Delicious Liberty Myrtle!

Hello! It’s been awhile and let’s just say that a lot has been happening!  I’ll share my life news at a later date when everything is sorted out and I have time to breathe. For now I’m going to quickly share a dress that I made for a local shop I have been working at this summer. .. The Colette Myrtle!

_MG_6485Apologies for the headless photos…  was trying something new (*ahem* hiding a terrible hair day!)

As many of your already know, I have been working as a postdoc in an Immunology lab in Toronto for the last five a half years. An amazing time was had, lots was learned and all that jazz! I officially finished in June (yay! I am now “fully” trained!) but have more or less been working from home since March.  Applying for jobs, doing contract work for local biotech start-ups, etc. Basically, I have been sitting on my ass, all alone in my apartment. I was starting to talk to my cats waaaaay too often! So I approached my friend Claudia (well, with a lot of help from Angela!) and asked if she needed help over the summer in her seriously amazing store Eweknit. It was a great way to take a day away from my home and start to interact with people again!

_MG_6484Eweknit has been my go-to yarn store since it opened two years ago.  Seriously, for those of you that knit, check out their wares as this is one well curated and well stocked shop! Last fall, the shop started catering to the sewing addicted amongst us and now boasts one of the most impressive Liberty of London Tana Lawn collections I’ve seen! And recently, a few bolts of Liberty rayon jersey were brought in (details on these fabric lovelies can be found here). New pattern I was itching to try, new fabric that I could not wait to get my hands on…  it was a go!

_MG_6487Patience might have been a good thing here as I am not sure that one should ever muslin a pattern using Liberty! Nonetheless, despite some fitting flaws that could easily have been avoided with a little forethought and prep work, I am in love with this dress! I made the size medium based on my bust measurements (I would normally grade to a large at the hips but didn’t think it would be a problem here with the full, gathered skirt). Really, I should have automatically sized down to account for the drape of this fabric but I’m still happy with the result. Some would say droopy but I say bugger off to that!

_MG_6496I would even go so far as to say that I could have gone down to an x-small in the bodice.  The shoulders on this are a little wide, but this is not an unusual problem for me. My sister Kelley got all the shoulders in this family. But I like to remind myself that she’s old and then I feel better! Kel, I do hope you are reading this!

_MG_6497Bad hair? Check! Awkward pose? Sigh, check…

Words can hardly describe how amazing this fabric is. It felt more like cotton interlock than rayon jersey on the bolt but after being washed..? Silky, dreamy goodness! I have been living in this dress as though it were a nightgown! Who say your shouldn’t be fancy for your cats?!

_MG_6500I was sewing this for the shop so I didn’t make any modifications and while I find some of the steps in the Colette’s knit patterns unnecessarily complicated (the elastic gathering on the Moneta, anyone?!?), it went together with no problems. Some steps that I found a little fiddly with the slinky fabric were the hemming on the back bodice piece (the neck and the sleeves) and this could easily be overcome by doing a full bodice lining. The insertion of the elastic at the waist was also needlessly long and can be adapted in whatever way you prefer. Gillian skipped the gathered skirt on her version and instead just stabilized the waist in the usual way and it works beautifully! Overall though, I find this a clever little dress that appears to flatter most people. Case in point, see it on Angela!

myrtle7_480Let’s just say that our measurements are not the same and leave it at that! But it looks fantastic on her!

So who else is making this dress and what are you thoughts on the new knit-inspired patterns by Colette? Anyone going to give a woven Myrtle a try?

You can see and read more about this dress, the fabric and the pattern (shortly!)  here!

Sara

The Beast (aka Sara’s Albion Coat)

Hello friends.  I’ve been a bit absent on this blog of late.  Apologies.  I’ve got a few things to share but will admit that life has gotten in the way of the making of late.  That said, this project has sucked up a lot of my evening and weekend time in the last month! Four muslins and a fit bootcamp with Andrea, Kristin and Sarah for starts!  So.many.changes!    I may do a post describing the fit changes that I made but first…  my friend Anne modelling!

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If you’re at all familiar with the Colette Albion pattern (and of course you are!), then it’s probably fairly obvious that I made some changes. I had originally planned to make this jacket in its original form for my Brother (still plan to do so!) but didn’t think I had any need for such a coat in my own wardrobe. However, on a search for RTW duffle coats, these two gorgeous coats from Burberry popped up and I was sold!

