Pretty Pleated Skirts - Plus Introducing Isobel!

I'm back!  My apologies for my lack of blog posts over the last two months.  Things have been super busy here, as I've been preparing for my upcoming maternity leave and hiring and training a new employee.  Something had to give - and, unfortunately, writing blog posts was it.  I know a lot of you like my featured outfit posts (and have missed them over the last few weeks), so you'll be happy to hear that I have quite a few in the pipeline at the moment!  I'm going to be bulk writing them over the next week, so there should hopefully be a steady flow of them while I'm on maternity leave (which will probably start in the next two weeks or so).

Technically, I've sort-of started my maternity leave, as I'm now largely doing light desk-work from home (I absolutely love working, so I'm likely going to continue doing so until my contractions start; watching TV or doing housework holds very little appeal!). My maternity leave has been made possible by the fact The Splendid Stitch now has its first employee - yay!  You may recall that I put out a job ad in early-September.  I ended up getting around 150 applications!  I managed to narrow them down to a long-list of 18 and a short-list of 6.  4 were eventually interviewed and 1 was hired.  I'm so incredibly excited to introduce you to Isobel:

We had fun taking a few photos yesterday of the two of us for using on The Splendid Stitch's social media profiles.  What you don't know is that I am actually standing on 5 Vogue and McCall's pattern books - because Isobel is quite a bit taller than me!   LOL  Oh yeah - I should probably point out that I'm the puffy, pregnant-looking one on the left and Isobel is the taller, leaner figure on the right!

 

Isobel is going to be packing all the orders from this point forward (during my maternity leave and beyond) - as well as answering customer emails and doing some posting on social media.  She's a professional artist - and sews in her spare time!  She learned to sew a few years ago and hasn't looked back since.  So, you'll be seeing her creations popping up on on our social media feeds and our blog over the coming months.  :-)  Here's a dress she made recently for a wedding using a Burda pattern and some silk dupioni - so, so pretty!  

Isobel's picked up everything extremely quickly and I'm confident I'm leaving The Splendid Stitch in a capable pair of hands while I'm away during my maternity leave (which will stretch to mid-January - after that, I'll come back part-time).    

So, that's the big news.  :-)  Now, onto the featured outfit: a pleated skirt!  Here's the images that inspired the outfit:

 

 

 Images from: Prada's Autumn/Winter 2016 Ready-to-Wear Collection; Pink PeoniesKendi Everyday; Atlantic-Pacific; Gal Meets GlamPrada's Autumn/Winter 2016 Ready-to-Wear Collection

 

The pattern I've chosen is McCall's 6706.  It's a pattern for a simple pleated skirt with a waistband.  As for variations, there are two lengths to choose from, as well as options for striped colour-blocking and for doing a shaped back hem.  There's also pattern pieces for a petticoat, if you're after a fuller-looking skirt.

As for fabrics, this pattern works well with both shirting-weight cotton broadcloths and poplins, as well as fabrics with more body like cotton sateen and silk shantung.  Based on the inspiration photos, I've chosen some of our cotton broadcloths from Art Gallery Fabrics (all three of which are new!) and some of our cotton sateens.  

First, here's the three AGF broadcloths I've chosen: 'Bees and Bits Mellow', 'Pure Elements London Red' and 'Pandagarden Naptime'.

As I've mentioned before on the blog, the quality of these AGF broadcloths is just fantastic.  I absolutely love the new prints!  The bee print is both fun and daintily pretty.  Here's a closer look at the bees:

The panda print is ah-mah-zing.  I could see it being a really great dress too.  :-)  You'll get a good view of the print by looking at the mock-ups below (which are to scale): 

As for the cotton sateens I've chosen, here they are: our Leonore sateen in red and white, and our purple floral sateen.  As sateen is heavier than broadcloth, it would make for a fuller, more structured skirt; the broadcloth would make for a lighter, swishier skirt. 

Here's what the fabrics look like mocked-up (again, to scale):

Oh, how I'd love to have a waist so I can make and wear skirts like these!  Hopefully in a few weeks' time.  :-)

As for how to style these skirts, I love how Kendi has styled hers with a simple black camisole (a plain blouse or t-shirt would also look great).  Doesn't it also look great with a shirt?!  I particularly love the white skirt / chambray shirt combo sported by Rach ('Pink Peonies').  If you wanted to recreate this look, our Robert Kaufman light blue chambray (maybe with Grainline Studio's Archer shirt?) would be perfect.

 

Further Details

McCall's 6706
£8.75 (£7.88 until 18 November!)
Sizes: 6-22
Level: easy
Reviews: 32 reviews on PatternReview.com; 87% give the pattern a positive rating 
Similar Patterns: Colette Zinnia; Liesl + Co. Everyday Skirt

 

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November 10, 2016 by Amy Lloyd

One Last Summer Dress

I've been analysing the Autumn/Winter collections this week - lots of velvet, tweed, and gorgeous rich colours.  However, it's not Autumn yet!  So, I thought I'd feature one last summer dress.  :-)  This time, it's Vogue 9100.

