Style Arc – Lea Knit Wrap Dress

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I like wearing wrap dresses. They make me feel feminine and put-together. My most recent wrap dress is the Lea Knit Dress from Style Arc patterns. After seeing some beautiful versions of this dress on PatternReview.com I wanted to give the pattern a try.  I’m very glad I did because I love the shape and fit of this dress.

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The result is not without some modifications. After reading a few reviews about this pattern.  I widened the skirt facing to 3 inches. The facing is drafted at  1 inch. The extra width is just enough so when I’m walking the underside of the fabric does not show. I think it also gives the edge of the skirt a little more weight and helps it “fall” in place. The picture below shows the widened skirt facing with the tie belt application. I altered the placement of the ties because I widened the facing. I shortened the right tie to 22 inches because I did not want to wrap the ties all the way around my waist. My fabric (described as a techno knit) had enough body that I liked the sleek look of the front without the wrap-around ties. I also added 1 inch to the length of the dress and lengthened the sleeves to be 3/4 length.

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The neckline is very low. I raised it about a 1/2 inch but plan on raising it a bit more for the next one.  I have fashion tape in the pictures making sure that everything stays in place. I made the dress appropriate for work by wearing it with a black camisole.

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Whenever I’m sewing a knit collar with a stand I always interface both pieces of the collar and stand. I like the extra body provided by the double layer of interfacing.

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The pattern is very well drafted and even with its minimal directions comes together without any issues. For now I’ve found my new favorite wrap dress and am picturing many more dresses from this pattern in my closet.

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Burda 6847 – Double-Knit Jacket

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Living on the Central Coast of California requires dressing in layers. I’ve never been good at layering my clothes. I come from the South Eastern part of Quebec where I might have to carry a cardigan or wear a warmer coat depending on the time of the year. I never had to deal with a difference of 35 degrees Fahrenheit within one hour while driving from San Jose to a friend’s house along the coast in Santa Cruz in the middle of the day.  I have trouble wrapping my head around experiencing dense fog and sunshine within a short distance. People around here are pros at layering. They have all kinds of jackets that they seem to whip out at a moment’s notice. I’m trying to remedy the situation by sewing more jackets. I’ve had Burda 6847 on my list to sew for a couple of years.

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I bought this printed double-knit at Tissus Mode de l’Orme in Granby, QC a couple of years ago with this jacket in mind.  I used a ponte knit from my stash for the collar and facing.

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I lengthened the jacket by 2″. I’m 5’7″ and I wanted to be able to wear this with some of my longer tops. The pattern calls for a 30″ two-way separating zipper. I ordered a custom 32″zipper from JN Zipper. Their customer service is excellent.

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I like the princess seams. I think they give the jacket a great shape.

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Last weekend my fashion photographer, aka my husband, and I attended a wine event at a local winery. I wore a knit tunic (Vogue 8950) and leggings (Papercut Patterns Ooh La Leggings). The weather was too warm for a jacket but I brought it along to take pictures for my blog. I received compliments on my tunic. This happens fairly often. I normally just say thank you but when I’m with my husband I cringe while waiting for him to tell the person that I made whatever piece of clothing that is receiving attention. Over the years I’ve told him not to mention to people that I sew my clothes. He generally respects my wishes but sometimes he just can’t help himself. I can tell that it is difficult for him to keep “our secret”.  He is proud of my accomplishments and feels the need to share with everyone. I was wondering if I was the only sewist who selectively tells people she sews her clothes. I would love to hear what other sewists do when faced with people complimenting their me-mades. Do you simply say thank you or do you mention that you made what you are wearing?

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Vogue 8925 – It’s All About The Print

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People often ask me if my sewing inspiration comes from fabric or sewing patterns. This is a difficult question to answer because it can be either one or even both. I also find  inspiration from magazines or something I’ve seen in a store or on Pinterest. Sometimes I walk around with an idea for a couple of years before everything comes together to make it happen. This is one of the reasons I love to sew my own clothes; inspiration is everywhere and the only limitation is my imagination.

I purchased Vogue 8925 after seeing Art Attack’s version on Pattern Review.

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I wanted to replicate her version of a solid tunic with the outside neck facing. This was going to be part of my fall wardrobe plan.  I was walking through Tissus Mode de L’Orme while on a recent trip to Granby, Quebec and came across this print. I loved it! The colors, the print and the drape of the fabric all spoke to me. This poly/lycra knit told me it wanted to be a tunic. Vogue 8925 came to mind because of its simplicity. This fabric had enough going for it that it did not require anything more involved.

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I like the neckline on this top. I made view C which is finished with binding. View A & B have outside facings which create interest. I sewed the pattern straight up without any changes. The tunic was a simple project that left me feeling satisfied. I had a new fall tunic that I was looking forward to wearing. It wasn’t in my original plan for my fall wardrobe but part of the fun of sewing my own clothes is the flexibility to sew what I want when I want.

