Papercut Patterns / Waver Jacket

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It’s official, I love making jackets! Before you wonder, this is another Papercut pattern from their latest collection, Chameleon. It’s the Waver Jacket, a jacket – duh! – available in two different length, with hood, front patch pockets, buttons closure and optional waist drawstring. And if all this wasn’t enough to make me sew one, it’s fully lined too! A win win.

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I’ve decided to try the shorter version first, mainly to check the fit and the necessity of any alterations. I traced a size XS as I find Papercut Patterns sizing running a bit large. In fact, following the chart on the pattern envelope, I should have cut an S, but the amount of ease would have been way too much for me, so I sized down. Here I’m wearing it with the Ondawa Pullover I made a while ago and I’m happy with the fit of the jacket, it’s very comfortable.

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I didn’t make any adjustments to the pattern and that’s probably why I like sewing jackets so much, above all when they’ve raglan sleeves. This sort of sleeves are way more forgiving than set-in ones. Thus, for someone like me, who needs quite a few alterations to fit properly the shoulders and back areas, the sewing process is extremely more fun and relaxing.

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I told you already that I’m in a green mood at the moment, so it’s not a big surprise I went for a military green chevron corduroy for the main fabric. It’s medium weight, which I think will be perfect for autumn or early spring. It was very easy to sew and the stitches just disappeared in it, but what gave me problems was the washing. I pre-washed the yardage in a cold water cycle and let it hung to dry. The result? A tremendously creased fabric that I couldn’t get smooth again, not even with loads of steam. So, following the suggestion of Instagram friends, I’ve washed it again and set the spin at a lower speed, then I put it in the dryer. It worked like a charm! I was so worried I wouldn’t have been able to get the wrinkles off, I nearly thrown this corduroy in the bin. Lucky me I posted a photo on Instagram. It’s already the second make I save because some genius people help me out of trouble! Thank you ladies!

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Back to the fabrics. Because the shell is a plain color, I decided to go wild with the lining. I love floral fantasies and I’m a fan of reds and pinks too, so I simply couldn’t resist this lovely polyester satin. On top of being a romantic print, with butterflies too, the green of the leaves recalls the outer fabric color, creating a lovely green echo through the garment.

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This lightweight satin has a little stretch, which ended up being a bit of a pain to sew. Some of the pieces stretched out and I had to create little tiny pleats now and then to make them fit into the shell. Not a big deal of course, but if I’m gonna use this sort of material again, I’ll probably staystitch the curved edges to avoid this kind of problems.

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Also, I decided to use a different fabric for the hood lining. I thought the corduroy would have created a too heavy hood and while I love the roses print of the lining, I think it would have influenced too much what to wear with it. The chino drill I used for my Tap Shorts happened to be the perfect shade of green, so I’ve used that. I’m super happy with how all these three different materials go together and I think I’ll get a lot of wear out of this jacket.

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I’m extremely happy with the buttons too. They’re green and black and they’ve a chevron pattern that matches the corduroy very well. At the beginning, I was on a fence about their size, looking slightly too small. Then, again, another Instagram sewing pal, suggested to decrease the space between them and to use 6 instead of the 4 recommended. Guess what? The higher number of buttons balanced out the smaller size, ending up in a perfect look.

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The Waver Jacket was a pleasure to sew. I took my time, enjoying the process and trying to pay as much attention as possible to every detail. I followed the instructions to the letter, but I’ve done a couple of things differently. I bagged the lining following Jen’s tutorial, this way I didn’t need to hand stitch the sleeves lining to the facings by hand. Also, as Jen suggests both in the above post and here too, I’ve added thread chains to connect the lining to the shell at the underarms, anchoring the two together to avoid lining shifting when putting on and removing the jacket. They’re very easy to make and they certainly help keeping things in place. Finally, I’ve understiched the lining to the self facings all the way around the fronts and neckline, even if it wasn’t mentioned in the instructions. I think it’s a good practice and it didn’t take long, so why not?

