Thursday, 29 October 2015

My first Sew Over It Betty Dress - a review...

After another blogging drought, i'm back with a little review about my Sew Over It Betty Dress. If you haven't seen or used this pattern before, i'll give you some information on it first of all. It's a lovely 50's style dress with a boat neck, a v-shaped neckline at the back and a circular skirt. It has been on sale for quite a while now and is much loved in the world of blogging. 

I have had this pattern in my stash since Christmas as I got it as a gift. Because this pattern uses lots of fabric, I have never had enough in my stash to make it. In order to try this pattern out, I decided to make it up with a gathered skirt instead of a circular one as this is the part that eats up fabric. 

I decided to toile the bodice only and had to make some adjustments to the back seam to get it to fit - it needed to be taken in a bit to get a good fit. Other than that, the rest looked pretty good, so I decided to go for it. 

The fabric I chose is a Liberty Tana Lawn that I bought whilst in London on my holidays. I thought it would be a lovely lightweight summer dress (I know we're in late October now, but I did make this back in August! - Hong Kong summer lasts until November). 

The manufacture is easy. Just like any other sleeveless dress with invisible zip. I used a facing to finish the neckline, which was the provided finishing technique. I used my overlocker throughout for finishing seams. 

Now onto my final verdict; I was feeling confident about this make, however the finished product is not quite right. I think my laziness in not doing a Full Bust Adjustment (FBA) for my E cup chest is really obvious in this dress. The visual for this means that the bust fits, but the darts do not allow the waist to be take in enough and this results in a loose waistline. I've not yet worn this dress, which is a great disappointment as the fabric is so nice! I think i need to take the bodice and skirt apart and try to take the waist in at the sides and darts in order to make it wearable. 

I have now learnt that I must do FBA's! This is the reason that dresses and blouses don't fit perfectly, so from now on I'm going to have a go at this. Hopefully no more disappointments for me!  

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

My Beautiful Bettine - A review...

After 5 weeks away from home, I have finally returned to sewing. I certainly missed it a lot! During that time I have been collecting fabric, patterns and inspiration to use on my return home. 

The pattern at the top of my list of 'to make's' was the Bettine by Tilly and the Buttons. This pattern was part of a dual release back in July and was in fact part of a special deal with the Fifi boudoir set. I actually didn't take advantage of this offer because the boudoir set is not something I would wear - more of a comfy casual pyjama kinda gal! I did however decide to buy the printed version of the pattern, not my usual PDF. This was because I was in the UK and postage was reasonable. I teamed it with purchasing the Miette skirt, which is a pattern I have been considering for a while. I took the plunge as I would save on postage or printing at a later date.  

The Bettine is a zip-free, casually worn dress that is suitable to be made up in either woven or knitted fabric. It is pulled over the head and it keeps its shape with a simple piece of elastic around the waist. It is described as a great beginner sew. Because i'm not a beginner, I decided to make it as complicated as possible, by including all the details - Front pockets and tabs on the sleeves. 

I decided to make a toile of this pattern. I don't always do this, but I have found recently that my measurements have changed (they're smaller!) and when matching up with the size chart, I fell right in the middle of the size 5 and 6. I decided to draw a line in the middle of the two pattern lines to trace off. After completing the toile of the shape, there were some issues with the fit and shape of the dress. The bodice seemed much longer at the back, which made the front look two small. Because I wear an E cup, I presumed this was the issue and that there was not enough fabric to go over my curves. I had already lengthened the bodice by 2cm due to the fact that I have a long torso. I decided to add a further 2cm, which would allow the fabric to skim my body better. In addition to this, the hip area looked too severe. The natural silhouette of the skirt is that it curves out at the hips before coming back in towards the hem - a tulip skirt. I decided to smooth hip curve by 1cm and flare it out as a whole by 3cm. This allowed a wider base and more fabric to slide over my bottom. 

The fabric I chose was a cotton lawn that I bought from Guthrie and Ghani's website, also while I was in the UK. I saw a dress that Lauren had made from it and fell in love! (You can buy it here) I'm totally into nautical stuff, so this was perfect for me. It's a really lovely weight, slightly heavier than a Liberty Tana Lawn. I figured it would be perfect for this dress. 

The make itself was really straight forward. There are lots of little details to keep you stimulated, such as the pockets and the sleeve tabs. I decided to alter how I clip into seams thanks to 
Tilly's fabulous colour instructions. Removing a triangle does help with the turning of the fabric and it allows it to sit really flat. Previous to this I cut slits into the fabric only.  

I managed to make the final dress in one afternoon thanks to some super speedy sewing and I wore it today. I love the feel and the fit and it's nice and lightweight, which helps with the humidity we're experiencing at the moment! I styled it with my Tatty Devine lobster necklace and some red Saltwater sandals - Nautical-tastic! 

