Saturday, 23 July 2016

Like a Glove (Vogue 1314)

Yesterday was an incredibly balmy day in Sydney, so I took the opportunity to get out at lunchtime and snap some photos of my recently completed Vogue 1314 dress.

I say recently completed, but all I had to do was attach a binding to the neckline - the rest I'd finished months ago, because the dress as I've made it is an incredibly quick sew.

But months ago I was a few kilograms slimmer, so even though I've let it out, this dress is now more glove-like than intended. Actually, thinking back, it was always more glove-like than intended, and that's because I used the wrong sort of fabric!

Vogue 1314 by Tracy Reese is supposed to be a close fitting, lined dress with draped horizontal folds of lightweight jersey from just below the bust to the hips, and is supposed to be sewn with lightweight jersey / sheer knits, and lined with lightweight stretch lining. The technical drawing for the pattern looks like this:

My fabric is a tight sort of a knit fabric - it IS a stretch fabric, but doesn't have much stretch.  It's certainly not lightweight, and it's not drapey.  This means the fit you see here is different to the fit I would have got in the same size with a regular lightweight jersey... but even so, obviously my dress looks quite different to the technical drawing: mine has a high waist seam, no draped horizontal gathers, and darts in the neckline. 

My dress is basically the lining pattern from Vogue 1314 in a size 10 at the shoulders and upper bust, and size 12 from the bust down, albeit with a waist seam (at too high a spot) and neckline darts to improve the bodice fit.  I've used the lining pieces from this pattern to make a dress before - this one, also overfitted (hmm, what is this thing called 'Learning'?), and I think they make a fine dress BUT it's one that feels too bodycon for me at the moment.

Here's what the side / back looks like - the back view is very plain and just makes my bum look huge, so I hope you'll excuse my leaving that view out:

And a bit more about the sewing... I was trying to remember the purpose of that waist seam in the lining pieces, and wondering why I'd omitted it last time I sewed this dress, so I went back and checked the pattern. It turns out there isn't supposed to be a seam at the waistline! There's a waistline marked on the lining piece, and last time I sewed the pattern I cut the lining pattern pieces at that waistline so I could add some length to the bodice.  No wonder the waistline on this dress looks so high - it's a whole seam allowance higher than it should be if it was even supposed to be there!

On the positive side, I did remember to add length to the skirt, and I love the length I've ended up with in both the sleeves and the skirt. Both have raw edges, just because I liked the way it looked. I'm also really happy with the neckline darts which I pinned in place while I was trying the dress on, and with the contrast neckband, made from a rectangular scrap of navy blue ponti. 

I'm not sure if the shoulders are the right width or a smidge too narrow on me, but I'm not really fussed if they're a little narrow.  I suspect the shoulder width would stretch in a drapier fabric too.

I really like the shape of this dress, and I absolutely love the fabric colour and the bodice fit, but when I look at the photos of myself in this dress all I see is my stomach and my backside.  Crazy!  

I suspect this is one I'm going to grow to love though - and I'm already thinking of sewing the pattern again as intended, in a thin drapey fabric. 

Back soon - happy sewing!

- Gabrielle x

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Burda 9439 Kids Tops

Arghhh this post is massively late - it's two kids tops from OVER A YEAR AGO!!

Let me jump straight into it then... 

I find Burda pattern sizing to be really good for my kids - the width and ease are good on my kids, and there's always a good range of "workhorse" styles around.  The two tops here were both made using Burda 9439, a multi-size (are they all?) paper pattern for 6 variants on a t-shirt. The fact that the patterns include lines for so many ages - 3 to 12 in this case - means it's easy to make adjustments if your child is tall or short for their age, or has a stockier or slimmer build. 

The artwork on the envelope suggests the pattern is a mostly girls' one, but views B, E and F all look like they'd be perfectly acceptable to most boys. 

First up, I made a blue t-shirt for my son using view F.  At the time he was nearly 11; I cut the size 11 width-wise with the length of the size 12, the largest size in the pattern.  Both my kids are tall for their age, so while their width measurements are close to what Burda expects for their age, their height measurements generally take them up a size or two. 


He really liked the top, but I should have added more length to it - he grew significantly taller very quickly (apparently kids do that!) and the top didn't get as much wear as I would have liked. Unfortunately I didn't have enough fabric to make it longer, or even enough fabric to cut the front in one piece (yup, that band on the front is a fabric limitations indicator).

Anyway, while it fit him it was apparently very comfortable, with the fabric (a stretch viscose) cool and soft to the touch - I should make him more tops in this fabric.

Around the same time I also whipped up the long sleeved variant, view E, for my daughter.  She needed a warm top so I used a small piece of fleecy cotton jersey for the body (I think some people call this fabric French terry?) and some rib knit left over from another top for the sleeves and neckline.

