Friday, 24 October 2014

StyleArc Lola pants and Patrones top (329 #9)

Some time ago I went to a fabric sale. It was a moving sale at the crazy workshop of an eveningwear designer. I've mentioned this sale before, but I haven't shown you any of the silk I bought - until now!

I'm not usually one to spend heaps on fabric. When I began sewing a lot for myself I was a uni student and did it to save money. Then I never really got past that 'sewing to save' mentality. However, I have been conditioning and training myself at various textile establishments over the last few years and can happily say that the money I spend on fabric and associated accoutrements is increasing in an exponential fashion! 

But I still can't resist a sale. And I don't spend that much on fabric reeeeeally (just in case Mr M is reading).

So anyway, this sale had lots of silk and, although I resisted the more expensive rolls of fabric in favour of remnants, I bought a nice selection. The added bonus was that it was cheap enough that I didn't feel terrified to use it.

First I made these StyleArc Lola pants. I used navy silk charmeuse with the non-shiny side as the right side. I didn't have quite enough to fit the pattern pieces on properly, so I added a strip down the sides, shiny side out. I had to piece the strip but it's not terribly noticeable.

I used the shiny side for the waistband too. I left off the elastic at the hem.

I love these pants. The fit is great, I think they are on trend with the stripe, they are super-comfy and the silk is gorgeous.

My sister disagrees, but I'm ignoring her. Here's me practicing the look I will give her when I show her the whole outfit!

So then, getting a bit carried away and running the risk of producing pyjamas, I made a silk charmeuse blouse and wore it with the silk pants! Don't mess with me girlfriend.

The blouse is pattern 9 from Patrones magazine No. 329, which was a lovely gift a while back from Katherine of Bloom's Endless Summer. I must ask her how her move is going.

Patrones 329, pattern 9.
Before I began sewing, I helpfully spent some time typing the instructions into Google translate. This was the result:

I was at a bit of a loss as to where to begin, but I noticed the 'drinks between aplomas' part near the end so did quite a bit of that first, ignoring the aplomas as they didn't seem important. After that, the bit about 'two necks in front and one behind' started to make more sense and I went from there.  

The neckline was the trickiest part and mine isn't perfect. I blame the drinks and aplomas. Luckily the slight asymmetry and odd hand stitch are not noticeable when worn, partly due to the gorgeous idea of the decorative bead, which also helps to hold the neckline in place. I need to tighten the thread holding the bead so it can't be seen. I did not add elastic to the hem, preferring to leave it loose.

So there we are, I'm dressed head to toe in silk charmeuse and I'm loving it! I wore this out last night to the opening of an art awards and exhibition where my Mum had a painting. I was elegance itself!

Thursday, 9 October 2014

I have a new boyfriend - meet Wyome

By Jove, I think I've got it! This is my third attempt at making Named Wyome jeans and this time I'm much happier (see attempt one and two here).

These were made from some lovely blue 100% linen from Spotlight, which I nabbed on sale for $15/m. I definitely think this beautiful fabric has helped with the success of these jeans, along with some other small changes described below.

Oops, cut a bit too close to the selvedge along the side there! That's because I was squeezing another pattern out of this fabric too. All will be revealed soon.

The most obvious change I made was to change the pockets to those from the Jamie jeans pattern. The Jamie pockets are larger and the placement is much higher. This detracts slightly from the boyfriendness of the Wyome style, but improves the look around the bum region. If you don't believe me, ask my sister.

I also changed the shape of the front crotch curve. The picture below shows the new curve (arrow) and the original curve (flap of paper). This is only a tiny change, but makes quite a difference to the fit. 

Happily I can report that camel toe is no longer an issue.

The other changes were to add 5cm to the leg length and to use a normal zip fly, instead of buttons. I don't know why I didn't use buttons. I think I went into autopilot and kind of forgot. I will try to remember buttons for a future pair.

The extra leg length means I can wear these down...

...or rolled up. I like them both ways, but rolled up is probably my preference. I didn't change the leg width at all.

I am rather thrilled with these jeans. The tweaks and twerks took a while to get right, but I think I appreciate the final result even more for the effort involved. Also, the linen will be perfect for summer. Yay for new boyfriends.

