Sunday, 8 May 2016

Not My Wedding Cape: Peppermint Winter Wool Cape

A couple of weeks ago Tim and I got hitched and it was perfect!

I had considered making my wedding dress and even bought a few patterns but ended up falling hard over a dress I tried on when inspiration shopping. I absolutely loved my dress. And I'm really glad I bought a dress as Tim and I had a short engagement and trying to decide on a style, find the right fabrics, muslin and sew a dress in that time frame would have been an added stress that I didn't need.

But, I wasn't too sure what to wear over my dress in case of cool weather. I had a second-hand jacket that would do the job, but I couldn't get the idea of a blue cropped cape out of my mind. I searched the internet for inspiration and loved the idea of somehting like this, but wasn't totally convinced it would go with my dress. I decided to just give it a go and cut out the free Peppermint Sewing School Winter Wool Cape pattern. I cut a size small in some beautiful blue wool blend and blush silk fabric from Tessuti.

I made the pattern up as instructed with the following changes: I understitched the silk edge to wool seam allowances to help it stay inside the cape a little better. If I made the cape again I'd cut the silk a couple of mm's smaller than the main fabric to help with this also. I attached the neckband the opposite way around to the instructions so that the hand sewing would be on the inside. I used a hook and eye rather than a button and loops.

I love that this pattern has shoulder seams and arm space, rather than being just a semi-circle. You can still use your arms! I love the cropped length and the style. But, it wasn't right for the wedding. My dress was fitted up top and having a boxy cape took away from the shape of my dress. Also, the blue and white reminded me of an old fashioned nurse's outfit. My sister took some photos of the cape over my wedding dress for me a few days before the wedding. Below is the ridiculous photo that sealed the deal: the cape was not quite right.

But it is a lovely little cape. So that leads to question, where and how do you wear a little bright blue cape?

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

A Belated Tessuti Sydney Jacket

A post that's been half written since last winter:
I love the Tessuti aesthetic. The designs are modern, minimalist and often offer comfort through oversized, boxy or flowy styles. There are a few bloggers on my feed who make just about all Tessuti patterns and they look stunning wearing them. I'm not so sure about these boxy, flowy, often lengthened garments on my body. I generally admire these patterns on others and avoid them for myself.

This was true of the Sydney Jacket initially. And then these amazing coats kept popping up all over my blog feed. I went to a Frocktails fabric shopping get-together last year and I saw four different ladies in four equally gorgeous coats in one morning! About an hour in to the day I was convinced I'd give it a go.

I bought my fabric (wool/poly blend) from The Fabric Store and cut a size S. Due to fabric wanting to fray a little I excluded the exposed pockets and cut the front piece along the selvage. I didn't both about pattern matching because the pattern is a little origami like at first and I didn't want to stuff around figuring out the perfect match only to get it wrong. Especially as I wasn't convinced I'd even wear the coat.

The sewing was pretty darn quick. I found it helpful to mark in chalk the overlapped seam lines on the fabric when lining up pattern pieces. I really like the look of the exposed seam lines but they can get a little messy if you're not careful. On the edges of the coat I sew a line of stitching parallel to the raw edges and then purposeless frayed the edges a little.

These photos are from last winter, wearing the coat over Jeans. But since, I've been more likley to wear it over another drapey long sleeve cardigan with a fitted skirt. I wouldn't say I feel totally myself in it and I think I look a bit like I'm just wearing a blanket, but it's very warm and comfortable. I've been considering making another version but can't decide between a colourful tartan I've been dyeing to cut into and a basic black or tan.  I wonder also if a slightly thicker fabric would give it more structure and remove some of the blanket look?

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Skirt for V and her doll

Even though I've been sewing less I've still managed to fit in a little bit of sewing for others. For my nieces V's 3rd birthday I whipped her and her doll Penny matching layer skirts.

I used the free tutorial from Dana MADE It as a guide. I cut the fabric just under twice the required width for a nice full gather. I used some treasured liberty fabric paired with the same denim chambray I used for her a skirt for mum, my sister.  I sewed up the two layers and hemmed them. I then attached them together at the waist with a wrong side of one layer meeting the right side of the other.

It sounds counter-intuitive but you can then hide this upper waist seam inside the waistband by turning down both layers as appropriate and sewing them together at the lower waist seam line.  I think the skirts turned out super cute and V and penny look pretty darn cute in them.

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Cropped Tate Top & A Break

First up, a favourite new top. A cropped version of the Workroom Social Tate Top. This is a free pattern which I've made (and reviewed before) as top, a lined silk dress and a teaching top for my little sister. It's a great basic modern top pattern.

I thought a cropped version would look amazing in some black voile eyelet from Tessuti. But, the cropped pattern includes a slightly curved hem at the back and an angled hem at the front, which would mean cutting into the beautiful scalloped edge of the eyelet fabric. Instead, I straightened out the hem line in order to incorporate the scallop and made the hem line even to the longest point of the top. Otherwise, I cut a standard size 8.
As I was using eyelet fabric I decided to line the fabric in some black crepe poly I had on hand. I cut the lining bodice about half an inch shorter than the main fabric so that, after hemming, it wouldn't be visible in the lower scalloped edges.
I followed the steps I used when making a lined Tate Dress. I sewed the darts and shoulder seams on the twop tops separately; sewed them together at the neck and arms; turned the tops right way out and then sewed the side seams, centre back, and lining hem. Again, I used a hook and eye in preference to a zip.
I love how this top turned out and a have warn it quite a few times. Before this version, I began sewing and abandoned a lovely lawn cropped version from fear of it showing too much stomach. I will definitely use this straightened out longer cropped hem for future versions.
Now, to my sewing/blogging hiatus. Before I started sewing I shopped. A lot. I would buy a new garment/item probably every week or two. In 2014, I was so excited by my advancing sewing skills and the ability to make the exact garment in my head for any particular occasion or just for fun. I averaged 2 garments sewn per week, sewing late into every evening. There was little need to shop anymore. As well loving learning a new skill, sewing was also an outlet during a rough patch in my PhD (the inevitable "why am I doing this?" stage).
From about mid-year last year my sewing slowed up. I since sew around once a month and blog less than that. I'm still an avid reader of sewing blog posts and take great pleasure in looking through my fabric stash, but I rarely feel the pull to sew. I haven't reverted back to weekly shoping trips. While I still love shopping, I don't like buying things I know I can make and I also just feel less need to have a new outfit every other week. I sew when I need a specific garment for an occasion. I'm not too sure why my sewing has slowed up so much but I still get so much joy from my occasional making. I'm not going to question it, just sew when I feel like sewing. In the mean time I'll probably blog few items I never got around to.