Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Sewing Top 5 2015 - Hits & Misses

It's this time of the year again. The Christmas holidays are over, there's only a few dozen hours left in the year, we're a bit sad to see it go but excited for the new one - time to have a bit of a lookback and join Gillian's #sewingtop5!
This year really has been an exciting one, or maybe intense is a better word. Mostly job-wise for me, but there was also some family stuff going on. Looking back, I'm really greatful for the job I had in Acute Geriatrics for 10 months, because I learned loads and grew both as a person and as a doctor. I'm rather happy to have landed back in a doctor's practice now, though. It's so much more chilled, it's not even funny - although after a two month break, I have now decided to go back to the occasional night on call... ;-)

Anyway, sewing-wise, it was a much less exciting year. I guess I can be glad that I managed some time for sewing at all. Blogging and reading blogs and commenting fell totally to the wayside for a while. 

I actually had a hard time to come up with some sewing misses at all, since I didn't sew that much - it took a bit of thinking. I'd say that all of the following are part-misses for one reason or another, nothing that really screamed big-time failure.
1. My biggest miss really is that I had so little sewing time, and fell out of touch with blogging and reading and commenting for so long - so here's a symbolic pic of my sewing machine. 

2. That red pair of Sewaholic Thurlow trousers is yet unblogged, and started out pretty well, but turned out quite a way to big. Possibly partly the fault of the linen fabric... I tried taking it in at the back, but threw off the crotch curve while I was at it. Oh well. I guess it's mostly wearable. Better luck next time (as I have that fabric in another three colours).

3. My Closet Case Files Bombshell swimsuit also gets to take part in the misses, even though it's really rather cute. The fit feels very tight and the lining is too thick, I think. In any case, I haven't actually worn it this year.

4. You'd think that teal polka dot jersey dress is exactly my style, and to be honest I have worn it quite a lot - mostly on the way to and from work, because it fills the requirement of being appropriate for public, has long sleeves and feels like secret pyjamas. It's pretty much the last thing I reach for on non-work days, though. No idea why, it just feels a little bit drab...

5. I really like that Deer&Doe Bruyère shirt (also still unblogged, oh my)! I had to shorten the sleeves to 3/4 though (I look silly in long-sleeved collared shirts), and the cuff turned out pretty tight. Which made my choice of snaps instead of a button hole even sillier. I'll have to put on new cuffs with real buttons at some point. Until then, this shirt just feels a bit not good...

Ok, on to the hits then!
1. Ginger jeans by Closet Case Files. They're not perfect but I love them. :-)

2. The green maxi dress. I really wore it all during the summer.

3. The rose dress (unblogged) is a very recent make from shortly before Christmas, just like the 
4. striped cowl-neck Lola. Both have already seen quite a bit of wear over the holidays and I think they turned out very nicely.

5. Rose print Appleton dress by Cashmerette. I feel quite elegant wearing it. :-)

So a lot of the garments I made are still unblogged. I think I will find the time to redress that at some point. Until than, hope you have a lovely New Year's Eve and Happy New Year 2016!

PS: If you're interested, here's a link to my #sewingtop5 of 2014. ;-)

Saturday, December 12, 2015

An Exercise in Origami - Jade Skirt

First things first: this is a review of a pattern that I have received for free, with the express intent that I blog about it.

I made these two cute Jasper skirts back in spring. The pattern is by Lisa from Paprika Patterns, and back in February she was extending her size range (it now goes up to a waist/hip measurement of 105/128 cm // 41.5/50.5 in) and looking for reviewers for the new sizes. I loved the look of the skirt, the folds look so cool! So I was very happy to be chosen.

I actually started making the pattern up right away, but made a couple of mistakes when chosing and cutting my fabric, which made the process of getting the folds in place really tedious and frustrating. Since I suspected that my fabric choice was at fault (the folding process does look rather effortless in this video tutorial), I wanted to try a second time to give an unbiased review. And it did work a lot easier the second time round! But then life intervened and I never managed to remember to make some decent outfit pics, so now it's December.

But: I managed to time this review with Lisa's new pattern release: the Zircon sweater and dress, and her patterns are 20% off until tomorrow! Just in case you're interested.
Pattern & Instructions:

It's a PDF pattern and I had no particular problems with assembling it. My version didn't yet come with layered sizes, not sure about the current version. (The Jasper sweater/dress has them and they're so cool!) The instructions are very thorough and easy to follow, and for the slightly more difficult bits, there's a reference to the tutorials on her blog (like the video above). Some bits are rather fiddly (like the folds and the final putting-together of the side seams), so I'd recomment at least some experience with sewing knit fabrics.
Sizing & Fit: 

Sizes go from 1 to 10, which covers everything from a 24.5 in/62 cm waist to a 41.5 in/ 105 cm waist, though I do think that there is some room depending on your fabric. I made size 6 according to my hip size, and as my fabrics were stretchier than recommended, had to take both of them in a couple of centimeters. The instructions include a final fit before adding the waistband, which I think is a fantastic way to get the fit that you're looking for!

