Sunday, December 27, 2015

Christmas Top, New Look 6273.

 I hope everyone had an enjoyable Christmas, celebrated in the way that you like.  DH and I had our planned very quiet day, spent relaxing, listening to Carols, reading, opening presents and eating.  I made a new top for the day - only it was colder than I anticipated so I wore a little cardigan over the top to keep warmish.

As the fabric is quite ornate, and I did not want to spoil the floral montage, I chose a very simple pattern.  New Look 6273, which has a simple, unfitted shell top.  It has side seams, a back seam with button closure, 5/8 inch hem at bottom (turned in and then turned again), and it is supposed to have binding at the neck and sleeve hems.  I used binding at the sleeve hems, but cut a facing for the neckline, as I think a facing adds more stability and does not stretch.

New Look Misses' Jacket, Top, Pants and Skirt 6273 

The size I used was 14.  I hummed and hahhed about this, because this gave a finished measurement at the bust of 40 inches.  My bust is 34 inches, but as the top does not have darts,  I thought this would work, because I hate tightness over the bust.  I used size 10 neck as I find necks are often too big.  As it was, I needed to add 6/8 inch at the back and shoulder edge of the top.  I kept the neckline centre front at the same depth as the pattern.  And yes, I did do a rough muslin out of one of DH's old shirts to test the fit.

The fabric I used was a poly-cotton voile purchased from Spotlight.  It isn't very drapey, due, I guess, to the polyester content, but it is a really pretty print.  

There isn't really much to say about this top - simple construction and simple to wear:

And you can see why I needed the ease - always test a garment is okay to move and bend in before you decide to remove ease:

Although the back looks roomy, as we have proven, this ease is needed.  I also have an inverted triangle shape with a reasonable wide back for my size - you can see the inverted V that goes down from shoulders to a small hip width:

That's it for New Look 6273, my Christmas 2015 top.   I have needed a floral top, for those sort of floral occasions for ages, and now I can tick that off the list. 

Back soon with the remains of my 2015 sewing - I have a few garments still to post.

Sarah Liz


Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas Everyone

I want to wish all of my wonderful sewing blogger friends and followers a Merry Christmas.   And some nice quiet time to think about your next sewing project.

We usually have a quiet time in our house.  J has the Christmas period off, and then will be doing the five day medical  cover during late December and through the New Year period.  So we usually use the time to do some overdue relaxing and catching up - we don't see much of each other during the many  demands and responsibilities  of the year.

Do please all have a wonderful Christmas  yourselves, in whatever fashion that you enjoy.  Or if you don't celebrate Christmas, enjoy this time of year anyway, in the spirit of friendship and goodwill.

Sarah Liz

Saturday, December 19, 2015

The Grown Up Shirt Dress...Vogue 8797.

I have hankered after a plain, navy, classic sort of shirt dress for ages now.  I think it is a useful sort of dress to have in the wardrobe.

The pattern I used was Vogue 8797, which has been on my list to make for a few years now.  I think the pattern is still in print :

V8797, Misses' Top, Dress and Pants

This is an open collar shirtdress - by which I mean, the collar is not mounted on a collar band.  I find this is a bit cooler to wear in summer, and can be quite flattering to the face, as it opens up that area under the face nicely.  I just don't like making them, as I find the finish is not quite so professional as a collar stand.  It's the way the collar is turned under and slip stitched, but I go over with machine stitching and get everything firmly anchored in place.

I used a cheap Spotlight cotton, I think it was Prima homespun.  Just a little lighter than Spotlight's broadcloth.  I'm not fond of it, but it is not expensive, and for the first version of any garment I tend to use a cheaper fabric.  Then if I like the pattern, it gets put aside as a TNT for future use in a good fabric.

And, also, where I live at the moment, in regional, coastal, Newcastle, these casual fabrics are good enough.

So now is the time to test patterns :).

I made a quick muslin, since binned in my post garment tidy up.  I only muslin to about high hip - just to check the sleeve head fits, and that the overall fit is going to work.

I cut size 8 shoulders, armholes and neck, and graded to size 10 at the side seams. I used the short sleeve from the shirt, as I am making a summer dress.  And I used the length provided.  I measured the length, and it was going to be just right.  I added pockets inside the side seam.   I omitted the top buttonhole, as I did not think it was necessary.  And I made a tie belt.  I can also wear this dress with a leather belt if I want to.

Then I made the dress up.  It was a simple, straightforward make, with no complications.  Except for my dislike of this sort of collar :).  I added top stitching and edge stitching to most areas.

And once again, I used a piece of lawn to line the yoke.  It's lighter to wear.

