Friday, 23 September 2011

V2 of V1098 Pants are Done!

Yes, they are done. And they are marching through the garden, looking for a more photogenic spot.

They feel a bit tight. And I intend to re-hem them. 

But I can certainly wear them! That's cause for a small celebration, right? A few balloons?

So... not much to say that I haven't already said about this pattern (Vogue 1098) here when I made the pants first time around. It's a good basic pattern if you want a boot leg style of pants.
This fabric is a smooth lightweight summer wool suiting from The Fabric Shop in Sydney. Probably this style works best with fabric that is not too lightweight, so probably my first pair looked better. However, the first pair had a hardware malfunction (a zipper issue), so they are gone-ski. This second pair is much better put together... much less embarrassing if ever seen inside out!

I don't think I'll be making another pair of these - I'm fancying the more tapered look now.... but who knows how long till I make more pants anyway.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Burda girl's dress #151, issue 11/2010

On a whim, I made this little dress for my daughter yesterday morning. Obviously the kids were playing together exceptionally nicely; Saturday morning sewing is quite rare in this home.

I only had 0.7m of the fabric (a medium weight textured Japanese cotton from Tessuti fabrics), and my daughter wasn't sure she liked the fabric - but she agreed to suspend judgement.

The dress was really quick to make; the pattern (Burda magazine 11/2010-151) was already traced out from her recent birthday dress - and this sort of cotton is very pleasant and trouble-free to sew.  Some minor modifications: sleeves left off, a narrower skirt with pleats not gathers, an angled patch pocket, and some trim from Lincraft (all around the hemline but only on the front neckline).

Easy peasy lemon squeezy!

Today was a two-party day for my daughter, and with choices including her Tinkerbell dress, a Snow  White dress and her birthday dress, she chose to wear the new blue dress.

Judgement has been passed - it's a success. And worn all the way to bedtime.

* * * * *  * * * * *  * * * * *  * * * * *  * * * * *  * * * * *  * * * * *  * * * * *  * * * * *  * * * * * 

Back onto grownup sewing, I've finished my grey wool trousers but haven't yet taken their pictures, and have started a cheap (hopefully wearable) version of the kimono sleeve Vena Cava dress (V1228).

And I'm mulling over ideas for a colour blocked linem version of this dress, V1074. 

These are the colours I was thinking (and that I have in my stash).  Any thoughts? Would these colours look alright? They remind me of gelati and sunsets. The weather is heating up...

I don't have enough of any one of these for a whole dress, and probably have only just enough of the pink for the bodice and straps. Your views would be much appreciated.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

A Sheer Collection: Retro Style

Recent fashion magazines tell me sheers or transparents, often layered, are a trend. Judging by the clothes I was making back in the late 80s to early 90s it seems the trend was around then too, and it seems I was besotted!

Back then I was a student; I was still living with my parents, and my recollection is that the little I was earning through holiday / weekend work was spent on nightclub and dance party entry fees, self-rationed Japanese Slippers*, and the occasional pair of shoes.

* you know, the green cocktail - made with Midori!


So here are two blouses I made from cotton voile.  I used to wear these layered over a smart white singlet (definitely not a chesty bonds), with a calf-length narrow black linen skirt or very wide leg cream linen pants.   I remember dressing like this for uni - crazy me - this is not how the other science students were dressing!

All the relevant patterns are shown a bit lower down the page.

Vogue Perry Ellis pattern used for the orange and yellow blouses (and a third sheer blouse made from paisley chiffon - I will see if I can find it too):

top left = yellow blouse, main = orange blouse
And the Ralph Lauren and Anne Klein patterns below were used for my cream linen pants and a black linen skirt - I still have the cream linen pants somewhere...

bottom half = crream linen pants

black linen skirt


Around the same time I made quite a few other sheer garments.... can you imagine a sheer outfit: blouse AND pants?  Don't worry, the pants were double layer chiffon PLUS lining fabric so they gave an impression of sheer without actually showing anything. They swished around in a noisy, luxurious way when I walked and just felt special :-). And I think I wore a coordinating (homemade) silk cami under the blouse.


Some close-ups too: the louder colour is more realistic, but doesn't show you how sheer the fabric really looked. These pants were made using the same Vogue Ralph Lauren pattern as for the cream linen pants mentioned above. They're a really wide legged trouser leg - I think close to 60cm (23") wide at the ankles.

2 layers of chiffon plus lining...

Very loud, huh? Ah well, the lighting in those nightclubs was mostly dim.

The pattern for the blue blouse was this spectacular Vogue Claude Montana pattern. 

The blue blouse was made from - I think - silk organza, and was such a favourite of mine.  Even though it's washed and clean (unlike the trousers!) I've left it unironed because it has ripped along one of the underarm seams. I think it had weakened from sweat, to be honest, and then a recent wash was the final straw! Unfortunately I don't know how to repair it, and I think my iron could be dangerous to it :-( 

On a cheerier note (let's distract me), have I ever shown you my B&W gingham outfit from the same pattern?

So - a long post, lots of clothes, but you can't see what they looked like on; there just aren't are any photos of me wearing any of these clothes and of course they no longer fit.

So to finish up, here's a photo in which you can see me actually wearing another of my sheer collection, back in the day.

The blouse that you can barely make out was made by my mum - a sweet dotted black and white sheer cotton blouse with fitted waist band, short sleeves and press studs down the front. It had a sort of post-WWII look.

Hmm well you can't really tell what it looks like, can you... but that's me alright!

to be continued...

