Not-quite-basics

I made this outfit up in that weird, limbo-ish period between Christmas and New Year, when I wasn’t reading my Christmas books or watching the cricket. Historically, I’ve been productive in the last week of December, but I’ve also made a bunch of stuff that has been ill-judged or that have just been total wadders (most haven’t made it to the blog). Fortunately, this Christmas I made two things which I’m totally in love with!

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This is the Kalle shirt from Closet Case Patterns, made up in linen from The Fabric Store (second item in my Summer of Linen series!). This is technically the second time I’ve used this pattern, but it’s the first time I’ve used it as drafted. I picked the cropped version (obviously), with the full length exposed button band and the full collar. there are a lot of options with this pattern, I love it! This linen has a much crisper hand than the rayon crepe I used for my first tee shirt version, so it holds the shape of the body and hem much better.

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I love that back pleat and the kimono sleeves and cuffs! I’m also really pleased with the length at the front, I think its perfect to wear with anything which sits at my natural waist. I’m slightly terrified to wear this shirt anywhere that I might come into contact with any food or drink or anything else which might stain it…I’ll need to get over it though, because it’s an excellent top to wear when it’s all hot and sticky and I don’t want anything to touch my skin.

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I think this is one of the neatest collars I’ve ever sewn, mostly due to the linen I think! It just holds a press so beautifully, and is such a lovely stable fabric. I was surprised by how high the collar stand was though, it’s almost twice as high as the one from the Melilot shirt. I don’t mind the way it looks, but it feels like a more formal collar. It definitely sits up a lot more! Irritatingly, I managed to get that top button hole slightly too far from the edge of the stand, and the top button looks really off centre. I never manage to get that one in the right place! I extended it as much as I thought I could get away with (after I had sewn and opened the original buttonhole), but it still isn’t where it should be. I used my favourite 1/2″ shell buttons, I like the subtle shine against the linen. It’s also just long enough to tuck in, if I ever want to go totally preppy!

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While most of this post is about the shirt, this skirt is one of my favourite things that I’ve made recently! It’s my favourite skirt pattern, v1247, and the fabric is a gorgeous indigo dyed Japanese cotton that I bought at Ray Stitch in London when Katie took me shopping last year. I bought it intending to make a Kochi Kimono out of it, but I once again forgot how narrow Japanese fabrics are and I couldn’t tetris my way out of not having enough fabric this time. I’m slightly sad about not getting my indigo kimono, but I’m so happy that I thought to make it up as this skirt instead! I lengthened it the same amount as I did  for my denim version, 4″ in length with a 1” hem, which I think puts it at the perfect length.

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I bound all of the seams with some vintage turquoise bias tape, and blind hemmed it. I felt like I should pull all of the stops for this gorgeous fabric! I have another length of the same fabric, but with crosses woven into it rather than the dashes on this fabric. I bought it to make a pair of trousers, but maybe it’ll become the kimono/lightweight jacket I wanted this piece to become…

I’m really happy with both of these garments, I think they fit really well into my summer wardrobe, and both are things I really want to wear! I’m planning so many versions of the Kalle shirt, I want to make another cropped version but with the hem straightened off, and a version of the shirt dress inspired by this stunning version made by Sasha from Secondo Piano (ok, it might just be a straight copy). I’d also be really keen to make a long sleeved version of the tunic length one if I could find some wool flannel or something for winter…

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Double Denim

At the end of last year, Emma from Emma’s Atelier organised a sewing challenge for the Wellington Sewing Bloggers. We were going to finally stop procrastinating and sew jeans! Now, I got my jeans finished by the end-of-challenge date in March, but the date was pushed back a few times to accommodate others who were still sewing. Eventually the 6th of May was decided on, so I decided to sew up something else for the challenge as I had already blogged my jeans

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I was going to have a crack at some Ginger Jeans, but I didn’t get organised in time. Instead I decided to use the rest of the stretch denim I had left over from my Safran Jeans to make another version of the skirt from v1247. I really liked my first version of this skirt, but it is pretty short, and the fit is all a bit squiffy because I was more worried about pattern matching than the trifling matter of accurate seam allowances…

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This version does fit much better, I don’t have the odd bubbling above the pockets like I did with my first version. Guess those seam allowances do matter huh? I added 3” to the hem of this one, and I prefer the longer length. I also added an exposed zipper up the back (I thought sewing denim and using a metal zip made this skirt enough like jeans to qualify for the challenge!). I used Megan Nielsen’s tutorial for the zip, and it worked fairly smoothly. It isn’t as neat inside as I would like, due to the way the seam allowance gets clipped, but I can live with it! I bound all of the internal seams with Hug Snug, to keep the bulk down (and because I couldn’t be bothered making bias tape). It looks a bit dodgy up close, but if you aren’t looking too closely it looks pretty good!

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I’ve been wearing this skirt heaps since I finished it, I didn’t realise I needed a denim skirt but it has obviously filled a gap in my autumn wardrobe!

