Hi everyone, new girl Sam here. Philippa asked me to step in sewing up a sample for the shop as she's busy moving house or something important, so here I am with my first, (hopefully not the last), review for Fabricate.
I was really excited to see that Donna of Size Me had released a new collection of patterns called the Vienne, which includes a top, a dress & a coat. Luckily Philippa decided to break me in gently with the top & not the coat but quite honestly I would have been happy to make any of these patterns as they are all absolutely gorgeous. Stylish & very wearable, great for work wear or if you're WFH, looking presentable for the never ending zoom meetings.
The blouse is relatively loose fitting & features raglan sleeves & a lovely frill detail down the middle of the front & is deceptively simple to construct, great for a complete novice but interesting enough for someone with lots of experience to whip up in an afternoon.
To support the written instructions, Donna has a video on YouTube which talks you through every step. This might be useful for those of you are visual learners or for some of the techniques that are new to you or if you just want to have a nosey to see how it's constructed to decide whether it's for you or not. But quite honestly the instructions are thorough & concise and I really think that she has thought of everything, with tips for getting a really neat finish on your hem etc
The recommended fabrics are woven fabrics, such as viscose, crepe & cotton lawns, however we decided to try this lovely Purple Pearl Peach Polyester that has an abstract design on it with little flecks of yellow, which I think works beautifully for the blouse. It has a lovely drape to it for the frill at the front & was a dream to work with, it holds a press well & doesn't fray too much. Naturally I prewashed it & found that there was no shrinkage whatsoever.
The sizing is interesting as each range is denoted by symbols rather than numbers, this is to encourage people to properly measure themselves rather than try to use RTW sizes & set themselves up for disappointment or failure. I fell into the circle range, which is a 97cm bust, 76cm waist & 104cm hips, this is the fourth size & Philippa challenged me to try & get the pattern out of less than the suggested amount of 1.5 metres - being a tight arse I accepted the challenge & took just 1.25m, which was enough for this size range with a little bit left over but not much, (maybe around 10cm).
I would suggest if you are trying to get it out of less fabric that you cut your pattern to the required size & then lay it out onto a piece of fabric that you may have in your stash to see if you can manage with less. Bearing in mind that the width of fabric & whether the print is directional or not will make a significant difference. By folding in the fabric from the sides into the centre, (pictured), it was possible. But please don't forget that you will need to cut out a strip of fabric cut on the bias to finish the neckline.
As I was in the studio alone & couldn't find the overlocker, (which as it turns out was on the floor beside me all along), so I decided to do French seams. I thought this would be a challenge with Raglan sleeves but I just took it slowly & it worked out really well.
The neckline is finished off with a bias strip & the final stage is to sew on a hook & eye, so only the tiniest bit of hand stitching & no button holes or zips to contend with.
So overall, a relatively quick sew, which will help to build your skills & produce a lovely wearable top for work or lunch with friends, (when we're allowed). I hope that you give it a try as we've got lots of other lovely fabrics that would be suitable for it, which you can find here:
If you want to quiz me about this or anything else, bob me an email at email@example.com and if you're a bit wary about using lightweight fabrics, check out our blog post here: Working with Lightweight Fabrics