Natural Fibers Contest

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

New jeans - Named Wyome boyfriend style

It's no secret that I love the Jamie jeans by Named. I think I've made six pairs of them now (not all blogged) and I wear them all the time. 

So when Named released a new jeans pattern, the Wyome boyfriend jeans, I couldn't help myself. 

This post is an analysis of my first two pairs of Wyomes - the fit, the tweaks and the future.

My first pair was in this lovely, but wrinkly, lightweight denim. The Wyomes are made from non-stretch fabric and have a slightly relaxed fit. This pair I made with no changes to the pattern. Well, at least I did at first.

I made a size 10 according to my measurements. The size 10 Jamie jeans are a great fit on me. These turned out to be a closer fit than I expected from the pattern picture - not tight, just less loose, if you know what I mean. I searched for the boyfriend-ness in the style and wasn't sure I found it. Still, I liked them and modelled my newly finished pair when my sister came over. 

I should mention that my sister is my biggest critic: "New jeans? Turn around....Oh...No...They are not flattering on the bum. The pockets are wrong, they're too low and too small. Hmm, and the front is too baggy just there so it gives you a camel toe when you walk. Good fabric though."

"Please say what you really think." I retorted (well I thought about it). "Don't sit on the fence. Oops, did I just fling your hot cup of tea at you slightly too roughly?" 

The problem was, as usual, she was right.

There wasn't much I could do about the front crotch but, when she'd gone, I ripped off the offending back pockets with their cute chevron stitching and replaced them with pockets from the Jamie jeans pattern. I used the Jamie pocket placement as a guide so they sat higher up on the back.

This is what I ended up with - Wyomes with no changes except to the back pockets (and a zip fly instead of buttons):

My sister deemed the new back pockets an improvement so, with renewed hope, I set about making a second pair.

These were made as a wearable muslin (I know, I should have done that the first time) so I used a piece of curtaining fabric picked up from Remida. It was lovely and soft, but terrible to sew as it didn't pass through the machine easily, resulting in uneven stitches.

I made the same size, but changed the crotch curve very slightly. The Wyome crotch is quite different to the Jamie crotch in size and shape so it wasn't possible to just copy the Jamie curve. I decided to compromise and took in a 1cm sliver from the bottom of the fly to the crotch point of the Wyomes. I think it has improved the camel toe issue, but there are still wrinkles there.

The back is unchanged apart from using the Jamie jeans pockets and placement. I added 5cm to the leg length so I could wear these unrolled. After trying them unrolled, I decided I won't wear them that way. However, I haven't consulted my sister, so this may change!

These are still not perfect, but I really like them. They are very comfortable and look good with a top worn untucked. I am pleased with the slightly relaxed style and love that they can be made with non-stretch fabric. It makes a great alternative to the many stretch jeans I've made recently. Although they are overall closer fitting than I expected, the fit itself is spot on at the waist and hips.

So what's next? A linen pair, already cut out and partly assembled. I'm hoping linen will give more of a relaxed feel. The next pair will incorporate some of the tweaks I've mentioned and I think I'm going to like them a lot. Will I show my sister? We'll have to wait and see. It might mean crediting her with the ideas for improvements and I couldn't possibly do that!

Monday, 22 September 2014

Long-sleeved tee with pleat - Burdastyle 03/2014#114

I stumbled upon a fabric sale a few weeks ago at a manufacturer of high-end dresses. There were lots of lovely silks and fancy fabrics on rolls as well as big boxes of scraps. Of course, I couldn't help but rummage in the boxes. I love a good rummage! One of my finds was this lovely, soft, printed jersey in black and beige. It's beautiful quality and cost around $7. I went through my patterns and decided on this long-sleeved tee from the March 2014 issue of Burdastyle.

Burdastyle 03/2014#114
The interesting thing about this pattern is the little pleat, centre front and centre back, at the hemline.

Giving the illusion of a penis and a tail when standing side-on. And when you've finished admiring that aspect, check out my new boots! Bought last week on sale at Seed, 60% off. Love these.

The pleat is actually quite flattering I think, as long as it's not viewed side-on of course. It adds a bit of interest to the top.

I was short on fabric - again - so made the sleeves mostly black, from a scrap of viscose knit, with cuffs made from the main print. The neckline is also black.

