Papercut Patterns – Rigel Bomber #2

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The Rigel Bomber is definitely the star of my closet at the moment! As soon as I’ve finished the first one, I immediately bought the fabric for anther one.
This time I’ve gone for variation 2, the one with geometric sleeve details. I really enjoy playing with different textures, colors and fabrics and this version gives you the possibility of doing exactly that. It all begun with the ribbing, the black one I bought from Pacific Trimmings, which is super thick, very elastic and it also has a great recovery. It’s pretty heavy duty and good quality stuff and I really wanted to use it, so I looked for a suitable fabric to pair it with. Needless to say, here it’s very hard to find decent medium to heavy weight materials, never mind in a nice print or color, but I eventually managed to find something suitable for my project.

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This fabric is a sort of faux polyester suede in a very cool shade of dusty navy which I think complements very well the ribbing. It has a very soft hand and drapes nicely, perfect for the Rigel. It doesn’t like the iron thought as it becomes shiny if you press it too much, ask me how I know!

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I really liked the look of this navy paired with the black so I collected little pieces of different black fabrics for the sleeve details. I had quite a few to choose from, but in the end I set for a trio that gave me a sort of gradient effect, from light black to very deep black. For the lightest shade, which I positioned towards the front, I’ve used some black lace on top of the suede, the second triangle is made out of pinwale corduroy and the last rich black is velveteen. I’m very happy with how this color experiment turned out and I like all the pops of black on this navy background.

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For a more edgy look, I’ve decided to do something different with the pocket openings and inserted some zippers in place of the welts. You can find out all the details on how to do it, in this post here. While for my first Rigel I’ve purchased a Riri zipper from the US, the three zips for this Bomber are YKK, bought online from M.Recht, here in Australia. They don’t slide as smoothly as the Riri, but they’re still of very good quality and they’re way better than the zips I find locally. Of course, the zipper tapes and pocket bags had to be black!

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To be coherent, I’ve used some black satin back crepe for the lining and again it’s polyester. I know, I know, I’m using way too much poly these days but it’s all I can find around unless I buy online, and for this Rigel I wanted to get the right shades of black, otherwise my plan wouldn’t have worked, so it was better purchasing everything in person. This satin was very easy to work with and after this second project using this sort of material, I am now a shiny-lining converted fan – I love how elegant and luxurious it feels and looks.

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Bagging the lining was way easier this time, as I knew what I was doing thanks to my previous Bomber experience and also to this awesome tutorial by Jen at Grainline Studio, which shone a bit more light onto the whole process. For more comfort and durability, I also changed the lining pieces a bit, adding a 2.5 cm center back pleat and about 1.5 cm length to all pieces.

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Size wise, I cut an S, basically just because I wanted more ease so I could wear warm and cozy knit sweaters underneath the jacket. The difference in between each size is only few centimeters, but I prefer the fit of this second Rigel, slightly more slouchy and relaxed. The only modification I made was adding 7 cm to the sleeve length as I like my sleeves to be long and I’m now very pleased with the fit.

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And the black ribbing that started it all? Actually, it was way easier to handle and sew than what I expected. Obviously it was very bulky in some places, but using a walking foot was all I needed to let my little Brother sew everything without complaining. The quality of this ribbing is excellent and it looks 100 times better than the one I’ve sewn to my first Rigel. It’s sold in 80 cm lengths so I got two and I had to shorten the band pieces a couple of cm each to make them all fit. This didn’t cause any problem as the ribbing is very elastic and the size of each piece was just right – I think it looks better this way anyhow, a bit more snugly around waist, wrists and collar.

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I really enjoyed taking part to the #rigelbomberjanuary, it was fun seeing what other sewers came up with and it’s amazing how different is every Rigel made – from quilted fabric to leather, from wool to cotton, plain or printed, everybody’s take on this pattern is truly impressive.

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I’m on a serious outwear/jacket mood at the moment – I love sewing and handling heavier fabrics! – and I can’t wait to be in Melbourne to go fabric shopping and buy some coating for the Grainline Studio Cascade Duffle Coat. I totally don’t know when I’m gonna wear a coat, but I really need the Cascade in my wardrobe, it’s just perfection. So if you have a favorite fabric shop in Melbourne (or Brisbane as I might be lucky enough to stop there too!) to recommend me, please let me know, I’m so excited to put my hands on some awesome materials!

