Minttu Swing Top

Just a quick wee post today to show off my latest finished garment, the Minttu Swing Top from the new Named collection. 


I love Named patterns, I always look forward to their pattern releases, and their SS17 collection Playground didn’t disappoint! Even though I’m in the wrong hemisphere for them to be seasonally appropriate, I still immediately bought both the Minttu and the Ansa butterfly sleeve dress patterns. We’re having a late burst of summer weather in Wellington at the moment, so I thought I might as well squeeze in another sleeveless top!


I have to admit, I didn’t really read the fine print on this one before hitting buy, I didn’t realise it was meant for knits until I was reading the instructions! I swapped out the woven rayon I was planning to use for this rayon/wool knit, I thought it might be better to try the pattern as intended before branching out (though now that I’ve made it, I’m sure it would work in a lightweight woven. I’ll need to size up and adjust the neckline so I can get my head though it though…) This knit is super soft and very drapey, so I think it works pretty well. I made a Scout tee shirt out of it last winter and have worn it heaps, but it is quite thick and weirdly heavy, so it tends to stretch out all over the place.


The combination of weighty knit and lots of stretch and drape means that the hem of this top often looks uneven, but it’s just because I’ve tugged it down unevenly or it’s got caught up on my jeans pocket or something, it goes back to sitting evenly once I settle everything back to where it should be! I do like how this swingy silhouette looks with the drape of this fabric, so I’m not too fussed with having to readjust it occasionally.


The pattern calls for interfaced facings, which has definitely helped to stabilise the neckline and armholes. The main fabric is quite thick, so I used a much thinner, less stretchy knit and a knit interfacing for the facings and I think it has worked well. It’s definitely helped to retain the slightly angular shape of the armscye. I’m not going to lie though, the instructions for attaching the facings at the armscye did my head in! I managed it in the end, but it took me ages to get the pinch and turn-through method that they described right. It looks lovely and clean inside now though! 


It’s really hard to see the seam details in this knit, but there are no side seams, just two side panels which form the shape of the armscye when they intersect with the front and back pieces. I love the cut away armscye, though it isn’t terribly bra-friendly. I need to get one of those clips to turn my bras into racer backs!

I think this is a great pattern, and I’m going to use some of my precious striped rayon knit to make another one. I think the panels offer a good opportunity to play with stripe direction or pattern placement! I think it could be lengthened into a really cute dress as well, but that might have to wait until next summer…

Willow Grove

 

I have to admit, I was a little disappointed when I first saw the Willow Tank/dress pattern from  Grainline Studios. I thought it was a bit boring, but once it started to warm up a bit I realised that woven tanks would be a really good addition to my wardrobe. I was loving my Ogden Camisoles, but I also really like to be able to wear normal (not strapless) bras, so Willow started to look more appealing!

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I’ve made three so far this summer, its a nice quick little project to sew, and doesn’t use too much fabric so is good for some of the precious lengths I have stashed! All three are cotton (perfect for warm weather), but I’d like to have a go at making one out of a fabric with more drape, maybe rayon or silk. It could also be fun in velvet or sequins…

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The first version I made is a cotton from The Fabric Store, I love the water colour gingham print. I’m always really attracted to gingham, but I always worry that it can look a bit childlike. I think the washed out paint-like quality of this one makes it look more adult! I made a straight size 6 (my standard Grainline size), but I drafted an all in one facing for the neckline and armholes. This marks a fairly abrupt change in my feelings about facings, in the past I would always opt for bias tape to finish my edges over facings! I’ve come to really appreciate the clean look facings can give though, even if they can be a bit more of a fiddle.

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I sewed these facings using the instructions that come with the Deer and Doe Datura blouse for sewing an all in one facing with no CB opening. It’s a bit fiddly, and I remember it totally doing my head in when I sewed up my first Datura blouse, but it works really well. I’ve just tried to describe what I did, but it was utterly incomprehensible, so here is a sew-along post for the Datura which describes it instead! For my next two Willow tanks I made my life a bit easier and added a CB seam…

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Not that you can tell there is a centre back seam in this Liberty tana lawn! This is probably my favourite ever Liberty print (I find a lot of Liberty really pretty, but its not something I often want to wear). This is my favourite version of the pattern so far, the lawn is so soft and light to wear, and I think the deep hem helps it hang nicely. Its definitely had a lot of wear so far! I do wish it wasn’t so wrinkly across my back, I didn’t realise how bad it was until I saw these pictures. I’m not sure if I need a sway back fix, or if I need to widen the hem slightly.

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The final version is a cropped version with a faux button placket up the back, because I can’t help myself sometimes. It’s made out of a lovely Japanese cotton seersucker which I bought at Tessuti when I was over in Australia, and have been hoarding. I only had a metre, and being Japanese it was only about 112cm wide, so it was perfect for a cropped version. I took 4 inches off the bottom of the pattern, following the tutorial on the Grainline blog. I was very careful and cut it out in a single layer so that I could match all the stripes, but of course this meant that I cut out two left backs, instead of a pair. I should never try to do anything that requires thinking after 9pm! I didn’t have enough fabric to cut another back half out, so I had to do some careful patching. Luckily, stripes make invisible piecing reasonably simple, and I think I’ve managed ok.

