adult's clothing · sewing

Style Arc Tully pants

While I was giving new styles a try, I sewed up a pair of Style Arc Tully pants from some lovely light brown/beige linen that was in stash.

Style Arc Tully pants in linen

From the Style Arc website: This pleat-front “paper bag” waist pant features a slim 7/8th length leg with a separate hem panel. The elastic waist finishes at the side front allowing the centre front to remain flat. The ties are attached into the front pleat. We made our sample with directional stripes. Use your unique style to create your own look. FABRIC SUGGESTION: Linen, crepe, silk or fine wool.

tully-pant

These were a pleasure to sew.  I cut and sewed size 12, and remembered to shorten the main leg pattern piece before cutting out.  I wanted these to be 7/8 length as drafted, not full length on short me!  All the pieces fitted together beautifully.  The front ties are sewn into the front tucks, which is a rather nice piece of design.  Anyway, you want to see them on me, don’t you?

Style Arc Tully pant in linen

As my kids would say, yeah nah. And to be honest, I knew before I started that these just wouldn’t work well for my shape. But every now and then I am a little self-delusional.

Style Arc Tully pant in linen

I’ll show you a few photos so that you know that they pretty much fit me and so that you can see some of the details. But they are NOT a look that I like on me.

Style Arc Tully pant in linen

The tee is the SBCC Tonic Tee, a free pattern for short people that I’ve blogged about before. I sewed it in a nice quality knit from Clear It, possibly in size large. And for those of you who were wondering if the pants would look better with the tee out instead of tucked in….

SBCC Tonic Tee in knit from Clear It

Once again, yeah nah. And in case you were wondering – yes, I’ve tried styling the pants quite a few different ways, with looser tops, with the ‘half tuck’, with a loose top tucked in.  Yeah nah.

Both the pants – which I LOVE when I just hold them up and look at them – and the tee – quality fabric, well made – are now in the spare wardrobe. I wonder which of my family/friends will take a shine to them?

Style Arc Tully pant in linen

adult's clothing · sewing

Hot Patterns Jermyn Street Shirtdress

I had high hopes for this pattern.  And there’s a lot to like about the finished dress.  But also a bit that feels rather ‘meh’.

Hot Patterns Jermyn St Shirtdress in linen

I think that lots of my issues with this dress were due to the size that I chose to sew. I really haven’t got Hot Patterns properly figured out. The last few times I’ve sewn one of their patterns I’ve sewn size 10 (I measure more like a 14, 16 or 18 around the waist) and generally that’s worked out to be the best size. After some flat measuring and oohing and ahing I made the decision to cut size 10 for this one as well. And the body is okay. But the first rendition of it had sleeves so tight that I could barely get the dress on – and then I could barely move!

Hot Patterns Jermyn St Shirtdress in linen

I unpicked the sleeves and recut them in size 14 (maybe 16?), re-sewed them up, and reinserted them into the armscye with a little bit of faffing around. Then the dress fitted!

Hot Patterns Jermyn St Shirtdress in linen

That twisted, knotted front was what initially drew me to the pattern. It’s visually interesting and I wondered how it was constructed. I was aware that it could go either way in regard to being belly enhancing or belly distracting (I have a decent size belly).

Hot Patterns Jermyn St Shirtdress in linen From the Hot Patterns websiteYou’ll L-O-V-E this figure-flattering shirtdress, perfect for blouse or shirt-weight weight fabrics like cotton shirting, chambray, crepe or linen. Use a woven with a little added stretch if you’d like, but do also consider a stable knit with a little body, like silk(y) jersey, ITY knits, double knits like ponte, or a lightweight French terry. Semi-fitted, button-through shirtdress has a faux shirt-style shawl collar and an optional invisible side seam zipper. 3/4 length sleeves are finished with a slit and a deep hem facing; the skirt hemline finishes j-u-s-t below the knee with a narrow hem. Dress has a very slightly raised waist seam and a twisted front. This is the very definition of a throw-on-and-go dress; it’s easy to dress it up or down for day, night, work or the weekend, and depending on the season and your fabric choices, this one works with boots, shoes, sandals and sneakers. hp_1215_met_jermyn_st_shirtdress_end_mar_2017_env_f__28560-1490317404-1280-1280 The fabric is lovely – it’s a linen check that was a gift from a lovely friend.  It was really nice to work with; it pressed well, yet has that give in it that you find with linen and linen blends. The front facings/collar pieces were interfaced with lightweight Vilene fusible interfacing, and they turn back beautifully. I particularly like the shaping at the centre back collar seam.

