It's pattern launch day! I'm so excited to show you what I've been working on for the Winter 2016 collection. I know it's been a while coming, so thanks for sticking with me for this long!
Anyway, there are four new patterns in this collection...
Firstly there is a shirt/shirt dress I have named Cuba Libre. This one came about because I wanted a classic blousy silk shirt and couldn't find a pattern I liked. Most shirt patterns I found were very slim fitting and I wanted something much looser to balance out the very fitted high waisted pencil skirts that I think work well on my figure. So here's the result - Cuba Libre is super-loose with pockets and pocket flaps on the front, a nice big collar with a collar stand and proper cuffs with tower plackets.
This works so well in silk, it's so luxurious and it feels great to wear. I like to pack silk shirts for business trips, because the creases hang out much easier than with cotton shirts. You can of course also use silky polyesters and other thin fabrics for this one for an equally great result.
All versions of Cuba Libre include the tower plackets, and there is a full set of illustrations to help you with making these if you haven't tackled them before (though I might suggest something easier to work with than slippery silk, like cotton voile, for a first try).
Cuba Libre View B is a shirt dress which hits just above the knee.
For this length, I kept the shirt tail hem as I think it looks interesting, but you could of course cut it in a straight line if that's what you fancy.
For fun, I added a View C for Cuba Libre, which is a full length maxi dress. This one I wore out to dinner on holiday and it was great for staying cool but chic. Overall, Cuba Libre is one of the most versatile patterns I've made and I own many versions that fill wildly different gaps in my wardrobe.
A more straightforward make, the Sangria dress is designed specifically for scuba jersey. However, you could use another stable knit such as ponte if it has around 20% stretch. It's a simple shape but there are so many exciting scuba jerseys on the market that you can really make this a showstopper if you want to.
Sangria has short sleeves which are designed to be fitted enough to work under jackets (the grey version above has been to several weddings that way). The overall cut is snug, but not too clingy, and the spongy scuba helps make a smooth silhouette over undergarments.
Grasshopper is my version of the optical illusion colour block dress that was everywhere a while back. I wanted to have a go at doing a version in a woven fabric, which makes use of the "Dior dart" - a kind of cross between a dart and a princess seam which doesn't look like it should work, but it allows the curved seam lines to pass further away from the bust points to make the right shapes for the optical illusion to work.
Grasshopper View A has a kind of cap "sleeve" (it's really just a shoulder extension) while View B has cut away armholes.
This one also works without the colour blocking, even without the optical illusion it's still a smart fitted dress with interesting design lines and a smooth shape.
Last but not least is Gimlet. This one is really fun to sew as it has inside-out darts (the darts are wrong sides together so they end up on the outside). The idea is that you can use lining in a contrasting colour which is exposed in small triangles around the neckline. There are 6 darts in the front making an asymmetric shape. I've also used contrasting thread for the darts below.
The overall shape is a slim fitted dress with a slightly pegged skirt.
You can of course use coordinating lining for Gimlet like I've done in the picture below. In this case I've used co-ordinating satin finish lining against the matt dress fabric. It's subtle, but I think it works well!
Here's a quick pic of the back - there are four darts in a symmetrical configuration here, and the lining triangles are a lot less pronounced.
There are a ton more pictures in the Lookbook section on the website if you want to see more, and if you hit the product pages (Cuba Libre, Sangria, Grasshopper, Gimlet) there are technical drawings, yardage requirements and all the rest of the details.
I really hope you like the patterns and that this is reaching you in time for the holiday party season. Let me know below whether there's any specific techniques (tower plackets? Working with silk?) that you would like me to cover in detail here on the blog, or whether you'd be interested in a detailed photo/video sewalong for any of these and I will happily oblige.
Thanks everyone for your support, and I can't wait to see what you make! Do tag me in your photos (instagram @charityshopchic, twitter @capitalchic or @charity_chic) as I love seeing how people interpret the designs!