Exciting new pattern company

I am really excited about this. I’ve been following Steph’s blog for quite a while and I really like the way she thinks about clothes and experiments with different ways of doing things. Her philosophy is that clothing should be functional and practical while still looking good and suiting the wearer. She wants the fabric to last (and sometimes abuses new fabrics to test out their longevity and washability) and she wants to be able to move in whatever she’s wearing without fear of ripping a seam (just look her photos in this blog post if you don’t believe me).

Well now Steph has set up her own pattern company called Cake Patterns! The tag line is “sewable, wearable basics for busy women – always with pockets!”. I’m sold!

A local graphic designer team have helped her to create the pattern models who have real-woman proportions and the patterns are all multi-sized and easy to adapt if you’re not a perfect size all the way down. They don’t even use high-street sizes seeing as they aren’t believable anyway!

I’ve just ordered the Tiramisu pattern in the pre-sale and I can’t wait until it arrives and I can start sewing my lovely (and practical!) dress.

Practice, practice – Simplicity 4987 apron

As part of a goal to increase my confidence in my sewing ability I’ve started sewing up some simple projects, including using commercial patterns. It’s interesting to see how different people have approached a problem and to sew a garment using their instructions, then next time make changes, or have learnt something new. My first item this year was the Sorbetto top by Colette, which had very good instructions and I enjoyed creating. This top was my second version so I made a few alterations but still followed the pattern in the main.

Next I tried a Simplicity apron pattern – 4987. It’s just a simple waist apron but it’s very gathered and I left off the pockets because I wasn’t sure exactly how I wanted to do them. I did follow the instructions but it was interesting to notice where I would have done something different – the unfinished back to the apron ties, the amount of gathering around the waist. I’m quite a petite person and slightly pear-shaped so the heavily gathered skirt is unattractive on me and I would make a flatter but flared skirt next time. I also like to bag-out something on which the reverse will be seen, like the apron tie, so that the back of the fabric isn’t obvious.

Chintz apron

The reverse of the fabric can be seen on one of the apron ties

It was a useful project and it will be a useful apron. I’ll wear it to protect my clothes when my cat sits on my lap. She has a tendency to grip on to my jeans with her claws so making pulls. I’d rather replace an apron than a pair of jeans!

Next up I have a choice of a vintage Vogue dress or a simple flowery top.

Late again – Colette Patterns Sorbetto top

As always seems to happen, just as the weather turns cold and the leaves start falling trees I finish sewing a summery top! This was a free pattern from Colette patterns. The top is called Sorbetto and it’s a fastening-free blouse with bound armholes and neckline.

I’m always nervous about tops without fastenings as they can be difficult to get on or they swamp me and I look like I’m wearing a sack. Surprisingly this top actually fits me pretty well. It slips on easily and doesn’t look ridiculously large on although I think I would create a bit of shaping through the waistline and hips if I made it again. I’m quite curvy on my bottom half so I’m glad that I graded out to the next size up towards the hips and also made it in tiny bit shorter than the pattern. That shortening was purely because I didn’t have enough material to do it any other way and still keep the patterned band at the bottom.

Colette Patterns Sorbetto top

The fabric is actually quite light so I’m wearing a red vest top underneath and that’s what you can see peeking out from the bottom of the gold band. Also, there isn’t a big crease down the front but there’s a stitched pleat to give it a bit of interest – click on the image to enlarge if you want to see it better.

The instructions for this top were great and it went together very easily, despite my chiffon-y fabric wanting to fray every time I looked at it. It’s definitely a top that I will make again in a different fabric.