Hot Patterns Jermyn St Shirtdress in linen

Now, I actually sewed this back in March, and have only just got around to photographing it. I don’t mind how it looks in most of these photos, but also feel that my hair and skin tones blend into the colours of the fabric a bit too much. And really, it fits closely. More closely than I’d probably like. I really don’t know that I’ll wear it.

Hot Patterns Jermyn St Shirtdress in linen

I do like to give different styles a try every now and then – but I always do so knowing that it could be a gamble. I’m glad that I sewed this dress, but will I sew it again? I don’t know….possibly not. Actually, this dress has already been transferred into the wardrobe in the spare room…and we all know what that means!

Hot Patterns Jermyn St Shirtdress in linen

adult's clothing · sewing · tween

Vernazza Two Piece

I quite like sewing bathers.  Moreso for my daughters than for myself.  Smallish pieces of fabric, great prints and colours, and mostly pleasing results.  My bathers pattern stash is growing, I must admit, especially with old patterns – often by Kwik Sew – that I pick up at op shops.

Vernazza two-piece in swimwear fabric from Rathdowne Fabrics

This is not one of those op shop patterns! This is the Vernazza Two Piece, a pdf pattern from Friday Pattern Company. It started appearing on Instagram, I showed it to Clare, and she gave it the go-ahead.

Vernazza two-piece in swimwear fabric from Rathdowne Fabrics

From the pattern website:  Whether you’re frolicking along the coastline of northern Italy or sunbathing in your backyard, the Vernazza Two Piece will have you feeling glamorous and comfortable. It features tank straps, an adjustable tie front, and a soft waistband. The bottoms hit at about your belly button and can easily be adjusted for a higher or lower rise. This is a simple swimsuit with a lot of style. It is fun to sew and is perfect for the very confident beginner or intermediate sewist. 

untitled-1

While writing this blog post I notice that there is also an instructional video for making these bathers!  I wish that I’d actually watched it before sewing them.  Even though I’ve sewn quite a few pairs of bathers, I’m never entirely confident and always keen to get extra tips and hints.  That said, these weren’t really difficult to make.

Vernazza two-piece in swimwear fabric from Rathdowne Fabrics

Clare prefers high waisted bathers bottoms with low cut legs. Show her any of those high-cut ’80s leglines and she recoils in horror! I sewed the XS bathers bottoms, and she is super happy with the fit. I fully lined the bathers with a beige swimwear lining from stash. The print is from Rathdowne Fabrics. I chose not to put elastic inside the waistband, and it seems to fit well (although only wearing in the water will really tell). I used the suggested elastic measurements for the leg openings. I felt as though I was over stretching the elastic when I sewed it on, but once it was all turned to the inside and zig zagged again it seemed okay.

Vernazza two-piece in swimwear fabric from Rathdowne Fabrics

The top is also size XS, and it’s really a size too big for Clare. I put it in the category of wearable muslin. Like the pants, it is fully lined, although I used the print to self-line the front because it shows at the front tie.

Vernazza two-piece in swimwear fabric from Rathdowne Fabrics

Once again I used the suggested elastic lengths, and I do think that they just were too short. The top looks pretty bunchy, as I had to stretch the elastic quite a bit in order to make it fit. After trying the outer shell on Clare I shortened the shoulder straps about half an inch at the shoulder seam, and scooped that half inch out of the underarm to compensate. It put the top in a better place on her body.

Vernazza two-piece in swimwear fabric from Rathdowne Fabrics

The instructions have you sew the neckline elastic to the lining, not through both the inner and outer. This means that you need to sew it exactly next to the seam allowance. I learned this the hard way as I sewed it too far in and had to unpick it all and reattach it. I actually found it easier to get it in a better position by sewing it after the lining and outer had been sewn together. That way I could butt the edge of the elastic right along the seamline. It still has a tendency to roll out a bit, but that could be because the top is a size too big. You can see the lining at the back in the photo of them on Clare.  If the top was more stretched out on the body it could be fine.  Either way, I need to refine my elastic application the next time that I sew these.

