Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Stripe Stripe (Vogue 1174 skirt + self-drafted t-shirt)

Sewing has slowed round here recently due to Christmas distractions, but I have made a couple of stripey numbers that I am thinking will get a lot of wear over summer - assuming summer actually comes back...

First up, this is a stripey skirt made from the skirt pattern pieces from Vogue 1174 and a home decorating fabric that was living in my stash:

I quite like this as a skirt pattern, although I think it would be a better pattern if the front pleats and back darts moved out as the size went up. However, the fact that they don't means this is an incredibly easy skirt to take in - all the sizing variation is in the side seams.

This skirt has helped me with working out my skirt sizing too. I cut a size 18, took it in to a size 16, and it's still a little too big but likely to shrink on the first wash (no, this time I didn't pre-wash)... and if it doesn't shrink enough it will be really easy to take in.  

Actually, viewed side on like that it does definitely look too big doesn't it!

My son approves ("you look very nice mummy!"), and I'll probably use this skirt pattern again - but next time around those central pleats are going to be moved closer together.

Easy to make, has pockets, definitely wearable and I learnt something to boot.


Secondly, a self-drafted stripey t-shirt. The fabric is an el cheapo bought at Lincraft about a year ago, and the stripes wavered so much on the edges that even though I started with a couple of metres it was really just enough to avoid the waves. The neckline started smaller than it appears - it stretched out before I attached the folded over band, and I was all out of the flat see-through elastic I usually sew into jersey necklines so it's probably still growing as I wear it :-).

I cut this out with the front neckline mirroring the back neckline so I could make sure the stripes would match up on the shoulders and side seams. Once everything was lined up I made the front neckline a bit deeper than the back. Seems silly to have bothered matching stripes for such poor quality fabric - but I guess it's all practice.

The sleeves are a nice loose shape that tapers in to be fitted just above the elbow - super comfy and yet no one's going to cop an eyeful of underarm and bra.


Again, this is a 'pattern' (though currently more of a drawing on tissue paper to be honest) that I'll probably re-use.  It's so loose that I think it could work in a woven fabric - and in a jersey it could be cut a bit smaller.

One of my little helpers took this next photo hence the genuine smile. He likes the fabric so I'm hoping to be able to eke out a junior t-shirt for him from the scraps. 


I don't know what's up next - my daughter wanted a princess dress for Christmas but they're just $20 at K-mart, and my partner wasn't enthusiastic about my offer to sew him a linen shirt - so now I don't have any Christmas sewing commitments. What about you? Are you sewing for Christmas?

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Two-Tone Linen Top

Inspired by hazy image memories of designer colour-blocked sleeves, and also by the loose blocky styles that are in the shops at the moment, the other evening I found myself putting together contrasting linen fabrics and rifling through my second hand patterns.

I picked out a pattern that looked blocky in an '80s way, Vogue 7883. Here's the technical drawing:

It's only now that I check the envelope that I see it's printed in 2004 - not from the '80s at all - and an internet search shows it's a currently available pattern.  (Grrr should've checked PatternReview!)


The top went together quickly; linen is such a breeze to sew and this is an ultra-simple design - there aren't even any darts. I made really minor changes to put the hemlines on the selvedges (which also lengthened sleeves and body by 1.5cm), to show the selvedge edge on the waist seam, and to make the lower front pieces more angular than the pattern indicated.

Here you can see the selvedges:

and the neckline is unchanged from the pattern original:


This is the overall result (when the wind is blowing just the right amount to make a waist shape):


I thought it would be cool looking, but it's not. Then I thought it could be a beach cover-up sort of top, and was going to add some 'secret' pockets to carry a key and a credit card - but my keys are heavy and would have really distorted the shape of the top.

This is what it looks like when the wind blows from a less flattering direction:

Although the length is fine - longer at the front than the back - it's much shorter than I expected from the pattern drawings. And it's blockier than expected. And the two tone thing just makes me think of jockeys! Of course I am way too big for anyone to ever mistake me for a jockey - but might they think I was a horse racing fanatic - are these colours already taken?

I don't really like it on me, but I'm happy with my sewing. I suspect it might be alright on if it fitted...I think this pattern runs large, and I made the top a size larger (14) than I normally would (oops).

I will probably end up wearing this over the hot summer holidays as it will be light and give me good sun protection. And I do love these colours - so summery.  Maybe it just needs the right mango-coloured skirt or something?
14 mangos for $13
 Tomorrow we'll eat some more of these Calypso beauties and I'll move on to the next project.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Vogue 1270 - Shiny Pink Party Dress

I did it! I finished Vogue 1270!

Hmm these colours are all wrong... at least the wine's OK.

