Floral Meridian Dress

I always love it when Papercut Patterns release a new collection, even though it means I have to immediately re-arrange my entire sewing list to accommodate the new patterns that jump to the top of my queue! This time I was lucky to get a sneak peek of the patterns- I responded to an Instagram tester call, and made up the Sierra Jumpsuit. It’s a super cool pattern, but that’s not what I’m posting about today! I haven’t moved past the muslin stage with the jumpsuit yet, but once the collection was released I nabbed myself a copy of the beautiful Meridian Dress and immediately sewed it up for my upcoming work Christmas party.

P1040624P1040622

The dress came together really easily, but has some clever techniques and drafting to make the front wrap portions of the dress. I did have a bit of trouble figuring out how to shorten the bodice, as the front pattern piece is a pretty weird shape, and I probably didn’t do the best job, but when it’s all wrapped up it’s hard to tell if there’s anything amiss! I considered using french seams to sew this up, but in the end I just went with overlocking them and pressing them open. I wouldn’t have been able to use a french seam for the centre front or back seams, so I figured I might as well treat them all the same! I did the hems with a blind hem stitch on my machine, I love that finish.

P1040621P1040627

I think the back is just as pretty as the front! The invisible zipper finished half way up the back bodice, leaving a keyhole and button and loop to close the top of the dress. I used a small fabric covered button, and I think it’s turned out pretty cute! I really like the length of the ties as well, they’re really well proportioned with the length of the skirt. The pleats on the front and back skirt help to give it enough wearing ease and swishy-ness to be comfortable, but the skirt still feels slim and modern to me.

P1040623

Before I saw the patterns I had bought myself a length of this gorgeous Atelier Brunette viscose pique from Miss Maude Fabrics, and once I saw the patterns I knew it would be a perfect match for the Meridian dress! It was lovely to sew with, it’s really light and floaty but also fairly stable. It didn’t seem to want to slip off the table or out from under my pins like some silky fabrics do! I do wonder if it camouflages the details of the pattern a bit though, the wrap front and the pleats in the skirt aren’t as obvious as they would be in a smaller print or a plain fabric. And I’ve only just noticed that I’ve cut the front skirt piece upside down to the rest of the pieces, I didn’t think the print was directional but those big pale pink loopy flowers are definitely up the other way on the rest of the dress!

P1040629P1040630

I’ve been playing around with different ways to wear the wrap front, the top picture is just wrapped around my waist as shown in the sample photos, but the second picture is the ties knotted together in the front and then tied in the back. I really like the second way as well, it’s hard to tell in the photos but it gives the bodice a slightly looser, more blousy fit and changes the overall silhouette of the dress.

P1040632P1040631

I love this dress! I love the shape and the length and the sleeves, I love the weight of the fabric and the print and the colours. I feel really good in it, and I know I’m going to get a bunch of wear out of it! Now I’ve just got to get going with my Sierra Jumpsuit, and also the Palisade Pants…and maybe the Pinnacle top too…

 

Advertisements

Denim Fiona Dress

Is anyone else struggling to get their head around the fact that it’s November? I’m not ready for there to be Christmas displays in the shops! This year just seems to have disappeared, I’m not sure what I’ve done with it. I mean, I did hand in my research project last week, which means that I’ve finally finished my Masters of Information Studies (provided I pass, of course, though I would be a bit salty if my supervisor had let me hand in something below a pass level!). I don’t think I realised how much space it had been occupying in my mind this year until it was all handed in and no longer in my control, and I’ve been enjoying daydreaming about all of my summer sewing plans rather than musing about my data matrix or something equally dull.

P1040578

This dress is one which I sewed up in tiny chunks in between writing up my results and discussion sections. It’s the Fiona Sundress from Closet Case Patterns, and it was a good one to sew in drips and drabs! I could sew the front princess seams, then write a couple of paragraphs, then sew the back princess seams, then draw up some figures and charts, then sew the side seams…you get the picture!

P1040587

I really loved the 90’s style of the longer version, and I loved the drama of the low backed version, but I decided to be very sensible and make up the mini-length with the high back! I just really hate not wearing a bra, and I wanted to be able to wear it without a tee shirt underneath when we get further into the summer. I do wish I had made the below-knee version rather than the mini length, but I think this length will be good with tights when I’m layering it for cooler weather too.

