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PoppyKettle by Poppykettle - 1w ago

And another one.

The process of making this one was a nightmare. The fabric I chose was determined to be incredibly badly behaved, making the tasks of, cutting, sewing and pressing so very arduous.

I made two right sleeves and only realised when everything was finished except for setting the sleeves in. And I did not have enough fabric to recut another one, because the fabric had some pretty bad flaws (in the form of large blue ink splotches in and around the selvedge – I’m guessing it was digitally printed) that I had to cut around. Actually, I did cut one left and one right sleeve, but somehow managed to flip the underlining piece around the wrong way against my fabric when I pinned them together. It now makes total sense why it was so impossible to see the traced markings for that particular piece. *head desk*.

I choose to blame all of this on my toddler’s new molars.

But, I got through it and I’m really quite pleased with the end result:

PATTERN
It’s from the 2017 Evergreen Catalogue, and described as “Blouse with drop-shaped neckline, gathered sleeves and cuffs with cufflinks. Suggested fabrics: two-coloured organdy, it can also be made with lace applications”.

From looking at the sketch, I just loved that it gives an excuse to make a practical and everyday wearable use for lace. I will definitely be making another version of this with lace at some point in the future!

Looking at this image after the fact, I do prefer the sleeves at that lovely 3/4 mark, compared to the full length sleeve the pattern actually is. I’ll remember to shorten them next time!

In my experience to date, Marfy’s have typically been quite low cut – which doesn’t bother me, I don’t mind a bit of decolletage – but this blouse is really very modest. The neckline sits above where my clavicles stick out at the bottom of your neck, the teardrop shape is quite high up, and the top button in the button placket gives no hint of boobage whatsoever. For Marfy, it’s practically Mormon approved.

The front seaming is a combination of a princess seam and a dart (I have just recently learned this is called a Dior dart, as opposed to a French dart, which emanates from a side seam), which surprisingly didn’t give me much shaping at all, but fit well across the bust. As I’m a size larger for the bust and shoulders than I am at the waist and hips, it’s difficult for me to determine whether the fit is loose because of me or it being the style of the pattern. Probably the latter.

I always feel a wee bit self-conscious in shirts with a lot of gathering at the top of the sleeve cap – it’s not an area that I like to draw attention too – my shoulders are broad enough as it is :) The sleeve cap is higher than your usual, combined with all of the ease being concentrated within a short distance of the shoulder seam – in the muslin photo below I distributed the ease over a larger area, and for the final version you see here, I shaved it down quite a bit.

There is also a lot of gathering at the cuff – which is offset and slightly hidden with a gently peaked French Cuff. I didn’t like it so much once I pulled it off the sewing machine, but then once I put it on – found I quite liked the drama of it all. After sewing the French Cuff on here and on my Wiltshire Shirt, I do wonder if I should be shortening the arm length? I think the eI’d be curious to hear your thoughts.

So in the finished version – I’ve kept the cuff gathering, and quite considerably paired back the sleeve cap ease. Here is the unadjusted muslin, which you can see sits nicely across the shoulders and bust, has a significant amount of space around the torso, and a very floofy sleeve cap, especially at the back:

  

I think perhaps this sleeve would work better in a fabric with a bit more structure than my drapey silk. I’ll keep that in mind for next time.

But If you’re into dramatic sleeves, this pattern delivers in spades. I can appreciate the volume and proportions of it in the calico, even if I wasn’t going to follow through! Obviously I’ve left the pattern’s collar option off this time around.

The keyhole is finished with a facing, which I extended past the shoulder seam to have each side meet at the centre back. The facing meets the front placket, which is folded in on itself:

To make this a more form fitting blouse on me, I added my now de-rigeur diamond darts to the back, brought the side seams in slightly at the waist, and moved the princess seam inwards (keeping the side panel the same, just adjusting the centre front piece). As a result of the latter adjustment, the hem also needed adjustment, but of course I forgot to draw it on the muslin, which caused a few headaches when it came to actually hemming the thing…

Probably the best representation of the Dior dart, as this is all but completely invisible in photos of the final shirt.

The hem is, as you can see, straight. It sits higher than the hems of other Marfy blouses I’ve sewn up recently. I’ve left this as is in the final version.

FABRIC
I used a lightweight silk – I’m unsure of what type – from The Fabric Store, which has lots of tiny blue, grey and taupe blotches. It’s relatively loosely woven, but is very soft to the touch (any easy to catch!) with a really subtle satin sheen to it, and quite a lot of bouyancy as well. It does drape beautifully, but it was a horrible fabric to work with. It curled up when pressed, shifted and slipped around the placed (even once underlined) – and at one point I even did a burn test because I was so unfamiliar with the way it was behaving I was convinced it wasn’t 100% silk. Nope, it definitely was. I took a looooong time to finish this one because I was so completely uninspired to work with it!

It had quite a number of ink spills on it, mainly at the selvedge, and the person who cut it said in response to me asking for a little extra “oh, you can just cut around that, surely?”. It was the second slightly rude experience I’ve had at The Fabric Store during 2017, and considering it’s already quite a way out of my way geographically, I think I’ll not be bothering to go back any time soon. Unless I want Liberty that Shaukat doesn’t stock. That’s the exception. Or maybe some merino, too. Eh. I’ll probably go back. Begrudgingly.

It was opaque and light weight, so I cut it out after choosing not to underline – but then my Blue Blotch blouse (in a lightweight voile) ripped at the back next to the sleeve and side seam line (nooooooooooooo!!!!! I’ve still got it hanging up in my cupboard because I’m not ready to throw it out just yet) and I went back and underlined it just so that it would have the added strength to withstand my shoulder/arm movements. Ignoring the fact that Marfy patterns accommodate my shoulders way better than a McCalls ever did, of course. Ah well.

