Tag Archives: Vogue 1247

Named Blair batwing top and a midnight mini

Hello folks.  Today I am revealing not one but two recent makes. Wowzer.  Hold onto your seats!

Named Blair topAs suggested by the title, one of them is a brand new pattern from Named, the Blair batwing top.  I have to say that since I first saw the first collection by Named I have been itching to try & buy.  But making the choice as to what I would prioritise was the hardest.  I mean as well as the Blair top, there’s the Tyler raglan sleeved shirt, and I am smitten with the Jamie jeans (not that I have made jeans ….yet).  I could also easily be persuaded to buy the Dakota shawl collar dress, the Fran tie shirt and the Laurie striped tee.   And if I were to tot that lot up, well, I’d be on gruel for a month.  But the Blair top it was to be as I’d already bought this lush striped jersey for the purposes of a sweatshirt type thing to cosy up in during the winter evenings.

Named Blair top (4)What I have ended up with is a cosy sweathshirt weight top that is not confined to the house as “lounge wear”, but could stand its ground in public as rather a stylish casual top.  Now that is Blair for you.  It’s the batwings that are not so 1980s that I feel a curly perm coming on.  Its the drape caused by some clever oversizing at shoulders that isn’t too boxy & narrows down over the hips.

Blair top

Hey, I guess I’m describing a “designer sweatshirt” here?  Despite all that it is quite the opposite of figure hugging- quite a departure from my usual style, but that’s OK, I was after this loose & comfy look.

Named Blair top (5)

So now that I’ve waxed lyrical about the Blair styling, let’s get onto the fabric.  We are venturing into navy territory, namely some navy needlecord (for the skirt – more of that later) and some wonderful jersey doubleknit (?) bought from my local fabric shop (doesn’t sell fabric online but thought I’d give Mark a shout out as it’s where I get my sewing machines & they’re so helpful and friendly there ).  This fabric is gorgeous – quality quality quality, and it was pretty reasonably priced.

Named Blair top (6)So onto the sewing.  Folks, did you expect the Blair to be a complicated make?  You’re not idiots, so of course you didn’t & it isn’t.  But before we get onto the construction, be aware that these are downloadable patterns.  I reckon the folks behind Named have thought long & hard about the relative merits/ downsides for downloadable patterns & unlike any other that I have downloaded, the Blair (& the couple of others – ahem – I downloaded) follow the same principle to reduce printing and I think in total extend over 12 printed pages.  But what this means is that the preparation of the pattern before using has the added step of tracing since the different pieces overlay each other.  It’s all very nice & clear, but not being a natural tracer, I’m not looking forward to the other patterns I’ve bought that have more pieces that will need tracing.  The Blair top thankfully only has three pattern pieces. What this will mean for the other patterns is far less taping all of the sheets together, which can be soooo tedious when you get longer larger patterns.  You can tell I just can’t be bothered with preparation & I like to dive in & get sewing!!!  I think the fabric cutting stage is my least favorite regardless of how it’s delivered.  Necessary of course, but not usually enjoyable.  Call me a weirdo.

Named Blair top (3)So now we can get onto the sewing.  With three pattern pieces the sewing is a cinch.  Even stripe matching.  Zoom zoom.  The instructions are all very clear, but there was a term I hadn’t come across  .  Named have this on their glossary to explain:

Framilon band – A thin and translucent rubber band that is used the same way as a regular elastic band but is slightly stiffer and slimmer.

By looking how it is used, I took it to mean a form of stay tape or clear elastic (for sewing in the shoulder seams to prevent saggage).  I used clear elastic.

Named Blair top (2)

The neckline on tops is always a question.  How will it be finished?  Well, in the Blair Top the neckline is just a narrow double turned hem.  I used my coverstitch machine, but you can see that the size of the head hole is quite large & probably won’t be under any stretching pressure to get it on / off (even with a curly perm).

I’ve found wearing it that in order for it to be snuggly I need to wear something with longer sleeves underneath, as the sleeve length ends just about bracelet length on me.  But I’m sold.  I love it.  Wait till I show you my latest “lounge pants” that it gets worn with in the evenings after work!

Named Blair top (7)(Deliberately hitched up the sweatshirt for this shot – not the best look!)

So the skirt.  This is Vogue 1247.  My second incarnation, the first also being in a type of needlecord here.  The first skirt I made I lined.  I even cut out lining for this version, but to my shame “couldn’t be bothered”.

Remember this skirt has awesome pouch pockets?

vogue 1247 skirtThose pockets on the inside

And has a large amount of bias binding used.  Spot another area with lack of bother?  I had to use two different types of bias binding – the patterned is home-made, but that ran out.

vogue 1247Inside back of skirt

What does this say to you?  Speed sewing, no time to waste on buying a whole batch of matching bias or making a lining.  Yes, it was one of those spontaneous makes with a wearing deadline!  And it has been worn quite a bit.  It’s a versatile casual skirt.

I love it with striped leggings & chunky boots.  And now with my Blair top.  Winter seems to be going navy!

Leopard Mini skirt: Vogue 1247

Here it is, my Vogue 1247 leopard print mini skirt made just before Christmas & worn on Christmas Day (evening – not on the slopes ha ha ha!).

I bought the fabric in Birmingham at the Fancy Silk Store blatantly copying Karen’s purchase of it.  Despite being weighed down by my earlier purchases, I could not resist, because believe it or not, I had a very similar skirt when I was 30 – except it was velvet & animal print & short & I had longer wavy hair.  I have searched for a photo to scan in, but alas, could not find any in the large boxes of “to be sorted” photos of my life before the arrival of digital cameras.   Anyway, straight off I knew that this was a Vogue 1247  – I bought the pattern for tunics for my friends, but the mini skirt was most definitely for me.  I hadn’t realised just how short it was though …

So I have seen a few fab versions already on the interweb.  And the pockets.  Oh the pockets are a legend & are what defines this skirt.  They are horizontal almost invisible hand pouches.  They are also finished in bias binding, which I was reassured to read in others’ reviews was not that big a deal to undertake.  I just couldn’t wait to get started & decreed that this was essential winter wear to go with my drafting top & would totally fit in with a capsule chalet winter wardrobe!

As I said the fabric is needlecord, but it’s not that thick considering it’s a winter skirt.  OK, so how warm is a mini skirt ever going to be?  But I felt a lining was needed to give it a bit more ooomph & because I just knew that it would make it more special.

Besides, this skirt will always be worn with tights or leggings & I could see the inside of the needlecord sticking to them & I didn’t have a slip this short!  To make the lining I had to engineer the pattern pieces to determine the final front & back shape & size & then add a bit of ease onto them.  I added pink rick rack to the lining’s hem.  Just because.

So, that’s the telling. Not really intending to bang on about it, but this really was short & I used bias to make the smallest hem I could.  And it is still short.  I would probably make it a bit longer in future.  But I LOVE it.  I was very wary of it being such a mini, but had no choice once I’d cut the pattern pieces out.  I had to bite the bullet & wear it.  I have not worn a mini since – err, my early 30s perhaps?

Women my age wear shorts & tights afterall, what’s the difference?  And with my OOh La La Leggings it just felt more like a “bum cover/ warmer” in the snowy Alps.  I am so pleased I made this skirt.

The Drafting Top is its perfect companion at the moment

The pockets really are special, I also like the cheeky pink lining & as a complete make it really is a favorite.  Now I made this in December so it doesn’t qualify for Pretty Grievances’ Jungle January….

so how much more animal print can a girl sew?  Watch this space!!!

A trio of V1247

I bought V1247 with the primary purpose of sewing gifts for my friends.

Luckily I benefitted by way of piloting the pattern & I shall make the skirt too in the autumn (love the idea of it in navy velvet-cord already in stash after failed Clovers with floral pocket linings, can you see it too?)


