Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Boiled Wool Shrug - free tutorial

We have some luscious boiled wools in stock at The Drapery right now, and have put together a free tutorial for possibly the easiest garment you'll ever make!

Searching for boiled wool inspiration, we came across this simple and lovely shrug by Manda of Treefall Design, who was inspired by a ready-to-wear piece. We whipped up a couple of prototypes in the shop and arrived at this which takes just a 75cm cut of fabric and three straight seams. Edges can all be left raw because boiled wool does not fray!

75cm x boiled wool, ours is 150cm wide
- would also work in wool knit fabric such as this Japanese wool blend (or this one) and this Merino Rib
Gutermann Sew-All thread in matching colour

Cut about 50 - 55cm in from each selvedge so you have 2 pieces approx. 50 x 75cm, each with a 75cm fluffy selvedge. The piece from the middle is spare so you can use it for another project, or perhaps to embellish your shrug.

Pin your pieces together along the 75cm non-selvedge edges. Using a small zigzag stitch, sew with approx. 1cm seam allowance.
Open the joined pieces out flat and fold in half longways, with the raw edges of the seam you just stitched on the outside. Pin and sew the selvedge ends, leaving 20cm open at the fold on each end. These will be the arm holes.

Set your iron to 'wool' and use plenty of steam to press all the seams open. Turn so seams are inside. You're finished!

 There is no 'right way up' and the fabric will naturally fall to create a small shawl collar.

If you'd like to embellish your shrug, you could try stitching the seam allowances down with Valdani Perle Cotton, or perhaps binding the open edge with pretty homemade bias tape.

Of course you can play around with the dimensions of the shrug, and use more of the width, or a longer cut to suit your personal preferences!

We were even more pleased when we worked out the shrug could be made with this grey boiled wool we have in stock which has some tiny faults down its centre.

The supplier offered it to us at a greatly reduced price and we thought it would be a shame for such beautiful quality wool to go to waste. So come and grab a bargain! The pattern as specified above works perfectly to remove the faults.

If you're interstate and wish to buy a quantity that's not a multiple of half-metres as our website requires, please feel free to call us during opening hours - W-F 10am-4pm, Sat 12-4 - on 08 7324 5883 and order over the phone.

- Jane & Fiona xx

PS why not make an underappreciated dog-coat with the leftovers?

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Pattern Review: Marilla Walker Roberts Collection View C dress in Art Gallery Denim

My love for the Marilla Walker Roberts Collection pattern goes on! Honestly I hope she's sold a shipload of these because I feel like I've had my money's worth from this one pattern many times over. (See View A jumpsuit here and View D top here.) View C is a dress with overall/dungaree-style bib and straps, and I made version C2, the longer length.
I used a fabulous new vibrant blue denim we recently got in from Art Gallery Fabrics, who seem to be moving more and more into garment fabrics, much to our joy! At time of writing there are just 2 metres of this left but we do have rather a lot of other denims in at the moment, any of which would also work well for this pattern.

For the bib lining I used some precious Marimekko 'Unikko' fabric from my stash. One of those large flowers fitted beautifully and little glimpses of the lining during wear make me happy. It's also inside the pockets.
This marked my first foray into applying jeans-style snaps to fabric and I'm glad to say it was a success. Snaps on all the things now!

I bought these snaps and the setting tools from the Needle Nook at Highgate. The instructions blithely suggest you 'hit lightly with a hammer', which had the result of nothing happening at all. Instead I recommend you belt it with all your might, many times, and offer up a prayer to the sewing hardware gods that your finger and thumb stay out of the way.

I topstitched in yellow and I have to say using a proper topstitching needle in the machine really does make a big difference. (Using the proper tool for the job... who'd have thought?)
 I know this garment is a basic I will be wearing a lot in all weather, with few or many layers.

It's certainly not a million miles away from the Apron Dress (pattern G) from Stylish Dress Book 2 which I made pretty much exactly a year ago and have thrashed (worn back then with same Alabama Chanin top!). As a comparison, I am loving having the very functional pockets and the extra details of the snaps in the Roberts dress, and the narrow straps make this feel like a kind of 'updated' apron style.
As an overalls fan from way back, I find myself wanting to reach for a front bib pocket! So there may be another of these in my future with a traditional front pocket.