One thing I’m particularly pleased at myself for thinking of, was how to tame the facing for such a slippery, tricksy fabric. I underlined the facing with silk organza only, cutting the organza seam allowance away very closely to the basted seam line once sewn in place (the red thread in the above pic). The organza made it super dooper easer to just fold the misbehaving silk underneath to be stitched onto the white CDC underlining. It worked like a charm – the finishing here looks so much nicer than the inside hem, which is crazy wonky despite excessive pinning and fiddling.

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PoppyKettle by Poppykettle - 1w ago

It’s been a long while since I did a post like this – mostly because there was a huuuuge gap of not buying any patterns!

I’ve still bought the Marfy catalogues each year for a bit of eye candy – so when I got back into sewing this time a year ago – I went on a big of a pattern buying rampage!

I picked this years catalogue up from the post office 2 days ago, so I’m still digesting that one – this post covers my favourites from the 2017 Evergreen Catalogue, the 2016/17 Catalogue AND the 2015/16 Catalogue. Because, pregnant + #newbornlyf.

I’ll admit to particularly indulging in what is now last years catalogue – the first Evergreen one – because the catalogue is all separates – so there was a bazillion tops in there that I can see myself making again and again over the years to come.

So unlike in previous catalogues where I’ve bought mainly dresses I’m unlikely to make but they’ve just been so awesome I’ve wanted to acquire them for the sake of prosperity – and jackets and coats that I would really love to get around to making but am still lacking in confidence somewhat – I feel like the purchases I’ve made this time are really going to be money well spent.

And that’s already showing – I’ve made up quite a few from this haul already!

Here’s what I bought.

EVERGREEN CATALOGUE PURCHASES
5117: “Crew neck blouse with drop motif and ribbon, short puff sleeves”. I’ll admit I bought this one because it reminds me somewhat of Leisa’s F1882 blouse from way back in the day, but with a slightly more practical non-wrap front! This pattern was on the blinker between my purchase ‘wishlist’ and the sidelines, because as much as I love the design, I’m unsure it will work well on me. We shall see :)

5156: “Blouse with drop shaped neckline, gathered sleeves and cuffs with cufflinks”. Easily one of my favourites – I adore lace but find it a bit overwhelming to wear when it encompasses the whole garment – I love how this blouse pattern allows a smattering of it as a focal point down the front. Depending on the kind of lace, this could either be really subtle or take centre stage. I already know I’m going to have fun searching for fabrics for a lace version of this.

I’ve finished a ‘plain’ version of this one, which you’ll see later this week when I write the post for it.

5159: “This refined semi-fitted blouse has an original origami-effect collar that frames the neckline. The sleeves are gathered at the cuffs”. There’s not much I don’t like about this one.

5172: “This classic, somewhat loose-fitting shirt has a shirt collar and yoke”. I had hopes that this would become my go-to work shirt, and I think with a few more tweaks it will absolutely be there. See – Wiltshire Shirt.

5187: “This shirt has a little collar, front placket and sleeves with low-cut armholes. To be made in constrasting colours, or even in a crew-neck version with box-pleat and hidden fastening”. The colour-blocked version doesn’t hold me at all, but I do love the smaller version next it. A bit less 80’s, in my mind. I’m super curious to see how that princess seam into armscye works out.

5200: “This semi-fitted blouse has a crossover V-neckline fastening loose darts”. This is easily the pattern that caught my eye immediately on my first flip through of this catalogue – just gorgeous. It was the first one I tried when I received my patterns – but it has unfortunately taken the title of ‘first Marfy pattern that hasn’t worked for me’. The sleeve however, is utterly gorgeous, and you’ve already seen this in action, transposed onto my most recent make of Marfy 3449 – The Floral.

5205: “This sheath skirt has inset pockets. Suggested fabric: satin or crepe”. Another pattern that was on the fence for me – but did make it across into the purchase wishlist. I love the concept of the pleats at the front, but I think choice of fabric could make or break this.

5212: “This shaped skirt is made of six diagonal panels that open at the bottom giving the skirt volume”. This one was love at first sight. Notwithstanding the fact that it’s a fabric hog (1.7m!) – the lines of this are just gorgeous, and the shape is universally flattering, IMO. Because of the amount of fabric required – I’ve got nothing in my stash long enough and in the right bottom weight. and I’ m really going to have to go fabric shopping for this one soon because I’m dying to sew it.

5276: “Form-fitting corset with lingerie-like cuts, to be made in brocade or wild silk”. After my success with my last Marfy Bustier (as the foundation of my wedding dress), I was super excited to see this one here. Regardless of whether or not I get around to sewing this one, it’s one to have for prosperity!

5285: “Trousers with raised waistband that forms a waistband in the back”. I recall when I got my first and second Marfy catalogues being surprised as how few pants patterns there was. But after sewing my own – I think I understand the reasons why. That it’s really easy to pick and choose your features and add them into any pattern once you’ve got one that works for you. I really like the waistband treatment.

2016-17 CATALOGUE PICKS
3861: “Top with loose ring collar featuring pleats, slightly drop-shoulder sleeve and curved hem. Suggested fabric: voile, viscose or jersey”. With summer coming, and me having spent the last two summers in maternity/breastfeeding-friendly clothing, my options for tops is severely limited right now. I can see myself pulling this together very quickly in a lovely merino knit, and being able to wear it with work and weekend separates.

