Simplicity 2446: DIY Tailored Ponte Wool Knit Navy Blazer

Simplicity 2446 DIY Tailored Ponte Wool Knit Navy Blazer
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Simplicity 2446 DIY Tailored Ponte Wool Knit Navy Blazer (worn with Pauline Alice Reina blouse)

Hi Everyone!

It’s been a while. That’s because this blazer has taken me almost 2 weeks to complete. This is the second tailored blazer I have made (you can see the first one here), and unlike last time when I used traditional hand stitching techniques, this time around I used the fusible approach. It still seemed to take me just as long, lol.

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Simplicity 2446 DIY Tailored Ponte Wool Knit Navy Blazer

To make this blazer I used Simplicity 2446, which is one of those Amazing Fit patterns with 1 inch vertical seam allowances to permit fitting alterations to be made. There are lots of things which I like about this blazer (see review below for full details), and it is definitely going to get lots of wear, but I am going to state here and now that I feel it is too big in the shoulders (one of the perils of not making a muslin)! Of course, after I started sewing this blazer up and looked in more detail at other reviews I realised that other sewists have observed the same thing. If you have relatively small shoulders then the chances are you are going to have to do some kind of small shoulder adjustment on this pattern. It might be more obvious in the following picture. Like I say, it won’t stop me wearing this blazer lots because I do love it, and truthfully probably will rarely wear it fastened, but if I am going to sew this pattern again it’s something I need to address.

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Simplicity 2446 DIY Tailored Ponte Wool Knit Navy Blazer

See not as obvious when open.

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Simplicity 2446 DIY Tailored Ponte Wool Knit Navy Blazer worn with Pauline Alice Reina Blouse

Another thing I would alter next time is the fit at the back. I ended up removing quite a few inches back there, and I think next time around I would add a centre back seam.

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Simplicity 2446 DIY Tailored Ponte Wool Knit Navy Blazer

As mentioned above, this blazer was made using fusible interfacings to take the place of traditional tailoring techniques (full details below). I used the Craftsy class, Modern Jacket Techniques, but I am going to do a review of that class another day. What I will say is that the price of that class is worth it purely for the demonstration of the welt pockets that Pam Howard does. Brilliant! My first time doing these type of welt pockets with flaps and I am pretty pleased with how well they turned out. TIP: Pam advises double interfacing the flaps with a heavier weight weft insertion interfacing to help them hang correctly, and they do.

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Simplicity 2446 DIY Tailored Ponte Wool Knit Navy Blazer – Welt pocket with flap detail

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Simplicity 2446 DIY Tailored Ponte Wool Knit Navy Blazer – lined pocket flap in welt pocket detail

It is worth noting that the original Simplicity pattern does not include actual welt pockets, but a faux flap, and then an inseam pocket is inserted into the princess seam coming down from the shoulder. Dislike! Another thing which lets this pattern down somewhat is that there is no separate lining pieces included. As part of the Craftsy class, Pam Howard instructs you how to draft the back lining piece and also how to draft a back neck facing to add stability to the back of the jacket. I chose to bag my lining out.

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Simplicity 2446 DIY Tailored Ponte Wool Knit Navy Blazer – lining/ back facing detail

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Simplicity 2446 DIY Tailored Ponte Wool Knit Navy Blazer – inside flat piping at facing detail

None functioning vents are included as part of the two piece sleeve.

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Simplicity 2446 DIY Tailored Ponte Wool Knit Navy Blazer – triple button vent detail

Pattern Review

Pattern Description:
Misses’ and Miss Petite lined jacket sewing pattern with individual pattern pieces for A, B, C cup sizes. Simplicity sewing pattern, Amazing Fit Collection.
Pattern Sizing:
6 – 24
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes.
Were the instructions easy to follow?
I didn’t really follow them. I followed the Craftsy class, Modern Jacket Techniques to make this jacket. I will post a review for that class on my blog soon.

One thing I did notice is that the instructions seem to miss out altogether the sewing of the dart on the jacket front.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
Likes:

  • I really like the shoulder princess seams. I think it gives a leaner, cleaner look to the jacket.
  • I made minimal alterations to this jacket (really it is a wearable muslin as I hate to muslin otherwise).
  • I like the two piece sleeves (with non functioning vents), and they went in very easily.
  • Two piece under collar which is cut on the bias and with in-built turn of cloth, resulting in neat finished collar with no under collar showing on upper collar.

Dislikes:

  • The blazer is too big for me in the shoulders (despite selecting my size based on high bust measurement). Next time around I will do a small shoulder adjustment. After making this jacket and reading other reviews this appears to be a common complaint from women with smaller shoulders, so be warned. It won’t stop me wearing the jacket though!
  • I dislike the original in seam pockets with the faux flaps, and replaced them with welt pockets with flap.
  • No back lining pattern piece included. I drafted a back lining piece with pleat and a back neck facing, using instructions provided in the Craftsy class.
  • I would like to add a centre back seam if I make this pattern up again. I found I had to remove quite a bit of excess in the back to improve the fit.

