Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Pattern Review - Vintage Style 1652

Vintage Pattern Hunting...that's a legitimate hobby, right? These days, I buy more of those than of the currently-in-print variety. It may be a throwback to my former occupation as a picture researcher but I really do love the whole vintage pattern finding journey - the online browsing, the journey through all the eras and endless styles, the artwork and - ultimately - the thrill of the find.
I'd long been thinking about making a v-neck, bell sleeved dress and when I found this - Style 1652 - late last year, it was my pattern wish come true. I've made more than a few Style patterns over the years so I'm pretty comfortable with the sizing, but I still decided to toile the bodice just to be on the safe side. During that process, I stretched out the fabric along the v-neck so when it came to making my final version I used Vilene tearaway along the neckline and around the waistband. Worked a treat.
The fabric I chose was our silk crepe de chine, Walking the Jungle which sadly sold out just after I Instagrammed it three weeks ago.
To give the fabric a bit more life and body, I block fused all the pieces using our lightweight interfacing - BVM 40. The very merit of doing this can be seen in just how nicely the skirt and sleeves fall.
One of the great side benefits of a busy print like this one is that it does actually hide a multitude of sewing sins. Like so many vintage patterns, there was a ridiculous amount of sleeve ease so there are a couple of little gathers in that sleeve head. The apex of that shaped waistband should really be pointed but mine's more curved and, due to over-fitting, there's a bit of pull across the front shoulders. 
Nothing I'm going to stress or un-pick over and a few sewing lessons learnt for the next one I make.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Pattern Review - McCalls 7166

As mentioned in my last post, I'm on a hard and fast mission to pad out my winter wardrobe and this skirt is a happy consequence of that. In casting my pattern-yielding net a little wider, I've been pouring over the commercial pattern websites in a way I haven't done for a really, really long time. Actually, the break has been kinda nice because I've stumbled across a whole lot of new and not-so-new releases that have never crossed my pattern path before. And this - McCall's 7166 (by Melissa Watson for Palmer/Pletsch) - is one of those.
I had the pattern for a good few weeks before I settled on a fabric. Because of the gathers, I knew I couldn't go with anything too thick but I still wanted a winter skirt. Colette and I shared very deep, very important conversations about whether or not my ultimate fabric would work - Candy Hail (also available in Steel) - and then Silva (aka The Genius!) suggested that I run the skirt part off grain so the ottoman texture of the jacquard would work with, rather than against, the gathers. You can see what I mean in these photos...
The final result was a skirt which sits beautifully and has enough body to hold the full shape of the gathers. And that fullness perfectly complements the slim fit of the dropped waist and fitted yoke. I wavered a bit on whether or not to self-line the yoke as I thought it might be too thick. In the end, I rolled with it and love the result. There's a bit of corset action going on here and fortunately not in an uncomfortable way. It all
Initially, I made it in the longer length (View C) but it just didn't suit me with all the volume created by the fabric. It felt like there was way too much going on for my short stature so perhaps I'll give it another go in a lighter fabric for the warmer months. The pattern actually recommends challis (like rayon or viscose), crepes and crepe de chines which would all be dreamy, for sure.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

NEW :: Berlin Jacket Pattern

Meet our latest pattern - the Berlin Jacket! This collarless, longline jacket features low patch pockets, extended dropped shoulders and full length sleeves with a turned back cuff. The back neck is slightly raised. Effortlessly stylish, the jacket is the ideal winter wardrobe staple and perfect for layering over dresses or any casual outfit.
How did Berlin come to be? Well, the feedback we received when we released our Brooklyn Coat told us that you love a quick, simple sew that results in such a fabulous finished garment. With its overlapped seams and raw edges, it's a super speedy sew and can easily be sewn in 1-2 hours (depending on your skill level).
Connie's version below is made up in our black Nero Tepore which is also available in these colours.
Berlin Jacket made up in our Charcoal Tepore Marle (above) and Nero Tepore below.
The Berlin Jacket is best made up in boiled wools and is also suitable for ponti, boiled felted wools and neoprene fabrics. The pattern is now available in both hardcopy and PDF print-at-home/copy shop versions and pattern includes Australian sizes XXS through to XL.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Grainline's Driftless and skinny Anitas

