Saturday, 25 May 2019

Alexandria Peg Track Shorts

Fabric: Medium-weight Chambray
Size: 12

Shorts season is officially upon us again and this girl needs a whole new wardrobe. 
I had forgotten about this pattern. Forgotten that I owned it. The perils of buying PDF's and not browsing your files for a long time!

My original plans were heading me towards the City Gym Shorts and I may make those up still, but I am very glad I tried this pattern along the way. I love them!
The shorts have an elasticated waist, drawstring casing, and front pleats with side pockets. The hem is dipped at the back (described as a dolphin hem on the pattern) and finished with facings for a clean hemline.

I wasn't sure Boo would go for the dipped hem, but upon wearing them, she is smitten and has asked for another pair. She says they are extremely comfortable and when she sits down the extra coverage at the back gives her some ease. 
It is a good fit for those of us with a rounder bottom!

The facings fit cleanly around the side vents and when flipped to the inside, create a lovely smooth join with no overlapped and bulky bindings to stitch down. I finished the inner edges with my overlocker and used the edge of the overlocked threads as a guide for the topstitching. The instructions say to topstitch from the right side, but didn't want to have to sew a basting guideline and then flip it over just to make sure I followed the curve properly. I topstitched from the wrong side and it worked just fine.

The fabric recommendations for this pattern are light to medium weight wovens and also knit fabric like sweatshirting. This chambray creases easily (as you can see) but is durable. These are the pair that will go with everything. The core wardrobe shorts! I am very tempted with a knit version though, they might fall into secret pyjama territory!

This is the first time I have sewn with Named Patterns and I am impressed by them. The PDF printed out nicely and it didn't take me too long to piece it together. The instructions are detailed and we love the shorts. I want to try the trousers too once I source some fabric.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Butterick B6339 Waistcoat

Pattern: Butterick 6339
Size Made: XXL (for a 49" chest)
Fabric: Herringbone Tweed (main) Brown Taffeta (lining and back)
Alterations made: quite a few!

This was one request that took me by surprise. I suggested a couple of shirts, he came back with 'waistcoat'! Once I worked out that he was deadly serious (and by this time, the pattern had been ordered and the fabric was on its way), I panicked! That sounds a bit like tailoring!

But my good man had faith in me and so I took on the challenge.

I did a couple of muslin trials before cutting into the good stuff. The original design (and for reference we chose view B) had 2 front darts and that caused the front of the waistcoat to swing away from the center when I was fitting it to him. I took out the dart nearest to the center front and it made a dramatic difference. I am glad I didn't have to take out the second dart because I wanted to keep some shaping at the sides.

I took out the upper welt pockets as per Jays' request and placed an internal patch pocket on the inner left hand side that was measured to accommodate his glasses.

Jay wanted an additional strap on the back. There was much debate over this detail. I didn't see it in my mind but he was adamant that it was a feature that he wanted. (Thank you to Nicole for being my sounding board on this matter! Double-back-strap-gate!)

He also wanted the straps to be in wool not lining fabric. I understood this to being because he dislikes the way that a buckle can weigh the flimsy strap down on the back of a waistcoat and it is something that has always bothered him. 

I added 1" of length to the front and back pattern pieces and while fitting the shoulders I decided to reduce the seam allowance from 5/8" to 1/2" to get a better fit. Jay has wide shoulders and a broad chest so any tweaks needed to be made in those areas. I think I got the fit right in the end. One thing I have noticed on the finished garment is that he needs a small pinch taking out either side of the neckline, the back neck gapes just a little bit so I have noted that down for next time.

I did mess up one of the welt pockets the first time around. It would have bothered me too much on the finished garment so I re-cut and started again. We had ordered more fabric than we needed so luckily, this wasn't an issue. 

I must also note (more for myself than anything) that the upper and under collar pieces are hard to distinguish between when they are both in the same fabric. I really should have marked the under collar better when sewing them together as on the left hand side, I can see the bottom peeking out. I obviously got them mixed up. 

Overall, I am happy with it. I could cast a critical eye over it all day long, but for a first attempt with an unknown pattern, I am satisfied. Jay is very happy and it feels great to have made something that he has had a say in and that fits him. I just hope it gets worn! 

I think he looks very smart!

To summarize, my alterations were as follows:
  • Front and Back pieces lengthened by 1"
  • Internal patch pocket to fit glasses put on the inner left hand side
  • Dart nearest center front eliminated
  • Additional strap added to the back
  • Shoulder seam allowance changed to 1/2"
  • Upper welt pockets removed

I would recommend this pattern if you are looking for a waistcoat, it was straightforward and as long as you mark all the pieces properly as you go along, there shouldn't be any issues. There are plenty of options with the pattern too as there are 6 different views to make. Good value for money!

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, 8 May 2019

O + S Garden Party Dress for Spring

Pattern: Garden Party Dress from Oliver and S
Size made: 7
Fabric: Cotton Poplin kindly given to me by a friend

Last years dress was getting a bit too short. I have only made this pattern twice and both times were for L's birthday dress. Also both versions have been blue and white. What can I say, she knows what she likes!

Originally she wanted another floral print but it was an off-cut and I wasn't going to fit the length of the skirt on the piece that I had. We were both happy to go with the blue sunflowers in the end.

It may have been a year, but I used the same size. The bottom half of this dress is roomy and while she has shot up in height, her chest and waist have barely changed. I didn't want it to be slipping off her shoulders, and her measurements were bang on the O+S chart. If she has a growth spurt then I suppose I will just make her another one in the next size. It is a dress she loves so nothing is lost there!

The last dress must have shrunk a bit because when I compared the pattern piece to it, the length was about 3" off. As a result I didn't add any length to this one and it has worked out fine.

The perfect button! One alteration I was going to make was to change the thread chain to a loop. I find that after a few washes the chain can become twisted. But I used an embroidery thread instead to create the chain because I wanted to see how that stood the test of time (last time I had used regular sewing thread). I will be keeping an eye on this one to see if it lasts any longer.

L and I both agreed that this mini pom pom trim was going to look beautiful and I am happy to report that it really does! It took a bit of time to sew on because the seam allowance was quite narrow on the trim and I had to take care not to miss it when sewing it on. I basted it on first and then went back over it to secure it down. I used white thread and a zipper foot to get a close topstitching line.

She is very pleased with this dress and I couldn't be happier that I got to use this pattern again, it is a beauty!