Sunday 23 June 2013

Wedding Outfit Update

I am overwhelmed with all the really constructive comments I received from my last post, thank you all very much.  I'm leaving tomorrow so I just wanted to update you on Operation Peplum.

I will get some better photos at the wedding, I just snapped these really quick in the midst of packing, but here's where I'm at...

  • I shortened the peplum by a few cms.  I would still like to do something with the neck/sleeves, but this is just more work than I have time for right now.  Special mention to The Overflowing Stash who even shortened my peplum by photoshop!
    No going back now!

  • I heard you all on the shoes - I knew they weren't right, but I was trying to get away with not packing many pairs and also there is supposed to be lawn croquet at the wedding and prior experience tells me that heels and grass are a bad combination.  I went for a strappy nude sandal that has a heel that will indeed sink into the grass - I'll just have to either duck out of the croquet or play barefoot!  No doubt it will rain and get cancelled anyway so it seems silly to compromise the whole outfit for it and these are shoes I know I will wear many times.

  • I really struggled to find a belt I liked so I got some black grosgrain ribbon, a bit wider than the leather belt I was wearing before.

  • I do like the idea of adding a pop of colour, but really wasn't able to find a good combination of accessories that worked together.  I picked up some coloured ribbon and flowers and will have a look when I am in the UK too so I haven't given up on this idea yet.  Still need to get some jewellery too. 

Shoes, nude bag that I already owned which will work if I can't find something new (I also have a black satin bag that I might throw in the case too) and random assortment of flowers and ribbon

These are terrible photos hurriedly taken while packing, but hopefully you get the idea.

Below right is the pre hack version for comparison.  If you think it looked better before please don't tell me!

Friday 21 June 2013

Style Arc Georgia Peplum Top

Along with my recent trial of Sewaholic patterns I also decided to give Style Arc a whirl, mostly inspired by Melissa's Marie jacket here (which is coming soon!).  But first I have a wedding coming up in the UK, some leftover mint lace and lots of optimism that it will be sunny on the day!

Peplum tops have been around for ages and since they don't seem to be going anywhere yet I decided it was high time I make one.  The thing with indie patterns is that I think you need to make them a few times to justify the cost so hopefully I still have time to make a few before looking ridiculous.  I guess you could always extend the peplum and make a dress.

This pattern has some interesting darts in the front, which also make it a tricky choice working with a geometric patterned lace and short yardage, but I gave it my best go to match up the pattern where possible.  I had to swap the cap sleeves for some smaller ones (I used BurdaStyle 07/2011-131 which seemed to have the smallest sleeves in my recent issues).  I also lowered the front neckline a bit.

The most unnerving thing about ordering Style Arc patterns is that you choose your size and that is what you get, but I was really impressed and pretty surprised that the fit on this top was excellent, I took in the waist a bit but that's it.  (For the record I usually make a 38 Burda, 12 Vogue and went with a 10 here).

Like my lace skirt, I underlined the top in black silk.  The finishing on the inside looks like something out of a sample from a class on seam finishes, a bit of everything here - facings, ribbon, serging, handstitching down seam allowances.  

So, overall I'd say I am really impressed with Style Arc patterns and will definitely make more - however.....  

I wrote all this and then went to take photos of me wearing the top.  This is the part that always slows my blogging down, I have a bunch of things waiting to get posted here just waiting for photos, but I think it is important to show the clothes on a person.  I also discovered that it really helps you be more objective about an outfit - either in a good way or a bad way.  

Looking in the mirror I thought this was a great outfit for an English summer wedding, but looking at the photos I don't like it at all!  Admittedly I have made zero effort with my hair and make up, but still.  If I hadn't seen these photos I would have just put the outfit in my suitcase and then been disappointed when I saw the photos later, at least now I have the chance to do something about it.

I know it is a lot of lace, but people wear lace dresses successfully so I think it is a more a matter of proportion, maybe the peplum is too long for me, the colour too pale all over or I need a v neck, wider shoulder line?  Some more imaginative styling?  Or is it destined for the charity shop?  Maybe I have avoided peplums all this time because I knew deep down they weren't for me?  All your smart feedback welcome although I have no more of this fabric left so my options are limited.  If I don't have time to fix it before leaving for the UK I think I will revert to the way I wore the skirt to the Chinese wedding reception recently, hopefully a black silk jacket is not a big no-no!

