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One Week, One Pattern roundup: The art of the selfie September 21 2014

If you're following me on Instagram, you'll know that last week I accepted Handmade Jane's OWOP (one week, one pattern) challenge to wear garments made from the same pattern all week. I had a lot of fun with this!

I chose to wear the Bellini blouse all week, as I thought it was suitably versatile. I also have quite a few of these already in my wardrobe.

Here's a quick roundup of how I wore and styled my Bellinis!

 

Saturday

Saturday was a great day. I started OWOP wearing the Bellini I'd prepared for the sewalong (spoiler alert! This is how it comes out). It's made from an old sheet, which you may remember from shirts such as this one

We spent the morning cooking our own fish and chips for the first time ever (only the second time we ever deep-fried anything, so actually it went quite well...).

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Bellini Sewalong: Attaching the collar and front facings (Part 2) September 20 2014

We’re now going to be addressing the inside of the collar, this part here:

We are going to fold the seam allowances into the collar, then sink stitch (‘stitch in the ditch’) from the outside to secure. The idea is to fold the seam allowance of the overcollar in, so that it covers the undercollar. You want to fold back about 12mm (1/2”).

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Bellini Sewalong: Attaching the collar and front facings (Part 1) September 19 2014

I’m actually going to split this into two posts, because there’s such a lot to cover in this step. It’s too much to read and digest in one go. So there will be another post tomorrow with some more on attaching the collar. Apologies in advance if you were hoping to get through it all today.

Let’s get started on attaching the collar to the blouse. I’m going to demonstrate using the straight collar (View A), but the steps are exactly the same for the scalloped collar (View B) from now on.

Open your blouse with the right side facing up so you can see the whole neckline. Place the collar face up (upper collar facing up – so the undercollar is against the right side of the blouse) on the neckline with the centre backs matching. You should have a notch at the centre back neckline, and at the centre back of the collar to help you line it up. Put a pin in where the notch is, through all layers, to hold it in place.

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Bellini Sewalong: Assembling the collar September 17 2014

Today we’ll be assembling our collar pieces and I’ll show you how to get a nice, clean finish.

You should have your collar pieces ready. You’ll have two collar pieces cut out, with one piece already interfaced. You only need the straight collar for View A, or the scalloped collar for View B. I’m going to be demonstrating both so I have four pieces!

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Bellini Sewalong: Sewing the Shoulder Seams September 15 2014

Hello sewalongers! Are you excited to start sewing?

Today we’re going to sew both of our curved shoulder seams using French seams, a technique for hiding the raw edges of the fabric. I’ll cover this with a high level of detail, but if you have any questions, please leave a comment below.

French Seams

A French seam hides the raw edges of the fabric and can be used on both straight and curved seams. Essentially, you sew the seam with the fabric wrong sides together at half the seam allowance, trim it, press it, then sew the seam with the fabric right sides together with half the seam allowance, so that the raw edges are enclosed within the seam.

Step one is to pin your front shoulders to your back shoulders, with the fabric WRONG sides together. It’s really important, so double check that you have them wrong sides together (the opposite to how you’d normally sew a seam). The right sides of the fronts should be facing up.

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Bellini Sewalong: Cutting and Interfacing September 14 2014

Today I’m going to write a little bit about preparation. I know it can be frustrating to be thinking about preparation when you just want to get stuck in, but believe me, it’s worth it!

Prewashing

The number one thing to do with your fabric before you cut it is wash it. You should wash and press your fabric in the same way you’ll wash and press your finished blouse. It seems like a hassle, but take it from me, it’s worth it. You wouldn’t believe the amount of garments I have shrunk beyond wearable after their first outing!

Fold your fabric in half to check whether it stretched in any places during the prewashing process – perhaps because of the way it hung during drying. Depending on what type of fabric it is, you may be able to straighten it a bit using the iron. The aim is to get the grainline as straight and consistent as possible all the way through the fabric.

Cutting your fashion fabric

Once your fabric is prepared... you can get started on the cutting!

Cut out your paper pattern pieces to the correct size, if you haven’t already. Make a note of which pattern pieces you need for the view you’re making – for this pattern, it’s quite simple as it’s only the collar pieces that differ between view A and view B. You also need to know how many of each piece to cut, and which pieces need to be cut on the fold of the fabric. For Bellini, the blouse back is cut on the fold, and two of the collar pieces need to be cut on the fold as well.

Working on a clean, flat surface, spread out your fabric and get rid of any wrinkles. I’m using my kitchen table here as it’s very large, but the floor is also good, especially if it’s not carpeted.

I’m using bits of old sheet for my Bellini, but your fabric will likely already be folded in half down the middle. If it isn’t, fold it in half, selvedge to selvedge.

