Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Lining the Style Arc Marni

I sewed a lining into the jacket I showed you in the last post, and thanks to the feedback from all the lovely ladies at the ASG sewing group at Rhodes on Saturday I've decided that this jacket is completed and is good enough to wear - a great outcome for what was essentially a test version. 

I travelled into work this morning with my husband and I forced him take some photos for me next to an old sandstone building near our offices, so you all get a different background than my usual lounge room. I wore it today with a black dress I'd made pre-blogging days (Vogue 8280), so it's too bad I'm not doing MMM because I nailed it today.  The jacket was very comfortable and kept me warm on a chilly day and it wore so much better with a lining as it didn't catch on my clothes at all. It does need some slight fitting adjustments for the next version - mainly a forward shoulder adjustment and a bit more interfacing, but overall this one is still pretty good.


excuse those squinty eyes - it was early morning and I'm soooo tired!
For the closure I decided to sew a loop from some black hat elastic into one side and sewed on a button which was much easier than fiddling with a buttonhole or doing a covered snap:


It also looks much better on the inside having a lining covering up all those seams:


Making a lining for it wasn't that difficult either, and whilst I don't particular like doing tutorials since I'm not an expert in these things (my pet hate is newbie sewists doing tutorials on their blogs) I will share how I did here partly because BeaJay asked me on Saturday but mainly so that when I go to do this again I remember exactly how I did it!

First up the fabric - back in 2011 when I wondered what fabric to use to line this New Look 6000 dress I made from ponte, a few people suggested a stretch knit fabric so I picked up a roll of black stretch knit from the Remnant Warehouse on one of their two for one rolls Tuesday, which has a soft, slippery hand almost like fabric you would use for a slip. I still haven't lined that purple ponte dress yet, but the fabric is perfect for lining this jacket.  It does have more stretch to it than the ponte I used for the outer fabric, but I figured that would be fine.

Next the pattern pieces - for the lining I used the side front, sleeve, back peplum and back pattern pieces as drafted.  I didn't add a pleat to the back pattern piece for wearing ease that you would normally see in a jacket at the neckline because I made the lining from stretch fabric.  I drafted new pattern pieces for the front and front peplum.

For the jacket front lining pattern piece, I laid the front facing piece over the jacket front piece and traced off a new pattern piece, remembering to add a seam allowance and rounding off the pointy corner bit because that was designed to be sewn down to the shoulder seam which now isn't needed because it's going to be sewn to the lining instead: 




neckline as per the pattern drafting


neckline when rounded off for the lining

For the front peplum lining pattern piece I made a new pattern piece by folding over the centre front facing bit and folding the dart over too and added a seam allowance to the centre front, so that I had a pattern piece that was the same shape but much narrower.


Finally the construction order - I sewed all the lining pieces together, and then sewed the lining to the jacket at the collar/centre front and the sleeves ends (not the cuffs).  Then I hemmed the jacket (2cm deep) and lining (3cm deep) separately to each other so that the lining would hang freely which I figured was the best way to deal with the pleated fabric at the front. 


I sewed the lining to the jacket on the inside along the waist seam allowance just to anchor the lining in place and so it wouldn't twist around when being worn. Then I sewed the cuffs back on, not bothering to sandwich the raw edges in the middle of the cuff layer because it won't be visible and I was feeling lazy, but next time I probably would just to make it look better.

And that's all it took - pretty easy really and I still can't understand why the pattern didn't include a lining.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Style Arc Marni - the first attempt

I really, really wanted this pattern to work because it has so many things I like in a jacket - a shawl collar which is not just easier to sew than a notched collar but is also a more feminine look when worn with a dress or a top, princess seams and a waist seam which really helps in getting a close fit especially for a sway back and three quarter sleeves with turned up cuffs which might give you cold wrists but makes you look like you're ready to get stuck into work.  Plus the name of the pattern has a hold on me - if Toby was born a girl he would have been called Marnie after the title character in a book I read as a child but still vividly remember even though it's been more than 20 years since I last read it - When Marnie was There by Joan G Robinson.  The other character in that book is called Anna, so it would have turned out nicely except Toby decided to come out a boy!

