pattern review · sewing

{ KWIK SEW 3488 } The Shirt-dress…

i’ve been wanting to make  forevs…

I had seen an image in a magazine yonks ago & thought the idea of creating a focus down the middle using contrasting buttons quite genius. After settling on the Kwiksew 3488 pattern, I found a lovely weight 100% white linen at my local fabric store for €6/m & knew it was a match made in heaven. KwikSew3488_front01

This was the first Kwiksew pattern Ive used & I have to be honest & give credit where credit is due. First of all, I love that its printed onto heavier weight paper than the tissue most pattern companies use. It just makes more sense because Im not the sewer that traces…I cut that darn pattern & I use it. The only time I trace is when I notice the pattern battling after multiple abuse….& of course those dreaded BurdaStyle traces. I also love that the paper is { WHITE }. Probably because the writing is easier to see…I dont know, I just prefer it to the brown tissue. Also, most of the writing is in dark blue but the really important text like “PLACE ON FOLD” or cut 1 “ON FOLD” is in red as well as the pattern piece numbers. Sure, these are small details but I dig small details!!! The thing I love most though are the colour coded size lines. XS is in light mauve, S is in light red/pink, M is in light blue & so on. { GENIUS }. It makes following your size so much easier. Again, small deets but you know…

**edit** after publishing this post yesterday Ive had a few ladies mention that since KS was taken over by the McCalls group, the patterns are now printed onto the same brown tissue as the Vogue, Butterick, McCalls etc. This is rather disappointing to hear obviously however Im also quite surprised this is the case because I purchased this pattern from the US recently – directly from McCalls. It could be it was old stock & thats why the pattern was still on the thicker paper?!? Just wanted to clarify incase anyone goes out to buy their patterns based on my review only to find tissue!

The instruction sheet is also printed onto white paper rather than the drab brown but hey ho, whatevs floats your boat. Where some other brands show little diagrams of which side the pattern piece should be laid for cutting ie. right side up etc, these instructions you do have to read..no diagrams. I prefer the diagrams for quick reference but the text is also fine so I highlighted it for quick reference next time. The actual sewing instructions were also really good. This wasn’t a difficult project & I couldnt find any reference to what level of sewer would find this suitable but I would say an advanced beginner with experience sewing buttonholes & topstitching could take this on without a problem. KwikSew3488_front02 KS3488_back

The body measurements listed on the back of the envelope indicated I should sew the L but once I saw the finished garment measurements on the actual pattern piece, I went for the M & Im glad I did.  There is a certain amount of ease allowed for but ease is such a controversial subject. Some people like lots of ease, some like very little. I think it also depends on the style of garment & your body shape really.

Because this was my first Kwiksew pattern, I decided to leave the topstitching until as late as possible. I needed to fit it & I certainly didnt want to have to unpick masses of double topstitch…because almost every seam calls for double topstitch but you can leave those off if you like too – its ups to yous. Most of the seams I topstiched with a twin needle giving it a really nice finish. After sewing so much silk & jersey recently, the linen was a darn dream. I sewed the shorter version, with short sleeves & no pocket flaps. KS3488_stitching_detail

Next big decision – the { BUTTONS }…I had black buttons in mind because I wanted to create that focus but then I found bronze ones…the mind boggled! I took to Instagram for help & some of you voted black, some of you voted bronze – so thanks for that!!! I eventually found these lovely black domed buttons with silver splatter on them. I liked the shape & feel so I went with those. You might also notice I placed my buttons at closer intervals than the pattern suggested which meant almost double the amount of buttonholes. Luckily my Sapphy has the one-step buttonhole feature so sewing those were easy as pie. Once the buttons were stitched on, I blind hemmed & she was done.I wonder if the buttons prevent it from looking too doctor-ish though….because it feels a little doctor-ish. What do you think ?? KS3488_buttons

The dress is really comfortable, belted or not…& in linen perfect for the hot weather we’re having & Im hoping the linen will keep softening with every wash too. Im lucky enough to work from home so this kind of dress fits my lifestyle incredibly well. I just have to slip on a pair of cute flats or my over-worn nude espadrilles & Im ready to go should I need too.KwikSew3488_front04

Im definitely sewing her again, perhaps with 3/4 sleeves in a lightweight denim & red topstitch or chambray….or even with cap-sleeves??!!?

