15.9.17

Oversized sweater

Most of my fabric comes to me via my computer, but I am actually not that brave at trying new on-line shops.  I tend to buy fabric from the same few places over and over.  I branched out earlier this year and bought some knits from Craftymamas.  The service was great and the fabrics seem pretty good too, thought this is the first one that I have sewn up.

It is such a pretty orange colour. It wasn't listed as a sweater knit, but when it arrived, it did not seem right for a t-shirt.  It is 100% cotton, no lycra, and so doesn't have great recovery.  It feels soft and cuddly, so I thought I would use it to make a sweater.  

I have been wanting an over-sized sweater, but in spite of my vast pattern collection, did not have a pattern for just what I wanted.  I like some of the indie patterns out there for sweaters, but I am so over taping together pdf patterns, that I didn't buy any of them.  The week I sewed this, Spotlight was having a pattern sale on Simplicity, Kwiksew and New Idea, but I couldn't find one amongst those that I liked.  This surprised me, because I thought Kwiksew were all about the 80s activewear!


In the end, I did a mash up of the Stylearc Lisa t-shirt and the Jalie 2918 men's t-shirt.  Strange combo, but I think it worked!  I knew the shoulders on the Stylearc tee were about where I wanted.  I have very square shoulders, which poke out of dropped shoulder styles, so I only wanted a slightly dropped shoulder.  Then I used the armhole shaping, neckline and sleeve from the men's t-shirt.  I didn't think that this fabric would hem very well, so I sewed hem bands, narrow cuff bands and a neck band.

So now I have a lightweight, snuggly long-sleeved top, that is so comfortable that my children have even worn it to snuggle in, in front of the tv.

11.9.17

Marlborough, Harriet plus more

I had planned to sew 4 garments in August.  Quite realistic plans, or so I thought.  I got one made, and then the demands of life got in the way.  So back to sewing bras.  They are much easier to fit into small chunks of time.  

I always meant to re-visit the Marlborough bra by Orange Lingerie, after my first attempts were too small.  When I got the pattern out and started looking at the different sizes, I realised that my original print-out was not to scale.  Rookie mistake!  I remember that we were in temporary accommodation at the time, and I did not have a printer, so I must have got someone else to print the pattern out for me and then not checked.  Turns out my original size was the correct one, I just needed to print it properly.  I did make a few minor adjustments to the pattern after sewing a muslin.


I used a lingerie lycra for the cups and the band.  This lycra stretches horizontally, but not vertically.  The lace is cut from a pair of French knickers that I never wore.


I did make one modification to the pattern, and combined the side band and the back band pieces.  This makes the band a little stretchier than the original design, but I like my band a little looser, so this is okay.   I made this change because the side seams in bras often irritate me.  Removing the side seam has made this bra super comfy.


I didn't have great colour matching notions.  I dyed the underwire casing and hooks and eyes.  I used ivory straps, but I am annoyed that they don't match as well as I would like.


I used the same materials to make the Harriet bra by Cloth Habit, after ordering matching strapping.

The band sizing on this pattern was different to any other that I have seen, supposedly to match the British bra sizing.  This did not make sense to me, as I thought a UK 34B was also a US 34B.  I usually start with a 34B.  The Harriet sizing put me at a 30DD.

I have found a bra wire that I like and bought it in bulk.  It is an Australian 12B from an Australian manufacturer.  Apparently Australia sizing is a little different than other countries because they use different increments between sizes.  Anyway, this is the wire that I like.  However, when I use patterns for this wire, I have to remove a fair whack of volume from the cup.  I have tried just going down a cup size, but smaller wires dig into me.  Amy provided an image of the wire sizes used to draft her patterns, so I compared my wire to her chart and went with the pattern for her 36 wire.  36B = 34C = 32D = 30DD cup.  So I started with the 30DD.  After making a muslin, I had to make quite a few changes to the pattern, removing volume both vertically and horizontally.  I got there in the end though, and am happy with my final fit.


Again, I eliminated the side seam.



These two bras have quickly become my favourites, being both lightweight and comfy.  They are also the perfect nude colour for me - much better than beige.  This means I was able to wear this slightly sheer top, that I love, but has been hanging in the cupboard unworn because my other bras show through.   

