Monday, 13 July 2020

Anna Allen Philippa pants in corduroy

These have been on my radar for ages and I finally had a vision that was this very outfit:

I was thinking of it as my old man winter outfit but I think I misjudged and it's way too stylish for that title. 

The corduroy is from Miss Maude (here), I am not sure why I thought this fabric wouldn't be good for these pants months ago, when I had it in the beautiful caramel colour and made a jacket for a friend I had to get more. 

I used my intel from the Persephone pants and cut a size 4. I inspected the rise and with some horror that it's even higher than the Persephones, I took an inch out all the way around, a few inches from the top.  Doing that made the Persephone pants fit me perfectly.  I didn't change the crotch curve at all.  And similarly - the fit through the crotch is great here.

I didn't do any special ironing for corduroy.  Sometimes I ironed it on a double layer but more often I just flattened down the fur. 

I had a vague idea involving front patch pockets but I just stuck them on the back like the pattern said.  Maybe in a future version I'll go crazy. (Also I think make the back pockets smaller.)  I did, however, do the zip fly.  And I have high expectations because the button fly is *so good* for the Persephones - I didn't really like the fly instructions. They made me grumpy.  The results are fine.  I had to use pliers to remove a lot of zipper teeth and so I have tiny zipper teeth all over the place now. 

The other thing that made me grumpy was interfacing the waistband.  It ends up that you need a HUGE amount of easing that waistband in.  I know sometimes she instructs you to only interface up to the SA and that might have helped - I ended up cutting my interfacing and there were huge gaps in it from areas that had to stretch to ease in.  My back waistband thus has a bit of a gathered look up super close from the dramas that ensued to get it in place.  There was drama.  I had tried on the pants at that point and the drama was only worth it because I realised they were a perfect fit. 

Perfect fit!  They don't look very flattering in the pictures but the amount of ease through the thighs makes them really comfortable. 

My sweater is the Shifty Sweater by Andrea Mowry, made in Spincycle Yarns.  It took me about 4 months to make and is the first sweater I'm proud of like it's my first child.  More info on ravelry, where I am soelimano.

Wednesday, 8 July 2020

Nikko top by True Bias

I have known about the True Bias Nikko top/dress without wanting to make it for a long time.  Winter did it to me, I wanted a high neck!!! 

This simple appearing pattern actually has a different draft for the top and the dress.  It ends up being a HUGE pattern and I'm really glad for A0.  People comment that the dress is looser in comparison with the top.

I started out making size 2 in the sleeveless top.  That matches my measurements except at the hip where it's narrower than I am.  I noted from a few blogs that it is pretty fitted but I was curious just how fitted.  The answer: very.  I won't make size 2 again, but this will be a fine baselayer.  I didn't really like the way the armholes were done so I just put on normal bindings and they were good.  However, I was hunting for a better solution. 

Moved onto the sleeveless size 4.  I liked normal bindings ok but I didn't feel like they were great, but to avoid the issue altogether I made this in two layers of what I thought was see through merino.  The two layers make it a formidable weight though and when I wore it on the south island despite freezing temps I was really warm.  Unfortunately, two layers ends up gaping at the front armscye after a few hours of wear.  It needs something on the armhole to really help maintain shape.  I gave up thinking about this and moved on to....

...a sleeved size 4. This fabric is greenish on one side and grey green rib on the other.  I liked the green but ended up with grey out because I thought it almost created a holographic effect I couldn't resist.  This rib, however, is not stretchy as real rib knits are.  This is a super fitted top!  I finally, after literally 5 months of procrastination, plugged in the brand new coverstitch machine and did the hems on this properly.  Sort of properly.  Learning curve in action.

The Nikko instructions do note you should use a *very* stretchy knit.  My size 2, oatmeal coloured fabric is the stretchiest I used and the fit is almost the same as the size 4 in merino.  I think overall the 4 fits better.  

I lost momentum at this point and didn't make the dress.  I think that as long as it really does have more ease, and I'm using very stretchy knits, the size 4 dress is ok but I would debate cutting the back a size 6 from the waist to hips.  Since it's very cold outside this dress has no appeal at all and I will save the plans for spring.  I have some fabric I'm keen to use so I do think I'll come back to it - also after making another relatively narrow skirted dress I am teasing with the idea.  The weird logic of life means I am making all these dresses in the middle of winter and I guess by midsummer I will know if I like them. 