Vernazza two-piece in swimwear fabric from Rathdowne Fabrics

Clare is happy enough with the wearable muslin. I still have plenty of the fabric, so will actually make another top from a pattern that I know fits her, then she can mix and match a bit. Give her another year of growth and this might fit better. Physically, Clare is very similar to me at the same age.  I kept growing until I was around 18 or so, and like her was still very slight at age 15.  I am so pleased that she still likes me to sew for her!

adult's clothing · sewing

Style Arc Parker coat

I dip my toes into the waters of other pattern companies, then keep returning to Style Arc.  I really do find them reliable, contemporary, fashionable, and consistent in fit.  As long as I choose the designs in shapes that I feel best in, I rarely sew a fail from a Style Arc pattern.

Style Arc Parker coat in knit from The Remnant Warehouse

That said, some are bigger wins that others, and this coat is right up there among the wins! I love everything about it. It’s the Style Arc Parker coat. From their website: With an effortless long-line shape, this coat is a perfect option for a smart casual look. Let the collar sit high on the neck and allow the revere to fall naturally. This style features a horizontal hip seam, patch pocket and stitched back vent. FABRIC SUGGESTION ponte, knit boucle, sweater knit or rugby knit.

parker-coat

Fabric choice is really important to sew this successfully.  It’s designed for knits – take note!  It’s an unlined coat without closures, although it would probably be straightforward enough to add an open ended zip to the front between the outer and the facing if you so desired.  Although this is described as a coat, and has a collar with reveres, I am more likely to treat it a bit like a cardigan.

Style Arc Parker coat in knit from The Remnant Warehouse

The fabric is a knit from The Remnant Warehouse. It behaved a bit like a rugby knit – not super stretchy like a ponte, but with some substance. I’m not sure what the fibre content was, but it pressed nicely.

Style Arc Parker coat in knit from The Remnant Warehouse

The collar was fairly easy to set in, with judicious pinning and even a teensy bit of basting. Working with a knit fabric made it more straightforward than I expected. I used a fairly light stretch interfacing on the collar and the front facings.

Style Arc Parker coat in knit from The Remnant Warehouse

The front patch pockets are located a short distance below the feature seam, which is topstitched. This lines up with a seam on the back, also topstitched. The centre back vent has mitred corners and is also topstitched in place.

Style Arc Parker coat in knit from The Remnant Warehouse

There is no topstitching down the front opening or facings, so I stitched in the ditch along the shoulder seamlines and the lower front seamlines in order to hold the facing in place. I think that I’ll tack the back neck facing down at the centre too – it has to be fiddled with a bit to lie flat.

Style Arc Parker coat in knit from The Remnant Warehouse

This type of garment fits really well into the Melbourne climate. Although there are definitely times of year when something warmer is needed, much of the time our weather is in-between hot and cold, so this type of layer comes in handy. Being a knit, it also kicks goals in the comfort stakes.  And I’ve just realised that this whole outfit is by Style Arc!  Elle pants, Abigail top, Parker coat.  Shoes are Django & Juliette.

Style Arc Parker coat in knit from The Remnant Warehouse

adult's clothing · sewing

Pattern Emporium True Romance top

It was time to try a new style, and the Pattern Emporium True Romance Bishop Sleeve Top appealed.  But there were so many possibilities!  From the website: The bishop sleeve is a gorgeously classic design that has made a comeback both on the catwalk & in our favourite fashion stores.  To get the most out of this feminine trend, this pattern includes 3 bodice shapes to fit & flatter a range of bodies, styles and, of course, show off your pretty bishop sleeves.

Screen Shot 2018-08-30 at 12.56.31 pm

I have to say that hem banded tops always take me straight back to the eighties and nineties.  I  fondly remember a family friend who would always get a band added to the hems of purchased tops that came without them.  It’s interesting how these trends come and go.  I dithered for ages trying to decide what version to sew.  I had these choices:

  • 2 Bishop Sleeve Styles : Subtle & Dramatic
  • 3 Sleeve Finishes : Cuff, Shirred or Elastic

Screen Shot 2018-08-30 at 12.56.46 pm

  • 3 Silhouettes : Banded, Flared & Tee

Screen Shot 2018-08-30 at 12.57.01 pm

So, what did I go for? Can you guess?

Pattern Emporium True Romance blouse in rayon spandex knit

I chose the dramatic bishop sleeve with the extended cuff, banded silhouette, with the band at hip height. There’s also an option for a lengthened bodice (I think it’s called ‘tall’) before the hip band, or having the band at waist height. As you can tell, plenty of choices!