Nothing really amazing there, it's just that I'm a slow sewer and usually underestimate how long sewing activities will take. And in fact, even though I said I was aiming to finish the dress this weekend, my real due date is still DAYS away - my work Christmas party is not till this Thursday! 

Of course the dress looks much nicer on the dummy (must be my amazing photographic skills, right???):


Two birds with one stone (cruel) and that sort of thing - here's my pattern review:

Pattern Description: 
Close-fitting, lined dress has extended shoulders, pleated left side bodice front with two-piece pleated bow, and invisible back zipper. No provisions provided for above waist adjustments.

Pattern Sizing:
Combinations: B5(8-10-12-14-16), F5(16-18-20-22-24)

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes! I'm very happy with this dress.

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes, but there was one striking error, and an order of construction I'd change.

Pattern error:
Well I documented this in my last post and I don't want to bore anyone senseless, so if you want to read or re-read it please have a look back there. Basically ignore the picture in step #14.

Order of construction:
The patttern instructions have you sew bodice back pieces to bodice front (step #15), and skirt back pieces to skirt front (step #17) BEFORE sewing bodice to skirt (step #18) - and similarly for the lining pieces. This makes it trickier to take the dress in or out though. Better for future adjustments would have been step #17 before the side seams.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I really like the extended shoulders (which make my mini shoulders look a little broader)


and the nod to vintage dress shapes.

And of course I like the pleats and bow!

Upper bow attached to dress at bust dart

I also like that the dress is fully lined, so that the inside out view is very neat (great for someone without a serger).

Obviously I didn't enjoy finding a mistake in the pattern instructions - but it was terrific to find the maths area of my brain can still figure things out (yippee!)

Fabric Used:
Silk shantung + polyester lining. The shantung was picked up by fluke at a second hand shop, and initially I wasn't sure if it was or wasn't silk - but it passed the burn test and the 'what your mother thinks' test.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I cut this out in a 12 at the shoulders, a 14 at the bust, and an 18 at the waist and hips. I later took the waist and hips in to about a 14 - 16. I also added about 5cm to the length (I'm 5'9"-ish, and with this lengthening it's an above the knee length). Oh and I also just used a normal zip as I didn't manage to find an invisible one in the right colour.

Although the pattern description says there's no provision for above waist adjustment I'm not sure why they're saying that - you can certainly make the waist wider; that's obviously easy on the back pattern piece, and on the front pattern piece, just fold at the pleats and look at the centre front marking to work out which edge of the pattern piece will be the waist line and work on this. I guess it would be tricky to adjust the length between front bust and waist, although you could adjust the back for a sway back or whatever without problems.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I would like to sew this again but I don't know if I will - too many patterns and not enough time!

A sweet dress with a lovely shape - I think this would suit many real figures and all dressmaker's dummies.


Friday, 25 November 2011

Vogue 1270 Preview - and a Clarification

Vogue 1270

I am sooo close to finishing this dress it's not funny - and even less amusing is the fact that it's been really close for over a week!All I need to do now is decide if I want to take it in a bit at the waist (what would you choose: leave it loose in case an opportunity to gorge yourself arises while wearing the dress OR take it in for an illusion of waist?) and do the hems and a spot of handstitching.

This profile photo on the left shows the bagginess on the dressmaker's dummy's waist (although she has become a little slimmer than me recently). The dress is made from a piece of red/pink shantung silk, with a bright red lining. I picked up the silk in a second hand store - a rare lucky find for me as usually I just find really ugly curtains and polyester quilt covers (does anyone else in Australia ever find nice fabric in an op shop?)


Even though I'm not quite ready to show you the completed dress, I thought I could show you a sneek peak and document a tip for the pattern.

I read over here that Cindy was having a problem figuring out the bow on this dress, and I guess other people might have a problem with it too.... because there is an ERROR in the instructions. The picture for step #14 is misleading - this is not where the bottom part of the bow will fit. The top part of the bow comes out through a gap in a slash in the bust dart (step #1 is the slash, step # 12 is the upper bow coming out through this gap), and the bottom part of the bow stays on the inside of the dress until step #19, at which point it comes out in a gap in the seam between bodice and skirt. There are guidelines on the pattern pieces for how far the bow is supposed to come out, but basically it is taut enough on the inside to prevent the bodice pleats from falling open.

Yes, this needs to be pressed!

There is one other point about the bow that doesn't seem to be mentioned in the instructions, and that is how the top part stays up. The upper bow will flop down - we can call it gravity, but it's not serious. My solution was to sew a couple of tiny stitches on the underside of the upper bow attaching it to the dart seam - this makes the upper bow stay up without any visible means of support. 

I am hoping to be able to post the finished dress by the end of the weekend - BUT I have the flu and the weather is really miserable (rainy and grey).  My excuse is ready.

Photos of Kids?

My partner read my last post and was very dissatisfied that I didn't explain my viewpoint clearly, and that the pictures of my daughter said something that my words didn't. So I think I should clarify what I've decided (for now) about posting photos of kids. I've decided that - given my small place on the web and my reasonably low volume of kid photos - the photos I do post are probably at a rather low risk of whatever it is that could happen. That's why I did post a photo that included my daughter's face, but why only one of the photos shows her face (the other photos were cropped). Having said that I am still mindful that low risk doesn't mean zero risk. Today I went and deleted my (few) kid photos that were on flickr, and deleted a whole album on pinterest because it had too many personal photos in it - those two sites get a lot of traffic! I may also go back through this blog and recrop some / all of the kid photos (you will still be getting my mug though).

And speaking of blogging and sewing, I found this post about the sewing blog social hierarchy very interesting - I found myself agreeing with much of it...

Have a great weekend!

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Back in the Saddle, and a Japanese (Girl's) Dress

My last post was probably a bit surprising when it was supposed to be about a win! Thank you to all of you who commented; these questions had been getting me down and it really lifted me out of my sewing & blogging blues to read and re-read your perspectives and your kind encouragement. I've decided that even though I don't have definitive answers I should hop back in the saddle... after all, I find sewing tremendously enjoyable, and I so love the feeling of sewing community with you fellow sewing bloggers. My resolutions are to try to post better photos, to think before I post kids' photos, and to not veer too far off (sewing) topic. The bottom line is that I would like to make this blog something I would be happy for a friend or relative to read.

Back to the sewing topic :-)

Here's a little summer dress I made for my daughter just recently. It's pattern 'A' from the Japanese book Cute Clothes for Good Girls, and I've made many variants on this dress before but I do still love it! I think it's a very practical shape for a place with hot summers - the ruffles over the arms shield the shoulders from the sun, and the A-shape of the dress is nice and breezy. I also like that this is quite modest.

I made this in a length and width 120cm, which was a little wide (that's OK, extra breezy!). I swapped the button back for a zip - something I also did when I made this pattern into a little top not so long ago - becase although buttons are cute I think they're annoying for a little person to wear down their back.

And I added two little angled patch pockets on the front (pocket shapes from another pattern in the same book).
The fabric is something I "found" when I was tidying up my sewing space. I think I bought it from an online Aussie fabric shop - it's a cotton, but it's a medium weight and not as silky feeling as I'd expect for fabric for clothes so it's probably a quilting cotton. Regardless, my daughter adores the dress and is wearing it as many days a week as I'll let her - and that's success.


I'm working on a recent Vogue pattern dress for myself and hope to be able to prpovide the show and tell in my next post - it's looking Christmassy!

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

A Winner for Simplicity 2922

The winner of my recent giveaways is Rachel from The Two Windmills. Congratulations Rachel - I'll be in touch to get your postal address, then Simplicity 2922 will make its merry way through to you. 

If you haven't visited Rachel's blog before, she designs and makes the most gorgeous softies, she sews lovely clothes for herself and her boys, she quilts the sort of quilts I would love to be able to make myself... and I recommend you go over and have a look!

There is not much sewing going on here and I've been feeling uninspired and also unsure about this blog. I know my sewing is rather imperfect (and I feel awkward to "show it off"), and frankly I'm getting a bit sick of the sight of my ugly mug in so many pictures (though I know headless pictures are impersonal). I love the pictures of my kids that I post, but although I don't get that much traffic I'm not sure if posting their pictures in public is smart - I removed one kid-sewing post a while back and moved another to "draft" last night. What do you think? Is a blog a piece of indulgence or a public good? Does a blog need to have a theme or is it more interesting of it wanders about? Should adult heads be included in completed project photos? What about kids - should they have their photos posted at all, and if so, how anonymous is enough?

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Vogue 1158 - Nautical Dress

My Vogue 1158 Tracy Reese dress is finished! If you recall my earlier "making progress" post, you'll know I took this slowly - but it was worth it; I've ended up with a dress I really love.

Here's a back view - unfortunately the back view on me photo didn't work out:

the dummy doesn't really list to the side, she's on a hill

It fits very comfortably (I muslined the bodice, and adjusted the neckline and sizing to fit) and it looks very close to how I envisaged it would look. It even looks OK inside out!

inside out - front

In fact, this is pretty much the happiest I've felt about something I've sewn.

