Sunday, April 13, 2014

Emery dresses

In the last two weeks I've sewn up two Emeries to see what all the fuss is about!

My first one I cut Size 2 all over. I made the lining first then checked it to see if it needed any tweaking. It needed a bit more around the waist and the front waist darts looked funny so I moved them outwards.


I used some funky quilter's cotton that I've had stashed for almost 3 years. For the skirt, I used an existing dirndl skirt that never fit me properly.


It is super basic- no pockets, collar or bow. The fit of this one is not great. I should have left the darts in their original position, but hey- you live and learn!


Armed with this knowledge, I set about making my next one the very next day. I cut Size 2 but tapered it to Size 4 at the waist. I also made the neckline slightly scooped as I've been told numerous times by my husband that high necklines look awful on me.

Last night we stayed at a fancy hotel for our anniversary. Our room had an amazing view of the coastline- not sure if you can see it in the pics due to the light.

The fabric again is quilter's cotton that I have been holding on to for years. I love the colours. 


I'm much happier with this one. I could wear it every day. I hand hemmed the skirt and the effect is so much nicer than machine hemmed so I will try to be patient and do this with all of my dresses.

 Verdict: This is a great dress! I can't wait to make the long sleeved version for winter.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The unsensible sewing continues!

I haven't posted anything in a while but I have a few projects to share.

'Apple Mouse' is perpetually waving...I must have overstuffed his left arm!

It was my boy Jimmy's 6th birthday yesterday. After seeing the mouse I made his little sister for her birthday, he asked for one for his. That was in fact the only thing he asked for. Isn't he a darling! His only demand was that it be made from apple fabric.

This was fun to make- except for the nose, which has to be stitched in place whilst holding in the stuffing and keeping the edges turned in. I got the shits with it and it looks crap if you look closely. But he loves it and takes it everywhere.

I also made him two pairs of shorts as all of his shorts are size 2 or 3 and it's time he had some new ones. 

I don't like these ones at all- they are from the same pattern that I made my husband's birthday shirt from. 
The fit was huge so I had to add elastic to the back. He likes them though.


 The other pair is from an old issue of Ottobre children's magazine. I don't make a lot of patterns from them as I hate adding seam allowances, but I recently got myself a tracing wheel and carbon so it was not so painful. There are supposed to be cargo pockets on the legs but I left them out. As you can see, I did not bother with pattern matching at all. Whatevs. They are still groovy.


Lastly, yet another item with crazy fabric. I need to make myself some pants for this winter as I have put on even more bulk in my botty region and NONE of my pants from last winter fit me. The Thurlows that I made in November I had a suspicion would be too small this year, and they are. So I decided to try the next size up but make them in shorts first just in case the fit was off.

I'm pretty happy with the fit except in the crotch area. They seem to be pulling down towards the bottom of the front crotch. I will consult my fitting books and remedy this before I make the pants.


Oh, and I bought two new patterns! Going to start an Emery some time this week. The Macaron...well, it wasn't until AFTER I'd bought it that I did some research and discovered how much trouble people have had with this pattern! So I will work on some muslins in the next few months.

What are you working on at the moment?

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Retro Farm skirt combo

So far this year I've managed not to sew a single thing that I vowed to in my New Year's Re-sew-lutions list. Things like a plain black skirt and plain coloured blouses. Instead, I've made a crazy dress and now a crazy skirt.

I went to Spotlight the other week and they had a really great sale. I picked up 11 metres of gorgeous quilter's cottons for $50. One of them was this adorable retro farm print. It has the cutest little scenes on it- check it out!


I bought two metres with the plan of making myself a dress. When I got it home I thought it was a bit too crazy and kiddy for a dress but I still wanted to make myself something with it. Then I had the brilliant idea of making a lovely gathered skirt out of it.

I used the skirt of Sewaholic Cambie (pockets included) and my favourite skirt waistband, from my Awesome Skirt. It came together very easily and I absolutely adore it. I got endless comments about it when I wore it to work this week. It makes me so happy just looking at it!

