Friday, February 12, 2016

McCall's 7247 Top

This was another piece to get me through the big Asian freeze - actually it got to almost zero C in Hong Kong which is the coldest it has been for 60 years so a few new sweaters were fully justified!

This is McCall's 7247, I made view B, but with the longer back of view C/D.  Most of the reviews I've seen have been for the curved front version shown on the model and a lot of people seem to have found that it comes up much shorter than it appears on the model and that the crossover can open up. Views A/B  don't have that problem as it is not a crossover, but an extra overlay on the front.

This overlay feature was perfect for the cream coloured sweater knit I used since there is no chance of it being remotely see through on the front.

This is a quick and easy top to make, the only change I made from the instructions was to sew the sleeves in flat.  I serged the seams and used a twin needle on the hems, where I had some problems with tunnelling, but was too lazy to unpick them - at least they all look the same, I'm calling it a feature!

I made a straight size 12 with zero adjustments, have to say my last few McCall's projects haven't had the excessive ease problem that I used to have with them.  This size 12 fits my size 12 dressform really well too (definitely no vanity sizing on chinese dressforms!).

Wearing this in real life and actually moving around, that overlay does drape a bit more and can swing towards the centre front and pull on the neckline a bit.  I don't mind this, I think it emphasises the overlay more, but something to consider.  Of course I have totally failed to capture this in my photos where I wasn't moving around very much!

I was slightly put off making view A/B from the comments in some of the reviews, but I might try and modify the pattern so that the bottom layer extends right into the side seam so there is no danger of belly exposure!  Anyway, this is a good basic with a few interesting pattern variations and my cream version goes perfectly with my new brown Jalie Eleanor pants (coming next!) and will probably see a lot more outings before spring arrives.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Style Arc Lolita Knit Top

Winter has finally arrived in Hong Kong - those of you in places currently experiencing real winters will laugh at our 5C temperatures, but the humidity and lack of double glazing and heating in most apartments make it chilly enough to need winter clothes.

I pulled out some of the sweater knits I bought recently and decided to try this Style Arc pattern which I think was one of their monthly freebies.

It is a quick and easy sew, but there is an error in the instructions although the marks on the pattern pieces and the diagram are correct.  Step 3 instructs you to sew the long edge of the collar closed and leave part of the short edge open.  This should be exactly the other way round, it's fortunate I had the pattern pieces in front of me.  I remembered Anne from Clothing Engineer (a Style Arc fan!)had made this so I double checked her review just to make sure I wasn't being an idiot.  Interestingly she found 2 errors in her pattern - the other one was to do with the order of attaching the neck binding, but this was correct in mine so perhaps there are a few versions floating round out there.  

I made a size 10, my usual Style Arc size and added a bit onto the length.  The only fitting adjustment I needed to make was to shorten the collar bands at the side seams by around an inch each side.  I expect the amount would vary depending on fabric choice so I just basted, tried it on, unpicked and repeated until I was happy with it.

I honestly wasn't sure how I would feel about having fabric wrapping over my bust, but I really like how the top turned out and in this lightweight sweater knit it is so cosy.

 The back collar detail is created by stitching tucks at the centre back seam.

I actually really like the fit of the basic top so quickly made up a plain black version without the bands.  This is the most basic of basics, but perfect for everyday and easy to layer and perk up with different accessories.  I wouldn't suggest that you get this pattern just for the basic top, but if you have it already it is an option.  It also makes me think that it would be quite easy to take a favourite top and drape your own collar pieces on.

Kind of hard to see the detail in these photos, but here you go.  Stay warm and safe everyone.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

McCall's 7244 Dress (Plenty by Tracy Reese)

This is a Plenty by Tracy Reese design for moderate stretch knits, it's quite fitted through the bodice and has a short flounced skirt.  The long sleeves make it a great winter dress addition to my wardrobe.

You can see that I was not at all creative in my interpretation from the pattern envelope!  My fabric is probably a little heavy for this dress, but it still works - it's some kind of stretch woven, probably the weight you would normally choose for pants.  I think a ponte would work really well.

