Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Canberra clothes

So in my last post I mentioned that I went to our nation's capital for 5 days at the very beginning of October. I go down every 2 years for a mega geeky flute festival, and it's always cold. I wanted to whip up some dresses that I could layer up with a cardigan and tights.

Spotlight had 30% off their scuba and ponte knits, so I bought enough printed scuba to make a shift dress, and ponte to make a skater dress. 

I didn't actually have a pattern for a knit shift dress, just thinking that I could make this one in my normal size. It didn't quite work that way, of course, and I had to take about an inch off each side seam. The neckband didn't quite work either, so I made a quick modification. I really love this dress as it is quite casual but can be dressed up too. And I can wear so many colours with it!

The skater dress (Lady Skater by Kitschy Koo) is one I've made before, and it should have taken a very short time, but both my my machines were having complete spack attacks so I fought with them for a while. In fact, the sewing on both dresses is extremely dodgy, but it's more noticeable on the mustard one. Look at this mess...

I lack the know-how to fix overlocker issues, and really wanted to get these dresses done in time, so I just went, "Stuff it!" and left them looking shitty on the inside. The skater dress did turn out super cute, though. 

I've just sent both of my machines off to be serviced, and can't wait to get them back so I can start on my Christmas sewing! While they are being serviced, I'm cutting out all of my projects so that they are ready to go once I am on my summer holidays UNTIL FEBRUARY NEXT YEAR Y'ALL!!!! Which is a mere two weeks away!! (just a bit excited...)

So far I've cut out:
- a dress for my daughter
- a pair of shorts for my daughter
- a hat for my daughter
- a blouse for my mother in law
- a dress for myself.

I still need to cut some yoga pants and matching headband for my sister, and need to make something for the kids' teachers. I hope I can get it all done in time! 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Hello and goodbye October

Gah! I haven't blogged in so long! I should probably try to get one post in for the month of October...so here it is.

Life has been crazy busy. This time of year is nuts when you are a teacher- even more so when you teach instrumental music and are obliged to organise/play at/attend a multitude of end of year concerts. Additionally, I had a concert with the orchestra I play in, two gigs with my jazz/funk band over the space of two days, and a 5 day trip to Canberra for the Australian Flute Festival. I still have to write my school reports. Ugh. 

Anyway. I do love my job...so much. I'm really lucky that my passion also happens to be my job. It is just stressful in the last term of the year!

I have been doing lots of sewing. I have a big backlog of stuff to blog about, but haven't had a chance to take any decent photos. Here's the first project in the queue- my first dress of Spring.

I love it when winter comes to an end and I can start wearing bright, flowery dresses again. It just doesn't feel right wearing them in winter! This dress is one I've made a few times before, and I still haven't perfected the fit! I must have forgotten to take some width out of the centre front to account for my bony chest, as it gapes like crazy. Still, it's a very cute dress, and is dressy enough for work, but great as a casual dress too.

I bought this fabric to make a dress for one of Lizzie's friends, and loved it so much that I went back and got another few metres. It's quilting cotton, which I love to sew with. It's great for dresses with pleats in the skirt.

I made a couple of dresses to wear on my weekend in Canberra, but haven't photographed them yet. But here are my most recent makes. These are for my daughter's friend, whose birthday is on Saturday. Audrey is a really sweet girl, whose mum has impeccable taste. Audrey's bedroom looks like something from a magazine...it's all vintage fabrics and simplicity, not a complete jumble of crap like my kids' bedroom! Anyway, her mum is always going to handmade markets and buying dresses for Audrey as she doesn't sew. I know she is going to love this dress. I decided on the skirt at the last minute as a little extra.

I drafted the little Peter Pan collar myself and used a gorgeous vintage mother of pearl button at the back of the dress. I think this fabric is so pretty. It looks like linen, but is actually quilting cotton.

The skirt is just a super simple make- two cuts of the width of the fabric sewn together with an elastic casing. I probably could have just used one width of the fabric but this version is a lot more gathered and twirly.

In other news...I chopped my hair off. My hairdresser comes to my house, and the night before she was due to come, I decided all of a sudden to go for a big change. I showed her the style I had in mind, and said, "Do it before I change my mind!". I'm so glad I did it...I feel so different, and funky! Husband is not too keen on it, but it's not his hair, is it?