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I’ve also made a long sleeved version of the Deer & Doe Melilot Shirt, in a Robert Kaufman chambray from fabric.com (I think it’s this one, but I’m not 100% sure). I love my short sleeved one, so I thought a long sleeved version would go well in my wardrobe, and I was right! I really love this shirt. I’ve seen some mixed reviews of the Kaufman chambray around, but it’s really hard to find lightweight chambray in store in Wellington, so I thought I’d give it a go. It’s really nice and soft, and it pressed and sewed up nicely. Hopefully it’ll wash well, because I’d like this shirt to last.

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This is the first time I’ve sewn tower plackets, and I’m pretty pleased with how they turned out. There was a little bit of head scratching as I tried to get everything to fold correctly, but it all suddenly fell into place and looked like what I was expecting! I put a bar tack right across the top of the split to reinforce it, as I’ll be wearing these sleeves rolled up most of the time, but next time I think I’ll use a shorter vertical bar tack to strengthen that area. The long bar tack is just a bit clumsy looking! I am happy with the way the cuffs turned out, the curves on the cuffs, collar and pockets look really nice together.

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I hemmed this one with some grey bias tape, as I’ve never been happy with the turn and stitch hem treatment on my first shirt. Bias tape just sits so much flatter around those sharp curves at the side seams. The buttons are my favourite mother of pearl shirt buttons from Made Marion Crafts in Wellington.

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I’m not entirely sure what the deal is with those big wrinkles above the pockets on this shirt, I wonder if that just happens with dropped shoulder seams? Any suggestions? I have so many versions of this planned now, I’ve got some rayon for another long sleeved version, and some more cotton for a long sleeved dress hack, and some linen for another short sleeved summer version… I need a job with a smart/casual dress code so I can wear them all!

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In the end, only Emma and I had finished items for the challenge reveal, so here we are in matching denim (she used the same stuff for her Safran Jeans), and with our matching Ida Clutches, before we had delicious chips and soda at Six Barrel Soda Co!

Finally, does chambray count as denim? Is this outfit double denim? I really like both pieces, so I’ve decided not to be to bothered about wearing them together. Double denim is in now anyway, right? I’ve seen the hipsters wearing it for years! Either way, down with fashion rules…

 

Dazzle Skirt

During the last sale at The Fabric Store, I bought 2 panels of this amazing black and white zig zag cotton on a bit of a whim. I wanted to make a skirt, and my first thought was the Sew Over It Tulip Skirt which had just been released, but as I laid out the pattern pieces I started to have misgivings. I was worried that the deep pleats on the front of the skirt which give it its lovely shape would look a bit strage with the zig zags, I didn’t want it to look like a WW1 era warship!

Dazzle camoflage paint is amazing, by the way!

So I cast that plan aside, and grabbed Vogue 1247 off my shelf. I love all the versions of this pattern that I’ve seen online, but assumed I wouldn’t be able to get a copy as it is out of print. So when I saw the pattern online one day I grabbed it! I knew it would be a bit harder to make up than the Tulip Skirt, as I would have a bunch more pattern matching to do, but I figured it would be good practice. It was also quite late at night when I was making all of these decisions, and I possibly wasn’t thinking too clearly, but I went ahead and cut it out anyway! It wasn’t until the next morning that I realised just how hard it was going to be to get all those zig zags lining up across the 2 pieces of the front and at the 4 panels which make up the back…

  
 

But I managed, eventually! Its not perfect, but its good enough. I did have to manipulate the front yoke slightly to get the zig zags aligned, which has made the fit across the front a bit funny, but I decided that in this instance fit could be sacrificed slightly for pattern matching! 

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Pockets! Not hugely functional pockets, if I put my phone in one it pulls the front down on one side, but I’m sure I’ll probably end up with my train ticket or lipbalm in there. I have to say, I’m really happy with the pattern placement on this skirt. I like the gradation of few to many zig zags from waistband to hem, I think its really effective.

  
Slightly annoyed that I didn’t realise the skirt had twisted to my left when I was taking these pictures, but not enought to go and get changed and take some more, sorry! I had trouble getting the zig zags to line up perfectly at the top of the zip, and after about 4 attempts I decided it was fine… I used a button from my stash to close the waistband instead of a bar and hook as instructed, because I didn’t have one and I thought this button was cute.

   
 
I didn’t bind all of the seams as the instructions suggest either, because I was pretty sure that the skirt was going to be a disaster by the time I got to that point! I thought it could be a muslin, it wasn’t until I tried it on for the first time that I decided that I actually liked it enough to finish it off properly. I hemmed it with some bias tape and hand stitched it up. Its a short skirt, but we’re heading into tights weather (and I’m ok with showing a bit of leg) so thats ok.  

  
I have plans to make another version of this skirt in some navy needle cord that I bought last winter and never ended up using. I think I’ll add a couple of inches to the hem for the cooler weather, and I might look at underlining it with something slipery to stop it climbing my tights. I’ll need to look for some stretch satin or similar.

  
I wonder if finishing this skirt has broken my sewing drought? I’ve cut out a couple of projects this week, and for the first time in ages I’m really looking forward to getting stuck in. Or maybe its the change of seasons? This week has been about 10 degrees cooler every day than the week before it, which has been quite an abrupt change! Welcome to Autumn…