Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Zaria skirt!

Spring is in the air! I inhale it from the opened window in my bedroom first thing in the morning and when cycling through the city. I hear it with twittering of early birds. I feel it on my skin when the sun tries to peep out from behind the clouds. I see it through the way people dress. I see brighter colours in the crowd and more skin showing from under skirts. Looking at at different skirt styles, it seems to me that pencil skirt will never come out of fashion!

Who doesn’t like pencil skirts? Regardless the style of the clothes we like to wear daily, the pencil skirt is a staple in the many’s wardrobes: office workers, rock chicks, hipster, bohemian, you name it. A pencil skirt is like a pair of jeans: you always need one, don’t you think so?

I made the Zaria skirt using this fabulous fabric from my stash, Nani Iro Painting MUJI. This cotton-linen mix feels slightly rough to the touch but holds its shape nicely and does not wrinkle as much as linen or cotton. To add more structure to the skirt, I underlined it with silk organza. If you  have ever underlined a garment, you will understand my obsession with it. An extra layer of fabric gives your garment additional heaviness, makes it hang nicely while wearing, and it feels expensive and chic when holding it. The last added touch to the skirt was this pretty yellow silk bought at De Gilles in Paris.

The skirt consists of 9 panels and looks very modern, keeping a classic silhouette. Panels also make it relatively easy to alter and shape by following your natural curves. Two back slits add a little bit extra to it: a sexy design detail and space for movement. Although I cannot ride my bike wearing this skirt, I can run up and down the stairs and feel comfortable yet feminine in it.
Source: Named Patterns

After checking the size chart, I cut the muslin in the size 40 which, as it turned out, did not exactly match my body measurements. As a result, I reduced the waist by 3cm and increased the hip circumference by 1.5 cm. I also had to remove horizontal wrinkles, created as a result of reducing the width. All in all it took me only one evening to work on both the alteration and the second muslin, I distributed the actual sewing over two long evenings.

The Zaria skirt was a nice addition to my wardrobe. I pared it with t-shirts, the Netty bodysuit and the Dotty blouse, but my favourite look is probably the one with a top tucked in. I like the look and the feel of the skirt. If I have enough time in my disposal this summer, I would also like to make the variation with the chiffon layer on top. Alternatively, I could  sew the same version but shorten it by 5-7cm to feel even more liberated when walking.  

How would you wear it?

Monday, 2 March 2015

The Ralph Pink parachute dress with robots

I have this little soft spot for Ralph Pink patterns. Although, I’ve made only two garments from his patterns to date, but there are eight more which I’d like to sew, including a pair of high waisted trousers, a couple of shirts and a few dresses. Later this year, I will try to make one of his corsets too! His designs resonate with me and they represent garments  which I would like to wear on a daily basis.

When I asked for your opinion on the party dress patterns, you almost unanimously suggested to use the Ralph Pink panelled dress! It grew on me so much that now I can’t wait start working on it. I will share some of the construction moments in future blog posts, but I've just got back fro my holiday in Thailand, enjoying the weather and yet another Ralph Pink’s dress: the parachute dress.

The story of this dress started with the pattern. When Ralph Pink released his new pattern collection at the beginning of last summer, I was immediately smitten by this dress and its interesting design. In general, I try to avoid shapeless garments. Shapeless dresses do not look flattering on my figure due to my prominent sway back which causes the fabric to catch and wrinkle in an unflattering way. But hey, shapeless garments provide such comfort that I can’t help favouring them.

Despite being quite baggy, it provides enough space for movement, but at the same time, it accentuates the waist and hips.

When I was in Japan last October, I found the perfect fabric to match the pattern: neon pink and navy knit fabric with robots. To my deepest regret, the fabric was not wide enough to fit the entire front and back panels, so I cut the back panel in half and sewed in the centre. This fabric was a real treat to work with and I felt like my sewing techniques with knits has improved. Look at the self-made bias tape! :) In reality, you don’t need to cut this “bias tape” on bias, I read about it on Rae’s blog and believe me, this woman knows a lot about knits!

Sewing it was like a dream. As my fabric was quite thin, I went for a delicate finish. First, I sewed a straight stitch using the walking foot and knit needle, with a 1cm seam allowance. Then I surged all the seams using the three-thread stitch. The advantage of using this particular finish, is to create a delicate looking stitch which does not show through, in comparison with a regular four-thread stitch! I learnt this tip by watching a Craftsy lesson, Sewing Fashion Knits with Linda Lee, and to be honest with you, I use the three-thread stitch most of the time because it creates such a neat finish! To execute it, I removed the left needle from the surger in order to create a narrow flat seam.

Also, I added 5cm to the front and back panel to make the dress more fun!

This dress turned out to be a perfect beach (or rather a swimming pool) dress! Too bad the armhole openings are too low to make this dress wearable in the city. I’ll have to see whether I can tweak the pattern so I can make an urban version of this parachute dress. Meanwhile, I will certainly wear this dress at home when the weather becomes slightly warmer since the dress provides so much comfort! Also, I won’t lie about how much I like the robots.