Made by Me: Style Arc Dixie dress

Hello there. 

After several weeks at the beginning of the year with hardly any sewing being done around these parts I seem to be getting my mojo back.  I've made my second Style Arc pattern of the year, and I'm a definite convert!

This one is the Dixie top, which was the free pattern for February (you get a free pattern with every).  In my opinion it's worth purchasing even if you've missed it as a freebie.   As you'll see I've lengthened it to dress length. 

The top has a lovely curved seam front and back, which is completely lost in this fabric, but you can see here on the pattern illustration.

I'll definitely be making this again as a top, but decided to lengthen it as at the moment it's really too cold here to be wearing woven tops with elbow length sleeves. 

Style Arc patterns don't come with very detailed instructions, but I found the ones included with this pattern more than adequate for my needs.  I'm not sure they'd suit a beginner though, as there is a certain amount of assumed knowledge required.  The only bit that confused me slightly were the directions for sewing the bias strip to the neckline, but I just attached it as I thought and it's worked fine.

Other than that, everything went together beautifully.  I found the pattern drafting to be excellent, each pattern piece fitted exactly to the others.  All the notches were perfectly aligned and the sleeves went in without a huge amount of easing required. 

I sewed a size 10, and the only alteration I made was a 1 inch sway back adjustment, which is normal for me. 

You can just about see the curved yoke seam in the above photo. 

The fabric is some I've had in my stash for ages.  I'm not sure what it is, I think a viscose/poly blend.  It's quite lightweight, with a medium drape to it.  I bought it with the intention of making a maxi dress, but I think it works really well for this. 

As well as lengthening the dress, I lengthened the sleeves.  The original ones come to just above the elbow, while mine are 3/4 length, with a turn back cuff.   I was originally going to make them full length, but they looked too much.  3/4 length is much better. 

The back neck is finished with single button and handworked button loop.  The pattern gives instructions for a bias fabric loop for the button closure, but mine was too big and thick. 

I apologise for the lack of modelled photos, but its so dark and gloomy here, as well as rainy that I couldn't find anywhere in the house to get a good photo of me wearing it.  Yesterday the weather was gorgeous - almost Spring like - and would have been ideal for photographs. 

I'll be sewing several more Style Arc patterns in the weeks and months to come - I seem to be a bit addicted to them at the moment.

Friday Fancies

It's Friday again!  Actually this week has gone surprisingly quickly.  I'm finding it rather worrying how speedily the weeks seem to fly by these days... does that mean I'm getting old?!

Here I am with another round up of things that have caught my eye this week.

First up, this Toni dress pattern by Style Arc:

I seem to be rather addicted to Style Arc patterns at the moment.  The next two projects I have planned for the Minerva Blogger network are using Style Arc patterns, and I have a couple of others I want to make soon-ish.  I got an email about this one earlier this week and have to confess I ordered it within about 5 minutes of seeing it.  I'm wondering whether the khaki green leopard patterned rayon I got recently would work for it?  I might make it up first in a less precious fabric to check I really like it.

Also earlier this week I was looking for a tutorial for welt pockets, and found this one by Poppykettle.  I didn't end up using all of it for my pockets as some parts weren't really relevant, but it's really rather good.  I'll definitely be referring to it again.

This post from Maria Denmark about altering crotch curves is really interesting.  Sadly I didn't read it until after I'd made my trousers the other week, but I'm going to invest in a French curve so I can follow the tutorial and hopefully get my trousers fitting as they should.

I'm always on the lookout for casual clothes, particularly tops that can be worn with skinny jeans or leggings and I fancy trying the tutorial for this top/tunic.  It's less of a tutorial and more of a drawing marked up in Russian, but it looks simple enough to follow.

Last weekend I was lucky enough to be invited to a fabric/crafting trade show, to help my friend choose dressmaking fabrics for her shop.  (We chose some gorgeous things!).  Whilst browsing the stalls I came across this book, which has some lovely ideas in.  I think it would be a great way to expand on the free motion embroidery I love to do. 

Have you found any great crafty (or other) things you love this week?  If so, leave me a comment and share them. 

Minerva Blogger Network - Style Arc Claudia Trousers

After my sorry tale last week, I'm back today with something slightly more successful.

For my Minerva project this month I decided to tackle something I’m not quite so confident with and make a pair of trousers.  It’s not the making of the trousers I struggle with, but the fitting.  However I think I’ve done quite a good job with these.
The wrinkling you see on the side seams isn’t actually there in real life, but it’s hard to pose by yourself using a self timer!
I used a Style Arc pattern – the Claudia stretch woven pant.
I highly recommend Style Arc patterns if you like to keep up with fashion.  They release new patterns every month, and they’re pretty good at following current trends in ready to wear clothing.  The downsides are you order the pattern size you want, and that's all you get, so if you need to grade between sizes it can take a bit of work; and they are only sold from their base in Australia – although they do have a selection in a newly created Etsy shop.
For my fabric I picked this brown and orange check stretch suiting.  I was initially tempted to go with the same fabric in grey, but decided on the brown for a change.  Unfortunately I forgot to consider the fact that I don’t own much that goes with brown!
You can see from the pattern drawing above that the trousers have a seam down the front of the legs.  I decided to omit this, as I didn’t fancy another place where I needed to pattern match the fabric.  Omitting this was easy; I just laid the pattern pieces on the fabric with the seam allowances overlapping and cut the fronts as one piece rather than two.
When I make trousers I often end up with too much fabric in the rear thighs, below my bottom.  This time the fit seems better here.  There is some wrinkling, but it’s no worse than I’d get from a pair of ready to wear trousers, and the bonus is the waist fits me on these!  That’s something that never happens with RTW. 
There’s not a lot else to say about these trousers.  They fasten at the side with an invisible zip, and have a waist facing instead of a waistband.  Next time I might try drafting a curved waistband, as the facing does pop out a bit.
If you fancy some new trousers I can highly recommend both the fabric and the pattern.  If you like the fabric, but don’t fancy trousers, it would be equally nice for a dress or skirt, or even a jacket.

The Sad Tale of the Coat That Failed

Once upon a time there was a coat.  Well not so much a coat exactly, but all the materials required to become a coat, a lovely, navy blue military inspired coat.

All the fabrics were there, the navy wool blend for the shell, the flannel for the underlining, smart navy self striped lining.  Buttons were purchased, shoulder pads and sleeve heads obtained. 

The pattern was downloaded, printed off and taped together. (A labour of love in itself!).

Then all the poor pieces sat in a cupboard for a year, feeling unloved and thinking they'd been forgotten.

Then one day their owner (lets call her Sam) opened the cupboard, gathered them all together and brought them out to be used and loved.  They were so happy!

They sat patiently while Sam made a muslin and adjusted the fit.  They whispered to each other as she laid them out and cut the pattern pieces from the shell fabric and the underlining.  The lovely striped navy lining sat by and watched, awaiting its turn with growing impatience. 

Sam stitched and trimmed, made bound button holes and pressed.  Everything was going well. 

Then the poor coat got pushed to one side.  It was nearly Christmas, Sam was busy with other things, shopping and cooking and lazing about watching television.  The coat began to wonder if it was ever going to be finished. 

Imagine it's joy when once again Sam came back to it!  It had missed her hands gently smoothing its pieces into place, carefully stitching its seams.   Finally the shell of the coat was complete and Sam set about making the lining.  The lining fabric was almost overcome with excitement when it was her turn to be cut, and as she was sewn together all she could think about was finally being part of the lovely coat she'd seen taking shape from her place on the shelf. 

But it was not to be.  Disaster was on the horizon!

One weekend Sam got up especially early so that she could spend lots of time working on the coat and finishing it.  The weather was cold and she desperately wanted to wear it. 

Again Sam pinned and stitched, pressed and trimmed.  The coat was coming together. Soon it would be ready to take its first step out into the world and (hopefully) be admired by everyone that saw it.