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I love this jacket and I’ve already planned a longer version in a heavier material, in winter style. Also, to make it really perfect, I’d like to add a string around the hood too, to help keeping in on when it’s cold and also to sort of release some of the tension in the hood-to-neckline joint. I think there is a bit of stress going on there and I’m worried, with time, the weight of the hood will deform the front neckline. We’ll see what happens.

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Now I’m off to finish packing this and most of all my other sewing projects, to ship them home, along with all my knitting gear. Seeing all my stuff all together in boxes made me realize I really have loads of fabrics and yarns to go through, so I really should try not to buy any more (for a while). But really, who believes that? Do you also have an unbelievable amount of materials and balls of yarn hidden under your bed, in your closet and in every other possible spot? Please, tell me I’m not the only one!

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Yet another Papercut Flutter Tunic!

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Happy weekend everybody! How was your sewing week? Mine pretty good, so good in fact I’ve made another Flutter Tunic! You’re probably sick of reading about this pattern, but the truth is I really like it, so it probably won’t be the last one you see either.
The inspiration for this dress came from a Modcloth photo posted on Instagram. It featured a girl with long brown hair wearing a super cute shift dress, in a gorgeous cobalt blue floral sheer fabric, with bell sleeves (you can buy the dress here). Can you see how similar is to the Flutter?

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I really wanted to find a nice burnout fabric, but I ended up opting for a more casual eyelet cotton. Obviously, the tunic had to be cobalt blue, like the one sold at Modcloth, so I bought some dye and tried to get the same color. Guess what? It didn’t work, it didn’t work at all! What I got instead was a horrible faded looking lilac, so horrible I had to fix it somehow. Fellow sewers and instagramers came to the rescue and after a couple of days spent whining and thinking, I threw the fabric back into the dye pot. This second time I’ve used navy dye and the result is well away from my inspiration color, but at least it’s wearable. It’s not pure navy and it still has a subtle purple tint, but it’s dark enough and I quite like it.

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Luckily, I was able to find just the right color for the lining and bias binding, so from the dyeing session on, everything else was certainly downhill. I decided to underline the front and back pieces, firstly for modesty, but also to hide most of the seam allowances and the darts too. I left the sleeves unlined instead, to highlight the pick-a-boo effect of this cotton fabric. I love the effect.

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To underline this Flutter, I’ve hand basted the underlining pieces to the shell fabric ones, all cut from the same pattern pieces, and then followed the pattern instructions and constructed the dress treating the two layers as one. I’ve used the overlocker to finish every seam and bias binding for every edge – neck, arms and hem. The hem has been stitched to the underling by hand to avoid any visible stitching line from the right side.

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I chose to use bias binding because this eyelet has pretty big holes and a regular hem wouldn’t have looked great on this fabric. Plus, I really like how the bias enhances the shape of the sleeves and also create a clean edge, so I’ll probably stick with this finish when I make another Flutter.

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For this third version, I’ve modified the pattern a bit further. On top of the previous few alterations, I’ve done a round back adjustment too and lengthened the dress by 1″. From the photos at the blouse, I’ve noticed I needed some more room in my upper back area, so I tried to alter the pattern for a round back. The main reason I went for this alteration is because there was some pulling towards the center back, which I thought to solve by ‘dropping’ the center back itself.

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The alteration created a slight curved V neckline, which I didn’t straighten up, to better follow my (bad) back shape. I’m not quite sure this is the right way to address the issue, but I think the back looks better now, what do you think? Should I have increased the prominent shoulder alteration and left out the round back adjustment instead? I really wish I didn’t need any of this, but on the other side, I’m kind of having fun sorting things out and learning how to fit my figure. Certainly, the drive to the botanic gardens, even if short, didn’t help with the look of the back, bloody wrinkles!

