Stripey Jersey Dress

One of my favourite dresses I’ve made is this electric blue one, from a free pattern by In The Folds for Peppermint Magazine. I always get compliments whenever I wear it, and I love the slouchy shape, though it still makes me feel put together.

I love buying new patterns, and each time someone releases a shiny new one (Closet Case Patterns Sasha Trousers, I’m looking at you!) I find it really hard to resist buying them. I have so many patterns I’ve not yet made so often I make things once and think ‘I really like this, I’ll make it again’…..and then I don’t. So I’m trying to remedy this by making more versions of things I’ve liked making and wearing but have made only once or twice. This is the first of those patterns.

I made the size 10, as before, and the only change I made was to cut off the pockets (which are attached to the front and back pieces) and cut them out separately as I couldn’t quite fit the pieces as they were on the fabric. Speaking of which, this fabric was the one piece I managed to snag when What Katie Sews did an Instagram destash a few months ago. I could cheerfully have bought loads of things, but I was mostly too late, boo! But I did get this great stripey jersey. It’s nice and thick but still has a bit of drape so the dress hangs really nicely.

I was telling my friends at the Sewing Bee Live that I’m not totally convinced about raglan sleeves on me, but looking at these pictures, I don’t know what my problem is! I have a hang-up that my shoulders are wide, but given that that is often the place where things are too big on me, I think I might be a little bit mental! Since making this dress I’ve cut out another Linden sweatshirt, to give it another go as I wasn’t totally in love with my first version – but that may have been due to the fabric more than anything else.

I cut the neckband with the stripes going the other way, not realising that the fabric only stretches one way. So I can barely get it over my head! I think I might remove the neckband completely and just turn the neck under as that is the one place on my other version that isn’t totally comfortable – it’s a bit strangle-y when I’m sitting down.

I didn’t add the cuffs, which I had done on my other version, so I just turned a small hem up on each sleeve end. I also left off the hem band this time as I felt it made it slightly long on the other version. I also couldn’t squeeze it out of the fabric, and I’m glad I left it off as I like the more a-line shape of the skirt when it’s not pulled in by a hem band.

I did have enough fabric to pattern match the stripes on the side seams, but the eagle-eyed among you may spot – if you look at the hem – that the hem is not straight when you compare it to the stripes. This is because I wasn’t as careful as I could/should have been when folding the fabric in half to cut out the front and back. It looked like the stripes were lined up, but they were one out so the stripes have actually formed a spiral around the dress, so it’s impossible to hem it with the stripes straight – I tried and I reached my starting point but was still pinning more and more out of the hem as the spiral moved up the dress! Oops! Lesson learnt.

And today’s outtake it brought to you by not making it back to my photo spot in time for the camera timer!

Do you make patterns more than once or are you seduced by shiny new ones, like me. Or a combination of the two? I think that’s what I’m hoping I’ll aim for as I don’t want to stop supporting all the wonderful indie designers, but also I don’t have unlimited money and time for buying and making new patterns constantly.

 

 

Stripey Cropped Inari Tee

I made a cropped Inari Tee! I haven’t actually worn it yet as it feels a little breezy around the midriff and it’s been pretty cold recently in Cirencester. I do really like the proportions and the shape of this top, though – that’s one of the things that made me want to make it, seeing everyone else’s great makes.

I made the size 8 with no changes as this was kind of a wearable toile – I used leftover fabric from my Marianne dress so if it had been a disaster I had only used some leftovers! I did the same thing as on the Marianne dress by using the stripes the other way around on the neckline, and I still like how it looks!

I also love the cuffs, which I also did with the stripes going the other way. As I mentioned in my post about taking in a raglan tee, I’m really liking cuffs on short sleeves at the moment. It’s definitely one of my favourite things about my new melilot shirt, too.

Although I quite like the proportions of the top, which I’m wearing here with some high waisted trousers (which I altered last year), I think on my next version – yes, I’m already planning another version – I might lengthen it by an inch, just so I feel a bit more comfortable. If I put my arms up at all, there is a lot of skin on show – and if I put my arms really high, you can basically see my bra! I guess this is not a top to wear on days when I have to reach for anything in public! I might also level off the hem as I don’t really love how it’s higher at the front for some reason.

I wonder if I should maybe take it in a bit at the shoulders with the next version? In a less drapey fabric, it might not sit as nicely – I can see a little bit of pooling in the upper bust area, which might look worse in the fabric I’ve got planned, which is a little more structured than this jersey, though still quite drapey. What do you think? Is it worth making lots of changes to a fairly simple t-shirt?

Save

 

Save

Save

Wardrobe Architect Week 7: Exploring Solids and Prints

Well I’ve got a little behind with my Wardrobe Architect posts! The last one I wrote was almost a month ago – so much for writing a post every 2 weeks! I ran out of time for blogging much the last couple of weeks because I was working on my dress for The Dressmakers Ball (which was amazing! Post to follow soon), which took much, much, much longer than I thought. Also last weekend we had a power cut for half an afternoon and a whole evening and night (the power came back on the early hours of the next morning) so I did lose some time there.

