Sunday, 30 November 2014

That's a wrap folks.

There's only one thing I don't like about blogging, and  that's taking the photos. The planning and sewing are the fun parts, and writing, that comes easy, but photos... Photos are hard! Messing around with tripods and  wrangling photographers (love you mama!) is hard. Making sure the closeups capture the details and that the garment is represented accurately but that I'm not smiling like a psycho and my glasses aren't falling down my face (they do it every time!) is hard. And don't even get me started on fading light at this time of year.

But I realised today that the main reason I dislike taking photos is because, for me, they represent the end of a project. Taking photos is usually the last thing I do before blogging so they mark the exact moment that a garment stops being a project and becomes just another part of my wardrobe.  Most of my clothes don't get blogged so they make the transition quietly and without note, but when I do blog a project (generally either because I love it, hate it or think it's really interesting) the pictures feel a bit like I'm trying to capture a perfect image of it, so if it dies then I have a record to remember it by. Sort of like a the final task on each garment's bucket list.

Honestly, it's an odd way to think about pictures and I think i need to snap out of it (pun intended!) and remember that each project doesn't magically lose all its meaning the moment it's finished. In fact it gains meaning, each time I wear it and make new memories in it! The photos merely capture one moment in a garments' life.

I've probably anthropomorphised this cardi enough  so lets move on to the details...

First things first, his project was 100%  inspired by all the awesome Coppélia Cardi from Papercut Patterns, but I  wanted mine to be a bit more fitted so I went the self-drafting route. I used a traced rtw tight n-neck tee for the base, then cut it off at my natural waist and free-handed the wrap. The neckline is a band, I used the sleeves from the Plantain pattern (my go to tshirt) and the ties at the bottom are roughly twice my waist so they can  wrap at the front or back.

The fabric itself needs a special mention (Who am I kidding, when do I ever not mention fabric?) It's the most perfect grey marl wool knit and by far the most expensive fabric i've ever bought. I got one meter at The Cloth House on my birthday trip to Berwick street and the only thing I regret is that I didn't buy the whole bolt! I love anything in grey marl by default but thus is seriously the softest wool ever (not itchy at all) and it sewed like a dream! The only hiccup was pre-washing. You see I put a lot of time researching the best way to pre-treat a wool knit then promptly forgot all that and threw it into the  wash with a bunch of other knits and hung it up to dry. Obviously when I returned it was a giant stretched out, misshapen mess. I almost cried. It meant cutting out was a little...interesting...but I did a Tim Gunn and made it work! Funnily enough it actually cured my crippling fabric fear (You know, when the fabric is so expensive you don't want to cut into it in case you ruin it) because I figured I couldn't do anything worse than I'd already done.

Construction wise I sewed the whole thing with a stretch stitch and finished all my seams with a medium sized zigzag. For topstitching on the band and waist ties I used a 3-step zig-zag and it's hands down the best topstitching I've done on a knit (maybe even on any project!) Seriously the stitches sunk into the fabric so nicely and every time I look down and see it I smile.

In case it didn't come across well enough in this post I am head over heels in love with this cardi!! The type of pure, true love that can only exist between girl and wool knits! In a feat of impeccable timing I finished it just as the weather started to turn so it's gotten a lot of wear. All my skirts and dress flare out at my natural waist so the length works really well, plus grey is always a great neutral. Plus every time I wear I get flash backs to ballet lessons when I was a kid and I had the same cardi but in bright bubblegum pin... Oh pirouettes and pliés...sigh... Oh, and the little bow at the back gets me every time! So sweet!

My only slight quibble is the sleeves and next time (Oh yes there's definitely  a next time!) i'll increase their width slightly. There's anything wrong with the width now, but because I used the sleeves from the Plantain pattern whenever I wear the cardi over my long-sleeved Plantains it's a bit of a struggle. Other than that this cardi is perfect and I'm also thinking I may need some wrap t-shirts and wrap dresses in my life... Oh, and I love this cardi a lot! Like A LOT, a lot... Wait did I already say that?

So to wrap it up (pun intended) here's a couple of puns that I couldn't fit in graciously decided not to use in this post:
-I hope this wasn't hard to wrap your head around!
-Putting this cardi on is a total  wrap battle!
-I'm just freestyle wrapping!

