Thursday, December 14, 2017

2017 Christmas/New Year trading hours

We'll be open our usual trading hours right up to 4pm, December 23rd before closing for a break until Saturday January 13th (12-4pm). Our online shop never closes, and we'll be shipping orders throughout the Christmas/New Year break. Wishing you all good times and a spot of festive cheer - Fiona & Jane xx

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Pattern Review: The West Coast Skirt by Frankie and Ray

I love learning new sewing skills. I love a challenging project that pushes me to conquer a new technique and achieve professional looking detail in a complex garment.
There are times I also long for simplicity. That effortless chic of a design market stallholder-type (you know what I mean don't you?) with her minimalist jewellery. Pure, simple lines that are obviously handmade, but with thoughtfulness, not fuss. Garments you can pull on time and again and never tire of. Garments you can dress up, or down.
Jo of Frankie and Ray has that aesthetic down to a fine art. Based in seaside Victoria, she designs, makes and sells beautifully simple garments in gorgeous fabrics (lots of Liberty and linen!). And she's begun releasing patterns so we can all join in the fun.

The West Coast Skirt is just that kind of effortless style I have in mind. Pull-on, pockets, elastic and drawstring waist. Below the knee, just a little bit A-line. Extremely achievable for beginners and a breath of fresh air for more experienced sewists.

I made this up in our 6oz denim: firstly in the washed denim and absolutely by-the-pattern, with side seam pockets.

The sizing is pretty generous and I was looking for a slightly narrower shape so that first one is now our shop sample. (Come on in, you're welcome to try it on!) For my next one I sized down, tried the non-washed 6oz denim and swapped the side seam pockets for front patch pockets.
Top is Marilla Walker Roberts Collection in Liberty. Shoes are Duckfeet.

 Actually I'm not sure which pockets I prefer - the side seam ones are nicely placed for putting your hands in and low enough not to add much bulk at the hips. But I do love a good big patch pocket.

I added a wee strip of colourful linen down the side of one pocket for fun, although it kind of draws attention to the angle between the side seam and the pocket. (These were applied parallel to centre front.) Patch pockets might look better if applied at the end of construction, parallel to and overlapping the side seams.

The instructions are good - my only note is that I couldn't find mention of the standard seam allowance (for side seams), although that could be my misreading. I used 5/8"/1.5cm which worked fine.

On my second skirt I made the drawstring by folding, pressing and topstitching rather than making a tube and turning it, because my denim was a bit of a bugger to turn and I don't have a bodkin (turning tool).

After wearing this for the afternoon I unpicked a little of the back waistband, pulled out the elastic, snipped a bit out of the middle and rejoined it to tighten it. I think this is mainly because I used thinner elastic than specified (whatever I had on hand). You might like to cut the recommended amount and then hold it up to your back waist to see if you'd like it any shorter. I think a thicker, stronger elastic as per the pattern is best.

The simple shape of this skirt fits comfortably now and promises to take on a more personalised fit over time. All in all I look forward to wearing this a lot and it becoming a softly worn-in and well-loved wardrobe staple. (Editing this later and I've worn it 4 out of 6 days since!)

It's nicely fabric-efficient, with all sizes using just 1.2m of 150cm wide fabric, and very little left over. I also think this would be great cut on the bias. It reminds me of a linen skirt I had years ago, elastic waisted and bias cut, that I wore pretty much to death. Hmmm.... (sewing a few more West Coast skirts in my mind....).

PATTERN: West Coast Skirt by Frankie and Ray
FABRIC: 100% cotton 6oz denim - washed and regular
SIZE: 3 then 2
ALTERATIONS: None in first, changed to patch pockets in second.
COMMENTS: Great for beginners and anyone keen for an elegant casual and easy-to-wear skirt. Love the length. Bicycle-friendly. Would be a great base pattern for creative customisation. I'd love to try it bias-cut.

- Jane & Fiona xx