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I can’t think of a better way to start the year than with a class with Susan Khalje. Apart from already being part way through 2 dresses and 2 toiles thanks to a bit of sewing time over the Christmas break…

After last years French Jacket and pants output, I really wanted to work on a blazer with a stepped collar. Of all the things I feel lacking in confidence in, it’s a tailored collar – I watched 3 ladies in last years class sew up Vogue 8333 with amazing results. Getting back into tailoring is something I’d really like to do, once the basics of my work wardrobe (skirts/shirts… maybe some more pants) is filled in. And not just because I have a plastic tub full of gorgeous, gorgeous wools I’m dying to work with!

I’ve actually got two jacket UFO’s lurking in a box somewhere – both of which have stalled at the collar. It used to be sleeves and collars that I struggled with – but I feel that between the couture method of sewing with the seam lines and the French Jacket classes I’ve done, that this is not something I stumble over anymore. Practice really does build that confidence.

The last jacket I finished – my GGQB blazer – has various ‘flaws’ that I now know I could prevent from occurring thanks to being further down the learning curve, but the collar is one that still stares unrelenting at me every time I pull it out of the cupboard. And that raw silk it’s made out of is starting to discolour, unfortunately, so I don’t know how much longer it will be in rotation for. The other jacket that still gets a lot of wear is my Vogue Suit jacket, but that’s a total cheats collar in a lovely drape-y wool, so no issues there!

I’ve spent most of 2017 convinced I would work with Marfy 3635, from the 2015/2016 catalogue (also on their website, here):

Basically a ‘Classic fitted single breasted jacket with lapel collar and insert pockets with pocket flaps’. Sandra has sewn this up just recently and it looks as you would expect – pretty darn good! I was super pleased to finally meet Sandra (who flew over from NZ for the course) after following her on Insta for forever, as she’s also a regular sewist of Marfy’s :)

I figured if I went in at the deep end with a wool suiting that leaves no-where to hide, then coming back and sewing some blazers on my own in more forgiving fabrics won’t seem so intimidating.

And I have this Ermenegildo Zegna wool suiting (from Joel and Sons), in a taupe and blue-grey large check that I would really love to see realised:

I was totally thinking it would look kinda like this.

But over the last few months with all the shirt sewing I’ve been doing… thinking about my personal style… and how Susan’s softer approach to tailoring works, I’ve decided to go a different route at the last minute, saving that for later on when I can perhaps learn more about traditional tailoring, rather than the soft tailoring that couture leans towards. I’m talking the whole horsehair interfacing, pad stitching and everything.

And to be honest, I probably need to do some ‘wearable muslin’ tailored jacket work just so I can practice and – build up the confidence.

So, rifling through my pattern stash, I found myself still holding F9814, which was a pattern I received as part of the very first Marfy order I placed (from the BMV website, as this was before Marfy had an english website and well before I ever had a catalogue!). A quick search in my email tells me this was back in early 2012!

This is the pattern I hacked the sleeve from to make last years French Jacket (my Octopus’ Garden Jacket):

It has a really cool standup collar that is cut as part of the front bodice, which should aid in simplifying the construction process/time – handy as I’d really like to also sew up a matching pencil skirt to make it a skirt suit. It’s highly unlikely I’ll get both items done, but I’m hoping I’ll at least be able to have the skirt fitted…

It’s a very fitted jacket (which I like) and I swear I bought it in my usual size 46 (I keep meaning to check, but haven’t yet got around to it), but the muslin is definitely too small!! I can’t get it to meet at the front.

I’ve then spent a week mulling over three different fabric options I had in my stash – narrowing it down to a really cool 3D cotton-rayon-and-something-else tweed from my stash – in pale peachy pink and cream. It has something small and reflective included in the weave, which is woven into a mini hexagon pattern:

It’s from iTessile on Etsy – she carries a ridiculous amount of fabric that I want to own!

The other two options was a cream wool with bright bursts of colourful wool highlights that reminds me a bit of the 100’s & 1000’s on fairy bread, and a blue and grey wool check with a matching solid wool, both from Stitches to Style. I’m thinking I’ll make another version of F9814 in one of these wools this coming winter, but with a long sleeve to differentiate it a little.

I’ve said it before probably several times… but watching Susan fit everyone is just fascinating viewing. You learn so much.

Here are a few things the others are working on! There were some really ambitious projects this year which were fascinating to watch come together – with Ros working on replicating a Roland Mouret dress in a three-way scuba crepe knit – for which we are all pretty convinced she found the actual fabric the real thing was made from – here is her daughter in the almost complete version at the end of the 6 Days:

With a couple of pieces of scrap lace tacked on for perspective. Ros is planning to embroider these panels herself later on.

And Tatyana re-creating Dior’s ‘Abandon’ Dress in black silk taffeta. This dress is from the Fall 1948-1949 collection. After being able to see the Dior Exhibition at the NGV last year, I’m so in love with all things Dior right now – how well does it translate, 3/4 of a century later?!? Tatyana said she’s been wanting to recreate this dress for many years, so it was wonderful to see her bring it to fruition:

Most of the time was spent working on drafting the collar to get the proportions right… it was a tough job from where I was sitting!

I was also really thrilled to be able to meet Sandra (from New Zealand) who I’ve followed on Instagram for a long time – as she’s also a lover of Marfy patterns. She worked on Marfy 3507 – a coat dress – I think you’ll agree it looks bloody great:

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PoppyKettle by Poppykettle - 1M ago

Happy New Year, everyone :) May 2018 be happy, safe and have lots of sewing for you!

Marfy 3889 – probably one of the simplest and quickest shirts I’ve ever made!

It’s from the 2016/2017 catalogue, and described by Marfy as “Shirt with gathered bodice. To be made in voile or crepe with contrasting edging”.

