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I am a mother, a grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge was published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon

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Thursday, February 6, 2014

Two pattern reviews

My sewing has kept ahead of my blogging this last week. I find making things easier than finding the time to take pictures. When my husband leaves next week I will probably be resorting to on the dressform shots or being brave like Carolyn and trying to take pictures remote control.

Things have been busy. 

My daughter is near the middle of her pregnancy and last week was dealing with a husband who was away for work for the week and a round of Norwok over there. I did what I could to help her out and that included one night where I stayed over to change and wash sheets while she held the bowls.

You get the picture.

The week was a bit of a blur between work and helping out but I had some nice sewing surprises. 

The first was a batch of six new Stylearc patterns I am dying to try and a shipment of some really nice knits from GirlCharlee fabrics.  They only carry knits but I got some terrific practical T shirt prints, good cotton lycra for some more day-to-day Elles, and some ponte. I am particularly impressed with the ponte. Good quality, good stretch. BTW the Girl Charlee site posts the stretch factor of their knits which is really useful if you are making some Stylearc pants for reasons in my earlier review.

My latest sewing produced a hit and a miss.

The first of these was Vogue 8951, a semi miss.

Here is the pattern shot:

I didn't do the extended hem at the back, personally that look still looks like a saggy diaper to me, and I really expected this top to be pretty straightforward and the top useful.

I used a ponte with good body and interfaced the collar and facings of course.

What the picture doesn't show, and I should have checked, is how low and wide that V is. Showing cleavage day-to-day may work for some people but those people sure didn't grow up in small towns in Manitoba. There we saved that for New Year's Eve and even then put on a sweater.

So I was sort of kicking myself for having burned some good fabric on this one, and in the end put on a silk scarf which makes it wearable. Here are the shots, see for yourself:

Since I always push up my sleeves, why do I forget sometimes not to just make them 3/4? A very good question.

This makes a few patterns now from the Vogue conglomerate that has produced clothes I am not comfortable in and makes the money I spend on ordering in the Stylearcs I can make many versions of more sensible. (In a previous life I was a spin doctor, see I can even still do it to myself).

Which brings me to my skirt experiments.

On Mondays and Wednesdays I teach a first thing in the morning class at the top of a hill. I am always running up that hill and since my work skirts are all straight skirts this is not always as easy as it sounds.

So last week I decided I needed something I haven't worn for decades and that is a skirt with movement, and in a knit.

This led me to the Stylearc Allison skirt:

I am still working my way through my black fabric stash and made this one out of a rayon ponte. It was an easy sew.

I was of course iffy about the waist since mine left town some time ago but decided I needed to just see how it went, knowing this in advance.

So these are shots taken before I went out the door to work yesterday.

In case you are wondering, yes you are in fact looking at a purple top and purple tights. I have been enjoying adding colour to my life and in my teaching evaluations last term one student, undoubtedly one of those who wears jeaggings and has plugs in her ears, complimented me on my kicking style.

Not sure what that really meant, I never the less still let it go to my head and give me courage to wear exactly what I never would have worn in my previous corporate life.

Of course being black you can't really see much of the skirt in this photo but it should give you some idea of the swing of it and its suitability for hill climbing.

Next up are more skirts and waiting for spring.


Angela said...

Great save on that top pattern, although I don't think it's bad without the scarf. Personally, if I can even simulate cleavage, that's a positive;) But I love your purple top and tights with your skirt! Your compliment was well-deserved.

LinB said...

I see what you mean about the vee neck, lol. I am now always careful to check the necklines on all Burda patterns I make, for the same reason. I made what I thought would be a "fun" tee shirt from a Burda pattern, some years ago, to vary my boring work uniform of top-and-slacks. It had an interesting cut, with a youthful feel to it -- I needed an affirmation that I still had both feet out of the grave. Wearing the shirt took me back to an earlier stage, alright, but it took me back to the stage of my life when I was nursing an infant every 1 1/2 hours. Then, the spontaneous complete exposure of both breasts would have been a positive attribute of this tee shirt. Not so positive at middle age, for any variety of reasons, but most importantly because I work in a church office. Le sigh.

Digs said...

Good demo of a less than ideal pattern. The scarf makes it perfect, but even without it's not too bad. I wouldn't wear something this low to work, but around the house and neighbourhood? sure, no problem! You look great in it. Now quickly make yourself another one that'll be perfect without extra embellishments! ;)

Sewing by Shirley said...

I do like the top with the scarf, and I'm with you on the whole low cleavage thing. I bought a couple tops on clearance the other week from Victorias Secret and have to put a tank top underneath because they come so low. I'm glad they were on clearance!

Miasews said...

I've just about given up on the Big Four and buy Style Arc exclusively. Your Allison skirt is great, it's now on my list. And I love the purple/violet top and tights combo. It brightens up the day for sure! Thanks for the tip about Girl Charlee ponte.

Unknown said...

You do look nice in the V neck top with the scarf...or without, but I know what you mean.
As for the purple and black, that girl was do rock it!!! It is soooo fun. Color makes any day better!

Barbara said...

Wow! You look amazing in the skirt with purple tights and shirt! The color you're adding to your wardrobe is an inspiration.

annie said...

Your student was right. Kickin' would be spot on! I love your skirt. The observation re: recent Vogue patterns leads me to this. I have been dabbling in vintage Vogue patterns. In fact, just now I am working on a shirt dress copyrighted in 1951. The directions are great. The pattern markings take a little more concentration. However the pieces are already cut. No excess tissue to wade through. But here's the bonus. They seem to fit better without a lot of alterations and tinkering. Overall, they don't cost more than today's patterns. We'll see down the road but I would urge your followers to explore this avenue. Always enjoy your blog.

Anonymous said...

I hate it when necklines are too low. Seeing cleavage on others is great, I don't like seeing it on myself. Or wearing it to work.
Your red top would look adorable with a B&W striped turtleneck underneath with stripes showing beneath your pushed up sleeves.
It looks great with the scarf too.
Your comments are hilarious.
Love the purple and black. Yep, she was right.

Catherine Daze said...

The red top with the scarf is great. And the purple look. Coloured tights are such a good invention .

Anonymous said...

The red shirt is really a beautiful color and fabric. I'm glad you found the scarf solution that makes you comfortable with the neckline.

Bunny said...

The red top is great on you as that is so your color! Love your "kickin'" purple outfit as well, very very sharp, teach!

Carolyn (Diary of a Sewing Fanatic) said...

Barb, I love the purple and black together on you! How lovely!