Pattern Emporium True Romance blouse in rayon spandex knit

The pattern comes with a boat neckline, but it would be pretty easy to adapt that as well if you wished. The fabric is rayon/spandex knit that I think came to me via Restash. Does anyone recognise it? It’s just lovely, and I have enough left over for another garment. It has just the right sort of drape for this top.

Pattern Emporium True Romance blouse in rayon spandex knit

I must admit that I always love sewing a garment that doesn’t need hemming. Everything is finished with a band of some type – the hip band (I was slightly terrified that it wasn’t going to fit but it seems okay), the neck band and the cuffs. The overlocker ruled!  I only needed to use my sewing machine to add gathering stitches, both at the hemline and to gather the sleeves into the cuffs.

Pattern Emporium True Romance blouse in rayon spandex knit

I haven’t used this pattern company before. They seem to have an extremely active Facebook group, and all the patterns on the website come with plenty of options and loads of photos of the garments sewn and worn by women of all shapes and sizes. It’s really helpful to see them so many ways. There is a layers option so that you can only print the sizes that you need. I eventually decided on size 12, and think that I chose correctly.  This pattern might get another whirl in a different combination of options.  Watch this space!

Pattern Emporium True Romance blouse in rayon spandex knit

adult's clothing · sewing

Yet another Mandy

I reckon that the Tessuti Mandy boat tee would be one of my most-sewn patterns.  I often use it as a palate cleanser before fully immersing myself in the joy that is a weekend at Sewjourn.

Tessuti Mandy Boat Tee in knit from Super Cheap Fabrics

I picked up this soft printed knit at Super Cheap Fabrics a day or two before heading away for the weekend. It’s full of colours that I love, and the hand feel is delightful. I used the full length sleeves from the Tessuti Monroe turtleneck pattern.

Tessuti Mandy Boat Tee in knit from Super Cheap Fabrics

I often use leftovers to make matching infinity scarves. Length and width is entirely dictated by the size of the scraps! I just sew a long rectangle into a tube along the long edges then join the short edges. Easy peasy!

Tessuti Mandy Boat Tee in knit from Super Cheap Fabrics

Construction wise, I think it’s all been said before. I always make sure that I stabilise the neckline and hems with double sided fusible tape before topstitching them down. Otherwise construction is on the overlocker.

Tessuti Mandy Boat Tee in knit from Super Cheap Fabrics

And I must share my favourite photos from the weekend – the four of us all wearing Marilla Walker Maya tops. Album title suggestions welcomed!

The album cover

The album cover

miscellaneous

The Bloody Long Walk

On Sunday I did something that I’ve never done before.  I did The Bloody Long Walk.  So, what IS the Bloody Long Walk, you ask?  It’s a fundraiser walk, held in a number of locations around Australia.  It’s 35km and yes, that was bloody long.

bloody long walk

I’ve never been someone described as sporty or active or outdoorsy.  Mind you, I’ve been on plenty of camping holidays in my time, and am not averse to a bike ride or a wander through nice scenery.  I think that it was turning fifty, and the example of a few good friends, that really made me think that I could and should take on a physical challenge like walking 35km in one day.

bloody long walk

Running holds absolutely no appeal to me, but walking does.  I think that each body has a movement that it’s best suited to, and walking is a motion that works well with mine.  So at the end of May I started training for the walk.  Four or five days a week I would head out to walk for anywhere between one and three hours, depending on the weather and other commitments.  I generally listened to podcasts as I walked, and sometimes occasionally walked with friends.  I am fortunate to have a few bike/walk paths nearby, so was able to walk alongside water and among trees.  It was mentally therapeutic over an emotionally challenging time period.

bloody long walk

Clare decided that she would do the walk with me, and my sister-in-law Jeanette agreed to join us.  Clare achieved her bronze Duke of Edinburgh’s Award last year and is undertaking silver this year, and hiking is part of both awards.  She had already learned that she has quite good stamina.  Clare did minimal walk-specific training – we hoped that her age (fifteen) would also be on her side!  Jeanette has just turned sixty, and has completed many hikes in the past, often carrying a pack.  Add regular bike commuting and weekly walks, and you end up with a fit person.  I had no doubts that Jeanette would be able to complete the walk.  I really did think that I was the weakest link in this whole thing.

