Tuesday, 19 August 2014

I only work in black - in contrast to Burda's white lace

I only work in black, and sometimes, really, really dark grey....
Thank you Batman.
Yes, the Lego Movie has had a few screenings in this small plastic block and superhero obsessed household - personally, I love the 80's space dude "SpaceShip!!!!" as he's my era & we still have the grey moon bases & lunar vehicles ;)
I digress... I'm in love with my new jumper/sweater... I've been pinning loose boxy tops from the A/W collections & remembering 80's wind cheaters with a certain level of fondness (for the comfort) and horror (I had a pink one with printed koalas...).
And it's been cold.
While visiting The Fabric Store at the start of the sales, I fell for this heavy, felted grey/black wool & bought the last of the roll - 1m.... well, when I laid my pattern pieces out, it's actually 80cm... I swore sighed at the 20% shrinkage.
There are many loose boxy top patterns around, so I chose Burda 03/2013 #116. It's shown in a lovely white lace (with matching pencil skirt) and is the easy pattern of the issue with an illustrated "Sewing Lesson for Beginners"; lovely step by step instructions that I didn't read.

I cut the straight size 38 (for an 88cm 34 3/4" bust), with body and sleeve length determined by the fabric that I had.
I did need to unpick the right shoulder and move it closer to the neck by 1cm for my uneven shoulder - the dropped sleeves made it really apparent.
I hemmed the sleeves & neck by overlocking & turning them to the inside, then using my twin needle.
Being winter, I used the last of my wool as a waistband to fit my top snuggly to my hips (no drafts here!) and blouson over my waist.
A Burda pattern sheet for comparing with the Japanese ones ;)
This top was the pink shaded one, I've never traced one of them before; the black remains my fave
I really like my snuggly winter jumper - it's perfectly warm & cozy.

And this is my first Erstwilder Dachshund brooch - Silly Samuel, who is clearly a Sally!

Friday, 15 August 2014

Basic Black Bodices; a book review

I only work in black - hmm... I feel like I just started a post with Batman's quote...

Along with many other sewing book fans, I waited impatiently for the English language release of Sato Watanabe's Japanese pattern book Basic Black: 26 Edgy Essentials for the Modern Wardrobe.
We are very fortunate here in Melbourne to have independent bookshops that will either pre-order titles for local collection*, or stock them and mail them to us with free Australian postage.
Readings came through on launch date with Basic Black and I had it in my hot little hands by the end of the week.

The appeal of Basic Black comes from lovely photography and a variety of tops, dresses and jackets - 26 in all. The patterns are divided into 'fitted', 'loose' and 'garments with darts and shaping seams' and all patterns are included on an uncrowded pair of pattern sheets. This is possible as the bodices and sleeves are interchangeable between patterns.
Shirt K with the darted bodice. The collar is the collar stand of other shirts
I've made the darted shirt bodice, primarily shirt K, but without the yoked back.

I've also lengthened it to shirt M as K finishes quite short (the model has a black top on underneath). This bodice pattern is the same (either darted or princess seamed) for patterns K-S (3 shirts, 2 jackets and the bodices of 4 dresses)
The sleeves are drafted with no ease and to be set in flat.
Shirt M with princess seams, from the same bodice on the pattern sheet.
I attended another lovely class at Tessuti with Vanessa and we adjusted the darted bodice of Basic Black and sleeves to fit me. Vanessa added 2 cm of ease to the sleeves and I set them 'in the round'. I may need to make some more small adjustments, but I'm happy that I have sleeves that allow my arms to move and a bodice that doesn't have excess fabric at the upper chest.
Soaking up the sun & appreciating the looser back waist for gentle breezes
This dotty top has the fish-eye darts left unsewn for a looser fit at the waist.

In case you're interested, the basic bodice in size M fitted well (I'm a 34 1/2" high & full bust). I made my 'usual' changes of forward shoulder adjustment and moved out 2 sizes (to what would be XL, the book is sized XS-L) at waist level for my western hips and ease preferences. I lowered the bust dart and made it more horizontal as my bust apex is around an inch lower than the pattern is drafted for. The fisheye waist dart was pretty good for my shape.

