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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Firetruck proof skirt

It's been a busy few weeks! Last time I wrote was 3 weeks ago (which I'm not going to apologise for :)), life just got in the way. For those who missed it: we are about to move into our firetruck/campervan and travel Europe. We've got three weeks left in our house, during which we have to get rid of most of our stuff, pack the things we absolutely do not want to part with and oh yeah, we're also still in the process of releasing our first pattern, the Jade Skirt. As if that wasn't enough, I heard a couple of weeks ago that before we leave, I had to have a surgery. Luckily they were able to schedule me very fast, so I could get it this monday. So here I am in the midst of all this, lying on the couch unable to do anything :) But I'm recovering, and at least there's time to blog now! I did have time to photograph some projects last weekend, and first up is a skirt that I think is perfect for our trucklife.

It's the Megan Nielsen Cascade with some alterations. I'm sorry I couldn't get such a stunning location as SewBusyLizzy with hers. The busy pattern does not go well with the busy wallpaper and the busy carpet. The pattern might also be too small for a big skirt like this, I don't know. But it's a wonderful skirt to wear, so soft and swishy. It's a 100% viscose rayon like Liz' Cascade, and I think it's the best type of fabric for this skirt.

My only problem with the pattern was that it has SO MANY 'cascades'. It's basically a huge circle skirt. I don't remember what the original circumference was, but I took out half a yard, equally distributed along the skirt front and back. Not at the waist, just pie-pieces tapered towards the top. And it doesnt even show that much, except that maybe it doesn't hang quite the same at the sides. It was also the only way I could use this fabric because I only had 1,5 metres, while the pattern calls for 2.7 metres. I also had to make the button band option because of this, but I was going to anyway. I used two black snaps, I figured that would hold better than buttons.

I cut XS for the waist and XL for the hem, because I wanted it to be as long as possible and I'm 5 foot 10. This skirt is where I first noticed (AFTER cutting ofcourse) that I've gained some in my waist. The overlap is a few cm's short. It's still decent but I'd have to cut an S next time. Oh, and why it's perfect for truck life - it's a pretty high step up to get into the truck. I've tried with maxi skirts, and it's hard not to step on them. There's no chance of this happening with this skirt! Now let's hope we'll encounter some summery weather on our way. I say this is a 'south of Spain' kind of skirt :)

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Camí Dress

Well here's something you might not expect from me: a retro shirt dress with a full gathered skirt! I was chosen to pattern test Pauline Alice's first sewing pattern, the Camí Dress. It's not something I would make for myself, but I had lots of fun making it and it was so good to strengthen my skills that come with such a dress. And you know what? I kind of really like how it looks on me!

There are two versions to sew: Version A has short sleeves, Version B has 3/4 cuffed sleeves. At first I thought I'd take the easier short sleeve route, but then I saw that the cuffs had no placket but a slit. I love that Pauline kept the cuff simple. If a project has too many advanced details it tends to slow me down. Now you can focus on getting the collar and buttonholes perfect, and still have a relatively quick project. I used a lightweight cotton with shiny embroidered dots. The pattern does not require a lining. And it has pockets!

The instructions are clear and straightforward. No room for chitchat, just what you need to know. There are lots of illustrations to accompany the steps. I did read every word though, as I have only made a collar twice (I think?) and a button down shirt once. What I also like is that even with a narrow waist and broad hips, it doesn't make you look big. My waist and hips are three size columns apart, so I was afraid the gathers would make my hips look gigantic. I comtemplated making a fitted skirt (which would be an awesome pattern hack anyway) but stuck to the gathers and I'm glad I did.

I did have some fit issues because I am tall (178cm/5 feet 10") and broadshouldered. If I close the top buttons the shoulders are pulled inwards, but I like it better open anyway. The adjustments I made were lowering the shoulders 1 cm, lowering the front darts 2 cm, and adding 5 cm to the hemline. It's still just a bit above my natural waist. Lowering the shoulders gave me more room in the armholes as well, but it has distorted the fit of the sleeves a bit ofcourse. I made these adjustments after cutting the pieces so this was all I could do. That's why you should always make a muslin, or at least compare your measurements to the pattern's. Because I never sew fitted shirts I didn't know what my fit issues would be.

I am not at all surprised a retro shirtdress is Paulines first pattern, she's such a classy girl! Just look at the Dior coat or the Scartlett O'Hara dress that she drafted herself, astonishing!

If you'd like to make the Camí dress yourself, go get it here!