Then came the time for Sam to try the coat on.  It wasn't completely finished.  It's hems still needed stitching and its buttons attaching, but at last it looked like a coat.  It shivered with excitement as Sam slipped it on, holding its breath as she walked to the mirror. 

It was then the disaster revealed itself.  Sam had made a mistake... a big mistake.  She had missed a pattern piece when cutting the skirt lining, which meant that the poor lining was too small, and was trying to pull the shell of the coat to the inside to join her.

Sam took the coat off and cried.  She'd spent so much time on it and had thought she'd been so careful!  When she had calmed down, Sam told her husband what she'd done. 

"Can it be fixed?" He asked. 

"I don't know," Sam sniffed. "Maybe I can cut the side seams and add a section in.  It won't look perfect, but that should solve the problem."

So Sam cut the side seams of the lining and measured the extra she would need to add. 

"I'll just try it on again to make sure this will work," she thought, slipping the coat on her shoulders once more.  She was confident all would be fine, and if Sam was confident, then so was the coat. 

They stood in front of the mirror again.  The poor coat still didn't look right.  There were wrinkles across the bodice, it looked like it was pulling somewhere.  It looked like the lining was too small!

With a sigh Sam took off the coat and got out her tape measure.  Almost holding her breath she measured the coat's bodice, first the shell, and then the lining.  The coat held it's breath as well, awaiting the verdict, dreading the result. 

Sure enough, Sam had made another mistake... the bodice lining was also too small.  Sam shook her head, she couldn't understand how it had happened.  She had used exactly the right pattern pieces, not missed one like she'd done with the skirt.  What had gone wrong?   Could the coat be saved?

Unfortunately by now, Sam had lost interest.  She thought she could save the coat, but only with a lot of work.  Lots of seams to be unpicked, new lining to be purchased and cut (whilst crossing her fingers she didn't mess it up this time!), new seams to be sewn to places where seam allowances had already been trimmed and clipped. 

Sam just couldn't face it. 

She folded the poor coat up and put it back in the cupboard, where it sits to this day, wondering if it will ever be loved.

Friday Fancies

Hello!  Happy Friday.

It's been a while since I've written a blog post, mainly because it's been a while since I've actually sewn anything.  Since Christmas I think I've only made 2 garments... both in knit fabric and one made at my sewing group's meet up.  I've been finding that I'd much rather sit in the lounge in front of our cosy log burner, than sit upstairs in front of my sewing machine. 

I do have a couple of finished items to share with you as soon as I can get decent photos - another stumbling block at this time of year - but until then I thought I'd treat you to another of my occasional Friday Fancies posts.

Here are some of the things I've been loving recently.

Photos from various sources

I'm currently mildly obsessed with Vivienne Westwood, partly due to the fact that I'm reading her autobiography.  I would LOVE to own one of her dresses, the fitted bodices and draped skirts are wonderful.  And how gorgeous is that coat?

I'm likely to be going to a "posh" do in the summer and have dreams of sewing myself something with a similar feel.  Probably not realistic if I'm honest!

On a simpler note, here's something I could recreate.  How lovely is this linen and lace top by Fabric Tragic?   I could see myself wearing this with jeans once the weather warms up (considerably!).

Something else for my "inspiration" folder - a Vogue 8933 coat made by Amanda of Amanda's Adventures in Sewing.  Everything about this is stunning.   The coat I attempted to make this year was a disaster (that I might tell you about one day), but this is a serious contender for next winter.

I made this Greek Lamb and orzo the other weekend from a recipe on the Dorothy Camper blog.  I did mine in the slow cooker so the house was filled with gorgeous smells all day.  It was an easy recipe to follow and seriously delicious.  She's posted a new recipe today for sausage ragu that looks equally yummy.  I'm sure I'll be trying that soon. 

Have a lovely weekend everyone.  What are you up to?  Anyone got any exciting plans - sewing or otherwise?