Thursday, 26 December 2013

Make a Garment a Month - My December Garment

Ottobre 5/2013 No. 3 Leo Bohemian blouse

I used to wear peasant style tops in my younger days and when I saw this one it immediately went on my want list. I have been subscribing to Ottobre for over a year now, and though each issue has designs that seem very "me" I haven't yet summoned up the courage to trace a pattern off and test the Ottobre fit.
Picture from the magazine
Now, my body looks nothing like the model in the book, so I was a bit worried, but I have learned quite a bit about pattern adjusting lately, so I traced off a size 42 (European sizing) at the shoulders, which corresponds to my high bust measurements, and graded it out to a size 46 at the underarm and hips. When I measured the pattern pieces there seemed to be enough ease for me.

I chose a sheer polyester print from Darn Cheap Fabrics for my test garment. The pattern recommends poplin. This poly was tricky to cut out - very slippery.
The first thing to do is the placket. I've never done piping before. I used a gold lycra from my dance stash and fussy cut the red from the print. It turned out better than I expected!!! So I carried on. Ottobre instructions are succinct, but not too hard to follow.
The pattern has a few other features that are new to me. Sleeve plackets are a first. The fabric made this trickier than it needed to be. It was impossible to distinguish right side from wrong, so even though I thought hard, I sewed the plackets on the same way!! You can't tell with this print and fabric, so I didn't unpick, but I'll make sure I mark the wrong sides next time.....

It's been ages since I did a yoke, and I did quite a bit of spatial gymnastics before I was game enough to sew front to back to enclose the yoke. It was simple in the end, but I wanted to make sure no unpicking would be required. Once I had joined front to back, I was starting to really like this top, and wished I'd taken more care with finishing off the seams. Because it was a test garment, I was being lazy. I tried sewing French seams for the sideseams and sleeves - another first. I was happy with the result and will do this next time I'm working with a sheer fabric.

The sleeve cuffs are buttoned. The buttonholes were a disaster! There is plenty of room in the cuffs for my hands, so I just sewed the buttons on through the cuffs. The print covers it all up so it's not even a "Design Feature".

The instructions called for a narrow hem, but when I finished it, parts of the hem were flared out, so I decided to overlock a rolled hem. Thread choice was tricky as the print is large areas of different colours, and I settled on a tan colour in the upper looper, a grey in the lower looper and the steel blue thread I had been using in the sewing maching for the needle. It turned out very nicely.

I was so happy with this top that I wore it on Christmas Day (with my new denim skirt from my Sure-Fit Designs dress kit). In the photos I'm wearing a navy cami under it. I'm looking forward to experimenting with other colours underneath.
I'm thinking of making another one. I have some bone coloured viscose in mind, which will look totally different. I might also see how it looks loosely belted.

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Christmas Cutie

I hadn't planned on making this. I've been subscribing to Ottobre for over a year now and, though I love receiving the magazines in the post and flicking through looking at the pictures, I've never sewn anything! Then Pattern Review held a holiday sewing contest, and I knew I had scraps of Christmas fabric in my stash waiting to be used, so I measured up my wriggly toddler and set to it!

Ottobre 3/2013 Designs 13 Vichy Bow sleeveless top and 14 Surprise flounce skirt
Tracing off the pattern is quite a challenge. They certainly do pack a lot of designs onto the page, and then you get to add your seam allowances. You need to read the instructions carefully to make sure you haven't missed any notches, or added seam allowances where you needn't.
This little top came together really quickly. The pointy hem and bow are quite cute.
I made the smallest size. My toddler was smaller on all the measurements except height, and I wouldn't want this to be any smaller. The red knit fabric I used is not super stretchy, but it had the minimum amount of stretch stated on the pattern. It also is quite short on her. On the model, it's a bit short, but she is wearing her skirt higher. On my daughter, there's quite a gap between skirt and top.
The little skirt was fun to make. I had just watched a lesson on Janet Pray's Craftsy class Sew Better Sew Faster about crimping to help turn the fabric under for patch pockets. This technique worked like a dream. Unfortunately, the lace I chose from stash to top the pockets was a bit heavy. In hindsight I should have trimmed the lace off the heavier edge it was attached to. Never mind.
The back of the skirt is great. I had fun deciding which fabric to put where. I'm delighted with the result, even if it did mean rethreading the overlocker between red and green for the rolled hems.
If I make this up again (in a more "normal" fabric) I'll need to be more accurate with the flounce lines, as the flounces are sewn into the side seams. On one side I needed to go back and trim away a little of the flounce (which meant threading the overlocker in green again to do the rolled hem) as I needed more space to sew the hem.

You can see from the side view how the front and back contrast so nicely. Ottobre didn't call it the "Surprise" flounce skirt for nothing!

She certainly looked very cute in her Christmas outfit today!
Now I need to work out how to enter it in the contest.