You're welcome.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

A lesson in humility

So this past month has essentially been one giant, never ending deadline.It feels pretty good to get some of those never-ending projects out the way but it turns out my body isn't a big fan of stress so the back-to-school germs hit me HARD! I'm fine now and it was actually quite a good reminder to take things easy, even especially during the middle of a coursework tornado.

Speaking of lessons learnt, this skirt was pretty much one giant learning curve.

As weird or arrogant as this is going to sound, sometimes I forget that I've only been sewing for a couple of years and that I haven't mastered every technique or sewn every fabric yet. This generally happens if I have a few successful makes in quick succession and it generally ends with me bowling up, blindly, to a new project and then doing something monumentally idiotic. That's more or less what happened here.

I'm sort of addicted to buying chiffons/georgettes and to the point where they've started to spill off my shelves, but slippery, sheer fabrics scare me so I never sew them. So this summer I got up a head of steam and decided to just do it. I chose this navy floral crinkle-chiffon (A 1 metre remnant for £5.47 from John Lewis) and decided to make my default: a simple gathered skirt. (Sidenote: I actually bought this fabric in May to make my best friend's birthday present but it ended up being too small so I went in a different direction for the present and kept the chiffon for myself!)

I think the main problem was that I built the skirt up too much in my head. It started out being just a experiment, to try out sewing a new fabric, and it didn't really matter that much if it failed because the fabric was so cheap. As time went on I started to realise that I had a chiffon skirt shaped hole in my wardrobe, which a this floral chiffon could fill  nicely. (Especially because it's navy and grey therefore would go with every top I own. At this point I now NEEDED this skirt so  my experiment HAD to work out. (ps. I think I have some issues with self-imposed pressure...)

I used all-purpose thread and a 70 needle and did all french seams and at first everything went fine. My problems came when I tried to do insert an invisible zip in the lining with a free-hanging overlay a la Jen at Grainline studio. 

I just turned into a giant disaster. Firstly,the invisible zip did not want to be invisible. Secondly, the chiffon stretched out as I did the rolled hems on the side seams, so instead flowing gently and hiding the zip there was a giant gaping hole. Essentially it looked like I'd forgotten to sew up the side seam. I figured there was pretty much no way to save it so I ripped out the zip and the side seams and re-inserted the zip treating the chiffon and lining (navy cotton lawn) as one. It looks fine now, but it kinda bugs me that the lining is attached to the chiffon on one side seam but not the other.

My other problem was the skirt hem. Usually, I cheat at rolled hems and I just overcast the raw edge, then fold the stitching over twice (avoiding the stitch-fold-press-stitch-fold-press of a normal rolled hem) Sadly my overcasting foot refuses to accept that lightweight, loosely-woven fabrics exist so I had to do it the old fashioned way. It would've been fine if I hadn't accidentally folded the edge the wrong was, ending up with a hem on the right-side of the skirt! There was no way I was going to unpick the entire hem, so I just folded the hem again (To the right side!!) and hemmed again.

Again this worked out well but the skirt is now slightly shorter than I wanted, so I can only really wear it with tights. Also, I cut the lining shorter than the chiffon but because of the extra hem the lining now peeks out sometimes.

The skirt itself isn't half as bad as I'm making it out to be and it's actually really cute. But I think some of the sewing trauma imbued itself into the skirt and I just don't love it the way I anticipated. I'll still wear it but I think I'm gonna need another crack at it if i'm going to fill the floaty skirt hole in my wardrobe.

In other news, my top is the first t-shirt I ever made. I made it this time last year (Oct. 2013) by tracing off an existing vest then free-handing raglan sleeves and a scoop neck. This is another example of me bumbling in blinding , but through some minor miracle it worked out perfectly. (Those daily sacrifices to the good of knits must have worked!) After a year of frequent wear it still looks good as new so I must've done something right!

Monday, 1 September 2014

Return of the yellow brick road

Dorothy returns to Oz and the gingham is bigger and badder!
Oh, don't mind me, I'm just working on taglines for the latest Wizard of Oz movie, I mean this dress is obviously straight out of its costume department! (See the original Dorothy dress here)

Let’s talk about the “Design process”. Or my lack of one. Some people are cool and considered, they carefully accumulate inspiration looking at rtw, fashion week, films, colour charts and I dunno  flowers and other stuff  to decide what to make. (… because clearly I know so much about this…) Then they seek out appropriate patterns and fabrics and cultivate a cohesive wardrobe. Smart, right?

