Category Archives: Finished items 2015

AnnaKim Skywalker

Anna-Kim

Sewing time has been woefully hard to find lately, but here’s a wee dress I made recently for a friend’s wedding. I procrastinated for ages on what pattern to use and ended up short on time, so went for a TNT bodice with a frankenpattern twist.

Anna-Kim

If you didn’t deduce from the post title, it’s the By Hand London Anna bodice with Kim‘s pretty petal skirt. Then I couldn’t resist a bad Star Wars pun since the fabric print sort of looks like little space invaders! As we know BHL patterns are definitely ripe for a spot of Frankenpatterning and I think this is a lovely combo. I wish I could say I carefully planned the hack but in fact I just cut both patterns out as is and hoped for the best. The back darts join up seamlessly and I sort of eyeballed the front as I went along. With a bit of fiddling I made the wrapover skirt front hit the outer bust tuck of the bodice so it sort of looks cohesive all round. Yay!

Anna-Kim

Luckily the Kim skirt fitted fine with mini tweaks along the way. I exaggerated the side seam shape a bit, curving out at the hip and pegging in at the hem for more of a tulip shape. I also made a tuck instead of the little pleats in the wrapover skirt to echo the bodice design.

Anna-Kim

As one final flourish I left the top half of the back seam open like a keyhole split. There’s an invisible zip right below it to close the dress. The neckline is finished with self-bias.

Anna-Kim

The fabric is a lovely silk double georgette (I think) that I got at Mood in LA; it might’ve been from the Anna Sui section. It was the last 1.5yd on the bolt and I used nearly every last scrap. It was a little shifty to cut but pretty nice to sew. It’s quite bouncy and thick but still pressed well, though I serged my seam allowances rather than French as I thought it’d be a bit bulky.

Anna-Kim

This isn’t overall my best or most precise sewing as I was up against it with time. But it’s nice to have made a little black dress for party season – something my wardrobe was lacking – and I’d definitely use the Anna-Kim combo again.

The Rise of the necklines

PB240981

I find it interesting to sometimes ponder on how changing fashion trends influence sewing choices. Do you sew to escape trends, or to make your own rather than subscribe to fast fashion and all the horrors it entails? I’d say it’d be pretty hard (and unfulfilling) to sew a lot of purely trend-based pieces every season – all that time and effort to make something that you wouldn’t wear in a few months! But undeniably I’m inspired to sew certain styles due to influences I see around me. In particular I’m very drawn to the whole 70s revival happening this autumn, leading to sewing dreams tinted in tan and denim, of a-line skirts and jumpsuits, and to kick things off a couple of nice turtlenecks.

Rise turtleneck

This isn’t a style I previously thought I’d touch with a barge pole, considering myself scoop or V neck for life. But I bought a RTW burgundy turtleneck t-shirt in snugly-fitted ribbed knit and it became a wardrobe hit, teamed with my black Gingers, loafers, and a long necklace. Plus what could be cosier now it’s starting to get cold out than a built-in mini scarf? So I bought the Papercut Rise and Fall PDF pattern to whip out a couple of my own.

papercut rise

You could probably self-draft a turtleneck from any t-shirt pattern to be honest (it’s just a high crew neck with a deep neckband), but Papercut’s PDFs are fairly inexpensive so I saved the effort. Plus the pattern actually comprises two views with totally separate PDF files – the Rise is a snugger fit with a turtleneck, and the Fall is a slouchier shape with a polo neck – making it even better value.

Rise turtleneck

I used the Rise in size small here with no fit modifications but a couple of style tweaks: shortening the sleeves, reducing the turtleneck height by about 1cm, and finishing the cuffs and hem with bands instead of hemming (I just really dislike hemming knits and had no matching thread, to be honest, so this was a 100% overlocker project). The fabric is a soft jersey in nice 70s sepia brown that was knocking around in my stash. The fit came out a bit less form-fitting than I was expecting, but I think it works well with this fabric and looks nice blousily tucked in.

Rise turtleneck

I was so pleased with it I wore it all day yesterday, and while sewing up a second one – which I’m wearing today, arf. This time I slimmed the shoulders down to XS as they were a bit wide, cut the sleeves full length, and cropped down the body a few inches to sit on the waistband without needing to be tucked.

