Sunday, 24 November 2013

Button Up Shirt for Me

After my foray into sewing for others "The Birthday Shirt" and "The Madeline Dress", I have gone back to selfish sewing and made myself a button up shirt. This is a make I have had on my list for quite a while now, but haven't quite had the confidence to start.

I used the Archer Shirt Pattern from Grainline Studio. I was inspired by so many other Archers out there in blog land. Check these out PinterestGoogleFlickr. So many shirts for inspiration. I chose to make View A. The pattern has a collar and separate collar band, a back yoke, a pleat in the centre back, a separate button band, pockets, long sleeves, angled cuffs and a continuous cuff placket.

I chose a lovely sheer cotton/poly voile in white which I purchased online from The Remnant Warehouse and it is still available. I love this fabric. Although it is very lightweight, it was easy to sew and pressed beautifully and it feels very soft and floaty to wear.

Although I did follow the Archer Sew Along which was great, I still found myself referring back to the Craftsy Class "The Classic Tailored Shirt". This class had so much more detailed instruction and I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone new to sewing button up shirts.

Front view (worn with a white tank top underneath for modesty)

Side View (Notice the huge sleeves)

Back view

I sewed a straight size 12 which was the correct size for my bust measurement. This shirt is loose fitting, but the sleeve proportions are ridiculous. I have long arms yet these sleeves are way too long and full and the cuff circumference was huge. No wonder so many reviewers had said they used a smaller sleeve size.

Oh dear, sleeves are too long.
Angled cuff detail
Back yoke and pleat
I sewed the seams on my sewing machine (note this pattern has 1/2 inch seam allowances) and then overlocked the seam allowances together with my overlocker, pressed to one side and then top stitched. This gives the look of flat felled seams without all the work. I did consider doing french seams, but with the 1/2 inch seam allowances, and french seams being a new technique for me, I chickened out.

Front detail and close up of fabric.
After reading Art Attack's blog about one of her Archer's, she inspired me to try "snaps" instead of buttons. I ordered the Snapsetter tool and snaps from I was very impressed with this company. The website is very easy to navigate and place an order. It took two weeks exactly from placing the order to receiving the order on my doorstep (that's USA to regional Australia). So this is the first garment I have tried them on and I am very happy with the result.

I'm sure I will be sewing more Archer's down the track.

Happy Sewing

Monday, 4 November 2013

The Madeline Dress by Wink Designs

My eldest Granddaughter is turning 3 at the end of this month and I have had my eye out for a simple toddler dress pattern that would be suitable to make for her as a gift. Initially, I purchased Simplicity 2265 in the recent pattern sale on Pattern Review. After having a closer look at it and reading some reviews, I realised there was quite a lot of work in making it, plus I was not going to be able to do any fittings during construction, as she lives a 6 hour drive away from me.

Then I spotted The Madeline Dress by Wink Designs.  Blogless Anna was a pattern tester and made a very cute "Madeline Dress" for her daughter. I was smitten with the cuteness of it and I checked out Wink Designs Etsy Shop straight away. Wink Designs is a small pattern maker based in Sydney Australia, who sells her PDF patterns for little girls through her Etsy shop.

Photo by Wink Designs
Photo by Wink Designs

I just loved the sweet little peter pan collar, the simple bodice, the buttons at the back, the cute pockets with the contrasting pocket flap and the fullness of the gathered skirt. This was just what I was looking for. So here is my version.

Based on my Granddaughters measurements (taken during her last visit a few weeks ago) I cut a size 2 bodice and I lengthened the skirt to the size 3. I purchased this polycotton fabric from Bargain Box Fabrics. I love the bright and cheerful colours.

The PDF Pattern was very easy to put together and each size was in a different colour, making it very easy to trace the correct size. There is a size chart (based on body measurements), instructions on how to assemble the PDF pattern, a fabric guide and a cutting layout. The instructions were clear and easy to follow and included some line drawings and a photo to illustrate the construction steps. The only problem I had was cutting out the main fabric. The recommended yardage was not enough to fit all the pattern pieces on. I overcame the issue by adding a contrasting strip across the bottom of the skirt. This was cut from the recommended yardage for the contrast fabric. Anyway, I quite like the contrasting band on the skirt. It ties in the collar and the pocket flaps.

Contrasting Peter Pan Collar

Buttons and buttonholes on the back of the bodice.

Pocket with contrasting pocket flap.

Contrasting band on skirt hem with top stitching.

The bodice is fully lined with contrasting fabric.

Inside back of bodice with button closure.
There was no interfacing used in this dress. The instructions suggest putting interfacing in the collar if preferred, but said it wasn't necessary. When I make this dress again, I think I will interface the area under the buttonholes. They feel a little fragile without interfacing.

Inside of skirt.
I over-locked (serged) the raw edges inside the dress to neaten them and the hem is simply turned up twice and top stitched.

I hope my Granddaughter will love this dress as much as I do. Hopefully I will update this post with a photo of her modelling the dress after her birthday.

Happy Sewing