Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Embroidered Silk Archer and Twill Miette Skirt

For this month's Mood Sewing Network project I worked with two very different fabrics to make separates. First up is the blouse, for which I used this Marc Jacobs Silk with Embroidered Dots which I've had my eye on for months! It's a beautiful silk crepe and when you get close up you realise the polka dots are actually formed of dense embroidery making it wonderfully unique. I was a little apprehensive about working with a fabric which sounded like it could be quite tricky, especially for a project with some fiddly aspects, but I took my time and had very few problems.

Diary of a Chainstitcher: Mood Fabrics Marc Jacobs Embroidered Silk Sleeveless Archer Shirt and Cotton Twill Miette Wrap Skirt

I washed the silk on a gentle 30 degree cycle as I wanted this to be a garment which I could wear often and not need to get dry cleaned. I like to think about how I want to be able to wash the completed garment when deciding how to pretreat and if I am particularly worried about shrinkage I give it a good couple of washes. It held up beautifully and took a medium heat from the iron too. Clean hands and concentration are a must when working with this silk as any mistakes will leave their mark, including any stray pins. I used a size 70 microtex/sharps needle in my machine and silk pins which I endeavoured to keep within the seam allowances as much as possible. I eliminated most of the topstitching as I wanted to keep the overall look clean but for the mandarin collar it was essential and the front placket needed some to help it lay flat.

Diary of a Chainstitcher: Mood Fabrics Marc Jacobs Embroidered Silk Sleeveless Archer Shirt and Cotton Twill Miette Wrap Skirt

I finished any raw seams on my overlocker and both this and my regular machine handled the silk well. The only real issue I had was when sewing though the embroidered dots as my machine wasn't all too sure about the change in thickness from delicate silk to thick embroidery thread. I had a feeling this might be tricky so when cutting I tried to lay out pattern pieces to ensure this happened as little as possible, especially around the collar! On the roll there is quite a wide area with no dots next to the selvedge so I was able to keep the plackets plain at least. It worked out ok with some gentle encouragement but if working with a similar fabric in future I would be tempted to unpick the dots in any areas where crossing them was unavoidable.

Diary of a Chainstitcher: Mood Fabrics Marc Jacobs Embroidered Silk Sleeveless Archer Shirt and Cotton Twill Miette Wrap Skirt

The pattern is a v-neck adaption of the Grainline Studio Archer Shirt which Andrea has posted an excellent tutorial for. This make turned into the blouse of many tutorials as I used Andrea's collar tutorial and then Jen's own tutorial to adapt the shape of the armholes for a sleeveless version. I also used Jo Sews' tutorial to do a small no dart FBA which I think has dramatically effected the drape of this version compared to my first and I'm really pleased. I did wonder if the alteration was necessary in a sleeveless version but in this soft silk I think any pulling would have been very obvious and it needed to drape correctly. For reference I cut a size 4 and my FBA spread the pattern pieces just 1cm across and 2.5cm down.

Diary of a Chainstitcher: Mood Fabrics Marc Jacobs Embroidered Silk Sleeveless Archer Shirt and Cotton Twill Miette Wrap Skirt

With no sleeves, pockets or turn down collar I only needed one solitary yard for this variation and it felt like a much quicker process than my first Archer shirt. I used binding to finish the armholes but used some scraps of plain cream crepe I had in my stash for this as dealing with silk binding is tricky enough without trying to work around those embroidered dots! I made some effort to line up the rows of the polka dots evenly across the front, back and yoke pieces and I think the dots ended up pretty well spaced. The buttons were left over from a project some time ago and I'm so pleased I still had them as I'm really enjoying how they imitate the dots!

Diary of a Chainstitcher: Mood Fabrics Marc Jacobs Embroidered Silk Sleeveless Archer Shirt and Cotton Twill Miette Wrap Skirt

I had originally intended to make jeans to pair with this blouse and tie in with Sew Busy Lizzy's Jeans in June & July challenge. However, a severe lack of time to get stuck into such a major project (especially for someone who has never made a single pair of trousers before!) turned into quite the happy accident as I could not be more pleased with the resulting skirt and how it works with the blouse. My rather lovely stretch denim will have to wait to be turned into jeans while I make do with RTW for the time being, as the Archer looks great untucked with skinnies too!

I'd ordered myself some of Mood's Organic Cotton Twill in Plum to try out after reading fellow MSN blogger Lauren rave about it on a couple of occasions. That girl has some seriously good taste in fabric and was not wrong when she said that this stuff is great. It's so enjoyable to sew with; it just does what it's told and presses beautifully. The colour is wonderfully deep and vivid and the good news is there are a huge range of hues available. It does attract fluff like nobodies business though, my photographer (read boyfriend!) was constantly picking stuff off me during these photos and I have no idea where it was coming from!

