Dragonfly Blouse

I bought this amazing Dragonfly fabric from the lovely ladies over at Sewalicious when they had a sale on. It’s a lovely thick crepe and I was lucky enough to receive a bit extra as it was the end of the bolt.

I’m still on my never ending hunt for a go to blouse and let me tell you- I haven’t found it in my pattern choice for the blouse, I’m afraid. New Look K6471 came with this month’s Sew Magazine. I don’t subscribe to it so I bought the magazine because I liked the look of the pattern. It is a Raglan sleeve style blouse with two sleeve options and two neckline options. It also has two hem options, straight and with a drop back hem. The drape neckline (View A) looked perfect for this gorgeous drapey fabric so it seemed a match made in heaven.

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The fabric isn’t directional so I didn’t have to worry too much about the positioning of the pattern pieces. The neckline needs a very long piece and to accommodate for this I decided to do shorter sleeves. I opted for cutting the sleeves at a three quarter length instead.

Because the sleeves are made to be gathered in to a cuff at the end it meant that the pattern pieces were really wide – to  compensate for this I made a wide (1 inch) hem at the bottom and inserted elastic which was comfortable around my arm. This pulled the fabric in without the need to fashion a cuff piece.

The rest of the garment was pretty easy to construct – I have since tried to Simple Sew Pussy-bow blouse and I much prefer their way of attaching the neckband – this seems a little fiddly. If you are going to try it – I definitely recommend that you press your seam allowances before attaching the neck piece.

My facings (usually officially hated) are starting to become a lot more bearable now I have my overlocker and all my edges are nice and neat. It has made me so much more confident about working with these types of fabrics because I know that it will look neat and not fray.

Now on to the problem – The neckline – as you can probably see is supposed to be drapey and relaxed. However, it did not look right at all; the fabric wasn’t sitting right, I’m not sure whether this was because I didn’t cut well enough along the grainline.


Anyway, I shared this disaster on Instagram and on reflection decided to just fold the neckline in on itself so it was more like a collar. I pressed it in half and sewed it in place. I think and hope you will agree that it is much better like this! I’m still not 100% convinced though, which is annoying when I had such high hopes for this make. What do you think? I have considered unpicking the entire neckline!

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Valentine and Stitch Angelina Experiment (and discount code!)

Valentine and Stitch are a new and upcoming, very reasonable PDF pattern company I have found through instagram, mainly through the Sleevefest challenge #sleevefest2017 which owner Helen and Diane of dream.cut.sew have ran this year. They have just brought out a new Cardigan pattern (perfect for the #cosycardichallange) so check it out.

She does a couple of fantastic  free patterns too like the Lotus but also the amazing Angelina pattern which definitely has sleeves to make an impact for Sleevefest; they are really full and make a real statement. There are several options, a dress or a top without sleeves or with shorter or three quarter length sleeves.

I mentioned on Instagram that I wasn’t sure about the Angelina as I wasn’t convinced about how a Full Bust Allowance (FBA) adaptation would work on a pattern for knit fabrics. I haven’t got a lot of experience with knits and whilst they stretch, which can allow for a bit of wiggle room, you don’t want it to stretch to that point where YOU (and everyone else for that matter) know it’s too small, especially across the bust.

Anyway, the very lovely Helen got in touch and asked me if I would do a bit of an experiment to try my usual FBA on the original pattern for the Angelina and also send detailed measurements over for them to make me a personalised version. This was so that they could see how their sizes fit ‘real people’ like me and my somewhat larger chest (not showing off here, just a fact of my life!!)  and to see if they can help us ladies to ‘cheat’ an FBA by giving sizes to grade up and down.

Of course, I agreed! It’s so important to me that my clothes fit me properly so any excuse to get involved in that side of things is something I’m always up for. Anyone who isn’t in to fitting and pattern drafting might find this blog post a bit heavy on the technical/construction side. Sorry!

Anyway, Helen and Rich (Helen’s right hand tech-man!) kindly sent me the original pattern which I used my usual FBA adaptation on. I follow a tutorial which came as an article within Sew Style, Stitch Your Size magazine, which I have because I featured in it!  The magazine is aimed at getting the fit right so there are lots of tutorials. Although there are many tutorials and suggestions available for FBA,  this is the one which works for me so I’ve stuck with it.

I did my FBA as usual and was pretty happy with it, I had managed to keep the subtle but necessary curve to the pattern and it looked pretty good. I cut the largest size which is an XL and closest to my measurements. This allowed me to get as close as I could to my waist measurement before adapting it.