Monday, 6 July 2020

Another Deer & Doe Nenuphar + Balinese vintage handwoven fabric

This is a length of fabric purchased in Bali a few years ago.  I knew immediately that I wanted to do something pretty special with it.  This type of fabric is narrow, woven on hand looms, and the piece I chose is quite old.  The shopowner was loathe to sell it, in fact, and did point out the holes.  It was sold to me as a tube hand sewn together, with indeed a number of holes and worn areas.  The quality of the fabric was obviously much better than some of the newer pieces.  I believe that these weaving skills are being lost as they were village traditions which are not being passed on to new generations.  

The challenges I considered: 
-the holes, obviously
-better not be an item that will be damaged or need to be washed too frequently
-not a lot of yardage 

I chose the Nenuphar pretty early on, but wanted to do a muslin first (which is here).  The fit of the muslin was perfect so I didn't need to make any pattern adjustments.  

The other caveat is that I decided to fully underline it to support the fabric.  AND I wanted the collar in a matching fabric.  I decided that the ruffle at the bottom should also be a matching fabric.  My first attempt to get matching fabrics totally failed and it was another year before I had success, as I kept forgetting to take my scrap with me to match. 

The underlining is lightweight cotton-silk, and the supporting fabric is heavier but also a cotton-silk.  The back ruffle is doubled, though I was meaning for the top layer to be higher, I didn't realise how high the hem would go and I had to hand sew the hem so I wouldn't accidentally also eat the second layer of ruffle. So it's hard to tell there are two!

I also hand sewed the collar down.  I'm thankful to Alabama Chanin for making this into a normal seeming process instead of an exception.  It's also really nice to have the control that hand sewing gives - invisible stitches, plus everything is exactly where you want it! 

I'm really pleased with the final product. The two layers give it a surprising amount of heft.  I couldn't quite pattern match both pockets so I tried to just go with the theme on the second pocket and it's nearly as invisible as the first. For larger holes, I stitched over them together with the underlining for support.  I feel like I achieved my goal at respecting the origins of this amazing fabric, while creating a wearable garment. 

Sunday, 5 July 2020

So sew easy In a twist dress hack

During me made May I saw a hack of this dress on Instagram, @katrynarae. She blogs at Boots and Cats. Here is her post about this dress.  

I was immediately in love and wanted to copy it straightaway.  I didn't realise that it would require a lot of different moving parts...I read her blog post a few times and mainly got the point that I would put together the tshirt part of Plantain with this dress. Seemed easy enough.  I neglected to think about how she had a lot of trouble doing all this!

The pattern for the dress is here:

I would never have considered this pattern.  I don't like it.  The tank top cut and the length don't appeal, and the website makes me suspect you're getting a low quality product because it's full of ads.  I did have to pay money to get this pattern.  

I was not at all impressed with the pattern.  Considering that I did pay money for it, I expect a PDF to be relatively painless to put together.  A painless pdf has a marked line at the border of the pattern, showing you were each piece ends and where the overlap is.  A painful pdf has no such lines.  This pdf didn't provide any edges so I had to literally tetris edges together, cutting at the edge of the marked lines to approximate pages.  It took about 2 hours instead of 15 minutes.  I would not recommend this pattern. I now see there are knot front tutorials and I think it would be more educational and less painful to do it yourself.  

I cut a size 2 based on the size chart but sized up to a 3 on the back piece only below the waist.  This was good and matched my plantain size ok.  (I use size 36 in Deer & Doe most of the time.)  

I did possibly overthink things.  The dress had a 1/4" SA and the plantain had a 5/8" SA so I took off the tshirt SA before I overlapped them. (I'm not sure it mattered since I was using the plantain above the waist in its entirety.) I matched them at the underarm, then using only the plantain above that, as well as the shape of the plantain until it matched the dress which was halfway to the waist.  

This year I am trying harder to use fabrics I've hoarded, so out came these lemons which are precious to me.  

The instructions were ok. I think I have already stated how much I passionately hate instructions which consist of colour photographs so I don't need to dwell.  I find the knot part unsatisfying because it leaves a lot of edges raw.  There's a triangle to the right of the knot which, when I wear it, makes me feel like I have a belly pooch.  Overall the dress is really interesting, it's longer than I usually wear, fits perfectly well, and looks good.  I also went ahead and used my new and terrifying coverseamer on the sleeves and hems so although they are not perfect, they are STRETCHY!!

Droopy triangle visible on the left here

The result: might take a full summer of wear to get a verdict but I'm glad I made this and I will probably never do it again.  Not everything deserves a muslin.  Also I was reminded how awesome the Plantain is and how I should do frankendresses more often.