PATTERN
The pattern has a straight hem with a split at the side seam, and is not shaped (there is only one back pattern piece, two for the front, a sleeve, cuff and three collar pieces) apart from some gathering at the bust. The ‘contrast edging’ is in three pieces – one around the neck for the collar and two forming the button placket (one on each side).

This is my go-to size – the 46. It’s a boxy fit! Suprisingly to me, I chose to leave it be, apart from raising up the hem by 3cm. It’s definitely long on length, and I’m already long in the body.

After trying on my muslin with a work pencil skirt, I decided I quite liked the ‘blouson’ effect of the fabric billowing over a fitted waistband – I get enough shaping from that effect to satisfy my desired silhouette.

I think it looks far better tucked in, and given the pattern length and sketch, I suspect this is how its intended to be worn. As you can see – I really just don’t suit the boxy/shapeless look… but this shirt will be super handy should I ever be pregnant again. Lots of space!

I will definitely be making this again when I find the striped cotton shirting fabric I have in my mind – because the stuff I used for my muslin shows just how well this pattern can show off a stripe. I love the way they curve around the bust and point up towards the collar. Perhaps some might find this unsettling?

Nothing to see here. JUST THE MOST AWESOMEST OF COMPLETELY UNINTENTIONAL PATTERN MATCHING, EVER.

Pressure to replicate that fluke is on!!!!

The sleeve itself is interesting as well – no ease in the sleeve cap (which I love), and what I would call a 7/8 length?

It has a cuff that buttons up and one of those split things (I have no idea what it’s called? An internal placket?!?), a pleat AND some gathering. I had to draft my own facing for the split-thing, but that’s fine (actually, I suspect I may have lost the tiny pattern piece for this in my messy sewing space – as the next shirt I sewed up after this one (the Wiltshire Shirt) has the same split and it came with a pattern piece) – I copied what I did pretty much exactly on my Blue Blotch Blouse (McCalls 5929, now OOP). It worked better than I thought it would. And completed, I actually love how the volume is concentrated on the out-facing part of the sleeve because of the gathers.

The sleeve cuff didn’t have a marking to indicate where to start the overlap for the button/button hole. I presumed there was supposed to be an overlap, so I wrapped the cuff around my wrist and gauged that 2cm ought to do it. I could have gone a bit less, I think. I then just used the gathered section to make the sleeve fit to the remainder of the cuff.

The hem is just a simple fold up and under and top-stitch affair. It also has side splits. As it’s extremely unlikely I’ll ever wear this untucked – I didn’t put a great deal of effort into any special finishing. Just a quick and easy fold under, press and stitch.

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PoppyKettle by Poppykettle - 1M ago

One of the lovely things about sewing has got to be all the awesome people you meet. Especially when said awesome people are also super skilled sewists and you are able to gain access to those skillz!

I’ve been meeting regularly for a day of sewing with quite a few of the ladies I did the French Jacket Class with in Melbourne at the beginning of this year – one of which happens to run her own nightwear label, Tatyana Design. As a third generation couturier (having been taught by her Russian Grandmother) her collections have walked the runway at MFF and there’s a lovely into to her brand here. Her collections feature gorgeously floaty silks, opulent heavy weight silks, embroidery and amazing details… So when Tatyana offered to put on a bias cami class on for us – we jumped at the chance!

INSPIRATION
No shortage of that floating around – especially when you’ve got Carine Gilson‘s artwork in the form of clothing to daydream about. I was so very taken with this particular lace and silk colour combo, perhaps one day I’ll find the right lace to pay homage to it with my own version of this dressing gown:

Image via Instagram – @carinegilson

FABRIC
The two necessary ingredients are of course, lace and silk. I was keen to use some of the lace I had in my stash – specifically the taupe and periwinkle lace from my pleated birthday dress, way back when? But it was only when I started visiting fabric shops that I remembered how difficult it was to get it to match anything… being the most unusual shade of periwinkle blue – it looked purple against the blues, and blue against the purples. In the end, I did actually end up finding a matching gold-hued rather heavy satin backed crepe silk to work with it – which will become something else special – as the cording on the lace ruled it out as a option for sleepwear. I’ll have to work it into a drapey top instead, I think.

Instead, I purchased a really soft and malleable green and gold lace and matching green charmuese to work with.

However on the day of the workshop, one of the ladies just recently back from a shopping trip in Hong Kong pulled out (unbeknownst to me) the most gorgeous cornflower blue charmuese – which she’d bought with me in mind. Thanks Ros! I fell in lust and quickly bought it from her. I made a quick dash to Tessuti about a block away from where we were having the class, in the hope of finding thread and a matching lace… and I got very lucky with a short width white floral lace:

THE COURSE
We were effectively Tatyana’s guinea pigs for her offering this course, with one day set aside to see if we could work through it all. Spoiler – it’s a two day job.

There were a few mind blowing moments fairly early on in the piece – like apparently if you handle bias cut fabric in Tatyana’s way correctly, you don’t need to hang the bias panels to let them drop before hemming. She’s got an amazing rack of samples in her workshop, some of which have been hanging for 10+ years – and no drop. Which I suppose is exactly what you need when working in a production environment! No small business can afford to have a production run of garments hanging around to ‘drop’ before hemming.

I spent a considerable amount of time just staring at this french seam – as it looks like a seam sewn with cotton on the grain, not with bias charmuese! And this is with barely any pressing… you can even see the still perfectly straight grainlines of each piece of fabric reflected in the lighting if you look closely enough:

DAY 1
Most of the day was spent working on the lace – figuring out how best to position it, cutting and shaping it, sewing it onto the silk and cutting back behind it. Everyone’s lace was different, so everyone’s placement options were different. I ended up going with a V style shaping which was pretty quick and painless…

Unfortunately we didn’t get it all finished – still the straps, elastic back and hemming to go.