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I’m very happy with how this dress turned out – first of all I love the fabric and, even if the color isn’t exactly what I wanted it to be, I think it will be easier to mix it with the rest of my wardrobe. Secondly, as you may know by now, the pattern! Let me tell you, it’s a very easy pattern, but what makes it special is that you can use many different fabrics for as many different results. If you chose medium/heavy weigh material you’ll get a shift dress with well defined shape and bell sleeves, while a softer fabric will give you a more romantic and floaty garment. Endless possibilities, that’s what makes the Flutter so unique and I reckon the name Chameleon really suits the latest Papercut collection.

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Lastly, I love this dress because it reminds of one my Nana made for my mum, back in the early 60s. It’s basically a shift dress with boat neck and cap sleeves, in a gorgeous forest green guipure lace. It’s way more elegant than my navy version, but because of that I never wear it – and also because I don’t want to ruin it! My cotton Flutter is a good alternative and I’m sure I’ll wear it heaps. Fingers crossed, it’s not gonna fade any time soon!

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That’s all from me, have a lovely weekend everyone! I’ll spend mine sewing my last Australian project and after that one, it will be time to pack my sewing stuff and send it back to Italy. I hate packing, but can’t wait to finally have a room all for myself and my sewing machine! Ciao for now!

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Flutter Blouse + Tap Shorts

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Hello everyone! Here we are enjoying some cool weather thanks to a cold front coming form Antarctica. It’s the first time in three years that it’s been this fresh and do you know what? I love it! The sky is blue and clear, the air crisp and dry and it’s lovely to finally wear long pants and shoes!
Obviously, when it would be more sensible sewing something with long sleeves and maybe in some heavier material, I keep making cotton tops and bottoms instead! Oh wow, I’m sure the warm weather will return before we know it. So here it comes, a complete whole summer outfit!

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The top is yet another Papercut Flutter, this time in the form of  blouse. The fabric is a lovely lightweight cotton sateen by Lisette, scored for just $4/m. It’s a beautiful cobalt blue with very narrow stripes forming a check pattern. It has a very soft hand and it’s extremely nice to wear. I paired it with white bias binding, which I think enhances the little white stripes and the shape of the blouse and also gives a more girly look to the top.

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I cut the same size as my first Flutter and did not alter the pattern any further, just added 1″ to the length as I didn’t want the top to be too short. I’ve used the bias for the hem too as I had some left – I like the inner side to be as cute as the outside. Also, I’ve slightly angled the split at the back, simply because I like it that way.

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I’m pretty happy with the fit I achieved with this pattern even if there is still some work to be done on the back side. There is something strange going on there, I need to try and drop the center a bit, maybe doing a sort of high round back adjustment. I think I need more fabric there in order to eliminate that bit of pulling. I’ve already added room for prominent shoulder blades, I’m wondering if I need to add more? I’ll check it out on my next version.

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I love the bell sleeves of this pattern, even if I’m conscious their shape doesn’t suit me particularly well. The exaggerated shape of the sleeves plus the dropped shoulders draw attention to the top part of the body, above the waist, emphasizing this area. My shoulders are quite broad and forward also, that’s why I should opt for different shapes, in order to balance them out. Lucky enough, the tunic version of this pattern has a quite wide bottom too, so it sorts of creates an harmonious effect and I feel comfortable enough to wear it.

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For the bottom, I’ve chosen Katy and Laney Tap Shorts. I wanted something easy to make and I was captured by the three amazing different variations this pattern offers. I’ve gone with the simplest, view B, with front pleats and side zipper, to which I’ve added back patch pockets stolen from a Burda pattern.

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I’ve cut a size 4 for the waist grading down to a 2 for the hips and the shorts fit very well. I only altered the pattern for a 5/8″ flat derrière and lengthened the legs by 1 1/4″, so I can say it’s as close as possible to a ‘straight out of the envelope’ I can get!

