Wednesday, October 29, 2014

FROCKTOBER - frocks we love: The Dress Shirt, Merchant and Mills

We're celebrating FROCKTOBER at The Drapery, 
to kick-start your spring and summer sewing!
When you buy any dress pattern plus the fabric to make it, we'll take 10% off the price 
(in store or online using code 'FROCKTOBER' at checkout). 
Plus, we've teamed up with the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation
and for every pattern + fabric combo sold we'll donate $2 to this great cause.




We are almost over and out with Frocktober, but for this one last post about a frock we love: The Merchant and Mills Dress Shirt.

Inspired by the shape of a classic men's shirt, the dress shirt is a loose-fitting frock with a bib front and shirt tail hem. It's one of those garments that is easy to throw on over leggings or worn alone, and it really comes into its own when sewn out of lightweight fabrics like linen or chambray.

The Dress Shirt, like other Merchant and Mills patterns we have tried (our review of The Factory Dress is here if you missed it), is a straight-forward sew, but with a few lovely extra details. I often end up learning a clever technique with these patterns. The pattern diagrams are charmingly hand drawn, and it really is worth paying attention to them as they often include small details not present in the written instructions.  


Our version was cut into a tunic length so most of the shirt tail hem was omitted. We used the mid-length sleeve, but there's a short option in there as well. The pattern covers UK sizes 8-18, which seem roughly the same as Australian sizes - it's a loose frock, so there's no precision fitting involved.

There are some gorgeous versions of this pattern doing the rounds of the internets, like this beautiful subtly striped version from Harmony and Rosie. And how about this smoky grey version over at Merchant and Mills? Oh yeah!

Our Dress Shirt was made from a hemp/organic cotton/wool blend fabric that we don't have in stock at the moment (hopefully back in soon), but any of our linens, or organic cotton/hemp fabrics would come up an absolute treat as The Dress Shirt. Our range of Merchant and Mills enzyme washed linens (1, 2) are a match made in heaven for this pattern.

Here's the pattern cover & back:



Don't forget our 10% FROCKTOBER discount applies to pattern + fabric purchases until October 31! In our online shop, just enter the code 'FROCKTOBER' at checkout.

- Fiona & Jane xx
 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

FROCKTOBER - frocks we love: The Box Dress, View D, Stylish Dress Book 2


We're celebrating FROCKTOBER at The Drapery, 
to kick-start your spring and summer sewing!
When you buy any dress pattern plus the fabric to make it, we'll take 10% off the price 
(in store or online using code 'FROCKTOBER' at checkout). 
Plus, we've teamed up with the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation
and for every pattern + fabric combo sold we'll donate $2 to this great cause.

Today's Frock We Love is a pattern that seems too simple to be true. It's one we've found ourselves reaching for again and again when summer is so hot you just barely want anything touching your skin (but don't want to run around naked in public).

The pattern book is the second Stylish Dress Book by Yoshiko Tsukiori, which has been translated into English. View D is the dress that features on the cover, and it lends itself to many different fabrics and improvised variations. With just three or four pattern pieces (front, back, sleeve and neck facing or, as we have used, self-bias binding), this dress whips up in no time. There are no bust darts but plenty of room in the chest area thanks to the dropped-shoulder armscye.

Here are some versions we have made:
 We have similar large checks in Japanese cotton here and here.
Cutting error turned into design feature with front seam :)
This is a brown linen from last summer which is similar to the Merchant & Mills Oxblood washed linen in store now.
This natural linen with brown check is still available, and it's even on sale.  This version ended up a bit big so a front gathering strip (inspired by a customer's RTW dress detail) and sleeve tabs were added.
 Sleeveless - excellent for layering in all seasons. Fabric is Brumby by Australian designers Cloth.

A couple of tips for sewing up this pattern:
- The front neckline as drafted is quite high, so we have always cut it down a little lower. This is very easy to do after you've sewn the sides together and tried it on, so cut it as per the pattern and then you can adjust as you like and bind with a strip of bias.
- The sizing is quite generous but if you'd like a bit more room, this pattern is so simple that you can try placing the centre of your pattern piece (where it says to cut on fold of fabric) a few centimetres away from the fold to add a bit of width. You may wish to narrow down the neckline a little if you do this, so it doesn't end up too wide.
- Why not experiment with pockets? There's a pattern piece provided (as per the brown linen dress above), but you can use any size or placement that takes your fancy.
 
FROCKTOBER discount applies to Japanese pattern books when you also purchase enough fabric for one of the frocks.
 
- Jane & Fiona xx


Sunday, October 26, 2014

Pattern Review - Grainline Alder Shirtdress

We feel like we've been bombarding you a bit with this dress in the past few weeks. But we couldn't help one more post because after sewing it up, we're loving the Grainline Alder more than ever.

