Friday, July 8, 2016

MBM - Style Arc Elita Designer Top

This Style Arc Elita Designer Top is made in a ponti bought from Tessuti excavated from the middle layers of the stash.
This is one of those makes that gives a lot of gratification for small amount of effort. Seriously, from start to finish this top probably took about 3 hours tops. There are only four pattern pieces. Making it in ponti means no seam finishing is needed, and the edges are drafted to be left raw. I did as I was told with the ponti, although if I was making it in a softer, drapier knit, I would probably finish the edges.
The twisted collar thingy looks more complicated than it is – it really is easy peasy.
This is what it looks like as drafted. 

It looks quite good “left hanging”, if you were inclined to do so, too.

This is my normal Size 12 in Style Arc. The only alteration I made is to add 2.5cm to the bicep and 1.5cm to the elbow.

The only quibble I have with this pattern is the "interesting back neck shape" as shown in the Style Arc line drawing.

This is how is looks in real life - it kind of scrunches up, so you lose the effect of the "interesting back neck shape". Maybe that is what the designer intended, I don't know.

This is one of those straightforward sews about which  there isn’t all that much to say. I like it a lot. I’m confident I’ll wear it a lot. It’s easy. And comfortable. Win, win, win, win. It would be so cosy in a soft merino knit, so I am planning on a second version, if not this winter then next.... 

Sunday, June 12, 2016

MBM - Style Arc Avery

The Avery Tunic Top was one of Style Arc’s freebie patterns for May. I thought it was quite a nice pattern, and would probably get made at some stage, sometime, someway, but not straight away, when I chose it.
Anyway, between placing my order, and the pattern plunking into my letterbox, I had given myself a bit of a talking-to about cracking on with sewing fabrics from the stash, inspired by the Stashbusting Sewalong Facebook group, and the process of Kondo-ising my wardrobe. My thinking being why have fabrics that “spark joy” to use Ms Kondo’s term, when it would be a whole lot better if they were garments that did the same thing. It didn’t take me long to identify fabric and zipper in the stash that I thought would work for the Avery, and because I’d made a few bread-and-butter basics recently, I thought it was time for a bit of a statement make. So Avery rocketed to Number 1 in the queue.
The fabrics are both from Tessuti. Avery is designed for a combination  of knit and woven fabrics. The sleeves and front yoke are in a viscose jersey, leftover from making Style Arc Pearl. The woven was a rayon/cotton blend (I think) that I bought on sale last year. The zip was one of a bag of miscellaneous zips I bought a Pitt Trading quite a while ago. From memory the bag cost me something like $5 for about a dozen metal teeth zips, so a bit of a bargain there!
As far as fit is concerned, I ordered a Size 12. The only piece I altered was the sleeve, in which I made a 1.5cm full bicep adjustment. I should have made it about 2.5cm – my arms look a bit like sausages. Not great, but not terrible either. The ease at bust was a bit line-ball for me, and I debated making an FBA, but in the end laziness reigned and I gambled a bit that I didn’t really need one. Happily, I think the gamble paid off.
Construction included two new-to-me operations. The first was the exposed zipper. Style Arc specifies a partially exposed zips, and to give them their due they include a number of diagrams (but not many words) to help you in the process. Unfortunately, they didn’t help me, so I went looking for tutorials. In my search I found this tutorial for a fully exposed zipper on the Craftsy blog. I quite liked the idea of a fully exposed zip, so I went with that. Because I was a bit doubtful that my drapey woven would cope well with the metal zip, I interfaced the yoke at the zip opening, as well as the yoke facing as directed. But then I always interface my zip openings, whatever the fabric.
The other new-to me operation was hem facings. I was bit nervous about this, especially getting the topstitching even around the curves, so I made cardboard templates and traced them onto the garment with a Frixion pen to ensure the topstitching lines were the same, left and right. That worked quite well.

Here is a photo that show the difference between the high/low hemline. It’s quite pronounced, not subtle! This was without any length alterations. I’m 5’9” so keep that in mind.
The sleeves are drafted quite long too. I normally add an inch to my long sleeves, but didn’t here, because I didn’t need to. Check your sleeve length!

I’m quite happy with the Avery. It’s a bit of different, and will work well with a lot of the bottom pieces in my wardrobe. The only reservation I have is how good the back will look after I’ve been sitting on it. These photos are brought to you fresh from the ironing board. This fabric holds a crease, so this could be a bit of an issue. Let’s see how I feel about it in due course

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Kondo-ising the wardrobe - what hasn't worked and why

It seems that half the Western World is Kondo-ising their life, or wardrobes at least, and I've been no exception.
If you aren't familiar with the work of Marie Kondo, her basic philosophy is that we should only keep things, whatever they may be, that "spark joy".
With this in mind, recently I had a clothing sort through.  These are candidates for elimination  that  have featured on the blog. At the time of making, I expected a bit of joy sparking, otherwise why bother? Over time in the wardrobe, though, they have proved to "spark meh"instead. Here's why:

First cab off the rank is my first version of Colette Peony. My post on this dress is my most viewed post to date, so it is slightly ironic this  dress has gone. I wore it twice, and never felt quite right in it. Part of it was the fit of the bodice, which I addressed somewhat successfully in a subsequent version. Part of it was the cummerbund, which I didn't warm to - I was always rearranging it. And part of it was the colour. Red once served me well. Now I realise I just feel overwhelmed and conspicuous in it. Probably because as I age my colouring is not as definite as it once was. I still love red though.

With Burda 2561, I was happy with the fit. But because of that red thing again, I hardly wore it . Gone.

I still have a usable length of the red wool crepe I used to make the Peony, and am wondering if I make it into a jacket ie. break it up with another colour around my face it would work? Guess there is only one way to find out..

Burda 03-2013-128. I found this top difficult to match up with anything I had. And I didn't like the print enough to address the situation. A great way to make a cowl top though. The cowl facing never
flips out.

I have a couple of Japanese sewing pattern books on my shelves, and I really like the aesthetic. However ethereal teenage waif style doesn't translate well to middle aged person, I found. This swimsuit cover up is a case in point - all the volume in the back looks edgy on some. Just looks daggy on me, especially in that print. What was I thinking?

This jacket from a Japanese magazine wasn't too bad, though. The fit across the shoulders was a bit off but the killer was again the colour. The brown marle linen did me no favours. Worn little. Gone. Might try this pattern again, though.

I quite liked this Ottobre  pleated denim skirt with fly front. I live a decidedly denim lifestyle, so it should have been a workhorse garment.  Alas,  I made it a little too short and it was worn little as a consquence

This Vogue 1357 skirt should have been a winner, with it's A-line and colour. However, I wore it few times, and it's hard to put my finger on why. It could be I  don't wear heels all that often, and I felt most comfortable wearing this skirt with heels. I don't know. And I didn't like how the front inverted pleat sat, or more to the point, not.

I really liked these patterned pants, but not being a big wearer of pink, found it hard to find things to wear them with. Didn't wear them all that often, but even so it wasn't long until the Spotlight sateen stretched out of shape. 

This Vogue 8805 dress experienced another case of fabric fade in the mid section after relatively few wears. A Spotlight buy again. The contrast with the red bands was so great it was unwearable. If I make this again, I'll drop CF at the neckline down an inch. And stay away from Spotlight linen.


I liked the Weekend Getaway blouse, but the colours meant I only really wore it with this skirt. Also the length was a bit problematic for me. If I make this again I'll add length so it can be worn as a tunic.

I also kondo-ised a number of pre-blog makes for various reasons, and quite a lot of RTW which I donated to the local Zonta group who had a pre-loved clothes sale in aid of it's various works.
One good thing I've noted is that these makes date from 2013 and the first half of 2014. I can say that more recent makes have been earning their place in the wardrobe. This could be good luck, but I hope that also means I'm making more confident choices in pattern and fabric.

I guess this brings home to me that the most successful garments are a happy confluence of pattern style, fabric (colour, content, quality), and how well these both mesh with your own personal preferences as to what you think suits you best. When you think about it, there is a lot to get right. When I note that I've made 69 garments during the life of the blog, the fact I've gotten it wrong on some level only 10 times is a bit surprising, at least to me! One out of 7 ain't bad.

Do you pick apart the reasons why your less successful garments are less successful? What have you learned?

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Me Made May 2016 - Week 4

Here we go, the last installment of Me Made May for 2016.

This week, autumn arrived in time for the start of winter, so I got to dig out some winter wear items, finally.

My challenge was to come up with two Me Made outfits a week to post, apart from wearing at least one Me Made item per day. Here are my outfits for the week:

It's Wednesday, and I'm not in jeans and runners, because I'm not at work. What gives? It's my birthday, I've taken the day off and my husband is taking me out for lunch. 
Skirt - Colette Mabel
Top - Sewaholic Renfrew in merino, pre-blog make
Jacket - McCalls M6441

Even though he is an excellent husband, he is not a great blog photographer. He doesn't get that I need multiple photos to get one I like. After about four photos, he loses interest. This is the best of a total of three.

Saturday, and it is officially cold today. Finally I get to wear my Paprika Jasper sweatshirt, along with Tessuti Anita Ponti Pants (doesn't the term Ponti Pants sound like a Welsh town name?). 
Those lemons and limes are a fraction of what we have waiting for harvest. And Dash, with left ear flipped up, is there just because he is cute and doesn't often stop for long enough to have his photo taken.

