Sunday, 26 January 2014

Jumpsuit - McCalls 6083

Happy Australia Day. Can I take you back to the 70s with a simple jumpsuit?
This pattern was a fail for me when I initially tried it four years ago. With all the playsuits and jumpsuits around I thought it was time to try again. McCalls 6083 has a some great views and I chose View E.
Then it was time to test this with a left-over knit and the opportunity to glam up our national holiday.
When I first tried this pattern  I added 2cm to the body length so it would billow over the waistline. I appreciate how McCalls patterns print the actual garment width on the patterns for the bust, waist and hips. Once I checked these measurements, I decided to use the 10 size.
My test fabric is light weight and dark print, so it's perfect for a wearable toile.
A bit of 'Seams great' on the shoulder seams and for the pockets were a must to keep their shape stable. I have noticed RTW use clear elastic now for stability. This does the trick just as well if you can't get 'Seams Great'.  Two snaps are the only bodice closures needed.

I cut this out in an hour and sewed it up in a bit over 2 hours. I had no fabric left for a belt.

The next version will have
- wider elastic at the waist, so that means increasing the waist hem for the top and trousers
- smaller arm holes, so I have to raise the arm holes of the front and back bodices
- I might cut the '12' size and 
- cut the base of the pocket bag off. The pockets end at mid-thigh level.
Here's a view along King St wharf looking towards the Maritime Museum. It was a muggy, wet night so my jumpsuit was the right look for kicking back at the start of our Australia Day weekend. 
Uh-mm, I have another jumpsuit pattern (McCalls 6362) to test while the weather is warm and balmy. View A for weekend running around during the day.
I think I found the test fabric now after meeting up on Saturday (clearer weather too). Charityshopschic dubbed us the Australian Spoolettes. How cute. Is there anyone you know in this group shot? Thanks Amy for arranging this shot.

Put a scrimp on the barbie and celebrate this weekend. 

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Minerva make - I just couldn't decide

These two great shirt fabrics from Minerva Crafts screamed 'shirt' for my work summer wardrobe. And their colours are strong enough to contrast against the purple fabric. But I love a good shirt and a good shirtmaker dress. So that's what I did.
Classic shirt using Pattern Magic collar
January is one of our hottest months in Australia. It's holiday time for lots of people until after Australia Day (26 January).
If you work in an office, the aircon can be icy but you'll get a warm blast of heat as you leave the office at the end of the day. 
The fabric is a stretch sateen and when I prewashed it, I thought the pink/red colour would run into the white background and it didn't. Hurrah. This fabric is also easy to manipulate where the pattern has easing. 

I wanted to make a white shirt with a twist so the fabric is kinda white but the collar (with two distinct impressions) is from Pattern Magic. My Pattern Magic collar post is here
This shirt (Butterick 5538) was adjusted for me at a workshop but I took more volume out of the side back piece because the shirt felt a bit too loose on the previous versions. It sits much closer to me without pulling lines. The centre back panel needs a sway back adjustment.
I did a test collar construction last week, just to refresh my memory and make sure I didn't waste this fabric from Minerva.
Because this fabric is a bit heavy, the collar looks like a double collar, which it is. It just doesn't sit up as I wanted.
Using a satin bias tape finished the collar constructions nicely. I love how the french seams give this shirt a beautiful finish.
Check out the buttons Vicki chose for this shirt. Thanks Vicki.

 I used tiny white buttons on the cuffs from my stash. 

This works well with my Minerva trousers and jacket. If this was a summer weekend blouse, I wouldn't have included the sleeves, but for work, sleeves are a must.

Shirtmaker dress
This classic, dark paisley print was meant for a second shirt but because the paisley is large and I'm short, I thought the fabric and I would look better if this was a shirtmaker dress. 
This fabric is a light weight cotton, washes easily and irons so well. Another good choice. I love a well ironed dress. And the dark print hides creases too.
This pattern (New look 6214) has a two-piece collar and this fabric was lovely to work with. This is the third time I've made this dress so all the adjustments were already done last year.
Vicky was the 'button master' for this dress. And as I changed my mind (women's perogative), I used self cover buttons on the skirt.

I've used a bias tape to finish the waist seaming. 
The same bias tape is used as piping on the sleeve. And I made a belt with it too.
French seams were used throughout the rest of the dress.
It's great to wear and I can pair this with my Minerva jacket. 