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I usually need to take in a fair bit to achieve a nice fit in fitted skirts and shorts, so I’ve added a center back just-in-case-seam to the waistband, but I didn’t need it after all. I told you, this pattern is great as is and I’m surprised that, for once, the measurements works very well for me and I’m not in between many sizes. There are some sort of ‘smile wrinkles’ in the back and I’m not quite sure if it’s a crotch length problem or I have a low derrière. Suggestion anyone?

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Anyhow, the Tap Shorts instructions are very detailed and I’m curious to try the front fly zip version to see if I can actually pull it off. I am really impressed with both pictures and wording and I’m happy to have chosen this pattern. I love the high waist because I can wear the shorts with crop tops without exposing too much skin and the front pleats add a bit of interest to otherwise plain shorts. I’m sure it will not be my last pair.

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Fabric wise, I’ve gone for a military green chino drill, which as you can see creases extremely well, paired with a cheetah printed cotton for the waistband facing. The colors really go well together, plus I’ve used cream overlocking thread to match the animal print background and I love how the inside of the shorts looks.

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I’m in a green and cobalt blue mood at the moment and I’d like to explore these two colors a bit more as I don’t wear them very often. I love them together and it would be interesting to create a capsule wardrobe around this palette. In fact, I’ve already got some military green corduroy for my Waver Jacket! I’m on the right path!

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A big high five to both the Flutter Blouse and Tap Shorts, great staple patterns which I’m gonna make more of without any doubt! What did you make this week instead? Dresses? Pants? Tops? Jackets? Do tell me!

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Papercut Patterns – YoYo Skirt

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Hello people! How are you doing? My week has been pretty busy and I didn’t had much time to sew or knit, but I’ve a finished project to share nonetheless. Today was a wonderful sunny and warm winter day, so after work we went to the botanic gardens and took these photos. This is my YoYo Skirt, another Papercut number. I’m in a Papercut mood and I’ve already made another Flutter and more are on my to do list too. I really like their Chamaleon Collection and can’t wait to make the Waver Jacket – I’ve already got both fashion and lining fabrics, I just need to find the strength to trace all those pattern pieces!

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Anyhow, back to the YoYo. For this first attempt I’ve used the leftover fabric from my Flutter Tunic. I had just enough to squeeze the main pieces in, even if I had to play around with them a little. In fact, one of the front skirt pieces is cut upside down. You can barely see it, but if you look close enough, you can notice the horizontal lines aren’t mirrored properly. It wasn’t an issue for me, so I went ahead and put together the skirt even if pattern placement isn’t perfect. Also, I had to cut the waistband facing out of a matching/contrasting fabric, a bright yellow poplin. I actually don’t mind this inner pop of color, it makes for a very happy and fun summer skirt!

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This is a pretty busy -yet organized – print and the front pleats detail is basically lost in the middle of all those colors and lines and let’s be honest, those wrinkles aren’t helping either! I love the pleats, as they create a bit of volume around the waist/hips without being too puffy and I’d like to be able to notice them more. For this reason, I’ll make sure to choose a plain color, maybe denim, for my next YoYo.

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Size wise, I initially cut in between S and XS at the waist, grading down to a XS for the hips, but once I tried the skirt on, I saw straight away it would have been too big if I didn’t change something. I therefore increased the seam allowances from the waist down, past the hips, removing about 1cm each side from both front and back pieces. Next time I’ll cut a XS and see if it fits better that way. I’ve also adjusted the back piece for a 1.5cm flat buttock and that’s it, no other alterations were required, which made this pattern a nice and fairly quick project to make.

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I had few problems with the zipper and I’m not very happy with how it looks like. Next time I’ll definitely need to do it better, but this one gave me a really hard time. It didn’t want to stay in place while sewing it, so it isn’t accurately aligned with the very top of the waist band. To reduce that little gap, I’ve sewn a piece of ribbon and a snap fastener on the inside, so hopefully the waistband won’t go out of shape any time soon.

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I was a bit worried to get wobbly edgings, above all around the diagonal front opening, mainly because I used a slightly stretch fabric, so I applied strips of interfacing along the seamline to the main pieces too. This helped a lot during the stitching of the hem facings and created a nice and fairly crisp result, which I’m pretty happy with.

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I really like the YoYo skirt and I love the front zipper detail, which I hope to master in the next version, be a dress or a skirt again. For a different look, I wouldn’t mind trying to move the zipper to the back and cut the front on the fold, but leaving there the bottom inverted V as design feature. I think it could work nicely. What do you think?

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What about you, do you have any Papercut Patterns on your sewing table? I’m eying the Rise and Fall Turtlenecks at the moment and I’m sure I’m gonna end up buying it very soon, I have already the right fabrics to make a couple of them! Yep, I’m definitely Papercut obsessed!

Papercut Patterns – Flutter Tunic

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Hello everybody, how is your week going? Can you believe we are already in July and halfway into the year? Time flies, in fact it was only Sunday when I posted about my Vianne and here I am again. I’m so excited about this project, I couldn’t wait to share it! The pattern is the Flutter Tunic by Papercut, from their latest collection Chameleon. I really like Papercut new patterns and I bought a few already. This is the first one I made.

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It all started with a gorgeous floral cotton pique, in warm autumn colors – think gold, burnt red, brown, acid green and burgundy – paired with matching bias binding for neckline and sleeves. Actually, after posting a photo on Instagram, I found out that Kirsty was making one herself in a very similar print, you can see her gorgeous version here on her blog. Back to my story. Of course I didn’t bother making a muslin first and cut into my amazing fabric straight away. Huge error. Will I never learn? Probably not. Anyhow, the dress came out very cute, but the fit around the shoulders was completely off. The way they’re shaped doesn’t follow the lines of my body at all, so I had to toss this first try and start all over again. A couple of muslin later, I finally got something wearable and this is it.

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The fabric I’ve used is basically the same as my original Flutter, just a different print. I really like the slightly heavy weight of this material and I think it transforms those beautiful bell sleeves into amazing wings, which is the main reason I chose it. Also, the classic checks print take a more modern spin thanks to these bright and happy colors, resulting in a very fresh and contemporary fabric. On top of that, this fabric has a lovely texture too, sort of squares raised pattern like in a pique.

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Size wise, I cut a XS but with the length of the S. As I said, I had to alter the pattern a bit and these are the adjustments I made. I started from the top, so first things first, pivoting from the neck seam allowance, I moved forward the shoulder line by 3/8″. I then accordingly adjusted the sleeves simply removing 3/8″ from the front side seam and adding the same amount to the back, basically moving the whole underarm seam by the same amount I rotated the shoulder seam forward. This process is explained in the book ‘Fit for Real People’ and it actually works pretty well.

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Also a 3/4″ adjustment was needed for my broad shoulders. I’m still not quite sure about this alteration, but looking at everybody else’ Flutters, I noticed their sleeves were more dropped than mine, so I thought its a good idea adding some length to the shoulders. On top of that, I’ve slightly raised the sleeve cap as well, to make the sleeves drop a bit more and trying to let them fall parallel to the floor. This was quite an adventure as the sleeve cap in this pattern is nearly flat, but I managed to increase the height by about 1/2″.
After all this, the dress wouldn’t follow the contour of my shoulders yet, so I redraw the shoulder line, raising it by 3/8″ and lowering it by 1/2″ towards the neck. Basically a very square shoulders adjustment, I think. And bingo! It worked like a charm. My shoulders really drives me mad, I really should start exercising and try to straighten them.
That’s not all though, other few alterations were needed. I also have prominent shoulders blades, so I made room for my back enlarging it by 5/8″ each side. At the front instead, I did a 3/8″ FBA because there was a little pulling around my bust and also the side seams were slightly swinging towards the front. Once I earned some room for my boobies, I checked the position of the dart and decided to move it down by 5/8″.

