Saturday, 20 August 2016

Snatching victory from the jaws of defeat

I feel that although Colette Sorbetto is lovely, it's still a slightly iffy fit for me.  So I was really pleased so see Cashmerette's new pattern release for a sleeveless top.  It's called Springfield and as with all Cashmerette patterns is drafted for the curvier figure - up to a size 28 and in a range of cup sizes.  No having to do pesky bust adjustments YAY!  It also comes in 2 variations - one is a little more fitted with a princess-seamed back and the other is looser and perhaps a bit more casual.

I have some lovely cottons that would be perfect for a nice summery top.  So I measured and chose my size and got cutting with some sale-rail viscose.

Unfortunately I must have chosen the wrong size because it just isn't right.  Or it's possibly a printing error because the test square was a little out.  Either way it's very very wrong!  I've asked Jenny how to put it right and she's given me some great advice so I will be trying again with a different size, but not till after my holiday...

In the meantime, to lift the spirits I unrolled the already reliable Groove pattern, pulled out the piece of blue jersey and cut myself a t-shirt top instead.

Jeans - charity shop (bought just to cut down)
Flip-flops - very old

I freehanded cutting it shorter to make it a top, and it's just about bang on where I wanted it - another fluke in what I am calling my Great Groove Adventure!

This top has everything that I want - I love love love it!

I am Groovin'...

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Groove is in the Heart

After the joy of discovering on Sunday how wonderful the Groove Dress is, I just had to make another one.  I had some lovely green striped jersey that I bought a few months ago, 2.3m in length, a shade under the recommended fabric requirement but enough all the same.  

I love a horizontal stripe.  All that fashion 'advice' about stripes being widening on the larger figure is such nonsense, it's actually the case that it can slim the shape as it creates a weird illusion.  I saw it on a science programme, but you don't have to take my word for it, have a Google and see what you find!

Anyway, construction - I slightly shortened the back piece to make sure I got it all out of the length, and to be honest my pattern matching is DREADFUL!  But who is looking at my seams?!

I love how this has turned out, and I'm super proud of the neatness of the neck band.

It's just so...wearable.  Comfortable, still lovely and swingy, looks smart enough for work and casual enough for going out.  AND it's madly quick to make - 30 minutes cutting out, an hour to sew up, and that included swapping over my overlocker and regular machine twice!  I started sewing at about 10.20 and finished at 11,15.

Next I'm thinking about hacking the pattern to make a swingy t-shirt top and I've got a nice bit of blue jersey just begging to be sewn...
Shoes - LK Bennett (in a sale a long time ago!)
Necklace - made by me
Bedroom - needs tidying

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Let's Groove Tonight!

I've seen this pattern around in the last few weeks, there are lots of lovely makes on Instagram, and it was Meg of Cookin' and Craftin' who really inspired me to have a closer look.

It's the Groove Dress from Madeit Patterns.  Look at it!  Isn't it gorgeous?!  So swingy and loose, and so many variations.  It was love at first sight, but still I didn't buy it immediately.

Normally I am quite impulsive (seriously, the husband has to talk me out of throwing caution to the wind All. The. Time.  Which is a bit rich considering he asked me to marry him the fourth time we met!).  Anyway, I really hum'd and hah'd about buying the pattern because 1) I wasn't sure it would suit me and 2) although it's a jersey dress I wasn't sure it would fit, even with the stretch, since I am outside the upper measurement.  But I loved it so much!  I really did, and every blog and picture I saw just made me love it more.  So I bought it and printed it but I still didn't get to making.

Then, oh happy day, last week I threw on a linen dress of mine and realised that the style was pretty similar.  And I knew I should JFDI.

This comes as a PDF pattern.  I have varying success with these, sometimes they print out perfectly and other times they just don't, even when the scaling square is right they go a bit askew, usually with two separate bits on one sheet.  I was pretty lucky with Groove though.

And then I got The Fear.  I was sure it wasn't going to fit.  So I did the sensible thing and asked for advice on Madeit's Facebook page and that was great because they replied really quickly.  And what they advised was to simply increase the pattern by tracing a new line around the existing pattern pieces.  "Ok" I said, blithely.  I HAVE NEVER DONE THIS BEFORE!

Actually it's not so hard, and it's probably a good skill to have.  And jersey is very forgiving.  I did measure some of it, but I eyeballed a lot of it.  And I seem to have lucked out to be honest - the sleeves and the bodice seams, and the side seams were EXACTLY the same size.  This doesn't always happen with patterns I haven't altered!

I opted for the scoop neck, short sleeves and high-low hem - one combination of many.  I can't do the maths, but with 2 sleeves, 5 necklines and 2 hems there are a lot of variations to choose from.