I am not one of those people. I fall strictly into the “The fabric speaks to me” section of society (and if the stash in my room is anything to go by then I’m constantly being yelled at by a raging horde) Anyways, this tablecloth jumped out at me at TK Maxx and screamed “YOU MUST BUY ME AND USE ME TO KNOCK OFF THAT CUTE DAHLIA DRESS YOU SAW THAT ONE TIME AND LIKED!”
So that’s what I did.
Inspiration dress stolen from Skunkboy blog

Confession time: This dress is actually a toile.
Confession no.2: It’s not really.

What I mean is that I bought the fabric very specifically to make the Salme Silvia dress. In a rare moment of calm consideration actually made a toile before cutting into my precious gingham, then I had aaaaallll the fit problems outlined here. Anyways, by the time I got to making a third toile I decided I was done messing around with old sheets and risked breaking out the big guns.

Turns out the risk paid off and I was rewarded with a shiny new dress (It even cropped up in the last week of Me-Made-May, albeit strapless). Since I’m both lazy and a rebel the bodice is unlined, but the facing is understitched and topstitched, and the waistband is faced too.

The clear deviation from my inspiration dress is the lack of waist cut-outs. I did consider it, and even found this tutorial, but my left brain over-ruled trend-following right brain. Left  brain was right, cutouts would probably make the dress unwearable for me, but right brain can’t help thinking that the dress needs a little somethin’somethin' to add interest. Then left brain reminds it that we’re talking about a giiiiiiant gingham print, sweetheart mini-dress with bias-cut accents and a full gathered skirt. Sometimes right brain is dumb.

You’d think that a giant gingham dress would be impractical for everyday life, but it’s actually surprisingly versatile. (Well atleast I think so...) To prove it here are my three favourite ways to wear this dress. (Ofcourse with my signature red Dorothy shoes!)

First up: Plain and simple
Just a dress and some shoes people. Nothing fancy.

Secondly: Autumnal romp
There’s something about this cropped ponte jumper (A la Colette patterns) that just screams autumn to me, or maybe I’ve just been hit with back-to-school-fever.  Either way this is a really comfy combination and I even wore it camping with no mishaps! (Plus beaten up red converse 4eva!)

Last but not least: Winter warmer
I love layering. Like a lot. Long sleeves under dresses is my go to in winter and my grey Plantain is as cozy as they come! Although when the time comes I’ll be swapping my thick knee-socks for even thicker tights and giant wooly socks. I feel snuggly just thinking about it.

My parting shot is the exact quote of a compliment I got in this dress:
“Wow you're like really good at dressmaking! Really good. It’s like The wizard of OZ but sexier!”
See, someone else is on my wavelength!!

Monday, 18 August 2014

An Archer-ish shirt dress

Do you ever wake up and realise that you're not in the same place you thought you were when you went to sleep? I don't mean physically, more mentally. I have these moments in sewing quite a lot, little milestones that seem innocuous but they smack me on the face with the knowledge that I know how to do this and I might actually be good at it. My Prom dress was one of these moments, my first culottes were one of these moments and this dress is one of these moments.

I've wanted to turn the Archer into a shirtdress for a while know, but the problem is that I like my dresses quite (Very!) fitted up top, and the Archer is the complete opposite of that. After fudging around for a while I realised I could smash (technical term) the Archer button bands and collar onto an existing fitted bodice and save myself the hassle..
Buttoned up

I actually don't have a go-to fitted bodice pattern (Slap wrist! Bad sewist!) so I dug out a vintage Women's realm pattern I bought before I started a sewing often enough to know my measurements by heart. That's a long winded way of saying the bodice for a 34" bust and i'm 36", so I decided to take the plunge and do my first FBA to make it fit. Turns out FBAs are really easy and make you feel oh-so professional as you slash and spread.
Unbuttoned- Ignore the random wet spots from freshly washed hair

The FBA worked like a charm but on my toile I found I had some excess fabric at the back, which pinched out, and the shoulders were far too big. Google to the rescue! By typing my symptoms into Google I was diagnosed with a rounded back (Soo true!!) and told to take a horizontal tuck out of the bodice front to remove the excess fabric. My final issue was seriously pointy darts. I've always preferred princess seams to darts so converted the pattern (like this) and Presto! Points disappeared!