This is turning into a long post, but I've learnt a valuable lesson - taking photos of yourself wearing outfits is a good thing even if it is a pain to do!

Monday 17 June 2013

BurdaStyle 03/2013 - 124 Shirt

I really cannot explain why I decided to make this shirt without looking like a bit of an idiot, but here goes.  I chose this pattern from BurdaStyle 03/2013 - 124.  I liked the idea of the simple collar with no collar band and the tabs, but I thought the shape was too boxy.  Now the smart, well not even that smart, but the obvious thing to do would have been to select a shirt pattern that had the shape I wanted and add sleeve tabs, but no, I had to do it the other way round.

I used this elephant print cotton batiste, it reminds me of a mens tie print and I really liked the cream gold and turquoise colours.

Naturally I needed to make a lot of fitting changes to the body of the shirt involving lots of pinning, trying on, getting stabbed with pins, taking off, repinning blah blah.  Once I was happy with it I finished the seam with flat felled seams, finished the shirt, tried it on is too small at the bustline!  Only a tiny bit, about 1-2cm, but enough so that it gapes if I am not standing super straight and not moving and more than I have any seam allowance to adjust for.  The buttons and buttonholes are down the centre of the bands so I can't move those either.

I often wear shirts open in the summer, like a lightweight jacket so this isn't the end of the world, but I am really annoyed with myself for taking the dumb decision in the first place to make a square peg fit in a round hole!  Lesson learned hopefully.

My dressform does stand super straight and not move so the fit is fine on it.

To add insult to injury, it was only after taking these photos that I realised I had not thought about the fact that the collar gets turned down so my elephants are rolling around on their backs on the collar!

The sleeve tab details that sent me off on the wrong pattern for me, although ironically I left off the tabs on the hem, they just looked odd once I had narrowed the shirt.

Shall we just pretend that this is how I intended to wear it all along?

Monday 10 June 2013

Sewing Gifts - Babies & Kids Clothes

My friend recently had a baby girl so I decided to make some baby clothes, so cute, quick and fun to make.  I then realised I had better make her older daughter something too.

BurdaStyle 07/2008 134 Babies Dress & Pants

This set is made in some very sweet cherry printed cotton, there are a few silver glittery bits on the fabric so I was careful to use the wrong side of the fabric for the self lined yokes and armhole bias strips to avoid any scratchiness and flat felled all the exposed seams.

I added a small piece of satin ribbon so you can tell which is the back of the pants.

BurdaStyle 07/2009 - 139 Wrap Dress for Girls

I'm sure a wrap dress for little girls is an even more impractical choice than for us women, but I wanted to avoid any fit issues and maybe it will come in handy for getting dressed after the beach or pool?  I should have reinforced the neckline in some way, you can see it has rippled a bit, but otherwise I think this is really pretty and it was unbelievably quick and easy to make.  I'd quite like a bigger version for myself!

Tuesday 4 June 2013

BurdaStyle 05/2012 - 119 Skirt

Some more scrapbusting sewing to use up this piece of embroidered cotton.  I chose this pleated skirt from Burda 05/2012 - 119, it's a pretty basic skirt and very easy to make, but has some nice details.

One thing I really liked about it is that the back is just a darted a-line shape, sometimes I find full skirts, especially in a lightweight fabric, too tutu like on my body - this is a perfect compromise.

I modified it slightly by omitting the fly front, cutting the front on the fold and putting an invisible zip in the centre back (the skirt already has a centre back seam, but I needed to add one in the back waistband).  It just seemed a lot of effort to put in a fly front when it wouldn't show in this fabric at all.  If I make this again in a solid though I'll put it in.

I like the shaped waistband, although it's hard to see the seamlines in this fabric.

I didn't have enough fabric to match the back seam, it's not ideal, but I can live with it.

The cotton is quite thin so I added a red china silk lining - also from scraps which is why it is quite a bit shorter than the skirt, but long enough to do the job.

Close up of the pocket

I'm wearing it here with a tucked in RTW cotton shirt, I need to make a couple more lightweight tops for tucking in, the beauty of black and white is almost any colour will work.