was a worthwhile experiment, but it just doesn’t feel like “me”.

Kwik Sew 3880 in knit from The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe