Monday, November 4, 2013

Mixed Print Challenge - Koos Style!


Linking up (just under the wire) with Patti's Visible Monday!

TOC

The seventh challenge was pretty straightforward:

Using at least two prints, coordinate them to make an outfit. Use only the fabric prints you have chosen to make your pieces.

Now this challenge is right up my alley!

I love to mix prints. Almost immediately, I thought of a pattern that I've been wanting to make for years, Vogue 2971. It is a Koos Van Den Akker pattern released (I believe) in 2007. In fact, this pattern is now OOP. I didn't have a copy of the pattern in my current size, so Margy very kindly overnight'ed me her copy which is, ironically, no longer in her size.

I had fun last Thursday at Stone Mountain & Daughter looking for fabrics for this ensemble - though it took awhile. The wrap top calls for a 2-way knit. The skirt calls for three woven fabrics, plus knit strips - on the envelope, the pattern uses strips from the same knit used in the top. This gives the outfit cohesion, and I followed suit.

I used a striped ponte knit for the top and three quilting fabrics for the skirt. At first, I planned to use African fabrics for the skirt, but I couldn't find three that were quite right together. I then looked at the batiks and had the same problem. I finally found the black/white/red Alexander Henry print that I used for the central applique, and that became the focal point for the rest of the black and white fabrics.

Koos Van Den Akker

I love the work of designer Koos Van Den Akker!

Born in the Netherlands (Dutch printed fabrics are some of the most beautiful in the world), Koos may well have absorbed his print mixing tendencies in utero. He has been living, and creating, in New York City for many years. In fact, he was famous for designing the wild sweaters that Bill Cosby favored in The Cosby Show back in the 80s.

But that is old news. Koos is actively designing clothing that can be purchased at his NYC boutique and some of his designs make their way to Vogue patterns. I've been a fan of his Facebook page for a long time now and it is choc full of photos of his recent work. (He also has a website.)

Koos is absolutely fearless about mixing prints and textures. He also loves to manipulate fabric to create new textures. Here are a few recent examples of his work:

Two of my favorite makes are Koos patterns. (Clicking each picture takes you to the corresponding blog post.)

Alterations and Modifications

For the top, I made a size 16. The top is a bit over-sized and you might want to go down a size. I could definitely go down to a 14 and maybe even a 12 next time. (There will be a next time.)

  • The boat neck is very deep and wide. When I held the pattern tissue to my body, I could see that once I narrowed the shoulder at the armscye, the resulting shoulder seam would be 1/2" wide. Far too wide a neckline for my narrow shoulders. I transferred a high jewel neckline from another pattern. After the shoulder seams were sewn, I then marked where I wanted the neckline to be (on the garment itself), and cut it down. I cut it down maybe 1-1/4" from the center front and center back.
  • Changing the front and back neckline
  • I narrowed by shoulders by 1-1/4".
  • Since I changed the neckline, I didn't use the pattern piece for the neck binding. I use Sarah Veblen's neckline method and cut a 1-1/2" bias strip from the ponte.
  • I do not have a tiny waist. I lengthened the ties by 8". If needed, I can always cut them down later.
  • Lengthening the ties by 8"

  • The pattern, which came out in 2007, instructs you to hem the bottom and the ties. I used a stable, non-raveling, ponte knit and didn't want that bulk, so I left the hems raw edged.
  • I did hem the sleeves. They call for a 1/2" hem, but I hemmed them at 1".
  • I did not do an FBA, as this pattern is generously cut and it was not necessary.

For the skirt, I made a size 12. My hips, according to Vogue, are a size 10. My waist, according to Vogue, is a size 18. But I measured the finished waist on the size 12 and it was about 34", which is enough ease for my 32" waist. (The hips on the pattern are far more than 34", so I was fine there, too.)

  • Given that there was enough ease for my waist and hips, I omitted the back zipper. I cut the back yoke on the fold.
  • The pattern calls for an elasticized waist. I used my own pattern piece for that.
  • I pinned the front yoke to the center front pattern piece and held it up to my body. It dragged on the floor. I am 5'5" and this skirt is *very* long. The pattern does not tell you how to lengthen or shorten it, and the pattern has a very shaped, very unusual hem, making it difficult to shorten after the fact, so I had to figure out how to shorten it before cutting it out. I first shortened the center front piece (#6) by 4".

