Hi Style Makers!
I am lucky last on the Style Maker Fabrics Fall Style Tour 2019 and I am super excited to share my makes with you! When Michelle first asked me to join, I was quite surprised because I am an island girl and it is currently 34 degrees Celsius here in Barbados. We have three seasons; wet season, dry season and hurricane season. What does a Caribbean chica like me know about Fall? This may come as a shock, but I adore Fall and Winter fashion. I dream of cozy jackets and thigh high boots! Of Course if I were to step outside in full snow bearing attire, I would get some interesting stares plus melt the second I open the door. So I tried to find a happy medium and I hope you love my look as much as I do!
Give me all the berries, wines, burgundies, eggplants! This is my favourite colour family! When Michelle sent us the fabrics to choose from, I was drawn to these colours and fell in love with this particular fabric instantly! Stretch Pinwale Corduroy in the shade Plum – oh my heart! Funny enough, I’ve never worked with corduroy before. I have a piece in my stash but never gravitated to it since it is quite thick with no stretch. I couldn’t resist this one though; I knew it would make the prettiest Fall jacket!
I immediately noticed there was a coordinating rayon crepe (Abstract Fall Leaves Rayon Crepe Black/Plum) on the same page and sent my requests off to Michelle. She then let me know that fabric was not yet in stock (now there are over 95 new fabrics in stock including this one). It was a risk to wait since shipping to Barbados is what we call ‘sometimeish’. I explored other options and trust me there were a lot of other options. One that stood out to me was a mini skirt using this houndstooth fabric. But somehow I kept going back to the rayon crepe. I felt like it was too perfect a match to give up, like they were soulmates! My mind was made up! What is life without risks?
I decided to make a cropped bomber jacket with the cord. The pattern I went for is the Sew Over It Amelia jacket inspired by Amelia Earhart, the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. The pattern is pretty straight forward to follow but requires a ton of hand stitching and will take a few more days than you’d expect if you are a neat freak like me. The only changes I made were to shorten both the jacket and sleeves by one inch. I cut size twelve, one size down considering the stretch of the fabric and the fact that I wanted a less boxy fit. My lining fabric is polyester crepe from my stash. I chose black and white polka dots and I love how it turned out! It even complements the dress! Since this was my first time working with corduroy, I thought I’d share a few tips I learnt.
Tips for sewing with Corduroy
• Treat corduroy like you would velvet and fur.
• Iron on the wrong side using low to medium heat.
• Take care not to press down too hard when ironing to avoid crushing the pile.
• Corduroy is directional. If you run your hand across it, one way is smooth and soft, the other rough. You want to keep this in mind when cutting.
• Use only one layer of lightweight interfacing for collars etc. since the fabric can get pretty bulky when layered up.
• Make sure to trim all seam allowances to reduce bulk.
Now on to my fabulous rayon crepe dress! I use both rayon and crepe almost daily because of our Caribbean climate but never have I ever sewn with a combination of the two. With this tour came a lot of firsts for me! I love the drape of rayon and crepe separately so I knew I would love rayon crepe just as much. I wanted to make a pattern I could wear on its own now while it is still hot, but would still look cute under my bomber when it gets cooler. After seeing the lovely Erica Bunker’s take on McCall’s M7971, I grabbed the pattern and hopped into muslin making. Little did I know I would be making three toiles! I cut a size 14 top (D cup) graded to 16 waist and the skirt was a full 16. I chose view D with the length of view C because well… short people problems! For this same reason, I raised the slit by two inches. Of course if you live somewhere cooler, the shorter version without the slit would pair really nicely with tights.
I had noticed from reviews and photos that back gaping was common with this pattern but just like the fabric, my heart was set. By the time I finished butchering the pattern, the bodice was shorter by 2.5 inches spread throughout three different places. Half inch was removed between the neck and arm scye, one inch above the side bust dart and another inch below. Then I ended up lowering the side and waist darts by one inch because shortening the bodice brought them up too high. I took up the shoulders half inch on the neck side tapering to nothing at the arm side which then caused me to pretty much strangle so I lowered the front neck by half inch. This dress, my friends, was a true labour of love. So by the 3rd toile, I managed to eliminate about 85% of the back gaping which wasn’t enough for me. I literally skipped my photoshoot day to try to fix it.
This is what I came up with. The lower back was the home of the gaping. So I sewed a strip of ¼ inch elastic, stretching slightly, beginning just after the lower hook and eye, ending just before the waist seam. This meant there was now a line of stitching showing on the outside of the lower back opening which isn’t ideal but the truth is, no one should be staring at my back hard enough to notice. The elastic also caused slight pulling depending on my movements but I prefer that than gaping so I am happy with my last minute choice to add elastic. My recommendation is to add the elastic to the seam allowance that will be hidden between the lining and outer fabric. If only I had thought about this earlier!
The colours on the dress make me think of harvest, turkeys and pumpkins! It screams thanksgiving dinner to me so I styled it with a glittery purse perfect for the holiday season. Just like I had imagined, the two fabrics are a match made in heaven. The colours complement each other so well and I love how the drapey rayon crepe floats under the more structured corduroy.
Although I wore heels for the photos, keep in mind that if I lived somewhere else, I would totally rock this midi dress with biker boots, sick! That being said, don’t be surprised if you see me on Insta wearing this bomber with a houndstooth mini skirt and thigh high boots! Life is for living!
P.S. Head over to Style Maker Fabrics for an awesome deal – $5 US shipping or discounted international shipping through Oct 7th 2019