Frocktober Lonsdale

In October we celebrated Frocktober over on The Monthly Stitch. I made two dresses and here is the first, a Sewaholic Lonsdale.

I was super excited about summer this year (I’m super excited for summer EVERY year) so I decided that my Lonsdale would be very summery and required birds so I pulled this gorgeous Joel Dewberry Sparrows print from my stash. I bought it a while ago with no particular pattern in mind and I could see it as the most fabulous Lonsdale…except that according to the envelope back I did not have enough.

Challenge accepted!

The cutting layout was useless to me anyway, being drawn up for fabric with no direction I put it aside and set to work. A few test layouts later (with furry help) I discovered I could fit my Lonsdale on by cutting the internal lining upside down and piecing the straps.

Another option if you want a Lonsdale from a shorter length of fabric is to cut the bodice lining from a contrast fabric. If you wanted your straps to be the same as the self fabric then just piece them on.

So, for the record, you can get a size 12 Lonsdale variation a out of 3.2 meters (3 1/2 yards) of 112cm wide fabric.

Yeah!

I’ve wanted to make the Lonsdale for a while and now I definitely need another one. It sews up really quickly and easily and I didn’t find any pattern errors or difficult to follow instructions.

It is quite long though! I’m going to mark my preferred length on the pattern for next time so I can save on fabric.

I cut about 19cms off at the front and 16 cms off at the back.

The fit is great but I was a bit worried at first about gaping on either side of the bodice front but this went away after I tied the front tie properly. It needs to be quite snug to pull it in flat.

I needed help to get dressed the first time I put this on but after the back bow is tied I can get it off and on again just by undoing the zipper. I could stitch the knot closed next time I am in a hand-sewing mood.

I do find the knot a bit uncomfortable when sitting for long periods, it digs into my spine. I have seen variations where the straps are sewn into the bodice and I think my next version will be like that.

If you are interested in sewing up a Lonsdale Tasia has a sew along on her blog and over on The Monthly Stitch I did a little “Sew with Us” series (less technical, more fun and visual) so you can take a look some more construction photos over there.

Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5

Jenna and Kat took these photos for me on the Petone foreshore.

I envisioned a gorgeous day with sea views and Wellington but we got wind instead.

It was fun…even if I did have to delete about 20 “knicker shots” ;)

Taking photos with other sewists is the best, so I’ll leave you with a little behind the scenes action:

THE DEETS:

Pattern – Sewaholic Lonsdale, variation a, size 12

Next time I need to mark the hem length on the pattern to save fabric and I would like to try just attaching the straps to the back bodice instead of the loops and bow.

Fabric – Joel Dewberry print from the Aviary 2 collection called Sparrows

Crazy Cat Lady Belladone…meow

I have been procrastinating a bit over writing this post because it is out-of-order.

I stitched up two other dresses before this one but I am behind in my blogging so it makes my eye twitch to write this post first…however I am late to The Cat Lady party so here goes…

When I spotted Miss Crayola Creepy’s Cat Lady Sewing Challenge on Instagram I shared it with the WSBN and as is our style is became a Big Deal.

A picnic was planned and we spent several days sharing cat fabric image after cat fabric image with each other.

It took me a few days to decide on my final selection. I trawled the internet like a crazy cat woman because I wanted kitties but nothing too crazy. If I am going to spend time making an awesome dress then I need to be able to wear it out in normal situations…like to work!

Kokka Japan, Tossed Kitties in Pink and Aqua Images from fabricworm.com 

In the end I settled on this Kokka fabric called Tossed Kitties. The cats are a small enough scale to not be in-your-face but still recognisable.

Plus it makes me think of this:

BEG8

I went for the slightly less crazy Aqua and I was really pleased when it arrived because the light blue was actually much darker and more teal in real life. I love it!

Deer and Doe’s Belladone was my pattern of choice, selected for cuteness and lack for bodice/skirt seams.

This pattern has been on my to-sew list for a while. I pulled it out and traced it a few months ago, compared the bodice against another favourite pattern, decided it needed 4cms in length and then got distracted by another project.