So, I made three more versions of the top and with different elements of success. They were all made with fabric purchased at Birmingham’s Rag Market the last time and prove that I am not always a selfish sewster….not quite always anyway. So to recount my experiences, remember this pattern is a challenging one due to its patchwork bottom front with the added thwartation of being constructed with French seams. The pilot version’s patchwork was pretty imprecise at its confluence, therefore I decided upon dispensing with French seams for version #2 & using overlocker seams instead with the thinking that I would be able to get in there, much more accurately at the patchwork point.

Only I didn’t, despite my tailor tacks. Please if you sew this & even if you are usually a bit happy-go-lucky with regard notches & markings, you need to transfer the markings for this one. I actually enjoyed the tailor tack process – which is good since there are quite a few…not just for the patchwork points, but for the shoulder pleating back and front.

Anyways, the overlocking did not work so well on this particular fabric ( a viscose) because the overlocked seams stretched a tad, & if you consider that some of the pieces are sewn on the bias, it actually meant that the seams were not as stable as they should have been. Obvious now, isn’t it? The horizontal middle seam became the final straw in bendiness & needed addressing with good old fashioned straight stitch.

Version 2

Top tip, using a wild floral hides the offending mismatch of patchwork!  Here are the buttons, a couple of clear vintage ones to add a little focus.

Therefore version #3 was made with French seams again. The fabric was not as drapey as the viscose, but was a fine cotton that I wished I’d bought extra for to make myself a summer kimono gown…. I absolutely adore this fabric, the cherry blossom & the delicate colour ….

Version 3

This is the most successful of my patchwork. Can I show off inside & then outside – look,

French seams & they all match (just about) on the outside.

That was through the glory of tailor tacks, that’s all. Or so I thought. If it truly was just down to the tailor tacks then my final version should also be good, true?

Version 4

Sadly it’s better than versions one and two, but slightly missed the gold on the pointy patchwork rostrum.

So the other remarkable lesson uncovered during this trio of tops was the mobilisation of my narrow hem foot. I’d tried it before with little time and patience. This time I consulted one of my useful sewing reference books, The Dressmaker’s Technique Bible, ( bought for me, not via a wish list by a very enterprising son for my birthday this year. It’s full of really useful info…I shall review it some time).

Looking up ” rolled hem” provided a few options, including how to use a special foot. The tip provided here was to stitch a line of straight stitch just below the hem level and trim really close to this line, about 1/4″. It is then much easier to feed and control the hem’s digestion by the foot’s curly hem roller. There is no way I can explain this as well as Miss p, whose reference I found invaluable for starting and finishing as well, her really helpful post on using a rolled/ narrow hem foot.

This foot gave the ideal finish to the hems of these tops, however it was not without challenge since the hems are curved…

And last but not least I finally got round to making my friend a Simplicity 2599 with some fabric that I bought her, umm, two years ago was it?

She’s less of a frilly person than me & I found this lovely bias with lace trim to face the neck edge & also cover some buttons with.  Funnily enough I had a lace collar planned for this & discovered she wasn’t a lace collar gal, just in time.

Added that special bias to the sleeve hems as well …

She seemed pleased with this & version #4. I have now given them all so can blog about them ….& am sewing for me now, but did really enjoying sewing for others – for a change 😉

Vogue 1247 testing testing, in fact more testing than I predicted

Oh wow, what a few days it’s been.  I have been beside myself with excitement appearing on the Colette Patterns blog as a featured seamstress yesterday with my pink elephant Violet.  Thank you to everyone who left lovely comments & came to visit, and thank you to Colette Patterns for inviting me.  I blush!  Anyway best get on with some real life …..

