27

The never ending (linen) story: La Sylphide blouse

I promise this is the last you’ll see of this navy linen!

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I scraped this blouse out of the very last of what was originally a 5m piece of linen that I bought for $3/m at The Fabric Warehouse’s crazy sale late last year, previously used to make my Bleuet Dress and Mr. Guy’s Negroni shirt. There was so little left that I had to compromise with shorter sleeves (which is actually rather good in the heat we’re having) and the bow is half the width it should be. Even so, I’m somewhat impressed that I managed to fit everything on!Image

From my last dress, I knew that I didn’t need to make many alterations so made it as is; although now I realised that I didn’t alter the dart height, so they’re still a bit high.

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The sleeves are made using my bodice sloper pattern, cut as long as the fabric would allow me; the back is the original La Sylphide pattern piece and it fits me so well I’ve actually started using this pattern piece for other dresses. I lined up the pattern piece with my back bodice sloper and the armscye is EXACTLY the same so now I have this darted version, and the old princess seam version. I still need to turn my princess seam sloper into a darted version, for when I feel like using one.

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The waist seam is sitting a bit high, I guess because it doesn’t have a skirt to pull it down, and I feel that the peplum is a bit too short – it would be a lot more flattering if it was a couple of inches longer.

This isn’t a real issue, because of course the top looks even better tucked in:

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The back waist seam still sits a little higher than the skirt waistband, but I don’t think anyone will notice!

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The buttons are navy ones with gold pieces in a circle around the thread holes (if that makes sense) – oh goodness do I love them. I think I might need to buy up all the stock that Made on Marion has to use for future projects.

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What else, what else. Why can I never think of anything to say in my blog posts, even though I love reading everyone else’s blogs? Too inpatient and succinct, I guess.

Anyway, I think this top will only really be worn tucked in. I never thought peplum tops would suit me (despite being recommended for pear shapes), so even after finding out that it looks alright on me, I’m not used to seeing that shape on my body and I feel it’s a bit too fru-fru. Maybe it’s just the placement/length of the peplum so I may try it again, at least until I work out the best way to turn this into a normal blouse without the peplum.

I’m quite pleased with the construction of the top, too, and the whole process of making it shows me how much I’ve improved recently. I wasn’t in the best mood when making it (tired) and Mr. Guy even told me “you should stop sewing, because you’ll make a mistake and be even more upset/angry”. I kept sewing but was mindful of what he said (it was true), but I didn’t make ANY mistakes. In fact, I noticed myself subconsciously fixing mistakes I would usually make, before they happened – things like accidently getting fabric caught in a seam, messing up the narrow hem (thanks to Mrs. C I have ditched the special “narrow hem” foot for my machine and am much happier for it), not catching all the layers when edge-stitching down the neck tie or when stitching in the ditch.

This is how cool I feel about  that:

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Details

Pattern: La Sylphide blouse by Papercut Patterns

Fabric: Linen scraps, ~1m $3/m

Notions: buttons, $2 each = $10. Thread and interfacing, stash.

Total: $13

In other news, I know I have mentioned that my parents have been visiting this week, which has been lovely. I took a few days off work and yesterday we drove up to Cape Reinga, the most northern part of New Zealand. Reinga means “underworld” in Maori, and the alternate name “Te Rerenga Wairua” means “leaping-off place of spirits” – this is where the spirits of the dead pass (by leaping off the old knarled pohutikawa tree that is clinging to a rock overhanging the ocean) before travelling to the underworld/the spiritual home of Hawaiki.

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Behind us is where the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean mix, a spot that is constantly unsettled. The Māori refer to this as the meeting of Te Moana-a-Rehua, ‘the sea of Rehua’ with Te Tai-o-Whitirea, ‘the sea of Whitirea’, Rehua and Whitirea being a male and a female respectively.

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A lovely day, finished off by a beer at the Kohukohu pub, talking about fishing rights with locals, then pies for dinner from the organic shop.

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13

Blue Brumby – Papercut’s La Sylphide

Today was the annual Rawene Brumby Races. Apparently a brumby is a “free-running feral horse of Australia”, but up here is the horse equivalent of a mongrel. No thoroughbreds were allowed. The “jockeys” were mainly teenagers from the area, riding bareback with no helmets – according to Mr. Guy’s auntie, the crime rate in Rawene dropped significantly when a chap up here first introduced the horses to the area and started training the young people to ride, giving them something to do.

ImageThis was the betting tent – if you bet $20 you got a t-shirt. And if you won a race, your name got put in a hat for the winnings – I believe the rest was all fundraising for the horse club. There was also a beer tent advertised but nowhere to be seen – according to some guys with a 24 pack, it was actually BYO this year.

