Saturday, 3 March 2018

Country Blue Houndstooth Fairfield Button-Up Shirt

My son received my second version of the Thread Theory Fairfield Button Up Shirt in the mail yesterday, (you can see my first version here), and he graciously sent me photos so I could see how it fitted.

For this version I went up a size as the first version was a little snug, (luckily still wearable, as it was made in a stretch poplin). I cut a size Medium grading down to a small below the chest. He is quite slim, but has very broad shoulders. I also lengthened the sleeves by 2.5 cm (1 inch) and lowered the button/buttonhole placement by approximately 1.25cm (1/2 inch).

The fabric is called Country Blue Houndstooth shirting from The Remnant Warehouse. It is a poly cotton blend which pressed well but tended to pucker a little when sewing which was a little annoying and made it difficult to get a great finish. I don't know why I don't learn as I had a similar, but worse experience with a polycotton gingham way back in 2014 (by the way, that shirt has had a lot of wear, and is still a favourite in my wardrobe).

I did remember to take a few photos of the shirt before posting it, so here are a few closer shots of the details.

After discussing the fit with him over the phone, the only other change I would make for the next one is to raise the pocket placement by a couple of centimetres, as he felt it was a little low. I'm so glad it fitted well and the changes I made were an improvement on my first version. Now I should be able to make future versions knowing that they will fit without worry.

He was probably way out of his comfort zone asking a fellow student to take these photos for me, hence the absence of a smile, but I am forever grateful.

Now back to some selfish sewing...a dress for me.

Happy Sewing


Tuesday, 6 February 2018

A Polka Dot Grainline Studio Moss Skirt

Grainline Studio Moss Skirt
This is my second time making the Grainline Studio Moss Skirt, and it has been a long time in the making. For those of you who follow me on Instagram, you might remember me posting this half made skirt as my "ufo" in "Sewvember 2016" and it had been hanging around my sewing room for a couple of years before that. I was finally prompted to finish it in November 2016 only to discover that it was too small (not that I was too big, of course) and so it was put in the naughty corner again for another 12 months. I came across it again, last November and decided to try it on as I had lost a few kilos. To my delight, it fitted. All I had to do was sew on the hook and bar and it was finished.

As the making of this skirt has been stretched out over such a long period, all the details have escaped me. You can find my blog post on my first version here if you are interested. I do remember that I sized down for this one and cut a size 10.

The fabric is a cotton canvas from Spotlight, bought several years ago. I'm a little disappointed at how much it wrinkled in the photos. These were taken after a few hours of wear.

Despite being a fun little skirt, I have not worn it very much. I don't think it's the most flattering style on my figure, so I don't feel comfortable wearing it. I might feel different if I wore a loose untucked top (but then all the details of the skirt would be hidden). I probably will not make this pattern again, but I am glad to have finally finished this one.

Happy Sewing


Sunday, 28 January 2018

Thread Theory Designs: Fairfield Button-Up

My two youngest offspring.

My youngest son returned to Medical School yesterday, to begin his second year of study. He will be based at Shepparton Hospital in Victoria, this year, and will be required to wear doctor appropriate clothing, five days a week. I have been promising to sew him a shirt for ages, so I finally thought I had better make good on that promise, especially now that he has a genuine need for decent button-up shirts.

Thread Theory Designs Fairfield Button-Up

The pattern I used was the Thread Theory Design Fairfield Button-Up shirt. I ordered the printed pattern through Pattern Review and was amazed at how quickly it was delivered to me in regional NSW Australia. It comes packaged in a lovely cardboard sleeve. Inside is the multi sized pattern printed on tissue paper. There are pattern pieces for average figures, as well as fuller figures, and also a comprehensive and well illustrated instruction booklet. I also found the online Sew-a-long very helpful.

Thread Theory Design Fairfield Button-Up
I cut a size small, grading down to an extra small for the waist and hips, based on my son's measurements. I also cut a medium length in the body and the arms. My son wanted a fairly slim fitting shirt and that is certainly what he got.

Luckily I used a super stretch cotton poplin from The Remnant Warehouse which has quite a bit of stretch, as the shirt is a little too narrow across the shoulders. As the fabric stretches, it is wearable, but I will size up for the next one. If I had made this in a non stretch fabric, it would have been too uncomfortable to wear.

I didn't make any design changes to the shirt and sewed it up exactly as instructed. The front button band is not a separate piece, which reduces bulk and I really like how it turned out. Not sure if I love the pocket design, but it turned out ok. Apparently Thread Theory Designs offer some alternative pocket designs that can be downloaded for free. I will have to look into this for the next one.

