Thursday, 2 August 2018

More July sewing

I didn't get a tremendous amount more sewn between my last post and the end of July. Partly this was because it continued to be hot for quite a while (it has now cooled down to much more manageable North-of-England-typical weather, thank goodness) and then partly because of a pretty serious but hopefully temporary downgrade in my health, which included keeling over in my local supermarket last week. (For reference, this latter experience is 0/10, do not recommend in the slightest.)

On a happier note though, I did manage to sew a bit around the weather and illness and the two things I finished in July were really great! I've held off on posting them because my photos were really terrible but honestly, I'm not going to get better photos any time soon.

Simplicity 8014 -- pattern cover and line drawing
Thus, first: Simplicity 8014. This has been on my radar since it first came out because it seemed to be my platonic ideal of a shirtdress. I love the idea of classic shirt-waist dresses but I dislike the gathered waists so often seen on patterns. S8014 has a circle skirt type skirt which adds a lot less bulk to my nearly-non-existent waist. I really loved this pattern and my finished dress and I'm pretty sure this is only the first of several versions that I'll make. :D

This dress is made in a light-weight, 100% cotton shirting, in navy/dark blue with a pattern of dots and large circles that look sort of like a moon.

Close-up of the fabric/colour -- I also was pleased with how my collar turned out, which isn't a given as I often struggle with collars/collar stands
There are lots of reviews online for this pattern, though mainly for views C and D, like the cover model. I also like those views a lot too and may make view D, with the curved hem, later in the year. However, on this occasion I made view B, except with the full collar from view A. I made absolutely no other design changes, and only one construction change, which was that I did a double yoke at the back with the "burrito" method, because I much prefer the clean finish you get inside if you do so.

I made a size 16 through the shoulder and neck opening, and then used a size 18 from the armhole downwards. Remarkably, the shoulder width came up more or less perfectly with only that change. I did my usual square shoulder and rounded back adjustments. I love how rounded back adjustments work with back yokes -- so much nicer than sewing in shoulder darts!

Simplicity 8014 View B on Flossie -- I know it looks really drop waisted here, but that's because Flossie is not proportioned like me.
The biggest alteration I did was to add 4cm (~1.5 inches) in length between the bottom of the armscye and the bust point, which both lowered the bust point to the right place and moved the waist down to my actual waist. This seems like a huge alteration and it's also kind of an improvised alteration, in the sense that mostly people recommend that you add length below the bust point not above. However, as it happens the total extra length I need from shoulder to waist is almost exactly the same distance as the extra length I need from shoulder to bust point, so: two birds, one stone. I think the dress looks really drop-waisted on my tailor's dummy, Flossie. I think it's right on me though. I have such an ill-defined waist it's honestly hard to tell, but it feels about right to me (in the photo below, the second button down from my hand holding the camera straddles the waist seam-line).

The only other fit adjustment I made was that, once it was at the point where I could baste the side seams, I found I wanted a little extra space at the waist. It fit OK as I basted it at the correct seam width... until I sat down, and then the buttons pulled at centre front at waist level. I HATE that as a fit outcome. In the end I sewed the seams at about 0.5cm at the point where the bodice and skirt meet to give myself some extra width, and that seemed to do the trick in terms of giving me the ease I wanted.

Horrible quality mirror selfie -- sorry about that!
The actual sewing was easy but, like all collared shirt-type garments, had quite a few time-consuming steps. I really liked the way this pattern went together, and I especially liked the way the little tuck on the short sleeve was achieved. I also really like how it looks on me, and how it moves when I'm wearing it. I think it looks slightly more vintage/old-fashioned than I was quite prepared for but it's still definitely one of my favourite things I've made this year.

In conclusion: This is a really nice pattern, and I am pretty sure I will make this view again as well as the other view in the package.

The other thing I made in July couldn't be simpler from a pattern perspective. This one was all about finding something that fit on a small piece of really great fabric.

My skirt, using a home dec fabric and New Look 6035

I bought 1m of this very expensive linen/cotton home dec fabric earlier this year with the plan of making a skirt. It was a total splurge and I spent like a week putting it in my virtual shopping basket and taking it out again. I eventually pulled the trigger, and was so pleased I did when the real thing turned up in the post. I absolutely love this fabric.

Wardrobe pattern New Look 6035 -- I used view D, an A-line skirt.

Up to now, I've always used small cuts of fabric like this to make straight skirts. I've tried out various patterns but I didn't get a huge amount of wear out of any of the garments I made. Thinking about why that was, I decided I just really don't like how straight skirts look on me. I know they are meant to be universally flattering or something, but I feel like narrow skirts make me look even more top heavy than I actually am. Plus, I often feel like my stride is restricted when I wear them.

This time round, I decided I would try to find a simple A-line skirt pattern with not too much flare and see if I liked it better. I didn't want the A shape to be too pronounced partly because of the look I wanted to achieve but also because I didn't have much fabric AND the print was directional, and a wider skirt wouldn't have fit

After rummaging through my stash I came up with New Look 6035. I'm pretty sure I bought this pattern for the jacket but that's no reason not to try the skirt! It's a three piece pattern -- a front/back skirt piece and two differently shaped countoured yokes for the front and back. Super simple. I made my version about 5cm longer but that was my only change to a basic size 16. The pattern also calls for a lapped zip, but I put an invisible zip in because I prefer them.

Finished skirt on me
The fabric has a lot less give in it than most garment fabrics I use. The waist fits fine, but it's a tiny bit snug over the upper hip and it didn't really loosen up with wear the way a cotton-linen fabric made for the garment market would. It's fine, but it's something I'll bear in mind if I make this skirt again and/or use it for another home dec fabric. I've already worn this more than most of the straight skirts I've made in the past and I like it a LOT, so I think this could be a good go-to pattern for small cuts of great fabric.

(Meanwhile, am I the only person with slight qualms about home dec fabric? I mean, I love this fabric and I don't regret making a skirt of it, but there's always that very slight danger that someone will suddenly go all Sound of Music and be like: you're wearing my living room curtains!)

That concludes my July sewing and also, I think, my summer sewing. Summer is actually still going strong here, and normally I don't switch over to more autumnal clothes for at least another 6 weeks. Although I originally had a few other things planned for this season though I feel kind of over it all, and so, once I start feeling better, I am going to move on to thinking about next season.


  1. I have so many thoughts about S8014! IMO it is so much nicer than the uber-popular M6696(?). I agree that it's a tiny bit retro but somehow, in a modern way. Your fabric is really beautiful up close! The tuck on the sleeve is a nice touch and was handled well in the pattern.

    That skirt fabric is lovely. It sort of looks like leaves, then like birds and I love the colors.

    I've never used Home Dec for garments but I can see it working well for a skirt or jacket.

    Best wishes on improved health. I may squeak out a couple of summer garments but I am ready to sew for fall. I have SO many things that I want!

    1. I agree completely with your retro-but-modern description. It's definitely got a classic look to it but I don't feel like I'm cosplaying the way I would do if I were wearing a more stereotypically "vintage" pattern.

      I have a lot of home dec stash because I had a source for small cuts for bag making back when that was my main thing and I bought LOADS. It does make great bags but just from playing with my existing stash I know already that it often doesn't have the kind of drape I am looking for in garment making, and very often the texture is not anything you'd want against your skin either. I buy a lot of fabric online, including the piece I made up here, and it was definitely a risk to buy home dec based on photos with the idea I would make garments because it could so easily have turned out badly.

      My autumn list is CRAZY and has so many complicated garments on it (outerwear! as usual!) so I am quite happy to get started on it early :D

  2. Love your skirt, and amazingly I have that pattern! I may have to try it for myself.

    About using home dec fabrics for clothes, I remember reading/hearing about a woman who made a suit from home dec fabric and was very pleased with how it turned out. Until she walked into a hotel for a meeting and the lobby was decorated with the same fabric she was wearing, walls, upholstery, drapes etc. Apparently, she fled and never wore the suit again. That story (true or not) has stopped me from sewing with home dec fabrics.

    I think the story was on the back page of a Threads magazine.