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April 21, 2015 / Blogless Anna

A peplum pattern crush

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Be warned my dear readers, this is going to be the first of many times I use this pattern.  I’ve developed another serious pattern crush!

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What pattern I hear you ask?  The front cover worthy Peplum Pullover from Tomomi Okawa’s Clean and Natural.

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Long time readers will know that I love a sack dress or oversized top and I shy away from more fitted silhouettes.  Being forty, and clearly more fearless, and having found my way back to my pre-children weight, I decided to give this peplum thing (better late than never right?) a try.  I was super excited with the results, and hence my brain has been in peplum planning over-drive ever since!

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The Peplum Pullover is drafted with a high neckline and I’m not a fan of chokingly high necklines.  So, I pulled out my trusty TNT Ottobre Painted Rose Top hoping to redraft a similar neckline.  I was overjoyed to find that the shoulder slopes on the two patterns were identical (I kid you not!) so this was the easiest neckline redraft ever.  Happy days!

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With the front and the back necklines scooped out I could easily get this top over my head, so I eliminated the centre back seam and did away with the suggested closure.  Sometimes I’m all about simplifying the sewing!

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Interested is seeing some more versions of this pattern?  The every stylish Kirsty who blogs at Top Notch has made two Peplum Pullovers as well as a jumpsuit hack.  She’s a genius I say, a genius!

I’m starting to get hooked on Japanese sewing patterns and I know I’m not alone.   Do you own, or have borrowed (there are some awesome public libraries out there… just saying…) this book or others like it?  Do you have plans to sew Japanese patterns?  Has the peplum craze hit your sewing room?  Do you experiment and try new silhouettes?  I’m all ears… do tell…

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Pattern:  Peplum Pullover from Clean and Natural by Tomomi Okawa
Size: 
Large
Fabric: 
Japanese Tana Lawn from Spotlight
Alterations: 
Scooped out the front and back necklines using my TNT woven tee pattern and eliminated centre back seam and closure.
Accessories:  Scarf by Primoeza & boots purchased at Scarlet Jones.

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April 18, 2015 / Blogless Anna

Loving Liberty fleece

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In September last year, just before we left for our big overseas family holiday, I was in the city and I popped into Tessuti.  In my eyes, no city visit is complete without spending some quality time in Tessuti!  The lovely Lisa greeted me and asked if I’d come in for the Liberty fleece.  She received a combination of a questioning and puzzled look as I was a little bit behind in my Instagram feed that morning and had missed that the Melbourne store had received three designer end rolls of Liberty fleece.

My love of Liberty is no secret, and although I’m not really a fleece or sweatshirt kind of girl, I snapped up two colourways. But what to make? I stashed the fabric, went on holidays, the weathered warmed up, it cooled down again and then pattern inspiration struck.

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Believe it or not, this is the Jewel-Neck Jacket with Bow (Pattern D) from Casual Sweet Clothes: Favourite Pieces for Every Day by Noriko Sasahara. Yes, it’s the same pattern that I recently made an unlined Japanese cotton jacket from.

Jewel-Neck Jacket from Casual Sweet Clothes

So how did I make a jumper from a jacket pattern?  The changes were relatively simple:

  • I cut the centre front on the fold (after checking it would go over my head!) and skimmed past the ‘jewel neck’ detail to round out the front neck
  • I also ‘filled in’ the missing hem section at the centre front where the facings are usually joined
  • I eliminated all facings
  • I finished the neckline with woven Liberty bias binding
  • To reduce bulk, I overlocked all the raw edges of each pattern piece so I could press them open after sewing

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One of my favourite things about this pattern is how beautifully the shoulders fit.  The secret of course is the two piece sleeve.

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To keep the Liberty theme going I bound the hems in woven Liberty bias binding.  I always cut extra binding when making Liberty garments and it’s times like these when it comes in handy.  I love that you see a hint of pink inside the sleeves when I’m on the move or waving/flapping my arms around.

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This is one of those cases where my vision was matched by the finished garment and I couldn’t be happier and cosier in my new Liberty fleece jumper.  Melbourne winter… I’ve got you covered!

Pattern:  Jewel-Neck Jacket with Bow (Pattern D) from Casual Sweet Clothes: Favourite Pieces for Every Day by Noriko Sasahara
Size: 
Medium
Fabric: 
Liberty fleece from Tessuti (purchased in September 2014)
Alterations: 
Pattern adjusted to make a jumper from a jacket.  See bullet points above.
Accessories:  Uimi Indiana Scarf purchased from A Quirk of Fate

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April 13, 2015 / Blogless Anna

Green is my favourite colour

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I’m a visual person who is very attracted to colour, and green is my all time favourite.  I wonder if that is because I have green eyes?

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When the new seasonal liberty prints arrived in Australia late last year, the Oxford print in the green colourway when right to the top of my ‘must buy’ list.  At the time I remember thinking… Happy Christmas to me!

