Monday, December 1, 2014

Christmas sewing: Festive dress

I wasn't going to make Elizabeth a Christmas dress this year as I made her one last year and I generally try to make clothing last as long as possible. But I realised I have had this Christmassy Michael Miller fabric in my stash for 4 years and if I left it any longer, I wouldn't be able to make anything to fit my girl as she won't be tiny forever.

I laid out 3 different patterns before I found one that would work- being a directional print, my options were severely limited by the one-metre cut of fabric. I had to settle on a pillowcase dress, just like the one I made last year. I added 6" to the length because Elizabeth has grown heaps this year. The print is festive, but not too festive...she can get away with wearing it during the year and not just at Christmas time.

I added a little yoyo detail with a vintage button given to me by one of my students.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Lisette Round Trip dress

Meet my latest and most fabulous creation! I can't really describe how much I love this dress.

I bough the fabric especially for the project when Spotlight had their 40% off all fabric sale. It's quilting cotton and was reduced to $11 per metre. I bought the exact amount needed to make the sleeved dress, but ended up with about 60 cm of fabric left. Crazy! How do they even come up with the yardages - do they just guess??? I'm sure I will find a use for the remaining bit but it's annoying to have so much left when I was a good girl for once and bought only what I thought I needed!

This dress was super easy to fit. I've come to realise that with Simplicity patterns, pretty much all I need to do is cut a size 8 bodice and taper it to 10 at the waist. I made a quick bodice muslin before cutting into my Eiffel Tower fabric and didn't need to make any changes.

The trickiest part of this was facing the keyhole section, but as long as you read the instructions and have transferred all markings accurately, it's not too bad. I used a tracing wheel and carbon to transfer the markings and it's now my favourite method.

There are sweet little pleats on the skirt and pockets. I'm so used to having dresses and skirts with pockets now that it feels weird without them!

I love this so much that I've already cut out my next version, this time with the cute collar and no sleeves.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Christmas sewing: Simplicity summer dressing gown

Another handmade Christmas gift has been ticked off the list.

This is for my mother-in-law. A couple of weeks ago, my daughter went to a 6th birthday party. It was a pamper party, with the girls having a mini day spa experience including their own dressing gown made from vintage print cotton. She loves her dressing gown so much that I decided to make one for her Gran.

I found this pattern in Spotlight. There were better options, but Simplicity patterns were two for $10 and I can't justify paying full price for Big 4 patterns, so I got this (and maybe three other little girls' patterns too...). It's very simple, with two big patch pockets, a facing (I would have preferred a contrast band, but oh well), and a belt with belt loops. The main fabric is some lovely cotton that I found in an op shop last year, and the spotty one is poplin from Spotlight.

I wanted it much shorter for summer so reduced the length by 11" and the sleeve length by a whopping 12". It came together pretty easily. I just wish I had a fatter mannequin to photograph it on as it looks crap hanging on my size 8 one.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Christmas sewing: Kitschy Koo skater dresses

So I decided that there is to be no more selfish sewing until I've finished all of my Christmas sewing. I'm not doing a whole heap as I don't want to stress myself out, but I knew I wanted to make a couple of dresses for Elizabeth. I was going to make cotton ones but then I saw some photos my friend posted on her Facebook page of some Kitschy Koo skater dresses she had made for her daughter. I got chatting to her about the pattern and she won me over by telling me how quick and easy it is to sew.

This is the first PDF pattern I've sewn and I have to admit that I found it kind of fun to put together. Cutting out and taping together all the bits reminded me of being in art class as a kid. I loved that I could just cut all my fabric on the floor using my cutting mat and rotary cutter, instead of cleaning everything off the dining table like I usually have to. It took me about 6 minutes to cut all my pieces. Win!

The first dress took me about twice as long as I read through all the instructions. My friend suggested I sew all the bands on in the round, and not flat as directed in the instructions. I find this looks much neater as the band seams are hidden inside the band.

I used my regular maching with a lightning bolt stitch and ballpoint needle for all except the side seams. All edges were finished with the overlocker and the side seams sewn with the overlocker. I hemmed the skirt with my twin stretch needle and am really happy with the result.

All in all, very cute, very quick dresses! I also bought the lady version and will be making one as soon as my selfish sewing ban is over!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Lisette Round Trip Dress #2

Hot on the heels of my Eiffel Tower version of the Round Trip Dress comes this little cutie.

I cut this out two weeks ago and only finished it last night, partly because I haven't had a lot of sewing time and partly because I wanted to take it slowly and make no mistakes.

I knew I didn't need to make any adjustments other than taper the waist up to a size 10. This time I made View B with the cute little Peter Pan collar and no sleeves. I used Sew Colette's tutorial for finishing the armholes with bias binding.

The skirt on this one is a bit shorter than the last one due to fabric restrictions. I think this version is really cute and playful. The fit is not perfect but I'm not too fussed about it.

No more selfish sewing for a while now...Christmas is fast approaching and I have a few gifts to make!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Lisette Traveller Dress

I was being such a good girl, sewing only garments that I'd planned to sew, using fabrics purchased especially for that project...but this time I made something I hadn't planned to do for a while.

I recently purchased a second hand Modcloth shirtwaist dress from EBay ( breaking my 12 month clothes buying ban....whoops!) and loved the style. Whilst perusing my patterns and fabrics a couple of Saturdays ago as I always do when choosing my next project, I decided to have a go of this lovely pattern that I bought not long ago.

I bought this knowing I will never make views A or B...they just are not my style. It was View C that grabbed my attention. It has everything I want in a shirtwaist dress- cute puffy sleeves, gathered skirt, and not-too-difficult one piece collar.

I cut the bodice from some beautiful quilter's cotton and the skirt from some sage green polka dot cotton. This is the exact same fabric combo that I used for my Spring Dress last year...

Size wise, I cut the bodice as a size 8 and tapered to a 10 at the waist. I basted all the major seams to check the fit before sewing it properly. Thankfully it fit me pretty well- I didn't even have to touch the darts! 

This dress was an absolute joy to sew. I really took my time with it and it shows! I loved edge stitching the button packets and collar. Check out this gorgeous placket!

The skirt is different to any other gathered skirt I've made, with the gathers starting a few inches either side of the centre front. I really like the effect as it doesn't make my tummy look like it sticks out!

My favourite part is the sleeves of puffy adorableness. I will have to cut the sleeve band at least a size larger next time as they are really tight thanks to my workout regime. There's only about 1cm of ease in them. I left the sleeve seams unfinished in case I wanted to get rid of the sleeves, but after wearing the dress all day, I discovered it wasn't uncomfortable enough to get rid of these beauties. How flippin' cute are they?!

I'm very happy with the fit. I could probably increase the side seams a bit to get a neater fit, but I fear that may make it a bit too uncomfortable. 

The buttons are just cheapo ones from Spotlight but I love them.

All in all, I love this dress and I cannot wait to make another one!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

New Look shift dress

Here is my latest labour of love. This was my first time making a shift dress. I thought it would be super easy to get the fit right, but on the other hand, I wasn't sure whether the shape would suit me.

I bought this gorgeous linen from Spotlight when they had their 40% off all fabric sale about a month ago. I knew I wanted to make this dress with it, so I bought the exact amount I needed for it. Another first! I'm not sure of the composition, but it's definitely a blend as it doesn't wrinkle like crazy.

I cut the top half on the smallest size, and the bottom half on the next size up. I know I say this every time, but I really need to learn to cut two sizes up on the bottom! Who knew I was so pear-shaped? Not me!

I took my time with this because the fabric was expensive by my cheapass standards and I didn't want to ruin it. I wanted to add inseam pockets, which I did, but when I tried it on with the pockets, it looked terrible. They were too low, and they made the dress puff out at the sides, giving me an Oompah Loompah effect. So I had to unpick them, under-stitching and all!

That disaster aside, it came together easily. The neck band was a little fiddly, and next time I will add the band before inserting the zipper so it will have a cleaner finish. But check out my stitching in the ditch! It's so neat, you can't even see it!

I didn't like any of the sleeves on offer with the pattern, so I added my favourite ones- the darling little pleated sleeves from New Look 6000. How cute are they?

I ended up having to reduce the seam allowance to about 5mm on the bottom half to make it sit right. I blind stitched the hem with my machine.

I really love this dress and the fabric. I think my fears of looking like Homer Simpson in a muumuu in this were unfounded!
Next I think I will make a shorter, plain black version for a super classy LBD.