Georgia Tops by DesignerStitch Patterns

Amongst unselfish sewing for my girls I have been doing some sewing of my own, namely pattern testing* for DesignerStitch Patterns, again.

The Georgia top/dress is a comfy yet classy wardrobe staple. It has a boxy look, no darts so is easy to fit, with wide sleeves and optional back pleat. It gives you a good opportunity to mix fabrics and of course has the option of making a top or dress. There is also the layer feature so you only need to print the size(s) you need in addition to a copy shop printable version.

DSC_0086                            DSC_0085 DSC_0080

For both of my versions I opted for the pleat-free back.

My first version was made during testing, using some not very friendly fabrics, navy premium faille (100% polyester) for the body, and navy 100% dance poly chiffon (100% polyester) for the yoke. I may have slightly used too much heat when pressing because I’m not sure if this sits quite right and there may have been some shrinkage of the fabrics. Pattern pieces are provided to make the neck binding.

It is a really quick sew, and like always, everything lines up perfectly and instructions are easy to understand.

My second version was planned as a dressier summer top, using would you believe, a bed sheet from IKEA (52% poly/ 48% cotton). I liked the stiffness of the fabric and the lightness, almost like a linen, not to mention for $6 I have heaps of fabric left for other projects. For the yoke I used some white rayon remnants (100% rayon) from a yet to finish top from 6 months ago and still counting, and the sleeve bands are faux ivory leatherette (50% PU/ 40% poly) from my Salamanca jacket.

Georgia topo front Georgia top side               Georgia top back

It’s a great top, and the dress is too, but it’s just not my particular style. Not sure if it would flatter me or make me look frumpy. Perhaps when summer rolls around I may try it more as a beach cover up dress or add a belt or tie.

*The pattern was provided to me free of charge for testing but all opinions expressed are my own and I received a copy of the finalised pattern for taking part.

Two Vienna Tanks by Itch to Stitch Patterns

So my pattern testing journey continues with Itch to Stitch Patterns. This time I tested the Vienna tank* (**), a summer essential. I’m all for versatile patterns and this is another one.

The Vienna tank combines both woven fabric for the yoke, ties and optional ruffles, and knit for the main body. A great opportunity to mix and match fabrics that might otherwise be orphans in the stash. Mind you, the bodice can also be made with woven fabric but throw caution to the wind and perhaps make a muslin first. This PDF pattern comes with the layers option.

I made my crimson version 1 during the pattern testing period. I upcycled an unworn dress (100% viscose) for the main bodice and the remainder made from zig zag printer rayon #1 (100% rayon). The armholes are stabilised with fusible stay tape and helps them to keep their shape.

dress

I went with view B, no ruffles. I used the existing hem of the dress for the hem of the top so just removed the hem allowance when cutting it out. Overall the fit was good, I just think my knit fabric was a bit thin and very drapey.

Vienna tank front 2 Vienna tank back                     Vienna tank side 3

Version 2 was made using the final released pattern. For the knit bodice I used some green viscose/spandex (unknown exact composition) and emerald premium faille (100% polyester) for the remainder. I made view A this time. My ruffles didn’t turn out as neat and even as I would have liked, I probably should have taken more care with basting, but sometimes I get a bit eager to finish. The fit feels good on this one. This version is slightly longer and I believe from memory the final pattern was lengthened.

Vienna back                                Vienna side back Vienna side

More summer sewing complete, pity it’s still in the throws of winter!!

*The pattern was provided to me free of charge for testing, all opinions expressed are my own and I received a copy of the finalised pattern for taking part.

**Affiliate link: I get a small bonus if you purchase through here.

Kwik Sew 3848 Triangular Top

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!

I have chosen not to do a best/worse round-up because some of my best have only been worn once and some of my worse have become house clothes and worn heaps so it depends on what I use to measure which category items belong to. I am going to say that I have enjoyed sewing this past year more than ever, probably because my techniques were better and more than anything it was a stress reliever, a really helpful outlet to help me deal with lifes’ challenges, of which there have been many.

So with that I’m ready to tackle 2016!

This is not my first make for 2016, in fact I started it way back in July of 2015 but wanted to get it finished in 2015, before the years end.

It’s never surprises me how different people have different visions for the same fabric, Clever Tinker used it to make a kimono jacket however I initially bought this fabric with making the Datura top in keeping with the triangle theme but then decided to go with a pattern I already had as I only had 1m of this multi printed rayon prism (100% rayon). The fabric has a repeat but not a symmetrical one so I tried to centre it best I could. Below are photos after the alteration which I mention further into the post.

 Kwik sew 3848 sideKwik sew 3848 back kwik sew 3848 front

I used Kwik Sew 3848, which apparently runs big so cut a size smaller than normal. It also has really small seam allowances (6mm), which can get a bit fiddly. I mashed the views which may explain why I had to tinker with the end product. I didn’t have enough to make a complete top (front and back) so used some stash navy premium faille (100% polyester) for the back. Essentially I cut View A on the fold (removing the extra seam allowance and placket) and used the back pieces of view A with the length of the top from view B but with the hem curves from view A and chose not to add a pocket.

For the armholes I used self-made bias but using the width of the bands provided for view B. The hem was serged and turned up twice for a narrow hem. During construction I tried on the top and everything seemed okay but it wasn’t until I was finished and noticed the armholes were really loose and indecently low. I didn’t want to take anything apart so I did a quick and dirty and just took in the side seams by a couple of centimetres each side and tapered to nothing just under the bust. Below is before the alteration.

                           gaping front Gaping back (2)

I like the versatility of this top as it goes equally well with jeans but I ended up wearing it out to dinner with my New Look 6107 white skirt.

Kwik sew 3848 front tucked                             Kwik sew 3848 side tucked Kwik sew 3848 back tucked

This pattern will require more work in the future to fit right and I like the back design feature and that the seams for the back yoke are enclosed however I don’t think I will tackle it just yet as I want to sew other things instead which I view as higher priority.

Mila Tunic Shirt by Itch To Stitch

Itch to Stitch is a fairly new indie pattern designer, a one woman show. She has a fast pattern output, for sure, and offers great wardrobe building patterns.

I have been fortunate enough to test a few of Kennis’ patterns now, with blog posts to follow, and I offered to test* the Mila shirt as the design is similar to one of my most worn/favourite knit tops. The Mila is for woven fabric and designed to be more of a tunic length. You can go for a collar with band or a mandarin collar and add the optional sleeve tabs. The shirt has a hi-lo shirt tail hem, front placket and one breast pocket. It was also chosen as part of the Indiesew Winter Collection 2016.

I chose this charcoal premium faille (100% polyester) for my first tester version as I felt the drape of the fabric would be well suited however there is no where to hide with imprecise stitching and this fabric was not the easiest to sew. This top is drafted with a fair amount of ease and I went down a size to what I was originally planning to make and could possibly go down another two. There are seperate pattern pieces for A-DD bust size and the pattern itself goes up to size 20.

The instructions are extremely detailed and well laid out and construction of the top is such that the only raw seams are the sleeve and side seams although I chose to use french seams to keep my insides nice and tidy, mainly because I knew I would wear the sleeves rolled up. Although this version is extremely roomy, I seem to get away with it because the fabric drapes so well.

I originally made the version without the collar and tried it on but I just didn’t feel it was working for me in this colour. I ended up removing my collar band and cutting a collar and finished it up. I feel it is more my style now and I enjoyed sewing up this top, using techniques I haven’t used in a while.

grey side             grey back 2grey side 3

There were a few changes to the original pattern such as the front yoke seam was moved further down, sleeves shortened, shoulders narrowed, sleeve cuff narrower, collar refined, waist narrowed and altered centre back pleat.grey layered side 2

For this reason I decided to make a second tester version with the included changes, but this time with a friendlier fabric. I used white rayon (100% rayon). Everyone needs a white shirt or three and I don’t have any at the moment, well now this is finished I have one.

I decided to go all out this time, making both the collar, with the sleeve tabs and the pocket. I ended up making the same cup size as the first version but graded between sizes for waist and hips, and went down 2 sizes in the end. The fit feels much better on this one.

white rolled front           white rolled sidewhite rolled back

This pattern is essentially a perfect tunic pattern that is both classy and comfortable. Seeing this has helped me identify an essential missing wardrobe piece, some straight leg black pants.

white layered side

I’m sure I will get a tonne of wear from these over the next few months and are great layering pieces as well as warmer weather tops as the sleeves can be rolled up.

