All my faces

So, I know I said in my last post that my Jazz jumpsuit was probably one of the most complemented handmade garments in my wardrobe, but I think that this shirt might have outstripped it already! I even had a lady in a shop ask me where I had got it, and then asked me if I made them to order when I said I made it. I’m really not interested in sewing things to sell, but nice to know there might be a market if I ever change my mind…

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This is my second Closet Case Patterns Kalle Shirt, and it’s taken me over a year to get around to it even though I intended to make another one as soon as I finished my first! I’ve got some lovely Japanese cotton waiting to become another version, but its quite heavy and I thought I might try something a bit lighter and airier for summer. I love this Crowded Faces fabric from Lady McIlroy, and had been seeing it all over instagram, but I had been struggling to find it anywhere. Then Emma said she was putting in an order to La Mercerie, and did I want to split the shipping with her? Obviously I did! I ended up with 1.5 yards, which was plenty to made this shirt, and gave me the wiggle room to be a bit pedantic with how I placed the faces on the shirt. I’m especially pleased with how the print sits on the collar!

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I even got out my tiny stash of embroidery floss to give one of my collar faces some lipstick. I’m so happy with how it turned out! I used a plain white cotton for the inside yoke and the under collar and inner collar stand, because the cotton lawn is fine enough for the print to show through pretty clearly and it looked a bit messy. I also made a couple of changes to the pattern after my last one, including shortening the height of the collar stand. I felt like the whole collar was really big on my first shirt, and thought that decreasing the height of it might help. I think I should also decrease the size of the collar for my next version (that Japanese cotton, finally!), just to keep it a bit more proportional. I’m ok with the size of this collar though, as it means I can get both of those faces on the collar points!

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The biggest change I made was to straighten out the hem. I kept the cropped length, but just ruled a new hemline straight across from the longest point at the centre front, and kept it mostly level across the back as well. It has a bit of a dip in the back hem, and I’m not sure where that came from, but it looks nice! I also decreased the size of the box pleat in the back by half, as I thought it might be a bit too voluminous without the longer back hem and the wide hem facing to keep the volume under control!

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I’m really happy with the length and fullness I achieved with this one, I think it looks good with my high waisted shorts (these are my Landers) and trousers, and doesn’t flash as much skin when I lift my arms up as my first version does. I still love the shaped cuffs that this pattern has, I think they’re so great. I don’t always love the way a simple bias rectangle cuff wings out on a cut on sleeve, and these two piece cuffs follow the line of the shoulder so nicely. Such a nice touch!

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I finished the shirt off with my favourite shiny black shirt buttons from Made Marion Crafts, and added a ‘Hand Made’ tag from Kylie and the Machine to the back collar. I love it when all those little details add up! And I’m really glad I spent a bit more time and attention on this shirt, from cutting it out to those final details, because I really like the finished garment! It’s been great to wear in this heat over the past few weeks, but I’m also really looking forward to having that collar peeking out over my handknitted jerseys later in the year. I’ll need to get moving on sewing up my next version!

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Jazz lover!

Is it too soon to proclaim this my favourite make of 2019? I suppose it might be a little premature, but I can definitely say that this is one of the most complimented things I’ve ever made, and I’ve only worn it twice so far…

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This is the Jazz Jumpsuit from French pattern company Ready To Sew, and I loooove it! I’d seen a few pop up on instagram every so often (Shauni has some awesome versions!), and thought it looked like an interesting pattern, but maybe not for me. Then it got really warm just before I went back to work, and I was trying to figure out something easy and breezy and comfortable to make with this awesome rayon crepe, and Jazz popped into my head and wouldn’t leave. I had the PDF printed out and assembled tout de suite, and I was away! The PDF was great to print out, there are a bunch of options with this pattern but there are very clear instructions for which pages to print out for each view, which makes it super easy and means there isn’t much wasted paper.

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Big trousers! I only had 2m of this awesome Japanese rayon crepe from The Fabric Store, and it was pretty narrow, so I had a huge headache trying to get the pattern to fit on the fabric and also match the plaid at the vital points. It’s not perfect, but I think I did a reasonable job getting the stripe at the centre front to match across the waist seam, and I got the horizontal stripes to match across the crotch curve and at the side seams, so I’m happy with it. I had only just enough fabric left over to squeeze a matching tie belt out of the scraps! I went down a size from where the size chart put me, looking at the finished garment measurements I knew there would still be enough ease in the size down! I also sewed the centre back seam and the crotch seam with a 1.5cm rather than 1cm, just to bring it in a little bit, and I’m really happy with the way it fits.