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How to add zippers to the Rigel Bomber pockets!

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Today I’ve started working on my second Rigel Bomber, because, you know, it’s an awesome pattern and once you’ve made one, you want more! Since the making of my first Rigel, I’ve been madly pinning inspiration photos on my Pinterest board - there is something for everyone, from sequins to lace, from velvet to fur, and few of those bombers have zipper pockets. While I don’t think I would wear a sequined or lace jacket very frequently, I find the zippers very cute and useful – I often wish all my jackets had zipper pockets, so I’d be sure of not losing whatever I put in them.

I spent the afternoon figuring out how to add those zippers to the Rigel and this is how I did it. Mind you, I’m not a sewing pro, but this method worked for me so I thought it would be nice sharing it. If you have a better way of doing this, please do comment along and let me know, I’m always eager of improve my sewing skills, learning new techniques and happy of reading your thoughts.

Here we go!

I’ve cut the front panels and pocket bag pieces as per instructions and transferred the pocket markings onto the wrong side of front panels, but because the zipper is narrower than the welt, I’ve halved the high of the markings. The original markings were about 14.8 cm x 2 cm, while mine is now 14.8 cm x 1cm.

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I then flipped the front panel to the right side, pinned a piece of interfacing where the markings are (I roughly cut a rectangle a bit bigger than the markings) and transferred again the markings on top of the interfacing. I’ve used light weigh iron on interfacing, placing it wrong side up, so when I’ll pull it over the back, the glue will stick to the wrong side of the front panel and it will nicely stay in place. Also I cut the interfacing edges with pinking sheers, so when I press it, it doesn’t show through the right side.

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I stitched around the pocket markings and to make sure the short sides were exactly the same length, I’ve counted the number of stitches used to sew the first short side and done the same for the second one.

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Then I cut through the interfacing and front panel, in the center of the two stitching lines, stopping about 1.5 cm before the ends and cutting a V on both ends, taking care not to cut through the stitch-line.

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I’ve flipped the front panel to the wrong side and pulled the interfacing thought the opening, pressed and let the glue stick to the wrong side of the main fabric (as I said, I’m using iron on interfacing). Here is how it looked like.

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Now it’s time to insert the zipper. I didn’t bother finding a proper pocket zipper, which has both ends closed, I’ve used instead a regular metal zipper, 15 cm long. To help the zipper lay flat and even, I’ve hand stitched it close, at the top, where the teeth end.

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I’ve pinned the zipper in place, making sure it was centered and the tape evenly showing and then I’ve top stitched all around it. If you think pinning is not for your, you can either hand baste the zipper or use double sided sticky tape to temporary keep it in place and then sew. Boom, zip done, now for the pocket bags!

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On the wrong side of the front panel, I’ve stitched pocket bags A and B, one at the time. I’ve started with piece A, aligning the straight long side of the pocket bag with the outer edge of the zipper tape, right side of pocket bag facing down, pinned and stitched in place. Then I’ve placed piece B on top of A, right side facing down, matching the raw edges all around and stitched B to the zipper tape. Because the construction on of this pocket opening is slightly different from the Rigel instructions, the top of pocket bag B (basically the side joined to the zipper tape) needs to be trimmed down about 1 cm and it can be easily done once the pocket is already sewn together, without changing the original pattern pieces.

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As you can see in the photo above, I left myself with very little seam allowance to play with. It was pretty fiddly to stitch the pocket bags to the zipper tape and next time I’ll make sure a) I cut a slightly smaller pocket opening, just a couple of mm, or b) top-stitch the zipper a bit closer to the zipper itself resulting in more room on the wrong side for stitching the pocket bags. That said, in this case I really like the amount of black tape showing, it will match the ribbing and shoulder details.

Once both pocket bag pieces are sewn along the zipper tape, stitch them together along the edges, all the way around, sewing thought the zipper tape at each ends – but obviously taking care of not stitching thought the front panels! You can either finish the edges with a zig zag stitch or with your overlocker. I hope my pocket bags are gonna last for a while, I’m a bit worried about that teeny tiny seam allowance…fingers crossed.

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And there you have it, a Rigel Bomber with zipper pockets!

Papercut Ooh La Leggings!

