Tag Archive | curvy sewing

Vogue 8882 and McCalls 6886 (modified): DIY Custom Printed Satin Full Skirt and Cropped Fitted Sweater

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Vogue 8882 custom printed satin skirt worn with McCalls 6886 (modified) cropped fitted sweater

Hello Friends,

A little while ago I was contacted by a new to me company called Fashion Formula, who offer a custom digital printing service onto fabrics, wallpaper, gift wrap, cushions, aprons and tea towels. This was a completely new experience for me, and I am very grateful to Fashion Formula for allowing me to select a fabric and print of my choice for this project. The fabric was provided at no cost to me, but as ever, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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Vogue 8882 custom printed satin skirt worn with McCalls 6886 (modified) cropped fitted sweater

Initially, I did toy with the idea of uploading a design of my own creation, using one of my watercolour paintings. But, I really wasn’t confident about getting the repeat on the fabric right, so in the end I perused their almost 1,500 fabric designs and selected this one, Asian Inspiration, by Botal. There are some stunning designs to choose from (already, since I selected I can see there are new designs which I love), and the only thing I would say you need to be wary of, if you are selecting a print for garment fabric, is check the scale of the design (all information is provided on the website), and make sure you are happy with that aspect. The website itself is well designed and easy to navigate and you are provided with a preview of the length of fabric you require so you get to see how the print falls across the entire length.

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Vogue 8882 custom printed satin skirt worn with McCalls 6886 (modified) cropped fitted sweater

There are more than 40 different fabric options to print onto, including, twill, denim, velvet, scuba, poplin, sateen, bamboo, chiffon, organza, ITY jersey, various crepes, georgette, lining fabrics and organic cotton panama. Again, some of these options were introduced after I made my selection, but in the end, I decided to go for heavy satin. Why? I had a vision of making a skirt using Vogue 8882 which I had in my stash, and I have never come across heavy printed satin to purchase before. I can confirm that this fabric went through a hot 60 degree pre-wash and the colours did not fade or streak and the fabric was easy to cut, sew and press. Overall, I am really happy with my experience of using Fashion Formula and I would definitely consider using them again.

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Vogue 8882 custom printed satin skirt worn with McCalls 6886 (modified) cropped fitted sweater

On to the pattern review! First I will say I made the top using McCalls 6886 and an acrylic sweater knit. You can see my previous versions of this pattern here, here and here.

The details:

  • Cut a size 14 (2 sizes smaller than usual)
  • Did a 0.5 inch FBA, rotating the dart back into the side seam
  • Cut off at the waist and added a 4 inch deep waistband
  • Cut off just below the elbow and added a 3 inch deep band
  • Added a neckband
  • Removed 0.25 inches from length at back before adding waistband

Initially, when I tried the sweater on, I really wasn’t too comfortable with how close fitting it is. But, after a lot of Instagram support, I have decided I do actually like it, and I wore it all day yesterday with a denim skirt.

Vogue 8882 Pattern Review

The main review is below, but I just wanted to point out the major issue I had with this skirt, which was in relation to the hemming. So, at least for view B, pattern pieces are included for you to cut nice deep hem facings, which are interfaced. The suggested hem interfacings are crinoline (like finding hens teeth in these parts) or buckram (duly ordered). I have used horse hair braid before very successfully (see here), and given the choice, if making this skirt again, I would probably use the horse hair braid. But, I followed the Vogue instructions and, boy, what a mess the buckram made! You can see the mess here. In the end, I cut the hot mess right off, and used a satin bias binding facing to finish the hem. It was neat and easy to do. I have since found out that buckram is usally only recommended for bag making etc. Why Vogue recommend it is beyond me, unless it comes in different weights?

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Vogue 8882 custom printed satin skirt – satin bias tape facing hem finish

Pattern Description:
Flared skirt (cut on crosswise grain) has waistband, pleats and back zipper. A, B, D: Interfaced hemline. C: Contrast waistband. D: Attached tie ends. E: High-low hemline, wrong side shows. C, E, F: Narrow hem.

I made view B.

Note that this skirt is cut on the cross grain.
Pattern Sizing:
6 – 22
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. I DID NOT like the suggestion to use buckram for the hem interfacing – see below.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I actually really do like the finished skirt shape. I think it’s quite easy to wear and flattering. I REALLY DISLIKE the suggestion to use buckram as the hem interfacing.

So, at least for view B, pattern pieces are included for you to cut nice deep hem facings, which are interfaced. The suggested hem interfacings are crinoline (like finding hens teeth in these parts) or buckram (duly ordered). I have used horse hair braid before very successfully, and given the choice, if making this skirt again, I would probably use the horse hair braid. But, I followed the Vogue instructions and, boy, what a mess the buckram made! You can see the mess here. In the end, I cut the hot mess right off, and used a satin bias binding facing to finish the hem. It was neat and easy to do.
Fabric Used:
A custom printed heavy satin from Fashion Formula, based in the UK.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
Absolutely no alterations made. If I was making this skirt again I would reduce the height of the waistband by about 5/8ths inch – it’s a little too high for me. I did substitute an invisible zip in as the back closure.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I might sew it again. I do recommend – its a pretty easy sew – just don’t go near the buckram.
Conclusion:
I am glad to have this skirt in my closet because I think I can dress it up or down and it’s a perfect colour for spring.

At the beginning of May, after a career break of 5 years, I am returning to my former job as a project manager in the field of Animal Health Pharmaceuticals (3 days a week). So, blogging and sewing may slow down somewhat, and perhaps, stylewise, I may sew different things? Who knows. What I do know is I am too addicted to sewing to give up altogether. Here’s looking forward to a new phase in life! Happy Easter and happy sewing.

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Vogue 8882 custom printed satin skirt worn with McCalls 6886 (modified) cropped fitted sweater

 

McCalls 7542: DIY Statement Pleated Sleeve Blue White Stripe Cotton Top

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McCalls 7542 pleated sleeve cuff striped shirting cotton top (worn with Simplicity 1167 chino style pants)

Hello Friends!