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Lastly, flat derrière! I slashed the back pattern piece horizontally at the waist and removed 3/4″ of tissue, tapering to nothing at the sides. This distorted the back centre seam, which I have obviously forgotten to straighten and once I tried on the dress I realized it wasn’t sitting as nicely as it should have. Nothing mayor, I just re-stitched the seam and job done. I reckon I could do with even less back room, but I’ll try to modify the pattern further next time I make it.

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It sounds like a lot of work for such a simple pattern, but the hardest part for me is always fitting the shoulders area and the Flutter has very peculiar shoulder line and sleeves, so it took some time to get things right. On the plus side, this is a very easy pattern to put together and from tracing to cutting and sewing it can be easily done in one day. I love the lines of the Flutter Tunic I can’t wait to make the blouse version too, maybe with the longer bell sleeves, I think it would look extremely cute.

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I fell in love with the bias bound Papercut sample dress, so I decided to use the same technique to finish the neckline and the sleeves hem of mine. I could have gone for yellow or royal blue, but those aren’t my colors, black was out because it made the other color recess too much into the background, so I was happy when I found just the perfect shade of lilac. It creates a very summery look and it really makes this color stand out.

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For the hem, I’ve just folded under 1.5cm instead of the 2cm recommended, as the dress is already pretty short and I didn’t want to risk feeling uncomfortable when wearing it. Probably next time I’ll add an inch or two, so I don’t have to worry about flashing too much skin when I bend of sit down. I’m very happy with how this Flutter turned out and even if there is certainly room for more improvements, I call it a win!

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What’s on your sewing table this week? I’m already onto my second Papercut pattern, I’m making the YoYo Skirt with the leftovers of this Flutter and I’m already in love!

Andi Satterlund – Vianne Cardigan for #OAL2015

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Hello everyone and happy Sunday! Are you ready for another good dose of pink? Just warning you, because there is loads going on here. I might have exaggerated, but do you know what? I don’t care! That’s my mantra: sew and knit whatever makes you feel happy and feel good. Well, pink makes me extremely happy and I feel extremely good in wearing flamingos from head to toe! So there you have it, this is my finished outfit for the OAL2015!
You’ve seen the dress, today it’s the turn of my knitting item. I’ve decided to make Vianne by Andi Satterlund, aka Untangling Knots, because I think its shape suits nicely the lines of the Alder Shirtdress. The cardigan in fact features a slight curve at the back – created by the wide bias mesh panel – which resembles the dip hem of the dress.

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Vianne is knit seamlessly from the top down, working first back and front separately, then joining them at the underarms and continuing down with waist shaping to the bottom ribbing. The sleeve stitches are picked up around the armhole, the sleeve cap is shaped with short rows and then the sleeves are knit in the round.

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The yarn suggested for this pattern is DK, knit at a loose gauge to create a lighter weight fabric, so I of course dug into my stash and found some skeins of my precious Cephalopod Yarns perfect for this project. I usually don’t swatch any more when I use CY Traveller as I know I like it best knit with 3.5mm needles and I roughly know the number of stitches I need to make something which fits me right. This time, though, I tried to follow the pattern as much as I could, so I went up in needles size to get the suggested gauge. Vianne is knit with 5mm needles, but I’m a fairly loose knitter, so I used 4mm instead. I did get a fabric with more drape, but my row gauge was off – too loose – so I eliminated some rows in the shoulder to underarm area to counter for it.

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Also, I decided to work less waist decreases, just a total of four, because I don’t like too tight cardigans. Vianne should be worn with up to three inches of negative ease, but I find it a bit too much. I don’t like it when button bands gape and buttons come open. I don’t understand why this is a no-no in sewing, but some find it cute in knitting garments, go figure! Anyhow, I’m not negatively judging this pattern, it’s just my point of view on cardigans and in shirts in general. As you can see from the photos, the top button on my Vianne is open, exactly because it looked like it was about to explode. Funnily enough, the rest of the cardigan looks good, not too tight, so if I’m gonna knit this garment again, or I’ll add some stitches around the bust just to gain a couple of centimeters or I’ll remove the top button all together. We’ll see.
Anyhow, apart from the above changes, I otherwise followed the instructions for the size M. Once I reached the desired length, I’ve switched to 3.5mm needles and continued with the ribbing, which I twisted, because I like it better that way.