  • The yoke front (#5) is pinned to the front (#6). I have folded out 4" of length from the front.

  • There is a little dot about 8-1/2" up from the hem on both sides of the center front (#6) piece. I had to remark that on the pattern (because it was in the area I had folded out). This is a *critical* dot, so make sure you remember to include it on the pattern, and to mark it on the fabric. (The most critical markings on this pattern are the large and small circles. Mark all of those.)

  • I had folded out the small circle, so I remarked it (the little black dot).

  • Next, I had to figure out how the rest of the pattern went together. It is *highly* non-intuitive: you are sewing straight lines around square corners six times during construction. I finally figured out that the other place I had to shorten was on the Lower Front and Back pattern piece (#12), in the long direction. However, you want to shorted 4" at the side seam, but the side seam is slightly curved. This translated to removing 3-7/8" from the vertical direction.

  • Lower Front and Back (#12), shortened by 3-7/8" in the long direction

  • I also had to shorten the front applique (#7). I had already cut it out, and I laid it on the skirt front, after attaching the front yoke to the center front. I decided to remove only 2" (despite shortening the skirt by 4"), and I removed it from the top of that pattern piece.


  • Removing 2" from the top of the applique (#7), which I had already cut out

  • Finally, I had to shorten the "spaghetti" strings, cut from the striped knit, that snake around on the front applique. I cut these to the original length of the pattern, laid them on the front in my designed design, and only trimmed them to length once I had positioned them and was sure of the desired length. Each of them ended up being slighty different lengths.
  • The applique is designed to be cut on the bias. You attach it to the front after the yoke has been attached to the lower front with a gently curved seam. The bias makes it easier to work with the non-flat surface. However, I really wanted to cut the applique out on grain, so that I used the red print to its maximum effect. I managed to make it work, but it was more difficult and I don't recommend it.
  • The only other modification I made was due to a slight cutting error. The largest pattern piece, Lower Front and Back (#12), is to be cut on the fold at CB. I didn't have enough fabric to do this, so I had to introduce a CB seam.

This pattern is fairly quick to sew up. Once I had completed the alterations on the top, and matched the stripes on cutting it out, it sewed up lickety split. The skirt, while a bit mind bending on how it goes together, really isn't that time consuming either. I started this project on Saturday morning. I cut and sewed almost the entire skirt on Saturday. (I realized late Saturday, when everything was finished (including the long hem), except for the waistband, that I hadn't put on the little snakes on the front applique. That was lucky because you want to do that before attaching the waistband.) On Sunday, I completed the snakes, the waistband, the pattern alterations for the top, and made the top.

The entire outfit in one weekend, though it was after dark when I finished. Not too shabby! (I had to wait until after work on Monday to take the pics.)

Conclusion

I love this outfit! I will definitely make the top again. I'd love it in solid black and maybe in a few other colors. I will have to play with a smaller size. When you put it on, it requires a bit of manipulation to get everything just so, but I think it will be fun to wear.

Also, the skirt is fabulous. If you are concerned about it being too dramatic, it would still be wonderful without the front applique and snakes. In fact, it would still be wonderful made out of a single fabric.

More Pictures

Holding out the skirt. (My fingers are in the in-seam pockets.)

Pattern

Vogue 2971

71 comments:

  1. This is fabulous on you, the fabric mix and style combination and the appliquéd stripes on the skirt, the whole outfit looks great! Have fun wearing this because you look a million dollars :)

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  2. omg - you know I loves me some Koos, and you really nailed it with this one! I can't believe you even finished the whole thing within competition timing! I'm betting you would get my vote with this one too lol! (although I do look forward to seeing what the others do) I REALLY love the swirly b&w fabric - is that a quilting cotton?

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    1. I know! I can't believe it took me this long to get around to this fabulous outfit! Yes, the skirt uses 3 quilting cottons plus strips of the ponte knit appliqued as "snakes" on top.

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  3. Wow, what a great outfit. I love the top. Does is look nice untied? The mannequin photo suggests it would look great, but very different, both ways. And, that skirt! It's so fun. I think I'll continue to vote for you!! :)

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    1. Thanks, Amy! I don't care for the top untied. A lot of fabric hangs down in the front to the floor.