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I really loved the casual style of the grey one with the extra pockets, relaxed A-line shape and cropped length.  I also liked the idea of making the neckline taller or adding a collar as this would make the coat far more functional in a winter and wind friendly city like Toronto!  However, I also loved the deep pleat in the back of the red duffle coat.  I think it makes a boxy coat just a touch more feminine.  Anyway, after coming across these, I decided that I did indeed need a duffle coat in my life! The sewalong that Colette Patterns was hosting was just the icing on the cake!

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Sadly, disaster struck in the form of muslin #1!  First of all, one should always pay attention to the actual pattern instructions when they are  making a muslin and not assume they know how everything goes together based on previous experience! I made the size small (this is a unisex pattern that was really drafted with men in mind) based on my upper bust measurement. Then I made the mistake of adding the facing to centre front.  Oops!  Turns out that the facings were for the lining only! Needless to say, this muslin was HUGE! The facings ended up being a serendipitous mistake based on my plan to extend them at the top and add a collar. That’s the absolute truth and I am sticking to it!

2014-03-09 17.20.28OK.  I’ll attempt to quickly sum up the muslin stage, which hurts as the muslin stage was a solid 3 weeks of work while the actual sewing was only a week. A crazy, crazy week filled with late nights and little sleep but who cares!  It’s done!  Anyway, my second muslin was a straight size XS but I didn’t love this one.  It still had a lot of the same fit issues as the small (extra fabric at the front due to my addition of the facings, droop-y shoulders, low armscythe, etc). However, I found the XS a wee tight in the arms and across the back.  So I took the size small muslin to the fit bootcamp and stood like a lump while Sarah and Andrea slashed away amid mad chatter involving numbers and technical jargon. They did a rounded back adjustment (a big one!  Yoga, you and I need to be better friends), a forward shoulder adjustment and pinned a bunch of fabric out of the front (starting at the shoulder seam and working down to the hem in a line parallel to the grainline).  Now that I had taken that extra fabric out of the front, I widened the darts that were now in the back yoke after the rounded back adjustment (Andrea, please feel free to correct my jargon as I’m not sure that is the correct term) to eat up some of the extra fabric and used the feed dogs to do some easing to eat of the rest of it.  Incredibly, everything worked out!

2014-03-09 17.22.22I was tempted to do a narrow shoulder adjustment but decided that I liked a slightly relaxed look to the shoulder and the addition of shoulder pads kept everything from dragging and sagging.  I did try correcting the sleevehead to match the forward shoulder adjustment as Heather demonstrates here but my muslin and all of the horizontal balance lines told me that was a no go. The original sleeve worked much better.  I also raised the base of the armscythe a half inch using a tutorial found in the June/July issue of Threads (thanks for pointing me in the direction of this, S!).  This was a challenge without a large work surface! Using the same tutorial, I also took in the side seam a half inch at the armscythe and removed a quarter inch out of both sleeve seams to match. I still find it all a bit low and restrictive but it’s not too bad now that the lining is in.  Gives me lots of space for layering with those big sweaters I so love to knit.

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I kept the patch pockets but made them a bit smaller to accomodate the cropped length and rounded all of the edges.  Similarly, I rounded the edges of the sleeve tabs to be consistent and just to soften the coat and make it a but more feminine.  I kept the side seam pockets (drafted my own to keep things small and tidy) and added a double welt pocket with a flap above the patch pockets, successfully ripping off my Burberry inspiration coat!  I used the flannel lining fabric for the pocket bags of the inseam pockets to avoid a lot of bulk.  I lined the patch pockets with a bright pink rayon bemberg (also used to line the sleeves) using some tips from this book. I used the same pink bemberg for the pocket bag of the welt, again in an effort to avoid unnecessary bulk.

2014-03-09 16.56.57 I wanted to add some leather accents using leather scraps that I had picked up awhile ago. They’re small, which limited what I could use them for so I went for leather bound buttonholes (using this method). These were a time sucker but I love them! Well worth the effort!

