Thursday, 17 November 2016

darn cheap fabrics seasonal challenge - spring 16 grainline farrow

its darn cheap fabrics seasonal challenge* spring 16 - one day i'll get back to blogging more than just challenge items, but in the interim you can find a lot of my makes on instagam @ernestflagg :)

for summer 16/17 lara suggested a bright patterned viscose that darn cheap recently posted on its instagram feed.  i loved the summery colours and thought the drape would be great for hot weather.  i was originally going to make a vintage butterick sun dress pattern from my stash but before i had a chance to cut out the fabric grainline released the farrow pattern and i quickly changed my mind.

the grainline website says farrow features an elegant A-line shape with flattering diagonal seaming concealing inseam pockets, and a jewel neckline.  there are 2 versions, sleeveless and bracelet length sleeves.  i made up the sleeveless version and think the pattern is fantastic. the drafting of the diagonal seams is perfect and certainly in my opinion very flattering avoiding a straight out tent dress.

i made a size 4 in the shoulders, neck and armscye and size 0 for the reminder as i thought the size 0 looked to have enough width and swing.  i like the snug fit around the shoulders and bust, but when i am making the long sleeve version i will size up to 6 for the upper part and size 2 for the remainder.

the hidden in seam pockets are  a fantastic design feature and very handy.  i hadn't made anything with similar pockets before and so i got a bit stumped on the illustration for step 5. instead of using the diagram i just worked out what i needed to do with the fabric pieces to form the pockets.  this made me realise that the diagram for step 5 is the top part of the diagram from step 4. i'm probably the only one who would get lost here, but i just thought i'd mention it here in case any one else gets confused.

there is no zip, but instead a key hole opening at the back neckline.  the instructions suggest using a hook and eye for the closure, after turning my sewing notion stash upside down i couldn't find my hook and eyes.  to finish the dress i used a vintage button from Mr F's late grandmothers stash and some hat elastic to form the loop closure.   the high low hemline is another great design feature.

the pattern pieces all went together perfectly, making this an easy and pretty quick make.  there will definitely be many more farrows in my wardrobe.  i think it would be great in many fabrics - chambray, linen, and jersey would all be fantastic.  i also have some kate spade silk twill in the stash that would be great too.  as grainline is promoting, this dress is perfect for both casual and more formal fabrics. 

here's some close up pics of the design lines:

just a word about yardage, the pattern suggested 2 and a half yards (2.3m) of 54" wide fabric for size 4. i only bought 1.5m of the fabric, as at the time i had my vintage butterick pattern in mind. i wasn't sure if i would be able to get the farrow out of 1.5m, but it turned out to be perfect for size 4/0.  the photo below shows how i laid out the main pieces.

looking forward to checking out lara's make, i know from her instagram sneak peak that its a jacket - am keen to see which one as i need a couple of jackets in my wardrobe...


* Lara and I started the DCF Seasonal Challenge a year or two ago – we buy  a couple of metres of the same fabric from Darn Cheap Fabrics each season, and each make a garment.  We then reveal it on our blogs on the same day.  It’s just a fun thing that we started when we realised how often we buy and sew the same fabrics (often from Darn Cheap).

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

darn cheap fabrics seasonal challenge - winter 16 mccall's 7166 skirt

wow - its already dcf seasonal challenge* time again. i think winter has gone quickly this year for me as i have a new hobby that is seriously rivaling sewing (not quite), but we have been enjoying skiing this winter which has taken time away from sewing. now i look at my photos for this make it just occurred to me the colours are white and blue - skiing on a beautiful day!

for this challenge lara sent me a message with a few fabric options for us to choose from.  i knew that given my winter holiday plans it would be late winter before i had a chance to make mine up so i suggested we go with a shredded denim that would be perfect for spring wear.

when lara sent me the image of the fabric i initially thought i would make another inari dress as i would really like a denim/chambray one but when i got the fabric it was heavier than i imagined so i decided to give mccall's 7166 a go.  its a new to me pattern recently blogged by tessuti.

the pattern envelop describes the skirt as semi-fitted through hips, self-lined, interfaced yokes, drop waist, gathers and invisible back zipper.