Stay tuned for more Itch to Stitch Blog Posts of the latest releases.

*The pattern was provided to me free of charge for testing but all opinions expressed are my own and I received a copy of the finalised pattern for taking part.

McCall’s 6514 Royal Pants

I have been tossing up making this McCall’s 6514 pattern for a while now. I bought it because I liked view A with the tapered leg and they have an elastic back waist, no flys to fiddle with, it is marked as an “easy” pattern after all. I wasn’t sure about the pleating at the front and whether it would accentuate those pesky problem areas however. Additionally it was one of the items in my 2015 SWAP and I believe they are a trans-seasonal piece of clothing.

I used some royal premium faille (100% polyester). The same fabric used for my self-drafted maxi skirt. A word of advice, never cut, sew or iron when tired or it’s late. I was cutting out the pattern pieces on a double layer and when I opened them up this is what I saw.

back leg cut

I was obviously being conservative with my fabric and not double checking what was underneath. I wasn’t too worried though as I have enough fabric to re cut the piece, or option 2 was to continue sewing because as I held the pattern piece to my leg I knew I would have to shorten the pants anyway, and if they end up too short or the mishap is unavoidable in the end, I may just add a cuff at the ankle or taper in the legs a bit more.

I followed the sparse instructions, I feel like these are quite poorly written and some steps aren’t described to completion in my opinion but nothing that can’t be figured out. I serged my pocket pieces before assembly as I like them to look neat on the inside.

These pants have a lot of ease so I went down a size. They fit well around the hips however I struggle with getting them on. The waistband/elastic doesn’t stretch wide enough for me to get them easily over my hips without doing a wiggle. Shame really as all I had left to do was hem them at this stage and I really wanted to like them. In the photos they are still unhemmed but folded up towards the inside by about 2 inches.

Mccalls 6514 front

Mccalls 6514 front 2  Mcalls 6514 back

Needless to say once they were on I felt like a clown in them, not flattering at all, thus the lack of photos. It’s a shame because I really wanted them to work although I did have reservations from the start due to the aforementioned issue and that this fabric probably was not the best choice, it doesn’t drape very well. I tried them on again and thought if I stitch down the pleats maybe they would look better.  NO!!!!!!!

For my last try on, I removed the elastic from the waistband and then contemplated adding a back invisible zip but still NO!!! They are just too unflattering for me to be comfortable in. I now have the big decision of whether to trash them or salvage the fabric for something for my girls – I just love the colour.

The pattern has definitely had an early retirement.

Black Boho Tiered Maxi Dress

I’ve identified some gaps in my wardrobe recently, but the biggest of all was the black/ dark coloured clothes, not to mention my every day wear. I went on a fabric frenzy to buy what I needed for a few of my projects.

The first one was a boho style maxi dress, something cool to wear in the humid weather. I have made this Burda style pattern 05/2010 tiered maxi dress #113,  in the past and really liked the fit but I don’t have the magazine with me at the moment. I didn’t want to purchase the pattern again, so drafted my own bodice. I believe I had mentioned a few posts back that drafting patterns isn’t my thing but I seem to be doing it a lot lately, probably more out of necessity than anything else. Regardless, once the bodice was fitting okay, the skirt was just some gathered rectangles sewn together.

Black tiered maxi front 2                           Black tiered maxi side 2 Black tiered maxi back 2

I made the dress up in premium black faille (100% polyester) and self lined the bodice. I used some trace and toile to draft my pattern, why have I never used this before? I thought all was good until I sewed up my fashion fabric and realised I had to take in another  1/2 inch from either side. My thinking is that fabric had a big part in this as my toile fit perfectly. Anyway, I fit as I sewed to get the look right. The model shot shows the bodice quite loose and I didn’t want that for myself so made it quite fitted.

I added three 12mm hexagonal black buttons to the front bodice for some visual interest. There is a 16″ (40 cm) black invisible zipper on the left side. Buttons closeTo insert the zipper, I attached the first tier to the bodice, leaving the left seam open and then serged the seam for neatness. I inserted my invisible zip as I would normally and then stitched the remainder of the left side seam closed. I was able to then attach the middle tier as per normal.

