Layering Up for Fall

74423642_10221296265736100_1660767405577601024_oI love my Trendy Tanks. They can be made casual, smart, or sewn as swim tops. As long as the fabric has some stretch I have made them work for me. In winter I want tops that cover my shoulders, so when Winter Wear Designs (WWD) released the ‘sleeves pack’ I was pretty excited. Except I didn’t want a long or flowy sleeve, just something to keep my shoulders warm and stop the upper arms from glaring white everywhere. The sleeves pack did give me inspiration though. Maybe my Trendy Tank could be a Trendy Tee? IMG_5164.jpeg

As the Trendy Tank isn’t one of the recommended patterns to add the sleeves too, I looked at my other WWD tops to see if any had a similar armsyce; in both shape and size. Fortunately the Omega was on the top of my sewing patterns, and  I thought I could make it work. I knew I wanted the sleeve to be tee-shirt sleeve length. I compared the armsyce to the Omega and it needed a few alterations to make it fit.  All I had to do was fold over the ‘flutter’ ends. I  invariably stabilize my shoulder seams with clear elastic or ribbon and used ribbon as my cotton lycra would need ironing; plastic on an iron isn’t a good look! I also added chest darts because I have a DD bust. For extra contrast I cut the back in two pieces. It isn’t anything remarkable, just a centre back seam for visual interest.

I added a 2” inside sleeve and straightened the fluttery bottom hem. Then, feeling brave, I cut 2 out and sewed them in place. I must admit I was pretty pleased with the result! It fits well and I now feel confident at making the sleeves longer to above elbow length. I find this length is perfect because they stay out of the way when I sew, and hold their place without riding up my arms when I put a sweater on.

 

Feeling quite accomplished I moved on to the Twin Peaks Cardigan. My goal was for a modern twist on a traditional twin set. Despite the photos being of me in leggings (and pearls), the goal for this set is to wear it with a skirt. I didn’t have any cotton lycra left so sewed the cardigan in a lovely French Terry that has been around for a while and the colours almost matched. This pattern comes together quickly and easily and the instructions are easy to follow.

I added a lace overlay to the back yoke and made the sleeves from the same lace. The collar is slightly too big and I debated on adding buttons, but Himself said he liked it without and I was saved sewing 6 button holes. Phew! To give it more of a traditional twinset cardigan feel I added 1” to each centre front, and straightened the neck curve to a straight line. Sadly I forgot to baste the neck edge to stop it stretching and ended up putting some little pin pleats in the front. I like the added interest. The bottom hem has lace, again for visual interest and to lift a subtle red fabric into something a bit more fun. 

All in all I’m pleased with the results and can wear the items together or separately until Spring. I’m looking forward to replacing some of my longer cardigans with some Twin Peaks cardigans. While I made the straight back yoke the pattern also has a diamond shaped one. 

I hope you enjoyed reading about the good and amusing parts of my sewing. 

Do check out what others have created this week and remember that all jackets and sweaters have 20% off until November 3, 2019 on the Winter Wear Designs website.

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Don’t miss any of the stops along the tour:
10/28
10/29
Laura Hinze of Custom Made By Laura
10/30
10/31
Patricia of Sew Far North
11/1
Livia of Liviality
Laurie Roberts of The Bear and the Pea Atelier

 

Layers … It’s that time of year!

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Once again I am back with some Winter Wear Designs (WWD) creativity. Last month I made the Magnolia Fit and Flare Top & Dress. It was cold here and I made 2; a long sleeve tunic and a full length (keep the body warm) dress. This month I am using the same pattern to create a semi-swing cardigan. The weather has warmed up and we are suddenly in spring (or summer if you are used to cooler climates). Currently, I can wear the tunic until about 11am then change into shorts. Roll on summer! 

Magnolia – How do I hack thee? Let me count the ways … I can see why the pattern has so many followers; it is easy to play with and adapt to create several different looks. So much so, I now have quite a lot of pattern pieces cut from my tracing paper!! For those not aware Magnolia has a gazillion options (most of them documented on the WWD FaceBook group, or in the pattern itself. If you can sew with a knit fabric then it’s a great place to start sewing.

I didn’t want to recreate the Twin Peaks Cardigan, as it has it’s own attractions. I also didn’t want to print off another pattern – yes, my laziness kicked in. Hence, I made a swing cardigan. I cut the pattern to slightly below my hips, and the sleeves to 3″ below the elbow. I graded the side seams to have less of a curve between the waist and hip. After all, I wanted it loose enough to swing and not pull across my back. I added 1″ extra to the centre front then graded the V neck to meet the new edge. I sewed a little button as a closure; I have a larger bust didn’t want it to fall open all the time. I reinforced with  fusible interfacing behind my buttonhole – which still looks wonky, and across the shoulder seams to stop stretching. I serged all the fabric edges to stabilize it as much as anything, then attached a 1″ width of stretch knit as a narrow border. By the time I’d folded it to the inside it was the perfect width. My happiness factor was complete when I compared it to the Twin Peaks Cardigan and it is TOTALLY different! SCORE!!

I recently bought some lovely lightweight bamboo lycra fabric from a Canadian company, Water Tower Textiles. It is super soft, drapy, and wonderfully light. The perfect transition fabric – even if it was a real pain to sew. It is, however, wonderful to cut out with my trusty rotary cutter (and new blade!). The fabric is quite sheer and I can’t see me wearing it as a top without an under layer. I like paler fabrics for summer, but when I paired it with my WWD Omega top and an (old and) trusty skirt I felt the pale combination didn’t show off the cardigan. A quick change into a darker tank made all the difference.

