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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Sew over it Silk Cami

By the time you are reading this I will be on a flight out to Italy with a suitcase full of last minute completed sewing!  I’m going to have quite a backlog of things to write up once I get back.  This is also a slightly belated post.  Even the pictures were taken a couple of months ago on a short trip to Swansea.

When Sew Over It was having one of their sales, I decided to get a printed copy of their Silk Cami as part of a fabric/pattern kit.  They make up small numbers of these kits with a suitable fabric for a few of their PDF only patterns, and if you hate the printing and sticking that a PDF pattern entails, this is one way to access a couple more of their designs!

IMG_2466.JPGI decided not to use the fabric which came with the kit for my first attempt, because I wanted to check out the fit.  Instead I used the very last pieces of this cotton lawn (seen before in my Beausoleil Top and the English Tea Dress). You may also have spotted that I am wearing my handmade espadrilles in these pictures.  They still look so cool!

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This is a very simple top.  There is no shaping or darts to deal with.  Just a front and back, and facings to finish the neckline and armholes.  Given it’s simple shape, I actually really like the fit of this and definitely have plans for more.

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About the only place that I’m not 100% happy is the back neckline which seems to be gaping a little.  I think I might take out a dart in this version, and then correct it in the pattern for future attempts.

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The only other little gripe if that my front facing doesn’t lie totally flat.  I’m not sure if that is a drafting error, or a tracing off the pattern error. (Probably more likely the latter.)  It means that for my next cami I will need to double check the pattern pieces too!

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I do have a slightly exiting plan to hack this at some point too with the Grainline Archer Popover variation to give a little cami with a popover button placket at the front.  I think that will look really cute when I get around to it!

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I do have plans for a few more of these once I have sorted out the slight neckline issues.  This one was always planned as a wearable toile before cutting into a couple of other lovely fabrics which have been earmarked of this pattern.

Valley Blouse

If you haven’t begun your Sew My Style project for July yet, learn from some of my difficulties and read this before you cut out the Valley Blouse!  Mine has come together ok, but not without some wrestling.  In particular, the keyhole section of the instructions could do with some further explanation.IMG_3140.JPG

There is a tutorial on the Califaye website to help with the sewing the keyhole, but I think that even before you get to that section, there is a potential pitfall, which you could avoid.  The cutting layouts show the ‘keyhole liner’ piece being cut on grain, but I would recommend cutting it on the bias. It is near impossible to get a piece of cotton with no stretch to conform neatly to a curve.  If it were cut on the bias, this would be much easier.  I ended up with a couple of small pleats at the middle of the liner when I tried to get all the edges enclosed.

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After my experience with the Basics Pocket Skirt, which was a little large, I decided to follow my instinct and cut the size small this time, even though my measurements put me in the medium.  This was definitely the right choice, because the fit is pretty much spot on.  There is enough ease to make it flowy, but without drowning me in fabric!

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This fabric is a cotton Swiss-dot, and is possibly slightly heavier weight than the pattern is intended for, because the gathers don’t drape as well as they could.  That said, it is very comfortable and perfect for summer.  The fabric is from Fabworks and is a lovely blue and grey combination, and at just £4/m it is another bargain!

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I used little hexagon shell buttons from my stash and made actual buttonholes.  I think that they are just great for setting of the simple pattern.

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In the pattern, it suggests that you use French seams for the sides and the back yoke which I did.  Just bear in mind, that with 1cm seam allowances, this does make your French seams very small and a little fiddly.

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I’m not sure about how full the sleeves are.  I might take the cuffs off, slim the sleeves down and then put the cuffs back on.  I do quite like them rolled up like this though.

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I followed the instructions fully this time and there are a couple of neat tricks for things like enclosing the front yoke seams.  This shouldn’t be too new to you if you have made a yoked shirt before, but take you time if not.  This is probably the most complex pattern from project sew my style so far, but it is still very manageable if you take it slow.

