Friday, 23 August 2013

Umbrellas and Ice Cream

I thought I might squeeze in one more summery outfit before I start to thing seriously about autumn and winter clothes. I had some of this fabric left over from the fairytale dress I made for Boo's birthday and seeing as she doesn't get to wear her dress all the time I decided that this cute umbrella print needed to make another appearance. Cue the adorable O+S Ice Cream Top!

This is such a great top for summer as it is light and airy, has a lot of room for play. It is super girly too with all those pretty gathers.

I have only made View C once before for my daughter and having tried it on her recently, it was clear that a few more inches in length were required to get more shelf life out of this top. Her last one was a size 5. It still fits her around the chest and she has no trouble getting it on and off. It was just way too short.

For this one, I made up a size 6 and added 2" extra length to the main body. It hits just below her hips which is perfect.

I have every intention to make a pair of shorts to make this an 'outfit' rather than just a top. But for now, it goes with quite a lot of items in her current wardrobe. Like this blue Hopscotch Skirt (also O+S). Having so many colours on the fabric makes it a good go-to top. I often find that when I make something I haven't given much thought to what it will match. No such problems with this one!

And a last close up of that cute little 'v' on the front yoke. Because it just makes me smile.


Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Work Uniform Shirt: Vogue 8747

Pattern: Vogue 8747
Fabrics used: white quilting weight 100% cotton and small amount of patterned cotton fabric for the contrast collar

I researched the options for women's shirts and blouses for some time before settling on this Vogue pattern. I am not a person normally who wears a fitted shirt. I never like the fit and the collar bugs me. I like a more casual style top. My uniform does require me to wear one and so after trying on numerous options in the shops I came to the conclusion I would have to make myself one. The usual fit issues were causing me problems with the rtw ones; nice fit around the body but gaping across the bust, go up a size to compensate and look like you are wearing a sack. So I am told, the industry standard is to fit clothes for a B cup, so if you are any bigger (like me) then clothes just don't fit right.

This pattern is princess seamed and gives you a cup size option. The panel closest to the bustline can be changed from an A cup to a D cup. Brilliant! 

There are also two collar options. I chose the mandarin style collar because I prefer the look. It does sit up quite high on your neck though. I chose to put in a pretty fabric to give it some interest. There is also a long sleeve option. It being summer I went with short sleeves. I did chop off 1.5" from the sleeve edge because the pattern length is neither long nor short, it hovers somewhere in between and looks a bit sad and lost. With some of the length off it looks so much better.

The bottom of the placket has a matching contrast edge. This was not by design, I must admit to getting distracted and forgetting to sew along the short bottom edge before turning it out. A good disguise was needed for the raw edge.

This version in yellow was my practice muslin. I haven't done any buttonholes on this yet but when I get round to buying some nice buttons for it I will complete it. 

The yellow fabric was given to me by a friend so I don't know exactly what the fiber content is. I will say, it gathers better than my white cotton and doesn't crease as much. Even freshly ironed my white one looks crumpled. I must remember to get a fabric with a bit of a blend when it comes to my next one.

The inside of the collar makes me happy and I shall do that on all future versions. 

This is a pretty good pattern and I am happy with the fit. The princess seams taper the fit along the length of my body and the gathered bustline means that there is no gaping. A work staple is born!

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

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Thursday, 8 August 2013

The Staple Dress Pattern

I was quite eager to try this pattern as my wardrobe has a gap in it for a basic everyday dress. This is of course the Staple Dress by April Rhodes which is just everywhere at the moment. There are a growing number in the flickr pool so I decided to add not one but two more!

My original plan was to make just one in the plain lavender colour fabric. Call it my muslin, even though it went straight to my bought fabric. I made it up to the stage of the shirring and took a step back to assess my work. Crikey! It looked huge on the hanger. Now the pattern does say that it looks alarmingly like a hospital gown without the shirring added to take it all in, but even with the warning it still gave me the jitters!

One line of shirring just wasn't going to be enough. I really battled with my machine to get the shirring to work at all. To the point where howls of frustration were coming from my sewing room and the children were starting to look scared! Eventually though it did start to work and I got 4 rows done before I had to replenish my bobbin with elastic and then of course it decided to start screwing up again. Enough. Four rows would have to do.

I would like to join the rest of the sewing world and say that I was won over by the fit but I really am struggling to like it. I have come to the conclusion that if you have a naturally small waist and so can bring the waist silhouette in by just being nice and slim, then this dress looks great. I don't have much definition on my waist. Pre-children I always had a nice inward curve but I am still waiting for that to come back. Waiting. So maybe the issue was more the body inside the dress, than the dress itself. But I had reservations about how flattering it was on me.

I wore it with my skinny jeans on a cool morning on I like how it didn't seem extra bulky over the denim. So points scored there.

I didn't want to write it off though so naturally made another one up. 

I felt that the top half was a bit big for me (the fit is generous) so went down a size, nervously. 
Pre-shirring I felt a bit better about the look of it and after going through the rigmarole of getting my machine to actually shirr the fabric, I got my five rows in. This time I positioned them just a bit lower down to see how that worked out.

Better, but still not convinced. Some of the photos I sent straight to the recycle bin (and then mentally set fire to) were not flattering at all. My husband took the photos and got several shots of me just walking about. It didn't sit right on me and I felt a bit dishevelled. I have read other reviews and believe that it needs to be tweaked to make it look better.

Fundamentally, it is an absolutely fantastic basic pattern which can be adapted to suit most body shapes. I looked at examples with shirring all around (like mine). with shirring just at the back, with different necklines (which is one of my niggles, I feel like I need to make the opening smaller) and some made from jersey. I would like to try the jersey version. 

I should add that I added 1.5" of length to the hem on my first dress. Then an extra 1" length across the middle line where indicated. The extra length mid torso was a vast improvement as I felt that if I did another line or two of shirring I would be encroaching upon the pocket openings at the sides. So I may not have much of a waist but I still have a long body. That is some comfort at least ;-)

I will have another shot at this pattern with modifications to see if I can get it to sit better on me. These two versions I would happily wear with a cardigan over the top. They really are super comfy to wear. I just wish they looked as great as they feel!