So I'm signing off from Me Made May. As I didn't undertake to document every day, it hasn't been onerous at all and if I do take part again I'll probably do the same.
As I noted in a previous post, putting together outfits did require a bit of thought, but not so much from lack of sewn items, but because of holes in my shoe wardrobe to make certain sewn items work together to my eye. So I'm on the lookout for a couple of pairs of shoes at the moment, always a bit of a challenge made a bit more complicated for me by the fact that I take a Size 12. I always say that if there is a such a thing as reincarnation, the only thing I would want is to come back as a Size 8. Life would be much simpler!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Me Made May 16 - Week 3

Welcome to Week 3, of my version of Me Made May 2016 - Climate Change Edition.
This weekend I heard the news that New South Wales is on track to have it's warmest May ever. This is no surprise. The daily maximums have hovered in the low to mid 20s, which is about 5 degrees warmer than average for this time of year. I have yet to break out the long boots, tights and scarves. That Paprika Patterns Jasper sweatshirt from a few posts ago that I was rushing to finish before the cold weather started? Need not have worried! Haven't had a chance to wear it yet!

To recap, my challenge is to wear at least Me Made item a day (not documented), and two Me Made outfits per week to share with you on the blog. Here are this weeks Me Made Outfits:

It's Saturday. With my camp chair and flat white, I'm ready for a spot of netball watching. Wearing:

Pants - Style Arc Misty (these are getting worn a lot at the moment)

I got excited when there was enough of a nip in the air in the morning to wear the Minoru. To be honest though, as soon as I sat down to watch the game, the jacket came off.
My daughter's team won 31-11. They are having a really good season, nice to have after a really terrible season in 2015.

Sunday. This is what I wore this morning to nick into the local shops to buy some groceries. When I got home, I pottered around the house all day in bare feet and the dress.

Dress: Maria Denmark Edith
Cardigan: Style Arc Cosy Cardi

Saturday, May 21, 2016

MBM - Style Arc Beth and Tessuti Mandy

Two items to share today, both in the category of "comfortable basics", which pretty much constitutes 90% of my wardrobe.

The top is Tessuti Mandy Boat Neck tee, made before here and here. Both of these tops have been hardworking items in my wardrobe, and after three years solid service, are just about ready to be superannuated. At least one replacement Mandy was in order.
 The fabric is some sort of rayon/poly blend knit from Remnant Warehouse. For this version, I followed the lead of a number of bloggers and took 5cm out of centre front and back - you can see there is still enough volume there. I also lengthened the body pieces about 10cm, and the sleeves also about 10cm to make them long sleeves, instead of 3/4 sleeves.
This was a super-quick sew. When I find another suitable stripey knit, I'll make another. And seriously, I don't have much else to add!

Ok onto the pants, Style Arc Beth, which is a variation of the much loved Style Arc Barb. The only difference is those "slimming design lines". Nice, but as a non-tucker innerer, a bit lost on me.
The fabric is Style Arc bengaline in Aubergine. Great hand and easy to work with. 


I've had relative success with Style Arc pants before, the only alteration I made on these pants was to add 5cm to the back crotch hook, which is pretty standard for me to accommodate my sticky-out rear end bequeathed to me by my paternal grandmother. I didn't add length, and the length of these was spot on for me.
There is wrinkling around the back of the knee there, but you know what? I'm not fussed.

On the other hand, the pooling of fabric at the front crotch here does bother me a bit (but not enough to consign the pants to Wadderville) - perhaps a matter of shortening the front crotch hook next time? 

Not the world's greatest photo, but here are the design lines at front. The topstitching is optional of course, but there isn't much of it and it highlights those diagonal seams. 

Happy with this outfit, and in terms of comfort, up there with pjs.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Me Made May 2016 - Week 2

Week 2 of Me Made May for 2016 over.
To recap, the challenge I set myself is to wear one me made item per day (not documented) and at least two  me made outfits per week, which I will document. (As I noted in my pledge post, my me made outfit days fall on my non-work days. Jeans work best for my work with disabled adults, and I just haven't gone there with my sewing).

This week was another week of guiltily gorgeous weather, with temps bouncing around the low 20s and mild humidity.

Soaking up some rays, while waiting for my flat white at a local cafe on Friday. Wearing:
Merino Cardi - Simplicity 2603
Now the humidity around here is in the manageable area,  the Misty pants have been on high rotation. So comfortable!
The yellow cardi doesn't get many outings, but it should get more. I always feel happy wearing it, and the colour gets  positive comments.

Classic tourist shot in front of the Sydney Opera House on Saturday. My daughter and I went to see The Australian Ballet's Symphony in C.
Pants - Style Arc Beth (unblogged)

The one-item-per-day bit of Me Made May isn't much of a challenge to be honest. Two-items-per-day would also be a bit of a no-brainer. It is only when I get to full outfits, that I have to apply some thought. Generally, because I rely on RTW items to make certain me-made-items work, or I lack the right shoes (type, colour) for different combinations of Me Made items. But, I am managing.