Tuesday 23 December 2014

Style Arc Marita Dress

I've made this before so I won't repeat myself by talking about the construction - my original post is here.  It is a really quick to make dress that looks a lot more complicated than it is (oh, I just saw I wrote the same thing last time!).

Now that I've worn it a lot I can definitely say it is most successful in lightweight jerseys, which to be fair to Style Arc is what they suggest.  This is a polka dot print ITY jersey and is ideal for this dress.

I found on my previous version that the cowl neckline has a tendency to show the wrong side of the fabric so for this one I extended the cowl facing, not really understanding the pattern so the facing is asymmetrical and a right mess on the inside, but it seems to work!

Sunday 7 December 2014

BurdaStyle 10/2014 - 101 Dress

Well it looks like the sequin cardi is a hit, must be that sparkly time of year!  In case I have inspired any similar makes, Nancy asked a good question in the comments about whether the sequins bother me at the neck.  To be honest I hadn't even thought about that, my sequins really are tiny so I think it will be OK when I wear it for more than 15 minutes!  I guess a solution would be to bind the edge with something or try the other pattern I featured and make the collar band in a plain fabric, could look fabulous, sort of like a tuxedo look!  Carolyn recently made the short version of 6844 with a contrast pleather band for example.

Back to todays post....

This dress is a bit of a departure to the shape I've worn lately, but I like trying new things and this pattern appealed to me - at least the line drawing did.

Burda showed two versions of this pattern, one in a lovely ombre matellasse fabric which let's face it is all about the fabric that I have zero chance of finding and one in fabrics that look like they were pulled out of the stash while blindfolded!  Still, at least we can see the pattern lines in the fashion photo.

The latter put me off doing full on colour blocking, but I still wanted to mark out the different sections somehow.  I decided to add rows of topstitching in matching thread.  After the first couple of panels I felt it was a bit too subtle and that I was wasting my time, not to mention thread, but the thought of unpicking anything was worse so I soldiered on.  I'm glad I did, once the pieces were put together they looked much better and I like the sort of sporty look it gives the dress.

I used a cranberry doubleknit fabric for this dress, you don't need such a stretchy fabric although Burda does say fabrics with some stretch are ideal, I think either works.  Since I added horizontal topstitching on the hip yoke I decided to keep the zipper to avoid popping any stitches.

It proved to be really difficult to photograph this dress, the colour reads as a bright red and it was hard to capture the details.

Doing all the top stitching was boring and quite time consuming, but other than that the dress went together pretty easily.  Those inset corners can be a bit tricky, but if you take your time, mark the fabric properly and use a friendly fabric they should be ok.  This pattern is the illustrated course for the month so the instructions are detailed, I always do my inset corners in two stages, stopping and starting at the corner rather than trying to pivot the fabric, Burda suggests the same method.

The end result is a really comfy and cosy dress in a cheery colour perfect for gloomy chilly days.

Saturday 6 December 2014

McCall's 6996 and 6844 Cardigans

I am probably the last person in the sewing universe to make these popular cardigan patterns.  I couldn't decide which one to get so I decided to try both of them.



These are both great patterns and quick to sew, but the instructions especially for 6844, are awful, everything that the Big 4 get criticised for is here.  I can deal with the fact that the existence of sergers is completely ignored, but given these patterns are for knits, the instructions to ease stitch shoulder seams, staystitch necklines, double stitch seams and gather sleeve caps are all just unnecessary time wasters that won't produce better results.

So here are the versions I made, largely ignoring the instructions naturally though these are so striaghtforward to put together that there isn't a lot to say about the construction.  I have a horrible cold so don't be alarmed that I look like a ghost, I was determined to get photos this weekend whatever.

This is the simpler of the two cardigan patterns so I chose this one for two busier pieces of sweaterknit in my stash.

This black sequin number in view A will be ideal for those casual events when I want a bit of sparkle.  The sequins were small enough that I didn't use any special techniques, just cut, sewed and serged like any fabric.  It did make an almighty mess though!

The second Missoni-esque version is in the view B longer length,I love the colours in this this fabric : teal, brown, taupe.  I need to make some coordinating tanks I think.  I used the sleeve notches to match the pattern.  It is quite a floaty fabric though and might have been better suited to the more substantial 6844 pattern.

I think the banded 6844 is the better pattern, there is a bit more to it and the collar band gives it more structure so it can substitute a jacket.  I made view C (sorry peplum haters!) in a teal doubleknit.  Interestingly there are two photos of this version on the website, one belted and one not and the description states that the cardigans do not meet at centre front which I find a bit confusing, it just depends how you wear it.

I went down a size to a small based on reviews - the fit is fine except in the arms which are pretty narrow on me and in my doubleknit fabric.  I like the look, but it means I won't be layering this over another sweater.

I had trouble attaching the collar band, the layers kept shifting as I tried to sew them so I removed the interfacing that was preventing the band facing from stretching with the collar band and then it went in perfectly.  Perhaps with a softer fabric the interfacing is needed, but my doubleknit has enough structure by itself.

These are all great additions to my winter wardrobe and I am sure I will be making more and trying the other options soon, especially as they are so quick and easy.