Things to keep in mind: 

1. I was actually a bit surprised both at how much fabric was needed and how long construction took for this skirt. But if you think about it, it's fully lined and the folds take up quite a bit of fabric, as well as construction time. The waistband is curved for a better fit, which also takes up a bit more fabric. So really, I could have forseen that. ;-)

2. The very silly mistake I made with my first version was that I used a rather drapey rayon jersey, and cut out the front on the cross grain. I know, whyever would I do that??!? It was one of those fabrics where the white shows through when you stretch it horizontally, but not when you stretch it vertically, so I wanted the stretch to be vertical. As it's a knit, this threw off the drape so badly that it took me ages to get the folds in place. I had to use a myrad of pins *and* press them into place.

Despite my initial problems during construction, I like my two skirts quite a lot and I've worn them regularly during spring, early summer and autumn. Knit skirts just can't be beat in the fit-and-comfort aspect! It's not as quick a project as I thought, but I'm planning on making another version or two, maybe in a heavier fabric for the colder season. :-)

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Two Appletons for Autumn ...

... and spring, and possibly the cooler parts of summer and the warmer parts of winter as well. :-)

It's been a while since I last jumped onto a new-pattern-bandwagon while it was still running, so to speak. My to-sew list is always so long and my love of using my favorite patterns multiple times so big that I tend to need to see several dozen amazing versions made by others, before I'm convinced that I actually need a new pattern.

With the Cashmerette Appleton dress, it actually only took a tiny poke (by Gillian) to get me to buy the pattern, print it out and make it up, all inside of maybe a week. And boy, am I happy I let myself be convinced.

This geometric rayon jersey print wanted to be a wrap dress since I first saw it, but I wasn't quite happy with the first Sew Over It Ultimate Wrap Dress I made last year. It gaped, which didn't make it unwearable, but seeing as it's a cute black&white polka dot dress, it certainly isn't worn as often as it could be, because the need to wear a slip or tank top underneath annoys me. So when Jenny advertised her Appleton dress, with cup-based sizes and a guaranteed no-gape neckline, and I looked at the sizing and saw that my measurements fell, for once in my life, into one straight size, it's maybe not very surprizing that it only took Gillian's "come on, go for it".
And it's a terrific dress! I cut out a straight size 12, C/D cup, not even shortening the bodice, since even on the models it seemed to sit where I prefer it, which is a bit lower than empire-waist but definitely higher than natural waist.

And the only alteration I made to have it fit perfectly was to shorten the hem by about 4 inches! Granted, it's a jersey wrap dress. If you think about it, the fit should be quite forgiving. Still. It does. Not. GAPE! The neckline sits pretty much exactly where I prefer it. The waist tie sits pretty much exactly where I prefer it. This is my personal wrap dress perfection. Jenny, I really have no idea why or how you managed to read my mind in this way, but you did, and it's fantastic. (Could you maybe read my mind about shirtdresses next...?)
I'm a bit sad that I didn't manage to take actual nice outfit pics of this dress. I even packed it for my long weekend trip to Italy at the beginning of November (like several other unblogged-as-yet outfits), but didn't manage to wear it until our trip back...

I did manage to wear the other Appleton dress I made, though, for a lovely and warm afternoon of wine-tasting at a Castello. 
If you would just ignore the shoes I paired it with. We went by plane, so I only took two pairs. ;-)
Also, please observe how I'm trying to make angles with my body, following Jenny's advice in Gillian's Better Picture Project. Ahem, yes, I know how completely fangirly I sound.
I think I may like this version even a tiny bit better than the geometric one. I was worried that the rather large rose print might be a bit too granny-ish but I think the contrast tie takes it more towards a ... kimono style, maybe? I don't know, but I like it.

Ok, so now for some facts:
Pattern: Cashmerette Appleton dress, size 12 (C/D cup) - the PDF is actually really nice to tape together, since there's an all-over grid to make it easy to align
Fabric: 1.5 m each of geometric rayon/lycra jersey (Maybachufer Market) and cotton/lycra rose print ( as well as 40 cm of red rayon/lycra jersey
Notions: none
Time to complete: about an hour for taping and cutting the pattern, half an hour for cutting the fabric, and maybe an hour and a half sewing-time
Techniques used: I used my overlock machine for most of the construction, the hems were made with a zigzag stitch on my conventional machine, because I was too lazy to re-thread the coverstitch.
And what to do differently next time: nothing, actually. :-)

So there's still several unblogged outfits, plus the Christmas party from my workplace is on Friday, and I meant to make that silver&black sweater jersey into an appropriate dress for the occasion... Then again, I've got a rehearsal and a choir concert tomorrow night and the night after. Hmm. Some sewing during lunch break, maybe?

Are you sewing for the holidays?