I sent very comprehensive measurements over to Rich which included my waist, hips and back measurements (cue the hubby for help!) this was obviously a long process for Rich and I’m really grateful.

I then cut the version which Rich had made with my measurements and I found it to be very different. I hope that you can see in the pictures that there is a size difference between the original pattern which I adapted and the personalised pattern. The personlised pattern is obviously bigger, however, I was pleased to find that my adaptation curves in at the same place as the one made to my measurements (underneath). I was also pleased to see the curve of the arm hole was similar. I think it shows that the FBA works and that the pattern isn’t far from what I needed at all.

I did notice the the waistline is much higher up on the personalised version (probably due to giving all my back measurements and across my ribs) which is something that I probably lose by cutting the pattern width ways in order to do the adjustments. Although my adjustments have always worked for me previously, this has really made me think if I am getting the absolute best fit and I found this has been so useful to help me with that.

I think I also need to consider the fit at the back, another massive positive of giving so many measurements to Rich was that I was able to see the difference that my larger chest makes there too. I think for knit patterns pieces like this, I need to add more to the back too so that the pieces meet right at the sides. I must work out how to do this!

I learnt a lot about my fitting from doing this. In the meantime, I have a pattern which is prepared especially for me, which is awesome! I’m sure most pattern companies would love to offer this to us but it was clear that this is a very labour intensive process and not something which is easily done! However, I hope you agree that the fit of the personalised pattern is great, it doesn’t pull anywhere and it fits well all over. A massive thanks to Helen and Rich for allowing me to get involved in this and for putting so much time in. I love how much effort they are putting in to the fit of their patterns.

It has allowed Helen to see that their standard sizes aren’t far away from mine (in my attempt to represent a curvy girl) in terms of placement and helped her to further research standard sizes so that she can also go up to 2XL with her next pattern draft which I know would cater for me and many others out there and would help with grading up for not only FBA but curvier hips or bums!

The rest of the pattern was easy to construct and produces a cool and laid back style. The sleeves are almost one big circle, which are easy to insert and I used my new overlocker to finish the hems. They give a really full and drapey shape. It makes it stand out from a plain Tee or dress.

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As a special treat for helping with this Helen is giving my readers 15% off the Angelina! The special code is : EMMA15 and it is valid until midnight BST on Wednesday 27th September. Thanks so much Helen! Enjoy!!
I chose a beautiful black Jersey with bright flowers from Flamingo Fabrics it’s lovely and stable, which means it was great to sew and doesn’t cling to me and it has a great deep colour. I’m so pleased with the shaping- for a jersey dress, it doesn’t cling and it skims me really well so no lumps and bumps. I’m looking forward to wearing this with tights and boots on my holiday next week!

 

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Simplicity Turns 90

It’s amazing to think that Simplicity have been helping sewers to create their own style for years. I feel like a real newbie in comparison as I’ve only been sewing properly for a year! I noticed the Simplicity Summer Challenge too late last year and I hadn’t been sewing long so I was super keen to get involved this year!

Anyone who knows me or reads my blog knows that I’m a Dressmaker above all else. I make other garments (avoiding trousers like the plague) but I mainly make dresses SO I assumed I would opt for Dressmaker but I loved the styling of the 8342 pattern so I chose that instead, which is for the Vintage Category. I absolutely love that they included a plus size model on the front of this pattern.

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I talked about my fabric choices on my vlog and I decided to combine two fabrics for the skirt after many people suddenly they would work well together and I’m really glad I did.

I opted for the larger of the pattern options which is sizes 20 to 28 to give me a bit of wiggle room (literally) but my measurements meant I had to cut a 26 which seemed odd. Anyway, the pattern comes together really nicely, like most of the Simplicity patterns I’ve used. I followed the instructions for an amazing lapped zip! I’ve never done one before and I was really chuffed with it. I usually have to check in to YouTube too but not for this. Hooray!!

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The fabric was a dream to sew too. The check fabric frayed more easily so it was a bit tricky to gather but I’m glad I preserved with it. The frill goes upwards at the back of the skirt to produce a great feature. I love a wiggle skirt and this one is perfect for me!

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The pattern calls for 6 buttons but I was going to omit them, then I remembered these black vintage bead type buttons I got from Tin Trunk, a vintage place near me and used them. Vintage style makes need Vintage notions.

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The top was a real worry for me but I wanted to make the whole outfit for Simplicity’s celebration. I was worried it would make me look busty and I’m also don’t like not having sleeves. I bought a plain mustard jersey to pick out the yellow tones in the skirt and with the hope that it would allow the pattern of the skirt to take the emphasis away from my chest!

The instructions for it were really easy again and it makes for a really satisfying sew that has a bit more about it than a plain vest or Tshirt.

