Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Style Arc Maggie Shirt

Thanks all for the feedback on the scarf tie top from my last post, maybe the fabric stretched a bit - anyway I agree with the majority of you and have hacked off the ends of the tie so that it is now hem length.  I think this is a style that needs a lightweight drapy knit, but it looks (from the way the sleeves hang) like Burda's version is made with a stiffer fabric so it could work, you'd just need to accept that the knot area will be bulkier.


A few months back Style Arc in addition to their usual free monthly pattern, were doing a 3 for 2 deal on their new tops so I picked up a few including this casual Maggie shirt.

I thought it would be ideal for summer and easy to sew.  While it is both of those things, I feel a bit blah about the finished garment, there just seems to be too much fabric and it feels like it keeps slipping backwards although a belt helps.  The illustration seems more accurate than the line drawing.

Style Arc Maggie

I used a black and beige printed cotton and although it is lightweight I'm wondering if something drapier would work better.  I cut my yoke on the cross grain rather than use a contrast, I do like how it wraps over the front.

The instructions are as usual quite sparse, but adequate.  The front is cut in one piece and you need the pattern piece in front of you to figure out how to fold it to create the front pleat and placket correctly but after that it is very easy to put together.

I finished this up except for the buttons, put it to one side and filed the pattern away, that's how unexcited about it I was.  A few weeks later when I finally got some buttons I didn't refer to the pattern and ended up putting them on wrong so they are visible instead of being hidden in the placket.  Too late now and I suppose it's not a big deal, but it does remind me even more of a pyjama top now!

Despite all that, it is ok and is in versatile enough colours that I will wear it, but I was reminded of a burda shirt I made a few years back that I wore till the fabric wore out, I think I will stick to that one in future for this type of shirt.  It took a bit of digging, but finally found it - 06/2008-105.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Burda Style 07/2014 - 117 Tie Neck Top

I know a lot of people were disappointed with July's Burda and it is true there is a lot of dodgy stuff in it, but I decided to give this tie neck top a whirl which I think looks much better in the line drawings than in the photo.  Generally after my initial look through the magazine and a giggle at the flowery descriptions I ignore the photos and just refer to the line drawings.

Sticking with the black serger thread, I pulled out this knit from my stash, it has a subtle glitter running through it.  The wrong side of the fabric will show on this design unless you double up the collar/tie piece, but this may add a lot of bulk depending on the fabric.

On first reading I found the instructions utterly mind boggling.  It was only when I studied the line drawings and realised that one end of the neck tie is caught in the centre front seam with a loop to pull the other end through that the penny dropped.  I made a 38 with no adjustments and after my last Burda knit top disaster it was good to have no fit problems with this one.

The loop/tie portion does misbehave a bit and not stay where it is supposed to - or at least where I think it is supposed to - so I might go back and tack it down somewhere so I don't keep fussing with it.

I like how this turned out, the shaping is just right for a knit top, I'm still on the fence about whether the tie is too long and it does extend past the hem which is different to the line drawing.  The edges are unfinished so it's easy enough to lop a bit off the free end.  This is a one way decision though so I want to be sure - to chop or not to chop?

I also discovered a setting on my camera called "beautiful skin" which sounded good to me, but happily it does seem to be better at taking photos of dark clothing in not great light by using a soft flash.  When I force the flash indoors it is usually really harsh on the clothes (and makes me look like a scared red eyed alien) so this does seem to be an improvement, but weirdly when I don't look at the camera it turns my skin orange!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Fehr Trade XYT Workout Tops

It's interesting that several of you commented that you had real problems fitting the Kay Unger Vogue dress from my last post, I assume in the bust area - perhaps it only works easily on certain body types?  Maybe stretch fabric really helped me?  I am certainly no master at fitting and am from the fit as you go school although I have learnt over the years when to add extra at deep necklines, surplice bodices and the hips on pretty much anything.  I only ever do a muslin if I am using some precious fabric or trying out a style that I am unsure of - usually some mad Burda creation that I get strangely drawn to!

As part of my goal of making my own workout clothes, I also picked up this Fehr Trade XYT workout top pattern which comes with a built in power mesh bra layer and 3 back variations.

Fehr Trade XYT

I have never had much luck with tops with built in bras in RTW, being a brasize 34d, they are ok for loungewear, but I wouldn't dream of doing anything remotely active in them.  The pattern instructions do say that it is designed for an A or B cup and that if you are larger you can either do an FBA on the mesh pieces or leave them out altogether and just wear a regular sports bra underneath.  I might go back and experiment one day because I really should be able to get a better result making my own than RTW, but for this go round I went with the latter option.  (Coincidentally since drafting this, a post on common XYT adjustments has just gone up on Fehr Trade  - see here for more details).  

I made 3 versions of the X back, but modified it to fill in the cutout at the centre back (so it would cover my sports bras although I just bought some in funky colours and I like the layered look I see on other people so next time I may try the other styles).  In fact on 2 of them I joined the upper and lower back together since I wasn't using a contrast or the mesh layer, overlapping the seam allowances and cut them as one piece.  So that's another variation you could do.  

