Monday, April 3, 2017

here it goes, here it goes, here it goes again, oh, here it goes again

Sewing in this post is circa October 2015 to April 2016.

The Fen pattern is what convinced me that I needed to start writing the details of my sewing down.  I've made 4 Fen Dresses and 2 Fen tops and made slight pattern modifications for all of them, but I can't now remember which I should repeat in the future.  And I do want to repeat this pattern in the future.  I feel a little silly in wanting more Fens in my closet; nonetheless, I want more Fens in my closet.  And I have fabric that would have become a 5th Fen dress if I hadn't needed to take a break from the pattern.

The Fen pattern has many options, but I've tended to choose the same ones.  I really like the length of the sleeve so have used it for all of my Fens.  I'm also not generally a fan of v-necks so have always used the crew neck.  So the only options I've really tried have been the hem variations and the dress/top variations.

Here are the details I do remember about my Fens:

Fen Dress #1: October 2015:  Long sleeves, crew neck, high-low hem.  Made with Robert Kaufman Brussels Washer in Black, underlined with black lawn.  I'd ordered the Brussels Washer fabric and thought it would be fine on its own.  When it arrived, I though it was too sheer and found some black lawn at Piedmont Fabrics to underline it.  (The lawn cost more than the Brussels Washer fabric, sadly!)  The staff at Piedmont Fabrics were super helpful in discussing underlining options with me; they are really great at providing advice that works within the constraints of one's sewing ability/experience.  The two fabrics created a really nice drape together.

I was in a rush to make this one and didn't love the final product.  It was kind of overwhelming on me, being a lot more black fabric than I usually would wear.  I quickly shortened the sleeves by turning up a larger hem and that helped.  After I'd worn it to its intended event, I took out the sloppy sleeve hems with the intent of shortening them properly.  And then I couldn't decide if I should just remove them altogether so it has sat in a basket waiting for me to decide ever since then.  Not the most auspicious start to the Fen pattern, but it sure recovered.

Fen Dress #2: December 2015-January 2016: Long sleeves, crew neck, high-low hem.  Made with Nani Iro brushed cotton.   I took a break from selfish sewing through Christmas and then rewarded myself by sewing this afterward.  I spent a long time thinking about pattern placement and cut pieces on the cross grain to get the right placement, but in the end, it just looked random so that was probably not the best use of time.  I hemmed it right before going to church so I could wear it that day.  I'd lengthened both the bodice and the skirt and think I probably lengthened them a scotch too much since it looks a little oversized on me.  It works well with boots, though.

Fen Top #1: January 2016: Long sleeves, crew neck, shirttail hem.  Made with Nani Iro double gauze.   This shirt revealed perhaps the only flaw of the Fen pattern (in my opinion) which is that I don't think the instructions are sufficient for a beginner like me to achieve a nice curved shirttail hem.  Nonetheless, this top is super comfortable and I wear it often.

Fen Top #2: January or February 2016 (?): Long sleeves, crew neck, high-low hem.  Made with Nani Iro brushed cotton.  I don't think I have any pictures of this top, but I completely love it.

Fen Dress #3: February 2016: Long sleeeves, crew neck, shirttail hem.  Made with Cloud 9 corduroy (Elizabeth Olwen design) and underlined with Anna Maria Horner Eucalyptus rayon.  I really love both of these fabrics, but together they probably read more homemade than some of the other Fens.  I'd also hoped that underlining would allow me to wear this over tights without bunching and that hasn't been the case for me.  It seems I should have done a separate lining that could move on its own to avoid tights-bunching.  For this one, I do remember that I lengthened the skirt by 2 inches only to have to chop off 2 inches when I tried it on and it was an unflattering length.  Of the 3 green Fen dresses, this is the least worn.

Fen Dress #4: March 2016: Long sleeves, crew neck, high-low hem.  Made with Cotton and Steel canvas.  I was basically copying one of the Fen samples exactly, though I now can't find the blog post on the Fancy Tiger Crafts blog with the sample to show you what a copy-cat I was.  Please just trust that I was imitating the sample as identically as I could.  This is probably my favorite of all of the dresses, despite my super lame pattern matching.  (I matched almost perfectly on one pocket and was a total fail everywhere else on the dress.)

Although 3 of my Fen dresses are green, I think that they actually look pretty different from each other.  Or maybe that's just wishful thinking since it allows me to contemplate making more Fens in the future...

Wamps has also made a delightful Fen in the more recent past, so maybe she will chime in with details about hers?  Fingers crossed!  In the meantime, here are some poor snaps of it for you all to enjoy.

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