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I really like this little cardigan, but I’m not quite sure about the fit. I surely should have knit even less rows for the upper bust, the armholes are evidently too big and droopy. This is sort of fixed bunching up the sleeves and bringing the fabric more towards the underarms. It’s ok, but it’s not perfect. Also, I’m not a fan of this method for knitting the sleeves. I love the fact they are seamlessly worked top down and I love their shape, but the picking up of the stitches is a bit too evident, creating little holes all around the sleeve cap, which I’m not mad about. It’s probably my fault too, as I don’t often knit patterns using short rows to shape the sleeve cap and I’d probably do with some exercise, so that’s the result. I guess it’s not bad, I’m just being picky.

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Vianne is a quick knit and once you get the hang of the lace pattern, it’s very easy too. I’ve added a couple of stitch markers to help remind me where to start the different motif charts, that way was pretty straight forward recognizing where I was up to. This is certainly a sweet garment, both to make and wear. Now please, bear with me and excuse my face and the brightness in the image below, but I just wanted to post it because I really like the way the dress and cardigan look in the photo.

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Enough talking about numbers and fit, let me talk about the pink – or I’d better say the pinks! I’ve used three different colors for this project. The body and part of the sleeves are knit alternating two very similar pinks, Trinket Island and an Oddity – which I suppose was a batch went wrong of that exact color – two beautiful pinks with coral and pale pink accents, very summery (did I say pink?). The lower part of the sleeves is instead knit in Tibet, a more uniform bright pink (sorry, pink again!), which nonetheless mixes very well with the other two. The result reminds me of deep dyed fabrics or gradient yarns, changing slowly from a light to a darker shade. I really like it!

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The white background and the light pinks of my flamingo fabric are a strong contrast for the bold pink of my Vianne, but I think the shoes tie everything together. They have all the above colors and even if at the beginning I was a bit unsure about the pairing, now I’m looking at the photos, I’m totally sold!

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So, did you participate too to the OAL2015? What are your plans? Or which is your outfit, if you’ve already finished it? I’m curious to see them, so please, do tell me!

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You can find my Vianne on Ravelry, here.

Flamingo Alder Shirtdress for #OAL2015

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Hello everyone! It’s show holiday day here in Mackay, which means I’m at home, free from work, yay! I’ve a couple of makes awaiting blogging, so here we go!
I’m super excited about this dress, but even more about the shoes! They’re Miss L Fire Flamingo a Go-Go and as soon as I opened the box, a couple of months ago, I knew I needed to make a matching something to wear with them.

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It took me a while to find the right flamingo print – to be honest there are not many out there and the few I liked were either the wrong colors or material. Then I stumbled on this gorgeous dobby cotton by Lilly Pulitzer and the choice was made. I had never heard of Lilly before, but I felt immediately fascinated by her story and by how her prints became famous. Did you know she moved to Palm Beach in the late ’50, opened a juice stand and started sewing her own dresses with bright and bold prints to disguise the fruit stain on her clothing? Few years later Jacky Kennedy wore one of her shift dresses for a magazine cover and the Lilly craze begun. Isn’t this story awesome?

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If you look carefully enough, you can spot Lilly’s signature on the fabric, her trademark. Sometimes is less apparent and ‘Lilly’ is hard to see, but on this flamingo print is pretty easy to find. I’m not sure, but I think there are a couple of more signatures, apart from the red one. Can you see them?

