Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Oliver + S Badminton skort and top: perfect for the handstand obsessed

Since starting gymnastics a few months ago, Miss Six has become a little fanatical about doing handstands and cartwheels at all times. And I do mean, at all times. I can be walking towards her, and suddenly it's her feet I see, and not her face. She walks down the hall and does a handstand. We walk to the shops and she sees a patch of grass on the verge; she's upside down doing a handstand. I think she's spending more time on her hands than her feet these days.

Now, a six year old doesn't have much modesty. This might change when she heads back to school. But right now, she doesn't care about flashing her undies or perfect little tummy, luckily so, because she refuses to wear anything but skirts and dresses. Even so, it can't be pleasant to have a dress hanging over your face each time you invert. So I thought I'd make her a skort: shorts covered by a skirt! Perfect!

I used the Badminton skort and top pattern by Oliver + S. I made the skort up in a straight size 6 using a cotton voile from Mood. I wasn't too fussed on the scalloped edge look of the pattern so I just skipped this bit, but doubled the skirt width to add some decent gathers instead. My girls are more interested in swish than detail. I love the way the skirt turned out. It fits Miss Six beautifully and is perfect for handstands. See the cute little shorts underneath.

The top is also lovely. I made it up in a size 7. It is comfortably loose but definitely not too big on her. Miss Six has been admiring my faux silk Camilla camisole since the day it was made. And I wear it frequently. She loves the fabric, which has a very authentic silk charmeuse look and feel to it. It actually matches the cotton voile very well so I used a few little remnants to make the top for her as well. The shape and style of this top is beautiful. The instructions are great too. It is a fiddly little top to make with that skinny curved yoke (and the slippery satin I chose to use), but it is definitely worth the effort. I think it looks lovely and Miss Six has given it a big thumbs up.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Simplicity 4192: AKA my happy pants

I took a bit of a gamble the other week and ordered some cotton voile online from Hawthorne Threads. I've never ordered from them before and I was half expecting to open up my parcel of beautiful prints, only to be disappointed with the quality of cotton they'd been printed on. This is by no means a slight against Hawthorne Threads. It's just me recognising the fact that shopping online for fabrics can be risky if you aren't familiar with the vendors.

Well, I can't even begin to describe how delighted I was when I opened up my little parcel of pretty. The quilting weight cottons were as exactly as expected, but with a nice feel to them. The Art Gallery voile blew me away. It is the most beautifully light and silky cotton, not too dissimilar in feel to a tana lawn. This little bundle has certainly warmed me to Art Gallery Fabrics.

I made these pants to wear with my white linen, cross back tunic. I figured my wardrobe was in need of a little colour. I purchased the pattern before I found the fabric. It was Miss Oona of the one and only Palooza that pointed me in the direction of Simplicity 4192.  I saw her pretty voile version and quite simply had to have them for myself. I'm still hunting for some matching Kalkatronian bling, but in the meantime, just look at all that lovely overlapping leg fabric. I love the way they flare in the wind and when I walk.

Simplicity 4192 is one of those rare patterns that you really can't go wrong with. The style is a wrap pant, so the fit is pretty much guaranteed to be perfect. They tie at the front and the back and are very simple to sew. They suit pretty much any lightweight woven fabric. I used a cotton voile, but I could see them working well in a silk CDC too.  

I sewed a straight size 12 and made no modifications to the pattern at all. The pattern suggests they are designed as full length pants to be worn 1" below the waist. That would be your natural waist they are talking about, so for most people, the pants would rise to just about belly button level or slightly above. I was after a slightly cropped length with a moderate rise so being tall of both body (and crotch) the pants worked out perfectly for me. A shorter lass may have ended up with the waist around her armpits.

In any case, I love my new pants and I will definitely be classifying this pattern as a keeper.


Friday, July 18, 2014

Simplicity 6138 and Liberty of London: A business shirt for hubby

I'm slowly getting better at making business shirts. I'm proud to say that this is my best shirt ever. It's still not perfect, but I'm heading in the right direction. The last couple (here and here) of Kwik Sew shirts I made seemed okay at the time, but the fit wasn't as good as it could be, and my experimental flat felled seams fell a little short of the mark. This one is much improved.

I didn't make the tie, but hubby felt it was necessary to include it in the photos, not because my stripes weren't perfectly lined up down the front (they were!) but probably because this is the first shirt that actually fits his neck perfectly. He was a wee bit excited! Too excited to don trouser pants in fact.

The shirt is a slimmer fit due to the two fish eye darts I added to the back. The darts weren't in the original pattern, but they were easy to add. I like the collar shape better as well. Hubby went on a bit of a RTW shirt buying spree after we landed in the US (he was desperate!). As much as this pained me, he did bring home a couple of beautifully made shirts which I have been able to compare and analyse to improve my own shirt making.

The pattern I used is Simplicity 6138. It's a Henry Grethel pattern. Since I hadn't sewn this pattern before, I compared the pieces to his very new and very favourite RTW shirt. I also used the RTW shirt to figure out how to make the contrast part of the inner cuff placket. It wasn't difficult, but of course I didn't photograph how I did it. It's not that I forget to take the photographs. I usually just lack the confidence that my experiments will work out in the first place! I shouldn't doubt myself so much.

I've never been completely happy with the interfacing of my collars and cuffs. Hubby's best shirts only have interfacing on the outside fabric piece of the collar, not on the inside. I realise now, that this allows the collar corners to be made so much sharper than I've been able to do in the past. The interfacing they use in the RTW shirt is also so incredibly stiff, like nothing I've ever encountered before. I wasn't quite sure what to do about it, but then it dawned on me that I could double up my usual interfacing and fuse them together as one to the one collar piece. I used Prowoven shirt-crisp fusible interfacing, doubled up, from Fashion Sewing Supply. It worked beautifully. It is my stiffest, sharpest collar yet.

I only used one layer of the same interfacing for the collar stand so it was much less stiff. Next time I would use two here as well, or possibly one layer of shirt-crisp and another ever so slightly less stiff one. I think the collar stand needs to be very close in stiffness to the collar or the collar doesn't roll back quite as nicely as it could.

For the first time ever, the pattern actually included French cuff pieces. I usually draft my own for other shirt patterns because this is what hubby prefers. I only fused one layer of the same interfacing to the outer cuff, but because a French cuff is folded over, this was firm enough. I'm not sure those cuff links match hubby!

But that's enough of my technical musings. Do you love the sneaky Liberty of London on the inside of the cuffs and plackets? I should also mention that both the shirting and the Liberty were chosen by hubby on his recent NY trip, specifically for this combo. I'm impressed!