November 13, 2013

Pleated Moss

Filed under:AW Wardrobe '13,Skirts,Stash Down — Aileen @ 22:11

I mentioned the other day when I showed my first Moss skirt that I’d already made another. Well, here it is.

I love the shape of the original but riding a bicycle in it is a precarious situation. I added a pleat both in the front and back.

I went for the very plain and simple way of adding pleat, namely cutting an extra rectangle and folding it into position. If I’d really thought about it, I could have cut the pleat in a way that it was mostly part of one side of the front, like a kick pleat. Never mind – it worked out perfectly fine. It was a good lesson in remembering to consider all options first.

You may notice that the front pocket protrude a little. This is on purpose, to make them extra hand-friendly. One of those neat little additions that endears Grainline patterns to their makers!

As before, I used scrap fabric for the facings and pocket linings. I finally got to use the flowery bias binding I bought for this very project. I bought it at least six months ago.

A quick round-up: the pattern is the Moss mini skirt. I used navy cord that I bought at the 2012 K&S show. I have been waiting and waiting and waiting to use this. I finally realised that there is no situation imaginable where I have too many navy skirts. This was brought on by washing my navy wool/cashmere skirt and finding myself suddenly stumped for outfit ideas. Clearly, I wear it more than I realised. Anyway, this has filled the gap. The bias binding, I found at Rubanesque. I haven’t been in a while but last time, they still had a lovely, varied selection.


November 7, 2013

A rolling Moss gathers no Archer

I have some things to show you! In fact, I have a massive backlog thanks to my photo failure the other day so let’s get going. I am well and truly on the Grainline bandwagon so here is my first of two Moss Minis. Apologies in advance for Asleep Face.

This was a wearable muslin in a way. I only had 80cm of a remnant bought about this time last year. So absorbed was I by the puzzle of squeezing everything out of this remnant, I totally forgot to check the grain. The whole thing is ‘upside down’ but I don’t care. There are a lot of things I love about this pattern. It is a really nice, casual straight skirt. It looks really nice from the back.

It has a great back yoke piece which you could have fun with depending on your fabric.

It has pretty much the world’s most perfect skirt pockets.

And the fly instructions are clear and easy to follow.

To recap the deets – this is the pattern. Mine, obviously, is not a mini skirt. I lengthened it by about 6″. I also tapered between a size 6 for the waist and a 10 for the hip. This took a bit of planning since the pockets are part of the front but it worked well. I used 80cm of 150cm wide olive corduroy, found in a remnant basket. It was about €8 I think. I used scrap fabric for the pocket linings and the waistband facings. It took maybe two sewing sessions so all in all, a neat little project.

There are many, many Moss mini skirts out there in Internetland by now but I think it’s one of Grainline’s more recent patterns, the Archer shirt, that has solidified her reputation for impeccable drafting. Here’s my first take (again, there are others to show).

I had an overwhelming urge to make a denim shirt. For months. And for months, I searched for the perfect chambray but it was not to be found, not even online. I finally found this stuff in Hickey’s.

As you can see, it’s pretty much the ideal weekend/camping/travelling/sickday/beach day shirt. This is not the kind of thing I wear to work, obviously, but I’m not at work all the time!

It’s a pretty good layering piece, and those shirt tails mean that if you tuck it in, there is definitely no draft at the back!

I really like the fit across the shoulders and the separate yoke piece means you can have some biased fun if you wish.

For some reason, it was the idea of a light coloured shirt with dark top-stitching that really had me going. Unfortunately for me, this particular chambray is so squidgy, I did a lot of ripping out, especially on the plackets. I did not expect such a problem. It turned out ok, though, I think. Also – I defy you to find buttons that are a true navy. Holy God.

I love the angled cuffs. There’s the option to sew them straight, too, or I’m sure you could easily make them curved.

The collar is really well drafted and with some careful sewing, I was able to get my stand turned, sewn down and looking respectable from both sides. Easier said than done.

Again, I made some adjustments. After sewing the Scout t-shirt, which has a huge amount of ease, I was wary of this pattern. I have practically no shoulders whatsoever and oversized anything isn’t really a good look for me. After a lot of measuring of the pattern pieces, I cut a size 0, despite it being a good three sizes too small according to the sizing chart. I added 3/4″ total to the front at the widest part of the bust, tapering out from the neckline. On my next one, which I will show very soon, I also added an extra inch at the hips.