when i bought the pattern lincraft only had the size 4-12 version and my measurements best match size 16.  i bought the pattern anyway as i wanted to get making and i thought it would be pretty easy to size up. in a very nontechnical approach, when cutting the fabric for the yokes i added the same width as between the size 10 and 12 to the outside of the size 12. after inserting the zip and sewing up the side seams using 3/8" seams i tried on the skirt and then increased the side seam to 1.5cm below the notch - my hips never seem to match the curve of big 4 patterns.  i left the width of the main rectangle for the gathered skirt the same width as the pattern.

i'm pretty happy with the fit.  i didn't interface the yoke as per the instructions.  i lined the yoke in a white cotton which was a must given that the shredded denim is see through in parts, but i left the gathered skirt unlined given it is drop waist and the gathers bunch up the fabric.

the instructions have you hand stitch the yoke lining down.  initially i though i would use the machine and stitch in the ditch, but in the end i decided to hand stitch it in front of the tv and i'm glad i did, its such a nice clean finish on the inside.

i cut the hem length mid way between version b (the short version) and version c (the long version).  after trying the skirt on i cut a further 2" off the bottom and sewed a 3/4" hem.  looking at these photos i'll probably go a bit shorter next time. 

i wasn't quite sure how tricky the shredded fabric would be to sew up, but my darts and lapped zip went in ok and once they were done i thought the rest of the sewing would be pretty straight forward which thankfully it was.

to go with the skirt i made a tessuti brigitte tee in some striped knit fabric i bought at fabric town, tokyo at the end of last year. i made a size 12 as it is the size that matched my measurements best.  i might size down next time though as the tee is a bit big all over.  the neck particularly was pretty high, noticeable in the photo below.  since i took these photos i re-cut the neck line to a size 8, so the neckline does sit lower but it can still ride up.  i think sizing down to a 10 next time may help this.

as always, now i'm off to check out lara's make. having seen a sneaky peak on instagram i am keen to check out the design details!


* Lara and I started the DCF Seasonal Challenge a year or two ago – we buy  a couple of metres of the same fabric from Darn Cheap Fabrics each season, and each make a garment.  We then reveal it on our blogs on the same day.  It’s just a fun thing that we started when we realised how often we buy and sew the same fabrics (often from Darn Cheap).

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

darn cheap fabrics seasonal challenge - autumn 16 the submarine dress

its dcf challenge time and its another late season post.  its been unseasonably warm, actually awesomely lovely in sydney lately and i have found it hard to think about sewing for cooler weather, hence the delay with making up my challenge.

lara and i choose the fabric quite a while ago now.  i checked out the darn cheap fabrics website and selected a few fabrics in autumnal colours and sent them to lara. she chose a light weight poly (kind of crepe like) in a geometric print as her favourite, it was my favourite too so we were set for the autumn 16 challenge.

i was going to make the style arc olivia dress, but i got lazy and changed to the burda submarine dress 07/2015 #115, a pattern that i had previously printed out the pdf and taped together, but not made.

as kristy from lower your presser foot mentions in her review of this dress - its a pretty simple make.  essentially its a rectangle skirt that is gathered and attached to a loose fitting bodice, with an elastic waist and a wide neckline so there is no need for any closures.

i made a size 38 which most closely matched my bust measurement.  my waist and hip measurements are in excess of the size 38 but given the dress has an elastic waist and gathered skirt this is not a problem. i cut out the cap sleeves but i decided not to attach them in the end as i want to wear a skivvy under the dress and i decided i liked the sleeveless look when trying on the half finished dress. i also cut the back bodice on the fold instead of it having a back seam and stitched down the neck facing around an inch or so from the neck edge.


as finished, the dress is still quite blousey in the bodice at the waist (even though essentially i sized down at the waist) and very gathered in the skirt.  if i was to make this again i wouldn't make the skirt rectangle as wide as the instructions require.  

i, like kristy mentions in her review didn't care for the way the instructions direct you to attach the elastic to the waist seam.  instead i made the seam allowance wider and made a casing to insert the elastic through. i made a 1 and a 1/4 seam allowance but given the amount of gathering this creates quite a bit of bulk which you can see below.  a wide belt covers any bulk but to me wearing it it feels a bit bulky.  i didn't trim the bodice seam allowance when making the casing, i would do this if i made the dress again to assist with reducing the bulk, in combination with reducing the width of the skirt.

