Cashmerette Patterns, Sewing

It’s all in the chemistry – Upton Dress

Oh, I know it’s been a while… but I’m still here…

Work got busy (I got a promotion), I had a trip away for work, managed to get the flu while on the work trip, and I have been working away on the Wrap Dress Project. The Wrap Dress Project has reached a milestone, and I’m taking a little break to whip up some tried and true patterns before I dive back into the next phase.

I promise that there are posts about the next steps in the Wrap Dress fittings sitting in my drafts, but for today I just couldn’t wait to share my newest Upton Dress – all the heart-eyes over here for this one!! 😍😍

e2339759-a2f3-4bb1-96a9-670c3cfa388f This fabric easily cost three times what I’m usually happy to pay for fabric. It’s from Spotlight, and was almost $25/m, which makes this gorgeous cotton frock quite expensive when you think that pleated Upton’s use 4+m… 😳😳

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*David Attenborough voice* ‘and, here we see the sewist in her favourite habitat’ – at least that’s what my sister says… πŸ€¦πŸΌβ€β™€οΈ

But once I’d seen it there was no way I was going to be able to leave it in the store! It just had to come home with me, and I do no regret my decision one little bit.

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I finished it off last night (with the fabric line selvage label added to the hem) and hung it on the hanger, thinking ‘I do like that’. Then this morning I put it on to take some photos, and on the way into the spare room (only room in the house with a full length mirror) and I caught sight of myself in the bathroom mirror as I walked past – I’m pretty sure I started skipping. I just love it!

Don’t get me wrong, I love (or at the very least like) pretty much everything I make, but there is something about the Upton dress – I love how I look in it. Everything fits well, it makes me look like I have a waist, the skirt length is perfect without my having to add or subtract anything, and who doesn’t love a box pleated skirt!

And, this fabric print. I’m not a chemist, or a chemical engineer, but work with a lot of them, and I did study chemistry at school. I’ve also spent a good portion of the last year learning an awful lot about one particular chemical compound (can’t write about these things without picking up enough knowledge to be just about dangerous) – so it was fitting. πŸ”¬πŸ”¬

It’s a big call, but I think the Upton Dress is my ‘desert island’ pattern. 🏝🏝 You know, if you could only sew one pattern ever again – the Upton would be it for me. Good thing I have fabric for about… 20 more in my stash…

img_1764 Pattern: Cashmerette Upton. Size: 20G/H with the bodice lengthened by 1in.

Fabric: Spotlight – Studio E Geek Chic Atoms

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Finished Projects, Sewing

Carolyn Pajama Production Line

I started my Carolyn Pajama Production Line (that’s a thing now, by the way) a couple of weeks ago and got both pairs of pants finished in a day. Finishing the shirts took a lot longer than I expected… work this week was c-razy – a 2330 finish one night, back at it at 0700 the next day, anyone? 😳😳

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I’ve got a big sewing project in the works and I’ve been doing some planning over the last few weeks – I know that this special project is going to take some time so I looked at what my wardrobe needed to make sure I could get through a few weeks (maybe even longer – I’m scheduled to be travelling for work again shortly too) without adding any new wearable garments to it.

My checking revealed that I really needed at least one more pair of jammies, particularly if I was going to be travelling – the ‘need something suitable in case the fire alarm goes off in the middle of the night at my hotel and I end up standing around outside for hours’ scenario is a real fear… πŸ€·πŸΌβ€β™€οΈ

I had fabric set aside until the stash for two pairs of flannelette pjs and two pairs of cotton pjs, and as cute as the flannelette pjs would have been, but it’s starting to warm up here, so I went with the cotton, not the flannelette. I probably won’t get to making up the flannelette ones until next winter now.

Back in June I made my first test of the Closet Case File, Carolyn Pajamas pattern. I did a Full Bust Adjustment to the top pattern, and it fit great. The pants took quite a bit more fiddling with, and three muslins before I was happy with the fit…

  • I removed pockets,
  • full tummy adjustment,
  • shortened the front rise,
  • lengthened the back rise,
  • did a flat seat adjustment, and
  • did another adjustment to add some more width across the front of the thigh…

Nothing major… πŸ™„πŸ™„πŸ™„

I used bias binding as flat piping in both pairs of pajamas. I had the bias binding left from another project, although I did have to make up some extra to finish the hem finding on the flamingo shirt – I ran just a little short! I did double rows of top stitching when finishing the pants and sleeve cuffs, I just like how it looks ☺️

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The stripey pair are very definitely at-home lounge wear, so I used novelty buttons, and zany binding.

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I liked the option of being able to perhaps wearing the flamingo top out – with either dress pants or jeans – so I finished it with regular buttons instead of novelty ones. I’m still not 100% sure I will wear it out – from a distance the print kinda of blurs into a soft pink haze, and isn’t clearly flamingos so it may just stay as pjs.

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Up next is the big sewing project – which we’re going to code name as OSP for now…

Finished Projects, Sewing

Happiness is…

Finished a new Upton Skirt, and I'm so in love I'm going to wear it tomorrow, even though I haven't gotten around to making a solid pink top yet and will have to wear this teal top.

I've loved this fabric for ages and originally bought some to make a top that ended up being an utter disaster. Even though I bought the fabric that first time to be a wearable muslin I fell it love with it as I was working on the shirt and was devastated when the shirt didn't turn out and I couldn't find more of the fabric the next time I went to the store.

I'm not sure what it is about the fabric, it just makes me happy looking at it 😁😍

I looked out for it every time I visited after that and about a month later I scored, and there it was!

I bought all of what was left on the only bolt of it in stock on the spot, and with some creative piecing of the waistband (which I'm trying not to let annoy me, because it's very noticeable to me) I managed to squeeze this Upton Skirt out of 2.6m… and let me tell you there is not a bit left – I managed to get just enough bias tape out of the off cuts to enclose all the seams and bind the hem 👊🏻😎

Adjustments, Sewing

The miracle of the perfect fit the first time!

Christine Haynes of City Stitching has just released her latest pattern, the Varda top and dress. It's a nice blend between shift and sheath with classic french darts giving it some gentle shaping.

I'm a long time fan of Christine's Emery Dress pattern, I have *goes to count*, uh-hem, 34 of them 🙊😳🙈, ok, so that's a lot…

When I saw the technical drawings for this new pattern I was very interested – I've got a top pattern with french darts in it that I hacked down from a dress that I make and wear all the time, so I knew I liked the shape, and I liked the option of sleeveless if I wanted to go that way. I've made up View B for now, and will probably try out A and C at some point soon.

I'm right at the very top end of the size range in this pattern, as in my high bust measurement is the same as the bust measurement for the largest size of the pattern, so I knew I'd need to do a significant full bust adjustment right off.

Because I also usually need to grade up the hips of most patterns, I do that by just using the added width from the full bust adjustment all the way down to the hem line. Only very rarely do I need to grade up any further (I think I've only had that happen once out of all the patterns I've adjusted), and I never have to grade the waist down at all…

I did some research into dart rotations before I started the full bust adjustment. I'd never tried it before and I wanted to do something about reducing some of that I knew was going to become an enormous french dart once I'd added the 2.5 inch full bust adjustment!! But… I also didn't want to detract from the clean and simple lines of the garment by adding shoulder pleats or a traditional bust dart…

I settled on rotating an inch from the french dart up to the armscye, and while an inch doesn't sound like much when you just added a 2.5 FBA and made the french dart so big you could probably have driven a truck through, it did the trick!

There was some serious stick tape and guesstimating voodoo going on to work out exactly where I was going where to draft that armscye dart! But when I taped the paper together to close the dart and tried it 'on' it seemed to have worked, so I proceeded to cut out my muslin and get on with it!


Look at that fit!! The print of the fabric means you can't really even see the darts, but believe me, they're there.

I made the pattern up exactly according to the instructions until I got to inserting the zipper, and I even got as far as pinning one side of the invisible zip in before I remembered that sometimes apple-shaped people like me can get away without centre back zips in some styles.

I'll be honest, this has never been the case for me before, and I was highly sceptical that it would work this time, but I figured that it was worth a shot – if I could make these tops without needing to use expensive invisible zips, I was all for it. So I pinned the back seam allowance closed, half pinned in zipper and all, and tried the shirt on, miracle of miracles it fit! And it was looking good!! I removed that half pinned invisible zip quick smart and stitched the back seam closed.

The back darts meant no need for any swayback adjustment on this pattern – hurray!

I've since made another one in a solid colour (finally something to wear with the skirts!). You can see the darts on this plainer version, but I think you'll agree that the added armscye dart doesn't detract from the original design style of the shirt, and I think it certainly helps with the fit!!

