Mash-up time

Nope, not a combination of your favourite songs, cos that never seems to work out well. This is a classic mash-up of differing bodice and skirt patterns.  It’s one of the things I love about sewing, you take a bit of this and a bit of that and generally you can mash patterns together.  This one is the bodice of Simplicity 2174 View A with the skirt of Vogue 8555.

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I did alter the skirt to omit the side darts, for two reasons, one, the fabric was quite thick and I didn’t want the extra bulk and secondly I didn’t have enough fabric for this width anyway!

The fabric is a poly ponte bought at The Fabric Store. Even though it is poly, the quality is amazing, wonderful stretch recovery and oh so comfy to wear.

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As the fabric has some stretch, I omitted the back zipper (so lazy!!). I also omitted the lining and instead went with an all in one facing.

I absolutely love this dress and wear it to work every single week – I love how comfortable it is to wear – it’s like secret pajamas (I seem to be accruing a few of these!!).  I NEED more of these dresses!!!

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Now if only I could find more of this fabric in other patterns…

The Bird Massacre Top aka Sutton Blouse

Confession #1 this isn’t my first Sutton Blouse, I made another one before this, but there was a bit of a saga…

Sutton Blouse 1

I printed the pattern at work (we all do that right? It’s like a staff perk!), however little did I realise for the first time ever the printer scaled the pattern to (I think) 120% ish. Of course I didn’t figure this out until the blouse was cut out and sewn together.  At the first try on, I realized I had inadvertently made a nightie.  Much “grading” and adjustments later I made it into a wearable garment. I figured there was no point sharing it as it’s not accurate to the pattern. Besides it’s boring plain white, and this one has birds on it!!

Sutton Blouse 2

This version, my Bird Massacre top, is from the now corrected pattern pieces. Confession #2 – I was too lazy to re-print them, but I am now happy with this version.

The fabric is from Spotlight and is sold as “polyester that feels like silk”. I agree it does feel lovely and floaty and it’s not scary to wash at all so that’s a bonus.

I used a bias trim for the neckline, seams and sleeve trim.

Sutton Blouse 3

You might have noticed I have a different location for these pics – following Gillian’s quest for better blog pictures, I thought I’d try some indoors. Mostly because it is too flipping hot to wear pants and closed in shoes outside!!

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Here’s me looking nonchalant 😉 Bwahaha!

This is a great little versatile top and is a great length to wear with jeans/pants. There will definitely be more as it’s quite a wardrobe staple.

Confession #3 – many birds were slaughtered in the making of this top!

#VintagePledge – mission complete!!

Earlier in the year I pledged to make three vintage garments for the #VintagePledge run by Kestrel Makes & A Stitching Odyssey.  I wasn’t sure I would get them done given I am so easily distracted! However, here is my final vintage garment for 2015, Butterick 5880, a reproduction 1951 pattern.

B5880The bodice is as per the pattern, although I did need to make a couple of alterations. I took it up at the shoulders and had to take some extra fabric out from under the arms – fairly common with a kimono sleeve and large bust combination.

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Although you can’t see them with this fabric, there two parallel bust darts and no waist darts. I love this little point of difference that you so seldom see on modern patterns.

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I made this using a cotton sateen after running up a quick muslin to check for sizing. I just adore this print and couldn’t resist purchasing it, I love the vibrant blue against the black background.

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Construction of the dress was very straightforward. I chose not to line the dress and instead made facings. The sleeves I finished with a narrow hem. (I think next time I would line the dress just to give a more professional finish inside and out)

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For those familiar with the pattern, you may have noticed I have swapped out the skirt for something more wearable for my every day.  The skirt is from McCalls 6503, one of my favourites, full, but not too much, also not too fabric hungry. Of course I added pockets, because, well, pockets!

I will definitely make this pattern with the intended skirt at some stage. I love the wrap & sash but I see it more as something I might wear to Frocktails or a work function or suchlike.

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I’ve really enjoyed the Vintage Pledge, it has meant I’ve ended up with a few different styled garments, off trend but in a good way. I like that I have made up patterns using the design features I love but with modern fabrics to make garments I can wear every day without feeling costume-y.

I already have more vintage patterns lined up to make now I’m in the groove! Wheeeee – watch me go!

Did any of you participate in the #vintagepledge?  How did you go?

The Distraction Dress – V8555

As many of you will know, recently Melbourne held their annual Frocktails event. I am terrible when it comes to sewing to a deadline, it’s when the ultimate of distractions happen.

Here’s how my thought pattern was working three weeks out from the event:

  1. Hmmm, frocktails is coming up, I should make a dress
  2. How about I start with one completely not intended for Frocktails
  3. Followed by, I kinda know what I better make, but I better make it in different fabric first just in case (in case of what, I am not sure)
  4. Crap, I only have one weekend left, I better get moving!!

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This is my Frocktails practice dress – Vogue 8555.

I did a muslin of the bodice first – I generally find it works well for my shape to cut a smaller size in the back than the front. I often do an FBA as well but this time it wasn’t needed! Huzzah!!  The only adjustments required were a little off the shoulders and narrowing the waistband by approx. 1.5cm.

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I love the details of the bodice, the neckline pleats, the gathering under the bust and the waistband. The skirt is lovely and full and has pockets – everyone knows all good skirts should have pockets 🙂

Warning – the neckline is pretty low, I don’t mind this too much normally, but for work I would prefer it higher as I feel like everyone can see down it!

