FINISHED! The Undercover Sweater

Back in April, I was admiring on instagram some fabulous fabric picked up by Melanie (Miss Piggy Eats) at the Fabric Cave, when she so kindly said that she would send me her leftovers. I couldn't believe my luck. Stripes and in a fabulous bright mustard shade! Melanie had made up a fab Mandy Tee and fortunately had quite a bit left over.  I had it washed and ready to sew within a nano second of receiving it. My idea was to sew up a coco using this as an inspiration.

But things didn't really go to plan. The grain was all over the place on this fabric so while it felt lovely and the yellow stripe was divine, I struggled to get it on grain and on stripe. Really struggled. I cut the front and back of the Coco out only to find that I had cut it so badly that it was almost unusable. So there the fabric sat. Squished into a bag in the stash cupboard and me feeling guilty that I had so generously been gifted this fabric and I hadn't done anything with it, or worse probably ruining it.
I bought some flower knit the other week at Addicted to Fabric and thought that maybe I could salvage the fabric combining the two knits into a Papercut Patterns Undercover Sweater (sans hoodie).  I'm all about the designer Stella Jean at the moment and thought it could work. The idea was generally dissed on instagram (though I still think it can work) so again the fabric sat.

Fast forward to yesterday, where I finally bought the Undercover pattern (on PDF thank you!) and while waiting for some pumpkin soup to cook stuck the pieces together.  Come the first of July, I and all the other staff at my level in my Department are being made 'potentially excess' and we all have to apply for our jobs (aka: a Spill and Fill). The thought of having to look at my CV and write an application, set procrastination into top gear and I pulled out the yellow stripe to see just how much I had left now that I had the pattern taped and cut.

Would you believe that through cutting out the cropped version in XS I was able to fit all the pieces onto the left over fabric (thank you again Mel for your generosity) and cut the sleeves out of the previous Coco front and back.
Re the grain, I didn't even worry about it this time. For my own sanity. It was just too hard and so my focus was to try and match the stripes as best as I could and see how the fabric fell afterwards. This took a lot of angst out of the make.

I have been racking my brain and I think this is the first raglan sweater (or tee) that I have had in a veeeerrry long time. Like ever. I always thought that I looked better with a boat tee or high neck, but actually I don't mind this on me. The cute fabric helps.  Ben thinks that the crop is too short but with the right pants I think it is ok, though I might make it a tad longer next time.  I love the super long cuffs, especially in this wintery weather.  The pattern was lovely to put together and easily came together in a night. The fit is relaxed and the off grain doesn't seem to make a material difference to the drape. 
Thanks again Melanie for the fabric! I hope I've done it justice. One thing is for sure it will get a lot of wear! 

FINISHED! A Wintery Robe Monique

I'm on a Republic du Chiffon thing at the moment. Today it's my second pattern, Robe Monique
I have been thinking about this dress for a long time. The fabric that the dress is made up on the RdC website is so beautiful it's hard not be to taken by it and Julie from one of my favourite blogs (Jolies Bobines) also made up a gorgeous one in YSL fabric no less!   For me, I've been dreaming about a winter version made out of velvet. 
I found some 'velvet like' fabric at Addicted to Fabric which I thought would be perfect. It has a lovely feel to it. You know the sort where you just want to keep stroking it. It's quite like velvet, but sadly it hangs a bit stiff.  It's called Carbine and is 40% Polyester 60% Viscose (Style: 70021314). 

I clearly hadn't really thought this through. While this fabric is nice to run your hands up and down, it isn't that nice to sew and it definitely doesn't want to go anywhere near an iron!  I sewed most of this up with my walking foot.
The pattern is in French and when I bought the fabric thought this was going to be an easy pattern as it only has 3 pieces. I somehow didn't read that the top part is also lined (in a quite ingenious way by the way), so it was going to require a little bit more effort that I had originally planned.  The instructions are pretty clear even to a non French speaker. The diagrams are pretty self explanatory
I traced the pattern out at a social sewing afternoon (this is the best I can do at social sewing as I'm too busy chatting to actually sew anything).  Cut out the fabric, found some silk habotai in my stash that I thought would be ok for the lining and got underway. I then proceeded to do every single step at least twice, sometimes, like the damned hem 3 times (but we'll come back to the hem in a minute).

The pattern calls for 5 tabs on each arm but I ended up cutting 6 and extending the arm ever so slightly so that it ends just after my elbow. I also wanted the gaps to be slightly smaller. I measured out the gaps meticulously but they aren't perfect. I redid these a few times, but in the end I'm relying on the fact that I'm constantly moving and that my arms won't stay still long enough for anyone to get out their ruler and measure them up.  The gaps in the photos is also quite deceiving, the dress never sits perfectly.
I ended up taking an inch off the length off the tabs in order to bring the dress in a bit. It is still a bit big across the shoulders, which I'd fix next time. Sadly the drape (or lack thereof) of the fabric makes it quite bulky and probably not very flattering.  
The top is lined to hide the tabs and also to provide a nice hem to the sleeves.  I understitched everywhere I could to ensure that the lining doesn't roll out.  I haven't attached the bottom of the lining to the dress, I think I'll see how it goes.
The biggest annoyance with this dress is the hem.  Even looking at these photos it is driving me crazy. Last night I hand stitched the hem, folding 2 inches then another 2 inches (maybe a bit short). After taking the photos this morning though I was horrified at how ugly the hem looked.  Thinking maybe it was because there was 2 layers.  I cut off 2 inches, overlocked and then handstitched again.  I'm still not happy. I still think it looks a bit heavy. It's not the hand stitiching - which barely picks up a thread. Maybe it's the iron print of the hem?  I contemplated attaching some binding and hand sewing that on, but to say I'm over the dress right now is a bit of an understatement.  Do you ever make something that you like thinks looks ok, only to find the photos pick up a flaw you didn't realise was there?
There is so much of this dress that I like. The 'gladiator sandal' sleeves are so not me that I like them for it, it's a bit 60s-esque and of course any dress that I can wear with these ankle boots I love. I know it will get a run as a date night dress and well, we'll see what happens with the hem.

