Tag: Anita Pavani Stoffe

Project Sewn Week Three – ‘If the shoe fits’

It’s week three of Project Sewn and this week’s theme is ‘If the shoe fits’.

The designer contestants have come up with knock-out clothes and images again! It’s so inspiring to see their interpretations of the themes and how expertly they put their looks together. They truly are a talented bunch of ladies!

For the rest of us mere mortals, I think it’s great that we get to join in with the fun. This week though, I thought I’d have to bow out because I’m busy making for my children and haven’t had time to make something for this challenge.

P1260275_2
Sparkly ballet flats

Then, just as luck would have it, a trawl through my archives unearthed these photos taken in Italy last summer of an outfit not yet blogged about, which also happens to showcase this sparkly pair of ballet flats quite nicely.

So I thought, ‘if the shoe fits’……!

Grainline Studio Scout tee and Simplicity skirt
Grainline Studio Scout tee and Simplicity skirt and unknown furry friend!

This outfit is made up of a Cynthia Rowley Simplicity 2215 skirt and Grainline Studio woven Scout tee topped off with a Smedley knit.

P1260252The Simplicity 2215 skirt is a pleated skirt pattern with uneven pleats on the front and back pieces and pockets in the side seams.

Simplicity skirt
Simplicity 2215 skirt with uneven pleating and side seam pockets

Once you’ve marked out and basted down the pleating, this skirt comes together really quickly and easily – with just one catch! I found putting the zip and the pocket into the side seam a little perplexing. I managed to put them all in in the end by attaching the zip to the side of the pocket but it wasn’t the neatest of zip insertions!

Organic cotton batiste lining
Organic cotton batiste lining

The main body of the skirt is made from linen from the Hollander Stoff market and I lined the skirt with organic cotton batiste from Lebenskleidung.  I added a fabric covered button to close the waistband and zip fastening and hand stitched the hem for a neater finish.

Grainline Studio Scout tee in cotton eyelet batiste
Grainline Studio Scout tee in cotton eyelet batiste

The Grainline Studio Scout woven tee is one of my all-time favourite staple patterns! It’s so versatile and easy and can be squeezed out of just one metre of fabric – always a bonus IMO! I’ve made several of these now but this white one and my Breton striped one are the most worn.

Body of Scout tee underlined with white cotton batiste and all French seams
Body of Scout tee underlined with white cotton batiste and all French seams

For this tee, I used cotton eyelet batiste and underlined the main body pieces with cotton batiste – both from Anita Pavani Stoffe and did French seams on all seams including the armholes.

This cotton eyelet batiste is the same as I used to make my first Anna dress in black. I really love this fabric, which is why I was so pleased when I saw a blouse recently, made from the same fabric in a boutique in my town by Italian brand 0039 Italy for 150 euros! Mine cost a fraction of that to make! Isn’t it great when that happens!

P1260277

Don’t forget to cast your vote for your favourite outfit over at Project Sewn.

I’m so looking forward to the finale of the competition next week. What will the contestants pull out of the bag for that one, I wonder?

Project Sewn Week Two: ‘Make it Pink’ – McCall’s M6553

It’s week two of Project Sewn, the online sewing bloggers knockout sewing competition and this week’s challenge is ‘Make it Pink’. It’s really nice that us voters get to join in the fun by posting our makes too!

McCall's M6553 dress in pink cotton gabardine on my dress-form Beatrice
McCall’s M6553 dress in pink cotton gabardine on my dress-form Beatrice

I made this McCall’s M6553 dress, one of the Fashion Star pattern series, last summer but didn’t get round to blogging about it. This Project Sewn pink theme has given me the perfect opportunity to clear some of the back log from my blogging in-tray and slip this unseasonal make into my winter posts!

Pleated back
Pleated back

It’s a case of – ‘here’s one I made earlier!’

McCall's M6553 Fashion Star
McCall’s M6553 Fashion Star

I was attracted to this dress pattern by the relaxed fit of the pull-on-over-your-head style, the princess seam shaping, the pleated back and the shaped hemline. The combination of these features make this dress shape quite unusual and unique IMO.

P1290839 P1290854

I particularly like the contrast between the feminine bow of the belt in the front and the box pleated, loosely draping back. I think the overall shape of the dress is body skimming and flattering. Well at least Beatrice, my dress-form looks good in it!