Having spied Karen’s very wearable top, referred to her as a “French Seam Dream”  (what would you call it, a “blouson” perhaps?) it came to me that it would make a perfect home sewn gift for  friends that wouldn’t require fitting.  It is meant to be loose afterall, as long as I know the approximate sizing I should get away with it.  I am already imagining my friends’ delight as they open something from me that is not a bag or a scarf or jewellery (as has been the history of pressies over the last few years!).  Now I am not versatile enough to always make them something different – I tend to veer towards variations on a theme, and this year’s birthdays they will all get a version of this “blouson” I have decreed.

What really sold it for me was the skirt that is also included in the pattern – it has hip height horizontal hidden pockets.  Yeah baby!  I shall be making one of these even if the top looks awful on my body shape.  Styles that hide my waist tend not to work that well on me, but I still persist, misled into thinking that I can rock the whole “White Stuff” casual yummy look.  I thought it was worth a punt, especially as it appeared to have intriguing construction – the front under bust area is almost patchwork, but using French seams (erk!).  I decided to trial it for myself, extremely impatient for what I thought would be a quick & satisfying make (Looking back, I should have gone with a Renfrew).   This trial of course was in the interest of science and contributed to “unselfish sewing” as the objective is presents for friends.

This top, shall we aka “blouson”, has no neck facings & as mentioned is constructed largely with French seams and faced with self bias binding.

My particular challenges with this style (how did you manage it Karen, you genius?) was getting the “points” of the four triangle-patchwork meeting together at the underbust centre front via French seams.   Not perfect, but I learnt for next time.  I am considering using my overlocker actually & not going French.  Je m’excuse, mais “je suis allergique au travail” (as a Snoopy sweatshirt said that I bought on a French exchange aged 13).  What else was I challenged by?  It feels embarrassing to have to admit that I also mishandled/ mis-cut the sleeve facing/cuffs since they really did not seem to fit.  I took an executive & very impatient decision to dispense with them, realising too late that it has been designed with turn back cuffs.  Oh well, I will perfect it next time.  I just wanted this blouson finished….& it had not been as easy as I thought it would be.  Once the centre front patchwork was not accurate enough I almost wrote off any further aspirations of perfection, regarding this as a very “workable” & hopefully “wearable” muslin.  Another aspect that I found not entirely satisfactory – yes- there is more- you wouldn’t think such a “blouson” would cause me so many issues- was the v neck.  I found it gaped.  Possibly I needed to make a smaller size for me.

Anyway, here it is.  I feel if I made it for me again I would shape the side seam waist a tad.  (But hang on, wasn’t the point of this make that I was practising for my friends?!) The other picture below shows me taking in some of the excess.  I am not sure.  On the Vogue patterns website it states that this style is suitable for multiple body shapes, mine included.


What do you think?  Next time (for me) should I keep it a billowing & shapeless blouson or add a small amount of shaping? Because you see I like it.  I like that I have something fun & colourful to wear with jeans.  I do sometimes aspire to that whole “White Stuff” look.  It is casual, it is comfy, it is bright, it is feminine.  It is in the same category of my clothes that I like, but “shouldn’t really wear” if I want to emphasize my natural assets.  Like the shorts I am wearing it with in these pics.  But I LOVE them.  I don’t think they are as unflattering on me as a black long line needlecord skirt that I once had.  It was straight, western style pockets & seams with a deep frill around its hem.  I thought it was great – warm in winter, looked good with boots & jumpers, handy colour, & the frill was sweet.  Until I saw a photo of me wearing it.  I looked like a dumpy tube the width of my not slimline hips.  That was the end of that style faux pas.

Do you find that you have some clothes that break your personal “shape/ style” rules?  At what point do you recognise that the erstwhile favourite skirt  needs to be given to charity?  How much leeway do you give yourself?  Do you also ignore your better half when they say “those shorts aren’t very flattering on you”?

PS Any of you that use Picasa, what do you think of all the extra bejangles?  I am thrilled as I think it almost covers my needs, including turning back the clock on that first photo to make it more at home with my childhood photographs.  The only thing I need to explore is how to reduce the size of a picture (not cropping, but mega pixels).  I am not sure if this is part of Picasa’s offering.  I forgot to look this time!