Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Astoria, online fabric shopping & block printing

After the success of my first version of the Seamwork Astoria sweater, I knew I wanted to make a couple more. The style works really well with my many full-skirted dresses and having layering options means that I'll get even more wear out of my lovely dresses than I already do. Combine that with the fact that the Astoria is a really simple and quick pattern to make, and really making more was just sensible!


This first one is made using some really lovely cream flecked cotton fleece from Guthrie & Ghani. It really is great fabric, super soft, nice to work with and perfect for the Astoria. They have it in a few different colours, and I'm slightly gutted that the navy is now out of stock but I'm definitely tempted by both the turquoise and the fuchsia.


This version is cosy enough that I know it'll be great for next autumn/winter, but at the same time it was also perfect for throwing on over my blue roses Emery dress (one of my favourites) on a sunny but very windy (hence the state of my hair) afternoon on the beach. On that note, excuse the wrinkles in the sweater - my dress was a bit ruckled up underneath and I didn't realise until after we'd taken the photos.


I'm really pleased with this Astoria. As it's a neutral colour, it'll go with pretty much everything. Now, onto my next version....

I buy most of my fabric online, and usually that's fine, but I wasn't so impressed when this jersey arrived. I bought it from UK Fabrics Online, who describe it as turquoise heavy jersey. I was a bit dubious about the colour when I ordered it, because it didn't look anything like what I would think of as turquoise but I went ahead and bought it anyway because it was a good price I wanted to use it for a bit of an experiment.


The colour of the fabric in the photo above is pretty accurate, and I don't think it's either turquoise or the colour shown on the website. I also wouldn't describe the fabric as heavy jersey, I'd say it's medium weight at best.

On the bright side, given my gravitation towards all things blue, it's still a colour I like and it's a decent fabric, even if it's a lighter weight than I thought it would be, so I went ahead and used it anyway - it just means that this Astoria is much more of a t-shirt than a sweater. Still perfectly wearable though!


By now you may have guessed that my experiment with this Astoria was giving block printing a go. Have you ever tried it?

I bought the tea cup block from The Arty Crafty Place when Outlaw craft fair came to Bristol at the start of May. They were demonstrating block printing and selling starter packs - it looked fun and I thought it would be a good way to make garments even more unique. I did a couple of practice prints on scrap fabric to get the hang of how much paint to use, and then decided to go very basic and just use one single tea cup print on my first "real" attempt.


I love how it turned out and I think the one single tea cup is really effective on a top like this. This won't be the last you'll be seeing of this tea cup print though - I've got definite plans to use it to create my own border print round the hem of a skirt/dress which I hope will work out as well as it does in my head!


So there we have it - two nice new tops for my wardrobe! I realise now that I've mainly been waffling on about fabric and printing and barely mentioned the actual sewing, but that's because the Astoria is so simple that there's not a lot to say about the construction (and what there is to say, I said last time). The cream version in particular will be a great basic piece for me and I suspect that they won't be the last Astorias that I make! What are your go-to wardrobe staple patterns?

14 comments:

  1. I really like the blue Astoria! It looks like the perfect casual tee and it fits you perfectly. I'm still working on establishing wardrobe staples, but I might make some more Asters, because I think it's a good casual blouse to wear with jeans.

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    1. Thank you! I'm really pleased with both of them (and wearing the blue one now actually!). I always find wardrobe basics harder to get excited about sewing because pretty dresses are much more fun - I think the trick is finding good, quick patterns that fit your style. I've got my eye on the Aster too!

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  2. Fabulous, simple but perfect. I really like the teacup motif, really cute. I have just bought some jersey to make plain t-shirts with. I need simple and understated so I can wear prints with them!

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    1. Thank you Louise! Sometimes simple is the best isn't it? I know what you mean about understated t-shirts to wear prints with!

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  3. I love both Astorias, but I really love the blue one and that tea cup print is so awesome! :) :)

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    1. Thank you! I just had to buy the tea cup block as soon as I saw it!

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  4. Your tea cup stamp is so cute! Really makes the top look rtw. I've got plans for a really similar top coming up, minus the fun stamp tho!

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    1. Thank you! I love the tea cup - I also bought a smaller tea pot stamp at the same time so that might be finding its way into some projects soon too!

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  5. I love all the Astorias you've been knocking making recently. They really do look perfect paired with dresses. Shame that the second fabric wasn't what you were expecting. I would say it looks more like a cobalt blue than turquoise, but it's still lovely and looks super cute with the cup print.

    I also buy nearly all of my fabrics online as I don't live near any big fabric shops/markets so I appreciate that you always give little fabric reviews. I've been lucky with all my purchases so far but it's always a worry they'll arrive completely different to what I expect!

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    1. Thank you Jo! I definitely need tops to go with my dresses - otherwise I'm fairly restricted about when I can wear them.
      I always like to mention the fabric in case other people have been thinking of buying the same thing. I agree there's always a bit of a risk when buying online, but this is the only time that I've been really disappointed. Thankfully it turned out fine in the end, but I'd think twice about ordering from this shop again!

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  6. Both look lovely - such great colours! Well done!

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    1. Thank you! They're already getting a lot of wear!

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  7. I like both versions but I love the teacup on the blue! I'm looking forward to more of your block printing as you go along. I'm glad the blue worked out and you could create a nice top from it - it's always the danger of buying online.

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    1. Thanks Claire! I love the teacup too! I'm plotting more block printing adventures already!

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