Upcoming and Planned Projects

Friday, 21 August 2015

Bettine the Elephant

My friend Erin found this fabric at the Mission Australia warehouse near her place, which has apparently a lot of fabric. There's a small op shop that's open all the time, but the warehouse is only open a few times a year. Luckily my friend happened to hear about it on the radio back on their March open day and went along. She sent me a picture of this elephant fabric and asked if I wanted it. Stupid question, of course I wanted it, who wouldn't?

The fabric looks great, with its silhouetted elephants and mottled white/grey/black background, but it's not exactly the best quality. It's some sort of poly crepe, so won't be breathable enough for high summer in Sydney when it gets to 70%+ humidity and 30+ degrees. But for nice days when the temperature is mid-high 20s and a bit drier, it should be comfortable. It's also tightly woven which means it only lets a bit of light through but isn't see through. That freed it up to a broader range of possible uses and patterns.
Enter the Bettine Dress.

Tilly and the Buttons' new Bettine Dress was released on my birthday, which was obviously a sign that I had to make it. Its semi-drapey style which made it a good fit for the elephant fabric. The pattern is also simple enough that it lets the print be the focus, which I really wanted for this fabric. And the dress has GIANT pockets! Pockets are left off far too many women's patterns, and sometimes when they're included they are added in a way that makes them bulky and generally look bad. Not with the Bettine! It probably helps that the fabric I used is very light, but the pocket and skirt sit really well.

 I'm often not a fan of elasticated waists. If they don't sit at the right spot I find them uncomfortable, they can cause the fabric to bunch up weirdly, and I find they can look a bit lazy. Luckily nonse of these issues was a problem with the Bettine. The blousy top means it hangs slightly over the elastic which makes it look nicer, and it's also just a really comfortable dress. So maybe I'll be less averse of elasticated waists in the future.

I decided to do the optional sleeve tabs just so that I could use these vintage elephant buttons. They're from the 1950s, plastic, and I found them years ago at a vintage fair for a couple of dollars. They sat in one of my boxes of buttons for years, just waiting for an elephant print fabric to be matched with. See, sometimes picking up weird pieces of kitsch really pays off as you end up with the perfect finishing touches.

The tabs themselves were probably the most annoying part of making the Bettine, because I couldn't get them quite even. Because this fabric is very much cheap quality it was a bit awkward to pin and cut out. For the main pattern pieces that doesn't matter because any unevennes can be hidden in the seams, but for little pieces like cuffs, a few millimetres off shows up with one side of the tab being wider than the other. But it's only noticeable if you look really close, so I can live with it.
It was a very easy pattern to sew, and is really comfortable to wear. I already have another fabric in my stash that I'm considering for a Bettine, so I guess I'm a fan. 

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Silk and Linen Harvest Top

It's been a few weeks since my last post. I've been sewing, just hadn't gotten around to blogging. But three creations were photographed today so I have no excuse to be lazy in updating here for the rest of the month.

First up is the Harvest Top, a free pattern from Peppermint Magazine, made by Pattern Runway in collaboration with The Fabric Store. I tend to mostly make dresses and skirts, and have only made a couple of blouses, but I liked the boxy, softly oversized style of this one.

I decided that, seeing as the pattern has separate yoke and waistband pieces, that I'd make them with a contrasting fabric. The main silk fabric is a lightweight check taffeta from Tessuti that I've seen there for quite a while but never had any ideas for. I wanted the contrast fabric to be less fancy, so that the top could be dressed up or down. I wandered around the shop trying to find a good matching contrast for the yoke and waistband, but was indecisive about what I wanted. In the end I grabbed a grey cotton that seemed the right shade. Unfortunately I didn't realise until I got home that is was very much a stretch fabric and completely useless for this top. Oops. So I headed to Spotlight where I found this basic grey linen and decided it'd have to do. Luckily, the fabrics work together (at least I think so!), so my stuff up wasn't too much of a problem.

So making the pattern. I haven't used a Pattern Runway pattern before, but it was pretty straightforward, and easy to follow instructions. I am a bit smaller than the smallest size, so given that this top is already slightly oversized I decided to take in the sides an inch or so, which was easy enough. It's still probably a little looser on me that it's designed to be, but not so much that it looks like I'm wearing the wrong size. It just looks like a loose fit boxy blouse, which is exactly what it is.

The blouse buttons up the back, which I really like. I inherited a large box full of buttons from my grandma, and very luckily found these etched grey buttons that match the linen and complement the silk. There were even exactly the five buttons I needed for the top!

The looser, squarer shape of this top is different to what I tend to wear, but I like it. I think the combination of the cut and the fabrics means it has both structure and softness. And I'm already looking around Pattern Runway's site at their other patterns trying to decide what other patterns I want to make!