Thursday, 29 September 2016

Completed: Emerson Pants

Hi! Yes, I really am back again so soon! I have 2 days of sewing goodness to thank for that.

On Sunday, a few of us met up for a chilled afternoon of sewing, chat, lunch and cake at The Stitchery in Glasgow. Sorry to everyone that we didn't invite - it wasn't meant as a cliquey get together or anything like that. It just started from an IG chat between Jen, Kathryn and I, which grew organically until we had 10 people, the max that The Stitchery could cater for. I probably don't need to explain this, but I didn't want anyone to think they had been deliberately excluded. There's nothing worse than that feeling! :( While it was great to catch up, the best part of the day was getting to finally meet Kathryn, a fellow Scot who lives in London, who has been a blog-and-Instagram friend for a few years now. Obviously she is lovely!!!! I also finally met Amy, another Instagram friend, but one who lives about 15 minutes away from me.

Anyway, I got 5 hours of pretty much non-stop sewing, which gave me a good start on this pattern and I followed it immediately with a child-free day off work, which allowed me to get this finished off. Feast or famine over here, I tell you!

The pattern is the True Bias Emerson Pants, and I really wish I'd made these at the beginning of the summer. I couldn't, of course, because she only released the pattern at the end of July, but I'd had a pretty clear idea all summer of making trousers like these. I had even bought the fabric - a medium weight chambray from The Sweet Mercerie. It's the same fabric I used in this dress. I liked the fabric so much, I bought more. I still have 1.5m left.

Even in a mid weight fabric, these are not the most seasonally appropriate for late Sept in Scotland, but I decided to treat these as a wearable muslin, with the hope that they will be wearable for our just-booked trip to Santander in Northern Spain in October. I can't vouch yet for the Spanish wearability but so far they are ticking all boxes boxes for Scottish wearability, as long as I don't mind having cold ankles. :)

I almost made these exactly as the pattern - a novelty for me these days, it seems. I would have done, but when I tried them on, I liked the length as it was. I did like it at the drafted length, but I preferrred them slightly longer, so I drafted another hem facing. Trousers like these need a deep hem, I think, so I just made the hem facing the width of the instructed hem - 2 inches. Next time, I'll add 2 inches to the pattern length.

My plan was to have contrasting top/edge stitching on these, and I even chose a kind of beigy gold thread. And then I forgot. Too much chatting.

Do I need to say how much I love these? They have an elasticated back waistband, so are very comfortable, but I think the flat waistband on the front makes them more flattering. I love the pleats, I love the wide leg, I love the length. And P likes them because, and I quote "cute bum". :)
Love the pleats!
The fit isn't quite right. I always have issues with my calves in trousers. I thought with wide legs, this wouldn't be an issue, but you can see from some of the photos above that side seams don't hang perpendicular to the ground - they shift forwards. And in the photo with my back to the camera you can see something happening. Not sure if that's my thighs or my calves to be honest. If you have any ideas, feel free to chip in. It doesn't hugely bother me, but it would be nice to know how to fix it.

So, yeah, the fit isn't perfect, but I don't really care! I love them and I have already cut out a second pair.


Sunday, 25 September 2016

Completed: M&S Inspired shirt dress

Hello, hello! Wow, I made a thing and I even got photos! I took an unintentional break for a bit there. There's just been quite a lot of Life Admin that's taken up all my time. Hopefully normal service will resume reasonably soon.

I mentioned before that I have been ploughing through some WIPs before starting anything new. This is the last. Well, it's not the last WIP I own, but it's the last I am finishing right now.
Still rocking the bare legs at the end of Sept!!!
This was a slow burner. Instagram tells me I cut this out on 16th April. My blog tells me I've started and finished 8 other items since then. I don't really know why this has taken so long, other than I made my first ever shirt in the most lightweight, shifty, loosely woven fabric ever, errr, woven, and that some evenings I just wasn't that into torturing myself.

Let's go back to the beginning on this one. The dress is ripped off from inspired by the below dress from the Autograph range in M&S, which I spotted in January.  It was one of those "oh, I could easily make that" type moments that actually gained some traction. I already owned the Archer shirt pattern. I just needed to play around with it and then find the right fabric.
I found the fabric pretty easily, from Anna Ka Bazaar. It's a very lightweight viscose, that moves when you so much as show it the scissors, but I loved the stripes, which run parallel to the selvedge. Perfect for the back of the dress. It's probably too lightweight for this (the original dress was in a medium weight poly), but I didn't know that until it arrived and it was also very cheap. Including postage, it cost 31.60 euros for 3m, so about £27, and I have fabric leftover. The M&S dress was about £65, I think.

So, the pattern is obviously based on the Archer. I did all the alterations so long ago, I can't remember exactly what I did, but essentially, I cut the front piece at the waist, then "drafted" a skirt piece, which was basically the bottom part that I cut off extended to the length I wanted. I tapered the sides out a little to make it slightly A line, just so I'd have enough room to walk, although in the end I also added side vents. The back was just extended to the dress length and widened the same as the front. That was it, although I ultimately added a hem facing as well because I didn't make it quite long enough.

There is a pocket, but only one, in the side seam. I omitted the breast pocket in the original pattern. Genuinely can't remember why I only did one pocket. Laziness, probably.

I based the stripe placement on that of the M&S dress. That was the bit I loved the most about it. Before cutting out, I wrote a list of how to cut each part, and I actually marked each pattern piece with how to cut it (on grain or cross grain) with a little diagram.

I found my first shirt OK to make, actually, despite the difficult fabric. I followed the sewalong on the Grainline blog to the letter, except that I used Andrea's tutorial for the collar because I've read so many good things about it. I enjoyed the process. Some of it was great - I loved doing the yoke - some was not so great - my sleeve plackets are an absolute mess - but I did enjoy it, when I was in the mood to sew it. The quality of my sewing is so so, but it's good enough. Sometimes good enough is OK. Something is also a bit off at the hem as it doesn't hang straight, although it measures the same length all the way around. I suspect I should have rounded the hem a bit, but it doesn't bother me enough to do anything about it.

Ultimately, I love it. It feels a little nightdress-ish on, so I'm glad I didn't do the curved shirt style hem (which on dresses makes me feel even more like I'm wearing a nightie), but it's so comfy. And cool. In both senses. I just love it. P hates it, but what does he know?! ;)
Small Boy was my assistant on this "shoot"!
I have fabric to make 2 more Archers (a tencel and a rayon voile - I like to keep things challenging). Let's hope they don't take as long!
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