Bloopers? Well, my twin needle sewing still isn’t very straight; I actually get a better result when sewing two single lines of stitching.  I ran out of my main fabric and used a very stretchy fabric for the border. I must have pulled this a bit as my seams are a tad wonky. A couple of pressings and they look heaps better but they aren’t what I’d like them to be. Why am I confessing to the oopsies? Well, recently someone commented that it’s good to read that we all make mistakes – and how we fix them. So expect to see this confessional section in the future.

Do check out the other stops on the tour and remember that all layering patterns will be on sale for 20% off all week (jackets/sweaters/vest)

Don’t miss out on any of the stops on the tour!
3/25
Patricia of Sew Far North
3/26
3/27
Kristen Guest Posting at Winter Wear Designs
3/28
Florence Guest Posting at Winter Wear Designs
3/29
Livia of Liviality
Aurelie of Maglice and So

 

Just Lounging Around Poolside …

Summer here in the BC Interior can be hot. Maybe not as hot as Southern California but hot nonetheless. We live at the top tip of the Mohavi desert and for this transplanted English Rose, it’s as hot as I want to get. It’s nice that summer patterns are, on the whole, simple and easy to make. This helps as I am sure my brain (along with the rest of me) swells in the heat! Talking of swelling, looser summer styles can be flattering if correctly cut to skim the curves other than cling to them. I’d rather look stylish and comfortable than like the back of a bus. IMG_0701

For this Winter Wear Designs blog tour I have made some of my essential summer clothes. I pretty much live in shorts, little tops and loose flowing dresses. There are some good prizes on the tour;  visit Winter Wear Designs Fun FaceBook page to find out more.

Most of my tops cover ‘my tail’, enabling me to wear them with leggings. As such I’ve been looking for a little top to wear with shorts and short skirts. Bring on the Trendy Tank. A bonus is that if you join the Winter Wear Designs FaceBook group it is a freebie. Even better! I had to adapt mine to exclude a side boob gap that seems to keep occurring on all my knitted tops. I have a bust (really!?) and unless a dart or full bust adjustment is included in my sewing I get gaps. It wasn’t a hard fix at all. I pinned it where I wanted the dart and then basted it in. When it was in the right place I transferred the markings to my pattern; then proceeded to alter a few other tops to boot. I kept this top short and am pleased at how it looks with my shorts.

Rolling on, these are the Essential Summer Shorts. Essential as they are easy to make, you can play with the pattern to your little heart’s contentment, and they come together really quickly. I recently performed in a Burlesque routine and wanted to make some Rocky Horror-esque gold lycra shorties. I simply sized down all over and Hey Presto! I actually attached them to a body stocking (read modesty stocking) for the show. I chose not to hem them as I didn’t want the stitching to show. Plus, let’s face it, sewing a tiny stitch with metallic thread is tedious and encourages me to reach for the wine bottle!! I think they’d make great swim shorts with a side ruche or drawstring. Time will tell.

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I also made the shorts in a lovely knit fabric that I have been hoarding for a long time. I only have a metre of it and making anything with that little fabric can be challenging when you’re 5’9″ tall. Not anymore. I made the shorts and might have enough for a little top too if I am careful.  For this pair I added a 3″ wide knitted waist band and some lace to the bottom. It gives me a little more coverage and they are so very comfortable. I need more as I keep washing and wearing them. Here they are with my Trendy Tank.

Finally I decided to add the Boho Breeze as a maxi dress to my collection. I actually had intended making it into a coverup but there are other patterns that lend themselves better to that (watch this space!). Instead I chose to combine a soft lightweight crinkle cotton with a lush soft bamboo print. I’ve been wondering how to use the bamboo without ruining its lovely design. Well here goes.  Himself, (the Man of the House), is my personal design and sewing critic. He bounds into my sewing room when he comes home from work to see what I have been up to. He will stand there, get ‘that look’ on his face, and totally unnerve me. I have been known to say, “be nice now, it’s come from my head”. Then he will make a good comment about fit, if it’s flattering, length and what might suit me better. I trust his style. After all, one of his chat up lines was “do you wear Valentino? He designs for women with curves” Yes, I married him soon after!IMG_0702.jpg

But back to the Boho! Summer swelling and being ill recently meant I’ve gone up a size; I am really glad I made a muslin! I sized up knowing that the top has an elasticated shoulder / neck band, meaning it won’t slip causing any boob exposures when I shrink again. I decided to use all of the bamboo fabric in my maxi skirt and didn’t measure it; it is rather voluminous. I made the pockets from the cotton but reinforced them with a lightweight interfacing. I also added a side slit to just below knee level. Today the wind was blowing while taking photos, resulting in the windswept ‘skirt wrapped around the legs look’.

One of Himself’s suggestions was to make the neck band from the bamboo; as a contrast but also as it is heavier than the cotton, it is more stable when elasticated. The man is once again correct. It looks lovely. The Boho Breeze can also be made as a romper or top and I expect I will get to those as well. I think it would make a good swim top too …

Pull up a lounge chair and a cold drink, and don’t miss a single stop on the Poolside Blog Tour:

7/16
Jackie Burney for Winter Wear Designs
Meriel of Elli and Nels
7/17
7/18
7/19
Diane of Sewing With D
7/20
Livia of Liviality
Patricia of Sew Far North