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  4. Love this print mixing, and thank you for all the background info on Koos. Wonderful prints! And thanks for sharing it all with Visible Monday.

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    1. Thanks, Patti! I enjoyed your recent trip to NYC!

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  5. This is so you and so great! Love love love the pattern mixing - what a great challenge.

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  6. Really well done. The colors and print mix is on the money! This is what I mean, you needed to have won the whole kit and kaboodle, such much attention to detail and fit.

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  7. Terrific! I can't believe it, but I made this skirt in black fabrics this spring, using a lot of the VERY SAME print, with the wavy lines of white dots!
    You continue to inspire, dear Shams.

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    1. Very cool, Monabel! That "lightning" fabric is really nice.

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  8. Fabulous. I have this pattern (for the top, I told myself) but haven't been brave enough to make it....you've interpreted it beautifully!

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    1. Thanks, Lisa! Make that top! It's fabulous.

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  9. Wowza, what a great outfit for you! You look so happy wearing it, and the colors are really good on you. I love all of the detail in the skirt. All together, a very flattering, very Shams duo!

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    1. Thanks, Dixie! It's so good to hear from you!

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  10. Yesss you're back-and in flamboyant style too, I might add! It's not that the challenges garments weren't you, they were just you all bottled up (i.e we could see you but there were restrictions imposed). I've always wanted to see these pants made up and you've done a fabulous job. Still love that grey coat.

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    1. Thanks, perfectnose! It was a lot of fun to make this up!

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  11. Wowee! It's marvelous to see this made into the skirt and top combination. This ensemble just sings your name, in the most beautiful way.

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  12. I love and adore this! I can tell you've found your joy again in sewing and it's reflected in this awesome print mixing outfit. To be perfectly honest I wish you were still in the contest because you can tell the contestants are tired by their entries. Your garment embodies what the challenge is all about!

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  13. That is such a fantastic outfit! I have the pattern and you inspired me to move it up in the queue.

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  14. OMG, fabulous! You are the queen of pattern mixing! And I LOVE the quilting cottons you chose...I am always so bummed that there aren't a lot of clothing patterns using these fabrics, as I think they are often lovely. That swirly black and white that Jillian mentioned is MAGIC.

    I like it better when you have your own competition...

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    1. Margy, I owe YOU a thousand thanks for sending me the pattern and so quickly!

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  15. i am SOOO impressed.. I made the skirt recently and found it really difficult and time-consuming (and I am experienced though a bit rusty). I do love yours. I might make the top one day as I do like it. I have worn the skirt and loved it but I don't think I would ever try it again, especially as I have lots of other exciting patterns to try out!! But I LOVE Koos :)

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  16. Shame last week was a fizzier, cos I think you have the best this week. Not to worry, you get to wear a great outfit.

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  17. You so own this look! Simply stunning ... J

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  18. This is wonderful on you, Shams, well done!

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  19. This definitely you! Loved seeing some other work that Koos has done, he does seem to know how to mix up the prints. Great job with top and skirt!

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  20. I've always loved this pattern (have made it a couple of times) and am always thrilled to see it on someone else, as it's not an outfit that a lot of people would be comfortable wearing. It looks terrific on you!

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  21. You know, every few months I pull out this pattern, look at it and think 'Soon, little sewing caterpillar, but not yet, you're skills aren't there yet'. Now I have another beautiful version to inspire me. Thanks for this!

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  22. Utterly fabulous and so you! This would have won competition 7 hands down! Kudos to you for competing with yourself. This contest must have been so all consuming timewise. I can't imagine pulling it off and working full time. You REALLY deserve a big Time Management Reward as do all the competitors.

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  23. This looks so fabulous on you, love the fabrics and colors, amazing job.

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  24. Splendid. And you look so happy in this!

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  25. I worked in a fabric store when this pattern came out and all the (much older) store employees and I were, like, "What?!!! is this pattern about?" If we could have looked into the future and seen this outfit on you, we would have understood it immediately. Another Shams tour de force!

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  26. This was definitely a challenge with your name on it! Wonder if I could do a write in vote for you???? Thanks for all the detail on the construction. You look (as Tony the Tiger would say) G-R-E-A-T!!! I think I have this pattern and it's so not me, but I loved how it looked on the model.