Tatyana’s black lace sample. Both Amanda and Danielle had this lace (from Cleggs) – Amanda also was using this black lace on black charmuese.

Judith’s champagne charmeuse and black floral lace. I was mesmerised by all the little lashes on the lace!

Danielle’s pink lace and baby pink charmeuse – terrible lighting, sorry!

DAY 2
After setting a date to suit most everyone – we reconvened at the end of September to finish them off.

We started with the elastic – I bought some white lingerie elastic with picot along one edge from Tatyana’s work stash for my blue cami (and conveniently she also had the most perfect shade of green for my yet-to-be-started green and gold set, which I also bought).

After the elastic was installed, being able to take off the tearaway fusible interfacing and finally see the bias drape on our fabrics was wonderful!

Then it was onto making the straps – cut on the bias in the same way that you would make bias binding. Sewing them up, trimming back and then turning them around… took a while.

There was two options for straps – wide and flat, or narrow and round. I chose the latter as when putting the samples up against my cami – this appeared to suit it better… but changed my mind after I’d made them. After making up the second set, I changed my mind again and went back to using my originals. They were rather a bit lumpy (although Tatyana assured me that after time and washing they would soften out and look beautiful like her sample, which was quite a few years old).

There was also hardware to install – same as what you would use were you making bra straps, making it adjustable.

My second attempt at making straps – and I made them inside out. I ended up going back and using my first straps as I was a little rough in turning these and they popped a seam – oops!

I used the small straps to try on the cami and determine where they would be attached, and how I would finish the lace at the front. As an insurance policy the straps were made extra long, and I was able to use the extra length to create a ‘triangle’ detail onto which the lace could be finished on.

Once trying it on (and loving it way more than I thought I would – it was mentally hard to do all this work and have no idea what it would look like once on – I’m so used to sewing toiles!) I also decided that instead of hemming, I wanted to have another row of lace around the bottom.

I was disgustingly lucky that the repeat on my lace fit the hem length almost exactly (I think I had about 3/4 of a cm to ease in total), so I started working on that (and finished it off at home).

And now, many gratuitous finished garment photos, on a mannequin that’s a wee bit big across the bust!

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PoppyKettle by Poppykettle - 1M ago

I’ll admit I was hoping Marfy 5172 (from this year’s Evergreen catalogue) was going to be my go-to button up shirt pattern, what – with my favourite RTW shirt maker Rhodes & Beckett going into administration and all. I’ve been living in their shirts all my working life, and them going out of business and me sewing a bazillion shirts and blouses is no coincidence.

It’s a similar style to my favoured RTW shirts – with a back yoke, front darts for shaping, stand up collar, and long sleeves.

FABRIC
Another Liberty, this time the classic Wiltshire print in a lilac and blue colourway, which I absolutely adore. The tana lawn is lovely and light compared to the Egyptian shirting cottons I usually wear – making it perfect for the impending summer.

I wanted to get the crisp collar thing going on – so I took the plunge with some interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply. I bought two types – for this shirt I’ve used the Pro-woven shirt-crisp fusible interfacing. They don’t post internationally anymore, which from my uninformed position seems like a silly business decision. I’m stubborn so I used a mail forwarding service.

It’s been a couple of months since I finished this one, so it’s had plenty of time to show me how it wears. The fusible itself has laundered well so far (it’s been through the washing machine numerous times now), with no bubbling. It’s also worn well along the French Cuff fold. I followed the instructions of pressing for 20 seconds on high heat with no steam (I used a pressing cloth).

However, I’m not happy with the strength of the interfacing. My personal preference is for my collars to be significantly more stiff – and this is just using it on a very lightweight tana lawn. Within 30 minutes of wearing, the collar points have caved in and curled upwards. Had I used this on any of the heavier  oxford-weave cottons I have in my stash – I’d want something heaftier still. Compared to my Blue Blotch Blouse, which in weight is very similar if not slightly on the lighter side – and which I used organza to support the collar with – I’ve been incredibly happy with how the collar has behaved. Always bouyant, always well-shaped, even post-wash and pre-iron.

You can see the difference here, after both shirts have been worn for the day:

I’m tempted to go back and get some of the Pro-Woven Super Crisp, or perhaps the Pro-Weft Supreme Medium-weight fusible. But they’re out of it right now so I’ll wait until its back in stock. I’ve got a variety of different weighted shirt fabrics I want to sew up, hopefully I’ll eventually find my Cinderalla interfacing :)

I traced out the pattern pieces, and cut on the inside of the tracing so that the fusible piece would be slightly smaller than the pattern piece. Then pressed in place (instructions recommend a dry setting on your iron, and to hold for 20 seconds. I used a pressing cloth as well.

Next time I’ll cut a smidge more away from the interfacing so I can get a nice turn of cloth when turning the pieces back around.

The collar is beautifully drafted – with the undercollar accounting for turn of cloth and being slightly smaller in width than the upper collar. I interfaced the upper collar and inner collar stand only, leaving the other two pieces as is.

I also did tack together the seam allowances between the collar and collar stand so that it would be held in place – encouranging the collar to fold over into position.

The interfacing actually made construction of the collar much easier than the one I did on my toile (or any other collar stand I’ve sewn before, actually) – especially around the collar stand curve at the front. I’ve clipped it very closely of course, but it basically held the lovely curve before pressing it into submission. I’m really happy with the outcome here!

I’m particularly taken with the lilac-y-pink buttons, which surprisingly to me, are from Spotlight.

PATTERN
I made this up in the size 46. The shoulders and bust fit really well and comfortably – lovely shaping through the front, but with the ‘blouson effect’ happening at the back. I ended up adding in two small diamond darts at the back, which I copied from my favourite F3449 blouse. I typically wear my cotton work shirts with jeans/work-issued-pants when I’m in the field which means I wear them untucked, so having that shaping at the back is just what I prefer.