The rest of the field was filled with small food stalls including a hangi. Stupid us bought pies from the local organics shop (some of the best pies in the country) so missed out on some really good looking food.

ImageThis was the Stockman’s Team Race – a relay where each member raced 100m, got off their horse to drink skull a beer, then raced back to their team mate who did the same then had to drag their horse over the finish line.

ImageJessie-Dog was very popular (although this dog may have wanted to eat her face off, not that she realised that).

And I got to wear my just-finished dress: La Sylphide by Papercut Patterns, which shall be called Blue Brumby. From here on all my photos from the day are super grainy, for some reason. I’m pretending it’s just artistic/instragram-chic, but it’s not really. Hopefully it doesn’t hurt your eyes.

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I didn’t even know that I wanted this dress before I saw Kat and Mel’s versions, then I realised it was a perfect dress for me – I really think the styles pictures on Papercut’s website don’t do it justice as a wearable and classy dress.

ImageI initially bought some grey and blue silk for this dress, but wanted to make a cheaper version first so I didn’t ruin it. I actually did make a muslin of the bodice (yay) and I only had to make minor changes

  • I had initially traced off a size small in the shoulders/underarms and took it to a medium at the waist, but ended up letting it out to a medium at the underarms too.
  • Shortened the back shoulder piece by 1.5cm and added that to the front as the shoulder sat too far forward. I think I’ll actually take about 0.5-1cm off both sides next time as the front bit is a touch saggy (and I don’t want the shoulder seam to sit any more forward, which I figure will happen if I only take the amount off the front shoulder seam)

I do think I need to shorten the front bust dart – currently it’s actually above my bust point – I thought the skirt would pull it down to the right place but it hasn’t. I used my own sleeve pattern rather than having to adjust this which worked well (except, like Kat’s second version, meant I had to do some serious easing in when I hand stitched the sleeve hem down). And although I used the sleeve, I forgot to change the sleeve seams on the front and back bodice pieces – so I’ll do that for next time too.

The fabric is both drapey and heavy, so I added some elastic to the waist seam to help keep everything up, making sure I kept it away from the placket – it does still pull a bit so I’ll probably add a hook and eye there (like Lauren does on the sewalong). I also did a narrow hem using my machines special foot and…. well, one day I’ll get it right. When it works, it works so nicely – but so often I find the foot just doesn’t fold it properly. Half of my skirt is just folded once with the raw edge showing, and I have no idea why. I must be doing something wrong but at one point it just suddenly worked without me doing anything differently; then again it just stopped working. I need a lot more practice because, as I said, when it works it’s so easy and a nice finish.

ImageOne of the biggest things I changed, though, was the length of the skirt! The original pattern piece didn’t even cover my bottom, so this was lengthened by 29cm from memory – and it could almost be a bit longer. Because I lengthened it at the bottom seam, it ended up being a lot fuller and not actually fitting on the fabric, so it got slimmed down too. I also drew the hem line on pretty poorly so after being hung for a couple of days, the hem way WAY wonky.

I didn’t bring my hem marker up (obviously, I didn’t even bring up any threads other than black, though that was by accident), so Mr. Guy improvised by stretching a piece of electrical tape across a door frame and using that to mark it with pins.

ImageOch but I love this dress. I did have a couple of technical issues which were all my fault – the pattern and instructions are excellent. And in fact, some of my mistakes were a result of forging on ahead without reading the instructions, like finishing the upper and lower edges of the button placket before sewing the length of it down.

ImageI also had huge issues with my machines automatic buttonhole maker – it just would not make a proper buttonhole like it usually does and as a consequence they are pretty ugly. I sewed on the buttons with my machine – did you know you could could this? Crazy easily, even with a normal foot (though there is a special button foot which has a wide mouth and grippy things) .

Start by either setting your stitch length to zero or putting your feed dogs down. Then put the button under the foot and, trying to keep it in the right place (tweezers can be handy here), lower the foot. Then you just need to put your stitch to zigzag, using your hand-wheel to determine how wide the zigs should be. Once you have the right width – SEW AWAY. If you want some pictures or a description that makes more sense, see tutorials here and here.

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The fabric is a viscose/lycra from The Fabric Store, in a twill weave. It was remarkably difficult to work with because it was so fluid it wanted to shift around all the time (on the carpet, or my ironing board or my sewing desk) but I knew it would feel really good to wear – and I was right. It almost acts like a fliud silk and twirls beautifully.

