Summer Kimono Jacket

Kimono jackets are quick to make and simple to wear. This one has already been in serious rotation this summer!

kimono jacket for summer | offsquare.com

After scouring Pinterest, I found a free tutorial for a kimono jacket via Elle Apparel and then this colourful poly chiffon in a local store. It was meant to be.

kimono jacket for summer | offsquare.com

The tutorial is great, giving you tips on creating one to fit your measurements, rather than ‘trace a top you already own’ which annoys me no-end. If I already owned such a top, I wouldn’t need to make one now, would I? Yup, this is a tutorial for the masses.

The kimono jacket sews together easily. The hardest part was the copious amount of tiny hems. A great chance for lots of practice with the hemming foot, but it came with a lot of unpicking at the start! After a few metres of hemming, I’m much more practised now.

kimono jacket for summer | offsquare.com

As a side note, if you’re ever sewing with chiffon, my best tip is to use small stitches. It will help the seams sit nice and smooth.

kimono jacket for summer | offsquare.com

Right, I’m off to maximise this sunshine!

 

Hepburn Shorts

I need leather-look shorts in my life | Offsquare.com

This black polyester, wet-look fabric is incredible. It looks like leather, drapes like rayon and doesn’t wrinkle. I want more! Skirts, tops, a blazer … where would I stop?

I need leather-look shorts in my life | Offsquare.com

I made these shorts using the Hepburn Shorts pattern by Pattern Emporium. The fit of the pattern is good and didn’t need much tweaking beyond reducing the top edge of the waistband (I chipped out about 3cm, graduating back to the actual size at the bottom of the waistband). I also used an invisible zip and raised it to meet the top edge of the band, instead of using the recommended hook fastener there.

I need leather-look shorts in my life | Offsquare.com

The instructions though. Ugh. This is by far the largest PDF I’ve ever downloaded at a whopping 10MB (just for shorts!) and the instructions feel clunky and overwhelming. I mostly ignored them, not wanting to wade through the 67 pages just to find a starting point *groan*.

Love the shorts, but I need that clutch! | Offsquare.com

But the instructions look so in-depth, that it’d be quite ideal for any beginner. Every step is photographed and thoroughly explained. Just don’t let the quantity of instructions overwhelm you or put you off Indie patterns in general. They’re not usually so huge and photo heavy.

And rather than print the whole PDF file, perhaps pick out the bits you think you’ll need first.

I need leather-look shorts in my life | Offsquare.com

Other than that, the pattern was great and came together well. I’m so happy with the final result! The shorts are edgy and fun, which was just what I wanted.

That clutch! I need someone to make me one| Offsquare.com

And I had enough fabric scraps from previous projects to whip up a fold-over clutch and while my Hubby insists it looks like a pencil case, I’m loving it for the pop of colour and a touch of class.

Pencil case. Pffft.

 

Linen Peplum

Sometimes a design idea launches itself at you and demands to be made. Demands, I tell you! It’s mostly why I began sewing in the first place, just to shut it up.

Linen peplum top with pleats | Offsquare.com

This linen peplum top was one of those lightening strikes. I craved drama, structure and a gritty challenge.

Now, usually my attempts at self-drafting fall flat on their face; I’ve had many failures over the years. But after taking a Craftsy course recently, I managed to ace this one pretty quickly. The lessons have paid for themselves already!

Linen peplum top with pleats | Offsquare.com

This top features a centre front “Y” bust dart (it’s hard to see, but there nonetheless), back slit with button closure, and lace detail on the inside hem which peaks out occasionally between the folds.

Linen peplum top with pleats | Offsquare.com

My initial design had no waist seam. It was a voluminous tent top that sat in waves around a hi-lo hem, but I was having problems with keeping the fabric evenly distributed during wear. I didn’t want pleats near the neckline, or multiple vertical seams, so opted for a peplum instead. Although maybe the same could be achieved with a circle skirt design that has a neckline and arm scythe added?

Linen peplum top with pleats | Offsquare.com

This linen has been in the stash for a loooooong time, so I can’t remember where I found it, but I’m finding linen is a dream to work with. Although it does crease as soon as you hug someone or sit in a car! Terribly impractical, as fashion often is, but at least it’s comfy and breathes well.

Linen peplum top with pleats | Offsquare.com

It’s so nice having a different style/colour/fabric added to the wardrobe. It helps keep things fresh and fun … and I like that.

Linen peplum top with pleats | Offsquare.com

Dart Manipulation with Craftsy

Dart manipulation | Offsquare.com

Like most home sewists, my sewing ‘training’ consists of a dabble at school (making a clown, of all things! *shudder*) and hours of trawling free online tutorials.

But occasionally a design will strike me and demand to be made. You know, the picture-in-your-head-and-you-just-can’t-shake-it kind. But my knowledge of pattern manipulation is so limited that the designs are usually dumped in frustration.

During my latest battle, I turned to Craftsy. Now let me start by saying, there are affiliate links in this blog and I may receive a small commission for purchases made. I really appreciate your support, which helps make this blog possible. I paid for this course myself and all opinions are my own.

Dart manipulation in a Craftsy course

Right, legal stuff out of the way, let’s talk about the course. I chose “Pattern Making & Design: Creative darts and seamlines” with Suzy Furrer.

The course mainly covers dart manipulation, which is blimmin’ awesome, but there’s a good chunk on creating different seamlines and silhouettes too (think princess seams, double princess seams, empire lines, swing silhouettes etc).

Dart manipulation | Offsquare.com

Everything on the course is worked from slopers, so you do need to have a starting point. I just used a bodice pattern from my stash that fits me well, has plenty of darts and that I’ve made often. The darts are a sitting little high here, but you get the idea.

Did you know darts pointing down toward the bust will make a small bust look bigger? Just like darts that start below the bust and point upward make a bust look smaller? Did not know that.

Dart manipulation | Offsquare.com

This diamond panel incorporates bust and waist darts and can be made in any shape you like. I’m pretty sure I was in a state of awe for that entire section.

The lessons are aimed at an advanced sewist who is looking to upskill and challenge themselves, so if you’re just starting out, you’ll want to build up to this one.

At any time during the lesson, you can ask a Suzy question (she’s not on the site waiting 24/7 though, so give her some time to answer). I was having a design issue with my picture-in-the-head thing and I found Suzy to be very helpful with this too. She explains everything very well.

Dart manipulation | Offsquare.com

I’m feeling a lot more confident about altering patterns now and armed with options that I didn’t even know existed.

But here’s the really cool part:

Craftsy are giving Offsquare readers over 50% off this course for one week!

They’ve slashed the price from US$69.99 to US$29.99 for you, from now until 28 October 2015 (11:59pm MT). Just click the link above to get the special offer.

Here’s hoping the pictures in our minds can become reality more often!

Inari Tee by Named Clothing

Inari Tee by Named Clothing | Offsquare.com

The Inari Tee by Named Clothing. It looks like a boxy top but is actually beautifully fitted, which makes it flattering in all the right places.

Inari Tee by Named Clothing | Offsquare.com

The Inari comes with crop top or dress options, side slits, cuffed sleeves with a relax-fit and neck facings.

I’ve opted for a crop top version here with a whopping 14cm added to the length (I slashed the pattern just under the arms to add the length). I didn’t need to make any alterations and the instructions seemed well written.

Inari Tee by Named Clothing | Offsquare.com

The fabric is a semi-sheer silk (try saying that three times quickly!), so I swapped out the neck facings for a short bodice lining which stops just below my ribs. This was partially due to a lack of white lining fabric, but it’ll keep the top airy during summer too.

I also had to make the back lining from two pieces, so sewed them together used a flat felled seam to minimise bulk.

Inari Tee by Named Clothing | Offsquare.com

It’s my first make using Named Clothing and they were great … but my one complaint would be that the patterns weren’t nested, so if you needed to merge sizes you’d be in for a wild ride. And you can only print two pattern sizes at a time. Boo. Otherwise the instructions were well written and the fit is amazing.

The Fabric

I found this navy houndstooth silk at The Fabric Store and every time I opened my stash, I’d look at it, torn between wanting to wear it and not wanting to ruin it. I knew I’d have to use it sometime, before the moths ate it or little fingers stained it. I’d be sad then. Sad that I hadn’t enjoyed it first.

So I caught a vision, downloaded a pattern and made myself jump in.

Inari Tee by Named Clothing | Offsquare.com

Actually, I needed a little shove to get started and I owe a big thanks to my Instagram gals for cheering me on. Thanks ladies!! Without you I’m sure I’d probably still be unsure.

Of course, before launching in with my precious fabric, I did a trial run with pink polyester remnants. I’ve already worn it several times!

‘Muslins’, or trial runs, are much less tedious when there’s actually a chance you’ll wear them. I highly recommend it.

Inari Tee by Named Clothing | Offsquare.com

So, do you have some precious fabric in your stash that needs transforming? Maybe it’s time to catch a vision and start enjoying it. Let me know and I’ll cheer you on!

Or maybe you need more time. That’s ok. But don’t leave it forever. Fabric doesn’t last that long.

Ella Top by Liola Patterns

Ella Top by Liola Patterns | Offsquare.com

I needed a ‘palate cleanser’ between a couple of big makes. Something that was uncomplicated, casual and suited to fabric that I wouldn’t cry about if failure hit.

This is the Ella Top by Liola Patterns, which is available via Indiesew. I made it using this (static-prone) polyester fabric which I found for $3 per metre over a year ago.

Ella Top by Liola Patterns | Offsquare.com

With the pattern, I was initially dubious about the suggested size. There appeared to be a lot of ease, but I trucked on anyway, making a size M and the fit turned out perfect. No alterations needed. Hooray!

Ella Top by Liola Patterns | Offsquare.com

The top features a cute back yoke and pleat, with a slight racerback shape.

I did steer away from the instructions a little to enclose the shoulder seams within the yoke pieces. Also, rather than enclose the bias ends within the seams, I stitched (once the rest of the bias piece was attached) the ends together and sewed it flat.

But otherwise, there’s nothing fancy involved and the instructions seemed well written.

Ella Top by Liola Patterns | Offsquare.com

This was a fun make and is probably a good one for beginners too. The bias edges are certainly a handy skill to have.

It’s a fuss free project and just what I needed to keep the sew-jo on track.