Sunday, 20 August 2017

Outfit of the Day Vogue 8976 Tree Top and Self Drafted Leggings

It was such a nice sunny Sunday that we decided to drive over to Akaroa for a walk along a different sea front.

Akaroa (Maori for long harbour) is 75 kilometres southeast of Christchurch out on the Banks Peninsula. This historic French settlement is snuggled into the heart of an ancient volcano in a wide bay on the eastern side of Akaroa harbour. It has a population of around 750 that expands significantly in the summer months.  Akaroa was founded in 1840 as the only French colony in the country.  Some of its early history can be seen in its architecture, street names and in the name of the hill behind the town (L'Aube Hill).  Despite these French beginnings the majority of the old architecture is Victorian in style.

These days Akaroa has more cafes than anything else. Although as befits the main service town on the Banks Peninsula it can provide the basics - grocery store, pharmacy, clothes shops etc. In years gone by there was a really good art gallery but it has become another cafĂ©.  The restaurant we had dinner in back in 1995 is still there - has a different name and probably different owners but it is still a restaurant.  The meal was memorable because we arrived from England on holiday earlier that day and both of us kept nodding off.  Luckily not together, managing to keep each other awake long enough to eat and not plop face down in the soup.

Since the Christchurch earthquakes and the damage to Lyttleton port Akaroa has become a stopping point for cruise ships.  When the cruise ships are in port Akaroa is a place to be avoided (New Zealander's don't do crowds well). Luckily the first cruise ship of the season isn't due until October so we were able to enjoy a quiet Sunday afternoon stroll along the waterfront.

The outfit

It was such a warm day with temperatures of 17oC that I didn't need a coat. So here I am posing among some twisted trees in my tree top and just made merino leggings.
Creates Sew Slow: Akaroa Outfit of the Day Tree Top and LeggingsCreates Sew Slow: Akaroa Outfit of the Day Tree Top and Leggings

Creates Sew Slow: Akaroa Outfit of the Day Tree Top and Leggings

Or maybe it was my new snuggly warm merino leggings with my Mi Piaci knee high boots and wool camisole that were keeping me warm.

I didn't even take my outer garments with me just left them in the car so no pictures of them out and about in Akaroa.  Here they are with the backdrop of the kitchen wall - my Untouched World Kahukura wrap in colourway terrain and Andrea Moore black puffa jacket.

Creates Sew Slow: Akaroa Outfit of the Day Tree Top and LeggingsCreates Sew Slow: Akaroa Outfit of the Day Tree Top and Leggings

Creates Sew Slow: Akaroa Outfit of the Day Tree Top and Leggings

I actually expected it to be cold at Akaroa which is why I wore my knee high boots and took both my wrap and jacket with me.  Depending on the temperature I can wear the wrap on its own or over the jacket for an extra layer of warmth.


So here is the main event some pictures (mainly looking out over the harbour) of Akaroa. Love pictures of water especially atmospheric ones taken into the sun where everything is in shadow and you have the sun glinting on the water.

Creates Sew Slow: Akaroa
The pier

Creates Sew Slow: Akaroa
The lighthouse

Creates Sew Slow: Akaroa
The harbour

Creates Sew Slow: Akaroa
Windermere historic house

Creates Sew Slow: Akaroa
The harbour form the other direction

Creates Sew Slow: Akaroa
The pier from the other direction

Creates Sew Slow: Akaroa
Akaroa from the end of the pier

Creates Sew Slow: Akaroa
The boat shed

Creates Sew Slow: Akaroa
Yacht club and lighthouse in the distance

Creates Sew Slow: Akaroa
Akaroa nestled in an ancient volcano

Creates Sew Slow: Banks Peninsula map
Banks peninsula map

The making

This is a lovely rich chocolate brown NZ merino with a touch of lycra which does provide better recovery than 100% merino wool. I used my self-drafted leggings pattern to make a really warm winter garment which probably won't get much wear this year with spring just around the corner.

Creates Sew Slow: Rich chocolate merino

The tree fabric and the dotty mesh for the sleeves came from Marcy Tilton back in July 2014 (according to the photograph).  Not sure quite when I made the top but it was ready and sitting in my wardrobe to go with me on my first Diane Ericson Design Outside the Lines retreat in Ashland in October 2014.

So neither fabric spent much time in stash. The chocolate merino was purchased at The Fabric Store in Dunedin on a Tuesday, washed on Friday, made on Saturday and worn on Sunday.  I happened to be in Dunedin for work and the Dunedin Fabric Store is the only one of their NZ stores I hadn't visited.  Luckily it is only 3 minutes walk from the office and I had time for a quick foray at lunch time.