This year is, apparently, the #yearofthesleeve, and I decided to dip my toe into this trend by making up McCalls 7542 in a blue and white stripe cotton shirting (another trend of the moment) purchased from Fabworks.

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McCalls 7542 pleated sleeve cuff striped shirting cotton top

I have to say that I really had mixed feelings about the bodice for this top as I was making it, and I do think that for lots of people, some amount of adjustment may need to be made. But, having worn it for the day, I have to say I do love it and especially those cool pleated sleeves.

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McCalls 7542 pleated sleeve cuff striped shirting cotton top

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McCalls 7542 pleated sleeve cuff striped shirting cotton top

Lets talk proportions for a moment, shall we? This top, as drafted, is quite short and boxy. I decided to add three inches to the length. This makes this top much more wearable for me. I can wear it just like I have done in these pictures over slim trousers or skinny jeans. But, even though I added some width at the hips, it felt too tight so I ended up adding slits to the sides. I also decided to lengthen the sleeves. Or rather, I used the piece for the pleats from sleeve C, but attached them to the sleeves which I cut at the longer length, as per View D. My reasoning for doing this was because I felt I wouldn’t want to wear anything on top of this top, and, for that reason, I wanted a little more arm coverage.

There was some discussion over on Instagram about whether I should have cut the sleeves shorter but I think the new proportions work. I actually think if I had kept the shorter length as intended, the fullest part of the sleeve would probably have ended at my bust line which would have made me look wider. As the fullest part of the sleeve now ends closer to the narrowest part of my body (my waist), I think it works. But hey, I love interacting with everyone over on Instagram and its always nice to have a second opinion.

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McCalls 7542 pleated sleeve cuff striped shirting cotton top (worn with Simplicity 1167 chino style pants)

Pattern Review

Pattern Description:
Semi-fitted tops have sleeve variations. Includes separate pattern pieces for A/B, C, and D cups.

I made view C but cut my sleeves at the longer line intended for view D.
Pattern Sizing:
6 – 22
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes…my version is longer with longer sleeves.
Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I had some misgivings about the bodice as I was making it up. It is short and boxy as drafted. I made some adjustments to suit me (see below). There is a little tightness across the front of the sleeves when I raise my arms. I love the end result with the pleated sleeve. Very on trend.
Fabric Used:
Blue white cotton striped shirting.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

  • I cut a size 18 through the bust, shoulders and arms and a D cup.
  • I added 3 inches to the length.
  • Inspite of me adding some width at the side seams at the hips, when I initially tried the bodice on it felt tight in that region so I ended up adding side slits.
  • 5/8ths inch sway back adjustment, adding removed length back at hem.
  • Dropped bust dart by 0.5 inch.
  • Shortened bust dart by 1 inch (don’t know if that was really necessary).
  • Cut sleeve length as per view D (but used pleated sleeve pattern piece from view C).
  • 1 inch full arm adjustment (adding the extra one inch to the pleated sleeve pattern piece; 0.5 inch to either side seam allowance).
  • Lowered back opening slit by further 2 inches. Be warned: some people may want to lower the neckline a bit. In the end I left it as is and its fine for me.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I don’t know if I want too many of these in my wardrobe, but I might like to try another view and maybe try it is something with more drape like a viscose.
Conclusion:
Make this one up fast for summer because fashions come and go. Right now, I feel very on trend wearing this.

Have a great week ahead!

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McCalls 7542 pleated sleeve cuff striped shirting cotton top

 

Pauline Alice Tello Jacket: DIY Utility Military Khaki Jacket with Patches

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Pauline Alice Tello Utility Jacket with patches

Hello again Friends,

Today I wanted to share a jacket I made using one of Pauline Alice’s latest patterns: the Tello jacket. I tested this pattern for Pauline, under no obligation, and liked it enough to make a final version up. Pauline did send me a final copy of the pattern, together with a copy of the new Botanic trousers (BTW, love the look of those!) but all my opinions are my own.

Pauline describes the Tello jacket as “a classic utility jacket, unlined and with many pockets. It features a topstitched collar, one-piece sleeves with dart, one vertical zipped chest pocket with lined interior and one patch pocket, large hip pockets and six button closures”.

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Pauline Alice Tello Utility Jacket with patches

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Pauline Alice Tello Utility Jacket with patches

As you can see from my version, I omitted the chest pockets, did a FBA which brought in a bust dart, and added iron-on military inspired patches to add a bit of interest (please don’t anyone comment on the authenticity of my patch selection! I just went for ones that would look good, lol). My fabric is a lightly brushed cotton twill trousering from Croft Mill fabrics. It is rather heavy weight but it’s softening down with wear. I could see this jacket made up in so many different fabrics which would all give unique looks: denim, cord, linen or even a printed fabric.

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Pauline Alice Tello Utility Jacket with patches

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Pauline Alice Tello Utility Jacket with patches

As ever with Pauline’s patterns she really thinks of interesting details which elevate even her basic patterns to something special. Here I have included a close up of the topstitched elbow dart, and the angled patch pocket at the hips which extend back over the side seam.

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Pauline Alice Tello Utility Jacket with patches – topstitched elbow dart detail

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Pauline Alice Tello Utility Jacket with patches – hip patch pocket detail

For the inside finish I chose to use a combination of a bound finish (around the facings/ yoke and centre back seam), and an overlocked finish. This is something I see a lot in RTW and I am happy enough with the finish on this style of jacket.