Have a good weekend & till next time,

A x

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pattern review · review · sewing

{ VOGUE 8550 } Red Pea Coat, this girl is on fire…

For those of you that have been following my blogging journey for a bit, you’ve probably seen me talk about the red Vogue 8550 pea coat that has been haunting me since I started way back when in late 2010. Im not proud to say I started so long ago, the truth hurts. I had terrible trouble with the sizing (of which Vogue referred to as ‘ease’) &  lost interest which so happened to (thankfully) co-incide with our relocation out of Holland so the sad pieces were boxed up. This box did not make the “cut” to our move to the UKso it stayed at home & waited patiently while we completed our work on the island. I should have known the pattern would give me nothing but trouble, the moment it arrived I noticed page 3 of the instructions  missing. It took a few weeks for it to be sent on. Was it a sign of things to come ??….

Anyway, fast forward 2 & some years  –  January I mentioned the red coat had been retrieved from its box & lovingly pressed, ready to tackle once & for all. I trimmed, re-measured & marked but then all the other sewing got in the way & I quickly realised this coat was going to have to be nursed, slowly & calmly…inch by inch…

Im proud to say, its { DONE } & Im so proud of myself for buckling up & getting it finished. (Ok ok, its missing its buttons…but more on that later).Vogue8550_front

Buckle up – a kinda long review but here are the details & more info on the process :

{ DESCRIPTION } Vogue Divine Details – fitted, lined coat with front & back tucks, standing collar, princess seams, full length sleeves and shoulder pads. Above mid-knee length, button closure and belt.

Vogue8550_back

{ FABRIC USED } A medium weight red wool found at Schröder Stoffen in Rotterdam, Holland. It was quite expensive but I loved this particular shade of red. I had been looking for a red wool to make another coat (using the V8438 pattern I had sewn before) but after seeing the V8550 in red, I was sold.

At first I was quite tempted to use a “WOW” lining, something wild & unexpected, but once I finished constructing the outer, I realised the red is { WOW } enough & my SIL had gifted me with this black fabric & I thought would be perfect for the lining so I went ahead & used it. I did however use the red thread to stitch the lining up which adds a very subtle accent to the black & ties the two together.Vogue8550_lining_front

{ SIZING } This was my biggest headache & I have left my original Pattern Review WIP as it was so it can still be read. I very rarely do muslins because I find they sap me of the excitement of making the real thing. Ive been sewing for long enough to know which measurements are important for me & I thought I had gotten quite comfortable with the Big 4 sizing that cutting my usual size would be ok. I was kinda wrong. This was grossly { HUGE }. I immediately thought I had farked up with my cutting so I double checked all the pieces had been cut the right size before contacting some other sewers/bloggers who I thought may have sewn this coat to enquire if they had similar problems. Unfortunately, no-one had sewn this so I had no sewcialist assistance . I then contacted Vogue directly. They came back saying the pattern had a “fair amount of ease on a FITTED coat but that they did not think there was anything wrong with the sizing”. So I got on with chopping, trimming & wasting expensive fabric to fit. Its not the ease that annoys me, its the fact that the pattern does not mention the ease at all. Anyway, moving swiftly on…

{ INSTRUCTIONS } Overall the instructions are not bad however some steps were not as clear as I thought they could be. Nearing the end, I battled to make sense of how the lining fits to the wool at the front seams. I gave up & constructed the way that I thought made sense.

{ CHANGES } The only little change I made was to the pockets. Instead of having them lined & sitting on the inside of the coat, I sewed them into the wool layer but did not bring them through the lining….in other words, they sit between the lining & the outer. I did this because I dont like pockets flapping on the inside of my coats. The pattern called for the lining to be made with the same pieces as the outer however instead of tucked like the outer, rather just pleated in. At first I thought all this extra fabric on the inside would be quite bulky however once pressed & stitched down, it gave a good weight to the inner & supports the wool well.

The coat has no loops/guides for the belt/waist tie! WTF am I meant to do with the tie when I take the coat off? I eeeked out every last bit of red wool to make the tie so I really hope I dont lose it in an absent minded outing…I might still go back & make chain loop guides…

{ LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY } ***Although it took me so long, it was not because of the level of difficulty per se. The tucks have a fair degree of complexity, even with the markings, however apart from the tucks, this is a standard princess cut coat. It was not an easy sew, but I dont think it was an advanced sew either.

{ TIME } HAHAHAHAHAHAA really!?  I normally keep a time card for kicks …I kicked this time card into the bin!!

{ LESSONS LEARNT } Take your time. I was eventually having nightmares about the coat but I knew if I rushed it would end up being a rubbish looking garment.