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Anyway, I love the texture of this dobby cotton, with this sort of vertical stripes. It was a dream to cut and sew, just like butter. Look at those stitches and how they sink into the fabric, nearly disappearing, perfection. I used pale pink thread and I’m happy I didn’t go for a darker color as the print is loud and bright enough without any extra help.

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I’m not usually attracted by white background fabrics, but this one, with all the pinks, red, green and even fluoro orange, captured my attention straight away. I think it’s one of the best fabric, quality and design wise, I’ve ever bought (yet!).

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As you might have guessed by now, the pattern I used is again the Alder Shirtdress by Grainline Studio. I debated for days about which pattern to sew to best showcase this fabric, but all the long skirts and dresses I wanted to make required too much fabric and I had just over 1.5m. I though the Alder isn’t a too busy pattern with loads of pieces and at the same time has enough details to break the ‘monotony’ of the print, so Alder it was. Of course I had to play safe with pattern placement and cutting layout. I gave priority to the front pieces and tried to alternate the print rather than keep it aligned, staggering the flamingos in between the two front sections. I then matched the pocket, making it as invisible as possible and I did a fairly nice job, if I may say it myself!

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Then, I moved to the back and matched the lower bodice to the yoke. It came out pretty good, even if there are a couple of bird necks not perfectly aligned, but nothing too disappointing to make me want re-doing it. All the skirt, collar and button band pieces are cut in the remaining fabric available. I did so as I though they were going to be either gathered or too small to take care of print placement on them. All in all, I’m pretty happy with how everything turned out.

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As far as Alder construction goes, I don’t have much more to say I didn’t already mentioned before, as this is my fourth reiteration of this pattern. It looks like I just can’t get enough of it! Anyhow, I tested all the alterations I needed in my batik version and I’ve used the same pattern pieces for this one. No other adjustments were made, apart from moving the dart point up by 3/8″, so now it sits where I want it to. I’ve also trimmed off 3/8″ from the hem and I’m pretty sure I’ve done it in the previous Alder as well, I just forgot to mention it. I think now is about the hem of a size 4.

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For the collar, this time, I’ve followed another tutorial and technique, the one shown by Andrea of Four Square Walls. Basically you first sew the outer/interfaced collar stand to the shirt, then you attach the collar to it – of course already sewn together and top stitched – and finally you stitch the inner collar stand on top. The collar is sandwiched in between the two collar stand pieces and once you’ve stitched all the three pieces together to the shirt, you just have to flip them up, give them a good press and top stitch the collar stand closed. I think it’s the easiest way to sew a collar to a shirt I ever tried, so probably I’ll stick with this one from now on. If you, like me, are late to this party, head over to Andrea’s blog and have a look!

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To keep up with the the 1960s vibe of the print, I’ve been able to find just the perfect buttons. They are round, in plastic, faceted and optic white, can’t get any more ’60 than that, right?

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As usual, I’ve used bias binding for the hem. I was unsure if to go with contrast green or matching pink, but the lack of the right green thread in my stash decided for me, so pink won.

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I’ve used pink cotton voile for the inner yoke too, as I was worried the flamingo print would have been noticeable from the outside, confusing and overlapping with the outer images. Pale pink didn’t interfere with the overall look of the main fabric and at the same time is less boring than white while adding a bit of color to the inside of the dress too. (Please don’t pay attention to blue marks in the photo below, I’ve used a water soluble pen to mark the collar stand seam allowance and I didn’t wipe it off properly, ooooops).

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Last, but not least, this Flamingo Alder is my sewing entry for the #OAL2015 organized by Lauren and Andy. The Outfit Along mixes my two favorite hobbies, sewing and knitting, plus I’ve added shoes to the mix too, so there you go! Flamingos and pinks are my theme this year and I played around with them to create something special and unique to wear. Let’s be honest, I’m a bit obsessed with all things pink and the outfit I made last year had pink too.

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Anyhow, stay tuned to see my knitting piece and finished OAL2015 outfit, it’s on its way!