bloody long walk

bloody long walk

bloody long walk

As I mentioned earlier, the Bloody Long Walk is a fundraising walk.  It’s to raise money for further research into mitochondrial disease.  Many people don’t know what mitochondrial disease is.  In summary, Mitochondria are the power houses of the cell providing the body with over 90% of the energy it needs to sustain life. Mitochondria take in sugars and proteins from the food we eat and produce energy called ATP that our bodies use to function properly. Mitochondrial disease (mito) is a debilitating and potentially fatal disease that reduces the ability of the mitochondria to produce this energy. When the mitochondria are not working properly, cells begin to die until eventually whole organ systems fail and the patient’s life itself is compromised. Mitochondrial disease (‘mito disease’ for short) is due to a fault in one or more of the genes that make up the mitochondria. This means a hiccup will occur in the production of mitochondria from the time of conception. As the foetus grows, some mitochondria can divide and grow as normal whilst others will divide and grow abnormally.

You can find out more at the Bloody Long Walk website and the Mito Foundation website.  As far as fundraising is concerned, our team of three raised over $1,500!  We were thrilled and humbled by the generosity of our friends and family.

bloody long walk

So, back to Sunday.  We headed off at 7.30am, taking a route from Fairfield through Kew, Hawthorn and Richmond.  At this stage the route swapped between walking paths, suburban streets, and back to walking paths again.  We were well provided for at the checkpoints with fruit, water, and the availability of first aid if needed.  We could have done with some more portaloos – at one stage we waited in a queue for half an hour!  There were actually over 3000 people taking part in the walk, and it looked to me as though three quarters of those were women.

bloody long walk

bloody long walk

bloody long walk

bloody long walk

bloody long walk

bloody long walk

bloody long walk

bloody long walk

bloody long walk

Sewing note – all my activewear comes from Aldi.  I didn’t make any of it!

The walk followed the Yarra River into the City, meandering through Southbank and Docklands and then to Port Melbourne.  Once we hit the bay we walked along beside it until we reached St Kilda, where the walk ended.

bloody long walk

bloody long walk

bloody long walk

bloody long walk

bloody long walk

I loved the first ten kilometres of the walk, and I hated every single bit of the last five kilometres.  Every step of that walk along the bay I had to just force myself to keep on putting one foot in front of the other.  I’d really had enough by that stage, but I was determined to continue.  My legs were aching, my hips were sore, my feet just wanted to be out of shoes.  I was lucky that I didn’t get any blisters, thanks to judicious taping of hot spots, but everything just hurt.  We started at 7.30am and finished at 4.00pm, with actual walking time of around 7 hours.  I have never been as happy to sit down and take off my shoes as I was at the end of that 35 kilometres!

bloody long walk

But at the same time, it was highly emotional for me crossing that finish line.  I’d done something that I’d never done before; something that I knew would be difficult for me to do.  Something that was out of my ‘normal’, and was out of other people’s experience of me.  And I’d done it with two people who are very close to me – my daughter and my sister-in-law.

bloody long walk

I have to say that Clare was amazing.  She just kept on walking and did not whinge or complain once!  Yes, she was also very happy to finish, and yes, she was also a little bit stiff and sore the next day, but she really was a trouper.  She said that the hikes on Duke of Ed had taught her that her body could do much more than she would have thought she could do, and that complaining and whinging didn’t help anything and only brought everyone down.  What a fabulous attitude and effort from a fifteen year old!  I really do love teenagers.

And Jeanette was fabulous!  As I expected, she walked and walked, keeping us entertained with conversation along the way, and sharing some of her experiences from hikes that she’s done in the past (I really want to do the Three Capes Walk in Tasmania at some stage now).

So, will I do it again?  At this stage, I suspect not.  I have signed up to do a half-marathon (21km) in December, but that is probably as much walking as I’d prefer to do in one session.  I will never take part in something like the Oxfam Trailwalker fundraiser, which is 100km.  I have a few friends who have done that, and as I crossed the Bloody Long Walk 35km finish line I really thought ‘oh my god imagine having to do another 65km on top of this’.  I will never do that to my body.  What did I get out of doing this walk?  Other than raising money for a good cause, I proved something to myself.  I can challenge myself to do something new, and do it.  I have more physical capacity than I (or others) have given me credit for.  And I can do things that are tough.  Yeah, I’m proud of myself.