January 26, 2015

Sew: Liesl + Co Girl Friday Culottes

I finally jumped on the culotte bandwagon! And I'm loving them. I bought this fabric for culottes way back in October from Tessuti Melbourne. I was planning on modifying a Vogue pattern but after muslining the pattern I realised there was way too much work involved so I put them aside. The Girl Friday culottes then started appearing all over the world of sewing blogs. The pattern wasn't exactly what I had in my mind but it was close enough so I forged ahead. 

The pattern comes together easily and is well drafted. The sizing is accurately described in the finished waist measurements provided but it is tricky to know what size you need exactly until the waistband is on. I discovered after the first wear that I like them to sit snugly, quite high on my waist. The weight of the fabric pulls the front of the waistband down if it is not firm.  I knew it was going to bug me and I wouldn't wear them if I didn't fix them straight away. So after the first wear I dutifully unpicked the front waistband and took an extra 2.5cm out of each side pleat (not the centre front pleat). I then removed 5cm from the waistband and reattached it. Unfortunately my finish was perfect on the first go and not-so-perfect on the second go, but I was not unpicking for a second time. 

The fabric is (I think) a linen/cotton/rayon blend from Tessuti Melbourne. One side is a real black that is shiny and smooth. The other side has a slight linen texture and looks like washed silk. It is washed out black colour. I chose the "washed silk" side as the outside. 

The pattern calls for a normal zipper to be inserted inside the left pocket. I don't care much for normal dress zips so I chose to use an invisible zip. I just followed the same general instructions but inserted the invisible zip instead. The other interesting part of the instructions was that the waistband is attached to the wrong side and then flipped to the right side and topstitched. No stitching in the ditch or hand stitching required!

Project Details
Fabric: Linen/cotton/rayon blend from Tessuti Melbourne
Alterations: Removed 5cm from front waist band and pleats, used an invisible zipper

I'm really loving these culottes. I didn't think they would suit me or be very flattering but I think they do. They're extremely comfortable to wear and I even feel slightly trendy! Winning! I struggled to know what to wear with culottes so I purchased two tees from Country Road that go nicely and will see me through Summer. 

I'm not sure if I'll make another pair of these. There's only so many pairs of culottes a girl needs. I am pondering a more structured pair in a sturdy black wool suiting I got from Rathdowne for work. Or I'll stick to my original plan of a pair of Thurlows. I would make the waistband wider if I make these culottes again. I have noticed that the new Vogue patterns has a culottes pattern and I do like the look of those.

So, tell me, what do you think of culottes? Have you jumped on the #teamculottes bandwagon??

L x
January 17, 2015

Sew: Merchant and Mills Camber Set Dress in Banana Leaf Print Linen

Following the success of my first Camber dress, I proceeded to make another (two). This version is made from a medium to heavy weight linen from Darn Cheap Fabrics. I believe it is from the same range as the much talked about pineapple linen. I spotted it on the Darn Cheap Fabrics Instagram feed and asked Lara from Thornberry fame to get me 2.5m if she was going past anytime soon. She very kindly did and then proceeded to prewash the fabric for me and deliver it to me at Sewjourn. How's that for sewing friendship?! Thanks Lara!

There's not much else to say about this dress. I made the same alterations as my Nani Iro version plus removed the 1cm from the shoulder for this dress due to the stiffness of the fabric.

Project Details
Pattern: Merchant and Mills Camber Set Dress, size 16
Fabric: Banana leaf printed linen from Darn Cheap Fabrics
Alterations: 3 cm side seams, lowered bust dart apex by 2.5 cm, removed 1 cm from shoulder

I have another metre of this fabric. I first thought I'd use it for cushion covers for our soon to be finished renovation but now I'm thinking a boxy tank to go with my new culottes. What do you think? Cushions or top?

L x
January 16, 2015

Sew: Merchant and Mills Camber Set Dress in Nani Iro

The Camber dress pattern was never really on my radar. I'd seen it around but wasn't that interested in it. When we visited my sister-in-law and family in Mudgee in September she sewed up her muslin of the pattern. It worked for her with no changes and looked really good so I stole her muslin. I used the muslin pieces as my pattern pieces and have made 3 Camber dresses to date. I have another cut out ready to go. Totally converted.

I did make a few changes to my dress. The pattern was a size 16 and was a little too roomy for my liking. So I used a 2.5-3cm side seam. I left the sleeves the original size. The shoulders are a little wide on me and I've removed 1cm from the top of the shoulder on my other versions. The extra width is not too noticeable in this version due to the drape of this fabric. The other versions are a stiff linen (bananas!) and a cotton sateen and I really noticed the width on those so I've adjust them to fit. I also dropped the bust dart point down 2.5cm. The length is as per the pattern which is a surprise.

The fabric is a dreamy Nani Iro double gauze from Tessuti online. I've sewn with double gauze before and have to admit is is not my favourite to work with. I find the needles snag the fabric no matter how many times I change the needles. It is also really difficult to unpick. It is lovely fabric to wear but it does like to grab your undies so slinky undies are a must!

Project Details
Pattern: Merchant and Mills Camber Set Dress, size 16
Fabric: Nani Iro double gauze from Tessuti online
Alterations: 3 cm side seams, lowered bust dart apex by 2.5cm
See Also: Little Betty | Boo Dogg and Me | Cheeky Cha Cha | Make Something | Fancy Tiger Crafts

So I'm liking my new dress and find myself grabbing it from the cupboard regularly. A true sign of a winner!

L x

January 05, 2015

Sew: Colette Patterns Negroni Shirt in Liberty Samols

For the second year in a row, I made my husband a Liberty shirt for Christmas. He gets other gifts but I love the idea of giving him a handmade with love Liberty shirt. I think I've found myself a new tradition!

His last Liberty shirt has been a definite winner. He wears it a lot. You can see his 2013 Christmas shirt here.

This shirt was inspired by a shirt I saw in a shop window early one morning while walking through Melbourne Central. I could see the price tag, which was well in excess of $300, and thought there was Liberty fabric which was similar and that I could make my own sailboat shirt. To my surprise, the Liberty fabric was tiny little pirate ships. Bonus!

Try not to stare at the fabric too much, it gives you a bit of a head spin and headache. These photos are in focus but the print makes them look blurred. There is no horizontal pattern in this print but there is a vertical pattern which was a bit tricky for me. I deliberately did not match the pattern on the pocket. Living on the edge!

Project Details
Pattern: Colette Patterns Negroni shirt, size L
Fabric: Royal blue on white Samols Liberty of London cotton lawn from Shaukat
Alterations: Shortened sleeves by 7cm
See Also: True Bias | Needles & Haystacks | Sewn By Elizabeth | Thornberry

I love making Liberty shirts. The process is very soothing and enjoyable. It is an extra bonus that he he clearly enjoys wearing them.

L x

Sew: Simplicity 1653

You know you're on to a good thing when you wear a dress for the first time and you get heaps of compliments. Winning!

The pattern is one of the Amazing Fit range. I just whipped it together and didn't fit it very much. Once together, the sleeves were really baggy so I took the whole side seam in another 1cm. The dress fits very nicely and there is no gaping across the front. However, by the end of the day I felt that the sleeves were sliding off my shoulders ever so slightly. My bra straps never showed but I could feel the fabric sliding and I kept wanting to pull the sleeves back up.

I used fusible knit stay tape on the neckline before simply turning over and using a twin needle to stitch the neckline. I ignored the instructions.

The fabric is a beautiful printed jersey from Tessuti Fabrics. I don't think it's going to wash well so I will need to be careful when washing. I hope it doesn't pill like a few of my previous printed jersey makes. The fabric is very lightweight and drapey so I need to be careful not to tug it too tight across the wrap. I love the blue colour and the print. Blue is my favourite colour to wear but I don't sew with it very often. I really want to work on that!

Project Details
Pattern: Simplicity 1653 Amazing Fit Knit Dress, view B (with 3/4 sleeves), size 18
Fabric: Printed Jersey from Tessuti Fabrics Online (sold out)
Alterations: Took side seams in an extra 1cm, plus an extra 0.5cm in the underarm area
See Also: Sew & Style | The Pattern Hack | Barbara Jane Made

I have ordered some black viscose jersey from Tessuti and plan to make another version of this dress (or Simplicity 2369) for work. A black knit wrap dress will be a great basic work dress.

Who else loves a good faux wrap dress? What's your favourite pattern?

L x
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