Pleated back
Pleated back

There isn’t a zip to deal with or buttonholes or anything else that you could imagine to be complicated, it’s just an easy to sew-up loose fitting dress that gets it shape from the waist cinching belt that threads behind the back piece and ties in a bow at the front. Plus it has side-seam pockets so you can slouch like me!

Belt threads through openings in the side seams
Belt threads through openings in the side seams

There is a neck slit on the back bodice piece that closes with a button and thread loop. I’d never done a thread loop before this dress, but I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to do.

Neck opening with button and button loop
Neck opening with button and button loop

One word of warning about this dress – it is quite short. I’d read many online pattern reviews of this before I made it so I knew this. To compensate, I added five centimetres to the length.

However, I still found the dress short, so ended up doing a hand-stitched lace hem finish because I didn’t want to lose anymore length. The finished length is still above my knees and I’m only 162cm tall!

As a bonus though, I like the way the lace peaks out on the uneven hem of the back of the dress. It’s added another cute detail to the finished dress.

Lace hem
Lace hem

Another word of warning – this pattern is very loose fitting! I made the smallest size six, which is a smaller size than I would normally choose from the big four pattern companies.

I made this dress out of pale pink cotton gabardine bought from Anita Pavani online.  It’s a firm fabric that holds the shape of the pleat and bow quite nicely.

Gratuitous holiday pic!
Gratuitous holiday pic!

All in all this pattern got my thumbs up! It hasn’t become one of my summer staples, but it is a fun dress to wear occasionally!

P1250899
And more gratuity!

The Project Sewn contestants have made another stellar effort this week with this week’s theme- there are some really knockout clothes and images, so if you haven’t voted for your favourite pink outfit yet, then I suggest you go and do it right away young lady!

Happy voting!

2014 – The Chinese Year of the Jumpsuit!

Did you know that 2014 is the Chinese Year of the Jumpsuit??

P1290470_2
Ralph Pink jumpsuit x Grainline Studio Archer shirt in Liberty

No?! That’s probably because I just made it up – but it should be! It’s still January and I’ve made two jumpsuits already and anyway, the animal theme is getting a bit old isn’t it??

P1290409_2

I made three jumpsuits last year and and I’m on a jumpsuit roll again this year! It started when I began searching for patterns to make something similar to this eye-catching  jumpsuit by Italian designer Luciano Soprani.

Luciano Soprani jumpsuit
Luciano Soprani jumpsuit

The closest pattern match I could find was this Ralph Pink jumpsuit. 

P1290404_2_2
Ralph Pink jumpsuit pattern

This has the same front opening that my inspiration jumpsuit has and unlike the other jumpsuits I’ve made before, doesn’t have an elasticated waist.

P1290408_2_2

The pattern comes as a downloadable PDF in multiple sizes. You can choose to print and then cut out whichever size pattern you choose, so there’s no need for pattern tracing. I made the UK size 8 and made no alterations to the pattern other than shortening the legs by about five centimetres and putting D-rings on the self-fabric belt.

Two D-rings sewn onto one end of the self -fabric belt
Two D-rings sewn onto one end of the self -fabric belt

I recommend adding two D-rings to one end of your belt as the belt fastener because they’re fabric savers – you don’t need as much fabric for your D-ring belt as you do for a belt that’ll be tied in a knot or bow. Also, once fastened, the belt sits flatter and doesn’t need constant readjusting like a bow or knot do. Plus I think D-rings look edgier!

P1290406_2_2

This pattern is a fabric eater depending on how wide your fabric is. Ralph Pink recommends using 3.5m of a fabric with good drape, such as silk. The pattern is cut as one whole piece, not bodice and pants pieces as it looks like the Luciano Soprani jumpsuit is.

Pattern cut into pieces spanning the whole length of jumpsuit
Pattern cut into pieces spanning the whole length of jumpsuit

For my first trial of this pattern, the only fabric I had in my stash in this quantity, that I was willing to sacrifice for a pattern test was this blue cotton. This has very little drape and is so crisp, it rustles as I walk but it worked fine just to see how the fit of the pattern was.

Ralph Pink jumpsuit pattern version one in cotton

I much prefer the pattern in this supple Italian linen/cotton mix from Anita Pavani Stoffe, that I chose for my second version.  As well as having a better drape, the fabric was also wide enough that I could squeeze the pattern pieces out of only two metres.

