portside travel set for international travels

Well, really for any kinds of travels – I used it this weekend for a sleepover and a trip to a cabin, and last week going to the gym. But I *made* it for my epic sailing adventure to Belfast last summer!

portside_travel_set (2)

Oh the sheer joy and slight terror on my face! I was so excited, and rightly so – the sailing trip was a wonderful experience. Statsraad Lehmkuhl is a training vessel based in Bergen, with both permanent crew, trainees that spend a couple of years on board, cadets from the military academy that join on the 2-month cross-Atlantic sail each fall, and shorter trips that we mere mortals can pay to go on. It’s work though – two shifts of four hours each every day, where we haul sails, maintain the ship, keep lookout, and steer. And sleep in hammocks, which was… the best. Ever. We were told to avoid packing in suitcases, since space was limited and the lockers narrow. It seemed like a great opportunity to make a Portside travel set!

Fabric: 1-ish meter each of dark navy twill from somewhere in London (bought for a Robson coat), a water-repellent fabric called Dralon from Stoff & Stil (I think it’s the right color, but it might be creme instead of light grey), and lined with some polyester crepe-satin-twill (totally the official description) from my stash, bought on sale at Vogue in Evanston, IL several years ago.
Pattern: Portside travel set, from Grainline Studio.
Techniques: lining, convex curves, zippers, topstitching, webbing.

portside_travel_set (8)

portside_travel_set (3)

portside_travel_set (4)

I actually managed to only finish the duffle bag before the trip (last-minute too – if I remember correctly I was sewing in the lining the morning of departure!). After the trip I had other projects that took up my time, so it wasn’t until early this spring that I picked it up again. I made a few changes to the pattern. First up, I used lining in more places than the pattern calls for, like to finish the outside pockets, and inside the pouch. To accommodate the length of zippers I bought, and also because I like the look of the tabs between the zipper and the side seams, I added an inch of width to each of the travel set pieces. Only – I forgot I had done so when I had to recut the bottom for the dopp kitt, so it is a bit misshapen. Haha!

Buying notions was a bit of a headache for someone who ends up researching different options to no end, and due to time constraints I didn’t use all of it for this bag. I want to list it here for future reference though. The black zippers with antique brass teeth that I did use came from Etsy shop zipperstop, whom I’ve bought from before and has a mind-numbing number of zippers available. They also do custom stuff (these were custom length), and have been quick, with good customer service. I also ordered some grey donut style pull, also antique brass, from zipstop, which look very nice. From 3DAN I bought the hardware (1 ¼ inch gunmetal D-rings and 1 ¼ inch gunmetal swivel snap hooks) and webbing (heavy weight nylon in deep grey – oh how I agonized over color choice, there were so many to choose from, and computer screens can’t be relied on to show nuanced differences in cool vs warm grey tones!). I ended up using none of the webbing or hardware – it took too long (which really means, I was too late in ordering!), so I raided a bag I was throwing out for the hardware, and used the webbing available at Stoff & stil, a rather stiff and cheap feeling gros grain in grey (ugh, more color choices! Should the webbing match, or contrast? Perfect match, or just “go”?). Now at least I have everything at the ready for the next bag, and I can use the much nicer feeling nylon webbing – it’s more finely woven, smoother, and reminds me of seatbelt material.

portside_travel_set (6)

portside_travel_set (5)

Sewing the bag, the dopp kit and the pouch is pretty straight forward, but a bit fiddly at times. Sewing the bottom in and pivoting at the corners, and topstitching afterwards benefits from a lot of precision, a good dose of dexterity, and a fair amount of patience. Even with all of those some of my sewing was less even, but the pattern is forgiving enough that it still looks *really good*. I’m pleased to no end with these, especially after the addition of an old brown leather luggage tag I found at my dad’s house, and matching brown leather pull tabs.

portside_travel_set (7)

I know some people have mentioned the d-ring installation as tricky, and I found this arm sling tutorial helpful in making things less confusing. I’ve used this bag quite a lot since finishing it, and I’m so thrilled that I made a piece of luggage I can use and looks so… real! I’m anticipating getting a lot of use out of the two other pieces too now – the dopp kitt is currently holding a knitting project, and is the perfect size for a baby sweater in progress. Size wise the duffel bag suits a weekend-length trip. I’m sure I could get a weeks worth of stuff in there if I only brought the most necessary, but the weight of the bag is actually was stops me before the volume. In fact, for the next one I might try attaching the carrying straps further down on the bag, so I could wear it on my back. On this one the straps are attached too close to use it that way. I’m thinking also an inside pocket or two could be practical. Clearly I’m planning on making more. I think they would make really nice gifts, for example!