Some notes on the instructions:
Seam allowances are NOT included. I actually prefer this as I trace out the pattern pieces, then I can lay them on my fabric & trace the stitching line. I seem to be able to match up traced stitching lines better than edges of fabric, especially when the seam allowances aren't what I think they are, or I want some extra 'fudge room' for fitting ;)

The instructions are sparse. Seriously.
One of the reasons I like Japanese pattern books (ok, apart from the designs), is the numbered diagrams - Looking at the illustration below, you first cut out the pattern (from sheet B, not A an errata), adding your own seam allowances, then iron the interfacing (shown thereafter as textured grey).
The next step is to do step 1: create darts (using whichever method you like, or a 'how to' is illustrated as part of dress F)

then step 2: create front plackets - which requires you to look at the diagram below (in the pic above), where the order is 1) Sew placket hem: 3/8" hem folded under, then 2) 7/8" hemmed again, 3) Stitch as illustrated. Then fold the placket in 3/8, then 1 1/4 & stitch, trimming the bottom corner as illustrated.
Now, I was initially a tad puzzled as my seam allowances (from the diagram) from CF are 1 5/8. 3/8 + 1 1/4 is 1 5/8, so I couldn't see an overlap for the buttons. It was then that I realised that I'd added my 1 5/8 from the CF line, not the parallel line 1cm (3/8) further out - oops... (The 2nd line 1cm away from the CF line I missed in my tracing, I believe I may have thought it was the CF for the L sized bodice)
The CF runs through the middle of the placket if you've followed the diagrams correctly.

And I only realised they were swapping between cm and inches with such frequency when re-reading this, I worked through it without noticing ;)

To complete Step 4: Attach Collar, you flick back in the book to jacket D where the diagram explaining it is... (no, that's not specified... perhaps you're meant to make each project in order and build your skills up as you progress through all 26, although dress P also illustrates it...) This jumping back & forwards isn't specific to this book, it's also found in Stylish Dress Book by Yoshiko Tsukiori, among others, though they often specify which page to jump to.

I attached the collar (stitching in the ditch rather than hand sewing the inner collar), but it was too high for me, so this is the collar (which is the lower collar for other patterns) piece, folded in half.
The sleeves and bottom hem are finished with a twice folded hem.
My other variation is the V neck, I've omitted the buttons (rather than add a seperate placket, though there are instructions for one in the the next shirt L), so this is a slip-over top.
an example of another set of instructions - this skirt is drafted by you, the bodice is the same as for K
I have some pieces of Liberty that have been waiting for my fitting skills to catch up with my stash, so that they can become spring & summer shirts. I'm very happy, that by fitting this darted bodice & sleeves I've got options for both fitted and looser shirts, with a variety of collars, sleeves and seaming, to keep myself amused for a while. As a bonus, there are also the jacket & dress patterns that share these bodice pieces in this book.
The delightfully un-crowded pattern sheet included in the book and finished garment measurements

More reviews and photos from basic Black can be found on Kirsty's Top Notch blog and I adore The Sew Convert's linen bamboo blouse (project F)!

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Sail away with Mandy Hudson

When I was a young, voracious reader, I used to dream of adventures along the Hudson with Trixie Belden, Honey and the Bob Whites - in my dreams I had short curly hair (just like Trixie) and was a bit of a tomboy - well, not much has changed ;)
My absolute favourite book in the 34 books that I read in the series was The Mystery of the Ghostly Galleon (1979) with a genuine glow in the dark disappearing pirate ship!
Don't mind me while I climb the rigging and dream of pirate adventures...

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Teal waterfall cardigan = Swoon

I do like teal. And when there's just enough left on the bolt of snuggly luscious wool knit at Rathdowne Remnants for a waterfall cardigan, well, how could I not indulge!

The pattern is Swoon's free Scarf Neck Cardigan, which comes in both women's and girls sizing. It's been made up recently (& locally) by MrsNickpea, Lara Thornberry and Sewn By Elizabeth, who was working on one at SewAway.

Monday, 23 June 2014

Mosses in AcCord

According to the dictionaries in Casa Maci, accord (the noun) is to agree or be in harmony with opinions, actions or characters - so, let's be in accord that MossesForAll is a valid aim ;)
Mosses For All!!!
 I missed #mossmakingmonth in April - and Thank You to Jenny for bringing it to my attention - and for facilitating my purchase of a remnant of fine black cord from Tessuti.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

It's the simple things in life DD2#4 #3

It's the simple things in life that make me happy - like daisies from the garden picked by a preschooler, a perfectly extracted cup of coffee, dachshund snuggles without shedded fur
... and chevrons on my shoulders.
The fabric is Jaywalk from Tessuti, the pattern is possibly my first TNT,  the asymmetrical (scooped) neck top #4 from Drape Drape 2 by Hikato Sato.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

MMMay14: The conclusion

I have really enjoyed participating in Me Made May 14 and have met so many other sewing bloggers/flickrites who style their outfits in really lovely ways - It's been so perfectly inspiring!
SDTank&TealSS, DD2#4Blue, YSREva&BurdaPJ, CDSS&DD2#4Red, SDTank&KoiMoss, MumsVest&MossGreen, TiramisuGrey
YourStyleRocks Eva & Burda Pants