It’s not necessarily the quickest project, as shirts always take attention to detail, but I’m hoping it will end up being one of those indispensable multi-purpose garments.


October 7, 2013

Time passes quickly being back at school! All goes well. I have tidied up a few things so I have the same number of hours but less travelling, and an extra day in my main school. I have been working on a few things but I’m forgetful about taking photos! I have almost completed my October outfit so here are a few hints until I get it finished up.


silk and cotton lawn that I couldn’t resist getting stuck into.


A brown wool crepe skirt that has the texture of a loaf of bread (in a good way?).

I’ll talk about the patterns when I show the outfit. The fabrics are part of a package I ordered from Truro Fabrics in England. I picked them because they have a great selection, pretty good prices, reasonable delivery if I use my Parcel Motel, and they had everything I was looking for. I ordered a number of things, including a black poplin which I have made up into a shirt for Alb. I hit a few roadblocks – I was hoping to finish it before September was out – so maybe you’ll see it next weekend.

Speaking of fabric, I ‘inherited’ this rather fabulous suiting. There is a whole story to this so when I get started on it, I will share then. The red stripe isn’t nearly so conspicuous in person.


I tend to gather a lot of vague ideas (see my Pinterest here), returning to them when I see something that triggers my memory. This is where these come in.


The birds print is a cotton lawn from Murphy Sheehy’s that I saw quite a few months ago, noticed but ultimately passed over. Later in the summer, I was in Tommy Hilfiger on Grafton St (not because I ever shop there – I think I was waiting for something) and spotted this bird print shirt. I really rather liked it but there were maybe too many birds on it and it was €100+. Fast forward to last Friday when I was browsing in Murphy Sheehy’s and at €12.50/m, enough for a shirt came home with me.

As for the plaid, what can I say? I did not realise how picky I was about plaid, or even pickier about plaid flannel. Prompted by all sides, I started to consider various things like a flannel dress, or a tunic with shirt tails, or just a cotton plaid shirtdress. But the problem with flannel is that it can be very flannelly and I don’t want something that I will be constantly peeling off my tights or leggings. Add to this mix the popularity of really bright plaid at the moment – which is great, don’t get me wrong, just not for this imaginary dress. So, quite by chance I happened upon this soft cotton plaid in The Cloth Shop. It’s soft enough to be not a straight-forward cotton but not so fluffy to be an outright flannel. Win!

(I find it amusing that everyone I’ve ever met who says that they’re not a picky person inevitably finds a way to show me something they’re irrationally picky about. I am very unpicky about most things but it appears that I have found my one thing!)


September 15, 2013

September Outfit – for Recitals

I did not anticipate making this outfit by ANY measure.

I am quite proud of this ensemble as it was partly of my own design. The skirt I drafted on a whim. It was something I’d intended to make during the spring and I even bought the fabric for it. It was inspired by a skirt I had made for me almost ten years ago (that unfortunately no longer fits me… in the good way, but still). It was very easy to make: I made my basic skirt block and then traced off the princess panels, adding an estimated amount of flare to the hem. I made a muslin and re-drafted the pattern slightly to include a deeper and wider flare at each panel. Because it’s just taffeta, I didn’t bother lining it but used a facing instead. I serged all the insides and, after an infuriating half hour trying to turn a tiny hem, used the rolled hem feature on my serger too. Very satisfactory. Not the finish for every sort of material but in this instance, it was perfect.

The basis of the top, as I said before, was a Burda magazine pattern I’ve used a number of times before. I altered it to eliminate the dart and include pleats at the neckline. I love how it drapes and I think it shows off the posh fabric to its best! My main reason for finishing this outfit up quickly was because I had another recital last night. I ended up not wearing it because the venue was positively Siberian and I retreated into a long-sleeved dress instead. However, it is reassuring to know it is awaiting me on the hanger!