Please excuse the rumpled-after-a-full-day-of-wear photos, just keeping it real. Buttons down the front are a combination of vintage ones from my hoard practical stash.

This is View A made up in a washed 100% linen very similar to our Lithuanian 'Pinot'. (This actual fabric was brought home for me by my husband after a business trip to Ireland.)


I just squeezed this dress in Size 12 out of 1.5m of fabric (150cm wide). I'd say with 2m you could be pretty confident in cutting out either View A or B (which has the gathered skirt). Whilst my hip measurement put me more into the Size 14 range, I checked the Finished Garment Measurements (gotta love it when those are supplied as well as comprehensive body measurement sizing charts) and there was plenty of wearing ease allowed, so I went with my bust measurement at Size 12.

I considered taking out a little length at the 'lengthen/shorten here' line on the pattern because I am short-waisted. This adjustment often makes a pattern sit better on me at the waist/hips, but this loose shape didn't really need it. I think the length is just right on me (I am 5ft 3" or 163cm) so if you are taller, you may wish to add a bit of length.

There's a real level of professional detail in Grainline Studio's patterns. I have a great deal of faith in Jen Beeman's instructions, drafting and techniques and feel I learn from the experience of making up her patterns. For example, the armholes are bound in self-bias, which is something I have done quite often. Jen, however, asks for three extra steps which I truly think make for a more professional finish: grade the seam allowance after the first pass of sewing, clip into the seam allowance all around, and understitch seam allowance to binding strip before turning to the inside. It's more effort but ultimately, more satisfying. (I do believe there's a small typo in Step 18B where it says to grade seam allowance of bias down to 1/2" which I think should be 1/8".)


Another new-to-me technique was at Step 15, which is a nifty way to end up with very neat ends on the collar stand, where it joins to the button bands at the front of the dress. I could not make head nor tail of the written instructions or diagram (not a criticism, just that for me it was really a 'need to see it done' thing). So I headed to the Alder Sewalong posts on Jen's blog, where I found a link to the video she made for a previous pattern with the same technique. The video is mercifully short and to the point (anyone else want to rip their hair out at many sewing videos?), and with my own collar in hand and watching a couple of times, I grasped the idea. It's brilliant, and makes for the best-looking collar stand attachment I've ever achieved.

The inside of this dress is almost as lovely as the outside because the back yoke (see above) is fully lined and the only potentially 'raw' seams in View A are the two sides. So I French seamed them and this is probably the neatest garment I've ever made!

If you like the look of the Grainline Alder Shirtdress in washed linen, you can find the pattern and ideal washed linens in our online store or, of course, visit us in person at our sunny store.

Merchant & Mills washed linen in Silt Grey, Boston Fall or Scuttle Black
Merchant & Mills washed linen in Kandinsky Blue, Oxblood or Rodeo Blue
Lithuanian washed linen in Pinot
Lithuanian washed linen in Moss
Lithuanian washed linen in Vilnius Fog
Lithuanian washed linen in Soot

And don't forget our 10% FROCKTOBER discount applies to pattern + fabric purchases until October 31! In our online shop, just enter the code 'FROCKTOBER' at checkout.

- Jane & Fiona xx

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

FROCKTOBER - frocks we love: the Colette Laurel

 
 We're celebrating FROCKTOBER at The Drapery, 
to kick-start your spring and summer sewing!
When you buy any dress pattern plus the fabric to make it, we'll take 10% off the price 
(in store or online using code 'FROCKTOBER' at checkout). 
Plus, we've teamed up with the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation
and for every pattern + fabric combo sold we'll donate $2 to this great cause.
 
Another Colette frock from us on this FROCKTOBER day - today the Laurel.

If you've been in store looking to make a simple shift dress, you may have found us raving about this pattern. It's aimed at the beginner, but should by no means be overlooked by more experienced garment sewers either. The bust darts at the front coupled with a pair of double pointed darts in the back give this dress some subtle shaping without any fussy fitting. Laurel also works with a variety of fabrics and prints. Here she is as a sleeveless dress in our organic stretch denim:


 Laurel is incredibly versatile. Sleeves, without sleeves, blouse, dress, with a frill on the end of the sleeve, there are tons of variations. Plus the Colette website has a downloadable PDF full of Laurel extras - collars and other little details to give your frock a little more oomph. The Colette blog also recently featured this Laurel hack, which would look great with any of our linen fabrics.

This, also sleeveless, version was made in a soft cotton twill fabric from Surface Art (fabric available in store):


 And here is Laurel as a blouse, made up in some delicious Nani Iro double Gauze (fabric is here, all sold out in the blue colourway though).

