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July 29, 2014 / Blogless Anna

Same but different…

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Remember that red silk top pattern that I used to make a jumper in my last post?  Well before packing the pattern away, I decided to make it up as a top (rather than a jumper) in a viscose/elastane jersey.  And not just any jersey… but the gorgeous Jaywalk from Tessuti.

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I ummed and ahhed about this fabric.  The quality, drape and the discounted price (during the competition) were superb but I just wasn’t into the colourways.  On the day the competition entries were due, I caved and brought some in each colourway (just for the record, I had no intention of entering!) and I’m so so so glad I did.

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Black may not be part of a colour palette I wear near my face, but I can always accessorise with colourful layers, shoes, a scarf, bright lipstick and my bag of knitting!

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Construction was predominantly on the overlocker.  I secured the neckline seam and hems using a twin needle.  And yes, fusible stay tape was used on the neckline, shoulder seams and all hems.  I can’t live without it!

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Would you wear a top that is greater in width than length?  And while I’m asking for your valued opinion… do I get away with wearing double stripes – a striped singlet and a striped top?

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Pattern:  Number 30 from Pochee’s May & Me Style Sewing II
Size:  LL (without adding seam allowances)
Fabric:  Jaywalk Jersey from Tessuti
Alterations:  Lengthened and narrowed the sleeves.  Overlocked a band to the neckline and secure the stitching with a twin needle.
Accessories:  Sophie Digard scarf from Scarlett Jones , shoes from Peter Sheppard and bag made by me!

July 27, 2014 / Blogless Anna

A seasonally appropriate jumper

I put this jumper on for photos today and dare I say… it felt perfect.  It was warm (hello Melbourne winter!), comfortable, stripey, boxy, cropped and I love it’s earthy and grey tones.

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Let’s talk about fabric first and then I’ll confess how I cobbled the pattern together.

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The fabric is a loose weave wool/acrylic knit from The Cloth Shop.  It’s something I wouldn’t usually look twice at, but The Cloth Shop had cleverly sewn up an inspiration jumper which was hanging above the roll of fabric.  All of a sudden I had a vision of this fabric made into a boxy cropped jumper with fitted sleeves; a copy of a favourite RTW jumper (as seen in this post).

After purchasing the fabric (20% off thank-you very much!) I went home to browse my Japanese pattern books.  Who else but the Japanese do boxy so well?  I can’t read Japanese, but I think we can safely say I made a woven pattern (red silk?) into a jumper!

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The pattern is number 30 from Pochee’s May & Me Style Sewing II (only available in Japanese).

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The pattern front and back are identical apart from differing necklines.  The sleeves for the pattern are short and wide, so I lengthen them by 4 & 1/2 inches and narrowed them slightly (I made a muslin to check fit and refine the sleeves).  If I’m wearing a boxy top, I do prefer a slimmer fitting sleeve.

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I traced the largest size (LL), and lazily didn’t add the seam allowances.

Even though the fabric has an open weave, the little samples I sewed up showed that neutral coloured fine fusible stay tape was required to stop the fabric ‘growing’ and it was almost invisible.  Oh how I love fusible stay tape.  It’s a must in my books if you are sewing knits!

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Construction was predominantly on the overlocker.  I finished the neckline and sleeves with bands and the hem was secured with a twin needle.

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Will I use this pattern again?  I already have…

Pattern:  Number 30 from Pochee’s May & Me Style Sewing II
Size:  LL (without adding seam allowances)
Fabric:  Loose weave wool/acrylic knit from The Cloth Shop
Alterations:  Lengthened and narrowed the sleeves.  Added bands to finish the neckline and sleeves.

July 2, 2014 / Blogless Anna

Reporting back

My thoughtful plan of three liberty 3/4 sleeved Scout Woven Tee’s gained some momentum on the weekend, and I thought it was time to report back.

Oh how I love the Scout Woven Tee!

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This new to me liberty was from a fabric shop owners personal stash and dates back to the 80s.  When I purchased this fabric from the previous owner (thanks Instagram) I was undecided if it was for me or my girls.  As you can see, selfish sewing won!

For a bit of fun, I thought I would style my red, pink and purple poppies Scout with the jacket, cardigan, shrug and cropped jumper as per my plan.  To refresh your memory…

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I think the top three outfits work with my quirky romantic style, but I won’t be leaving home in the cropped purple jumper combo.  But yet, here am I posting of photo of it on my blog!  The things I do for you readers.  In the photo above (and it was the best of them!), I don’t like way the Scout billows out from under the cropped jumper.  In hindsight, the jumper looks much better with a slimmer and slightly longer shirt underneath.

Pattern:  Grainline Studio’s Scout Woven Tee
Size: 
10
Fabric: 
Vintage Liberty of London Tana Lawn from Odette (previously known as Patchwork on Central Park)
Alterations: 
I completed an FBA (see details here) and lengthened the sleeves utilising Jen’s Long Sleeved Scout Variation Pattern Tutorial

Moving onto Scout number two…

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The liberty for this Scout was purchased in Tessuti’s Melbourne store with this specific project in mind.  It’s a little more subtle than my poppies Scout, but it allows for bright accessories… and you all know how I love a scarf and/or some beads.