FINISHED! Lauren's Leaf Viviane

Tessuti has just received some of the Winter 2014 Liberty range so upon hearing this news last Wednesday I immediately went to the site and bought two pieces. This is one of them. Laurens Leaf in Blue. The fantastic thing about being in the Southern Hemisphere is that even though we are a season behind, with Liberty releases the fabric and colour palette are perfect for the current season in Australia. Thank you Liberty!

Here is the fabric story:

Lauren’s Leaf Liberty fabric was created from the leaf imprints of the world-changing indigo, upland cotton, hemp and white mulberry. Respectively, these plants have helped bring about Indian independence, fund an industrial revolution and produce the world’s first jeans. White Mulberry is the food of the silk worm.

My intention was to make another Burda wrap blouse with the fabric so only bought 1.5m but when I opened the package (a mere 24 hours later), I immediately changed my mind. The fabric was just so beautiful that I decided to try the Viviane dress by Republique du Chiffon.  I have been on a bit pattern buying binge with Republique du Chiffon. I have bought 4 from the new season release, with 2 still on their way from France. Fortnunately this one I was able to buy as an English PDF and get straight onto it. 
The pattern prints out overlapped, so you have to trace and add seam allowance. The pages printed out well and I had no problem assembling them. The pattern calls for 1.8m but I got lucky as I think I got a few bonus centimetres of fabric, so with an adjustment for my height and given the width of Liberty I was able to get the dress out of this meterage.  
I was nervous about the yoke. Not just because stylistically it is bold (and I was just a little bit worried about pulling it off), but also because of the quilting. Thank goodness for walking foot. The yoke is a wool batting with a voile (with interfacing underneath to help with the colour). I usually hide my stitching in busy patterned fabric, so I'm pretty proud of my efforts with this dress.  Especially with the sewing to attach it. But maybe not so much that I didn't clear off all the chalk before taking these pictures!  So now you will be subjected to close up photos!
Rue des Renards suggested after making her super cute Viviane that to get a good curve on the bottom that it would be good to make up a facing. So I did and it worked well.
The rest of the make is straight forward.  The instructions are brief but useful and even provide advice for when to overlock the seams.  I was amazed that the sleeves eased in as well as they did given the bodice had the quilted yoke, but it did. Afterwards I did consider overlocking the armscye seams together rather than separately (as per the instructions) but decided to leave well enough alone. Sadly, I had a brain freeze at one point where I didn't overlock the seams on the shoulders because I thought they would be concealed. Aaah, they aren't.
Other than an adjustment of about 8cms off the length of the bodice (using my other drop waist dresses as a guide,yes, I do love a drop waist: the Malvorosa and the Pattern Runway shirt dress) I didn't make any other changes to the 36.  It fits like it should (for someone who isn't overly obsessive about fit) and the little bit of extra width and flare at the bottom of the dress makes it fun to wear.
I admit, this dress style isn't for everyone. Ben said to me that it is 'special' which is his word for 'mmm, I'm not sure about it' and the boys said that they thought it was funny.  But I like it. I wore it to work today and it made me feel... well, happy and original. So that's a win in my book. 

Me Made May 2014

Well, Me Made May 2014 didn't exactly go as pledged.
I did wear me made every day, but I didn't take daily photos and I may have had some repeats in there.  I hadn't given my pledge enough thought before May, as the copy cat pledge from the previous years just didn't work for me this year.  I wasn't going to do this follow up post but I wanted to make sure for MMM15 I remember these reflections:

  • Early May started out really busy with fashfest and I didn't have the time to check out the flickr pool
  • I'm trying to limit my electronic/online time when the kids are around so that cuts out quite a bit of time - last year I dedicated easily an hour a day to the flickr pool
  • I didn't have any enthusiasm for photographing and documenting outfits (that I continue to love and happily wear like this one but) had already documented during the previous 2 years MMM. 
  • May is such a transitional month that this year I had well and truly turned my back on all the 'spring clothes' and had started thinking of my autumn wardrobe and didn't feel like wearing clothes just for my pledge preferring to focus more on my seasonal wardrobe.
  • Happily I fully integrated my Rigel Bomber into my wardrobe. It gets worn often as my go to casual (when it's not too cold) outfit.
  • I love all my May makes, especially my cocoon cardigan which is now in high rotation. 
I did miss the camaraderie and the inspiration from the flickr pool, but I popped in now and again and have enjoyed though slightly distanced this year, the month of other's selfies, especially on instagram.  Thanks Zoe for doing it again.  It really is a great event.

Did you participate in MMM? How did you go?

Oh and I just finished a dress today!! Stay tuned as I will blog about it verrrrry soon.