Anyway, to this week’s Wardrobe Architect post. It’s all about exploring solids and prints this week (it’s not just a clever title!). The introduction for this week says:

“What I’ve heard over and over from you guys is that prints are incredibly seductive. Fabric stores are awash in adorable prints that look great on the bolt. But often, we get them home and don’t know what to do with them. Or, we make garments that sit in our closet and never get worn, either because they are too loud, too cute, or they just don’t go with anything.

By thinking ahead about the prints that you are really drawn to, you can narrow your choices and sidestep this feeling of being overwhelmed at the fabric store. If you know what’s really you, you’re less likely to collect things simply because they’re pretty or cute.”

There are also some questions to think about to help you narrow your choices with regard to solids and prints:

Prints vs. solids: What percentage of your wardrobe do you actually want to be comprised of prints? Some people wear prints all the time, for others they’re more of an accent.
I think at the moment prints are probably maybe 30-40% of my tops and dresses, but 0% of my trousers and skirts. I would like to have a couple of pairs of cool patterned slouchy trousers, but that probably is about the balance I like.

Scale: Do you tend to prefer large scale prints, small scale, or a mixture of both?
I think mostly I like smaller scale prints – being quite a small person I’m not sure I’d be able to pull off a giant print. Maybe if it was a simple shape of garment and there was, like, one repeat? Oooh, there’s an idea!

Contrast: Do the prints you like use lots of contrasting, bold colors? Or are they more tonal and subdued?
Definitely more tonal and subdued – I know I’d be a bit scared to wear something in crazy colours!

Naturalism: Do you feel drawn to flowing, organic, or naturalistic prints? Or are strong, abstract, geometric designs your thing? Or are there versions of both that you love?
I’m not really a fan of floral prints, so I would go for abstract and geometric designs definitely.

Mood: There are hundreds of styles of prints. Are there prints you choose that relate to your 5 style words?
Not sure, I’ll have to think more on this one.

I’ve narrowed down the kinds of prints I wear to a few categories.

Spots

#SewDots GBSB Drapey Knit Dress#SewDots Delphine skirtNavy Spotty Rushcutter DressBlue Spotty Archer Button Up
(Clockwise from top left: Drapey Knit dress, Sew Dots Delphine skirt (with a spotty lining), Blue Spotty Archer shirt, Dark Blue Spotty Rushcutter dress)


(images from my Wardrobe Architect Pinterest board)

Stripes

Interestingly all the striped things I’ve made have been basically the same colour!

Breton Striped Plantain Tee
(Clockwise from top left: Colette Laurel, Ugly Dress Refashion, Marianne Dress (not yet blogged), Breton striped Plantain Tee)

(images from my Wardrobe Architect Pinterest board)

Geometric (or not spots or stripes)

Blue Patterned Melilot ShirtTilly and the Buttons Coco Dress (Made Up Initiative)Aztec Linden sweatshirt(Clockwise from top left: Melilot Shirt, Coco Dress, Aztec Pattern Linden, Moneta Party Dress)

(images from my Wardrobe Architect Pinterest board)

Florals and Novelty

Weirdly I’ve actually made a few flowery things even though I didn’t think it was my thing! Also there are some cute novelty print fabrics, but I tend to steer clear of them as I’m afraid I’ll feel stupid wearing them!

Yellow and Navy Flowery Deer and Doe Plantain Tee

(Clockwise from top left: Flowery Archer, Flowery Plantain, Vintage Summer Dress, Orla Kiely-esque Colette Laurel)

Interestingly I don’t really wear these items very much, apart from the archer, which I think means I need more archers, and that the prints and fit of the 2 dresses weren’t brilliant!

These are 3 of my favourite novelty prints – I think I could pull off the blue cats one because it’s actually a little more abstract. Or maybe I just need to grow some balls and wear what the hell I like!?

(images from my Wardrobe Architect Pinterest board)

I’ve found it really interesting to really analyse which prints I like and wear. The main theme, though, seems to be blue! I think I might have subconsciously known which prints I like, but having really thought about it and bringing it into my mind more consciously, hopefully my fabric buying won’t end with me thinking ‘what am I going to make’ and then ‘I’m never going to wear this’.

Save

 

 

Save

Save

Wardrobe Architect Week 2: Defining a Core Style

 

Here I am back for the second week of Colette’s Wardrobe Architect. This week it’s about trying to work out what our core style is, building on what we found out about ourselves in week 1.

There is another worksheet, with some questions, which again I’ll cover here.

