Orla oh la la

Back in January, I purchased this Tilly and the Buttons ‘Orla’ top pattern.  It’s now September, and finally I’ve made an Orla top.   The pattern was a joy to use.  Orla sewing pattern - Tilly and the Buttons

I wanted to make a top with print sleeves and a solid colored torso.  This cotton upholstery fabric in my stash seemed right for the torso.  It was salvaged from sofa cushion covers I’d made years ago.  There were worn spots on the fabric, but there were enough good areas to carve out the body of a blouse from it.

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This Paris print cotton was something I simply liked when I saw it in the store, so I bought 1/2 yard for the sleeves.  My plan was to make a muslin shell to test the pattern, and if things turned out well, it would be a wearable muslin.

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Voila! A wearable muslin! 

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Where I deviated from the pattern:

  • Adjusted the sleeve length to a 3/4 sleeve.
  • Used a stand up/rolled collar instead of the pattern options.
  • Added a few gathers to the top of the sleeve rather than the pleat in the pattern.
  • The pattern suggests using lightweight drapey fabrics, but I used the heavy cotton, and I like the result.

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For bicycling and night activities, I incorporated some reflective elements.  I used reflective fabric for ‘hem tape’ on the sleeves.  At night, the hem can be flipped out for visibility.  There’s also a reflective covered button for the back closure.

A few more comments on the Orla pattern:  (I’ll definitely make more ‘Orlas’.)

  • The pattern size measurements ran true-to-large.  I’m so used to pattern measurements not working out, that I decided to make a larger size than the pattern info indicated.  Well, the pattern measurements were right on this time.  On the first fitting, the blouse was way too roomy.  I ended up taking it in two whole sizes, and could have gone down a third size.
  • The front curved darts are a pretty feature, and were easy to sew.  But they became a challenge when I had to downsize the garment.

(Ghastly lighting in this new selfie spot! Yikes!)

disgust when you get that text GIF by Barstool Sports

This picture was my inspiration.  I saw it in a Liberty of London ad last year.  Obviously, I didn’t stick close to the image.  I still want to make a top similar to this.  Maybe for Spring.

Lace top print sleeves from Liberty 

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The Great British Sewing Bee is back!

For people located in the US, like me, there are limited viewing options for this awesome BBC series, The Great British Sewing Bee.  But I put up with those annoyances because I love this show so much.  For a quick intro, here is the trailer for the past season–Season 4:

After an excruciatingly long wait, Season 5 premiered this month!  Here is the entire hour-long Episode 1 of Season 5 on Youtube.  My advice is to watch it now, because like other GBSB episodes, this quality upload will likely disappear soon from Youtube.  Which also means, parts of this post will disappear.

The sewing contestants who have appeared on the GBSB are from a wide variety of backgrounds and ages.  Many are self-taught.  Some of the older participants have spent their lives sewing for themselves and their children.

While I’d love to have the show’s workshop and haberdashery, I would be crippled by the time pressures!  How do they do it with a show host yelling at them that they are almost out of time???

As the screenshots below indicate, the contestants design and produce amazing garments in just 2 or 3 hours; sometimes less time than that.

GBSB haberdashery & workshopGBSB jumpsuitGBSB wiggle dresses

What happens to the contestants?  After their stint on the show, my impression is that most of the contestants go back to their regular lives.  But at least one, Tilly Walnes, has parlayed her skill and participation on the show into a successful business.  She has an inspiring website for beginners and experts alike.  The patterns Tilly has designed for sale in her shop are great.  I purchased her “Coco” dress pattern, and now [almost] three Coco dresses later, I’ve purchased three more of her patterns.  Hopefully the new patterns will all soon become fun garments in my closet.

When to watch:  The GBSB episodes are broadcast weekly on BBC, on Tuesdays at 9pm UK time, which is 3pm Central time in the US.  Soon after that, start checking Youtube for an uploaded episode.  It may take a few hours, or days before one appears.  Warning:  Choose carefully among the Youtube offerings, and by that I mean steer clear of the dodgy videos that require you to click a link outside of Youtube to watch the episode.

GBSB imdb link:  https://www.imdb.com/title/tt3010856/

We really need to be able to watch The Great British Sewing Bee on TV in the US!  I’ve inquired with our local PBS station, and they made inquiries, and were told succinctly that it is not available in the US and may never be available here.  Commence temper tantrum.

UPDATE!  Here is Season 5 Episode 3, aired Tuesday, February 26, 2019.

  • They are doing vintage 60s-70s garments, using vintage machines and playing great background music from the period.  There’s my sewing machine!
  • And they ventured into Punk!  “Anarchy in the sewing bee!”

A dress to match the cuffs.

“Don’t buy a suit to match your tie,” is a proverb that has served me very well… except when it should be ignored, such as with this project.  It started with a picture of knit+crochet cuffs I saw online, which led me to grab knitting needles and some cotton yarn from my stash, and experiment with the design.  Soon I had a set of cuffs I loved, with nothing to put them on.

Cuffs RSR

So, with cuffs in hand and no plan except that I might like them on a dress, I went fabric shopping, and came home with this lightweight rayon plaid:

Fabric RSR

For a pattern, I decided on the “Coco dress” from Tilly and the Buttons.  The dress has simple, basic lines; is fast to construct; and worked well for me on a prior dress.

Coco-cover_grande

I sewed the dress and attached the cuffs before deciding what to do with the neckline.  At that point, the answer was obvious–make a collar to match the cuffs.

Collar RSR

The finished dress:  Tada!

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I’ve now worn the dress once, and am quite happy with it.  Here are a few thoughts on the dress and fabric:

  • The A-line skirt makes the dress bicycle-friendly.
  • The cotton cuffs and collar, and lightweight rayon make a very comfortable dress.
  • The lightweight fabric makes the dress fit easily under a blazer when called for at work, or under a jacket for chilly Fall mornings and evenings.
  • The weight of the dress feels quirky on the hanger because the fabric is lightweight and flowy, while the cuffs and collar are weightier cotton.  The weight disparity isn’t evident when the dress is being worn.
  • The rayon fabric is not very durable.  It will be susceptible to snags.  The edges of the fabric fray profusely, so I had to finish all of the edges first thing.
  • About that plaid.  I should have had my head examined for buying flimsy fabric with a plaid that had to be matched.  Eventually, I figured out a method that mostly worked, but not before several frustrated do-overs.  Marking a straight hem was a bear, too, because of the shifty fabric and the plaid.

A few more views:

The back neck closure was finished with two self-fabric covered buttons and crochet button hole loops.

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The horizontal plaid matching.

Match stripes 2

Hall mirror selfie.

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Project Details: