Polka Dot Obsession Coat aka Robson Trench

It’s definitely no secret that I love a good polka dot fabric and when I found this fabric a couple of years ago in Walthamstow for only £2/m I just had to get some. To me, it was screaming TRENCH COAT!!! It’s some kind of polyester, thick-ish,  reversible and pretty much windproof.IMG_6288I actually made most of this at the Melbourne Sewaway in June last year, but I didn’t finish it as there were a couple of fit issues, the binding was taking FOREVER and I ran out of thread! I procrastinated for a while after I got home and eventually finished it late last year, just in time to not wear it all summer! Typical!!

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So, now the weather has cooled sufficiently and this coat has now become a bit of a staple. I wear it every day to and from work, it is the perfect weight to shelter from the slightly cool mornings we have here in winter. A normal winter morning in Brisbane is about 12-15°C – yeah not much to complain about huh?

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The pattern is Robson Trench by Sewaholic with only a couple of modifications. The most obvious being the 4-5″ I took off the length. I did this for a couple of reasons, one, I am only 5’2″ so I normally shorten everything anyway, additionally I felt a knee length polka dot jacket might be a bit much. I also question the proportions of a knee length jacket on my figure.

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The other alteration I had to do was take a serious amount of width out of the hip area. I cut my pattern based on my shoulder and waist measurements and can only assume I disregarded the hip measurement (even at the time I couldn’t remember). I had tried it on during the construction process, but it was only upon belting that the size became really evident. My fabric is firm-ish so the additional fullness poofed out really weirdly.

Word to the wise, try this on for size with a belt, well before doing all the bias bound seams. Ask me how I know…grrr. Unpicking all that bias and re-attaching it = not fun!! I ended up taking it in about 5″ around the hips.

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Another note (which I didn’t find obvious on the pattern envelope) was that this uses a lot of thread – I used nearly 3 spools! (another reason this went into hiatus was running out of thread and forgetting to get more)

My final recommendation is to use a lighter fabric for the lining of the storm flaps. I used a cotton, mostly because I forgot to cut the lining pieces, but I am glad I did as in the fashion fabric it would have been too thick.

This really is an interesting project to sew. I love all the top-stitching detail, the tabs, sleeve and pocket detail. I am not a big fan of all the piping though and when I make this again will likely line it instead as this was a bit of a tedious process – even if it does look really good, if I do say so myself 😉

Robson

All being told, I really love this jacket. It probably doesn’t go with everything in my wardrobe given the colour and print, but I figure being outer wear that isn’t too important. I had to giggle the other day though when I was wearing this coat over a polka dot dress – is there really such a thing as too many polka dots??

Comfort Sewing, for winter and stress…

I’m keeping it pretty short and sweet today, however I do have two garments to share with you today!

This time of year is super busy for me – I’m in the financial sector (insurance) and with it coming up to end of financial year (known as EOFYS in Australia), things are ramping up something crazy at work. There is light at the end of the tunnel so I will keep pushing through!  Only a week and a half to go (and counting!).

As work has been pretty stressful the past few weeks I have been mostly looking to sew simple and gratifying garments – no brainers and avoiding any potential fitting woes. The Mabel skirt and V8780 perfectly fit that bill.

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I am super late to the Mabel Skirt party (I expect I’ll make the Sydney Jacket, currently taking sewists by storm, sometime next year!) and I didn’t expect the style to really suit me. I’m not normally drawn to a pencil skirt but thought it could be fun to try, everyone had told me it was a winner and I am always on the lookout for secret work pjs.

I got myself some heavy stretch fabric from Spotlight – it was remnant priced and only cost me $2.40 – being that cheap, there was virtually no risk to trying this new silhouette!!

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I love the drape on the back of this cardi

I cut the size L based on my measurements and went ahead and sewed it up. Knits are pretty forgiving and this one had loads of stretch so I figured it wouldn’t be too much of a gamble. Hurrah! It worked and I am super happy with the result!  The only change I made to the original pattern was to add 3″ to the length as I like the midi length.

The cardi is my new ‘go to’ cardi, V8780. This time I sized down to the small and the fit is much better across the shoulders and arms compared to my previous version.

Mabel

Not too much to say about the construction of either garment. They were both sewn using only the overlocker and coverstitch and were completed in an afternoon.

Sometimes this kind of sewing really hits the spot, especially when a de-stress brain escape is needed.  Do you sew to de-stress too? What patterns are your ‘go to’ patterns.

Wardrobe Winner Cardi – V8780

Who doesn’t love a wardrobe winner, a perfect garment that suits so many occasions? I swear Vogue were just trying to keep this pattern under wraps, the envelope is U.G.L.Y. (you ain’t got no alibi), just terrible.  Look at it:

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Seriously? What about this looks compelling? The line drawings peeps, it’s always about the line drawings. I can’t take all the credit for finding this little gem. Lizzy found it first and her cardi is marvelous!

Enough with the Vogue bashing, here is my version:

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So much better than the envelope and so much more stylish (if I do say so myself).

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No word of a lie, cutting and sewing this up took less than 30 minutes! I sewed the whole garment on my overlocker on the rolled hem setting. All the seams, edges and hem are overlocked – the super narrow finish works brilliantly.  Only the sleeve hems are done on my coverstitch.  I made a size medium, but I think this pattern runs large and really you only have to choose your size based on your shoulder width as the rest of the garment just drapes. I over estimated my size (as usual) and mine is a touch wide on the shoulder, for my second version I sized down and it is perfect.

I made View A (the shorter version) out of a lightweight merino bought at the Fabric Store.

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This really does go with everything. I wear it with jeans (obviously), I take it to work and wear it over my dresses, it goes with work pants and it squishes down and fits in my handbag to take to the movies or anywhere where the temperature is potentially questionable.  Aircon over here tends to be a little too enthusiastic for my liking.

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A word to the wise on the collar construction, the instructions are a little odd and confusing for my little brain, if you make this, just remember that it flips and rolls to the outside so you need to ensure the centre back doesn’t show.

A friend of mine has a cardi that is super similar, but hers has a little hook and eye set up for the option to wear it like this:

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What do you think? Does it look weird?

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There is already one more of these in my wardrobe and two more planned as I do believe I’ve found my favourite layering cardi.

PS – worn with M6766 tee

Dress Up Party – M6713

I love to wear dresses and when Sara invited me to be part of her Dress Up Party, I decided to make and share McCalls 6713.

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It’s a great little faux wrap knit dress with a pleated drape to really give the look of being a real wrap dress but without the security issues!  I opted to skip making a muslin and boldly went ahead with cutting into my fashion fabric. I figured being a knit it would be a little more forgiving.

I used an ITY knit from my local Spotlight store, and made View A with the fuller skirt. The fabric is a little slippery to sew, but using loads of pins soon sorts that out.

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Instead of doing an FBA like I would do in a woven, I used the cheat technique of cutting a larger size in the front than the back to allow room for my lady curves! This worked a treat and the sizing is perfect.

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I shortened the waist slightly, a normal adjustment as I am 5″2″. Other than that, the dress is made up exactly as per the pattern.

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Despite being pretty low cut, it feels secure and I have worn this to work a few times and haven’t had any wardrobe incidents or accidents!! If you were not comfortable with how low cut the neckline is, you could always wear a tank or insert a modest panel.

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I did think the draped skirt section would be really annoying and flap around, but it is attached into the skirt panel and does not flap around at all.

I am super happy with this dress and will definitely be making it again.

Check it out dress

I am loving some of the graphic style prints that I am seeing in the stores recently. Not normally one to follow trends, this grid or checked pattern is one I can get on board with. For work wear, I have been loosely trying to stick to a bit of a palette of black, white and red for work, perhaps once my wardrobe grows more colours will enter. This fabric certainly fits the brief and makes me feel a bit on trend and edgy 🙂

V8766 Raglan Hack

The pattern is a hack of my favourite 4 dart bodice, V8766 paired with the skirt of the Belladone. I love the diagonal pockets of the Belladone and I thought they would complement the shoulder detail.

V8766 Raglan Hack

This time I hacked the bodice slightly, I wanted to play on the grid pattern and also wanted to incorporate a complimentary bias trim. I modified the bodice to have a raglan shoulder detail and cut the shoulder pieces on the bias to emphasize the design lines.

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To do this I eyeballed where I wanted the seam lines to be and marked these on my pattern pieces. I then matched the front and back pieces at the seams (omitting the seam allowances) and traced a new pattern piece for the raglan insert (including seam allowances on the new piece). Perhaps a diagram showing the end result is easier (you can see my fold lines on the pattern pieces including seam allowances, the dashed lines are the seam lines):

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Now that I have my personal alterations sorted for this bodice it all went together super quickly. I used 25mm bias to further emphasize the raglan seams, pockets, to bind the neck and armholes.

V8766 Raglan Hack

I love how this raglan feature just adds a small point of difference. I would like to do something similar on a ponte dress with a pleather or quilted raglan piece.

V8766 Raglan Hack

These pics were taken a couple of weeks ago, since then the temperature has dropped considerably and I’ve been wearing this with tights and a cardi. Admittedly for most people it hasn’t been that cold, about 20-25C, but I am well known as a complete wuss when it comes to the cold!

On another note – how slow is this week going?  For me it is absolutely crawling, I can’t believe I am only half way through! Roll on the weekend!!

M6566 – Party in the Back Top

Back with Part 2 of my sewing for my Abu Dhabi trip!

I have been wanting to sew up this fabulous tie dye looking fabric for ages, ever since I picked up in the swap at the Brisbane High Tea last year. It is so lovely and soft and feels so comforting & cozy to wear. It’s like a favourite worn in t-shirt already! I believe it is from The Fabric Store and, correct me if I am wrong, is courtesy of the beautiful Sophie of AdaSpragg.

Edit: I am now informed the fabric was gifted by the generous and talented Alice

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With this fabric I imagined something boxy and kinda fun – McCalls 6566 is just the pattern to play with! This pattern has so many options that are not immediately evident from the pattern envelope.  Even the website doesn’t have the line drawings of the back – in my opinion that is the best part!

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For this top, I went with View C – check out the surprise back (ok not a surprise because I put an image above…oops):
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The only change I made to the original pattern was to dip the hem in the back for a bit more booty coverage and more of a high-low (mullet)look. Weird, I don’t like a high low hem on a dress so much, but in a top, I love it.

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The pants, if you were wondering (and you probably weren’t if you know me) are yet another pair of Hudsons! Quelle surprise!! This time in another woven, a rayon from Spotlight.

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Tangenting now…some of you were curious about the attire for skating competitions in the UAE, this is pretty typical for the locals. Although all the international skaters wore more “normal” figure skating attire. The only other thing about the UAE that surprised me and that I hadn’t thought of was that pairs and dance skating is not allowed. Things you take for granted huh?

By the way, that’s me in the background!

So there you have it – appropriately covered for my travels. It was an interesting sewing mission, and a bit unusual from my norm. I’ve never sewn in this way before, making things based on coverage and fit, rather than just gong with what I love and want.  It goes against my nature to cover up, I normally have sleeveless items and like a lower neckline. In saying that, these items are still getting loads of wear now I’m back, I just style them a little differently and generally pair them with different items 🙂

Sunshine & Happiness Pants

My wardrobe is usually dictated by upcoming events or weather changes.  Recently I found out that I was required to go to Abu Dhabi to judge a competition (for those that don’t know, I also judge ice skating competitions). Having never been outside the airport in the UAE, my first concern was “what am I going to wear?!”.

I knew the country is Muslim and they have a conservative view of clothing, with a recommendation for women of avoiding fitted clothing, covering shoulders, knees, cleavage and midriff. Well, the last one is definitely not an issue, but the other three kind of eliminated most of my wardrobe in one way or another, especially as the UAE is hot so winter clothes were definitely not an option.

Sunshine & Happiness Pants

Hudson pants!! They fit the brief, they’re not fitted, they cover the knees and would be great in the heat. It’s no secret to anyone that follows me on Instagram that I love Hudson pants, having made three knits pairs so far I felt it was time to try them in a woven.

To adapt the pattern from a knit to a woven, I added a margin of approximately 1.5cm on all sides of each pattern piece, pretty much the same way I would add seam allowances to a Burda pattern. I omitted the pocket trim and lengthened the legs slightly. I also narrowed the width of the cuff and widened it to the same width as the bottom of the pants as obviously I couldn’t stretch it to fit as in the knit version.

Sunshine & Happiness Pants

The fabric I used is called “ottoman” fabric. Wikipedia describes this as: “…a fabric with a pronounced ribbed or corded effect, often made of silk or a mixture of cotton and other silk like yarns. It is mostly used for formal dress and in particular, legal dress (such as QC gowns) and academic dress (mostly for hoods).” I am pretty sure my fabric is polyester but it feels lovely to wear and drapes beautifully.

Sunshine & Happiness Pants

Even though these are a woven, they are in no way restrictive, they are very comfortable and perfect travelling pants. I can attest they are great for flying! I also love how they can be dressed up or down.

They are also lovely and cool to wear and were perfect for my visit to Abu Dhabi.

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Such an interesting country to visit and I hope to go back again next year! I wonder how many Hudsons I’ll have by then? 😉

Vintage Pledge – V2876

Hellooooo again!  Soooo…I signed up for the Vintage Pledge..yep it’s out there in the Blogosphere so I’d better do it huh? I have loads of vintage patterns, mostly from the 40s and 50s. I love the artwork and the interesting details not often seen on patterns nowadays. I also have a number of the reproduction vintage patterns and have been meaning to make them for a while now. I thought the pledge might be the motivator I need to actually sew them instead of just stare wistfully at them. I have started small and have pledged to sew three patterns this year.