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  27. Looks FABULOUS on you. I bought this pattern earlier this year and haven't sewn it yet. I'm encouraged. Thanks.

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  28. Interesting post, Shams...
    Now you can let your creativity run wild - more fun!
    :-)

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  29. Aren't you the bee's knees, Shams! This is really you. What a creative engine you are.

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  30. You surely would have won this one! Maybe one of the other contestants will have some sore of issue and leave prematurely and you'll be brought back, like on Project Runway!

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  31. So sorry you weren't in this challenge because you would definitely be the winner! Fabulous outfit!

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  32. Ooohhh. Fantastic!! I'm so glad you carried through with completing this challenge even after being knocked out of the competition. I have always loved loved this pattern, but have never had the mental fortitude to actually give it a go. The fabrics you selected are gorgeous and the result is amazing. You look fabulous. This must be an exceedingly fun outfit to wear.

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  33. This challenge was made for you! I'm sorry that they booted you one week too soon, but I'm so glad you carried on anyway! Your look is wonderful!

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  34. That's it!!! You are The Winner and Still Champion of the most cool clothes ever!!!! What a wonderful outfit! You look fabulous! You look like a Super Hero!!

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  35. You have a real gift for mixing prints! I love reading your blog, in hopes of being inspired out of my own very plain palette. This is extraordinaire!! But you do it all the time: it just seems to come naturally for you!! I enjoyed looking at the Koos photos, too.

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  36. Very impressive. Too bad you're not still in the contest, you would have blasted them out of the water with this....

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  37. This is a brilliant combination of prints, and the perfect pattern. I'm so glad you went ahead and completed this challenge, it would have won for sure. Thanks for sharing with us all.

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  38. Eat your heart out, contest people...you lost out on a serious contender! This is great stuff. Breaking the rules with finesse and style. You look radiant and free!

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  39. This turned out great! Love your choice of fabrics for this one.

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  40. Marvelous outfit, Shams! Koos and you style perfectly together. Back in the 1960s, a woman's magazine showed t-shirts trimmed with fabric collages designed by Koos. They would still look good today. Unfortunately, I never got around to it, but I still have the article for when I do. Threads magazine had a great, inspiring article about him a long time ago; the garments were gorgeous.

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  41. Really lovely. So much skill and talent. Takes so much of an eye to see your design and you've done a wonderful job realizing it! A thrill just to get to see your results!

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  42. Unbelievably impressive. You creative vision inspires me...I hope one day to be able to emulate your creativity in my own way! (which would look pretty much exactly like this :)

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  43. As a beginner, I felt slightly overwhelmed after reading this post! Your skirt looks fabulous, but getting there...well! I guess you must have been sewing a while, in order to know about all the alterations to do? The top looks slightly less intimidating. I must say, I think it's a very flattering style. Enjoying your outfits very much!

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  44. These look terrific. As always I am in awe of your vision and the skills to realize that vision.

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  45. Wow, another fantastic outfit. Thanks for letting us see the whole process since I think that's a crucial part of his designs. You look fabulous.

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  46. Love, love, love this entire outfit. I've had the pattern and the fabric for it for years. Now you've inspired me to follow your lead. You look fantabulous in it!

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  47. Wow...it's the best ever and sooo fun! I love KOOS...have several of his patterns, but not this one...yet. Enjoyed reading this today!!

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  48. Ack! I have been contemplating making up this pattern. Now i want to try it more than ever. Have just moved and can't find ANYTHING. Must unpack faster! Love the prints you used on the skirt.

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  49. Great mixed print outfit. What a wonder mix of prints you used for the skirt. I knew you would rock this challenge!

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  50. Hi,
    Better late than never; I just bought this pattern on 12/30/15. I have been looking for it since I first saw your post a year or so ago. Now, if all goes well, I too will have this lovely skirt. Thanks for your post - it encouraged me to find this pattern.
    Sincerely,
    alice g.

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    1. How great, Alice! I'm glad you were persistent!

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  51. Hi,
    I tried to post before and I don't think it worked. Better late than never; I finally was able to purchase this pattern on 12/30/15. I saw your post about a year ago and just located the pattern... I can't wait to gather the fabrics and get started. Your post was truly an inspiration!
    Sincerely,
    Alice G.

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