Sunday, 31 May 2015

Grainline Studio Cascade Duffle Coat

I love winter coats. I have four that I wear regularly (including my Jackie Coat), but my favourite is a threadbare black hip-length hooded duffle coat with two missing toggles. My mum bought it for me over 8 years ago and it's been a staple ever since. It's some sort of magic coat that goes with every outfit and some how fitted me perfectly across three different dress sizes during this time. I desperately needed a new perfect coat.

Enter the Grainline Studio Cascade Duffle Coat pattern, which I bought from Indie Stitches. View A is an almost perfect replica of my favorite coat except that it needed View B's hood.  I cut size 6, grading out the to 8 from the waist down. It took for freakin' ever to trace and cut out all 27 pieces required. There were a few pieces that I didn't trace because they weren't multi-size or could be folded.

It took some time to gather all the material. I used leftover black wool felting from my Jackie coat, and bought some gorgeous grey speckled wool from the cloth shop for the contrast. I couldn't find any premade toggles I liked so I purchased these from M Retch. The delivery was super quick, but I'd prefer a courier service that drops the product to the local post office if the recipient isn't home rather than having to reorganise a time with the courier for pick up. Searching for the leather was frustrating. I couldn't find any soft textured black leather in my local fabric stores. I hunted for leather handbags in opshops but didn't find anything quite right. In the end my sister gave me some scrap leather used to cover their kitchen chairs with - it was perfect.

I wanted the coat to be quite warm and thick so I interlined the bodice pieces with leftover PJ flanelette (pea pods and wolves). I did this by tracing the whole bodice pieces, without the yoke/bodice seam allowances, basting the main and interlining fabric together and treating them as one.

This Jacket was a labour of love. Every time it seemed close to being done I'd be shocked to see how many more steps there was in the instructions. Thankfully the instructions were really well written. The process of the sewing and attaching the lining can be a little confusing but a quick glance at the sewalong was all that was needed to confirm what you are doing.

My only complaints about the coat are the size of the pockets (not a big deal, but I'd make them smaller next time) and that the hood and hem lining wants to pull down and sit strangely. Because there is excess ease in the lining (to allow for movement) the hem facing and hood facing have the tendency to fall out of place (even after a good press). I fixed this by tacking the facings down. I simply stitched in the ditch of the side seam (hem) and centre seams (hood).

I love the style and fit of the coat. It definitely fills the hole of my old perfect coat. It is on the short side, but I'm short torsoed so it doesn't both me. I find the sleeves slightly too firm given the number of layers I'll be wearing under the coat, but hopefully the interlining will mean less layers. Overall, I'm incredibly happy with how my Cascade Duffle Coat turned out and I've promptly filled the (massive) pockets with tissues and spare gloves.  

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Me Made May'15: Days 12-22

This is my second (of three) Me Made May'15 posts. I'll keep it brief. Excuse the phone photo's. Tim takes most of the shots on the way out the door in a mad rush. I'm grateful he makes the time to do it at all, after already asking him to wait for me to finish getting ready so we can train to work together. Thanks, Tim!

Day 12 Tuesday: Silk tate top dress and grey merino bonnie jumper.

Day 13 Wednesday: Long sleeved sewaholic renfrew top (unseen), sleeveless gingham grainline studio archer shirt, iconic patterns colour blocked jackie coat.

Day 14 Thursday: Grey hollyburn skirt with pink merino coppelia cardi.

Day 15 Friday: Denim moss skirt with unseen grey plantain top and a favourite RTW jumper.

Day16 Saturday: Morning bike ride wearing a grey hot cocoa jumper. The rest of the day I wore jeans with a white long sleeve renfrew and navy merino coppelia cardi.

Day 17 Sunday: Wore the just release released megan nielsen brumby skirt and maker tee. I pattern tested the skirt and wear it all the time - I'll blog about it soon.

Day 18 Monday: Blue rose S1419 dress with navy cerino coppelia cardi.

Day 19 Tuesday: Named nascha miniskirt and colour blocked jackie coat.

Day 20 Wednesday: Navy popover alder shirtdress with stripey bonnie top.

Day 21 Thursday: Megan Nielsen tania culottes with long sleeve black sewaholic renfrew top and opshopped Vest.

Day 22 Friday: A day with my sister and niece means my denim moss skirt with RTW top and kitty jumper. 

Reflections: I love my wardrobe! I haven't many casual me made winter tops and jumpers though. I could really do with more and not just basic layers for under other tops or dresses. Not long now until we'll be escaping the need for layers when we jet off to Vietnam - Woo hoo! I wore 18 different garments during days 12-22, which makes 33 unique garments for May so far. The last few days will probably include many more repeats of my favorites.

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Blue Merino Coppelia Cardi

My pink and black Papercut Patterns Coppelia Cardigans have got to be some of the most worn garments in my cupboard. I wear cropped cardigans a lot and their neutral tones are perfect for just about every occasion. Unfortunately my pink merino cardi has a few holes (which I'll sew up) and the cheap black fabric has pilled.

I bought some ribbed navy merino from The Cloth Shop with plans to sew another Coppelia in the hopes that more will mean extending the life of all of them. This fabric is a gorgeous colour, lightweight and stretchy. In fact it may be a little too stretchy, lacking the recovery needed for a tight fitting wrap around cardi. I'm just going to have to be extra careful not to stretch it out.

I once again made a size XS upped bodice/Sm waist. While it is cropped, this pattern still uses up quite a bit of fabric with the long wrap around ties and front bodice ribbing.  

I made the cardi almost completely on my overlocker. I following the instructions with two exceptions: 1) I didn't leave a space in the bodice side seams to pull the wrap ties through as I never use the hole on my pink cardi. 2) I attached the hem wrap ties differently so as to avoid having to use the sewing machine as much as possible. I pinned and sewed the ties wrong sides out after folding the cardi inside the ties as much as possible. I left a small gap at the centre back to pull the cardi right side out and attached this section using the sewing machine. It's a bit difficult to explain, but Sophie has a photo tutorial which shows something very similar (steps 6,7,8).

Nothing more to say, other than that I'm glad to add another Coppelia Cardy to my wardrobe and there's always room for more. I couldn't be more in love with this pattern and absolutely recommend it to others who like cropped cardigans. 

Monday, 11 May 2015

Me Made May'15: Days 1-11

A quick post about Me Made May'15. Last year, my goal was to wear one me made garment everyday day. This year I've made the same goal. I probably could have upped my game this year and promised to wear two garments per day (as most days I do anyway), but I'd rather not have a month of morning freak outs about what to wear. Also, I'm sick of feeling guilty about not wanting to have a completely me made wardrobe. I love mixing my hand made items with old and new bought clothing and my opshopped pieces.

1) wear at least one item of hand made clothing each day for the duration of May 2015
2) Document my daily outfits on instagram and post a 3 round ups on this blog

Day 1 - Friday: Black merino long sleeve Renfrew top with spotted chambray Alder Shirtdress

Day 2: Liberty needle cord Moss mini skirt with modified Alder Shirt (not dress). A Grainline Studio kind of day.

Day 3: Marilla Walker Ilsley skirt with Megan Nielsen Maker Tee

Day 4: Black polka dotted Aline Libby Skirt and Iconic Patterns colour blocked Jackie coat

Day 5:  Black Simplicity 2154 Pussy Bow blouse with modified Vogue 1247 skirt. Not photographed: Colour blocked Jackie Coat

Day 6  Wednesday: Silk gathered skirt. This skirt is a little big in the waistband but fits well in winter over tights, singlet and a long sleeve.

Day 7 Thursday: Vogue 8901 dress over a black long sleeve Renfrew top with my colour blocked Jackie coat.

Day 8 Friday: Floral Papercut Patterns Rigel bomber jacket over my exercise gear.

Day 9 Saturday: Chambray Marilla Walker Ilsley skirt with my black Papercut Patterns Coppelia Cardy.

Day 10 Sunday: Liberty Grainline Studio Alder Shirtdress with my newly refashioned merino Bonnie Jumper.

Day 11 Monday: Teach me Fashion black knit Draped Skirt, K and L Geometry top, Simplicity 1419 Japanese cotton blazer and my colour blocked Jackie coat.

Reflections:  I wore 18 different me-made garments over the last 11 days. I need to sew some pants and iron some blouses. But, day to day, I love wearing skirts and dresses most. Coloured tights would make my outfits a bit more interesting, but I never feel comfortable in them. I would love to aim to sew one pair of pants by the end of the year.

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Refashioned Merino Bonnie Jumper

Tim wears these Country Road Merino jumpers over work shirts in various neutral colours. He has a stack of them and I regularly sew up holes in the elbows for him. The fabric is great quality but quite thin. His dark grey jumper had a hole in the elbow but also around the neckline so he decided to replace it and I claimed the holey jumper for myself!

I used the Bluegingerdoll Bonnie Jumper pattern to refashion a cropped, long sleeve high neck jumper from the old Vneck jumper. I was able to cut around the neckline holes but I did darn up the elbow hole. I also reinforced the holey area with some black lightweight interfacing.

I cut the pattern pieces so the old ribbed bodice and sleeve hem could be selvedge. I took 1" of the bodice pattern as I like the Bonnie jumper a little more cropped and then aligned the bottom of the bodice pattern pieces (where you'd attach the ribbing/waistband) just above the ribbed hem. Because a cropped jumper uses a lot less fabric than a mens jumper I was also able to cut a strip of fabric to use as the neckline band.