When I ordered the champagne strapping for the above bra, I also ordered some champagne microfibre striped tricot, thinking it would be good for matching kickers.  I thought tricot was stretchy, but this stuff isn't.  I tried it out for bra cups instead.  This next bra is a surprising success.  I used the band from the Cloth Habit Watson bra, and than modified the cups from a self-drafted halter bikini pattern to fit into the Watson band.  In actual fact, the cups are a bit small, as I didn't change the pattern for non-stretchy fabric.  This is not a problem in a wireless bra.  It just means that the bridge does not sit flat against my chest.  The fit is more like wearing a bikini.  Next time I make this, I will increase the dart on the bra cup, which will make the cup a little bigger and probably provide a little more coverage as well.  In spite of the slightly small cups, I have worn this the last two weekends, and each time I forgot I was wearing it until I went to take it off at the end of the day, and really, that is what you want from a bra.  It is also more supportive and shapely than my stretch Watsons.  The powernet is not the same colour as the tricot, but it seems harmonious.  I dyed the frilly elastic used to edge the cups.


10.9.17

Ottobre T-shirt to dress

My daughter is a dancer, so I couldn't resist this "ballet studio" print from EmmaOneSock.  When I showed it to her, she liked it, but didn't know what we could do with it.  I remember when she was about 3, it was all I could do to get her out of dress and into more sensible clothing (when the occasion called for it).  Now, she only wants to wear short shorts and t-shirts.  She wasn't convinced when I suggested a dress, but she loves the finished result.  So far, she has just thrown it on over her leotard on her way to dance class, but she can also swap out the purple glitter ugg boots for shoes and wear it out with her friends.


To make the dress, I just extended an Ottobre t-shirt pattern by 20 cm.  The Ottobre pattern fits her really well.  It is from the Ottobre design 301 "The Best T-shirts" Creative Workshop.  I can't see this pack listed on their website anymore, so I don't know if it is still available.  The published date is 2006, and I probably bought it when it was newly released.

31.8.17

Ottobre Shorts - Rumble and Roll

I bought the Ottobre Summer 3/2017 edition, because it has a shorts pattern that I think my teen daughter will like (the Itty bitty linen shorts).  I have not got to those yet, but I have made up the Rumble and Roll 2/3 length jeans for my younger son.








I notice that all of his RTW shorts get sucked up his bum, so I started with the size smaller than his hip measurement and did a full butt adjustment.  I just guessed at how much extra room to add, but I may have overdone it because these have a saggy butt.  It makes them comfy for lounging on the couch, even though they are a skinny fit jean, so overall I think that is okay.  I had to use a much smaller elastic length than the pattern suggested to pull in the waist.

The fabric is an Echino linen / cotton blend.

He is happy with them, and it makes a nice change from the seven pairs of flouro Best & Less nylon shorts that usually make up his washing pile.  Mostly he wears them with a t-shirt, but he dressed them up with a collared shirt for these photos.  Didn't get out of the Ugg boots though :)

20.8.17

Stylearc Autumn Dress

I loved this print and bought the last of the roll from The Fabric Store on my visit there.  Luckily, there was just enough to make up the Stylearc Autumn Dress

These photos were taken on a very windy day, but you can see most of the features of the dress.

The collar is a nifty design, with the neck opening ending in a deep pleat.  This means no need to sew buttons or buttonholes!  The collar stand finishes flush with the collar, so there aren't those annoying curved bits to fiddle with.  All of these features make this a much quicker sew that your standard shirt-dress. 


There is a deep pleat in the back.  Like everybody else, I had trouble following the pattern directions to make this pleat.  I think I had it right the first time, because it fit the yoke, but then I doubted myself and and spent a a while fiddling around before just doing it the way that made sense to me.  

I sewed this on holiday, when I did not have my overlocker, so I made the yoke with a yoke lining, similar to the typical construction of a shirt, in order to minimise exposed seams.  

You can see that the sleeves are cut on.  I never like the bunching that happens at the back with cut-on sleeve, and would have preferred this pattern to have set-in sleeves.



Here you can see that the dress has pockets and a curved hemline.


I think this is a great dress pattern, chock full of nifty features and relatively quick to sew.  I made it at the start of winter, so have not worn it after the day it was made, but I am looking forward to wearing it when summer arrives.