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Pattern: La Sylphide by Papercut Patterns, $30

Fabric: Viscose + lycra, 2.5m $10.33/m (was $15/m, on special) = $25.80

Notions: Buttons $8.40, interfacing, thread and elastic from stash

Total: $64.20 incl. pattern, $34.20 alone

I’m not sure why sometimes I include the pattern and sometimes I don’t – perhaps I should include it the first time I made a pattern but not the subsequent times. I already have ideas for several more of these dresses 🙂

ImageIn other news – I am so loving the far North. I feel like I’ve been on holiday this past week, despite working “full-time” (which involves finishing at 1pm on a Friday). The land is beautiful and I love the community, and I’m really enjoying the work. Two days a week I travel to satellite clinics and the patients groups are so varied.

Also, things happen like; you find a boat on your lawn when you get home. With a letter on the doorstep saying “hope you don’t mind me leaving my boat here, if there’s any problems let me know. Probably see you at work on Monday” – from someone I don’t know but I’m sure I’ll find out! I think it’s going to be very hard to leave, particularly as Mr. Guy and I are both country-by-heart and we’ll be going back to the city (and me back to the busy hospitals).

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21

Papercut Patterns: Rigel Bomber

Sometimes a sewing pattern is love at first sight; other times it takes a while for the idea to rattle around in your head before you decide that it’s a good fit. That’s how it was for the Rigel Bomber; when Papercut Patterns Constellation collection came out, I wasn’t too excited about any of the patterns, thinking they weren’t my style. It only took Cirque-de-Bebe’s version, however, for me to realise that I had to at least give it a go.https://tworandomwords.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/p1060109.jpg

It took me even longer to find the fabric. After spending over 2 hours stroking fabrics at two different shops, I decided on a deep purple, drapey rayon with splotchy black spots. After being pre-washed it languished in my stash for a while before I realised that I just couldn’t imagine making it up in that fabric – instead, I purchased this navy fleece-backed sweatshirting (a burn test suggests it’s a polycotton of some kind). The pattern itself suggests a medium weight woven fabric, but I was sure it would work in a knit (and one of the model versions looks like a knit to me).

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The fabric choice means it’s really warm and cuddly.

The pattern itself is excellent. It’s an unlined bomber jacket with raglan sleeves and welt pockets. The drafting is really well done, with the perfect amount of notches, and allows for a tidy finish. This was the first time I’ve done welt pockets and (after two trials) I think they ended up completely passable (though I wouldn’t recommend fleece for your first ever welt pockets!!).

A word about Papercut’s sizing – I had it in my head that their sizes run small but that’s not true at all! I did this in a size large (I think, I traced it a few weeks ago) and it’s a touch too big. I’m currently tracing of the La Sylphide and I’m a mix of small-medium! Plus, the Constellation patterns go up to a size XL now (112, 92, 118)!

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Yeah they’re still not perfect, but I’m going to blame the fabric if that’s okay with you all?

Next time I make this (I will be making another, fo’ sure) I’ll use a woven fabric and line it, like most of the other versions I’ve seen – the pocket bags aren’t the prettiest (so I’d suggest tidying them/overlocking them before sewing them on) but this fleece wants to sit against the skin. If you’re not lining the jacket I would recommend sewing the pockets into the binding at the bottom – I can’t see it mentioned in the instructions (unless I missed that bit) but they line up exactly with the base of the shell fabric so I’m guessing you’re supposed to do that. Otherwise they kind of flat about when your hands are in them.

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I must admit I’m quite proud of my patience with this one, really taking my time with the welt pockets. I actually used a fabric marker to draw on the stitching lines (on both sides), so I knew that the first pocket I sewed didn’t line up. I then decided to baste the pocket pieces down then sew from the wrong side where I had the lines still visible – this kind of thing proves that sometimes, the “slower” method actually works better/faster.

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 As mentioned, they still aren’t perfect but I’m happy with them, considering the fleece didn’t want to press.

Next time I may also shorten it – yeah I’m tall but I think this would work better if it sat at my waist rather than over my hips. I’d also look at raising the neck at the front as it’s quite a lot lower than I expected and looks a bit odd over dresses with higher necks. The sleeves are a touch too short (so when lifting my arms they’re just above my wrists) so I’ll lengthen the sleeves by 1-2″.

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All in all this is a very cool (warm) jumper/jacket/hoodless hoodie/bomber. In the fleece it’s a bit oversized so is sort of “boyfriends jacket” (and Mr. Guy would probably pinch it if it wasn’t too small for him), and I’m currently on the look out for some embroidery or a patch to pop on the breast. I’m definitely going to make another in a woven fabric (maybe a nice wool like this version).