Because of this, I also changed the hem from being straight to curved.  I took the template for this adjustment from my Blue Blotch Blouse (a now OOP McCalls) and softened the curves at the side seam a bit.

I’ve sewn this type of hem quite a few times now, and this is definitely the best I’ve done yet – where the hem curves in a concave manner at the side seams – which can be tricky when you’re folding the hem over on itself like so (and I would still like to try the ‘triangle treatment’ at this junction that a lot of El Husbando’s work shirts have on them):

The sleeve cuff ends in a pleat and some gathering, plus a split where the cuff’s end, fastened with a button.

The pattern has a standard issue cuff on it (button up) – but I far prefer a French Cuff, so I mocked up my own pattern piece for this. Next time, I’ll improve this by shaping it more like a trapezium than a rectangle, or move the buttonholes closest to the sleeve closer in, so that when folded over, the insides are hidden somewhat. Same as the principle of ‘turn of cloth’.

It also called for a proper sleeve plackets. I got lazy and just did the other version – same as what I did on F3889. I think on lightweight cotton’s like this you can easily get away with it, but when I get to sewing up the heavier shirting cottons in my stash, I will really need to try that placket thing…

I reach for this shirt..

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Bit shocked that it’s been a good few months since my last post – especially as I’ve actually been doing rather a lot of sewing. I’ve sorted the whole ‘time for sewing’ thing – getting photographs of the finished things is proving to be the biggest challenge it would seem! Hopefully now that the weather is improving, that will get a bit easier.

Today I have a repeat of a favourite of mine to show you – Marfy 3449.

My latest version is definitely an improvement on the first – I’ve swapped out the F3449 sleeve for the sleeve on another blouse (F5200 – which has been muslined but was a complete disaster and is unlikely to ever be finished. Perhaps I’ll drag it out of the naughty corner and blog about the experience). Let me just say – I am IN LOVE with this sleeve!

This one is also underlined with a white silk crepe de chine, which I thought to do as the floral CDC was a little on the thin side. But the underlining gives back so much more than just making it opaque – the flow of the silk is just amplified in every good way. It makes me wish I had underlining the original version! Totally worth all the time spent thread tracing.

Especially, the underlining does its biggest 1+1=3 where the sleeves meet the cuff. It makes the fabric flounce in such a voluminous way (I’m wearing at as I type this and keep stopping to admire it – haha!). Balancing this out is lots of structure in the cuff – I underlined the cuff piece in both the white CDC and some thin cotton flannel I happened to have a scrap of handy. This completely changes the feel of the cuff – it even holds its own shape when laid flat, but the weight of it makes the sleeve and cuff sit wonderfully.

I chose to not underline the ruffle at the neckline though – it ends up being quite a heavy weight just on it’s own, and I didn’t want the front to look or feel as though it was being dragged down by the weight. That, and white underlining peaking out from the wrong side of the ruffle would look blergh.

One thing I changed/improved about the construction order for this blouse was for that centre front seam. You can see that in this silk – the weight of the ruffle pulls the front collar open so that you see the insides. This also happens to my first 3449, but in a slightly different way.

On my first version, I didn’t think about how to finish this seam until after I’d sewn it together – now when I sew Marfy toiles I put a lot of thought into how to finish it off as a result.

In the end I sewed in some binding to close all of the clipped seams from the ruffle. This was a bit of a drama! For this blouse, I made the binding up first, then made one pass as I sewed all the layers together – before folding and pressing the binding back and sewing it down in place.

Ruffle, pinned in place and clipped so it hangs nicely.

Those clipped edges would otherwise be visible, so I’ve added a strip of binding to be included in the seam, ironed across to the seam edge side before the two front halves are sewn together. Then the seam edges have been encased in the binding.

Basically it’s a pain in the ass, and combined with the tiny collar I self-drafted (both for my first and for this one) – a really involved process. Fashioning and sewing on that blasted self-drafted collar was about 4 solid hours of work. I’m considering that when I make this again (I love it too much to retire this pattern just yet) – maybe I’ll just make a facing for the front. That would minus the need for binding and a self-drafted collar. I have a sneaking suspicion that the weight of my added collar does support the front ruffle somewhat… so version 3 of this will be an interesting experiment!

I’m also wondering if a little hook and eye at the top centre front seam to hold the ruffle up would be quite flattering? Perhaps another thing for a future version.

Otherwise, I french seamed pretty much everything except the armscye, which I used my overlocker on. I have an irrational dislike of finishing armscye seams – it just doesn’t seem right to topstitch in place in a fabric like this.

The hem seam is handstitched down onto the underlining. From memory, the F3449 pattern is a straight hem and I made it curved – I think this is so much more flattering on the body, especially as it’s a fitted blouse.

So this brings us back full circle to the original F3449 – my Stitches to Style blouse. Well, it was much beloved. Except whilst making it I accidentally sliced a little to close to the seam on the armscye seam allowance. Which was fine, as long as I handwashed it – which is what I do for things I make (especially silk blouses).

Except it accidentally got dragged into the washing machine, and came out rather ripped. Oops.

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PoppyKettle by Poppykettle - 1M ago

After feeling paralysed about doing any sewing due to the ridiculously large garment sewing queue in my head, and choosing to ignore this feeling by reading in the evenings for several weeks instead, I finally settled on Marfy 3408 to kick things off.

Of course, that was many, many weeks (months?) ago now… I’ve been sidelined by a big project at work, which has just about finished.

If you own the 2014/2015 catalogue, this came as one of the free patterns. You can also buy it online as a PDF here.

