It’s not really RTW…

I find it really difficult to buy RTW clothing and these definitely aren’t RTW, but they are RTW knock-offs.

Last year when we went back to the UK, one of our flights got delayed and although there was time for us to got on the connecting flight, our luggage didn’t make it. We arrived in Heathrow at some ungodly hour in the morning to find our luggage and clothes were still in Hong Kong! First job in the UK – to go buy clothes to tie us over!

To cut a long story short, I ended up in House of Fraser in Cheltenham. I thought it would be good to buy things which I wouldn’t normally make or would find hard to make. I eventually found a blouse in French Connection and contemplated a denim skirt for some time, but at over GBP 100… And so this outfit came about. It also proves that RTW can be copied. OK, I this top and skirt were not the most difficult, but…

The blouse

The French Connection blouse has been a staple in my wardrobe since I bought it, I wear it so much. It’s a fine poly crepe front with a knit back. The crepe edges the bottom and there is also a pocket on the front. My fabric is slightly different, the French Connection top has a cotton knit back, I couldn’t find one with a crepe to match, so I ended up with a poly/lycra knit.

I eventually thought the Grainline Scout tee would be the best to copy. This is the first Grainline pattern I’ve made and although the whole process was pretty painless, the seam allowances are half an inch which confused me completely. Patterns are either 3/8ths or 5/8ths, but half inch?

I made a few changes. The finished hip measurement was enormous, so I took in the sides probably about 4 inches all told at the bottom of the top. I also changed the neckline slightly. The Scout tee neckline was lower at the front, so I raised this slightly. I also lengthened the sleeves by about an inch.

The scout tee obviously doesn’t come with a pocket, so I had to draft that – not exactly difficult, but this fine blue crepe was impossible! It was so slippy and fine. How many pins to attach it? I’m not completely happy with the result, but I can only get better!

The details
Fabric:  A bright blue fine poly crepe and a bright blue knit both from the Fabric Warehouse, April 2016. I’d have used less than a metre of each fabric and I reckon the top cost me a total of NZ$ 30. That original French Connection top cost about GBP 50.
Notions:  Thread.
Pattern:  Grainline Scout Tee, size 10 and grading to a 6 at the hips. Note I did have a knit back, so maybe a 12 without the knit back.
Changes made:  Straightened the side seams, raised the neckline, lengthened the sleeve, added the crepe trim to front and back, and added a pocket. Oh, and added a slit at the sides. Phew!
Another one/recommendations:  This pattern is really good. The instructions were clear and I like the fit of this top. It’s also very quick to make up. The main bug bear I have with this pattern is the seam allowance, it’s just far too confusing!

OK, this particular version needs a bit more refining, but I’m happy with how it’s turned out.

The skirt

So, even though I didn’t buy the denim skirt, it was on my mind the whole time. It was a faded black denim pencil skirt with princess seams and pockets in the seams. If I was purely copying it, then this pattern from Sew House Seven wouldn’t have been perfect, since it doesn’t have princess seams, but the overall silhouette with the pockets giving a false princess seam works well.

The pattern is not difficult, it’s really quick and easy to make up. Proof is that I cut this out and made it up in one afternoon/evening! That is pretty much unheard of for me! I didn’t read the instructions word for word, but I remember thinking that they were clear and easy to follow and didn’t do anything strange or unexpected.

I used a metal centred zip, which I think works best with this fabric. I’m not completely happy with the pockets, I think I would actually prefer them with the opening the opposite diagonal, ie lower on the sides than in the middle.

The fit is good and this is a size 14 pretty much out of the box. The only thing I did change was to take in the top of the yoke a bit more. I don’t really love skirts sitting on my hips, so I took it in, so it would sit at my waist. I thought the hips would be tight since they pretty much have no ease in them, but no, this skirt fits!

The details
Fabric:  Faded black denim with about 5% lycra content from the Fabric Warehouse, June 2016. I used about a metre of 130cm wide. So my skirt probably cost me about NZ$ 20, just a bit cheaper than the original inspiration of over GBP 100!
Notions:  Thread, interfacing and a zip.
Pattern:  Sew House Seven Alberta Street Pencil skirt, size 14.
Changes made:  The top of the yoke was taken in by about an inch.
Another one/recommendations:  I think this pattern will be made up again. It’s quick and easy to make up, the fit is fantastic and this skirt is really wearable and is definitely going to be a staple.

And… That will be my final make for IPM

PS sorry for the strange looks in these photos – it was cold and early. We’ve had some grotty weather here and no time for photos. Winter really mucks up photo taking!

6 thoughts on “It’s not really RTW…

  1. Oooohhhhh just got this Sew House Seven pattern so thanks for the inspiration! Your makes look like they will become solid wardrobe staples. Well done.


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