Monday, 5 December 2016

FO: Mouse house creations Julia Cardigan

I made this cardigan/jacket to wear with my BHL Anna Dress that I wore for a wedding earlier this year.

The fabric is a navy blue ponte knit that I bought locally and have had for a couple of years. I bought it to try and knock off a dress that I had seen in Crew Clothing and had never got round to making (I even have the sparkly fabric too).
Women's Anastacia Dress in Navy from Crew Clothing:

The pattern is the Julia Cardigan from Mouse House Creations, which I bought as part a pattern bundle a couple of years ago. It is a downloadable pdf. I quite enjoy putting these together, unlike many people! It takes me back to living in NZ and rediscovering sewing with free downloads from the Burdastyle magazine.
I just about managed to squeeze the pattern out of the quantity of fabric that I had. I think I had about 1.5 metres and the pattern calls for considerably more than that. I employed some creative cutting and ended up piecing the inside of the back edge.  I choose the view that has the double layer at the collar/edge as it doesn't need hemming and I wanted it to look good with my dress - I wasn't sure that turning the edge under and stitching would look as nice.
I had minimal scraps left after cutting

piecing inside the back edge

lots of pins
I really like the pattern, it was an easy sew and the instructions were fine. I am pretty sure that I put it all together with my overlocker and just did a spot of top stitching on my sewing machine. Once done, I tried it on with the dress and even ordered some shoes and a bag to go with it all.  It looked good, but I felt it was a bit casual and I had in the back of my head that I wanted something a bit more striking - and the BHL Victoria Blazer was born!
the shoes and bag got returned
Having worn it as a cardigan alot over the summer I really like it and would like to try it in a different fabric for a more slouchy version.  If I make it again I think that I would grade up to a bigger size across the back of the shoulders. I feel that this one is a little tight and the back of the armscye is distorted when I wear it.

Friday, 2 December 2016

FO: A BHL wedding outfit, part 2 - Victoria Blazer

In my previous post I showed the Anna dress that I made to wear to a wedding.  Here is the jacket that I wore with the dress.  It is, as one commenter asked, the By Hand London Victoria Blazer. I have had this pattern for a while as my reward for supporting BHL in their Kickstarter efforts to start printing fabric.

I have seen many versions of this over the few years with varying opinions on the pattern and style.  I have not been that sure of the style especially the longer length, it being quite slouchy but cropped version looked quite cute in most of the versions I have seen.

I picked up the fabric at a fabric swap that I went to in London in May or June.  I don't know who donated it but there was loads - at least 3 metres if not more. I wasn't sure what the composition was or whether it was washable so I cut a square, zigzagged the edges as it frayed like crazy and popped it in the wash with a bunch of similar coloured stuff - just in case the colour bled out.  There was no discernable shrinkage but the colour did seem fractionally paler. I then chucked the rest of the fabric in the wash on its own and was very thankful for my large washing machine! My mother-in-law informs me that it is almost certainly silk.  It pretty thick, feels quite rough and a tiny bit scratchy.

Because of the thickness of the fabric it was really hard to cut - not helped by my scissors not being the sharpest. The lining for the body is taken from an old White Stuff skirt that I had hardly worn - I liked the fabric but not as a skirt and the colours looked really good with this coral.
The pattern doesn't have you line the sleeves, but I knew that I wanted to line mine. I used the same fabric for the sleeve lining as I used for my Sewaholic Minoru sleeve lining. Again it goes well with the lining of the body.
too lazy to change the thread on seams that would never be seen!
I had noticed in my internet researches that many people commented on the lining of the jacket going right up to the front edge of the jacket and that the lining often peeped out when being worn. I found an excellent post by Nicole Needles describing the steps for drafting a facing for the front edge. This also involves slightly redrawing the front lining pieces. I followed this and drew out my own facing which you can see here:

I wasn't 100% sure it would work due to the thickness of the fabric but fortunately the fabric pressed really well so I steamed the heck out of it and it was fine!

The was quite a bit of hand stitching involved with the lining, but I quite enjoy that.

