Flint and Ruby

Hi everyone, I am hoping you are all heaving a lovely autumn. I just got back from a week in Germany for a wonderful wedding. For everyone who read my last post, yes I did wear the orange dress in the end. And while it definitely stood out amongst all the navy suits and dresses everyone else was wearing, I really enjoyed wearing something colourful. This orange is really growing on me. Back here in the UK we are having quite a gloomy weekend. It’s becoming more and more difficult to get good light for photos, so please ignore the slightly weird colours in the pictures below.

This week I have another great pairing of indie patterns for you: the Tessuti Ruby Top and the Megan Nielsen Flint in the culottes length. Both of these are patterns that you can’t really escape in the online sewing world and I was really intrigued to try them. Let’s start with the culottes. I made the Flint before in the shorts length and really liked them. It’s a pattern with lovely details and comes together really quickly. From the beginning though I knew I wanted to try the culotte length as well. While I have made a culotte jumpsuit before which I then converted to culotte trousers, I never really got a lot of wear out of them. Due to the shiny fabric, they might be just a little bit too fancy for everyday wear so I wanted to make a more casual version. The fabric, as so often, came from my favourite shop in my hometown and is a drapey linen chambray,  perfect for this style of trousers. On my last pair I wasn’t 100% sold on the pleats at the front, so I followed the tutorial on Megan’s blog and converted them to a flat front. I love how sleek it looks! I also opted for the button closure this time, with both of the buttons facing to the inside to further add to the minimalist look. This now makes them a lot easier to pair with tops that are not tucked in.

In terms of sizing I did the same as with my Flint shorts. I made a size M, taking them in by roughly 3 cm in the waist. I followed the instructions for construction for everything except the crotch seam. You are told to clip the seam along the curve, but on my shorts I’m afraid the seam will tear due to the fraying fabric. So this time I serged the seam and topstitched it down for a mock flat felled seam. This feels a lot more secure. Just before hemming, I tried them on and decided to take 5 cm from the width of the leg; it felt like too much fabric for my taste. I hemmed the culottes at the length indicated in the pattern.

So what’s the verdict? My husband calls them my clown pants… And while I rarely listen to him for fashion advice, I do feel a little bit frumpy in them. I’m not sure if it’s the length (maybe they need to be a tad longer) or the amount of fabric in the leg that I’m just not used to. Also styling them for autumn is a little bit difficult. I might have to wait until next summer for the final verdict. The pattern itself is really lovely though.
I’m probably not the only one who fell in love with this Liberty of London silk georgette Jellie when Papercut Patterns launched their latest collection and used it for their sample of the Kobe Top. It’s sold by The Fabric Store; ironically I couldn’t find it here in the UK. I had never ordered from them before and this fabric alone would not have justified getting this shipped from New Zealand. However, my husband only wears merino T-shirts and I decided to order some of their merino fabrics to make him some and this fabric slipped into the shopping basket.

The fabric is as beautiful in real life as on the screen but very delicate and sheer. I knew I would have to be careful with the construction and chose a simple pattern. I liked the idea of pairing this delicate silk with a modern shape to make sure I would get some wear out of it. After some deliberation I settled on the Tessuti Ruby Top. I like the cutaway armholes and the dart-less flared shape. To get the fit right, I made a quick muslin from cotton scraps. The fit was quite good, I only had to shorten the straps by 2 cm. For the final version I also shortened the hem a bit. I made it even shorter in the front so I would be able to wear it with high waisted skirts and trousers without having to tuck it in. In terms of construction I decided to add a centre back seam which would make constructing the keyhole easier.

Happy with the fit I moved on to the silk. I used spray starch against the shiftiness but it still was difficult to get everything straight. I knew pattern matching the back seam would almost be impossible, so I decided to ignore it and just mirror the two sides. I’m happy enough with how it looks. In the end I will never really see it… I fully lined it with some white viscose voile that I had in my stash. This gives it enough opacity and also helps with a clean finish on the inside. The seams are finished with my serger, which handled the silk really well. The hem is serged and then folded up once. Even though I let the top hang for a couple of days and was very careful when I evened out the hem, it still looks a little wonky. I’m trying to embrace it, but I might have to re-do it at some point. Other than that I really like how this turned out. It’s lovely to wear and adds a nice pop of yellow to my work wardrobe.