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Pauline Alice Tello Utility Jacket with patches – inner jacket front view

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Pauline Alice Tello Utility Jacket with patches – inner jacket back view

Here is a list of modifications I made:

  • Omitted breast pockets
  • 1 inch FBA which brought in a bust dart
  • Graded out at hips at front and back side seams and also added a little to the lower part of the centre back seam. (Pauline tells me the final pattern has had the hip circumference increased slightly. Note, I do fall slightly outside Pauline’s hip measurements)
  • Widened hip patch pockets by 1.5 inches
  • 1 inch sway back adjustment with removed length added back to hem
  • 1 inch full arm adjustment
  • Shortened sleeve by 1 inch
  • Lowered armholes by 1 inch (Pauline tells me armhole depth has been increased in the final pattern)
  • Lengthened jacket by 1.5 inches

 

Things I love about this jacket

  • I don’t have a style like this in my wardrobe
  • I think it is very on-trend, especially in the khaki colour, and I feel cool wearing it
  • It is only 27 pages long and has only 9 pieces – not too many for a jacket
  • I see so many PDF patterns now retailing for 12 euros/ USD plus: I think the price is so reasonable! (BTW, this jacket is also available in paper format)

 

Things you should watch out for

  • Depending on your fabric it might be worth considering added at least a half lining. I do find it a little hard to get this jacket on and off easily. But it’s totally not going to stop me wearing it!
  • Also, the pattern does not call for interfacing at all (intentional). I chose to interface my facings, yoke and collar.

At least over this past weekend and today it has been beautiful blue skies and warmer. I don’t know if that is set to last, but I have already been wearing this jacket and I just love it. Check out Pauline’s shop for some offers on her newest range of 3 patterns, which include this one.

See you all soon and thanks so much to everyone who has voted for me so far in the Dressmaker of the year contest.

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Pauline Alice Tello Utility Jacket with patches

 

Butterick 6288 and Vogue 1517: DIY Silk Shirt and Pull on Ponte Pants by Anne Klein

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Butterick 6288 silk shirt and Vogue 1517 pull on ponte pants by Anne Klein

Friends,

has it really been a month since I last posted? Wow. I have been sewing…quite a bit…but a few things I can’t share with you just yet, and then the weather…oof! I was holding off for some outdoor shots of this outfit, but it just wasn’t meant to be. Also, I know this post includes photos of pants/ trousers that you can’t see too much detail of, but you’re just going to have to go with it.

Let’s start with the shirt, and first of all the printed fabric, which kindly sent to me by a new-to-me fabric supplier: FC Fabric Studio, based in London. This is a gorgeous abstract printed silk crepe de chine, priced very reasonably, at £8/m. It pre-washed absolutely fine and feels wonderfully light and airy to wear (the contrast plain blue silk crepe de chine was in my stash, and by contrast just refuses to look anything but slightly rumpled). Go check their website out because they have a good variety of high fashion fabrics at reasonable prices, with new stock being added every day. They sent me a second piece of silk (this one if you want to see), so expect that to pop up sometime soon.

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Butterick 6288 silk shirt

The pattern I used to make this shirt was Butterick 6288, view B with the sleeves from view C. I did make some alterations to the pattern (see below), but the main thing I wanted to mention was the fit through the bust. I cut a size 18 through the shoulders, arms and bust, and the finished pattern measurements give the finished bust size as 52 inches. This might sound like a lot (it is!) but be warned this measurement may well include the fullness through the back – whereas I need fullness through the front! That’s why I did a 1 inch FBA. However, I don’t know if it is to do with the fact my bust dart is about 1 inch too low, or if I need a bigger FBA, but I feel like I could do with a little more width through the upper chest. I mean, I am definitely going to wear this shirt as is, but for next time round I have moved the dart up by 1 inch and added a further 0.5 inch to the FBA, this time slicing up almost to the shoulder seam to give more room there (Fit for Real People call this a Y-Bust alteration).

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Butterick 6288 silk shirt and Vogue 1517 pull on ponte pants by Anne Klein

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Butterick 6288 silk shirt and Vogue 1517 pull on ponte pants by Anne Klein

In lieu of interfacing I used silk organza. I omitted all directions to hand stitch, using the burrito method to attach the yokes and adding top stitching only where necessary. I overlocked the side seams but french seamed the sleeve seams and sleeves into the armholes. Some details:

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Butterick 6288 silk shirt contrast placket

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Butterick 6288 silk shirt hidden button placket

Pattern Review Butterick 6288

Pattern Description:
Very loose-fitting shirt has collar, collar and front bands, self-lined yoke back, back longer than front, wrong side shows, narrow hem, and fly front button closing. A: Bias armholes facings, pockets, and topstitching. B: Stitched hem on sleeves. A, B: Side slits, back pleat and gathers. C: Back pleats, shaped hemline, continuous lap and button cuffs on sleeves.

I made view B with the sleeves from view C.
Pattern Sizing:
8 – 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?
They are ok but I prefer to use my own methods of construction which don’t involve hand sewing.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I do like the finished shirt with the split hem and the relaxed fit. The button placket took a little bit of working out. I didn’t like all the instructions to use hand sewing.
Fabric Used:
Patterned silk crepe de chine for the main body of the shirt (FC Fabric Studio) with a contrast plain silk crepe de chine for the cuffs, sleeve plackets, button bands, collar stand and collar.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

  • I cut a size 18 through the shoulders, arms and bust and graded out 2 sizes at the hip.
  • Although the finished pattern measurements for a size 18 are given as 52 inches, this may include the fullness at the back. So I elected to do a 1 inch FBA. My bust darts are about 1 inch too low. Whether it is due to the bust dart position, or whether it is because I need a bigger FBA, I feel like I need more room across the upper chest. So I have altered the pattern for next time, adding a further 0.5 inch to the FBA, and slicing up almost to the shoulder seam (Fit for People call this a Y-Bust alteration). I will still wear this shirt!
  • Shortened sleeve by 2 inches.
  • 1 inch full arm adjustment.
  • 1 inch sway back adjustment – adding removed length back to hem.
  • Increased armhole depth by 0.5 inch.
  • Used silk organza in place of interfacing.
  • Ignored instructions to handstitch and top stitched where necessary.
  • Used burrito method to attach yokes.
  • I overlocked the side seams, but french seamed the sleeve seams and the sleeves into the armholes.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes, I might sew again. Yes, I recommend.
Conclusion:
This is a fun take on the traditional button down shirt and I like the way the button placket doesn’t go all the way up to the top of the neck but has that neck lengthening V-shape.

