Sunday, December 9, 2018

Introducing: The Caitlin Cami by Daydream Patterns.

Once again it seems I have been missing for quite some time from my blog.  But this time there is another reason behind the usual busy life reasons.

I have been busy behind the scenes with pattern testing a pattern that was  released yesterday. The Caitlin Cami and Slip by Daydream patterns.   I could not resist this opportunity, because over the last twelve months I had delved into the world of lingerie making - and I love it!

This pattern is for a classic bias cut slip and cami style for using with woven fabrics. Unbelievably, this sort of lingerie pattern is quite hard to find either in the Big 4 or in the Independant pattern ranges.

Daydream patterns are designed by patternmaker Jo England, and is based in Australia - well, really on the internet at

The pattern testers worked in a small closed group on Facebook and we tested two versions - the first draft of the pattern, and then the second draft, which was only slightly modified for a better fit and sewing experience.

I made a toile first, and after Jo checked it, went ahead with test garment 1.  I made this in a polyester double  crepe (slightly heavier than recommended but I wanted more of a dress top look)  with a lightweight polyester lining.  Lace was a stretch lace and straps were adjustable elastic straps.

(Of course, it is wise to check any new pattern for size and fit by making a toile first...)

For the photographs for this blog I am not wearing a bra, so you can see how well the cami fits over the bust area.

During the process of making version 1, some makers had problems with the back straps being set too wide for comfort. Additionally, some were finding the underbust curve hard to sew. The back straps were modified and the underbust curve and corresponding lower cup curve altered to allow easier sewing.

For testing this version, I used a cotton voile outer cami and the same cotton voile as the inside lining layer. Lace this time was a rigid scalloped lace.  Once again, I used adjustable bra straps for the shoulder straps.  I made them longer than the pattern suggested so that I can adjust from the front.  I will be wearing the cotton Caitlin Cami a lot so I want ease of access to straps because then I can adjust during the day.  I am wearing the cami this time with a slip.

I have plans to make this again in a few versions.  I would like more cotton camis but I think I will use a facing at the back and just under the bust. This will make it ideal for those very hot days.  I would also like to make a silk satin version, which would look and feel stunning.

Oh, and of course, a long voile slip for wearing under summer dresses.

For now though, I have a two lovely Caitlin Cami's - a dress cami and a classic underlayer cami which will be extremely useful under work tops to offset the airconditioner a bit.  Plus still be cool and absorbent in the heat.

Sarah Liz 

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Back Blogging Burda 8998, a Knit Top.

As promised, I am back with my next blog post. This week I will share my second version of Burda 8998 with you. 

Burda Craft Sewing Pattern 8998 - T-Shirt Sizes: One Size

I wanted a roomier style of t-shirt, thinking it might be more flattering to wear.  Out came this pattern and out came a remnant piece of combed cotton knit.  I was none too sure about the roominess of this style, but nothing ventured, nothing gained.  Only one way to find out, and that is to try it.

My first version was made in a thick, bouncy, knit and was designed to be worn over layers:

                                       (You can find the original post by clicking here).

So I knew the rough parameters worked.  But a different fabric, and much less bulky meant the final look was quite different.

I was making this during a period of some stress, so I decided to use the same size as before - namely size 10/36.  Which happens to be the smallest size for Burda 8998.   As for length, it is shorter than the pattern, but by how much I could not tell you as I didn't jot it down on my notes. It's probably on the pattern pieces though - I trace those, and usually note any alterations there, not as notes.

For larger sizes, the pattern adds a bust dart, which is not a bad idea for ladies with larger busts.

 As for the neckline, at first I raised it, and then I dropped it, so it is close to the pattern but may not be quite as the pattern.  Quite often when I sew I am a little on the immersive side, and tend to play around with what I have.  Notes, measurements and perfectionism are not so much my forte. 

 I decided to cut a slightly wider neckband than suggested by the pattern as the pattern neckband was very narrow with a finished width of 3/8 inch (just under 1 cm).  That was not going to work with the thickness of my knit, or it's pattern - the pattern would get lost.    

I followed the ideas as they were outlined in the pattern, but just made the neckband a bit wider.  The neckband is cut quite long, and when finished, flutes a little. 