Two things I had to alter were to take the straps in by a good 5 inches, or else it would have been ridiculous. I also hand sewed the hole under the knot together with a ladder stitch as otherwise I would have been too uncomfortable.

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I’m pleased the top fits well around my bust, usually patterns and RTW dresses or tops which have separate pieces for the bust don’t fit me, but this fits perfectly across my chest.

I shouldn’t have worried about the shape because I actually think it’s quite flattering, though I still don’t like showing my arms. I would love to be able to do a sleeve hack and still keep the knot detail.

Anyway, that’s all the construction details. I wore them together as intended and I love it, it makes me feel very feminine and definitely has an immediate Vintage feel. I hope that it’s pretty flattering.

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The other thing I love about these two garments is that they can be worn separately too. I put my top with a RTW black pencil skirt and cardi.

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I put my skirt with a RTW wrap grey body but it will go with lots in my wardrobe!

I can’t wait to see how everyone else has interpreted this pattern! I’ll be having a good nosey over on instagram this weekend!

Varda Top

The Christine Haynes Varda dress/top pattern had me persuaded to buy it because it has some magnificent pictures of the different versions people have made. I saw them on instagram and I was hooked. I already have the Ultimate Shift Dress pattern and use it regularly as you will see here and here but they had a sale and I had to have it.

I mentioned on my first vlog that I intended to make it as a top with this lovely light blue linen that the lovely Simona over at Adventures in the Attick sent me. It was probably about a metre and I knew I wouldn’t get the sleeves out of it so I used the cap sleeve pattern which come with the Ultimate Shift Dress and made them instead.

It’s another super reliable and quick pattern. It has more shape the the Sew Over It pattern as it has really deep side darts and darts in the back so I think the Varda could quickly replace it as a go to shift pattern. I sometimes feel I needed a bit more shape with it and often found I wore belts with the dress so I think this will offer more shape for me.

I got the the zip insertion and decided to use a patterned Zip (I don’t know the of official name of it!)  on impulse which is exposed. I love the effect this has on an otherwise simple shift top (I think I have issues keeping the things I make plain!)

I’m really happy with it, especially the sleeves which end up lined so it has a really nice finish. I followed the same steps as with the Rebecca Page Riviera Blouse which I have made twice and used a bias binding to encase the raw edge and give a neat finish, which is pretty hard to photograph! 

I wore it with RTW white jeans from Marks and Spencers and a statement necklace. I felt like it gave me a really relaxed and chilled look. You will note I have still not got my act together and made my own trousers or jeans yet! 


 


I will definitely use this pattern again and intend the make the dress version next, maybe in black as I think that would make a great wardrobe staple.

Giveaway Announcement and a Hacked Orla

As many of you will already know the winner of the Bloggiversary Giveaway was: Lynsey of Lynsey Makes

Congratulations to you Lynsey  and I’ll be in contact soon. She wins this lovely bundle: thank you again to Sheona at Sewisfaction for donating the gorgeous fabric. 

Thank you so so much to everyone who supported this. I was so overwhelmed with the amount of kind and supportive comments I had. Let’s hope it can be even bigger next year! 

Anyway, back to what I do best… The blog. 

Today’s make a a very hacked version of the French Navy Orla Dress. It actually looks nothing like an Orla Dress anymore. I find the pattern a really good block to change around so I’ll talk you through what I did. 

I used this gorgeous Cotton Lawn that I got in a Fabric Swap at Sew Up North, I’m really pleased that I’ve hardly stashed anything I got from Sew Up North. I’ve been slowly working my way through them. I made a collage of the fabrics and I’ve been updated it with my makes on instagram so you can see the fabrics I have used! 

Anyway, the pattern -I extended the bodice to curve round and make a top. I used another pattern to make some darts and treated it as a T-shirt. 

I then lowered the back neckline to above my bra strap by putting a bra on my Suzie Dressmaker doll and pinning it when it wanted it to sit. I then used the fabric to make two long straps (so therapeutic!) and pinned them to either side of the back neckline before attaching the bias binding. I think it adds a really cool feature. 

Finally, I lengthened the sleeves to three quarter length and attached them. There isn’t a lot of gather in the sleeves of the Orla which I really like. There you have it; I have a casual, comfy top with an added detail which I love. 

I will definitely use the Orla to create more personal garments. These may be some of the last pictures from my holiday, which makes me sad but it’s such a beautiful place for them. At least it means not more pictures of me in shorts for you lovely people! 

I also wore it for my first ever vlog which has also been really well supported so thanks so much, you can find my channel here.

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