Thursday, November 26, 2015

McCall's 7254 Cardigan

Last winter I wore my Mc Call's cardigan / jackets (6996 / 6844) so often that when this pattern was released earlier this year I bought it straight away.

McCall's 7254

I made view E, the longer, sleeved version in some leftover black double-knit.  Those collar bands however are fabric hogs and I didn't have enough so I decided to use a contrasting textured fabric for the outer band.  As soon as I pinned the collar band on I realised how stupid I had been because of course the band folds over and you see both sides.  Fortunately I had enough of the textured fabric to cut another band and unpick the original to salvage the textured fabric from that one.  If you decide to colour block remember both the inner and outer collar band need to be in the same fabric - trust me it looks silly otherwise.

Other than that silly error the cardigan went together really easily.  The textured fabric was tricky to sew and press - kind of like bubble wrap - so the edge isn't as crisp as I'd like and getting the seam to roll to the correct side is almost impossible.  Binding the raw edges together might have been a better option, but I am definitely not unpicking it again!

I'm still debating on whether to put some kind of fastening on the front, I'll probably wear it open most of the time, but I feel like it needs something.  I like the toggle option on view D which could easily be added on later.

I think this will get as much wear as it's predecessor, the things I loved about that one apply equally here - it looks like a jacket, but feels like a cosy cardigan to wear. I plan on getting some sweater knit for another version and I would like to try the shorter view too.

I'm excited to report that I have finally retired my 20 year old dress form and bought a new one from a store in the "garment district" of Hong Kong, Sham Shui Po (Nan Yang Mannequin for future reference).  Ordering was interesting as the saleslady had limited english, though it was certainly better than my cantonese, so there was lots of sign language involved, but I had printed things out from the website beforehand which helped.

Speaking of 20 year old notions, a commenter previously asked about my pattern weights which are ancient, but were made for Olfa to be used with cutting mats and rotary cutters.  They must still be available although I've seen tips to use large washers from DIY stores which look perfectly up to the job to me.

Anyway, now I have a proper working dress form and no more scheduled houseguests I'm hoping to get back to regular sewing and blogging.  Lots of catch up posts in the works!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Purple Print Skirt and Coordinating Tops

I'm back from my UK visit (why does it take so long to get over jet lag the older you get?) and really want to get caught up with this sewing blog so I'm bundling together 3 finished items in this post especially as I have made all of these patterns before.

I recently bought this purple printed fabric, I really loved the design and colours in it and bought enough for a skirt and a dress (I think!).  On closer look I realised I needed to be a bit careful with pattern placement to avoid bullseyes in unwanted places which restricted my pattern choices a bit.

I also didn't want to waste fabric by chopping up the print too much so I picked a Burda skirt pattern (03/2009 - 109, made previously here) with a side zip and a slight a-line so that no back seam/split is needed to be able to walk in it.  I decided it was safest to place the purple eye shapes at the sides and completely by accident the skirt width is just about right so they meet and form a pattern at both side seams.

I inserted an invisible zip and the waistband is secured with a hook and bar.  Although the fabric is some mystery lightweight synthetic I lined it with purple silk so that it still feels nice and cool to wear.

This print offers a lot of options for co-ordinating tops and I think the colours make it wearable in cooler weather too, but for now I have made 2 short sleeve knit tops to go with it.  

This is yet another version (#4!) of the top half of Burda 08/2011-126 in a dark purple jersey.  You can see the first version here.

This top is made from Style Arc's Marita dress pattern, again made several times and also as a sleeveless top.

This time I decided I wanted extended shoulders which was very easy to do on the back and slightly less easy on the front due to the unusually shaped pattern piece, but hopefully the photos below show what I did - once you identify the shoulder and armscye it's quite easy.  Sorry if it is confusing that I took the pictures upside down so the neckline is towards the front of the photos.

Adjustment to the back, simple enough.

Adjustment to the front which is a single pattern piece.

