Friday 23 December 2016

Style Arc Billie Tops

I liked this unusual draped top pattern when it was first issued and I don't know why I didn't buy it, but I didn't, it went out of print and that was that.  However when Style Arc had a Black Friday sale of the pdf patterns in their Etsy store I had a browse and found Billie there so I snapped it up.  Finding anything on that site is a bit hit and miss and I much prefer to go through the main site, but if you know what you are looking for you can search for it on the Etsy store.  Here is the link to the Billie search page.

There is only one crazy shaped pattern piece (plus facing pieces which I did not use) so provided you keep the pattern piece nearby so you can figure out which bit is what, this is an incredibly quick and easy top to put together.

If you have faith miraculously it turns out exactly like the line drawing!

I made two versions, the first in a sequin fabric for the holidays and the second in a printed ITY jersey.  I think it is much more successful in the sequin fabric, partly because the weight of the sequins makes the drape hang better, but also I think this just works better in a solid otherwise the drape detail is lost in a busy print.  I have some solid cotton bamboo that I plan to try this in and I'm also curious how it would look in a drapy woven.  It definitely needs something slim on the bottom half to balance out the volume - basically exactly as Style Arc show it in their illustration.

There really isn't a lot to say about construction because there is so little of it - make a pleat and sew three seams!  As I mentioned I left off the facing pieces and just used self fabric to bind the neck and arm edges.

Sewing with sequins required a bit of extra work, but I didn't use the generally recommended method of unpicking sequins from my seam allowances.  Instead I just covered the seams and edges with some scraps of jersey, a method I have used before, so much quicker and works for me, but if you have very sensitive skin it might be better to go the couture road or underline the whole thing.  

You can see below why the print version doesn't work as well - the drape detail is lost and it just looks like an oversized t shirt.

The party version is much better!

Friday 9 December 2016

BurdaStyle 09/2012 - 112 Blouse

(I recently set up a separate instagram account for my sewing stuff, those of you who have already found it will know that I started this blouse ages ago, but it is finally finished.  For anyone else interested my instagram account is allisoncsewing. )

I have to admit I find making shirts or blouses quite tricky, although I am sure that the more you do it the better you get.  They seem to require a level of patience and precision that I don't really possess!  However I do like wearing them and find it hard to get a good fit in RTW so it's a worthwhile skill to improve on.

I chose this pattern because I liked that it had front princess seams and also front and back darts for fitting - I didn't want any gaping buttons, but I did want some waist definition.  The gathers at the front yoke also help with the fit over the bust.  Ironically I didn't like how the front darts looked when I basted them in so I added a bit of shaping at the side seam instead.

You don't need to go very far through my blog to realise that I have a bit of a thing for purple, this fabric is a lovely silk of some sort, it has a slubbed look and a cotton/linen feel.

I didn't do anything special here, just took it slowly and hand basted the collar and sleeve plackets before machine sewing.  I'm pretty happy with the end result.

Tracing this was horrible as the pattern lines were red and when they are on the same sheet as the pink printed featured pattern are hard to see.  Also the same base pattern pieces are used for version 111 and dress versions 113 & 114 and it's easy to trace the wrong variation.

The instructions are fine, I changed the order so that I did the collar before the side seams as I find it much easier to handle that way.  I got annoyed that they referred me to a totally different kids dress pattern for instructions on sewing the sleeve vents so I pulled out my trusty Sandra Betzina Power Sewing book instead.  I tend to use internet tutorials these days and had forgotten how much great information there is in this book.

The sleeves are too long on me, I was so focussed on the fit through the body that I didn't even think to check them before completion and there was no way I was redoing them at that stage!  I can confirm right now that they are actually just right for typing in and I suspect holding a glass in, I will test that in an hour or two as it is Friday night here!

Getting around to buttons and buttonholes took forever and I decided to borrow a pair of my husband's cufflinks for the double cuffs (he doesn't know this yet!), I really like them, this could be a new thing for me!

 Lousy flash photos to follow....