Here's the images that inspired this outfit:

Images from top to bottom from: Kendi Everyday; Gal Meets Glam; Dolce & Gabbana's Spring/Summer 2016 collection, as shown on Vogue.co.uk; Atlantic-Pacific

 

Vogue 9100 is a great summer dress pattern.  It's sleeveless and has a close-fitting, lined, princess-seamed bodice (with separate pattern pieces for different cup sizes!).  There are two length options for the skirt (knee-length and midi) and pocket aficionados will be happy to hear that the skirt has pockets.  :-)

 

 

As for fabrics, it can be made in both lighter-weight cotton broadcloths and heavier-weight cotton sateens and silk shantungs.  Here's what I've selected:

 

The first two fabrics are new cotton sateens - our red and cream floral sateen and our blue floral sateen.  The third fabric is a new lightweight floral cotton poplin, while the last fabric is a new navy chambray by Robert Kaufman (which we've also got in a light blue colourway).  

Here's what the prints would look like made up:  

Further Details

Vogue 9100
£12 (£10.80 for the next week!)
Sizes: 6-22
Level: very easy
Reviews: 8 reviews on PatternReview.com; 88% give the review a positive rating 

 

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August 23, 2016 by Amy Lloyd

Sweatshirts!

Right - I think it's high time that I did another featured outfit!  I've been waiting for all the new fabrics to arrive - and they've finally started arriving this week.  Lots more are due to come in the next two weeks - and I've got loads of outfit posts planned for the next few months.  I can't wait to show you them!

This week's outfit is for a garment which, at first glance, seems a little un-summery.  However, the weather recently (at least here in Glasgow) hasn't been very warm.  I actually came to work two days ago wearing a top, 2 cardigans and a coat!  So, I think this garment is definitely seasonally-appropriate.  What is it?  Well, you've probably already seen the title of this blog post: this week's featured outfit is a sweatshirt!

Here's the images that inspired the outfit:

Images from top to bottom from: Glam Up Your Lifestyle; Tanesha Awasthi; Glam Up Your Lifestyle; Sincerely Jules; Glam Up Your Lifestyle

 

For the pattern, I've chosen Grainline Studio's Linden sweatshirt.  This is an extremely well-reviewed pattern, with 25 reviews on PatternReview.com (96% of which give the pattern a positive rating!).  It's a versatile pattern, with two options for the length (mid-hip and high-high) and two options for the sleeves (long and short).  You can also make it with ribbing or with self-ribbing.  Finally, Grainline Studio has some great Linden-related tutorials on their blog, including how to apply applique to the front and how to add a split hem.

 

Linden has a relaxed fit.  If you're looking for a more fitted sweatshirt, a great alternative is Named's Sloane sweatshirt.  

 

Turning now to fabrics, I'm pleased to announce that I've recently added two new lines of sweatshirting to our collection that have matching ribbing!!!  They're our Serena French terry and Matilde light sweatshirting.  It is with some trepidation that I must announce that I've reluctantly decided to replace our Steffi line of French terry with our new Serena line.  Judging from your emails and reviews on social media, I know that lots of you loved Steffi - and so did I.  However, it didn't have matching ribbing.  So, when one of my suppliers brought out new lines of French terry and sweatshirting with matching ribbing - and the samples I was sent looked good - I decided to replace Steffi.  Having now seen bolts of Steffi and Serena side-by-side, I can confirm that Serena is just as nice as Steffi.  And who doesn't love matching ribbing!  I hope that you will like this new line, which we've currently got in light pink and light grey marl.  Now that I've confirmed that it's a nice fabric and a good replacement for Steffi, I'll be bringing in new colours over the coming months.  :-)  Sadly, the ribbing doesn't match the marl colours in the range ('marl' fabric is fabric which is made using differently-coloured threads), so only the light pink Serena French terry has a matching ribbing.

From top to bottom: Serena light grey marl French terry; Serena light pink French terry; Steffi red French terry

 

From top to bottom: Serena light pink French terry; Kelly light pink ribbing

 

Alongside Serena is Matilde (which we've got in black - with a matching black ribbing).  

 

Matilde is a light sweatshirting.  What's the difference between French terry and sweatshirting?  Well, they both look the same from the front.  However, it's their reverse side where they differ: French terry has a looped back, while sweatshirting has a fuzzy back.  You can see the differences in the image below:

 

As for their weight, I've labelled both lighter-weight sweatshirting.  This is mainly to alert you to the fact that they are not sweatshirtings that are really, really thick and heavy.  They're a step below this: a lighter weight that you could happily wear year-round.  Comparing the two lines, with its fuzzy back, Matilde is somewhat heavier and warmer than Serena.  

So, that's our two new lines of sweatshirting!  I hope you'll like them.  I'll also be bringing in Matilde in new colours over the coming months.  

Now, before I close this blog post, let's look at some outfit and customisation ideas!  As is ably demonstrated in the inspiration images, sweatshirts look great over skinny jeans/trousers.  Sweatshirts also look great layered - either over a shirt or under a short jacket.  

I love the slouchy look in the first image below: you could make Linden in a larger size to achieve this look.  In terms of customisation, why not add a word or phrase to the front of your sweatshirt (using Grainline's tutorial!) or use a sequin fabric for the body or sleeves (our Lucia black sequinned knit would work really well for this!).

  

Further Details

Grainline Studio's Linden Sweatshirt
£13 (£11.70 for the next week!)
Sizes: 0-18
Level: beginner
Reviews: 25 reviews on PatternReview.com; 96% give the pattern a positive rating

 

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July 08, 2016 by Amy Lloyd