Now the pants. They are made using Vogue 1517, which is an Anne Klein pattern, and some ponte knit. Someday I am going to make the jacket from this pattern. Anyway, I have never owned or sewn ponte knit pants, but I thought I would try them out. Two things you should know about these pants:

  1. They are pull on pants and the instructions have you sew in an exposed (on the inside) elastic waistband. I didn’t like that idea (largely because I had white elastic!) so I cut two waistbands and encased the elastic inside.
  2. They feature a centre front and back seam detail which I actually thought were edge stitched, but it turns out they are just topstitched in place. TBH it’s probably a good thing they are not edgestitched because, at least for the back, the seams are no where near the centre of the back of my leg. I have altered the pattern for future use to move the seam over by 1.5 inches.
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Vogue 1517 Pull on ponte pants by Anne Klein

Initially, I put the finished pants on and thought “meh”. They made me feel like I was wearing track suit bottoms. But I have worn them properly for the first time today, all day, and I have to say I am sold on  how comfortable they are but how smart they look. They didn’t bag out or stretch; I do recommend. Perfect for a day in the car, office or travelling. BTW, you can see a bit of the back fit in this instagram photo.

Pattern Review Vogue 1517

Pattern Description:
Close-fitting pants have elasticized waistband, seam detail, and stitched hem
Pattern Sizing:
6 – 22
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 love the finished pants. So comfortable but still smart. They have kept their shape after a day of wearing, mainly sitting. I didn’t like the instruction to have the elastic exposed inside, but I just cut two waistbands and enclosed the elastic inside.
Fabric Used:
Ponte knit.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

  • Full butt adjustment to raise the height of the back waistline up by about 2 inches.
  • Removed 5/8ths inch from inner back seam.
  • Tapered lower legs slightly to suit.
  • Shaped the straight waistband by removing two 0.5 inch wedges from the upper edge.
  • For next time I have already scooped out the front crotch about 0.25 inch and added 0.25 inch to the legnth of the front crotch and also removed 3/4 inch from the length.
  • Note that the centre back seams are not central, at least on my legs, so I have moved the seam over by 1.5 inches for next time.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes, I believe I might. Yes, I definitely recommend.
Conclusion:
I didn’t think I would like these pants as much as I do but I am a convert. Perfect smart casual piece.

*Check out this post for links on how I did the full butt adjustment on a previous pair of pants.

**Also, this instagram photo shows how I did the same adjustment on these particular pants across the princess seams.

Back soon – until then, happy sewing!

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Butterick 6288 silk shirt and Vogue 1517 pull on ponte pants by Anne Klein

Burdastyle Draped Dress (Plus Size) 08/2016#131 and Kwik Sew 3504: DIY Red Dress and Men’s Jeans: Valentines Outfits

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Burdastyle Draped Dress (Plus Size) 08/2016#131 Red Wool Crepe Dress

Hello Dear Readers,

Life has been busy and it’s taken me longer than I would have liked to have blogged. But here I am back today, sharing my most recent makes: a red wool crepe dress I made for myself and a pair of jeans I made for Philip, both for Valentines day.

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Burdastyle Draped Dress (Plus Size) 08/2016#131 Red Wool Crepe Dress

Let’s talk about my dress first! This was made using a Plus Size Burdastyle pattern 08/2016#131. This is my first Burdastyle dress. I really didn’t know where I would be in terms of fit with this pattern, so I made a muslin (long time readers of this blog will know how much I dislike making muslins!). Anywho. Thanks to Instagram friends (who helped an awful lot with this dress), I learned that Burdastyle Plus Size patterns are apparently drafted for a D cup. Who would have thought? I refer you to this post from the Curvy Sewing Collective which is a great resource for plus size sewists. Long story short, I didn’t do an FBA on this dress, and the fit through the bust is good. In fact, I did minimal adjustments – you can find the full details in my review below.

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Burdastyle Draped Dress (Plus Size) 08/2016#131 Red Wool Crepe Dress

The fashion fabric is a wool mix crepe. When I made my muslin I felt it would benefit from some extra width through the hips and I added some extra to the seam allowances. But this fabric behaved quite differently to the muslin fabric and I ended up removing any extra I had added in. The dress is unlined, and in an effort to make the insides feel special I made around 18 metres of bias binding from left over viscose lining and used it to bind every seam using the hong kong method of seam finishing. Time consuming but worth it I think.

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Burdastyle Draped Dress (Plus Size) 08/2016#131 Red Wool Crepe Dress – inner hong kong finish

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Burdastyle Draped Dress (Plus Size) 08/2016#131 Red Wool Crepe Dress – inner hong kong finish

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Burdastyle Draped Dress (Plus Size) 08/2016#131 Red Wool Crepe Dress – inner hong kong finish

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Burdastyle Draped Dress (Plus Size) 08/2016#131 Red Wool Crepe Dress – inner hong kong finish

You just get to see a cheeky peek of the gold binding at the back vent slit.

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Burdastyle Draped Dress (Plus Size) 08/2016#131 Red Wool Crepe Dress

Over on Instagram there was quite a discussion as to what might be causing the diagonal wrinkles through the forearms of the sleeves. THANK YOU to everyone who took the time to comment on that post and offer up suggestions. Sheryll (who authors the amazing blog Pattern, Scissors, Cloth), offered up what I thought sounded the most promising solution: she thought the sleeve head was too short, and the way to fix it was to lower the underarm of the sleeve only to balance things out so that the bicep line becomes horizontal. Well, I tried pinning some fabric out of the underarm of the sleeve only, and…it didn’t seem to work. So…the next approach was try and slim the sleeve down (I had, of course, already bound all the edges by this point – thank  you Amanda who suggested looking at that). Well…that’s what I ended up doing: I ended up removing approx 1.5 inches of width from the sleeves. It is better. I can live with it…but if I made this dress again I would try and figure out what was going on a bit better.