Fitting done it was time to Archer-ify!

I basically reduced the bodice neckline to the size of the Archer's and then extended the Center front to the width  of the Archer's left side button bands. I decided not to complicate it by doing the right side as a separate band. I pretty much eye balled it and it probably shouldn't have worked but it did. Strangely, the collar fit fine on the toile but on the real dress it came out 1" too big for the neckline, so I had to reduce it as I went.

Most of the dress went together in one fell swoop, and I used my Overcasting foot to finish all of the seams. The Overcasting foot also came in really handy for top stitching because it has a plastic edge that you butt the fabric up against to get a really straight line.

The fabric is this really cut pin-dot chambray I bought in a John Lewis sale a while back, it was about £5/m and I had about 1.5 meters. The armholes are finished with self-made bias binding. I'm also officially obsessed with making bias binding, it makes everything so pretty! In other news, I've finally made peace with my machine's buttonhole stitch so these are the twelve prettiest buttonholes I have ever done! At this rate I might even have worked out how to use the buttonhole foot by Christmas... The buttons are from my grandmother's stash and the skirt is just a gathered rectangle.
Left: Side view & armhole                                                Right: Buttons & Buttonholes

In my opinion though, the best thing about this dress is the hem. My first ever hand hemmed skirt and I'm now addicted! To save skirt length I did a tiny rolled hem and catch stitched it down. I'm definitely not the fastest hand sewer but what this hem lacked in speed it makes up for in beauty! I had no idea that not having a line of topstitching would make such a difference.
Left:  Wrong side of hem                                                     Right: Right side of hem

For me this dress is a milestone . I can usually pick out flaws in my sewing like it's my job but with this dress I know that I've exceeded my expectations and there's nothing about it that I'm nit proud of. This dress is the culmination of hundreds of mini lightbulb moments along the way (Like "Aha overcasting!", "Aha topstitching!", "Aha bias binding!") I've been slowly building up skills and it took this dress to show me that I'm not the same girl who picked up her mum's sewing machine to cobble together a skirt two years ago. I'm not in the same place I thought I was. I'm somewhere better!

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Summery Strappy Sorbetto Hack

So this isn't so much a "How to" as a "What I did"... It's sort of "How to do what I did" if that makes sense. What I'm trying to say is that I know absolutely nothing about pattern drafting but this is what I did and it worked, so hopefully it will work for you too!

Now let's get cracking!

Materials needed:
-Sorbetto pattern (Or any other woven vest/top pattern eg. Wiksten tank, Tiny pocket tank or even the    Polly top- you could probably do a cool sweetheart neckline with the Polly!)
-Tracing paper (Or drafting paper/ Greaseproof/ Christmas wrapping paper)
-Fabric (I used about 1.5 Meters of 130cm width fabric)
-1/2" double-fold bias binding (Either make your own matching binding or buy some- or better yet use contrast binding!)

Step 1:
Choose your size and trace your pattern.
(Full disclosure: I used a size 8 at the bust but graded out to a size 18 at the hem so the dress would be swishy and have butt room. I wouldn't recommend being so dramatic when grading out because it seriously screwed up the grainline so i had to straighten  out my dress hem.)
Optional use of mugs as pattern weights

Draw a straight line across your pattern front, from the armhole to the Center front (CF). This line should be perpendicular to the straight-grain.
(The line will be the starting point for the new neckline)

Step 3:
Draw your neckline
I just free-handed my neckline based on a few tops I've seen around. You pretty much want two gently curving lines (One from the armhole, one from the CF) which meet at the point where your strap will start)

Step 4:
Extend the front hem down to dress length. If you have an existing Sorbetto try that on and measure down from the  hem to where you'd like the dress to hit, then add a hem allowance. This is how much you'll lengthen the pattern by.
(For reference I'm just over 5 foot 5 and I lengthened mine by 15")

Step 5: THE BACK
On your traced pattern draw a straight line across the pattern back, from the armhole to the Center back (CB) Just like you did on the front. (This line is the new back neckline so you don't have to do anything else to it)
Step 5.5: Rush out to buy more brown paper for tracing!

