FINISHED! A squiggly Dolores

Last November I bought this blue stretch crepe 'squiggly print' knit at spotlight and immediately knew it was going to be a Dolores Batwing top. Well at first I thought a Dolores dress, but regardless it's destiny was known immediately. I finally got around to buying the pattern last week now here it is.  
First up, I just have to say how much I adore these arms.  They have this incredible optical illusion going whereby it makes me feel like I have skinny arms.  I really really love the connection of the sleeve with the body of the top. I think it has a bit of an edge to it. In fact, I'm not really a batwing wearer but this feature has completely won me.  Completely!
I had to go to the copy shop last weekend to print out some things, so thought I'd try the copy shop option on this pattern. What a treat!  I am defnitely #teampdf and I love to cut and tape in front of the TV but this was a nice little present to myself.  As I said, I originally intended this to be a dress so cut it out as a dress.  It looked nice as a dress, but just didn't feel like me.  In the end it was either make it up as a dress and give it away or cut it into a top and see how that felt on. Selfishness ruled and I'm so glad. The top is great. Despite being a knit - which I rarely wear, I feel like this is fitting in well with my wardrobe and confidently wore it to my son's birthday party today. 
A few sewing notes now. It's sewn up on the overlocker. I reinforced the shoulders with tape, which isn't in the pattern, but I've got into that habit now.  

The pattern calls for attaching the binding on each side and then joining up later. I thought I could outsmart Zoe (really!?) and attach the binding in the round to make it so much neater on the inside. Wah - first attachment, there was a load of gape at the shoulders even though I reduced the length. Anyway, I unpicked it, yes, unpicked the overlocking, took another little bit off and restitched it again!  Still drape at the shoulder corners. Well of course there was because of the style! Doh Kirsty. In the end I pinched a tiny triangle on the shoulders and overlocked down - as they should have been done in the first place. Lesson learnt. Neck sits perfectly now.

The sleeves and hem are twin stitched. I hemmed this twice as I didn't quite like the length initially and after my several attempts at the neckline I felt I owed the hem a little attention. I probably should have put some tape on the hem, but I just turned it over which is fine.   

This is a really easy and quick make (ok, this one not so quick, but next time..). Thanks Zoe for a great little pattern!

FINISHED! Pollock Peplum

Part of the Charlie Hebo public memorial in Place Kleber, Strasbourg
We are back home from 6 weeks holiday! Back to school and work on Tuesday, so I am profiting from the last few days off to get to know my new sewing machine, my birthday present from last November (yes such a long wait to get to use it) and to sew up some holiday fabric. Predominately the holiday was to visit family but for those of you who follow me on instagram will know that I also managed to squeeze in two fantastic days with sewing friends. Meeting up with sewing friends who I've met through the online community is really like meeting up with old friends. It just comes so naturally. These days were absolute highlights of my trip especially as they occurred after Charlie Hebdo, a time when I really needed a bit of distraction from the profound sadness.
I'll talk about my  sewing day in Paris in another post, but this make is from fabric I bought in Strasbourg, where I spent most of the holiday. Here, I met up with Christine for a day of chatting, fabric, lunch and shopping.  We were also going to meet up with Connie, who sadly couldn't make it at the last minute.  Next time! And in fact Christine has sent me a list of amazing places to go to in the extended area so now I can't wait to go to Strasboug again next year and meet up with Christine and Connie! In Strasbourg centre ville there isn't really many places to fabric shop, but there is La Droguerie, where I bought two pieces,  This make uses a liberty-esqe lawn called Pollock Flamboyant Ambiance. an abstract splatter paint design.  I bought matching binding (genius!).
I'm always nervous about sewing up holiday fabric. It always seems so much more special, but I was impatient to sew and try my new machine and this was the 'easiest' piece of fabric that I bought. I was going to sew another Marthe, but there has been a lot of talk on instagram on the Japanese Sewalong so I thought I would have a look at my Japanese pattern books.
Last year when I was in Sydney for Frocktails, Lizzy  bought  Clean and Simple and I immediately fell in love with the jumpsuit in it.  I didn't have time to go to the book shop in Sydney and pick up a copy but immediately rang the bookstore on arriving back in Canberra and bought it over the phone. I am still super keen to sew up the jumpsuit, especially after meeting Christine, who is absolutely the jumpsuit queen, (making 11 in the last 18 months!), but I was looking for something simple and quick, so after much deliberation settled on the peplum blouse on the cover.  My love for the peplum is well documented and I have been itching to sew a higher necked top for ages,
During the making of this blouse, I fluctuated between loving it and hating it. The peplum is unusual and sits lower than I would normally like to wear it (being on a trend lately of moving peplums higher and higher) and it is elastic waisted. I find I have to be a bit vigilant with the elastic as it can cause the 'ruffles' to be a bit uneven. I love Japanese patterns as they are drafted for my height 160cm (well I'm a few centimetres shorter but when you round..), but I added a couple of centimetres to the 'skirt' to give me some flexibility. I should have added a bit more as I felt the balance would be out if I did a bigger hem and so only managed a very small hem (overlocked and then turned up 1/2 cm).
The blouse has dropped shoulders, which I love and as a result I kept the elastic loose in the peplum as it looked like that was how it should be in the cover photo and I like how this lets the blouse hang. The sleeves are quite puffy and have elastic in the wrist. I took 3cms off the length of the sleeves to assist with balance.  I always like to show the wrist bone when there is elastic in the wrist! :) I might consider reducing the puffiness of the sleeve next time.
There are no darts to sew and the neck is finished with binding and the back is closed with a button - which is self covered as I amazingly didn't have anything that I really liked in my stash.
So my verdict on the blouse. I like it. Ok, it's not exactly a woo hoo make, but I do like the quirkiness of the design and I really like wearing it and can imagine wearing it at different times. I've worn it here very casually but it will also look ok with skinny leg jeans or for work. I wore it yesterday to meet up with sewing friends and there wasn't much love for it there, but I know this isn't a blouse for everyone and in reality I couldn't see any of my friends wearing it so I wasn't offended. So maybe that's why I like it, in fact, that might make me like it more! So that's the first make of 2015 done!