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.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas!

This is just going to be a super quick post. We've had a huge day, full of food, presents, family, and fun!

Here are two gifts I received- my first ever Bernie Dexter frock, which I love. I picked it up on EBay for $60, brand new with tags! They are normally about $200 in Australia. I asked hubby to buy me a dress and then I saw this one and nabbed it. 

It fits me perfectly. These dresses definitely aren't worth $200- I'm not saying they aren't well made, because they are...but they're not so amazing that I'd pay that kinda money!

I also got this awesome book from my mother in law, which I specifically asked for. It's great! It has lots of different bodice, sleeve, skirt and neckline variations to make a gazillion different dresses. I can't wait to get tracing!

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas Day!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Sewaholic Pacific Leggings and New Look 6344

I'd decided this year that I was going to give handmade gifts wherever possible. My mother in law was easy- she specifically asked for a couple of woven tops as all of her summer tops are polyester (yuk!). We went to Spotlight and chose this pattern.

It's very simple but stylish, with pleats at the neckline and a simple button opening at the back. She chose this very lightweight fabric which was tagged as 'cotton feel polyester'. If I didn't know better, I would say that this stuff is all natural- it does not feel like it has any polyester at all! It wasn't super fun to sew with though, as it it very thin and doesn't crease well. However, it turned out well.

I didn't have to make any adjustments to the pattern- I simply cut the size 20 based on her measurements and it fit her fine (we had a fitting session before I started on the second one).

I told her that the second one would be made from a surprise fabric. I chose this lovely rayon, which was much more pleasant to work with!

The first top took me about two hours, but the second one was much quicker. I will make some for myself soon as I really like the style.

I was umming and ahhing about what to make for my sister. I'd thought about making a yoga mat bag, but then I was reading a Sewaholic blog post about their new Pacific leggings, and thought I could make some awesome yoga pants.

I went to Fabric Frenzy as I knew their dance/ sport fabrics were on sale. I got a metre each of groovy tropical print Lyrca, and dark purple Supplex. I made myself a test pair first to see how difficult they were.

These leggings have a crotch gusset, and I've never sewn any type of gusset before. The instructions were very scant, so I asked Tasia from Sewaholic a question about it on her blog post. I also emailed her, and asked a question on the Sewaholic facebook page. Not a single response. I appreciate that the business is very busy, but customer service shouldn't stop once a sale has been made. 

Anyway, I digress. I just sewed the gusset as best I could, and I guess it doesn't look too bad.

The inside is a bit dodgy, but oh well!

So here are my finished pants. They look amazing on and are super comfy. The supplex is extremely comfortable and a dream to sew...the Lycra, not so much.

I wanted to make my sister's pair exactly the same, but the front panels take up quite a bit of fabric so there wasn't enough purple left. So hers have a funky waistband.

No idea why this is sideways, and can't be bothered fixing it. Sorry!

I did a groovy little faux flat lock effect on the back. See it? I stole this idea from the Sewaholic blog.

I used neon green to make it really stand out. I wanted to use it on the waist seam as well, and started to sew it, but my machine spazzed out. And it chose to spaz out when I got to the centre front, so I had to unpick it all. My machine wasn't cooperating so I just left the fancy stitching out.

I really like these leggings, but I'm not so sure about the gusset. It's visible from the front when they are worn, and it kinda looks like a weird fabric vagina. None of the leggings I have look like this- the gusset is hidden right between the legs. I'm going to have to modify the pattern next time I make some.

Now I can relax because all of my Christmas sewing is done! Yay! 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Some Christmas sewing!

Last week saw my last day of work for the year. I don't go back until February! Yeeha! I seriously love my job as a flute teacher- it's fun, rewarding, and allows me to spend heaps of time with my children. My kids go to a public school so they still have two more weeks until their holidays, so I've been using my time to sew Christmas gifts.

My five-year-old Elizabeth absolutely adores Mummy-made stuff, so I always make a few things for her. Usually I make a dress for her to wear on Christmas Day. I decided to try a new (to me) pattern, the Honey Gum Dress by Ainslee Fox Boutique, which was in One Thimble magazine.

It is designed to be quite roomy in the bodice section, so there's lots of room for growth. The instructions are exellent and I sewed this up in a morning. It has the most gorgeous voluminous skirt!

I also made two little hair ties to go with it. The fabric is quilting cotton from Spotlight and I added a ribbon trim to the waistband to break up the bodice and skirt sections.

I also made her a cute little pair of shorts using this adorable print I found on EBay. I think it's Timeless Treasures. The pattern is Blue Jays by Bobkin, which are supposed to have the legs gathered into a little cuff, but I didn't have any nice contrasting fabric to make the cuff with and I think they look cute like this.

Lastly, a new hat. She doesn't have any nice hats that fit. I found a nice pattern in a book I have called Sewing Children's Clothing. This was so easy- I made it in about an hour! And I just realised that I hadn't taken photos of it, so took these just now as I'm sitting in bed!

It's fully reversible and I'm sure she will love it.

Next on my list is a blouse for my mother in law, a hat for my son, and a pair of Pacific Leggings by Sewaholic for myself and my sister. I haven't made them before and the fabric is expensive, so my pair will be the tester before I make my sister's pair. I'm hoping to get them done tomorrow.

What's on your To Make list for Christmas?