Wednesday, October 16, 2019

McCalls 7954

It's hot. So hot. So hot I think I might melt. The thought of actually wearing clothes revolts me. Yet decency decrees that clothes must be worn! Thank goodness, then, that I sewed myself the lightest and airiest dress of all time - say hello to McCalls 7954!


McCalls 7954 #8


McCalls 7954 #5


This is seriously the best dress ever for those horrid 40 C plus days. I made it up in a very light cotton, and it almost feels like wearing nothing at all! Plus it looks super cute on - I may feel turgid and irritable on the inside, but this makes me look put together on the outside. Win win!

The one downside? The cotton is kinda sheer. My fault for not underlining the skirt, as I was a wee bit short on fabric. So alas, no posing with the light behind me for these shots, least I inadvertantly do a Princess Diana on you all!

Technically, this was a great pattern to sew. I particularly liked the bodice gathering system - I'm definitely going to keep it in mind for future projects. Getting the key hole section in the bodice to sit perfectly straight was a bit tricky - there may have been some unpicking going on - but ironing the section flat before sewing it made life much easier for me.

Would I make this dress again? Probably not - it's a smidge too short for my liking, and not quite demure enough for work wear, but nevertheless I adore how cute it is, and it will be perfect for hot summer evening drinks with friends - that's if I can bear to leave the house in the first place!


McCalls 7954 #9


McCalls 7954 #1

Project Details:
Pattern - McCalls 7954, view 1 + 4
Fabric - Textured lightweight cotton from The Fabric Store
Notions - 35cm invisible zipper


Saturday, September 28, 2019

Silk cami and sequin skirt

Teen fashion. It's a tricky one, isn't it? On the one hand, you want them to have bucketloads of fun exploring amazing fashion possibilities. On the other hand, you want them to feel comfortable and secure in their clothing choices. Balancing individual tastes with the teenage desire to fit in can be tricky rope to walk, but I think with this case we nailed it!

Cami and sequin skirt


I chatted lots to my girl before we decided on this outfit. The theme of the party she is going to is 'neon', but we wanted something that was wearable and could be used for other occasions, not just some screamingly bright fluoro one-off. I had seen this bright silk crepe de chine at The Fabric Store, and had been wanting to make the Ogden Cami by True Bias for ages, so it was a no brainer. Then we searched on Pinterest for "cami outfits", and once we saw the pairing with a sequinned skirt we were sold!

My girl loves it because it makes her feel grown up and sophisticated. I love it because it is flipping awesome, and now I really want one of my own!

Cami and sequin skirt 005


Project Details:
Cami pattern: Ogden Cami by True Bias
Cami fabric: 1.6m of neon yellow silk crepe de chine from The Fabric Store.

Skirt Pattern: New Look 6103
Skirt Fabric: 50cm sequinned fabric from GJ's Discount Fabrics, plus lining material

Friday, August 16, 2019

Vika - again!


Brooding landscape? Check.

Freezing Irish weather? Check.

Kind of frightening ruined castle? Check.

Can a snuggly warm handknit be a match for all this? YOU BETCHA, BABY!


Vika3

Vika4

Vika5

Vika2


Here's my girl modelling her second Vika sweater during our trip to Ireland earlier this year. (See previous version here). Not much to tell - she loved the jumper, wanted it to be slim fitting again, so I made child size 8 and extended the sleeves and body to accommodate her extra length. It's a pretty intensive knit (all those cables!) but I got it finished during the trip for her to wear, and she loves it. Phew!

Project Details:
Pattern - Vika (for kids, there's also an adult version) by Brooklyn Tweed
Yarn - The Fibre Company Cumbria Worsted from Yarn + Co.




Friday, June 07, 2019

Simplicity 8014 Shirt dress

Give me an S! ESS! Give me a H! HAITCH! Give me an I! EYE! Give me a... oh dear, this is going to take all day. Quick, say it with me now: GIVE ME A SHIRT DRESS! YEAH!


