Thursday, 28 May 2015

McCalls 6649 and Grainline Alder mash-up

The fact that I can write this title feels like some real progression in my sewing achievement, because it represents being able to imagine a garment and then alter patterns to achieve it, and this is pretty much what I imagined.

I wanted a soft-floaty blouse made of swiss dot fabric.

I used McCall's M6649 as the basic pattern.  This is a great pattern for me (if you ignore the dated envelope illustrations) because it has different cup sizes and means that a fba isn't needed.  I cut a size 14 C cup.  I took my usual 1" from the length to raise the waist line and 6/8" from the width at the shoulders.

I cut the side and back panels (shortened to the right length) from the alder dress pattern and use the blouse cut-outs on the blouse fronts and back.

I'm really pleased with how it has turned out, and the fit is pretty much what I wanted.  I did realise about half-way through that I had gone to a lot of trouble to create a look which is rather like the Bruyere!  I think the flat front panel, and the extra gathers work well though.

I'm particularly proud of the finish on the inside.  Because the fabric is somewhat transparent I French seemed everywhere and this generally went really well, even the sleeves.

The only mistake I made was in the French seaming of the inset panels at the corner.  Somehow I think I didn't do the snip at the corner correctly and, as you can see below, there is a pull, which is annoying but I can live with it.

Pretty good continuation of the dot through the yoke! (Sorry do I sound like I'm bragging, but hey I am pretty proud of this one!).  I think I should have used silk organza rather than iron-on interfacing which has made the yokes rather too "white", something for another time.

This is actually my second 6649 (forgot to blog the first one).  My first was made in Liberty fabric as a bit of an experiment.  Before you start thinking I can afford to use liberty to experiment, this was £5 a metre from Standfast and Barracks.  I'm not sure about the result, I love the fabric but it is probably a bit busy for a garment for me (and hence not worn yet).


I had imagined the swiss-dot blouse worn with the Stonecutter jumper, the contrast between a delicate blouse and rustic sweater.

I haven't knitted the sweater yet, though I've bought the pattern (think it might take some time to knit!)

I have knitted a cardigan though!  This is the Kelly cardigan, knitted from Erika Knight's Classc Knits.  I first came across this cardigan when I was admiring Anne's cardigan worn in the first series of the Great British Sewing Bee.  Anne used up different ends of wool to create her stripes.  I wanted a lazy way to get stripes and I already had this wool in my stash.  It's Drops Kid-Silk (a mohair and silk mixture).  I've already waxed lyrical about Drops wool, it is fantastic value.  It's on offer at £3 a ball at the moment and I used 7 balls for this (though it might have squeezed out of £6 without the use of two colours).  I used colour 24 petrol for the bands and 25 sea-green for the body.  You knit the whole thing with two strands of wool, which makes it really cosy, though trying to maintain clean stripes requires some thought.

This is a great basic cardigan pattern and a good beginner's knit.  Looking at the photos I do need to work on the fit of my knits.  I should have reduced the length a bit and narrowed the shoulders!

.... and there's more.  I also finished a little cowl (bit out of season, but it is still cold!)  This is the Eleanor Cowl.  This is a really enjoyable little knit.  Interesting lace pattern, but not too difficult and a quick little knit.  The wool is scrummy, Madelinetosh Tosh merino dk.  This is not cheap!! But you only need one skein!

Otherwise I'm enjoying a few days off this half-term and having a good sew (of course!).  The weather is pretty grotty, though I had one lovely walk with Dan and all the dogs!  Monty is growing.

Rosie and Tess are pretty scruffy at the moment and don't be fooled by this "we are really good dogs" trick, they are expecting a treat!  Hope you enjoyed the long weekend.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

More flounces; McCalls 5523

I think this is a great pattern!  To begin with there are 4 different looks, so great value, and a simple skirt becomes more interesting. 

As I mentioned last week I do like a bit of flounce and I also like patterns which look very simple from the front, and interesting from the back.

I've worn this skirt quite a few times already and I love it, very comfortable.  This is view D in my usual size 14 graded in a little at the waist.  The fabric is an imitation linen with a slight stretch (hence the comfort). 