I made a few minor adjustments while making this :
  • omitted the bodice lining
  • raised the v neckline on the bodice (and the front neck facing) - probably not needed, but it looked pretty low on the model
  • topstitched the skirt/bodice seam 
  • added length to the skirt - I could only add about 1cm and then I sewed it to the bodice with a small seam allowance and used a very small hem on the skirt. to gain as much length as I could
It's a pretty straightforward dress and the instructions are clear.  In a ponte you could probably leave off the zipper and make it even quicker to sew.

Other people have said this is pretty short and it is true, ideally I'd like it a bit longer, but those flounce shapes really ate into my fabric and I wasn't able to add any more.  I'm 5'6 so this is something you may want to check and consider lengthening either just the skirt or both bodice and skirt to maintain the proportions.

Having said I'd be putting mainly dress form photos up, here is a slightly out of focus photo of me wearing it!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Vogue 1191 Michael Kors Dress (OOP)

I've made this dress twice before on this blog back in 2010 (print here and solid here) and it is unfortunately now out of print so I won't blather on too much about it.  It's designed for 2 way knits and is one of those twisty patterns I still love to make where the pattern pieces bear zero resemblance to the shape they end up in.  

The instructions are a bit confusing in places and the pattern is rated as advanced, but as long as you carefully mark everything, preferably in different colours for different types of markings, and keep the pattern pieces to hand for reference eventually it does look like a dress!

The only change I made was to raise the centre front neckline which although looks very elegant on the model is too low for anyone with any kind of bust or who plans on moving around in the dress.  I showed the pattern adjustment for this in an old post here.  Oh, I also omitted the zipper again, the neckline is plenty wide enough that it is completely unnecessary unless you don't like pulling dresses on over your head.

My fabric is a grey and purple jersey, hard to see the purple in these photos though.  I really like this dress and recommend it if you can find it on sale and like this kind of challenging puzzle.

This is the time of year lots of bloggers reflect on their past year of sewing and make resolutions for the coming year.  My sewing output definitely went downhill in 2015 - partly because I thought my beloved BurdaStyle magazine was awful until August (though I think this is just how I personally felt about fashion in general this year) and also I just felt that I had enough clothes and no burning desire to make more for the sake of it.  Again reflective of my views on current fashions I think.   BurdaStyle has definitely picked up in the last few months though so lets see how 2016 goes.  I still love sewing and goodness knows I love fabric shopping!

Blogging has been a bit slow too and a large part of this is that I find it difficult to take photos of myself and just put off doing it to the point where blogging something I made months before seems pointless.  Now that I have a decent dress form that is pretty identical to my measurements I hope you won't mind too much if I make use of the dress form in more of my posts in future.  

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

BurdaStyle 10/2015 - 110 Top & 108 Collar

Thanks to Sue for spotting that this pattern was a special offer on the Burda site on the very day I posted the dress version.  I honestly thought it was a typo, but I did a bit of digging around and Burda are offering a 25 cent pattern, bundle or course each day till December 25th, a fantastic opportunity to try their patterns if you don't already subscribe to the magazine.  You can access them daily from here.

Anyway here is the top version of the pattern, there is also an accompanying cape / collar thingy.

Pdf download version

I made this from quite a heavy double knit which is great for holding the shape of the collar on both pieces, but a bit impractical, it will have to be just the right weather to be able to wear a sleeveless top in a heavy fabric.  Somewhere indoors I suppose is the easy answer to that!

Construction is identical to the dress in my previous post, except there really was no need for a zip this time so I left it off.  The collar is a very quick and easy project.

You can see I have a bit of pulling at the back v from the bands.  The point of the V is better than on my dress, but it is pulling where the other side meets it, it really shows up in photos - I need to try and fix that, hoping a few handstitches to take the strain off will do the trick....

Bingo!  Had to go off and try this straight away.  As I thought I was able to fix this problem by just handstitching on the inside where the two bands cross each other.  It's not perfect, but much better and a quick and easy fix.

Here is the top with the collar.

Here I am wearing it, I just threw it on with the jeans I already had on, I think it will look better with a pencil skirt, maybe in a double knit too.  Good excuse to go fabric shopping (as if I needed one!).