I have to say though that when I wear the top the neckband does not look too bad. And in such a busy fabric the fluting is certainly not obvious.

I have always found that knit neckbands sit better if they are shorter than the neckline.  It also helps to use a rib or a stretch knit for the neckband.  However, a black rib band would have looked harsh on this fabric, so I stuck with the combed cotton. I played around with a diagonal/bias cut but it just looked wrong with the already busy pattern.  So I settled for what I could do.

I always stitch the neckband on first with a zig zag stitch and then check fit. Then I overlock the sea,  and then I zig zag the overlocking down just below the stitching line of the neckband.

I shortened the sleeves at the L/S line as I wanted a 7/8 or 3/4 sleeve.  The sleeve has a high head,  and isstitched into the armhole on the round.  I eased the sleeve first to help it sit nicely - it was a little larger than the armhole.  The instructions do not ask you to ease the sleeve heads.

As for hems, I used my coverstitch:

The above photo is close to the colour of the garment.  Yellow is not my best colour I have to admit, but I still like the top.   Unfortunately my lights have washed out some of the colour - and show up my allergic shiners!  One day I might get the hang of where to place the lights, and then I will have to work out how to get rid of shadows.  One step at a time, I think.

As you can see from the side view, I need to make a narrow back adjustment if  I make this top again. Overall, the top is as roomy as depicted on the envelope cover.  I don't really think this is a style that suits me as much as it might a more oval shaped figure that has weight distributed all around in a fairly cylindrical fashion.

Having looked at the top on Pattern Review, it does seem to work well on this sort of shape. (I also noticed that the neckband rippled on a few of the tops, and other people also did not like the neckband).

Of course, the top does work in a bulky knit as in the dress I showed you.  I wonder what it would be like in a drapey knit?  An experiment for another sewing day.

Meanwhile, I will enjoy wearing this top as a snazzy work top.  At least there will be plenty of room to move in it!

That's it for this week. I hope to be back with a quick post next week.

Until then, take care everyone,

Sarah Liz X

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Drape Front Knit Top: Simplicity 1716


 This week I started recovering from my sinus problems and managed this simple top and also managed to work and do all my chores.  I even finished the quarterly tax statement for DH's practice yesterday evening - I had the lightbulb moment idea of taking my dinner and working on in the evening.  So I had this morning free to cut something out!

But that is a digression. Today I am going to show you my version of the very popular top by Simplicity patterns:

 I decided to make version F without the gathers.  I thought the gathers along with the draped neckline cowl would just swamp my straight frame.

It has been on my to do list for a couple of years now.  And then when I realised I had the perfect fabric, it was a match made in sewing heaven.

The fabric I used was a cotton/lycra mix.  It was a black and white fabric I found on Spotlight's clearance table, and it was $5.00 per metre, down from $24.99 per metre.  I bought a few metres, but noticed at home that the dye job was a bit streaky and patchy and generally washed out looking.  It looked even worse after washing, so I overdyed a nice blue colour. This has given a blue wash to the patchy looking colour and dyed the white bits blue.  It looked a lot nicer, and gave rise to the idea of making this top.

I  was not sure what size to cut as all finished measurements were generous, so this was obviously not designed to be close fitting.  Also, I have never made anything like this before, so was unsure of how it was supposed to fit and look.  In the end, I settled on size 10 and graded out to 12 at the waist which was quite indented on the pattern pieces. I did not make any other alterations - this is as much as anything a toile.

I did stabilise the back neckline, although this was not suggested by the pattern.    I think it was just as well I did because the neckline is already quite large, and   if  it had stretched out it would not have been wearable on me. The interfacing I used for stabilising  was covered later by the binding, and does not show at all.  Sewing into the shoulder seam was a bit tricky - as was working out how and when to overlock the shoulder seam, but this was the final result:

 I also left the pleats at the shoulder unstitched as I did not think a stretchy cotton/lycra would sit nicely - I thought it would pull at the stitches too much. So my pleats are loose:

When I finally put the finished top, sans hems on me, it was very long and was going to give me a very unflattering visual look - top and bottom equal amounts.  So I shortened it by 2 3/4 inch.  Hem allowance remained at 1 1/4 inch.  I did not hem the sleeve at 1 1/4 inch as I felt it was just a bit short and so I hemmed that at about 3/4 inch.  I probably could have left another half an inch on the bottom.  I used my coverstitch machine to complete the hems:

It was all rather hard work for my still woozy head, but I managed by doing a step or two a day.