P1040582

Fiona was a fun wee pattern to sew up, and came together with minimal fuss or changes! I took a centimeter off the bottom of the bodice to account for my short waist, and possibly could have taken a sliver more off at the centre back for my sway back, but I’m not too bothered. I did have to shorten the straps considerably, but that’s easy enough! The instructions even remind you to wait until you get to the point you can try the dress on before securing the straps at the back, in case they need to be altered. I do wonder if I should have taken it in a bit through the bodice, there’s a bit of extra ease under my arms and around my waist, but I really didn’t want a tight dress so I’m not overly bothered!

P1040584

I used a lovely stretch denim from The Fabric Store, it was marked as Marc Jacobs and was on special for something crazy cheap so I bought a bit of it! I’ve got enough for another pair of Ginger Jeans, which is timely as my first blue pair are getting pretty ratty now. I think denim works really well for this pattern, especially for the shorter versions, but I wish I had used a lighter fabric for the strap and top band facings. I cottoned on in time to use a chambray for the pocket facings, and I think it would have worked better to reduce the bulk at the top of the button bank especially. Having a rigid fabric facing at the top there might also have helped to combat the slight gape I get under my arms too (seriously exaggerated in the above photo!).

P1040586

All those lovely copper buttons came from Miss Maude Fabrics, and yes, making 14 buttonholes and whacking in 14 buttons was a bit of a chore! Honestly, getting in and out of this dress is a bit of a chore too, even though I only have to undo the top 6 buttons. If I was going to make it again, especially in a lighter fabric like linen, I think I would stick a long invisible zip in the side seam, just to make it easier to get in and out of! I would probably still make the buttonholes, but at least it would make getting dressed in the dark at 6am before work easier.

P1040579

I am really happy with it though, I’m looking forward to getting to wear it with bare shoulders and sandals like this! It looks cute over my striped tee shirts too though, so I’ll be able to wear it no matter what Wellington decided to do with the weather…

Linen and Lawn: Wiksten Kimono

I’ll admit, I didn’t really get the huge love the Wiksten Kimono Jacket was receiving when it was first released and was suddenly all over my Instagram feed. It looked like a nice top layer, but it also looked pretty over-sized and I wasn’t that sold on the big shawl-like collar. Then they released it as a multi sized pattern, and I was slightly more interested, but I figured that I really liked the Kochi Kimono, and how many kimono patterns did I need? Even when I tried on Emma’s beautiful double gauze version, I didn’t feel the need to make one. Then, two days before my trip to Melbourne last weekend, I decided that I really really needed a lightweight jacket. Lighter weight than my Kelly anorak, as the weather over the ditch looked like it was going to be pretty warm. And suddenly, I had to have a linen Wiksten Kimono. Funny how that happens…

P1040588

I made this up in a morning, it’s a nice quick one to sew! I chose the shortest length, and I halved the width of the collar as I’m still not sold on the huge width of the original. I also didn’t interface it, which is something I’ve seen debated over on Instagram! I like the softer look of the uninterfaced linen. I’ve popped a couple of hand stitches at the centre back, shoulder seams and the hem to keep it folded over neatly though. As I was doing pre-trip panic sewing, I had to use stuff from my stash, which is always a good thing! I love this ochre/mustard coloured linen, so I was really glad to get to use it for this project. It’s beautifully soft, but is also a bit slubby and textured, which is lovely.

P1040591

For the lining I used a length of Atelier Brunette cotton lawn which I bought at Sew Over It in London last year. I love the pink and mustard and turquoise colour combination, but the lawn was so fine and transparent that I was really struggling to think of a pattern for it. I’m really loving pink and mustard together at the moment though, and the mustard splodges on the lawn are almost exactly the same colour as the linen so I figured it was meant to be!

P1040597

Unfortunately, the colour of the linen showed through the pink and made it quite dull and dirty looking, so I had to underline it with another pale pink cotton which was also languishing in my stash. That was easy enough to do, but it did add a few more steps when I was already feeling the time pressure! I’m really glad I did it though, it makes the pink look much fresher. The three layers of fabric also give the jacket a lovely weight, I think it’ll be the perfect layering piece for this spring!

P1040592P1040594

So it is over-sized, but I think picking the shortest length and reducing the width of the collar means that I don’t feel swamped in it. Sewing it up in soft, unstructured fabrics helps too! I feel like it’s different enough to my Kochi kimono that they both have a place in my wardrobe. The sleeves on the Wiksten are definitely more practical than the huge sleeves on the Kochi, and I feel like I could probably squeeze this underneath one of my coats if I wanted to. I can only fit my Kochi sleeves inside the equally huge sleeves of my Sapporo coat!

