Moving gently on

I have been ridiculously well occupied in my blog absence – not always with sewing but mainly so. I am staggering out of the end of a load of client work, including three weddings which make me wonder how Mrs Mole , who specialises in wedding and prom dresses, ever stays sane!

I was a bit glum after my recent batch of sewing for me. Nothing really seemed to ‘hit the spot’ so I decided to go back to the wardrobe and analyse what I actually wear rather than what I would like my wardrobe to be. My wardrobe staples are jeans (sorted now thank to the Kenneth D King course) and t-shirts/tops. I tend to wear those in preference to shirts although there is no real reason why. Particularly strange since I can’t generally buy t-shirts which fit both my bust and waist/stomach area – they tend to stick out away from my front below the bust.

I still wanted to do more with the wonderful Japanese pattern cutting books but, again, I had been struggling for success with them. So…. I started by drawing out a new T-shirt block using the Kristina Shin book I used for my (successful) leggings. I knew that by drawing out a t-shirt block which fitted well I could use that to check to Japanese pattern sizing to be more sure of a good result.

Kristina Shin T-shirt block

Kristina Shin T-shirt block

The first attempt was very short. Seriously, I went back and checked my measurements and pattern cutting against the instructions and decided it was clearly personal preference. If you are using this book it would be worth checking the finished pattern length against an existing favourite garment. The fabric used was a cheap single knit viscose mix from Birmingham Rag market which was surprisingly nice for the price. Closer examination showed a run right along the centre fold that didn’t concern me as I managed to cut around the problem. The second attempt is shown left, still a little shorter than ideal and whilst not a perfect fit much closer than any I can buy so I am calling this a win and will tweak the block before making again. The neck binding is a little tight (I cut a length 80% of the neck measurement for the binding but could possibly have forgotten seam allowances.What can I say?), and the bust could possibly benefit from a small FBA but it is very comfortable to wear. Since making this I have worn it on a number of occasions and it has washed and worn well.


Side drape

Side drape

Happy with the stripe matching!

Happy with the stripe matching!

With this small success in my system I went ahead and traced out the pattern from Drape Drape 2  for the Number 2 dress. I have long wanted to try this dress but had minor doubts that it was a sensible idea for a lady of my bulk and vintage. Despite that I went ahead and traced the largest size in the book and used my new t-shirt pattern to ensure I would actually fit into it. On the same trip to Birmingham I bought a length of single knit jersey from Barrys. It feels very cool and has a cottony/lineny feel but I can’t remember the fibre content and cant be bothered to do a burn test on the remains. It has no lycra content so is reliant on its ‘mechanical’ return, which is not as good as a jersey with lycra. The pattern fitted easily into the 1.5m I had bought and I made the whole garment using just the overlocker/serger and my coverstitcher so it took very little time. I was particularly happy with the chevron stripe matching on the left side as I hadn’t relied on the overlocker to do as good as that before.

I am pretty happy with the result, though it doesn’t look anywhere like as good on me as it does on Sew Busy Lizzie ! I knew I had admired her dresses(yes, she has multiples of this dress) a good while ago but was a little surprised to see it was the beginning of 2014, shortly after receiving this book from my dear sister as a Christmas gift.

Bare legs....

Bare legs….

...or leggings

…or leggings

I wore this to a family lunch on Saturday in Northumberland  and was pretty happy with the result. It was unusually warm for the north east of England and perfect conditions for a sleeveless dress, although I did wear it with leggings as my legs are still blindingly white! Over the course of the day I was aware of the hem getting wider, and less snug on my thighs which helps to keep the ‘swag’ in shape. I will almost certainly make another one of these but will ensure I have a fabric with a good lycra content so it holds its shape better. Despite that I feel happy with the result though I think I will almost always wear this with leggings.

The trip ‘up north’ was also to take in a visit to The Bowes Museums ‘Style is Eternal’ Yves Saint Laurent exhibition which was wonderful, and as soon as I get the photographs sorted I will do another post. Just like buses – no posts for an age then two in quick succession. Back soon.

21 Comments on “Moving gently on”

  1. mrsmole says:

    Knits are a battle aren’t they with so many different combos of fibers and having to judge ahead of time whether they will drape well or recover well enough for our chosen styles. Maybe that is why I feel fortunate or not to only work in ivory satin and chiffon…ha ha…at least you know what the fabric will do day after day. I do like your dress and especially with the leggings, not because they cover your legs but because they draw the eye down for a longer/taller look. We ladies of a certain age are always striving to look taller and sleeker in our clothes! So nice that you have made time to explore new patterns and shapes…Brava!

  2. sewruth says:

    How refreshing to see Drape Drape on a person not unlike myself! I’ve recently made the asymmetrical top and really love it but have been wary of some of the other patterns. Kim – my hero! You look great and well done for pushing the boundaries – I’m next……

    • Some of those styles scare the bejesus out of me but I felt I really wanted to try them. They do seem to be a ‘young and skinny’ style but too good to ignore even if you don’t fit that description. I look forward to seeing what you try

  3. sew2pro says:

    Great job on the stripes at the side seams: and I like it styled with the black leggings as not only do they go nicely colour-wise but bring out the design.

    Look forward to your YSL review. I heard about this on the radio and had firmly decided to go when… would you believe it: the exhibition isn’t in London! Nice to have balance.

    • Thanks! I was well chuffed with the stripe matching given how little effort I put in. I agree with you that it looks better with the leggings and that is probably how I would always wear this.
      I have loaded the photos now so I just need to sort out the post. I am so lucky to live in the Midlands and have family in both directions!

  4. Well done on persevering – I have stopped sewing for me for a while becuase I too was making things I liked but never wear. I need to give this some further thought. Love the stripes!

  5. I was always hesitent of this pattern, but your stripes are fabulous! Very nice.

  6. Tia Dia says:

    I love your Drape Drape 2 dress. I’ve been mulling over that very pattern for about a week now…

    • I ‘mulled’ for much longer than that! Try it out in something not too expensive if in doubt but you will almost certainly be making more. Think about the return on the fabric though ( reason in post)

  7. Carolyn says:

    The dress/tunic looks just fabulous on you, the stripes were the perfect choice, and hurrah for trying out something new and different! It’s always a pleasant surprise how fun it is to wear something just a little bit away fro the norm, isn’t it. I guess that’s why we sew for ourselves 🙂

    • Thank you Carolyn. I enjoy seeing how fabulous you look in all of your PM garments, and whilst I differ enormously from your enviable body shape I still feel inspired to try some. Sewing for clients can get a bit ‘same old, same old’ so I do like to try new things for myself.

  8. Thimberlina says:

    The stripes look fab with the drapiness (?? Proper word!?). I subconsciously buy lots of stripy fabric but then wonder what to do with it! 😀

  9. jan west says:

    I am pleased to see your take on this dress – I made the no4 drape top and because the sizing seems really tiny- XL being a90cm bust and I’m 96- I redrafted the thing to add in a few more centimetres, but it was unnecessary ( drat – waste of valuable sewing time!) I’ll have a go at the dress now without redrafting, so thanks !

    • Many of these patterns allow lots of wearing ease which makes it possible to wear what looks like too small a size. Always worth checking it against a pattern you know is OK before you spend loads of time sizing up!

      • jan west says:

        Yes, valuable lesson learned – I’d never made anything like this before so had nothing to compare with – only a review of the book saying the sizes were tiny (and I’m not!)

  10. fabrickated says:

    This is a super pattern on you. I like the leggings look. The stripes are super too. Brilliant. Nice when a plan comes together so well.

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