Step 6:
Lengthen the back piece by the same amount that you did the front.
(Sorry no picture but you get the idea)

Step 7:
Celebrate! The pattern adjustments are done, yay!

*A note on seam allowance: If like me you're suddenly freaking out that you haven't added seam allowances fear not! As you're going to finish the neckline with double-fold bias binding you don't need seam allowances, and the original top pattern will have had seam allowances included so you don't have to add
anything to the side seams.*

Step 8:
Cut out your pattern
I added a CB seam as I couldn't fit the pattern on the fabric in one go. If you're making self-fabric bias binding now is the time to do so. I didn't measure my bias binding but I cut it extra long so I had room to play around with strap length/placement.

Step 9:
Here's the order I used:
-Front darts
-Center back seam
-Side seams and pockets
-Bias binding across front neckline (See red line)

-Bias binding around back and up the front, extending up to make straps
(Sorry no picture, but imagine the arrows going all the way around to meet at the center back the the straps going over the shoulders and attatching on both sides at the back.)

-Position straps and attach to back

Now put on the dress and twirl! Yay, twirling!!

*Note: This dress has no shaping so without a belt it looks like an A-line/sack/loose shift dress*

Hopefully, this was a clear explanation of my Sorbetto hack. If anyone has any questions don't hesitate to ask and if anyone does make their own version then please share it, I'd love to see!

Friday, 15 August 2014

Summery strappy sorbetto

Once upon a time I got obsessed with watching America's next top model. (Obviously my tastes have much improved by now... cough...) One the things that stuck with me is the tagline the models had to say each season when shooting an advert for Covergirl (Some sort of makeup company); they'd stare at an auto-prompter and stumble mechanically over the phrase "Easy, breezy, beautiful".

Now I don't claim to know a lot about modelling (see pictures below) and I really don't know anything about makeup, but I do know sundresses and if those three words were to describe the perfect summer dress then I'd say this one comes pretty close!
What? You mean you don't wear boots and odd socks with sundresses?!

Step one: Easy
No zips, no buttons. I slip this over my head and I'm out the door. I didn't even add the elastic waist I was going to so all of the shape is from my trusty belt.
Step two: Breezy
This dress is definitely breezy! It's a nice loose shape so it doesn't cling and get all sticky in the sun. Plus the hem catches the breeze and swishes as you walk, so it gets bonus points for making me feel like a princess.
Step three: Beautiful
Well, I'll leave this one up to the eye of the beholder but it has navy polka dots so it's awesome in my book!

This is actually my 3rd Sorbetto (4th if you count the toile which I still wear despite the fact that the straps are held on with pins...). I've yet to actually make one up without some sort of alteration but this is definitely the most bastardised. I'm working on a tutorial for you but I pretty much hacked off the shoulders and redrew the neckline then extended the hem until it was dress length.

This is was really lightweight cotton, although it's surprisingly opaque, so all the seams are french,but some of them ended up a little puckery and I'm not sure why...  I also tried my hand at putting in-seam pockets into my french seams using this tutorial. Just looking at the tutorial gave me a headache but I'm so glad I went through with it because I always regret not putting pockets in skirts and they make me so happy every time I out my hands in them!
Hands in pockets

I'm obsessed with rolled hems right now, (they're just so tiny and cute!) so there's one on this dress. I usually hem things a little shorter than this so I'm not sure how I feel about the length. Longer is definitely better for keeping you cool and covered in the summer, but sometimes I think the length plus print plus volume of fabric swallows me up.
The skirt's not uneven, it's just my phone weighing the pocket down. Promise!

 I bound the neckline/made the straps with self-made bias-binding. This was my first time using bias binding on the outside of a garment (I used it once to bind seam allowances where it hid from the world in shame) but I was surprised at how easy it was. My topstitching is definitely not great in places but it's not really noticeable, plus I think the spaghetti straps make it look a lot less handmade, if you know what I mean. I've started calling this dress my Sorbetti (Sorbetto + Spaghetti) because I like the straps so much!

And just for you here's a bonus twirling picture. Twirly dresses are the best!

