Pattern Hack, Sewing

Casual Co-ordinates : Eucalypt Tank and Angelia Shorts

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Hey y’all! I’m so pleased to have had the chance to take part in the first challenge of Indie Pattern Month 2015 over on The Monthly Stitch, and by some miracle I actually won 2nd place! Thanks to all who voted, and I’m so glad that you liked my wild and whimsical Flora dress.

This week I’m back again (and just in the nick of time!) for the Separates competition with a cropped Eucalypt Tank, and a little sneak peek of a not-yet-released pattern from Itch to Stitch – the Angelia shorts! Let’s get right to it, shall we?

Eucalypt Tank pattern by Megan Nielsen

If you’ve been following my sewing journey for a while you’d have remembered my first Eucalypt Tank made out of some cheap Aztec print cotton that I scored from the bargain bin in Chinatown (in Singapore). If you know me in real life, you’d probably have seen me wearing it, oh, just about every other weekend or so. It is by far the best and closest fitting woven tank top or shell top I own, even if the material is kind of stiff and does feel a little too tight around the arm holes. So when I decided to whip up a cropped tank, it was a no brainer that the Eucalypt pattern was the one for me. (It also helped that Holly made this adorable crop top and midi skirt set using the Eucalypt pattern last year and I’ve been dying for one of my own ever since.)

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This is an incredibly simple pattern with great results – only 2 pattern pieces,front and back! Plus bias binding strips if you aren’t using store-bought ones. The instructions are very simple to follow. This was one of my very first makes that I attempted before knowing very much about sewing – I remember reading about french seams months later and realising that I had already done them before just by following the instructions in this pattern! If that’s not a sign of clear directions, I don’t know what is.

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I wish I could give you a bit more details on how I hacked the pattern, but in all honesty, I just winged it. I put on my first Eucalypt and measured how much I wanted to take off from the hemline – this length is about 3 fingers above my navel. I also had a little problem because my eyelet fabric was scalloped, and I wanted to keep the beautiful selvedge as my hem. This meant that I had to even out the curved hem of the Eucalypt and make it straight all the way around instead. If I remember correctly, what I ended up doing was measuring 10cm up from the hem of the side seam, and drawing a perpendicular line from that point, straight across both the front and back pattern pieces. I left the top unlined in spite of the eyelets because they were too small and sparse to be revealing.  I also raised the neckline and armsyces, but ended up wearing the top back to front as I liked the high neckline in the front and the scooped neck at the back instead. I can’t tell the difference – can you?

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Tldr;

Pattern: Megan Nielsen’s Eucalypt Tank 

Size made: XS at the shoulders and bust, grading to a S at the waist

Alterations made: Raised the neckline and armscyes, cropped length, evened out the hemline

Fabric and Notions: Less than a metre of black cotton eyelet fabric with a scalloped hem and store-bought black bias binding 

Itch to Stitch Angelia Shorts 

This pair of nautical shorts was a tester version I made as part of Kennis’ testing process for her upcoming release – the Angelia Shorts Pattern. I was provided the tester version of this pattern free from Kennis for testing purposes, and she’s kindly agreed to let me use them for the Separates challenge! (Thanks Kennis! On a side note, all opinions on this pattern are completely my own.) This is the view A version of the shorts, ie. the simplest version sans pockets or belt loops. There are two other version of the Angelia that include all the bells and whistles – coin pouches, tabs, cuffs, patch pockets and welt pockets – you name it, it’s probably somewhere in the pattern. If you would like to be kept posted on when this pattern is being released, be sure to sign up to the Itch to Stitch group on Facebook for updates.

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I won’t go into too much detail about the pattern as yet, as I’m planning to save that for a later post after the pattern has launched. But I WILL say that this pattern is completely manageable for a beginner or a beginner+, it’s my first ever pair of shorts myself! You may notice that my fly zip is kind of messy – that’s completely my fault as I misunderstood the instructions. I did raise this up to Kennis and she was very quick in taking in my feedback – from what I understand that step will be clarified in the final version of the pattern. If you’ve ever made up an Itch to Stitch pattern, you’ll be familiar with how comprehensive the instructions are. If you haven’t, I would strongly strongly encourage you to get the free Lindy Petal Skirt pattern and see for yourself!

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Pattern: Itch to Stitch Angelia Shorts pattern, view A (not yet released) 

Size made: Size 4

Fabric and notions: Some kind of cornflower blue printed cotton with a waffle-like texture, a 7″ regular zip and a hook and eye

I can’t wait to get some wear out of both these pieces – either separately or together! I would have liked to make the crop top a little shorter to suit the high waist of the shorts, but I wanted a versatile piece that could be worn with my mid to low rise jeans and shorts as well.

What summer sewing are you guys embarking on? All the shorts, sundresses, maxi skirts and bikinis popping up on the blogosphere have me dying to ditch my work clothes plans and make holiday outfits galore!

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Pattern Hack, Sewing, Uncategorized

Pattern Hacking // Bow V-backed Sabrina Crop Top

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In case you haven’t realised, I may be slightly obsessed with the By Hand London Sabrina dress pattern. I also seem to be riding a severe crop top kick (though I have neither the figure nor desire to be bearing my un-toned midriff in them).

Enter this new franken-garment and my second entry for the By Hand London #Patternhackathon competition: a bow V-backed Sabrina crop top, also affectionately known as the “Sabine top” because it makes me feel like a leggy Eastern European model who walks for Chanel. (Of course I look the exact opposite, but the gorgeous sunset in the background is meant to distract you from my awkward posing.)

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This top was made from a white bamboo knit that I snagged at Chinatown, and is a mash-up of the Sabrina dress bodice, a large V-shaped hole and the Tilly & the Buttons Brigitte Scarf attached as a sash for the tie back bow! On hindsight, I should have taken in the princess seams a little or gone down half a size, given that the back was to be left open and I was using knit fabric this time round… I still think it looks fab though and I’m mighty pleased with the result!

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Hurray for the Pattern Hackathon and I can’t wait to see all the lovely entries by other talented sewists out there!

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DIY, Sewing

DIY // Adding Side Panels and Width to a Crop Top

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I’m an incredibly lazy shopper. I don’t like loitering around pointlessly in malls looking at clothes I can’t afford, I hate queuing for the changing room, and I feel stressed when making others wait for me when I shop in a group. (Yet I feel stressed making decisions without a second opinion!!! Anyone else have this infuriating problem?) It’s not surprising that I do most of my shopping online instead – ASOS, Zalora, blogshops – my own virtual shopping heaven from the comfort of my bed.

The one bad (and pretty major) thing about buying clothes that you haven’t tried on is that all too often the fit is a little off. As a result of this I have a whole cupboard full of clothing that I’ve been meaning to refashion or resize. In particular is this ADORABLE little gold and white striped crop top from A for Arcade which I scored on sale:

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I envisioned it paired with pencil skirts and denim high waisted skinnies, but was disappointed when I received my order and found it way too small around the waist – I couldn’t even button it up! (it’s telling that it fit round my bust but not my waist #workouttime #smallbustwoes )

I looked around for an online tutorial on how to add width to crop tops but came up empty, so I did a bit of freestyle fiddling and this was the result:

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Pretty good for a beginner attempt I think! Keep on reading to see how I did it-

TUTORIAL: ADDING SIDE PANELS / WIDTH TO A CROP TOP

Materials and tools needed:

A crop top to resize

Unpicker & Scissors

Fabric for the side panels and matching thread (I used white bamboo knit, it’s slightly lighter than double knit but a whole lot more stable than jersey)

Sewing machine

Pinking shears (or an overlocker if you have one!)

Steps:

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1. Pick apart the side seams of the crop top.

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2. Cut a piece of fabric as tall as the height of your crop top plus seam allowances (I used 1 inch) and as wide as you estimate you will need to extend one side by. (I estimated the width needed and just snipped off the excess after!)

3. With right sides together, sew the fabric to your crop top along the side seam. Because I was using a knit, I used a tight zig-zag stitch.

4. Hem the top of your fabric to match the height of your crop top.

5. Put on the crop top and facing a mirror (or enlisting the help of a significant other / sewing buddy) pin out the excess fabric along the side seam. Do the same on the other side.

Because my crop top had darts in the front already, this was a matter of just pinching out the excess along the contour of my body and pinning it.

At this point, take off the crop top and check that it looks like this:

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Also check that the side panels on either side are roughly equal (mine are off by about a cm but it’s not very noticeable!)

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6. Stitch up the side seams right sides together, using a zig-zag stitch if you’re using a stretchy fabric.

7. Hem the bottom of the side panel to match the rest of the bottom hem of the crop top.

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8. Finish the seams any way you like – I pinked mine because I figured the knit wouldn’t fray much.

9. And don’t forget to press your seams! Mine looked awful till I did.

Voila! You’re done! Your formerly too-small-to-breathe-in crop top now fits perfectly.

And you guys I’m so in love with mine. I’m already planning all the outfits I can wear it with! (Sadly there is a dearth of high-waisted fitted skirts in my closet – I will have to rectify that ASAP!)

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Anybody else have suggestions on how to resize too-tight tops? (ooh checkout my alliteration)

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Pattern Hack, Sewing

Pattern Hacking // By Hand London Sabrina Dress Crop Top

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Given my choice of career that has me spending 9 hours a day behind a desk in a (rather formal) office, you would think that my closet included more business-friendly attire – it doesn’t. My dress rack is full of prints and lace, skirts that toe the line between casual and business and t-shirts. Lots and lots of t-shirts.

Enter the Sabrina Dress. By Hand London’s new offering is a modest, princess seam dress targeted at beginners that (hallelujah!) is of a completely work appropriate length and style. My wearable muslin is also mighty comfortable but I have yet to experience what an actual make will be like.

I did make up a muslin of this dress but sadly it was too long in the bodice and wide on the sides (I lopped it all off but am now wondering if I should have done an SBA instead…) so I made the necessary alterations to it and sadly, it looks nothing like the dress is supposed to look anymore. It is wearable though! And I absolutely love it. Still, I think I’ll wait for the Sabrina sew-along to start proper before I give the dress another go…

In the meantime, spurred on by the ongoing #PatternHackathon, I hacked myself a nifty Sabrina crop top instead!

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I love the boat neck collar and that it’s not overly tight (though it does pull a little, I haven’t figured that bit out yet) plus this top gets major love for being completely work appropriate with a high-waisted pencil skirt! I also put in a slightly curved hemline to mimic the (inverse?) dip hem that’s been so popular on crop tops recently. Oh and I totally intended to put in that peek-a-boo slit at the back… or maybe the only zipper I had on hand was a couple of inches too short… you will never know 😉

I was so enamoured by the top when I first made it that I put it to the ultimate comfort test – taking my crazed dog for a walk. If I could walk my dog in that top and it didn’t fall apart, then I could do anything! Pigs could fly, spiders could tap dance!

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I’m glad to say it passed the test. Naturally, we celebrated with cake and coffee.

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I’m looking forward to making more of these beauties, maybe the next one in double knit? I’m pretty sure it will be a closet staple for quite some time to come. Have any of you guys tried the Sabrina dress pattern? Any tips on getting it to fit right?

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