Rise turtleneck

Rise turtleneck

This is another stash fabric, a nice soft almost sweater type knit from myfabrics. My camera is really on the blink so apologies for the photo quality, but it’s sort of a sagey green-grey.

Rise turtleneck

Rise turtleneck

I’ve ordered some actual rib knit from Plush Addict to make one more version: I’ll probably size right down next time to get a closer fit like my rtw tee. Right now these are all I want to wear all the time, but I’m also aware that perhaps the fashion will pass and so will my urge to wear them. I hope not though!

Marilla’s Roberts set

Roberts dungarees

Really excited to share these! They’re probably my favourite thing I’ve made recently and an admittedly rather surprising wardrobe hit. They are my tester version of the dungarees from Marilla Walker’s amazing new capsule pattern collection, the Roberts Set, which you can buy here.

Roberts set

I should say off the bat that these were made from the tester pattern and Marilla made quite a few changes to the pattern based on our feedback, so don’t count on these pics for the final fit or styling details. Although actually a few of the tweaks I suggested and implemented into my test version (such as adding buttons to the straps) made it into the final pattern, so it’s actually not that far off! The final pattern has additional side waist buttons and a slightly slimmer fit all over.

Roberts dungarees

You can always expect a good blend of interesting-yet-accessible construction techniques from Marilla’s patterns that leads to a satisfying clean finish inside and out. The front and back bodice are both faced (I’m enjoying having Liberty lawn tiny dancers inside my top) and the outer leg seam is French seamed, leaving just a few other seams to finish by overlocking or zigzagging.

Roberts dungarees

I used a soft black cotton poplin to make these up and I absolutely love the result. To be honest, before I made dungarees I was not at all convinced that I would actually wear them day to day. But I think by making them in basic black in such a comfortable fabric they have become a surprise wardrobe staple. I’ve worn them several times both to work and at weekends, and they’ve earned more unprompted compliments than anything else I’ve made. Even Josh thinks they’re cute which I wasn’t expecting. I’m definitely going to make up a second pair from the final pattern, perhaps in a yarn-dyed check from my stash for Ace & Jig vibes.

Roberts top

I also tested the standalone top from the set, which is designed to be worn under the dungarees (though I prefer a knit t-shirt under it) and echoes the back shaping with seam detailing. You can see the true test version in mustard yellow rayon on my jeans post, but I made this one up soon after using the button-up view and some dreamy rayon silk from Miss Matatabi.

Roberts top

I left the seam detailing off this one and cut the back as a single piece. The fit is amazing; it’s totally my favourite top at the moment and this is definitely now my go-to woven top pattern. I can see a zillion variations in my future. And if that wasn’t enough, remember there’s a dungaree dress and a jumpsuit included in the bundle too! For me at least, it could well be the foundation for a capsule wardrobe all in one tidy package. I’m looking forward to printing out the final copy of the entire pattern, and the jumpsuit is definitely next on the sewing table.

Cézembre Clouds

Cézembre

It’s nice when a random little PDF punt purchase and a few hours with a stash fabric gives you a new favourite top. This is the Cézembre Blouse by Anne Ka Couture, who blogs at Anne Cousette. This was her first pattern release back in June and I’m definitely smitten. It’s a lovely top with short or 3/4 length sleeve options, the main design detail being the wrap-forward side seams and curved hemlines.

Cézembre
Cézembre

I made a wearable toile in this stash viscose (also used for my Ilsley skirt) – it’s the straight size 40 but I pre-emptively nipped a wedge out of the back neckline as it looked too wide for me. Before I make it again I’ll fiddle a little more with the neckline as the wide boat type neck is not my favourite, otherwise I’m very happy with the fit.

Cézembre

It’s a neat 19 page PDF with instructions in French and English and each step clearly photographed, so it’s a breeze to sew. The sleeves set in easily, and I really love the princess seam detail (which is actually also the side seam) leading into the hem curve. The bottom edges are finished with facings which makes sense with the design – you can topstitch them in place all around like I did or just tack them at the princess seam points.