I've made the Bonnie top before, cutting a size 10 grading to a 12 at the waist. This time I cut a straight 10. I loved my first sewn bonnie top but the low neckline makes it less versatile over different style dresses and shirts. I wanted this version to have the high neck so it didn't matter what I was wearing it over. I used Version A for the neckline and bodice length but view C sleeves.  I was able to sew the jumper completely on my overlocker. Not having to hem the sleeves and waistband made this a super quick project.

I really like the fit of this jumper and the cropped length is perfect. However, I find the back neckline sits a little low and I couldn't tell which bodice piece was front and which was back. I sewed the old country road tag into the back neckline to help. I'm going to get plenty of wear out of this jumper and I'm hoping to claim a few more of Tim's jumpers in the future.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Modified V1247 Skirt

I've made the high waisted mini a line skirt included in V1247 four times before. Two for myself and two for a friend. Throughout these renditions I have followed the instructions exactly, and then added length to the skirt, added length to the back zipper lap, removed pockets, bound all seams and serged all seams.

I love the shape of the pattern and the sweet front pockets, but for this fabric I didnt want to worry about pattern matching across the pockets. Instead, I overlapped the front and back top and bottom pattern pieces on the fabric as if there were only two pattern pieces rather than four. This makes for a much simpler skirt design and construction process. I pattern matched the skirt at the side seams and centre back.

I also added 2 inches to the length of the hem and an inch to the lapped zipper. I sewed up the seams with 1/2" seam allowances for a little extra ease to allow for tights, layering and adding a lining. I used leftover navy poly lining and recut the two main skirt pattern pieces. I sewed up the lining and attached it to the inside of waistband (facing). I hand stitched the lining centre back to the zipper. I machine stitched a narrow hem on the lining, but hand stitched the hem of the skirt.

The fit of the skirt is excellent, but form fitting enough to feel uncomfortable after a big eating weekend. It's a size 12 (with extra S/A), which is the largest size in the AA pattern envelope. I plan to make this pattern up again and again. Maybe not having to buy the larger pattern envelope is enough incentive to have less big eating weekends. Probably not. 

I love the the final skirt. It's a great length for a winter skirt, warm, and the lining helps with how the skirt sits over tights. This skirt will certainly brighten up my outfit amongst the usual black business attire that us Melbournians love so much. Although, as you can see, everything else I'm wearing is black black black. 

Thanks to Jess for taking work break photos. 

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Marilla Walker Ilsley Skirt

Tim and I are heading to Vietnam next month (!) so I've been sewing a few light throw on summer garments to pack. The weather will be hot and humid with plenty of rain. This means lots of cotton, linen, rayon flowy garments. I have a couple of lightweight cotton skirts but they mostly have structured waistbands which could get a bit restrictive and sticky in the heat. I thought the free Marrila Walker Ilsley skirt might fill a holiday wardrobe gap. It's a comfy skirt thats easy to throw on over bathers or with a t-shirt.

I'm also aiming to pack really lightly, so I want everything I take to be able to be worn with multiple other garments, but most of my current summer skirts have floral patterns that clash with certain Tees and floral tops. Enter blue chambray from The Cloth Shop. The same stuff I used for my sisters Miette wrap skirt. It's very lightweight and easy to wear. I used a contrast light brown thread for all topstitching. Actually, I used about three shades of similar light browns. I kept running out of bobbin and spool thread. Can you tell? 

I sewed the skirt up in a size 4. The skirt pattern includes 6 pieces, no closures, front pockets, a gathered waist with an elasticised waistband. The pattern instructs you to use a thick 5cm wide piece of elastic, but since I didn't have any I chose to use three lengths of 1.25cm elastic and sew three 1.5cm wide casings.

The instructions don't include any diagrams but they are well written and easy to follow. Which is more than you can ask for when using a free pattern - Thanks Marilla! Seam allowance instructions for french seaming are included which results in a lovely clean finish.

I like the final skirt, but I don't love it. I really like the curved hem and the pockets. But there's a poof of fabric above my butt and I think I could do with more room back there. Perhaps a bigger size would have been better. Also, I would love the pockets to be slightly deeper - my phone pokes out the top. However, these are easy changes to make and I think it's going to a great holiday skirt. Easy to wear, goes with everything, dries quickly.

Also the skirt doesn't look half bad with tights and a cardigan so it's a versatile too. Today, I'm wearing it with my Megan Nielsen Maker Tee. I love everything about this tee- it supports a good cause, is made from organic cotton, fits great and is super cute. I received the tee as a thank you for pattern testing the Brumby Skirt. I cannot wait for it's release so I can blog about it. That skirt has been getting A LOT of wear.