So my pattern was all ready traced with a small sticky note attached reminding me about the 4cms. I just needed to decide where to add them! The bust darts are super high so 2cms went there and the other 2cms below. I find it a little bizarre that this bodice is so short when the Bleuet dress fitted me really well with almost zero alterations.

I did briefly consider sewing a muslin of just the bodice to test out my changes but…well I couldn’t be bothered so traced a second bodice piece, added my extra length and tissue fitted it to Scarlett.

Looks good to me!

My only other alteration was to add an extra 6cms to the skirt.

Harriet approved of this fabric early on

After I had cut everything out and started sewing I found a pretty big drafting error. My pattern is a bit older so I’m not sure if it’s been picked up and corrected.

The upper back bodice pieces square off at the side seam but the squared off section is 2cms wide. With a seam allowance of only 1.5cm this means that after stitching the side seam you would end up with 0.5cm raw edge poking out on each side. Not good :(

It made me kind of mad at first. Is this not the sort of thing that should be picked up during pattern testing? Lucky I had extra fabric to re-cut these small pieces after altering the pattern. It’s an easy fix to extend the angled edge to a point.

My grey bias tape was left over from one of those dresses that I haven’t yet blogged. I originally intended to use a dark blue but it wasn’t right with the teal. The grey bias strips were already cut and ready to be ironed into shape.

Win.

I mostly followed the instructions except that I attached all my front pieces together and then all my back pieces so that I could sew the side seams as a continuous line and adjust the fit.

I also saved attaching the neck binding until last so that after inserting the zipper I could adjust the fit there.

When it came to joining the back of the neck I came across the same drafting error of a 2cm squared off edge. This edge is too large for the bias to cover, it looks nothing like the image in the instructions, which has these edges finishing in points.

I was not going to recut the same piece for a third time so I trimmed the edges to points, adding a bit more scoop to the neck, then I pinned my overlap to test and tried it on

I found the under bodice pieces a bit gapey so I hid a small pleat under the overlap and I will adjust the pattern to take this out for next time.

I put in an invisible zipper and I’m not super happy with how the upper edge is finished. It looks fine from the outside but inside it looks messy and exposed at the top. It’s a bit tricky to line up the bottom of the V so I ended up putting my zip in a little low so I fixed that with a hook and eye. I’m still thinking about how I’ll do it better next time.

Even after the few hiccups and grumbles I have with this pattern I really love my dress and now that I have ironed out the issues I am definitely making a couple more. I’d love to use the bodice with a different skirt pattern and vice versa and maybe even make up the skirt just as a skirt.

Sandra took these fabulous photos at the Wellington Botanic Garden. We had a lovely picnic and everyone had a Cat Lady outfit, even our newest member Alison who was given almost no notice. She made a cute hat with cats on it.

This sounds pretty cool but wait…the cats are wearing hats.

It’s like hat inception…Cat in the Hat-ception.

Awesome.

Here are a few group photos taken by various kiddiewinks who tagged along.

Laura, Alison, Joy, Sandra

Teresa, Me, Juliet and Sophie-Lee

Laura, Me, JulietSandra

Sophie-Lee, Teresa, Joy and Johanna

Does anyone else own the Belladone? Does your pattern have the same drafting errors as my older pattern? I’m keen to find out.

THE DEETS:

Pattern – Deer & Doe Belladone, size 42

Next time I will remove 1cm from below the bust darts because it feels a tiny bit long now. I need to adjust the inner upper back bodice to remove the excess fabric. Outer upper bodice piece has already been adjusted at side seam but I need to adjust CB at neck as well.

Fabric – Kokka Japan Tossed Kitties in Aqua from Voodoo Rabbit

Other notions – Me-made bias, grey cotton from Spotlight

 

Colette Rooibos the Second

It’s taken me so long to finish this dress that I’m not really sure what to write about it anymore ;)

After making my first Rooibos over two years ago I always knew I wanted to make a second but like usual I got distracted by other new pretty patterns. When we decided to challenge our contributors on The Monthly Stitch to “Sew Double” in April…oh my, it’s worse than I thought, APRIL?!…I decided it was the perfect time to push a second Rooibos up the sewing queue.

