Saturday, 28 September 2013

Springtime Style Arc Nina Cardigan

I have made myself another Style Arc Nina Cardigan for spring.

Spring has sprung in Australia and I have been enjoying the sweet scent of the wisteria growing on our side fence. Thought it would be a pretty backdrop for my purple Style Arc Nina Cardigan. Style Arc are an Australian pattern making company based in Melbourne. I have made a few of their patterns and have been very pleased with them all and I have noticed lots of favourable reviews for Style Arc on Pattern Review as well. Check out Anne's blog Clothing Engineer for lots of reviews of Style Arc patterns.

Nina Cardigan

I have made this cardigan previously (pre blog) and posted a review on Pattern Review. This review has a lot more construction details and detailed photos.

I love the flattering front folds and draping of this cardigan. It has a very slimming shape which is great for my rectangular figure (not much of a waist).

For this one I used a light to medium weight jersey with a lovely drape. Not sure of the fabric content. I sewed this mainly with my overlocker and finished the hems using Lite Steam A Seam 2 and sewing with my twin needle. I did have one major blunder while overlocking the seams. When you use the overlocker you lose a lot of control over keeping the layers of fabric perfectly together. This resulted in the centre back seam being very badly matched with the waist seam. I didn't realise this until I had overlocked the entire seam and I was not going to attempt to unpick all that stitching. This bugs me to no end, but I have since found a helpful tip to avoid this problem over on Karen's blog Did You Make That. I will definitely be using this tip next time.

Hope you are enjoying sewing for the change of seasons...Autumn (or Fall) for the Northern Hemisphere and Spring for us "down under".

Happy Sewing

Monday, 9 September 2013

The Perfect Fit (the finished result)

It has been a long road and a steep learning curve, but I have finally finished the outfit previously blogged about here. I had challenged myself to make an outfit, combining elements from three different patterns and putting into practice the fitting skills I had learnt from the Craftsy class Sew The Perfect Fit with Lynda Maynard. The outfit was to wear to my nephew's wedding so I was under pressure to have it completed by September 7th. I finished with a couple of days to spare.

Here are some photos taken at the hotel where we stayed just before leaving for the wedding.

Front view

Back View (this makes me look very bow legged)
I used the bodice from New Look 6130, the sleeves from Vogue 8766 and the skirt was BHL Charlotte Skirt. The fabric I used was Purple Rose Brocade purchased from Spotlight and I used a black anti static Italian Lining also purchased from Spotlight. The brocade frayed madly the minute it was cut, so I overlocked the raw edges as soon as possible. This seemed to keep the fraying under control. 

Peplum detail
I loved how the peplum turned out. Because the brocade was quite stiff, it gave the peplum plenty of body. I ironed the pleats right down to the edge to get them to sit properly. It was difficult to iron a straight crease in the areas cut on the bias, so they are not perfect.

Neckline and bodice.
I was very pleased with how nicely the neckline sat with no gaping. It really is well worth the effort of making a muslin and getting the fit right.

Darts at the sleevehead
Here is a close up of the darts at the sleevehead. I love how neatly they shaped the sleeve and it was very easy to ease into the armscye.

Invisible zip
I was very pleased with my invisible zip insertion. It worked perfectly, first go and even matched the waist seam perfectly. I used the tutorial from The Coletterie

To hem the peplum there was one corner that needed to be mitred. I had to practice a lot on some scraps because it was not a perfect right angle and I new that the brocade would not be very forgiving if I stuffed up and had to unpick. To my amazement, it turned out really neat.

Mitred corner right side.

Mitred corner wrong side
Here are some detailed shots of the inside and lining.

Front. I used purchased satin bias binding to cover the overlocked edge of the facing.
Inside sleeve hem. Satin bias binding used as hem tape.
Back. I bound the end of the zip because it was loo long and I had to shorten it.
The lining was sewed by machine to the neckline and the zip, and then hand sewn at the sleeves and the waist.

I had to make quite a few fitting changes to the Charlotte Skirt. I removed 2.5cm from the top of the skirt, which shortened the darts and I reshaped the side seams to match my curves (or lack of). I removed another 7cm from the bottom of the skirt before hemming. This skirt pattern is very long. I also added a slit at the back seam. Without this, it was impossible to walk in this skirt. I was surprised this was not included in the pattern or instructions.

Back slit to enable walking.
Inside back slit.
This inside shot reveals my big mistake. This is why you should not sew late at night when you are too tired to be thinking straight. I cut the lining too short. I had cut off 7cm from the brocade at the hemline, so I proceeded to cut an extra 2 cm off the lining, so that it would be 2cm shorter than the skirt. (But I forgot that I added the satin bias tape to finish off the hem). Too bad...I was not going to start again.

I attached the lining to the slit by machine so that it would not show. This is a technique I clearly need to improve on.

Lining hem
I used a decorative machine stitch to sew the lining hem.

I have learned a lot during the planning and construction of this outfit, and improved some of my sewing skills. I am convinced that it is definitely worth the effort of making a muslin to get the fit right before cutting into the good fabric.

A couple of shots from the wedding

 A big thank you to my Mum for all her help during the fitting process. I couldn't have done it without her.
Me with my two sisters. Didn't the colours of our outfits look pretty together?

Now onto the next project...

Happy Sewing

Monday, 2 September 2013

The Accommodating Renfrew

I am probably the only person in the sewing blogosphere who hasn't made the Renfrew before now. If you have been living under a rock you may not have heard of Tasia and Sewaholic Patterns. This is an independent pattern company based in Canada, and they offer a variety of patterns particularly suited to pear shaped women. Maybe, it is because of this that I had not paid a lot of attention to Sewaholic patterns ( being more of a rectangular shape, definitely not a pear). I have been admiring her patterns and enjoying reading many reviews and blog posts about them.

I finally decided to try the Sewaholic Renfrew Top, because nearly every review I have read has been so favourable and I thought it would be easy to make it a size smaller at the hips to suit my rectangular shape. I purchased my pattern from Sew Squirrel here in Australia.

There are so many options with this pattern too. Three different necklines and three different sleeve lengths that can be combined in many different ways. 

Here is my version of View A:

I made the size 12. The only change I made was to remove 4cm of length from the hem band. I decided not to grade the pattern down to a smaller size at the hips because I have a bit of extra padding around my tummy area and I didn't want the top to be tight across there. My alterations worked out perfect. Unfortunately, I didn't have enough of this lovely royal blue ponte to make the whole top, so I used some left over charcoal grey ponte from my Style Arc Kristin Dress. It doesn't bother me that it is grey on the back, because I can't see it when I am wearing it (it just bothers everyone else, apparently). Anyway, I think it is fine to wear around the house on the weekend.

I think the fit is very accommodating for my figure. It fits comfortably and it looks good. I love the nice slim cut of the sleeves (without being restrictive in any way) and the flattering scoop neckline. It's shapely without being tight and skims over any lumps and bumps. The sleeves are nice and long which I really like for a winter top.

The neckband sits nice and flat, however, next time I might cut the neckband slightly shorter so it hugs the body a little more. I zig zaged the band to the seam allowance, as instructed in the pattern but I might use my twin needle next time, for a more professional finish.

I just love this pattern, and I am kicking myself for not trying it sooner. I can't wait to try out all the other views. I can see this Renfrew pattern is going to become a real wardrobe staple for me.

OK, I suppose it does look a bit silly with the grey on the back, but desperate times call for desperate measures (and what I can't see, still doesn't bother me) Ha Ha.

And now I had better get back to finishing my outfit for my nephew's Wedding which is next Saturday.

Happy Sewing