Thursday, 21 August 2014

Cheers! The Champagne Skirt by Capital Chic

A short while ago, Sally from Charity Shop Chic launched a collection of patterns under her label Capital Chic. If you follow Sally's blog, you'll know that she's all about re-creating high fashion, sophisticated looks on a budget, and this ethos is carried through into her pattern collection. These are minimal, grown-up pieces which would work well in the office, or take you through to drinks in the evening.

I'm lucky enough to know Sally, and she was kind enough to offer me a free download to try out. I jumped at the chance to try out the Champagne Skirt:

Sally in the Champagne skirt - she does all her own modelling!

It's a pencil skirt, and it has frills - what isn't there to like!? I decided this would be a perfect work skirt for me.

Out came the scissors and tape - all of Capital Chic's patterns are PDF downloads - and I quickly put it all together. I've only ever used 1 PDF pattern before, and the download of that didn't go well (wrong size, etc), but this was a breeze. Sally has obviously put loads of work into making sure the assembly of the pattern is as pain-free as possible. There are lots of little numbers and letters in strategic places to help you match everything up, and nice clear cutting diagrams.

Enough of my waffling - here's my version:

I'm much more curvaceous than Sally, so the skirt is more figure hugging than in the website photo. I used a stretch sateen, meaning it could be tight without being uncomfortable, and lined it with a rose polyester. This is a size 14, which works well, though the wrinkles across the front are bothering me - either I need to add a bit of room across the hips in future versions, or I've just forgotten how to stand! Also, this fabric does tend to show every wrinkle, despite being black.

Back view
It's a pretty straight forward project, and only really took about a day of sewing to complete (probably less if you don't get distracted easily like I do). The instructions are clear, with excellent diagrams - check out this iron!:

Sally explains all the steps clearly and simply - I think a beginner could follow them easily - but of course I went rogue and used some of my own techniques. First,before I attached the frill to the skirt, I stitched it to it's lining, right sides facing. After trimming and clipping the seam I then turned the pieces right side out and under stitched the seam allowance towards the inside to give the hem a crisp finish. 

That probably sounds like gobbledygook, so here's a picture to help you understand:

The finished frill, with seam allowance under stitched to the inside. 
Then I attached the frill to the skirt, sandwiched between the lining and the body of the skirt; this seam was also under stitched.

I've worn this skirt to work several times already, and even had a few complements on it - this is definitely one I'd make again. Well done, Sally!

But don't just take my word for it - visit Capital Chic for yourself!

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Minerva Bloggers Network - the Russian Dolls Blouse

For this month's Minerva project, I decided on something small and sweet, namely McCall's 6020, version C.

Version C in white (top)
On the recent Minerva meet-up, I admired all of the cute little prints they had in stock, particularly this one:

And so I turned it into this:

The blouse was pretty simple to put together, with a some bust darts and little tucks at the waist, front and back, for shaping. The trickiest part was the unusual front closure, which called for lots of clipping to produce these crisp right angles:

The sleeves went in really well - the fabric has a tiny bit of natural stretch, so they eased in without the usual puckering and gathering:

I used a catch-stitch to hold the sleeve hem in pace - you can just see a few of the stitches in the picture above.

I can already tell that there's going to be one thing that will drive me mad when I wear this blouse - the collar. The design pretty much relies on interfacing and gravity for it to stay in place, but of course as you move, it moves. I just know I'm going to be fiddling with it constantly!

But on the whole I'm pleased with how flattering this design is - it makes my waist looks freakily small in these pictures!

To finish, I added 3 little red buttons:

And that's it! Just in time for a short break I've got planned in Budapest at the end of the  month, where there are Russian Dolls everywhere you look (don't know why...)

See you soon!