FINISHED! A squiggly Dolores

Last November I bought this blue stretch crepe 'squiggly print' knit at spotlight and immediately knew it was going to be a Dolores Batwing top. Well at first I thought a Dolores dress, but regardless it's destiny was known immediately. I finally got around to buying the pattern last week now here it is.  
First up, I just have to say how much I adore these arms.  They have this incredible optical illusion going whereby it makes me feel like I have skinny arms.  I really really love the connection of the sleeve with the body of the top. I think it has a bit of an edge to it. In fact, I'm not really a batwing wearer but this feature has completely won me.  Completely!
I had to go to the copy shop last weekend to print out some things, so thought I'd try the copy shop option on this pattern. What a treat!  I am defnitely #teampdf and I love to cut and tape in front of the TV but this was a nice little present to myself.  As I said, I originally intended this to be a dress so cut it out as a dress.  It looked nice as a dress, but just didn't feel like me.  In the end it was either make it up as a dress and give it away or cut it into a top and see how that felt on. Selfishness ruled and I'm so glad. The top is great. Despite being a knit - which I rarely wear, I feel like this is fitting in well with my wardrobe and confidently wore it to my son's birthday party today. 
A few sewing notes now. It's sewn up on the overlocker. I reinforced the shoulders with tape, which isn't in the pattern, but I've got into that habit now.  

The pattern calls for attaching the binding on each side and then joining up later. I thought I could outsmart Zoe (really!?) and attach the binding in the round to make it so much neater on the inside. Wah - first attachment, there was a load of gape at the shoulders even though I reduced the length. Anyway, I unpicked it, yes, unpicked the overlocking, took another little bit off and restitched it again!  Still drape at the shoulder corners. Well of course there was because of the style! Doh Kirsty. In the end I pinched a tiny triangle on the shoulders and overlocked down - as they should have been done in the first place. Lesson learnt. Neck sits perfectly now.

The sleeves and hem are twin stitched. I hemmed this twice as I didn't quite like the length initially and after my several attempts at the neckline I felt I owed the hem a little attention. I probably should have put some tape on the hem, but I just turned it over which is fine.   

This is a really easy and quick make (ok, this one not so quick, but next time..). Thanks Zoe for a great little pattern!

FINISHED! Pollock Peplum

Part of the Charlie Hebo public memorial in Place Kleber, Strasbourg
We are back home from 6 weeks holiday! Back to school and work on Tuesday, so I am profiting from the last few days off to get to know my new sewing machine, my birthday present from last November (yes such a long wait to get to use it) and to sew up some holiday fabric. Predominately the holiday was to visit family but for those of you who follow me on instagram will know that I also managed to squeeze in two fantastic days with sewing friends. Meeting up with sewing friends who I've met through the online community is really like meeting up with old friends. It just comes so naturally. These days were absolute highlights of my trip especially as they occurred after Charlie Hebdo, a time when I really needed a bit of distraction from the profound sadness.
I'll talk about my  sewing day in Paris in another post, but this make is from fabric I bought in Strasbourg, where I spent most of the holiday. Here, I met up with Christine for a day of chatting, fabric, lunch and shopping.  We were also going to meet up with Connie, who sadly couldn't make it at the last minute.  Next time! And in fact Christine has sent me a list of amazing places to go to in the extended area so now I can't wait to go to Strasboug again next year and meet up with Christine and Connie! In Strasbourg centre ville there isn't really many places to fabric shop, but there is La Droguerie, where I bought two pieces,  This make uses a liberty-esqe lawn called Pollock Flamboyant Ambiance. an abstract splatter paint design.  I bought matching binding (genius!).
I'm always nervous about sewing up holiday fabric. It always seems so much more special, but I was impatient to sew and try my new machine and this was the 'easiest' piece of fabric that I bought. I was going to sew another Marthe, but there has been a lot of talk on instagram on the Japanese Sewalong so I thought I would have a look at my Japanese pattern books.
Last year when I was in Sydney for Frocktails, Lizzy  bought  Clean and Simple and I immediately fell in love with the jumpsuit in it.  I didn't have time to go to the book shop in Sydney and pick up a copy but immediately rang the bookstore on arriving back in Canberra and bought it over the phone. I am still super keen to sew up the jumpsuit, especially after meeting Christine, who is absolutely the jumpsuit queen, (making 11 in the last 18 months!), but I was looking for something simple and quick, so after much deliberation settled on the peplum blouse on the cover.  My love for the peplum is well documented and I have been itching to sew a higher necked top for ages,
During the making of this blouse, I fluctuated between loving it and hating it. The peplum is unusual and sits lower than I would normally like to wear it (being on a trend lately of moving peplums higher and higher) and it is elastic waisted. I find I have to be a bit vigilant with the elastic as it can cause the 'ruffles' to be a bit uneven. I love Japanese patterns as they are drafted for my height 160cm (well I'm a few centimetres shorter but when you round..), but I added a couple of centimetres to the 'skirt' to give me some flexibility. I should have added a bit more as I felt the balance would be out if I did a bigger hem and so only managed a very small hem (overlocked and then turned up 1/2 cm).
The blouse has dropped shoulders, which I love and as a result I kept the elastic loose in the peplum as it looked like that was how it should be in the cover photo and I like how this lets the blouse hang. The sleeves are quite puffy and have elastic in the wrist. I took 3cms off the length of the sleeves to assist with balance.  I always like to show the wrist bone when there is elastic in the wrist! :) I might consider reducing the puffiness of the sleeve next time.
There are no darts to sew and the neck is finished with binding and the back is closed with a button - which is self covered as I amazingly didn't have anything that I really liked in my stash.
So my verdict on the blouse. I like it. Ok, it's not exactly a woo hoo make, but I do like the quirkiness of the design and I really like wearing it and can imagine wearing it at different times. I've worn it here very casually but it will also look ok with skinny leg jeans or for work. I wore it yesterday to meet up with sewing friends and there wasn't much love for it there, but I know this isn't a blouse for everyone and in reality I couldn't see any of my friends wearing it so I wasn't offended. So maybe that's why I like it, in fact, that might make me like it more! So that's the first make of 2015 done!