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There are a couple of things I’ll change when I make this again (I’m already planning a dress version and a silk jumpsuit), the main one being the zip up the back. I can get it done up all the way and undone again on my own (thank god, I refuse to take an assistant to the bathroom with me), but only because I have long arms and flexible shoulders. My friend tried this one on, and couldn’t get it done up on her own! Next time I’m going to put in a shorter zip, maybe a 30cm one, and then leave a keyhole opening with a button and loop at the top, like the one on the Meridian dress. That should make it easier to get out of, and keep the contortion-ism to a minimum! I’ll also make two belt pieces, and secure them into each side seam, so that I don’t have to deal with it being a separate piece (also irritating in the bathroom). I like it unbelted, but I think I’m pretty unlikely to wear it that way out in public!

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This fabric is so lovely, I wish I had bought more while they had it in stock! I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with rayon crepe, sometimes I find it really rough and weird feeling, and it grows as you sew it…but this is one of the good ones, it’s soft and has a lovely heavy drape, but its still airy and easy to wear. It was really nice to sew and press as well, I think the texture of the crepe sticks to itself and stops it shifting around.

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This pattern is so great! I love the pockets, and the V neck, and the dropped shoulder. Its so comfortable, but I also feel really put together and stylish when I wear it. Its like the holy grail of summer clothing! I’m really looking forward to trying some more Ready To Sew patterns, I think the Jily Tank top will be my next one. It’s on my #2019make9 list!

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This is me bribing Scotty to be in my photo with a treat…he’s a bit camera shy!

Traditional Summer Sewing

The first few weeks of 2019 have swept me along in a flurry of wedding related business, but all of that is finished now, and I’ve got some space to think of other things! Our wedding on the 10th was perfect. It threatened to rain on us, but managed to hold off, and we were able to have the ceremony outside on the lawn overlooking the farm, which I was very glad about! The venue we picked has a beautiful outlook, it would have been a bummer not to get to see it. I managed to get my wedding sewing finished in plenty of time, and I was really happy with how everything turned out, and the whole day was just really happy and relaxed and full of our favourite people. I’ll do a post about my wedding sewing when we get some photos back!

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But first, I have a traditional first-post-of-the-year post, new shorts and a tee shirt! I’ve been meaning to make a pair of Lander Shorts since I made my linen Lander Pants, and I finally dug out the scraps of cotton drill left over from my black Ginger Jeans and just managed squeezed the pieces on. They went together really easily, I used the whole 1” seam allowance down the side seams as this fabric has 2% stretch, and they’re very comfortable!

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I swapped out the button fly for a standard zip fly, as I really dislike the pulling I get at the buttons on my linen pair and I was concerned that the drag lines would be even more apparent in a stretch fabric! I swapped in the instructions from the Grainline sewalong for the Maritime Shorts, and it worked really well. I had intended to play with the pockets too, I thought maybe I would flip the patch pockets on the front to the inside and turn them into standard slash pockets, but I decided not to in the end. I think the pocket bags would have shown through really obviously in this fabric, and with the black topstitching I used the patch pockets blend in so well that I’m glad I didn’t fluff around with them! Unfortunately the fabric is an absolute cat-fur magnet, I’ve basically given up trying to de-fluff both these shorts and my jeans…

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I made the shorts up between Christmas and New Year, and was wearing them a lot with my cropped paprika linen tee. I had the Maya Tee pattern from Marilla Walker on my #2019make9 list, so after New Year I thought I should make a cropped version to give the harvest tee a break! I used more leftover fabric from my stash, this time some super soft double gauze left over from my Myosotis dress. I didn’t have quite as much fabric left as I remembered, so I ended up cropping it by about 2” from the ‘cropped’ tee line of the pattern. On my short torso the ‘cropped’ length would be mid hip, so it all worked out pretty well!

