Saturday, 9 April 2016

StyleArc Rosie and a Vintage Vogue Skirt

I'm back! It has not been a great month between posts... 

A couple of days after my last post my mother-in-law became suddenly very ill, to the point where she needed to miss one of her beloved early morning rowing sessions.  She still felt able to pick my son up after school, and to dash off to meet friends and see an opera concert, but in between those activities she lay on my couch (a shocking  first) and declined a cup of tea (unheard of!). Within the next couple of days she was in so much pain that she took a taxi to hospital where she was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian / peritoneal cancer, and promptly had several rounds of chemotherapy scheduled to try to halt the cancer's progress.  Mr UpSewLate and his brothers alternated in staying with her day and night, at home and at hospital, but she was so weak from the "stomach bug" (her GP's diagnosis) she'd been enduring all through February that she didn't survive the first round. She was very brave and stoic, but it was a terrible shock - she was so active and bright, sociable and community-minded that we'd thought she'd live to be a hundred! She died peacefully with her three sons by her side, listening to some of her favourite music. We held the funeral and wake on her birthday last week, and the night before last we attended a beautiful farewell ceremony at her rowing club, with shared stories and message boats on the water. It's been an incredibly emotional month - there's a big gap in our lives now.  

So now you know... 

BUT I'm sure you're not here to read about my life, so let's move on to the much easier subject alluded to in this post's heading:  sewing, and two completed garments.

This post has been sitting in my "draft" folder all month, ready to publish. Here it is, as drafted back at the very start of March - and apologies in advance for the abrupt change in tone, but it was written before the month turned awful:

StyleArc Rosie and a Vintage Vogue Skirt

I have two Autumn garments for today's show and tell (blogging can feel like that, can't it!): a sleeveless StyleArc Rosie top and a vintage Vogue flared skirt in stretch cotton sateen. 


Yes, that's right, it's Autumn in Sydney, and yet on the day I took these photos the temperature was probably still hotter than peak of summer weather in many places. HOT and MUGGY! The hot weather (about 35 days in a row!) seems to have finally broken, but we'll have to wait and see...

Maybe the European-style 4 seasons don't really fit with our weather patterns though? The D'harawal country calendar looks a better fit to Sydney's weather, and it classes January to March as the hot and dry season.

I've had my eye on the StyleArc Rosie top for a long time - the pattern came out years ago - but Kristin's fitting woes with this pattern put me off.  Then I finally twigged that since we're very different shapes, the patterns that challenged us in fit would be very different too.  And it turns out that for me at least, the pattern is a winner.

In all these photos you'll see that the fit isn't perfect, but please bear in mind that I used very unforgiving fabrics for this version, which is really only a test garment.

The centre front panel is a cotton twill left over from my Blinder peplum top of a few years ago, and the rest of the fabric is a cheap cotton that I must have bought a long time ago, as it's not really suitable for clothes being stiff, rough to the touch and very crease-prone. 

I think at least some of the creases will disappear in a better fabric, and I'm hopeful that by adjusting the shoulder line and adding a little bust width in the princess seam I'll get rid of the creasing and pooling at the front underarms.

Here are the line drawings and tech drawings for the pattern - it's hard to see the design lines in my white fabric: 

The Rosie top goes together very, very quickly; it's just a matter of a couple of seams and a folded pleat in the back. with no darts or edge binding.  The pattern does suggest an opening in the centre back seam but I found I didn't need one - the top *just* fits on with a little contortion, and pulls over my larger than normal head easily.  I particularly like the shape of the neckline facing, which is quite deep in the back, the shaped front "skirt", and the panelling that would make this pattern great for mixing fabrics. I'm not so keen on the finish on the armhole - just turn and stitch - so I'll probably cut myself a deeper hem allowance here next time I make the top. 

I sewed the Rosie top in a straight size 10, as the size 10 looked to be a very good match to my current measurements (36", 30", 39") in StyleArc's size chart, and the overall fit seems good. StyleArc doesn't add much ease though, so if you wanted a looser top I'd recommend going up a size or two.

I'm looking forward to making this top again in better fabric - I've got some lovely pieces of silk organza that I think would look great mixed up with other fabrics, but I need to work out exactly which other fabrics :).  

And now for the skirt. The skirt comes from an 80s Vogue pattern, Vogue 1387, that I thought I'd used before - so many similar skirt patterns in my stash! - but which is actually a new one for me.  

The skirt is described as being a "bias, flared skirt, below mid-calf... waistband and side zipper" - in other words, your basic bias cut skirt.  It comes with a very loose, big shoulder jacket (zero appeal to me) and a loose short sleeved top that looks a bit like the Maria Denmark kimono tee in shape - though presumeably lots looser. 

I sewed this in a straight size 14, and left off my usual skirt lengthening as I had only just enough fabric to fit the original skirt length. Because I didn't add any width at the waist I have to wear this skirt at my natural waist rather than half way to my hips :(, and of course that also takes away some potential length. Those two facts mean my skirt isn't below calf length, but that's OK - I do prefer a longer skirt but some variety in the wardrobe is probably a good thing.   

Actually there wasn't quite enough fabric even for the original length - I had to cut the back skirt piece with a narrow triangle of fabric missing at the base of one of the side seams and then insert a similar triangle (matched on colours and grainline) to fill the gap.  Unfortunately I don't have a photo of the patch - I didn't get the chance to take many photos before a neighbour came out to see what I was doing, which of course meant the end of photo taking :(.   

Fitting this sort of skirt shouldn't be tricky, but I think I need to adjust the hip curve if I make this again - I've got some pooling at hip level on the side seams, as you can see in the next photo.  You can also see my cute blue buttons and a super-invisible zip, made more invisible by my camera's inability to cope with the whiteness of the white areas of fabric.

And here's the back view - not very exciting, and no, you can't see the patch:

I'm very happy to have another skirt in my wardrobe, even if it is currently on the tight side of fitting.

Happy sewing, and I wish you and your loved ones good health 

- Gabrielle x

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