September 27, 2014

September shorts

Filed under:Finished Objects,Pants and Shorts,Skirts,Stash Down — Aileen @ 14:35

What sort of September would it be at all if I didn’t make a pair of shorts?! Luckily for me, it’s been a warm and beautiful month.

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The pattern is the Grainline Studio Maritime Shorts. The fabric is leftover light denim from a shirtdress I made over the summer.

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I lengthened the leg about 5cm and tapered them in so they weren’t so square at the hem. I cut a size 6 so it’s a little snug around the waist but perfect everywhere else.

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I’m really happy with how the stitching on the back pockets came out! I finally took the plunge and bought an edge stitching foot. I have one that is an original part for my machine but it can only be used when stitching along an actual edge, like on a collar. You can’t use it for top-stitched edges that are in the middle of the garment. Anyway, it’s really easy to use and I can get pretty consistent results already.

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I used a contrast plaid that I had about 40cm of, to sew the facings and pockets. This was partly because I’d run out of denim but also because I like to use a contrast on the inside :D

It’s been a very busy month, between going back to school and various music commitments. Not to mention that I had to move all my sewing gear into another room, so I’ve been out of action for over a fortnight. But here’s what I’ve been working on today:

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It’s a Sewaholic Hollyburn Skirt. I’ve made others but I think this might be my favourite yet! It’s a wool-polyester blend that I got from Truro fabrics about this time last year. It’s quite a floppy weave so I’ve attached the lining to each piece to give it more structure.

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This will give you an idea how I worked the pocket. I overlocked the lining to each piece before sewing stuff together, it works quite well.

That’s it for today, enjoy your weekend!

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September 9, 2014

Reboot

Filed under:Books,Reviews — Aileen @ 17:12

Hello again! It turns out that giving two recitals, learning lots of new music AND escaping for a few days doesn’t leave much time for other things. So, until I get some outfit posts organised, I’m going to be talking about some Autumn inspiration.

First up, I’d love to review a book I got ages ago, called Simple Chic by Machiko Kayaki. I ordered it sight unseen, hoping that because the title is in English that it was an English translation. It’s not. It’s in Japanese! But upon careful study, that’s actually not a huge problem. Maybe it’s not for a total beginner but if you have some coffee and a good sleep, it’d probably be fine.

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The book features primarily dresses, with one pants, two tops, a coat and a suit. I’ll show you each one.

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The first is a simple sleeveless tie blouse and the pants. Unfortunately this is the best photo you see of them but you can get a better idea of what they’re like from the instruction schematic:

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Next is a little black dress (I’ve just traced this off!).

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It’s such a pity the garments are largely made up in dark colours but I understand if they want it to be more chic-everyday.

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No. 4 there actually looks more like this:

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Isn’t it nice? You’d never guess from the photo. Next is another sleeveless top and another type of shift dress.

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Then there are two more summery sort of frocks.

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One of my favourites is unfortunately practically invisible in the photo! It’s a pleated skirt with pockets.

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It actually looks like this:

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I really like this one, it’s got a cool beatnik feel to it and I think would be great with leggings.

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Then there are two more Asian style garments, a blouse and a dress.

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Here’s that coat I was telling you about.

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I love how the illustrations portray it, a bit of Sherlock Holmes going on I think! Then there’s a two piece dress that I adore. This is certainly in my future. They put the skirt in by itself as an extra pattern, which I think is a bit silly, but anyway, it’s still nice.

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There’s a fairly shapeless long sleeved dress – I wonder if you could use the sleeves on other garments?

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And lastly, there’s the suit. The skirt is a simple A-line so you could use it by itself.

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There you have it. The patterns are on sheets and you need to trace them off. They don’t have seam allowances included, which I rather like, as you give more or less leeway as you desire. The sizing IS fairly limited. I reckon they mostly correspond to UK 8-10-12. However, the instructions are clear about what the finished measurements are so it’s easy to tell what size to pick.

Another thing I really like is that they instruct for most things to be lined. The instructions for this is really clear, both how to trace off the lining pieces and to install it.

Overall, it seems like a really good book of nice work basics and I’m looking forward to working my way through it!

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August 9, 2014

Belated July outfit

Filed under:Blouses/Tops,Finished Objects,News!,Skirts,Stash Down,Tops — Aileen @ 17:26

Hi all! Last month was a busy one as I was preparing for and then away on my usual course in Switzerland… And when I came back, I needed to continue preparations for a lunchtime recital which I gave yesterday.

Anyway, it’s good to be back! I have lots of things to show you. First up, here’s my wee July outfit. Not the most summery but perfect for a day like today.

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The skirt pattern is from an Ottobre magazine. Have you heard of these guys? It’s Finnish magazine. They put out about four issues a year for kids – which seem great but I’m no expert – and two for women. They tend to focus on nice basics. What I love most about their magazines is that they use normal people as models and give their dimensions. So there are lots of short and normal sized people in it! This wrap skirt is from an old summer issue. It’s unlined but has a total overlap at the front and pretty substantial facings, which I took the liberty of binding…

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It fastens with a button on both sides – a flat one on the inside and a decorative one on the exterior side. You’re supposed to put a decorative button on each side of the front but I didn’t bother.