I love this pattern and know i'll be making another one soon. I've got a few lovely soft viscose fabrics in my stash that have got Bettine written all over them! I also recommend the printed version of Tilly's patterns, they're so nice and definitely worth the money. Now i'll move onto the next garment on the to do list; watch this space! 

Sunday, 14 June 2015

My Pineapple print Sureau review...

What came first? The chicken or the egg? Sorry, I got distracted... Was is the fabric or the pattern? In this dress's case, it's difficult to say. Since making my 1st Sureau, I knew that I liked the shape of the bodice and skirt, but needed to make some minor adjustments to the gaping neckline. I decided to make a second version in Linen, which is unblogged. It solved all the shaping issues and the dress is nice, however the fabric doesn't sell it well - too many creases! 

In comes this little find! I was browsing Etsy for Japanese fabric (I'm continuing my love of this!) and found Miss Matatabi's shop. I fell in love with this Pineapple print cotton lawn. Delivery charges are very reasonable from Japan to Hong Kong, so I leapt in! It arrived within a week and was washed straight away. However, I didn't make my Sureau for several weeks. I spent a while deciding on which pattern to make up. There were a few contenders; namely the Southport (needing a fitting overhaul), a Lilou (maybe too much of a good thing) and finally the Sureau. 

The making process was incredibly quick - the faux buttonstand and simple facing mean that the bodice is super quick. I'm an expert invisible zip sewer, so the underarm one went in 1st time. I hemmed it twice because the first time it was too long. I ended up just cutting the hem off and re-folding it. It's the perfect length now - really great for summer! 

I'm super happy with this version of the Deer and Doe Sureau. It's really cute in shape and fabric and I know it will make a great addition to my summer wardrobe. 

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

A Trio of Colette Sorbetto's...

In a previous blog (here) I described a new version of the Colette Sorbetto that I had made for my trip to Singapore. This started a process of me making three new ones (or a trio) ready for my summer holiday. 

The first one is made from a lovely Liberty print Tana Lawn that I bought in Tokyo. I had never worked with Liberty fabric and didn't know how they felt. As soon as I saw them in the flesh and most importantly had a feel, I fell in love! They are so soft and light, absolutely perfect for summery tops. The print I went for is a kind of birdcage/candelabra/floral in blue, red, yellow and green on an off white background. I just loved the busy pattern and the colour combination.

This top features hidden binding around both the neck and armholes. It was the first version that I decided to extend by approximately 4cm to allow it to be more flattering to my figure. 

 The second Sorbetto I decided to make is again from a fabric I bought in Tokyo. This time it is a cotton lawn with panda print! I loved the chubby panda drawings and thought it would make a really cute top - I was right! 

The colour combination is black on off-white, which is something that I don't own. It fits in nicely with my summer wardrobe. With this version I decided to have a visible binding around the neck and a hidden binding around the armholes. 

The final Sorbetto in this trio is made from a checkered cotton off cut from my True Bias Southport Dress (here). I really love the colour combination, but because I'm not 100% in love with the Southport, I needed to make a different garment in this fabric. The Sorbetto seemed like a good choice. The bold colours mean that it looks like a completely different top to the others that I have already made. Plus, these colours will look great with jeans or denim shorts. 

I decided to use the same pre-made bias tape around the neck and armholes as my Southport as it would not be seen. This made the manufacture of this top incredibly quick - I would say from cut to finish, it took me 2 hours (super speedy!). I added two matching blue buttons to the centre pleat to add a feature. It breaks up the checks well. 

The Colette Sorbetto is such a great (FREE) pattern. I have been through a few versions and have tweaked the fit, the shape of the neckline and the length. It is now such a perfect top for both my figure and the summer season, it just made sense to make 3! I hope you agree. If you haven't downloaded it, you need to. You will have just enough time to fill up your summer wardrobe. 

Saturday, 23 May 2015

My first Ultimate Trousers...

After a lots and lots of dress makes, I decided to take a leap into trouser making. It has been a long time since I made trousers (my fashion degree), but have never made a pair for myself. I decided to start with a simple pair and the Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers are certainly that! There are 4 different pieces to the pattern:- Front and back legs and front and back facing. 

I decided to make them up in a lovely cotton sateen that has a little bit of stretch in it. The print is a bang on trend floral featuring carnations. Other than that, the only other thing needed is an invisible zip (for the side fastening). 

I was in between sizes, so I blended to a larger size at the hips. The making process was really easy and I had no problems at all. I found the crotch fitted perfectly first time and the top of the trousers sits in a comfortable place, this makes them really wearable! This is my first time using a Sew Over It pattern, so i was super happy that the fit went so well. 

I had a change of heart on how to finish the hem of the trousers. I originally hemmed them using the sewing machine, but the heavy black line made the trousers look cheap. I decided to unpick it and resew it by hand. I'm so much happier with finish. 

These trousers will make a great addition to my summer wardrobe and will match with a lot of the tops that I already own. This is certainly not going to be my last adventure in trouser making, so watch this space!  

