Darling Ranges in Dawlish

I’ve had some fun this Bank Holiday Weekend, getting out and down to the seaside in my latest project Sew My Style pattern, the Darling Ranges dress by Megan Nielson.  This was perfect for a sunny Saturday because it is such an easy-breezy dress. I felt cool and comfortable even though it actually got pretty warm for a change!

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I sewed my version up in some viscose from my stash which has been there for about a year.  It is very lightweight and drapey which did make some of the cutting and sewing a challenge as it really wanted to shift around.  I have managed to mostly subdue it, though I can’t be certain that my hem is actually all the same length!

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I was also a little unsure while I was sewing that the viscose was going to be opaque enough, but having worn it for the day I am feeling sufficiently happy that the whole world can’t see my underwear!

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I sewed version 1, in a size XS and made no alterations.  I wasn’t sure how the fit was going to turn out, but it is actually pretty good.  The bust darts could do with shifting slightly on the next version, and the bodice side seam does pull forward sightly because I need a little more bust room, but nothing to make this unwearable. The placket does gape slightly between the first two buttons, which I fixed temporarily with a safety pin, but I am going to go back and insert a hidden button to keep it closed.

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The buttons are little flowers from my button stash too so I felt very smug sewing this without having to buy any fabric or notions.  I have no idea how I chose things like buttons before Instagram and the sewing community were around to help me out though.

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The dress does have options for ties at the back, which I have so far left off.  I quite like this looser silhouette, but it can be brought in a little with a belt too.  I think the loose shape it a bit more casual, but with a belt this could probably be dressed up, and may still make an appearance at a wedding at the end of September.

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The next project sew my style pattern is the Yona Coat, but I already have a part completed coat from last year which I am going to substitute in instead.  Seems a little mad in this last burst of summer weather to be thinking of working with wool and coats but that’s how it needs to be to be ready for the changing weather.  For now, I’m just happy to be in the sun for a little while longer.

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Another Archer (or two)!

This is not my first Archer Shirt, and I am sure there will be more (I have a lovely soft brushed cotton which would be perfect), but I am pretty proud of creating proper basics.

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These are my 3rd and 4th versions of the standard Archer button-up, and I have also sewn the popover variation before too.

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I decided that the best way of creating these shirts would be to sew both simultaneously so that I only really had to look up the instructions for each stage once.  Grainline have a fantastic sew-a-long with detailed pictures or videos of every stage.  I definitely found them invaluable the first time I made an Archer.  This time I was able to get away with just looking up and checking a couple of stages.

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Fabrics are maybe not the most exciting here, though this lightweight denim from my stash is amazing.  Not sure where it is from, but it doesn’t wrinkle at all, which made it great for packing on holiday.  The flowers are a Rose and Hubble polycotton from Trago, which I chose largely so that I could sew both shirts in the same navy thread without it being strange, and because the print is busy enough not to bother matching.

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So why do I love this pattern and these shirts so much?  It’s because there is something magical about creating a complicated garment out of a flat piece of fabric.  And the Archer pattern is so good and clear, that it really does make it do-able for most dressmakers.  Every notch matches up, every instruction is illustrated, and the sizing is accurate too.

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These shirts are both a size 4.  Its roomy enough to stick a t-shirt underneath and use the shirt as a cover up, but not so huge that I won’t be able to layer them under jumpers in the winter.

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The only change that I made this time, was to add a button tab, so that I could roll up the sleeves.  I based it on the Alex Shirtdress, but picked my own positioning and dimensions.  I actually changed up the construction order a little to finish the sleeves first so that I could check they were in the right place.  I really like the contrast that you get in the denim with sleeves rolled up and the paler reverse side visible.

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To vary it up (and to stop me needing about 30 buttonholes!) I used buttons on one shirt, but on the other I went for silver snaps.  I think they look lovely and casual with the denim, and they were certainly faster.  (Love my vario pliers for this.)

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I even remembered to sew in some ribbon between the yoke seam and the body as my tag.

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On holiday I was reaching for these shirts all the time (along with the much loved Flint shorts), and that is when you know they were a success.  I didn’t wear either of the cardigans that I had packed, partially because it was warm, but also because the shirts were just right.

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You are even getting a sneak peek of something else coming to the blog- my latest guest blog for Minerva Crafts, featuring some green stretch denim.  Sadly you will have to wait for a couple of months for the full reveal, but I can tell you that I am totally in love with the result!

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Seamwork Aurora

This is another of my speedy holiday makes!  This has been cut and ready to go for a couple of months, but of course I decided that I needed it finished to take away with me on the morning of our holiday.  Fortunately, it was very quick and easy to put together, and we were never in doubt of missing our flights or travel plans!

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This is a Seamwork magazine pattern, the Aurora top.  I do really like Seamwork for inspiration, though not all the patterns grab my attention.  This one though is just so simple and cute I thought I would give it a go.

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I used this tutorial to clean finish the yoke/strap seam, which isn’t in the pattern instructions.  It doesn’t really make it much more difficult though, and does look tidier on the inside.

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The fabric is all scraps which have been hanging around for a while.  The navy blue body is an old t-shirt, and the contrast yoke is cut from the very last scraps of my first Moneta dress.  This is a great top for a bit of scrap busting.

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I don’t know really why I put off sewing this up.  It was so quick and easy.  I wasn’t sure how this would look in such warm weather being such a dark colour, but I do quite like the contrast with these ready to wear white linen shorts.

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Rocks, mountains and Flint shorts

I think these might well be my new summer favourite piece of clothing.  I’m so glad that I made time to sew them (finishing at 3am) the day before we went on holiday!

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These are the Megan Nielson Flint Shorts, and as you may have spotted- I love them!  They are also very straightforward to make, and there is extensive tutorial help on the website too for almost every phase of the sewing.  They do have a very clever closure that means you step in through the pocket, which means no fiddly zips, just buttons or ties.

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Before I made these, I had seen lots of versions of the cropped trouser variation, but not really any shorts.  This is definitely an oversight, because the shorts are very flattering and comfortable too.  I wore them almost continually in 30 degree heat in Italy and they were just perfect.  They are worn here with my Briar tee, so I think Megan Nielson might be one of my favorite pattern designers.WP_20170728_15_18_51_Pro

I think I also love these shorts for the fabric too.  This was a charity shop bargain which I bought last summer with the vague plan for shorts anyway.  I think it may once have been a curtain because it had some very well established creases from a deep hem and a variety of stains to cut around.  It always feels good though to have snaffled a bargain, and it made these shorts very economical!

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I think I may have to make another pair immediately (though there are quite a few things in my sewing queue so something will have to give).  They work well with a heavier weight cotton, so I’m thinking possibly the cotton twill left over from covering my dining chairs might do the trick!

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If you are wondering, the amazing lake in the background of these photos is the Lago di Sorapiss, a glacial lake in the Dolomites.  It is freezing cold, which explains why there is no-one swimming even on a hot day, and the colour is a result of all the glacial sediment.

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