I got it most of the way finished and then I stalled, distracted by other projects and pattern testing. More recently, as evidenced by this poor neglected blog, my sew jo has been sadly depleted so it sat on Scarlett (my dress dummy) awaiting side seams, zipper and a hem all this time…

This month at The Monthly Stitch we are celebrating our 1st birthday (yay, go us!) and so it is fitting that the challenge is “Let Them Sew Cake”, a celebration of all things cake, birthdays and anything else awesome that you can associate with, well, cakes!

Kat, Juliet and I decided we needed our own Editors celebration so we planned a little Yum Cha lunch (Little? Ha! We all know there’s nothing little about a Yum Cha lunch session!) this was followed by an urban photography shoot, cupcakes and a TMS planning session.

That was all planned for last Sunday (August 3rd) and one week prior I KNEW I had to get my Rooibos completed for photos and really just to get my sew-jo back on track. So of course I didn’t sew at all that week, or on Saturday!

On Sunday morning I got up a 4:30am to drive NH to the airport. I got back home at 6:30am and went back to sleep for 1.5 hours. At 8am I threaded up my machines and got to work, I had 2.5 hours, lots of time right?

The side seam was quick and it felt good to be sewing again. Then after I had the invisible zipper inserted it decided to break which made me mad. Despite reading about this happening to others it’s never happened to me until today. I kept my cool, prodded, cried and begged and eventually got it closing properly. Thank goodness the hem was always going to be a simple topstitched job and I was done! I jumped in the car 15 minutes late but it’s ok to be late for lunch if you are wearing a new dress that you just hemmed.

Anyway, yay, a new dress and I love my second Rooibos which is both my own celebration of dusting off my sewing machines and completing my TMS Sewing Double challenge.

I stitched this up in a cotton sateen from my stash, originally purchased from the now closed Arthur Toye (Sandra bought some too), and I piped the seams in a black cotton exactly the same as my first Rooibos. Except this time I cut the piping internals shorter that the stitched seam line so that there was less bulk for the zipper to deal with, a lesson learnt from my first Rooibos. I need to do one final tweak, it’s a little bit big at the waist, so I will bring in the side seams an extra 2cms.

These photos were taken in a random carpark by Kat who also suggested the blue wall would be the perfect backdrop and she was right!

Also orange :)

And that’s it, yay for sewing!

THE DEETS:

Pattern – Colette Rooibos dress, size 10

I need to take in the side seams, next time maybe grade it to an 8 or 6 at the waist/hips

Fabric – Cotton sateen from Arthur Toye

Other notions – Me-made piping, black cotton from Spotlight

PS: Hello to the lovely lady who said ‘hi’ to me while I was hungrily topping up my fabric stash at The Fabric Warehouse sale today :) The first time anyone has ever recognised me from my blog, it made my day! I’m embarrassed that I didn’t ask your name, but I hope you snapped up some gorgeous fabric too xx

Happy sewing everyone!

“You see these eyes, they’re old eyes. And one thing I can tell you, Alex: monsters are real.”*

To be read in the voice of David Attenborough:

New Zealand is a small nation of islands with a short but rich history of strange and unique creatures. Many readers will be familiar with this countries flightless national symbol, the Kiwi, and maybe even its extinct ancestor, the giant Moa.

Amongst the more interesting and sometimes frightening looking specimens are Tuatara, living fossils who lived alongside dinosaurs 220 million years ago, and the completely harmless, although it doesn’t look it, Wētā.

Even with all this native strangeness few ever imagined that New Zealand could also be sanctuary to Gru novaezelandiae, more commonly known as Domo-kun, and up until recently this was the only known photograph ever taken of one in the wild.

Little is know about this mysterious creature but in the last few months we have been lucky to travel deep into the New Zealand bush to investigate the possibility of its existence and we were fortunate to get a glimpse of what was previously thought only rumour.

We followed this shy creature for several hours, gradually getting closer as it grew more comfortable with our presence.

It was as curious about us as we were of it and eventually it grew bold enough to show itself in the open.

Fascinating!

This is of course Domo-kun, official mascot of Japan’s public broadcaster NHK, and I am very proud of him.