This pattern gave me many surprises – pretty much all of them good. The gentle shaping in virtually all of the vertical seams really adds up to a beautiful outcome and is the kind of thing I’ve come to expect from a Marfy. The pentagon panel at the front provides shaping – and the almost bateau-neckline is lovely. I was concerned that this pattern style would be a little matronly on me – almost ageing?

FABRIC
I wanted to sew this up in a Crepe de Chine – how is it that I do not own more of this fabric type?!?! Criminal.

A quick check of the stash returned only one piece – which was earmarked for my next blouse. So I went shopping (online – as if I have time for bricks and mortar at the moment!), taking a leaf from Sophie’s book and hitting up Etsy. I found this:

It came from China, but looked exactly as it was pictured, and was decently weighted but not opaque (so I chose to underline it with white CDC). Prewashing it indicated that the colours were reasonably fast (I use this silk wash to handwash all my silk things – dry cleaning is the worst! I’m not a huge fan of the essential oil blend they use to scent it, but it’s at not overly affronting to the senses and the wash does do a good job) – having the colours run was what I was most worried about!

The repeat was nearly half a meter – so pattern matching wasn’t really an option. I did at least manage to get the blotches aligned at the front (but not at the sides) – and a teeny bit of a pattern match at the centre back seam:

PATTERN SIZING
It is the first time I have tried a different size – a 48 – as opposed to my usual 46. I ended up using the 48 across my shoulders and shaping down to a 46 under the bust. From wearing a Marfy blouse I’d made previously – 3449 – I’d thought it a smidge too tight and wanted to try the next size up.

I’ve typically given fitted woven tops a wide berth as I like a svelte fit but can’t abide not being able to move my shoulders/arms comfortably throughout the day. We’re all so used to the freedom of knit tops, aren’t we?

FLOUNCE DETAILS
The flounces looked terrible in the calico I sewed the muslin with – but the top is designed to be sewn in a crepe de chine or silk satin – so I figured that wouldn’t be an issue…

I had presumed from the stylised drawing that the flounce ends would be sewn into the centre front V shape – but they are ever so slightly longer than the seam here so are obviously designed to roam free. I did join them at the shoulder seam however – the seam lengths matched perfectly here.

I also chose to underline the flounces – else they would have been visually marred with the pattern underneath peeking through.

This presented a challenge to finishing the seam edges- in the end I took the risk to do a hand-rolled hem. You could say it was a roaring success – beautiful little stitches hidden underneath and not visible from the front thanks to the underlining. But having two layers of fabric rolled up in this tiny space does make the edge quite bouyant – and I couldn’t be sure if this would be too much until it was all sewn up.

I think in the end I think it acts a bit like a miniature version of horse hair braiding – it keeps the flounce’s natural curve well balanced and structured. I little less floppy than had it been just a single layer of CDC. I like it.

SLEEVES
Sewing friends thought it would look less age-ing if I shortened the sleeves to be capped – As the pattern is they fall a few cm above my inner elbow. I tried shortening one sleeve during the muslin phase and found myself still leaning towards longer.

I cut the sleeves with extra fabric space under the cuff so I could adjust based on what it would look like once completed. In the end, I succumbed to peer pressure and went short. The hem has just been tucked under on itself, ironed flat then slipstitched into place:

FINISHING
I ended up getting away entirely without a zip – I can pull this over my head quite easily. Very happy with that outcome.

I chose to draft some facings to hide the connections and cut seam allowances on the inside of the blouse – however I ran out of CDC (the last of the stuff I bought from Susan when I was in Baltimore back in 2013!) halfway through. I bought more, but of course it’s a slightly different shade. oops.

Oh yes – I did just recently acquire an overlocker! This was my first project using that machine. It’s not what I’d usually prefer to do for seam finishes – but these days time is hard to come by. So all the edges here are overlocked. The princess seam doesn’t sit the best across my bust as a result, but it was either that or not have a new top to wear!

The overall feeling for this blouse is that it’s a winner – I absolutely adore the fabric, it matches with both my corporate and casual wardrobe (I’ve already worn it to both) and I can even chase my daughter around the park and pick her up without worrying about the shoulder seams being too tight. So I’m very happy with this make!

Oh yes – and here’s some pictures of me actually wearing it :P

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You may recognise this fabric – it’s been the banner feature of this little web space since I started blogging, and was also the subject of one of the first jackets I wrote about, which was made to wear to my best friends wedding.

After the first jacket I had a scant 1.4m of 130mm wide fabric plus two large scraps, and there is quite literally nothing of it left now! I almost had to piece together the last pocket to make it work.

This jacket obviously marks a great leap forward in sewing skill since way back then…

Typically, if I want to get a compliment out of my beloved, it’s not enough to go fishing for one – I have to go in there with a speargun (obviously by which point any nice words extracted are null and void). So when hubby did both a physical double take on me in this jacket – then blurted out how much more amaazinger it was than Octopus the First, well – it was nothing if not completely satisfying!

We’ve hit that time of year where the light is just constantly harsh and glare-y. It doesn’t do justice to the colours in this weave – but you’ve got my blog banner to see how they look IRL :)

In other, completely unrelated news – I’ve finally found a hair dresser I LOVE. I’ve never worn my hair down so much before in my life – and I’ve always judged a hairdresser by how good the cut looks after you’ve washed all the styling out. This is it air-dryed and zero-product – zero maintenance. True to form, I’ll probably keep having it cut like this for the next 35 years.