Vogue 2876

This is the first, Vogue 2876, a vintage reproduction.  The pattern is for knits and wovens apparently, I chose an ITY knit to give a dress in the Leona Edmiston style that I adore.

PSA: This pattern has EIGHTY steps!!  Don’t let this put you off, this is not as complicated as it sounds. A lot of the instructions are super basic and in my case, I felt some were completely unnecessary e.g. I omitted the shoulder pads so that eliminated 7 steps, and I left off the side opening and zip as it neither were required with the knit fabric eliminating a further 16 steps.

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The insertion of the diamond was the most tricky part as it is done via top-stitching it on rather than a back to back construction approach.

The bodice is also supposed to be attached to the skirt by top-stitching but this was not really possible with the slippery knit fabric. Instead I placed the bodice and skirt back to back and stitched most of it together this way except for the wrap section which I pinned extensively and top-stitched.

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Changes to the pattern:
– As usual I shortened the bodice, this time by 2″.
– I took the pleats out of the sleeve and made them 3/4 length
– narrowed the shoulders by 1.5″
– 3″ off the length of the skirt

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Look – faux wrap!

 

What I like:
– the front diamond and bodice gathering
– love the style
– it’s dressy enough for work
– it feels amazing to wear

What I would change for next time:
– nothing and there will be a next time for sure, I’d love to make it in a plain fabric to show off the details more

PRO TIP – Don’t try to do clever things like play pattern tetris and flip your pattern pieces. Doesn’t work with an asymmetrical pattern if you only flip some, you just may end up with two right fronts – ask me how I know 😦

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Are you participating in the #vintagepledge? How are you going so far? If I make two of these does it count towards the pledge??

JLV Felicity Dress

Recently I was privileged to have the opportunity to test the latest Jennifer Lauren Vintage Felicity dress. I love the aesthetic of JLV, the nod to vintage designs with great details but very wearable and not at all costume-y.

JLV Felicity Dress

The Felicity dress is no exception, it has no bodice darts, instead it has lovely gathering that sits above the bust and I think at a flattering level, rather than right on the bust (which just adds unnecessary bulk). Jennifer drafts for a D cup and so has really given the design a lot of thought for the more busty of us!

The neck and armholes are finished with bias binding which I love as it creates a tidy finish inside and out.  I chose to make my own as I wanted the matchy look – I used my cheat method of a metal ruler with my rotary cutter. My ruler is the exact width of bias strips so this is a super fast way to do it as I only cut what I need and seldom require a join.

JLV Felicity Dress

It does have small back neck darts though which you hardly ever see on modern patterns these days. I find these really help the fit of the back and prevent any gaping around the back zipper. Speaking of the zipper, I did have some issues with mine. My fabric seems to want to stretch a little and it was almost like the zip is too heavy for the fabric and so it wanted to stick out all horribly. I fixed this by taking the back in a little and lengthening the back darts to take out the excess fabric. FYI – my muslin I did first in a cotton did not have this issue at all, so I 100% blame my fabric, which still feels amazing so I am not bearing a grudge!

JLV Felicity Dress

I made the dress in a very light, floral, floaty rayon (bought at Darn Cheap Fabrics in Melbourne last year) and whilst it is a bit creasy, it is amazing to wear.

Whilst this is a PDF and I know not everyone is keen on these, JLV really thinks through the process and has the pattern laid out so you print the bare minimum of pages for your view option. There is no layering of the pieces, so tracing is not required. It was a million times better organized than my recent Tessuti debacle.

JLV Felicity Dress

I chose the three quarter skirt option instead of the gathered option. Perhaps not the easiest option with my fabric as it dropped a lot at the sides and despite hanging it for several days before hemming, still doesn’t look perfect. It is straight, but depending on how I stand, really affects how it looks. I hemmed with the narrowest rolled hem that I could.

JLV Felicity Dress
I love the pockets! In my opinion all good dresses have pockets.

The JLV instructions are very clear and well illustrated and to further support this, a sewalong starts tomorrow! I am definitely making another Felicity dress, in fact my fabric is pre-washed and ready to go!

Disclaimer – I was given this pattern to test. Jennifer asked that I blog the dress if I wanted to and to offer my real opinion. Those that know me, know that I’m not one for mincing words or sugar coating things. If I like something, I say so, if I don’t I’m not one for keeping quiet either 🙂