Friday, 31 July 2015

Red light indicates doors are secure

Ummm... so my skirt is a big, red homing beacon.

For real, though, it glows... And I kind of love that about it! What? Is high visibility not a priority in your wardrobe? Clearly you don't cycle enough.
Twirling twirling

Let's face it, the stand out part of this outfit is the skirt fabric, because, believe me, it's a knock-out! It's a gorgeous rayon challis I bought in Misan Textiles (whilst in Berwick Street this June to buy fabric for my Leavers' dress- More on that later) Really, though, it's all about that colour! Depending on the light it can vary anywhere between rasperry to bright scarlett, stopping along at garnet and cherry tomato along the way. Whatever shade it is, it's gooorgeous, even if it would give Rudolph's nose a run for its money!
Sneaky t-shirt switch
So this doesn't devolve into an open love letter to rayon challis I've put a moratorium on the following words/phrases generally associated with the fabric:
-Soft like a baby's bottom

In fairness this is probably the best quality rayon I've ever worked with! It's a little weightier and more matte than most rayons , but that lends it really well to making skirts because it feels more secure. (AKA less likely to have a Marilyn moment)

 ... Also it's like walking in clouds!!  Big (red) soft fluffy clouds. (Hah! See I didn't say cloud-like!) So, basically it feels divine and it's lovely and cool for a hot summer day!

I feel like rayon always gets a bad rap for being super shifty when cutting and sewing, but honestly it's not that bad, and it's practically docile compared to cutting polyester  chiffon *shudders* I only had a really jaggedly cut meter remnant, so I had to cut the pattern on the cross-grain, but other than that cutting left me relatively unscathed.

Onto the details. I knew I wanted to make a gathered skirt, but I wanted a little more shaping than a typical rectangle/dirndl, so I busted out the skirt pattern from Simplicity 1807 and subbed in my regular skirt waistband. Worked like a charm. I think I might make S1803 my go to gathered skirt pattern- not too bulky at the waist but lots of fullness. Although next time I might not bother with the front and side front panels. There's nothing wrong with them, but since I moved the pockets to the side seams the front seams are sorta superfluous and bug me a little bit. Either way, it's a minor gripe.

Construction wise, there's not much to say. I used all french seams through-out, including the pockets. (Did I mention how much I looooovvvveeee french seams?? Because I do... Love them... Like a lot...) I used to be super scared of inserting pockets into french seams but now it's like a second nature. Then I just added a red invisible zip and a rolled hem and done. Oh, and I also under-lined the waistband with cotton poplin, and used a lightweight fusible interfacing on the center back seam to give it more stability.

Oh, and can we talk about hems for a sec? Because as I get older my hemlines are slowly creeping... lower!! *Gasp* Is this that thing they call growing up...? Even with my new-found modesty I still shortened the pattern 2" before cutting. The final skirt is around 21-22" long, which I think works pretty well on me (For reference I'm slightly below 5'6")

Now onto the t-shirts. Yup, that's right you get two tees for the price of one. Both tees were made from the same knit from Stitch fabrics and it's seriously my dream knit fabric! Large scale navy and grey marl stripes made out of the softest, snuggliest viscose/spandex blend! Be still my beating heart. Plus, it was only £4/m and I got both tees out of 1.5m, (with stripe matching) with some left over. Score!
Here's a super awkward photo to show off my stripe matching :/

The first t-shirt (See above) is a rub-off of an old short-sleeve H&M v-neck that fell apart. It's one of those not-quite-a-real-v-necks, where the neckline is pretty much a scoop neck, but the neckband has a small dart which makes a V. (Was that confusing? I'd be happy to elaborate is need be) I actually really like this more feminine approach to a v-neck, and it was actually really fun taking the original t-shirt apart to see how it was made. I've made five of these, but this one is definitely the nicest.

The second t-shirt is my beloved Deer and Doe Plantain. At last count I've made 11 various incarnations of the pattern and show no signs of stopping. For numero 11 I chose to go back to the original. It's size 36 with a cheater knit FBA to size 40. My only slight alterations was to add 2" to the sleeve length because I have monkey arms. Oh and I also sewed the neckband with 3/8" seam allowance, because I thought a slightly wider band would mimic the wide stripes.

I don't want to speak too soon, but I think this t-shirt might be a contender for my favourite t-shirt of all time (Pushing the grey marl sweater knit plantain off its pedestal) Seriously, you don't even want to know how many times a week I reach for this t-shirt. It's just so soft and snuggly with the super long sleeves, plus it matches with pretty much every skirt I own! Also the Plantain's looseness around the waist really works well with a drapey fabric like this.

Sleeve hems

In terms of construction I've really upped my t-shirt game in the past year or so. I sewed both tees with a stretch stitch then finished the seams together with a zig-zag. It's not strictly necessary for knits, but I like the extra security it adds, plus it stops the seam allowances flip-flopping around on the inside. I hemmed them with a 3-step zig-zag, partly because I love the way the stitches sink in, partly because my double needle hates me.

Random tip: I like to stabilise my shoulder seams with clear elastic, but i'm not a fan of the look on the inside, plus I always accidentally press the seams to the wrong side and end up with scratchy elastic against my skin. To combat this I sew the shoulder seams then sandwich my clear elastic within the seam allowances before finishing them with the zig-zag. That way everything is stable but I don't have to look at or feel the elastic. Yay!
Bonus cat-pose derp. You're welcome.

So what have we learnt today? If you want to know the true meaning of the word comfort wrap yourself in as much viscose/rayon as physically possible. You're welcome.

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