Diary of a Chainstitcher: Mood Fabrics Marc Jacobs Embroidered Silk Sleeveless Archer Shirt and Cotton Twill Miette Wrap Skirt

So as well as stealing fabric choice from Lauren I pretty much just went ahead and copied the whole design concept as her red tie-less wrap skirt is basically one of my favourite things ever and I needed to make it my own! The pattern is Tilly and the Button's Miette and features a waist tie which I love but I thought I'd probably get more wear out of it without as I generally don't like a lot of bulk around my waist. Lauren's version replaced the waist ties with buttons at the back which is an equally cute design feature in my opinion! It was really simple to make this change. I just assembled the waistband as usual but omitted the waist ties. Then I trimmed down the band slightly to match the waist of the skirt when it was sewn up and turned through. Two buttonholes later and you're done! I think this works really well in this fabric as it has some body and stiffness too it which, while perfect to hold the shape of the skirt might make for quite a bulky tie.

Diary of a Chainstitcher: Mood Fabrics Marc Jacobs Embroidered Silk Sleeveless Archer Shirt and Cotton Twill Miette Wrap Skirt

I had 1.5 yards of the twill and used pretty much all of it cutting this skirt without the waist ties so if you are doing ties you will need more. The buttons, which are placed at each end of the wrap, came from my stash. I couldn't believe I had the perfect number in the right colour! I fell between waist sizes in the pattern so cut between the size 2 and 3 here and the straight 3 at the hips. It comes up true to size I think as it sits comfortably, although there is of course some leeway due to the wrap style. I cut 4.5" off the length; I am pretty short but felt it wasn't the most flattering on me at the intended length so kept on trimming a little at a time until I was happy. Even at this shorter length the overlap of the wrap is just perfect to prevent any unwanted flashing! I'm really happy with how flat the opening sits when worn.

Diary of a Chainstitcher: Mood Fabrics Marc Jacobs Embroidered Silk Sleeveless Archer Shirt and Cotton Twill Miette Wrap Skirt

This was such an enjoyable make, with only a few pattern pieces in felt like it came together in no time. It took less than two hours to sew up (not including cutting time) but about half an hour of that was spent deliberating over the length. I thought the instructions were (as marketed) fantastic for beginners. I love the step by step photos as you can really sure that you have sewn it up right by comparing your results. I've noticed this feature in a few indie patterns recently, it was a huge help for me with the Bombshell Swimsuit. For a more experienced seamstress I'd still recommend it as it's a great project for when you need something quick and satisfying as a break from a more challenging/lengthy sew.

I've had a lot of wear out of both items already, both are perfect fabrics for the summer heat we've had here in London recently. The skirt has even been worn for a game of tennis...although I'm not much of an athlete so the biggest test it was really put through was a bit of wind and bending over to pick the ball up repeatedly!

Diary of a Chainstitcher: Mood Fabrics Marc Jacobs Embroidered Silk Sleeveless Archer Shirt and Cotton Twill Miette Wrap Skirt

50 comments:

  1. i love both pieces (I'm planning on converting my Miette to tie-less too) but the sleeveless silk Archer is just to die for! Sooo elegant and chic, I absolutely love it and am seriously considering blowing the budget and ordering some of that fabric from Mood. Gorgeous! x

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    1. I highly recommend blowing your budget for it! It's actually not horrendously pricey at all but I think the shipping can be a bit expensive so maybe get it along with a few other things! Looking forward to seeing your tie-less Miette!

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  2. This is such a cute outfit. I'm thinking I may have to copy that plum skirt- what a great colour!

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    1. It's wonderful isn't it?! I'm really tempted to buy more in a whole range of colours now I know how vivid they come up in reality.

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  3. I love love love that embroidered silk. You have excellent taste!

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    1. Aw thanks Amy! I spend much to much time browsing the Mood website but this was a stand out must have at first sight!

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  4. You are just the cutest! I love this so much!

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  5. these are both lovely and look highly practical, but I must say I love your shirt. The fabric is beautiful and the buttons are perfect. I'm sure you'll continue to enjoy wearing both pieces!

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    1. I have been very much enjoying wearing both yes! They both go with a number of outfits to be more dressed up and down which I am delighted with!

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  6. I love this outfit! Both fabrics are gorgeous, and the pattern alterations are perfect and suit you so well!

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    1. Thanks Lindsay! I prefer short sleeve or sleeveless tops as I am quite petite so feel a bit overwhelmed by longer lengths sometimes and I like the extra flash of skin at the neck. The alterations actually took surprisingly little time and I'm so pleased I made the effort to do them

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  7. What a gorgeous outfit! Your Archer is perfect, well worth the extra effort of working around the dots!

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    1. Thanks Helen! It wasn't actually too much trouble to work out as they are spaced quite far apart. I just shifted the pattern pieces around so the seam lines intercepted as few as possible

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  8. These are absolutely beautiful Fiona. I am super impressed with how symmetrical the dots are on each side - I'd noticed that before you even pointed it out. I love my Miette, but I think a tie-less one might be in order at some point, as the ties do limit what I can wear it with. Both of these items are just absolutely stunning.