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Burdastyle Draped Dress (Plus Size) 08/2016#131 Red Wool Crepe Dress

Pattern Review

Pattern Description:
A sheath style dress. The inlaid pleats and the attached tying band give definition at the waist, while smoothing over any extra padding in the area. Darts in the elbow add extra shape to the sleeves.
Pattern Sizing:
44 – 52
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?
Not really. This is burdastyle. I think the first part of the instructions are missing. I didn’t understand how they wanted you to do the vent, so I did my own thing. Saying that, everything worked out ok in the end. It’s probably worth making a muslin so you can understand what they want you to do – particularly in reference to the pleating at the waist.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I love the finished dress with the asymmetric waist pleating and the tie which comes around the back and ties in front. I love that Burdastyle patterns are apparently drafted for a D cup – I didn’t have to do an FBA on this dress. In fact, minimal alterations were required. There are some diagonal lines in the forearm of the sleeve – most of these seemed to come out when I tightened the sleeve up. I would need to investigate this further if making this dress again.
Fabric Used:
Wool mix crepe. This dress is unlined so I made around 18 metres of bias binding using left over viscose lining fabric and used a hong kong technique to finish every seam.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

  • 0.5 inch sway back adjustment.
  • Shortened skirt length by 3/8ths inch
  • Shortened sleeve by 1 inch
  • 1 inch full arm adjustment (turned out this was probably unnecessary – at least in the wool crepe – as I ended up narrowning the sleeves by approx. 1.5 inches)
  • Interfaced zipper openings and hems.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I don’t know if I would make another of these, but it’s a great pattern. I recommend.
Conclusion:
I love this modern classic style. I think this dress could take me to many places.

Now, a brief mention of the jeans. I first made these back towards the end of 2015 for Philip. The main alterations to these jeans were to shorten the rise by two inches, slim the legs down, add interfacing to the waistband, remove approx. 5/8ths inch from the waist either side, front and back, and narrow the hips down. Here they are being modelled – the fabric is a lightweight denim purchased I think from Mandors in Glasgow.

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Kwik Sew 3504 Mens Jeans

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Kwik Sew 3504 Mens Jeans

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Kwik Sew 3504 Mens Jeans

I also added some valentines day appropriate embroidery to the inner waistband and made some bias binding to bind the waistband.

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Kwik Sew 3504 Mens Jeans: inner waistband embroidery and bound waistband detail

Now, I expect you are all dying to know what my husband’s thoughts were on the dress and the jeans. Well, he liked the improved fit on the jeans. But the dress…hmmm…in his (paraphrased) words…the dress is not tight enough or low cut enough. LOL. I have said it before, and say it again, husband, you stick to cutting up and sewing patients together and I will stick to cutting up and sewing fabric to make things that please me to wear. We had a lovely lunchtime valentines day date. Hope you enjoyed the week and have a great week ahead.

Bye for now!

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Burdastyle Draped Dress (Plus Size) 08/2016#131 Red Wool Crepe Dress

 

 

New Look 6374: DIY Dark Floral Tunic Top

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New Look 6374 Dark Floral Tunic Top

Hello Friends,

How are you? Today I am sharing a tunic top that I completed a couple of weeks ago, using New Look 6374. It’s a simple little top that I made using some dark floral polyester fabric that I purchased locally to me. In our climate I don’t have a problem wearing the odd polyester item and I just couldn’t resist the print and – bonus – it doesn’t crease up easily either. IMO it’s the perfect top to wear over skinny jeans if you like more coverage in the back (at least if you sew View A like I did).

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New Look 6374 Dark Floral Tunic Top

As ever, you can read my full review below, but the one thing I wanted to point out is that for me, initially, when I tried the top on, it felt very high up into my underarm. Like uncomfortably so. I subsequently went back and resewed the underarm portion taking a smaller seam allowance which made the top  feel much more comfortable (and wearable!) I have adjusted the pattern to lower the armhole depth by 0.5 inches, but I might even go slightly deeper than this. I know Beth made this pattern up without issue so this particular pecularity could just be me!

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New Look 6374 Dark Floral Tunic Top

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New Look 6374 Dark Floral Tunic Top

Pattern Review

Pattern Description:
Misses’ top pattern includes half sleeve top with shirt tail hem, sleeveless top with contrast yoke and band, sleeveless top with contrast yoke, and 3/4 sleeve top with contrast yoke, center front and sleeve band.

I made view A.
Pattern Sizing:
10 – 22
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, but I didn’t like the instruction to finish the hem before sewing up the side seams. I ignored that.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I like the finished top. I think its the perfect tunic top to wear over skinny jeans, especially view A, if you like more coverage in the back. I like the placket construction: they came out nice and I like the slight V-shape formed by the plackets – flattering. I would probably have preferred if the back yoke had been double layer and not single.
Fabric Used:
Polyester.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

  • I cut my usual size at the bust/ shoulders and graded out a size at the waist and a further size at the hips. I also ended up only using 3/8ths of an inch seam allowance below the bust.
  • 1 inch full arm adjustment.
  • o.5 inch sway back adjustment.
  • I found that, initially, when I tried the top on, it felt very high up into my underarm. Like uncomfortably so. I subsequently went back and resewed the underarm portion taking a smaller seam allowance which made the top  feel much more comfortable (and wearable!) I have adjusted the pattern to lower the armhole depth by 0.5 inches, but I might even go slightly deeper than this.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes, I would sew this again. Yes, I recommend.
Conclusion:
If you like longer length loose fitting tunic tops with the shirttail hem then try this one out.