A Close Call
I told you about the bodice already here. I decided not to sew in the bias band because it looked odd in my fabric, and instead I decided on this navy piping that just happened to be in the stash. When I made that decision it was too late to sew the piping in the usual way (sandwiched between the outer and lining fabrics), so I basted it in place and then sewed a straight machine stitch. Luckily I reviewed what that looked like before going too far; it was a shocking mess - I guess because the machine was going over several layers of fabric in some places and because the fabric was trying to stretch out more than the piping (no doubt also some operator error in there too). So I unpicked the machine stitching and went with what I think is called a pick stitch. I think it's ended up looking neat.

my pick stitching

the piping on centre back

A Few Changes
As mentioned in my earlier post, after muslining the bodice I decided I needed to raise both front and back necklines to better cover my bra. It still looks like the dress pattern - note that I didn't shorten the bodice at all; I added extra height in the front scoop and in the back V and phased these in with lines that followed the original neckline shape.

I didn't attach the belt to the dress as I want the flexibility to leave it off or to fasten the little tie at the back if I want. It can always be sewn in place later.

no belt
The skirt is not supposed to be lined but my fabric was too sheer to go without. On the outer skirt I omitted the centre front seam, and I meant to omit centre back but accidentally cut it. The ribbon stripes on my fabric run on the bias, so I decided to have the stripes run straight up and down on the skirt - this achieves pretty much the drape that's intended in the pattern with a fabric whose stripes are on the straight grain.

I haven't made the self-fabric covered shoulder pads but still may do (with plain white voile) - I suspect they will help to keep the bodice structure in place for me with my narrow shoulders. If I don't make the shoulder pads I may need to sew in some of those little things that you attach around your bra straps.

If you're making this dress, the underarm patches would ordinarily go about 1-2 cm higher - I had to sew them in lower to hide some coffee stains (don't bring coffee to the sewing room!).

That's all - I love this dress! If you're thinking of making it, I definitely recommend you do!

A Reminder
There are still 2 days to enter the pattern giveaway - hop back and leave a comment if you want one of these patterns, the odds are looking brilliant!

If neither of these patterns interest you, what about 70s/80s patterns? I'm thinking of giving away a few of these soon. I may also be letting one of my vintage reissues go to a good home....

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Let's have another giveaway... and check out my Vogue t-shirt

Giveaways are fun! And they make a small (hmmm infinitesimal?) contribution to cutting down on my stash :-0.

This post-blogday, pre-birthday giveaway is for your choice of two patterns:

1) Vogue 1222 in size AA (6-8-10-12), a pattern I bought new not too long ago but haven't used. It's an Anne Klein New York dress with some great topstitching details; I think it would be perfect for office wear in a tropical wool or lightweight double knit (two of the recommended fabrics). On the Vogue patterns website you can see more pattern details, including this dress description:

Fitted, lined, above mid-knee dress has short (unlined) sleeves, seam and topstitch details, back vent and invisible zipper. 


It looks like a good pattern (check out this fabulous review) to me but I don't think I'm going to get around to it.


2) Simplicity 2922 in a size P5 (12,14,16,18,20) (EUR 38-40) (FR 40-48), another pattern I bought new but have not gotten around to making. This one has a lot of positive reviews over at Pattern Review, and looks like a straightforward dress to make - with several options for length, sleeves, and neckband.


This pattern is out of print but still available on the Simplicity website if you want to see some better quality pictures or zoom in on the images.

Any rules? Yes. This time around it's only open to followers - but you can be anywhere in the world; I'm happy to post internationally. Entries close at midnight Sydney time on Tuesday, 8th November. Oh and if your email address isn't available from your profile or your blog please note that in your comment so I can contact you if you win.That's it~! 

Now onto the t-shirt :-). Bet you were looking forward to that!

So... I thought I'd try making a t-shirt from a proper pattern, Vogue 8650 - ooh the novelty - and given how simple t-shirts are, I assumed success would be guaranteed.
Not necessarily. Can you define success?

This is an OK around the house / post-beach kind of t-shirt, and very comfortable (I'm wearing it now) but it's just not good enough for casual Fridays at work or for a BBQ with friends. It reminds me of a cheap t-shirt I bought at Target a few years back for its colour (and that I now wear to the gym). I guess if it gets more saggy in the wash it can makes friends with the others in the gym collection.

I made this in a straight size 12, but it feels too big in the neckline and sleeves and the fabric pools around the waist. I guess it would be good for the first trimester of a pregnancy.  It's easy to make as in there aren't too many steps and only 3 pattern pieces. However, there's a bias binding applied to the non-pleated areas of the neckline, and even with my walking foot the knit fabric on top of bias binding didn't want to sit flat. And others on Pattern Review have commented that the pleats are not equal widths (I adjusted them as I went to try to make them look even).

PS Yes that is a strange thing on my head, I believe it's called a fascinator, but we can say it's a flower. We had a fabulous work function for half the day to celebrate the 10 mins or less of Melbourne Cup race, and the happy buzz lingered to the evening - so the flower got to stay on when I changed out of my nice frock :-). 
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...