Monday, May 23, 2016

Some recent projects

Hello! I'm back....and it's only been about a month! Whoops. I have been doing a little bit of sewing. 

I made this simple little A-line dress for Lizzie- I actually cut it out a year ago along with another one, and when I made the first one I decided to leave this one for a while as it was a bit big for her. It's super simple- just a front, back, facings and a little slit at the top of the back that closes with one button. I actually have two dresses made from this fabric, and we both wore our birdie dresses on Mother's Day. We looked totally cute.

I also made her a couple of Galleries by Boo! Designs...I think she has 5 or 6 of them now. I just love this pattern as there are so many variations. This was the first time making the top and I really only did that because I didn't have enough cherry fabric to make a dress.

I modified to opening at the back to make it super simple- just a small slit with a button, same as the birdie dress. She loves this one. I also have a dress made out of it and we wore them out to dinner last week for my birthday whereupon lots of ladies were pointing and oohing at our cuteness.

This was also my first time making a long sleeved version. I don't usually make long sleeved things as our winters are really short and I'd prefer to make things that she can wear all year round. She told me she doesn't like the sleeves so that's kinda annoying. I'm trying to convince her to wear it to her violin concert this weekend, and I'll wear my matching dress...

I made this a few months ago using a pattern that I almost got rid of because I didn't think it would suit  me. It's a great dress for work. I erred on the side of caution and added extra to the side seams and it's a little big but I can live with it. I'll be among another one soon. This is the pattern I used.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Megan Dress by Tilly Walnes

Hello, dear readers...if I have any readers left after my huge blogging hiaitus! Gosh, I haven't blogged since February, and it's almost May. What a slacker! I have an excuse though...teacher, first term of the school year....say no more!

I've actually made a couple of things but haven't had time to take any decent photos of myself wearing them. I like to have at least of couple of photos of me wearing my creations because it's kinda boring looking at Jane (my dummy) wearing them. I'm much cuter than her.

Anyway! I've wanted to revisit a few of my favourite patterns, but I promised myself to sew new-to-me patterns this year. I doubt I'll be able to stick to that for the whole year but we will see how it goes. I've had my eye on the Megan dress from Tilly Walnes' book ever since I bought it, but put it off because I have this weird notion that patterns from sewing books are a bitch to fit. I blame the Colette Sewing Handbook for this. I made a toile of the bodice in about July last year, and finally bit the bullet a few weeks ago.

It's so cute. I love the little dart tucks at the bust and have never made a dress with them. Also, the high waist intrigued me, and who doesn't love a little puffed sleeve? In the back of my mind I was worried that the shape of this dress would not suit me at all...happily, I was wrong!

I cut this is a size 2 and made absolutely no alterations. Could the fit be better? Yes, probably. It could do with some back neck darts as it sticks out a bit at the back, but the rest is pretty darn good! 

I've worn this twice and have had loads of compliments. It is such a cute, flattering shape.

The fabric is some quilting cotton that I got from the clearance table at Spotlight for $4/m. This dress does not use much fabric at all and is great for using up smallish cuts of fabric in your stash.

The instructions were clear and concise, not that I really needed to follow them.

All in all, a most pleasing make!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Lizzie's birthday

My baby turned six on the weekend. Crazy!

I always make her a special dress, and this year I decided on the Bow Peep Dress from the first issue of One Thimble magazine.

It's so pretty and girly!

For this dress, I wasn't my usual lazy self, and I actually went out and bought fabric specifically for this project. Some gorgeous black floral quilter's cotton, and some kind-of-matching polka dot quilter's cotton. The problem was that as I was cutting out the dress, I realised I was 30cm short. I didn't have enough to cut out the bodice front. I checked my local stores but they had sold out. I put out a call on Facebook and asked my non-local friends to look for it and post it to me. Then the following week, I went back to one of my local stores and they had it. Yay. But the next day, a friend in Brisbane sent me a text saying she'd bought me some from her local store. So I actually have a fair bit of it left now!

Anyway, this dress has some lovely features- the most obvious of which is the gorgeous thick belt loops which give a lace effect. It also has flutter sleeves (I doubled mine to make it even cuter), a massive sash, and button and loop closure at the back. How cute is it?!

I loved making this. The instructions were  good, but if I make it again I'll attach the skirt differently. It says to press in the seam allowance of the main bodice, and to sew the skirt to the bodice lining, top stitching the main bodice afterwards. It just looked too messy to me and I should have trusted my instinct which told me that my pressing wasn't straight enough for it to work that way.