He was a requested project by someone who wishes to remain anonymous but let’s just say said person likes to watch nerdy things on YouTube and in one such video there was a giant furry Domo-kun in the background and a plan was formulated.

The initial idea was to find some faux fur, or perhaps a chunky fleece but the colour was just as important as the texture. Domo-kun’s pelt is very specific.

The hunt began at Spotlight in the city and then The Fabric Warehouse next door which both had nothing suitable. Next stop was Pete’s Emporium in Porirua, a large store of ridiculously random and often surprising merchandise. They had a lot of fur but nothing quite the right shade of Domo-kun brown.

As a last resort we went into the Porirua Spotlight which is planned such that the shortest route to the fabric (one must ALWAYS take the shortest route in a Spotlight store) is via Manchester and its various discount bins…where I was immediately drawn to some hideously textured towels in a hue that could only be described as Domo-kun Brown (Spotlight called them “Espresso but “Poo Brown” if also accurate). My accomplice also stopped, staring at the towels (which I was now petting) and we exchanged a grin.

We had found our Domo-kun pelt.

We added some red and white felt for the mouth, the biggest black plastic eyes we could find and a bag of hobby fill. We were ready to bring Domo-kun to life.

Back at home we selected a good Domo-kun outline from the internet and used the eyes to scale up as a pattern.

It was not quite as big as my accomplice wanted but big enough far as I was concerned.

I winged the construction so I’ll mostly let the photos speak for themselves:

I started with the mouth, attaching white felt triangle teeth to the red felt, then self faced the mouth opening with extra towel.

Domo fur gets everywhere!

The thickness was an issue to begin with but top-stitching around the opening created a subtle “lip” effect which was actually perfect…I did break two brand new needles doing it.

I added the eyes next, reinforcing them with small squares or towel behind.

Harri helped a lot as usual.

I was initially going to insert the pre-stuffed arms in the front side seam but my accomplice convinced me I had to find a better way so I split the side panels horizontally above and below the arm placement and then split the center portion vertically.

It was a lot of fun to sew all these seams with fully stuffed Doro arms flapping about but in the end it worked really well and made the arms more expressive and posable.

Attaching the sides was really easy except for between the legs where I broke a third needle while trying to maneuver the thick toweling and machine foot in the tight, erm, crotch area.

I left a small opening in one side for turning and we were ready to stuff.

He didn’t look like much after I turned him through but as I began to fill him with his fluffy polyester guts he really began to come alive and my accomplice was getting very excited.

I packed him quite densely so that he could stand up alone and then hand stitched the opening closed.

And that’s the story of Domo-kun who is highly prized and, weirdly, of everything I’ve made, is the creation that I have to defend the most. This blog post will hopefully help me convince people with the photographic evidence that I did actually make him!

I feel like something’s watching me…

THE DEETS:

Pattern – My own

Fabric & Notions – 

  • 2 x “Luxury Combed Towel – Espresso” $9.88
  • 1/2 sheet of red felt $0.82
  • 1/3 sheet white adhesive felt $ 1.09
  • 2 x eyes $ 0.82
  • 2/3 bag of Hobby Fill $6.58

Total cost: NZD$19.19

Domokun

*Night Terrors – Doctor Who (S06.E09)

A winters Dream about Midsummer

A little while ago Kat and I put up a vote for our next twinsie make and you chose the Colette Rooibos. Unfortunately Kat and I took our sweet time and when we finally got around to it we realised that Kat wouldn’t be able to fit into it anymore! Our carefully curated Twinsie Sewing List got a new (albeit) temporary heading: Maternity Friendly Patterns ;)

I do have a new Rooibos in the works, that I cut out for Sewing Double…and queued behind Miss Bossy Patterns, which is still on the work table…as you can see, I am a little behind ;) but these will be completed soon…I am excited about my new Rooibos and I hope it will appease the Goddesses of Bossy Twinsie Sewing.