P1290405_2_2

Ralph Pink’s instructions were easy to follow and I didn’t have any major issues making this up. My only advice would be to take your time with the fly front. Care needs to be taken when sewing up the centre front seam on the crotch so that the front left piece can still overlap the right front piece once the seam has been sewn up. Then you need to decide how to close the fly. For my blue jumpsuit I went with buttons.

Buttons on fly opening
Buttons on fly opening

For the grey, I used poppers. I prefer the poppers.

Poppers on grey jumpsuit fly opening
Poppers on grey jumpsuit fly opening

I’m not finished with this pattern yet! I want to try it in a patterned fabric and I’m definitely making a lightweight denim one for the spring. I’m still searching for a teal green suiting so that I can finally make a closer match to Luciano Soprani’s wonderful jumpsuit.

Anyone else following this year’s jumpsuit theme?? What’s on your sewing table?

A Red Etro Silk Anna Dress from By Hand London

Firstly a reminder about the Collegien giveaway.

If all goes to plan, I’ll be posting the Collegien giveaway on Friday, just two more sleeps! So don’t forget to check back for all the details this weekend!

My Second By Hand London Anna Dress

This dress seemed to take forever to finish for no other reason than because I dithered over unnecessary details!

By Hand London Anna Dress
By Hand London Anna Dress

The pattern is perfectly straightforward, it was also the second time that I’ve made this dress and I was following By Hand London‘s Anna dress sew-along so there was no excuse for this not being a super quick make.

So what took you so long, I hear you cry?!

P1280126_2

Well I’m blaming my fabric choice! I used a silk twill by Italian designer Etro, bought from Anita Pavani and a nude-coloured viscose from my stash, to line it.

The silk twill feels fantastic and is so lush to wear and was relatively well-behaved and easy to sew but the viscose was much more slippery and challenging. It wasn’t the material though that caused so much strife, it was the design on it.

P1280122

The red Etro silk twill has this interesting stripe pattern but with stripes you always have the challenge of matching the stripes up at the seams. So for this dress, to avoid not being able to precisely match up the stripes where they meet at the vertical seams of the skirt’s seven panels, I decided to cut the back four skirt pattern pieces in one direction of the fabric and the front three in the other direction. I then arranged the skirt pieces alternately to deliberately mis-match the stripes so it would be obvious that they weren’t supposed to match up.

The deliberately mis-matched stripes of the skirt panels
The deliberately mis-matched stripes of the skirt panels

I also thought that horizontal stripes across the top of the dress would be beneficial because they would give the illusion of broadening my smaller upper frame but I thought it would be better to break up the stripes on the skirt of the dress to avoid this widening effect on my lower body.

Also a quick mooch around Etro‘s website confirmed that Etro mixes and matches their prints as well, in fact, it’s their signature look, so I was confident that design-wise, I was on the right track.

Etro dress courtesy of Net-a-porter.com
Etro dress courtesy of Net-a-porter.com

When I began assembling the skirt though, I started to second guess myself and was certain I’d butchered a perfectly good stripe pattern and ruined the look of the dress.

Disgruntled and frustrated, I set the dress aside while I considered my options, which were limited! I didn’t have enough fabric left to cut the skirt out again and Anita Pavani had sold out so it wasn’t possible to buy more.

P1280129_2

What to do, what to do? I used to be indecisive, but now I’m not so sure! Finally I decided to persevere with plan A and now that it’s finished, I couldn’t be happier! I’m so glad I stuck with it! What do you think? Did I mess it up?

Back view of Anna dress
Back view of Anna dress

Lessons I learnt from this experience

– Listen to your gut and don’t second guess yourself! When a decision is made based on sound reasoning, stick with it!

– Always baste seams first and try to avoid unpicking stitches in silk too much because it will eventually stretch the fabric.

– Use sharp pins and as fine needles as you can find when working with silk. Also sharp scissors for cutting out or a rotary cutter are essential.

– Check the garment’s finished measurements on the pattern info before choosing your dress size!

I was reminded when I made this dress again, just how nipped in it is at the waist. My winter body definitely isn’t as comfortable in this as summer me was!

Fitted bodice
Fitted bodice

When you’re making dresses, you’re often advised to choose your pattern size based on your bust measurement and usually this works well for me. There is usually enough ease in the bodice and I don’t have to alter anything but for this dress the bodice has very little ease and so I would recommend checking the finished garment measurements on the pattern information before selecting your size.