one thing i am a bit bummed about is the fabric had quite a few faults that i did not notice until cutting the last piece - one of the skirt rectangles.  i managed to cut the rectangle with just one of the faults included as i didn't have enough fabric left to cut a fault free rectangle.  you can see the fault in the photo below, it looks worse in real life, so i made it the back skirt piece so at least i don't need to look at at.  i suppose its a good lesson about checking over your fabric if you buy it on line.

overall i am pretty happy with this make, i think it will get lots of wear to work over winter paired with a skivvy and a jacket.  however i think its unlikely i will make another.  i think i would just prefer to make a few more darts in the bodice and go for a proper fit and flair dress as this one was little fiddly with the elastic waist and i prefer the more fitted bodice look.  i might be swayed though as i wore the dress to work today and i received some lovely comments about it.

as always i am really looking forward to seeing what lara has made - i have no idea or any clues as to what it is this time.

finally, does anyone have any idea as to why burda would call this submarine dress?? let me know in the comments section!

til next time,

Saturday, 19 March 2016

third time lucky - named inari tee dress

this is my third attempt at a named patterns inari tee dress and it is definitely a case of third time lucky.  i bought the pattern when it was first released as i liked the slight cocoon shape and high low hemline.  my first two versions were disasters that never got finished.  the first one i made in merino knit but i cut it slightly off grain which meant it had an odd drape.  the second one i made in a stretch sateen but after sewing up the front and back i quickly worked out the stiffness of sateen is not great for this design. for this third version i used a lovely drapey rayon from the remnant warehouse and its a definite case of third time lucky.

i um'ed and ah'ed a bit over what size to make, my measurements best match size 40 in the size chart.  in the end i went with a size 36 making this decision based on the finished measurements chart.  the 36 would give me a couple inches ease in the bust and 3/4" ease at the hips.  i basted the front and back together at the side seams to check the fit and see if i needed to let the hips out a bit, but i was happy enough with the fit so went ahead and finished the dress as a straight 36.

now the dress is finished i am very happy with the overall fit - snug enough for a 'sack' dress, but still enough room to move.

i quite like the high low hem line.  the high hemline at the front and side splits are a bit higher than i would normally wear to work, but given the low back hemline i think overall the hemline is ok for my work place.

the dress does not have any closures and went together easily and quickly.  so beyond choosing an appropriate fabric and size there is not that much else to say about this dress.  it would be a great pattern for a beginner given the straightforward construction.

i am often tempted to put fish eye darts in the back of sack dresses to reduce sagging at the back and give them a bit more shape, but the back of this dress is pretty straight up and down so i wasn't tempted to put in any darts.

its a bit hard to make out the cocoon shape when the dress is being worn, but the photo below gives a good indication of the shape.

i must admit that when i was sewing up this dress and had the front and back basted together i tried it on and thought i'd made another dud.  but i persisted with putting the sleeves in and finishing the dress.  i'm so happy that i did as now i have worn it once to work i think its a great comfy dress.  again i must admit when i first tried on the dress i was thinking that i would be putting the pattern in the recycle bin, but i am now planning another in a black and white rayon i have in my stash.

third time lucky - winner winner chicken dinner!

til next time,

Thursday, 3 March 2016

double denim - decades of style 3s a charm jacket and megan nielsen brumby skirt

i've got a thing at the moment for denim and chambray so it was only a matter of time before i went for the double denim'ish look.

the jacket is the recently released three's a charm jacket from decades of style.  when it was released i was immediately drawn to its clean lines and fitted shaped.  i have been wanting to make a jacket for a long time, but have been waiting for the right pattern.  when i saw this pattern i bought it straight away as i thought it looked like a fairly straightforward make and a good starting point for jackets!

the sizing of the pattern is based on bust size and i decided to go with a size 34, being the size that most closely matches my bust measurement.  i didn't make any alternations and am very happy with the fit of the jacket. i am going to add a button at the front so i can wear the jacket open or closed.  wearing it closed eliminates the wrinkles you can see at the upper front area in the photo above.

the fabric is a stretch denim i picked up at spotlight durring a sale.  i got a metre of the 150cm wide fabric and was able to just squeeze this jacket out of the metre by piecing the bottom of each sleeve - you can see the seam in the photo below of the jacket inside out.  the metre of fabric cost $6.00, making this one cheap jacket!