Shirt Dress 03


I have wanted to make a shirt dress for years. Yes, literally years. But the perfect pattern always eluded me, despite extensive searching. The problem is, most shirt dresses come with a pointed collar, which I don't like. I don't like how they look on me, I don't like how they remind me of school shirts, and I especially don't like how they remind me of years of crappy jobs where you had to wear one of those shirts as part of a uniform. Shuddering in horror here at the memories.

But shirts with band collars? That I do like. Shirt dress patterns with band collars? Come over here, and let me buy you a drink! Or even better - let me sew you up!


Shirt Dress 04



I went for the band collar, full skirt and long sleeve option on this pattern, after finding the most amazing fabric from The Fabric Store. It's a heavy weight cotton, which I was really excited about, as it would be provide me with the warm I need and also give the skirt some desired fullness. I pretty much stuck to the pattern as was, with the only alterations being taking the sleeves seam allowances in by 1cm (I also like skinny sleeves) and doing a faux cuff on the sleeves, rather than a real cuff. I knew I wouldn't ever roll the sleeves up (see warmth requirements, above) and I just couldn't be bothered faffing about making a true cuff. So I cheated!

I also added some topstitching on the button band, sleeve seams and the cuffs. I am a sucker for how topstitching makes a garment look so much more tailored, and it really suits the look of this dress.

The fit on this is great - nicely cinched in at the waist, and beautifully fitted across the shoulders. If you like a good, tailored fit, you can't go past this pattern. Would I sew it again - if the right fabric crosses my path, I would certainly consider it! Now give me an S for Super Stylish Shirt Dress! Woo hoo!


Shirt Dress 01


Shirt Dress 08


Project Details
Pattern: Simplicity 8014, View A with band collar
Fabric: 3m cotton from The Fabric Store
Notions: 17 buttons, interfacing


Friday, May 24, 2019

Embroidered tulle dress using Butterick 6086

Embroidery? Sheer tulle? Grosgrain ribbon waist? Oh baby, take me there!




I saw a RTW version of this dress when scrolling through fabric on Etsy, alongside the fabric itself, and although no doctor was present to confirm anything, I swear my heart stopped a beat. Then restarted itself, beating fast with passion fueled by the desire to get my hands on this fabric as soon as possible. Click, yes, 2 meters in my cart and we are done - the dress of my dreams will soon be mine!



When a fabric is this beautiful, it's always best to let it speak for itself, and not overcomplicate things with a fiddly pattern. In other words, keep it simple, stupid! So I chose Butterick 6086, which I had made before. It is a simple pattern that suits my body shape, has lovely thin sleeves, and pretty much matched what I wanted this dress to be.

The only pattern alterations I made were to shorted and straighten the skirt, and to increase the skirt width. I also reduced the sleeve width by 1cm - a small amount I know, but I have skinny chicken arms and I wanted the sleeves to look nice and slimline.

Actually making the dress was pretty easy! I took my time with pattern placement when cutting out the pieces, and am so happy with how the embroidery looks on the dress. The bodice front and backs were interlined. The skirt was lined, and for the lining and interlining I used a cotton voile that had a nice bit of body, so the skirt would fluff out a bit.

The hardest part was ironing the tulle. I always love pressing my seams so they look razor sharp, but I couldn't do that with this dress as the risk of melting the tulle was quite high. I had to content myself with taking a gently, gently approach with the iron on quite a low setting. My seams don't look as sharp as I would generally like them, but I had no melting accidents, so I'm calling it a win!

All tulle seams were done as French ones.

To conclude, I am so happy with how this dress turned out! I did um and ah a bit about adding the grosgrain ribbon to the waist, but when I consulted with my daughter and her bestie, who were having baking session in the kitchen, they both voted for the ribbon waistband. How could I dispute the fashion sense of savvy teens? I dare not, so beribboned my dress became!

Now I just want to make all the things out of all the tulle. Don't be surprised if you see another tulle creation in the future!