FINISHED! Eliana and Kevin

Today, I get to talk about a dress I made all the way back in October as a pattern test for Pauline Alice. You all know that I am a fan of Pauline's patterns and so when the opportunity to test a new one comes up, I jump at it.  This one is her new Eliana dress.  A wonderful, raglan cut dress with two options, one with sleeves and the other - a very flattering summery version. You can see a super summery version over at Lizzie's.
But, first it's made from Liberty of London fabric, so lets quickly talk about the fabric.  As usual with me, I threw caution to the wind and used a Liberty that was in my stash. High risk testing! The design is Kevin (colourway B) from the Liberty Art Fabrics Collection Autumn Winter 2014.  I have fancied this fabric for a while and ended up buying it from Shaukat back in August 2014. It sat in my stash for a little time until I was asked to pattern test the Eliana dress. Inspiration.
Liberty Art Fabrics Kevin Tana Lawn
Fabric Story:
Kevin Liberty fabric was based on the celestial ceiling art in the hallway at Mount Stuart in Scotland. The constellations in the print were hand drawn in white and grey chalks on black paper to create a conversational starry night.

There is something about wearing this fabric that makes me want to pull out the latest trash magazine and read my horoscope!
Anyway, now to the important part, the dress.  The dress comes in two versions, the one I tested has a gathered neck tied with binding, an elastic waist and raglan sleeves.  I love a short dress with long sleeves, even in summer, so the choice for me was obvious!  I think that it would be trivial to replace the elastic waist with the ribbon tie which is used in the summery version.  Of course raglan sleeves provide such an opportunity for colour blocking.  And for pocket lovers, there are pockets!
As this was a test version I had a few adjustments to make with the length of the bodice and sleeves. I finished making it according to the instructions, but then found that the neck was too wide for my liking and that the sleeves hung too low due to the raglan design.  Before my next wear, I unpicked the binding collar, regathered and re sewed. I think these adjustments have been reflected in the pattern and this small change made this a much better fit for me. The photo above was taken before I redid the neck.
I really like this dress and before coming on holidays, wore it weekly to work. It is a slightly different silhouette (at least the bodice is) for me, but one that I definitely enjoy wearing. I think that it would look fabulous made up in a slightly heavier fabric as well for cooler months, with tights, so there might be another version somewhere in my future!
Lizzie is having a giveaway of the pattern so pop over there, not only to see her great version but enter in the giveaway.  Well, just a few more days of holidays for me now and I'll be back in Australia next week, where I hope to start on some new garments for 2015!