Friday, December 9, 2016

Vogue 8723 and a journey to a graduation dress

So the kid is about to finish primary school and, as it goes, those years have flown by with breathtaking speed. A couple of months ago, I put in an oh-so casual query as to whether or not she'd like me to make her a dress for the school graduation. You know, like, #likenobigdeal but hey, if you like I can make you something to wear...? The initial response was a polite thanks-but-no-thanks.
And then we went shopping. This could be the perfect segue for an angry rant on some of the crazy inappropriate tween clothing out there but, I figure if they're selling that stuff, there must be a market for it. But it's not my market, I can't go there and my kid can't either. And on the plus side, guess who then realised that maybe mum sewing her a dress wasn't such a bad idea after all...?
She was armed with a rough idea of what she wanted based on a dress she wore to a formal event a few years back. The design brief was pretty simple - white, fitted bodice, full skirt and just above the knee. Oh, and preferably a square neckline. I showed her this dress and the accompanying pattern - Vogue 8723 - and she tried mine on. Even though it swam on her, I was able to do enough pinning and bulldog clipping to give her a clearer idea of what it would look like and got the two thumbs up to proceed *silent fist pump*.  I brought home a couple of fabric samples and she eventually settled on this gorgeous cotton broderie anglaise, Zenith White.  Keeping with the circular theme, I chose an embroidered cotton spot for the lining, Little Swiss Dot (available all stores). 
I started out by making a calico because nailing this dress is all about nailing the bodice. Being an adult pattern, the smallest size and cup was still too big for her. Fortunately, all the adjustments were fairly straightforward and to get the fit, I only had to remove some of the bodice length (across the bust), double the side seam allowances and shorten the bodice length. I also dropped the neckline a couple of centimetres. For the straps, I used a white grosgrain ribbon and chose a slighter narrower width to accomodate her smaller shoulders.
There's a healthy amount of gathering in this dress and because I didn't want it to be too bulky with all that embroidery, I used the wide selvedge for gathering.

I also gathered the skirt lining but reduced the pattern piece width by about a quarter, again to eliminate bulk around the waistline. Oh, and I removed the pockets too. 
As a finishing touch, I embroidered a small something into the lining. It started with just a small heart and I then decided to add the 2-1-6 so that we never forget what this dress was about and the occasion it was made for. But I'm pretty sure we never would anyway...
Did she like it? She loved it. So much so that she even said I could make her Year 12 graduation dress. OK, but slow down kid. And thanks for asking xx

Friday, November 18, 2016

NEW :: Nina Pant Pattern

Meet our latest pattern - the Nina PantThis classic, slim, tapered leg pant has a faced waistline that sits on the lower waist. Design features include flat front, back darts, stitched down facing, side invisible zipper and twin-needle finished wide hem with side splits. 

Suitable fabrics for the Nina Pant are firm one-way stretch woven fabrics, ideally cotton/elastane. From our new and current Italian collection, we highly recommend:
and more stretch cottons here (check description for pant recommendation).
Frankie Top in Mimasu Black Line and Nina Pant in Stretch Cotton Black
Nina looks great worn with t-shirts, jumpers and tops (like Frankie, IslaRuby, Kate, Ola and Mandy) and our Helga, Jac and Silva shirt patterns too. Jane (below) paired hers with a classic white shirt. Her Nina's are made up in our Bamboozled cotton/elastane and she shortened them by an extra hem length.
Nina Pant in Bamboozled stretch cotton
The Nina Pant comes in (Australian) sizes 6-16 and is now available in both hardcopy and PDF copy shop/print-at-home version.


