Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Maya with sleeves!

I am pattern hacking queen with most of the patterns I own and find it very difficult to leave well alone and my own pattern is no different. Yes, I am talking about Maya again, but this time with sleeves!!!

Totally inspired by Laurie (one of my lovely testers), adding sleeves to the bodice has opened up a whole new world of possibilites to me, including a coat, but I'll get to that later!

Here's Laurie's version...

Doesn't she look fabulous? I especially love the fabric, but she was the first to add on sleeves. She asked me if it was ok to do this during the testing process and who am I do say no. Testing or not, there is no point in making something you don't want to wear. She also added on some extra length by the way.

I really like Laurie's, but when adding on my own sleeves I wanted a more fitted look to balance out the loose shape. I over-confidently added a grown on sleeve to my paper pattern using my cuff measurement to extend down to and didn't bother measuring my elbow or upper arm. I cut into my chambray fabric, finished it all beautifully, tried it on and found I couldn't pull it up to my shoulders!!! The sleeves were intended to be long, but I have chopped them off to a place that was eventually wearable. Lesson learnt!

It looks a bit wee willy winky nightdress-ish now, but is very much the kind of thing I live in lately. It reminds me of the grandad shirts that I favoured when I was a grungy teenager in the nineties!

As well as adding sleeves I have also exaggerated the hem shaping to curve up higher and split the dress front to be plain on the bottom and button down on the top. At the end of the instruction booklet, which accompanies the pattern, I make a few suggestions of how to adapt the pattern and one of them is to have half button, half plain like this (see below). The lines for this split are already on the pattern, but just require you to add a seam allowance on after you've cut your pattern along the line. This adaption is kind of like adding a button placket, but without the fiddly snipping and sewing. For many more ideas on how to customise the Maya pattern please visit my inspiration board

Here's some more detail...

I bound the neckline and sleeve ends with bias strips instead of using the facings. It's a sweet finish and because I didn't cut off the seam allowance on the neck it meant it was slightly higher than previous versions. I use a 1cm seam allowance to bind in this way, as I think the binding looks neat at 1cm wide, but I cut strips that are 5cm wide. This allows for folding from front to back, but also gives you a little extra, as I find if I cut 4cm wide then I some how end up with bits that won't quite fold over enough to machine stitch down. I attach on the front first, fold over to the back and top stitch down (also from the front). I know that some people machine the binding onto the reverse side first and then bring round to the front and topstitch down on the front to cover the first line of stitch, but I prefer to keep an eye on my hand made binding and make sure it's the same width all the way around.

The buttons are reclaimed from Jennas dads shirt. It was part of a package that she sent me and I am still thinking of what to do with the rest of the shirt, but that will form a future project!

I french seamed the dress, but have used a plain seam to join the two halfs of the dress front. I then overlocked, pressed it down and top stitched in place to keep it flat. I topstitched the top sleeve seams down flat too, as I didn't want them creating unsightly lumps when worn.

For a more 'shirty' feel I added triangle gussets at the top of the hem shaping. I really like this by the way!

 Another quick note about binding before I move on! If I don't have a strip long enough then I always join on the diagonal to reduce the bulk and this was positioned at the centre back of the dress, so that it is not seen (by me at least). Another thing I wanted to say is that although it always looks nicer and sits nicer when cut on the true bias, you can get away with just cutting anywhere on the diaganolish grain. If you are stuck for fabric then any kind of diagonal will give you stretch, which is what you need to stop it puckering. Sometimes it's good to not get too hung up on rules like that and give it a go with what you've got available!

Unbelievably I'm not done yet! I still have my jacket to show you. Look how pleased I am with myself?

What with the sleeve mishap on my previous attempt, I re-drew some sleeves onto the pattern, but this time much wider. You can see below the size of sleeve I used. I basically extended the shoulder length by 20cm, squared it down by 23cm and then squared across back to the dress blending into the side seam.

The reason for short sleeves is simple enough...I didn't have enough fabric for long sleeves! The jacket length is following the shortest hem guide (for my size) on the dress pattern. The check fabric is a remnant from my favourite market stall and was £1, but it was cut into in odd places and was not very big anyway, so some very careful placement was required. It is so soft that I guess there is some mohair in there somewhere along with some polyester and maybe some wool. I really love it and was not willing to cut into it unless I could get the pattern to match up, but manage it I did!

It is not faced or tailored in any way, but is instead reversible! I cut and sewed together two shells, one in the check fabric and one in a caramel coloured cashmere fabric that I have put aside for a smart coat (new pattern in the making). 

Here's the luxurious inside...

I may wear it this way sometimes, but think I favour the check, because it's so different. I also much prefer the way the plain looks peeking out from the check than the other way around.

Now, I know I just snuck in a mention that I am designing a new coat pattern (which I am so exited to show everyone), but I am also planning a lined coat using my Maya pattern. I shall do step by step instructions on how to achieve this should you wish to do the same. Below is my coatspiration and the fabrics I shall be using.

The greeny wooly fabric is an old single bedspread that I got from a car boot sale for £1 and the flocked purple crazy fabric is from the market and was £1p/m. Bargain! 

Wow, that may well be the longest post I have ever written! Sorry about that...

I'll be back soon with my Maya coat!