If, like me, you’re making a stripy Bellini, you’ll need to think about how you want the stripes to fall at this point. The stripes on my fabric are quite wide (6cm) and I want them vertically down my blouse. I want a stripe down the centre back, so I folded my fabric parallel to the stripes, down the exact centre of a stripe.

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Bellini Sewalong: Guest post on grading up from Another Little Crafty Creation! September 12 2014

Today we have a guest post from Alison over at Another Little Crafty Creation. Alison is going to show us how she graded up her Bellini blouse beyond the size range shown in the size chart.

You can see Alison's beautiful Bellini blouse with lace collar (and Champagne skirt!) here.

Take it away, Alison!

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You'll need: Printed pattern, measurements, ruler/curves, pens/pencils, tissue paper.

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Bellini Sewalong: Guest post on the full bust adjustment from Kadiddlehopper! September 11 2014

Howdy, y'all! Katie from Kadiddlehopper here and I am so pleased to be guest posting here on the Capital Chic blog! Sally's patterns are truly inspired and I am honored to be just a small part of this project. I'm here today to show you all how to do a Full Bust Adjustment (FBA) on your Capital Chic Bellini top. If you found that your Bellini was a bit too snug for your girls, then this post is for you! Read more...

Bellini Sewalong: Determining your size, and some common pattern alterations September 10 2014

Determining your size should be relatively straightforward. The first thing you have to do is measure yourself.

Measuring is an important step and I recommend doing this every time you make a pattern, in case of any weight fluctuations you may not be aware of. Different pattern companies also use vastly different sizing, and give the sizes different numbers (which are also completely different from the high street sizes) so definitely, definitely measure yourself and pick your size based on that and nothing else.

Ideally, you should ask a friend to measure you when you’re wearing the underwear you plan to wear with the finished garment. Stand up straight and breathe in. Place the measuring tape around the body so that it’s parallel to the floor. Don’t stretch the tape or squeeze it too tightly around yourself. The bust measurement is taken at the fullest point of the bust, the waist measurement at the narrowest part of the torso, and the hip at the fullest part of the hip. Make a note of the measurements and compare them to the size chart to determine your size.

Pick the size that is closest to your measurements. If in doubt, choose the larger size – while it’s possible to take garments in, it’s much harder to let them out if it comes out too small.

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Bellini Sewalong: Designing your blouse – Embellishment September 09 2014

One of the most fun things about making the samples for this blouse was thinking about what kind of embellishment could be added to the collar.

This is where you can really be creative and add whatever you like to your blouse. Beads, sequins, studs, gems... the choice is yours!

If you’re sewing or even gluing on something, you have two options.

You can either embellish the collar before you sew it together, like Marie did with hers. This worked because the beads she sewed on weren’t very close to the edge of the collar, so she could sew the collar seams without sewing over the beads. On the plus side, the reverse of her beading is hidden by the undercollar, so it’s nice and neat.

Marie has a great post on how to do it here. She also added topstitching in matching thread which I think makes the whole thing look professional.

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Bellini Sewalong: Designing your blouse – Choosing a fabric (or fabrics) September 08 2014

Whether you’re planning on making a smart blouse for the office or for evening drinks, or something for the weekend, Bellini has you covered. This versatile pattern can be made up in a wide variety of blouse fabrics to suit your lifestyle. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Suitable Fabrics for Casual Blouses

Do you plan to wear your blouse as part of a casual outfit? Maybe you live in a hot country and need something lightweight? Here’s a selection of casual fabric ideas that might fit the bill.

Heather made her Bellini from this fun cherry-print cotton broadcloth.

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Bellini Sewalong: Printing and assembling your PDF pattern September 07 2014

Today I’m going to go through a little bit of pre-amble about how to print and assemble your pattern. I’m sure most of you know how to do this by now, but I didn’t want to leave anything out. If you’re a PDF pro, take today off and come back tomorrow.

Firstly, make sure you print the right file! You want Bellini Print at Home Pattern.pdf, unless you’re printing it on big paper in a copy shop, in which case, use the other one. It’s up to you whether you print the instructions; I like to make notes on mine as I’m working, but you could just as easily view them on a tablet or something to save trees.

It's important to get your printer settings right, so that the pattern prints without scaling.

In your 'Print' dialogue, make sure that Scaling type is set to 'None' (highlighted in the image below). If you see any option like 'Fit to page', be sure to UNCHECK it. Auto-Rotate and Auto-Centre are OK to leave checked.

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Announcing the Bellini Sewalong! September 06 2014

Do you want to tackle an intermediate pattern but need a bit of guidance for some of the more complex techniques?

Do you enjoy the collaborative learning environment of a sewalong?

Would you like gentle support and encouragement from me over the next month?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, you’ll be delighted to learn that I will be hosting a sewalong for the Bellini blouse over the next few weeks. The sewalong will contain detailed notes, photos and videos to help you step-by-step as you sew your blouse. You’ll learn techniques such as French seams for a clean finish, and how to make a rolled hem on your machine. I’ll also be covering bias-faced armholes and stitching-in-the ditch. These will be fully photographed tutorials and you’ll be able to ask me questions at any time.