 
For each of these versions, I modified the pattern slightly to omit the zip by subtracting the seam allowance along the centre back and cutting one back piece on the fold instead of  two pieces. The slightly wide neckline means the garment slips over your head fairly easily, so you don't even need to get out your machine's zipper foot.

We are currently sold out of the Laurel pattern, but it is on it's way! We expect it to be back in stock within a week or so. Because we love both Colette and the OCRF, we will extend the FROCKTOBER discount for this (and the new Colette frock pattern Dahlia) for an extra week, all details are in blue above.

- Fiona & Jane xx

Thursday, October 16, 2014

FROCKTOBER - frocks we love: Colette Myrtle


We're celebrating FROCKTOBER at The Drapery, 
to kick-start your spring and summer sewing!
When you buy any dress pattern plus the fabric to make it, we'll take 10% off the price 
(in store or online using code 'FROCKTOBER' at checkout). 
Plus, we've teamed up with the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation
and for every pattern + fabric combo sold we'll donate $2 to this great cause.



Today's frock we love is the Colette Myrtle - a pattern we've only had in stock for a month or so. 

Colette are one of the rockstars of the Indie pattern world, and for good reason. Designer Sarai produces classic, well drafted & finished patterns. Every step in a Colette pattern is clearly described and illustrated, plus more often than not there is further information for some techniques available on the Colette website. Each pattern is a little like a sewing lesson in itself - which makes their beginner patterns in particular an excellent option for those new to garment sewing.

 Colette has an excellent array of frock patterns to choose from, most of which we have in store.

Myrtle was designed to be sewn with both knit and woven fabrics. If you've never sewn with knits, there are loads of tips in the pattern about finishing and handling this sometimes-intimidating fabric. 


I made this Myrtle with our organic rib cotton knit. It's a weighty fabric but it worked well, especially for the drapey cowl neck. The construction is really interesting - the front bodice piece folds back on itself, giving a self lined front shell. The raw shoulder seams are sandwiched in between these two layers, such a nice touch. The only problem I had was that this method made it difficult to alter the size once the bodice is sewn. (Had I not been naughty and made a muslin, I would have discovered this. But after sewing a few Colette patterns I felt reasonably confident of my size. Oops). Even though I sewed the size slightly under my measurements to accommodate for the stretchiness of the knit, this still feels a little too roomy.

I'd read online that some people felt that the Myrtle arm holes were a little low, so I narrowed mine slightly as I was tracing off the pattern. I also veered away from the instructions when it came to inserting the elastic around the waist. The pattern has you sewing the casing on after the elastic. Perhaps the weightiness of the fabric I chose made this too bulky? In any case, I opted instead for the tried-and-true method of sewing the casing down first and inserting the elastic using a safety pin, and it worked out fine.

This is a great dress pattern. Made in knit, it is super comfy but the cowl neck makes it look more fancy than the comfort level makes it feel. This would sew up beautifully in a voile or, for a swish party dress, Liberty Tana lawn. There will be more Myrtles for me, to be sure, to be sure.

- Fiona & Jane xx

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

FROCKTOBER - frocks we love: Deer and Doe 'Belladone'


We're celebrating FROCKTOBER at The Drapery, 
to kick-start your spring and summer sewing!
When you buy any dress pattern plus the fabric to make it, we'll take 10% off the price 
(in store or online using code 'FROCKTOBER' at checkout). 
Plus, we've teamed up with the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation
and for every pattern + fabric combo sold we'll donate $2 to this great cause.

Today's frock we love is the Belladone by French pattern company Deer and Doe.

Here it is made up in our Echino cotton/linen teal dots, which shows how the structured shape of this dress lends itself well to mid-weight fabrics. The bodice is beautifully fitted with darts and front and back waist and at the bust, and features the lovely cutout/overlay at the back, which is nonetheless quite modest and requires no specialist underwear!

The skirt has back darts and front pleats and adds practicality to style with generous pockets, hooray.
Here's the pattern envelope:

This pattern is available in-store and whilst Deer and Doe has a policy of no online sales by their resellers (which we're fully supportive of), we will happily post this pattern around Australia if you call us (08 7324 5883) during business hours or email us. We also have most of the Deer and Doe range which you can view at their website, and you can see inspiring version of theur patterns sewn up by many fans in their Flickr pool.

Thank you to our lovely friend Erika for this beautiful sample Belladone we have in our shop!