P1040595

I’m going to do a brief two-for-one in this post and talk about one of my favourite makes this winter, a Sew Over It Molly tee (from their first e-book, City Break). I made it up in the most beautiful remnant of Atelier Brunette french terry from Miss Maude Sewing. I was waffling about whether or not to buy some when I saw she had listed a remnant piece, and I’m so glad I bought it! It’s so soft and snuggly.

P1040598P1040599

Initially I was planning to make a sweatshirt out of it, but when it arrived it was much thinner and drapier than I expected and I decided it would be a lovely long sleeved tee shirt instead. I picked the Molly Tee because I couldn’t fit a traditional set-in sleeve onto the length of fabric that I had, but the pretty extreme drop shoulder of the Molly means that the sleeve pieces are a lot shorter and fitted on my fabric perfectly! I’ve worn this top so much over the winter, it was a great layering piece, and I think it’ll be good on its own into the spring as well. The metallic gold pattern on the navy makes it a little bit fancier than my other long sleeved tee’s as well!

P1040600

I look like such a dork in this photo that I thought I should definitely include it!

I’m really glad I got the Wiksten Kimono jacket completed for my trip to Australia, it was a very useful layer to have with me and got loads of wear! I asked Hamish what he thought of it, and he said he liked that it was special sauce coloured- ”like mustard with some tomato sauce mixed in”. Ok then…

A Pair of Toasters

Last winter I bought the Toaster Sweater pattern, expecting to make and wear the toaster 2 variation heaps during the cold weather. I did wear the striped version I made a bit, but there was something about it that I didn’t love. But during a bout of particularly feral weather this winter I pulled the pattern out again and decided I was going to make the first version in a boiled merino knit I had in my stash.

P1040569

P1040570

I know that its hard to see what’s going on here, it being a black knit and all, but I really love the shape of this one. The wide cuffs and hem band and the shape of the wide turtleneck make it really comfortable and snuggly, especially in this thick squashy merino. I really like the proportions of it, it’s slightly cropped and hits me at about my mid-hip, which I find a really flattering length on me. One of the things I found I disliked about my Toaster 2 sweater was that I always thought it was a bit big, so this time I sized down from a medium to a small, despite my measurements indicating I should be in a medium. I think the size is spot on this time, so I’m happy with that decision!

P1040573

I feel like I wore this thing a couple of times a week during the cold parts of winter! It’s so warm, and the neckline is wide enough that I can tuck my chin into it like a turtle if I feel the need. I even found it was a good thing to layer over my Rise turtleneck that was giving me trouble with what to wear over it. Double turtleneck, double warmth! I liked the shape of the raglan sleeves and the general proportions of it so much that I decided to make a warmer weather version of it in a gorgeous cotton sweatshirting I got from the Fabric Store last month.

P1040556P1040560

I made a few changes for this one, the most obvious being cutting down the turtleneck to a standard sized neckband. I also halved the width of the cuffs and hem ribbing, because I thought the super wide cuffs would look a bit weird in a rib. I basically turned it into the Linden Sweatshirt, but I think this one fits much better than the Linden’s I’ve made in the past. I prefer the higher crew neck, and the raglan sleeves fit better around the bottom of the armscye.

P1040565

To compensate for using a rib for the neckband rather than self fabric, I trimmed two inches from the length before sewing it up. I probably could have taken off a bit more, it doesn’t sit as flat as I’d like, but I’m not keen on unpicking it to make it shorter! I left the cuffs and hem bands the drafted length, I don’t love tight ribbing cinching in my sleeves. I do love this sweatshirt though! I’m really happy with how my ‘sweatshirtifying’ mods worked out, it’s kept all the proportions and fit from the original which I really liked but has made a nice casual top for spring.