Fabric Used:
A ponte wool double knit. Viscose lining.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

  • Added an extra button so blazer has three, rather than two, buttonholes
  • Changed inseam pockets with faux flap to welt pockets with flap
  • Drafted back lining piece with pleat and back neck facing
  • 1 inch sway back adjustment with removed length added back to hems
  • I ended up removing quite a bit from the back seams and a little from the side seams to improve overall fit
  • 2 inch full arm adjustment
  • My blazer is interfaced heavily inside. I used a lightweight knit interfacing to interface the blazer fronts, side fronts, all hems, sleeve vents, upper sleeve down to bicep level (about 8.5 inches), upper collar, upper back and upper side back (in place of a traditional back stay) and also pocket welts and back neck facing. I used a slightly heavier weight weft insertion interfacing to interface the front facings, under collar, a collar stand and pocket flaps (which were double interfaced to help them hang better).
  • Added topstitching and flat piping at the facing inside.
  • Made custom shoulder pads
  • Taped the shoulder seams using twill tape.
  • Added shoulder reinforcements made using hair canvas as otherwise the shoulders were collapsing on me as a result of being too big.
  • Bagged the lining out.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I am trying to find the perfect TNT blazer pattern and, with the exception of the shoulder fitting and lack of centre back seam this one is close. I might give it another go. Yes, I would recommend this pattern.
Conclusion:

Despite some fit issues I love the finished blazer and it will definitely get LOTS of wear and love from me: a wardrobe staple.

Have you got a favourite blazer pattern? I still have McCalls 6172 in my stash…have a great week ahead!

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Simplicity 2446 DIY Tailored Ponte Wool Knit Navy Blazer

 

 

Simplicity 1167: DIY Boyfriend Style Chino Trousers Pants

Simplicity 1167: DIY boyfriend style chino trousers/ pants
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Simplicity 1167: DIY boyfriend style chino trousers/ pants worn with McCalls 6886 breton top

Hi Friends,

Today I am sharing my latest make with you, a new style for me, what I am calling boyfriend style chino trousers/ pants, made using Simplicity 1167 (another Mimi G Style pattern).

I have been wanting to get away from wearing skinny jeans/ jeggings as much as I do. It has been a verrrrry long time since I wore proper trousers (like maybe more than 4 years!) Since I gave up working I don’t feel the need to wear smart trousers on a daily basis. But this here is my first foray into sewing “proper trousers”.

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Simplicity 1167: DIY boyfriend style chino trousers/ pants worn with McCalls 6886 breton top

Let’s talk about how my trousers compare to the picture on the pattern envelope shall we?

The ones on the pattern envelope look like they are made from ponte knit (the fabric recommendations for this pattern are stretch wovens only), and they are very fitted. The side seam looks skewed forward to me, almost as if the trousers were taken in along the side seams to get a closer fit? I didn’t want such a close fit, but what I will say is that I ended up having to remove a total of 2 inches from the outer seams of my version and they are still no where near as fitted as the pattern envelope ones are. Just saying. BTW, mine are made up in a stretch cotton sateen.

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Simplicity 1167: DIY boyfriend style chino trousers/ pants worn with McCalls 6886 breton top

The main adjustments that I made to this pattern were to do a full butt adjustment and to curve my waistband more to account for my swayback and eliminate a huge amount of waistband gaping. To do the full butt adjustment I used a combination of the tutorials from By Hand London and Colette Patterns. This raised the back height up by 1.25 inches. I would say that these are a mid rise trouser, and this is something I need to get used to again (lately I have been all about the high rise). This is a picture of my adjusted pattern – sorry the adjustment is not that obvious to see.

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Simplicity 1167: DIY boyfriend style chino trousers/ pants – full butt adjustment to back pattern piece

Heather describes how to curve a waistband here. From the picture below you might just be able to see I ended up making 4 “hinges” in the upper waistband, overlapping each hinge by 0.5 inches to effectively remove a total of 2 inches from my upper waistband. The blue waistband underneath is the original left waistband I cut which I ended up discarding and re-cutting using the modified pattern piece. (I did the same on the RHS waistband so I removed a total of 4 inches from the upper waistband in all).

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Simplicity 1167: DIY boyfriend style chino trousers/ pants – waistband alteration to eliminate gaping

Here’s a back view – note that I added welt pockets using this amazing tutorial from Nicole at home which also provides downloadable pattern pieces. This is the first time I have done welt pockets and whilst they are perfectly secure and functioning, let’s just say there is certainly room for improvement. Also, can I just say that no matter how many times I post a back view of a garment it never becomes any easier for me to see that view! But, you know, because I want you to see a complete view of the garment I do it.

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Simplicity 1167: DIY boyfriend style chino trousers/ pants

As ever, full review below. I had these trousers on all day yesterday and love the ease and comfort of wearing them, and combined with the smart fabric I think they tick that smart casual look I strive for on a daily basis. I think they will look better with slightly shorter tops than the ones I would typically wear with my skinny jeans though, which means sewing some new tops – if I really think this new trouser shape is a keeper. I do have another length of khaki/ olive stretch sateen. I am tempted now I have got these to fit to make a second pair, perhaps slightly longer. Do you think I should slim them down some, or should I just try another pattern?

Pattern review

Pattern Description:
Mimi G Style sportswear pattern for Misses includes great jacket, slim pants or shorts with fly-front and carriers in stretch wovens, and knit tank top.

I made view B.
Pattern Sizing:
6 – 24
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Mmmm…I would say mine look more relaxed fit.
Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yep
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
Likes:

I do like the finished trousers very much. They are very easy to sew. Separate pieces are included in the pattern envelope for view C (the shorts), and you are not just expected to shorten view B (the trousers), which I thought was a nice touch. The pattern includes facing pieces for the pocket to cut down on bulk which I thought was a great idea. The zipper instructions were good.

