Sunday, February 7, 2016

The Simple Things

You wouldn't know it because I've been a slack blogger, but this is my third S1366 top, and it was finished ages ago, before Christmas. The first was made from the pattern with no adjustments, and had to be given to my mum, who has wider shoulders than me.  Number two was a successful test of a narrower boatneck, but is made from such a boring fabric that I can't bring myself to wear it, let alone blog it.  Third time around, fabric AND fit came together happily.

As you can see, it's a simple shape - dropped shoulder, boat neck, loose elbow-length sleeves and a loose, dartless bodice, all of which mean a nice quick sew.  The pattern gives you a top which is longer than what I've made here, but this time around I wanted a cropped top that would sit outside of skirts and pants.   My hope is that this length will camouflage my short waist, which is located very close to the bottom of my rib cage. Whether or not that works, the shape seems to go with everything from jeans and shorts to pencil skirts and cigarette pants. 

In these photos I'm wearing RTW pants that I wear to work a lot - and guess what, they fit me worse than those Burda pants I was complaining about a couple of posts back!  I can't believe I've been confidently wearing these pants while decrying the mustard pants... ARGH!  Anyway, we're all still learning, right?

I sewed the top in a size 12, which is supposed to fit a 34" bust yet which has a finished bust measurement of 41.5".  That is such a lot of ease that I would suggest going down a size from your measurements. My bust size is currently about 37", halfway between the size 14 and the size 16, and the fit on the size 12 feels right on me.

The fabric is a cotton I bought from Tessuti Fabrics a while ago, a Ralph Lauren-esque classic in navy and cream stripes, though the stripes waver in a way that feels more interesting to me at the moment than a straight line stripe.

Because it's sheer, I also sewed up the camisole that comes with this pattern - but in these photos I'm wearing the top with an old RTW cami.  

I've finished the neckline with cream coloured cotton bias binding (a self fabric would have shown through), and I've french seamed the main seams and overlocked hem edges before turning them over and top stitching.   The stripes are matched up on the side seams (and the sleeve seams that you can't see) - with such a wide stripe there was no way I wouldn't!

OK, so the top is good, the pants not so much.  Onto the camisole.

I sewed the camisole up in a size 12, assuming it would be designed to fit under the matching top of the same size.

My fabric this time around was a mid-weight cream coloured satin that I picked up ages ago at one of my local second hand stores.

As with the top, the pattern for the cami was extremely simple - the front and back are identical, and the design relies on a bias cut to fit to whatever shape it needs to fit.  Even the rouleau straps proved easily done.

The pattern envelope says that the size 12 cami, for a person with a bust of 34", should have a finished bust measurement of 36.5" - and if you recall, the size 12 top has a finished bust measurement of 41.5".  In other words, the camisole is intended to provide a smaller fit than the top, and should have been snug (though it's bias cut, so not unpleasantly snug) on my 37" bust.

And yet it's too loose. I imagine fabric type plays a big part here; perhaps my fabric is too drapey, but I didn't expect the camisole to fit me like this.  Although by keeping my arms by my sides I can disguise the problem, there's excess fabric both at the sides of the camisole and in the front and back necklines and it just feels way too big.  I don't think taking it in at the side seams is a solution, as this will also pull the straps out - I need to make this another size smaller!

Since I have other camisoles that fit, it's not a huge problem - I can still wear my stripey top.  The one thing I hadn't thought about when I made the top was that IF it has to be worn with a camisole, unless the camisole is cotton it's going to be too hot for summer.  We've been having a humid summer, and I do a lot of walking on my way to and from work each day, so I don't like to wear extra layers that I can't easily remove and carry as I walk.  I might see whether a cotton voile camisole makes it more suited for summer, but if not, I'm sure this top will get lots of wear come autumn.

Thanks for reading!

See you soon
- Gabrielle x

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Jungle January: Kielo Wrap Dress

Kielo wrap dress?   Certainly.

Jungle print?   Is an Aussie-bush-floral-sort-of print close enough?  With a touch of rope?  The rope part sounds right - but is that going to be enough to swing it?

January?   I finished this dress on the 31st January, and did quite a bit of its sewing in January, but it was started months ago. And it's being blogged in February (only just February though!). Is that January enough? 

Let's have a look at some garment photos, and we'll just assume all the paperwork's in order.

First up, with the ties at the front:

Then with the ties at the back:

And then with the ties as hand entertainment, or <<amuse-mains>>: 

So, as you already know, this is the Kielo wrap dress by Named patterns.   Judging by all the versions of this dress I've seen on other people's blogs, this dress pattern is a bit magical - it works in knits and wovens, full length or cropped, sleeveless or sleeved, and on all body types.

I bought the paper version of this pattern some time last year (or maybe even the year before), traced my size (EUR 38), and then waited to think of the right fabric.  Looking at my traced pattern pieces now, I don't think I added seam allowances - I'd only skimmed the instructions when I traced the pattern, and the snippet about adding seam allowances was in the middle of a paragraph that I didn't read properly - and this is probably why my dress is very fitted around the lower legs. Oops!

Removing about 7 cm from the hemline to bring the dress to a length I prefer to maxi length didn't really help, so if I make another Kielo I'll have to remember to add seam allowances and I might also make the slit in the centre back higher for easier striding.

The fabric is one that I've been holding in the stash for a long time - possibly a few years even.  I bought it from Tessuti fabrics, initially just a small remnant, and then more because I loved it and the remnant didn't look enough for a dress.  It feels soft and drapey and natural, and I vaguely recall it being a silk cotton mix.

My beautiful fabric was too transparent by itself, so under the dress is a 3/4 lining in a medium weight champagne coloured satin lining. The lining was made as another Kielo dress that stops at about knee length, just above the walking slit, then sewn to the dress proper at the neckline and armholes.

If you look closely you can see where the fabric's background colour darkens, below knee length, where the champagne coloured lining ends.

When I was sewing the outer and the lining together my fabrics stretched out in the shoulder straps and neckline, but I took the shoulders up about 3 or 4 cm and that fixed the problems without messing up the design.

My side seams also stretched and moved as I sewed them - I don't sew fine fabric too often, so I was probably being too cavalier with it - and that movement made me decide to skip the back darts. I think their absence is absolutely fine in this light fabric.

The natural rope ties were sewn into the seams, and the points where these ties come through were later hand stitched to the points of the lining.  The ties are wide and made of cotton - I think this a kind of webbing that's sometimes used in bag making, but please correct me if I'm wrong -  and I'm really happy with the way they juxtapose the airy dress.

To save cutting into my second piece of this fabric I pieced the upper back of the dress.  I wasn't able to match the print so I matched the colours instead:

And that's it - an imperfect dress that I'm very happy with!


And now I have a question for you, my clever readers.

I've been invited at short notice to a fancy cocktail party with people I don't know (I'll be going as Mr UpSewLate's plus one), and I'm wondering, would this dress be appropriate, or would it be better to go the traditional route with something knee length and fitted - or something else entirely? What would you wear to a cocktail party?

Happy sewing, and see you soon

- Gabrielle x

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