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May 25, 2015 / Blogless Anna

All wrapped up

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I popped into The Cloth Shop on Friday afternoon and went weak at the knees over a roll of lovely brown wool with a cream and orange fleck.  I’m rather partial to a fleck.  I initially stayed strong, sourcing the thread and interfacing that I needed, but when I was in the process for paying for those items I noticed an A4 piece of paper on the counter with the heading Winter Wrap on it.

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I inquired and discovered it was a free pattern for customers (available in store) and in less than a minute I was admiring and wearing the shop sample. Not long after that the brown wool with a fleck was being purchased along with some wool binding.  It was the only wool binding in the shop and it matched perfectly.  I take these things as ‘meant to be’ signs.  Do you?

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The pattern is a simple one and all the work was in the nearly seven metres of binding!  In short, you trim your piece of wool into a square, remove a u-shape piece that allows the wrap to be open at the front and to sit nicely around the neck, before binding all edges.

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After testing out a few methods on a scrap of wool, I opted to baste the binding to one edge, fold it over the raw edge and topstitch it down.  I used a long stitch length as otherwise I knew that any required unpicking would be near impossible.  Just for the record, I didn’t remove the basting stitches as they just kind of disappeared into the fabric/binding.  Well, that’s what I’m telling myself as I suspect such a volume of unpicking would have stalled the project considerably and I wanted warmth and I wanted it now!
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I bound the neck cut out first and then proceeded to make my way around all the outer edges of the wrap.  My first corner was less than neat, but as with lots of things, they got better as I went along.

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The wrap hangs nicely by itself, but if you need to engulf yourself in a rug or blanket while braving wintery weather, then this wrap has you covered… it’s so toasty!

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Pattern:  The Cloth Shop’s Winter Wrap (free pattern available in store)
Size: 
NA
Fabric: 
Wool coating & binding from The Cloth Shop
Alterations: 
NA
Accessories:   Scarf purchased at Scarlet Jones & boots from Manteau Noir
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May 23, 2015 / Blogless Anna

I’m a gingko girl

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I’m rather partial to a gingko tree and we’re lucky that we have a few in our garden that are in various stages of losing their leaves.  After all, it is Autumn here in Melbourne!

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Even though it’s technically time for cold weather sewing, I do dream about summer sewing and making lots of flowing silk tops.  Therefore, when Paprika Patterns released the Onyx Shirt two days ago I hit the buy button that night, headed to the copy shop the next day, sewed up a wearable muslin in a ginko print this morning and nearly froze this afternoon when taking these photos!  The effort was definitely worth it as this pattern is just my thing.

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The Onyx Shirt has two versions and I’ve made View A with a scooped neck and without the sleeve cuffs.

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One of the great things about his pattern is that all of the features are interchangeable.  As I didn’t add cuffs, I extended the sleeves by two inches (5cm).  Next time, yes there will definitely be a next time, I’m going to see how it looks as drafted but without both the cuffs and my sleeve extension.

Onyx Shirt Line Drawing

The other things I love about this pattern…

  • It has a subtle high-low hem
  • It’s dartless… which is great when you don’t want to interrupt a geometric pattern or stripes, or let’s face it, when you’re sewing with silk and trying to minimise your seams… or is that just me?
  • the ‘hacking’ potential – can you also visualise a gathered or pleated skirt attached to the cropped version?

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When you buy this pattern Lisa provides lots of information to help with sizing.  Sizes 1 to 6 are drafted for a b cup and sizes 7 to 10 use a different block that is drafted for a c cup.  I’m definitely outside the suggested cup range, but took a gamble and sewed up the size 4 which correlated to my bust size.  I think the fit is good, but I might try the size 3 next time as this version is a smidge big in the shoulders and there is still a little room in the bust.  A smaller size might require an FBA… but I think I’m going to keep tweaking this pattern until it’s just right before letting myself lose on my silk stash!

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Pattern:  Paprika Pattern’s Onyx Shirt
Size: 
4
Fabric: 
Japanese cotton lawn from Spotlight (confession – I have the orange colourway too!)
Alterations:  I left off the cuffs and extended the sleeves by 2 inches and left off the cuffs
Accessories:   Silk scarf (which is really a bow tie!) is a recent op shop (thrift store) find and shoes from Peter Sheppard.

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May 18, 2015 / Blogless Anna

Soft as butter

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The Linden Sweatshirt was one of those patterns that didn’t appeal from the beginning.  Don’t get my wrong, I love a raglan sleeve and a relaxed style, but I wasn’t convinced that this pattern was ‘me’.  But then so many awesome versions were created and shared in the online sewing community that I soon realised that the humble sweatshirt didn’t just belong in the realm of exercise gear or comfy house clothes… it too could be stylish.  Stylish and comfortable… I was in!

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Once I’d got my head around the style stuff… a piece of liberty fleece from my stashing started screaming to be sewn into a Linden.  I decided to make a (hopefully) wearable toile from some stash fabric before cutting into the precious fleece.

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When shopping my stash I ummed and ahhhed about the main fabric and different ribbing combinations but finally settled on this buttery soft merino double knit (or was that ponit?) remnant from Tessuti.  This fabric is gorgeous, but it was one of those cases that I didn’t realise how gorgeous it was until I was working with it.  The merino sewed and pressed beautifully and had an amazing amount of drape.

