Slinky Silk Sandpoint Top

 

I would like to take a moment to welcome summer to New Zealand. We got off to a good start in early December, then things were a bit rocky for a while there but now we are in the full swing of it – beaches, barbecues and a little bit of sunburn. And I know have a new top to add to my summer wardrobe – the Sandpoint Top by Grayday Patterns. As you may remember Helena of Gray All Day blog was the winner of Project Indie, a collaboration between myself and the lovely co-ordinators of the Monthly Stitch blog.

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The Sandpoint top is a causual summer-y blouse with a cowl neck back. It is designed to be sewn in knit fabrics, but I’m a bit of a rule breaker so I made mine in a silk crepe de chine that has a fair bit of one-way stretch. I’d always envisioned this pattern as a slinky evening top. Next time I’m thinking more slinking. Black sequins anyone?

I made a couple of alterations to the pattern including omitting the neck band and the waist band to fit with my evening look.

 

 

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Have you made this pattern yet? I’d love to see yours – send me a link in the comments below 🙂

The Jobhunt Dress

I feel most comfortable when I’m wearing a dress. Trousers can bulge awkwardly, blouses need ironing, skirts and tops can be hard to match perfectly so dresses, for me, are a great, choice for a job interview. So here is my newest edition of an old favourite, a tried and true pattern – McCalls 6201, rated easy.

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I made this dress in a wool blend houndstooth that I acquired many moons ago from, of course, The Fabric Store. It’s a nice lightweight fabric, with the right amount of body and drape. It’s also got a tiny bit of stretch for extra comfort.

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I made a couple of alterations to the sizing and construction of this dress, including adding an additional 1.5cm to the side edges. It turns out that the 2011 edition of Penny guessed that she was a size 10. Little did she know that RTW sizing has no bearing on McCall’s take on sizing. Silly 2011 Penny. I also decided to finish the neckline with some store bought bias binding. The pattern had suggested a full lining but there was no way that was going to fly with us Southern Hemispherians heading into summer! I decided to compromise by making a facing to attach instead. I cut and interfaced this facing before remembering that I abhor facings, hence the bias binding.

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Here’s another one of me taking a picture in the shiny facade of building. What must the people inside think?!

In Other Exciting News there are two things to watch out for this week! Firstly, I will be teaching a class at Sew Love sewing lounge at St Kevin’s Arcade this Saturday! We will be CHRISTMAS APRONS! I’m really looking forward to it! Second, the Auckland Sewists’ Collective is having our first ever sewalong! The theme is nice and easy – “summer dresses”. If you live in Auckland and would like to be part of the Sewalong and blog tour you can request to join our Facebook group.

Saltspring Made in a Hurry

Hi lovely readers! It was a hot and windy day here in Auckland yesterday and guess what?! I finished a Saltspring dress by Sewaholic Patterns! I had to make it in a hurry because I really wanted to wear it to my friends’ engagement party. Luckily I finished just in time! (OK, we were a bit late…)

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I made this dress out of a silk remnant I picked up at the mid-year sale at the Fabric Store, Newton. It’s a lovely slinky fabric that has a nice one-way stretch, shiny on one side, matte on the other. I love how the feel of this fabric and the style of the pattern work so well together. I reckon I could wear this dress for work with a bold coloured cropped blazer or casually with a denim jacket. I think it’s my new fave!

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I made a few alterations to the pattern and construction of the dress. For starters, I shortened the bodice front and back so they were less “blousy”. We all know how I feel about that volume right? I also assembled the waist slightly differently to the suggested method. I simply attached the bodice and skirt, overlocked the edge, sewed the ends of the elastic together, marked it in quarters and stretched it out along the waistline. Much quicker than creating a channel for it, but perhaps not as pretty and neat! I also omitted the zipper from the centre back. I had read a tonne of your blogs saying that it wasn’t necessary and I trust you guys 🙂 Oh, and I just made one shoulder strap and cut it in half for the straps.

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I made this in a size 8 bodice / 4 skirt. I think the sizing is mostly fine. Only ‘mostly’ because I feel like the straps sit a bit wide on my shoulders. I think for my next Saltspring I will take some fabric out of the centre front and centre back bodice pieces to help move them in. The straps could also be shorter perhaps.