Luckily however the second most popular choice from our vote was the Papercut’s Midsummer Night’s Dream which, being a wrap dress, is maternity friendly and we decided to rope Juliet in too for Triplet Sewing with the excuse of launching the Dresses competition during Indie Pattern month over on The Monthly Stitch.I should point out that the current season in New Zealand is winter…

There may have been a moment, while attaching spaghetti straps, snuggled up in my Crazy Pants Anima’s on a night with the temperature gauge was reading 3ºC, when I grumpily wondered who’s silly idea it was to put this summery dress pattern into the vote…and then I realised that it was MY silly idea.

  ;)

That’s ok, because I have loved this pattern for a while and while I was hoping to sew it “from the stash” nothing suited. Luckily The Fabric Warehouse craftily announced their 40% off sale night (swooping in 1 day before The Fabric Store) and I went straight after work with the crush of very other sewist in Wellington.

It was really busy and after I grabbed fabric and lycra for 2 more Pneuma tops  I was ready to leave…until I spotted something black and pink near the door.

The fabric is a Viscose crepe and has the perfect drape for this style, I am so happy I saw it, it really is perfect.

Due the narrower width I bought 3.0 meters and used almost all of it. There was a kind of boarder print to one selvedge edge where the black print was more concentrated so I made sure that ended up on the open edge of the skirt pieces, otherwise I would have had a strange black triangle on my bottom. I had to play with the layout a little, cutting some pieces perpendicular to the grain but the fabric was stable in both directions and I like to live on the edge.

The pattern calls for 4.4 meters of binding and I had already decided to make my own “bias” tape…except not cut on the bias. The curves of the design are subtle and I imagined a whole lot of headaches with stretching and fraying so I cut my strips perpendicular to the grain and had no trouble attaching them. After I cut my strips I did briefly consider trying out the new bias feeder I recently bought for my coverstitch but when I saw how easily the fabric held a crease I decided to make the bias tape using my bias tape maker and the iron.

I really love these things! I own three but I use the red one the most. It creates a finished tape width of 18mm (9mm when attached) and they are so easy to use. I have read a few grumbles about them online but I don’t really know why. After you cut and join your strips you run then through this little guy, ironing as you go, and then fold it in half and sew it on. Maybe if you quilt you’ll want to buy it premade or one of those fancy feeder things but if you just need a few meters for a garment, making your own bias tape doesn’t really take that long and opens up a whole new world of colour and fabric possibilities!

We took these photos at Otari’s Wilton bush, one of my favourite spots. I think the green shows off the hot pink nicely ;)

I am looking forward to summer so that I can get this dress out again and take a stroll along the beach in it :)

The dress itself sews up really quickly and the order that you attach the binding is carefully thought out to give a beautiful clean finish. If you haven’t sewn a Papercut pattern before this is a great ‘rookie’ pattern to try, I highly recommend it…And I know, I’ve recommended every Papercut pattern that I’ve sewn but…well, just try one ;)

There isn’t much more to say :) except that you may be wondering where the other two girls are:

We had everything planned, Triplet Mid Summer’s to launch The Monthly Stitch Indie Pattern Month 2014, and the Dresses competition AND the added bonus of Juliet (we haven’t done a triplet TMS launch post since our very first cape post) and then it all fell apart.

But that’s ok, because I still love my dress and the girls look fabulous too ;)

Now, speaking on dresses, I’d love it if you would pop over to The Monthly Stitch and vote for your favourite dress, there are some gorgeous entries and they deserve some comment love.

THE DEETS:

Pattern – Papercut Midsummer Night’s Dream dress, size S

No changes next time, maybe lengthen the ties.

Fabric – 3.0 meters of 116cm wide 100% Viscose crepe from The Fabric Warehouse, $16.00/meter (-40% discount, $28.80 total) purchased specifically for this make

Other notions – Self-fabric made “bias”, Thread

Sewing for the Soul

It’s been a bit quiet around here lately. I changed jobs last month and the few weeks leading up to that decision were pretty stressful. I lost my sew-jo and most of my enthusiasm for almost everything else.

Sewing is usually my go-to defence against stress but when that fails me, going to the gym, riding my bike, and more recently, running, are just some of the other tools I employ to keep me sane. I wouldn’t call myself a fitness freak but my brain needs to be active and doing something to keep it on track.