I had read that gathering with 3 rows of stitching is much more effective than 2 rows and I tried it on this. I will never use two rows again. That extra third row, placed just outside the seam allowance, makes the gathers so neat and even! You're probably thinking, "Duh! Everyone knows that!" But I'm so lazy that I skip extra steps whenever possible!

 Upon seeing my marvellous creation, my daughter begged me to make her one. From the two metres I purchased, I only had a few longish strips left (the Cambie skirt uses A LOT of fabric!). I cut the leftover bits into eight 12x4 inch strips, sewed and overlocked them together, covered the seams with ric rac, and whipped up an elastic casing for a waistband. I cut it and sewed it up in about 70 minutes today, and also made her a bedwetting sheet protector thing as we are trying to finally get her out of night nappies.

I wanted all the ric rac to be white but I didn't have enough and Spotlight had none so I got green. 

Cute, yes?

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

New Look 6000

Check this baby out! Isn't it groovy?

It's Montreau drill, the same stuff I've made my last few 'for me' projects from. I loooove the print! I didn't have enough fabric to even attempt pattern matching.

I had to make a few alterations to get this dress to fit me. It was absolutely skin tight from under my bust to my hips, so I had to reduce the seam allowance as much as I could to a tiny 1/4 inch. Then there was heaps of foldy-ness happening at the back so I had to increase the back seam allowance to a massive one and a half inches, tapering down to my waist. Crazy! Easy fixes though. It turned out really well.

I also finished my daughter's birthday presents. As well as the dress I blogged about a while ago, I made her a cute hat and a sweet mouse softie. The softie was very fiddly- stuffing the arms with their less than 1cm opening was tricky! I love the way it turned out and I can't wait to give it to her tomorrow.



Here are all of her presents- the Care Bears are vintage from Ebay. I'm slightly obsessed with 1980s toys like My Little Pony (have a huge collection), Strawberry Shortcake and Care Bears. I was stoked that I picked up this lot for $40.


The only new thing she's getting is the little polo shirt/ skirt outfit, which I got from Aldi for $10.

Monday, January 13, 2014

A couple of gifts

I've been a very good girl since my last post and have made two handmade gifts. In my house we have birthdays in January, February and March so I thought I should start early to get organised.

It's my husband's birthday next week and I told him I wanted to make him a shirt. He wanted a crazy Marvel comic or Star Wars print but when I went window shopping, I calculated it would cost over $50 in fabric to make. I'm way too much of a cheapskate to spend that much on fabric so I went to good ole Spotlight and grabbed some checked cotton from the sale rack. 3 metres for $12. Much better than $50!

I've never made a proper shirt so I used this casual shirt pattern that I purchased last year with the intention of making a shirt for my son (obviously that never happened). It's a great little pattern. My boy will be getting some cool shorts from this pattern for his birthday.


It was a super easy pattern to follow. Construction is pretty simple. There is no button placket- the front has facings instead. The collar is one piece. It was pretty tricky to put in but that's because I'm not super experienced with collars. 

Click on the photo and spot the pocket. Yep, pretty pleased with my pattern matching here!

The hardest part was the pattern matching. I made sure the pocket and centre front matched but every other seam looks crap. I probably picked a bad check for my first attempt at pattern matching- an even check would have been far easier. All in all I'm happy with it. I'm not letting Husband put it on until his birthday so this is the only pic I have of it at the moment.

Now that Birthday #1 was sorted, I was ready to start on #2- my little girl's fourth, which is in exactly a month. I decided on a dress, a hat, and a soft toy. This is the pattern I chose for the dress- I've had it in my stash for a while and hadn't used it yet.


The fabric was a gift from a friend and has been in my stash since my girl was a baby. I'd been waiting for the right project and I think I chose well.

