I've got a 2-for-1 deal today - two new finished items that will be hopping in the suitcase to muggy, humid but deliciously warm NYC in 12 days time! 



First up I have my knit version of Megan Nielsen's Banksia - sort of. My previous post discussed some of my issues fitting the woven version, so when I decided to try this cotton knit version I didn't want to risk the bodice not fitting well. Instead I have made a mega mashup of the Renfrew bodice, but altered the neckline to fit the Banskia collar. In Megan's Banksia Sewalong she gives direction for making the top out of a knit or jersey fabric, by taking the centre 5/8 inch out of the pattern to allow the collar to match up in the centre (ie removing the placket) and remove ease from the woven pattern. Because the Renfrew has just the right amount of ease for a knit I folded 2 x 5/8 inch out of the centre back of the collar piece instead to make the collar a little smaller, then traced the neckline of the Banksia onto the pattern. I fiddled a bit with shoulders a bit (they had to be like the Banksia at the neckline and the Renfrew at the armscye!) and lowered the armscyes to make a sleeveless version. I also extended the length of the Renfrew to eliminate the need for a hem band. 


I used a cotton interlock that I bought from Lincraft. Note to self - Sarah, for the love of all things sacred, do not buy cheap shitty crapola fabric from that cesspit of a shop again. I was sucked in by the beautiful chartreuse green, and it has been fine to sew with, but came off the bolt completely off grain and warped and I wasted a heap of time and fabric just evening it up - it took me longer to stretch it back on grain and find a straight grainline to cut from, than to lay out the pattern and cut it out. I despise Lincraft. It's cheap and nasty, and I'll slap myself if I ever have to go back there again. 


Because the fabric is 100% cotton (no lycra) it's not super stretchy, and the finished top is pretty snug around the bust (as demonstrated by my old friends 'diagnonal bust lines') but I'm ok with it. Its been interesting to see how each version of the Renfrew has turned out slightly different with regards to bust fit - I think the degree of stretch in the knit plays a big role here. Despite trying to adjust the pattern to be sleeveless when I traced it off I still had to remove another 5/8 inch from the bottom of the armpit, tapering up to nothing each side of the armscye, before binding the armholes, and even now it still might be a smidge too high. Time will tell - I've hung onto the scraps just in case I need to redo the arms down the track. I finished the armholes similar to my previous rubbed tanks - I made a band 1/2 inch shorter than the circumference of the armhole, attached the wrong side of the band to the right side of the top using a 5/8 inch seam allowance, stretching the band to fit, then flipped it under, pressed it well and stitched it down with a shallow zigzag. Not your conventional method of finishing (I suppose it is like a reverse binding), but I like it on tanks because I don't always like the bulk of binding on armholes. I hemmed it with the same zigzag (couldn't be bothered at that point with twin needling!) - its so shallow it pretty much turns into a straight stitch when its on.


I think its very cute, and I love the collar - am very happy with my Banksia-Renfrew super mash up! The green is awesome and will go very well with my many navy bottoms. I can see others in the future - some spots, some florals, maybe with a contrast collar (a great way to use up some old knits - recycle old t-shirts into collars!). 


Next up is my wearable muslin of Simplicity 2451, a little high waisted tulip skirt, which has turned out to be wonderfully wearable. I whipped this great little pattern up last week with some light-weight denim, left over from my denim Iris shorts



Gratuitous shoe shot - breaking in my wedding shoes!

I had just enough left to squeeze it out - I reckon it must have been less than a metre, minus the fabric for the pocket linings and waistband lining (I was always planning to use a contrast cotton for these anyway). I was a bit confused by the sizing and the finished measurements for the garment on the pattern envelope - after reading a few other reviews I decided to cut out a 10 waistband first (I am usually a 10 waist in Australian sizing but by my measurements I would need to cut out a 14 on the pattern). Because I was so tight with fabric I did this in my funky purple chevron lining fabric first and it was fine, so I cut the rest out a straight size 10. It would be easy enough though to let out the waistband side seams to allow a little extra room after attaching the skirt if needed! Fit wise I did need to let out the side seams not over my hips, interestingly, but lower, over my thighs! So next time I make this I will need to add a little extra room, about where the pockets attach at the side seams, but otherwise the 10 was perfect. It was extremely straight forward to make, and came together perfectly. 



I'm really pleased with how I've finished this off - it looks just as nice inside as out! I bound the pockets in purple bias binding from my stash, and bound the side and back seams in purple hem tape. It's worth remembering if you are going to finish seams this way they have to be done as you go - once a seam has been incorporated into another one you cannot completely finish the seam in bias or tape because part of the seam is inaccessible. Despite adding a couple of more centimetres to the length cutting the skirt out it was pretty much at the perfect length unhemmed. Now there's not many sights less attractive than the dead-white mid-thigh of a woman in her mid-thirties, so to solve the problem I made a giant piece of bias binding from my lining fabric (about 2 inches wide) to hem it, only using up 2/8 inches of length. 


The other cool thing I did was my first exposed zip, using this tutorial. It was very very easy, and I like the detail it adds to an otherwise fairly unexciting skirt. For some reason I ended up inserting it a little too low, so I had to curve the waistband down at the centre back to meet which I think looks like a cool arty scallopy detail, and not at all like a bit of a stuff up. 

Gratuitous shot of my kick-arse stockings!
So I've worn this twice, all day, with stockings due to it being arctic here in Melbourne, and am very pleased with it. I can definitely see the need for another one in black denim, and maybe even one in velvet or velveteen for winter! And perhaps a linen one in summer...... I can see why Zoe at So Zo is in love with this pattern!