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For this simple woven long sleeve top I used the Painted Rose Top from Ottobre Design magazine.  My two previous versions of this pattern, with the ‘as drafted’ short sleeves, have been staples in my summer wardrobe.  I really love fit of this top (bust darts really do make a difference!) and it was therefore a no brainer to lengthen the sleeves and use this pattern again.

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In my opinion, sleeve length can often make or break a top.  I’m not sure I’ve got it right this time.  When I stand with my hands by my side (see photo above) the sleeve and hem length are basically the same.  Your input would be greatly appreciated.  For next time, should I:

  • shorten them slightly
  • lengthen them a little, or
  • tell me to get over myself as I’ll rarely be standing still with my hands by my side

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Pattern:  Painted Rose Top from Ottobre Design magazine Spring/Summer 2/2014
Size: 
38
Fabric: 
Liberty tana lawn purchased here.
Alterations: 
Sleeves lengthened utilising Grainline Stuido’s Long Sleeved Scout Variation Pattern Tutorial.  The top was shortened by 3 inches near the hem.
Accessories:   New-to-me antique necklace & shoes from Gorman.

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April 11, 2015 / Blogless Anna

Gone fishing… twice

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Usually I get obsessed with a pattern, but this time it was the fabric that got me, dare I say, ‘hooked’.  Not just any fabric, but a high quality cotton/lycra knit featuring fish!  A chanced drop-in at the Clear It (Alanah Hill) Outlet after a food shop at the Queen Victoria Market on a Saturday morning brought this fabric and I together.  Sometimes there are rewards for completing domestic tasks!

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This quirky fish fabric needed a blank canvas to allow it to shine.  For me, Tessuti’s Mandy Boat Tee was an ideal choice.  For a touch of fun I used some blue thread (water) for all the twin needle stitching.  It’s possibly a little lost in the detailed print, but I know it’s there, and sometimes this sewing caper is actually all about me!

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Pattern:  Tessuti’s Mandy Boat Tee [free pattern]
Size: 
One Size
Fabric: 
Cotton/Lyrca knit from Clear It (Alanah Hill) Outlet
Alterations:  
Removed a total of 1″ (2.5cm) from both the centre front and back to narrow the neckline and reduce the width.  The top was shortened by 2″ (5cm) at the hem.
Accessories:   100% merino wool infinity scarf made by me using this tutorial.

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But wait, there is more…

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My initial fabric purchase allowed me to go fishing twice.  Hello Aeolian number eight!

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Is this the last time you’ll see the fishes?  I suspect not.  A few days after the original purchase, and with two fish tops already sewn, I returned to buy the remainder of the roll (nine metres!) and become a fish distributor.  Parcels were sent or delivered to three different locations in Australia, and the remaining fabric happily entered my stash.  Good quality knits are always welcome in my stash!

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Have you every brought a roll of fabric?  How do you feel about the fish?  Could fish be the next pineapples?

Pattern:  Pattern Fantastique’s Aeolian T-shirt/Dress (boxy tee length)
Size: 
S
Fabric: 
Cotton/Lyrca knit from Clear It (Alanah Hill) Outlet
Alterations:  None!
Accessories:  Scarf from Manteau Noir

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April 9, 2015 / Blogless Anna

A modern granny?

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I was in Clegs in Brunswick on Easter Saturday with chief enabler Rachel, and her lovely assistants Bree, George, Jane & Kim, and I came home with some pique cotton from the 50% off section.  The fabric is quite a departure from my usual style, but I really liked the texture and the structure and I had plans…

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For me, the fabric has some granny vibes and I wanted to mix it with a modern style.  Enter Simplicity 1366.  Both the fabric and pattern came home with my that day (what’s not to love about a 90th birthday sale at Clegs?) and after washing the fabric, tracing the pattern, cutting the fabric, getting dinner, putting children to bed and sewing, I had a new top before my bed-time.

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So what is pique?  It’s a type of cotton fabric that is characterised by it’s unique raised diamond shaped, and waffle-like, weave.  My sewing books tell me that the name pique is derived from the French word piquer meaning ‘to quilt’ and that the fabric is classified as medium-weight.

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Fabric lesson over, let’s talk pattern…  I can only now fully appreciate why this pattern is loved far and wide.  The drop shoulders and relaxed fit are easy to sew and easy to wear.  There is not a fastening in sight and I love the half-sleeve look.

For my next version, oh yes there will be a next time, I will experiment with extending the sleeves to 3/4 to keep the Autumn/Winter chill out.  This ponti from Tessuti (now sold out) is in my stash and screaming to be s1366.

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The end result is a quirky top that’s different to what’s in my current wardrobe, but definitely not out of place.

Enough from me, tell me a little bit about your experiences…

  • Do you dabble in fabric with granny vibes?
  • Have you made S1366?
  • Are you familiar with pique?
  • Do you like to to experiment with new-to-you fabric types?

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Pattern:  Simplicity 1366 (top)
Size:  10
Fabric: 
Cotton pique from Clegs
Alterations: 
Lengthen the body by  1 inch (2.5 cm).  I like my tops on the shorter side, but I can’t quite come at cropped!
Accessories:   Scarf & shoes from Scarlet Jones.