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I had a wee bit of trouble with aligning the straps as I was zipping along joining the bodice to the lining. I think with the next Saltspring (I’ve said it twice so I’m going to have do do it now right?) I’ll be taking this a bit slower and doing it in stages so that I can check to see how I’m going.

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Have you made a Saltspring dress? Share your link with me! I’d love to see yours and get some inspiration for my next one!

It’s Been a While, But I’ve Still Got It

I’ve been thinking – isn’t it sad that as soon as my life gets busy I stop doing the things I really enjoy? Let me tell you this – I have been BUSY! It’s important to get the essential things done but the fun things make life better – so here is a Belcarra Blouse by Sewaholic Patterns.

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I’m currently on uni holidays so I’ve seized the moment and got sewing. I made this top, as well as cut out Muse Patterns’ Jenna Cardi and Grainline Studio’s Alder Shirtdress which I secretly think will go really nicely together! I tried taking some photos outside but it was SO SUNNY that I ended up with watering eyes. This is my level of commitment team! At least I know it’s nearly summer.

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I made this blouse out of a silk-viscose blend. And as I was sewing it I wondered if it were meant to used for lining? Isn’t viscous normally a lining material, I wondered? Of course it was already too late by this stage as I had cut the fabric into a t-shirt, but even as I wear it now I’m still wondering… Anyway it feels lovely to wear and has a lovely loose drape so I’m not too bothered about it. Also, as 99% of the western world buys RTW clothes they wouldn’t recognise the print anyway so it will be our secret ok?

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Side note – these are my favourite trousers-and-shoes combination at the moment. They’re both quite out of the box for me! The trousers are wet-look, super-skinny, super-stretchy jean-type-things. The shoes are black leather with chunky wooden heals. I’m quite fond of both of these pieces.

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Notes for future Belcarras:

  • In this version I did not top stitch the cuffs. I think in the next edition this would be a nice detail.
  • I kept the sizing and shape as is (we all know Sewaholic Patterns are pear-shaped right?) I think I’ll keep my next on this way as I really like the having lots of ease on the waist. I think the shape looks nice. Length is also great for me.
  • This top is crying out for contrasting shoulder/ sleeve panels. I currently have some white crepe sitting lonesome in the fabric bookcase and I’m thinking of pairing it with golden shoulders. Too much? Try stop me!
  • Neck bias binding isn’t amazing but only ok-ish (very scientific categorising). This is an area for improvement…
  • Pattern placement: I gave the front and back panels a lot of thought and ensured the fabric design was centred. Bizarrely didn’t consider this at all when it came to matching at the sides. This happened with my Charlotte Skirt too. Alas, I think I need to slow down a bit and make sure to check these things next time. Having said that it’s only fellow sewists who notice these things or care! AMIRITE?

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One more thing. Is it just me or does the neckline look really wide on this top? When I first tried it on I was like woah that is gonna slip and slide every where! But actually it’s fine. I haven’t had any issues and it frames my clavicles nicely!

Have you made the Belcarra yet? What did you think?

Myrtle in Mauve Merino

I’ve just completed sewing my Myrtle dress by Colette patterns. As it turns hands on my waist is my default pose so bear with me here in these photos…

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As we’re in the middle of winter here in New Zealand I decided to make my Myrtle in a soft, light and slightly sheer merino wool. It gets cold, but not that cold in Auckland. Like whenever it gets below double digits I’m surprised. I bought this fabric at Nick’s fabrics (did you see they’re in Otara now?) a few years ago and made it into my first Renfrew, seen here.

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Sans belt

I made several alterations to this pattern and changed the construction around a little. First off I did not self-line my front bodice. The front bodice piece is like two front bodice pieces stuck together at the neckline. It’s intended to be folded with right sides together and stitched at the armholes for a nice tidy finish. However, with my fabric being slightly sheer I thought it could look strange. Plus I did not have enough fabric to self-line the whole garment.

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Instead I kept about 15cm of the lining, finishing the edges with my overlocker. I then attached the front and back at the shoulders, basted the shell and lining together along the armhole and doubled the edge over to finish.