I will close with a few photos.  I have decided not to worry too much about photo quality - I can't do everything in life, and it is just too much pressure and time to try and do perfect pictures - after all, this is just an everyday sewing blog, not a professional publication.  I am just an ordinary sewer talking to other ordinary sewers and making a few friends along the way.  I have to use a self timer so pictures are never quite in focus.  And, I can't see what I have taken until I load them onto the computer. Many are just plain useless , and in  some I just look stern - I have included one of these at the bottom of the following frieze so you can have a chuckle:

Overall, I feel rather swamped by all the draping, and I feel bare around the neck.  I think if  I made this again I would change the armhole to size 8 min and maybe size 6 or smaller so that the drape and neckline sat into my neck more.  While I like the top and it will be a nice addition to my wardrobe for those occasions that need a comfortable but slightly dressier top, I do wonder if maybe this top would work better on a curvier sort of shape.  It would help to lift and fill the top, which it really needs.  You can see from the side view photo that there is a lot of fullness in the front, but a curvier bust and torso would wear this beautifully.

I do think I would like this top as a little jumper in  a soft lightweight wool as a layering piece over a t shirt - and the size 10 would probably work for that nicely. That way I could have the nice drape with a higher neckline underneath and get the best of both worlds!

Will I make this again?  Yes, I think it is a pretty little top and I think using a smaller neckline would eliminate some of the draping down the front.  So, this is definitely on my to do list again.

That's it for the sewing side of things.

As far as our conversation about social media is concerned, it seems I am not the only one that is a little overwhelmed.  The constant flow of images is actually hard work for the brain as it tries to take it all in and process it.  And it becomes hard work keeping was becoming work, not fun.  So now I will just post my makes and plans.  I feel much more relaxed now that Instagram is taking a back seat in my life.  I am glad I am not the only one who feels the same way. 

In due course I will get back to replying to your comments.  But at the moment I am still very busy in real life so can only really manage to write a post.  But I know from your comments that you do read my posts and you do enjoy them.  That's lovely!  I hope I can keep writing posts that you enjoy.

Until the next post, take care,

Sarah Liz x

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Toaster Sweater Simplicity edition, A Handknit Cardigan and The Bomber Dress being Worn...

 I have no doubt my face says it all. What I think about my test version of the popular Toaster Sweater, the Simplicity edition:

Simplicity Pattern 8529 Misses' Knit Sweaters

 Of course, I imagine myself as looking a little casual and sophisticated like the young ladies in the picture.  I know I am not (although my husband tells me I am very sophisticated and he likes my practical attitude).   But perhaps it is the quality of my knit, which is an acrylic/wool mix, a remnant piece found at Spotlight. I think there is a heavy emphasis on acrylic, which I don't think I like that much.  It's very soft, and was terrible to sew - I managed to get the neckline and cuffs done neatly, but the bottom band just waved and waved.  I removed the first attempt and recut another band, very carefully tacked it on, very carefully serged with differential feed engaged.  And it waved and waved.  So in the end I had to press it, which is not a good idea with acrylic, so the band then stretched out.  Still, I see this in RTW tops as well - and RTW  tops like this in a fabric like this are also not perfect - I have made quite a study of them since making this top!

The overall shape is quite boxy and swingy, and this would have been the case even if the band had not stretched out. That has just made the top even more of a swing top.

And just in case you are wondering, I cut version B, top left hand corner in the pattern picture above. I did not alter the length of the bodice at all, because this was a test version of the shape.  The drape of my fabric is like that of version A, main picture.

Anyway, the practical me prevailed, and whether I like this sweater or not, I have found it the most useful little loungewear top that I currently have and now have some affection for it!

The neckline is a funnel shape, and the smudgy black dot at the back is a pen mark to tell me which is the back of the garment:

The shoulders are very dropped and I found that with this soft knit that a ridge formed at the armhole/shoulder junction.  I have learnt to live with this:

 And the cuffs are okay.  I did find the sleeves very long and had to shorten them quite a bit, but they still turned out just a bit long.  Sometimes I don't mind, and sometimes when they annoy me I just do turn back cuff, which works quite well too.