My daughter was 8 at the time and I sewed her top as a straight size 9 - it looks too big all over in these photos, but the fabric shrank in width in the wash and she also grew suddenly taller, so the fit ended up being perfect despite my not having sewn quite the right size!

So despite my poor planning, this top had a lot of wear and became last year's winter favourite - comfortable and cosy, and plain enough to go with most other clothes.

This sort of pattern is so easy to make that once you've used it a few times the instructions become superfluous - all you really need is the decent drafting provided by the pattern.  Having said that, I have to admit I no longer rely on the proscribed neckband length these days though, because the length needed varies depending on the stretchiness of the particular fabric!

So easy, so quick - why haven't I made my kids more of these tops this year?

Back soon with some grown up sewing :)

- Gabrielle xx

Saturday, 2 July 2016

A StyleArc Duet, Featuring Fay and Esme

All my plans went out the window - here's what I've actually sewn up next; a StyleArc Fay skirt and a StyleArc Esme top (shown with the mini water gun I found in the garden when I was taking these snaps):

I picked up the Fay pattern from a pattern and fabric swap at a Sydney Spoolettes get-together at Home Industry in Balmain a few months ago.  It wasn't quite my size, but the pattern is such a simple one that I thought it would be easy to make wider (it was).

The Fay skirt is described by StyleArc as being a Fabulous figure hugging pull on skirt, and works in jerseys, pontes and similar stretchy fabrics.

The skirt sews up as a double layer of fabric, so I didn't want to use too thick a fabric - but on the other hand, I thought a thin cotton jersey might be too clingy.  I didn't have anything suitable in my stash (the stretch fabrics don't tend to stay in my stash for long!) so I had to buy something - and how unimaginative of me, I went for black! This is a stretchy polyester from Tessuti fabrics (sorry, no idea of the name of this one), with a nice density and weight that I imagine would work well for active wear.

It was a little tricky to photograph - so apologies in advance if you can't see much, but there aren't really any details to show you:

The pattern came in a size 10, which corresponds to a waist measurement of 75 centimetres and a hip measurement of 98 centimetres. My waist is currently 80 centimetres and my hips 101 centimetres, so I just split this difference (5cm, 3cm) between the 4 seam edges and added the difference (1.25cm at waist level, down to 0.75cm at hip level and below) to each edge.  Easy :). I left the length as is - the skirt is drafted to be about 65 centimetres long, and that looked like it would be an OK length on me.

And I like the finished skirt - so simple, but quite a classic-looking skirt!

The sewing of this skirt is ridiculously easy.  I had a cold when I was making it so I took my time so as to avoid silly mistakes, but second time around I suspect it'll be a half hour piece of sewing...

The only thing I need to do differently next time is to make sure I'm not pushing my stomach out when I measure my elastic around my waist - I have no idea why I do this, but it means the skirt is slightly loose at the top. Oops!

= = = = = = = = = = =

And the Esme designer knit top pattern is one I bought from StyleArc's Etsy shop ages ago, then felt compelled to sew quickly after seeing a few lovely versions on blogs, including Sarah's here.

It's described by StyleArc as “The Wanted” garment of the season. This knit top has a fabulous bias cut collar that can stand fashionably high or turned over. Make it sleeveless or with sleeves for the cooler months.  

Obviously the pattern is designed for knits, but when I pulled out the pattern pieces in my size (10) I thought it looked looser than the tops I usually make from knits. And I didn't have any suitable knits in my stash anyway, so I decided to give it a go in a non-knit fabric.   

The fabric I've used is a reasonably thick polyester brocade-style material (I think that's what you'd call it, though it doesn't have loose threads on the wrong side) from The Fabric Store. It's a fabric that has quite a bit of body - I hoped this would help the collar sit nicely without any floppage - and that I don't love, so no great loss if the top was a wadder.  I think I've used the wrong side of the fabric as my outer, but that's the side that I preferred.   Oh and I might also have the print upside down!

The fit is OK in a woven - I can get it on easily enough, it's loose everywhere but the hips, and the collar does what I want it to do - but I've missed out on the drape I would have got from a knit.  I'd love to give this a go in a chunky sweater knit...

You can see what I mean about missing out on the drape of a knit fabric in these next photos - my fabric tends to bunch up and stick out in the front when I raise my arms.  Ah well, next time I'll have to use a knit, won't I!

I'm calling this a success too.  Not necessarily my most flattering top, but another quick sew, and with its loose shape and dolman sleeve, a good layering top for winter.  I ended up wearing this top with jeans all day after taking the photos, and it was surprisingly warm and super comfortable - I like it!  

Happy sewing

See you soon

- Gabrielle x
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