Friday 27 September 2013

Vogue 8907 Top

Next up in the Italian collection is a draped asymmetric top from Vogue 8907.

I made view B, it was a bit experimental and I really didn't know how it would look on me so I used some cheap slinky jersey rather than cutting into my best silk.  The recommended fabrics for this top are charmeuse, crepe de chine and crepe so it is not designed for knits at all, but I think it works in a very fluid knit, silk jersey would probably be lovely.  The pattern does warn you that the wrong side of the fabric will show so a print is not the ideal thing, but in this pale colour I can get away with it.  I broke all the rules basically!

I cut a small (8-10) at the shoulders and neck merging to a medium (12-14) below the armholes.  (For reference I usually make a 12 in Vogue, but lately I have found the sizing a bit less consistent than it used to be).  It's quite loose fitting and I think needs to be worn with something narrow on the bottom half for the most flattering look.

But, other than the slightly low armhole I am pleased with how this turned out and it is so cool and comfortable to wear.  I might try View A next inspired by EricaB's fabulous version of it in blue silk.  Usually when I make statements like this on my blog they are doomed not to happen, but we'll see, it is a quick top to make and I like that it has a bit of drama.

The top looked mighty strange until I hemmed it, which catches the cape layer and tames it a bit, it does look a bit Superman until you do that stage so a bit of faith is needed!  Like Erica, I omitted the facings and bound the neck edge with a strip of fabric, the armholes are just serged and hemmed.

When it came to hemming this it became abundantly clear that my twin needles were all blunt and it turns out that they are not easy to find here now that Spotlight has closed it's doors.  Luckily my new (probably only!) HK sewing friend, Julie came to the rescue and gave me some of hers so I could redo the hem.  Thank you Julie for saving me & the Italians from this sorry mess....

So here I am wearing the top at one end of the very busy Ponte Vecchio, the oldest surviving bridge in Florence, still lined with jewellery shops as it has been for hundreds of years.  You can see the dome of the Il Duomo cathedral in the background.  One thing I loved about Florence was how easy it was to walk around, everything is pretty close together.

Thursday 26 September 2013

McCall's 6069 In Action

I wrote about this dress in an earlier post.

Here it is being worn on my hols, these photos are from the town of Siena in Tuscany.  Jersey dresses pack so well, they are brilliant for travel.  After wearing this I can now say that of the 3 versions of this pattern I have made I think this version with it's non cowl back is the easiest to wear - much easier to throw a jacket on top, not that I needed to do that very often!

Burda Style 05/2010 - 105 Modified Dress

I'm back from Tuscany, what a beautiful place.  We were visiting with a couple who were celebrating their 50th birthdays and their 21st wedding anniversary with a small group of their friends and family.  We stayed in Florence and visited lots of the local area and my husband & I also squeezed in a day trip to Rome which is around 1.5 hours away by high speed train.  I had an amazing time, except for a couple of days when I was sick.  Of all the dodgy places I have visited and I get ill in Italy, it's ridiculous.  On the positive side it did mean I was more restrained than I could have been surrounded by all the amazing food and wine!  A couple of my wardrobe pieces didn't get worn in the end, I will start with the ones that did.

This black dress I made last summer has been worn over and over again.  In fact when I went back over some recent photos I was embarrassed by how often I wore it, you'd think I had nothing else in my wardrobe.
Clearly in was time to make another one and this time I made it in Pantone colour of the year, emerald, just before it becomes Pantone colour of last year!  The pattern is from Burda May 2010, dress 105 and like the black dress I extended the shoulder for a bit more coverage, an easy adjustment to the front & back bodice as you can see from the pattern piece below (it's sideways, the fold is along the bottom of the picture).  I also cut the skirt - which is just two rectangles - a bit wider, I really like the look of the original pattern with it's loose top and narrow skirt, but it wouldn't like me!

For this version I added some waist ties in the side seams.  I didn't really think this through very well as the dress has a blousing effect from the longer top so it takes a bit of fiddling to get it to look right, but once it is tied it doesn't move so I can deal with that.  Looks a bit odd on my skinny hipped dressform and the colour is not quite right here either.

Here I am wearing the dress in the grounds of the hotel we stayed in, just outside Florence before heading out for dinner.  Even with it's brighter colour I expect this will go into heavy rotation like it's sister.