Current world events maybe unsettling and frightening but here’s hoping things get better. Have a great week ahead!

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New Look 6374 Dark Floral Tunic Top

 

Simplicity 8213: DIY Floral Scuba Sheath Dress

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Simplicity 8213 Floral scuba sheath dress with front skirt overlay

Happy New Year Readers!

I am still trying to get caught up blogging the last of my 2016 projects: here is one of them. This is my version of Simplicity 8213, view B, made in a floral scuba fabric.

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Simplicity 8213 Floral scuba sheath dress with front skirt overlay

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Simplicity 8213 Floral scuba sheath dress with front skirt overlay

So, I have slightly mixed feelings about this dress. I think it is a great, flattering shape for me. I like the fact it has the waist seam and the A-line shaped skirt. I also like the fun front overlay. But the fit is not perfect. I cannot decide if I need to do a FBA or if I need to add length all around the bodice (including at the back). It just seems to be riding a little high to me? I would have liked to have made the flouncy sleeves (from view A) but as this scuba fabric has a white backside I didn’t want that showing on the flounces.

The instructions have you doing a fair amount of hand sewing. I just machined everything, including the lining around the sleeve flanges – don’t know if that has thrown the neckline off a little because it is not sitting perfectly flat. I did interface the hems and back zipper area and I did handstitch the hems. Only the upper bodice part is lined. I used a stretch lining from my stash.

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Simplicity 8213 Floral scuba sheath dress with front skirt overlay – inside lining detail

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Simplicity 8213 Floral scuba sheath dress with front skirt overlay – inside lining detail

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Simplicity 8213 Floral scuba sheath dress with front skirt overlay – inside lining detail

Pattern Review

Pattern Description:
These Inspired by Project Runway dresses are designed to work with fashion’s hottest fabric–scuba knit. Dress can be made with or without a collar. Neckline on collarless version is boat neck. Sleeve options are sleeveless with optional cap and tabs or half sleeves with optional ruffle. Optional asymmetric skirt front featured on view B. Simplicity sewing pattern.

I made view B.
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 think this is a really flattering shape for me. I like the fact it has a waist seam and the A-line shape skirt with the overlay. There is nothing to dislike as such, but I need to make some alterations to the fit if I make this again: the bodice feels too short. I need to decide if I need a FBA or if I need to add length all around.
Fabric Used:
A floral printed scuba knit.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

  • Shortened bust dart by 1.5 inches. Note that I did not do a sway back adjustment.
  • Interfaced hems and back zipper area.
  • Ended up only taking 3/8ths inch at the back seams.
  • Machined lining at the arm holes and at the back zipper area. I don’t know if the machining has thrown the neckline out slightly because it is not sitting perfectly flat.
  • Handstitched the hems.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I would like to tackle this one again after thinking about alterations. Yes, I would recommend. I think it has potential.
Conclusion:

Despite me not being 100% in love with this dress I still wore it quite comfortably on New Years Eve. I was cooking a big meal at home and eating lots, and it coped admirably. I think it’s a great shape: it just needs some tweaking for me.

Here is a family snap taken on NYE – whatever you did I hope you had a wonderful time spent with those you care about.

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My family – new years eve 2016

Until soon…

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Simplicity 8213 Floral scuba sheath dress with front skirt overlay

My Sewing in 2016: a look back and some things you might have missed

Hi Friends,

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and are looking forward to the New Year.

I actually still have 2 unblogged items that I completed this year but I am not going to rush into blogging those before the year end. Instead, I wanted to take the opportunity to reflect on the items I have made this year and also share some items that those of you who are not on Instagram might have missed (because I felt they were not worthy of a blog post of their own).

It’s been another great year of sewing for me. I feel like my skills are improving and I am getting more practised at refining the fit of garments – that’s not to say I always get it right – because I don’t! I think I am also more confident in my own sense of style and picking patterns that I think might work on my body shape etc. So all in all, 2016 was a successful year for me.

Here is the complete breakdown (not including the two unblogged items) with some pictures of things that have appeared on the blog before, as well as some pictures of items I shared on my Instagram account.

  • 4 coats – including one for Kezia. These are probably my most favourite items of all the things I have sewn. I have to wear a coat of some kind most days for at least 9 – 10 months of the year and reaching for these items makes me happy. I really enjoy coat making.

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  • 2 blazers – both huge learning curves for me. One was a hand tailored wool blazer and one was a wool ponte blazer constructed using fusible interfacings.
  • 2 jackets – one made from Linton tweed and fully lined (that was worn lots when travelling on planes in America) and one unlined kimono style.
  • 3 pairs of pull on jeans made using the Jalie Elenore pattern (my red pair got worn loads – see below for picture. My black pair are in the donate pile – fabric didn’t have enough stretch to make them comfortable).
  • 3 pairs of pants made using Simplicity 1167 – this pattern has become my go to pants pattern – for now. So proud of myself for making pants that fit ME!
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Simplicity 1167 pants

  • 2 pairs of culotte style trousers.
  • 2 skirts, both made using Simplicity 8019. I made a version in suede leather and then this (unblogged) denim version, which has gotten a fair amount of wear.
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Simplicity 8019 denim button front skirt worn with plaid Grainline Archer shirt

  • 1 pair of workout leggings
  • 5 shirts – including one made for Philip’s big birthday and a floral Grainline Archer made for myself from some soft cotton voile type fabric I purchased a few years ago in Paris that I LOVE wearing.
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McCalls 6613 striped shirt

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McCalls 6613 striped shirt

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Grainline Archer floral shirt worn with Jalie Eleonore pull on jeans

  • 11 further tops/ blouses/ workout top, including this modified McCalls 6886 breton style top. Sadly this has also just gone into the donate pile on account of the fabric not washing very well. It’s a shame as I LOVE the first breton top I made using this pattern and it still gets regularly worn (in a black and white stripe). Need to find the perfect fabric to make more!
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McCalls 6886 modified into colour block yoke breton style top

  • 2 cardigans
  • 4 shirt dresses

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  • 6 further dresses – one of which was a wadder. The wadder was  my attempt at turning the True Bias Sutton blouse into a dress with an elasticated waist. I made the top part way too blousey and I ended  up chopping the dress apart before giving up on it completely.

