Tuesday 27 November 2018

BurdaStyle 9/2018 - 121 Knit Wrap Top

It's no secret that I am a big fan of Burda magazine, for me it is by far the cheapest way to get sewing patterns and I love the inspiration it gives me every month.  I don't even mind the tracing and the minimal instructions....

BUT, I have to say the instructions for this very simple top are terrible!!  There are only 3 pattern pieces and I know I have even made a similar top from Burda before.  (Fehr Trade posted the same thing on her instagram so it's not just me having a dumb moment).

BurdaStyle 09/2018 - 121

Despite the awful instructions I do actually love the finished top.

Anyway I would say ignore the nonsense about cutting into one side of the front self facing (the very first step!) as it is not needed.  I guess the idea is that the other front passes through the slit, but it's not clear later on.  Even in my bulkier fabric I don't think it makes any difference.  The instructions also have "(NAHT)" in two places and goodness only knows what that means!!  Neaten allowances together pops up at the end of a few other steps so maybe something like that?!?

Stupid instructions aside this is a really nice pattern.  I made mine in a heavier fabric than recommended - a double knit - so mine is more sweatshirt than blouse.  I like using fabrics like this for wrap tops though as the "stickiness" of the fabric makes it more secure.  I originally planned to make this in more of a t-shirt knit and I might still go back and try it.

I am way behind on blogging my finished items.  It's the taking photos on me that slows it all down, but I think it is really useful to see the clothes being worn and it also helps me to see if something needs fixing or styling differently - sometimes the camera shows you things a mirror does not so I will really try and keep going.

Sunday 7 October 2018

BurdaStyle 5/2018 - 114 Tie Front Sheath Dress

I've had a run of making skirts lately and should probably now switch to tops so I have whole outfits that I can actually wear, but no instead I decided to make a dress!

This is quite a basic sheath dress and I decided to make it in some of my bargain stretch cotton twill fabric.  There is very little to say about the construction honestly.  I cut a size 40 and then basted the side seams until I was happy with the fit.  I should have done the same with the sleeves as they are a little tight on me.  My fabric was stretchy enough that I didn't need to add the split at the back seam.

5/2018 - 114

Looking at the line drawing I see I'm supposed to knot the tie which I haven't done in any of these photos, oops!  My fabric is not at all slippery so it stays tied like this.

There are no facings, instead the dress is lined to the edge.  I lined just the bodice with a scrap of printed cotton.  If I'd had enough fabric I would have just drafted a neck facing I think, it feels odd lining such a casual fabric even though the dress looks quite...dressy!

I've found that uploading photos is so much easier from my phone than my camera.  The quality is not as good (time for a new phone!) so apologies for the slight blurriness, but I'm hoping this will help me get through my blogging backlog faster!

Wednesday 5 September 2018

BurdaStyle 05/2017 - 108 Oversized Pocket Skirt

You often read about sewing bloggers saying that a fabric "spoke to them" when deciding what to make with it.  That happened to me here when this printed cotton sateen, which was always going to be either a pencil skirt or a shift dress, shouted very loudly that it wanted to be this skirt.  The funny thing is I was never particularly attracted to this pattern and I still think it is kind of a crazy design, but I could not get it out of my head and had to search it out on the Burda site.

The talkative fabric - printed stretch cotton sateen from Pattern Bee in Sham Shui Po as mentioned in my previous post here.  I think it was HK$60/yard, really nice to work with.

And the crazy pattern.  Yes the giant pockets do take up the whole length of the skirt!  I think to make them usable you would want to add a line of stitching otherwise you will have to fish your phone or wallet out from down by your knees!

5/2017 - 108

(Edited to add :  Oh!! Now I see the line drawing online it is supposed to have front pleats, this isn't obvious in the line drawing in my magazine and clearly I paid no attention to the directions either!  My pockets are attached the whole way down and looking at view B in the magazine, I think I prefer my wrong way better!)

It is an easy skirt to make, the only slightly annoying part is that you finish hemming the layers partway through construction.  I much prefer to do it at the end when I can properly try it on, but I think it would be a bit bulky if you try and do it altogether.  You also end up with slits in the underlayer (oops, no I sewed it wrong see my edit note above!) , but how much this helps with walking in it I'm not sure.  Fortunately I like the finished length although it looks better on me with heels.

Also if you follow my instagram (@allisoncsewing) you would have seen that the zip pull came right off just as I finished the skirt, so for now (and realistically probably forever) I have a ribbon pull.

Here are pictures of me wearing it - I realise I could have saved myself a bit of work and just made a plain pencil skirt, but it's fun to try new patterns and this one was really interesting to make.  Still haven't used the pockets yet....!

Friday 24 August 2018

Fabric Shopping in Sham Shui Po, Hong Kong

I've had this post half drafted for a while now and a recent message on instagram has inspired me get it done!

This is in no way an exhaustive guide, in fact every time I go I usually find somewhere new and since the stock can change drastically you never really know what you are going to find.  If you are looking for that special piece of silk this may not be the place to find it to be honest.  (I go to Shenzhen in China for that, but you will need a visa if you want to do the same.  You can also try upstairs at the Western Market in Sheung Wan, more expensive, but nice stuff).

This is the area I focus on in Sham Shui Po when I am doing a quick trip so I thought it would be useful to share for those of you visiting Hong Kong on holiday or a stopover and maybe with a friend or partner who does not get as excited about fabric shopping as we do!!  If you have time and want to really explore then you can just expand out from the area highlighted here.  Let me know if you find any gems!

Mauve Cloud Studio also has a fantastic post with photos of this area that I really recommend you also take a look at.