Finished blouses will be displayed here on the blog on the 9th of October.

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Weaving Destination Contest Entry - Part 3 August 27 2014

This is the final part of a 3-part series. You can read the previous parts here and here.

 

Today I want to share some details of the construction of my fashion contest entry and some photos of me modelling it in the fashion show at Edinburgh Festival.

The first thing I did was to cut a muslin for the skirt from old sheets. The sheets were cotton, not quite as heavy as the final fabric but with a similar drape. I wanted to check the levels of the hemline on both the low side and the high side, and make sure that the S-shape of the hem curve was deep enough. I was happy with it first time, thankfully.

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Weaving Destination Contest Entry: Part 2 August 23 2014

Today I’m going to share a little bit about how I constructed a pattern for my entry for the Weaving Destination fashion contest. This is part 2 of a 3-part series; if you missed the first part, you can read it here.

The dress itself is based on one of my own patterns, the Martini dress, with some modifications influenced by both Indian and Scottish traditional dress.

Here’s the technical drawing of the Martini dress for reference.

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Weaving Destination Contest Entry: Part 1 August 20 2014

I was very excited to read over on Debi’s blog a few weeks ago that Weaving Destination were going to host a fashion contest, with a fashion show to be held during Edinburgh Festival. I decided almost immediately that I wanted to enter. The contest was open to all, with the entries to be created from Weaving Destination’s fabric; this very special fabric is hand-woven by survivors of human trafficking in Assam, India. You can read more about Weaving Destination here.

I loved the idea of helping a social enterprise, promoting the idea of ethically-sourced fabrics and giving myself a creative challenge at the same time. In this post I’m going to be telling you a little more about the inspiration behind the design of my contest entry, and about the fabrics I used and why. In my next post, I will be talking about the pattern drafting for my design. And then I will be talking in detail on the construction of the dress in a final post, as well as sharing some photographs from the fashion show (sorry, it was just far too much to put into one post!).

I was very inspired by seeing pictures of the Weaving Destination ladies working their hand looms at their campus in Assam, India. I wanted to do something that represented the tradition of hand weaving, and also something that celebrated the connection between the weaving ladies in India and Weaving Destination's fashion show in Edinburgh. I therefore chose to make the dress from a combination of Weaving Destination's cotton fabric from India and Harris Tweed, a traditional wool fabric which is hand-woven by the islanders of the Outer Hebrides in Scotland. The design is jointly inspired by Indian and Scottish traditional dress.

 

On the Weaving Destination hand-woven fabric from India

Weaving Destination is a social enterprise, run by Debi and Javita, which promotes the financial independence and empowerment of indigenous women in Northeast India through the sale of their hand-woven organic cotton and eri-silk products. All of the women employed through Weaving Destination are either survivors of human trafficking, living with HIV/AIDS or are female migrant returnees who are highly vulnerable to re-trafficking, social exclusion and poverty. Weaving Destination provides employment and also housing and support for the women and their children.

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White Russian’s inspiration: designer animal sweatshirts July 22 2014

(NB. If you’re reading this in an RSS reader, you may not be able to see the embedded pins and images in this post. If that’s the case, click here to read this article on our website.)


White Russian’s inspiration most definitely came from the many quilted sweatshirts that appeared from designer and RTW companies over the winter. The trends seemed to be quilted fabrics and/or appliques of animal motifs. It wasn’t until I saw a slim green quilted sweatshirt on fellow blogger Kathryn that I realised how much I wanted one.
Plain quilted fabrics were the most chic, in my mind, like this one from Reiss.


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Martini: The inspiration behind this ‘cocktail dress with a twist’ July 14 2014

Today I want to write a little about the inspiration behind the Martini pattern and hopefully give you some ideas for fabrics and styling of your own version of it.

(NB. If you’re reading this in an RSS reader, you may not be able to see the embedded pins and images in this post. If that’s the case, click here to read this article on our website.)

Martini’s inspiration

Martini’s shape is designed to emphasise the waist. By making the top of the dress hang away from the body all the way around, and the waistline very snug, an optical illusion is created that makes the waist look narrower to the eye. This same trick was used very effectively in Chanel’s Spring 2014 Couture collection.

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Hello World! June 26 2014

Hello and welcome to the brand new Capital Chic Patterns blog!

On the blog over the coming weeks I'll be sharing all sorts of things to do with patterns. I'm planning sewalongs, pattern hack tutorials, sewing tips, a showcase of Capital Chic designs that have been made up in the wild, and a lot more. If that sort of thing is your bag, then why not subscribe to our RSS feed here to make sure you don't miss a thing?

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