{ SUM IT UP } This is a lovely coat, the tuck detail is gorgeous & Im so pleased I finished it….all 2,5kgs of it!! Initially I had my doubts about whether it would keep me warm enough in the winter but once I joined the lining & felt the weight, I knew this would be a great winter coat… & I do love the RED. I had purchased big red buttons in Holland before I started but once it came time to use them, they just looked too big & the coat felt kinda clown-ish. Im hesitating with sewing them on until Ive managed to make a trip to Komolka to see if they have something slightly smaller & more suitable. Once the holes are cut, they cut so I need to be 100% sure.

I have hemmed the coat but I have not attached the lining to the wool as yet – the reason you ask? Well, Im not 100% happy with the darn shoulder pads. I feel like they are limp & lacking in the stiff department. I think Im going to change the shoulder pads. Im sure on my next trip to Komolka, I will have luck with finding alternative buttons & shoulder pads.

I might also go ahead & move the pockets from the side seams to the princess seams. I know this sounds crazy but the side seams seem too far back for me to get to the pockets. I may also just remove them completely!!

In hindsight, the problems with the sizing was almost two-fold. I still think the pattern has way too much ease however I also think my choice of wool did not help, especially with the extended periods where the WIP sat on Poppy pleading for attention. Even though this was post-tuck production, I think the wool may have stretched slightly adding to the list of problems.

I would recommend V8550 especially if you love the tuck details however, I would urge you to make a muslin first just to make sure of the sizing. I know I know, me advising making a muslin – I must be drunk! I think this coat would look amazing done in cream, but I dont think Im gonna be the one to make it!

This image clearly explains what got me through some painful & frustrating moments { Nespresso Vanilla Infused coffee }coffee_break

& elation at finally finishing! I had made a deal with myself that I would finish this before starting on something new….Im so excited to start fresh 🙂Vogue8550_elation

{ related posts }

pattern review · sewing

{ AMERSON UNDIES } The good, the bad & the ugly…

I learnt { BIG } lessons from my experience sewing the Amerson brooks. I had wanted to sew some sort of lingerie this year because I had never tried it before. These stole my heart at first sight. The good, the bad & the ugly should sum it up…but first :

amerson_undies_cottonsI used a soft ivory cotton lycra which was a scrap I picked up from a friend that worked at a well known lingerie company. I used the cotton lycra because its super silky soft and feels wonderful on the skin. I used 4 different coloured cottons for the top-stitch zigzag & button : a soft peachy pink around the waist, a lime green at the sides & crotch, bright yellow on the leg openings & a turquoise blue to attach the little button.  The cottons (part of a 30 pack of the sweetest colours) I purchased from Hema in Holland a few years back.

{ THE GOOD } They are sweet brooks, very comfie and fun. I have cheeky brooks in my armory but these are different, more bloomers if you’d like.

{ THE BAD } At first, I was a tad baffled as to which edge was the centre front and which was the centre back. I had to do some scratching but once I figured it out I marked the pattern for future & got on. TAKE NOTE : The side seam is the short straight edge, the waist is the longer straight edge!!  I also cut 2 pieces of the front in the same direction so I had to scrap one side & cut another. I wish the pattern layout would include a cutting layout for those that are using fabric with a definite right/wrong side. Its not the end of the world though…such a small piece is not going to kill me is it?! 🙂

{ THE UGLY } As I said, lessons! I learnt that I dont know much about sewing with elastic – in fact read, I know { BLOW ALL } about sewing with elastic!! The fact that my elastic was already parched should tell you how much I sew with elastic! I struggled to find the lengths in my trims tin to accommodate what was required to sew this because of the condition of my white elastic. Sure, I use elastic in a channel { OCCASIONALLY }but top stitching elastic like this equalled a disaster! By the second leg opening I had kinda found my groove but even then…it was not pretty!  It means I have much to learn about sewing with elastics and that I need to purchase some decent elastic & USE IT!

{ MORE UGLY } I also realised I think Im much bigger than I actually am. I cut out the XL thinking my ass was so big even the XL wouldnt fit. Well blow me down, I had to go back & adjust sides & waist because the XL was just far too big for me. Now, I dont usually  take much notice of size labeling because honestly, every pattern we are labeled a different size right. Going on the measurements, the L should have been my best fit but I think the fabric helped to make it seem a bit bigger as well. Who cares – they dont fall down & they comfie, thats all that interests me!! Im also thinking perhaps the over-estimation of my size should be noted under { THE GOOD } hmmm…

amerson_undies_100I would recommend these for a quick sew & I would try them again in an alternative fabric & perhaps with elastic to the insides, maybe with a lace trim.