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This is the basic tee version of the Maya pattern, with the plain front and straight hem, no buttons or pockets or anything flash. I top stitched the facings around the neck and sleeves, and remembered to pop a label in the back neckline so I can tell the front from the back! Aside from cropping the length, I also took an inch or so out of the side seams at the hem, tapering up to nothing at the bust. It was just a bit too bell shaped in this double gauze, which has quite a lot of body, and that adjustment helped to tame that fullness a bit! It’s lovely and breezy as it is now though. I really love the ikat-style print on this fabric, so I’m glad to have it as a slightly more wearable garment than my full and floaty dress! I’m definitely planning another one or two of these, and I’d love to try the cuff variation I’ve seen people make on instagram too…

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I’m pretty chuffed that my first two garments posted this year are both made from leftover fabric, and that I’ve already ticked off one of my Make9! I’ve set myself a challenge to not buy any fabric between the first of January and Easter this year, so expect to see more sewing up of remnants and stash fabric in the next few months…

A little bit of Frosting

I follow Drapers Fabrics in Auckland on Instagram, and every so often they post a remnant for sale in their insta-stories. Usually I manage to resist, but when I saw this delicious blush and mustard abstract silk crepe de chine pop up I messaged them and bought it without a second thought! I’m obsessed with this colour combination at the moment (see also: my Wiksten Kimono), and I’ve been in desperate need of some ‘nice’ tops to wear when I don’t want to be full on dresses up but also don’t want to just be in a tee shirt (any one else struggle with that in-between dress code?).

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I waffled a bit about what pattern to pick for this fabric, but then I remembered seeing Chloe (@faburikku_) post about her Papercut Patterns Kyoto tee which she made in a woven. I thought the ruffled sleeves would be lovely and floaty in this silk, so I threw caution to the wind and cut it out…

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And it worked! I didn’t make any changes to the size, as it’s a pretty loose fit (and my knit version had plenty of negative ease through the bust), but I did draft a facing for the neckline. I also had to crop it by several inches, as the hem wouldn’t fit over my hips with no stretch, but I think the cropped length really suits the shape of the pattern. It balances out those ruffles a little bit!

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I used French seams throughout, remembering too late (as I always do) that Papercut uses a 1cm seam allowance. That means my French seams are lovely and small, but does add to the fiddle factor! I rolled the edges of the ruffles and the sleeves on my machine, but I did the hem with the blind hem stitch, as I wanted a bit more heft to the bottom edge.

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I also got a bit fancy with my facing. The silk is so fine that I didn’t want a rolled seam or an overlooked edge showing though where the edge of the facing was finished, so I sewed the facing and some super lightweight fusible interfacing with the wrong sides together, then trimmed the seam allowance, flipped them right sides out, and pressed to fuse the interfacing to the facing. It’s not invisible, but it has a much softer edge than if I had finished it another way.

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I’m so happy with how this top turned out! I think it fills the gap in my wardrobe perfectly, and I love the way the silk feels. In fact, it turns out that this is really pretty fancy silk, because I spotted a whole rack of garments made out of it when I walked past the Juliette Hogan store in Wellington a few weeks ago! Juliette Hogan makes gorgeous but eye watering-ly expensive clothes, and the ones made out of this silk seem to be priced at upwards of $400. I wonder if I would have chopped into my remnant so happily without making a muslin if I had known? Just as well it worked out so well… I’m considering this top the first garment for my entry into the #sewfrosting challenge, because the fabric is apparently so fancy and because a silk tee seems pretty frosting-like! I’m still up to my elbows in velvet dust working on my other garment, so stay tuned…

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I’ll also talk briefly about my trousers in these photos, they’re a pair of Named Alexandria Peg Trousers in a linen chambray from The Fabric Store. I’ve made this pattern twice before (here and here) but neither pair is still in my wardrobe, for one reason or another. I really love this pair though! The linen is soft and cool, and I think it suits the pattern really well. I can see them getting so much wear over the summer!

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The fit on these trousers is great, I should use the crotch curve to adjust less well fitting patterns! I also love the pleat-and-pocket combo. And elastic waists are always a good thing. I did the two rows of top stitching around the elastic waistband, but just looped the twill tape through the two buttonholes and tied it in a bow instead of threading it around the whole waistband.

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Is anyone else furiously sewing up their #sewfrosting entries? The end of November seems to have crept up super fast!

Kalle-ish

I’m probably about to jinx the entire Wellington region here, but it’s really feeling like summer is nearly here this year! We’ve had a gorgeous spell of warm sunny weather, and it’s got me dreaming about linen and silk and loose, cropped silhouettes. As usual I’m looking to make tops which are a bit more fancy than just tee-shirts, and I’m loving the high waisted bottoms/ cropped tops look which seems to be around this year.

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I pulled the Kalle Shirt pattern by Closet Case Files out and matched it to this windowpane check from Indie Sew on my first weekend back after our trip, when I was desperate to sew something, but I just couldn’t be bothered with the idea of sewing a collar in that shifty fabric. I loved the idea of the faced high/low hem and the kimono sleeves though, so I decided to do a bit of pattern modification to get a simplified top.