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The jeans, boots and my lipstick are the same in both styling sessions, and yet with a change of outer layer and accessories I have created quite different looks.  This little styling session was very good for my mindset about creating a travel wardrobe for our upcoming European family holiday.

Pattern:  Grainline Studio’s Scout Woven Tee
Size: 
10
Fabric: 
Liberty of London Tana Lawn from Tessuti (Melbourne Store)
Alterations: 
I completed an FBA (see details here) and lengthened the sleeves utilising Jen’s Long Sleeved Scout Variation Pattern Tutorial

The third and final planned liberty Scout?  What can I say?  I’ve moved onto the next project…

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A very big thank-you to my dear friend Sharon for the styling and photography.  Sharon’s recently won herself the prestigious role as the Blogless Anna photographer (when I need to be in front of the camera!).  Mr Blogless Anna is very pleased he has been relieved of this duty.

And how about all those changing objects on the wooden stool?  Hilarious aren’t we?

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June 27, 2014 / Blogless Anna

A thoughtful plan

When it comes to sewing I’m easily distracted with the next pattern/fabric/project.  I’m terrible at sticking to a sewing plan.  Here’s hoping that things are about to change!

In my recent post about my Scout with 3/4 sleeves I indicated that I’d like to make three more from my liberty stash to fill a gap in my wardrobe.  Last night I put on the said Scout and proceeded to try on every jacket, jumper, shrug and cardigan in my wardrobe.  The results were surprising!  The ones that worked were put in a pile, the rest were put away.  I then had a great time matching the ‘yes pile’ with lovely liberty tana lawn in my stash.

If I share my results with you, I’m hoping it will be added motivation to follow through.  This is what I came up with.

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Clockwise from top right:  Cropped red duffel coat, fair isle cardigan, merino shrug & cropped purple jumper.

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Clockwise from top right:  Cropped red duffel coat, chartreuse jacket, tartan jacket, brown jumper, fair isle cardigan & olive green jacket.

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Clockwise from top right:  Brown jumper, merino shrug, grey shrug, cropped purple jumper & mushroom cardigan

I’m hoping that the prints and colourways are different enough that no-one will notice they are all the same pattern.  That being said, in honour of my quirky Gabby Dresses, there might be a rogue sleeve in another fabric.

And my reward from following through on this plan?  I trip to Odette (previously known as Patchwork on Central Park) to endulge in their 20% off liberty sale!

June 24, 2014 / Blogless Anna

Colour blocked Day Tripper

They say a picture tells a thousand words…

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Are you following my story?  I’ve sewn a colour blocked version of ShwinDesignsDay Tripper Top.  The pattern comes with two sleeve options and three length options.  I selected the long sleeve version with the shortest body length.

After a quick and dirty muslin (I say dirty as I used stained jersey that I brought super cheap with the hope the marks would come out – they did not!) I made the following adjustments:

  • Shorted the neckband piece by 3 inches and clumsily bound the neckband.  I say clumsily as it’s four layers of fabric and was near impossible to top-stitch.  What can I say?  I was experimenting!
  • Shortened the arms by 1.5 inches in three places (a total of 4.5 inches) as I was after a more 3/4 look but achieved a 4/5 look as my woolen fabric has much more drape than my muslin!
  • Left off the hem band, stablised the raw hem with fusible stay tape, turn up once and stitch down with my twin needle in thread that matched the contrast colour

What did I end up with?  A custom top that’s all that I wanted and more.  A top that could be described as a cross between Grainline’s Hemlock Tee and Megan Nielsen’s Briar!  Happy days…

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What do I love about this top?

  • The fabric – 100% medium weight merino wool that super soft, warm and has amazing drape.
  • The high low hem – such a flattering style on me that I will continue to wear even when it goes out of fashion… just like Lara!
  • The relaxed fit – another favourite
  • The colour blocking – why didn’t I try this earlier?

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Pattern:  Day Tripper Top by ShwinDesigns
Size:  S through the neck and shoulders graded to a M through the bust and side waist.  Long sleeved version with shortest body length.
Fabric:  100% merino wool (medium weight) from The Fabric Store
Alterations:  I left off the hem band, shortened the sleeves, shortened the neckband and bound the neckline in a different way than instructed.
Accessories:  Uimi Indiana Scarf purchased from A Quirk of Fate

June 22, 2014 / Blogless Anna

It was time

Oh look, another smug face from…

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a very happy sewer/sewist who… tah dah… has just completed her first Full Bust Adjustment (FBA).

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It was time.  I’ve know for a while that I ‘should’ (gosh I hate that word) be FBAing, but instead I skirted around the edges by grading one size up in the bust area.  For knit/jersey projects this was workable solution, but in my sewing heart of hearts I knew that it wasn’t cutting the mustard for wovens.