The pattern is trusty Vogue 7975, with the sleeve from Marfy 9814 – a 3/4 delight with a little flounce on the end. This sleeve piece screams Chanel to me, as it’s very reminiscent of the styling I’ve been seeing in their recent collections. It’s also, I think, ridiculously flattering. Paired with the classic bodice of Vogue 7975 – becomes a 1 + 1 = 3 kind of synergy.

The fabric is a silk boucle, lined in turquoise charmuese (from Stitches to Style). The trim is a chartruese grosgrain ribbon from Jimmy’s Buttons which has been painstakingly cut down to the width I wanted (I could only get it in a wider width) – paired with a vintage Chanel trim Susan Khalje bought in Paris then lugged all the way to Melbourne as a potential option for her students to buy in her 2017 Tour of Australia. It was a particularly long length, and I get super excited when I spot the other ladies who bought some – sisterhood of the trim! Sewing it on made my hands smell like a hessian bag.

The grosgrain was a nightmare to deal with – not nearly as well behaved as lovely petersham. In the end, having it split in two was a godsend come the time to sew it in curving around the neckline – there ended up being a good 2cm difference in length of the inner to the outer ribbon just around that section.

Cut in half, basted back together at the right width, then sewn on with tiny stitches in a matching thread.

I still haven’t found buttons for this yet, and I’ll probably just not bother. I very nearly almost didn’t even put pockets on… then went the whole hog with 4 because I figured the fabric was busy enough, why not just keep with that.

There’s nothing new or groundbreaking here that I haven’t covered in the copious posts I did on my first French Jacket back in 2013.

Oh, except maybe that the sleeve flounce is on the bias – I did elongate the flounce by an extra 1.5cm (at Susan’s recommendation, and thus shortened the sleeve by this amount also to maintain the length) to ensure that I could get enough of the grid repeat of the fabric shown off. I quilted this on the bias as well – along with some extra underlining in the way of silk organza, this really helped the flounce to hold its gentle conical shape whilst being worn.

I recall recording the amount of time I spent sewing my first French Jacket – around the 150 hour mark? Well if I had to guesstimate, this one took a little less – maybe closer to 120 hours all up. This includes making the muslin, the 5 full days I had whilst on the French Jacket course (I couldn’t make it to the whole 7 days), plus a half day prior for fitting and cutting out, plus time spent post-class sewing on trim and pockets. I’ll admit not having a 3 piece sleeve and vents reduced the total time, as well.

I’ve been wearing this a bucket – and am absolutely loving it. You can 100% guarantee there will be more French Jackets in my sewing future.  (I’m still miffed I haven’t yet made one with printed silk in the lining…)

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PoppyKettle by Poppykettle - 1M ago

I’m beyond thrilled with the outcome from my second Couture Sewing School class.

I’ve grappled with pants a few times since I started sewing, and whilst I managed to achieve a good crotch curve fit on my own, it was getting the legs right that really proved elusive.

This was because of two ‘fitting’ reasons –  I have uber prominent calves and legs that don’t extend from my hips at the same angle as Ready to Wear pattern design. Pretty much every pair of pants I have ever owned, worn or sewn has had the grainline twist and distort the fabric from the knee down, where it both catches on my calves and is pulled away at an awkward angle. (You can read more about the fitting process of these pants here).

No more!

I’ll admit to being a little anxious in the lead up to taking these photographs – in case the way I felt they looked (ie: magical) would somehow have the spell be broken when translated into pictures. Also, that so much has happened to me since I last took pictures of a finished garment that I would somehow be different, and that would be visible.

Surely I can’t be the only one harboring suspicions of the photographic process?!?

Moving on.

The fabric is dear to my heart – bought in Quito, Ecuador. It’s a Super 130s wool, amazing quality, beautifully soft, drapey but substantial. I lined it with an olive green silk charmuese from D’Italia.

They’re at once simple and elegant but also decadent.

I can’t attribute the design to one specific pattern, as this really is a pattern mutt…
a) crotch curve courtesy of the Style Arc Flat Bottom Flo pants (If you are in ownership of a pancake butt like me, this is the crotch curve for you!);
b) Original leg pattern from the Style Arc Darcy woven pants, altered beyond any form of recognition;
c) Waistband design from Colette Patterns’ Clover pants; and
d) Side slant pockets and back welt pockets from Burda 6689.

Burda’s crotch curve is apparently famed – something about the curve having an appropriate amount of shaping at the tip, which many pattern designers leave off today because it saves on fabric in the cutting layout. And that this design change multiplied by many pants pieces saves a huge amount in fabric and therefore $$$.

Either way, if you’ve a more rounded rump – this would be a great pattern to try. You can see the difference between the original Burda (right) and my pancake butt adjustment here:

The legs are courtesy of Susan Khalje’s fitting skillz, and I couldn’t be happier with the way the fabric sits, and how flattering the line is on me. I had rather thought such a thing was beyond my reach. You can read about that fitting journey here.

The waistband is underlined in calico, with the inner waistband hand-sewn down in the ‘ditch’ of the front waistband. The lining was then handsewn onto the waistband facing and centreback seam.

The zipper is my first ever hand picked zip. I’m more of an invisible zip kinda gal, however I can see the significant benefits of this treatment. Namely when you forget to check alignment and end up with one side being slightly longer than the other…

Whoops.

It certainly helped having a fabric that was conducive to being steam into submission – you’d never know now!

The hem of the pants is catch stitched down to the fashion fabric, and covered up with a bias strip of lining that was fell stitched on top. A lovely little detail.

I did what you probably know as a ‘double welt pocket’ on the back – a slightly new to me way of doing it under Susan’s tutelage as well. They’re not functional pockets, just something interesting to break up the expanse of fabric across one’s backside. The fabric behind the opening extends up into the waistband and is sewn down underneath the bottom welt, which will act to support the opening as time and wearing put strain it.

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