Overall. I like this pattern, including the length,  and it will be made up again one day in something nice.


Showing collar and top of yoke.  Collar is edge stitched, as is the front facing.   I top-stitched the yoke panels:

And yes, the yokes do match up- and buttonholes and buttons do too:

Inside the pocket - the back of the pocket is the garment fabric, and the front is poly cotton.  I used black, so it matches the yoke lining.  Also, it is dark, so it won't show if the pockets gape:

And the hem - just a double turn hem of a 5/8 inch allowance

Very easy to make.  And easy to wear:

Looking very serious here, with my glasses on, and hand on hip:

My husband says sometimes I can be quite a force to be reckoned with.  He says it's because I am not very big, and I am going to be quite a wicked old lady.

WHO, Little Me????

Hmm, I will have to think about that.  I am not amused...

Who me, Scary?? Heaven Forbid, I don't think so.  Do you??

That was a bit of fun.  I just couldn't resist using those rather dubious pictures to make up a funny little story.  Aren't selfies on a self timer so hard to get right?  I was at that point running backwards and forwards to the camera -  hence the glasses on and off and the caught on the run photographs.

And atrocious lighting to boot...

Oh well, time to go and scare DH....

Back next week, take care everyone,

Sarah Liz

Saturday, December 12, 2015

The Big Shirt that wants to be a Dress - Butterick 5897.

I have to admit I am not sure whether I like this dress or not, but I made it for a reason.

(AND, I only noticed after I had taken the photographs that I did not straighten the collar. But I am not going to take these pictures again...).

The pattern I used was Butterick 5897 now OOP.

B5897, Misses'/Women's Top, Dress, Belt, Shorts, Pants and Slip

I decided to make size 8, because the garment had generous ease.   I tested that this would fit me by making a quick muslin down to my hips - I've tossed that, because I am trying to tidy the sewing area every time I finish a garment.

I cut the pattern to exactly the size 8, including length.  I hoped that the dress would be longer on me than shown on the pattern envelope.  I am shorter than 5'6", which is the height patterns tend to use.  I was using a piece of craft cotton that I did not really like, but with this garment, I was also going to use a technique I had not used for years.  So this was, once again, a technique practice garment.  The technique I wanted to relearn was how to make a placket front shirt, because this can be handy if you want to hide buttons - necessary sometimes, if you can't find a nice button.

I could not cut it longer because I only had 2.3 metres, and I needed about 2.5.  I didn't have enough for the inside yoke, so I used a piece of lawn for that, which is a bit lighter in any case.

I made View C, but did not have long sleeves, but shortened them.  I hate roll up sleeves for summer dresses - I prefer a loose and cool sleeve.  I did not do the chest pockets, nor did I add tabs anywhere.  I did add in the side seam pockets.

Now, craft/quilting cotton is not really manufactured with dressmaking in mind, but unfortunately, that is what the market is flooded with nowadays.  It is harder and harder to get quality dressmaking fabrics, so I may have to come to terms with using this stuff from time to time.

I  had an inkling that it handled differently when I made up my Bubbly Pants.  There seemed to be a bounce to the fabric.   But for the Bubbly Pants, it did not matter - the seams were minimal and straight. However, I found out quite a few of the idiosyncrasies of craft cotton when I made this dress.   I'll tell you what they are as I post:


Showing collar, yoke lining, front yoke gathers, collar and stand, and fly-front placket opening:

Inside the fly-front placket opening:

In the picture above you can see a few things - that craft cotton is often printed on the right side, and is quite white inside.  And if a thread pulls, as it often does with buttonholes, a white mark is left.  See top buttonhole.  Inside a placket, this does not matter, but it would on an exposed buttonhole.  I used a blue pen to go over this after I took the photo, so it doesn't annoy me.  The buttons are just cheap, shiny, plastic things and are black, quite horrible, but it was all I could get that would anywhere near work with the fabric colour.

In seam pockets.  I did not have enough fabric for these, so I used a black poly-cotton.  I usually line a pocket with this to reduce bulk, but this time I had to use it for both sides.  I chose black because there is black in the dress, and they won't show if the pocket opening gapes a bit.

If I was using craft cotton again, I would choose an overlocking thread that matched the inside - I wasn't thinking, and so I have black against white, which annoys me a bit, because I like seam finishes to disappear. But this is what a practice garment is all about. Finding out how to do it better next time.

