Month: May 2015

Sew Bossy

Late last year, Annett of Kohlrabi Bohemia suggested that we try the Sew Bossy challenge. My reply was something along the lines of, sign me up! Fun surprise packages sent across the world? The chance to solidify an international friendship? Since I knew Annett to be particularly stylish, I was sure she would pick out something great.  

If you haven’t heard about Sew Bossy, here is a brief description: Thought up by Heather, Sew Bossy entails choosing a surprise project for someone else to sew. You can send anything you like, but it must include all of the supplies necessary, including pattern and fabric. I think it’s such a fun idea, and having never done it before, I jumped at the chance.

After a few months of chatting and discovering our mutual dislike for wearing pink, Annett and I prepared to exchange packages.  Annett’s parcel blew me away! I don’t think I’ve ever received such an exciting piece of mail. Among some beautiful hand made knitting markers and assorted crafting related goodies, Annett enclosed the most beautiful kaleidoscopic silk cotton fabric, along with a blouse pattern from a new-to-me pattern company, Stoff and Stil. Shirts are one of my favourite things to sew, and that coupled with the gorgeous fabric made sewing this up a total joy. This weekend I went to a local park with Ben where he took some photos of me frolicking in my new top!  

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Although I had intended to make a toile, impatience got the better of me, and after comparing the pattern pieces to the Archer pattern (which I know fits me well), I made a few changes to the pattern before cutting my fabric. Firstly, I adjusted the back yoke so that it was a little wider across the shoulders, as there’s nothing more annoying than a tight back. I adjusted the fronts accordingly. I also changed the straight hem to a shirt tail shape at the back as well as the front. Finally, I widened the sleeves to enable gathering at the cuffs, put in sleeve plackets, finished the gathered cuffs with bias binding, and added shell buttons with thread loop closures. I think that the sleeve and hem adjustments helped to add a bit more interest and up the femininity stakes a little bit.

Where's that sleeve placket?

Where’s that sleeve placket?

There it is!

There it is!

I enjoyed using the Stoff and Stil pattern, especially since the pattern pieces come pre-cut out of a fusible interfacing type of material, but without the glue, if that makes sense. It means that it only comes in the size that you order, but saves a lot of time when it comes to preparing your pattern. I can’t speak for the instructions, except to say that Annett’s English translation was super helpful!

Ignore my colouring in, those line drawings were very helpful for planning purposes!

Ignore my colouring in, those line drawings were very helpful for planning purposes!

Back view

Back view

In the end it probably turned out slightly oversized, mostly due to my preemptive shoulder alterations, but I really love a good oversized top and I think that this fabric lends itself to the shape really well. It’s as light as air and floats around me as I walk. The one thing I’ve considered doing is shortening it a smidgen. The good thing about the current length is that it’s legging appropriate, but at the same time I think shortening it by about an inch could make it slightly more versatile. Tell me what you think.

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Thanks, Annett, for choosing such a fun project for me! I’ve had a blast. If you’d like to check out what I sent in exchange, check out Annett’s blog here!

Kasuri Top

Just a quick post to tell you about one of my favourite tops!  

 

Over the last couple of years I’ve been taking classes in pattern making, on and off. I now have a set of blocks made to fit me, and this little top was drafted from my bodice blocks.

My absolute hands down favourite thing about this garment is the fabric! Those who know me well already know of my love for Japanese fabric, and for me this traditionally woven kasuri fabric is the pinnacle of amazing. I was inspired to make something from kasuri after seeing the gorgeous clothes from Crazy Wind, they make the coolest stuff.

A really great description of the complex process behind this fabric can also be found on the Crazy Wind website, here.

I found these vintage pieces of kasuri on EBay a while ago and ordered them with a top in mind. I actually made the top from two different fabrics, if you look closely you can see that the sleeves are a slightly different pattern to the body. This was more out of necessity than anything else since I didn’t have enough of either fabric.

 
The other thing about this fabric is that it is extremely narrow (40cm from selvedge to selvedge), the reason being that it was woven on a traditional Japanese loom. Hence the seam running down the centre front. I really had to eke this out!

 Despite this being made from my bodice block, when I first made it, it didn’t allow me as much arm movement as I would have liked. For a long time it hung unworn in my wardrobe (very sad), until I had the idea of retrofitting a box pleat into the centre back. 

 

Ta daa! Here’s a better photo taken on the dress form:

 
I love when a necessary adjustment becomes a pretty awesome design feature. Now this top gets more of the wear it deserves, although its ‘specialness’ does lead to me being extra extra careful when I do wear it.

One other cool thing about this particular fabric. Can you see the little repair on the sleeve below? That was on the fabric when it arrived in the mail, and I’m pretty sure it’s from this fabric’s former life as another garment. I decided not to cut around it as I like the reminder that this fabric had another life before this top. 

 

By the way, if you’ve been seeing any weird unfinished blog posts from me, it’s because of technical difficulties and I apologise. Time for a new computer I think!