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#sewtogetherforsummer shirtdress

Hot on the heels of the Moneta Party has been another Instagram sewing community challenge.  This one is certainly very inclusive, giving you the option to sew any shirtdress from any pattern, and try to get them finished for the start of the summer.  I already had the Alex Shirtdress printed out and stuck together so this seemed like a great opportunity to get stuck in.

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The Alex dress is part of the Sew Over It ebook (My Capsule Wardrobe).  It is quite a loose fitting dress with no darts or gathers over the bust which did make it a quick and simple sew.  I found it a little too oversized, especially in this stiff cotton, and so made a few changes to help it feel more flattering.

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This fabric was very inexpensive, and the graduated criss-cross pattern did not really need any pattern matching.  It was from the textile centre and was a bargain at £1.99 a metre!  I even found some cute flower buttons in my stash, so this was a very cheap make.

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The first change that I made was to take a couple of inches out of the side seams at the waist, grading to nothing at the armscye and the hip.  With a belt, this was enough to give me some shaping, and I can now wear this both with or without a belt without feeling like I am wearing a tent!

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I also shortened the dropped back hem to the same slightly dipped hem as the front.  I didn’t think that it draped well enough to make the exaggerated dropped hem feature work.

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It is better, but I think there are a few more changes to make,  It still feels a little like a nightie or a uniform!  I think to improve it, I will take some fisheye darts out of the back to help remove some of the volume.  I think I might also shorten the dress 10cm too to make it a little more youthful.

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This dress was always intended to be a wearable toile.  I haven’t really worn shirtdresses before and I wasn’t sure it was a style that I was going to be comfortable with.  I think in it’s original guise, it wasn’t really me, but with a belt and once the back is a little more fitted, I think It will be a great summer staple.

Matt models again- Men’s Metro T-shirt

This won’t be the longest blog post today, because this is such a simple pattern and there isn’t much to say!  This is the Men’s Metro T-shirt by Liesl and Co.  Liesl and Co. is the adult pattern line associated with the pattern company Oliver and S.

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This pattern is about as simple as a jersey pattern gets.  It has just a front, back, sleeve and neckband.  If you have made t-shirts before, you will only need the instructions for the seam allowances!

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This is a size S, which is Matt normal t-shirt size.  The fabric however for this shirt is a little unconventional.  It started life as a Women’s maxi dress.  I found it in the charity shop for £1, and thought that the fabric was a steal!  It is a viscose elastane mix so very stretchy!

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The advantage of reusing something which is already hemmed, means that you can also reuse the hem.  The skirt did have a seam at the centre back, so I kept this in the t-shirt too, though it isn’t very visible.

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This was constructed mostly on my overlocker, with twin-needled hems on the sleeve.  Because this first one was so successful, I also made a couple of others with fabrics from Fabworks.  They have also come out great, as you can see below!

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One is in this space print fabric.  I think it is really cool.

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The other is in a lovely cotton interlock.  I thought this airforce blue colourway was great.  Both were just £5 a metre and this t-shirt needs only one metre so it seems pretty economical.

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I’m sure there will be many more of these t-shirts as Matt needs more.  Possibly also some long sleeved versions come the autumn.

A night out with Archer

Some slightly different pictures today from a lovely evening out at an amazing little cinema in Swansea called Cinema and Co.  If you are in the area, it is definitely worth checking it out.  There was something very special being able to sit in a cinema on a sofa, eating pizza and drinking a glass of wine!

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And now on to my shirt!  This was my second Archer Shirt.  My first was a classic Archer and unfortunately is wearing out.  This one is the Grainline Popover variation, and is sized down for a slightly closer fit.  This one is a size 0, although my measurements would direct me to cut a size 4.

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I made a couple of tweaks to keep this very simple shirt unique.  The main shirt is a polycotton from Trago, but I used a contrasting floral cotton in a couple of places including the inner yoke collar stand and the cuffs.  I also used this tutorial from Grainline to change the pocket construction and make them a subtle feature too.

