Sunday, February 21, 2016

put a peplum on it: stylish dress book 2 box top hack

If you've been reading our blog for a while, you might remember last year, when we were all about the box dress? Well, after a short hiatus, we are back on it, but this time we are hacking it into a peplum top. Oh, how we love a simple but versatile pattern, and Stylish Dress Book 2 pattern D is still a total winner.

For a few years, I've been gently begging my daughter Audrey to see if she'd like me to make her a few clothes again. She's 12 now and, understandably, has firm ideas about what she likes to wear so I didn't want to push the issue. Recently, she said she'd like a top with a slight frill at the bottom - so I started up the mother-made campaign once more. She tried on one of my box t-shirts (not blogged) and asked if we could modify it. Um, YES!

So, off we went. The Dress D pattern is as straightforward as it gets - just a front and a back with no darts or fastenings - so it really lends itself to modification. We had just 1m of this soft denim to work with, so we cut the pattern to top length (around 50cm from shoulder to hem). The denim we used is now sold out, but this style would work with any slightly drapey lightweight fabric.

Audrey wanted a slightly high-low hem, so once I'd done the shoulder and side seams, I chalked-up then cut the front of the top, as in the dinky wee diagram above. The back hem remained straight. We also cut the front neckline down by about 1.5cm, as we find it sits a little high.

To make the peplum, we cut a long strip (about 1m long by 15cm wide - against the grain, living on the edge!) from the remaining fabric. I gathered it to her liking, chopped off the remainder, pinned then sewed it to the bottom of the shirt, right sides together, and hemmed it. The raw edges at the arms and neck of this top are finished with bias trim - we used some pre-made tape because there was nowt left of our scant metre of fabric to make our own.

The verdict? It's been worn twice. VOLUNTARILY. I'm taking that as a win. I think girls of this age can present a bit of a sewing challenge - there are not many pattern makers who cater specifically for kids that aren't quite teenagers yet, and this age group are mostly not interested in wearing clothes suited to younger girls. The Japanese sewing books offer some great solutions for simple and adaptable garments, and the smallest sizes can often work well for 10-12 year olds (though they can tend to be quite loose styles, so a muslin will help with your fit). For reference, Audrey is very tall for her age at 171cm, and she wanted to have this top extra loose. We made the size M with no added seam allowance.

Also, I'm reliably informed that it's suitable for spinning. :)

- Fiona + Jane xx

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Liberty Love: Tessuti Kate Top

With Summer still chugging along for most of us here in the Southern Hemisphere, it feels like there are still plenty of reasons to squeeze in a light, airy garment or two. And, really, a singlet is perfect late-Summer sewing fare: it's quick to sew, takes a relatively small amount of fabric and can easily be teamed with a cardigan as the weather changes. If you need any further convincing, may I suggest Liberty?

I'd been quite taken by the Tessuti Kate Top when I'd seen it do the round of the internets late last year. It's a nice boxy style singlet but with some extra details that make it a little more spesh. Kate comes in two versions - mine is option B which features a highline neck plus back opening with button-loop, as opposed to option A's lower, scooped neck. I hoped that the higher neckline would work with my broad shoulders and be good mates with two other wardrobe staples: my favourite black Grainline Moss Skirt and jeans. And it is! So I made two.

My first version was made from this slightly texured Moda Crossweave in Chalk with no modifications to the pattern. The slightly cropped length really works with a light yet substantial fabric like this one that emphasises the boxy shape a bit. The lovely ladies over at Bombazine suggested that the Kate is at her best in a more structured fabric, and I reckon they're onto something there. 

Having said that, for my second Kate in Liberty Curly Whirly I added an inch to the length to accommodate the extra drape of the Liberty (and so I could wear it comfortably with jeans). This is a great pattern for getting a little bit of Liberty to go a long way - Kate can be cut from 90cm of Tana Lawn (although I cut a metre of this one to allow for the extra length)

It's pretty much impossible to see the mitred corners and deep hem around the size slits with this busy pattern, but they are there!

Aaaand from the back. I can pull this on and off with the button done up, but the little loop and opening give such a nice finish. Plus the inside of the opening is finished with a really neat little facing. Most pleasing!

Kate comes together really quite smoothly. Tessuti directions are always easy to follow with large photographs of each step, and I found the size to be true to my measurements. We don't sell the Tessuti patterns in store, but Kate is available direct from them as a PDF download (with both home and copy shop print options thankfully!) or paper pattern.

- Fiona & Jane xx

Monday, February 8, 2016

please ignore this post - Bloglovin' requirement

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Summer Liberty Love

We recently received our summer delivery of Liberty Tana Lawns here at The Drapery, and they've inspired some serious drooling.

They're amazing fabrics and yes, they're on the pricey side, but don't let them intimidate you. Simple garments can be the best way to showcase a Liberty print. The width of the fabric (137cm) means a little can go a surprisingly long way. As far as 'special' fabrics go Liberty is extremely easy-care, being a fine cotton, so you can wash and wear your Liberty garments all summer long. Don't just save them for best! To keep your colours as vibrant as possible, hang to dry out of direct sun.

Fiona and I of course consider it our duty to demonstrate some of the uses of Liberty for your inspiration. Here's the simple, lovely and comfortable Roberts Collection Top (pattern by Marilla Walker) in Liberty 'Melting Elements'.
(The elements were indeed a bit melty this day so excuse the wrinkles.) Worn with perennial favourite Grainline Moss Skirt.
This pattern comes together quickly, and the Liberty takes beautifully to the flat-felled seams required, which give a lovely finish. Just one metre was required for this top, and it could even be eked out of 70cm if a different fabric was used for the facings.

I just can't seem to get enough of this pattern, and it's not even one we sell in the shop so there's no reason for me to be plugging it except to say it's awesome! (View B is on my wish-list now.)

Here's another version of the Roberts Top made from a soft, yarn-dyed Japanese check cotton, and the back view showing the seaming that adds interest to an otherwise very simple shape.

This one's been in very high rotation this summer, usually with Deer and Doe Chataigne Shorts, so it is great to welcome a Liberty version into my wardrobe.

What's your ideal Liberty garment?

- Jane & Fiona xx