Friday, November 4, 2016

Pant Love :: New Look 6459

Last year, my pant pattern crush was ALL about Butterick 6178 which I blogged here and here. For me, one clear benchmark of a Pattern Winner (aside from multiple makes, obvs) is whether or not I can recall the pattern number by heart. I'm not alone here, am I? And though I still (and probably always will) love you B6178, it's time to step aside and make way for New Look 6459.
One make and she's already settled herself into the (now very) limited brain space reserved for numbers and passwords.  Surely that MUST be saying something...
You guys, these pants are so good. I bought and filed the pattern away when I first pinned it back in May and then proceeded to watch some really lovely versions crop up all over the tempting interwebs  - Erica B, Sophie, Christy and Lindsey.
What initially drew me to the pattern was the slightly dressier appearance of the pant style. Fact is, you can dress it up or down with your fabric choice and the addition (or not) of a crease. Also...POCKETS!
For this pair I went with linen in our Hartford Vicuna. It's a most delicious, nutty, cinnamon shade that goes with all my perennial wardrobe colour faves - black, white, navy, grey and khaki. I made a straight size 10 with no alterations. Like the pattern cover image, I wanted them to be more crop pant than culotte, so for my 160cm/5'3" height I've given them a pretty deep 5.5cm hem.

As is my general (and quicker) preference, I finished the invisible zip at the top of the waistband. That's really just my usual (and slightly inaccurate) waistband MO so I can avoid sewing on any kind of hook closure (if you do this, don't forget to get a slightly longer zip than the pattern recommendation). You're welcome for that little tip.
Just as an aside, the black top that I'm wearing here is a pattern sample that we've ben playing around with. If it takes your fancy and is something you'd like to see us release, leave a comment here (or over on Instagram) as we'd love to know your thoughts.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

NEW :: Isla Top Pattern

Meet our latest pattern - the Isla TopThis stylish jersey top sits firm on the hips and features a back yoke, dolman sleeves and wide neckline with finished neck band. The simple design has only three pattern pieces making this a quick, satisfying sew and a great trans-seasonal wardrobe staple. There are no shoulder seams as the front pattern piece extends over to form the back yolk. 
With this loose and easy style, Isla makes the perfect travel top. Suitable fabrics for the pattern include good quality lightweight viscose/elastane, cotton/elastane, wool/elastane or poly/elastane jersey. Click here to see our full printed range.
Isla Top in Hashtag jersey (Navy due back in stock soon)
The Isla Top Pattern is now available in both hardcopy and PDF print-at-home/actual size copy shop versions with (Australian) sizes XXS, XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL all included. 

Monday, October 17, 2016

Sadie Slip Dress Tutorial - Cutting out silk on the bias in between paper

Want to learn a new cutting method? Here's a technique commonly used within the fashion industry for cutting out delicate fabrics like silk satin, crepe de chine, georgette, chiffon, organza and drapey silk/rayon velvets etc. This method is particularly useful when cutting such delicate fabrics on the bias grain.

I've put together this tutorial as an add-on to our latest pattern release, the Sadie Slip Dress. But really, it can be applied to any pattern that uses a slippery or delicate fabric. Firstly, we recommend that you lay out and cut out your fabric on the single (meaning fabric is open and not on the fold) and in between paper.  Cutting it in between paper prevents the fabric from slipping and moving and ensures that your fabric is cut on the correct bias grain.  The paper we use is our spot and cross pattern drafting paper, sold in all Tessuti stores (10m for $15). It's 120cm wide and has your vertical, horizintal and bias lines all marked out in spot and cross on the paper which makes it perfect for marking/laying out your pattern pieces correctly.

Above shows the layout of the Sadie Slip pattern pieces traced out onto 2.20mtrs (for size 10/SMALL) of spot and cross paper (120cm wide). 

Due to having to layout the front and back pieces going in the same direction, this is the same layout for fabrics 120cm-150cm wide . The silk satin used to make up the Sadie Slip Dress has a nap, so to avoid colour difference at the side seams the pattern pieces need to be cut going in the same direction (also advisable for one way print designs, velvets etc). Note that there will be some wastage, but this is often the case with bias cut garments.
After marking out all of the pattern pieces on the spot and cross paper, mark a vertical line at the end of your pattern layout marker and cut off the paper on this line.
Measure off another length of spot and cross paper the same length as your pattern layout marker sheet.
Double check by laying out your pattern layout marker sheet on top of the blank sheet ...
...and cut off end of blank paper as done previously on pattern layout marker sheet. 
Roll off the pattern layout marker sheet, to prepare laying out your fabric.
Lay out your fabric on top of the blank sheet of paper. It's important to make sure to line up the cut edge (making sure it's cut straight) of the fabric with the vertical edge of the paper and the selvedge edge of the fabric with the horizontal edge of the paper closest to you. Note: if your fabric is wider than 120cm wide, your fabric will end past the opposite horizontal edge of the paper. This is part of the wastage. Keeping weights on top of the vertical edge of your fabric helps to keep it in place as you layout your fabric along the selvedge edge. If your vertical/cut edge and horizontal/selvedge edge is laid out correctly and squared off in this way, your fabric will automatically be laid out on the true grain. This will ensure that for the next step, you'll be able to cut your pattern pieces out on the true bias grain.