P1040559

I really love this fabric and ribbing combination, I love a matching ribbing! I find it really hard to find any good rib knit for cuffs and neckbands, so when I saw this coordinating sweatshirting/ribbing at The Fabric Store I was all over it. They’re both organic fair trade cotton, just to make things even better! I’m not usually that fond of polka dots, but these random, abstract paint-y dots are really nice. I feel like I should go back and buy some of the navy and white colourway, but I’m really trying not to stash fabric at the moment, things are getting a bit out of hand… The boiled merino for my first version was from The Fabric Store too, and both fabrics have worn really well so far. I think the wool might pill after a few more washes, but I’ll run the de-piller over it and I’m sure it’ll be fine! Now I just need to not spill anything on my cream sweatshirt…

Marshmallow Coat

Hi team! I’m having a bit of a sewing hiatus at the moment, aside from finishing a few bits off. I really need to put my head down and get some solid work done on my research project, I need to hand it in next month! I’ve finished the data collection phase, and I’ll hopefully be done with my data analysis this weekend…then I just need to finish writing the damn thing. I’m really looking forward to mid October! But in the meantime I have a few new things to post to keep things ticking over here.

P1040534

This is what I’m affectionately calling my marshmallow coat, which I’m sure doesn’t need explaining! It’s the Papercut Patterns Sapporo Coat, a pattern which I had admired on Instagram (where there are some amazing versions!), but had never really felt the need to make. I was sure it would look too oversized and daft on me, and the fact that it has no front closures made me think it would have limited wear-ability in Wellington. Then I got the opportunity to try on the beautiful grey wool version made by Gabrielle, and I flat out fell in love with it! It is huge and oversized, but in a dramatic and elegant way, and I had bought the pattern and was cutting it out before I knew it.

P1040530P1040528

Look at those beautiful swooshing seams! I had a lot of fun sewing this coat up. It’s a big but pretty simple project, as far as coats go. The sewing is all simple, with it’s dropped sleeves and grown-on facings and pocket bags, but each seam seems to go on forever! I made a couple of simple alterations, based on what Gabrielle had done with hers. I made the smallest size, and took an inch off the top of the sleeve and from the armscye, to shorten the sleeve by 2 inches total. I wanted the bracelet length sleeves from the sample photo, and they would have covered my wrists as drafted. I also opted to line the sleeves with my lining fabric rather than the wool I used for the outer, which cut down on bulk and made the coat feel lighter overall. Finally, I ran some seam tape along the diagonal front seam, which will hopefully help the pockets retain their shape.

P1040531P1040540

I used a blush pink wool/cashmere blend which I’ve had in my stash for over a year, it originally came from The Fabric Warehouse. I really love the colour, but I struggled a bit to match it to a pattern. I was seriously planning to use it to make a Gerard Coat from Republique du Chiffon, but in the end I’m glad I went with Sapporo! The wool behaved beautifully, of course, it sews and presses like a dream. It does crease a bit, as you can see in these pictures after a day of wear, but I can live with that!

P1040535P1040538

I lined it with another stash fabric, a Liberty Tana Lawn from The Fabric Store. It’s so smooth and lovely! I’m glad I finally used it for something, and I think it looks really pretty with this pink. And how nice are those mitered corners? This really is a lovely pattern to sew. Because I was having such a nice time sewing this I decided to pull out all of the stops and use one of the beautiful “HANDMADE” labels that I bought from Arrow Mountain to finish it off. It’s subtle, but I love it!

P1040536P1040537

I’m not going to lie, when I finished it and put it on for the first time I was worried that I just looked like a big pink lump. But after wearing it for a day (and getting a few complements from strangers on it!) I decided I really loved it. Funny how that happens sometimes! I’ve only managed to wear it out a few times since I finished it a couple of weeks age, the weather has been less than ideal recently, but I think it’ll be perfect for Spring and for Summer mornings. I’m looking forward to getting out and about in it!

P1040526

2018 Winter Jumper

I keep saying I probably don’t need any more hand knitted jumpers, but I don’t seem to be able to stop myself knitting them… I’m averaging one per winter, so I suppose that rate of output isn’t too radical. And I gave my Lila Sweater to my sister earlier in the year because the alpaca blend yarn I used made me really itchy, so I had a space for a simple jumper in my wardrobe. Have I justified myself enough yet?

P1040543P1040544

This is the Mossbank Sweater by Kerry Robb, published by Brooklyn Tweed. It’s a really simple pattern, but it has a lovely shape. I love the set in sleeves and the little bit of shaping through the front and back waist so that it isn’t just straight up and down. The sample is knitted using a marled yarn for the body with contrast bands and cuffs, and to be honest I bought it thinking that there was some special trick to knitting a marl sweater(any yes, I realise how stupid that sounds now!). I was pretty disappointed to realise that it was just knitted with a Brooklyn Tweed marled yarn! I can’t have been thinking clearly when I hit purchase… I decided to knit it anyway, because it’s the shape I prefer in my jumpers.

