I’ve been thinking about what I post and write about on this blog, and I came to the conclusion that I should try and be a little more thorough in the details of what I make, especially for things I haven’t seen much around the internet. I certainly appreciate those bloggers who go the extra mile to give honest information on sizing and fabric requirements and so on, so I’m going to try to be equally useful. I like to think that my reason for blogging is to be helpful to others in the way that sewing blogs have helped me improve my sewing over the years, rather than just showing off on the internet. I’ve never been 100% comfortable putting pictures of myself up online, but one of the best things (I think) about sewing blogs is that you are seeing handmade items (which is a whole other best thing) on people of every single shape and size and I think that is wonderful and valuable, especially when the visuals we get from magazines and television are so very homogenous and frankly, judgemental. Hooray to that!
(The other side of this of course, is if you try and add my images to your judgemental and sexist ‘women look better in this rather than that’ flickr group I will block you. End of story.)
Sorry! Brain dump. Let’s get to the sewing part… (long post is long)
I have to admit to being a complete copy-cat with this top. I’ve had the Drape Drape books sitting on my bookshelf for at least a year, but it took seeing Sew Busy Lizzy’s lovely version to give me a kick up the pants to make one. Screw the sewing queue!
I’m going to call this a next level tee-shirt. It looks super complicated and elaborate but it is actually really easy to pull together. The hardest part of this was tracing the pattern (in three parts in a Burda-esque mess of lines) and finding a big enough surface to cut it out on – I could just fit it on my dining room table but certainly not on my cutting mat! The actual sewing part is dead easy – 3 seams, hemming the sleeves and hem, and finishing the neckline. I did the whole thing (including tracing and cutting) in less than 3 hours.
It helps of course that with something like this fitting isn’t quite the issue it is with other items. If your arms fit and your hips fit it is a-okay. HOWEVER, because this is a Japanese pattern the sizing is very small. I did the largest size (it comes in two sizes – S-M and M-L) and I’m the equivalent (roughly) of an Australian 8 / US 6. If you needed it bigger, Sew Brunswick explained her method here (and doesn’t it look fabulous on her? I think this is one of those patterns that is universally flattering and elegant).
The pattern piece looks bizarre (see bad iPhone pic above) but actually makes perfect sense once you take a minute to work out what is where. The Drape Drape books are out in English now (which is the version I have), but from what I saw the original versions as well as the English one mostly rely on illustrations to show you what to do (I have to admit I didn’t really use the instructions – just skimmed over them and then made it as I would normally make a tee-shirt). If you have made a tee-shirt before I think you would be fine.
The fabric requirements are 1.5m long by 1.5m wide, but I *just* got this out of 1.1m (with a slight change in grain) – I think you’d want 1.25m to be safe. I made this in the most amazingly silky smooth and drapey viscose jersey that I got (ahem) from my fabric buying binge in The Fabric Store’s 50% off sale recently. It really is lovely – we were all petting it in the store. Something this drapey works really well for this shirt – I’ve since made it in a normal cotton knit and it doesn’t look anywhere near as good, nor feel as nice on. If you do make this it’s worth keeping this in mind – the silkier and drapier the fabric, the easier the drapes fall over the body rather than gripping on to your skin or underwear.
Not sure if it is a quirk of my particular physiology, but when I wear it the shoulder seams do sit at least an inch backwards off my shoulders, but it is actually a good thing or the neckline would in no way be suitable for work. If you aren’t as happy with low necklines as I am you can easily modify the pattern to reduce it. I did also change the ‘normal’ sleeve side to sit more like the other (tighter and a little more angled) rather than how it was drafted, just because it felt more balanced. This is easy enough to do – just hack a bit more off with the overlocker after trying it on to see how it sits.
I really like this top – the draping means it just feels a little more dressy than your run-of-the-mill tee-shirt, it hides all manner of ills and/or large lunches, but it doesn’t take much actual effort… Sometimes a lazy but fantastic project is just what you need.
Now that I’ve gone on and on about the top, I don’t feel like I have many words left for the skirt!
This is another Burdastyle Jenny pencil skirt (I really have got my money’s worth out of this pattern) made in another of the ikats I got from B&J Fabrics. Because I spend half the year in tights (in work’s arctic air-con) I bothered to line it with a silk cotton blend (hot pink of course) – I used the same pattern pieces as the outer skirt, and just changed the darts to pleats to allow more movement, a trick I picked up somewhere on the interwebs (sorry, I don’t remember where). Because I forgot when I was cutting out, this skirt has a slit rather than a kick pleat (and I notice from the photos that I forgot to tack the lining down so it doesn’t show, oops) but the skirt is perfectly lovely and serviceable anyway. But: I haven’t worn it much, which is a pity. I’m realising that the pencil skirts I reach for are the ones that have stretch in them, probably because sitting for 10 hours a day is more comfortable in stretchy waistbands. I’ll have to try and remember that if I ever allow myself to go fabric shopping again (hahahahaha).
- Top: No. 4 from Drape Drape 2 (English version), size M-L, slight change to sleeve shape
- Made from 1.1m grey marle viscose jersey from The Fabric Store (half price – yeeeessssss!)
- Skirt: Burdastyle Jenny in size 36, waistband shortened, used slightly smaller SA because using a woven
- Made in appx .75m of Japanese cotton ikat from B&J Fabrics, lined in silk cotton blend (it was Donna Karan so a bit of a waste) from The Fabric Store
- Shoes: Seychelles from Anthropologie