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It looks like January is all about Papercut Patterns here at CarlyInStitches! Today it’s the turn of the Ooh La Leggings, a pair of ‘fuseaux’ with front and back seam details, in three lengths variations – long, 3/4 and just below the knee. The pattern suggests the use of high stretch knit fabrics with a good return, but obviously I couldn’t find any I liked here where I live, so I’ve opted for some soft and not-that-stretchy Ponte de Roma in a dark gray. I thought I could wear this warmer long pair of leggings during our trip in Tasmania and in the meantime look for more appropriate materials for future pairs. I like Ponte Knits though, because of their heavier weight and dense structure, which helps smoothing those ugly panty lines and also provide some sort of modesty (if we can talk about modesty for a pair of leggings!).

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For this first version I’ve cut a size XS, even if my waist measurement falls is in between S and XS and my hips in between XS and XXS instead. I’m pretty happy with the fit and I think the comfort will improve when I’ll sew them up in the recommended sort of fabric. This pair is far from being uncomfortable, don’t get me wrong, but they are not certainly made for jogging.

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The pattern went together really easily and as usual I was intimidated by it being a knit project, with curved seams nonetheless, for no reason. All my worries vanished once I started sewing – instructions are clear and I had no problems stitching these leggings together. The only mod I’ve done is inserting the elastic following Gertie’s knit skirt instructions (from her latest book) which have you to stitch together the elastic ends, divide the elastic in quarters marking them with pins, then sewing the elastic to the waist edge on the wrong side, turn it down towards the inside and secure it in place. To do so I’ve top stitched it using a narrow zig zag stitch. This is a very quick and easy alternative to threading the elastic into a channel, which is what you are instructed to do for the Ooh La Leggings.

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I really like all the topstitching involved – it accentuate the curved seams, making them even more visible. I omitted the pin-tucks along the front leg seams thought, as I was worried they would pop on this Ponte, but my next pair will surely have them, they’re so stylish! I think a good alternative would be topstitching the seams all the way to the bottom leg – I think it would help the seams laying flat and it would look cool too.

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I’ve constructed all the leggings on my regular sewing machine, but then I’ve overlocked the edges as I prefer a neat inside for the garments I make.

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And to set these gray leggings off, I’ve sewn a magenta (I’ve told you I like this color combo!) t-shirt to go with them. The pattern I’ve used is the Grainline Scout Tee, with added length to body and sleeves. I don’t love to show my ass around in super tight clothes so I thought a longer tee was needed. I’ve also added a hem band to the sleeves, just because. The fabric is a super stretchy cotton Lycra. So stretchy in fact, I think this tee grew already quite a lot vertically. We’ll see what happens in a couple of wearing sessions!

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I love the Ooh La Leggings – they are easy to make, they require very little fabric and notions and the sewing is still quite interesting with those curved seam details and topstitching. Plus, they have a very high waist, which I love, love, love!
Now let’s go and find some cute fabrics to make more!

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Papercut Rigel Bomber!

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Boom! #rigelbomberjanuary number one, done! More to come, no doubt about it! I’ve so much to say about this first version that I don’t know from where to start.
This pattern has been in my “to do” list for ages, but I’ve never got to sew it for a couple of reasons (both pretty stupid). First, it’s a jacket and therefore I thought it would have been difficult to sew, and second, I usually never wear this sort of garments since I live in a tropical area and I don’t need them. The excuse of going on holiday in Tasmania – where I secretly hope to find some snow! – was good enough to let me decide participating to the #rigelbomberjanuary, and about the difficulty of this make, well, I was completely wrong.

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Let’s talk about the supplies first and how frustrating is, sometimes, finding them here where I live – Mackay – and in Australia in general.
The shell fabric is from my stash: I bought it about a year ago with no plans for it, but just because I loved it. It’s a polyester (my guess, as it was labeled as “assorted”) black and silver zebra jacquard, very prone to fray and to leave bits of thread all over the place. Apart from that, it was really easy to cut and sew.