At the beginning of this year, I made a pledge to not buy any new clothes in 2016. I told a few nearest and dearest (my 'sponsors' if you will) but for the most part I've kept the decision on the down low. Honestly, I wasn't actually even sure I could do it, but so far so good. Just to be clear, fabric and shoes aren't part of this 'no buy' pledge so things could be a lot tougher and tighter, but it still represents a pretty big shift for me and my shopping habits. 
There are a bunch of reasons why I decided to set this personal goal and I think that, as a sewer, they're all pretty obvious ones. Reduce the stash, reduce the waste, save money and see how it affects my sewing habits. I sew a lot and I'm lucky enough to do it for both work and pleasure. But (like my shopping habits) I'm often spontaneous and end up making (also buying) things because I want rather than need them. Don't get me wrong - I don't actually think this is a bad thing because some of my most favourite makes have resulted from this impulse and I bloody LOVE that about sewing. As I once said here, I love the idea of trying something that may or may not work and learning a few new skills along the way. But I was definitely curious to see if making this choice would change both the way I sew and what I sew. Well, short answer is that it has and hasn't. The warmer months were always going to be a piece of cake. Like the dressing part, I find summer sewing infinitely easier and my wardrobe very much reflects that. I knew the challenge would come in the cooler months and that's where I found myself right now. I rarely plan my sewing but I've been going through my patterns, Pinterest, Instagram, magazines and everything, taking stock of what I have and what I think I need. Last winter, I think I wore jeans pretty much every day in work and play. I had no winter dresses, no winter skirts, and by August I was muttering under my breath to those jeans like they were the annoying friend I didn't want to be friends with any more.
So my very first winter make (well, actually second) were these  black Anita Ponti Pants. Forgive the crappy, blue-tinged iPhone pic. These were tricky to photograph not least because I was photographing them on myself. Like these two, I made them more leggings than pants and just basically fitted the hell out of them. The fabric - our Nero Coated Ponti - has a subtle sheen that gives it a neoprene/wet look without the bulk and because I wanted them to bunch around my ankles, I added 20cm to the length.
And so onto Grainline's Driftless Cardigan. I looooved this pattern from the get go. I am a HUGE fan of the cardy and all its layering virtues so after stalking all the other ace Driftless', I set my fabric finding goals on a beefy knit, something with both texture and body. The fabric I eventually chose is actually the wrong side of Secrets of Charcoal Lace (also available in Ivory) - so we're calling it double sided! It's a bonded grey knit with cotton/wool/nylon and acrylic lace.
Because it's bonded with the lace, there's actually very little give or stretch so I wasn't sure it would actually work. But hey (and yay!) it did! I went with the smallest size which gives nicely fitted arms and instead of slipstitching the front band closed, I just went with the lazy option of overlocking. The only other change I made was to shorten the sleeve length by an inch. I went with view A, sans buttons. I may or may not add some down the track, so I ironed on some lightweight fusing on the  lower button band in case I change my mind down the track.
From a review point, I can tell you that this is a pretty fantastic pattern. Not only does it look great but it comes together quickly and the instructions are true to Grainline's form - clear and easy to follow. I will also tell you to try really hard to avoid making mistakes with a knit because unpicking a fabric like this takes ALL the patience and uses ALL the swear words. 
I'm wearing my new Driftless with (yet) another Mandy Boat Tee. My kid stole this one, so it's pretty much exactly the same but longer in both body and sleeves.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Great British Sewing Bee - Season 4: Episode 1

Grab your preferred beverage of choice and enjoy! We'll post links to further episodes over on our Facebook page.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Anita's Self Drafted Top and Skirt

