Thursday 14 January 2016

Hot Day Work Outfit

First post for 2016! It's taken two weeks, so it's a two-for one post this time. I did get some sewing done over the Christmas-New Year's break but hadn't gotten around to taking any photos until before work this morning. It's lucky I took these photos first thing this morning, because after reaching 40° around lunchtime Sydney had some big thunderstormsthrough the afternoon, and I got soaked to the bone crossing the road from the train station to the bus stop on my way home.

As with my silk Kate Top, this outfit is specifically things I made that I can wear to work. Both of these patterns are from Japanese pattern books. The top, which I'll call the tie shell, is pattern I from les couleurs francaises. The skirt is the first variation of the straight skirt pattern in the blouse, skirt and pants style book. Neither are English translations of the books, although there are a few diagrams and illustrations. Still, it's best to have some reasonable sewing knowledge before tackling a pattern you can't read.

The top is made with a poly crepe from fabrics by Gertie, bought at Spotlight. Unfortunately, given that it was a remnant-sized piece I was pretty limited in what I could do. I chose the tie shell because it didn't use too much fabric. I had to compromise slightly. though. Japanese patterns don't have seam allowances included, but my fabric was not quite wide enough to add seam allowances for the back piece. It still fits and the back looks fine, but there should be a little extra length in the front upper bodice. But you do what you can with the fabric you have.

Other than that little issue the top was a very easy make. I did French seams, the narrowest folded hem possible to keep as much length as possible, and finished the neckline and armholes in off-white satin bias binding. As the shoulder straps are fairly narrow, the binding overlaps itself. I decided to sew the neckline first, and then only sew the armhole binding up to the neckline stitching, rather than having overlapping stitch lines. That way it has a cleaner, even line, and looks more professional.

The skirt is made with a heavy cotton from Tessuti Fabrics. I bought it at the same time as the silk for my Kate Top. I wanted something light in colour that was simple but not completely plain. This cotton is textured but not printed, so it fight the bill well. As it has a fair amount of body it needed to be a skirt with a more solid shape, and this six gored A-line skirt seemed just right.

This pattern was trickier to use than the top. The pattern book has a handful of basic patterns and then gives options for how to vary it to make other styles. This was a relatively easy variation, except that I decided to make some extra changes. The diagonal pieces on the side fronts of the original pattern are fake pockets, but I decided I wanted real ones. Measuring out the extra pattern pieces I needed was okay, although I did manage to sew a pocket bag on inside out. Putting the zipper in was a bit more of a problem. Because the fabric is a little heavier, once you put together the lower skirt front, the pocket bag, and the pocket top, it starts to get pretty thick. My machine wasn't too happy about that, and so the stitch line is a bit wonky and the zipper is unaligned by about 5mm at the top. I thought about redoing the zipper, but decided it's not obvious so I couldn't be bothered.

So apart from getting rained on coming home, I'm happy with both top and skirt. The top is light and breathable, and the skirt's shape and neutral tone will make it a really flexible item. Plus, pockets! It's been a while since I've used a Japanese pattern and they're always a bit daunting, but I've always had good results with them. Both books have a number of other great patterns, so I've no doubt I'll make a few more of them in the future.

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