With that back story sorted you can understand what a wonderful distraction the sneak peek at the newest patterns from Papercut were for me.

They jump started my sew-jo AND my fitness-jo!

I stitched like a wild woman then I reinstalled the Couch to 5k app on my phone, along with the entire season of Project Runway 12 and hit the treadmill. It’s winter here but we have the odd nice day when I can get outside. My goal is to get back to comfortably running 5kms and then join my local ParkRun every Saturday morning. I run slower than I can hand stitch but I can run, and I feel good!

So, enough about my pavement pounding goals, let’s talk PATTERNS!

There are three new patterns in the collection, cleverly called TRI:

The Soma swimsuit which includes the one-piece plus two bikini and two pant variations, that’s 5 options in one pattern.

The Anima Pant in three lengths, with or without cuffs.

And finally, my favourite, the Pneuma Tank with optional drapey over top.

On top of these three patterns Katie has also re-released four previous patterns with new variations and all are also now available as PDF downloads.

Coppélia, Ooh La Leggings, SJ Tee and Undercover Hood.

If you already own one of these older patterns, don’t panic, there will be tutorials on how to mod them on the Papercut blog soon.

Pneuma (translation: soul) is my favourite of this collection because I have given far too much of my precious fabric money to Lululmeon (except for this year since I am RTW Fasting). I really like their workout gear but they are super exxy and so I may a squealed just a little bit when I saw the line drawings for the Pneuma Tank.

It’s been tricky lately to get finished garment photos. The weather doesn’t co-operate on the weekend and after work it is too dark. Luckily last weekend was beautiful and sunny so I headed into town to meet Kat and Nikki for a mega-photo-shoot-catch-up. We chose the ANZAC Memorial which has just undergone a huge restoration as part of the lead up to ANZAC Day’s 100th commemoration in 2015.

It’s pretty there with lots of great background variation but, more importantly, has lots of bushes and other nooks for quick and (kind of) discrete outfit changes.

The Pneuma is really easy and quick to sew and the instructions are written for a standard sewing machine but you can also use your overlocker or coverstitch machine.

It has wide elastic under the bust and thinner elastic around the arm holes, neck and across the back so it feels snug and comfortable. You zig zag the elastic in place and I finished it with my coverstitch. You need a fabric with high lycra content for the bra top and something nice and drapey for the tank. The straps are bra strapping.

The cross over straps are a really nice feature and super easy to adjust when sewing. I recommend safety pins when you attach them to test their length or you may get stuck like I did, unable to get out without sticking yourself with the pins.

And then your husband will laugh and laugh and laugh…

The extra black straps you see are my sports bra underneath. I guess didn’t actually need to wear a bra for the photos but obviously I do need one for exercising.

Just keepin’ it real, yo.

I have paired my Pneuma with a knee length pair of Anima pants. They are sewn in a medium-weight grey marled fleece with the cuffs and waistband contrasted in black.

They are really comfy but actually a bit thick for exercising. Also I cut a size medium, a decision based on the combination of thicker than normal fabric selection and me worrying about needing extra booty room. They are a bit too big so next time I will use a merino or merino blend and cut the small size.

They have a wide elasticated waist with drawstring (that I didn’t manage to capture in any of the photosgraphs, oops) and I used eyelets for the tie holes instead of button holes, copying from a pair of RTW track pants.

You can whip these up really fast on an overlocker. I just threaded up all 4 spools and went nuts. You only need to top stitch the faux fly and waistband on your sewing machine and then you can put them on while you sew the second pair ;)

As per usual Kat and I ended up with about a million and one photos…but this time we can blame Nikki ;)

I had 2 weeks off between my old and new job when I sewed these up so I also made a long pair in thicker fleece to keep me warm while temporarily unemployed.

I call them my Temporary Lady of Leisure Pants.

Nerdy Husband calls them my Please Don’t Wear that Crazy out in in Public Pants and I’m happy to admit that they were never sewn for exterior excursions but they make me smile and they give you a different perspective on the pattern.

They are also really warm and perfect for winter.