Anita (who prepares all your online orders) made this fabulous, bias cut, eight panel skirt with side pockets in our Italian cotton corduroy 'Flockette Spot' (limited stock available Tessuti Surry Hills only). The camisole is made up in textured 'Crimped Nero' silk (available Tessuti Surry Hills and Melbourne).
The rather fabulous rainbow coloured, metal teeth zipper was picked up overseas.
Both camisole and skirt patterns were drafted from two of her favourite RTW garments. If you live in Sydney and are interested to learn how to draft a pattern from your favourite garment, join one (or two) of our 'Take A Pattern from Your Favourite Garment' classes at Tessuti Surry Hills store. The possibilities are endless!

Saturday, May 14, 2016

My Teal Brooklyn

Here's my version of our latest pattern, the Brooklyn Coat.
After swathing myself (yes, you swathe a LOT when you work in a fabric shop) in every one of our new boiled wools, I finally chose Teal because (a) It's not black (b) It looks excellent with black and (c) LOOK at that colour!
The collar is closed with this fancy pin. I'm 160cm (5'3") so I made the Petite size, and shortened the sleeves by a couple of centimetres so that they finish just above my wrist.
With its raw edges, this coat really is a cruisy, quick sew. Remember, there are no buttons, no buttonholes, no overlocking and no lining so once cut, this is easily a straight 2-4 hour sew (depending on your skill level).
So what do you think of those back pockets? Most people (myself included!) have done a double take on them but let me assure you that after wearing it for a week, they've served some fine purpose in the phone/keys/dog treat department. And hey, if butt pockets on a coat aren't your thing, you can always leave them off.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

NEW :: Brooklyn Coat Pattern

Twelve months ago to the day, we released our Sydney Jacket pattern. The response was phenomenal (thank you!) and we hope you love this new pattern just as much. 
Brooklyn Coat in Plum Tepore
Meet our Brooklyn Coat. This oversized, boxy design features dropped shoulders and a fold over collar with front and back patch pockets. The full length sleeves are finished with a turned cuff. 
The raw edge coat can be worn loosely open or secured with a decorative pin for extra toasty neck warmth. It really is the perfect cover up for the autumn/winter months and ideal for layering too.
Brooklyn Coat in Slate Tepore
The Brooklyn Coat is best made up in boiled wools and also suitable for ponti, boiled felted wools and neoprene fabrics. The pattern is now available in both hardcopy and PDF print-at-home/copy shop versions and pattern includes Australian sizes XXS through to XL.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

NEW :: Helga Shirt Pattern

Meet Helga - our latest Tessuti pattern! About ten weeks ago we put up this photo (below) of Helga on Instagram
Helga (the customer - not the shirt ;-) had taken her pattern - modified to suit her shape - from an original Silva design that she'd purchased in one of her boutiques many, many years ago. And this shirt was the beautiful result. After publishing the photo, we had SO many requests for the pattern that we decided to answer the call. So here she is, named after our inspiration (of course!).  

This oversized shirt is a winning combination of loose, comfortable and stylish. The pattern includes two options - collarless (View A) and mandarin-style collar (View B). 
Helga Shirt in Black Crush
Features include a swing back and side seams that angle to the front and finish with a clever stepped hem.
The shirt can be easily dresssed up or down, and looks great with both skinny or wide legged pants. Suitable fabrics for the Helga Shirt include linen, cotton, lightweight wool, wool crepe and firmer silks (e.g. dupion and taffeta).
Our Helga Shirt pattern comes with all sizes (AUS sizing) XXS, XS, S, M, L and XL included. 
Due to the width of the back pattern piece, only sizes XXS, XS and S can be cut out on narrow width fabrics (112cm)

The pattern is now available in both hardcopy and PDF print-at-home/copy shop versions and pattern includes Australian sizes XXS through to XL.

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