- Jane & Fiona xx


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

FROCKTOBER - frocks we love: the Hazel by Victory Patterns

We're celebrating FROCKTOBER at The Drapery, 
to kick-start your spring and summer sewing!
When you buy any dress pattern plus the fabric to make it, we'll take 10% off the price 
(in store or online using code 'FROCKTOBER' at checkout). 
Plus, we've teamed up with the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation
and for every pattern + fabric combo sold we'll donate $2 to this great cause.

Today's 'frock we love' is the Hazel dress by Victory Patterns, the company of lovely Canadian Kristiann Boos. The sample in our shop window receives lots of admiration and we're delighted to have this pattern back in stock.
This really is a maximum-impact-for-effort sew, rated beginner and accessible to anyone who's comfortable sewing a bust dart and a few layers together at the neckline. This version was made sleeveless simply by omitting the sleeve and finishing the arm holes with self-fabric bias tape.

 Here's a slightly out-of-focus photo of the pattern cover:
 And a sharper view of the reverse:
And dress on human:
Making a muslin of the bodice would be advisable to check fit, and measure the pattern piece at hip level to ensure there's the right amount of wiggle room there.

Victory Patterns Hazel is available in store and on our web shop here. Both these linens are also available.

- Jane & Fiona xx

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

FROCKTOBER - frocks we love: The Alder Shirtdress

The frock of today just has to be the Alder Shirtdress by Grainline Studio, which has captured the attention of quite a few keen sewists here at The Drapery already. (Yikes, I see a second order coming on soon!)


But what a great-looking pattern, with two equally appealing variations.
There's a full sew-along with great photos and instructions from Jen Beeman, the pattern designer, on her Grainline blog.
Whilst the pattern only arrived here yesterday and we haven't had a chance to sew up any samples ourselves, we think the shaping looks quite forgiving (most important - get bust measurement correct and do a full bust adjustment if necessary). You can see a bunch of Alders on real-life sewists at the Grainline Flickr pool. (You can also see the Scout Tee and Archer Shirt, for which we have printed patterns available too.)
Without further ado, here's some fabric inspiration for your Alder:

 Chambray-type plains, taking their cue from the pattern cover.
Top - bottom: Hemp/organic cotton lightweight denim/chambray 150cm wide $38.50/m, Green/yellow cotton chambray 110cm wide $21.90/m, Essex cotton/linen in red 110cm wide $21/m, Navy textured cotton 110cm wide $24.10/m.
 Japanese light cottons and light cotton/linens.
Top - bottom: Chopsticks cotton 110cm wide $24.10/m, Happy Sweet Collection cotton lawn, 110cm wide $20.50/m, bottom two are 85% cotton 15% linen 'popling' (slight seersucker texture) $22.90/m.
And for a bit of luxe, how about delicious Liberty Tana Lawn?
Top - bottom: Mark, Osborne's, Capel and Kevin, all 137cm wide and $55/m.

And don't forget, any dress pattern & fabric combo is 10% off during FROCKTOBER!

Is the Alder on your spring/summer sewing list?

- Jane & Fiona xx

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

FROCKTOBER - frocks we love: The Washi Dress

We're celebrating FROCKTOBER at The Drapery, 
to kick-start your spring and summer sewing!
When you buy any dress pattern plus the fabric to make it, we'll take 10% off the price 
(in store or online using code 'FROCKTOBER' at checkout). 
Plus, we've teamed up with the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation
and for every pattern + fabric combo sold we'll donate $2 to this great cause.

We'll be posting here throughout the month with some pattern plus fabric suggestions for inspiration. We'll keep it brief, so it's easy for you to glance through and also, we'll be more likely to keep the posts coming!


THE WASHI DRESS from MADE BY RAE
 This pattern has had a lot of love around the sewing blog-o-sphere, and rightly so.  It's flattering, very comfortable, has pockets, is feminine without being too girly, and sews up beautifully in many, many different fabrics. Even quilting cotton, which is not often recommended for adult garments.
 Above is a sample from our shop sewn up in linen (now sold out, but plenty of other linens in store).
It was made from a pattern we graded up to a larger size, and showed you how in this post.
The bow tie neckline is from the Washi Dress Expansion Pack (download only), which offers sleeves and neck variations to make this dress even more versatile.

Fabric suggestions for your Washi - you will need 2.5 metres to make the dress as per the pattern cover:

100% cottons by Art Gallery Fabrics. These 'quilting cottons' are particularly soft and drapey and well suited to many garment projects.
 Japanese cottons and linen/cottons.
 Textured plains (cottons and linen/cottons).

You'll also need a small amount of lightweight interfacing (like our cotton woven fusible interfacing), plus shirring elastic or narrow elastic for the back.

For more inspiration, see the dress made and worn by real people from all over the world in the Washi Dress Photo Pool on Flickr.

- Jane & Fiona xx