All in all, a most enjoyable sew. Lizzie lives it. I don't have any action pics yet as they are still on my camera.

 I also made some cute bunting for her bed. It came all printed out on a panel- all I had to do was cut around the triangles, sew them together, and add binding. The panel also had a little owl shaped cuddly toy which I sewed up, but which is too boring to be photo-worthy.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Scary sewing....swimsuits!

One of my sewing goals this year is to make Elizabeth and I some super cute bathing suits. I've never made one before, and am still slightly scared of sewing with lycra. So I decided to cut my teeth on the Boo! Designs one piece swimmers with some leftover bits of lycra.

The instructions for this pattern are amazing, and a really great starting point for those who have never made swimmers. I took the skills I learned from this pattern and used them on my second pair of swimmers.

I made up a size 5 without taking any measurements, and they are gaping at the top. I'm not sure if this is because they're too big or if I stretched the neckline whilst attaching the binding. I'm not too concerned because they were just a practice pair, and Lizzie loves them anyway. 

I bought this funky 1970s bikini pattern on eBay the other week and I started on it as soon as it arrived. 

I had some pretty good quality lycra that has been sitting in a drawer for ages as it really isn't my colour, and decided to practice with it. I cut the largest size for the bottom, according to my hip measurement, and a B cup for the top.

I used the skills I'd learned making the Boo! swimmers to attach the elastic and make the binding/ straps, and they turned out much nicer than I think they would've if I'd followed the instructions. It told me to use cord in the straps but I used elastic instead. I used my overlocker for all the elastic and the side and crotch seams, and used my regular machine with a zigzag stitch and stretch needle for all my top stitching. I used a twin needle when I made Lizzie's and was not happy with the result so I will stick to zigzag from now on.

The boobie cups have a dart, but when I sewed one up and tried it on, it looked ridiculous. So I drafted another cup without the dart and now they are a basic triangle shape, which works much better for someone like me who is not well endowed in the bust department.

My stitching is pretty dodgy but I wasn't trying to go slowly or be perfect. I just wanted to practice making swimwear and figure out what does and doesn't work. I didn't line any of it so its a bit nipply. Now I can order some better quality fabric and make something really cool.

The bikini bottoms are VERY brief. They only just cover my buttcrack. Crazy 70s fashion! I think they make my bottom look super cute though!


Sunday, January 10, 2016

New Look 6587

I finished my first project of the year two days ago. A couple of weeks back, I went to Spotlight and they were having a sale on patterns- any three for $10. Seriously, that's a crazy price! I couldn't pass it up. This is what I got- 

Some fabrics for Elizabeth's birthday dress (which is the reason I went there in the first place), and three patterns. I absolutely love the little dress, and I have so many little girls' patterns but I couldn't resist this one. The retro top pattern is nothing exciting, but I needed a third one to get the deal. The one I really wanted was New Look 6587. I'd seen a cute version of it on Dolly Clackett's blog (otherwise known as Roisin Muldoon, my favourite blogger and sewer of literally hundreds of dresses).

The pattern cover is incredibly underwhelming. The sample dress is just fecking ugly. Ugly length, way too much frippery going on at the bottom, and terrible fit. And is it just me, or does the model look like Stifler's Mom from American Pie???

Anyway, it's View D that drew me to this pattern. It's like a totally different dress to the fugly sample one. It has a cute scoop neckline bound with double fold bias.

I used some quilter's cotton from my stash, and ordered some picot bias from an Etsy seller called Junee and Pop. I ordered tomato red and white, intending to use the red, but when it arrived it was more orange than red so I used the white.

Modification wise, I removed 6 inches from the skirt length as I hate anything below my knee. I also did my regular alteration of removing an inch of width from the neckline to account for my bony chest.

It all came together very easily, except for the binding which was a bitch. My machine doesn't like sewing through bulk at the beginning or end of a seam, so I had to take my time with the front opening bit where the binding ends. I also neglected to stay stich the armhole edges (the pattern didn't tell me to and I didn't even think of it), so the first time I bound it, it was all stretched out of shape and horrible. I managed to shrink it a bit by stay stitching with a small stitch and steaming it with the iron, but the armholes aren't as nice as I'd like.

I am quite happy with the fit. I erred on the side of caution and kept it a bit looser but next time I will play around with the princess seams to get a closer fit. I also think the pockets should be closer to the middle and not so far to the side. The 12 buttons are all functional- I didn't bother with 'fake' buttons.