Dislikes:

I think the pattern picture is slightly misleading. In the pattern picture the side leg seam looks skewed forward almost as if the seam has been taken in IMO to achieve the closer fit. I ended up removing a total of 2 inches from the outer seam of my version and they are still no where near as fitted as the pattern envelope. I am undecided whether to slim my legs down further or not.
Fabric Used:
Stretch cotton sateen
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

I did a full butt adjustment which added 1.25 inches to the back height.

I added 5/8ths inch to the height of the left and right waistband.

I curved my waistband to account for my swayback, removing a total of 2 inches from the left and 2 inches from the right hand side waistband.

I removed a total of 2 inches from the outer seam of my trousers, and have already adjusted the pattern to remove 0.5 inches from the inner and outer seam of both front and back legs next time.

Added back welt pockets.

I ended up cutting too much off my trouser legs! So I added cuffs to the bottom because I wanted the cuffed look.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

Now that I have got the fit I think I should sew them again. But things I need to think about:

 

  • Should I slim the legs down further?
  • Can I get used to the mid rise?
  • Do I need to sew some tops to go with these trousers which are not as long as those I tend to wear with my skinny jeans?

I recommend in that these are an easy sew with great results but, as with any trouser/ pants pattern, be prepared to spend time perfecting the fit!
Conclusion:

 

I love this version because they are so comfortable and yet still look smart.

Now that I have got this pattern to fit I would like to make a second pair (I have a length of khaki/olive stretch cotton sateen in my stash, and I am thinking a slightly longer pair, perhaps minus the cuffs), but I think I will wear these a couple more times before I decide.

What do you think? See you soon!

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Simplicity 1167: DIY boyfriend style chino trousers/ pants worn with McCalls 6886 breton top

 

Simplicity 8084: DIY Washed Silk and Floral Print Shirt Dresses

Simplicity 8084 Washed Stretch Silk Button Down Tie Waist Shirt Dress
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Simplicity 8084 Washed Stretch Silk Button Down Tie Waist Shirt Dress

Hi Friends,

Todays post is all about Simplicity 8084, a Mimi G Style pattern. This is the first time I have ever sewn a version of a pattern and immediately sewn a second version after. So that should tell you how much I like the pattern. But the other reason was I really wanted to make this up in some washed stretch silk I purchased from Chic Fabrics when I was in NYC recently, so the first version (the floral viscose version) was a wearable muslin.

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Simplicity 8084 Floral Viscose Button Down Tie Waist Shirt Dress

I know, the print really hides the details. But I still love it. I wish I had made this printed version up to take with me on holiday because it is so cool and breezy. It has a covered button placket; here’s a close up.

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Simplicity 8084 Floral Viscose Button Down Tie Waist Shirt Dress: Covered button placket detail

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Simplicity 8084 Floral Viscose Button Down Tie Waist Shirt Dress

For both versions I made self fabric bias binding which was used to create the inner casing for the waist tie. I love both versions but I think the silk version is my favourite. I love the colour, the feel and the overall finished look with the gold snaps. You can read all the details in my review below.

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Simplicity 8084 Washed Stretch Silk Button Down Tie Waist Shirt Dress

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Simplicity 8084 Washed Stretch Silk Button Down Tie Waist Shirt Dress

Pattern Review

Pattern Description:
Mimi G’s fabulous style shirt dress in maxi or above the knee lengths. Dress is gathered to a yoke, has a covered placket, drawstring waist, and super convenient side seam pockets.

I made the knee length version.
Pattern Sizing:
10 – 28
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yep.
Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes. Some small minor dislikes.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
Likes:

LOVE the overall finished look. Enough to make this pattern twice over in quick succession, which is saying something for me.

Dislikes:

  • Only the right hand side (RHS) placket is interfaced in the instructions. I would say that you need to interface the left hand side (LHS) placket as well (making buttonholes on uninterfaced silk or viscose? No thanks). I used the same interfacing pattern piece as for the RHS for the LHS and it worked fine.
  • The instructions tell you to just cut one yoke piece. This is the second time I have seen this in a Simplicity shirt dress pattern and I don’t like it. I cut two yokes and I used the burrito method to sew them to the dress fronts to get a clean finish inside.
  • Something again that I have come across in Simplicity patterns before: telling you to stay stitch at 0.5 inches when the seam allowance, in some places, is only 3/8ths inch. Watch out for the changing seam allowances.
  • Didn’t like how they have you sew on the sleeve tab. Did my own thing and sewed on the tab using a boxed cross configuration which looks much neater IMO.
  • Instructions have you sew the ends of the waist ties closed and turn out the waist ties which are almost 2 metres in length. Hell no. I just sewed the entire length of the waist ties closed (leaving the ends open) and used my loop turner to turn the ties the right way round. Much easier. In the viscose version I turned and stitched the ends closed but I have just knotted the ends of the silk version for now and am thinking how to finish them…
  • I didn’t like the 3/8ths inch seam allowance on the upper collar which is turned under and topstitched in place. On both versions I found the 3/8ths inch seam allowance too small to allow me to machine this securely, so ended up hand stitching both versions in place. If I make any future versions I will add 0.25 inches to this edge that gets turned under and this should make it easier to machine in place.

Fabric Used:
Version one was made using a heavy weight floral viscose.

Version two was made using a washed stretch silk purchased from Chic Fabrics in NYC on a recent trip to The States. I prewashed the silk and it presses well (with care).

The gold studs on the silk version were purchased from Le Prevo Leathers in Newcastle, UK.

Both versions saw me using my walking foot.