Quite why I took a photo of my fabric purchases back in 2014 is a mystery but here is my Marcy Tilton haul in the foreground with an Elliot Berman parcel in the background.  Have to say only the three foreground fabrics have made the transition into my wardrobe and two of them were in this Tree top.

Creates Sew Slow: Elliott Berman & Marcy Tilton 2014 fabric

The tree top is Vogue 8976 view B adapted so the back isn't so long.

Creates Sew Slow: Vogue 8976Creates Sew Slow: Vogue 8976

I mentioned in a previous post that I use Silhouette Patterns #195 sweater set as a base for many other patterns.  Here is the original front of V8976 next to my version.  I used SP #195 to determine which size of V8976 to use and the extra small was big enough.  I then altered the front to accommodate the French dart from SP #195.  The French dart gives the top more shape and stops it hanging like a tent from my bust. The top also has my normal forward shoulder alteration and uses the sleeve and armhole from SP #195 rather than the Vogue one. I also altered the pattern for a narrower scoop neck and shortened the shoulder width.

Creates Sew Slow: Vogue 8976 pattern alterations

Creates Sew Slow: Vogue 8976 pattern alterations

Outfit two

I was feeling extremely casual and wore this outfit to work with my Mi Piaci Martha ankle boot. Here it is photographed against the kitchen wall after I arrived home from a hard day's work.
Creates Sew Slow: Outfit of the Day 2 Tree Top and Leggings

Creates Sew Slow: Outfit of the Day 2 Tree Top and LeggingsCreates Sew Slow: Outfit of the Day 2 Tree Top and Leggings

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Silhouette Ice Cream Shop Sweater

I made this top a few weeks ago and have been saving it because I had this strong urge to take it apart and make a different top with the fabric. I thought it would be interesting to show how the same fabric worked in two different top styles using the same Silhouette Patterns #195 base.  However despite the fabric making the weekly trip to Wellington with me (and the quick unpick) it hasn't been taken apart yet.  It is in fact quite a well travelled top having been to Wellington, Auckland and Dunedin in my overnight bag and each trip it has come back in one piece.

So instead of blogging about one fabric two tops I have one top two fabrics for show and tell.

I did wonder if getting this top out there in the universe would remove the pressure (self imposed) to produce a bigger better brighter top, or at least one more suited to the fabric, and I would be able to attack it with the quick unpick.

The finished garment

Have to say that the top doesn't look that bad in these photos but it doesn't match my vision.  I think the fabric is too substantial to drape as I wanted and provides an unsightly poof of fabric in the small of my back.  Also it doesn't show in the pictures but there is something strange about the shoulders - I actually wondered if I had managed to set the sleeves in backwards.

It wouldn't be hard to do as being a knit sleeve they are essentially the same front and back the only challenge with my knit sleeve is that I make the front seam shorter for my forward shoulder so if inserted backwards it would make the back seam doubly short.

Creates Sew Slow: SP #195 Ice Cream Shop Sweater

Creates Sew Slow: SP #195 Ice Cream Shop SweaterCreates Sew Slow: SP #195 Ice Cream Shop Sweater

The fabric

This is another Art Gallery Fabrics 95% cotton 5% spandex jersey knit.  This one is from the Boardwalk Delight collection by Dana Willard and is called Ice Cream Shop purchased from  Absolutely love the fabric and the colour.

I purchased this fabric because I thought it would fit in to my imaginary travel wardrobe.  The colours wouldn't go with my dress (if it is ever made from the skirt) but it may work with my white jeans.

Creates Sew Slow: AGF Ice Cream Shop knit

The pattern

This is a favourite Silhouette Pattern #195 the sweater set.  I have made it numerous times as designed and made various slightly altered versions too.  The pattern is described as our best basic for anyone and everyone.  This is the classic t-shirt, the classic cardigan and the classic shell. Made only for knits. This pattern has a French dart in the front and fits beautifully on all figure types.

The pattern alterations

This pattern is a true TNT and has been tweaked over many makes, so recalling all the changes is difficult. It is based on the size 4, D cup, with the size 3 French dart, a forward shoulder adjustment, scoop neck (my favourite neckline), a couple of inches longer in the body and a hi-lo hem with a shirt tail back.