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Because I never like finishing my blog post with my back to you, here is another picture of the tunic.

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Kitschy Coo – Lady Skater Dress

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I’m late to the party on getting Kitschy Coo’s Lady Skater Dress sewn up. They say “Better late than never.” I could not agree more when it comes to this pattern. What took me so long?!!! There are so many cute versions of this dress out there. The pattern was part of the Best Patterns of 2014 on Sewing Patterns.com and there are over 75 reviews of this dress.

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Kitschy Coo is a company based in the UK that sells patterns as well as fabric. The pattern is a PDF download available on their website. This dress is so flattering. I love the scoop of the neckline and the flare of the skirt. I find the dress cute without out being too cutesy.

The knit is a stylized houndstooth purchased at Tissus Mode de L’Orme in Granby, QC. It was part of my fabric haul purchased in summer 2015. Anyone who has read my blog in the past knows that I load up on fabric from this store every time I’m in the area visiting friends and family.

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This pattern was a pleasure to sew. It comes together in no time. The directions are very well written. There is a set of detailed instructions with images for beginners and a set of basic instructions for “experienced garment makers / general bad*sses” as noted on the pattern. The only changes I made were to add a 1/2 inch to the bodice at the waist and 2 1/2 inches to the skirt. I’m 5’7″ and based on what I was seeing on others I figured it was going to be a little short for me. I’m glad I added the extra length.

This dress will be on heavy rotation in my closet. It is fun and I feel good in it. Watch for more Lady Skater dresses in my sewing future.

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Vogue 9166 and the Winner of The Tunic Bible Giveaway

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Before I tell you about my first project for Fall 2016 I need to make an important announcement. The winner of The Tunic Bible by Sarah Gunn and Julie Starr is (drum roll please): Amy Mayer. Congratulations Amy! I hope you enjoy the book and all it has to offer as much as I do. Thanks to everyone who commented on the blog for your kind words about my tunics and for participating in the contest.

Back to our featured item, Vogue 9166 – Color Blocked Dress.

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This pattern is a VERY EASY VOGUE and I must concur. There is nothing complicated about this dress. What you see is what you get. I chose to fully line my dress. I did this by re-creating the dress in black and white lining and basting it to the neckline prior to sewing the neck binding. The dress is supposed to have a shaped hemline. I wanted a straight hemline so I cut the front and back straight at the longest part of the FRONT.

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I wanted to wear the dress with tights. I measured the length and decided I was going to shorten the dress by 3″ when I got back to my sewing the following evening. I even wrote a note to myself: “Cut 2 inches and make 1 inch hem”. When I came back the following evening I didn’t look at my note (Why would I? I don’t need no stinking note). I grabbed my scissors and proceeded to cut 3″ off the bottom of the dress. When I was about 90% finished cutting the hemline it hit me. Egad! What have I done?!!! An inch may not seem like a lot but it makes a big difference on the hemline of a dress or skirt. I was so upset with myself. I knew the dress would be fine and wearable but I hate when I do something as silly as this. There are so many things that can go wrong that are out of my control that whenever I mess up on a simple step I wonder if  I’m worthy of the title “sewist”. I rated my Skill Level as Intermediate on Pattern Review.com. I’m thinking they need a new category: Dork!

The fabric was from my stash. It is a mid-weight woven with some stretch. To get the color blocking to match at the sleeves and dress I basted the sleeves in place AND  used Steam-A-Seam. It worked great as the colors match perfectly at the seams on the sleeves, front and back.

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I finished this dress a couple of weeks ago and wanted to get the pictures taken for my blog. My fashion photographer and I waited until later in the day when it cooled down to 85 degrees Fahrenheit to head out picture taking. Yup, lined dress, tights and booties in 85 degrees. This was one of these time when it was better to look good than feel good.

The Tunic Bible Blog Tour – My Tunics and a Giveaway

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Earlier this month The Tunic Bible started popping up across the blogosphere. I’m here to add my voice to the chatter about this wonderful book. A year ago I was approached by Sarah Gunn and Julie Starr to participate in a photo gallery for a book they were working on together. I had no clue what the book was going to be about but I knew if Sarah and Julie were involved I wanted to be a part of it. The book was about tunics. The concept was clever; a few interchangeable pattern pieces giving you the opportunity to create many different styles. I must admit that I had never given much thought about tunics until I saw this pattern.

The Tunic Bible pattern allows you to unleash your creativity. I found myself very inspired by the possibilities while working with the pattern. This book will have you thinking about tunics in a whole different way.

For the tunic above I chose the following elements from the book:

  • Tunic length
  • Side slits
  • Outside-facing wide split placket
  • Angled collar
  • Split cuffs

I used contrasting piping around the placket to match the cuffs.

The fabric is an Italian cotton panel print from Britex in San Francisco. I should have taken a picture of the fabric prior to cutting out the pattern but I was too anxious to get going. Below is the fabric with a few pieces missing.