Cézembre

I’m pretty sure that once I’ve tweaked the neckline to my liking I’ll use this pattern multiple times – it would be so good for colourblocking in solid colours, or with a printed front panel and plain back… I’m even tempted to try it in French terry for a cosy sweatshirt. There are some pretty versions out there in the French blogosphere, showing that it looks great in any sort of light, drapey fabric. Nice to add another TNT to the stash!

Guise Louise

Papercut Guise

Despite already having a TNT pattern for this type of pegged trouser shape (Burda 7017), I bought the Papercut Guise pattern just to see if I’d prefer it. For one reason or another (bad fabric, ruined from over-washing, poor construction) all my 7017s are pretty much out of action these days, so a new pair is definitely needed. I was also intrigued to see how the elasticated back waist of Guise was made and if it had any benefit over a fixed waistband. I made up this wearable toile in cheap poly crepe to test what I thought of it.

Papercut Guise

I don’t hate these or anything, there are just a few fit and style issues that mean I don’t like them as much as the 7017 pattern overall. Size wise I cut a straight S going by the finished measurements. They do fit well but I feel like I’d want to make a series of minor tweaks to make them more like the 7017s. For example the rise falls a bit between mid and high; I think I’d like it an inch higher. Then the waist would be too big so I’d need to take it in… so I’m thinking I should probably just stick with 7017 next time, ha ha.

Papercut Guise

Back view – the elasticated band looks pretty bad when it’s visible (I couldn’t even bear to put up the photo!) so I’d feel like I need to to cover it. Which for me sort of defeats the purpose of high waisted mannish pants as I like to tuck in and show my waist.

Papercut Guise

They’re quite a demanding sew as well for casual pants: there’s thirteen pieces, several of which need to be cut in interfacing too, so the cutting and fusing took an entire unpleasant evening. In the end I wimped out of sewing the welt pockets and belt loops in this non-pressable poly which made it much faster. Anyway, the instructions are good and I followed the given fly directions with a good result. I really like the fit in the legs and the release tucks at the hip.

Papercut Guise

Another styling option where you can see the rise doesn’t hit at my smallest point so isn’t the most flattering. Soooo, I’m sort of of the fence about this pattern and probably won’t be too likely to make it up again. There are a lot of cute Guises out there – Lizzy, Sonja, and Julie – so I think it’s just a case of it not being right for my shape and style. Back to the 7017s for my definitive autumn trousers!

Grumpy cats

P8190404kitty v1395

Meh. You know when you make something that should be perfect on paper but you feel ambivalent or disappointed with the finished result? Sadly that’s the case with this dress. I mean, it’s a TNT pattern and cat print fabric! How did it go wrong?

kitty v1395

This is my fourth Vogue 1395 dress, and I really thought it’d be a quick win of a weekend sew. While I can roll all the multiple hems in my sleep now, I managed to make a catalogue of stupid mistakes while sewing this up. I ripped and sewed the shoulder seam a total of four times due to sewing it inside out – twice – and then realising the whole dress was pulling to the back, requiring an urgent forward shoulder adjustment, the first attempt at which I also sewed inside out. And please avert your eyes from the hem pulling up perilously at the front. I dunno what’s going on there.

kitty v1395

The whole balance just seems to be off, which I haven’t encountered on any of my other 1395s. Perhaps because this is quite a heavy creped polyester with a bit of crinkly stretch, so likely my cutting was inaccurate and the extra weight in the overlay is pulling the whole dress backwards. It just doesn’t feel too comfortable to wear unfortunately – it feels like it constantly needs adjusting and the obvious wrong side of the fabric keeps peeking out.

kitty v1395

Even the kitties don’t look impressed, do they. I’m crying that it didn’t work out as planned for such an awesome fabric (a Walthamstow market find).

kitty v1395

It might just be that this dress and I need to cool off a bit after a less than pleasant sewing experience. I’m going to stick it in the wardrobe for a bit and perhaps try pulling it out again come autumn to try with tights and boots – it might be more successful that way. Ah, sewing. Just goes to show that even when you think you know what you’re doing, something can come along to trip you up.