Because of the fact this shirt dress doesn’t have a waist seam it makes the pattern pieces quite long and consequentially you may find you need to take care to support the weight of the dress when sewing and ironing to avoid stretching and inaccurate sewing.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

  • The only alteration I made was to add 2 inches to the length. That’s it. The sizing is pretty generous and it is designed to be fairly blousy and loose fitting.
  • I managed to sew my plackets on the first version (the floral viscose version) on the wrong way round, so the RHS is on the LHS and vice versa.
  • I made my own self fabric bias binding for both versions to form the inside casings.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I might sew this again. It is a great design. I do recommend to others.
Conclusion:

I am so pleased I pushed myself to cut into my precious washed silk and sew these pieces up. I may not get to wear the floral version all that much until next summer but I think the silk version can take me many, many places…

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Simplicity 8084 Floral Viscose Button Down Tie Waist Shirt Dress

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Simplicity 8084 Washed Stretch Silk Button Down Tie Waist Shirt Dress

 

Linton Tweed Meet Up: Cancelled

Hi All,

Just a quick note to say I have had a few people contact me to say that they are not going to be able to make the Linton Tweed meet up, which was scheduled for September 17th, so I have decided to cancel it for now.

Hope this is not going to inconvenience anyone.

Back soon!

Burda 7494: The Refashioners 2016- DIY Denim Peplum Jacket

Burda 7494 denim peplum jacket made from refashioned jeans. Worn with Simplicity 8093 wide legged cropped pants.
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Burda 7494 denim peplum jacket made from refashioned jeans. Worn with Simplicity 8093 wide legged cropped pants.

Hello Everyone,

Who’s heard of The Refashioners 2016? Click on the link to read all about it. It is the brainchild of the expert and inspiring refashioner, Portia Lawrie. This years challenge (which is open until the end of September), is to refashion jeans into…whatever you want. As  many pairs of jeans as you like, and of any colour, but only jeans (no other sources of denim).

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Burda 7494 denim peplum jacket made from refashioned jeans. Worn with Simplicity 8093 wide legged cropped pants.

I put some restrictions on myself:

  1. I didn’t want to source any new-to-me jeans: I had to use what I could find in the house.
  2. I didn’t want to have to spend any further money on the refashion, and again use patterns/ fabric/ notions that I already had to hand.

What I found was three pairs of jeans, 2 dark and 1 light. This kind of limited what I could make (I knew that wasn’t going to be enough to cut a dress for myself, for example), and in the end I decided that the whole patchwork look just wasn’t me, and so that brought me down to just two pairs of jeans.

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Burda 7494 denim peplum jacket made from refashioned jeans. Worn with Simplicity 8093 wide legged cropped pants.

I settled on using the jacket from Burda 7494, having made the dress previously, because it had princess seams which I thought would be advantageous in getting the pattern to fit to what fabric I had, and also because it had shorter length sleeves.

Pattern Modifications

  • Added 1 inch to side seams
  • Did 0.5 inch sway back adjustment
  • Did 1 inch full arm adjustment
  • Added centre back seam due to fabric constraints
  • Removed pleats from sleeve
  • Cut peplum on cross grain
  • Omitted lining (overlocked most of inner seams)
  • Had to pretty much ignore grain when cutting the facings (in retrospect maybe I should have cut into the lighter denim for the facings but, hey ho)
  • Added a machine made buttonhole
  • Bound inner waist seam with self made bias tape (fabric from previous project)
  • I chose to seam rip the outer legs of my jeans and so the sleeves were cut across the inner leg seam, with the original topstitching being left as a feature
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Burda 7494 denim peplum jacket made from refashioned jeans. Worn with Simplicity 8093 wide legged cropped pants.

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Burda 7494 denim peplum jacket made from refashioned jeans. Inside detail

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Burda 7494 denim peplum jacket made from refashioned jeans. Inside details

Overall I am pretty pleased with how this turned out. I have only really done one other refashion before and so it was great to challenge myself thinking out of the box. In the end I think I have something that reflects my personal style. Who knew two pairs of unloved and unworn jeans still had so much life left in them?

Be sure to check out Portia’s blog for lots of inspiring refashions.

Until soon!

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Burda 7494 denim peplum jacket made from refashioned jeans. Worn with Simplicity 8093 wide legged cropped pants.

 

 

Sew Over It Doris Dress: DIY Fit and Flare Tropical Print Dress

Sew Over It Doris Dress
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Sew Over It Doris Dress

Hi Everyone,

Today I want to share a dress I actually made a little while back: the new Doris dress by Sew Over It. This dress was made to appear in Issue 6 of Sewing Made Simple and I was compensated for the time spent making this dress, as well as very kindly being provided with the fabric (from Minerva Crafts) and the pattern from Sew Over It.

The fabric is a wonderfully lightweight viscose with a gorgeous tropical print on it. It has a great drape and it didn’t require lining. Perfect fabric for this pattern, with it’s cut on sleeves and panelled skirt. Unfortunately I think this fabric has since sold out, but there are tons of other viscose fabrics to choose from on the Minerva site.

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Sew Over It Doris Dress – Side Invisible Zip

The Doris dress itself is a very feminine shape, with a scoop-necked bodice, grown-on sleeves and a 7 panelled fluted skirt. This dress is perfect for summer wear with its body skimming shape, and attached ties (in the version I sewed), means you can get the perfect flattering fit.