the jacket went together beautifully and the instructions are very clear, although i only gave them a quick glance. one of the times i did look at them was before stitching on the facing - i love the instructions for turning the points by folding the seam allowance back over.  mine turned out quite sharp, even given the weight of the denim.  the only thing i would have liked to see is the wide point of the fisheye darts marked on the pattern like the big 4 do, but this is easy enough to work out for yourself.

oh yes i really like this jacket and can see me making several more - definitely a black one, but i am also thinking about bright colours too.


while the jacket is pretty clean on the inside unlined, i would also like to have a go at underlining and hong kong bound seams too on another version.

the skirt is the megan nielsen brumby skirt. i made version 1 in chambray that i picked up in fabric town on our recent tokyo trip. i made a medium as my waist measurement is spot on the medium waist measurement.  one of my sewing friends lee has made up this skirt and said she had got a perfect fit matching her waist measurement - thanks lee!

the skirt fits beautifully, although for the back seam i made the seam allowance the width of the zip - eg marginally smaller than the 1.5cm specified to give me just a smidgen more breathing room given my waist measurement was exactly the same as for the medium size. i am very happy with the fit.  the skirt went together beautifully.  i really love megan's drafting and the quality of her instructions - not that i really needed them really for this skirt - but they are so lovely looking you just want to have a look at them!

the  tee is the free maria denmark kimono tee - i have made this so many times i have lost count, you can check out a few of them here.  its such an easy tee to whip up consisting of only 2 pieces and bindings.  the fabric is a lovely soft japanese knit from the cloth shop.
 yep this jacket and outfit are both winners!

 til next time,


Monday, 29 February 2016

darn cheap fabrics seasonal challenge - summer 15/16 the leap year edition

welcome to the dcf seasonal challenge - summer 15/16 edition. both lara and i were a bit tied up with lots of fun festivities over the summer months, so we are just getting in our posts on the last day of summer which this year is the leap year day!

lara and i bought the challenge fabric together in late january.  we were both very tempted by some beautiful bright coloured silks, but decided against buying them in the end as we both needed a bit of meterage for what we wanted to make and the cost was starting to add up.  instead we chose a beautiful quality viscose with lovely drape.

i originally thought i would make the style arc olivia dress as i bought the pattern in a recent sale. Though the day after we bought the fabric i met up with crafty jane who generously loaned me the japanese pattern book 'clean and natural' and i really wanted to try out a pattern from the book.

i considered the peplum top on the front cover but in the end i decided to make 'G' the key neck pullover.

i have only used a japanese pattern book once before, when i recently made school shorts for my son.  That book had english instructions, while 'clean and natural' is all japanese - a first for me!  when i pulled out the pattern sheet to trace i was a little bit daunted, but once i located all the pattern pieces i was feeling pretty good!

when i found the general where abouts of each piece i put my tracing paper down and weights in the 'corners' of the pieces to help keep me on track with the tracing.  in the end the tracing was quite easy.  in terms of sizing i had decided to make size LL based on my measurements, but after tracing about 3 pattern pieces i noticed that it seemed to be one size 'fits all'.  had i been able to read the instructions i may have worked this out before i started tracing! anyway i decided to push on as LL is the largest size so i figured the top would hopefully not end up too big.

i loved the challenge of looking at the pictures in the instructions and working it out.  the construction was pretty straightforward and the pieces all went together perfectly, so it was a really good introduction for me to japanese ladies patterns.

i do feel a bit like i am wearing a tent, but the fabric drapes beautifully and its a nice breezy top to wear.

to take the photo below (well most of the photos really!) i had to carefully hold the key opening in place. i used a light weight interfacing to match the weight of the fabric, but the end result is quite floppy.  if you are planning on making this top i would recommend giving a bit of consideration to the type of interfacing you use for the key hole facings.


one of the main disappointments for me with this pattern is the sleeve cuffs, mine do not look like the ones in the pattern photograph.  mine sit on an angle and are not horizontal like the ones in the photo below.

i could fix the sleeves, but really i'm happy to move onto the next project.  it may be something to bear in mind though if you want to make this pattern up. overall this will be a nice easy top to wear with shorts or jeans, so a great trans seasonal piece now autumn is just a few hours away!


now i'm very keen to check out lara's make.  til next time,