Project details:
Pattern - Butterick 6086, view C
Fabric - Embroidered tulle fabric from Yanafashion on Etsy, 2 meters, plus 1.3 metres of cotton voile
Notions - 55cm invisible zipper






Monday, May 06, 2019

Vintage Simplicity 3069


Simplicity 3069 #07


What do you get if you cross a vintage pattern from the early 1960s with cool faux leather coated woolen fabric? One totally rock'n'roll dress!


Simplicity 3069 #02


Simplicity 3069 #06


Simplicity 3069 #02


I didn't' actually expect this dress to turn out so sassy, but when I first made it the skirt was ginormously long! So I cut a wide swath off. Then I decided that it needed to be shorter still. So another swath was cut. Then I tried it on again and realised... um, totally showing a bit of leg now, Jorthy girl. But the deed was done, and I felt a bit rebellious in my new short skirt, so that is the length it has stayed. And I LOVE IT!

This was a pretty easy pattern to sew, but I did need to do quite a bit of fitting adjustments. I think I ended up taking the bodice in about 8cm, and to be perfectly honest it could still go in some more, but I like to have a bit of room to move about! I really am digging the belt feature - it makes the dress, and I would definitely consider making another version of this frock but in a lighter coloured fabric, just to do the belt again! It cleverly is joined to the front bodice inside the darts, then fastens upon itself at the back. Very very cool design detail!


Project notes:
Pattern - Vintage Simplicity 3069
Fabric - 1.5m coated wool from The Fabric Store.
Notions - 45cm invisible zipper

Friday, April 26, 2019

Simplicity 2178

There was wind. There was rain. There was one very misbehaving shoulder petal. But fear not - photography conquered all!


Simplicity 2178 #10


I think this was the quickest project photo shoot I've ever done! We managed to scamper back to the car before the heavens properly opened, but it was such fun! Even if most of the outtakes feature me pulling various glaring faces at the shoulder petals as they decided to do their own thing, rather than sit nicely like they usually do on wind-free days. Ah, the things we do for our blogs, eh?


Simplicity 2178 #08


Simplicity 2178 #04


But enough of the photos - what about the dress? This pattern has been in my To Make list since it came out in 2011, but I never found the right fabric for the job. Then, as kismet would have it, I ordered 4m of cotton seersucker from Spotlight for a vintage dress, which I then decided against making. However this fabric practically followed me around the house, hissing at me that I needed to sew it into a fabulous frock and it needed to happen NOW, so I did what every sewist who believes that their fabric can speak to them would do, and paid heed. Simplicity 2178, meet the red seersucker!


Simplicity 2178 #01


I LOVE THIS DRESS! I'm really happy with how it turned out - it's not a pattern that seems to have been sewn up a lot, so I was a bit worried about how it would look once finished, but it came up great for me! It's not a pattern for a newbie sewist - there is a lot of work in it, with the usual Cynthia Rowley sewing additions that seems to make it a more involved project than would appear at first glance, but the end result has been worth the time it took.

The one part I was worried about was putting a zip next to the pocket, but it actually worked out quite well. Having a thin cotton to work with helped - I'm not sure a heavy fabric would turn out so well, and you would probably end up with a bulky zippered/pocketed side seam, so just beware.

The one change I made was not to do the hem facing - this was simply because I didn't fancy doing hand stitching, and figured with the seer sucker the hem wouldn't be super noticeable anyway.

All in all, this pattern was worth the wait. I mean, who can go past a red statement frock? Not I, that's for sure!

Enjoy the pics. Rain was braved for your viewing pleasure!

Project Details
Pattern: Simplicity 2178 by Cynthia Rowley, view A
Fabric: 3.5m red cotton seersucker from Spotlight
Notions: Interfacing, 35cm invisible zip

Monday, April 15, 2019

Vogue 9100 and vintage Simplicity 3470 mash up

Before we start, I would just like to say that no dresses were harmed, splashed with salt water or got flecked with sand during this shoot.

Vogue 9100 #07

Ok, ok, maybe a little. But gee, wasn't it worth it for the fun and pure child-like delight of splashing about in the ocean in a fancy dress!


Vogue 9100 #06


I say that this dress is a mash up, but what I really did was use the bodice from Vogue 9100, and then run with the concept of the skirt from Simplicity 3470. I wanted an insanely full skirt, so I made the skirt 3 metres wide before gathering, and made the frill 6 metres wide. When I was actually gathering all those miles of fabric together I did wonder if I had taken leave of my senses, especially since gathering fabric of one of my least favourite sewing jobs, but the end result was worth the sore fingers from pulling those gathering threads tighter and tighter. No pain, no gain!

Another change I made was to make the shoulder straps 2cm shorter on each side. I've made Vogue 9100 3 times now (see version one and version two), and the shoulders do tend to slip a little, so by shortening them I bypassed that wear issue.

All in all, I love this dress! It took a lot of work, as the lace was underlined (so each piece was underlined before I began sewing any pieces together), and then the dress itself was fully lined, but I'm glad I put the work in - this is going to be part of my forever wardrobe for sure!


Vogue 9100 #01
Vogue 9100 #04




Vogue 9100 #11


Project Details:
Patterns - Vogue 9100 and vintage Simplicity 3470.
Fabric - Navy blue lace and cotton for both underlining and lining from The Fabric Store.
Notions - 35cm invisible zipper.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Simplicity 8594 and really bad rhymes galore

Summertime in the city,
And all I can think of is pretty dresses and Liberty.
So with no lack of perspicacity
I give pattern and fabric propinquity

Ok, Kanye's job is safe.
Which is a thought that really does chafe.
A good rhyme, sadly, I maketh not.
But a cute dress - yep, I hit the spot!


Simplicity 8594 #09


I LOVE LOVE LOVE (like a dove, from above) this dress!
It has all the elements a frock needs to address:
Cute neck?
Check!
Pockets?
It rocks it!
Fabric that's cute?
The point is moot!

Will I make it again?
GIVE ME AN AMEN!!!


Ok, ok, I gotta stop.
The rhyming mic, I really must drop.
But before you bombard me with your strictures
Sit back and enjoy the pictures!


Simplicity 8594 #03

Simplicity 8594 #01

Simplicity 8594 #04


Project Notes:
Pattern - Simplicity 8594, version C
Fabric - 1.8m of Liberty cotton print from GJ's Discount Fabrics
Notions - Interfacing, 50cm invisible zipper


Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Frocktails 2018 Dress

Frocktails! It's bigger than the Grammys, Emmys, Oscars and the yearly dinner for the Queensland Philatelic Council! Usually much much thought goes into planning my outfit, with many accompanying mind changes, but this year I knew exactly what I wanted to do - pretty much a grown-up version of my girl's iceskating outfit, but with added feathers.

I think I TOTALLY nailed the assignment!

In all seriousness, though, I love a bit of messy glamour. And I love the full-skirted vintage style. So I decided to bring the two together, very much helped along with a gorgeous feathered and beaded lace tulle piece I found on Etsy. A quick trip to The Cloth Shop, and I soon had my matching fabric. The lovely owner Kim helped me match in a gorgeous red silk faille, which draped like a dream. It was like sewing with butter, but in fabric form - an absolute gem of a material.

Then the real work began. I made a muslin first to ensure my fit was good, loosely basing the bodice on an old vintage pattern I had. Then I made up the dress in the silk, boning the bodice for the perfect fit, and let it sit on my mannequin for the skirt to hang correctly.

Meanwhile I cut up my tulle piece, and then began to pin it haphazardly over the bodice and skirt of the dress until I was pleased with the result. Initially I was going to keep the bodice strapless, but I felt it looked too bare, so I fashioned a single shoulder piece out of the left over lace, which I felt worked a treat. Then I hand sewed all the applique on. It took probably 12 hours or so to do the hand sewing, but this is Frocktails, peeps - it was worth it! The dress was finished with a rolled hem.

Then, just to add to the fun, my talented pal Samara agreed to take pre-party pictures of myself and my darling friend Julia Bobbin, so our outfits could be captured by her amazing photographic talent. It was like being a movie star for a while - people stopped and gawked at us in our Frocktails finery whilst Samara expertly snapped away. I am not joking when I say that we stopped traffic - we LITERALLY did, as she made us pose in the middle of the road! The photos are incredible, and I'm so happy with them. It was worth risking being run over for!

Enough talking - let's get to these marvellous pictures!


Frocktails-42

Frocktails-5

Frocktails-66

Frocktails-51

Frocktails-68

Frocktails-70

Frocktails-117

Frocktails-118

Frocktails-122

Frocktails-138

Frocktails-155

Frocktails-164


All in all it was a blooming marvellous night! Big thanks to Shelley and Lisa for organising it - so much fun was had, and it was brilliant to catch up with all the talented sewing people in their amazing outfits. Can't wait for next year!

Project Details:
Pattern - Self drafted vintage style strapless dress
Fabric - Silk faille from The Cloth Shop, lace tulle piece from MaryNotMartha on Etsy
Notions - Boning, invisible zipper

Photography - Samara Clifford Photography





Monday, October 08, 2018

Vintage Butterick 5033


Wine Dress #7


Have you ever had that feeling where you walk into a fabric store, and suddenly you are stopped in your very tracks by the most perfect fabric ever? You find yourself becoming uncharacteristically shifty, furtively looking around to make sure that no other customer has seen what you see, then you scurry over to the counter (trying, the whole while, to keep your little moans of joy quiet) and ask for an insane amount of meterage, because you must have all this fabric and you must have it now!

It's only afterwards that you realise that you never ever even looked at the price tag. Whoops!

Thankfully this gorgeous fabric from The Fabric Store didn't break the bank, but the cherry on this sewing sundae was finding the perfect colour match lining fabric to go with it! The fabric gods were certainly smiling on me that day.

I think, however, that they may have started frowning - first a little, then a lot - as this dress sat half made on my sewing mannequin for the next 5 months. I have no idea why it took me so long to finish it. Originally I wanted the skirt to hang for 48 hours to sort out any droop, and before you know it was September. Bad me!

However, 'tis finished now, and none the worse for an extra long hanging period. I just love this dress so much - I love the lace, I love the coy little peep hole on the bodice, and I love the pleated super full skirt. The skirt is actually so full and heavy by itself that wearing a petticoat underneath took it to an insane level of fulldom. I doubt there are many door on earth that could accommodate that skirt with petticoat fullness added, so I'm wearing it without.


Wine Dress #6

This dress wasn't too hard to make at all - obviously, having to interline each part made it twice the work it needed to be, but the right lace required that sort of commitment! I did have one rather dreadful mishap whilst making the bodice. I had just finished the peephole and was determinedly ironing it as flat as possible when I realised that the heat of the iron had actually melted some of the fine lattice work connecting the lace motifs. Keeping my cool was a MAJOR challenge, but since I had only just finished handsewing my daughter's ice skating costume I was a dab hand with ye olde hand stitching, so I cut out a wee scrap of lace fabric, inserted it into the scorch hole, then very carefully (and pretty much invisibly, I'm proud to add!) sewed it in. Voila! Magic mending!

Would I made this again? Possible, but not in lace. I think it would smashing in a light cotton for daytime wear. Not that there is anything stopping me from wearing this during the day, but it seriously does weigh a ton, and might be a bit much for day wear, even for me! Anyway, despite taking me forever to finish, I am very happy with it now it is done. Onto the next vintage adventure!


Wine Dress #8

Project Details:
Pattern - Butterick 5033, view A
Fabric - 4 metres of burgundy lace fabric, and 4 metres of cotton lining from The Fabric Store
Notions - Interfacing, 55cm invisible zipper


Wine Dress #11