Merino cowl dress (for the win)

Don’t you love it when you do an experiment and it isn’t a Pinterest Fail? I impulse-bought some green merino from Levana, with an interesting chevron pattern, to make a cowl neck dress. Not having a cowl pattern, and having already done a significant amount of internet shopping that week, I scoured the web for a free pattern, and found this one.

cowl dress

Happily for size 36 people, but sadly for me, it’s only in one size. I thought, ‘oh well, I’ll just add the extra inches at the centre seam’. In my experience, this sort of blind optimism often leads to disaster, but not this time. It meant that the cowl was deeper than planned, and the back neck was a lot wider than it should be. I added a box pleat at the centre back neckline, and it draped beautifully. Actually this pattern was released a couple of weeks later, also with a draped back, and I felt very on-trend.

cowl dress 3

I find that having an unexpected success like this really motivates me to sew more. Or maybe it’s just the time of year, now the days are getting shorter and there’s more inside time. Either way, there’s more to come…

 

 

Joining the Jenna fan club

Perhaps Kat of Modern Vintage Cupcakes has a time machine of some sort, because she has such a busy life and how else could Muse Patterns exist? I’d really love a time machine too, but instead I’ll settle for her patterns; they’re gorgeous. The Jenna cardi has filled a niche and I hope it’s a huge success. It’s a great pattern and I can’t think of anything like it out there.

There are lots of versions already on the internet and here’s one more:

Muse Jenna cardi

Muse Jenna cardi

I made this in a very fine merino from Levana. I used my high bust measurement as some people had found it too big using their standard measurements. It’s still a little bit wide in the shoulders, maybe because my fabric is quite stretchy. Next time I’ll size down again in the shoulders, grading out to the waist. I lengthened it by 2cm and it’s a good length for me.

Muse Jenna cardi

4

As in all my knits, I used tape to keep the shoulder seams stable. Also I sewed the button bands on, rather than overlocking them, so the inside is neater.

This involved:

  1. Sewing the flat (unfolded) button band to the front piece, right sides together
  2. Folding the band lengthwise, right side together, and sewing across the ends so they’re level with the top of the neck band and bottom of the waist band
  3. Turning the button band inside out, pinning it carefully so it just overlaps the seam in step 1, then (from the outside) stitching in the ditch along the length of the band.

There are some really nice features in this pattern. The topstitching looks really good, and so do the sleeve bands. Now to make versions 2 and 3!

It’s a wrap – McCall’s 5974

OK, I’m on a major catch-up before 2015 arrives, forgive me. Here’s a dress I made months ago.

McCall's 5974

This is McCall’s 5974, allegedly “the perfect knit dress”.

McCall's 5974

I borrowed the pattern from Jo, after seeing her lovely grey one. Mine is OK but I wouldn’t say it’s perfect. It’s made from a cotton/nylon knit from Levana, and lined with a mystery fabric from the Fabric Warehouse pop-up sale.

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Things I like:

  • The colour! It’s cheerful in winter.
  • It’s super comfy and warm. It’s basically one step up from wearing a sweatshirt.
  • I made the sleeves really long to keep my hands warm.
  • The wrap/pleat detail is really nice.

4 sleeves

5 wrap

Things I don’t like:

  • On me, it’s a bit low-cut to be work-appropriate, hence the stupid-looking pin at the front.
  • There’s not enough fabric in the front piece, and so it forms a bat-wing with the sleeve. Maybe it needs a FBA? Is that even a thing in a knit pattern?

6

I could make it again and try to fix these things, but I probably won’t bother.

Sewing for the Fashion Critic

new look 6097
I know, it doesn’t look like a men’s item. But because I’m still hooked on this pattern (New Look 6097), I made one as a gift, and what was left became a t-shirt for the Fashion Critic.

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It’s merino from Levana, what could be better?

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Despite the surfeit of free ladies’ t-shirt patterns (have I missed any?), there are few (none) for fellas. So I drafted this one myself. There are pull lines under the arms, but I’ve been assured that it’s perfectly comfortable. Mind you, I doubt it will get too much wear, simply because it will have to compete with roughly 1,000 other t-shirts. Is this the only house in which t-shirts multiply like coathangers?

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Next, though, is my sewing success of the year. I decided to dip my toes into the uncharted waters of men’s trousers. Specifically, Burdastyle 7841.

burdastyle 7841This pattern had pretty good reviews round the interwebs. I ignored all the wacky Burdastyle instructions and used Lladybird’s Thurlow sewalong for the construction. It was much easier to follow, and it’s just a sensible way to put trousers together.

Burdastyle 7841

The size 42 fit the Fashion Critic without any adjustments. How is that possible? However next time I’ve been asked to make both the front and back pockets deeper.

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Also next time I’ll make the fly overlap a bit bigger – you can see the zipper a bit (if you’re looking).

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The fabric is a navy wool/silk blend from The Fabric Warehouse sale a few months ago, and it’s just delicious. It was by far the nicest one there. These used just 1.7 metres.

Welt pockets! Don’t look too closely, this is only my second one ever. But they’re not nearly as intimidating as I’d thought.

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And some action shots, just ’cause. (He got all dressed up on a Sunday, I think that’s worth some more screen time)

Burdastyle 7841

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Starring the garbage bin and the dog bowl. Don’t forget to recycle!