The pattern includes all the usual features of a typical men's shirt including tower plackets. I have had terrible trouble in the past with fusible interfacings that bubble, so I decided to use a sew in interfacing for this shirt, and had much better results. I interfaced the sleeve plackets too as I was concerned that the stretch fabric might be too easily distorted when sewing these. I'm quite pleased with how they turned out. I skipped adding the extra button half way along the placket, as this shirt will most probably be worn with the sleeves rolled up most of the time.

Sleeve tabs are also included in the pattern. This is a handy feature as I just said: the sleeves will be rolled up most of the time. The sleeve length was a little short, despite cutting the medium length, so I will lengthen the sleeves a couple of centimetres for the next one.

The pattern was unusual in that the pattern pieces were cut already graded for the flatfelled seams. This took a bit for me to get my head around, as I am used to trimming the seam after sewing to prepare for the flat felling. Once I worked out how to line up the pattern pieces this method worked quite well.

This shot shows the slim fit of the shirt. I really liked this pattern and will be sure to use it again. These photos were taken in a rush as he was about to leave for the seven hour drive. I didn't have time to wash out all the pink pencil marks on the shirt so I hope he copes ok with that. I gave him a quick ironing lesson the other night, as he will have quite a bit of ironing to do this year. Nice to know that although he is much smarter than me, I can still teach him something.

Happy sewing


Wednesday, 13 December 2017

The Year of the Sleeve

Fabulous sleeves of all shapes, sizes and design have featured heavily in the fashion scene this year. I have made Vogue 8945 to dip my toe into this fun trend.

I have had this pattern for over a year, and now I am kicking myself for procrastinating so long. Vogue rate this pattern as "very easy" and I would agree. On the pattern envelope it is described as a semi fitted dress, with neck and sleeve variations and a back zipper.

Vogue 8945
I made view B with the V neckline and the sleeve flounces, in a size 14. I love the fit of the dress. The back vertical darts give just the right amount of shaping and the front skims across the body without clinging to any bulges. It is quite flattering on my body shape.

The only alteration I made to the pattern was to only add one flounce, and instead of hemming the flounce, I lined it with the same fabric. This eliminated the need to sew a narrow hem and stopped the wrong side of the fabric showing, so was a great solution all round.

The fabric is a printed polyester georgette from Spotlight. I think this is the first time I have sewn with georgette and although it was a little tricky, it behaved quite well. I used a rotary cutter to cut the fabric and this resulted in quite accurate cutting, as the rotary blade does not lift the fabric like scissors can do. I used an invisible zipper and it turned out ok. It is a little wavy, but this busy leafy print is a great camouflage for any wonky sewing.

I stabilised the neckline with some narrow cotton tape which worked well, eliminating any stretching of the neckline. I used french seams to create nice neat insides and also because the georgette is a little transparent and I didn't want overlocked seams showing through. I didn't line the dress, but it was necessary to wear a slip underneath. The hem was hand stitched.

These photos were taken in a rush last weekend, just before we left home for my work Christmas party. I think this dress will get a few more wears this festive season. I'm loving those swishy sleeves and I'm thinking this pattern could be easily adapted to make a top too.

Happy Sewing


Sunday, 20 August 2017

Style Arc Alissa Knit Dress for "Artwear August"

Style Arc Alissa Knit Dress
This was my August MAGAM (make a garment a month) which is a sewing challenge over on Instagram, hosted by @sarahlizsewstyle. This month's theme was "Artwear August". I procrastinated for over a week trying to come up with something arty, but then I realised the Style Arc Alissa Knit Dress had a bit of an "arty" vibe with that unusual draped pocket, and I had purchased the pattern in their recent sale and had the perfect fabric in my stash.

My sewing plan posted on Instagram.
The fabric is a double knit purchased from Spotlight recently in an olive and cream polka dot pattern. I love that the polka dots are a little bit random in size and placement, also adding to the "arty" vibe.

Despite looking a little difficult, this was actually quite an easy garment to construct. Style Arc include an excellent diagram in the instructions which really was very helpful. I don't think I had any head scratching moments during the construction of this dress.

The back of the dress dips down slightly, as you can see in the photo above. I constructed most of this dress on the overlocker. Only using my sewing machine for the neckline binding and the front seam that joins the bodice to the draped skirt (as this was a most unusual shape, incorporating the clever pocket design). I sewed the sleeves in flat and they went in so easing required at all.

The back is very simple, with just a centre back seam with some shaping. There are no closures required as this dress slips easily over your head. I made my usual size 12 with no alterations. All the hems were sewn with my coverstitch.