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Shirt making does seem quite a undertaking.  There are a lot of pattern pieces, buttonholes and processes, but it is well worth the effort.  Each stage is actually not difficult in itself, but I would advise taking it slowly.  There is also an excellent sewalong for the archer shirt on the Grainline website which is very helpful.

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I would say that there are a couple of fiddly parts to this shirt, simply because they need to fit together properly, and there is also quite a bit of accurate topstitching required.  In particular, the collar and plackets are sections to take your time over.

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If you are considering it, I would say that this was certainly not something to attempt as your first project, but if you are comfortable following pattern instructions, sewing straight and (fairly) accurate topstitching and have a few projects completed, then there is no reason that you couldn’t complete this pattern.  The instructions and drafting really are that good.

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I do love this shirt, though it is perhaps a little small over the bust.  I have plans for a couple more of the basic Archer shirts and I think I will size back up to the 4 for some extra wearing ease.

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Head to Head- dipped hem t-shirts

Introducing the Patterns:

Molly Top & Dress by Sew Over Ita staple  kimono sleeved top with an option to add full length sleeves.  It has just 4 pattern pieces (3 if you choose not to add the longer sleeves) and is billed as “The perfect pattern to try sewing jersey for the first time, a hit with anyone who likes a quick, satisfying sew.” It also has an option for a jersey dress.

Briar Sweater and T-shirt by Megan Nielsona simple and stylish t-shirt or sweater.  Comes with a scooped front hem and dipped back to create a hi-lo profile.  Both cropped and full lengths, and a range of pocket, sleeve and neckline options.

Sizing and Fit:

Both are loose fitting drapey tops and I cut the smallest size in each.

 

 

Ease of Construction and Instructions:

Both patterns have clear instructions and illustrations.  I think the Molly top is probably slightly simpler to construct and understand, but that is partially due to having fewer pattern pieces and options.  I did learn how to do a neckline binding in the Briar instructions, but I did also have to check the Megan Nielson tutorial for some extra photographs just to be sure what was going on.

 

Value for Money:

This is a little tricky to compare because the Molly Top only comes as part of the Sew Over It eBook- My Capsule Wardrobe.  The Briar top is £13.49 on the Megan Nielson website, but has two lengths and a variety of styling options.  I think if you would be interested in some of the other items in the eBook such as the Alex shirtdress or Mia jeans then at £20 it is pretty good value for 5 patterns, most of which also have pattern variations included.

 

Features:

Hem:

Both have dipped hems at the back.  Molly has a dipped hem at the front, while Briar has a slightly cropped front for full hi-lo effect.  My personal preference is that I prefer the Molly front hem for tucking into skirts and I think the length at the back is also more flattering.  The Briar does look great though with jeans or a pair of shorts.

Neckline:

Briar does give options for a regular neckline band and for a clean finished neckline binding.  Molly just includes a simple jersey neckband.  Both necklines are scooped, with Briar being a little deeper.  Both seem to lie flat and even.

Sleeves:

I chose to keep both sleeves short, so the cut on sleeves of the Molly top to save a step.  That said, the Briar tee sleeve did ease in neatly without an gathering or puckering, so as sleeves go, this was easy to insert.

Overall Impressions:

I think my overall preference is for the Molly top.  The length of the dipped hem seems particularly flattering, and not having to insert sleeves for the short sleeved t-shirt does make this a very quick summer make.  If I make the Briar again, I will be shortening the dipped back hem a little.

However, I will add that it is very simple to alter the hemline of a jersey t-shirt, so if you already have one of these (or something similar) this is a very easy way to change up a pattern.  Katie from the Creative Counselor has just been doing a series on modifying a basic t-shirt pattern, so check it out if you want some ideas or techniques.