I cut 2 rectangles for each tier using the following dimension. My first tier was 13 inch x  26 inch, the middle tier 15 inch x 34.5 inch and the bottom tier 17 inch x 42.5 inch. I guessed the measurements I required based on the fit I wanted. Not overly loose but roomy, venturing close to the pregnant look from the side (NO I’M NOT!) and it can be worn with a belt if need be.

May_113_tech_drawing_largeI sewed the side seams together for each tier to make a closed loop and then gathered them before sewing to the layer above. All seams were serged as was the hem which was then turned up 1/4″ and then 1/4″ again and stitched. I hand stitched the bodice lining to the the seam allowance at the bodice-first tier seam and also to the zipper tape.

Black tiered maxi front 3Black tiered maxi back

I chose to omit a lining in this version as my fabric was dense enough. I may consider making this again in the future but just sewing the top two tiers and having more a midi version.

Simplicity 1872 Cynthia Rowley …. Not so simple! and New Look 6107 Skirt

What started off as a relatively simple make turned into a near disaster. I’ve had this Simplicity 1872 Cynthia Rowley pattern in the stash for a while initially bought to make view B with a gradient colour skirt but needless to say I went with view A instead as I was after a top to go with a newly made skirt. It’s described as a Misses’ pullover dress with tiered skirt or top and tie belt.

front

I used some premium faille in ivory which is 100% polyester and 147cm wide. All was going well with just the sleeves and hem to finish off when under the hot iron I burnt a hole in the back, don’t ask how or why because I don’t even know, I honestly thought I was being careful. I failed to take a photo of the offending patch before I cut it out but here it is after. It was in such an awkward place on the upper back I couldn’t figure out how to mend it discreetly.

burn hole   burn hole close-up

Disappointed I just put the top back in the cupboard until I was ready to tackle it again, some 4 weeks later! I decided to cut an opening in the back, perhaps a design feature or in this case a Tim Gunn “Make It Work” moment, and just as well I hadn’t attached the sleeves yet as I used those pieces of fabric to cut strips of bias tape to bind the hole. There was horrible gaping which I believe was caused by some strips not being cut on the true bias. After sitting on it for a couple of days it just didn’t feel right so I unpicked the bias and bought some ready made in the closest colour possible. I found the cut out gaped a fair bit and put in a seam at the centre back (took in about 1 inch) both above and below the cut out hoping it would make the back sit flat. The top has a lot of ease so these seams also made the top more fitted than it was supposed to be. I would probably cut a size smaller next time.

back 2

I don’t think it will hold up too well as there isn’t really any reinforcement (interfacing) but I’m hoping to get a few wears from it at least. I’ll see how it goes overtime and maybe sew on a chiffon insert at a later date. The waist did come up a bit big but the thread belt loops help keep the tie belt in place when belted tightly. There is also some gaping at the front and needs to be worn with something underneath even though it is meant to be a blousy style and there are no closures. I’m also glad in the end I didn’t add the tie up sleeves as I think there would have been too much going on.

cut out close up

I wore this top on new years and was not happy with it after all. There is some weird twisting that happens at the front whereby the top ends up over to the right. Also there is still gaping at one of the cut out sides at the back and is uncomfortable as the armholes are too tight, again! I will probably unpick the bias and make the armhole deeper and then give this top another go before I trash it.

I am wearing it here with New Look 6107 View D, the reason I originally made this top to have an ensemble. The colours in the skirt fabric have been pretty hard to match. It a pencil skirt with back lapped zip and back vent. I used Luna printed cotton sateen in violet (97% cotton/3% spandex) and didn’t line this skirt because I wanted to check the fit which is generally ok. I might taper in the bottom slighly for subsequent versions and providing there is no stretch in the fabric cut the same size otherwise I may cut the next size down in future. I handstitched the hem but otherwise followed the instructions provided.

side 2SideIt probably seems like with my sewing lately I have had a few accidents but mostly things have gone well. I am posting a bit out of order so I haven’t become disheartened by any means. I put it down to being a little careless as I sew at night once the kiddos are sleeping and perhaps not as focused as one should be. They are all lessons in sewing which will only improve my skills and hopefully concentration.