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Bonny bunnet for the Scotsman

I really have not been doing a lot of sewing lately, apart from making a few simple skirts for Lizzie and as birthday gifts for her friends. My husband ('The Scotsman') has been bugging me to make him this hat ever since I showed it to him. It is from Issue 6 of One Thimble e-zine.

At first I thought I wouldn't be able to make him one due to the enormity of his noggin, but I measured it and luckily discovered that the largest size would accomodate his Sputnik-sized head.

Every time he asked me when I was going to make it, I'd say "Soon...I'm just in the middle of making something else right now". Fathers Day was last weekend, and I thought I should finally pull my finger out and make him one.

I always intended to make it out of this beautiful wool tartan that I've had in my stash for about 6 years. After all, he is a born and bred Scotsman, and a Scotsman's bunnet should be made from tartan.

I had to go and buy some very stiff stabiliser from Spotlight, but everything else was from my stash. The stabiliser was for the brim of the cap. I wanted to get the curve of the cap perfect, so I marked out my stitching line using my trusty seam gauge and some chalk.

The brim turned out beautifully- taking these extra little steps really does make a difference to the finished product! Attaching the sides to the top was very tricky as I had to do a lot of easing to get them to match up and the use of many pins was necessary.

I don't have a tailor's ham, and they really are a necessity when making a hat, so I improvised with one of Lizzie's toys. It worked a treat!

Come Fathers Day, my hubby was completely taken by surprise when he opened his gift. He loves it and it fits him perfectly!

I'm mostly very pleased with my pattern matching. There is a tiny little pleat in the back side seam, which I tried 3 times to fix, but the top part just did not want to ease into the side.

Sorry for the dodgy background. I took these just as we were leaving for our Fathers Day picnic.

I think he looks so handsome in it! 

Friday, August 7, 2015

Cherry Bomb dress

I've been making so many things for my daughter this year...I decided it was high time for some selfish sewing! 

I've had this gorgeous cherry print sateen in my stash for so long...probably over four years. I wanted to save it for a time when I had the confidence to make something really nice with it. I thought about making my favourite pattern, the Simplicity Lisette Round Trip dress, but I thought the print would really lend itself to more of a wiggle dress shape. However, one-piece dresses are a beast to fit on my figure, so I decided to mash the Lisette bodice with the skirt from this groovy retro Butterick pattern. 

I cut the bodice on the second smallest size, tapering up a size at the waist, and cut the skirt on the second smallest size. The skirt has these incredibly complicated pleats at the waist, but they look nothing special from the outside! I ended up taking a mammoth 6 inches off the skirt length...seriously, a few inches below the knee is such an unflattering length (on me, anyway). My only other adjustment was to take a whole one inch seam on the centre back.

I did make one boo-boo, as is my way...I sewed my invisible zipper onto the wrong side (well, I sewed it to the right side of the fabric, which is the wrong side...) but I'm not too fussed about that as it's pretty neat. 

I didn't have any matching buttons (it only needs one, at the top of the keyhole opening at the neck) so I made a matching fabric covered button. Unfortunately, it fell apart today so I'll have to attempt to make another one or go and buy one black shank button.

I made my students take these photos today. They took about a thousand of them.

Anyway, I adore this dress, and think it's my new favourite. I'm going to make a few more of this bodice and skirt combo, and use up some more sateen from my stash.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Kitschy Koo Skater Dresses

I finally made something for myself! A few weeks ago at Spotlight, the scuba knit was half price. I've never sewed with it before but it felt nice and thick and durable, so I bought enough to make myself a Lady Skater Dress, according to the yardage chart.

I held on to the fabric for a while before cutting it out last weekend. I decided to cut a straight size 2, despite being 2 inches bigger in the waist than that size is cut for. I figured the stretch would be forgiving. I ended up having to reduce my bodice side seams right down to 1/4" to stop it from being really skin tight. Next time I'll cut a 3.

