sewing

Tropical Summer Gabriola

Front Untucked

So, I made a maxi skirt. To be more precise, I made the Gabriola skirt by Sewaholic. I don’t know when or where I bought it, but I had the paper pattern – which is now out of stock on their website. This was quite the queue jumper, to be honest. I’d found the pattern during a reorganisation of my sewing space, and a few days later I was in Geoff’s Emporium and found this lovely, summery rayon fabric for $7 a metre. Since this skirt is a huge fabric hog (4.8 metres for version A at 115cm wide fabric), the price was right! As it turned out, I easily had 1.5m of fabric left, despite making the largest size. Slightly annoying, but I guess I’ll make a top or something out of the rest.

Side Untucked

I made a size 16. This was a mistake. My waist measurement, on a good day, hovers around 88cm. Since the size 14 finished measurement was exactly 88cm, I thought by making the 16 I’d give myself room to breathe, eat and be comfortable. Instead, I ended up having to take the waist in by 6cm, in the form of 4 1.5cm darts. It was huge. And even now, it’s looser than I would ideally like. I cut the length at the smallest size, because I am short (154cm), and I still needed to take it up by 6 inches. I was going to do this at the lengthen/shorten line, but it didn’t look quite right to me and luckily Mel and Nikki advised against it, and I took it from the bottom, to preserve the hip shaping.

Back Tucked

Making the skirt was pretty straightforward. The fabric didn’t shift too much, and it pressed nicely. I did French seams wherever possible for neat insides, and pinked the ones where I thought French seaming wouldn’t have worked very well. Well, I say it was straightforward – until I got to the zipper, that is. I had the perfect colour zipper in my stash (I have a huge vintage zip collection of all colours and sizes), but inserting it was like pulling teeth. I interfaced the zipper opening, I basted it in first…and it still took me 4 tries before I was satisfied with it. And even now, I’m not sure satisfied is the right word. More like resigned. I didn’t realise until I got to that step that the zip didn’t go all the way up to the top of the waistband. I hate hooks and eyes, so that didn’t thrill me. I ended up using some small nickel snaps I had from god knows where.

Closure

I let it hang for about 4 days before I hemmed it – I didn’t plan for it to be that long, but life got in the way. I ended up cutting another 2 inches off the bottom before finally hemming it the recommended amount. Luke kindly got on his knees and helped me pin it – I didn’t enjoy any of the hemming process, it’s a huge hem and I was worried the whole time it was going to be wonky. I did use hot pink bias binding though, because why not?

Hem

Can I confess that I’m not really loving the skirt? I don’t know how to wear it! I imagined I would wear it with a tucked-in top, but it turns out I hate the way that looks (you can see what I mean at the bottom of this post). It’s so much brighter than anything I usually wear, and while I love how flowy and light it feels when I’m wearing it, I feel like I have no suitable tops to pair with it. I’m wondering if a looser fitting top, tucked in, would look okay. I’m desperate for open to suggestions.

Funny

When twirling photos go bad…

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sewing

A Fittingly Floral Aster

Aster Front

I’m not going to lie – when I first saw the new Colette Patterns release, I thought it was pretty boring. But then I thought about it some more, and I thought hey, boring is what I need right now. I don’t need another pretty dress, or a flouncy skirt. I need basic wardrobe staples and separates I can wear with jeans. I wasn’t sure if I’d like this particular blouse pattern, but I thought why not give it a go?

To be honest, this is the first bit of sewing I’ve done in the past two months, aside from hemming some hiking pants (and I only did that because I really had to – it’s hard being short!) We moved house at the end of March, and around the same time, our foster cat we adopted got a cancer diagnosis. He passed away in April, and I lost the motivation to do pretty much anything for a while. I loved that furry little dude so much!

This pattern is the first thing that ignited just the tiniest bit of a sewing desire in me after that, and I embraced it.

Aster Side

I decided to make version 3, with the flutter sleeves. I have large upper arms, and the freedom of a flutter sleeve is heaven to someone who always feels a bit hemmed in by most sleeves. I wanted loose, light and casual. I chose to make a size 12, grading out to a size 14 at the hem. I didn’t really need to grade out, but I’ve gained a little bit of weight lately (comfort eating) and I wanted to play it safe. This blouse is a really loose fit anyway – much looser, I think, than the finished measurements suggest. My waist measurement is around 34″ these days, and the finished measurement for a 12 at the waist is 33.25″. Yet I have plenty of room, as you can see!

Aster back

I used a rayon challis (I think) from my stash – I bought it from Trademe in a bulk lot, so I can’t be 100% sure. But it’s lovely and soft and drapey, and it feels exactly like rayon challis I’ve worked with before. I made my own bias binding out of it, too, which was less fun than making it out of cotton, I’m not going to lie. The first lot I made went in the bin, after it slipped and slid around too much while I was trying to pull it through the bias tape maker. The second lot I made wider (1.5″ before folding) and that turned out much better.

The instructions were okay – I had a bit of trouble with the yoke burrito, which is odd, as I never had any problems with it whilst making Luke’s Negroni. I followed the instructions, but my blouse front pieces kept ending up the wrong away around when I pulled everything through. It’s probably my fault somehow, as I’m quite bad at visualising how these things work, but it was puzzling and quite frustrating. I ended up getting it done, but not the way the pattern instructed.

I also found the folding placket instructions a little bit confusing at first, mostly due to the lack of diagrams at this step – there’s just one picture, and a lot of folding! But I got my head around it after playing with it a bit, and it was all good. Perhaps I’m just a bit out of practice!

Aster inside

The insides turn out really nice if you follow the instructions – I pinked my side seams, but all other seams except the armholes are neatly enclosed. Excuse the wrinkles here, this was after a full day of wear. I was really comfortable in this blouse – it’s loose enough so there’s no worries at all about bust gaping, or tummy gaping if you eat too much cake. It’s soft against my skin, breezy and it covers my arms. The only things I’d change for next time are a forward shoulder adjustment – the shoulder seam sits a little back on my shoulders, which is a common problem for me, and raising the neckline a tad – I’d be a teeny bit self-conscious leaning too far over in this!

Aster button

And a thank you to everyone on my Instagram who helped me choose the buttons – I went with the navy blue a lot of you suggested, and it’s just perfect ❤

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