Thankfully my first attempt at the Style Arc Marni has turned out brilliantly!


I made this as a hopefully wearable test version from some cheap, rather thin ponti bought from Spotlight two years ago during one of their very frequent sales.  I had intended to make a stretchy dress from it whilst I pregnant with Toby but never got around to it which left me with 3m of this in the stash.  For this version I've made no changes whatsoever to the pattern pieces - just cut them out and sewed them up exactly according to the pattern. As you can see from the photo above I haven't added a closure to the front yet and nor have I hemmed the peplum, but overall I think the fit is pretty good and I need only make small changes for the final version.  There is  a bit of excess fabric at the front near the armhole which I think is caused by my forward rounded shoulders, so I need to pinch a bit out there and maybe take in a little along the princess seam at the bust, but otherwise not too bad.

What I like about this pattern:
  • as others have noted about Style Arc patterns, the drafting is spot on. All the notches lined up exactly, and the individual pieces fit together properly, without any one bit being too short or too long in comparison with the piece it is to be sewn too.
  • the jacket turned out looking exactly as the diagram and there was no surprise or shock at the finished garment as can (and does often) happens with a pattern that only comes with an illustration and not a photo of the finished pattern on the envelope! It looks good with a belt as illustrated and turned up cuffs:

  •  the fit is excellent as there isn't any crazy amount of excess ease as there usually is with commercial patterns. The Style Arc pattern has turned out to be more like RTW than nearly any other jacket I've made using commercial patterns. Having a waist seam with darts at the back means I was able to get a very close fit:


  • the pattern is printed on durable white paper instead of thin, too easily torn tissue paper. Yes it means it's harder to pin to the fabric and make fitting adjustments but for an expensive pattern at least it's not going to fall apart any time soon. 
What I don't like about this pattern:
  • The jacket is unlined.  I think this jacket is intended to be a softly draping unstructured jacket, and no one else has seemed to complain about this, but I just found that the jacket clung really badly to the clothes underneath and I had to keep readjusting it every time I moved.  You can see the drag lines in a few photos above. It's also really hard to slide my arm into it when I was wearing sleeves underneath because the fabric kept bunching.  I just think that unlined jackets should only be made out of stiff fabrics just denim or heavy drill.  Plus the inside looks really messy without a lining to cover up the seams and stabilising tape along the shoulder seam.  Sure I could have bound each of those seams with bias binding which a more meticulous and patient sewist would do, but I prefer to take the easy route and just to cover them up with a lining.  So my next attempt will be to draft a lining for this jacket.
 

  • Too little is interfacing suggested. The pattern calls for only the collar facing to be interfaced, which I'd say is because it's unlined and you'd be able to see any other interfacing used in the jacket.  I did interface the cuffs with some whisperweft which gave them more substance when folded up, but I wish I used some more especially around the shoulders as the sleeve head seems to have collapsed. The next version I make which will have a lining I will add some interfacing to the jacket in the same manner I would for a tailored jacket.
  • The instructions are super sparse and was a bit confusing in parts - for example the notch in the cuff lines up with sleeve seam, and not another notch.  Luckily there was a diagram to indicate how to do the cuffs because I don't think I would have worked them out at all. I've made a few shawl collar jackets before so I knew how the collar attaches, but I think if you were a beginner sewist the lack of instructions and diagrams for the rest of the jacket would make this a semi challenging project.
  • Changes in the seam allowances. This pattern uses what I understand is the industry standard of 1cm (3/8 in) seam allowance instead of the overly generous 1.5cm (5/8 in) that the other commercial patterns use.  Whilst I do like having that extra fitting room in the seam allowance when I'm making dresses or pants, I was fine to use the different seam allowance on this jacket.  Except the pattern requires an even narrower seam allowance of 6mm just for the internal seam of the collar and the seam along the slit in the cuff. Which of course I forgot to do - unpicking stitches in knit fabrics is so tedious - yes I should have paid more attention when I was sewing but I'm so used to just sitting down and sewing all the seams at the same width!
  • Single size pattern - maybe I've been using the Big 4 patterns for too long but I am just so used to getting a range of sizes in the one pattern which is really helpful for easily grading up or down between sizes as required, plus having the option to sew a different size if you wanted to make the pattern for someone else.  It's not really a problem for me on this jacket because it did fit, but it would make me think twice about ordering a Style Arc pattern for a dress or pants where I do need to grade between 3 different sizes for my  bust, waist and hips.
Hmmm, it seems I am being a bit critical aren't I? That list of things above of the things I didn't like are really quite minor issues and overall I really like this pattern.  I will try out a lining in the jacket which hopefully turns out well so I can wear this version because it goes so well with this red dress I made recently.  I'll also definitely make this in the lovely blueberry ponte I have left over from this dress that I bought from Tessuti's at the first Sydney sewists meetup last year. 

Speaking of the Sydney sewists meetup it's not too late to RSVP for our next event on Sunday June 23 - High Tea at the American Club in Sydney - the more the merrier I say!

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Fooled again by the big 4....

First up thank you to all those who have emailed me to RSVP to the Sydney sewists high tea - I'll be in touch shortly with paypal details (once I remember my password and work out how to accept payments).  Commiserations to all those who don't live in Sydney and can't make it, but don't worry - if you're a blogger we'll probably be talking about you anyway! In the nicest of terms of course.....

We spent last weekend in Canberra with a group of friends doing the rounds of the usual kids attractions such as the National Science Museum, Cockington Green gardens, the National Dinosaur Museum - so much fun.  Australians love to deride Canberra as boring and sterile, and it's probably because of the town planner in me but I really love Canberra, it's so beautifully landscaped, spacious and logically set out (well it is masterplanned by the great Walter Burley Griffin after all). 

But for some reason I always think that it's really really cold in Canberra, except in summer when it's really really hot.  And even though last weekend the weather turned out to be perfect autumn weather with really warm and sunny days and cooler nights, I had a mini panic attack last week thinking that Toby didn't have enough warm clothes.  Especially since he's gone through a growth spurt and has pretty much outgrown the winter hand-me-down clothes from his sister even though she was three months older at the time she wore them.

So I decided to make some simple elastic waist pants for him using fabrics from the stash of course. Since I do all my sewing when the kids are asleep I can't get them to try on things I'm making before I finish them, which quite often results in ill fitting clothes that need fixing.  This time was no different! I used McCalls 5962, which is now OOP (perhaps that should have been a clue) and some black fleece from the stash to make two pairs of track suit pants:












































Ooops, way too big!  The legs are very wide, the crotch is very low and the waistband too loose.  Since doing the overlocker workshop at the last ASG meeting I've learnt that to lower the blades on my overlocker only needs a half turn of a nob, so I attached the elastic with the overlocker before turning it over and topstitching with a twin needle - that's a lot of stitching to undo (which I haven't yet done either....). And I sewed on some patch pockets on the front just to liven them up a little so I just can't run them in down the sides.

For the next pair I took out 3cm width of each leg both front and back from the waistband to the cuff to reduce the width of the leg and seat area, which means I took out a whopping 12cm all around.  You'd think that would be enough wouldn't you? Well you'd be wrong! I made a pair from some stretch corduroy in a lovely caramel colour, cut out from a straight skirt that I'd made for myself years ago that didn't turn out so great and had been sitting in the UFO/refashion box ever since.  Since this only had a little bit of stretch I was being a bit cautious about how much I narrowed the pattern pieces, but I need not have worried at all:



Plenty of room still! Seriously, what size babies are those pattern companies drafting these patterns on? Toby isn't a huge baby, but he's not a skinny one either and even though his body measurements were a little bit bigger than the largest size in this pattern the pants absolutely swim on him.  I think I'll do what I should have done in the first place - draft a pattern from a pair of RTW pants that do fit him.

To jazz up the corduroy version I topstitched faux pockets and zipper fly and sewed on some knee patches from cotton.  I used a pattern piece from another kids pattern for the oval shape which is also way too big, and clearly I placed it too low on the leg because they are more like shin patches rather than knee patches, but it's still a cute touch.


The fabric for the knee patches is actually a piece I purged from my fabric stash during my still ongoing clean out, that was sitting in a pile of folded fabric on the floor waiting to be donated.  Actually it's the third piece to be put back in to the stash from the discards pile after Anna latched on to two other pieces that I was going to ditch. So now I'm having second thoughts of getting rid of any fabric! And there's no real urgency now to clean out my stash since it's looking like we may not sell our house this year after all - it all hinges on the lives of two dogs.  Which would sound funny to non dog lovers, but our plan is to move into an apartment after we sell our house so obviously our dog can't come with us.  He was going to live with my inlaws, but since my MIL has her hands full looking after my FIL we didn't want to burden her with the responsibility of the dog too.  And our dog does not get along my with parents dog either, so we're waiting for one of them to go to the big dog park in the sky before we make any move.  Both dogs are pretty old so it could be any time in the near future (not that I want that to happen of course). Watch this space, as they say!

I've already started on the Stylearc Marni jacket pattern that I posted in the last post, using a cheap ponte that I had in the stash bought on sale from Spotlight a few years back that I'm hoping will be a wearable trial version before I cut into my beautiful blueberry Tessuti ponte.  I must be growing up and getting sensible - I never used to do practice versions because I was always too impatient and lazy!

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

High tea and high fashion - the next Sydney sewists meetup

Would you like to partake in a high tea, glass of sparking wine in hand chatting to fellow sewing obsessives and enjoying this view?:

source: levelfourteen.com.au


Of course you do! Then you simply must come to our next Sydney sewists social soiree!

Date: Sunday 23 June at 1.30pm
Venue:  Level Fourteen, The American Club - 131 Macquarie St Sydney
Cost: $47 p.p
RSVP: to Kristy_Idle "at" hotmail.com by 3 June

After seeing the glorious time that our fellow sewists down in Melbourne had at their SewcieTea , we (Christy, Sharon and myself) decided that us ladies here in Sydney also needed an opportunity to frock up and gather en masse to admire our lovely garments in a way that non-sewists just wouldn't understand.

Now I know that $47 is on the pricier side of things for an afternoon tea, but the menu sounds divine, that view is magnificent and since we won't be doing any fabric shopping I'm sure it will all even out.  Pre-payment will be required - I'll send out the details to those who rsvp.

I hope you can make it!

Monday, 6 May 2013

Slow sewing

Well it's been an extremely slow week this past week for me sewing wise.  Toby has been a bit sick, nothing serious just a cold and very high temperature but it was enough to make him very unsettled and clingy which has meant he has been spending most of the day and night curled up in my arms.  Which makes it very hard to sew, actually very hard to do anything really!  I usually do a little bit of sewing each day, but last week the only project I finished was a jumbo sized zippered bag made from fabric leftover from Anna's recent floral dress:



It's a gift bag for my mum for mother's day because I prefer to give reusable bags or scarves instead of wrapping paper for gifts, with the bonus that I didn't add to my fabric scrap bag with that fabric either! I've been doing photobooks of Anna (and this year of Toby too) each year and giving them to my mother and mother-in-law, so the bag will be handy storage for them too.

Whilst I haven't been doing any sewing, patterns have been flowing in thick and fast though! First up I received two Sewaholic patterns in the mail from the lovely Reona who in one of those "isn't it a small world" situations lives not far from where I grew and actually owns a dress shop very near where my parents currently live.  Reona thought that she probably wouldn't sew the Sewaholic Cordova jacket or the Pendrell blouse and contacted me to see if I either wanted them for myself or a giveaway.  I initially thought of a blog giveway since I have loads of projects lined up already, but after seeing so many lovely projects out there made from these patterns I thought it was time I tried this pattern company.  Thank you again Reona - it's very generous of you to gift these patterns to me.  I do have some heavy cotton duck (or drill, can't remember) in a dark taupe colour I've pulled out of the stash to make the Cordova jacket once I can find the right zip for it.

Sewaholic Pendrell
Sewaholic Cordova




















Then I spied the Style Arc Marni jacket over at BeaJay's blog when she made a version in a gorgeous chocolate brown ponte knit. Talk about serendipitous timing - I've been looking for the right pattern to make a jacket from some blueberry ponte leftover from this dress I made a while ago and this pattern is just lovely.  It has all the elements I love in a jacket - a shawl collar, princess seams, three quarter sleeves and waist definition. As a bonus when I bought this pattern, the Amber top pattern came free, which is a great pattern designed for wovens (yay!) and I'm definitely going to make it soon(ish). I haven't tried a Style Arc pattern yet either, but I've seen some great results out there so I'm pretty excited to try them out.


Style Arc Marni Jacket


Style Arc - Amber Top
As a nice touch, the Style Arc patterns arrived with a swatch of recommended fabrics attached to help choose the right weight of fabric. The instructions look a little sparse, but as a survivor of the Burda school of nonsensical pattern instructions I'm sure I can handle a little sparseness!

And then I was in Spotlight the other day buying some thread and checking out their rather limited range of zippers when I noticed the $5 pattern sale was still going.  I had avoided it thus far because I have enough patterns in my to do list for the next year (or three!) that I do not need anymore patterns even at that good price.  But I caved and bought Burda Style 7286, after seeing this fantastic jacket over at Sew Tessuti made by one of their customers in a jacquard fabric.  When I saw that the pattern also included a version with a scarf type collar I was sold - I just need to find the right fabric now for both jackets.
Burda 7212

Burda 7286





















I also bought Burda Style 7212 which I spied whilst flipping through the pattern book because I really like the overlapped shawl collar and peplum style of version A (the grey jacket). I couldn't find this jacket made up by anyone after a quick google search and check of Patternreview.com so fingers crossed it turns out well because I quite like the corporate look with a slight quirk and I think this jacket would be perfect.

I also purchased New Look 6808, a top with several variations after seeing quite a few cute versions of this pattern that Lauren has made over at Sew Lonnie - I'm a sucker for a cute collar because it saves me having to accessorise (I always forget to put on a necklace).

New Look 6808 - ladies tops
And the final course in this pattern gluttony was the arrival of my May Burda mag in today's mail finally.  When I first subscribed directly from Burda the issues would always arrive a few days before the start of the month, so I was getting quite impatient for this one since it's six whole days late,  How soon I forget that my previous subscription was always about 2 or more months behind ha ha ha!  I've seen a few previews of the May issue around on the internets and it doesn't look promising, but I'm sure I'll find something to make.  I'm a bit perplexed as to why it says on the front cover '16 free patterns' because there doesn't seem to be 16 more patterns than usual inside and since I bought the magazine purely for the patterns they aren't free at all!

To all of you who are participating in Me May Made can I just say how impressed I am with you all - such dedication and energy to all that outfit planning, photographing and posting.  I usually do wear some made by myself each and every day but I just knew I wouldn't have time to photograph it which is why I didn't sign up, but I'm thoroughly enjoying seeing everyone else post.  Especially Sharon's post on the first day where she was wearing not only clothes she made but also a necklace and handbag she made - that's taking the challenge to the extreme!

And finally, Sydney sewists - another meet up is in the planning stage, probably on a Sunday sometime in June so start thinking about what you'll sew or wear!