Construction details

I used French seams throughout, with an invisible zipper in the back and a hook and eye and finished with a rolled hem using my sewing machine’s narrow hem foot. P1280128Have you made anything that you made unnecessarily difficult for yourself? Do you like experimenting with patterns?  I would love to hear about your pattern hits or misses.

Bfn

Christine

M.M.M.’13 Version 2.1 and Collegien Giveaway news!

My-Maxi-Miette 2013.

This pattern hack of the Miette skirt pattern by Tilly and the Buttons, was the result of an online search of Miette pattern reviews and a suggestion by the lovely Oonaballoona on her blog to make the Miette into a maxi. I thought this was a great idea and immediately stole it  was inspired to make one myself.

Maxi Miette skirt on tour in Venice, Italy
Maxi Miette skirt on tour in Venice, Italy

It’s really easy to make this pattern into a maxi. All you have to do is lengthen the bottom of the front and back pattern pieces to your desired final skirt length, being careful to follow the angle of the outer lines of the original pattern and remembering to include a hem allowance. Then construct the skirt as usual and voila, you have a maxi!

One more maxi skirt to add to this summer's growing collection
One more maxi skirt to add to this summer’s growing collection

I used a really lightweight and fine linen bought from Anita Pavani online shop (http://www.naturstoff.de) in the Italian designer fabrics section, to make mine. It’s really nice to wear and has washed well. I did French seams to join the main skirt pieces.

(BTW – Anita Pavani provide washing care instructions for the fabrics they sell and they recommend not spinning linen in the washing machine when you wash it, you should hang it and allow it to drip dry instead.)

Very fine and slightly transparent Italian linen
Very fine and slightly transparent Italian linen

I partially lined my maxi-skirt with more of the organic cotton batiste that I bought at http://www.lebenskleidung.com, that has served me so well as a lining for all of my summer makes this year. The batiste is really lightweight so it hardly added to the weight of the skirt at all but just gave me enough coverage and confidence to step out in bright sunlight, safe in the knowledge that my undies weren’t on show! I didn’t line the overlap piece at the back because it wasn’t necessary.

Lined partially with organic cotton batiste.
Lined partially with organic cotton batiste.

I made another Wiksten tank top in a Liberty Art Fabrics cotton print to go with this skirt, which I wore on this day-trip to Venice, Italy during our summer holiday this year. Unfortunately I didn’t get a photo of it in Venice because by the time we’d reached the city from where we were staying, I’d already put my jumper on over the top of it, so here it is on my dress-form Beatrice.

Wiksten tank top and Tilly and the Buttons Miette skirt
Wiksten tank top and Tilly and the Buttons Miette skirt
Wiksten tank top in Liberty Art Fabric cotton print
Wiksten tank top in Liberty Art Fabric cotton print

BTW – If you’re planning to visit Venice, I would suggest getting to the Rialto bridge in time to catch the sun setting over the Grand Canal – the view is spectacular!

The view from the Rialto bridge over the Grand Canal, in Venice, Italy
The view from the Rialto bridge over the Grand Canal, in Venice, Italy

It gets a bit jammed with tourists though! You wouldn’t believe how many people I had to elbow in the face to get a bit of clearance for this photo!

The Rialto Bridge over the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy. Elbows come in handy here!
The Rialto Bridge over the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy. Elbows come in handy here!

Of course I’m exaggerating – it wasn’t that many!!

Anyway back to the Miette maxi skirt. It was comfortable and practical to wear for a day’s sightseeing around the quaint little streets of Venice.

Hanging with my kids in VeniceHanging with my kids in Venice

The skirt performed well under pressure, even under the harshest of test conditions, such as when I was hurling my toddler over the bridge into the canal for misbehaving! The back flap of the wrap didn’t budge all day, successfully avoiding any embarrassing wardrobe malfunctions!

No wardrobe malfunctions of the back wrapover flap.No wardrobe malfunctions of the back wrapover flap.

Again, only joking of course – MY kids don’t misbehave!!

Very posy looking - I was actually just readjusting the wrap when my husband snapped this!
Very posy looking – I was actually just readjusting the wrap when my husband snapped this!

All in all, Tilly and the Buttons has created a very versatile skirt pattern and I love it!

As I write this, Tilly’s busy finishing off her first book for sewing beginners which is due out next spring. I can only imagine how good that’ll be! I wish her lots of luck with it and I’m sure it’ll be a huge success!

More YoSaMi news – don’t forget to stay tuned for the giveaway soon, it really is worth waiting for! You could win your very own pair of these delightful Collegien slipper socks!