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As you can see by the picture below, one garment made with this pattern was not enough for me. My next project was a sleeveless dress. The fabric is a cotton faille from Britex as well. This time I chose to use the following elements from the book:

  • Dress length
  • Back darts
  • Outside-facing elongated placket
  • Band collar
  • Invisible side zipper

I added vertical darts in the front for a little extra shaping and narrowed the dress below the hips to the hem. I used piping around the placket to match the decorative ribbon sewed at the bottom of the dress. I also chose to line my dress. The pattern offers a separate cutting line for the sleeveless version allowing for a little more contour rather than just using the block without the sleeve. I think that is a nice detail.

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I was eager to try the ruffle cuff sleeve that I had seen on other tunics in the book. This time I chose a cotton voile from my stash. I used the following elements from the book:

  • Tunic length (shortened by 1″)
  • Back darts
  • Side slits
  • Outside-facing V Neck placket
  • Ruffle cuff

Once again I used piping around the placket. I also used matching purchased bias tape to trim the placket.

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The back darts provide shaping.

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These are not going to be the only garments I make using The Tunic Bible. I’m just getting started. Your imagination is your only limitation with this pattern. No imagination? No problem, Sarah and Julie have you covered with a whole bunch of inspiring tunics.

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The Tunic Bible draws you in with its beautiful pictures of assorted tunics but it’s not just about colorful pictures. There’s a lot of substance to this book. The various elements of the pattern (necklines, collars, sleeves, plackets, etc.) each have their own section in the book. The instructions and associated drawings are clearly explained and easy to understand. The book includes a full size pattern and I believe someone with a little sewing experience would not be intimidated by the prospect of making a tunic. The book also includes detailed information on how to apply trim to your tunic. The authors have even provided a list of resources for fabric and trim to get you started.

What stands out for me is the tunics that are featured in the gallery are accompanied by a list of the tunic elements used for that particular tunic as well as where to find each element in the book. There’s no guessing on how to re-create a certain style. Interested in learning more about The Tunic Bible? Sarah and Julie have a website to accompany the book.

***BOOK GIVEAWAY***

C&T Publishing is offering a free book to one of my blog readers. If you are interested in being entered in the drawing for a copy of The Tunic Bible please let me know by writing a comment to this post before 9 p.m. PST on October 11th, the last day of the blog tour. I will announce the winner on October 12th. The winner will receive their book directly from the publisher. If the winner is outside of the United States they will receive a digital copy of the book. This contest is closed. The winner is Amy Mayer.

Blog Tour schedule:

October 3
C&T Publishing  and Pattern Review

October 4
Cloning Couture and Generation Q Magazine

October 5
Oonaballoona and Featherstitch Avenue

October 6
Allie J and Thanks I Made Them

October 7
Sew Busy Lizzy and Jennuine Design

October 8
Inside The Hem and Girls in the Garden

October 9
Sew Manju and My Love Affair With Sewing

October 10
Evolution of a Sewing Goddess and Creating in the Gap

October 11
House of Pinheiro and The Tunic Bible

Burda Style 02-2016-123 – Scuba Knit Top

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I purchased a one meter remnant of scuba knit at Tissus Mode De L’Orme in Granby, Quebec while on vacation this past summer. I had never made an entire garment with scuba knit and was not sure how I would feel about it but I was attracted to the print and wanted to give the fabric a try.

I was not inspired by any of my patterns so I sat down to go through my Burda Style magazine binder. Binder? Yes, I make a photocopy every month of the two pages depicting the line drawings of the patterns in the magazine. I find that this makes reviewing the patterns easier. I’m often inspired by the lines of the pattern which are often more visible in the drawings than the pictures.

I completely missed #123 in the February 2016 issue but when I saw the line drawing I dug out the issue and knew this is what I wanted to sew with my scuba knit.

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Finding this pattern was timely because Shams, who blogs at Communing With Fabric, recently had a blogpost about J.N. Zipper in South San Francisco. I took a look at their retail website but found it challenging to navigate. I figured out what I wanted and sent their customer service an email. They were very responsive. I placed my order via email and contacted them to give them my credit card information. Click here to read Shams’ blogpost about J.N.Zipper. She stopped by J.N. Zipper in-person and took some great pictures

The pattern calls for a 14″ separating zipper and has you shorten it to the length required for your size. I lengthened the top by 1.5″. I added 0.5″ at the waist to the upper piece and 1″ to the bottom of the lower piece. I ordered a 14.75″ #3 separating zipper with an open teardrop pull.

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The design is simple but has some nice features such as the back neckline. The pattern is well drafted and came together well.

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You can see in the photo below that my bra is visible. As designed this top has a very low armscye. img_1216

I enjoyed sewing scuba knit and would do so again if I come across an interesting print and the right pattern.

It feels wrong to end my blogpost with my back to you so here’s another picture of the front of my new top.

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