This was a very easy, fast sew. I did all my seams on the overlocker, which I'd loaded up with four spools of matching polyester sewing machine thread, because I couldn't find overlocker thread the right colour. This way was much cheaper, too! I top stitched the neckline with my twin needle, but I'm not sure I like it. I love the twin stitching on the hem, though!

This dress is incredibly comfy to wear, and so flattering! I don think there is a single body type that this style wouldn't look good on. And because I made the cap sleeve version, I can wear this all year round. I wore it to work with a cardi and my green wool coat.

Even though I purchased the exact amount of fabric specified for the cap sleeve version in size 2, I still had a bit left over. So,what did I do? I made one for Betty!

This was ridiculously quick. I cut it last night, sewed for an hour, then hemmed it this morning. She absolutely loves it!

I'm so much more confident with knits now! An overlocker and twin stretch needle just make life so much easier. I can't wait to make us some more stretchy creations!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Some more bits and pieces!

I may have taken my 'selfless sewing' pledge a bit too far! In the last two weeks I've made another 6 things for other people, and only one for myself. Whoops!

I ordered some fantastic metal zips from Boo! Designs, which are perfect for the Boo! Designs Gallery Dress (which I've made a few of by now!). I realise that my daughter is now starting to give her mummy a run for her money in the dress department, but I made her two more so I could try out the zips. They are semi-exposed, with the zip edges concealed between the dress and facing. The instructions for insertion are so clever!

I probably will stitch a little closer to the zip next time, but not bad for my first go!

I also decided to try the sweet little gathered sleeves for the first time. I think they look so cute! I bought this princess fabric a few months ago for $4/m when I decided to start making cushion covers to sell. An idea which lasted about 10 minutes.

This teal corduroy has been in my stash for years, and so has the Aboriginal- print funky cotton. I seriously love this little asymmetrical collar.

I've been on holidays this week while my kids have still been at school (I teach at private schools and they go to a public school) and decided to do a whole bunch of sewing. I tried out the Pins leggings 
pattern by Boo! Designs for the first time, using some spandex that I bought on EBay for this purpose. I took a gamble buying online as I wasn't sure how thick the stuff would be, but it's perfect! 

I made a ful length pair for Lizzie and a sports length pair for myself. Lizzie's fit perfectly - I cut them to her measure,nets, which worked out to be Size 2 with Size 5 length. I cut mine out on the biggest size (kids size 14) and they are just a teeny bit too big, so I'll cut a 12 or 13 next time. 

We seriously love our new leggings!

Lizzie has a birthday party to go to this afternoon, and I decided to make a dress as a gift. I deliberated for ages and finally settled on a patchwork look with dark denim and this funky print that I've had for years. The finished product looked a lot better in my head than it turned out. Also, I spent way too much time on this as I didn't read the instructions and did the seams and all-in-one facing in the wrong order, so there was no way to finish the armholes. I decided to put sleeves on and I think it made it worse.

I put this horrible photo on Facebook and the general consensus was that it's not really to anyone's taste, so I decided not to give it as a gift but to let Lizzie have it instead. I quickly whipped up this alternative present for the birthday girl.

I love the babushka doll fabric- I bought it when Lizzie was a baby and wish I'd bought heaps more! I think this skirt is super funky and I'm sure it will be appreciated.

Now I'm going to have a rest from sewing...for at least two days, maybe! 

Friday, June 12, 2015

A few little creations

I haven't really done much sewing lately. I've been really busy with work and crap, and have kinda lost the will and motivation to make stuff for myself.

However, I did whip up this little Sewaholic Renfrew top:

I scraped it out of a very small piece of fabric, and had to use some plain red knit to line the cowl. Upon first inspection, I didn't think the print was directional, but when I first looked at this photo I realised that most of the bows on the front are upside down! Oh well. This was a really good stash busting project.

I also whipped up this little infinity scarf/ cowl type thing using a piece of leftover ponte. No effort at all was required. I think it took 10 minutes to make!

Lastly, a gift for a birthday party that the kids went to today. The dress is the Gallery by Boo! Designs. I got the pattern for the little headband by googling 'girls knotted headband'. This was not a stash busting project...in fact, I broke my fabric buying ban in a big way last weekend. Oh well, 6 months is pretty good!