Difficulty Rating ** (only because of the elastic problems & the CB/CF problem).

Thank you to Maddie of Madalynne for all her hard work on this pattern & of course, for making it available { FREE }. She made me smile earlier as she explains her attire for weekend cleaning! I had my wedding dress on a few weeks ago (before the ankle mishap) and my SIL looked puzzled/worried when I told her I had spent the afternoon in it. I dont do it often, if fact, its only been the 2nd or 3rd time Ive had the dress on since I was married in 2008 but I { LOVE } the super highway it puts me on straight back to my wedding day.

Thanks all for stopping by x

{ Related posts }

chit-chat · sewing

{ Etsy Lovin’ }

bathtub_jungle_etsy_machine

{ source : bathtub jungle }

Hello blog friends –

Ive been lovin’ some sewing/knitting inspired jewels on Etsy recently & I thought I would share because I dont know a single sewer/knitter that would resist all any of these lovely pieces. Sewing is one of the things that really defines me so I have a lovely pair of small scissors in the form of a brooch that I wear often. Sometimes its nestled into my {FAUX} fur gilet, sometimes its on my scarf, sometimes i pin it to my hat/beret but Ive almost always got it on somewhere. Im loving the sewing machine silhouette too so Ive been trying to decide which one/s to purchase.
skymagenta_etsy_buttons

{ source : skymagenta }

Check these out – maybe you will find something you like too. Ive linked directly to the Etsy shops via the image source title.
vintageandglam_etsy_scissors

{ source : vintageandglam }

hooliganalley_etsy_thimble

{ source : hooligan alley }

mindielee_etsy_knitters

{ source : mindilee }

If I’m not mistaken, all of these etsy shops are USA based so lucky for those of you based there. The rest of us would have to fork out more for postage but since they are such small pieces, I doubt it would break the bank.

Enjoy & be sure to let me know if you purchase any of these. Happy shopping ! x

pattern review · sewing

{ BurdaStyle 09-2010-110 Wrap top }

burdastyle_0910110Anyone following my blog might have seen a trend by now – I love polka dots & I love anything wrap – skirts, dresses, tops…{LOVE IT}.

I tackled this BurdaStyle wrap top as soon as the magazine was released back in 2010. At first sight, I knew instantly which fabric in my stash this top would become. Dont  you love it when that happens? I used a poly georgette in black with small red, pink, white & blue dots with black buttons to the side. Since this was my first BurdaStyle mag pattern to try ever, I decided to err on the side of caution regarding the sizing & cut the 42 just in case. I ended up having to cut a bit off because it was too big and therefore ended up with the correct 38/40 that was my sizing.burdastyle_0910110

I omitted the interfacing because I wanted the wraped piece to drape really naturally and Im glad I did. Word of warning : It does drape very low and I do have to be conscious of this when I lean or bend over. I wear this with jeans for a more casual look however, to the office, I will wear it with a black or red skirt and it looks great too. Very versatile!

A really cute, easy & quick project – Im surprised I havent made this more than once!

Original review can be seen here. Thanks for stopping by x

uncategorized

{Recycle old rags}

recycle_old_rags

Over the years I have become a tad more selective over which garments go for donation & which go into my recycle bin. Now by recycle I mean those garments that either have accessories on them that I can benefit further from ie. buttons, clasps, ties, studs, embellishments etc. Sometimes when recycling the garment is destroyed & therefore only good for cleaning windows, floors & the likes and therefore cannot go to someone in need but I also feel like the benefits of re-using buttons & zips etc means I am still donating in some form or another.

Since relocating I found some garments that I wasnt entirely sold on wearing again but i still love the design so Im pulling them apart {CAREFULLY} to copy the pattern off & re-use to make a new one. I figured that way I get a new pattern to use over & over without having to see a favourite top/blouse/skirt/dress go to the bin. Does that make sense ?

So today I recycled the staps off of 3 bras, embellishments off of 1 pair of knickers, will be unpicking the lovely pink top you see above  for the pattern &  hacked off the buttons shown above from one of my husbands shirts that was {FAR} too big for him….but the buttons are great. The embellished top shown on the right is one of my {FAVOURITE} tops ever. I feel like I should be moving it on but I just cant! Its around 8 years old & the colour is drained but Im thinking I could still revive it by dipping into a dye bath, thereby prolonging the inevitable. Crikey, I hate saying goodbye to much loved garments. boohoo.

Do you ever recycle old garments for zips etc & how often do you unpick a favourite worn out piece to copy the pattern & make another ?