And finally, one more picture of me boarding the ship because I loved the trip and I’m very proud that I traveled in style, and ended up climbing up the rope ladder level to the flag during the course of the trip. Ship ahoy!

portside_travel_set (1)

a tale of two city pants

Did I make the jumpsuit Gillian dared me to make? I did not. Did I make pants a while ago and pair them with a new top I just finished? I did. (Did I binge-watch Elementary and now have Sherlock’s voice in my head? I did. Did I also just write a 1200-word count post? I did.)

citypants (7)

citypants (8)

Fabric: 1 meter of printed viscose from Stoff & Stil.
Pattern: Alexandria pants pattern by Named patterns, modified size EU38.
Techniques: Overlocking, gusset, understitching, elastic waist.

Last year I found myself getting more adventurous with both patterned fabrics and silhouettes in clothes – I think as part of a post-break-up shake-up. I wore a patterned strapless jumpsuit, and absolutely loved it! The Hudson pants by True Bias was making its rounds, and I was keen to try the city pants style too. (Is it called city pants? Ok, google says yes.) Since the Hudson pants is for knits and I had a cool viscose woven I thought would be perfect for city-like pants, I went for the Alexandria pants pattern by Named patterns instead. Ugh. Sorry – my gut reaction mentioning that pattern is not a good one! I’ll go into details, but basically… the pattern irritated me. Irritates me.

I love the detail of the pocket sort of hiding in a pleat, and I think the pants look really good on their model, and I’d love to make it up in a black silk crepe I have, and I think it would make some really sleek dressy pants. I just know have a decent amount of fit issues to overcome first, which does not fill me with joy!

citypants (3)I took all these pictures practically in someones yard – it was inside the fenced area of an apartment building. Did I feel awkward? Yes. Am I really glad nobody living in the building went in or came out while I was taking pictures? Oh, really yes.

One of the most irritating things first – the pdf pattern. It has I think 1 cm seam allowance included, which I like (I’m solidly in the included seam allowance camp!), but apparently only on the pdf pattern? Does that mean the printed pattern does not include seam allowance? Huh. Anyways, They have separate files for separate size bundles, with sizes EU36 and EU38 together. You’d think that could get annoying if you wanted to grade between sizes beyond those two, but wait! You can’t grade between the two sizes given in the same file anyways! The two sizes aren’t nested you see, but offset. I can’t understand the point of doing it this way, I really can’t. I’m having a hard time keeping my irritation at bay here, and as much as I like the design I don’t like that the pattern is set up differently than what has become the standard. I don’t mind just because it’s different from what I’m used to, but because it’s different with no added benefit, but actually reduced usability!

citypants (4)

Ok. Deep breath. Back to the facts: I cut a straight size EU38, since my hip width indicated this size. They do have a table showing finished measurements, and I really only looked at how finished waist measurement was 0,5 cm larger than my hip width, so I figured 38 would be the right size, though I usually take a smaller size. Should have listened to my gut!

citypants (5)

I think the line drawing is super cute, and those were the proportions I was aiming for. Several problems with that. First, the waist is actually larger than is listed. Measuring the waistband piece I got to 100 cm (not including the seam allowance) instead of the 96,5 listed. Yeah, not a huge difference, but still. I definitely had lots of extra room pulling the pants over my hips, while according to the chart I should only have that half centimetre of wiggle room. Also, I didn’t check the finished hip measurement, which is 110 cm. That fits what I measured my pants to be (flat), but for personal preference I’m more comfortable with a less baggy fit through the hips and crotch.

Speaking of crotch, I felt like there was quite a bit of extra room there. The pleats add volume of course, but the crotch is lower than I would like. In addition, I had a bit of a hard time finding a place the pants sit comfortably, and I keep wanting to pull the front up to flatten out the extra room. I’m thinking that the pants are drafted to sit much higher than I prefer, or for a taller person.

citypants (6)

One thing the line drawing doesn’t show accurately, is that the gathers from the elastic is distributed throughout. I think a flatter front is much more flattering, so I would distribute the gathers more towards the back. That seems to make sense with the side seams too, they were pulling towards the front when I distributed the gathers evenly. If I go ahead and make a muslin I would lower the center front so there is more of a difference front to back. The back piece seems very roomy – especially compared to another very similar pants pattern I’ve picked up. And the side seams are shaped oddly where they meet the waist – look how they bulge out!

citypants (2)

Those were some random thoughts I wrote down while I was in the process of making them. After finishing, save hemming, I decided the pants were roomier than I wanted. I went ahead and shaved off a chunk along the inseam, ending up making the thighs too tight and creating a nice little prominent tent when I sat down. Ugh. At this point I was so annoyed with the pants that I didn’t want to figure out how to save them. Until a year later when I went through my UFO’s and decided it was worth a try.

I ended up adding gusset-shapes to raise the crotch point and make more room across the thighs. Haha! Look at the patchwork of pieces! Sorry for the wrinkles – the fabric does wrinkle quite easily. I made elasticized cuffs instead of just hemming. I can’t quite decide if I think these look like pajama pants or not, but so far I’ve enjoyed wearing them! (despite my griping – it’s not my most successful make, but it’s fine). I do like how the waist is done with several channels and elastic – it’s a detail that brings it all up a notch I think.

citypants (11)

citypants (10)Snazzy greenish yellow silk lining for the pockets!

I do really like how combined with my OAL-top (I’ll post more when I have the whole outfit together!) it totally looks like a jumpsuit. I like jumpsuits!

citypants (9)

Ahhh… And like this post isn’t wordy enough. The second pants I’m referring to in my punny post title is the one below. It’s from Stoff og stil, pattern number 20028, decommissioned it looks like. It is, like the Alexandria pants, a city pant with pockets partly covered by a pleat, and tapered leg. This one was drafted for a jersey fabric though, and fits much better (I’m sure the fabric is part of the reason). I started sewing these two pants at the same time, and while one sat unfinished on a shelf for a long time, this one has seen weekly wear since being finished. It was interesting to compare the shape of the pattern pieces while working on the two pants, and as with previous experiences with Stoff og stil the drafting has been quite good. I see they now have a UK website too, how exciting! I’ve grown up with their stores and catalogues, and it’s awesome to see how much more on trend they’ve managed to become the last handful of years.

citypants (1)

surprise! it’s a jersey dress with zippered pockets.

grey_jersey_zippered_pockets (7)

I usually have some sort of name for the projects I work on – what I refer to the garment in my head as I’m sewing it, or even what I plan for the blog post title to be, once it’s finished. For this project, I’ve drawn a complete blank. It’s a grey jersey shift dress and it has zippered pockets (same one seen in my UFO-round-up). And that’s it! But that is ok – I feel strongly that this is one my current, quite basic uniform dresses. During college in Chicago I wore alot of skirts+cardigans+belts-combos, and the first few years back in Bergen it was tweaked to dress+cardigans+belts. Cardigans are still very present in my wardrobe, but the dress-style has shifted (ha!) to a straighter shift silhouette with none of the waist definition I’ve done for years. Subtle changes I guess!

grey_jersey_zippered_pockets (5)

grey_jersey_zippered_pockets (4)

I currently have four jersey dresses I wear a lot, three of them I made, and the last is a store-bought dress very similar to this one. I have the mint ruched dress from last fall, the Ikat Hemlock dress from last spring, this grey one that is the point of this post, and for good measure I’ll mention this first midnight blue jersey fitted dress since it was the one to start this streak of jersey dresses, and because it also has the zippered pockets.

Fabric: 1,5 meters-ish of heathered grey courtelle jersey from Stoff & Stil.
Pattern: Hacked, based on this dress pattern from (yet again) Stoff & Stil.
Techniques: Overlocking, binding, gusset, zippered welt pockets.

grey_jersey_zippered_pockets (3)

This dress pattern is really one that keeps giving! I think this is my first tried-and-true pattern, since I don’t usually make multiples. But since I’ve now really tweaked the fit to suit my body and the fabrics I like using, it’s reliable and quick to use. You know, except when I decide to change stuff, and totally make a mess of it all – like with this dress. My intention was a looser shift style dress without a waistseam, so I butted the skirt and bodice pattern pieces next to eachother, and then added what seemed to me an appropriate amount of ease. I really missed the mark there – I tried it on after sewing up the side seams and it was sausage casing tight! To make the addition of a gusset in each side seam look a little more intentional I cut it on the crossgrain.

grey_jersey_zippered_pockets (6)

Having learned from the midnight blue ponte dress, I didn’t even attempt sewing in the zippers by machine, but topstitched around the opening and handsewed in the zipper using backstitch to securely attach it. The pocketing is a nice woven viscose I’ve also used for a pair of pants I recently finished, and I like that it’s matches in color, but is patterned. I’ve noticed that the pockets pull down a bit when I fill them with stuff, which doesn’t happen with the other dress. I’m thinking the waistseam anchors and supports the weight in a way that is less noticeable – you know, it wasn’t a mistake, it is a design feature! 😉

grey_jersey_zippered_pockets (8)Pocketing fabric in a watercolor-like printed viscose. Also, disappointingly, a little pilling despite not having been worn that many times!

So yeah, I don’t have much more to say about the dress. Despite not gushing about it, I do like it very much – I’ve used it at least once a week since finishing it! (I also love the proper summer weather we’ve been granted here in Bergen, and the awesome park that is a stone throw from my apartment. <3 Expect to see more corners from the park in future posts!)

grey_jersey_zippered_pockets (1)

winter woolens

DSC_6745

DSC_6832

… or “Loki mittens and the third watch-cap”. It’s winter! I made wooly stuff I can wear! Let’s have a look.

Mittens
Yarn:
 Random scraps of yarn – most of it gifted balls of Icelandic yarn from the stash of a friend who’d been there.
Pattern: Made up, based on Loki sweater pattern. (my ravelry project page)
Techniques: Stranded colorwork, ribbing.

Cabled hat
Yarn:
 Merino wool from a frogged sweater.
Pattern: Cabled watch-cap by Kristen Orme
Techniques: Ribbing, cables.

So, the mittens are a figment of my imagination. Not in the sense that they aren’t real (they must be – the keep my hands warm every day!), but the pattern is made up. I came across the Loki kid sweater on Ravelry a really long time ago, and immediately thought they would make cool Icelandic-inspired mittens with some Icelandic coarse wool I’d just been given by a friend. It took several years to make this happen, but here! Finally!

DSC_6749
DSC_6752
I used the repeat pattern from the original kid sweater and repeated it eight times, following the decreases from the chart exactly. It made a sort of funny cone-like shape that isn’t the best for.. you know, hand-shapes. I’m on to the second pair (this time for a friend), and making improvements to get a proper hand shape instead. Meanwhile, I washed, blocked and stretched this pair, and it works just fine. It is very rustic looking – both in yarn and stitch quality! In my defense I will claim that the gorgeously colored green yarn (which a burn test revealed to be some sort of acrylic I think, though oddly stiff) was really hard to work with. I didn’t make it easier on myself either by choosing to combine three different weights of yarn! Especially in the middle section where all three colors are in play at once – it got thick and dense real fast. Surprisingly though, for being a stranded pattern *and* real sticky Icelandic wool, these mittens are not very warm. On their own they are barely good for a crisp fall day, which doesn’t quite describe the season we’re in. I wonder if the gauge might be too loose to get a real dense fabric? Regardless – a pair of thin gloves underneath and it’s all ok. Plus, I love how well these mittens match my woolen hats, and my winter jacket, and generally the rest of my wardrobe. I’ve decided they are kind of charming in their rustic-ness!

DSC_6798

I had a lot of fun knitting these mittens – I’ve forgotten how much I love doing colorwork! It is a fairly small project, and with changes to pretty much every row it is excellent entertainment… Just one more row! I have two more of this type planned out/started, and another fingering weight colorwork pair of mittens  at the top of my ravelry queue (this one). I’m thinking of using my Barcelona souvenir yarn and some thin brown alpacca yarn. It will be sumptuous!

DSC_6813

DSC_6859

Ok, and now the hat. It might look familiar. It’s the third time I’ve knit the exact same hat in the exact same yarn. I posted about the first time I knit this hat here (it ended up being to big and I gave it to a friend), and here is the post for the second one (which apparently I’ve lost).

I’m not quite sure what to say about this hat other than 1. I obviously love it since I’ve knit it three times, 2. I actually finally almost used up the rest of this merino wool! It came from a thrifted sweater and the yarn is so fine I’ve been knitting with four strands, 3. I like the wider ribbing of the second version the best, and 4. I’m particularly pleased with how I did the increases between the ribbing and the cabled pattern in such a way that the pattern grows naturally from the rib pattern.

DSC_6860

Oh, I wanted to talk a little about photo editing! That was a topic on Katie’s blog in connection with her Better Pictures post on indoor photography, as well as Gillian’s post on using Lightroom. Personally I use a combination of Bridge and Photoshop, which I have since I got a really great deal on the Adobe CS-package while still a student at an art college. Sidenote – there at school I took a digital photography class where we used Lightroom, and I thought it was really good, and easy to use. When my current set-up is outdated beyond repair, Lightroom would be my dream choice for blog photo editing.

The set-up I’ve got going now is pretty much a substitute to the Lightroom setup in many ways. I use a Nikon D600, and I have it set up to save in both RAW and jpeg formats. I got used to working with RAW-files in the digital photography class, and I’m just not going back if I can help it! There is so much information in the unprocessed files, which in many ways makes photo editing much easier, since there is more you can do before your photos look… you know, really edited. Anyways, I open my photoshoot folder in Bridge, and look through what I have. As I go along I label the pictures I like (you can use a star rating, or different colors). Then I filter to show only labeled photos, and start comparing and deselecting the good but not great ones. Once I have my selection I mark them all and open with Photoshop, which will go straight into RAW-editing mode. From there I can play with temperature, exposure, black level, brightness, recovery and fill light (the last two are great for overexposed white areas, and those times when the light source is behind me or not strong enough). Those are the things I pretty consistently adjust. I have set up an action to save my photos, so a keyboard shortcut will resize the photo optimized for web, into a folder I’ve specified, and close out the photo from Photoshop so I know I’m done with it. It works really well. I’m very in favor of actions – once you’ve taken the trouble of setting them up!

DSC_6835

I thought about all of this because while editing the photos I hit the auto-option for color temperature and general exposure (like I always do – at the very least I want to see what the program thinks I should do!), and it made the colors really warm, and it made for a nice-looking photo. My first thought however was “This is all wrong! It was a really cold day, with the sun setting early in the afternoon and I had a pale, low sun as the source of light. It should look cold!”. So I left the pictures looking a little cold. I’m not entirely sure what my point is, other than maybe that I edit the pictures to reflect how I think it looked or felt that day. Which this day was pretty damn chilly. I think maybe my frosty breath is visible in some of the pictures!

DSC_6864

Anyone else have a system or agenda with their photo editing? Or, use the “I’m just adjusting my hat/scarf/hair-pose to avoid awkward idle hands in photos? Or, have knitted some warm wintry goodness lately? It’s the season! (Or maybe… it’s the season for having them finished already so they can be put to use!)

cozy raglan sweater, sort of, finally

black wool raglan (2)

Happy new year! A little belated, but I’m wearing my new (store-bought) sparkly skirt in honor of 2016! I think it will be a good one. I hope you all had a lovely holiday celebration, and rest and good company and good food. But don’t be distracted by the sparkles – it’s actually the black sweater we’re here to look at!

Fabric: 1 m black wool terry
Pattern: Raglan t-shirt, Design #4 in Ottobre magazine 5/2013. I cut a size 38.
Techniques: bias binding, understitching, overlocking.

black wool raglan (8)

First off, pictures of this project is inspired (again) by Gillian’s newest post for better pictures, on taking indoor pictures. It is cold outside, even on my veranda, so getting good indoor pictures until it warms up would be nice! The main tip I took from this post was to find a spot perpendicular to the light source. This means however that my stuff is all visible in the background. Paired with the fact that even at two pm the light is fading here, I opted to use the aperture priority setting with a small aperture (f 1.8) that would let in the most light, and blur out the background the most. I don’t know if this affected the autofocus, of if it was where in the frame I was standing, or my sweater being black, but I’ve never had to delete so many totally out of focus pictures! This was a hard one for my camera, poor thing.

black wool raglan (6)

black wool raglan (3)

This fabric is crazy cosy. I got a metre of this stuff at a school where I taught sewing as a substitute teacher this spring, and it’s from a local factory that produces wool clothing. I really like the slight horizontal striations, it gives what is really just black jersey a little bit of texture. The fiber is pure wool, and I would call it a terry – it has all those little loops on the backside,  so it’s super toasty! I knew right away that it would turn into a casual Grainline Linden-like sweater. (Or, as I like to put it, the fabric told me what kind of garment it wanted to be!)

I like to be able to use patterns from my stash when possible, so while I don’t have a huge stash, but I did find a raglan top in an Ottobre magazine that I chose to use. The pattern, #4 in the autumn/winter 5/2013 issue, is really a t-shirt pattern, so I knew I needed to make a couple of changes to get the casual sweater fit I wanted. For one, I had to add my own cuffs, hem and neckline bands, and I decided to size up to get a roomier fit than the t-shirt was intended for. Also, the pattern had a dart at the shoulder for shaping, which I didn’t want, so I slashed and spread. I messed this bit up. I ended up adding length at the front between the armpit and shoulder – length that wasn’t appropriate to add, and got a funnelneck thing going on! Not good. I unpicked, overlapped, and trimmed the neckline down, and that helped. I could not get the neckband to look decent though, so I finally just attached it as a binding instead. I eased the shoulders in especially during this step, which also helped, but I can see the binding makes the neckline a little bulky, and it still wants to stick up a little bit. I have the same thing happening on my ikat Hemlock dress – I’m thinking binding in a lighter weight jersey like on my recent Bettine dress is a good solution. Oh, and also note the little piece of ribbon I put in. It’s mainly meant to help me quickly tell the front from the back, but I also think it’s a nice little touch!

black wool raglan (1)

black wool raglan (4)

Take notice of my face in the picture above – it’s my “seriously camera, will you focus and take a picture now, if I move a little to the left?”-look. But it also shows the back raglan sleeve, which I think has a nice line (nicer than the front, but that’s mainly my fault). While I was making this I was not really pleased with how the sweater was looking. I thought the sleeves were too slim, the neckline and shoulder fit was a mess, and the sleeves were really long after adding cuffs rather than folding and hemming them. And don’t I actually look better in dropped shoulder styles rather than raglan? The width of the hem band was due to how much fabric I had left, and it doesn’t look entirely proportionate in my eyes. The fabric isn’t the stretchiest, so cutting the cuffs and hem band from a narrower width of self fabric is only partly successful. I mean, it works, but not super well. For example – I can’t pull the sleeves up more than 2 inches above my wrist – the cuff is then stretched to its maximum! Oh well.

For all my hesitations and second-rate solutions I have ended up with a perfectly wearable and undeniably cozy sweater. I actually like slim sleeves; the extra length is something I really love in sweaters; and the neckline would probably look a little constricting with the added band, as was the original plan. It’s not perfect, and this post certainly contains a fair amount of what Karen cleverly dubs ablogogising (oh how I enjoy Karen’s writing!) – pointing out the errors in my make. But, it is cozy and warm. And I’ve worn it for three straight days. Let’s call it reluctantly, eventually, finally a success, shall we?

black wool raglan (7)

a floral cotton sateen Bettine

Starting the weekend with a 10 am sunrise photoshoot! Like I mentioned in my last post, about the jersey Bettine, I’ve been waiting for daylight and weather to co-operate so I could take pictures of the cotton sateen Bettine I’ve made. Waking up Saturday morning to the absence of sleet and hail and pouring rain had me dressed to the nines at sunrise to take some balcony photographs. The things we do for blog photos!

floral_bettine (5)

Fabric: 1,3 m floral print cotton sateen from Stoff og Stil.
Pattern: Bettine dress from Tilly and the Buttons. I made the size 2, but used just 1/4″ s.a. for overlocking.
Techniques: bias binding, understitching, elastic casing.