The dress took about 3 hours all up including cutting. Much longer than I would normally spend on a child's dress! There were lots of fiddly little bits. I hated the pockets- it tells you to cut two pockets, stitch around the edge of each then fold along the stitching in press inwards. It would have made much more sense to cut four pockets and construct each one by sewing them right sides together- it would have given a much nicer curve to the bottom of the pockets. Anyway, I love it and I hope she does too! I made some little matching hair ties.

Next up is the hat which I will make this week. Stay tuned!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Projects for 2014

I find it very exciting to think about what I'm going to make this year. I love making lists. I just find it so satisfying!If you are a list person, you'll understand.

I want to make a couple of summer dresses for myself. I haven't made a shift dress yet and I have a feeling the shape won't suit me but I'm going to try anyway. One of these two patterns that I have in my stash:

Sorry about the flash. I suck.

And this dress (main view) in some beautiful yellow floral with butterflies.

And I will have another go at the 50s mail order dress...

 And I want to make the full-skirted version of this....

Okay, that's  probably more dresses than I will actually make. Or not. We'll see.

There are 3 family birthdays coming up and I am making a few gifts. A shirt for my husband and shorts (and maybe a shirt) for my son:

(need to hurry up and start this as Husband's birthday is in 2 weeks and have never made a shirt)

An alien softie for my son and a mouse softie and hat and some kind of clothing for my daughter.

Now practical stuff. I need a simple, lined, straight black skirt. I have about a million black skirts but many of them don't have waistbands. I like to wear blouses tucked in so a waistband is essential. Will be using this marvellous pattern again:

And a couple of blouses. A plain and a print. Maybe one from the above pattern and  View B of this one:

Some smart, well-fitting black pants. They are essential for any woman, especially a performing musician who wears all black at gigs! I'm going to make the Thurlows again but in the 2nd smallest size instead of the smallest as I'm sure my ass will grow more.

Knits! I'm not going to be scared any more. I just need to find some decent fabric. What kind of knits are best for these? There are so many- it's confusing!

I should have a great, practical wardrobe by the end of the year!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Sewing Round-up

Getting this one in at the last minute before the end of the year! Here's what I made this year (not including gifts or things I made for the kids).




Circle skirt

Ponte tunic


Blue gingham Cambie 

Apple Skirt 

Floral Cambie

22 items. Not bad! I am going to aim for quality over quantity in 2014.

My biggest hits this year:

The fit is not perfect but I love the print and the shape is flattering. I will make this again next year.
So, so cute! I get comments every time I wear it.
This fits me pretty much perfectly. It's a really smart looking dress for work or a nice dinner.

-Ponte tunic
I absolutely wore this to death in winter and can't wait to make some more!
This makes me happy every time I wear it. The fit is almost perfect and I love the fabric. It's a real 'any occasion' dress.
The name says it all! Just so damn cute. Also, the Apple Skirt .
....and the misses. I'm ashamed of how many there are!
Just doesn't fit! A shame because I love the shape. I plan to make another one next year.
-Sadie the Cleaning Lady Frock
Completely fucking ugly. Plus it's too tight across my shoulders. It went in my 'donate to charity' bag today.

-Hideous 70s dress
This is only saved from the charity bin because it looks great with my 70s denim jacket. It looks totally shit by itself.

-Ridiculous 60s dress
Ugly. Stupid. Pointless.

-Circle skirt
I love it in theory, but in reality it doesn't suit me. There is just far too much fabric. I think half circle skirts suit me better.

So what have I learned this year?

I've learned that there are a few things I need to do to pretty much every pattern before I cut my fabric. It seems I have a short torso, hollow chest, and thick waist. It's good that I've found this out because it makes life much easier when it comes to fitting.

I've learned that there are some things that just will not suit me, no matter how much I want them to. Flowy shapes or boxy shapes are just not me. 

I've learned not to take short cuts. There are some steps you cannot skip, such as stay stitching! 

I've learned to be patient and not force myself into deadlines because that results in crappy garments.

I've learned to use fabric from my stash (mostly).

Each year I can see tangible evidence of how much my sewing has improved. I still have a long way to go, but I'm not in a hurry!