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The other big change I made was to the waist. The pattern suggests using a thick elastic and encasing it using the bodice lining – that I did not have. Due to the lightness of my fabric I decided that a thick, heavy elastic wouldn’t be the right match. Instead, I used a 1cm thick black elastic and stretched it out along the join of the bodice to skirt.

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So that’s me and Myrtle. Next week I’ll tackle the Yaletown dress (and blouse) but let’s be honest – I’ll be making the dress. I’m defs a dress kinda gal. Have you sewn the Myrtle yet?

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Charlotte, Revisited

Long, long ago in a land far away I posted this photos to my Instagram

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And I’ve finally finished my second Charlotte skirt! (Here’s my first one)

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As you can see its a lovely black, red and yellow wool tartan. I inherited this fabric from a colleague at my old job’s mother-in-law along with a hand full of other wool tartans, lining for Africa and zippers of all colours and lengths.

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This was one of my first forays into tartan fabrics and matching seams. I did a great job of matching the horizontal lines … but alas didn’t think it through completely and mismatched the vertical stripes. What a fail right?! However, I’m an accentuate the positive kinda person and this fabric was free so its all good.

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Confession: I have had some issues with how to style with this skirt. Because it’s high-waisted and I’m a busty lass I’m really struggling! If I wear something tight I look ridiculous, and if I wear something loose it goes all billow-y and poofy. I’m thinking I need some cropped tops … All suggestions greatly appreciated! The top I’m wearing here has lots of layers so it sort of looks cropped.

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There isn’t a great deal more to say about this skirt except that I love it and feel pretty hipster-chic when I wear it.

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Also – Project Indie is still open! If you are a sewist about to launch your line of patterns email us and we will hook you up!

My Favourite New Dress

Boom! I made a new dress!

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Ok I’ll be the first to admit that this dress is not the most exciting thing you’ve ever seen right? But I’m having a bit of a sewing trough at the moment so I needed something super simple and very wearable as a pick me up. This was the perfect solution. The dress consists of only one front piece, one back piece and back and front neck facings – easy as. And bonus no closures. Feeling like you’ve heard this before? Yes, my Laurel is the same story. I’m having an easy to sew, easy to wear phase.

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On the envelope this is a totally 80s looking pattern, New Look 6974. Does anyone know how old this pattern is? I can’t find the date on the pattern… The shoulders are suitably wide and the pattern suggests should pads, which I decided against. I also decided to shorten the dress by about 15cm as I’m only 5’2″. The dress goes in quite a lot on the hips and butt (perhaps a tad too tight), creating an inverted triangle shape tres 80s, oui? The pattern also comes with a super box-y blazer. But unless I’m wearing over-sized earrings and tonnes of blush I don’t think this dress looks particularly 80s at all. It just looks like a regular shift dress/ LBD.

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My favourite thing about this dress is the fabric. It is a sort of faux suede. Does this fabric have a special name? Perhaps that sounds like I’m wearing a full-on leather dress but it really isn’t! It’s a tight weave fabric that’s almost like satin on the inside and a bit rough on the right side. Anyhoo it’s quite warm for our current Southern Hemisphere winter.

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I love how versatile this dress is. I’ve worn it out in the evening with heals and a chunky gold necklace and to my internship with tights and boots. And now I’m about to head out in the New Zealand storm wearing my Minoru. Here’s the post from when I made it last year.

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It’s been such a pleasure to throw a dress together so quickly. At certain stages I really enjoy the challenge of fittings and adjusting patterns to make them perfect for my body, like I did the By Hand London’s Georgia dress (blog post here). Do you enjoy the simple sewing or strive for a challenge?

A Laurel, a Sale and a Chocolate Fish

Hello lovely sewists! I have been watching in awe as all the entries for the Monthly Stitch‘s competitions have rolled in. In case you’ve been living under a rock the Monthly Stitch have been hosting a month of competitions for Indie Pattern Month. Although this is the last week you still have four days to enter the last round – Indie Fan Girl – by submitting a post of of you wearing two patterns by the same designer. Also there are tonnes of prizes!

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So… I made a dress! This is the Laurel by Colette. This pattern has been phenomenally popular despite it’s simplicity so I had to try it out. I was not disappointed. It only took me one night to put together (whilst binge watching Underage and Pregnant) and it required minimal adjustments.

