Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Pattern mania, the Lou box top & following the designer's advice

Don't you love discovering a new pattern?! It can be such an exciting process and generally goes like this for me...  stumble upon a new pattern (via Instagram, Pinterest or blog), fall a bit (or a lot!) in love with it, research it, find some examples that I love, daydream about making it, (deep breath) buy it, and finally make it. Only then can I stop thinking about it! Phew, what a process... is it like that for you too?

The first time the Lou Box Top by SewDIY came on my radar was with this version, and the process of getting the pattern ended up being a test of my patience as this was a pattern tester's version, the pattern had not yet been released! So of course all I could do was stalk her Instragram account waiting for the release ;-)

When I finally got my hands on the pattern I tried it in a voile (in anticipation for the dark chambray I had in mind for the next) and... it looked totally wrong. Basically I was guilty of not following the designers' direction on fabric and had chosen something without enough drape - it was waaaay too boxy. So I cut that one down to something different, which I'll show you next time, and went back to my stash...

I chose a knit next and this worked really well. You can see from the above pic that the shape is indeed boxy. I'd try this in a rayon or maybe a silk but otherwise I think I'll stick to knits for this. I have a beautiful piece of dark grey tissue weight knit in my stash which I think will look fantastic. I used a solid cream coloured back (an upcycled piece of an old t-shirt sheet that had worn out) to give the eye a rest from the crazy print.

This is a really simple pattern, and would be great for beginners. I love how several different lengths, hemlines and necklines are included, and thought this was very innovative, especially as it's her first pattern release. I did already have a few simple top patterns in my stash but each is a little different, and as I proved with my fabric stuff-up, each has it's own merits and requirements!

The fabric, by the way, was a scrap from Spotlight. As it was a small piece they just charged me a few dollars, which proves that they don't always need to give crappy service!! As an interesting aside, I've washed this maybe 5 times and realised the other day that I don't have an orange t-shirt anymore - it's faded right back to a pink! Oh well, I'll enjoy it it as it is!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Pattern favourites: Melly sews high low top and Black Spinel trousers

When I was in Melbourne last year I picked up a couple of metres of a light weight plaid cotton from Rathdowne Fabrics. It's been staring at me from the stash all summer, and though I'd envisioned making a Grainline Archer with it I haven't tried that pattern yet (though hope I get the courage to soon!) and I really wanted to use it now! I wanted to use it on a pattern I knew would work, was simple, quick and pretty fail-safe, so I chose the Melly Sews high low top. The one I made this time last year has had heaps of wear.

If you don't know this pattern, it's a free one but only available in one size (Melissa's, and as it turns out, mine too - I'm about an Australian size 10/12). There are set in sleeves, bust darts and a high low hem. As with the last one, the fit is good for me so it didn't need adjusting, the only thing I did differently again was to add elastic to the sleeve cuffs as I feel it creates a nicer silhouette on me. For this I just turned a small hem up twice and left a gap where I threaded thin elastic. Also I smoothed out the hem curve a little so it created a hemline that was easier to hem by turning up twice and sewing down. Though I kind of wish I'd used bias binding here too as well as the neckline as it makes such a nice finish and adds a little weight.

I'm pretty happy with my top and think the balance of the style with the busy plaid works well.

I thought I'd also mention my trousers here which I made ages ago but I haven't blogged. They are Black Spinel Pants from the Japanese brand Tamanegi-kobo. This is my third pair and this pattern is definitely another favourite of mine. The first pair I made 3 years ago and have worn out, the second were a merino blend khaki pair which I wore to death last winter, but these are my favourites of the three: so comfortable, versatile and just great to wear.

I love the design description on the Tamanegi-kobo website:
Super skinny leggings using stretch woven fabric inspired from knit leggings. Biker pants like cutting and engineered with three dimensional design including articulated knees. Waistband is elasticated and easy construction. Front width is narrower and pocket placement is lower, which will have the effect of looking skinny. Even coordinate with simple Tee shirt will still make you look stylish. Topstitch is the key point. Go crazy with thicker thread and color!

Apologies for the butt shot but I wanted to show you the detail of pockets, yoke and top stitching (over exposed pic so that hopefully you can make it out).

These details make the trousers look almost like jeans, or at least less like leggings, so I feel I can wear them with quite a few different tops. I'm not a huge leggings wearer, and when I do wear them I always like my tops to cover my bottom & crotch, but these are that bit more substantial. Plus they are made in a shark skin type fabric which is about a medium weight.

I have changed a couple of things along my journey with this pattern: I lowered the waist (I prefer waistbands to sit on my hips), narrowed the leg a little and to this pair I drafted some front pockets to add to the detail but also to make them infinitely more practical. I'm sure no. 4 will occur, I love this pattern so much :-)
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