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    1. I'm so pleased that you noticed the symmetry of the dots! I'm really proud of how it's turned out, especially in this delicate silk! I'm really happy with my choice to remove the ties as I think I wouldn't have worn it half as much as I already have with them there. Thank you!

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  9. I adore that silk! Super outfit

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  10. Embroidered silk? So pretty and I love the little black buttons that match it perfectly! Nice choice. I am sewing a tank top with a textured silk, it has stripes in varying weaves, but no embroidery.

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    1. Ooo that sounds really interesting! I'll look forward to seeing that when you're done Catja. The buttons were a fantastic coincidence, meant to be I think!

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  11. Beautiful work as always, Fiona. I was just thinking of Lauren's tie-less Miette the other day, thinking ' I *need* one those'! I love the bow on my denim one, even with my lack of a waist, but it does limit the tops that go with it! Your silk Archer is just so lovely. I don't think I would dare sew with cream silk, I prick my fingers to often!

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    1. I was a bit paranoid about marking the silk but it went fine! At least as I had pre washed it I know I can again! I love the tie-less variation on the Miette and am so pleased that Lauren shared it!

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  12. Oh, this is giving me so much inspiration! Such a pretty outfit.

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    1. Hooray! I love inspiring other people's sewing! You guys are all such an inspiration to me it's wonderful to know it works both ways. Thanks Rachel!

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  13. That's really cute! I can see how both items will fit really well into your wardrobe - nice to have seperates that work with fancy or casual clothes!

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    1. I think these are some of the most useful items of clothing I have ever made Gillian! I'm really looking forward to making more separates now. I love sewing up pretty dresses but these two items have already had more wear than quite a few of them!

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  14. This outfit is just to die for! I seriously want to steal your shirt.

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    1. Well the good news is you can absolutely make your own Sabine! The fabric is scrumptious and I love Andrea's variation, she does fab tutorials

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  15. This is such a gorgeous outfit! I love the colour of the skirt and the collar variation on the Archer! Beautiful!

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    1. You'd look wonderful in both of these fabrics Vicki Kate! I love the two fabrics paired together. Thank you!

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  16. Pretty outfit! The silk is gorgeous, and I love how the buttons imitate the dots!

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    1. Me too! I was so delighted when I discovered them in my button box! Thank you Ruth!

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  17. Wow, this is wonderful ❤️

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  18. You have quite a gorgeous blouse there! I love the drape and how it looks paired with the burgundy skirt.

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    1. Thank you Mela! I'm so pleased I took my time with the adjustments to get it just right as the beautiful drape of the silk deserved to be treated correctly

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  19. What an adorable outfit! I love how you have modified the shirt to get a really different look. Lovely :)

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    1. Thanks Lizzie! It's a fantastic tutorial and the sleeveless more feminine style is perhaps a little more 'me' than the classic button up shape.

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  20. This is gorgeous! I love this top—I've been eyeing that fabric for months wondering what it looks like, and it looks great! Love this variation of the Archer too. I definitely plan on making tops like this using Jen's tutorial for turning the alder shirtdress into a v-neck top (just because I'm too lazy to adjust the armholes myself). Super cute!

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    1. It's hard to imagine the silk really but it sounded so intriguing and luxurious from the description that I couldn't resist! I spotted that Jen is doing a similar variation for the Alder so am definitely going to be checking out that one too!

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  21. Such a beautiful combination of skirt and blouse, am crushing hard for that embroidered dot. It's just so lovely.

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    1. So lovely indeed! I really enjoyed working with it. I've got about half a metre left so am trying to think of a project I can use it for as a panel or something. Too good to waste!

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  22. Absolutely love these! They go so well together.

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    1. Thank you Cerian! I'm so enjoying the combination of classic polka dots with the plum!

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  23. I love this outfit! That shirt is sooo lovely, what stunning fabric! I really like the colour of the skirt too- especially moving into Autumn I think it will gorgeous with a nice fluffy jumper in a couple of months time!

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    1. Ooo yes! Thanks for the outfit inspiration Ami! I think this kind of plum/maroon is my favourite autumnal colour

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  24. I love that V-neck!! I so have to check out the tutorial! thanks for sharing.

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    1. It's a really great tutorial (as with all of Andrea's tutorials to be honest!) I love the Archer anyway but this slightly more feminine style is even more wearable for me

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  25. These are gorgeous! And I'm so glad you found the no-dart FBA tute and it was useful - the finished shirt really does fit and drape beautifully! I have total outfit envy :-)

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    1. It's a fantastic tutorial thank you! I only did a tiny one but it's made such a difference to how this fits and hangs

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I love hearing from readers of my blog so please feel free to leave a comment letting me know what you thought about this post/make! Any hints or tips to improve my sewing are always much appreciated too!