Oh and this is how half of the pictures turned out from that photo shoot, it was a very windy day.

Ogden + Flint = The Perfect Pair

Today I bring you the perfect Indie summer pair. The True Bias Ogden and the Megan Nielsen Flint. Two patterns that you can’t escape in the Indie sewing world.

I’m probably the last person on earth to make the Ogden. Everyone seems to have made it and is raving about it. To be honest when the pattern came out I wasn’t that tempted to buy it. While I do appreciate a good cami, I wasn’t completely sold by the deep v in the back and overall it seemed to be too simple a pattern to spend my money on it. However, when Indiesew released their 2017 Spring/Summer collection, I bought the full bundle. Mainly for the Hampton Jean Jacket and the Highlands Wrap Dress but I was also quite excited to see what all the fuss around the Ogden was about.

I decided to make a first version of the Ogden with some viscose crepe from Ditto Fabrics. I’ve been looking for viscose crepe since someone had mentioned online that it was one of their favourite fabrics (I can’t remember who though). Ditto fabrics stock this crepe in a couple of different colours but for some reason I went with this magenta, which is a colour I don’t often wear. When it arrived I was really impressed by the nice texture and drape of the fabric. The fabric does wrinkle quite easily but also straightens out when it’s hanging freely. My original plan for the fabric was the Highlands Wrap Dress; however, the colour is quite loud so I wasn’t sure if I would like it as a full dress. So I decided to make a Ogden instead, to see if I even enjoyed wearing this colour (disclaimer: I do!).

I made a straight size 6, which corresponds to my bust and waist measurement. Due to the ease of the pattern I decided to not grade up at the hip. The fit I would say is spot on. It’s quite loose, which I love for a casual summer top. I finished the side seams with french seams, the facing is only pinked. Overall it was a very quick sew. The only thing that took a little bit longer, was determining the best strap length. I cut the straps longer than the pattern suggested, to have some room to experiment. The final length is very close to the originally suggested length though. Even though the pattern suggests it, I still haven’t added a tag to the back of the cami. I really should! The different sides look very similar and I’m sure half the time I’m wearing it the wrong way around. Oops…

Next up the Flint. While I’m still not sure about the whole culottes trend I had the pattern on my radar, in particular because of the interesting cross-over closure hidden in the pocket and the cute little ties. Since I didn’t have a specific project in mind; however, I just made a mental note and didn’t buy it straight away. Then the other day, when I was fabric shopping in Abingdon at Masons with the lovely Lamorna, I came across this mustard cotton twill and thought of the Flint. I very much prefer a paper pattern over pdf (too much cutting and taping!) and bought the pattern from Fabric Godmother (actually the only place in the UK that had it, in all the other shops it was either out of stock or arriving soon). I cut a size M, which according to the measurements was slightly too wide at the waist and too tight at the hip but I figured, the darts and pleats at the waist would allow for an easy taking in, and the cut of the leg was very wide already, so a couple of centimetres difference would not be an issue. In the end I had to indeed take the waist in by roughly 3 cm (through the back darts and the back centre seam). The legs on the other hand were actually super wide and I slightly took them in through the crotch seam to avoid weird fabric pooling between the legs. I also shortened the shorts at the hem by 3 cm to look a little bit less like I was going on safari (not sure if I succeeded there…). Shortening the hem meant that the bottom of the pockets were caught in the hem, which actually helps the pockets sitting forward when putting the shorts on.

The most exciting part of these shorts are of course the vintage inspired opening in the pockets. I like the clean look of high waisted shorts without a front fly, but I’m not a massive fan of side or back zippers. So this solution is genius! So neat! I lined the pockets with this cute blue and white striped cotton which in my opinion goes perfectly with the mustard fabric. In addition to the ties, the shorts are closed with a hidden button. I did debate whether to do the ties or the closure only with buttons, the latter being a bit more practical if I want to wear a top over the shorts. In the end the cuteness of the ties won (they were one of the features that attracted me to the pattern after all). So how do I like the final shorts? I think overall they are really cute. This pattern has some really lovely details. I’m not 100% happy with the fit though. This medium weight twill is not very forgiving (in a more drapey fabric these issues might not show up at all). Around the backside the shorts could be a little bit snugger, just to avoid some weird folds of excess fabric at the centre seam. At the front the combination of the waistband not being snug enough (and the shorts riding down a little bit) and the release tucks at the front result in some poofiness. For a next iteration I might turn the tucks into darts to avoid some of that. Overall they are really wearable though and even got husband approval.

So all in all, I can really understand why everyone is going crazy over these two patterns. Both are quite simple and quick makes with super thorough instructions. The result are some great wardrobe basics which pair super well together. I actually love both looks the top tucked in or loose. This colour combination is actually something completely new to me, both not my usual colours but I really like them, individually and together. I already put this outfit to the test at a summer barbecue on the hot weekend that we just had. The perfect pair!

Silk ruffle top

Here a little silk top that I whipped up last weekend. This sand-washed silk is from my favourite shop on Goldhawk Road (UK Textiles) who have an amazing selection of silks in the most gorgeous colours. The first time there, I picked up some rust coloured silk and made a simple shell top. It’s become a firm favourite in my wardrobe, so when I went back to the shop in December, I picked up some more silk. This time I went for a summery turquoise. The fabric has been sitting in my stash ever since, mainly because I was contemplating whether to make the exact same top again or something a little bit more exciting. In the end I decided to use the same pattern, but hack on a ruffled hem.

The pattern is from the book The Great British Sewing Bee – Fashion with Fabric. It’s called the Sleeveless Shell Top and is a simple little top with an all-in-one facing and two hem options, a high-low hem and a straight one. While I love a high-low hem, this one is rather pronounced. So this time I decided to even out the hem a little by adding 3 cm in length at the front and shaving the same amount off at the back. Then I separated the pieces roughly at the waist seam, following the shape of the hem curve. It’s a little bit difficult to see in the pictures, but the top now still has a slight high-low hem.

Since I had only one metre of the maybe 120 cm wide fabric the rest of the design was determined by what I could squeeze out of the piece. Basically I needed two rectangles with a 17 cm height and significantly wider than the waist seam to allow for some nice ruffles. The best I could manage was a ratio of 1.25:1. I’m not sure what the perfect ruffle ratio is but I think it works well enough. Was does help is that the piece is cut on the crosswise grain, which gives the ruffles a little bit more structure. Cutting it that way was the only way to fit all pattern pieces but it also had the added benefit of me being able to use the selvage as the hem. In this case the selvage is so pretty that it totally works, and who doesn’t love an opportunity to avoid hemming? I gathered the ruffle piece with two rows of wide stitches. Once attached, I topstitched the waist seam to make sure the seam allowance sits towards the top of the bodice.

In terms of sizing I cut a size 12, taking out 1 cm at the centre front and back. I omitted the back keyhole detail that the pattern suggest since the neck opening is wide enough. The ruffle has french seams, the rest of the top is finished with pinked seams. While it’s not the most durable of finishes, I struggle to find anything better on such delicate fabric. I used the treatment for my other silk top and it’s still holding up so it should be fine, especially since I tend to hand-wash my silk garments.

All in all this was a super quick and satisfying make. I’m glad that I finally sewed this lovely fabric up. After all it’s so much nicer wearing a fabric than having it sitting in your stash. And this really turned out quite cute and will be perfect for snazzing up my work wardrobe. Oh and this?

Just me trying to flirt with my photographer…