Monday, 18 May 2015

New versions of some old favourites - Alder and Lilou!

I've always proclaimed my love for the Grainline Studios Alder Shirt dress. It's a great pattern that needs little tweaking to achieve a nice fit and it is incredibly satisfying to make! All those different stages and lots of lovely top-stitching (Yippee!). I had always planned to make a third one to add to my collection (1 and 2 are here), but I wasn't sure on the fabric choice. I had an idea that I wanted a blue cotton chambray, but Hong Kong wouldn't oblige and I couldn't find what I wanted. 

It wasn't until I saw this broiderie anglais fabric in a shop in Jordan that I knew I'd found my third Alder. The combination of the blue chambray - ish background and the red embroidered circles really stood out in the shop, so I just had to have it. This fabric is far more expensive than most of my HK finds at $90HKD per yard! But the shop worker was in a 'good deal' kind of mood, so actually sold it to me for $70HKD per yard (bargain!). 

I decided whilst in the shop to purchase some matching lightweight cotton to act as a trim - I figured it would be difficult to buttonhole on top of the embroidery. This was an inspired decision and I used it on the inner collar stand, the under collar and the outer button stand as well as the pockets. I chose not to interface my collar or collar stand as it would show through the fabric. This was actually a great idea. On my first wearing as part of Me Made May '15 on Saturday, the collar was soooooo comfortable. The softness makes it more slouchy and adds a level of casualness to the dress.  

The second pattern that I have a well know love for is the Tilly and the Buttons Lilou. It has been through a rigorous testing and fitting process over the last 3 i've made that makes it fit like a glove.

On my recent trip to Tokyo I picked up some beautiful Japanese wave fabric (100% cotton). I wanted something traditional that would remind me of the trip. This fabric was a bargain, although I can't remember the exact price. I realised pretty soon after returning home that I didn't want to use this over a whole dress (too many waves), so I set about finding a complimentary navy cotton. I trawled the fabric shops and markets of Hong Kong with no success. It's a very specific type of blue, so I wasn't surprised. Luckily I had booked a short break to Singapore at Easter, which meant only one thing...SPOTLIGHT! I took my sample and within moments of entering the fabric section, I had found a match - perfect planning! 

I decided to use the plain navy on the top and the waves on the skirt. It does mean that I have some wave left for another make :) The make itself was very simple, however I decided to substitute the normal gathered skirt for a box pleated one - I wanted to show off the waves. Overall, it turned out pretty well, although the navy fabric does show off deodorant marks really easily, but I guess that's something I can't do anything about.  

I'm still a massive fan of both these patterns and see more on the horizon when a fabric takes my fancy. 

Which patterns are you obsessed with?

Sunday, 17 May 2015

My first Deer and Doe Sureau and my first True Bias Southport...

After my blogging drought, I decided to blog a 2 for 1. The first new me make is my Deer and Doe Sureau. I had planned to make one of these a long time ago in a lovely duck print, but I met so many problems with the fabric that I decided to put it on hold. A new opportunity arose is this blue and white seersucker cotton. I bought this very cheaply from the Lanes in Central, Hong Kong for $20HKD a yard, so it was great for a trial fabric. 

The whole making process was really easy. I actually cut this dress out and sewed it in one session (go me!). The fastening (underarm invisible zip) was a piece of cake to install (i'm a bit of a zip expert) and everything went smoothly. I used a white bias binding around the armholes, which again went in easily. 

I went for a size 44, which fits in most places. I don't like how the neckline is gaping slightly, so this is something to look at in the future. I also didn't pattern match brilliantly on this and the centre panel is totally off, which makes in unwearable in my book, but it has worked as a fantastic toile. I plan to take a 1cm wedge out of the neckline and also to raise the armhole (my bra does sneak out) and lose a little from the shoulder. I have a lovely little indigo linen in my stash that is probably going to be my next Sureau, so watch out for that! 

In my search of a summery, casual addition to my suitcase for my summer holiday, I also decided to test run the True Bias Southport. This is a brand new pattern and there are not too many examples of this in the blogging world. I liked the casual style and the real button stand down the front. I did have a few questions over whether the style would suit me before I made it. 

I chose to use up some red and blue checked cotton that I bought in Sham Shui Po (again for $20HKD a yard). Again, this make was super easy. I enjoyed the process of making the fastening and adding the binding to both the neckline and armholes. The fit is actually quite good around those areas. I've done a pretty good job on the pattern matching here, as the checks do match up across the front. I chose to make my own cord for the drawstring, which was a satisfying job.

Overall, i'm not 100% sold on the style of this dress. I feel that the neckline is cut too low for me and I might feel self conscious wearing it in Hong Kong for sure. It may be able to solve a beachwear problem though because it's so easy to wear. I have planned to make an adjusted version of this dress in my previous post, so i'll see if I get round to that.  

Have you tried any of these patterns? What did you think of them after the first fit?