You’d give me a job, right?

Morning all! I’ve got a morning of shorts-toiling planned (toile and toil are so close, aren’t they?), so I’m coming at you early doors to share an outfit that’s been sitting in my blog queue for a bit too long.

At some point, I’m going to get a job here in Seattle. However, there’s no sign of that work permit coming through just yet and boredom is beginning to set in. That doesn’t stop me from making interview and work-appropriate clothing though! Truth be told, I didn’t sew either of these pieces with jobs in mind, but I think the outfit would work nicely for a summer office wardrobe.

Front

More roof porn. I love the roof. Had my dinner up there last night and everything. 

The blouse is the Ultimate Shirt by Sew Over It and is one of my May makes. I’ve been hankering after a plain white shirt for so long. I think they’re a great basic – they layer well, they can be smart or casual and look super-crisp.

I managed to squeeze the class in before leaving the UK and I’m so glad I did because I learned so much about shirt construction. The shirt is fitted (thanks to Julie at SOI for helping out with that) and has bias bound cuffs and a collar stand to get to grips with. The only feature it doesn’t have is a lined yoke, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen one of those on a fitted shirt (please prove me wrong though!).

Cuff close up

Here’s a close-up of that bias-bound cuff. You could add top stitching to the cuff itself, but I think it doesn’t need it here. I’m most likely to wear it with sleeves rolled up anyway, cos I’m ready to get stuck in. Obvs.

I’ve made three versions of this so far (pictured below) but this particular version is in some cotton shirting I picked up at District Fabric not long after I arrived. It was generally beautiful to sew with, though I will admit that it was possibly a little bit too thick for the French seams I attempted as my machine struggled a bit. We got there in the end, but I’d overlock throughout if I was doing it again. No matter – I’m really pleased with the finished effect and think it looks properly smart. Obviously, given my current obsession with shirts and shirt dresses, I’ve got another planned – this time in a floaty red rayon. Can’t wait.

Red ultimate shirt

This is the one I made in the class. That’s Atelier Brunette cotton lawn, which is lovely!

Blue ultimate shirt

My second one is in blue cotton lawn and this is an awkward photo taken at the Seattle Symphony Hall while waiting for Russell Howard to start (he was awesome). 

The other half of the outfit is a long-overdue revisit of the Colette Zinnia skirt (V2). I first made this a few years ago and ended up throwing it across the room in frustration at my inability to insert an invisible zip. While I eventually ended up loving the skirt and wearing it all the time, it bit the dust earlier this year so it didn’t make it to Seattle. Not a bad excuse to make a new one though, eh?

Back

The back. The only thing that is wrong here is I think I put the button band on the wrong side. It just feels wrong when I do it up. Oh well. 

I don’t have much to say about the construction, other than I have now conquered my fear of invisible zips. This one went in with no issues. First time! The real star of this skirt is the fabric, though. It’s a pink chambray that I picked up in the Village Haberdashery before leaving the UK. Nowt special about that, you might say, but this one SPARKLES! It’s got gold thread woven through it so it’s got a lovely sheen which screams summer to me. Unfortunately the photos don’t pick up on the sparkle, but I assure you it is there.

If you’re a long-term reader of this blog, you’ll know that I love versatile separates. These fit the bill perfectly. I’ll wear both of them throughout the summer, and if/when I get that work permit, they’ll be ready for interviews/office work at the drop of a hat. Anyone want to employ me?! (pleeeeeaaaasssseee?)

Side

Thinking of making this my Linked In pic tbh. 

 

Cock-a-doodle-hen-do

Happy Sunday all! I’m taking a break from a massive clear out to bring you today’s post. We’re having a spring clean because on Friday we went to the American Embassy in London and had our visas approved! We now have around about a month to get our stuff together and get out to Seattle, which means a mad rush to sort things out.

Anyway, I’m here today on much more frivolous business. A few weeks ago, I had a rather belated hen do. Since Chris and I went from proposal to marriage in the space of six weeks, I didn’t really have time to have a hen do, so I decided to do it after the fact instead. I gave my bridesmaid a few stipulations (karaoke, a drink or two, and absolutely nothing that indicates we’re on a hen do – e.g. No willy straws or fluffy pink stetsons), but otherwise she had free rein. I was in the dark about what was happening until the day itself, and Gillian was being quite cagey about the dress code, so I figured I’d need something that would take me from day to night with ease.

The Alex shirt from the Sew Over It City Break e-book seemed to fit the bill nicely. I am having a major SOI fan girl moment. All I seem to make at the moment is their patterns. They do fit me nicely, and the patterns are all things I want to wear, so why not?

alex-front

The concept of the City Break book really appeals to me. I’ve been thinking about capsule wardrobes for a little while now, and with an impending move abroad, it sounds like an appealing idea. While I like all the patterns (apart from the Mia jeans – they’re a bit skinny for me), the Alex shirt was the one that stood out for me. It’s loose fitting, can be lengthened into a dress and has rolled up sleeves. These details make it a nice introduction to sewing shirts without too much hassle – no collar stand and no fiddly cuffs.

My Alex is made out of a lovely drapey rayon I’ve had in my stash for so long I can’t remember where it came from. I love the drape of rayon, but it can be difficult to cut out as it moves around a lot, so I cracked out the spray starch to help it stay put.

The pattern and instructions were really easy to follow. The only bit I found tough to get my head around was the enclosed yoke. I couldn’t work out how to twist it so that the inner yoke could be stitched nicely all in one and turned through. I got a bit confused and ended up with a Möbius strip instead of a yoke several times, so after one bout of unpicking I decided I’d pin and test first, which saved my tears.

alex-yoke

The fabric is quite busy, but I assure you this is the yoke and the pleat in the body.

My only other criticism of the instructions was about attaching the collar. It has you out the collar on before you sew the side seams. This struck me as a bit odd and turned things into a bit of a faff when you have slippery fabric flying about everywhere.

alex-front-close-up

The collar and almost invisible patch pockets. I also didn’t bother doing buttonholes as I can fit it over my head without any bother. 

The fit’s pretty good. It’s supposed to be loose and relaxed, so I had plenty of space in a straight size 12 to fit my child-bearing hips (a pretty standard adjustment for me). I started doing the sleeve tabs but when I sewed them on, I realised they were too thin and positioned too far down the sleeve for my liking. I like rolled up sleeve to sit in the crook of my elbow, but these were more bracelet length which would just annoy me. So I left them off, and made a note to draft a thicker tab next time round.

alex-side

So how was the hen do? Well, I got my karaoke but I was also made the leader of a routine to I Wanna Dance With Somebody (video of which I hope will not see the light of day). We went out for dinner and then went for drinks and table football in Bar Kick in Shoreditch. I had rather a lot to drink but I was also the table football champion of my own hen do along with my friend Joanna. I don’t think they let us win…?