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Salme Silvia Saga AKA This girl is on fiiiirrrreeeee

Sometimes you need some time to decompress after a project, to relax and let it out of your mind for a while. My Salme Silvia is definitely one of those projects, I spent so long thinking about how to make it work that once it was done I had to set it down and forget about it for a while. (That's why I finished it in June but it's only being blogged now... well that and I procrastinate..)
Gesticulating wildly

This is the Silvia dress from Salme patterns and I was really surprised to find that, pretty much, no one on the internet had sewn it,(and you know if it's not on  the internet that means it never happened!!) which I don't understand as it's a drop dead gorgeous dress and it's actually a really quick make too. Winner!

I was gifted the Silvia last Christmas (After some ...subtle... hinting) but I didn't actually start sewing the dress until March when I made my toile. I read on the internet that Salme patterns run large, especially in the back, but since the UK size 10 was had all my measurements (36" Bust, 28" waist- This NEVER happens I always span several sizes) I decided to go for it. I figured I could always size down if I needed to. I made up my toile and the front fit perfectly but it gaped a but at the back so I pinched out the excess, altered my pattern and moved onto the real deal.

This is where things get wacky. For the real thing I used a random, super drapey, black patterned polyester that I found a meter of in a charity shop for £1.95. As it was so light I underlined it with black cotton and it was lined with black polyester satin left over from a different project. I sewed up the dress and went to try it on. Hopefully you see where I'm going with this: The dress was too small!! It fit snugly around the waist and was out by 10cm at the bust!!

It turns out my toile fabric (Black velvet left over from another project- Don't ask.) had a lot of give in it and I hadn't exactly been precise when cutting it out so my toile so it didn't reflect the true sizing of the pattern at all!

So back to the drawing board I went and two toiles later I had achieved an accurate, and awesome, fit for Silvia. Since I had to pinch out extra fabric in the original toile to account fot the stretch it turns out that the size  8 actually fit really well straight out of the tin! I just shaved a little off the back, especially at the waist, and took a dart out of the front neckline and I was done.

Once I'd sorted out the fit I went back to my black polyester and unpicked and re-cut the back pieces (NOT FUN) Putting the dress back together was a breeze as I'd already done it once. I also made a few alterations like swapping out the skirt for a gathered rectangle, setting the straps farther apart so they cover my bra straps and sewing the neckline facing on the outside (I thought it would be a cool design feature but it kind of gets lost in the print)

So why is this dress called "This girl is on fiiiiiirrrrrreeee"? It's mainly because this dress makes me feel hot!! Like bombshell hot! Which isn't a regular occurrence for a dress. It is totally my style and it suits soooo many occasions; I wore it to open days, I wore it to college, I wore it on  my birthday. Pulling this dress on just makes me feel awesome and that's a pretty awesome super power for a dress to have.

... However, there is more to the name... You see, since this dress makes me feel so awesome I decided to wear it to a party. An outdoor party. A party with a fire, which we all huddled around once night drew in. A fire that spit sparks out onto the crowd. A crowd which contained a girl wearing a handmade dress made entirely of  very flammable polyester. You can see where this is going right...? This  girl caught fiiiiirrrrreeee!!!
Actually, to be fair, only the lining caught fire. A spark flew out the fire and when straight down inside my dress burning a hole in the lining on my stomach. Mass panic ensued but miraculously both my stomach and the outside of my dress were fine.
Melted lining hole!

The dark, creepy side of my brain thinks that sewing this dress was sort of like making a deal with the devil (Just go with it!) I made the deal and got a kick-ass dress but it came with a hellish fitting sequence and was then almost burned alive... Yeah, I guess you're right, that does sound a bit insane.

Anywho, now that I've sorted out Silvia's fit I have a million different ideas of how to use it. SO this won't be the last you see of Silvia this summer...Mwahahahahaha!!

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Fabricoholics Anonymous

Hi, My name is Cammie (Hi Cammie) and I'm a fabric addict.

Confession time: I like fabric. A lot. In fact I love fabric, all sorts of fabric. Fabric is what I spend all my money on. If I could I'd marry fabric and have a fabric themed wedding where my wedding ring would be made of fabric.... Too far? Or just far enough?

Either way I think I've got my point across. The problem is that my ongoing love affair with my fabric has completed a civil take over of my room/sewing studio and is slowly but surely instigating an invasion of the rest of the house. So maybe it's time to, I don't know, sew with it...? I know, crazy idea, right? (Honestly though, I don't think I buy fabric because I sew, I think I sew to justify buying fabric!)

With that in mind I set upon my second button-up Sorbetto. I never blogged my first Sobetto but it gets worn a tonne (and cropped up quite a lot during Me-Made-May) so I thought it would be perfect for the summer. The fabric itself is pure heaven. It's soft and drapey, has awesome raised jacquard spots and is the perfect shade of teal. (I bet you didn't know there was a perfect shade of teal but trust me, there is!) I bought it during the John Lewis clearance sale almost exactly a year ago, it's sat on a shelf ever since because it was too perfect for me to risk ruining it. I wanted to do the fabric justice.

Spoiler alert: I didn't.

Okay, that might have been a bit extreme; I actually love this top and have worn it A LOT since completion, but there were definitely some issues with construction and I'm not as proud of it as I could have been.

Firstly: The pattern
Don't get me wrong there is absolutely nothing wrong with the pattern, it's all me. I made my first Sorbetto months ago and drafted the button band without making any alterations to the pattern.  This time around I couldn't remember what I'd done so I just fudged the front and it's a tad wonky (also I should have interfaced it because it has a tendancy to drape open in between buttons. Also, The shoulders are a tad large and tend to fall off. I think this could be addressed by picking a smaller size and doing an FBA (I made a straight size 8 but graded out to the width/length of size 18 below the waist to make it really long and drapey)

Secondly: Construction
Now let me tell you this fabric is pretty but it's also pretty damn annoying. It's had a seriously loose weave meaning it frayed like a bitch and even a 70 needle made tiny holes nearing the stitches. Despite this, all was going well until it came to finishing off the neck/armholes and I realised I'd run out of bias-binding. Instead of making/buying more like a normal person I thought I could just double fold the hems and call it good. This ended up with a bulky, uneven neckline which I then had to painstakingly unpick. Yup, you guessed it, unpicking also made holes in the fabric! Eventually I managed to cobble a neckline/shoulders together but it ain't pretty.
Note to self: ALWAYS trim seam allowance when doing French seams

Often if I have a really hard time sewing something I love the finished garment even more because it shows how I overcame my problems (Ya'know like some sort of philosophical metaphor about how beauty is born of adversity...) , sadly with this top I feel like the end doesn't justify the means. Off to the "Meh" pile it goes.

The bottom half of my outfit, however, I love! My most favourite sewing project to date was my Culottes, finishing those was the first time I properly realised that I could sew,they're the first thing I was 100% proud of. Since I love my first pair so much making a second pair was a no-brainer. There's actually not a lot to say about these culottes.

They're made of the lightest, floatiest rayon challis ever. (So light I sometimes have to check I'm actually wearing something!) Cutting out was a little difficult, with the fabric shifting around everywhere but it wasn't as bad as I've heard it can be. The waistband stretched out a little, despite being interfaced, so these culottes are a little looser than the first pair, but that's actually quite nice in the summer. The only problem is rayon wrinkles, like A LOT, so I tend to get a crumpled butt when sitting...
Crumpled butt...

In one respect these culottes actually have one up on the original pair. Since my culotte fabrics were so light and drapey I interfaced the side seams before I inserted the zips. Unfortunatey, on the first pair the interfacing was too heavy for the fabric so the zip tends to bubble out dramatically ruining the silhouette. This time I learnt my lesson and used a super lightweight fusible interfacing (LOVE that stuff) and the zip went in like a dream! Hurrah!
Side zip

Construction was a breeze. All seams were sewn and overcast (Like serged but on a normal sewing machine) in one afternoon. I let them hang for a day to see if the bias stretched out (It didn't) then did a rolled hem to maximise floatiness. Easy peasy.

Oh and just in case you forgot they were culottes...

These two projects (Sorbetto and Culottes) are sort of polar opposites: One quick and easy which became a wardrobe staple, the other long and arduous with questionable results. I guess that's why I like sewing, there's never one definitive path or outcome and even if you've done something a thousand times you never know what will happen in the next project.