Last time I went it was chucking it down with rain so I was really efficient.  I also managed to fill up my rucksack in one shop where everything was on sale for HK$5 per yard (around US$ 0.65) - insane.  I assume stock must come from fabric or clothing factories at the end of a production run so the quantity, quality and type varies enormously.  There are though a few shops that reliably have certain things and the suggested itinerary below includes them.

First, here is my $5 haul which has singlehandedly made my stash out of control!

Stretch cotton shirting and ribbed knit

Stretch cotton twill in all the colours

Suggested fabric shopping itinerary
Take the MTR to Sham Shui Po, Exit A2 for Apliu Street.  (There is a fascinating market here selling a bizarre collection of things - one stall will only have secondhand remote controllers, next door a pile of drills for example).

This area is laid out in a grid system so it's quite easy to get around.  You want to go straight from the exit across Apliu and Yu Chau Streets and then turn left onto Ki Lung Street.

For fabric shopping I generally stick to Ki Lung Street between Nam Cheong Street and Wong Chuk Street.  You'll see a bunch of stalls selling fabric in the street here and there are also shops lining both sides of the street.  (The end of Ki Lung Street that you start at from the MTR is mostly for wholesalers, you'll see all the little sample cards outside the stores, so you need to walk further up to reach the regular stores).

Once you reach the right section the stalls in the street are worth a look, one place sells nice soft cotton prints, there is always cotton shirting here and suitings/knits of varying quality.  I also get zips and overlocker thread here.

Of the shops lining the streets some regulars for me are :

Pattern Bee, 156 Ki Lung St
An actual store with fabrics nicely displayed, always great prints here.

Earth, 158 Ki Lung Street
Another nicely laid out store if rummaging is not your thing, often some amazing digital prints here.

Wa Fat Fabric, 217 Ki Lung Street
Usually some nice jerseys on the stairs at the back.

Jerseys from Wa Fat, really wide, HK$30-45/yard

159 Ki Lung Street
This is a new one for me, but is where I got my HK$5/yard fabric so I will always have a look now!

For higher end fabrics, though again it's kind of random what you will find, I recommend Moon Yue Fabrics on the first floor of 125-127 Yu Chau Street, the next street over and weirdly marked on the map above.  No matter when I visit the staff seem to be eating in the middle of the store so it is kind of an odd experience, but they are very helpful!

You could then walk back to the MTR along Yu Chau Street which is the place to go for all the trims, beads, buttons etc. that you could ever wish for.

Last, but definitely not least, should you need a coffee break and a pitstop in the middle of all this then I recommend Cafe Sausalito, just one street across at 201 Tai Nan Street, also marked on the map above.

Happy Shopping!

Tuesday 7 August 2018

Three Easy Knit Travel Dresses

I've mentioned before that I love knit dresses for the summer and especially for travelling - they are comfortable, pack up really small and light and don't crease plus it is easy to wear them very casually for sightseeing and dress them up a bit for evening.

This is mostly old news if you follow my instagram account (@allisoncsewing), but last month I went to Puglia, Italy and as usual decided at the last minute that new dresses were needed.  I turned to 3 of my favourites that I have made many times before.  I actually only managed to get two of them done in time, but the final one is finished now and will still get plenty of outings before summer is over.

Burda Style 05/2010 - 105
I have lost count of the number of times I have made this dress (& now I think about it I packed 4 of them on this trip!).  I usually widen the skirt and wear a slip underneath to reduce the lumps and bumps a bit, but honestly I prefer the narrower skirt silhouette if you have the confidence for it.
This version is very casual, in a soft pink & black stripe cotton knit.  It doesn't drape as well as some of the ITY knit versions I've made in the past, but for casual daywear it is ideal.

McCall's 6319 (out of print)
I've only ever made View A and I've never bothered putting on the zipper at the shoulder, perhaps I will branch out on a future version!

This one is in a classic black & white striped knit, I like the effect the asymmetric pleats make with the stripes.

McCall's 6069 (out of print)
Last but not least is McCall's 6069, View A which is the one I just finished last week.  Despite making this dress a few times before I have yet to make it in anything close to the 1 hour boldly claimed on the pattern!  Originally I wanted a sort of relaxed maxi sundress feel so I widened and lengthened the skirt.  However, when I tried it on it looked too much like a formal gown with it's dramatic front and back cowl drape.  This is good to know if I ever need a packable, quick to make fancy dress, but it wasn't what I was looking for this time so I hacked the skirt down to midi length.

Friday 20 July 2018

BurdaStyle 07/2018 - 113 Knot Dress

I loved this pattern from the July issue of Burda Style and made it in record time (for me anyway) for a whistle stop trip in the UK before heading to Italy for a holiday.

The knot detail at the neck is really interesting, I had assumed it was just a simple slit in the centre front seam, but the pattern pieces are curved and lined so that you end up with a circle that stands out from the bodice a bit.  This creates nice gathers when you add the loop in later.  Fortunately this part of the instructions has an illustration which helps a bit.

I made a size 40 and added around 20cm to the length of the skirt so that it would be midi length (I was making this to wear to Henley Regatta in the UK which has a strict, if slightly prehistoric dress code - nothing above the knee, no trousers or culottes).

I used quite a loud crepe print in shades of pink, orange, black & cream.  It is a complete accident that I ended up with a neat little cream diamond shape at the centre front bodice seam as I did not even attempt any pattern matching.

I really love the finished dress, the v neckline and cut on sleeve style are  my personal favourite shapes and I would like to make it again, perhaps in a solid colour.  

The weather in the UK was absolutely glorious, it was pretty hot the day I wore this and it was really comfortable although it creased a bit from sitting.

It's not like this all day, but these photos from the event amused me - largely empty deckchairs for viewing the rowing and a jam packed bar!   (No judgement from me, I was doing the same!).