Fancy Pants

It’s party season! I seem to have more invitations this year than usual (that’s not to say I have hundreds, but as a card-carrying introvert I find having something on most weekends is quite a lot of socialising!), so I’ve been looking to make some separates which can do double duty as party wear and for every day. With excellent timing, Drapers Fabrics in Auckland contacted me a few weeks ago to ask if I’d like to collaborate with them on a project. I’m usually pretty reluctant to do sponsored content on my blog, but I’ve bought from Drapers in the past and I love the quality and variety of their fabrics, so I felt confident about teaming up with them! The usual disclaimer then: The fabrics used in this post were kindly supplied by Drapers Fabrics, but all opinions are honest and are my own.

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I decided I really wanted a pair of swishy Flint trousers, in a lighter weight fabric than my heavy grey crepe pair, and some cami tops to wear with them. I had been looking for some tencel twill, as I keep reading such glowing reviews of it online, but I’ve been unable to lay my hands on any in stores here. Luckily, Drapers Fabrics stocks a beautiful viscose twill (called Vivi), which sounded perfect. I asked for some advice from Lulu, who was very helpful when communicating with me for the collaboration, and she agreed that it would be the perfect drape and weight for a pair of swishy trousers. It’s so lovely and soft!

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This is actually my 4th time using the Flint Trouser pattern, but it’s only the second pair which has made it to the blog (bad blogger!). I made a pair of chambray shorts to take to the UK, and I’ve also made a pair in cotton sateen which I’ll post about later. This is the first pair I’ve made with the tie at the waistband though, I thought it would be a nice touch with this fluid fabric. I really like the way it looks, especially with a tucked-in top! Even with a cropped top like this, the tie isn’t lumpy or weird underneath it, which is nice. I was worried it would only work with something fitted up top.

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The top is a cropped version of the Grainline Willow Tank, the same as my striped version in this post. I was trying to pick between a few printed woven options on the Drapers Fabrics online store for another Ogden Cami, but when I saw Sheena, a linen/rayon blend, I decided it would make an excellent Willow Tank instead. It’s crisp and fairly stiff, so it holds the flared silhouette of the Willow perfectly, and I love the texture that the blend of fibers gives the fabric. It has a pattern of sheer and opaque lines making up a subtle plaid pattern, but the bubbly texture looks more like giant seersucker. I wondered if I would have to wear a top underneath it, but it isn’t so sheer that I’m worried about it! It makes the pattern more obvious when there is a different colour underneath it too, of course. I’ve made the Willow tank several times now, but this is the first time that I’ve made it with the bindings rather than my ‘self-drafted’ facing pieces. Because of the sheerness of the fabric I thought the bindings would look better! I used bias strips of the viscose twill that I had left over from my trousers, as I thought Sheena was probably a bit crisp to bend around the neckline and arm holes nicely. Vivi behaved beautifully on the bias, and ironed nicely, so it was a good choice!

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I’m so happy with both of these garments, I think they fill my brief of separates which can be worn to parties or casually with other pieces perfectly! I think they look dressy and elegant worn together, especially with heels and fancy jewellery as I’m wearing them here, but I can easily imagine the trousers with a striped tee shirt and some flats, or the top with my high waisted jeans or with shorts. It’s been a long time since I’ve worn an all-black outfit, but I think the mix of textures and the drape of the trousers softens the severity of so much black.  I’m looking forward to wearing this outfit out somewhere fancy.

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(pity me for my terrible sun burn tee shirt lines…)

So! I would definitely recommend either of these fabrics, as well as Drapers Fabrics online store. Drapers Fabrics have been generous enough to give me a discount code for my readers as well, use FIFTYTWOFANCIES at checkout for 15% off all full priced fabrics. They offer an online swatch service, which is awesome for buying fabric online when you’ve never seen it before, and I’ve found them really helpful and responsive to emails and direct messages over Instagram. They’ll also respond to queries through their Facebook page, if that’s your thing! Drapers Fabrics also offer a layby service, where you can spread the cost of your purchase over 6 payments. I’m going to shamelessly take advantage of my own discount code and order some more of the viscose twill, as my mum wants a pair of matching Flint Trousers, and I’d love a dress out of it too. I’m also eyeing up some of their striped Japanese knit fabric (probably Wonda, but they also have Nadia. Tough choice…), because you know I can never have too many striped tee shirts…

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Festive sewing part 1: Party Dress!

Warning: This post contains an excessive amount of sparkle.

For the first time in six years, I get a holiday over The Holidays! I’m really looking forward to it, I’ve worked either Christmas or New Year for the last several years (the joys of working in a 24/7 job!), but now that I’ve sold my soul and gone to work in the private sector, we get to close for several weeks over the festive season. We also get invited to a big Christmas cocktail party, which has caused me some anxiety. I’m really not the small-talk-and-mingle type, and I find these sorts of social occasions can be stressful and exhausting! Of course, they can be lots of fun too, which is why I’m going. I’ve even made a new dress for the occasion!

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Now, this dress is outside of my comfort zone for a few reasons…its relatively short, its pretty shapeless, and its GOLD AND SHINY. But, I’m kind of loving it anyway! I modified my Deer and Doe Datura blouse pattern into a dress by just lengthening the side seams and straightening out the hem, it was super simple! I also cut the back on the fold, rather than making it button down the centre back, even though that would have been cute. i just felt like there was quite a lot going on with the fabric already!

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The fabric…holy crap, what a nightmare! I fell in love with it at The Fabric Store (of course) at the end of last summer, and knew I wanted it to be a Datura immediately. Its silk, with gold metallic threads forming the pattern of polka dots. I used what I decided was the reverse (gold with cream polka dots) for the yoke, and the ‘right’ side for the skirt. Unfortunately, it was the most stressful fabric I have ever sewn with! My needle kept catching on the gold threads, which were wider and firmer than the silk theads, and would pull them out of the weave and through to the other side of the fabric, leaving an empty stripe in the warp. You can kind of see what I mean in this photo…

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So that made things seriously unfun. It shows up more on the gold side of the fabric, of course, so I could see just how many flaws I was causing as I sewed! I also had a bit of drama trying to get the clever lining origami thing to work with the shoulder seams, I couldn’t match the instructions and the picture with what i had in front of me, which made for an irritating and frustrating 10 minutes. I got it eventually, and have written myself out detailed instructions for next time! I had a similar struggle the first time I made the Datura, so I should have learned from that! I hand sewed as much of this dress as I could, uncharacteristically, just to avoid the thread pulling. The lining is hand stitched down, and the hem is hand picked. All of the other seams are french seamed.

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Looking at this photo, I am forced to accept that I need to learn how to do a sway back adjustment. I can fudge my way through fitting the back of a garment which has a centre back seam, or a waist seam, but I have no idea where to start when its a seamless shift! I’ll add it to my list of fitting issues to resolve in the new year. I like it anyway, I can deal with a few back wrinkles and flaws in the fabric! I think it has quite a 60’s feel to it, which I like for the party season. Now I just need to convince myself that it isn’t too shiny and sparkly and short and gold to wear to my work Christmas do…

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One last photo, silly face but I want to show off my new favourite earrings! I asked Monsieur to take some photos showing some of the detail on the dress while I was wearing it, but I just ended up with photos of my arm pit (the armscye), and my neck and chin (the neckline), so I gave up. Sweet of him to try!