This variation has a two inch single inverted box pleat at the centre back which is just anchored by the neck binding.  I have used this technique on a number of merino tops with a silk chiffon back. In these tops the inverted box pleat provides the extra fabric across the back to compensate for the lack of stretch.

Most of my knit tops are based on the #195 sweater set.  I always compare my #195 to the other knit pattern I want to sew to see what changes need to be made.  I have been known to add the French dart to tops with no darting as it really does provide a slimmer silhouette.

The sewing

Nothing new just sewn on the overlocker, with hems and neck binding sewn using my Singer Featherweight.

Outfit of the day

I thought it would be a good idea to take my Boardwalk Delight Ice Cream Shop top to the seaside and take my photographs on the promenade at Sumner (a beach suburb in Christchurch) with an ice-cream in hand.

Unfortunately as you can see it was a bit windy and extremely cold so I was more inclined to clutch a warming cup of coffee than an ice-cream. I also wasn't willing to take any layers off for photographs, so you only get a peak of the top below the hem of my furry jacket. It should be noted that this is the only photograph we took as standing still allowed the cold to seep into your bones, so we took this quick photo and continued our march along the prom.  Note my bag slung across my body in position for a quick march along the sea front.

Creates Sew Slow: All rugged up

A bonus top

I made the top again this time in a more drapey rayon knit, allegedly a Donna Karan, from The Fabric Store. This fabric was much more successful.  Being only a thin rayon knit it isn't that warm so will sit in my wardrobe waiting for Spring.

Creates Sew Slow: SP #195 Apricot Sweater

Creates Sew Slow: SP #195 Apricot SweaterCreates Sew Slow: SP #195 Apricot Sweater

Creates Sew Slow: SP #195 Apricot SweaterCreates Sew Slow: SP #195 Apricot Sweater

Creates Sew Slow: Front Row Society Effi Briest scarf

I did wear this top to work and it was sufficiently cold in the office for me to wear it with my Front Row Society "Effi Briest" cashmere scarf (made in Kashmir).  Actually it wasn't just the temperature in the office it was the coffee stain I acquired first thing in the morning which my cardigan didn't cover but my scarf did.  It was a subtle reminder to pay attention when going through the security gates - don't just wander through chatting to a colleague without swiping your security card because the door closes when you are half way through.

So for the coffee stain I wore it like the picture on the left.  If you are caught out in harsh air conditioning you can wear the scarf wrapped round your shoulders like the picture on the right.

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Style Arc Flat Bottom Flo White Pants

I was considering entering the Pattern Review Travel Wardrobe contest and the Upcycle one but life overtook me and I stalled at the planning stage. Except for the Style Arc Flat Bottom Flo pants which got as far as being muslined. It then took nearly two months to photograph them - not entirely true we took pictures relatively quickly but they reflected too much sunlight off the white fabric.

Apparently using photography terminology my pictures were blown out - sounds painful - and can easily be fixed with a lens filter if only I would let my dearly beloved use a proper camera instead of my phone.  A few weeks later we finally found time to take replacement pictures.

The travel wardrobe was going to consist of:
  • Vogue 1410 a Lynn Mizono dress made from a skirt that is never worn and other fabrics pieced together to create enough fabric to make the dress.  I do love the skirt fabric (a Prints Charming cotton) and think it would be worn if it were a dress
  • Style Arc Flat Bottom Flo pants using a white stretch cotton twill fabric found in deep stash
  • Lily Sage & Co Branson Top 04 in a green cotton that coordinates with the dress fabric
  • TSW Zayn Top in a lime green stretch cotton also from deep stash
  • Vogue 2056 an Issey Miyake blouse from 1988 in a Liberty cotton sweatshirting, design Poppy's Patchwork in colourway pastel purchased especially, from The Fabric Store, to coordinate with the other items in my travel wardrobe

Creates Sew Slow: Prints Charming Travel WardrobeCreates Sew Slow: Prints Charming Travel Wardrobe

The bottom three items were eligible for the Pattern Review Pattern Stash contest but they didn't reach fruition in time for that either.

So onto the actual topic of this post.

I chose the white fabric to make the Style Arc Flat Bottom Flo pants because a) it fitted into my imaginary travel wardrobe and b) there was enough fabric that I could make both a muslin and finished garment with it.

It is a long time since I made a pair of trousers/jeans, certainly not since I started sewing again. RTW trousers fit me relatively well and getting a better fit in home sewn trousers is not that easy. The trousers I made in the past were generally wide legged and didn't seem to get the extra fabric under the bottom that I get now. Or maybe that is just a faulty memory. Or a sign of the aging changing body shape.