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As everybody who has already sewn this jacket has said, the Rigel really benefits of a lining. First of all to hide the interior – pocket linings, seam allowances and so on, and secondly to avoid any sort of clinging and sticking to the other clothes you’re gonna wear underneath. So the lining was a must have and I wanted something “special”. Being my main fabric already a print, I’ve opted for a plain material but in a happy, bright and contrasting color: magenta! I love the contrast with the black and silver and I could use this palette over and over again … actually, I think I’ve done it already (more Papercut Patterns to come)! Anyhow, the lining is some more polyester crap, a slightly stretchy satin which make me think of the wonderful movie that is Million Dollar Baby and all those silky and shiny boxing robes. I’m head over heels about this material – it feels luxurious and expensive and I wonder why I’ve never use it before?? It was rather easy to handle too and to be honest all I needed to achieve a nice result was a new and sharp machine needle (I’ve used a size 80).

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Finding the shell and lining fabrics was easy, while putting my hands on some decent ribbing was quite an adventure. I searched all over the Internet, trying to find something local, but ended up buying some from Pacific Trimmings in the US instead. I think it was more of an excuse to justify the shipping costs of the zipper I wanted, and in the end I didn’t even use that ribbing as it was way too heavy weight for my fabrics. The zipper in question is a Riri one, a very good one as it seems, and on the Pacific Trimmings website you can completely customize it – you get to choose the material and color of the tape, the color and width of the teeth, the pull and of course the length – and there you have it, the perfect match for your project! I went for black cotton tape and 6mm ruthenium teeth and I’m so excited about the matching than I can’t wait to sew or knit some other garments needing a zipper to order more! The price isn’t exactly what I call affordable, $22US for mine, but it really is a good zipper and you can tell the difference from the shit I’m used to find here.

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Back to the ribbing, I’ve ended up using some I sourced from a local shop, but I’m not completely satisfied with it. I wish I could’ve found something slightly heavier as this one hasn’t a lot of body and looks a bit floppy. I’m also worried it’s gonna stretch out of shape sooner rather than later. I even thought about interfacing it, but then, is this even possible?? Suggestion about where to find in Australia good quality ribbing are very much welcome.
To sew the ribbing to the jacket I’ve used a stretch needle as the regular one I was using for the jacquard and satin fabrics wasn’t doing a good job. It was a bit of a pain changing needles around, but sadly I’ve only one sewing machine to play with at the moment.

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Now about the size of this bomber. I’ve cut an XS even if the chart suggested me to cut an S. When I checked the finished garment measurements, I’ve realized the Rigel has plenty of ease built in already and didn’t want a huge jacket, so I decided to go with the smallest size. My version is pretty light-weight and I don’t plan on wearing chunky sweaters underneath – but if I was to sew a winter Rigel, maybe in wool, I’d probably go up to an S, for more comfort around the shoulders and back area. The only modification I’ve done is lengthening the sleeves by 2.5 cm and even if I’m happy with how they fit me, next time I’m gonna add a few more, just because I prefer longer sleeves. I’m very happy with the all over fit and I’m sure I’ll wear this jacket a lot (the day I’ll move to a cooler climate of course).

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For the lining, I’ve followed Lauren’s directions, who kindly shared how she’s done hers here on her blog. So basically I cut the lining pieces out of the shell pattern pieces, eliminating the corresponding facing bits and adding 1 cm seam allowances. I then sewn everything together and attached the lining to the facing, leaving 1 cm unstitched at the bottom fronts, and understitched towards the lining with matching magenta thread. I then joined the lining to the jacket, right sides together, along the neckline, zipper and bottom facing and understitched. Then I’ve joined the lining to the jacket at the bottom, stitching it to the ribbing seam allowance, right sides together (here is where the 1 cm left unstitched before, came in hand), and finally I did the same for the sleeves. To turn the jacket you need to open back up a seam section of the underarm lining, which you’ll stitch close again once the bomber is right side out. The whole process was new to me and I had to fiddle a bit with the bottom front facing corners, but in the end it all went OK and I’m super excited to have pulled it off! The inside of the jacket now looks as good as the outside and it could really be worn inside out. Also, I didn’t bother adding a back pleat for ease and comfort as the satin has a bit of a stretch, but if I had to use a more stable material, I would definitely add one.

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I also added this matching satin ribbon in between the facing and the ribbing, at the center back, so I can hang my Rigel up, nice uh? The only problem is, I think it’s upside down and it should lay the other way around, but who cares …

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And I was almost forgetting about my first welt pockets ever! Yep, I didn’t bother doing a trial as I felt confident enough to try them on my real fabric straight away. The instructions are very clear and I just followed them step by step, taking it easy, and it all worked out very well. And of course, the pocket bag had to be pink! Pretty, right?

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Sewing this sort of autumn/winter garments really excites me, I’m definitely a fan of warmer clothes! That said, I’ve already another Rigel Bomber planned, this time in a heavier material so I can use that black heavy duty ribbing I got from Pacific Trimming. And at the shops I’ve seen some printed velvet that is calling my name and imploring to become another jacket too. I’m sold, on every front!

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Papercut Undercover (sans)Hood

Next month Owen and I are finally going on holiday to one of our dream destinations and also one of the most beautiful places in Australia, Tasmania! Obviously my closet doesn’t offer much for cooler climates – the lowest temperature here might go as low as 15°C in a very ‘cold’ winter night so I don’t own many sweaters, long pants or jackets. Needless to say, I had to fill the gap in and sew something warm for this upcoming trip.

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I’m already working on my Rigel Bomber, participating at the #rigelbomberjanuary craze, but I’m at a stall as I’m waiting for my ribbing and zipper to arrive from US. I love this pattern and can’t wait to share the finish product with you. In the meantime, instead of twiddling my thumbs, I’ve purchased some gorgeous knits from Miss Matatabi, on Etsy, with the idea of making a few sweatshirts to wear while traveling. I wanted something easy and relaxed and I was torn between Grainline Studio Linden, Capital Chic White Russian and Papercut Undercover Hood. The latter won the battle as it offers the hood and kangaroo pocket variation which I’m a sucker for.
I’ve started with the simplest version, the plain sweatshirt, mainly because I had just 1.5m of this lovely navy floral quilted jersey. It is on the heavy weight side – where the flowers are, the material feels even thicker – so I’ve decided to use some matching navy ribbing for the neckline and bands to reduce the bulk at the seams.

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This fabric is made up of a thin layer of batting sandwiched between two other layers, the one on the right side being the navy jersey, the one on the wrong side a polyester something. Everything is quilted together following a floral motif and the space in between the flowers is filled with dense crossing lines – that’s why in some spots the fabric is thicker than in others.

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It has been nice sewing with this pre-quilted knit: it was easy to cut and sew, the edges didn’t roll at all and when handling two or more layers together, none of them were shifting around. This fabric was also extremely hard to photograph in this rainy weather, so pardon moi the heavy modified pics, the funny colors and my ultra-white ghostly face.

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For this Undercover, I’ve cut a size XS even if my bust measurement is closer to an S, but I found the pattern already has plenty of ease and didn’t want a too loose and boxy garment. I love how this sweatshirt fits me and it feels very comfy too, with enough room for more layers underneath. Perfect for the quickly changing climate we are sure to find in Tassie.

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The pattern went together super easily and quickly, even if the instructions are essential and straight forward. For example, I love when a pattern gives you directions in order to achieve a more professional result, such as towards which way you should press the seams and other little tricks like top-stitching to help the seam allowances laying flat. The Undercover Hood doesn’t include this sort of helping hints – which I guess are very useful for beginners – but apart from that, the instructions are very well written.

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I had some material left so I thought I could make a matching skirt to wear with (or without) my new jumper. I really wanted to try the Colette Mabel, but then I remembered I had a very similar pattern already, in Gertie’s new book, Gertie Sews Vintage Casual. I’ve shortened the skirt pattern by 10cm and created a three panels front in order to fit all the pieces in my little scrap of fabric. Also, for the same reason, I had to cut the central front panel against the grain – the stretch this way is minimal but I think it’s gonna be all right. Size wise I’ve cut a 6 for the waist, going down to a 2 for the hips and no other adjustments were needed. Good stuff.image

The unaltered pattern is basically just one piece, cut on the fold, for both front and back and it would have taken even less time to sew it up if I didn’t add the side panels. It is a really quick and easy make, perfect for exercising sewing with knits and to use up all this cut offs laying around in every stash.
I really enjoyed sewing this outfit in just one afternoon. Sometimes all you need to feel happy is a few simple but satisfying projects to whip up in little time. At the end of the day, what I wear the most is this sort of garments – clean lines and plain colors easy to mix and match and also to accessorize with cute and sometimes more extravagant jewelry or shoes. Wardrobe staples, that is, and I need more of them!

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Can’t wait for February to come so I can wear all the things I’m making at the moment. More Undercover Hoods (or hood-less) and knit pencil skirts to come, that’s for sure!

Merry and Bright BHL Kim

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Have you seen the latest awesome By Hand London pattern? It’s the Kim Dress, a feminine design perfect for making gorgeous party dresses – released just in time for the holiday season! I’m head over heels about the faux wrap tulip skirt and I knew I wanted one ASAP.

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I didn’t plan to sew up this merry and bright Xmas little number, but the other day I was in search of inspiration and found this amazing fabric laying around in my stash and thought it would look good as a Kim. To be exact, this cotton sateen was given to me last year as a Xmas present and it was already sewn up in an overly big dress, so I’ve decided to rip it apart and make something wearable with it.
I really like the print – I’m not a yellow gal at all, but the addition of black and white flowers is probably what changed my mind about this material. Of course the amount I had wasn’t enough for any of the skirt styles I like at the moment, but with the help of some black cotton sateen, I was able to pull out a Kim skirt.

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I basically cut the front under layer panel out of the black sateen and sewn everything together as per instructions, adding a three pieces waistband – the amount of yellow fabric I had left wasn’t long enough to make a single piece waistband, so I added seams at the sides and used every bit of material I had. Maybe next time I’m gonna try a narrower or contour waistband, this one gaps slightly, being straight, but I’m not too worry about it.
I traced a size 8 for the waist going down to a 4 for the hips and once I tried the skirt on, I’ve decided I could easily have cut a 2 for the hips instead, as I had to take in about 1/2 cm at each side. I don’t usually like pencil skirts on me, but I like the fun high low hem and faux wrap of this pattern and I think I look OK in it.

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Now, let’s talk about the fitting issue you can all see here and which I didn’t bother altering before cutting into this awesome fabric. I didn’t bother, that’s it, all my fault, but I can live with these imperfections and wear this skirt anyhow. Sway back. Flat derriere. Call it as you wish, I have excess fabric at the back, just under my waist that makes the skirt puff up and look funny, as if I’m wearing a baby nappy. I could easily unpick the seams and zipper and fix the problem, but if I pull the skirt up when I wear it, it sorts of looks OK so at the moment I’m happy with that. Surely the next Kim will be altered accordingly, thought. Do you think I should deepen and lengthen the back darts too, just a smidge? I guess I need to sew a quick muslin and see what happens.

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And here it is the back, jeez I love this print!

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In order to have a nice and crisp front curved hem, I’ve fused a strip of stabilizer to the seam allowances straight away after cutting and I’m so happy I’ve done so – the curves maintained their shape beautifully and no fussing around was needed when hemming.

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I’ve also hand stitched the upper section of the overlap to the under layer, to avoid unwanted legs and undies flashing. The split is still prone to fly open at every slight blow of wind or long step and probably it would be a good idea machine stitch it next time, for more strength, at both sides. I would have done so on this skirt already, but I didn’t want a double black stitching line on top of the yellow background, it would have been too visible, so I did it by hand instead. Here it is a pic of the skirt in action.

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I’m already planning more Kims and I’m curious to try this pattern in a different fabric, with a softer hand and more drape, for a dramatic effect. I’d love to find some nice velvet, but all I can see around is just ugly polyester crap, not good to me. But I do have some coral lyocell/linen blend waiting for the right project. Or maybe I could sew a knit version, without zipper and encased waist elastic instead? Or try to create a real wrap skirt, moving the closure to the side front? Too many ideas and not enough time, that’s the real problem!
I’m off to enjoy the sun now – the weather has been gorgeous during this holidays – have a great end of the year everybody and happy 2015!

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Merry and Starry Xmas!

Today we had some fun blowing around lots of glitter and this is the silly result we got! It’s my way to wish you a bright and merry Xmas :)

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I hope you have a magical day, filled with good food and wine, awesome presents and surrounded by the people you love. Since I’m in Australia, I’m gonna miss a lot my family and friends – I think Xmas is all about spending quality time together and this is what I miss the most during the holidays (apart from the snow, of course!). I’m still trying to get used to this summer sort of Xmas, but it doesn’t fell like that yet. Maybe one day.
In the meantime, you enjoy yourselves and like a good friend of mine would say in Italian, “eat and drink like there would be no tomorrow!”.

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Have a fantastic Xmas everyone! :)