When you are wearing your favorite clothing, how do you feel (e.g. confident, sexy,
poised, powerful, etc)?
Comfortable, the right temperature, unique (but not standing out too much), and correctly dressed for the occasion – I hate feeling way under- or over-dressed.
When you’re wearing something that is not quite right, how do you feel? What are the
feelings you want to avoid about the clothes you wear?
uncomfortable, not like me, feel like people are judging me for wearing the wrong thing (though, of course, they’re almost certainly not!).
Who do you consider to be your style icons? What is it about them that appeals to you?
Michelle Williams, Ginnifer Goodwin and Lupita Nyong’o. Interestingly they all have short hair! I like how Michelle Williams and Ginnifer Goodwin both have a slightly vintage vibe, but also look cool and fashion forward – and I think they can both pull off multiple kinds of look. And Lupita Nyong’o always looks chic and cool and her clothes fit perfectly. I also like all the bold colours she wears and the interesting silhouettes she pulls off.
What are some words that describe styles that you like in theory, but are not quite you?
I often feel like I want to look like a rock star, but I just don’t think I could pull of a leather jacket! I also love the masculine/ androgynous look of someone like Tilda Swinton, but I feel being only 5’3″ that I couldn’t really pull that off! I also go through phases of really liking 40s style clothes and the lindy hop style, but I think it’s the wrong era for me.
After answering these questions, you come up with some words from your answers from last week, then narrow it down to 3-5 words. Mine are:
Cool
Comfortable
Confident
Vintage
With these words in my mind, I made a new pinterest board to pin photos of outfits I like (which is the last stage of this week’s exercise).  You can find all the image sources on pinterest. It seems that the pictures I pinned fit into a few different categories.
1. Casual outfits with trousers (most pleated) and slouchy shapes on the top.
core-style-1 core-style-2 core-style-3 core-style-16 core-style-20

2. Modern and vintage outfits with interesting style lines

core-style-4
core-style-21 core-style-13 core-style-18
3. Shift dresses, tops and coats with 60s vibes, particularly with collars and stripes.
core-style-7 core-style-8 core-style-9 core-style-12
core-style-19
4. More modern-looking boxy tops, with interesting prints on the fabric.
core-style-15 core-style-17 Then I have a few photos that don’t really go together or into the categories above. They’re a mixture of vintage and modern styles, but they are all quite loose silhouettes.
core-style-5 core-style-6 core-style-10 core-style-11 core-style-14
I’ve found this really useful in working out what my core styles are – I knew there would be more than one, but by pinning lots of pictures, you can then spot the trends which then helps you realise what you’re drawn to. I think I need to make myself some pleated trousers – and get more brogues in more colours! I am also falling back in love with cute collars, so that’s good to know!

Save

Save
 

Breton Style Plantain Tee

This has to be one of my thriftiest makes ever. It’s the Deer and Doe Plantain Tee, which is a free to download. I downloaded and assembled the PDF quite a while ago but only just got around to making something from it. I had this little bit of stripey fabric in my stash for a few months – it was only £1.50 and was from Rolls and Rems (where else!). There was juuuust enough fabric to make this tee and I love it!

Breton-Plantain-Tee-1
The stripes are actually navy blue, though they look black in the photos.

With my new haircut (which I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE), and in this tee shirt, I definitely feel like I’m channeling Jean Seberg!

circa 1965: Promotional portrait of American actor Jean Seberg (1938 - 1979) sitting barefoot and cross-legged on a stool, wearing rolled blue jeans and a French-striped sailor jersey pulled off one shoulder. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)(image source)

I made this tee in the size 36 and changed the neckline. The classic Breton Tee has quite a high neckline (probably a boat neckline would be best), but the Plantain has quite a low scoop-neck. I raised it to just below the back neckline. I also didn’t bother with the neck band, partly because I would have had to work out a new length for it, and partly because I wasn’t entirely sure from the instructions how I should attach it! So I just turned the neckline under by 1.5cm and stitched it with my twin needle.

Breton-Plantain-Tee-2

The sleeves are 3.3cm longer than the short sleeve length. I would have made longer, 3/4 length sleeves, but I didn’t have enough fabric – there was literally just enough to cut the front and back, then squeeze the sleeves from single layers left over after the other bits were cut out. I hemmed the sleeves with the twin needle too, turning under a tiny amount so as to preserve what length I had managed to eek out.

Breton-Plantain-Tee-3

I think the original hem is a little curved, but I straightened the bottom, using the stripes as a guide. Then I turned up one white stripe and stitched the hem with the twin needle.

Breton-Plantain-Tee-4

I think I’m starting to get the hang of sewing with knits. I matched the stripes on the side seams (but then, of course, forgot to take any photos) and I quite enjoy the professional look a twin needle gives to the hems. This is the thickest and most stable knit I’ve sewn with so far, and I like the fact that this is quite thick. I think I need a bit of a tweak in the armpit area to get it to sit better – I’ve had this before with other patterns, so I wonder if I have something that makes me atypical in the armpit/ sleeve area – I’ll try to make some changes if I make this pattern again, which I suspect I will. Any ideas what the issue is and how I can fix it? I think an armscye that extends lower than the pattern originally does.

Breton-Plantain-Tee-5

I’m trying to make more basics for my wardrobe, so I think there’ll be more and more t-shirts and basic things like that coming up on the blog! Also skinny jeans hopefully!