I am still struggling with taking and adjusting photos since my computer upgrade so that you can see the details, it's driving me nuts, but I will not be beaten!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

BurdaStyle 05/2010 - 105 Easy Dress Remake x2

Thank you for all the interesting comments on my last post about the twist dress.  My sewing mojo is back (admittedly given a little nudge by two recent visits across the border into China to buy fabric).  I am really behind with blogging now, not helped by updating our operating system and getting used to all the changes that has brought, I hate the new photo application in particular.  Oh well I guess by the time I am caught up blogging I will have got the hang of it.

I made this dress (5/2010 - 105) when it first came out in a terrible quality navy fabric.  I don't know if it was harder to get decent Jersey fabric 5 years ago or if I just didn't know where to shop, but happily that has all changed.  Despite the crappy fabric I wore this dress that year on my 40th birthday where I happened to be in Bermuda and have worn it regularly ever since, time to finally update it.

This is such a quick and easy dress to make that I decided to make another one in purple ITY too.  There is really nothing to say about the construction, I made the straight skirt a little wider, but if you have the shape and the confidence for it I do think a narrow skirt with the blousy top would look better.

It doesn't look much on either a hanger or my sad, falling to bits dress form, but it's really versatile, great for dressing up and down and perfect for travel which is handy as I am off to the UK tomorrow visiting family, these dresses are definitely coming with me.

Max the photobomber!

 The purple version (I have a bit of a thing for purple at the moment...)

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Style Arc Jessica Dress

I made a printed version of this pattern recently in a slinkier knit and promised to remake it in a solid.  Often these promises come to nothing, but this time I did keep it and have made this twist dress in a plain purple ITY knit so you can see the lines much better.

There are a few changes and observations from my first version;

I took the bodice up at the shoulders instead of securing the low neckline, obviously this raises the waistline up, but it seems to work for me.  I made a 10 again, and took it in a bit at the waist.  The bodice is quite roomy, if you usually do an FBA you may not need to with this pattern and vice versa you might need to downsize.

I shortened the hem to knee length.  On both my versions and looking at examples online, the asymmetric pleats in the skirt make the hem not hang straight so I trimmed it while on my dressform to straighten it out before hemming.  No one else seems to have mentioned it so maybe I'm being fussy.

This is two projects in a row where I think the drawing does not match the pattern, and now I'm starting to doubt myself!  In this case the way the front knot is illustrated is different to the instructions, I ended up following the instructions, maybe I did it wrong, I don't think it really matters.

The knot is quite bulky, although this does help keep it all in place.  I'm wondering if it's possible to shape the bodice extensions so that they are narrower where they wrap around each other?

Line drawing

This colour does make it quite a dressy dress, albeit a comfy jersey one, but I think I can dress it down with a casual jacket when it gets cooler.

Unrelated to how I feel about this dress, I've got to say my sewing mojo is just not there at the moment.  I don't know if it's because it's the middle of a hot summer, my current lack of enthusiasm for new pattern releases and general apathy towards fashion or what, but I hope it passes soon!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

BurdaStyle 03/2014 - 104 Skirt

I'd wanted to make this skirt for a while and tested it out in some cotton twill left over from another pair of Thread Theory Jedediah shorts for my husband.  Not going to bore you with a third pair of those, but I promise you we will never wear our matching outfits at the same time!

I got thoroughly confused putting this together and I am convinced that the technical drawing is wrong, but the pattern pieces are correct.  I think that the image on the left above is the back and on the right is how the front should look, with the zip switched to the left side.  So watch out for this if you make this pattern up.

I also found that it is very close fitting in the hips, I had to let the seams out in the front and I still don't have the fit right there as you can see from the wrinkles I am getting across the front as soon as I don't stand like a soldier, but I ran out of fabric.  I do like the skirt so I'll cut wider seam allowances next time, go up a size or look into full front thigh adjustments.  I even tried it on backwards in case my theory on the technical drawing error was garbage, but that made things worse!

I'm wearing it with the Style Arc Madeleine top which I was a bit non plussed about when I made it, but now I love it and wear it all the time.  I think I just got annoyed with having to fuss around with the band, but it's amazing what a bit of time in the old magic closet can do.