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Sew Over It Doris Dress

There is a sewalong already up on the Sew Over It website, but I am not sure if they covered alteration of the bodice. In my case I had to do a Full Bust Adjustment (FBA) and, as ever, referred to Fit for Real People by Palmer and Alto. Here’s a picture to show you how I essentially did the adjustment, and there are a few more details provided in the review below:

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Sew Over It Doris Dress Full Bust Adjustment

Pattern Review

Pattern Description:
The Doris Dress is the perfect summer’s day dress. Feminine and romantic, throw it on and you’ll be set for that picnic in the park, day out at the beach, or hey, even a stint at the office. A truly versatile wardrobe staple, the Doris Dress will keep you looking elegant and put-together no matter what you get up to this season.

Features:

  • Semi-fitted shape
  • Flattering scooped neck bodice
  • Bust pleats
  • Grown-on sleeves
  • Attached ties which can be used to adjust the waist fit somewhat or fixed back belt option
  • Fluted seven panel skirt in two different length variations
  • Closes with concealed zip in side seam (has optional buttonhole closure at centre front)
  • Finished with facings inside

I made version 1 (with the ties).
Pattern Sizing:
UK sizes 8 – 20

The bodice is designed to be quite close fitting, with only 1 inch of positive ease included in the finished bodice.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes.
Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes, they were. I chose not to finish the edges prior to sewing as I think you run the risk of stretching and distorting edges and I also chose the insert the side invisible zip prior to closing the seam. Both of these are my personal sewing preferences.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

I absolutely love the finished dress. The fit and flare shape is very flattering and I love the sleeves and scooped neck. I also like that lengthen/ shorten lines are included on the pattern, as are finished garment measurements. There is nothing to dislike.
Fabric Used:

Beautiful quality printed viscose supplied by Minerva Crafts. This viscose has fantastic drape and feels so light, but is not transparent at all.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

The main alteration that I made was to do a 1 inch Full Bust Adjustment (FBA) to the bodice using the method described in Fit for Real People by Palmer and Alto. I cannot recommend this book highly enough to any home sewist, regardless of size. I used the method described in their book for “fronts with cap, cut-on, or kimono sleeves”. The illustration (above) shows you how I did this alteration. It basically involves cutting the sleeve off and cutting up through the bust apex position to the seam allowance at the armhole, spreading the pattern apart by the required amount, and also lengthening the front bodice to match (in my case I lengthened the front bodice by 1.5 inches). This method also introduces a side seam bust dart.

The other alteration I made was to account for my sway back: I sliced a 1 inch wedge off the centre back of the skirt, tapering to nothing at the sides, and added this wedge back to the lower hem of the skirt.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

Yes, I believe I would sew this dress again. The fit is great for me and it’s so comfortable to wear. Yes, I highly recommend.
Conclusion:

If you are looking for a feminine, flattering summer dress with a nostalgic retro vibe then this dress is for you. Make it in crepe or even silk for smarter occasions have a great all round dress.

Have a great week ahead!

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Sew Over It Doris Dress

 

 

NYC Garment District Fabric Shopping Haul

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Hey Peeps,

Bit of a picture heavy post today sharing my fabric haul from the Garment District in New York. Where to start?

Well, as a Brit who has never been fabric shopping in that particular part of the world before, I was concerned that it might be a little….overwhelming. But I needn’t have worried. Rather than start with a biggie (like Mood), I started with the smaller shops first and actually did a round of all the shops I wanted to first before comitting to buying anything.

Backing up. We were staying in a hotel on West 44th Street in NYC so it took me like 10 minutes to walk to the Garment District on the day I went shopping. Phil and Kezia headed off to catch a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty on the Staten Island Ferry that day (Kezia’s choice), so I was left to my own devices, although they came and met me later in the day.

First stop was Paron Fabrics (West 39th Street) (not the best of photographs; my camera lens needed cleaning I think!):

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Paron Fabrics

Fabrics were well organised by type (lots of choice) and they had lots of high end European imported stuff (Italian), which I avoided…because I was basically trying really hard to buy things which are hard to get here in the UK. I can’t remember the name of the older guy who served me but he was lovely (and gave me a discount – there was a sale on at the time too), and I could easily have spent a lot of money here.

This is what I bought here – top to bottom: top: a heavy weight waterproof fabric which has been bonded on the reverse side to what looks like a knit interfacing (i.e. it’s needle ready – love!), middle: medium/ heavy weight weight cotton flannel plaid and bottom: heavy weight satin lining (for the waterproof jacket).

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Paron Fabrics

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Paron Fabrics

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Paron Fabrics

Next I went across the road to Gray Line Linens (West 39th Street). Again, fabrics were well organised but prices were not marked and you had to ask them. There were lots of lovely metallic linens but I resisted. I figured linen is something you can get here. There were a few rolls of eyelet cotton but I held out and got some from Metro Textiles for a better price (see below):

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Gray Line Linens

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Gray Line Linens

After that I called into Daytona Trims (West 39th Street). Now here I did feel overwhelmed and didn’t purchase anything. I guess I am just someone who likes to buy notions and trims on a “by project” basis, so it was hard for me to buy something without a specific project in mind. However, if I had a trim shop like this near me, it would be heaven!

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Daytona Trims

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Daytona Trims

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Daytona Trims

Next was the much advocated Chic Fabrics (West 39th Street) (despite some confusion on Instagram it does still exist).