Roberts Collection by Marilla Walker, View C2
 100% cotton Textured Denim by Art Gallery Fabrics in Bluebottle Field, Marimekko cotton for pocket and bib linings. The main fabric requirements stated were spot-on at 1.7m of 150cm wide fabric for this version.
At first I cut a size 3 graded to 4 at the hips which is the size that works for me in the jumpsuit. However this version is designed with a lot more ease, and in this substantial fabric looked too baggy. I spent some quality time with my unpicker and cut it down to a straight size 3 and am very happy with the fit - I advise to note the finished measurements listed on the pattern!
If your fabric has a bit of give in it, you may with to use a stabiliser e.g. light interfacing along the seamlines of the front and back bibs to prevent stretching out of shape:
Check sizing as mentioned above. Also, snaps are more decorative than necessary for function so straps and side opening could be sewn down if you find fastenings intimidating. Other than that it's quite a straightforward, very achievable sew with a forgiving fit.

In summary, I love it!

- Jane & Fiona xx

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Easter trading hours

For those of you planning to visit our bricks and mortar store over the next few weeks, please be aware that we will be closed over the Easter long weekend.
March 25th, Good Friday: CLOSED
Saturday, March 26th: CLOSED
We regularly close Sun/Mon/Tues, so from the following Wednesday (March 30), our trading hours resume as usual: open Wednesday to Friday 10am to 4pm and Saturdays 12-4.
Our online shop will remain open throughout the holiday period.
We are open normal hours until then, so come on in and stock up for your long-weekend sewing projects. Wishing all our customers a safe and happy Easter!
- Fiona & Jane xx

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Pauline Alice Rosari Skirt

Here's a great little wardrobe basic that we highly recommend: the Rosari Skirt by Spanish designer Pauline Alice.
As described on the pattern envelope: "Classic and inspired by the 70s, the Rosari skirt will be your best friend all year round. Mini or midi length, it is so versatile and goes with everything. With 4 pocket options: A - rounded with coin pocket, B - patch pocket, C - inverted pleat patch pocket with flap, D - zipped pocket."

The myriad of pocket options was one of the things that really drew us to this pattern. I'd like to try them all!
This time I opted for the mini length with zip pockets at the front and patch pockets at the back, made up in sturdy 10oz traditional dark denim.

 Let me tell you the insertion of those zip pockets was one of those incredibly satisfying sewing moments. You know, when you think 'yes, I really made that!' It's not too tricky, the instructions guide you through it very well, and the result not only looks great but is very practical. I can carry the essentials like phone, hanky and lip balm without fear of them falling out!

A note about sizing: at first I made a muslin of the size 44 since that seemed closest to my measurements. This skirt is designed to sit at the 'natural waist' i.e. the narrowest part of your torso. For me, this occurs pretty much at the bottom of my ribcage and well above my navel, which is not where I like to wear my waistbands! To get the fit I wanted, I had to size up to the largest size, 48. So bear in mind the Finished Measurements given on the envelope and match the waist size to where you'd like the skirt waistband to sit.
Whilst this means the pattern's sizing errs on the rather small side, I believe the simple shape of the pattern pieces would mean the Rosari Skirt would not be difficult to grade up using a slash & spread technique.

The picture below shows the insides of the skirt: I French seamed the pocket bags and flat felled the back and side seams to add extra polish to what was already a very neat interior.

 I added the optional belt loops and just need to find the perfect 70s style skinny belt now!
The mini or midi length Rosari Skirt would be great in any fabric with a decent amount of structure to hold the A-line shape. Midi-length in a woven wool, with lining added, would be a wonderful winter wardrobe addition. Meanwhile I know I'll wear this denim Rosari all the time, all year, on its own or layered with stockings or leggings.

A big thumbs up for the Pauline Alice Rosari Skirt!

- Jane & Fiona xx