More t-shirts! Briar and Molly

I have included two different patterns in this post today because I think they are quite similar and the pattern comparison might be interesting. (A full rundown on the two is coming shortly).  The Megan Nielson Briar is June’s project sew my style pattern and I just felt like I needed another Molly after making it! (See my previous versions here)

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Lets look at the Briar first.  This pattern has a cropped and full length version, and various sleeve lengths.  It also provides pattern pieces for both a neckline binding and a neck band.  I chose the longer length, short sleeves and decided to try out a neck binding for the first time.  The pattern is designed to be loose and swingy so I went with the smallest size.

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It all came together pretty well.  The pattern is well drafted and the instructions are very clear.  There are notches in the right place that all match up as they should.  My fabric did not make this the easiest of makes- it is a Girl Charlee cotton-rayon blend so it is drapey and light.  The stripes are actually wavy, not straight, so I decided not to worry too much about pattern matching.  Interestingly, despite the stripes having a wave, on one side seam they match almost perfectly.  They do also match at a couple of points on the other side, but not so well.  My only pattern placement decision was to put the cream stripe low down, rather than over my bra so that it wouldn’t be so see through!

Now that it is all sewn up, I like the length at the front, but I wonder if it is a bit too long at the back.  This pattern has quite an exaggerated high-low hemline.  I’m sure this will get worn quite a bit if the weather ever warms up again though!

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I had planned on making a white Briar to go with my Califaye Pocket Skirt, but I was not quite so sure about the long dipped hem tucked into a skirt.  I do like the optional pockets that come with the Briar top though and decided to use them on a tried and tested favourite t-shirt pattern- the Sew Over It Molly Top.  I thought the more subtle dipped front and back hem might be more versatile.  It is also really quick to sew, with only three pieces if you go for short sleeves.

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This fabric is also a Girl Charlee blend, this time cotton, rayon and modal, and it is heavenly to touch!  It cut and sewed beautifully and I am so glad I bought a couple of metres because I want all my t-shirts to feel this soft!

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I was feeling a little lazy when it came to hemming this t-shirt, and so I experimented with using my overlocker’s narrow rolled hem on jersey.  It isn’t perfect, but seems to have turned out fine, and if at some point in the future I get fed up of it, I can always turn it up later.

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I’m happy with how this has come out, and there is not really much more to say about a top that I have made many times before!  I’m sure there will be more…

 

 

Button Back Blouse, It’s winning me around!

 

Although I was going to label this a sewing fail, I am being won over!  I made this Tilly and the Buttons button back blouse from an issue of love sewing over a year ago.  It is well finished with French seams, but I never wore it when it was newly finished.  Lets have a look at the details to find out why!

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I believe this is quite similar to the TATB Mathilde Blouse, just without the pin tucks if you want to be able to recreate it. It has a yoke seam, which I very carefully added piping into.

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So why have I not been wearing it?  I think it comes down to two things- personal style and fit.  Those puffed sleeves are cute, but don’t fit with my usual style because I can’t wear a cardigan.  In terms of fit, the key problem is at the back.

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I think I have a quite narrow upper back.  I often have to take in quite a bit at the centre back and by the time I realised there was a problem in this top the button placket was finished and it seemed too fiddly.  It also feels like the shoulder seam is slightly in the wrong place.  This may also be because I need a full bust adjustment, and this is pulling the back and shoulder seam out of place.

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So why, when I wore it out for these pictures did I start reconsidering my plans to take it to the charity shop.  I think it is a combination of the style being perfect for the current weather, and a great combination of fabric and pattern!  Some of the things that I didn’t like about the pattern, are actually what is making it so perfect.  The longer sleeves keep it breezy and cool, but mean that I don’t need a cardigan, even into the evening.  The fabric (sadly no longer available at Minerva Crafts) is a lovely cotton chambray and just a fantastic weight and drape.  The contrast piping and buttons lighten it up and the splash of coral is great for spring.

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Perhaps I will have to give this a second chance!