Lazy summer weekends

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While everyone else has been sewing the gorgeous indie dungaree patterns that have hit the market recently, I have been hanging out in this alleyway in my slightly-less-chic Kwik Sew pair. Honestly, I’m not sure why I bought this pattern but I will admit to having been swayed by Spotlight’s 3 for $15 sales in the past and throwing a wild card or two into the mix. The cover art is certainly compelling! The fabric is some good but reasonably priced sturdy stuff from way back.

I started these a long time ago, almost two years I think, and essentially finished them minus the buckles and buttons. Dungarees are a popular option during breastfeeding but these were too tight while I was, so I didn’t finish them properly until recently. When I went hunting for the buckles I couldn’t find any wide enough for the straps so I bought the largest available and squished the straps through. I thought it would look bad but I don’t even pay attention to it really.

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I haven’t hemmed the shorts yet, I usually just turn/roll them as I like the length as they are. I may do, but then again I really just wear these around the house or casually at the weekend so… maybe not. After I took these photos I unpicked the inner thigh seam and took a smaller seam allowance. Recently I have been altering trouser patterns for a full, low bum and larger thighs which has greatly improved my range of movement.

I also made the T-shirt, it’s the Hey June Union St Tee and I used a lovely lightweight cotton knit from Drapers. I feel like it looks awful in these photos, it definitely sits better when not bunched under dungarees! I used the scoop neck, which I then scooped further but I couldn’t get the neckband to sit quite at flat as I like – the fabric doesn’t have any added stretch and I sometimes find neckbands just go a bit floppy in that instance. I considered unpicking (and may have even redone it once – this is also a few months old) but it looked as though any more man-handling would stretch it out of shape, so it is what it is. The pattern has been recently been updated with a lower scoop so I will try that next time and see if it makes a difference.

I was on a mad hunt for the perfect T-shirt (possibly after viewing a lot of capsule wardrobe images on pinterest!), but I’ve realised that I’m actually not that into T-shirts. Maybe it’s just been too hot for sleeves?

My verdict on shorty dungarees is that despite being a just a tiny bit annoying for bathroom visits they are quite fun to wear. They bring a definite weekend casual vibe and feel a bit playful too.

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Breezy summer jumpsuit

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P1020319I know I am not the only one out there in the sewing community who has a major love of jumpsuits. I’ve always found them striking and keep an eye out for new pattern releases. When New look 6493 came out it went straight on my shopping list, but as bloggers posted their reviews it became apparent that there were discrepancies in the cover image and the actual fit. I wasn’t sure I would make it so it sat in my pattern box for a few months, but I eventually came across this pink and black leopard print rayon in Drapers’ remnant pile and thought it was worth a crack as I really did like the style.

I probably had about 1.5 metres, but it was a remnant due to printing issues that had left white lines on a section. I had to do some crazy maneuvering to fit the pattern pieces on, including a tiny bit of piecing at the bottom of one leg. I also had to forgo the belt. The bolt is still in store, do you think I should get some more and make a fabric belt?

I made the sizes that corresponded with my measurements, usually I go down a size with the big four. The top was much too big and like others have mentioned, the underarms gaped. The bottoms were pretty good apart from wedgie issues in the back crotch seam – this is a personal fitting issue that I have since gotten closer to fixing (and hope to blog about at some point.) I knew before starting that I needed to figure out my standard trouser fitting adjustments but I thought that the ease in these may mean I could get away with it. Nope.

I made the adjustments I could within the seam allowances and got the fit as good as possible. Yes, a toile beforehand would have been a better option, but I suppose this sort of was my toile. I have been doing a lot of fitting work lately using old bedsheets and whatnot, but you do get to the point where you need to use a similar fabric and I thought I was there. If you make this pattern definitely do a quick toile, for my second version I did a test with just one side of the bodice and shorts.

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I stitched the bodice pieces together at the centre front and back as they do gape open – I need to raise the back crossover as you can see my bra. I took a few extra photos wearing a (rtw) blazer and handbag – I’m not really sure why, I think the jumpsuit was just feeling a bit boring on it’s own!

I wear this jumpsuit a lot actually. It’s very easy to throw on in the morning and comfortable with its elasticated waist. The billowy bodice is not really what I envisaged based on the pattern cover art, and I would love to get a more form-fitting crossover pattern in the future, but for a casual summer garment this works. And yes, you did read that I have made a second version already – I’m just deciding on hem length!

Thank you for reading x

A different silhouette

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This is the Rachel Comey vogue pattern (1501) that came out a year or two ago now. When it came out I thought “Cool, but not for me”. Then I saw Heather Lou’s version on Instagram and did a 180°. I planned to copy her outright (no shame!) with solid black fabric, but obviously got distracted at the fabric shop (Drapers) and came home with this inky/blush print rayon. It didn’t mention any type of sub category but it’s more of a crepe style rayon that a chalis.