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True Bias Sutton Dress – wadder!

  • A gymnastics outfit for Kezia
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Erbsenprinzessin leotard – fabric purchased from Spandex house, NYC

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Erbsenprinzessin leotard (modified) and e+m leggings (modified to shorts)

  • 2 pairs of cotton pyjamas – made using Simplicity 2317. These have been washed and worn and washed and worn. I hope to make more (and more luxurious) versions next year.
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Two versions of OOP Simplicity 2317

  • 2 refashions: a blouse of mine which I no longer wanted refashioned into a top for Kezia and a denim peplum jacket made from 2 pairs of old jeans.
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Refashioned top into a top for kezia

  • 1 baby dress and pantaloons

Phew! Quite the list. I am proud and happy of all I have achieved this year 🙂

What does 2017 hold? I am not one to tie myself down with challenges/ resolutions or even firm plans. I like to run wild and free, haha. But….

  • More coats: a waterproof Kelly anorak, a trench coat of some kind and another blazer (still need to find my perfect one in terms of fit and style!)
  • Workout tops in the supplex I purchased in America this year
  • More pants! Maybe another pattern?
  • Feel like I need some new tops to freshen my wardrobe up.

Not going to think beyond that. I like to draw up a more specific list up about 3 or 4 times a year and edit as I go along.

So all that remains is for me to say a huge THANK YOU to all of my followers and to all of you who read my blog and comment. It’s great to be part of this community and also it was great to meet some of you in real life and make new friends. Actually, that’s something I hope I get more chance to do next year. I wish all of you health, happiness, peace and prosperity for the new year. Happy and fruitful sewing!

 

 

 

Grainline Cascade Duffle Coat: DIY Plaid Checked Wool Duffle Toggle Coat

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Grainline Cascade Duffle Coat

Hi Friends,

Today I am sharing my most recent make – hot off the sewing machine just yesterday in fact – the Cascade Duffle Coat by Grainline Patterns. I also like to think of it as “The Coat that Almost Broke my Machine.” More on that in a moment.

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Grainline Cascade Duffle Coat

I did not plan on making another winter coat this year, having made one back in February this year. Whilst I love that coat (the fit, the warmth, the colour) I am finding it is not too practical to wear. The basket weave is actually quite prone to getting snagged on handbags and doors and I decided I wanted a more practical, every day kind of a coat. What I really wanted was a red coat and I was so close to ordering some red wool coating, but in the end I decided I should try and sew from stash. Making this coat from my stash means I have used three pieces of wool coating up this year and am now happy to purchase some new wool coating for next time 🙂

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Grainline Cascade Duffle Coat

The outer fabric I used is this one. It is a lambswool/ cashmere/ tencel blend. It behaved well during sewing and pressing. I cut interlining from a heavy brushed cotton and treated it as underlining, maching the interlining to the front and back yokes, the main front and back body pieces and the lower front and back bands (see details on my purple wool coat for more information on how I did it last time). This coat is heavy and warm. The hood of the coat is lined using a sherpa style (?) fabric and the body of the coat is lined with a viscose lining. I hand made the toggles using scraps of leather and leather cord. The heavy metal zipper is a YKK one.

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Grainline Cascade Duffle Coat

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Grainline Cascade Duffle Coat – Back lining and sherpa style hood lining

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Grainline Cascade Duffle Coat

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Grainline Cascade Duffle Coat – zipper detail and self made leather toggles

As ever, my full review for this pattern can be found below. I just wanted to say that this is a wonderfully drafted and devised pattern. The pattern includes separate back and front lining pieces, facing pieces for the hood, sleeves and hem of the coat and the instructions talk you through bagging the lining out – which personally speaking I love. There is a comprehensive sew along and instructions for making your own toggles if you wish. I also used Jen’s tutorial on how to match plaids when you sew. Plaid matching on a coat like this was not too pleasant! I ended up having to order another metre of fabric and recut one entire front side because I was not happy with how the checks had fallen. After consultation on instagram I decided to go with a bias cut front centre band but re-cut my pockets to be on the straight of grain. Oye! The headache that caused. In the end I am pretty happy with how things worked out, although hindsight is, of course, a wonderful thing.

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Grainline Cascade Duffle Coat

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Grainline Cascade Duffle Coat

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Grainline Cascade Duffle Coat

As I mentioned above, this coat is heavy and warm. During the final stages of maching the lining in, my machine decided it didn’t like sewing through 7 layers (!) of wool, cotton and interfacing, and blew a fuse. You can get the full story on instagram. Fortunately I have a wonderful sewing repair man who did a speedy and relatively inexpensive repair for me and the second time around I lengthened my stitch length and things worked out ok. I am so proud of the finish on this coat – and that’s largely thanks to the brilliant drafting and instructions of this pattern.

Pattern Review

Pattern Description:
The Cascade Duffle Coat is a fresh take on a classic shape featuring a slight A-line cut, toggle front closure, and a hidden zipper band to keep the coat shut tight against cold weather. The hem of View A hits at the hip while View B’s falls to mid-thigh. Although View A is shown with a collar and View B with a hood, both are interchangeable allowing you to create your own perfect coat.

I made view B.
Pattern Sizing:
0 – 18.