I finished the hem and sleeves with a stretch stitch on my sewing machine. I usually use a twin needle for hems as I like the finish, but I find that the stitches often pop undone after a while. This was an experiment to see how the different hem stitch looks and holds up under pressure.

This was a pretty simple top to make. The hardest part is working out how to fold the pleat, which did take me some thinking. After that it's smooth sailing. This top is so comfortable and, thanks to the lovely fabric, quite stylish I think. I can see it being very well used until the weather warms up.

Worn with ponte pants (pointy pants if you turn me sideways!).

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Lisette traveller dress - Simplicity 2246

I've been noticing chambray dresses here and there on the internet and suddenly I had a burning desire for one. I chose Simplicity 2246 as the picture looked pretty much exactly like the dress I wanted in style and fabric. Yep, zero creativity for this one!

Simplicity 2246
I looked in my stash and, sure enough, there was some chambray left over from the last time it was in fashion. When would that have been - the 80s, 90s? I love it when I've held on to something and it comes back into fashion!

This dress was straightforward to sew. I made size 12, one size below my measurements, and it's a good fit apart from the shoulders being just a tiny bit tight across the back when I put my arms forward.

I only had just enough fabric so the sleeves had to be elbow length and I had to leave off the collar. As it turned out, I quite like the simplicity of the collar stand without the collar and I'm happy with the sleeve length. The button panel and hems are topstitched with white thread.

I love the chambray and I'm always a fan of shirt dresses. It's funny how this fabric was so 'out' that it languished in the cupboard for years and now I just wish I had a bit more to make something else!

Monday, 8 September 2014

Biker-style ponte pants tutorial with free pattern pieces

So, you saw my ponte pants and want to make some of your own?

Let's do it!

You will need approximately 1 metre of ponte fabric, a leggings pattern* and a printout of my additional pattern pieces for the quilting and knee detail (download free here).

*I used the Megan Nielsen Virginia leggings pattern and modified it as described below. You can use your own leggings pattern or make one by tracing a pair of leggings (remember to add seam allowances).


The Virginia leggings pattern has no side seams. You need to create some by folding the pattern in half lengthwise (see below) so the two crotch curves match up as closely as possible. Open out again and trace separate front and back pieces using the fold line as the new side seam. Don't cut it out yet. Next you need to add at least 1.5cm all the way down each of the long leg seams (inside and outside leg). This is because ponte knit doesn't have the same amount of stretch as leggings fabric. Larger sizes may need to add more leg width. 

Check your printed knee and quilted pieces against your leggings pattern. Add width if necessary to match your leggings width. 

Cut out all your pattern pieces, including the printed ponte pants pieces, from ponte fabric that has been folded with selvedges together. Take note of grainlines and direction of greatest stretch.

With the two front pieces right side together sew the crotch seam using an overlocker, zig zag or other stretch stitch. Repeat for the two back pieces.

Mark the placement of the quilted piece on your front leggings pieces. Mine is marked in white chalk 27cm from the top of the side seam. Adjust yours as necessary depending on your size. Hold them up against your legs to check placement.

Fold over the top 1cm of the quilting piece and place it on the leggings front piece level with the chalk mark you just made. Pin in place.

Topstitch along the top edge of the quilting piece. I chose to use a straight stitch and stretch the fabric as I sewed so the resulting seam has some stretch. You could used a triple stretch stitch instead but I find it to be less neat than a straight stitch. You can see the seam being stretched as it is sewn below.

Using your sewing foot as a guide, stitch quilting lines through the two fabric layers all the way down the quilting piece. Remember to stretch as you sew. I moved my needle to the right to get stitching lines approximately 1cm apart.

This is the finished quilting. Don't worry if the sides are a bit uneven.

Fold the edges of the knee pieces over by 1cm and place them so they overlap the quilting pieces by 1cm. Pin in place.

Topstitch along the top and bottom edges of the knee piece, stretching as you sew.

If you fancy pockets, add them to the back leggings pieces now. I used the pockets and placement from my Jamie jeans pattern and topstitched them in place. If you don't have a jeans pattern, use a pair of jeans as a guide.

 Trim any excess fabric from the edges of your quilted and knee pieces then sew your leggings together with an overlocker or stretch stitch. I like to sew the inside leg seam first, matching the crotch seams, then the outside leg seams. Add the waistband, hem the lower edge and you're done.

Hooray. Ponte pants!


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