I already have a second Pneuma in the works and plan to pair them with some cropped Ohh La leggings (pattern and fabric for which have been sitting on my “to sew” pile, literally, for months) and I also caved and added the Undercover Hood to my pattern collection. If they work out I’ll need another pair, of course, plus Pneuma #3 and #4, and two more pairs of Anima pants and then I am sure I will be 100% weaned off of Lululemon.

Which means more money for fabric ;)

Yeah!

You can check out Kat’s Pneuma and Anima here.

Also we met this donkey and his friends.

Photography and modelling is hard work…

…so we rewarded ourselves afterwards with high tea at Logan Brown.

#HighTea #LoganBrown

A photo posted by Melissa (@thecuriouskiwi) on

I was so, so good!

Little teaser: I also made the Soma one-piece, but those photos will have to wait for some beach-appropriate weather.

THE DEETS:

Pattern –

I want to make another knee length pair (or two) but next time I will use a merino, or merino blend and cut a size S

Fabric – Various fleece from Spotlight. Lycra and cotton from The Fabric Warehouse

Other notions – Cord, eyelets, various elastic, bra strapping

Desideratum Deer & Doe Datura Disaster

About halfway through making my Cotton Candy Culottes I realised that I didn’t have a top to wear with them! So I hatched a plan to make up something quick that would suit them but that could also fit in with my normal wardrobe.

I consulted with Fashionable Younger Sister who was in the middle of cutting out her own culottes. We talked about styles and colours and I mentioned I was thinking of trying mustard. I’ve never worn mustard before because I’m not sure if it suits my complexion. I thought maybe I could get away with it if I combined it with another colour like white or a lighter yellow or perhaps grey.

FYS sent me some awesome inspiration images:

And I realsied that I had the perfect pattern in my stash, Deer & Doe’s Datura:

Fast forward to a sneaky lunchtime fabric shop trip with my trusty accomplice, Nikki.

We went to The Fabric Store and I did a couple of laps looking for the perfect fabric. Unfortunately I didn’t find any mustard I liked, everything was too sunshine yellow, but I did spot a pretty lilac and white cotton with a homespun-like weave:

I thought it was nice enough and since it was not very expensive I grabbed some.

Annoyingly the yardage chart on the pattern envelope does not include separate fabric allowances for making this blouse in two tones. I found that a bit strange (and disappointing) given that all the examples on the pattern page are sewn in two colours. I grabbed a meter of each colour even though I knew it would be too much.

I chose to make the view A with the triangle cutouts and they were really easy to construct.

Spikey spikey! #DeerandDoe #DaturaBlouse

A photo posted by Melissa (@thecuriouskiwi) on

On the cutting layout the bias is laid out and cut in four lengths that you join which I guess saves some fabric but you end up with all those joins. It is neat that they give you a template that you can trace onto card and use to fold your bias.

Since I had extra fabric I was able to cut my bias as one long length. I own 3 different sized Clover bias tape makers that I use to make bias tape. They aren’t that expensive and once you get the hang of them are worth owning.

There didn’t seem to be any mention of joining the bias tape ends together in the instructions. I joined mine at the centre back, unfolding to stitch the ends together, before trimming and refolding…

…like so…

Pretty!

And then my Datura was almost finished. Except that it wasn’t, ahhh, unfortunately my fabric was too stiff for this pattern. I tried to save it with some extra darts but it just didn’t work.

The bust darts are also too high on me so the fabric tents out from my ladies and is quite unflattering over the tum.

All is not lost however because even though this fabric was the wrong choice I do think this pattern has potential. You don’t need a lot of fabric (hello silk off-cuts in my stash!) and it’s a pretty quick make so there will be another version soon.

THE DEETS:

Pattern – Deer & Doe Datura, size 42, version A

Next time I will use a more lightweight drapey fabric, lower the bust darts and probably sew the buttons straight on (no button holes as they are purely decorative)

Fabric – 100% Cotton from The Fabric Warehouse, $8.00/m, Feb 2014

Other notions – 3 x buttons from stash

This photo is of me testing to see if I could reach the buttons. I took in the side seams a little to see if I could improve the fit. I wanted to make sure I could get the top on and off in case my alterations meant the buttons actually had to function.