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I kept all of the bits of the pattern that I really liked, the hem and facings, the sleeves and cuffs, and the back pleat, but obviously I ditched the shirt bits! I used the pop-over front pattern piece, which is cut on the fold anyway, and just didn’t put the placket in. I traced off the front and back neckline from the Willow Tank, and then traced off a facing to finish the neckline. Other than the neckline, I followed the instructions exactly.

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I love the back and the hem! If I made this modification again, I wouldn’t drop the back neckline so low so that I could keep some more of the yoke, I think it’s a bit disproportionate on this one. but I can’t see it, so that’s okay! I’m trying to be less obsessive about getting things perfect (the Love To Sew Podcast episode on perfectionism resonated with me, I definitely let my perfectionist tenancies get in the way of my sewing enjoyment), and I definitely embraced the ‘done is better than perfect’ ethos on this project…

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I really love this fabric (in fact, I was so keen to get my hands on some that I managed to submit my online order to Indie Sew twice. So glad I managed to cancel one order before it was cut out! It’s no longer available, sorry.), I’ve got the white with black check colourway too. It feels lovely, it’s a very smooth and floaty rayon crepe, but it was pretty shifty and difficult to cut out and sew! I cut it on one layer, and used all of my pins to keep it all square and in line. The finished top tends to slide around a bit too, I think that it’s too heavy in the back. Between the double layer of crepe for the yoke and the longer length, it slips back on my shoulders a bit. Using a lighter weight cotton for the yoke lining would have been a better idea. But never mind, that’s what hindsight is for!

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The highest point of the hem is a good height for my high waisted trousers (these are my Safrans, but they’re good with my Gingers and my Flint trousers too, as well as my high waisted skirts), but clearly I’ll need to be careful getting anything down off high shelves! I’m wearing a tank top under it in these pictures, I’m not quite that anaemic…

I’m definitely keen to try out the pattern as drafted, I have some lightweight Japanese cotton earmarked for another cropped version but with all the shirt details included. Looking at my sewing plans for the summer there are going to be a bunch of collars and plackets and buttonholes involved! Also some more wide legged trousers, and hopefully a swimsuit…

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…

 

All Yellow

In early January I was invited to the wedding of two of our friends. It was in north Canterbury, so I assumed it would be incredibly hot, and I really wanted to make a strappy sun dress to wear. When Sew Over It released the Rosie Dress pattern I knew that I had my dress!


It had the full skirt and spagetti straps that I was looking for, and I liked the sweetheart neckline. The fabric is a Liberty Saville Poplin that I got on sale from The Fabric Store (pretty much the only way I’ll ever buy Liberty is when it’s on sale!). The Poplin was a good choice, even though I was looking for Tana lawn, as I didn’t have to line the skirt.


It’s a big skirt! I like how it has the flat portion at the centre front, it’s a bit more flattering than if it was gathered all the way around. 


Here is the obligatory (super awkward) twirling shot! 


I wish I could say that everything went really smoothly and that I loved this dress, but it just gave me so many issues. I had problems with the fit, and I probably should have either done an FBA or just gone up a size entirely. I’m not happy with the widening and flattening effect it has on my boobs (though my strapless bra doesn’t help with that, to be fair).


I had a bit of a nightmare with the bodice lining too. Everything was sitting nicely until I put in the boned lining, and then the boning stretched out the small amount of ease in the upper bodice, meaning that the neckline stood out from my body from the front princess seams around under my arms. I could have used it as a collecting bucket for small fruit or something, I was so annoyed! I had a whinge on Instagram, and tossed it aside in a huff. Thankfully Nikki had the excellent suggestion of easing it into some stay tape, which I dutifully did. It’s now a little bit wrinkled where it’s been eased in, but it sits much better. 

I did get it done in time to take down south, but I didn’t wear it to the wedding in the end. It’s funny, I thought my Anna dress wasn’t very me, but this dress is much much less me (I wore Anna to the wedding, and felt really good). I just feel uncomfortable in Rosie, and it’s not just that the fit is off. In fact, I’m so sure that I’m not going to wear it that I’m considering taking the bodice off and putting the waistband from the skirt variation on. I think that the skirt paired with a white silk Cami or a cropped Willow tank would be more wearable, and would make me feel less like I’m in a costume. 


So I am a bit disappointed in this one, I don’t like feeling like I’ve wasted both time and fabric on a dud! I’m glad that I have a plan to rescue some of this fabric though, because I love the colour. I guess you can’t win them all…