V8555-1

Construction wise, this went together fairly easily and the pattern is marked by Vogue as Easy. The only tricky bit I found was the zip.  My fabric has a lengthwise stretch so it kept bubbling when I was inserting it. I ended up having to baste it in first to get it to sit flat – very frustrating, but I got there in the end. I’m no quitter!!

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Likes:

  • bodice shape and the flared skirt
  • pockets!!
  • easy to construct

Changes for next time:

  • shorten the waist panels a little more
  • raise the neckline a little for better office suitability 🙂

V8555-2

So, spoiler alert, if you haven’t guessed, I used this pattern for my Frocktails dress which I will blog soon!

PS – If you’re wondering why I am intently looking left, it’s because the sun was blinding me and I left my sunglasses at home!

PPS – Summer is on the way – yay!! Tights begone!!

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.

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.

M6713

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.

M6713

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.

M6713

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.

M6713

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.

M6713

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!!

Colour Block Mash Up

Happy Monday all!

I’m still getting used to the idea of working in an office again. It seems to be going alright so far, although really not used to having my time monitored. I’m more of the philosophy that it doesn’t matter as long as the work is done. Oh well, I’ll get used to it I am sure. More importantly…it’s all about what I’m wearing!

Here is another Simplicity 2174, although this time View C, sans sleeves.

Simplicity 2174

View C has a modernised subtle sweetheart style neckline which is high enough to still be decent for the office. I found the fit to be very much the same as View A so it was nice to make the same alterations. This time I omitted the facing and instead cut the pieces again in a cotton voile to line the bodice. Being a cotton, this has a good cooling effect too as my fashion fabric has a high poly content.

Simplicity 2174

Initially I was going to add an A-line skirt but it just looked odd with the colour blocking of the bodice, so I recut using the skirt pieces of McCalls 4829, an OOP sundress pattern with a paneled skirt option.

I cut the panels with nice big seam allowances so I could make sure the seam lines were nicely lined up and I am really pleased with the result.

Simplicity 2174

This is such a different silhouette for me, normally I’m all about the fit and flare. I have been branching out lately with some art teacher chic and now I’m trying the shiftdress. I actually like the shape and find that I feel a bit profesh. Whilst the shift is definitely great stylish work wear, I have to remember I am a “lady” and to crouch properly and sit nicely, you really have to move differently in this style!

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For the side panels I used a gorgeous quilted fabric that I believe to be a Cue remnant. The centre panels are also supposed to be Cue remnants. Both bought from Pitt Trading and mailed to me from Sydney (excellent service there!). Cue is a clothing store in Australia and New Zealand that specializes in office wear. For me, the opportunity to buy their remnants was too good to be missed and I bought enough for four garments!

Simplicity 2174

Likes
– I am pretty happy with the fit
– great work wear
– the fabric is on trend
– the high poly content means less creasing and therefore perfect for my desk job!

Changes for next time
– perhaps shorten the bodice a touch

PS – I have Revenge on the telly at the moment – what great inspiration for stylish office wear! (terrible show though). Also really loving Annalise Keating’s outfits on How to Get Away with Murder.

Back to Black – Simplicity 2174

I’m still on a mission to increase my very miniscule work wardrobe. I plan to make a few basics and then a few more colourful and interesting dresses. This LBD is View A of Simplicity 2174, one of their Amazing Fit range.

S2174

A princess lined dress with two neckline options, two lengths and A, B, C & D cup sizes. I love this idea of Simplicity’s to make patterns with different cup sizes. For those of us that always need to do an FBA (or presumably an SBA) these patterns are a godsend.

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There is a little pulling in this photo but that is not apparent in real life

I admit to being skeptical at first and figured it would at least be a good start and I could always adjust further from there. Not necessary. I used the D cup pattern pieces (a couple under my normal size) but found these to be more than sufficient.

The pattern pieces are also made with a 1″ side seam so you can baste it all together first to check sizing and then adjust as necessary. Genius idea. (of course one could just add a larger seam allowance any pattern but I often forget)

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I used a suiting fabric bought at Levines in LA a couple of years ago. This was fabric by the pound and so cheap – I ended up with about 5m of this fabric and used the balance to make a M6611 jacket (to be blogged soon).

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Not many adjustments were required to my size 14 due to being able to avoid an FBA. I did cut the shoulders a size smaller and shortened the bodice at the waist by about 1″, but will likely shorten it a touch more next time. I ended up taking in the sides a touch more than the 1″ allowance, particularly at the bust level where I needed to take it in another ½”. I actually wondered if perhaps I should have used the C cup pieces, but in my rashness binned them so not an option! My fabric has a little stretch to it, so this may be difficult to gauge until I use a non-stretch fabric.

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Here’s how I look at my new office “you want me to do what?!”

Likes
– pockets!
– I am really happy with the fit
– great work wear
– I think it is pretty flattering
– I love the little neck vent
– did I mention it has pockets!!!

Dislikes
– none! (and that is pretty unusual for me)

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Handbag picked by Lizzy (does she know me or what?!)

I feel like I could wear this dress a couple of times a week and no-one would notice, but wear a patterned or more statement dress and it would be pretty obvious. Whilst I build my wardrobe up, this dress is a great staple.