So, for a wearable muslin, I am quite happy.  I have learnt how a new to me fabric performs, and if I sew this sort of fabric again, I will have some idea what the pitfalls are.

A few pictures and then I will show you my new handknit:

 My handknit cardigan is a little less voluminous, although still short and boxy:

 It's a pattern I have made before, but that cardigan is a long time ago knit and was put to rest ages ago. It's a Cleckheaton pattern for an mohair/acrylic blend called Studio, long discontinued.  I loved all the patterns they put out for this yarn and snaffled all the pattern books.

The yarn I used was Moda Vera Faith, purchased from Spotlight.  It's a wool/mohair/acrylic blend but not as soft as the original.  Anyway, here is a quick picture - with a rather awful white t-shirt and black pants - but I wanted the white contrast to show the cardigan up:

And finally, I do read your comments and appreciate you would like to see the Bomber dress on me to get a better idea of what it looks like.   So here it is, a quick snap - and one problem with taking a picture of bare legs on a cold day when you have been wearing socks is that you see sock lines!  And I am suffering sinusitis so I look quite strained. Oh well, never mind! :

The original post for the Bomber Dress by Named can be found here:  Bomber Dress, Named.

That's it for now. For those of you that read my thoughts last week about blogging and social media, I have decided I much prefer blogging.  It's quiet, I feel settled, and I enjoy it.  Social media seems to invade more, and works at a far more primitive level as far as the physiology of the brain is concerned, and I really don't like it's effects.  I found your comments interesting as well.  So, you will see more posts from me, and I will revert to taking my rather homespun selfies to show you the garment. I am also humbled by the fact that so many of you read and enjoy my blog.

That's it for now, I will be back next week - unbelievably I have 34 unposted garments, mostly very simple constructions,  so I should have plenty of blog material for the next few months!

Take care everyone,

Sarah Liz

Friday, September 28, 2018

Finally, the Beryl Bomber Dress

A few weeks ago, I finally made the Beryl Bomber Dress by Named. It was on my to do list for over 12 months, and I was determined to get this dress made before Bomber styles go out of fashion.

Before I post anything about the dress, an update on why I have not been blogging much recently. The first is that I have become very busy over the last 12 months, and have rather a lot on my work and personal plate.  So blogging has taken a back seat. The second is that the nature of blogging may well have changed.  It seems to me that many sewers now communicate via Instagram.  So I am finding that not so many people read or comment on my blog. This does not bother me per se as I do no need for validation or for being popular.  But I do think that this change in the media landscape warrants a different approach by me towards blogging.  It will become more a record now of my makes and progress and less geared towards comments and communication.

And as it will be more of a personal record, I may only take photos of garments on a hanger, with any notes that are relevant should I wish to make the garment again.  And some of you may like that approach.

(edited 13/10/2018 - you will find a picture of this dress being worn at bottom of post. ).

And that is what I decided to do with this dress, or it would never get blogged at all.

So, the details. This is the Beryl Bomber Dress, by Named:

The dress is a very simple shape.  The measurements and sizing seemed accurate, but it is sized for taller wearers.  I removed length above the waist and repositioned the casing.  I also wanted a longer dress, so I added length at the hem.  I wanted short sleeves as this will be a spring/autumn dress.  I did not interface the knit collar as recommended because I wanted this to stay soft.  I also used a fabric casing for the elastic instead of ribbon as per the pattern.

I made the dress in a cheap craft cotton - I only paid about $2.00 per metre.  So this dress was both my toile and a wearable muslin.  I followed the instructions which were quite straightforward.  The zip was faced so it has a nice clean finish.

This was a straightforward make.  I have already worn it and I know that when I make the proper version it will probably be better in a stretch fabric - I can feel the sleeves will need that.  I have a lightweight stretch wool that would work, but I also need to find a better quality rib knit for the neck - the poly/cotton blends do pill.  As do the acrylic knits.

Until next time....

Sarah Liz 

Edited 13/10/2018 with picture of dress being worn: