Tuesday, September 2, 2014

New Look shift dress

Here is my latest labour of love. This was my first time making a shift dress. I thought it would be super easy to get the fit right, but on the other hand, I wasn't sure whether the shape would suit me.



I bought this gorgeous linen from Spotlight when they had their 40% off all fabric sale about a month ago. I knew I wanted to make this dress with it, so I bought the exact amount I needed for it. Another first! I'm not sure of the composition, but it's definitely a blend as it doesn't wrinkle like crazy.

I cut the top half on the smallest size, and the bottom half on the next size up. I know I say this every time, but I really need to learn to cut two sizes up on the bottom! Who knew I was so pear-shaped? Not me!

I took my time with this because the fabric was expensive by my cheapass standards and I didn't want to ruin it. I wanted to add inseam pockets, which I did, but when I tried it on with the pockets, it looked terrible. They were too low, and they made the dress puff out at the sides, giving me an Oompah Loompah effect. So I had to unpick them, under-stitching and all!




That disaster aside, it came together easily. The neck band was a little fiddly, and next time I will add the band before inserting the zipper so it will have a cleaner finish. But check out my stitching in the ditch! It's so neat, you can't even see it!



I didn't like any of the sleeves on offer with the pattern, so I added my favourite ones- the darling little pleated sleeves from New Look 6000. How cute are they?



I ended up having to reduce the seam allowance to about 5mm on the bottom half to make it sit right. I blind stitched the hem with my machine.



I really love this dress and the fabric. I think my fears of looking like Homer Simpson in a muumuu in this were unfounded!
Next I think I will make a shorter, plain black version for a super classy LBD.



Monday, August 25, 2014

Not-so-jiffy Jiffy dress

So I picked up this pattern a while ago for a ridiculously cheap price. Before I'd finished my curtain making (which I have finally finished...woohoo!) I decided I needed to make myself a quick dress. It's called Jiffy, so that means it's fast, right?



I stupidly thought this was going to be easy to fit. I don't know why, but I thought it was a simple shift dress and completely overlooked the fact that it has French darts. It also has  a centre front seam and shaping in the back. Suffice it to say that when I put it on, it was a disaster. Too loose around the bust and really tight around my butt and waist. When will learn to cut the bottom half two sizes bigger than the top???




Anyway, obviously I resolved the fitting issues- it was just a matter of putting it on, pinning, unpicking, sewing, putting it back on...about 10 times. But I got there in the end. 

The fabric is pique and was left over from a previous dress. I still have enough left to make a dress for my daughter. This fabric has great structure.




This dress is a really cute shape and I love it. I will make another one in summer but will have to do some tweaking to the pattern. Also, it's not bra friendly (as you can see) and I hate my bra showing so I will need to fix this.



Sunday, July 27, 2014

Instant gratification

I haven't blogged for a long time because I've been busy making 3 sets of curtains and sheers for the enormous windows at the front of the house. I just have to buy fabric for the last one and then make it and I'm done. Even though curtain making is not exactly difficult, there is a lot of measuring involved, and tedious sewing of loooooooong, straight lines, so it's taken longer than I would have thought. I wanted to break up the tedium a bit with some quick, easy projects.

I've made a couple of Sewaholic Renfrew t-shirt dresses, so I thought it was time I tried the pattern as it's intended- a t-shirt. I made the long sleeved version with the gorgeous snugly cowl.



For this project, I did something I rarely do. I went out and purchased fabric specifically to make a certain project. Usually I just grab whatever is cheap and it languishes in my stash for years because I have no idea what to do with it.

This slinky jersey knit was on special for a good price (can't remember but probably under $10) so I grabbed the exact amount I needed to make the Renfrew. It's such nice stuff- really soft and slinky, and not that cheapo stuff that's transparent when you hold it up to the light.



This top took me about 90 minutes to sew, using only the overlocker. It would have been quicker but the onverlocker and I were not seeing eye to a for a while. This is a lovely make that I am going to wear heaps if our winter decides to come back. Our weather is really shitting me this year- we had no autumn, with a summer that lasted until the end of May, and we had some lovely cold weather at the beginning of July and now it's hot again! Gah!



I just whipped this up for my girl and it took about 45 minutes including cutting. I had 3 pieces of coordinating fabrics that were too small to do anything with, so I cut them into strips, sewed them together, added some waist elastic and ribbon trim, and voila- a cute skirt! She loves it.



What's your favourite quick make?

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Sewaholic Renfrew dresses

I made these babies a while ago but hadn't had any opportunities to take photos of me wearing them yet. They are quite far removed from my usual dress style, being quite slinky and clingy, but I finally got the chance to wear one last night to my mother-in-law's 70th birthday party.




For my test run, I chose some super slinky knit that I purchased about 5 years ago when I first started sewing, thinking that sewing with stretchy fabric would be easy. Derrrrp. I traced the Renfrew pattern on a size 2, tapering up to size 4 at the waist, and made it dress length by continuing the angle of the side seam for an extra 13 inches.


I knew I wanted to have a lining so that the whole world wouldn't have to look at my undies outline, and also to give it more warmth (our climate is far too hot to wear poly knits with long sleeves except from June- August). I used some unknown knit that a friend gave me a while ago. I lined it by basting the lining to the shell and treating them as one layer. This mostly worked well, except when it came time to add the bottom cuff. The two layers were behaving differently and there is a bit of kinkiness going on down there.


Another dumbass thing I did with my first version was to cut TWO BACKS instead of a front and back like normal people would usually do. The dumbest bit was I didn't even realise until I finished it, put it on, and noticed the neck was far lower than it shoud be. Oh well- lesson learned!




The second one was much easier. I left out the cuff, which in hindsight I should have kept, as I discovered last night that I am flashing way more leg than I am comfortable with (my husband loves it, of course). I only sewed the lining and shell together at the neck and armholes, and this worked much better than the last version.



I constructed the entire garment on my over locker, and I seriously can't believe how fast it was. Guys, I believe I have conquered my fear of knits! I know the fit is not perfect, but look at that cowl. Gorgeous! 





I bought some slinky black jersey to make a normal t-shirt length one to go with the black Thurlows that I intend to make soon. This will be my new orchestra uniform. Hopefully I will get it made before our next concert.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Mish Mash Dress

I decided to make a really quick dress on the weekend and thought I should use a bodice that I'd had some success with, the New Look 6910. I wanted sleeves so I can wear it now in the cooler months, and the Emery sleeves are simple so I used them. For the skirt I chose New Look 6886, which is some kind of circle skirt- a quarter or half circle, I guess. Probably quarter.

 

This did not prove to be the fast and easy project I'd hoped it would. The fit of the bodice was really off, and the lining was too short in the centre of the waist. I noticed this the last time I used this particular poplin as a lining. It has no 'give' in it at all, and it shrinks when pressed. I almost threw the whole thing into the 'fix at some stage in the future' pile because the lining was pulling up the front of the bodice, but I had a lightbulb moment and decided to chop off most of the lining, overlock the edges, and turn it into an all-in-one facing. It worked a treat! Except of course I hadn't finished my seam allowances becaus the bodice was going to be lined, so I need to do something about that. However, I was too impatient after 4 nights work on this damn dress and just wanted to wear it to work today, so the seams will have to wait!


I chopped an inch off the Emery sleeves and I think they look cute a bit shorter. I also had to take the side seams and princess seams in a bit to get rid of some excess fabric. The fit is pretty good now.



I think this is a really pretty dress but it's given me a bit of a smack in the face and made me realise something...I really need to learn to slow down and do things properly. This means making a muslin, no taking shortcuts, no setting myself deadlines, and taking the time to enjoy my sewing. 



On that note, here are some patterns I picked up from Spotlight yesterday. They had a great deal- 3 Simplicity patterns for $10! I'd been waiting for them to get 1419 in stock so I'm stoked that I got it, and these other two cuties, for such a great price!


Saturday, May 31, 2014

Boy oh boy! May seemed to fly by in some ways, but finding a different me made every day was a hard task. This May has been hot so all of the warmer me mades I'd saved until the end were too hot to wear. I can't believe today is the first day of winter and the temps are still in the mid to high 20s!

Day 26: Unblogged Kwiksew top and Lee jeans.
Day 27: my Perfect Dress, crappy cardi, Corelli heels
Day 28: Butterfly Dress, op shopped belt


Day 29: Kwiksew dress, crappy accessories
Day 30: Emery dress, Mel Apple shoes.
Day 31: wore my other Emery dress which I wore earlier in the month and couldn't be bothered photographing again.

All in all I've enjoyed Me Made May. I've noticed there are lots of items that I either don't like or don't fit me well. It's been a good opportunity to evaluate all my me mades.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Me Made May- Week 4

Day 19: My 36th birthday! We had a nice day, heading down to Point Danger in the morning and then dinner at the top of Q1. 
I wore a blouse that I made in 2012, my hot Sourpuss pedal pushers, and cheap cardi.

Side note: my hubby gave me an iPad for my birthday and I'm really clueless about it. How does one post links? And how does one open up another browser page whilst in the middle of doing a blog post? Any help would be greatly appreciated!


Day 20: Sewaholic Cambie and Miss Shop cardi. My son has been responsible for most of the photography this week!


Day 21: Ottobre ponte tunic, Big W leggings, Correlli leather boots.


Day 22: polka dot top, Basque ponte skirt, Target cardi, TUK peacock heels.


Day 23: New Look 6000, crappy cardi, Corelli heels.


Day 24: Top made from an old bed sheet, Lee super skinnies.

On Day 25 I wore a really boring me made blouse that I've already shown so didn't bother taking a pic. I'm struggling even though I have heaps more me-mades than I did last year. I think I'm getting fussier about what suits me, what fits me well, and what I feel comfortable in.