I’m having a bit of a Sew Over It moment. I’ve watched Lisa Comfort since she started her business a few years ago and am extremely impressed with what she has achieved. Sewing is such a niche market yet she now has two shops in London and a huge internet presence. She has written two printed books and an e-book and runs courses online and in the shops.
Her success is in part due to her sense of style, which is pretty and vintage. The patterns are beautifully cut but simple to sew and the online shop makes it easy to select the perfect fabric.
I must admit I am not a normally a fan of vintage style but I do find that a pencil skirt and a blouse make very easy work wear.
This outfit is the Pussy Bow Blouse and the Ultimate Pencil Skirt. I bought both the fabric and pattern for the blouse from the Islington shop. The pattern comes in two styles, this one is the v-neck and there is a keyhole shaped neckline. I think the latter is a more modern style and would look great in a white silk.
The shape is not very fitted so rather than do my usual wide back adjustment I just added a 4cm strip (yes my back is really that wide) down the centre back. I thought this might make the back neck gape but it lies perfectly where it should. I also had to adjust the bow for the same 4cm.
Owing to the slippery fabric the cuffs on the sleeves were a little fiddly to make, but the rest of it was very simple and quick.
I’ve had lots of compliments about this blouse, particularly people saying how nice the fabric is. Most of my clothes are made out of plan fabrics so maybe I need to wear more patterns.
I’ll write about the skirt next time
Do you ever find yourself hankering after something that you just know won’t be right? This is what happened when I first saw Sew Over It’s Joan Dress which seemed the epitome of what I don’t wear but was strangely attractive.
In a moment of weakness I bought the pattern and then found myself making a toile. Eventually I had to admit to myself that this was a dress that was going to be made.
The luxury crepe fabric I chose also came from Sew Over It, unfortunately this is where it all started to go horribly wrong. The good things about this fabric are that it has the most wonderful sheen and like all polyesters it is remarkably low maintenance (no dry cleaning!). The not so good things are that it has zero give and will only take the sharpest pins and needles -each of which leaves a small hole when withdrawn. Seriously this fabric is like leather to work with.
Not being able to pin the fabric easily made each stage very difficult. The most difficult part was putting in the sleeves. Having no give it was impossible to ease the fabric without making lots of little puckers – those sleeves were unpicked so many times I was fearful for my seam ripper. Eventually I cut down the sleeve head so that the seam lines were an identical length to those on the armscye which was the only way I could get a smooth line. Strangely this hasn’t made the sleeves uncomfortable.
The instructions have you hem the lining and the outer shell together which produces a very clean finish. At least it should do, unfortunately mine looked wonderful until I put the dress on and found some nasty pulling. Strangely it all looked OK when the dress was flat. Had I been able to stitch through all the layers I don’t think this would have been an issue, but the crepe was so dense I was finding it difficult to hand sew into it. I eventually fixed it by machining the dress and lining hem separately and adding a small tie between the two layers at the side seams.
I had to make my usual adjustments; a 2cm broad back and shoulder adjustment, a 2cm width adjustment to the sleeve head and a 1cm horizontal reduction above the bust. I also shifted the darts towards the centre. If I were to make it again I would probably add a further small amount to the back and lower the waist seam by about 2-3cm. I might also narrow the skirt a bit.
So do I wear it? Actually, yes, I’m very conscious though that it isn’t my usual style but it is smart and low maintenance and sometimes that is the best you can wish for.