Monday, July 28, 2014

Silver Twist, B5650

Wahoo, don't you just love a swishy midi skirt? I've been wanting to make just this shape for such a long time!

Swishy midi skirt B5650
This skirt!  The flare feels just right, and the below the knee length hits a vintage-referencing sweet spot. Can't you imagine cutting a rug in this skirt?

Say what? Cutting a rug means dancing vigorously and extremely well. I've read that the term originated in the 1930s; when couples danced the jitterbug on carpet it looked like they were cutting it up with their feet.  Minnie who's a hep cat now did cut a rug, and it sounds like such a fun thing to do... I want to see that movie now!

I want to learn the jitterbug! B5650
A simple chambray skirt, yes, but there's a twist. A silver stripe. Chambray plus silver - utility meets disco!

Originally the skirt was going to be a pale pink stretch cotton, and the next one may be just that - but there's been so much chambray in the sewing blogosphere, so chambray jumped to the top of my queue. And then I saw a photo of a silver midi skirt in a fashion mag - too easily influenced - so the silver melded with the chambray, via a sporty stripe. 

Utility meets disco, chambray + silver B5650
This pattern, Butterick 5650, landed in my lap via the second hand shop. Fifty cents? Sold! The pattern illustrations really didn't grab me, but the line drawings had potential...  The pattern includes this skirt (view A), a gathered, looser version (view B), and a pair of gathered waist tapered pants (view C).

Imperfect hemline - B5650
My skirt isn't perfect, far from it. I was in such a rush to turn my idea into something tangible that I took a few shortcuts:

  • I didn't check the finished measurements for the skirt - should have, and it's a bit tight.
  • I hemmed the skirt according to the cutting out line - should have hung it overnight and adjusted it, as I can see in these photos that it's not straight.  
  • I cut out my double layer silver rectangle, checking grainlines just once - should have double checked as the silver fabrics are very slightly off grain.  
  • I ignored grainline recommendations for the chambray, instead placing grainline on centre back and parallel to the silver panel in the front. This made my zipper insertion and silver panel insertion easier but may have messed with the hang of the skirt. 

It's what I imagined - B5650
Checking out a fence - B5650
But despite the imperfections, I have to say the skirt pretty much looks as I imagined it.

It's a little tight across my winter layer (waist and hips), but it should fit nicely when the warm weather melts the winter layer away.

Sewing for summer - B5650

I mentioned some "shouldn't have"s above, but there were a few other changes I made to the straight size 14 pattern that I'm absolutely delighted I made:
  • I swapped out the regular zip for a dark blue invisible zip - and yes, it's invisible :).
  • I left out the pockets. Side pockets on a hip skimming skirt just add bulk! 
  • I added a little length, 'cos I'm a little taller than average. 
  • And not least of all, I added a silver panel down the centre front. Party time! 

No side pockets - B5650

This skirt has worked out well enough, but I've learnt a lesson along the way.

Just because a pattern terms itself "Fast & Easy" doesn't mean you can skip the basics. Like following grainline recommendations, for example. Like checking finished measurements, for another. Version 2 is going to be by the book, I tell you!

See you soon!

- Gabrielle xx

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Blue Danni

I made another Danni!

June was the second annual Indie Pattern Month over at The Monthly Stitch, and the inaugural Indie Pattern Month (announced here, and blogged all over the place). While I'd disagree strongly with the sentiment that the only good pattern is an indie one (of course no one said that, it's just the impression I got from some very passionate pro-indie blog posts), there is undoubtedly much to love about indie pattern companies. Personally I love how they engage with, encourage and promote the people who sew their patterns, and I appreciate the different aesthetics and body types (I'm paraphrasing Mari here) they cater for.

Most of the bigger name indie pattern companies aren't really for me though. I'm waaay too old for cute or mini, I'm not short or particularly curvy, I don't exercise, I'm not a hipster and I'm not a beginner sewist.  I have a huge pattern stash ranging over many decades, so I've probably already got something similar to any straightforward pattern that gets released. Oh, and the Big 4 patterns already fit me pretty well when approached with a standardised set of adjustments.

Having said that, I'm as enamored of beautiful branding as the next sewist, and I really like the idea of supporting local companies. So this June, although you didn't see any indie blog posts from me, I was doing plenty of local indie sewing using StyleArc and Papercut patterns: Danni in stripes, my Denim Pleated Pants, and this Blue Danni:

The Danni Dolman dress is described on StyleArc's site as follows: "This Dolman sleeved dress features a slight boat neck, there are 4 tucks falling from the left side seam softly over the hip line making this dress easy to wear and such a simple dress to sew. Suitable for all seasons." 

That mural in the first photo is fun, but I know you couldn't really see the dress against the blue background. I've lightened these photos taken against a less exciting concrete backdrop to try to better show you the way the tucks look in the ponti fabric, and the way the dress flatters rather than flaunts in a ponti, but dark blue is hard to photograph.

I liked the look of my Danni in stripes, and jersey IS the recommended fabric for the pattern, but I don't feel confident wearing something that feels so clingy, so pretty much as soon as it was sewn, I started Danni #2, with a nice firm ponti di roma from the stash. I think this fabric is 2 or 3 years old, and bought at Lincraft before I knew much about the joys of fabric shopping (that's why it's such a sensible fabric). 

Switching to a ponti fabric, the dress loses the super cling factor; much more suitable for corporate life, and becomes warmer (yay! cosy!). However, when I sewed this up initially the ponti looked loose rather than drapey in the top, so I took the dress in from the waist up (side seams from the waist to the dolman sleeves around elbow level, also centre back seam from the waist up) to make the top more fitted to my curves. It clings to my tummy, but I do have a tummy! The dress was also lengthened a few centimetres (I'm about 5'8").

I think I showed you the pattern last time, but to save you flicking back here they are again:

Yes, I like this one, it's a keeper... 

Thanks for reading, and see you soon.

- Gabrielle x
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