Friday 13 September 2013

Ciao for now

No I'm not leaving the blogging world - I'm off on holiday to Italy for a couple of weeks, that title is about all the Italian I know at the moment (apart from food!).

I had a couple of husbandless weekends so I did a Carolyn and had two mini sewcations. I have managed to make quite a few new clothes to take with me - not just on those weekends but it definitely gave me a jump start.   I'll be making sure I get some more interesting photos of me wearing them (including the maxi dress from my last post) than the usual ones of me in front of my door for reviews when I get back.

Not a bad haul - 4(!) dresses, a skirt, shorts and 2 tops.  4 of these were patterns I had made before which definitely speeds things up.

While planning holiday wear is a great way to get the sewing mojo flowing, another way is to hit the fabric stores.  A Pattern Review member, Julie contacted me recently to say she had just moved to Hong Kong so we got together and went to Sham Shui Po, sewing mecca of Hong Kong.  As anyone who has done these kind of meet ups before knows, it is always fantastic hanging out with fellow sewing enthusiasts.  Every time I go to Sham Shui Po I find something new and taking someone there for the first time and having two pairs of eyes made it a great experience.  The best part is that she lives here so we can do it all over again soon.

From left - 2 burnout knits in the softest fabric ever, these will be great tops for fall; black silky cotton stuff which was going to be shorts and blouse for Italy, but that proved to be too ambitious; paisley cotton (see sorry tale below); khaki stretch cotton which became the skirt and shorts for Italy; stretch jacquard which became a sheath dress and I reckon I can squeeze a pencil skirt from the leftovers.

One item that won't be making the Italy wardrobe is this sad dress.  I don't often have wadders on this blog, not because I am some kind of lucky genius, but because I either give up on them so early that there is nothing to show or I make it work somehow.  Although very rarely do those make it work items ever become favourites.

Anyway I used one of my new purchases, this soft cotton paisely print to make an aline version of the Sewaholic Cambie dress.  I've made the full skirted version before which needed a bit of tweaking on the fit, but turned out well.  Totally different story for this one and I don't know if it is the thinner fabric or what, but the top of the bodice is far too big, the waist is far too low and the pockets are drooping.  I'm still deciding whether to try and fix it or salvage pieces and make it into a top - as I write this and think about all the unpicking I'd need to do I am leaning towards the latter.  So, a bit of a sorry end to my sewing streak, but must focus on the positives - the fabric is nice!

See you in a couple of weeks!

Wednesday 4 September 2013

Burda Style Magazine 02/2013 - 115 Maxi Dress

The fabric I used for this dress is a classic example of the "go online, ooh pretty fabric, must have it, omg what on earth can I do with it" variety.

It's a stripy jersey with what I thought was a butterfly border pattern.  It turned out that the butterflies were across the middle of the fabric and were huge.  So the fabric sat in my stash while I pondered how I could use it, I always had in my head a maxi dress, but definitely wanted to avoid having a giant butterfly planted smack in the middle of my body.

Finally I just took the plunge and placed the pattern pieces so that the butterflies kind of came in from the side seams, you can hardly see them now which is a bit of a shame, but I really like how the dress came out and am glad that I've managed to use the fabric.

I used this great maxi dress pattern from Burda Style magazine 02/2013 - 115.  I love the above waist twist detail.

This is the sewing course pattern from this issue so there are diagrams which help a lot as the pattern pieces - at least the upper front piece - is unusual.  I got a bit confused because the diagrams mark seamlines (dots), foldlines (big dashes) and stitching lines (small dashes), obviously you only want to stitch the bits marked with stitching lines.  Once your upper front looks like diagram #6 the worst is over!

I made a straight size 38 and apart from raising the neckline just by stitching it up a bit higher and shortening it a bit at the end I didn't have to make any alterations.

Here is the back view, the method of finishing the back v neckline with 2 strips of fabric was new to me, I liked it, simple to do and looks good.

I really like how this turned out and might make it again in a shorter version.  The waist detail does sit slightly above the waist which takes it into potential maternity territory (although not on my very flat bellied dressform!).  Actually I expect it would make a great maternity dress - indeed, the same detail turned up on the Duchess of Cambridge's dress that she wore recently for the first baby photoshoot, the sleeves could easily be modified to get the same look at this now sold out dress.