Friday, 16 September 2011

Book Week Costumes

Our school chickened out on holding the Book Parade in Book Week - someone was worried it would rain. My son and one of his best friends were both going as Leif from Deltora Quest, so we two mums decided to save time by splitting the costume prep work.  I hemmed the capes and made head bands, while she made papier-mâché brooches (doesn't the brooch look amazing!) and bejewelled belts.

I'm pretty sure I got the easy jobs, but in any event our costumes were ready weeks ago, put aside to wait for today's belated book week parade.

In the playground this morning there were "sooooo many" Harry Potters and "heaps" of Zac Powers, masses of ballerinas and princesses, many striking looking Wallys, one Shawn the Sheep, and three Leifs from Deltora Quest.

Two of the Leifs were of course pretty much identical!  Here's mine before we went to school this morning: 

The costumes are a bit of a rough and ready interpretation of the cartoon Leif, but the boys were happy with them. My son especially loved his belt - the gemstones were even in the proper order, and his friend especially loved the headband. 

Monday, 12 September 2011

Sneak Peek...

I am really close to finishing off some grey wool trousers - I've been troubling myself to make them nicely so I'm not going to rush to finish, photograph and blog them tonight.  No, instead I will show you the trouser feature I am feeling quite proud of - the fly:

Looking relatively smooth and untroubled from the outside...

And it's pretty neat on the inside isn't it? Well maybe not for you, but that's neat for me. AND it only took me 3 unpicks and resews to get it this way!  Hey, I didn't even forget the fly facing.


Not much of a post so far though is it.  Sorry. 

OK, this will be good - another special detail, by invitation only.  This is a detail that only you blog viewers will ever get to see and appreciate :-)  Look how nicely my seams match up!

Next post you can see the trousers properly.  I promise.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

A little Liberty

This is one of the *other* little tops from Simplicity 1403, well and truly OOP but widely available on ebay and everywhere else. Wish I'd realised that when I bought it - I might have gotten the right size for myself!

Late at night, so as usual, excuse everything including my closed and weary eyes. And nearly inside out neckline.

proof that the neckline is alright
The fabric is a small remnant of Liberty Tana Lawn - Fairford it's called, and I think it might also be OOP as it seems hard to find. The pattern only needs about 0.6m of wide fabric for this little top - I had 0.7m and I was able to lengthen the top by a couple of centimetres as well as cutting out generous facings for the neckline. Very useful to have a stashbuster in your pattern repertoire, n'est-ce pas?

I haven't sewn with Tana Lawn before but I think this will be a perfect weight for our sultry summer days. 

As with that jersey top from the same pattern I had to make this pattern larger. I think I should have made it larger still.... overall it has worked out as I wanted though.

Thanks to Sherry's tutorial, my invisible zip which is contained down one side is my best yet!  I still have a ways to go before I can be relied upon with a zip though :-(

I guess I will have to practise, so I will just have to keep sewing.
  It's my duty!

I don't know what it's like in your house - maybe there are no little monsters, or maybe there are some but they know about going to bed at a reasonable hour and then staying in bed all night! If mine get up tonight I will see if this picture can send them back to bed:

go to bed!

PS Is there a really exhausting (shouting, arguing, crying) 4 year old version of "terrible twos"??? If so, when can we expect it to end?

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Simplicity 1403 (OOP): 1940s jersey blouse

Finally, finally I tried my hand at sewing one of my properly vintage patterns, a pattern which dates back to about the 1940s... back when zips were "non-separable slide fasteners".

The pattern envelope shows a couple of little cap-sleeved numbers that I really felt like sacrificing a little something special for.

Restraint! It also includes a 3/4 sleeved jersey variant in the top LH corner (did you know they had jersey in the 1940s? maybe it was different to today's jersey though).

Since the pattern looked to be a few sizes too small (this is a picture of the size I should have bought - now that I have it I see this pattern everywhere!) I made the jersey version as a tester - testing whether my usual slapdash bodice adjustment method* would work in vintage world. 

Et voila:

* Basically I added a triangular wedge of extra width down the centre front and centre back - just about nothing in extra width at the neckline but about 2cm extra at the hips. I know that's not the right way to do it but I'm lazy! 

Rear view, vintage hooks & eyes on the collar
I do realise that I must come across as optimistic in my assessment of patterns, but for now this one counts as a win. It takes me quite a while (and several wears) to work out which garments are fails, to be honest!  Looking at these photos my only disappointment is that my tummy is too evident - the fault of lots of home made brownies and choc chip biccies.

You say life without chocolate?
Look I promise I'll try!

Can you see any darts? I think I sewed 16 darts and tucks on this little thing, and it felt like even more. You should be able to see 6 of them below: 2 darts going down from the shoulders towards the bust, 4 tucks providing shaping from hips to waist... There are also 2 more bust darts working alongside the gussets, 2 darts from the shoulders going down along the sleeves, 2 darts from the shoulders down towards shoulder blades at the back, and 4 more tucks for waist definition at the back.

The biggest challenge for me was the gussets. Gussets! I don't believe I've ever sewn them before. My gussets are not perfect, but they work. I tried the sleeves basted to the bodice without the gussets and there was some very unflattering pulling going on, both front and back - having gussets makes the fit much more comfortable.

OK, it's true, gussets are great

sunbeam highlighting The Mighty Gusset

So... I'm glad I waited before sewing a vintage pattern. The instructions on this pattern (well, I really mean the gussets) would have been quite beyond me a year ago. Hopefully this means I am now capable of sewing up some of my other nice vintage patterns too!
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