Monday, 1 January 2018

Favourite Things Top: Ruffle Sleeve Noelle

There were several more makes for 2017 that I'll (maybe) blog another time. This is my very last make of 2017. Finished just in time to wear for a relaxing New Years Eve with Tim. Featuring spots, ruffles and navy fabric, this is definitely my "Favourite Things" top!


My sister and I saw some fabulous linen tops and dresses with ruffle sleeves being sold at a local market recently. We fell in love, but, as all too common for us, didn't make the purchase and later regretted it. I searched for the designer online and at the same market a month later but haven't come across the tops/dresses again. This top is inspired by the one that got away. 

I started with the Ulooop Noelle Top pattern (sewn previously: V1, V2). The Noelle pattern is an incredibly simple (but effective) design: boxy top, dropped sleeves, no closures, bias bound neckline. My first version was very cropped (with nearly no allowance for then hem) and roomy in the front bodice. For this version I made the following mods: 
- Added 1.5" to length and removed curved front and back hem. 
- Removed 1.25" width from the centre front of front bodice piece. There is still plenty of room to get the top on and off without an added closure. But, the neckline sits more comfortably now and I'm less swamped by the fabric. 
- Used a wide 1.5" hem and included 2" slits at either side seam. 
- Cut 5" (including seam allowance) wide ruffles, twice the length of the sleeve opening. Overlocked and hemmed outer and side edges and attached the ruffle to the sleeve opening.

The fabric is a gorgeous Japanese linen blend (?) from The Cloth Shop. Its a dark navy with lighter shades throughout and an off-white polka dot pattern. This fabric is what my dreams are made of!

I've really happy with how the top turned out, and I feel great in it!  I'd like to make one or two more in block coloured linen fabrics. But, I find it difficult to look past beautiful blues. My motto is, of course, all the things in blue! This makes it difficult to pair tops and bottoms together without looking too matchy matchy. Not to mention, also heavily matching with Tim's navy dominated wardrobe.  Perhaps I'll start slowly with a few white and black items in 2018. 

Tessuti: Spotty Alice Top

The Tessuti Alice Top pattern is one on my most sewn and worn items.  I previously sewn two for myself (V1, V2), and the first version I made in 2014 is still on high wardrobe rotation! I've also sewn two for some special women in my life (V3, V4). I know I'll continue to sew and wear this pattern for years to come!

This Alice is made from a transparent white and black polka dot cheese cloth fabric recycled from summer maxi dress a friend gave me.  It's wonderful when friends and family see potential in an old piece of clothing and generously donate the fabric to me.

I lined the upper bodice in off-white cotton I had on hand. I added an extra  few inches of width to the lower bodice front and back in the hopes that the extra fabric would reduce its transparency. No luck, so I typically wear the top over a cami.  I like the look of my Alice tops tucked loosely into my jeans or shorts. The fabric stays lovely and flowy (so I can eat all the things!), but I find the cinched in look a bit less overwhelming. 

I've been reaching for this top a lot this summer! Note, when berry picking the Alice top does not provide adequate coverage to avoid sunburn or thorns.

Tessuti Lois Dress: Very Wearable Muslin

Tessuti released some great patterns in 2017! I was most facinated by the Lois Dress. Lois has a low cut front, is midi length and skims over the stomach and hips. All beautiful features, but ones I would normally avoid for myself. This is a dress I would walk straight past when shopping thinking it wouldn't suit my shape. It turns out I'm more adventourous when sewing my clothes compared to buying, and I'm really glad about that! 

For my first attempt I used a cotton fabric, white with black squares, from my stash. I cut a size 10 with size 8 shoulders. I followed the intructions with some very minor deviations: I stay-stiched rather than using tear away vilene around the neckline and waist, and I cut and sewed the darts in one piece (as ususal) rather than as the pattern / instructions detail. I dont think either vilene or the alternative darts are nessecary.  

The dress comes together reasonably quickly and the instructions a great! Lots of detailed photos to take you through each step. The most fiddlly aspect was joing the top to the bodice at the centre front. It's tricky (but doable) to get a nice point at the neckline, and worth taking the time to get it right. I love the 3-step process for attaching the bias binding, which creates a really firm and neat neckline. I was worried about the low-cut neckline, but the plunge stops just above my bra bridge. Perfect!

As usual for Tessuti patterns, the number of pages to be printed is execcesive!  The pattern could definitely be repositioned to spread across fewer pages. It would also be useful if a legend was included stating which pages need to be printed for what pattern pieces. This way I could have avoided printing pages for the vilene shields and the bias binidng piece - niether of which are nessecary, IMO. This would also be useful if you need to reprint a pattern piece gone missing, or go up a size only in the bodice pieces, for example. 

Overall, I really like this pattern and am pleasantly suprised at just how flattering it is on me, and on women of varying shapes and sizes across the sewing blogger community. This dress was intended to be a muslin, but I've already worn it a heap! I've also sewn another version in a darker viscose. Looking forward to seeing what patterns Tessuti release in 2018.

Megan Nielsen Wool Flint Pants

Happy New Year! I hope you have had the chance to take a break over the festive season and make plans for a wonderful year ahead. I didnt blog much throughout 2017, but I actually sewed quite a bit. So, I thought I'd take the chance to post a few makes before getting into my 2018 sewing.  


First up, my navy wool Megain Nielsen Flint pants. I actually made these before my linen version but found it difficult to get good photos. Given it's now summer, I'm going with my early morning, pre-work photos, bad lighting and all. The overexposed images really pick up every crease and pull line and they don't look particluarly flattering. But, I actually love these pants and feel great in them; bad phtotos be damned! 

Fabric is a midweight boiled wool from The Cloth Shop. Construction: Similiar to my other versions (1, 2), with following modifications: flat front, wide hem facing, double button closure. Given these are winter pants I intened them to be a little longer than the cropped length, but I forgot to add length before cutting the fabric. An obvious fix was to add a wide hem facing, and I really like the added weight and swing of the hem. 

Looking forward to wearing these again next winter. In the mean time, I might need another linen pair.