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Details

Pattern: Rigel Bomber by Papercut Patterns $30, highly recommended

Fabric: Navy fleece-backed sweatshirting (poly-cotton), 1.4m $14 (I could have got away with 1.1m), black binding $4

Notions: Black knit interfacing, $2, thread $3.80 (+overlocker thread, stash), zip $4

Total: $27.80

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Have you guys made anything from Papercut yet? They may seem a bit pricey, but for me they’re totally worth it (especially as you don’t pay any extra for shipping). Plus I understand how everything costs more in NZ (her printing costs are probably quite a bit). I have fabric for two La Sylphide’s once I trace and muslin it, and I may consider the Milano cape once it gets colder again. And maybe a circle top (my mum might like that one). And another Watson ape (sleeveless).

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PS In other news, the new Wellington (NZ) campaign The Clothes Calling Card (video from One News, facebook page here) is an awesome new initiative letting shops know how much money they’re missing out on by not stocking larger sized clothes. This is a DARNED good idea, and I have been frustrated so many times when I realised a shop only went up to a size 14 (my bum is not a size 14).

22

Papercut’s Watson Jacket; a difficult beginning, but a lasting friendship

I can’t remember when I first saw this pattern, but I do know I fell in love with it instantly. Papercut is designed in Richmond, only half an hours drive from my home town of Nelson. Most of her pattern’s are not quite my kind of thing (designed for waifs, or at least styled that way) and are a tad expensive for indie patterns (priced, I think, for the international market? Or because it’s expensive to create/live in NZ). It took me a while to get around to actually buying it and buying the fabric – and then tracing all 15 pieces – and then a bit longer to build the courage to start making it.

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It’s classed as an “expert” level, which I’m not sure I agree with – I’m no expert, and I found it fine EXCEPT for two places. Firstly, there was an issue with the notches not being plentiful enough, and some in the wrong place (although this may partly be due to my tracing). Then, the instructions. I had a full blown tnatrum when making this jacket – I’m going to leave the bulk of explanations for another post where I explain what to do so you don’t spend an hour wailing to your husband and sister in law; but know that there was tears, and uncalled-for yelling at my husband. This post will just be about the jacket.

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And, what a jacket.

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It’s made from a 100% wool from The Fabric Store, which I bought under pressure (the last day I could go to their 50% off sale) and I hated as soon as I left the store. I think Mrs. C hears me complaining about stuff a lot more than I would like, and she heard me lamenting straight after. Woe is me. But once made up, it’s actually rather nice – think school blazer texture. And the colour is a lovely… raspberry red colour, maybe? Not BRIGHT bright red, but red.

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It’s lined from 100% silk lining, also from The Fabric Store. It was weird, but good to work with – very stringy, and because I used my rotary cutter (for the first real time) the strings got stuck in my self-healing mat.

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The only fitting I did was take some room out of each side seam – but I think I took out too much, forgetting that it was a coat and so shouldn’t be fitted. Next time I’ll put some of that back in and would probably have the buttons as decoration only – as you can see it pulls a bit over the bust even though there’s definitely enough room in there.

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I’ve worn this twice in public (not counting walking to work) and got several comments on it each time, woot! It is rather stunning, and an awesome unusual design. The capelet is rad.

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The design of the pattern is really good, and other than a couple of issues that I’ll detail in another post, well drafted. It has two collar pieces, one slightly smaller than the other so the undercollar rolls under; the back lining has pleats instead of darts so it has more room to move; it has a hem facing; and it has a bum flap which is flattering and comfortable!

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The wool is a lot drapier than the lining, so it bags a bit. I’ve been advised that this is one of those “noone will know, ignore it but improve next time” elements, and I should have made an overlay at the bottom before topstitching (so the shell fabric rolls under by 1cm or so)

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Details

Pattern: Watson Jacket by Papercut Patterns, $39.95 from The Fabric Store ($35 from her website with free shipping)

Fabric: Red wool, $16/m (originally $32 with 50% off), 2.8m = $44.80

Silk lining, $6/m, 1.7m = $10.20

Notions: Interfacing, $12/m = $12. Thread 2x $3.8 = $7.60. Buttons, self-covered, 2x $5.90 for 3 = $11.80

Total = $126.30

Yikes! Here’s when it’s good to add up all the costs, not just the shell fabric which I would have done. I never would have started out being happy to pay that much for a coat – but I think it’s worth it. The cheapest RTW coats you could get would be >$100, and they wont be wool and silk!!

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