2014-03-09 17.19.49And then there is the collar. Sigh. I really wanted the collar to be the highlight of this coat and while I think it looks great, there are still things I wish I could change.  To start, I spent a lot of time trying on RTW coats to decide what kind of collar/hood combo I wanted.  In the end, I decided that I prefer having a stand collar that is separate from the hood…  I really, REALLY hate the feeling of having the collar being tugged backwards when the hood is attached and down! So I kept the hood as is and I will say that this is an excellent hood! The perfect size and shape!  I left it unlined and flat felled the seams as I didn’t want it to be a major feature and detract from the leather accents. I drafted the collar piece and on the muslin I was quite pleased with how it turned out. On the jacket?  Well, I have a few issues with it. It’s stiff! And I think it looks a bit like it should have a giant helmet attached to it! I honestly think it could support the weight of a helmet!

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Not at all irritated by the collar!

And on me, it looks like I have no neck but on my tall friend Anne, the collar looks great and she loved it so maybe I’m being hypercritical. I do love the leather accents on it!  I want to have mitered corners with the leather but by the time I got to making this, I was tired of the whole project and didn’t want to take the time! So I’m going to call the collar a success. Besides, the wool and leather will soften over time so I’ll feel less like I’m being choked by it!

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I used this buffalo plaid flannel for the lining of the body but used hot pink bemberg for the sleeves (easier to get it on and off). I’ll have to take a picture of the entire lining as the pink really is an awesome pop of colour!  I had planned to use the pink to make piping between the inner facing and the lining for another pop of colour. I have the piping but forgot to add it and again, was tired of the project at this point and didn’t want to redo anything unnecessary. Perhaps if I had not already graded the seams! I also added an inner welt pocket that holds my cell phone perfectly!

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I think that about covers it! Well, I did also add the deep pleat in the back but there’s not much to say about it. I’m not sold on the back tab that I made and I think I might make a bigger one with leather bound buttonholes. Certainly the entire coat needs better buttons as they are a definite feature. I plan to go digging through the vintage button collection that Karyn has at the Workroom to find something outstanding to finish this all off!

Finally, here are some pictures of me in the duffle coat.  The fitting was done on me but I really think this works better on Anne, which is funny as we are not built the same way.  She has broader shoulders, is much taller and does not have the generous booty of a pear-shaped woman!  Thoughts on the fit on each of us?

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All in all, I am pleased with the fit of this across the chest, shoulders and back. It looks a but big across the back on me here but I’ve only got a T-shirt on underneath. This is not a lightweight coat and is more likely to be worn over my usual winter layers and the fit accommodates all of that. Again, I think the collar is the wrong height and shape for me and the overall length… not so flattering.  It needs to be a bit shorter so that it doesn’t hit me at my widest point.

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In short, when I wear this I feel a little dumpy and irritated by things I wish I could change. When I see Anne in it, I think “shit, I made that!  I’m AWESOME”.

Make sure you check out the rest of the sewalong entries here!  There are some seriously gorgeous coats in this pool!

Sara

Linking up with:  Make It and Love It

Hawthorn Peplum

Once again we have been silent for far too long! Although I have been sewing I don’t have many finished projects, just a pile of fabric and a list of projects that both just keep on growing. But I finally have a finished project to share using Colette Patterns lovely new pattern, Hawthorn.

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There is currently a sew-along going on for the Hawthorn, but I got a bit excited!  For my first time with this pattern I decided to try version 1, the peplum, although I do have plans to get started on the sleeveless dress for the sew-along soon I hope.  This pattern was the most complicated garment I have attempted to sew so far, but the directions were extremely easy to follow and it came together easier than I expected.  There are definitely some flaws but overall I am happy with final result.

Although it came together relatively easily I did have to make a few changes.  When I made a quick muslin of the bodice I was pretty happy with the fit and didn’t make any changes to the pattern.  Once I actually sewed everything together I wasn’t crazy about the sleeves or the fit around the waist.

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To solve these issues I ended up taking in the sides to make the shirt more fitted and I changed the way the sleeves were finished.  Originally the sleeves were very loose so I removed the bias tape and shortened it by quickly wrapping it around my arm to get a feel for how I would like it to fit.  I then gathered the sleeve and sewed the bias tape back on.

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Much happier with the result and glad I took the time to make the change.  Actually understanding what changes to make to get my desired fit is definitely a work in progress and I am not 100% happy with how it looks from behind.  There seems to be a bit of extra fabric that bulges out a bit and hopefully I can figure out how to fix that for my dress.

IMG_6040Hopefully one of us will be back later this week with another finished project to share!

Elizabeth

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