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Chic Fabrics

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Chic Fabrics

This place had some wonderful silks and cottons but I walked away with just one piece which is incredibly hard to capture the true colour of. In real life this amazing washed stretch silk is an olive green colour, but here it is photographing more brown. Utility shirt dress with lots of gold hardware methinks.

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Chic Fabrics

I walked over to West 37th Street after that (because I was meeting Philip and Kezia there) and called into Metro Textiles where I met the famous Kashi!

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With Kashi of Metro Textiles

The charming Kashi, of course, was open to a bit of bargaining, and he had a smaller selection of good quality fabrics of all kinds. I ended up purchasing two pieces from him: (top) a piece of red cotton eyelet (very hard to get in the UK) and (bottom) some printed silk crepe de chine which appears to have gone off grain so I am going to have to do something about that.

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Metro Textiles

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Metro Textiles

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Metro Textiles

By this time Philip and Kezia had arrived and Carolyn from Diary of a Sewing Fanatic also joined us for a quick foray into Mood Fabrics. Can I just say it was wonderful to meet Carolyn and it felt as if we had been friends forever, instead of meeting for the first time for a quick shopping trip.It’s a shame we didn’t have more time.

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With Carolyn of Diary of Sewing Fanatic in Mood Fabrics, NYC

I pretty much had only one thing in mind to buy from Mood…silk jersey. Finding silk jersey in the UK is like finding hens teeth. Anyway, this is what I walked away with: a panel printed silk jersey (I took 2 panels) and a half yard of plain orange silk jersey for accents. This was the most pricey purchase of the day and I hope that, when it eventually happens, I can do justice to this piece. I don’t need to write much about Mood as so much has already been written about shopping here. It is definitely a fabric shoppers paradise, but I found I prefered the scale and pace of the smaller shops.

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Mood Fabrics

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Mood Fabrics

The last place I hit was Spandex House (West 38th Street). Now I am not a huge knit wearer (in case you hadn’t noticed). Nor I am a huge lover of novelty prints. But if those things are your bag then this is the place for you.

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Spandex House

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Spandex House

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Spandex House

Here I bought three pieces of supplex (again very hard if not impossible to buy here in the UK) to make workout tops for myself.

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Spandex House

And finally, for Kezia I bought two pieces of glittery printed lycra (spandex) to make gymnastics leotards/ shorts, in her requested colours. These photos (all of them in this post in fact) were taken post washing and the glitter hasn’t come away which is encouraging. Again, Spandex House gave me a decent discount (your man Jean was the star here) and that’s always nice.

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Spandex House

I left my hotel at 10am and was back by 4pm, exhausted but very pleased with my purchases (I haven’t had by credit card bill yet, haha). All the fabrics came home safely and I am looking forward to sewing them up. I tried hard to buy fairly classic pieces – nothing too outlandish or unusual – just because that’s me. I know when I eventually wear an item made from these pieces I will cherish the memories of our great holiday.

See you soon!

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With Swatch at Mood Fabrics NYC

 

Simplicity 8086 by Cynthia Rowley: DIY Brocade Wedding Guest Outfit

Simplicity 8086 DIY Brocade Wedding Guest Outfit
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Simplicity 8086 DIY Brocade Wedding Guest Outfit

Hello Friends!

After a few weeks absence I am back. We had a wonderful time in the USA…I had a whole day of shopping in NYC’s Garment District, and will share all the details with you (including what I purchased), soon. I have quite a back log of unblogged garments to show you, kicking off with Simplicity 8086, which I made to wear to a wedding right before we left for the USA.

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Simplicity 8086 DIY Brocade Wedding Guest Outfit

The wedding we attended was held at Dalston Hall, less than 30 minutes drive from where we live. This is a converted 16th century mansion which is now a hotel and wedding venue  with lovely landscaped gardens and, in fact, by the time the wedding took place late in the afternoon, it was actually nice enough to have the ceremony outside. Before we left, when we took the majority of these photographs, it was windy and cloudy. BTW, the wedding was actually of a colleague of my husbands, whose daughter happens to be in the same class as my daughter.

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Simplicity 8086 DIY Brocade Wedding Guest Outfit – no I didn’t make my daughter’s outfit. It was purchased from Monsoon.

Prior to the wedding I had seen quite a few of these “floating overlay” style dresses, particularly from Coast, which always seems to have lots of wedding guest appropriate outfits. I knew I wanted something lighter in colour and a brocade was one of the suggested fabrics for this pattern. The fabric I went for was ordered (after sampling) from eBay. I don’t know if it is a “true” brocade, but it was robust and easy to work with (didn’t fray badly) and I pre-washed the fabric and lining so I don’t have to worry about dry cleaning costs. It wasn’t particularly expensive either, so I won’t feel bad if I don’t wear this one too much🙂 I think the floating overlay, which gives the appearance of a cropped top but with non of the tummy exposure, coupled with the fuller pleated skirt is flattering and the waistband emphasises a relatively smaller waist.

Apologies for the phone photos, but these will give you some idea of the inner bodice construction.

Firstly here is the inner bodice, front view, together with the waistband. The inner bodice is actually cut from lining fabric (it is not visible in the finished garment) and is lined. The waistband (and lower bodice back – see below) are cut from fashion fabric (and also lined).

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Simplicity 8086 DIY Brocade Wedding Guest Outfit – inner bodice and waistband

Here is a shot, midconstruction, which shows the upper bodice back (lining fabric) joined to the lower bodice back (fashion fabric). The key thing you must remember if making this dress is chose thin lining fabrics. Anything bulky is going to create problems. Trim and clip seam allowances and understitch carefully.