The details… I used 1.5m of taffeta for the skirt, which was no more than €15, bought from the fabric shop on Parnell St. The silk for the top was 1m of bridal silk marked down from €60 (!) to €20. I had enough to make two lots of bias binding for the neckline and sleeves – I seem doomed to always cut the wrong width. (Shoes are from Marks & Sparks, whom I adore as they do a size 3.5, a veritable unicorn in the shoe industry).


August 5, 2013


Switzerland came and went – this was my third time now so it was much, much easier. I know the airports, train stations, town plans, where to eat, where to shop, all the things that take up time and mental energy. As always, we all had a great time. I met lots of new people and made new friends. It was the first occasion I had prepared work pretty much all by myself without much external input so it was rather gratifying to see that work out as I intended. I have some video of my concerto performance but I am still trying to figure out how to extract it from the clutches of my phone! When I do, I will try to find a way to share here.

Since my return, I have been split in three ways: practice in preparation for some small things I agreed to in September and October, knitting and sewing, and attending to the summer list of chores. You know those chores. The ones where, during the year, you open the door, throw something in and quickly shut it again. I’m doing pretty well on all fronts. Since I’m quite sure you don’t want to hear about how OCD-fulfilling I find practising with my eyes shut or how I spent an entire day covered in dust building shelves, here is some crafting news…

I spent a decent amount of time swatching, mocking up patterns and cutting out. Most of this resulted in the answer, no, this won’t work. I was hoping to get a wearable muslin out of my first Archer shirt but it’s too small across the front. Perfect everywhere else, though, so I cut out a revised version from some light blue chambray I’ve had for a while. I fell foul of two summer sales; one at Fabric HQ where I bought this lovely tiny floral print, currently cut up into a short sleeved blouse….

…and this marvellous white-on-white cotton, which is slowly making its way into the world as a pleated skirt.

I would normally have finished this in two sittings but a few things held me up. Firstly, I wanted to have a side zip but also pockets. Although manageable, this takes time. Then, when I was pressing in the pleats, I noticed that the fabric is extremely see-through. I dithered over what kind of lining to use. I could use an acetate, which works well if I wear tights but is horrible against the skin. I could use a cotton voile or gauze, which is nice against the skin but sticks to tights. The optimal is silk something but silk satin is very expensive, so what to do? While I dithered, I started working on a green silk Pendrell to go with the skirt. I’m recycling this, which was a bust and I never wore. Anyway, I was in Hickey’s for the second sale I mentioned, when I overheard a funny conversation. A woman wanted to cover lampshades in silk but didn’t want it to be expensive (?!). After refusing many types of silk, the saleswoman dug out some silk habotai lining. At €9.95/m, this was acceptable to the woman. I was standing at the counter with my red georgette, looking at this lining and knew that I, too, had my solution. It’s pretty sheer but it does the job. I hope to show both soon! All they need are hems and hooks and eyes.

So, that red georgette. I went into Hickey’s to see what was in the sale. I cannot explain why I always want to make a summer dress in August but here I am again. After much mulling, I decided to go with Hazel because I love the way the shaping in the bodice can be illustrated with stripes. I was after a cotton or linen something with stripes; I found a cotton ticking for about €9/m in the sale. While I was there, I spotted the red georgette. It’s polyester and is like a crepe, with a matt dimpled texture and a really good, grippy drape. I got 1.25m and I am 99% decided on a pattern.

The knitting has been disappointing. I spent a lot of June working on a black cardigan only to run out of yarn a whole sleeve to go. I got more but naturally, it’s a different dye lot. I was really hoping it wouldn’t show but it does! It totally does! I have two options. I could try and hunt down more of the original lot on Ravelry… or I could rip it out and knit a different pattern with less cabling. I think I will rip it out because even though I am only one sleeve from being finished, I’m not really in love with it. Facing this reality means that I am not that upset about the prospect of ripping it out. In the meantime, I’ve cast on for a pattern that I’ve loved for years – Helene from Quince & Co. I gave it a go when it first came out but poor yarn choice meant that I never completed it. This time, I’ve gone with the original linen recommendation. I’m using this, Katia Lino in ‘Biscuit’. I think this is the first time I have ever washed a swatch… but it was very revealing. A typically scratchy, stiff swatch…

…was transformed into a drapey dream.

Looking forward to sharing the skirt and top soon!