Saturday, February 4, 2017

MBM - Liesl + Co Gallery Tunic, Version 2

My first Liesl + Co Gallery Tunic proved to be a bit of a hit, so it wasn’t long before I was planning another. And here it is…

The fabric is Liberty Tana Lawn in The Atrium Pink. From a distance the design looks like an abstract floral, but up close it is covered in 20s flappers, apparently in the atrium of Liberty’s London store.

The pink colour choice is not  usual for me – I have no other pink in my wardrobe. I'm just not a pink girl. However, I really needed a pink item, as I was invited by a friend to go to the Members stand on the third day of the cricket Test between Australia and Pakistan. The Sydney Test has become known recently as the pink Test in support of the Jane McGrath Foundation, a breast cancer support charity. And the third day of the Test is when everyone (women and men ) is encouraged to wear pink, so I really needed a pink item to “get with the program”.
This version was as straightforward a sew as the first version. I made no fit changes whatsoever. The only change I made was to use the alternative collar, a simple collar stand, and I experimented with interfacing with self-fabric for the first time. I was really happy with the finish, and it wasn’t any more work than using a fusible, so I’ll do that again in finer fabrics. I mentioned to Mum that I did my first sew-in interfacing, and Mum said she was yet to use a fusible. Different generations, different techniques. (Mum’s overlocker sits unused. She doesn’t sew knits, and she finishes seam allowances the 60s way – turn and stitch! And she hasn't sewn in an invisible zip yet, even though I've offered to give her a lesson. Still, if I sewed in a conventional zip as well as Mum does, I probably wouldn't change either.)
I’m pretty happy with this version, although I think I prefer wearing the first version.  The sleeves are a little tight around the elbow in the firmer weave of the lawn. There is no tight around the elbow in  my rayon version. The pink is still pretty good though.

We had a great day at the cricket, and it was great to see a substantial amount of money raised to support women with breast cancer. 

Thursday, January 26, 2017

MBM - Burda 06-2013#120 shirtdress

Reading the recent round of New Year’s sewing resolutions for 2017, the intention to sew from the blogger’s back issues of Burda was mentioned a few times.  This is a resolution I definitely identify with.
I’ve intended to make this shirtdress, since I bought the June 2013 issue of Burda in Rome. So, like, 3-and-a-half years.  And I’ve done it! Finally…
I really liked this shirtdress, especially the curved pockets. Here is the technical drawing. I added a centre back seam, for swayback adjustment purposes.
The fabric is a cotton poplin I bought at the Remnant Warehouse quite a while ago, specifically with this pattern in mind.
I cut a 40 bust and 42 waist and hip. Then I made a 1”FBA and a 1”full bicep adjustment. Then I added 12cm length, as ever with Burda.
Mum, do that thing with your feet, says daughter-photographer.
This was a fairly straightforward sew, but there were a few tricky new-to-me constructions, particularly around the collar. Having bought this in Rome, my issue is in Italian, naturally. So I got to practice my somewhat rusty Italian. Still, if you think Burda is somewhat lacking in instructions department  in its English edition, let me tell you it is no better in Italian. I called on my Mother, who is an A1 seamstress and a native Italian speaker. She looked at the instructions and said “What?!” So Burda is just as opaque in other languages as it is in English! Good to know! In the end she just looked at the pattern pieces and said “do that..that..and that!”
The issue causing the headscratching was that the collar has an unusual draft (at least to me), in that there is a stand there, but the collar kind of wraps around it, so that you don’t have that classic shirt collar look at the front, but the collar is supported around the back. Quite ingenious. That’s what I like about Burda, especially in the BWOF days – a lot of patterns had little construction and design details that set them apart from other pattern designers. Gee, don’t get me started on burdastyle, but I miss those days of Burda (looks off into the distance, and sighs…).
Anyway, if you think of making this dress MAKE SURE YOU MARK THAT COLLAR STAND PROPERLY, as it is very easy to sew it in upside down. Yep, that’s what I did,even  with specific Mum-sanctioned instructions. It took me a little while to figure out that’s what had happened, as it isn’t immediately obvious.

The pockets are an unusual rounded shape, placed over the side seam.  I really like the look, but unfortunately with this fabric pattern the pocket shape kind of gets lost.

Cotton shirtdresses without a waist seam will always have a place in my summer wardrobe, and I’m pretty happy with this one. However, on looking at these photos,  I’m wondering if the length  is hovering in the frump zone. With this sort of style,  it is easy to do if the length is just a bit off. It might need an inch off. Any thoughts? I hardly ever wear heels, so I need to take that into account.

Lastly, and for the first time on La Sartora, let me introduce to you the sheep! We have a small flock of sheep that we keep to keep the grass down on about 3 acres of our undulating block of land. Here I am being berated by one of the girls for not thinking to bring sheep food when approaching the fence line. Seriously, they didn’t shut up about it either! They were still bleating when I returned to the house and shut the door. Sheep! Sheesh!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

MBM - Style Arc Rae Tunic

First of all, thanks for those of you who answered my plaintive cry for pointers as to how to jazz up the design of this blog for 2017. I now have a few leads that I hope to follow up in the coming weeks. Again, thanks for taking the time to leave a comment, and... watch this space.

On to the sewing...

One of the many things I like about sewing Style Arc patterns is the “buy one, get one free” pattern buying policy they have. Sure, the “free” pattern offered isn’t always to my taste, even when Style Arc offers a choice. I’ve been known to hold off on a pattern purchase to see whether the patterns offered in the following month suit me better. Anyway, I do have Style Arc patterns that I’ll probably never make up, but by the same token, patterns come in the front door that I probably would never have considered, but should have.
The Rae tunic, which was the free pattern for November is an example.

Super easy tunic top with fashionable split sleeveI purchased Adeline, and chose Rae, as my free pattern with no real intention of making it. By the time I received it though I’d been invited to a barbecue with a black-and-white theme, and the Rae struck me as perfect barbecue attire, and easy enough to sew up quickly.

Here's the Style Arc blurb:

The curved hemline and the, so popular, split sleeve give this great tunic top an easy, casual look. Simple to make with an all in one sleeve and body, this tunic will become your go to top to wear for all occasions

I really had to make something, too, as I have very little black or white, and no black-and-white in my wardrobe. I just don’t think I look that good in either. I have one pair of black bengaline pants, and a pair of RTW white linen pants, seen in the photos. I also have a long sleeve and sleeveless Granville, both in off white, which wouldn’t really work for a backyard barbie. Apart from that, nothing.

I purchased this dandelion print rayon at Spotlight. Love the print. Yes, I know, I moan about Spotlight frequently, but I have no other fabric store  choice locally!  I always live in hope that this time it will be ok, and sometimes it is. Fingers crossed with this one.
The Rae is a really easy sew. The cold shoulder thing is simply a split seam, so if cold shoulders aren’t your thing, you just have to sew the seam closed.
I made absolutely no changes to this pattern which is not that usual for me, and it fits ok.
This is the fourth split curved hem  I’ve sewn this year, which you don't really see in these photos - sorry.  Luckily I like them a lot.

I wore the Rae with the white linen pants, and it was perfect for the barbie on a bit of stinking hot day (and how many of them have we had so far this year? This morning it was 31C at 6am for crying out loud! I’m a bit over summer). And for once, I am wearing a trend when it's trendy, and not 2 years later which is my usual style.

Friday, January 13, 2017

2017 sewing resolutions

At this time of year, I enjoy reading yearly sewing Roundups, and resolutions people have for their sewing in the New Year.
I’ve done Roundups in the past, but as 2016 was such a patchy year sewing-wise, I’ll pass this year. Suffice to say I made some things I liked a lot – Paprika Patterns Jasper, for example – and I had some big fat fails, most unblogged. Swings and roundabouts.

As for resolutions, I’ve decided to declare two:Trendy jean, denim or woven jacket

1.      I will make a Style Arc Stacie Jean Jacket this year.

This project has been hovering in the queue for years. There’s something about this project that intimidates me into procrastination though. I don’t know why. The need is there – my 15 year old RTW jacket has faded to almost silver, and is fraying around the collar and cuffs.
I have the pattern. I have the perfect denim. I have the buttons. I have everything but the courage.
I will definitely have to ask my mother if I can borrow her machine, so I can have one machine threaded up for topstitching. Switching back and forth would mess with my head far too much.
So there’s a declaration of intent that I hope will make me accountable. Watch this space.

2.     Jazz up my blog design.

My off-the shelf blogger template blog design is so boring, it bores even me.
Over the four years of life of this blog, I’ve attempted to address this at various times, but as someone with zero computer design skills, these attempts have come to nothing.
I don’t want a particularly fancy blog design – a nice header might be good for a start.
I’ve asked computer nerds of my acquaintance (all men) for advice and they look at me blankly. I’ve tried to pick the brains of a professional  web designer, and even offered them money, but they weren’t interested in working with me on my tiny little blog. I’ve googled and YouTubed and found some guides to working with blogger layout (do this,’s easy!) but not easy enough for me.

So I’m putting it out there…someone…anyone…is there any advice out there for someone who wants to jazz up there blog, but doesn’t have the skills to do it. As I indicated, I’m even prepared to pay to have someone do it. Just how is the question.

I normally don't make resolutions, but these two projects have been hovering around the to do list for so long, I thought it might work to make them resolutions. I hope by the end of 2017, I can tick them off as DONE!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

MBM - Style Arc Adeline

When I saw Style Arc’s Adeline pattern on its release last year, I pegged it immediately as the ideal candidate for a Christmas dress.  With a lack of waist definition, it is Christmas lunch friendly, and loose enough to withstand inevitable Christmas Day heat in comfort.
I chose some linen I had in the stash bought from Tessuti online about 2 years ago.
This was what Tessuti called Wainscot linen, and the colour was described on the website as “Indigo”. On the monitor it looked to be a mid-dark blue.   Well, indigo turned out to be more sky blue than I bargained for, so the pants I had planned got shelved. Fortunately, though, to me there is no such thing as bad linen, so I knew that if the fabric just marinated in the stash for a while, I would eventually find some use for it. This was just one of many surprises I’ve had with purchasing linen online.
I made Adeline pretty much as is out of the packet, except I added 3cm in length because frankly,  I don’t like showing my kneecaps to the world.  And I blatantly ripped off Lara’s idea, and trimmed the pockets with selvedge because the selvedge was prettily multi-coloured, so it seemed rude not to.

I had ideas of doing flat fell seams for the shoulder and centre back  seam, but was running out of time so did plain vanilla ones instead. I normally love a centre back seam to help me address my swayback, but in this case I just sewed it up as drafted, and am not sorry I did.

I like the pronounced high/low thing happening at the hemline. Although the dress has a cocoon shape, it’s not so much that it inhibits normal walking. If it did, it would be a “fail” in my book – who needs a dress that you can’t walk naturally in?

Anyway, I really like how this dressed turned out. It did it’s job on Christmas Day admirably, and garnered an admiring comment from one of my fashion conscious sisters-in-law. So, yes, a  win there.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

MBM - Liesl + Co Gallery Tunic

First of all, Happy 2017.
Well! That was a long and unexpected blog hiatus!
After my last post in July, life got exceptionally busy. Sewing slowed to a trickle, blogging stopped dead.
Two reasons:  First, I started working longer hours. On top of that, most of my remaining  spare time was sucked into an activity vortex known as house building, so I was spending vast slabs of my weekends traipsing around stores doing things like picking carpets, tiles, furniture, and countless other tiny details for the house. The house that I mentioned that we were going to build in 2015, in my 2014 wrap up post.The house that didn’t start to be built  until 2016, thanks to a crazy bush fire rating, and a LOT of toing and froing with the local council which took up 2015.  As I write this at the beginning of 2017, I can say it’s finally finished! Yippee!
The house building process was time consuming, as well as exciting and exhausting by turns. We had the good fortune to have a great local builder working on our house, so we managed to avoid the horror stories that you sometimes hear. We’re really happy with how the house has turned out, and we’ve had lots of positive comments from locals as they walk past.
But now, I’m ecstatic to get back to normal life, including my sewing  and blogging life.

I made this top, Liesl + Co Gallery Tunic, a few months ago and it’s already had some good wear. This top is perfect for work. In my job, I’m out in the sun often so appreciate a top that offers a bit of skin coverage on the arms, but is loose and comfortable enough to deal with heat and humidity. Gallery ticks those boxes.
I came across the printed version of this pattern in a quilting shop in a town about an hour away from my house back in September. On the  journey home,  I stopped at the local Spotlight and purchased this crinkle rayon, and that night I was cutting and sewing. Believe me, that’s a first.  Normally projects spend time getting shuffled around a queue before I finally get down to them.

What am I looking up at? Search me

I’ve made a few Liesl + Co patterns now. My experience with them is that they have a great draft and instructions, and the Gallery tunic is no exception. Plackets are a source of nervousness for me, but this placket turned out exactly as I’d hoped, given the very clear instructions.
I made my standard alterations: 1”FBA and a 1” full bicep adjustment. The rest is as it is out of the packet. The depth of the placket is a bit lower than I’d normally wear, but not scandalously so.
My only beef I have with this project  is that the Spotlight rayon I’ve used is already looking a bit sad  and faded , after only a few months wear. Disappointing!  And so continues my ambivalent relationship with Spotlight - I appreciate this store exists, especially in the local regional town, but I've had so many disappointments with their fabrics that I just don't have high expectations any more.

So, the blogging ice is broken. I have a number of projects that I’ve had photographed, so hopefully it won’t be another six months  before I post again.

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....