Sunday, 16 August 2015

Print Charming

In the weeks leading up to Melbourne Frocktails I had grand delusions of sewing myself a whole new casual wardrobe to wear while in Melbourne - some denim culottes, a cool top, a skirt in a great print and a vintage swing jacket. Of course there wasn't time for all that sewing, but I did manage one thing on that list: a cool top which I wore all day on Saturday before the party.

I think the colours are pretty true in the above photo - I don't normally like butterflies but the flowers and lovely orange, teal and pink are right up my alley!

I bought this fabric from Tessuti's Chatswood store a couple of months ago, within about a day of seeing someone in Melbourne post their purchase of the fabric on Instagram. Instagram is just terrible for making you realise there's a fabric you need, but it can also get you on the case quickly before a fabric sells out :).  This fabric is a digital print ponti, and it came in two colourways - both sold out very quickly so unfortunately I doubt you'd still be able to get it anywhere.

I only bought about a metre as from memory it was quite expensive - I think it's an Italian fabric, and it is a beautiful quality, but I don't like spending too much on stretch fabrics for some reason! Anyway, I soon had buyer's remorse and wished I'd bought more - I would really have liked to be able to make something like Kirsty's dress.

Oh well, with my little metre it had to be a top or a skirt... I thought I'd get more wear from the fabric as a top, given I spend my weekends in jeans and weekdays in a fairly conservative office, plus the colours seemed pretty good on me when I held the fabric up against myself, so a top is what it became!

I can see in these close up shots that the top had wiggled to one side - oops :). When it's not moving off to the side the shoulders actually fit very nicely!

And what pattern is it, you ask? Well this is very boring, but for a basic top, these days I seem to be using the same pattern over and over... and that staple pattern is Vogue 8916. I've made the top pattern before both as a t-shirt (my Splat! top) and with lengthened sleeves as a sort of sweatshirt (this pink / striped top).  It's very simple, but I really like the fit - it's about a million times better than the Papercut's raglan-sleeve Undercover hood on me!

As usual I sewed a size 14 in this pattern as it runs a bit smaller than the Vogue designer patterns. I cut the body to hip length according to a bit of tape measurement work (shorter than the pattern) and lengthened the sleeves based on my arm length. The neck band is a simple addition; a rectangle of fabric folded in half lengthwise, and pinned to fit to the neckline with the excess length trimmed away at a small centre back seam.

I think I have the fabric at 90 degrees to the right way up, but the fabric stretches in both directions so this direction feels fine on. And this orientation allowed me to place the flowers and butterflies where I wanted - an orange flower with a starring role in the front, pink flowers on the shoulders, and butterflies positioned to be less noticeable on the front. I know there are butterflies up high on the back, but as I can't see them they won't creep me out :).

In terms of sewing techniques, this was dead simple - I used a straight stitch on all the seams (yes, heresy, I know, but I think a straight stitch works perfectly well on a stretch seam so long as that seam isn't under stress!) and then used the overlocker to tidy everything up. The hems are top stitched with a single line of coordinating teal straight stitching at a stitch length of 3. Easy peasy!

I've come back from Frocktails incredibly inspired to sew and blog - in terms of sewing, the denim culottes are still on my radar but they're now competing with some really fun fabrics from Darn Cheap Fabrics and a couple of Named pdf patterns I bought in their recent sale. Where to start!!! And blogging - well I still need to get photos of my frockails dress and cape (sorry, I had too much on this weekend!) but I've also got a bit of a backlog of basics to blog (maybe consolidated in a single post so I don't bore you to tears) and a new top made over a couple of evenings last week with some of that Darn Cheap Fabric...

See you soon!

- Gabrielle xx

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