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March 29, 2015 / Blogless Anna

Stopping traffic

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I’m not one to shy away from stopping traffic kind of colours… and with my current (and hopefully healthy!) obsession with the colour orange, it’s no surprise this bold knit fabric found it’s way into my online shopping cart.

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The 95% organic cotton (certified) / 5% elastane fabric is from a Finnish company called Nosh. The quality and designs (lots of stripes) really appeal to me and since finishing this top a couple of weeks ago some more Nosh fabric has found it’s way to my house.  I seem to have re-caught the sewing (and buying) knits bug!

Let’s talk about the pattern.  It’s Tessuti’s free Mandy Boat Tee and I love it.  The pattern was released couple of weeks after Grainline’s Hemlock (another free pattern) and as I’d already made a Hemlock I thought I didn’t need this pattern in my life.  How wrong was I?  I actually like this silhouette on me more.  In my opinion, the shorter and firmer fitting sleeves balance out the boxy body nicely.

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Since my early days of sewing knits, I’ve been applying fusible stay tape to knit necklines and using Jorth’s neckline binding tutorial to create perfect (or near perfect) necklines.  The instructions for the Mandy Boat Tee, which I might add are very thorough for a free pattern, suggest you fold over the neckline and stitch in place with a twin needle.  No stay tape, no binding, no overlocking.  It would be fair to say this pushed me out of my comfort zone.  But thanks to reassuring text or two from Leith, I gave it a red hot go and it worked a treat.

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Whenever I embarked on a new-to-me pattern I undertake an internet search with ‘insert pattern name’ and images.  For me a picture tells a thousand words.  The great thing about this particular search as there were several of my online and in-real-life sewing buddies smiling at me.  I eagerly studied the photos and read the reviews from Amanda, Amy, Elizabeth, Helen, JillianLeith and Melanie.  The visuals and the reviews lead me to make the following two changes to this one size fits all pattern:

  • Removed a total of 1″ (2.5cm) from both the centre front and back to narrow the neckline and reduce the width
  • Removed 2″ (5cm) from the hemline

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Another Mandy has already been made and it had an outing on Friday night to see the movie Dior and I (which was fabulous if you are wondering) with some lovely online sewing friends.  More information on that Mandy after Easter.

Pattern:  Tessuti’s Mandy Boat Tee [free pattern]
Size: 
One Size
Fabric: 
95% organic cotton (certified) / 5% elastane fabric is from a Finnish company called Nosh purchased from Crafty Mamas.
Alterations:  
Removed a total of 1″ (2.5cm) from both the centre front and back to narrow the neckline and reduce the width.  The top was shortened by 2″ (5cm) at the hem.
Accessories:   Scarf from Scarlet Jones & shoes purchased at Gorman.
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March 19, 2015 / Blogless Anna

Seven, six, five, four, three, two, one!

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My love for Pattern Fantastique’s Aeolian T-shirt / Dress pattern has been well documented, so today I’ll tell you a story about how this version redeemed itself from the ‘naughty’ to the ‘I love you’ corner of my wardrobe.

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Why was this lovely voile, a remnant from Tessuti, from a favourite pattern, in the naughty corner?  It was the hem.  When I sew a double-fold hem, I use my machine to create a row of stitching that I can use as a guide for turning up the fabric.  Even after I sewed this line of stitching I could see that due to the sheerness of the fabric it was slightly gathered but I pressed on (pardon the pun).  There was a little bit of fabric wrangling making the double-fold and then an unsightly amount when I stitched it down.  But I wasn’t going to let this top beat me.  I finished it, hung it in my wardrobe and hated it.

Lara visited soon after and we talked all things sewing.  I told her I was going to give the top away because the hem was annoying me and I was unlikely to wear it.  Lara insisted I unpick it and redo it.  Why hadn’t I considered that?  It was time-consuming to unpick but well worth it because I now have a wearable top that I love.  Sewing friends are the best!

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Some more detailed shots of the top…

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And doesn’t it go nicely with my woolen jersey Japanese shrug?

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Pattern:  Pattern Fantastique’s Aeolian T-shirt/Dress (boxy tee length)
Size: 
S
Fabric: 
Cotton voile from Tessuti (sold out)
Alterations: 
Sewn in cotton voile rather than a knit.
Accessories:  Shoes by Sonia Rykel (brought here), coloured vintage necklace purchased at an Antique Fair & cornflower blue beads from Manteau Noir

And how many Aeolians have I made to date?  Here’s the countdown…

Seven

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Six

Aeolian Tee by Pattern Fantastique

Five

Pattern Fantastique's Aeolian Dress

Four

Pattern Fantastique's Aeolian T-shirt / Dress

Three (retired, too big)

Pattern Fantastique's Aeolian Dress

Two

Pattern Fantastique's Aeolian Dress

One (also in retirement)

Pattern Fantastique's Aeolian Tee

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