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If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you might be thinking this combination of buttons and stripes looks familiar, and that’s because they’re the same buttons I used up the back of my striped Scout tee a while ago. I’m a bit predictable!

I made this version specifically to go with my Safran Jeans, I’ve been loving the cropped boxy top trend recently, but I’m not keen to be flashing any tummy! This length with my super high waisted jeans is perfect. There is only one problem with it…

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It swings way out in the front! I think this means that I need an FBA, but I’m not sure why it’s doing it here but not on the longer ones. Unless its just because the seersucker is just stiffer than the lightweight cotton of the other two, and that combined with the shorter length is making it look like a cow catcher on the front of a train (thanks to Hamish for that bit of imagery). At least it’ll ensure that there’s plenty of fresh air circulating around my torso when it’s hot! I’ll need to do a bit of experimentation if I want to make another cropped version.

I’m talking about warm weather like it isn’t currently 12 degrees and pissing with rain, but I’m hopeful that we’ll get some more summer before autumn closes in! If not, I’ll need to pack them for our September trip to the UK, in the hope that we’ll get some good weather then…

 

Jeans!!

I was going to try to come up with a witty title for this post, but to be honest JEANS!! sums it up! I’ve been putting off making jeans for two years, ever since i bought the Ginger Jeans pattern, and now I’m really not sure why. I’ve jumped head first into sewing with silk velvet, into making lined coats, and into using unmarked, single size vintage patterns, but jeans always just seemed a bridge too far. Given that jeans are probably the biggest staple in my wardrobe (I wear them every day, as I get changed into scrubs at work and don’t have to look professional), so I finally decided to get over myself and cut into one of the many lengths of denim which I have been stashing for my eventual jean-making adventure.

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Now, you may have noticed that there are not, in fact, the famed Ginger Jeans. When Deer and Doe released their Safran Pants pattern I grabbed it, thinking that maybe a pattern which uses denim with at least 30% stretch would be more forgiving for a first foray into sewing skinny jeans. I think it was a good decision, I’m really happy with these jeans, and I’ve learned a few things that I’ll apply to the Ginger pattern when I make them up.

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The Safran pattern has a true high waist, the button sits pretty much exactly over my belly button. I really like a high waist, I like being able to tuck my muffin-top in! I find it more comfortable than a lower rise, especially when it’s a close fitting waistband. I also like the slanted welt pockets, they’re a bit different to traditional jeans pockets, but I think they’re really neat and tidy, and they were easy enough to construct. I do wish that I had followed the instructions and cut half of the pocket bag out of denim instead of my contrasting cotton. I thought I was being clever and keeping things streamlined by using the thinner cotton for both pieced, and it wasn’t until the pockets were fully constructed that I realised a line of cream cotton was visible down each side of the welt. its a bit annoying, but I’ll know for next time!

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I think the fit in the front is pretty good, there are minimal drag lines around the fly/pockets. the fly went in really easily, though I have constructed a few fly fronts now and they don’t bother me like they used to! I do however have quite a few wrinkles on the legs, particularly at the knees. Initially I thought that I had cut the front legs off grain, but they aren’t wanting to twist, I just have those weird diagonal wrinkles. I think I need a full calf adjustment (dancing in 3 inch heels at over 200 beats per minute makes for good calf muscles), as I also have a fair amount of spare fabric behind my knees and they’re a bit snug around my calves. I did a bit of a cheap and nasty fix, pinching out fabric at the knee and letting out the seams at the calf, but next time I’ll do a proper full calf adjustment.

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I have under-bum wrinkles and some across the back of my thighs too, but I’m less worried about those to be honest. I can’t see them, and they don’t make things uncomfortable! I’ll look into ways to reduce it for the next pair.

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I am pretty happy with the pocket placement! I decided to leave the pockets plain, as I was just using navy top stitching thread, and because my darling Bernina was really not happy about sewing with top stitching thread, and kept packing a sad on me. I had to take the jeans into my local craft shop and use one of their modern Janome machines to top stitch the waistband and belt loops, and to sew the buttonhole. Surprisingly, the one thing my Bernina was happy to do with the heavier thread was sew bar tacks. I used bar tacks on the fly, of course, and also at the top corners of each of the back pockets, and at the inner corners of the welt pockets. Pretty much wherever you’d put rivets, I guess!

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I’m so stoked with these jeans! I’ve worn them all week, and they haven’t bagged out at all. The waistband is still sitting flush with my waist all the way around (not even gaping at my sway back!), which I think is down to a combination of a well drafted waistband, good recovery in the denim I picked (it’s from The Fabric Store, of course), and a good knit interfacing from Made Marion Craft. I really love the shape of these, and the cropped length is really cute (though I now have slightly sunburned ankles after a weekend spent outside). I took these photos yesterday morning before I headed out to the Homegrown music festival which was held on the waterfront. I can now confirm that they’ve stood up to some seriously sweaty, energetic, probably terrible dancing to some bands which I loved when I was at high school and university, and they also coped with another hot and crowded day at the Newtown Festival today. And they still haven’t bagged out! I definitely feel like I’m onto a winner. I definitely feel ridiculous for waiting this long to make jeans, I love that now I can actually wear a fully handmade outfit every day without thinking too hard about what I’m putting on. Clearly I need to make another pair…

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(so stretchy, so comfortable!)