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Simplicity 8086 DIY Brocade Wedding Guest Outfit – inner bodice showing lower and upper back bodice

Here is the back view on me:

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Simplicity 8086 DIY Brocade Wedding Guest Outfit

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Simplicity 8086 DIY Brocade Wedding Guest Outfit

As ever, you can read my full review below. But I wanted to address the elephant in the room: the attachment of the overlay to the inner bodice. IMO there is an error in the instructions for this pattern at step 19. After sewing one armhole as per the instructions, you must turn the overlay to the inside, lay the bodice/ overlay out on a flat surface, and twist both pieces to facilitate sewing the remaining armhole. I know I might get people contacting me in like, 2 years (!) asking me how I did it, and believe me, if adding photos was going to help I would have added them. But it just looked like a big twisted mess at this stage which wasn’t going to help anyone. That is the best help I can give you: it can be done, but you just need to think carefully through the configuration otherwise you will end up with a big mobius strip!

Pattern Review

Pattern Description:
Cynthia Rowley Collection. Dress pattern with lace overlay or popover in single or two fabrics. Get a 2-piece look with comfort and convenience of an all in one dress. Popover reveals bra-friendly dress bodice in back.

I would say the bra-friendly thing only happened for me because I raised the height of the back by 1.5 inches.
Pattern Sizing:
4 – 20
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes
Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes, with the exception of step 19 – see below.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I love the finished dress. I made this dress to wear to a lovely wedding held at a converted 16th century mansion and I felt suitably attired. I think the floating overlay, which gives the appearance of a cropped top but with non of the tummy exposure, coupled with the fuller pleated skirt is flattering and the waistband emphasises a relatively smaller waist. There is nothing to dislike as such about the finished dress, but there is an error IMO at step 19 which may put some users off (see below). Be careful in your selection of fabrics (including linings): the inner and outer bodices are both fully lined and anything too bulky is going to cause problems. Careful trimming and clipping of seams and understitching is required.
Fabric Used:
Brocade outer fashion fabric. Polyester (?) lining fabric.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I raised the height of the lower back bodice (piece 10) by 1.5 inches at the centre back seam, tapering to nothing at the dot (this was to give me sufficient bra coverage).

I removed 1.5 inches from the length of the upper bodice back (piece 9).

I did a 1 inch FBA which added in a side bust dart.

I shortened the length of the vertical dart.

On the front overlay (piece 11) I lowered the bust dart by 0.75 inches.

I did a sway back adjustment, removing 0.5 inches from the lower bodice back and 0.5 inches from the top of the skirt back (and adding back to the lower back skirt hem).

I ended up sewing my waist darts significantly smaller (like 1.25 inches smaller) to give me more room at the waist and cutting a longer waistband. I also subsequently added 1.25 inches to the side front skirt seams and used 0.25 inch seam allowances to sew the side seams up.

I ended up doing a cheats FBA to the front overlay, adding 2 inches to the centre front and tapering to nothing at the sides. I also only took 3/8ths inch seam allowance sewing up the overlay side seams.

I took 6/8ths inch seam allowance to sew the upper back seam and used a 22 inch invisible zip (completely unncessary!) instead of 12 inches because I forgot.

I cut 4.25 inch interfacing strips and ironed them to the hem before handstitching the 2 inch  deep hem.

My front overlay seemed to be wrinkling at the bust when I had finished. I ended up sewing little bags out of the lining fabric and slipping in curtain weights. These bags were then slip stitched to the lining of the outer overlay at the bust darts and this seemed to do the trick: the overlay lay flat and I forgot all about them whilst wearing the dress.

IMO there is an error in the instructions for this pattern at step 19. After sewing one armhole as per the instructions, you must turn the overlay to the inside, lay the bodice/ overlay out on a flat surface, and twist both pieces to facilitate sewing the remaining armhole. I know I might get people contacting me in like, 2 years (!) asking me how I did it, and believe me, if adding photos was going to help I would have added them. But it just looked like a big twisted mess at this stage which wasn’t going to help anyone. That is the best help I can give you: it can be done, but you just need to think carefully through the configuration otherwise you will end up with a big mobius strip!
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I don’t know if I will sew this particular dress again. I recommend so long as you bear in mind the error at step 19.
Conclusion:

I felt great wearing this dress. I think it is flattering, current and elegant. It certainly made me feel like the best dressed guest at the wedding🙂

Finishing with a couple of photographs that made me smile. You get a bonus cow shot for free because that’s how we roll in these parts. Until soon.

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Simplicity 8086 DIY Brocade Wedding Guest Outfit

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Simplicity 8086 DIY Brocade Wedding Guest Outfit – my beautiful family

 

Simplicity 8093 and 1366: DIY Wide Leg Cropped Trousers Pants and Boxy Orange Linen Top

Simplicity 8093 and 1366: DIY Wide Leg Cropped Trousers Pants and Boxy Orange Linen Top

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Simplicity 8093 and 1366: DIY Wide Leg Cropped Trousers Pants and Boxy Orange Linen Top

Hi Friends,

The weather is not being very cooperative with photographing summer clothes, but hey ho, we must press on. Today I am sharing a pair of wide leg cropped trousers (or pants for some) made using Simplicity 8093 and a boxy top in the brightest orange linen made using Simplicity 1366. Let’s start with the trousers.