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I made this dress out of a thick double knit, synthetic/ wool blend by Kate Sylvester. The fabric is what ‘makes’ this dress for me. Because it’s a knit there’s enough stretch to avoid putting the zipper in the back as I can easily pull it over my head without it. But it’s pretty firm and essentially one-way stretch so it still has a bit of shape.

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As you can see there are a few things that are not quite right about this dress. Namely the darts. They are too high on me. I had the same issue when I made the Bridgette dress (free pattern!) by Simple Sews. I need to get in the habit on doing FBAs and making muslins, however this dress is still an absolute staple. It’s such a simple style that I wore it with a blazer to work one day, and then with a leather jacket to a party that night.

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In case you were wondering, I bought the brooch from the Salvation Army on Dominion Road and the hipster hat beongs to my sister. She is much cooler than me. So can anyone guess where I am? If you can comment below and I will send you a chocolate fish (for real!) Here’s a clue:

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Also – as part of the Monthly Stitch‘s Indie Pattern Month I am offering 15% off all patterns in my store. This includes Sewaholic, Colette, Cake, Victory and By Hand London. Sale ends Monday 🙂

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The Best Bridgette Dress

Hello lovely sewists! As you all know there is a great competition on over at the Monthly Stitch celebrating Indie Pattern Month (which, yes, does deserve capital letters) and that I am guest judging on. Each week of this month there is a themed competition – this week was ‘dresses’ next week is ‘new to me‘. So any pattern, brand, design that you haven’t previously sewn before. Of course the prizes are awesome too, click that link to find out about them :-).

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So back to dresses! If I was to enter the Monthly Stitch’s competition – which would present quite a big conflict of interest – I would enter this dress. The Bridgette by Simple Sews.

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This is such a simple dress to put together and best of all it’s free! Who doesn’t love free stuff? I have to say I didn’t 100% follow the instructions… or really at all. I noticed that Claire, Simple Sews’ designer, suggests attaching the sleeve at the shoulder and the stitching one very long seam all the way from the hem of the skirt to the hem of the sleeve. I was delighted. I kinda hate doing inset sleeves as I struggle to get the gathers at the shoulder even and think this is a MUCH easier way of doing things (does anyone know if it has a different effect?)

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The only alteration I made to this pattern was to insert an exposed zipper instead of an invisible one. I am a massive fan on invisible zippers an believe they are much easier to put in than a centred zipper but I didn’t have any in the house. So I used PatternRunway’s tutorial for inserting an exposed zipper which was super easy to follow. I am very pleased with how it turned out *chuffed*

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When I make this dress again – yes I will – I will change the bust darts around so that they finish about 3cm earlier and go up a size. I think I underestimated on the sizing and it’s a tad tighter than I’d like. However, on the whole I’m pretty happy with the results. I’m never really going to be the sort of person who makes a muslin so all in all this is a good result!

So – will you be entering the next round of Indie Pattern Month competitions?

The Satisfaction of Simple Sewing

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We’re nearing the end of the university semester. It’s that time of year when everything is due, dinner is usually toast and Friday nights are spent at the computer rooms. This is also a great time of year to embark on some Simple Sewing. Stress levels are already pretty high so procrasta-sewing needs to be easy and enjoyable. This week I’ve made two Renfrews (to join my other two Renfrews from 2013). The first is made from DKNY cotton knit that bizarrely stretches on a 90 degree angle, if you can imagine that. Because of this I folded the fabric in a triangle before I cut it. I know – weird! It has long sleeves and a round neck.

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The second is made from white merino knit, has 3/4 sleeves and the grain was normal. The fabric is fairly sheer so I doubled it all up (apart from the waistband) and sewed the four layers all at once. I was also a bit short on fabric so I cut the back pieces separately, rather than on the fold and serged them together. I wear this Renfrew as a jumper mostly. Both fabrics were bought from The Fabric Store, way back when it was called Global Fabrics.

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The Renfrew is my go-to pattern. It is simple, I can sew it using just my serger (which I did) and I know that I’ll get lots of wear out of it. Basically it’s all wins!

What is your favourite easy pattern?