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As for the top, it’s the Alexis pattern that I downloaded from the Tessuti site. I’ve used this a few times now and it’s just perfect. I bought the flannel with a massive discount at Hickey’s. I don’t know why it was reduced so much, but I’m glad! It’s so soft and snug.

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That’s it for now but I’ll be back soon… I have TWO knitted garments to show you as well as a dress and my August outfit!

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June 28, 2014

Liverpool Shirtdress

Filed under:News! — Aileen @ 13:36

Happy weekend! Did you happen to notice how today seems a little brighter than usual? That the planet is somehow better aligned…? That would be because, after a whole week of (thinly disguised) patient waiting, I finally received the replacement part for my sewing machine! Thank the heavens. There was a LOT of cutting out this week. You’ll see the fruits soon, I hope, but for now, here’s something I finished a while ago.

The ‘Liverpool‘ was the very first shirt pattern I used (see here!) and I have to say, for a total shirt novice, it was perfect. At the time I bought it, I never, ever considered that a shirtdress, which is a variation offered in the pattern, would ever be on my agenda… but here we are.


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For this, I used a lightweight denim found in Hickey’s. I think it was about €12/m and I needed about 2m. I made the same adjustments that I made for the other shirts – I added an inch to the centre front and I took about 2cm out of each sleeve cap.


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A feature of this design are the double darts on both back and front and I really like the fit it gives. That said, I think a dress this dark benefits from a belt.


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When this was in the planning stages, I had an idea to use a fantastic little fat quarter I picked up a while ago. I was thinking to use it for the inner collar stand to give it a bit of life. In the end, I decided not to, as it would be more versatile if it remained plain. Since I wear neck scarves a lot (usually when cycling), I decided to just hem the fat quarter and use it this way.


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I think the pattern is based on maritime flags.


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And yes, the end result is a little zany BUT it can be removed!

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June 25, 2014

Autumnal June outfit

Filed under:Blouse,Blouses/Tops,Dress,Finished Objects — Aileen @ 12:03

I completed this early last month but didn’t have a chance to take photos until today.

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Sorry it’s a bit dark! The dress is a very dark navy wool crepe. It’s the Dakota dress from the Finnish company, Named Patterns. I’ll confess, I was blown away by their first pattern collection last winter. I really hesitated in committing to making up any design, though, because they are so fashion-forward and I didn’t know if it would suit me. Thank God for the internet! Seeing many reviews convinced me it was worth a go.

So, the dress! It has many panels and a shirt-like hem on the skirt, making it really swingy and comfortable. It also has a shawl collar.

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Since it’s meant to have something worn underneath, I didn’t bother over fitting the sleeves.

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I made an error when joining the bodice pieces. Unfortunately this was after I overlocked the whole thing so the bodice ended up a touch snugger than intended. It’s still possible to get into without any kind of closure, which is great, and I can only imagine how comfortable this would be in a heavy knit.

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And the blouse? Also from Named! It’s the Fran blouse – an unusual item with kimono/batwing sleeves and a long bow.

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I got the fabric in Japan and figured I’d get much more use out if it as a blouse! I’m excited to have used it already. The only difficult part about the blouse was tracing the pattern from the print out. With the sleeve combined, it’s sort of an awkward shape. This is mostly on me, though, because I don’t have big paper right now. Anyway! I love this blouse.

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You can see how much room there is under the arm. I thought that might be annoying but it’s not. I think this style works because it is well fitted everywhere else. It was a really quick make, mostly because you have the option to just turn under the fronts to make the button bands. They do provide extra pattern pieces in case you don’t want to do that. My only error was not giving a little extra room at the hips. You can see is a bit pulled at the back.

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However, this is only an issue when I’m wearing it out over something fairly bulky – over tights or leggings, it’s fine and I probably well never wear it like that anyway. I prefer it to be pretty fitted through the waist for tucking in.

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Look how long the ties are!

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I had to look up a video to see how to tie them properly!

Since this was my first time using this company’s patterns, here are a few thoughts. Firstly, I personally like how paper economic their PDF patterns are. They overlap the pieces and you trace it off. Some people don’t like that. I’m not a huge fan of how you only get 2 sizes nested per file because if you’re between two sizes that are in two different files, I don’t even know how you would get around that. Thankfully I don’t have that problem right now.

I think they’re fairly pricey but they’re impeccably drafted and the instructions are excellent. Add on top of that the unique design and aesthetic and basically, you get what you pay for. Between these two designs that I’ve made up, the only thing I take umbrage with is their sleeve opening finish. It’s rubbish. They have you make the slit and sew down an unfinished edge. I cut plackets and finished them properly. On the Fran blouse, they have you use the unfinished seam as the opening. Because I french seamed the lot, that wasn’t practical so I finished that seam as normal. Then, I cut a separate slit and moved the pleat. I finished the slit with the placket and sewed the little cuff on then. A little more time consuming but it will survive the wash better!

If you’d like to give these a go, they’re currently on sale for Midsummer!

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