Collegien slipper socks - they're French!
Collegien slipper socks – they’re French!

Also, I’ve finally finished my red silk Anna dress by By Hand London after what feels like f-o-r-e-v-e-r! I’ll be posting it as soon as I’ve had a chance to photograph it!!

Have a great week,

Christine

Anna dress sew-a-long and YoSaMi news.

A quick update of what’s going on here at YoSaMi.

First up, preparations are underway to join in with the Anna dress sew-along hosted by, By Hand London.

Here’s my little helper today, assisting with hand washing some silk twill fabric by Italian designer Etro that I snaffled up from the Anita Pavani Stoffe webshop, as soon as the new autumn designer collection hit the virtual shelves. It’s a lovely deep red colour and I really love it.

P1270322

I’m planning on making another midi-version of the Anna dress because I think that’ll get most wear. I’ve already got the pattern cut out but I think that I’ll reduce the seam allowances to only one centimetre this time just to give a bit more ease to the bodice of the dress – it’s a bit too snug for my liking! I’ll also make it a bit more autumn appropriate by adding three quarter length sleeves which are now a viable option thanks to the By Hand London sleeve drafting tutorial which has been included in the sew-along resources. I’m looking forward to trying this out.

I’m a bit late with my preparations because I’ve just returned from a family trip around Europe. We literally travelled far and wide and high and low and I did lots of research into European resources for the home sewer and textile designers.

Here’s just a taste of where we got to:

P1240490 P1250306 P1250639 P1260624_2 P1260030_2

From mountain peaks to world famous cities and relics of ancient cities, to lakeside towns to turquoise seas, we literally saw it all.

I also stopped by Munich Fabric Start, the international fashion industry fabric trade fair and caught up on the coming fashion fabric trends and talked with some interesting companies at the forefront of the European fashion industry..

P1240295

I visited a leading Italian textile design studio and interviewed the owner.

P1260833_2

I visited various fabric factory outlets and bought copious amounts of fabric and took a suitcase full of my recent makes so that I could photograph them. I’m hoping that the pretty backgrounds will distract you from my poor modeling!

I’ve collected some great resources and I’m looking forward to sharing it all here with you as soon as I’ve caught my breath!

Have a great week,

Christine

My first By Hand London Anna dress!

I say my first because this will definitely not be the last!  I love the Anna dress pattern! I feel like it was made just for me! The slash neck, the nipped in waist and gentle A-line skirt, all details that I love.

Unfortunately there are not many patterns that really flatter me. I have a natural ability to make most things hang unattractively like sacks. Clothes that look absolutely gorgeous on other sewers tend to look atrocious on me. So what a joy to find something that, dare-I-say-it, may actually suit me and fit me too!

So without further ado, I present to you my first and hopefully not my last Anna dress.

By Hand London Anna dress

Like others have said before me, I have so many more versions of this dress already planned. I’ll be joining the online sew along from By Hand London this month to make a silk version. I have a lovely silk twill from Italian designer Etro that I’ve just bought from the new autumn collection of Anita Pavani online (www.naturstoff.de) that is destined to become my next Anna.

back view of dress

For this dress, I used a black cotton eyelet batist fabric (also from Anita Pavani online) lined with a fine white cotton batist. I don’t tend to wear black and I’m probably the only woman not to have a little black dress in my wardrobe so I thought that that ‘LBD’ gap ought to be filled. I liked this eyelet batist as soon as I saw it and thought that if I underlined it with white it would lift if out of total blackness.

Anna dress - black cotton batist

To do the lining, I simply omitted the neck facings and cut all of the dress pieces out of the main black fabric and the white lining fabric and sewed them up as two seperate dresses and then sewed them together at the neck edge and then turned the while lining dress to the inside. From then on I treated the two dresses as one and hemmed both together.

hemming detail

I made my dress in size six with no alterations other that adding the lining. It’s really easy to make and sews up relatively quickly even though I did French seams on all seams.

French seams

This was the first By Hand London pattern that I’ve tried and I’m impressed by this new pattern company. The packaging of the pattern is so attractively done and I thought that the inclusion of the ‘By Hand London and Me’ made-by tag, that has been proudly sewn into the back of my dress, gives the final product a satisfyingly professional finish.