Front view
Back view

Binding made from plain black lycra fabric
I played around with different edge finishes as well and used fabric binding instead of elastic as I liked the look so much on the VNA top - I wasn't very smart about this on the first go round (the polka dot one) and should have trimmed off the seam allowance on the neck and armscye first, so my shoulder straps are wider and my neckline higher than they are supposed to be.  As I say this is all a learning process!

These colours are actually navy/white & grey, love these fabrics together and will probably put them together for a VNA top
I added a couple of inches at the hem for a bit more coverage.  I used size M which is not as close fitting as the tops on the pattern envelope, but since I intend to wear them with a sports bra and I don't want it too tight fitting this is ideal for now.

Hmm will wear this with a different sports bra next time!
As with the VNA top, the instructions are really good and this top goes together fast, especially without the mesh layer.  It doesn't use much fabric, actually it will be great for using up leftovers and thinking of fun fabric combinations.  

Friday, July 25, 2014

Vogue 1241 Kay Unger dress

I've had this pattern in my stash for a while and this fabric I bought recently reminded me of the pattern photo so I thought it was about time to try it.  I kind of wish I had tried it sooner because I love it and I think it would look good in both solids and prints.  In fact it might be better in a solid so you can see the details better.

Vogue 1241

My fabric is a stretch cotton so I planned to make a more casual, unlined version, but nevertheless it has turned out looking quite dressy.  Which is fine, a dress I can wear to cocktails and then throw in the washing machine? Thank you very much!

I made a size 12, blending to a 14 at the hips and apart from extending the front crossover (details below) I didn't have to make any other adjustments.  I'm really happy with the fit, but I'm glad the fabric has some stretch to it when I sit down.

Since I left off the lining I finished all the exposed edges on my serger, which takes a bit of advance planning to make sure you finish them in the right order because of course the instructions, which I largely ignored, give you no guidance on this (although to be fair the dress is supposed to be lined).  Alternatively you could just finish all the edges before starting to sew.  The other change related to the lack of lining is that I needed to add some facings, the original dress already had pieces for this designed for interfacing to be applied to the dress fabric so I used those.

The adjustment I made to the front crossover to avoid any gaping is the same as I did for this dress, just extending the amount of crossover, keeping the original neckline intact - but make sure you don't extend it beyond the princess seams.  I hadn't thought about this, but got incredibly lucky!  Obviously I had to make the same adjustment to the front facing too.  I handstitched the front down as well (obviously I am paranoid about gaping!) and now I look at these photos I can see that it is pulling the neckline so it doesn't sit straight - totally did not notice this is real life!  I will have to change it, right there is one good reason for taking photos for the blog!

I'm so glad I finally got around to this one and will have to dig out some of the other Kay Unger patterns I have hiding in my stash, I expect I will also be turning to this pattern again sometime.

My first lot of photos turned out rather blurry for some reason and my second lot where I tried out different locations in my apartment, the camera battery died after 3 shots.  These will have to do or we could be waiting an age for any blog updates.  Also more often than not I am unable to upload the most recent batch of photos onto my blog, I can see them in iphoto, but they are not available when I try and select them through blogger and I have to reboot the mac.  Its not a big deal, but it is annoying - does this happen to anyone else or does anyone have the solution to fixing it?

Thursday, July 10, 2014

McCall's 6319 Dress

While I had my serger threaded up with black (it takes no time at all to rethread so I don't know why I do this, as good a way as any of deciding what to make next I suppose!) I thought I would tackle the border print jersey that was still hanging around from my last fabric shopping trip.  I love wearing simple knit dresses in the super hot weather we have right now, when I met up with Maria we were both wearing essentially long t shirts with elastic at the waist.  Simple easy sewing and brainless dressing, can't beat it.

I used McCalls 6319, a basic dress with a bit of asymmetry that I have made before here.  That version, whilst a gorgeous colour was not good quality fabric, it became flimsy, pilled like crazy and has had to go.  I made view A again (and again without the shoulder zipper) except I had to change the skirt portion from a bias pleated piece to a straight rectangle to accommodate my border print.

I did try to get clever here and originally cut the front skirt wider, added in some pleats and stitched it all up.  After a day of wearing it I realised it just wasn't going to work, unpicked it (no fun!) and removed all the excess fabric.  The proportion of my extra pleats was just wrong and the weight of them pulled the hem down on one side.  Also the skirt was a bit long so I shortened it from the top to keep the border intact.  All that would be much more interesting if I had some befores and afters to show you, but I don't, sorry!  Anyway here's the after, I'm glad to have this in my summer wardrobe, hopefully this one has a longer lifespan than its predecessor!

I wore it out to a casual dinner last Friday and found a couple of black and white backdrops on the way.

Next up, another black and white dress that I have just finished and then I am diving into my pile of activewear fabrics.