Its a fairly straightforward make, hemming the flounces is the only challenging bit.  Now for the blouse which is Jalie 2921; what a great basic blouse.  I love this, a comfortable, stretch blouse with good shaping.  It's  a straightforward, very clever make, though it took me a while to work out the very neck, which is all folded in on itself to make a really neat interior.  I made this in the fabulous jersey I also used for my Camas blouse.  I would definitely recommend this pattern.  This is a lovely firm jersey from the Cloth House.

Whilst I love this jersey, it did end up being too firm for this blouse as I couldn't tie the ties in a bow, they looked ridiculous, and without tying them they are a bit too long.  However, it still very wearable.

I made another version of the skirt.

This time version A.  I've talked a little before about how fabric changes the fit, and here is a great example.

Although this is a non-stretch linen, the skirt has actually come up bigger, don't ask me how! You would think that a non-stretch would be tighter.  So I think the fit on this one is too loose, although I will still wear it.  You can also see I've lengthened this version to below the knee which I feel more comfortable in. I'm wearing this one with a knitted jumper from Pompom magazine.  This isn't one of my favourite outfits, but it is wearable.  I will certainly be making more of the skirt (black wool crepe next) and the Jalie blouse (I've ordered some silk jersey from Mood - believe it or not I couldn't find any silk jersey in the UK!).  A definite work staple.

Monday, 11 May 2015

Mabel Hack

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you will know that I have already made 7 Mabel skirts, 4 of which I wear frequently (3 have gone to Gemma because they were too clingy for me!).  I love the Mabel for work but I also love skirts with a bit of flare at the hem.  As Mabel is Collette's pattern of the month, a Mabel hack seemed just the thing.  (Note: this sounds as if I hack patterns all over the place, actually this is my first and I am really pleased with myself, it feels like an indication of progression that I don't have to follow patterns to the letter any more!).

My Mabel looks quite different to the pattern now.

I have obviously added to the length by about 3 inches (I'm just under 5'4").  I cut a medium size and grade in a little at the waist.


I really like the fit (not much room for chocolate this week!).

Because the fabric is stretch jersey though, it's still really comfortable.

I can tuck it in or out (will probably wear a blouse over just to cover the tummy).  The fabric is ponte roma from Minerva crafts.  Its heavy-weight and sews well.  Not a lot of stretch (infact I tried making the Collette Seamwork leggings from the same fabric and I couldn't pull them over my knees!) and a little synthetic looking.  There is a big difference in different pontes.  I like the stretch on this one for a skirt.

So the only difference I made to my original pattern was to add a flare at each of the seams as below.

Simple really and I love the effect of the flare.  There is a flirty spin (rather spoilt though by the sight of a slip showing!).

This is my favourite Mabel, great for work, and I've already worn it several times.  Also loving the cherry blossom at work at the moment.

Have you changed any patterns successfully?

Monday, 4 May 2015

Republique du Chiffon Monique; my stashbuster challenge

Well this is a very different dress to my usual fitted, slightly vintage preferences!   I loved Ada's fabulous version and I'm afraid I completely ripped it off!  The pattern is Republique du Chiffon's Monique dress.

Although I like the dress with a belt, I think it's pretty cool as a sack-dress too.

Lots of room for cakes and chocolate!

Very comfortable.  The fabric has just the right drape, although there were times I was sure it was going to be too light, when made up it seems to have worked.

I cut a size 42" and added 3" to the length.  I also raised the neck a little and made the tab sizes smaller, so that my bra straps get covered up!

The fabric and pattern have been sitting on my shelf for almost a year and then I saw that the stashbusting challenge this month was vibrant colour and it seemed like the perfect time.  (Though I missed the deadline!)  The fabric is Nano Iro double guaze.  I bought my fabric from Etsy.  Whilst the pattern and colours are great, the fabric does stretch a lot which makes it rather difficult to handle.

Now the difficult thing about this was that the pattern instructions were in French!  My French is certainly very basic and so I had to work out how to make the tabs and facing.  I'd love to make more of Republique du Chiffon's patterns, they are very cute, but it would be a gamble!

This ended up to be pretty clever, encasing the tabs in the facing and giving a nice neat inside and a very neat edge to the sleeve.

I have no idea where or when I will wear this dress, but I have to say I've ended up liking it rather a lot!  Have you made anything recently which is different in colour or style to your usual make?

I've just enjoyed a bank holiday weekend with lots of sewing and walks in the woods which are full of bluebells, primroses and wood anenomes, gorgeous.