I really like this dress and will probably make another one soon. It just screams summer to me! 

Monday, January 4, 2016

New Year sewing plans

Ok, every time I write one of these posts, I only end up making a couple of things on my list and about a billion other things that I hadn't planned to make. But I'm going to try harder this year!

Firstly, my goals: 

-As I did last year, give handmade gifts wherever possible. This is easy for my daughter's female friends...a skirt, or simple dress, or even a cushion cover. Much harder for my son's friends.

-Substantially slim down my stash. Last year I promised not to buy fabric for a whole year. This lasted six months, and then I went crazy. Consequently, my stash is bigger now than it was at the start of last year! So, I need to give some to charity, sell some, and use lots in my sewing projects.

-This is going to be the tricky part...limit my use of patterns that I've already made. I have a crazy amount of patterns, and probably 75% have never been sewn. This is because once I find a pattern that I like and make all the necessary adjustments, I'm too lazy to do it all over again with another pattern.

I have tidied up my storage area somewhat. I put all my scraps and fabrics that I haven't used for years into big storage boxes which are now living in the shed. I also took my PDF patterns out of the plastic drawers and put them in magazine files.

My printed patterns are all in the plastic drawers, along with various other crap including my mending/repurposing pile, plastic snaps, random sheet music, and my flute cases.

So, there you go. I think those are very realistic goals! Now onto what I plan to sew. 

Lots for Lizzie:

From top:
-Bow Peep Dress by Ainslee Fox Boutique for her birthday, and also the matching dolly version underneath
-Hannah Dress by Bobkin
-Carnival Jacket for winter. In reality I don't think I'll make this as she has so many jackets already.
-Cross Bow Dress by Boo! Designs

-Timeless Treasures Skirt by Little Lizard King. How freakin' cute is this??!
-Boo! Designs swimmers. Scary but exciting!
-Bunny toy from Melly and Me book
-Little bolero to match the Bow Peep Dress
-Boo! Designs Tweenie Bikini rash vest for myself

And now, for me!

-A fitted work dress. This will be much easier to fit my body than New Look 6000 as it's in two pieces.
-A nice handbag
-Shirt dress. This one is already half sewn- I'm just waiting on some trim in the post.
-Ruby Dress by Simple Sew
-Colette Macaron. I'm finally going to bite the bullet and tackle this beast.

Obviously I'm going to make more than this for myself, but five items is a good place to start.

I definitely won't be as prolific with my sewing this year as I have in previous years. I've been working on my fitness a lot, and that impacts on my sewing time. I've also been practising my sax 2-3 nights per week. Anyway, my wardrobe is bursting at the seams so I can't really fit a lot more in without doing a big cull.

I have three weeks of holidays left and then it's back into the madness of the school year. I'm excited to see what 2016 will bring!

Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 sewing roundup

Happy new year! This is one of my favourite things to do- look at what I've made all year, and decide what to make this year. Not that I'll stick to my plans- I never do...but it's nice to have some goals.

So, here's what I made in 2015.

From top: Blue Jays shorts; Gallery dresses; Blue Jays shorts; random stuff.

Girl skater dress; Boo Pins.

Blossom skirt; self drafted blanket and cushion cover; self drafted cushion cover; Mem Rose skirt; Firefly dress.

Blossom skirt; Gallery dress; self drafted gypsy skirt; self drafted skirt and cushion cover; Gallery dress.

Self drafted gypsy skirt; Gallery dress and self drafted skirt; Blue Jays shorts; Gatsby cap; Honey Gum dress.

New Look blouses; hat from Sewing Children's Clothes book; Gatsby cap.

All of the above items were for other people. I'm pretty happy with my handmade gifting this year, even if it wasn't always appreciated or acknowledged. What matters is the way I feel inside when I take the time to make something instead of buying some cheap plastic crap from K Mart.

Now, the things I made for myself...

Pacific leggings; new Look dress; Lady Skater dress.

New Look dress; Lady Skater dress; Lisette Round Trip dress.

New Look skirt; Renfrew top; Lisette Traveller dress.

I was MUCH more selfless last year than I was for the last couple of years! Most of the items I made for myself have had frequent use, with the exception of the last three- the leggings due to their terrible fit, the Renfrew due to its high level of polyester, and the dress...dunno, I just don't like the skirt fabric. 

One of my resolutions last year was to use up the fabric in my stash. Not only did that not happen, my stash is actually bigger than it was this time last year. How on earth did that happen???

I'll be back in a few days to blog about what I want to make this year.