I cut a straight size 18 with a few tweaks.
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?
The instructions (at least the sew along which is largely what I followed) are amazing. Nothing else to say about them!
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I love the finished coat. Such a professional finish. I love that separate lining pieces are included and also facings for the hood, sleeves and hem. I also love the hidden zipper band and the toggle front closure. The only thing I perhaps don’t love is the sleeves seem to have some drag lines at the top of the sleeve. I added a thin custom made shoulder pad and sleeve heads which did seem to help.
Fabric Used:
Outer: lambswool/ cashmere/ tencel blend.

Hood lining: sherpa style fleecy lining.

Body of coat: viscose lining.

Hand made leather toggles.

Interlined with brushed cotton.

Heavy metal YKK zipper.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

  • Removed 3 inches in length from lower lengthen/ shorten lines.
  • Shortened sleeves by 2 inches.
  • Used smallest size pocket positon for pocket placement (there is a 1 inch difference in pocket placement position between size 0 and size 18).
  • Graded out below waist by 0.5 inch at side front and side back seams.
  • 0.5 inch small shoulder adjustment.
  • 0.5 inch full arm adjustment.
  • Cut centre panel of hood, front and back yokes and centre front bands on the bias.
  • Added very thin custom made shoulder pads and self fabric bias strip sleeve heads to support sleeve shape.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
This was a time consuming and involved project but I enjoyed it and am pleased with the outcome. I would actually consider making this again in a solid fabric – but not any time soon 🙂 Yes, I highly recommend.
Conclusion:

Super professional finish and brilliant instructions. This is a cosy, fun coat with classic features.

We are off for a few days to the Georgian city of Bath tomorrow and I might just take my new coat with me. Enjoy the festive season!

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Grainline Cascade Duffle Coat

 

Butterick 6157 and Simplicity 1167: DIY Silk Velvet Tee and Jacquard Pants Trousers

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Butterick 6157 and Simplicity 1167 Silk Velvet Tee and Jacquard Lurex Pants

Hi Friends,

Christmas is fast approaching and it was my birthday a week or so ago, so with those two occassions in mind this outfit was created. Velvet and Jacquard are both totally on trend for the forthcoming festive season, and this outfit is just so easy to wear.

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Butterick 6157 and Simplicity 1167 Silk Velvet Tee and Jacquard Lurex Pants

I know lots of people are going to ask, so let me tell you both of these fabrics were purchased from eBay sellers. The silk/ viscose velvet came from this seller who I have never used before, but the fabric is a beautiful quality (20% silk, 80% viscose) and the seller was prompt in all their communications and delivery was fast (a couple of days). Also, I prewashed  my fabric before cutting and whilst there was some amount of shrinkage I am happy I won’t have to pay any further drycleaning costs. The lurex/ jacquard fabric (which has a little bit of stretch) was purchased from this seller who I have used many times before and I do like. Not being paid anything to advertise on behalf of these sellers btw!

I am not going to write much about the trousers (made using Simplicity 1167) because this is the third (!) time I have sewn them up (you can see the first time here and the second time here). The only changes made this time round was to shave 0.25 inches off the inner legs at the back and shorten the length by 6 inches. I love them! I have said it before but, wow, having trousers that fit me! Mind blowing!

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Butterick 6157 and Simplicity 1167 Silk Velvet Tee and Jacquard Lurex Pants

So, next the top. This was made using Butterick 6157, which is a see&sew pattern. I know the pattern envelope is not all that inspiring, but this pattern is a great basic pattern and great value for money in that it also comes with different cup sizes included. I selected this pattern in particular with the velvet in mind because the pattern includes back/ neck facings which I think are a better option than topstitching on the velvet. I ended up having to piece my front facing and I chose to overlock all my seam allowances to finish. Full review below.

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Butterick 6157 and Simplicity 1167 Silk Velvet Tee and Jacquard Lurex Pants

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Butterick 6157 Silk Velvet Tee front facing

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Butterick 6157 Silk Velvet Tee back facing

Some notes on how I treated/ sewed my velvet:

  • I chose to cut my velvet with the pile going up i.e. it feels rough when stroked downwards because I felt the colour was richer in this orientation.
  • I used silk pins to pin my fabric together.
  • I used a walking foot throughout construction. This fabric is quite shifty and if sewing again I would probably use basting in addition to the above.
  • I DID NOT iron this fabric directly, but rather hovered my iron above the fabric and used lots of steam and my hands to press seams/ darts etc.
  • Following on from above, in lieu of fusible interfacing on the facings I used silk organza.
  • I chose to understitch the facings rather than topstitch as recommened in the pattern.

This was a more tricky fabric to work with but if you take your time and select a simple pattern you can do it.

Pattern Review

Pattern Description:

Semi-fitted pullover top has French darts, back keyhole closure, narrow hem and button and thread loop closing. A, B: Short sleeves. A: Contrast sleeves. B: Double-edged scalloped lace overlay.

Includes separate pattern pieces for A/B, C and D cup sizes.

Pattern Sizing:
8 – 24 (all sizes included in pattern).
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?
Yep.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I like the fact it is  a simple pattern that you can do a lot with. I chose this particular pattern because it includes back/ neck facings and therefore I felt it would be a good choice for my silk velvet. I like the fact different cup sizes are included in the pattern. Nothing to dislike although distinguishing between sizes on the pattern sheet needs some concentration.
Fabric Used:
Silk/ viscose velvet (20% silk, 80% viscose).
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

  • 1 inch full arm adjustment
  • 1 inch sway back adjustment with removed length added back to lower hem
  • 1 inch added to length at hem and 0.5 inch to sleeve hems
  • Substituted silk organza for fusible interfacing at the facings
  • Moved bust dart down by 0.75 inches
  • Understitched facings rather than topstitching.
  • Handstitched all hems.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I might use this pattern again. Yes, I recommend.
Conclusion:

I love this whole outfit: on trend, comfortable but stylish.

Are you making anything especially for the festive season?

Until soon.

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Butterick 6157 and Simplicity 1167 Silk Velvet Tee and Jacquard Lurex Pants

 

 

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