The pocket drape construction is so clever and so easy to achieve. The only change I made was to tack the pocket drape to the seam allowance before sewing the side seams. It was then securely caught in the side seam. The instructions say to "sew a small stitch to connect the folded edge of the pocket to the right side seam" after the side seam is sewn.

This was an easy dress to sew and it is an easy dress to wear. The fabric is easy care and it will fit into my wardrobe beautifully. Love it!

Happy Sewing


Sunday, 13 August 2017

Sewaholic Hollyburn...a departure from my usual style.

Sewaholic Hollyburn Skirt
The Hollyburn Skirt from Sewaholic Patterns has been around for several years, and it has taken me forever to jump on the bandwagon. I have only purchased the pattern recently and I am kicking myself for putting it off for so long. 

The skirt comes with three length variations and the choice of belt loops or button tabs. All views have pockets too. I chose view A, which finishes below the knee, and I added the button tabs to the waistband. I am wearing it here with my Style Arc Elsie Woven Overshirt.

The fabric is a 100% wool suiting in navy with a subtle stripe. This fabric was a recent gift from my mother and it originally came from my grandmother's fabric stash. I have no idea how old it would be, but she passed away in 1988 at the age of 80 so it would have been purchased a number of years prior to that. It was a large piece approximately 3 metres long and 1.5 metres wide but a big section of it was riddled with moth holes. I had to carefully mark all the moth holes with chalk before laying out the pattern pieces in order to avoid them. There was plenty of undamaged fabric available for the skirt, and there is still a large piece left over for something else.

I cut a size 12 based on my waist measurement as this is the most fitted area of the skirt. My hip measurement put me at size 8, but I decided to make a straight size 12 as I liked the idea of a nice full skirt. I am really happy with the fit of the skirt so I'm glad I didn't try to blend sizes. If your hip measurement is proportionally larger than your waist measurement then you would need to grade between sizes.

I love the roomy pockets and how neat they turned out. The instructions with the pattern are very thorough and easy to understand. In fact I was amazed at how easy this skirt was to construct and how beautifully it went together. This would be an ideal pattern for a beginner sewist. I just love the shape of the skirt and it feels so elegant to wear.

Here is a closer view of the button tab and the pocket. I cut the pocket with the stripes running the opposite way so I didn't have to worry about matching the stripes. The waistband is quite wide and sits high on my waist. I really like this and the way it gives the illusion of me actually having a waist. I did attempt to match the stripes on the centre front and centre back, creating a chevron effect, but this didn't work out perfectly. In fact this pattern is not recommended for striped fabric.  

 I used an invisible zipper in the centre back seam. The instructions recommend a regular zip so I hope this one holds up ok. I'm pretty happy with my zip insertion and getting the waistband lining up on each side. This did take a couple of attempts before I got it right.

I got carried away when constructing my skirt, and forgot to add the lining at the appropriate step. So silly, but it would have meant too much unpicking to go back and add it, so I decided to just hand stitch it in after the skirt was constructed. I'm so glad I added the lining, as it makes the skirt feel so luxurious when wearing it.

Here is a shot of the insides. I used french seams on the lining. The centre front and centre back seams were sewn on the machine, pressed open and raw edges overlocked. The side seams were overlocked together and pressed towards the back. I wanted to retain as much length as possible so I finished the hem off with some satin bias tape from my stash which was hand stitched to remain invisible on the right side.

As you might have guessed, I absolutely love my new skirt, even though it is quite a departure from my usual style. I really enjoyed sewing this wool suiting (quite a change from my usual ponte knits) and I think my Grandmother would have approved. 

Happy Sewing


Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Style Arc Trio (Fay, Nina & Ann)

I bought this gorgeous printed jersey recently at Spotlight. The colours are so vibrant, and I had the Style Arc Fay Skirt in mind, as it is such a simple pattern...perfect to let the fabric shine. The skirt is self lined, which makes it much less clingy or revealing than a single layer would be and it has an elastic waist. This is my third version of the Fay Skirt. You can see the first one here and the second here.

I agonised over the print placement in this skirt. In fact, the fabric lay spread on my cutting table for several days while I dithered over the best area of the print to feature on the skirt.

I think it turned out alright in the end. I am wearing it here with my latest Style Arc Nina Cardigan in a black merino knit from The Fabric Store Online. This is my fourth Nina Cardigan and so it goes without saying that I love this pattern. 

The white top is another Style Arc pattern... the Ann T-Top which I previously blogged here. I am a little disappointed with this outfit after seeing these photos. The top is far too baggy and long. A shorter, more fitted top would have looked so much better with this skirt. Does anyone else find that photos reveal far more than just looking in the mirror?

Happy Sewing