The finished garment

Calling this a finished garment is a bit of a misnomer because it isn't.  I have attached the waistband to the right side but have not put elastic in it or sewn it to the wrong side, nor have I hemmed the trousers. I just wanted to get them to a stage where I could see what my fitting problems are. Surprisingly there don't seem to be as many problems as I anticipated and most of the issues I created myself.

Creates Sew Slow: Style Arc Flat Bottom Flo White PantsCreates Sew Slow: Style Arc Flat Bottom Flo White Pants

Creates Sew Slow: Style Arc Flat Bottom Flo White Pants

The fabric

The fabric is a nice cotton twill which I have had for quite some considerable time.  It came from Ballantynes, a department store in Christchurch, back when they had a fabric department. This is many moons ago as it was gone long before the 2011 earthquake.

Creates Sew Slow: White floral cotton twill

The pattern

This pattern is described by Style Arc as every butt has a different shape! This stretch pull on pant is for those with a flatter bottom. The back side seam comes to the front giving this slightly narrow legged pant a slimming look and the back yoke adds to this flattering shape.

Creates Sew Slow: Style Arc Flat Bottom Flo Pants

I thought this pattern might suit me when I saw how flat my bottom was in my self-drafted leggings pattern. Must have flattened it with all the sitting on it I have done in my working life.

The pattern alterations

I really wanted pockets in my trousers so used both the front and back pockets from another Style Arc pattern (the Georgie Stretch Woven Jean).  I also wanted the pocket bag to hold in my tummy like it does in RTW Not Your Daughter's Jeans.

So first problem as you can see in the photo below is that the pocket facing is not big enough to stay inside the pocket.  I have now re-drafted the facing piece to be larger.

Creates Sew Slow: Style Arc Flat Bottom Flo White Pants

Creates Sew Slow: Style Arc Flat Bottom Flo White Pants

Second problem is that I made the pocket bag too deep and you can see a line across my body almost at crotch level where the pocket bag sort of bunches up.  So that is now also fixed with a shorter pocket bag.  Both of the new pattern pieces are in the photo above.  The pocket bag may still need some alteration because in my RTW jeans it is shaped but I wanted to be able to stitch it down when I top-stitched the faux fly.

Creates Sew Slow: Style Arc Flat Bottom Flo White Pants

Thirdly the back pockets are positioned too low down but I am not sure how much I can change that because of the back yoke.  They could be raised a couple of inches but that is probably about it.

The other alteration I made is to the width of the pants leg.  The legs of the pattern are straighter than I wanted.  Skinny jeans may be falling out of fashion but I still love them. Plus I thought I was being fashionable enough sewing a pair of white jeans - don't want to overdo it.

Rather than alter the pattern I just chopped the extra width off at the outside leg seam (and more from the back seam than the front) of the partially sewn up garment.  This of course resulted in the trouser legs twisting. So for the real pair I will alter the pattern pieces to the desired width using all four of the leg seams (back inside + outside leg seam, front inside + outside leg seam).

The good news is that apart from these self-created issues the trousers fit amazingly well.  There is no pool of fabric under my bottom or camel toe in front so both the crotch curve and the crotch length seem to be appropriate for my body.  Having found this state of nirvana you would think I would have sewn up a proper pair quick smart, but despite making these a couple of months ago a final pair has not yet eventuated.

I think the problem is that they are white and not really needed in my wardrobe in the depths of winter. So I should just put the white fabric to one side and make a pair in another fabric that can be worn in winter, rather than fixating on the original plan.

The sewing

The jeans were sewn using the overlocker and then top stitched with black Metler cordonnet thread.  I used my vintage Singer Featherweight for the top stitching and made a real newbie mistake.

Creates Sew Slow: Style Arc Flat Bottom Flo White Pants

I tested the top stitching on a scrap of fabric and just couldn't get the tension right.  No matter what I did every now and then I would pull a chunk of the top thread through to the bottom.  I was starting to get quite frustrated and then had an aha moment.  Of course I needed to use a larger top stitching needle.  I was only using a size 80 as soon as I went up to a 90 the problem stopped.  I did need a slightly tighter top tension as well (6 instead of 4 on my old Singer), to compensate for the difference in top and bottom thread weight.

So all in all a successful make even if I don't have a finished garment to show for it.  Now if only I could stop pushing other projects ahead in the queue and get on with making a real pair of Flat Bottom Flo pants - maybe next weekend!