Hello Strangers! I’m just a little excited to have something to blog again!!
Actually I’ve been sewing quite a lot recently, but 99% of it knits, and I always feel a little like they aren’t quite worth the effort of a blog post for some reason?! Knits because, as you can see, I’m expecting again:
Yep, and just as my sewjo returns with a vengeance, too. Anyway. Particularly nice about being up the duff this time is that I haven’t had every single creative node in my being go completely and utterly AWOL like last time. I had such grand plans of sewing a maternity wardrobe previously, and they ended up in shatters.
In fact, the fabric for this number was actually bought with the two other fabrics I’m wearing in the photo above to sew a ‘capsule’ outfit LAST time I was pregnant. So it’s good to finally have achieved that outcome (if only right before the end!). All three are from the Fabric Store (back when they had cool stuff and a selection of knits that weren’t limited to super lightweight merinos) – this is a loosely woven boucle, with hints of greeny-grey, cream, off-white and a bit of lurex for sparkle factor. 100% up my alley, in other words. Shelley from LightningMcStitch used this same fabric to make her frocktails dress for the 2016 Melbourne Frocktails (co-incidentally, the day my daughter was born).
The fabric composition is a silk/cotton/metallic thread combo, and I block fused it with interfacing before sewing together.
Lining is with the left-over heavyweight silk crepe backed satin I used to line my couture pants with – a perfect match with the greeny-grey fibres in the boucle! And, at 24 momme in weight – an absolutely luxurious inclusion. So good, that I dont ever want to work with sub 24 momme silk again, quite frankly. Not sure the budget is approved for this new requirement, but I was glad to be able to utilise all of my leftovers!
I didn’t quite have enough for the sleeve – but did manage to squeeze the sleeve cap lining out of it! I patched in some scrap silk charmeuse (in an inferior weight) to finish them off.
The Lining was all hand-sewn in, because the silk deserved it and I enjoy doing it. I incorporated a pleat at the centre back, which meant I would leave the back lining a ‘swing’ lining (is that a thing?) – it’s attached to the hem of the front pattern pieces, but not the back. It works well.
The Grainline Morris Blazer, which has been around for yonks, and is the perfect mix of ‘tailored’ and bump friendly work attire. It also helps that it comes together in a flash.
I sized up this time – making a 16 – mostly to account for pregnancy boobage (and ideally, breastfeeding boobage, should I need something a bit dressy on the other side) – but really I should have stuck with the 14 for my shoulders (as I needed to take them in), and done an FBA instead.
The sleeve pattern piece that comes with is a single pattern piece – and I’d just seen too many versions online where this was really evident (you get drag lines and it’s just not as nice fitting as a 2 piece). The sleeve cap itself is not bad – but a single piece sleeve is always a compromise, in my personal opinion.
But, this was supposed to be a quick project – so as a bit of an experiment I dug out the ‘Sleeve of Life’ pattern piece that I copied from Susan Khalje’s pattern a few years ago, adjusted it up in size (think that sleeve is a Aus size 8 or thereabouts) for my more substantial figure, and whacked it on.
Drafted by ‘Julian’ – it has 3 darts at the elbow and the element I now know via experience that makes a better looking sleeve – more concave curve at the front sleeve cap area compared to the back. Which – the Grainline sleeve actually has a decent balance of:
In terms of fitting the pattern – boxy and shapeless is just not something I look good in – and I feel even more vindicated in this factoid since discovering that I’m a ‘Dramatic Classic’ under the Kibbe system (a wonderful rabbit hole to spend some time in, see here and here).
So, I have added in shaping to the side seams, and two darts at the back. As this is largely intended for maternity wear around the office, I wasn’t too fussed about fitting at the front, although I’ll be curious to see how I feel about this once the new-normal post birth body shape settles in.
It has been commented that it’s a little odd that the centre back is straight on grain, but not cut on the fold. I figure this is potentially more a design feature, to align with the centre back seam of the folded over shawl collar? Who knows, but I also added a little shaping here.
Pretty simple really. Only real thing of interest is the right angle seam line in between the shoulder seams and the shawl collar. Sew the fronts to the back, add on the facing, sew in the sleeves.
I catch stitched all the seam allowances down – because I enjoy doing this and the interfacing made these areas a little bouyant.
I muslined one weekend, cut and sewed the bodice up another weekend, fitted and constructed the sleeves on a third weekend, then sewed in the lining over about ridiculously long period of time (um… several months!), doing a little bit here and there. I thoroughly enjoyed this make – simple, quick (for a woven and lined garment!) and finally again I’ve got that satisfying feeling of tangible achievement.