P1250976

I also loved the credit card sized fabric suggestions card. What a practical and thoughtful addition that is! You can slip that into your purse when you’re out shopping for fabric and away you go! No effort required and no need for scribbling on scrap bits of paper that get lost in your bag in amongst the nappies, the wetwipes, half-eaten apples and doggy bags. Not with By Hand London, you’re all efficient and organised with a card, explaining exactly what you need. I guess that’s what happens when you have women running a company! All details attended to!

P1250672

I’m really happy with my Anna dress and think it’s such a versatile and universally flattering pattern that everyone should make at least one of them!

P1250670_2

Am I the last person to make this dress? Are you joining me for the Sew-Along? I hope to see you there.

Megan Nielsen Cascade Skirt MN2202

After seeing several striking versions of this wrap skirt on sewing blogs including the wonderfully colourful version by www.lladybird.com, I succumbed to ordering the Megan Nielsen Cascade skirt pattern.

P1230690_2

Megan Nielsen is an independent fashion designer who has branched out into selling garment sewing patterns for home sewists. This is the first of her patterns that I’ve tried and so far I’m really impressed.

P1230688_2

The Cascade Skirt is described by the designer as a ‘full wrap skirt with a graduated hem and attractive cascades along the hemline.’  It’s aimed at novice sewers and is perfect for every day but also dramatic enough for special occasion wear.

P1240231

The pattern itself is well packaged in a bulging envelope with a velcro closure, which includes an instruction booklet and a multi-sized pattern made from sturdy paper. The instruction booklet is really comprehensive and covers everything you need to make the skirt from the recommended fabrics and tips for their pre-sewing preparation to cutting layouts and sewing directions including how to make a lining if using a very sheer fabric. There are also suggestions for how you could customise the skirt by altering its length and adding layers.

At the end there’s space to sketch out your own ideas and record all the details of your make in a pattern log, such as the fabric used, size, modifications etc.  This is really useful and a thoughtful addition for people with sieve-like memories like me!

P1230830_2_2

I decided to make the version with the front tie and found this cotton/silk blend batiste in the Italian designer section of Anita Pavani Stoffe online shop www.naturstoff.de. The pattern suggests lightweight fabrics with lots of drape so I thought this colourful batiste was perfect for this pattern, with the added bonus that it is machine-washable – a definite must for me especially as I’m around little kiddies all day!

P1230821_2

The fabric was a dream to sew but in full sunlight it’s quite sheer – as you can see in the above photo but I decided against a lining because I wanted to retain the fabric’s floaty nature and with the cotton content you can’t really see completely through it so I’m not being too indecent!

P1230822_2

The main body of the skirt was super quick to make – it only has four pattern pieces and is really straightforward, with only two seams to sew.  I did French seams as recommended in the pattern.

My one sticking point with this skirt was the narrow hem which I really struggled with at first. The sewing instructions explain how to make one but I have a narrow hem foot so it should have been simple for me – right?!

Wrong!!

I’ve had two babies and many sleepless nights since I last used my narrow hem foot and I find that lots of things pre-babies have just been erased from my memory! It’s as though I had a mental re-boot when I gave birth so that I could become a mindless nappy changing, bottom wiping and feeding machine. Has anyone else experienced this? Anyway unfortunately the knowledge of how to use my narrow hem foot appears to have been one of the things that ended up in the trash bin of my brain!

P1230831_2_2

I turned to my trusted friend Google and found ‘BrianSews Hemming Foot Tutorial’ on YouTube which was the perfect remedy.  What set this online tutorial apart from the others that I came across was that it was long enough to get the full gist of what I needed to do and also showed how to do a narrow hem using the specialist foot on a curved edge which is what makes hemming this skirt tricky.

P1230829_2_2

After watching this, I realised that I’d had too high expectations of my little gadget and had expected the foot to do the hem all by itself and I didn’t appreciate how much continuous manual manipulation of the fabric was required from me to correctly feed the fabric into the foot. As I pushed the fabric through the foot it kept popping out again and refused to roll over. Once I’d figured out why this was happening, hemming became a lot easier.

The key to a successful rolled hem seems to be taking care to keep the width of the fabric being fed into the gap in the narrow hem foot roughly the same width as the gap. When it’s narrower the fabric tends to pop out of the foot and enough fabric doesn’t feed in for it to be able to roll over itself as it should. Once I’d practiced a bit, it worked a treat – well almost, the finished hem isn’t perfect but it’ll do for a first attempt.

