Hack it: Cleolly?

This is my entry for the Monthly Stitch ‘Hack it’ comp. It got shortlisted so that’s exciting! Thank you to my Facebook friends for voting for me and if any of you blog readers would care to vote it would be very much appreciated (although I may have left it too late!). 

Cleolly? Does that work? Anyway….when the Hack It challenge was first announced on the Monthly Stitch I originally thought that I would sit this one out. I do lack imagination when it comes to altering or combining patterns and I like to follow instructions more or less as the designer intended. However, my little subconscious mind was busy working in the background and came up with….

Cleolly drawing

Excuse the terrible rough drawing but it helped me to work out how to go about realising my vision. I’m off on holiday soon and I wanted to take my denim short dungarees with me. However, I can’t find them anywhere and I’ve a horrible feeling I’ve given them away to a charity shop. I decided to to make my own by combining two patterns – the Cleo pinafore by Tilly and the Buttons, and the Holly jumpsuit (playsuit version) by By Hand London. I have made both these patterns this year so the process for each was still fresh in my mind! I also know that they fit. Yay to no fitting!

Cleolly

Obviously I used the top part of the Cleo and the bottom half of the Holly!

I found some blue denim in my stash that was left over from another project. It has a slight stretch to it but not enough stretch to make a pair of skinny jeans. This project was ideal for it! I had to be very careful though, there really wasn’t much fabric left and I had to play a difficult game of sewing Tetris to squeeze everything in. I did have to compromise slightly. I had to cut the bodice front and back on the fold and omit the centre front and centre back seams. I couldn’t even squeeze in the necessary seam allowances! However, they’re not really needed. Facings had to come out of a different fabric.

Cleo top front

Cleo top back

I found some grey top-stitching thread left over from when I made jeans earlier in the year. I tried extra hard to be neat and tidy and I really enjoyed sewing the top-stitching. I didn’t really bother with visible top-stitching when I made my first Cleo.

I used the Cleo pattern for all the patch pockets including the front bib pocket. Dungarees aren’t dungarees unless they have the front bib pocket. I also stuck a couple of patch pockets on the back.

Holly back pocket

The pockets are a bit on the small side but they’re fine! To hack the pattern(s) further I drafted some front slant pockets too. You can’t have too many pockets in dungarees can you? I will know for future that slant pockets need to be deeper than you think! I can’t fit a huge amount in them but you live and learn!

My original plant was to include two zips, one on each side. For that reason I assembled the front and the back separately (rather than assembling the top and the bottom separately). After the nightmare that was installing the first zip I decided to sack that idea and just stick to the one zip! I installed a centred zip in the end. It was fiddly because of the pocket and there was a fair amount of unpicking but I got it to look reasonable in the end.

Cleolly front

When I joined front to back there was a certain amount of fudging to be done as the back came up a bit higher than the front. This involved unpicking a fair amount of top-stitching, reshaping and redoing the top-stitching. I think I got away with it though!

Cleolly floor

I finished with some silver dungaree buckles and some jeans buttons which I had in my stash.

Cleolly 3

We’re off to the Deershed festival this weekend and these make perfect festival gear. I think today’s weather is a sign of things to come – the forecast is not great! Umbrellas and wellies (and ponchos) are going to be needed!

Cleolly 4

Cleolly 7

 

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I’m not likely to make this again but if I were to there would be a few things I’d change. Obviously I’d make the front slant pockets deeper. I’d probably make the back patch pockets bigger too. I would also make the shorts part a bit less fitted. The Holly trousers/jumpsuit are supposed to be fitted at the waist and dungarees don’t need to be. Despite this I’m fairly pleased with my make. They’re very comfortable to wear and I’m really pleased I managed to eke out a garment from a small bit of fabric that had no other use!

Edit – The Deer Shed festival was last weekend and it was pretty good! The dungarees survived although using the loos was a pain but then they are anyway! 🙂  

 

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How to do Fashion – #no. 8 Svaneke

There are many indie pattern companies that I have yet to try and I have a number of patterns from them in my stash. I was having difficulties choosing a ‘new to me‘ pattern for the Monthly Stitch challenge. I was thinking originally about the Nettie Bodysuit from Closet Case Patterns (yes, I have yet to sew a single thing from this company) but my lack of working overlocker put paid to that idea. I then remembered the pattern I received from my #stitchingsanta parcel. It is from IPM sponsor How to do Fashion.

The patternI was given the #no. 8 Svaneke pattern and thought this was perfect for the challenge. The pattern includes a simple gathered skirt and two tops. I went for variation 1, a button up blouse with a flat collar and a peplum. I always need smart blouses for work and I thought this would fit the bill perfectly.

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The pattern comes in lovely packaging and it is printed on thick paper. However, it is printed two sided so you have to trace. Also, it does not come with instructions. You have to go to the website to get those. The instructions are on the brief side but I followed them ok and everything worked, so they must be good!

Fabric and notions: Isn’t the fabric gorgeous?

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It is a lovely lightweight cotton lawn that I bought a few months ago from Fabworks. It’s called Dark Side of the Moon and I’m afraid it’s sold out. I must have got the end of the bolt because I ordered the last metre and I received about a metre and a half. Thanks Fabworks! I bought it without a project in mind, I just had to have the fabric. This pattern works perfectly with it. I also needed 5 buttons.

Alterations/design changes:  For my dress in the last challenge, I said that it was the first time I had to carry out an FBA on a pattern. Well apparently I have big boobs because I definitely had to another FBA for this. Thankfully I made a toile (in a UK size 12) and found the fit was lovely across the back and shoulders but wouldn’t close across the bust. The FBA was straightforward to do but this make took a little time to get going because of all the fitting work.  I also found that the bust dart was far too high. I had to lower it by a whole inch!

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Other issues: Apart from my own incompetence I didn’t really have any issues. Everything was going swimmingly until I realised how little time I had left to get this project finished (the deadline was last Friday but it gets published on the Monthly Stitch site first). I ended up unpicking a buttonhole twice which was such a pain. The first time it was on a wonk, the second time I managed to get the blouse caught underneath it. It was painstaking to unpick but that’s what happens when you rush.

The only other (non) issue was that this pattern comes with 1cm seam allowances rather than the usual 1.5cm. Some people prefer this but I like a bit of leeway with my seam allowances. However, setting in the sleeves was easier with the smaller allowances.

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I’m so pleased with the fit I’ve managed to achieve with this blouse. I have no gaping across the bust at all. It’s also given the illusion that I have an hour glass figure with the tight waist and the peplum. Rather than darts it has pleats at the front and back which gives a lovely billowing top!

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I really like my new top. It’s really pretty without being too girly. I love the pleats – it makes a nice change from the usual darts. It’s also very comfortable to wear and I have full movement in my arms which I don’t have in so many of my woven makes. Regardless of where this project came for this challenge (which was nowhere!), I have got a lovely new top out of it. That’s what it’s all about isn’t it?

 

Camí/Lilou mashup dress

Hi everyone! It’s that time of year again – Indie Pattern Month over on the Monthly Stitch and I’m joining in again for the second year. There is a challenge a week for the month of July. The first challenge is ‘dresses’.  Now I’m not normally a ‘dresses’ kind of person (although they are fun to make!) but there was one dress that I wanted to go back to because my first attempt had quite a lot of mistakes in it.

The pattern: The Camí dress by Pauline Alice. My very first Camí dress was submitted for a Monthly Stitch challenge a couple of years ago. You can read all about it here. I went for view A this time around.

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Fabric and notions: I picked up the fabric recently at a car boot sale and it didn’t even make it to the stash. It’s a duvet cover that I bought for £3 and it has cassette tapes and record players on it.

tape deck fabric

One side is just black and white and has smaller tapes and tape decks on it. This is the side I used for this project. The other side of the cover has larger record players on it and at first glance it looks as if it’s covered in boobs! I didn’t want to risk any dodgy print placement with this! I’m not sure what I’m going to use this side for – any kind of top is out! I’ll probably use it as toile fabric.

Like many duvet covers, it’s just a cheap polycotton but it sewed up well and pressed well. It also doesn’t crease too easily so this type of fabric is ideal for this kind of day dress.

Other notions included an invisible zip which I found in my stash. It’s not the best quality so I’m not expecting it to last. I’ve also used 7 buttons which were also in my stash. They came from a market stall in Amsterdam.

Alterations/design changes: When I first made the Camí dress a couple of years ago I put in a lot of work to get the fit right. When I originally made a toile, it was far too tight although the fit was good through the back and the shoulders. There was just no way I could get my waist and boobs in there – it was far too small! The toile was a size 40 (UK 14). This was the only dress/top pattern that I’ve ever needed an FBA on. I worked out that I needed a good inch in the boob area.  The bodice pattern only has waist darts but carrying out an FBA created a bust dart. I’m sure there are ways of carrying out FBAs without adding bust darts but I don’t know them, and this worked for me anyway.

before and after pattern

I also graded out the waist to a size 44 which is the largest size (depressing) and it’s still snug if I’m honest. The other change I made was to lengthen the bodice by and inch and in hindsight it probably didn’t need such a large adjustment. But it looks fine.

The final alteration was to swap the gathered skirt for a pleated one. The skirt I used was from the Lilou dress pattern from Love at First Stitch. Technically this is not an eligible pattern for the challenge because it comes from a sewing book. I won’t tell if you won’t!  I also omitted the pockets. As much as I love pockets, inseam pockets just flap around in an irritating way once you’ve got your phone and keys in there so I’d rather not bother!

Pattern instructions:  The instructions for the Camí dress were brief and to the point. There wasn’t much in the way of hand-holding, although if you want your hand held you can go to the sew-along here. I never used the sew-along but it looks quite thorough. I found I could get on just fine with the instructions that came with the pattern. The Lilou part of the dress was so easy I didn’t bother with the instructions at all but I have made this dress before (here) and the instructions are excellent. Perfect for beginner sewists!

Other issues: The only thing I would say is if you are thinking of making the Camí dress for yourself then I really recommend you do a toile of it first. Just the bodice and one of the sleeves would be fine. Compared to other patterns, this one comes out small. I found it small across the bust, small at the waist and tight in the arms (not enough to change the arms though!).

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The only other issue that I had (nothing to do with the pattern) was that I did not have enough fabric to cut out one large back skirt. I’ve had to cut two halves and have a centre back seam. The bodice doesn’t have a centre back seam so I knew this wasn’t ideal. It looks fine though. Oh and the print on the front of the skirt is upside down! In order to fit the pattern on the fabric either the back or the front would have to be upside down but I wish I did it on the back. Whoops!

In summary: Being a shirt dress, this is a fairly involved project with a lot of steps. None of the steps are particularly difficult though. The Camí pattern is rated an intermediate pattern which I agree with. That’s because you have a collar and stand to assemble, a side invisible zip and buttons and button holes. There are also sleeves to ease in. So not really a beginner make but definitely something to move on to if all you’ve done is sew basic garments.

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I do like my new dress and I much prefer this shape to my original gathered skirt Camí. I also like the quirky fabric, and I don’t normally do ‘quirky’. I’m usually drawn to stripes or checks but I must admit that is was so nice not to have to pattern match.

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I finished all seams on my overlocker but I think this project killed it. I think the knives are blunt from previous projects with thick fabric and it no longer cuts properly. The whole machine juddered when I used it on this project and it refused to overlock more than two layers of fabric. I’m waiting for the sewing machine repair place to get back in touch with me but it looks like I won’t be able to use it for the remaining IPM challenges which will slow me down. I’ll stick to woven fabric though (my sewing machine hates knit fabric) and we’ll see how I get on.

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Unfortunately my dress did not get shortlisted but never mind, it’s on to the next challenge. I’ve nearly finished my next garment but as the deadline is 11pm tonight and I have to go to work I’m leaving it right to the last minute as usual!