September 29, 2015

FO: City Stroll Skirt

Filed under:Blouses/Tops,Finished Objects,News!,Skirts,Stash Down — Aileen @ 17:06

As promised! Let’s talk what was underneath my Abria the other day.

First up, the skirt! This is one of the more recent releases from Liesl+co, called the City Stroll Skirt. I made it out of some pretty ordinary dark denim I picked up in Hickey’s. It was about a tenner – I only had a metre so I forwent the facing, opting instead for a bias binding finish inside.


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As always, the instructions are impeccable and everything matches up nicely. In fact, there is little else to say, except that this is one of those deceptive skirts in terms of length! It looks ok on the model, right? Even the pattern pieces look about right. But… I think I would like it a bit longer. I like to use my pockets, but unfortunately, very often, when I have my hands in my pockets, I still move them around. So, depending on what angle you face your audience, you could give them a very interesting accompaniment to your dialogue! I am a little annoyed, in fact, because I even wrote on the pieces to lengthen them by two inches, but in the heat of cutting out, I forgot.

I love the buttons. I got them in Rubanesque about a month ago. They were selling all of their buttons at 50% off, so I doubt there are many left.


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The blouse was one of those things I had on my list (you have one too? isn’t it funny how it can morph from being inspiring to overwhelming to redundant back to inspiring in just one sitting?) but almost didn’t get to. I got the pattern, Burda 6810 at the beginning of the summer. It has two winning aspects: multiple sleeve options and a covered button placket. I might be a little crazy but when you’re wearing a blouse under a close-fitting sweater, the covered placket prevents the buttons from showing through the sweater! Anyway, I had barely a metre of white cotton voile left over from another blouse I made, and I thought it would be good to see if it fit. In any case, the more I thought about it, the more I think a sleeveless blouse is useful for layering under dresses. I love long sleeved dresses, and I love the look of a collar underneath, but I don’t ever wear the two together simply because of the bulk of wearing a blouse. Doesn’t this solve this problem?

Don’t let my glowing countenance fool you…! I’m actually not thrilled with the blouse. In fact, it pushed me to face the fact that I needed to learn how to make a full bust adjustment. I always need a little bit more room at the front, even when everything else – shoulders, waist and hips – fit just fine (as you can see). Any minor pulling you see would be fixed by this. So… I spent the princely sum of e6.50 on 1.2m of white polycotton and thirty minutes doing a little research for another version. It’s actually not that hard at all. I cut out a new blouse and hopefully I will have an idea of the fit in a day or two.

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February 19, 2015

FO: Carme blouse

Filed under:Blouses/Tops,Finished Objects,Sewing,Stash Down — Aileen @ 13:09

Hi everyone! I’ve a lot on my plate these days so forgive my infrequent posts. Between concerts, competitions (small, local, soon and big, in Italy and later) and actual work for money, there’s a lot going on! Well, no, not right now, but there will be. Mostly it would be fine if I wasn’t doing competitions abroad, but I am!

Anyway, I have for you today a blouse I finished before Christmas. I wore it once but the cuffs were far too tight and narrow, so it sat in my mending pile until January.

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It’s the Carme blouse by Pauline Alice patterns. She’s sort of the Spanish equivalent of Deer and Doe. I bought the Alameda dress pattern as well, as I have a wonderful check will that would look fabulous with those bias panels.

I digress! I used a plain polycotton that has been sitting in my stash for ages – I needed a blue blouse and this wasn’t so precious that I wouldn’t mind if it didn’t work out perfectly. I didn’t have quite enough for the sleeves and that meant that when I put on the little cuffs, they were finishing higher up my arms than intended and so were too tight. What I did was replace them with a pair of cuffs from another blouse. I also left out the gathers and just did a normal pleat instead.

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As for the body, I didn’t cut a straight size as it’s kind of oversize – I cut my proper size for the top, tapered into the smallest size at the waist and then a size bigger at the hips. It looks like an extreme curve but when on is just fine.

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You can see that there’s still plenty of room in the body. You might spy, as well, that I have a collar on my blouse when the pattern has none. The pattern has the important bit – a collar stand – so I just popped a collar from another pattern into it.

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The placket and bib were really straight forward and well explained in the instructions. It’s a nice pattern, with lots of options for variety, and it goes well over leggings or jeans.

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November 24, 2014

Nascha Mini Skirt

Filed under:AW Wardrobe '14,Finished Objects,Skirts,Stash Down — Aileen @ 07:00

Here’s a little something I made a while ago. Maybe I have mentioned before but I am smitten with the Named sewing patterns. I don’t think that every pattern is for me but I adore their aesthetic. They have such a clear idea of their style – their distinctive design is like no other.

Needless to say, I was excited to see what their Autumn/Winter collection would hold. I wasn’t disappointed. There are lots of trendy items but the ones I am most drawn to, other than this little skirt, are the Wenona shirt-dress and the Shadi knit skirt. I think this collection, of the three they have released so far, have the best spread of ability. There are fun, stylish patterns suitable for a quick sew or a beginner, but there are more challenging ones too. I think they hit the balance just right with this one.

Anyway, let’s see the skirt!

This is really just a wearable muslin. I ended up with a strangely shaped remnant piece of coating that I struggled to use so I thought this might be nice. I wasn’t sure about the sizing but having made a few things from this company now, I know I can trust the finished measurements and sizing suggestions. I think I sewed this in a straight 38. Because it’s supposed to sit below the waistline, I wasn’t sure about tapering to a 36 at the waist.

The only downside to this project was my choice of fabric – it was just a bit too thick. Sewing that exposed zipper was a bit of a pain because the fabric just wanted to squidge out at every opportunity. But I got there and it looks ok!

This isn’t a very flattering photo but it shows you how low the skirt sits on the hips. I totally regretted using such thick fabric for my facings :O It looks like I’m wearing a tyre unless I pull my top down.

The one thing I love about this pattern is the level of finishing that’s detailed. It’s not quite the quick sew you would imagine it might be but it’s quite posh in there.

I especially like the way the points at the front are handled with the lining. There is very little hand sewing required.

I’m not really one for short-short skirts so I was not prepared for how… immobile this is. I can just about sit down in it. I was looking about for other reviews and someone, somewhere, mentioned about sewing this in a thick knit or a ponte. I would definitely entertain something like that – anything with a tiny bit of stretch would be amazing! I do like to sit down every now and again.

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November 20, 2014

November Outfit

I have a combination outfit for you today! I knit the cardigan in the summer and made the skirt recently. I think they go really well together.

Let’s start with the cardigan! I really wanted a cropped cardigan to wear with the few high-waisted skirts I have. I used Debbie Bliss Mia from This is Knit. It took about 8 balls.

I didn’t much like the selection of patterns on Ravelry so I just kept it simple and used the Barbara Walker recipe for a top-down set-in-sleeve construction.

Do you notice a button oddity there? I sewed on four buttons but cut the top one off (I can’t remember why – there was a reason at the time). I’ve changed my mind and think it looks better with the top button… but now I can’t find the one I cut off! I’m sure it will turn up during some excavation or another.

As for the skirt, I used a sturdy failsafe pattern, the Colette Ginger.

I didn’t change anything from the last time I made it – I grade from size 6 at the waist to size 8 at the hip. Rather than making a separate lining, I overlocked the lining and shell pieces together. It’s not as nice a finish, but I’m hoping it will help maintain the shape better over time.

I must concede that my original navy Ginger, made in September 2012, needs to be retired. Everytime I put it on, I take it off again because it just looks worn out. It is completely misshapen and the lining has disintegrated on the inside (pre-overlocker sewing!). It was a good and faithful skirt.

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November 17, 2014

FO: Dark and Stormy

Filed under:Cardigans,Finished Objects,Knitting,Stash Down — Aileen @ 12:01

This cardigan has been a long time in the works. Well, the actual knitting didn’t take very long but I had intentions for about five years! How very satisfying to finally get down to it.

Pattern: Dark and Stormy by Thea Colman.

Needles: I think 4.5mm.

Yarn: Berrocco Ultra Alpaca that I bought in Chicago in… 2008? It doesn’t feel like that long ago but it was six years. I had 7 skeins and I think I only used about 5. Maybe 5 and a bit at the most.

I really enjoyed knitting this! I stalled out at the very beginning some years ago when I first cast on because the set up is a bit fiddly. You cast on at the top and work down – it’s basically a top-down raglan – and you have to establish the cabling. The beginning is definitely not TV knitting. Once you get going, though, it is.

The raglan shaping is not totally straight – it’s staggered to give a better shoulder shape. I wish I had measured a little more conscientiously because I could do with a bit less fabric there. It fairly bubbled out, actually, when I had finished, but I was able to steam it into submission.

I adore the cabling down the back.

This is a seriously warm cardigan, thanks to the alpaca. I really like the colour of the model in the pattern and think it would be a more perennial wear if worked in something a little less smothering like merino. Also, whilst I think mine looks fine now, I wonder about how defined my cables are going to stay, given the beautiful but massive halo of the alpaca.

Buttons courtesy of my first ever visit to the Knitting and Stitching show! They may even pre-date the blog. I remember buying them and thinking how perfect they were. Sure, it might have taken me ten years to knit them a cardigan but the chain of destiny can only be grasped one link at a time, amiright?

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