Before starting I removed the centre pleat from the skirt as I had seen Katie (from What Katie Sews) do, I didn’t like the thought of that extra fabric in the front. I chose not to make a muslin as I thought the pattern would be easy enough to alter if necessary. Construction was fine and fitting wasn’t a problem, but I just wasn’t feeling the style on myself.

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The little flaps at the front looked strange, the shoulders were wide and it seemed too long. Making alterations halfway through is not the most precise way do to things, so it felt risky, but I knew I would always see those ‘faults’ and just had to. The result isn’t perfect but I think it was the right decision for me, except for maybe the length.  Hemming was a nightmare and I couldn’t seem to get it straight so it kept getting shorter and shorter. I’m not embarrassed to admit that fluid fabrics are still really tough for me to cut accurately! I need to try that gelatine trick sometime but I’m not sure if it’s really for rayons as I’ve mainly heard of people doing it with silk chiffons etc.

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It does feel a bit of a strange garment to me. Although the back of the bodice is relaxed the fitted waistband still feels somewhat formal to wear, but the hem length is perhaps not work appropriate. It has had a couple of outings over summer but I really prefer relaxed waistbands in the heat, so it actually got more wear in the cooler months paired with a jacket over black tights. The back view makes me look like a huge rectangle but I don’t really mind – it’s fun to make and wear something a bit different.

Will I make again? I still love the idea of a black version but probably will never get around to it.

Still sewing

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Hello! If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen these garments posted months ago. I have a few things I’ve made over the last year or so that I just fancied blogging even if they’re not new and shiny anymore.  I haven’t checked in on WordPress in so long that it’s completely changed and I am still figuring out my way around and even discovered a bunch of unread messages – opps! Bear with me if anything looks odd.

OK… let’s do this!

These cropped trousers are made using New Look 6459 using a triacetate polyester blend from The Fabric Store. This is one of those shades that is difficult to photograph true-to-colour, it’s a slightly dirty burnt orange – I absolutely love it! I have been stopped by strangers and complimented on these trousers a few times (stylish strangers at that!). I don’t think they actually look amazing on, but they are something different and I guess that’s their appeal.

I like cropped trousers but I have pretty short legs with prominent calves so I think this longer cropped length works best on me combined with the high waist.  I will say that these fall in the “WTF?” category for my partner, he does not get the leg length at all!

I made them a couple of months after having my daughter, so they were a size up from my usual and I ended up making adjustments to them as my body changed. As a result their construction is not ‘perfect’ – I had to take them in from the side seams and it affected the way the pockets sit. The shifty fabric was a little hard to cut out and the bouncy, press-resistant nature of the fabric means that any discrepancies in the seam lengths haven’t been discreetly eased in, so there are a few wavy areas. I previously made these in a more stable fabric and didn’t have the same problems. I don’t really mind about the flaws though. It’s hard to make adjustments to garments when you’re working around pre-inserted zips and waistbands and who’s paying that close attention anyway?

In terms of the pattern, it’s a pretty straightforward one. The centre back invisible zip closure may not be for everyone, but it does create a nice clean finish.

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The top I’m wearing is self drafted. I did night classes at a community college where we used Winifred Aldrich’s book to create our own blocks. I really enjoy pattern drafting but it’s a skill that needs to be honed (for example, learning the right proportions and curve shapes) and I don’t have enough time for all the trial and error right now. Also there are so many good patterns on the market!

Having said that, I tried on a top in a store and of course thought ‘I could draft that’! The rtw fabric was also a bit silky/shiny for day-to-day wear so creating my own version seemed worthwhile. Like the inspiration top, I wanted a slim/relaxed silhouette with V front and back neckline. I made a toile, did a few tweaks and almost got the desired result. The front armhole doesn’t sit quite flat so I’d want to work on that if I was making another.

The fabric is pretty lovely – it’s from Drapers Fabrics and is made from eucalyptus. It’s listed in their online store as ‘spike’ and comes in several colours. It feels somewhat luxurious, but also raw, and is really nice and soft. I planned to do an all-in-one facing but realised that it wouldn’t look great due to the very slight transparency of the fabric. I wanted to line it but only had enough for a half-lining (similar to the ogden) which is obviously still affected by the transparency, yet is passable.

Anyway, the verdict is that I like both these pieces and have been getting good wear from them over the past few months. I’m not even sure if cropped pants are still cool but I really hope they are, as I’m keen to make a couple more pairs of these for autumn! I took these photos one evening in front of a closed cafe (Queenies, for any Aucklanders). It’s such a gorgeous building but how strange is it posing in a public place? Very! I started off attempting to pose but it just looked awkward, so then I decided to not pose – but there is apparently an art to that too! Oh well, this is as good as it gets right now – just look at the clothes!

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