Saturday, 17 October 2015

Tessuti Colette Top

I have a stash of lovely Japanese cotton lawn that was on sale last year at Spotlight. Every time they had a sale I seemed to come home with another piece. The lawn was light, floaty and beautiful and I couldn't decide what to do with it. Then I saw the new pattern release at Tessuti's of the Colette Top.

 Colette Tunic Top.   I downloaded it then went a bit nuts cutting and pasting the dratted thing together. I wish they would just number the pages once - in order - instead of their ABC 123 grid pattern. What a pain. Then I ran out of ink and had to go get a cartridge for my printer, thinking never again! But I guess that's the price you pay for get-it-now pattern gratification!

I love the top. It's just the thing for a summer cover up.

We are already getting some hot days and these shots were taken this morning on the way to the beach. Nearby is a strip of shops and one of them sells beach wear very similar to this. I looked around thinking I sewed mine!

The pattern comes in top or tunic length. The tunic length is five and a half inches longer and would pretty much be a mini dress on me.

I had not made any of Tessuti's patterns before and went with a Large going by my high bust measurement. When I measured the pattern in the flat this meant I would have about four inches of ease. I went with that as I was concerned about it being too tight over the bust but it's fine and I probably could go with a Medium.

The top is designed to be loose but not voluminous. The neckline and back are smooth, not gathered like other smock type beach cover ups. I like how the front button opening can be worn open or closed.
There is gathering at the centre front panel and at the sleeves. The top has raglan sleeves and princess seams. The sleeves and neck are finished with self bias at the neck and narrow bands at the sleeves.

Construction and changes:

My main challenge was to squeeze this top out of my piece of fabric. I had to do a CB seam and do a join in the bias and shorten the sleeves a bit.
The instructions are good. One spot where I did things differently was to do the buttonholes as soon as I had doubled over the placket during the construction of the bodice instead of at the end when I would have had to coerce the buttonhole foot to fight with the front cross seam. Been in that situation before and my machine doesn't like it!
I didn't use interfacing in the placket or at the neck. My material was firm enough for buttons and at the neck I just stay stitched.
For the next one I will gather the bottom of the sleeve edges and attach the sleeve bands before I do the side seams, then fold the bands back and finish them.

The pattern pieces go together well except for the front side pieces. For some reason mine was half an inch shorter than any of the other pieces. I don't know if this is a fault in the pattern or the way I pieced the side front together. Anyway at this stage I am not blaming the pattern!
It's probably good practice to compare the pieces of any print out pattern before cutting into material though.

The verdict: If you live anywhere that is going to be hot any time soon I recommend this pattern. It's quick to sew, nice to wear and has quite a few possibilites for top, tunic or beach dress.

Edit 2 November 2015

If you read through the comments there is a conversation between myself and Colette, the creator of the pattern.
I want to repeat - I Love The Pattern. I love the design and the instructions are good.
I printed it out again to make sure it was to scale.
I pieced it meticulously. I sewed it with mathematical precision, according to the instructions using - as stated - 1/2" seams throughout, except for the neck. The side front did match the side back at the side seams    but not at the front princess seams and it was still short.. However they did match once I had unpicked the side panels and sewn a 5/8" seam where the front bodice meets the gathered front panel instead of a 1/2" seam.
I don't want to start another argument. I am just telling what I found. I am an experienced sewer. I have made many big 4 patterns with far more glaring pattern or instruction inconsistencies.

I hope I can walk into Tessuti's again, but I have to maintain my own independent opinion. Thanks.

Happy Sewing,

Saturday, 3 October 2015

V9112 Marcy Tilton Dress

Sydney's having an early spring heatwave. People are flocking to swimming pools and beaches. The transitional season clothes have been pushed to the back of the wardrobe - not put away - next week we may need them again!

But for now it's all about dresses.

I've made up V9112, Marcy Tilton's quirky trapeze dress.  Vogue 9112

This was really a wearable muslin. I ran it up out of lime green cotton seersucker - crisp but drapey, double sided -  bought at a 40% off sale at Spotlight. I cut a medium according to my measurements. Once I saw it was going to work I added dark green cotton paisley self made bias topstitched on to bring out the design lines.

I considered making the dress without the collar but it needs it to balance the flounces.

I did a sway back adjustment and made the dress a bit shorter than the pattern. My original hem was 5/8". I just flipped it over again and topstitched.

It's airy, it's swishy. No zips to weigh it down and it has pockets. What's not to love?

No doubt there will be another version of this dress made as soon as I find a material - preferably from the stash - that suits.


Thursday, 1 October 2015

Lace T-Shirt or another Hybrid of New Look 6735 and Style Arc Ann T

What to do in changeable hot-cold spring weather?
Make a T-shirt that can be used as a second layer over another T shirt or tank.
I'd had some semi-stretchy cotton lace in the stash for a long time, left over from another project and I had been thinking about making a lace T shirt from it and then I finally got around to making it up in a few hours. It was one of those 'why did I wait so long' things.

I used my  custom T-shirt pattern which is based on New Look 6735  link to NL6735 and the relaxed fit of the Style Arc Ann T  Style ARC Ann T. More on my Hybrid T here and my experience of the Style arc ann T here

I am wearing this T with a purchased flesh coloured tank top from Target.

My Hybrid T

For this T shirt I raised the neckline 6 cm and cut the back on the fold. The fewer seams in lace the better. It really helps to have the front as a full pattern piece when cutting out, for the placement of lace or stripes or anything really!  

Luckily there was 3cm  of plain knit forming the selvedge. I cut my neck band from that.

Tips for construction:

Wash  your lace to preshrink.

Be careful not to stretch it during cutting and handling.

Stabilise the shoulders with 1cm strips of whisper weft.

Sew the shoulders with a narrow zig zag then serge. 

Cut your neck strip about 3 inches longer than you need.
To attach your neck strip,* stretch it  ever so slightly as you zig zag, keeping the strip on top and the body of the T shirt at the teeth. Feed the bottom layer in as you stretch the top.
* Don't close the ends yet -  just do it as a strip
This sounds tricky but once you get the idea it works well for applying neckbands or elastic for that matter. The ideal ratio seems to be 4 inches of band to 5 inches of body. Pre pin until you get the hang of it. Instead of sewing the neckband as a closed loop I attach one end, starting an inch away from the CB and go around then I leave another 1 inch gap and the tail hanging. Then once I am happy with the fit I close the CB of the neck band with zig zag and the serger.
Then I zig zag around the neck from the outside to make the serged seam lie flat towards the body.

Attach the sleeves in the flat. 

Finish the hems of the sleeves with heatnbond lite. This is an iron on strip of sticky webbing that you put inside hem fold and iron to stick it together. It eventually washes away. Be sure to use a cloth between the garment and your iron to avoid a sticky hotplate. Finish  off with a 3mm x 3mm zig zag near the edge.

Serge one side seam from sleeve to T-shirt hem. First do a few straight stitches with the sewing machine at the start and the finish first to prevent shifting by the serger foot.
Hem of the body of the T shirt using heatnbond lite as for the sleeves.

Serge the other sleeve to body seam. Stitch a few straight stitches with the sewing machine to hide the tail.

There it is.

Our sunny but pleasantly warm days are predicted to give way to the full blast of a dangerously dry summer. I'm making hot weather dresses now!

Happy sewing wherever you are,