July 23, 2020

Get some inspiration, and some sewing tips!

The latest Adeline pics are here, so relax, make a cup of tea (if that's your jam), and enjoy reading about the different looks, fabrics, and sewing considerations.

The pattern is available to purchase here.

The mustard Adeline in cotton double gauze

This is one stunning fabric! There are golden dots embroidered on this fabric, which is a double gauze by Atelier Brunette. Double gauze is a lovely fabric, made from two layers of thin gauze, secured together at regular intervals by tiny, almost invisible stitches. This makes the fabric opaque, but light, airy and soft. It feels so luxurious! The fabric for this look was generously provided by Miss Maude, a local fabric store that stocks simply beautiful fabrics.

But onto the sewing. In general, cotton is a pretty easy fabric to sew; it holds a press well, isn't too slippery, and is quite stable. The shawl collar is a great choice for this double gauze, because the fabric holds its shape, but isn't so thick or stiff that the collar starts feeling too bulky.

Tip: When sewing a shawl collar, do not press the edge of the collar into a harsh crease. I like to form the shawl collar into shape, either on a tailor's ham, or a dress form, and steam it with the shawl collar arranged correctly (the seam must roll underneath for that flawless finish!).

The cotton also does a great job of showing off the pleats. Look at the back! I l love the way the pleats are defined in this fabric. Please do note, the pleats in this pattern are designed to be secured within the seam allowance only, leaving them to hang loose and free. I have seen a few people sew the pleats together above and below the seam. Of course, there's nothing wrong with this; it works fine and if you prefer it, just go for it! Be aware though, that it will restrict the flow of the pleats and give a different effect.

The mustard version of the Adeline uses the short sleeve without the pleated detail, for a more casual look. This is also, of course, the quickest version of the sleeve to sew! Here we have paired it with jeans, but it would also pair nicely with just about anything high-waisted. The key to flattery is the length of the peplum. I have tested longer versions of the peplum, and once it starts getting too long, it really looks unbalanced on the body. Proportions are key!

The pink Adeline in satin-back crepe

Now this one? This one's a whole different kettle of fish. This fabric was completely unkind to work with, unlike the cotton double gauze. I had had this fabric waiting on hand for a while, and I had thought it was a rayon. But once I started working with it, I realised *shock horror* it was a polyester (I confirmed this with a burn test)!! I mean, the final garment looks good, but it was not easy to work with! Let's talk about the positive first, and then I can have my rant about polyester.

Okay, so first, let's relax and enjoy how beautiful this looks on our model. The drapeyness of this fabric gives the pleats a less structured look, and lets the skirt hang in such a flattering way.

This look features the short sleeve with the pleated view. I love how it elevates the look. You can see that with thinner fabrics, you may have to be aware that lines can show through from underneath. I wouldn't recommend a facing in a sheer fabric, unless you want seeing the facing to be an intentional design feature!

This sleeve design feature is made by creating a pleat on each side, and then sewing those pleats into a dart! I guarantee you'll feel clever when you pull this one off.

It's nice to see the contrast between the two sides of the dress - the side that the bow is on is the detailed side, whereas the other side of the body is quite plain in comparison. You can also see that using the plain neckline view gives a more open feel to the neckline.

So, shall we talk about the fabric now? Firstly, what is a satin-back crepe? Well, it's pretty much what it sounds like; there is a crepe side (a pebbly, matte texture), while the other side is woven with thread floats that make for a shiny, satin texture. I chose to use the matte side for this right side of this garment. The slipperiness of the satin side of the fabric made it annoying to cut out, handle and sew! I must say, I truly don't like polyester for a few reasons (strong opinions ahead!).

  • Polyester is derived from petroleum, i.e. it is plastic. From an environmental perspective, not good! Luckily, it has so many other things I don't like about it, that it's not hard to give up. Haha!
  • Polyester is hard to press. Tip: Make sure you use a press cloth as an added layer between the fabric and your iron, as it is prone to melting! I use a silk organza press cloth. In order to properly press this fabric, I used steam, and also held the seams in place with my wooden pressing tool until they were cool, to set the press. It's much harder work than natural fibres, and riskier too (everyone's melted a synthetic fabric before!).
  • I find that polyester shows puckers much more easily, and unlike some other fabrics, they really don't press out.
  • Polyester doesn't "breathe" like natural fibres, so it feels sweaty to wear...plus it seems to be very good at holding odours.

Okay, so this rant got away on me. In conclusion, for environmental reasons, I try not to buy virgin polyester (upcycled or recycled polyester is much better for the environment), plus polyester is usually not as nice to sew or wear. Just my opinion, but I hope this is interesting and informative!

Anyway, back to the dress! An alternative to polyester while still getting that beautiful drape is to pick something like a rayon, cupro, or silk. While I've just thrown this fabric under the bus (haha), it really does show off those back pleats quite elegantly.


The dotted Adeline in cotton chambray

Here's another take on the peplum top, this time sans the shawl collar! This look still has the pleated sleeves, which create a lovely focal point on the sides.

This lovely soft cotton was a breeze to sew with! Chambray is definitely a great choice for a beginner. Tip: The thing you probably need to watch for the most with the plain neck view is that you do not stretch the neckline out of shape with handling and sewing. Why? Because this area is on the bias; the most unstable part of the fabric.

In fact, if you find your fabric very prone to stretching out on the bias, check that it has not stretched after you cut it, by comparing it to your pattern piece. If the neckline has gotten longer than the pattern piece, do not worry! You can carefully push it back into shape while you have it lying flat on your ironing board. Once it's back in shape, then you can fuse it with your interfacing (the fusing steps are covered in the instructions, of course). This will stabilise the area so it does not grow and become floppy and wavy on the body!

Back view is looking cute! The waist seam is designed to sit at your natural waist, the smallest part of your torso where it naturally wants to rest. Tip: If your Adeline looks bulgy and saggy through the back pleats, that is a sign that your waistline is too long. There are lengthen/shorten lines provided on the pattern to help you. I am a short-waisted person, and found that shortening the bodice by 2cm helps the pleats sit at their full beauty on me. I found that the model was short-waisted too, so hers has also been shortened through the waist! This is done at the flat pattern stage, before the fabric is cut.

Nothing more to say here, except I love that this pose is ultimate sass.

The navy Adeline in wool crepe

This one may look familiar to those who saw the original launch! I had to take some placeholder pictures featuring yours truly, but I'm so happy to have these new, gorgeous pictures! This look features the pleated three-quarter sleeve. It's constructed the same way as the pleat on the short sleeve.

Oh, and of course, who could forget that it has pockets! Tip: If your fabric is on the thicker side, you may wish to use a lighter weight fabric for the pockets to reduce bulk. If you want to get really fancy, you can do a two-part pocket: Keep the entrance to the pocket in the fashion fabric, and then seam the rest of the pocket on in the lightweight fabric, so it doesn't get seen!

This fabric is a wool crepe, that I actually found in an op-shop (or a thrift stores, as Americans call it!). I don't usually find nice fabric there, to be honest (it's usually a sea of polyester)! A burn test helped confirm the fibre type. I love wool crepe for its beautiful texture, lovely drape, warmth and elegance.

I hope reading this post has given you a few tips that you can apply in your sewing life, as well as given you a few styling ideas. The Adeline wrap dress and top is available now, so click here to purchase. It's one of our most popular patterns, so thanks for all the Adeline love, everyone!

As always, happy sewing!

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