One of my current wardrobe gaps is 3/4 sleeve tops that can be layered, and in particular, worn under jackets.  I think I have a winner!

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Hiding under my jacket is Grainline Studio’s Scout Woven Tee with 3/4 sleeves.  The pattern comes with short sleeves, but Jen has provided super clear and easy to follow tutorial for lengthening them (see Grainline’s Long Sleeved Scout Variation).  For the record, the length of my amended sleeve pattern piece is 19 inches.

Now back to this FBA…  I used a Threads Magazine’s online video (yah it was free!) titled Industry Insider Techniques Vol 4 – Pattern Adjustment for a Full Bust Without Darts.  As per the instructions I added 1 1/2 inches on the horizontal (maroon), 1/2 inch on the vertical (light green) and then trued up the armhole, side seam and hemline (orange).

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It worked a treat.  I can lift my arms over my head

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and drive the car without tightness across the back.

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In my earlier renditions of the Scout Woven Tee (yes, this is not a new pattern to me) I got a little carried away with shortening them at the hem.  For this version I left the hem ‘as it’ and it feels just right.

Oh you’d like to see some more photos?  Here is another front view…

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and the back.

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I’m already planning on using some stashed liberty for THREE more of these tops.  Three does sound excessive, but I think these will tops that I’ll wear all year around and be perfect for my Sept/Oct European family holiday.

As it’s winter here in Melbourne my current styling will be with jeans, boots, a jacket and a scarf.

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Pattern:  Grainline Studio’s Scout Woven Tee
Size: 
10
Fabric: 
Japanese Tana Lawn from Spotlight
Alterations: 
I completed an FBA (see details above) and lengthened the sleeves utilising Jen’s Long Sleeved Scout Variation Pattern Tutorial

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June 12, 2014 / Blogless Anna

Carnaby Cape

Winter is definitely here in the southern hemisphere and thanks to a recent pattern testing gig I’m feeling all prepared…

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The Carnaby Cape is the Handmaker’s Factory’s debut pattern.  It features a neck opening fastened by two buttons and a tie, which threads through four bound buttonholes, to clinch it in at the waist.

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The cape has was a real pleasure to sew.  The shoulder seams, neck facings and button band came together quickly, but then I opted for the slow and steady approach for the remainder.  I know I’m being all sewing nerdy, but I got such great satisfaction out of sewing the four bound buttonholes.

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My practice bound buttonhole was rather wonky, so with the real deal I used a running stitch to mark the sewing start and finish lines (chalking these wasn’t accurate enough for my liking).   With bound buttonholes, accuracy is king!  I also found that hand stitching the welts together before top-stitching gave a much neater result.

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Strangely enough, I also really enjoy top-stitching the waist tie.  Be warned though, it’s a thread eater.  For the record, I cut my waist tie 30cm shorter than recommended and it’s only just long enough.  If you’re planning on making the cape, don’t follow my lead, follow the instructions!

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As mentioned earlier, the cape neck opening is secured by two buttons.  I’m a little embarrassed to admit that the cape only just goes over my large (23 inch or 58 cm) head.  I’m sure for most, this won’t even hit your radar, but if the case/container that carries your brains is big, consider yourselves warned!

My machine is usually a happy camper when it comes to buttonholes, but it refused to even attempt to sew through two layers of felted wool (the cape & the neck facing).  I opted to hand work the buttonholes.  By Gum, By Golly’s Making Buttonholes By Hand post was a life saver.  I used pearlised cotton to reinforce the buttonhole and worked the buttonholes with the same polyester thread that I sewed the garment with.  Let me just say, I got neater with each buttonhole (and there was even a practice one!).

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My button placement wasn’t ideal, I so I sewed a sneaky little press stud (so sneaky you can’t even see it!) to keep the neck edges together.

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I just realised I haven’t told you about the fabric…  it’s a felted wool that I picked up at the Clear It store on Brunswick Street over 12 months ago.  At the time I thought I was onto a good thing so I brought 3m.  With only 1m left, I wish I’d brought more as it’s now sold out!

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Pattern:  Carnaby Cape (pdf only) by the Handmaker’s Factory’s 
Size: 
Medium
Fabric: 
Dark Forest Green Felted Wool from the Clear It (Alanah Hill) Outlet
Alterations: 
My waist tie is 30cm shorter than specified.  Don’t follow my lead, follow the instructions!
Accessories:  Sophie Digard scarf from Scarlett Jones and yellow brooch from Elk.

Interested in purchasing this pdf pattern?  Until Wednesday June the 18th, you can receive a 10% discount by using the code: carnabycape

As this is a new pattern release, I thought you might like to see Carnaby Cape on another body type.  A big thank-you to my my lovely sister-in-law LH for modelling.  She looks great in it doesn’t she?  I beginning to think the cape might belong in her wardrobe more than mine!

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