Does this all match too much? 
I love my Minerva summer work collection - trousers, jacket, knit top, blouse, dress and skirt. I got the skirt fabric from the left over jacket piece.
 
Hop over to Minerva Crafts and see what fabrics catch your eye for your own summer collection.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Jungle Pattern magic collar

Here's what how I drafted my collar and my construction notes. Pattern Magic provides great drafting instructions. It's the construction that you have to work out for yourself but sometimes these are provided for you as well.
This collar is in Pattern Magic so if you can get your hands on a copy, please follow their instructions for a much better product than I made.

The skirt above was made from leftover fabric from my Minerva summer wardrobe collection. I now have a skirt, trousers and jacket made from this purple fabric. The skirt is lined and fully interfaced for a smoother finish.

Original collar

Use an existing one-piece collar for a pattern you know works. That way you're a couple of steps ahead. You won't have to draft a collar from your bodice block. I've used Butterick 5538 but you can use any pattern.
This piece is cut on the fold.

Wider base collar

With this one-piece collar, make the outer point wider for the base collar. The base collar is wider that the top collar. This is why it looks interesting. 

This piece is cut on the fold.


Internal collar piece

This is slightly tricky because this piece is cut on the bias on a fold. This is drafted by placing the wider and skinnier pieces together. Then you cut and spread them open evenly .
And it's drafted from a bit of cutting and spreading of the top and base collar pieces.
I cut this final piece on the fold on the bias. There's a bit of fullness at the back but this holds up the top collar when you apply interfacing.


Construction or What worked for me
Before you start, mark the fold point on the internal collar and any notches from your original collar pattern piece.
  • Sew the top collar on the internal collar piece. 
  • Sew the base collar on the internal collar piece.
  • Sew the corner points. If the top collar is too wide, it won't sit high.
  • Match the top and base collar pieces and sew these edges to the neckline.


  • Finish the collar/neckline as per your pattern instruction.
Now I used a soft bias binding to finish the back neckline.
The top collar will stand up with more layers of interfacing if your fabric is soft. 
You'll see how this spotted blouse worked out at the end of the week because it's one of my Minerva Crafts January projects showcasing my Summer work wardrobe nicely.
This zebra fabric was bought locally at Myhung and it uses the large print on the body and smaller print on the sleeves and facing.
Because I made so many jungle pieces last January I had to stop my Jungle fabrics from breeding, but few pieces like this one migrated into my fabric stash.
Get your Jungle January fix as time's running out. January is flying by so quick. 
I think this jungle shirt could be office-worthy.
I did try to place the downward zebra stripes to the middle of each shirt panel.
As you can see, last week I started drafting a few more Pattern Magic pieces. So in a way, I'm no longer in holiday mode and back in my sewing room.
See you soon:)

Monday, 13 January 2014

No dart block

Here's something I picked up at pattern drafting. A no-dart block.
These patterns have no darts. The shaping is based on your outline so it isn't form-fitting - just what I need when it's hot and humid for days on end in our summer.
This is a bit of a breakthrough for me as I've always wanted a tunic top basic. These blocks are used for knit patterns as well.
The red print above has a modest v-neckline using a quilt cotton. This was my first test run. 
 This top got a good workout while we were cycling in Bright among the vineyards.
See what I mean by a modest V-neck. It's fairly high up as are we, looking over the vines on a very slow afternoon. Proof my Presidio purse does fit in a few bottles of wine.
The v-neckline here has been lowered more than the first version above. I wore this baby visiting and it's fun to see a 6 month old going to grab the vegetable images on your top.
It's so cute watching them learn what's real and what's not real.

Below is the lowered v-neckline with curves (version 3) in a cotton voile from the stash.
I used the curve on my scissor handle to form the curves on the neckline. They're more flat than round. The trade-off here is while there's no shaping and the fabric is cut on the fold, the back billows and while it's hot, I can live with that.
Verdict:
This comfy block is weekend worthy; doesn't stick to you when the weather is hot and humid; and is great when you're watching movies in the park or at Opera in the domain. All of these are keeping me mozzie proof this summer. 
When I first drafted these tops in November, I got to meet Colette from Tessutis at the first Sit 'n sew session arranged by Sandra. Beajay, Kristy and Sharon posted up their take on this session. Thanks Colette for hosting this session.

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