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Friday, 13 January 2017

McCall's 7243 Top

I bought this pattern last winter and never got around to using it which I am a bit annoyed about now because it is a great pattern.  Still, better late than never!

McCall's 7243



I made view A, the long sleeve top, from a lightweight sweater knit in a colour I love - somewhere between cobalt blue and bright purple.


Construction is very straightforward, t's quick to make, the instructions are clear and the pattern is nicely drafted.  I made a straight size 12, my usual big 4 starting point for tops.  The fit in the body is really nice (the pattern is described as close fitting which is accurate I think).  If I make the dress I will size up below the waist as I suspect I'd find it a bit clingy for my personal taste (and bod!).


I will definitely be making this again, the options available make this a very versatile pattern - top, dress, sleeves, no sleeves and contrast collar / sleeves.  I tried the top on before inserting the sleeves just to check the bodice fit and really liked how it looked so I'll be giving that a go in jersey for summer.

I had a right time of it trying to get photos of me wearing it so I've had to adjust the exposure on these so you can see anything, I think the dress form photos show the colour more accurately.  But anyway, you get the idea!  


You can see that in real life wearing, the collar shifts up a bit though this is partly due to my fabric, I think a slipperier jersey would behave a bit differently.  The overlay also looks slightly deeper on the model photo which I'm sure is due to bust size so if you normally do an FBA then the collar would probably need to be made deeper too.  





BurdaStyle 09/2016 - 118 Long Waistcoat

This is one of two garments I made for my sister, now that Christmas has been and gone I can share them here. Not that I think she reads my blog, but I didn't want to risk it.  

I wanted the gifts to be a surprise, but I also don't know her exact measurements, just her sizing relative to mine so I chose patterns that weren't close fitting.


I loved this whole look in the magazine and may well make this for myself, it would be great for the between seasons weather we are having.


I used a lovely knit boucle in variegated black and white.  The pattern is easy to put together, I just changed a couple of things in the construction:
  • I used Sandra Betzina's Power Sewing book for the side seam pockets, the Burda instructions send you off to another pattern entirely which is understandable, but annoying.  I'd forgotten what a great book this is, her methods are always reliable.  My notes say that she has you sew the pockets first and then the side seam rather than stitching the pocket and side seam together. To be honest I don't know why one method works better than the other for me, it would be interesting to try both methods and compare them, but I find the SB method easier to get everything lining up and laying flat.
  • I added narrow belt loops into the side seams before sewing them instead of doing handworked ones at the end.

I wish I had paid attention when cutting the collar so that the stripe effect ran in the other direction, but otherwise I am really pleased with it and more importantly so is my sister!

I think you have to be a bit careful styling this so it doesn't look like a bathrobe, which it kind of does on my dressform and I didn't think to style it on there when taking these photos before gift wrapping it.  

I like how Burda has it over a dress and I think skinny pants and boots would also be good.  I've no idea what my sister has been doing, sorry I don't have any photos of her wearing it!











Wednesday, 4 January 2017

BurdaStyle 04/2011 - 124 Skirt & Style Arc Madeleine Top

Thanks all for the comments on my sequin top, I hope everyone had a great holiday season and that you are ready to see what 2017 brings.  I am loving reading all the 2016 recaps, not sure yet if I will get around to it, I still have things that I haven't blogged yet so I will get going on those first....

Not very sensibly, I decided in the week before Christmas that I wanted a new outfit to wear on the day, but at least I was sensible enough to use straightforward patterns I had made before which cut down on tracing, cutting and fitting time.



The skirt is BurdaStyle 04/2011-124 (previously made as a modified version in green eyelet here).  This time I kept all the seams in the skirt, the only change being to shift the zip from the side back to the side for no other reason than I didn't read the instructions!



I used this floral fabric, something like a jacquard or matelasse, it's quite stiff which works well for a party skirt to give it some structure and I love the dark, moody, oil painting-like quality of the flowers.


Reverse side of fabric showing the texture
Side zip, you can also just see the fabric texture here too


The top is Style Arc's Madeleine Ponte top.  I first made this (here)in a medium weight polyester knit really as a test version so the insides were unfinished and I really rushed it.  I ended up wearing that top until the fabric pilled like mad so a remake or two are long overdue.  This version is much more successful, mostly due to fabric choice - I guess it is called the Madeleine Ponte top for a reason!


I made a size 10 and nipped it in a bit at the waist.  Having made this before, I knew I could get away without the zip so left that off and eliminated the vertical centre back seam also.  The front band does still need to be secured in a few places on the front to keep it in place even in the recommended fabric; I just stitched in the ditch of the seam in a few places.  