I haven’t worked in a cotton sateen since my final thesis project in fashion school. The dark grey side-draped skirt is made in cotton sateen, and I remember creases setting in like crazy – once a wrinkle had appeared there was no amount of steaming or ironing that would get it fully out. Therefore I was a bit worried about the same here, but though the fabric does wrinkle (even just from sitting down for 10 minutes!), it is way easier to iron them out than my last attempt! So… maybe not all cotton sateens are created equal? This is still definitely a dress I’ll need to iron before wearing though.

floral_bettine (6)

I really like the print of this fabric, and the colors! It’s bold, and watercolor-like, and it’s cream-colored rather than white-white, and I love it.

I wrote quite a bit about the pattern changes I made to this dress in my previous Bettine post, so I don’t need to repeat all of that. The only change I made to this cotton dress after sewing up the jersey dress, was to shave off another 1/2″ or so from the bottom of the back bodice, to make it pool even less. I also remembered to fold the elastic casing down into the skirt this time, as intended – which makes the bodice lay nicer over the waistband. In this version I cut the back skirt with a center seam. I did this partly for fabric yield, but mostly for fit reasons. By having a back seam I could add some width and length over the butt, and I think that helps the side seam hang more nicely as well.

floral_bettine (2)

floral_bettine (3)

I know the pattern changes I wrote about were a little hard to visualize, so I took some pictures of my pattern pieces post-alterations. They’re a little worse for wear after travelling rolled up in my bag during a rain storm, but you can see the important parts still!

floral_bettine (12)
This is the back skirt piece, where I first of all lowered the center back waist point, to shape the waist and get a curve going up to the side-seam instead of the original straight edge. You can also see where I opened up the pattern at hip/butt-level and added a wedge. This wedge gives the skirt piece extra length to travel over the shape of the butt, and also just a tiny bit more width. The side seam length stays the same though. You can also see how I’ve reduced and redrawn the dramatic side seam curve, which is even more crucial to a good fit in a stiffer fabric like cotton sateen.

floral_bettine (13)

The back bodice skirt has length taken out at the center back waist seam to reduce the amount of fabric hanging over the waist. I took out a little bit of width too, to get a near 90° angle at the side seam/waist seam intersection so it would meet the front bodice piece correctly.

floral_bettine (11)

The front bodice piece I’ve shown already, but I did an FBA by opening up a wedge from the shoulder to the bust apex. Instead opening up and adding length evenly across the bodice, as you usually do with FBA’s, I rotated it into the center front fold line. This adds length to the center front only, and the side seam stays the same length. By doing this I got a little bit of extra length to travel over the bust, which I think was needed to have the same amount of pooling in the front as in the back. So – added length to the front bodice, reduced length in the back.

I don’t know if it was the thickness of the fabric or the multiple layers around the pockets, but I had the hardest time getting the elastic into the casing using a safety-pin! It took me 5 or 6 tries, after ending up between the wrong layers of fabrics. I actually unpicked a section in the front to get it all straightened out, and re-sewed that section with the elastic in place. A different way of getting the elastic in might save you some time!

Other than a woven fabric and the back skirt seam, the only difference between this version and the jersey one is adding the button tabs. The fabric is quite busy, so it’s not very easy to see – but it’s there, and it has a brass-colored button, and it’s a nice little touch. I think it works with this weight of fabric.

floral_bettine (15)

floral_bettine (14)

floral_bettine (10)

Well, I managed to say quite a lot about a dress I’ve already said a lot about! It works very nicely as a party-dress (worn to my neighbour’s 30th birthday party), and I like the print and the colors very much. The end.

floral_bettine (9)

a diamond jersey Bettine

Hey there! So, here is the first of two Bettine’s I’ve made – the second one I will post about as soon as I take the pictures, which will happen sometime in daylight when it’s not raining. That is a bigger feat than it might sound like in Rain capital here!

jersey_bettine (8)

Fabric: 1,3 m polyester and viscose jacquard sweater-weight jersey from Stoff og Stil.
Pattern: Bettine dress from Tilly and the Buttons.
Techniques: Jersey fabric, neck and pocket binding, serged seams, single-layer pockets.

First off, this is like socially acceptable pajamas. Made up in jersey, it is one comfortable dress! With pockets. I mean, pockets rule. Here is a close-up shot of the pocket:

jersey_bettine (1)

jersey_bettine (4)

Ok, I’m going to back up here for a second. I taught a youth sewing class this fall (like I’ve done several times before), and I had the brilliant idea of combining all the demos I usually do into an actual garment.  Very smart. I had a laundry list of techniques I wanted to demo for the kids, and I found the Bettine dress to be the pattern that had most all of those techniques. So in between helping the participants with their jackets and skirts or whatever project they had chosen to work on, I would take 10 minutes to show them something different each class; elastic waistbands, or pocket constructions, or bias binding, or hemming. It worked quite well, and at the end I had a dress! Ahead of time I made this jersey dress as a test-run, so I’d be familiar with the construction steps and what-not.

jersey_bettine (3)

jersey_bettine (2)

Now, some words on the pattern and the fit. Going in I was worried about the fit – I’d read several reviews that highlighted problematic aspects about the pattern (this one I found particularly helpful, with the side view), and Gillian of Crafting a Rainbow pointed out that the skirt front and back is cut from the same pattern piece. From the pictures I’ve seen around the interwebs this has a tendency to make the back hem rise up, since the back skirt piece hasn’t been made longer to compensate for the extra travelling distance over the butt. At the same time I noticed in pictures more excess in the back bodice pooling over the elastic waist than in the front, probably for the same reason – the front bodice is not made longer than the back despite the added volume of the bust.

After printing out the pattern and assembling I could see why these issues were happening. The skirt piece and the two bodice pieces all have straight waist seams. Being a beginners pattern I assume the same skirt piece is used front and back to make things easier on novice sewers, but I’m having a hard time justifying the non-curved waist seam. To my pattern-maker-trained eye it just looks wrong, and results in uneven amounts of pooling around the bodice (front to back, center to sides). Also, it makes the skirt hang unevenly. Frankly, I was disappointed to see this in the pattern. I also don’t understand why the sizing has to be unconventional and run as sizes 1-8 rather than the European or American sizing convention, but that is a mere annoyance that doesn’t really affect the outcome of the garment. Uncurved waistbands do, however.

jersey_bettine (5)

So, I made changes! I did a small FBA of 1″ total which also gave a little extra length in the front (shown in progress above – I finished by drawing a straight line from the center waist hem to the center neckline and cut away the excess). I’ve never done an FBA on a kimono-sleeve, so this was the educated-guess type of slash-and-spread. I think it worked out! I also shortened the back by 7/8″ from the waist up to reduce the amount of pooling going on in the back.  I used the pocket version skirt pattern as the front, and lowered both back and front pieces at the center by 1/2″ to get my beloved waist curve. On the back skirt pattern piece I added a 3/4″ horizontal wedge from center back to the hip mark at the side seam. This added some length back in, but also meant a center back seam (for the next version in cotton sateen at least, for the knit I decided I could just cut on the fold). Finally I reduced the exaggerated side hip curve by 1/2″ – I know this is a stylized design feature, but I have fairly narrow hips so I just don’t need all that much wiggle room.

jersey_bettine (6)

I drew inspiration from Meg of Cookin’ and Craftin’s fun and summery Bettine, and made single layer pockets. The jersey probably would struggle a bit with the weight of the pockets, so single layer it was! I’m pleased with how they turned out. I had the brilliant idea of using a thinner viscose jersey in a matching color (yey stash!) for binding the neckline and pocket edges rather than self-fabric, and mid pocket-construction, before turning the binding over to the wrong side to stitch down, I realized I really liked the bit of detail and variation of a contrastic fabric. So I left it. That means the binding on the inside of the pocket is exposed and unfinished, but it seems to be holding up just fine after several washes and lots of wear. I mean, as comfy as pajamas and ok to wear in public? Weekly usage. I’ve had one issue moving into the colder weather of late though, which is that I don’t find it an easy dress to layer. I guess I could layer underneath? The cuffs and slightly wider sleeves tends to look quite lumpy under my cardigans. So non-layering-situations-dress it is.

Yes, the pattern put me in a grumpy mood, and my ideal dresses can be layered, and I turned the elastic casing into the bodice instead of the skirt so the pooling isn’t as elegant as it’s supposed to be (oops! My bad, I went rogue on the instructions), and I only realized after struggling to get pictures taken during post-sunset low lighting that the cuffs were all askew after taking my cardigan off (and I really could not be bothered to re-shoot). It might not be the biggest hit, but I’m still pleased with the dress.

jersey_bettine (9)

1 2 3 14