Sunday, 24 January 2016

Style Arc Lolita Knit Top

Winter has finally arrived in Hong Kong - those of you in places currently experiencing real winters will laugh at our 5C temperatures, but the humidity and lack of double glazing and heating in most apartments make it chilly enough to need winter clothes.

I pulled out some of the sweater knits I bought recently and decided to try this Style Arc pattern which I think was one of their monthly freebies.

It is a quick and easy sew, but there is an error in the instructions although the marks on the pattern pieces and the diagram are correct.  Step 3 instructs you to sew the long edge of the collar closed and leave part of the short edge open.  This should be exactly the other way round, it's fortunate I had the pattern pieces in front of me.  I remembered Anne from Clothing Engineer (a Style Arc fan!)had made this so I double checked her review just to make sure I wasn't being an idiot.  Interestingly she found 2 errors in her pattern - the other one was to do with the order of attaching the neck binding, but this was correct in mine so perhaps there are a few versions floating round out there.  

I made a size 10, my usual Style Arc size and added a bit onto the length.  The only fitting adjustment I needed to make was to shorten the collar bands at the side seams by around an inch each side.  I expect the amount would vary depending on fabric choice so I just basted, tried it on, unpicked and repeated until I was happy with it.

I honestly wasn't sure how I would feel about having fabric wrapping over my bust, but I really like how the top turned out and in this lightweight sweater knit it is so cosy.

 The back collar detail is created by stitching tucks at the centre back seam.

I actually really like the fit of the basic top so quickly made up a plain black version without the bands.  This is the most basic of basics, but perfect for everyday and easy to layer and perk up with different accessories.  I wouldn't suggest that you get this pattern just for the basic top, but if you have it already it is an option.  It also makes me think that it would be quite easy to take a favourite top and drape your own collar pieces on.

Kind of hard to see the detail in these photos, but here you go.  Stay warm and safe everyone.

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

McCall's 7244 Dress (Plenty by Tracy Reese)

This is a Plenty by Tracy Reese design for moderate stretch knits, it's quite fitted through the bodice and has a short flounced skirt.  The long sleeves make it a great winter dress addition to my wardrobe.

You can see that I was not at all creative in my interpretation from the pattern envelope!  My fabric is probably a little heavy for this dress, but it still works - it's some kind of stretch woven, probably the weight you would normally choose for pants.  I think a ponte would work really well.

I made a few minor adjustments while making this :
  • omitted the bodice lining
  • raised the v neckline on the bodice (and the front neck facing) - probably not needed, but it looked pretty low on the model
  • topstitched the skirt/bodice seam 
  • added length to the skirt - I could only add about 1cm and then I sewed it to the bodice with a small seam allowance and used a very small hem on the skirt. to gain as much length as I could
It's a pretty straightforward dress and the instructions are clear.  In a ponte you could probably leave off the zipper and make it even quicker to sew.

Other people have said this is pretty short and it is true, ideally I'd like it a bit longer, but those flounce shapes really ate into my fabric and I wasn't able to add any more.  I'm 5'6 so this is something you may want to check and consider lengthening either just the skirt or both bodice and skirt to maintain the proportions.

Having said I'd be putting mainly dress form photos up, here is a slightly out of focus photo of me wearing it!

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Vogue 1191 Michael Kors Dress (OOP)

I've made this dress twice before on this blog back in 2010 (print here and solid here) and it is unfortunately now out of print so I won't blather on too much about it.  It's designed for 2 way knits and is one of those twisty patterns I still love to make where the pattern pieces bear zero resemblance to the shape they end up in.  

The instructions are a bit confusing in places and the pattern is rated as advanced, but as long as you carefully mark everything, preferably in different colours for different types of markings, and keep the pattern pieces to hand for reference eventually it does look like a dress!

The only change I made was to raise the centre front neckline which although looks very elegant on the model is too low for anyone with any kind of bust or who plans on moving around in the dress.  I showed the pattern adjustment for this in an old post here.  Oh, I also omitted the zipper again, the neckline is plenty wide enough that it is completely unnecessary unless you don't like pulling dresses on over your head.

My fabric is a grey and purple jersey, hard to see the purple in these photos though.  I really like this dress and recommend it if you can find it on sale and like this kind of challenging puzzle.

This is the time of year lots of bloggers reflect on their past year of sewing and make resolutions for the coming year.  My sewing output definitely went downhill in 2015 - partly because I thought my beloved BurdaStyle magazine was awful until August (though I think this is just how I personally felt about fashion in general this year) and also I just felt that I had enough clothes and no burning desire to make more for the sake of it.  Again reflective of my views on current fashions I think.   BurdaStyle has definitely picked up in the last few months though so lets see how 2016 goes.  I still love sewing and goodness knows I love fabric shopping!

Blogging has been a bit slow too and a large part of this is that I find it difficult to take photos of myself and just put off doing it to the point where blogging something I made months before seems pointless.  Now that I have a decent dress form that is pretty identical to my measurements I hope you won't mind too much if I make use of the dress form in more of my posts in future.