Here are a couple of details:

I tacked the lapels down to stop them flapping about
The jacket is quite swingy at the back and initially I didn't like it. I considered putting in darts at the back like Shannon at The Modern Tomato did with her blazer, but once I tried it on with the dress, I actually liked the shape with the nipped in waist of the dress.
walking through the woodland from the church to the reception
This was actually the second jacket I made to wear with this dress. I am really glad I went to the extra effort for this jacket as I love the pop of colour. The first is fine but not as smart and will have a post of its own soon (ish!)

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

FO: A BHL wedding outfit, part one - Anna dress

Earlier this summer, Husband and I were invited to a wedding.
The happy couple in the rain!
The groom was one of Husband's many cousins, the second eldest of a family of four boys. I first met these boys when they were teenagers and younger and have seen them grow up into lovely young men.
the brothers in age order!

I wanted to make something for the wedding and had an idea to make a long version of the By Hand London Anna dress. I have made the short version some time ago.  I found the fabric at one Geoff Rosenberg's fabric sales at Trumpington Village hall, Cambridge, for the princely sum of £6 a metre. I think I got 3 metres and it was 160cm wide.  It was a lot of fabric to lay out, and I had great fun trying to work out which way up the motif should go.

I decided to make the V neck bodice this time around, and was very sensible - I made a toile of the bodice before cutting into the fabric.  I only needed to alter the length of the bust pleats - which I had to do on my previous version. I also decided to have a split in one side. I hand stitched the seam allowances of the split - the stitches disappeared into the fabric pattern really easily.  I realised quite early on that I would have to line the dress and because of the side split decided to do a half lining ie to the top of the split.

When I tried the dress on I noticed that neckline was gaping quite a bit. I am sure the neck had stretched out as the fabric was pretty tricky to handle. I don't think the instructions say to stay stitch the neck, but if I were to make this style again I would definitely stay stitch here. I solved the issue by using some clear elastic thread in the seam allowance between the main body and the lining. I pulled it in slightly, just tight enough to stop the gaping, but not so much that it looked gathered.

I tried to get one of my girls to take photos before the event, but for some reason they were all of of focus - although this is another fabric pattern that looks out of focus anyway!

I haven't much else to say about the dress. It is an easy sew and easy to wear, I certainly felt pretty glam wearing it!
Walking from the church to the reception

With the groom's mother (in pink) and her best friend

Monday, 7 November 2016

FO: Simplicity 8014 - The Shirtdress

So following on from my last post, once the fabric was washed and the jet lag subsided, I started to look at shirtdress patterns.  I narrowed it down quite quickly to two patterns that fitted my vision: Simplicity 8014 and McCalls 6885.  The McCalls was the right shape and had cuffed sleeves and a terrible envelope picture.  The Simplicity won out because it had a yoke, the right sleeves and buttoned all the way through.

I haven't got that many pictures of the construction.  Having cut it out I did a quick baste together to assess the fit which seemed fine - I didn't change anything. At some point I managed to lose the cut pieces and the pattern piece for the sleeve tabs. It was very frustrating, but I had just enough scraps to draw out replacement pieces. I kind of guessed at the size - seemed to work out OK! Really annoyingly, I was having a tidy up the other day as my sewing space is going to occupied by a Spanish exchange student for the next week, and I found the missing pieces - bit late now, but at least I have the proper pattern piece again!!
 There was lots of top stitching:
I found the perfect buttons at my local fabric/haberdashery shop and bought all that they had
 Modelled by Lola - rolled sleeve and full sleeve
and modelled by me - Slightly out of focus, taken by one of the girls at about 7am, hence the bleary eyes.

and here worn at the Knitting and Stitching Show at Ally Pally at the beginning of October, with Charlotte from the Sewing Bee
I am really pleased with this dress - it is exactly what I was planning. I love the buttons, it is the perfect length and I love that the fabric came all the way from NYC along with the memories of that trip! 