Now that your fabric is laid out correctly, the end of your fabric length should sit somewhere very close to the cut edge of your paper sheet (see below)
It's time to carefully lay out the paper layout marker sheet on top of your laid out fabric. Make sure again to line up the vertical and horizontal edges of the pattern layout marker, with the same edges of the fabric. 
Again use weights to keep your paper in place.
Did you know you can cut out two Sadie Slip dresses at once? Before laying the pattern layout marker sheet on top of your fabric, simply layout another length of fabric on top of the first layer.
Provided the second fabric is the same width as the first fabric (or falls within the width of the pattern layout paper) and taking care not to move the first fabric around as you lay out your second fabric on top, make sure to adjust carefully and use your weights for support. The blank sheet beneath will help to anchor the first fabric in place, but you will still need to ensure that the vertical and horizontal edges don't move out of position.
Then lay your pattern marker layout sheet on top of your fabric/s. Pin around your marked pattern pieces (through all layers) ...
...and cut out your pattern pieces on the marked lines...
...making sure to nick into notch markings with the tips of your scissors. 
Yes, by using this method you are breaking the cardinal sewing sin that is 'don't cut paper with fabric scissors'! But rest assured, this will NOT ruin your fabric scissors. If you use this method a lot, you may need to sharpen your scissors after a while, but if you're using a good quality scissors (and fabric!) it's absolutely worth it. I use this paper sandwiching method ALL THE TIME with my Soft Canary scissors and I'm not even going to tell you how long it's been since I had my scissors sharpened (clue: it rhymes with 'ever'). They're fine and still cutting like a dream.

Hope you found this tutorial helpful. And if your cutting area isn't wide enough you can use this method to cut out on the floor...if your back can take it! 

Thursday, October 13, 2016

NEW :: Our Sadie Slip Dress Pattern

Meet our latest pattern - the Sadie Slip Dress. Since we saw this trend popping up (and because we lived and loved it through the 90s), we've had this design on our patternmaking radar. 

Though it can most definitely be worn as outerwear, the bias cut slip dress is also designed as a timeless and classic undergarment that can be worn beneath sheer garments or as a slinky, sexy nightgown. Features include a shaped neckline with facings, spaghetti straps and optional back darts. 
For a more casual look, Sadie looks fabulous when paired with a t-shirt, singlet or sleeveless shirt. Layer it up with a jacket or cardigan for a style that is both cool and comfortable.
My black version is made up in our Black Silk Satin with the shiny side inside, matte side outside.

Gabby's version below (shortened length by 5") is made up in our satin-backed crepe de chine Rocky Road Squares.

This fresh blue floral is made up in our (sold out) silk satin Ocean Flora

Colette shortened her Sadie and made it up as a nightgown. The fabric she used is a Liberty of London tana lawn - Juniper - and for some extra special detailing she added a black lace trim.
Recommended fabrics for this pattern include silk satin, crepe de chine, viscose, rayon. Lightweight cottons and linens are also perfect but because they don't drape like a silk, we've also included the option to add back darts. Other suitable fabrics from our current collection include:

Martinez, Alba and Carice Spot Satins
Indigo and Fern Tie Dye Surprise
Liberty tana lawns

In the coming days we'll be posting a tutorial that will guide you through the best cutting techniques for your Sadie Slip Dress. We hope you love our new pattern and can see her in your sewing future. And if you're sharing a photo on social media, don't forget to use the #sadieslipdress hashtag. Happy sewing!
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