And the hem - I had to do this very neatly, as I normally do, but in this case it was important, because the hem shows.  And if you look to the hem curve at the left of the shoulder, you will see small puckers.  This is craft cotton behaving like craft cotton, because I found out it really did not like doing layers or curves.  I believe it has been designed for quilting quite specifically - quilters cut small, straight shapes, and like straight seams and no flop or drape - nice crisp, straight, lines.  Dressmakers like easing, and shaping and manipulating seams - so the fabrics have to be able to do this.

Of course, young sewers like these quilting cottons because they come in all sorts of cheerful prints.  And beginning young sewers like dresses with straight seams - fairly simple lines.  Not curves and plackets and details.

I found that this fabric really liked to pucker when it hit these sorts of details.  I used all my usual techniques and don't normally get puckers.  Bobbins are also not wound at high tension, another source of puckering sometimes.  And this was confirmed when I made my next dress (to be blogged next week) out of another very basic cotton broadcloth.  Minimal puckers.

I'll show you what I mean in the next photo:

See all the puckers down the fly front placket?  And just around the hem.  I also got puckers when I eased the sleeves in - and I usually do not have trouble with plain cotton when easing sleeves.  Mind you, because of the gathers on the front and back yoke, the sleeve sort of matches.  So I can live with that.

I did check a RTW shirt with a fly front placket  in my wardrobe that is made out of poplin, another fabric prone to puckering - and it had more puckers than my dress did, so that made me feel a bit better.

But still...PUCKERS....

The side seams, which are straight, had no puckers at all, which makes me think again that quilting cotton is made for straight sewing and for quilts and crafts, not dressmaking.

Now lets look at the dress:

Well, I am still not sure about this dress - it is a bit short at the front, hence my post title about this being a big shirt that wants to be a dress.

And a bit baggy.  But then it looks just like version B, unbelted, on the pattern envelope.

I did make the belt (it has puckers, of course, but my next belt, in basic broadcloth, didn't...)

And this is the dress belted:

I think I still need to reduce the shoulder width slightly if I make  this dress again.  And, I would lengthen the front - it is uncomfortably short for me at the front.  But then, it does look like the picture.  And this is all the fabric I had.

A Sunday dress!  And also, a dress that can be worn over leggings in Autumn.    So, although I don't like the puckers - I suspect from the properties of the fabric - and some of my RTW's also have more puckers, I think I will get some use from this dress.

And I have learnt a lot.  Next time I use craft cotton I will work within the limitations of the fabric.  Simple, straight, lines.

Who knows, I may even get to like it:

Until next time, keep well,

Sarah Liz

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Post Mistake...

Hi everyone,

I accidentally just published next weeks post, instead of scheduling it.  My apologies, the post is now scheduled for next week, for those of you that have seen the accidental publishing of this post and want to know more about this dress. As you know, I did a lot of sewing recently, and am catching up on the writing of the posts.

My post this week is about my new white pants:

 Lots of you have probably seen this already, but if you haven't, you can find it here:


Sorry about the confusion, I was having one of my Whoops moments.

Sarah Liz

The Summer Pant - McCall's 6568.

I live in a major regional, post industrial centre  on coastal N.S.W., and the de rigeur mode of dress here is very casual verging on sloppy.   I found this hard to come to terms with when I first arrived post marriage, because I don't really go for the laid back, casual, rough and ready, basic life.

So over the years, I  have needed to fill up my wardrobe with clothes that suit the environment (while ignoring it as best I can) and that I will actually wear.  And that suit my age and personal lifestyle now.

And these white pants fit the bill.  The pattern used was McCall's 6568:

I didn't bother with fitting these, as these are loose, casual pants that are going to look a bit scrunched up in any case.  I cut XS legs and hips  and made the waist/tummy area a little larger, S.  I cut the crotch as a size S, and  I added 6/8 inch to the front rise and 1 3/8 to the  back  rise to make the pants waist level instead of below the waist.  And then made them up as per pattern, omitting the drawstring as I don't use them, and it just adds bulk to the tummy region.

I used the variation that added pockets to the front and back, but omitted the buttons and buttonholes.

I flat felled the side seams and did a false flat fell seam for the crotch seam.

Fabric used was a white calico, my standby for casual, rough and ready, wear around the house (but okay for out as well) pants.  And for testing a pattern, it's cheap and readily available.  And it's cotton, which is nice and cool.


Front pockets - larger than back pockets...

Back pockets - slightly smaller than front...

Waistband casing - I like to turn edges under as it is neater.

Hem - turned under.  And flat fell seam outer leg.

 And on me...

The top I am wearing is a favourite pattern than works for me.  It is based on Burda 7079.  Posts on this top can be found here.

That's it for this week, wishing you well wherever you are,

Sarah Liz