Sunday, 6 November 2016

FO: Sewing friends and fabric shopping in NYC

Anyone who follows me on IG may have noticed that my family and I went on a pretty epic holiday this summer, travelling up the east coast of America from Orlando to Richmond VA, Washington DC, New York, Boston and ending in Maine.  This the story of how a recent make came to be....

When flying from Orlando to Washington DC to get to Richmond, my suitcase some how didn't get onto our plane. I was extremely upset by this, not least because I had most of my favourite me made items of clothing in it as well as my tamoxifen medication.  Cue lots of phone calls made by lovely Husband and I finally get my slightly battered suitcase delivered to the house we were staying at 2 days later.  In the meantime, our friends had taken me to Target in order to get a couple of changes of clothes. One of the things I tried on was a chambray shirtdress:

I didn't get it because, as ever with rtw it didn't fit quite right, but I really liked the idea of the style of dress.

Spin forwards a couple of weeks and we are in New York where we met up with Jennifer Weise of Workroom Social. She and I had met a couple years ago at NYLon14and got on quite well, so I got in touch to see if she would like to meet up for a coffee or something. The 'or something' turned out to be a brief visit to the Workroom Social Studio,

a lovely tour of Brooklyn and lunch at Brooklyn Farmacy and Soda Fountain ending up at Brooklyn Bridge so that we could walk back in to Manhattan. On our tour Jennifer took us to Brooklyn General Store

which had a great selection of knitting, sewing and crafting supplies.  Much of the fabric there was not what I was looking for, but they did have a good selection of denims, unfortunately not one light enough for a shirtdress. We had a wonderful time with Jennifer, who very generously gave us her whole afternoon to show us around an area of New York that we knew nothing about and probably wouldn't have gone to if we hadn't met up with her.

A few days later, our last full day in New York coincided with MPB Day organised by Peter Lappin of the Male Pattern Boldness blog.

It was reaaalllly hot and humid.
Everyone met at the  FIT museum to see an exhibition called Uniformity.
The exhibition was small but extremely interesting reflecting on how uniforms and fashion influence each other.

My family accompanied me for this bit, then went and did their own thing for the rest of the day (which mainly involved spending time in air conditioned refreshment places and drooling over KitchenAid accessories in Macy's!).

The rest us of had lunch at a nearby Panera where there was lots of sewing chat and a pattern swap.  I picked up a Vogue pattern. After lunch we split into 2 groups one lead by Peter and the other group, led by Tomasa, was going to Mood fabrics amongst others.
I really really wanted to go to Mood so I stuck with this group. I think we went to Pacific Trim and another trimming shop then we got to Mood.  I did my usual dither around feeling a bit overwhelmed by the choice, then gave myself a talking to and looked for specific fabric including some chambray for a shirt dress. They had three chambray's of the right weight for a dress, but only one in the right colour, so that was easy.  It felt a bit stiff, but I was assured that it would soften up with washing, and it has a bit.  I also bought some white Swiss dot cotton for a summer shirt and some white burn out jersey.

 I had a great time being shepherded around the Garment District by these ladies
Anne, Mary, Kyle, Tomasa and Rhode
 At the end of the day we all met up again in Bryant Park, where we all showed off our purchases
Me and Peter
The haul

The fabric had to wait a couple of weeks until we got home, before it met with my washing machine, then I had to decide which pattern to use...

The dress itself will be in my next post.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

FO: Sunki tunic dress

This is a repeat make for Youngest, which I made at around the beginning of the year.  I intially made her a version in a very stiff denim that turned out to only just fit and was very short.

For this one I used the largest tween size in the pattern and I think lengthened it a bit.  The fabric is a lovely soft chambray that I picked up at Karen of DidYouMakeThat's 'Made Up Meet Up' last September. As soon as I saw it I thought it would be a good fabric for a tunic.

It went together well, although the pocket instructions made me stop and think for a while, even though I have done them before and they are very similar to the Portfolio tunic. I still really like the overlapping detail at the shoulder:

Despite the fact that she has worn this a lot more than she ever wore the first one, I only have a couple of pictures of her wearing it - as you can see, she was super keen to have her photo taken!