I do think this would be easy enough to extend to a sheath dress and I might give that a whirl especially as I now have a healthy (or perhaps that should be unhealthy!) stack of ponte knits.

 

Here I am wearing the pieces together - despite the lack of planning and time spent on the outfit, it really was perfect for the day and it's a combination I will definitely be using again.


I think the print is quite wintery even though it is floral so I tried the skirt with boots and a jacket too for a slightly more dressed down look and to prove that this skirt needn't be just for Christmas!


Friday, 23 December 2016

Style Arc Billie Tops

I liked this unusual draped top pattern when it was first issued and I don't know why I didn't buy it, but I didn't, it went out of print and that was that.  However when Style Arc had a Black Friday sale of the pdf patterns in their Etsy store I had a browse and found Billie there so I snapped it up.  Finding anything on that site is a bit hit and miss and I much prefer to go through the main site, but if you know what you are looking for you can search for it on the Etsy store.  Here is the link to the Billie search page.


There is only one crazy shaped pattern piece (plus facing pieces which I did not use) so provided you keep the pattern piece nearby so you can figure out which bit is what, this is an incredibly quick and easy top to put together.


If you have faith miraculously it turns out exactly like the line drawing!


I made two versions, the first in a sequin fabric for the holidays and the second in a printed ITY jersey.  I think it is much more successful in the sequin fabric, partly because the weight of the sequins makes the drape hang better, but also I think this just works better in a solid otherwise the drape detail is lost in a busy print.  I have some solid cotton bamboo that I plan to try this in and I'm also curious how it would look in a drapy woven.  It definitely needs something slim on the bottom half to balance out the volume - basically exactly as Style Arc show it in their illustration.





There really isn't a lot to say about construction because there is so little of it - make a pleat and sew three seams!  As I mentioned I left off the facing pieces and just used self fabric to bind the neck and arm edges.

Sewing with sequins required a bit of extra work, but I didn't use the generally recommended method of unpicking sequins from my seam allowances.  Instead I just covered the seams and edges with some scraps of jersey, a method I have used before, so much quicker and works for me, but if you have very sensitive skin it might be better to go the couture road or underline the whole thing.  



You can see below why the print version doesn't work as well - the drape detail is lost and it just looks like an oversized t shirt.


The party version is much better!



Friday, 9 December 2016

BurdaStyle 09/2012 - 112 Blouse

(I recently set up a separate instagram account for my sewing stuff, those of you who have already found it will know that I started this blouse ages ago, but it is finally finished.  For anyone else interested my instagram account is allisoncsewing. )

I have to admit I find making shirts or blouses quite tricky, although I am sure that the more you do it the better you get.  They seem to require a level of patience and precision that I don't really possess!  However I do like wearing them and find it hard to get a good fit in RTW so it's a worthwhile skill to improve on.

I chose this pattern because I liked that it had front princess seams and also front and back darts for fitting - I didn't want any gaping buttons, but I did want some waist definition.  The gathers at the front yoke also help with the fit over the bust.  Ironically I didn't like how the front darts looked when I basted them in so I added a bit of shaping at the side seam instead.

http://www.burdastyle.com/pattern_store/patterns/printed-blouse-092012



You don't need to go very far through my blog to realise that I have a bit of a thing for purple, this fabric is a lovely silk of some sort, it has a slubbed look and a cotton/linen feel.

I didn't do anything special here, just took it slowly and hand basted the collar and sleeve plackets before machine sewing.  I'm pretty happy with the end result.







Tracing this was horrible as the pattern lines were red and when they are on the same sheet as the pink printed featured pattern are hard to see.  Also the same base pattern pieces are used for version 111 and dress versions 113 & 114 and it's easy to trace the wrong variation.

The instructions are fine, I changed the order so that I did the collar before the side seams as I find it much easier to handle that way.  I got annoyed that they referred me to a totally different kids dress pattern for instructions on sewing the sleeve vents so I pulled out my trusty Sandra Betzina Power Sewing book instead.  I tend to use internet tutorials these days and had forgotten how much great information there is in this book.

The sleeves are too long on me, I was so focussed on the fit through the body that I didn't even think to check them before completion and there was no way I was redoing them at that stage!  I can confirm right now that they are actually just right for typing in and I suspect holding a glass in, I will test that in an hour or two as it is Friday night here!

Getting around to buttons and buttonholes took forever and I decided to borrow a pair of my husband's cufflinks for the double cuffs (he doesn't know this yet!), I really like them, this could be a new thing for me!



 Lousy flash photos to follow....