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I sewed up a size 8, as per my bust measurements, and the drape of my fabric makes for a very slouchy top.  In hindsight, with this fabric I could probably have sized down one or maybe two sizes, but that’s not going to stop my wearing it!

Considering the Liberty fleece I plan to use for this pattern next has basically no stretch, I’m going to stick with the size 8.  It will be interesting to compare the two finished items.  I’m fascinated by how fabric, and in particular it’s drape, can effect sizing.  I think it’s one of the reasons that I love a good pattern repeat as you can learn so much.

Before I sign off with some detail photos, a project summary and a photo out-take, a word of warning on sleeve length.  I found the sleeves on this pattern to be on the long side.  I removed 1 inch from both the lengthen/shorten lines on the sleeve pattern and then removed 3/8 inch from the end when attached the cuffs (that’s a total of 2 3/8 inches or 6 cm).  I do consider myself to have shortish arms… but not that short!  So if you are planning on making the Linden Sweatshirt I would recommend that you check your arm length against the pattern piece before cutting out your fabric.

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Pattern:  Grainline’s Linden Sweatshirt (pdf & paper)
Size: 
8
Fabric: 
Merino double knit (ponti?) remnant from Tessuti
Alterations: 
Shortened the sleeves by a total of 2 3/8″ (6cm)
Accessories:   Scarf purchased at Scarlet Jones & boots from Florsheim

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May 11, 2015 / Blogless Anna

Down at the station…

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The Sea Change Top by Lily Sage & Co probably doesn’t need an introduction as lots of fabulous versions have been popping up on the internet and Instagram since it’s release a month ago.

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Every-time I saw another version of the Sea Change Top I knew that this pattern was for me:

  • Looks great in stripes… oh yes
  • Potential for contrasting bands… brilliant
  • Easy to sew and easy to wear… happy dance
  • Suitable for both woven and knit fabrics…  watch out stash
  • Statement sleeves…. be still my beating heart

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The icing on the cake was trying Lara’s version during her recent epic wardrobe clean-out.  Just for the record Lara’s Sea Change Top stayed… that one was a no brainer!

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Debbie describes her pattern as “an easy fitting, kimono style top that is just perfect for high waist jeans and skirts.”  I only have two high waisted bottom halves in my wardrobe, so I added 1.5 inches (4 cms) to both the body (front and back pattern pieces) and the armbands.  The resulting length is perfect when I am layering, but when I sew some summer versions I will add more length again so I don’t have to wear layers underneath.  I have a sneaking suspicion that the need for ‘added length’ might have something to do with me being a little ‘long’ in the body.  The things we learn when we sew!

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In my opinion, there is a lot of be said for good drafting and simple lines that result in a big impact garment like this one.  A twirling photo shows off the tops design lines nicely.  Big girls like twirling too…

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This winter version of the Sea Change Top has been sewn in medium weight merino jersey from The Fabric Store.  When stripe and dots were on offer how couldn’t resist?  I was probably pushing the boundaries of recommended fabrics, but I think I’ve got away with it this time.

I’m super pleased with my Sea Change Top as it fits perfectly into both my personal style and my lifestyle.  It was just the right outfit to wear on the weekend when Sharon (my dear friend and blog photographer) and I took some little people to admire a steam train during Ballarat’s Heritage Weekend.

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Pattern:  Lily Sage & Co’s Sea Change Top
Size: 
Small
Fabric: 
Merino jersey from The Fabric Store
Alterations: 
Lengthened the top and armbands by 1.5″ (4cm)
Accessories:   Scarf & boots purchased at Scarlet Jones

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May 9, 2015 / Blogless Anna

Autumn leaves with a winter chill

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Autumn is my favourite season.  I love the changing colours as the leaves turn from green to brown with lots of glorious yellows, reds and oranges in-between.  A palate of colours that makes my heart sing!

Today Ballarat mixed it’s glorious autumn leaves with a definite winter chill.  Let me put it another way… it was so cold I had to apply foundation to the end of my nose before these photos so I wouldn’t be the butt of any Rudolph jokes!

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But enough of the small talk about seasons and the weather…  I’m sure you’re more interested in the sewing…

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This recently finished garment is another long sleeve version of the Painted Rose Top from Ottobre Design magazine.  This time I further lengthened the sleeves by two inches.  Thank-you to everyone who responded to my request for feedback on the sleeve length of my last version.  There was a strong preference for some tweaking… either slightly shorter or longer… and this time I went with longer and I’m really happy with the result.

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The fabric was part of last years Liberty birthday haul that I was lucky enough to purchase in person at Shaukat.  I’m still daydreaming about when I can get back to that shop… to London… to Europe!

I’m unsure of the liberty print name or vintage (where do you find out about these things?) but the fabric has a french navy background with a vibrant red, orange and aqua print that has an oriental feel with a touch of autumn.  Descriptions aren’t my strong point so instead I’ll leave you with my best tree pose…

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Pattern:  Painted Rose Top from Ottobre Design magazine Spring/Summer 2/2014
Size: 
38
Fabric: 
Liberty tana lawn purchased in person from Shaukat.
Alterations: 
Sleeves lengthened utilising Grainline Stuido’s Long Sleeved Scout Variation Pattern Tutorial.  The top was shortened by 3 inches near the hem.
Accessories:   The necklace was gifted to me but I have it on good authority it was purchased here.

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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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