I also only had 2m of the fabric I was using.  According to the instructions this was not enough.  I laid both pattern pieces out and it looked fine but as soon as I'd cut one it just wasn't.  So in my JFDI frame of mind I decided to piece the back.  I cut the back piece as a separate skirt and bodice and I also had to cut the back bodice as two halves. This means that the back is not one smooth sweep, but I don't think it's made too much of a problem overall and I'm quite pleased with myself for thinking of it as a solution.

Construction is nice and simple - without having the piece the back it's shoulder seams, neck band, sleeves, side seams.  I do love flat sleeves, it's so much easier!  In total it took me about half an hour to trim the pages, an hour or so to stick the pattern together, 90 minutes to re-draft it and then trace it off, an hour to cut, and about 3 hours sewing.

Would I make it again?  OH YES, 1000 TIMES YES! I love it.  It's comfortable, it's swingy, I love the high-low hem.  It's my new favourite thing.

I do not want to take it off!  I have some gorgeous green striped jersey which will be lovely and I'm already thinking about when I'll be able to make the time to put it together.

As a perk, if you buy the adult or children pattern for Groove you get the teen sizes chucked in free.  I would like it if one could choose whether to get the teen or the kid sizes, but a freebie is a freebie after all, and I am sure I know a teen or two that might like it!  I will have to buy the kids' pattern though because The Girl wants one.

I'm off to dance around my sitting room to some classic disco...

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Summer is the time for Sorbet(to)

If you're looking for a nice easy and quick sew, what you need is the Sorbetto top from Colette.  It's a pretty and simple sleeveless top, perfect for summer.  It's a great stash buster - more on that later.  It's very variable and hackable (is that a word?  It is now...)

Sorbetto pretty famous in sewing-blog world.  I've seen it countless times and I finally decided to try it for myself - I wrote about my first one a couple of posts back.

Sorbetto easy, quick, nice to sew.  But I have had to do a fair bit to get it to fit me properly, and even now I don't think I've got it completely right.  That's down to me, not the pattern.

I hadn't mentioned in my previous post that I did actually tissue-fit.  I'd never done it before and I must say it's hard without help, and my husband, a truly wonderful man in a thousand different ways (feel free to make a vom-face), is not a natural midinette!

I did a fairly big FBA on version 1, and foolishly went straight to cutting out 4 from different fabrics.  Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear! Oh poor excitable me!

So, after the first one I made some more.  On the second I inverted the pleat and just secured it at the neck.  I LOVE this fabric, moustaches are ace!  It was leftover from a skirt I made for a friend, I bought it on eBay from India, it arrived really quickly and is lovely quality - it feels slightly brushed almost and with a good quality print.  The leftover piece had a bit of a fading, but I think I managed to avoid it.  A chap at work asked it is was anything to do with Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer!

Then I made one from a bit of chiffon-y stuff that came in a mystery bag from Abakhan.  I omitted the pleat altogether and used bought satin bias.  It colour matched pretty well.  The neck is slightly wide but I do really like this one.  Chiffon is a bit of a swine to sew though, it slips all over the place!  And I think my darts are waaaaaaaaay off, but if you're close enough to see that you probably aren't thinking about the quality of my sewing...

After that I was ready to sew the one I was most interested in.  And here is where I tell you all about how I squeezed it out of a metre.  And I did.  A metre of my precious Liberty Lawn Mauverina, bought a year ago at Liberty itself, treasured for the right project, frequently taken out and gazed precioussssssss. know it's not going to be that simple don't you!  I wouldn't be talking about it if it was!

In my haste I had cut one of the pieces upside down.  On a directional print.  DAMMIT!  So then I had to trawl eBay for some more, because however much I love it, that stuff is £22.50 a metre and I really wanted to pay a lot less.  I found some at a good price, and then had to wait for it to arrive and wash it and dry it and press it and...the waiting was agony.

In the meantime I redid the FBA, and added another inch or so.  And then I checked and rechecked the direction of the print before cutting and made this one.  It's got a slight split at the side seams and I LOVE IT!

After that I hacked a Sorbetto into a bodice for a nightdress and added a gathered tube for a skirt in some lovely dotted swiss.  Totally non-matching bias binding, but I quite like the contrast.  Super cool and comfortable.

So, can you get a top out of a metre?  Liberty Lawn is 150cm wide and I'd say that even at the larger end of the pattern sizing you can do it if you've also got the width, but it would be tricky on a narrower fabric.  You might need to use bought bias, but it is possible.  Just don't cut it upside down and have to order more.