Monthly Roundup, Sewing

Make Roundup – July 2017

It’s the end of July and I thought I’d do a post with a round up of everything I made this month. I didn’t realise how much I got done!!

  1. Style Arc Amber Top – new pattern
  2. Grainline Morris Blazer – new pattern, managed to make this twice in the same month!
  3. Seamworks Delavan – repeat make
  4. Cashmerette Harrison Shirt – repeat make
  5. Style Arc Candice Skirt – new pattern
  6. Christine Haynes Varda Top – new pattern
  7. Grainline Morris Blazer – repeat make.
Finished Projects, Sewing

Let’s Meet for Brunch

This is my take on the Style Arc Candice skirt. Excuse the severe pattern clashing, solid colour tops are on the make list and rising rapidly to the top of it!!

It's quite similar in style to the Upton Skirt, the primary difference is that in the pattern the pleats are stitched down for 5 inches from the waistband.

I wasn't entirely convinced that I'd be able to sit down in a skirt with pleats stitched down that far, so it tried pinning the pleats of my Upton Skirt down that far and trying it on. Turns out my suspicion was correct – the skirt looked weird on even while standing and sitting was an issue. So, on my version of the skirt I didn't stitch the pleats down.

The size of the pattern pieces for this skirt mean you either have to use 150cm wide fabric, or run it down 112cm wide quilting cotton – it's too wide to fit selvage to selvage on quilting cotton. Although this makes it perfect for full width border prints which is what I used for this one!

The only other adjustment I made to this skirt was to lengthen the waistband just a little and make the pleats just a fraction shallower. These were primarily driven by laziness and not wanting to be bothered with cutting out and sticking together the 40-something pages required to go to the next size up, when 5 minutes of messing around did the trick.

This is probably only the downside of buying Style Arc patterns from their Etsy store – you get 3 sizes of the pattern, but they're not nested in the same file so grading between sizes either requires another round with the scissors and tape or eyeballing it… eyeballing it won 🙄 ✂️

Now I really need to make some of those solid coloured tops – this skirt needs to be out and about… the guys at work are going to love it! 😎

Finished Projects, Sewing

Halden, the Harrison ShirtΒ 

Finished my latest Harrison Shirt yesterday, the one I started because I pulled a pattern name out of a hat (plastic container… potato, potahto).

It got its name from the alias of one of the main characters of the TV show I was watching this week while I was making it. I wonder if anyone will be able to work it out… 🤔😉

This print is probably my favourite. I always feel happy when I wear the dress I already have in it. I also have enough of it for a Lenox Shirtdress, and if I lay everything out right, hopefully an Upton Skirt as well. If planning to have four different things made in the same fabric isn't a sign that you like the fabric, I'm not sure what is!!

This is the second Harrison I've made, it's a 22G/H graded to a 24 through the waist and hips, although I've removed some of the grading from the front princess panels – I don't think it needs it. It's a size bigger than my measurements would indicate, but after I'd made a muslin I decided I wanted more ease all over so I sized up.

Through the course of making this shirt I've decided that I need to lower the bust fullness. It's almost impossible to tell in the photos (yay for bold prints) but there is some 'bubbling' in the princess seam above where my Full Bust is… which is a telltale sign of the pattern bust fullness sitting too high. I notice it every time I look down, and it annoys me, so I'm doing something about it.

Using the info I found on Curvy Sewing Collective about lowering the bust fullness on princess seams, I've adjusted my pattern, lowering the fullness point by an inch. We'll see whether that does the trick the next time a Harrison comes up in the make list!

I used grey thread for everything except the buttons and buttonholes, for them I chose pink, as a bit of a highlight.

I use bias binding on all of my seams as I don't have an overlooked/ serger. I had enough matching bias tape left over from the dress I made in the same fabric to do the bottom hem, so all of the internal seams were done in a contrasting but complementary binding.

One of the things I love about these shirts are is the opportunity to play with some contrasting elements. I often used to buy RTW button downs from Thomas Cook & Sons, and those shirts always used contrasting fabrics (usually pattern clashing to the extreme) for the under collar, inner collar stand, inside yolk, inner cuff and under placket, and even sometimes the inside button band. I always liked that design element and decided when I started making my own button down shirts that I'd make a point of doing that too 😍 so fun!

Next up – my first attempt at the Style Arc Candice skirt.