P1040545

I knitted this in my favourite yarn, Zealana Heron in Bottle Green. The dark green is beautiful, I’m so into dark green at the moment. I’ve waxed lyrical about this wool/possum blend before, I used it for my Bronwyn Sweater and also for the scarf I knitted Hamish for his birthday one year. It’s so soft and warm, I love it! It also works really well in the reverse stockinette stitch that the pattern calls for, the nubbly purl stitches and the slightly fuzzy yarn gives it a lovely texture. It also blooms wonderfully with wet-blocking, and just made everything look even and really nice.

P1040550P1040554

I’m not that great at seaming my hand knits, I never do it tightly or evenly enough, but I’m pretty happy with how this one turned out, especially the armscye seams. My Aunt mentioned that she used to seam her hand knits using her sewing machine, which blew my mind a little bit! Has anyone tried that? I’m also really happy with how my tubular cast on hems worked, even though I haaate knitting them. I find it really counter-intuitive, and I’m always convinced it’s going to fall apart when I remove my waste yarn! It hasn’t happened yet though, so it obviously works…

P1040551

Something I’ve noticed with my older hand knit jumpers is that the neckband tends to stretch out over time, and I hate the way they sag at the nape of my neck. I’ve ripped back and re-knitted some of my older neckbands recently, and I’ve just done a basic rigid bind off instead of a special stretchy bind off. It seems to do a better job at stabilising the neck, and I haven’t had any trouble getting them over my head, so that’s what I did here instead of the tubular cast off recommended for the pattern. For further stability, I also hand sewed a length of Liberty bias tape (from The Fabric Store) along the shoulder seams and across the back neckline. I’m hopeful that this’ll help to stop any stretching, and I also think it looks really pretty!

P1040546

I’ve worn this jumper a heap since I finished it last month! It’s super warm, and is great for layering. It took me way longer than I expected to knit (I started it at Easter!), those rows and rows of stockinette were pretty dull…worth it in the end though! I’ve already started a 4ply spring/summer jumper, I think I might need to find some more storage for my growing collection…

(See it on my Ravelry page here)

Gingham Claudia

Its getting to that awkward time of the year in Wellington where it can be really cold and wet, but can also be quite mild and spring like (often within the same half hour), and I’m itching to get into some warmer weather clothes! I pulled a black and fawn gingham linen out of my stash a couple of weeks ago, but couldn’t settle on a pattern. My printer is out of ink, and I wanted to get started, so I decided I should use a pattern I had already printed and stuck together! I was flicking back through past posts for ideas (anyone else read their own archives sometimes?), and I spotted a note I made on the bottom of my post about my pink Claudia Sundress at the end of summer. Apparently I had already thought about making a shortened version in the same gingham linen I had just pulled off the washing line! It was just what I was looking for, so I duly got underway…

_DSC0338

I made it the same size as my original, but I extended the side seams straight down another 4ish inches past the start of the shaping for the side split, to give me enough length for a wide hem. That was my only change! It was such a quick, simple sew, even with some attempts at matching the gingham.

_DSC0349_DSC0343

I love the pockets, they’re at a really good height and are the perfect shape. Because they’re top stitched onto the front of the dress they don’t bunch or get rumpled of add bulk, which is great! The method of sewing the facing to get a clean opening is really neat too, I’ve been impressed with it both times I’ve sewn this dress.

_DSC0363

I really like it over my merino Rise Turtleneck and tights, but I think it’ll be a really nice breezy summer dress on its own too. I initially put this outfit on with my black funkis clogs, but then I thought it was a bit like sewing blogger bingo! Oversized gingham, sack dress, linen, turtleneck, clogs, tick tick tick! It did make me laugh, but I switched them out for my boots anyway…

_DSC0337_DSC0341

The only thing I wish I had done differently was right at the beginning when I was cutting it out, I aligned the centre front and back of the pattern along the edge of a black stripe, when I should have centered it on the stripe to make the front look balanced. Its a small thing, but now the straps don’t attach at symmetrical points on the gingham. Not that anyone will notice, I hope!

Thanks to the lovely Gabrielle for taking these photos, this was a good outfit to wear out for a big lunch!

_DSC0361