Sunday, 27 August 2017

Megan Nielsen Briar Sweet Bubbles Tee

I actually used a new pattern purchased this year by a new to me pattern designer - Megan Nielsen. Like fabric I am very good at buying patterns and then never using them.  This is the after thought pattern bought on a whim when I went to buy the Megan Nielsen Flint pants pattern. The Flint pattern will hopefully be used this summer for a nice cool pair of drapey trousers.

The finished garment

I love the colour of this finished garment but don't think the hi-lo hem is very flattering.  Although I now realise with the photos we have taken you can't really tell.

Creates Sew Slow: Megan Nielsen Briar Sweet Bubbles Tee

Creates Sew Slow: Megan Nielsen Briar Sweet Bubbles Tee

Creates Sew Slow: Megan Nielsen Briar Sweet Bubbles TeeCreates Sew Slow: Megan Nielsen Briar Sweet Bubbles Tee

In the picture on the left you can see the French dart and on the right see the difference it makes to containing the fullness under the bust and providing more shape.

Like my Ice Cream Shop sweater I think it is too long in the back. It is also too tight across my shoulder blades. So rather than rescue this top I will get some more fabric, as it is still available, to make a different top and stick this one in the fabric scraps bin.

I actually wondered about chopping this up to use for the In the Folds Collins top, view B but maybe with sleeves, and mixed with a couple of other fabrics.

The Collins top is meant for wovens but it has finally dawned on me that whilst these AGF knits are really beefy (which is what I like about them) they don't quite stretch enough for my TNT knit pattern so sewing them without negative ease may lead to more satisfactory results.

The fabric

Yet another Art Gallery Fabrics cotton/spandex knit from Hawthorne Threads.  This one is from the Wonderful Things collection by Bonnie Christine and is called Sweet Bubbles Sugar.  AGF uses really evocative words describing this one as "the gentle whispers of joy fill our minds as positive affirmations bring inspiration and encouragement.  Wonderful things inspires to delight with happy hues and delicate prints to uplift your spirits."

This fabric certainly uplifts my spirits and as a different top it could become a bright beacon in my wardrobe.

Creates Sew Slow: AGF Wonderful Things Sweet Bubbles Sugar

The pattern

The Briar tee is described as a "stylish alternative to a basic t-shirt or sweater.  The Pattern features a high scooped front hem, low curved back hem, and includes two lengths, two neckline finishes, three sleeve lengths and two patch pockets.  Version 1 is a short sleeved crop top.  Version 2 is a cropped sweater.  Version 3 is a standard length tee with patch pocket. Version 4 is a standard length tee with long sleeves."

Creates Sew Slow: Megan Nielsen Briar TeeCreates Sew Slow: Megan Nielsen Briar Tee

The pattern alterations

Using my knit top TNT pattern (Silhouette Patterns #195 Sweater Set) I chose to make the size small. You can see my traced off pattern laid over the original Briar tee in the pictures below, to give you an idea of my pattern alterations.

For the back I started off with a size extra small at the shoulders and then about three inches below the armhole started grading out to the size small. This turned out to be a mistake as the garment is too tight across the shoulder blades so I should have stuck to the size small for the whole back.

I narrowed the shoulders by 1.5 inches and made a 1/2 inch forward shoulder adjustment. I didn't bother with the Briar sleeve just used my TNT knit sleeve which is already adapted for my forward shoulder.  To use my TNT sleeve pattern I re-drew the armhole on the Briar top using my TNT armhole template (the bit of orange card in the picture below).  You just place the template at the end of the shoulder seam and swing out to the side seam then draw your armhole.

Creates Sew Slow: Megan Nielsen Briar Tee alterations

Creates Sew Slow: Megan Nielsen Briar Tee alterations

The length is the same as the pattern for the size small.  The front looks longer because of the French dart but is in fact the same length matching up to the back at the side seam. For me the back hem is too low and should probably be raised about 2.5 to 3 inches but that would completely remove the hi-lo look of the garment and really makes it just the same as my TNT knit top.

I might try sewing this top again in the size medium using a flowier knit fabric (maybe a merino jersey) and without the French dart.

The sewing

One of the reasons I can make the size small is that I only use 3/8 inch seam allowance with knit patterns as I don't need the extra width for a French seam. MN patterns like most patterns provides a 5/8 inch seam allowance.

As usual it was sewn on the overlocker just hemmed with the old Singer Featherweight.

This time I did a neck binding rather than just folding the neck seam over. The neck binding was overlocked to the top right sides together with one shoulder seam un-sewn.  Once the binding is sewn on the shoulder seam is overlocked then the neck binding is stitched down by stitching in the ditch from the right side.

I have read somewhere that sewing the neck binding on in the flat is sloppy but I find it gives me a better fit, as I can feel the right amount of stretch is being applied to get the neckline to hug the chest. Whenever I sew a neck binding on in the round using the provided pattern piece it always ends up needing tweaking to match the amount of stretch in the fabric.

Outfit of the day

I bought this fabric specifically to wear with my World trousers and for once the fabric matched my vision when it arrived in the post.  It also coincidentally is a good yellow match for the heels of my Mi Piaci Martha ankle boots.  So from a fabric perspective it is a win, hi-lo hem not so much.

Creates Sew Slow: Megan Nielsen Briar Sweet Bubbles Tee

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.