Boxy Tee Files: Cielo Top

You might have noticed that I’m a big fan of a boxy woven tee…from the Grainline Scout to the Marilla Walker Maya tee, via the Peppermint Magazine Harvest tee and a few big 4 versions, I’ve tried a lot of patterns! The Cielo pattern from Closet Case Pattern’s Rome Collection immediately caught my eye, and it wasn’t until I made a muslin of the dress that I realised that the tee variation could also be a great addition to my wardrobe.

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This pattern has so many details I love in a tee! I love the scooped shape of the neckline, and the set in sleeves with the little cuffs, and the cropped length means its perfect to wear with high waisted bottoms. I took an extra 5/8” off the hem, to account for my short torso, but I was pretty stoked with the fit aside from that! I use the C cup bodice for my dress muslin, but I decided it felt too big across the top of my chest and through the armscye. I know the armscye is supposed to be dropped and pretty oversized, but the one in the C cup bodice felt just too big, even though I had gone down a size from what I usually make in Closet Case Patterns. For this tee, I just went back to the size 8 in their standard bodice draft, and I’m really happy with the fit.

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I was hoping that this would turn out to be a very wearable muslin, so I used the left over linen from my first Wiksten Haori. I love this colour, its so good! I had juuuust enough left to cut the tee out, with only a satisfyingly tiny handful of scraps left over. This pattern is a great scrap buster, the panels on the back shoulders and the cropped length means that you can squeeze the pieces out of some weirdly shaped left overs!

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I wanted to use some hand stitching to highlight the shoulder panels, so I dug out some similarly coloured embroidery floss and did some crude sashiko stitching on one shoulder. It’s pretty wonky and uneven, but I cant see it when I’m wearing it so it doesn’t bother me too much! I should probably have made it more random rather than trying to have neat little rows, but at least I know for next time…

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This is definitely not the last time you’ll see me making this pattern! I’ve already got another one cut out which will hopefully be part of my Frocktails outfit, plus I’m hoping to make another version of the dress for summer. I’ve got a pair (or two) of the Pietra Pants planned as well! Wish I was actually going to Rome, but sewing up the collection will have to do…

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Linen Jily

Well, its been a minute since I last wrote a blog post! Life seems to have been very busy so far this year, and I’ve been pretty slack about taking photos of what I’ve been sewing. We took off to Hawai’i for nearly two weeks at the end of February for a belated honeymoon, which generated a fair amount of panic-sewing (swimsuits and other hot weather gear), which I’ll be working on posting over the next few weeks, and I should really get my wedding sewing up here too before I start sewing for autumn/winter… But here is a quick post about a useful little linen top I made to take to Hawai’i to get us started.

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This is another Ready To Sew pattern, the Jily tank. I’m super into Ready To Sew patterns at the moment, you might have noticed! I’ve got another Jazz to post as well. I really like the number of variations each pattern has, Jily has a straight hem version as well as the tie front I’ve made, and I also think it would make a great dress pattern with a gathered skirt added to the bottom of the bodice…but that might have to wait until next summer!

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I made this out of just over a metre of linen/cotton shirting from The Fabric Store, in the blush pink I’ve been so into this summer. It creases terribly, as you can see in these pictures, but it’s lovely and cool to wear! I really like the deep, curved V-neck, I don’t often wear a V neck but I’m thinking that maybe I should consider them more often. It’s also nice to have a sleeveless top with wider straps, these ones cover my bra straps nicely and the armscye isn’t too low (or high) cut.

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The armholes and neckline are finished with an all-in-one facing for a nice neat finish. As there is a centre back seam, I didn’t follow the fiddly instructions given for how to attach the facing by sewing the fronts and backs separately and then sewing them together by pulling the back straps through the straps between the front bodice and front facing, I never get that right first time! Instead I left the centre back seam open on the back piece and the back facing, sewed the shoulder seams and the side seams on both the top and facing, then sewed them together around the neckline and armhole before pulling them out the right way through the open back seam. Then I just sewed up the centre back seam, it was much easier (though I’ve done a terrible job of describing it…).

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The lower portion with the tie is fully lined, so I hand sewed the lining on the inside to avoid having any topstitching. The only change I made to the pattern was to deepen the keyhole between the ties by 1.5 cm so that the front could be tied higher on the top, I thought it looked a bit low on some of the ones I’ve seen online.

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This has been a good little top to have this summer, it was very useful in the heat in Hawai’i! Unfortunately I’ve managed to spill something on it pretty much every time I’ve worn it…maybe I need one in a darker colour or a busier print?

Finally, I feel like I can’t end this utterly frivolous post without saying something about the horrific act of violence which occured in New Zealand on Friday. A white supremacist terrorist entered two Mosques in Christchurch and opened fire on those at prayer there, killing 50 people and injuring at least 50 more. I’m so sad, and sick, and angry that this could happen anywhere, but especially that it happened here. My lovely friend Gabrielle has written far more eloquently than I can about what happened over on her blog– it’s worth a read, and I agree with her wholeheartedly.  We have to change so that this can never happen again.

Linen and Lawn: Wiksten Haori

I’ll admit, I didn’t really get the huge love the Wiksten Haori 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 Haori. Funny how that happens…

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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…

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…

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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.

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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.

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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…

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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!

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