Overall I’m happy with the final result and it was a light and breezy skirt to wear when it was baking hot here this summer.  I would like to make another version with a level hem but that’ll have to wait its turn in the sewing queue.

P1230826_2

To wrap this wrap review up, I’ll leave you with this photo of me and my dog – don’t you think that it looks like we’re about to be abducted by an alien spaceship!

Wishing you a happy sewing weekend!

Tiered maxi skirt Burdastyle 3/2013 #122 and #123

So far I’ve had a fairly productive sewing summer although I haven’t blogged too much about it. Autumn’s now looming so I thought I better cram in some pattern reviews of my summery makes before it gets too late. But where do I start?

I’ve made more skirts and tops than dresses and I’ve decided to go back to the beginning and start there because there have been some lessons learnt along the way with the progression of the patterns which may be useful to pass on. So let’s start with this maxi skirt pattern from Burdastyle magazine 3/2013.

Burda linen maxi skirt

This is pattern #122 from 3/2013 Burdastyle.  It’s a maxi skirt pattern with a fitted yoke and side seam pockets and a tiered part on the bottom of the skirt attached with a piped seam.

I made the skirt out of three metres of linen that I bought from my favourite online fabric shop ‘Anita Pavani natural fabrics’ in Germany (see my ‘European Insider Top Tips’ for more details of the shop).

My fabric is soft and not too heavy but I would warn that the suggested fabrics for the pattern are ‘lightweight, softly draping skirt fabrics’ which my medium weight linen wasn’t really.  With three metres of it hanging there, as you can imagine it can feel a bit heavy!  This turned out well in the spring when it was still on the chilly side and a bit of extra coverage was welcomed but I haven’t worn it over the summer.  If you do go with linen, I would suggest using the lightest crepe type of linen that you can find.

One of the consequences of my needlessly heavy fabric choice was that the skirt pulls down a bit and I cut out the pattern size according to my measurements which I matched up to the Burdastyle size chart but the yoke was too loose and I can only wear it with a belt now. So for my next attempt I made up the smallest size and now the yoke fits snugly.

The pattern came together fairly easily although I did struggle with the inseam side pockets and side zip combo.  I’ve sorted this out now – it finally all clicked with a skirt pattern I did after this – you have to attach the zip to the edge of the pocket but more about that later.

The bottom tier was a nice way to finish the skirt off because it is basically just a big strip folded in half along the bottom of the skirt encasing the raw lower edge of the main body of the skirt and eliminating the need for hemming.  Not sure whether it was necessary to hand-make the piping that is sandwiched between this seam though – even though I did do it.  If I made it again, I would probably omit this or use ready made piping out of sheer laziness!

This skirt was my warm-up for this tiered maxi skirt #123 which I made out of three metres of Liberty Art Fabrics tana lawn cotton that I bought online at Shaukat in London, UK.

Burdastyle 03/2013 #123 maxi skirt

I’m really pleased with this skirt but it required a marathon sewing effort to make it!

It’s got the easiest sewing rating in Burdastyle aimed at a novice sewer and while there aren’t any complicated techniques needed to make it, it is worth noting that that bottom tier is four and a half metres long and needs to be gathered before it is sewn and then hemmed and I did French seams and that was a LOT of sewing!  Like cramp-inducing sewing – just keeping the foot pedal pressed to the floor for all those metres was enough to put me off sewing for a very long time.  You could maybe weight your foot pedal down with a heavy book or something and go off, have a relaxing cup of tea, come back and maybe your seam would be just about finished!

P1230042P1230043

I made a couple of adjustments to the basic pattern.

Firstly I lined the whole thing with more of my organic natural coloured cotton batist from www.lebenskleidung.com.  I did this because the Liberty tana lawn is lightweight and can be a bit see-through and also to extend the life of my skirt.  It was easy to do, I just cut all the pattern pieces out in the lining fabric and sewed them up as instructed in the main skirt instructions and then attached the Liberty skirt and lining together at the upper edge of the first tier.

I added in-seam side pockets.

P1230040   in-seam pockets

I also French seamed all the seams.

P1230041_2

Overall I’m really happy with the skirt.  It’s a nice simple pattern which results in a twirl-worthy multi-purpose maxi skirt that is equally happy dressed up or down.  Just be prepared for some long distance sewing and check the sizing of your yoke first as I found the pattern to have a generous amount of ease.

Can you recommend any maxi skirt patterns?  I’d love to hear about them.

%d bloggers like this: