Friday, 24 February 2017

Megan - the skirt next door

So - have you ever had that one skirt. The one that was easy to wear? That fitted in all the right places? That you could wear without having to worry about whether your tummy was sucked in enough? That let you walk normally, sit on the floor, hop in and out of cars without a worry? That was a flattering shape, and could be dressed up or down?

For me ... Megan is that skirt. The skirt next door - not all that much to look at at first glance (at least this version - you should see what the other testers have whipped up), but once you get to know her, totally gorgeous, lovely and amazing.

The Megan skirt, by Designer Stitch* has just been released and fits the bill for my favourite skirt.

The pattern has 3 different views. This is view B with pockets and a contrast centre panel.  And might I say that the pockets are just fantastic. They don't interfere with the line or fit of the skirt, and are big enough to fit a phone, car keys and other essentials.

For this version I decided on a denim skirt. I believe it's always good to have a denim skirt in your wardrobe. They're so versatile. Good in summer or winter (or in between)

As the skirt had a contrast centre panel, I played with the denim look, by using the wrong side for the centre and top of pockets, and adding detail with trim along the pocket lines and contrasting topstitching.

The skirt does up at the back with a zipper. I used one with metal teeth that I rescued from an opshop find. And added more topstitching down the centre back seam.

The pattern includes great instructions for inserting the zipper.  My yoke seams are slightly out of whack as I ended up restitching the zipper after removing the basting stitches. Next time it will be spot on (I promise).

I couldn't find upholstery or topstitching thread in the colour I wanted, so used a cotton thread, and triple stitched the topstitching.  For this stitch the machine goes forward one stitch, then back one stitch, then forward one stitch again, before repeating (forward, back, forward - forward, back, forward).  So each stitch is sewn three times. This means that more thread is visible for each stitch, and the topstitching is more visible - a feature of many denim garments.

Adding trim to the pockets was pretty simple.  I toyed with the idea of adding it across the bottom of the centre panel as well, but the hem has a slight curve (not too good with with trim), and I wasn't sure where the hem would sit, so it would mean unpicking and restiching the panel seams to bring the trim into the seam allowance.  Check out this mini-tutorial for adding trim.

Let's talk about the fit of this skirt for a minute. I love a-line skirts, they're generally a flattering shape, and work well at a variety of lengths.  Usually, my hips are a size larger than my waist, so I adjusted the pattern as normal. But when I tried on my toile/muslin/first attempt.  I had a bit of extra fabric floating around where the bony part of my hips are. See, my hip measurement (the widest part) is actually around the bottom of my bottom - the 'saddlebag' area.  So the a-line of the skirt provides a little more room than other styles.

To adjust the pattern for my 'proper' version, I pinned the toile in place along the side seams so that it fitted. Then I laid my pattern piece over the fabric, made note of where the pinning stopped (ie where the width was ok). Then retraced my lines from the smaller size to the larger so that the new line hit the larger size at the point I'd just marked. And now the skirt falls nicely off the widest part of my hips.

If you'd like your own Megan Skirt, head over to the Designer Stitch pattern store.  The pattern is on sale for release - $8 (US), until Friday 3 March.

PS - In case you've been looking at these photos wondering "what is that amazing top she's wearing". It's a Bridget Top, also by Designer Stitch. This is a short sleeve variation (cufflet) in rayon). I promise to tell you all about it soon.

*this post contains affiliate links. For any patterns purchased I receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you. The opinions, sewing and attempts to have photos without hair blowing in my face are all my own.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Adding Trim

Just a quick post on adding trim to the top of slash pockets.

The pockets in this post are made with one piece folded back upon itself to form the pocket bag.

There is a straight line across the top of the pocket. This is important for this trim.  Because of the width of this trim, it won't sit flat on curves - so looks best on straight lines.

Once the pocket is constructed, and everything is sitting nicely, I use fabric glue to carefully position the trim.

The trim extends all the way to the edge of the pattern piece, so that the edges are caught in the seam allowance in later steps.

The top (back) of the pocket is then folded out of the way, and the trim is stitched on to the front and lining of the pocket (two layers).

For this trim, I followed the pattern along the edge, experimenting with different stitch lengths and thread colours until I was happy with one that blended in as much as possible.  You may want to consider using invisible thread to sew your trim if you don't have the right shade of thread.

Sew the trim on slowly and carefully, keeping your line of stitching straight, and making sure the trim doesn't buckle as you go.

I sewed this trim down top and bottom so it was secure, and flat against the garment. Other trims (such as fringes or braids) may only require one row of stitching.

And you're done! Something different to liven up a garment. And you're not limited to pockets - just plan ahead, find some straight lines, and (where possible) seams to hide the raw edges, and thereare  lots of possibilities for adding trim.

In case you're wondering the skirt in this post is the Megan Skirt by Designer Stitch. (affiliate link)

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Annalise by ModKid

After testing the Aubrey for MODKID last year, I was excited to have a look at their latest pattern -

The Annalise top and vest.

It's a top or vest.  This is the top version with a closed skirt/ruffle. The vest opens all the way down the front

Contrary to common styling these days, the top has a low-high hemline. That's low at the front and high at the back.

So yes, when you have a peek at the back, she is wearing shorts (they're just not super visible from front on, and she's not carrying on like a monkey).

There are some lovely details in this pattern. The pintucks are just gorgeous. This was my first time with pintucks so I was a little nervous, but the instructions walk you through the process so smoothly it was a snap.

Incidentally, I was originally going to add snaps to the front of this dress, but couldn't find the ones I liked, so went for snaps instead.*

I was a little unsure of the styling and fabric choice on this one. I didn't ask her for help choosing which fabric to use, and it's a lot more ruffly than most of her other clothes.  But it's a winner! It definitely passed the hug test on first viewing**

There are options for using vintage (or not vintage) lace at the ruffle, and even neckline.  I picked up a few cards of lace at the op shop the other week, so added a layer to the bottom ruffle. It's a really sweet touch.

One of the cool features of this pattern is that it is trans-seasonal.  Right now it's crazy hot, so this is nice a cool to wear in summer. But in winter, you can team it with a long sleeve tee, leggings (or pants), and even a slouchy cardigan for a little extra warmth.  The relaxed fit makes it great for layering.

This version is made in a poplin I had in my stash (it was going to be matching mother/daughter dresses, but has found some other uses lately), it's a pretty firm fabric, to the ruffles are quite 'sticky-outy'. I'd like to have a play with different fabrics. A nice soft rayon for summer (lots of lovely drapey ruffles), and a soft wool for winter warmth. So many possiblities.

The pattern will be on sale for release, and is available at the MODKID Etsy Store. Head over there to have a look at the pattern, and check out all the other great MODKID patterns. Use the code ANNALISE2017 for a 40% discount on anything in the Etsy Store!
And don't forget to check out the MODKID Fan Group for more tester pics, and other MODKID happenings.

*One Thimble Issue 14 has a fantastic tutorial for covering snaps with fabric that I'm keen to try out - what a shame it came out after I sewed this one. Maybe next time.
**If she hugs something once it's finished, that's usually a good sign.

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Vintage Style - for me

Time for some sewing for myself.

Late last year Ann Grose of Designer Stitch published this dress pattern in Vintage Made Magazine, and I was fortunate to receive a copy of the pattern to sew up.

And boy do I love this dress. It's a keeper.

As usual, I was impressed with the quality of the instructions and pattern. When sewing for myself, I like to know that the little details haven't been skipped over to make it easier - it may seem like a good shortcut at the time, but when it comes to a lovely fitted garment, it just isn't worth it.

I mashed together 3 sizes for fit - the smallest size for the bust area, then gradually out to the next size for my waist, then out again for the hips. (pretty obvious what kind of body shape I have these days). The sizes are nested beautifully in the pattern to make this a pretty simple process.

There are 8 darts in the bodice for some lovely shaping, and no gaping. I'm working up to a sway back adjustment - but I figure I can just about get away without it here because of the flare of the skirt.

The skirt on this dress is amazing - it's a full circle. It's designed to be worn with a long petticoat (crinoline) - so I'll have to add that to my 'to sew' list.

The volume of the skirt means that it's rather fabric hungry. But I had a sneaky move up my sleeve. You see, the fabric is from a pillowcase and quilt cover set (from Ikea judging by the tags).  Bodice fabric (with the smaller roses) is from the pillowcase, and the skirt from the quilt cover. I think the two rose sizes work together quite nicely.

Of course one of the perks of the full skirt is that it's perfect for twirling.

Just need to be careful in those heels.