Simplicity 8093 is a Mimi G for Simplicity pattern. It is the first time I have used one of these patterns. Included in the envelope are also pattern pieces to make a jacket with a notched detail collar and a top. I was very kindly provided the pattern and also the fabric I used to make these trousers by Sew Essential. The fabric I chose is to use is their Prestige Medium Weight Crepe, in navy blue. This fabric is easy to wash, sew and press (I used my press cloth and my clapper in parts) and overlocked seams. It’s a great quality fabric and perfect for trousers like these.

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Simplicity 8093 and 1366: DIY Wide Leg Cropped Trousers Pants and Boxy Orange Linen Top


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Simplicity 8093 and 1366: DIY Wide Leg Cropped Trousers Pants and Boxy Orange Linen Top

Full review for the trousers below but one thing I wanted to point out was that these trousers feature an invisible zipper which is placed in the seam alongside an in-seam pocket. What?! Did you even know such a thing was possible? Nope, neither did I until I came to making these. (p.s. I know the seam intersection is about 0.25 inches off here, but I was just too amazed to unpick and re-do!)

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Simplicity 8093: wide leg cropped trousers: invisible zipper inserted in to seam with in-seam pocket

There is a full (free) video tutorial sew-along for these trousers, hosted by Mimi G, so if you want to see how this magic is done watch the video.

Simplicity 8093 Pattern Review

Pattern Description:
Pattern includes V-neck top, cropped wide-leg pants, and lined jacket with notched detail.

I made view B, the cropped wide-leg pants.
Pattern Sizing:
6 – 24
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes
Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes they were, although I had to refer to the (free) Mimi G video tutorial sew along for these pants to work out how to do the invisible zipper, which is inserted in to the side seam alongside an in-seam pocket. Clever stuff.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
This is a new silhouette for me. I think I like it. I have worn them already and was complimented on them. TBH I think when I wore them out I wore them with a tucked in silk blouse and maybe that looked neater than the untucked top I am wearing them with in these photos. You can see how I wore them out on my instagram here. I love the invisible zipper/ pocket detail. Nothing to dislike as such.
Fabric Used:
Prestige medium weight crepe in navy blue, supplied by Sew Essential UK.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
My only adjustment was to take a 1 inch tuck from the back yoke and re-add this to the back hem. I am no trouser fitting expert and whilst the yoke now fits me well, it has caused the trousers to pitch forward slightly. I don’t know if I should have taken the 1 inch from the top of the trousers (and deepened the back crotch by 1 inch?)

I ended up removing 4.5 inches from the length.Shortys beware.

I didn’t finish the yoke facing as instructed and instead turned over the raw edge and machined in the ditch to close.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Maybe and yes.
Conclusion:

I am surprised at how much I do like wearing these and am totally freaked out about the invisible zipper🙂 Dress these pants up or down. Either way they are comfortable and have that classy tailored look too.

Now the top. Simplicity 1366 is a Cynthia Rowley pattern, that also includes a skirt and a camisole. (Interestingly the camisole has a facing if you prefer that finish to doing a narrow hem or bias tape finish). Anyway, I have seen some great versions of this top and I wanted to try it out. The bright orange linen was purchased from my local covered market. I love the colour and can’t wait to wear it on holiday.

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Simplicity 8093 and 1366: DIY Wide Leg Cropped Trousers Pants and Boxy Orange Linen Top

Simplicity 1366 Pattern Review

Pattern Description:
High low cascading bow skirt in two lengths. Pattern also includes tank with spaghetti straps and loose fitting short sleeve top.

I made view D.
Pattern Sizing:
4 – 20
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes.
Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I do love the finished top. Nothing to dislike.
Fabric Used:
Irish linen.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
1 inch sway back adjustment.

Added 1.25 inches to the length.

1.25 inches full arm adjustment.

Cheaters FBA: Added 2 inches to the side seams, front and back, tapering to nothing at the armholes.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes, I can see me making this again. Yes, I recommend.
Conclusion:

It is loose and boxy and perfect for hot weather dressing. If you want a dartless top pattern try this one out.

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Simplicity 8093 and 1366: DIY Wide Leg Cropped Trousers Pants and Boxy Orange Linen Top

Thanks once again to Sew Essential for being so generous and giving me the opportunity to select the pattern and fabric.

Until soon!

 

 

Fabric shopping in NYC and a Linton Tweeds Meet Up

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Hello Friends,

Two things today:

  1. I am going to have a whole day to do some fabric shopping in NYC on our forthcoming trip to The States. I am thinking of heading to Paron Fabrics for 10:30am on Wednesday 20th July. From there I was thinking of Chic Fabric, but have just been informed that it no longer exists. So…maybe after Paron’s then Metro Textiles/ Spandex House and Pacific Trims? This is all completely loose, as I haven’t even checked how close things are to each other (any experts feel free to chime in!) In the afternoon if I have any energy/ money/ space in my luggage left, then try for Mood fabrics? So if anyone is feeling jobless on that particular Wednesday and would like to join me please leave me a comment below or PM me (my email address is under my “about me” section.
  2. A couple of people have mentioned they would like to come visit Linton Tweeds. I am proposing a meet-up there on Saturday 17th September. At this stage this is just to guage interest. I have contacted Linton Tweeds asking if they might be able to organise anything for us (like a tour of the production side/ a talk or something), but, till now, have not heard anything. So it might just be a chance to pet the fabrics (and add to your stash), but more than that, meet other folks with a shared interest in sewing, eat some lunch and enjoy some sewing related craic. I will put out more details nearer the time but everyone is welcome.

Until soon. Enjoy the weekend.

 

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