Hello and happy Spring to everyone! I hope it is warm and sunny where you are. Calgary has been pretty moody with the weather lately. It snows one day and then its nice and warm for a bit, until it snows again. I am very excited though that it stays light out later into the night now. Short, dark days affect me. Sometimes I like to refer to myself as a flower, saying that I need the sunlight and fresh air to thrive. So I can’t be more excited about days getting longer and warmer.
Another thing I am excited about is the Style Maker Fabrics Spring/Summer Style Tour 2018! I am absolutely thrilled to be a part of it. Style Maker Fabrics is one of my favorite fabric stores and Michelle has a great collection of fabrics. Her passion for textiles is so apparent and the selection of fabrics for this Spring and Summer is stunning. I had trouble choosing my fabrics. So much trouble that I ended up going for three fabrics because I couldn’t possibly narrow it down any further.
If you visit Style Maker Fabrics’ website and see the selection of new Spring and Summer fabrics and all the colors and prints, you may think something is very wrong with me because I chose, what one may say, a very boring palette of greys… Yeah, well… I actually get very excited about all shades of grey not matter if we are talking fabrics, wall color or anything else that can be grey. There is not too much grey in my world, you can say I live in a very grey area… hah, that was a nerdy grey joke for you.
The fabrics I picked went really well together so I decided to create an outfit that could stand on it’s own and will carry me through Spring, once it warms up a little more here that is. I picked a lighter weight grey denim, stripe texture grey double knit and rayon crepe polka dot in cream and black. For my patters I chose Morgan Jeans by Closet Case Patterns, Parker Coat by Style Arc and Tate Top by Workroom Social.
I will start off by saying that these are not my first Morgan Jeans. I’ve worked with the pattern a few times before so I knew the fit pretty well. I also have recently drafted a pant block that after lots of fitting tweaks has a great fit. So I pulled out my block and made further changes to Morgan pattern to make the fit even better. Most of the changes I made were to the back leg seat and thigh area to accommodate my behind. I also tweaked the leg a little bit by making it a tad straighter to match the idea I had in mind. I changed the width of the knee and hem and final measurements were:
- Knee width: front – 7.5″, back – 8.5″
- Hem width: front – 6.5″, back 7.5″
- Inseam: 30”
The denim I picked had a tiny bit of stretch, which helps with the fit of the jeans. It is also of lighter weight so it is just right for spring. It was really nice to work with too!
After I finished the jeans I thought there were just a tad stiff due to the newness of denim. I threw them in my washing machine setting it for a long wash and added a cup of vinegar instead of detergent in hopes to soften the denim up. It worked! Although I think they can still be a bit softer, but it really helped. After they were washed I put them in a dryer on a gentle setting, hoping that them moving inside the dryer will soften them even further. I expected my jeans to smell like they have been pickled but they didn’t smell at all. Now I am debating washing them with vinegar again or just letting them soften up naturally with wear.
I fell in love with the rayon crepe as soon as I saw it. I am very impartial to crème colour, almost as much as grey, and polka dot has been my favorite for a while even though I don’t have much of polka dot in my closet. I felt that this fabric would make a basic, but not too basic top that will go with almost everything in my closet. When it came to choosing the pattern I was lost. I had so many ideas! I swayed back and forth between Vienna Tank from Itch to Stitch and a new flouncy top pattern coming in the next issue of La Maison Victor magazine. In the end the free Tate Top pattern from Workroom Social swooped into the decision making grounds and won. I liked the simple lines of the pattern and felt it matched my outfit better.
As I’ve mentioned Tate top is a free pattern, you can get it by subscribing to Workroom social’s newsletter. The pattern does not have instructions, but it is really straight forward to make for anyone who has sewn a top or two. There is also no measurement chart on the pattern but rather a finished garment measurements chart to help you chose the size. So you have to be very careful and take wearing ease into account when deciding on which size to make. Because the top has a loose fit the only measurement that really matters is bust. My bust is 37.5″ and I ended up picking size 14 which had a finished bust measurement of 40″. In my experience 2.5″ of ease in the bust works really well for me if I want a loser fit.
Because the top’s bust shaping comes from neckline darts rather than bust darts I decided to skip a muslin. With bust darts I almost always have to adjust their height and direction so that they actually lie on my bust line and point towards the apex of my bust. With neckline dart it is safe to assume the dart will be in the right spot and will point in the right direction. Also my fabric was not structured, so I figured if the dart is slightly off it won’t really make much difference in the fit and look of the final top.
The top pattern comes in two lengths – cropped and long. I knew I didn’t want cropped, as I am tall and it would be too short on me, but I also didn’t want a long top. I cut out the pattern for a long top though, as I figured I can always make it shorter once I try it on. I ended up cutting around 3″ off the length to get to the length that I wanted.
The fabric itself was super soft and really nice to work with, even though it was slightly shifty and frayed a bit. I didn’t even spray it with my trusty stiffening spray to help me out when I work with finicky fabrics, and it all worked out. Because of how light and flowy the fabric is, it stretched out a bit in armholes as I was handling it. Stay-stitching them would have prevented it, but deep armholes do not bother me in the end. I find the lower depth adds to the overall airy feel of the top I was going for, and also allows for a slight peek-a-boo effect of a lacy bralette. You know, to keep things fun or something.
The fabric was very transparent and I knew if I didn’t line it I would have to wear a tank top underneath to keep it modest. I am okay with showing my bra on the side but not the front apparently. I decided to use the remaining fabric to self-line the top. Because of that polka dots on the inside layer are still visible but are slightly duller and I like the effect it creates.
I serged the hem of the inside layer and left it at that. As for the outside layer I finished it with a baby hem. I really like the way this top worked out! I feel that there are a few more Tate tops in my future.
I fell in love with the Parker coat pattern when it came out. It seems like a perfect effortless piece that you can casually throw on and look put together. I just had to have it. I chose the fabric before I chose the pattern and in hindsight it may have not been the best combination. The subtle stripe double knit fabric I would say is medium weight, may be on a slightly lighter side of medium weight spectrum. It does not have as much weight and crispiness to it as say ponte does, but it is certainly not light weight. I think the pattern would work better with a slightly heftier knit, but I was dead set on it so I had to make it work.
To throw another challenge in, I didn’t have enough fabric for the pattern. Again, due to me picking the fabric without a pattern in mind… I thought that the amount I had would be enough for almost any pattern I picked, my bad. But I managed to find a cotton double knit in almost identical shade of gray in my stash! Since the collar of the coat does not lay back and kind of sits on the neck and I had enough fabric for both collar pieces, I used the double knit for facings. I actually really like how it turned out!
Because my fabric was a little light, I decided to interface a lot more of it than the pattern called for. I interfaced all my facings, both collar pieces, sides of the pockets and all hems as well as some of the seams. It really helped with the structure of the final coat. But because of the way the fabric is the back of the coat did stretch out a bit and hung lower. In hindsight I should have used lighter interfacing and interfaced the entire upper back and half lined it to cover the interfacing. I think that would have helped avoid the hi-low hem situation I have going on. Instead I decided to turn it into design element and leave it as is. I like the way it turned out!
The fabric frays quite a bit, so to finish the seams I used silk bias tape to bind them. Once again, if I would have thought of pattern ahead of time, I would have bought a fun bias tape, but instead I worked with the new to me silk bias ribbion from Dharma Trading Company I bought a while back and had in stash. I gotta say, I really liked working with it! I didn’t bind all the seams though, because I was getting lazy I finished sleeve and side seams with my serger.
I really like my new spring coat! It is still too light for this cold weather but I will certainly be wearing it a lot once it warms up. I also really want another Parker Coat… this time in somewhat heavier fabric.
There you go, my Style Maker Fabrics Spring Style capsule. I am very happy with how all three of these items work together, but I am even more excited about how much value they will add to my wardrobe individually. I hope you are getting just as excited as I am for the weather warming up, all the Spring fabrics coming our and sewing plans. And remember, Style Maker Fabrics is offering $5 shipping within the United States for until April 2!
Make sure to check out other stops on this tour. The ladies have been blowing me away with their makes! It’s so interesting to see how different all of our garments and styles are. And it’s always inspiring to see what others make out of new spring fabrics.