Friday, July 17, 2020

Sassy red Vogue 8949

Sometimes, it all falls to pieces. You buy the beautiful fabric in London, drag it all the way home to Melbourne with you, let it sit in the stash for 2 years, then when you cut out the dress you have decided on, you balls it up and forget to cut 4 pieces, and instead cut 2.

Yep! I can be THAT stupid sometimes!

Thankfully, I have a golden rule: Never fart on Mum. I also have a good rule for sewing: Never throw away your scraps until the project is completed. So when I found I only cut 2 of the side skirt sections, instead of 4, I was able to find the scraps, locate a long skinny piece and then cut a thinner version of the pattern piece out. Admittedly, my skirt isn't as full as it should be, but I think it worked out just fine (and thank goodness for scraps!)

Apart from that daft mishap, I'm pretty chuffed with how this dress turned out! And I am beyond grateful to those scraps forever, because (a) I'm pretty sure the store wouldn't have any left and (b) can you imagine the shipping charges to Australia? *shudders*



Once I got over Skirt-Mishap-Gate, and got to the try on stage, I was met with a rude shock. This dress looked frumpy. Normally I wouldn't choose a pattern with such a high waist for a reason - it does NOTHING for my figure, and that was becoming painfully true and I stared aghast in the mirror, and the minutes ticked by. So I did what any sensible sewist would do in my place: I grabbed my pins and pulled the hem up hugely! So now, rather than being Frump Central, the dress has a cool groovy Mod Style look with it's super short skirt! I find when confronted with frump, short skirts are usually the way to go! And to be completely honest with you, I like the dress much better this way!


So apart from cutting the skirt out wrong then giving it the haircut of a lifetime, I didn't make any other adjustments to this pattern. The fabric is a beautiful textured wool, and whilst it feels heavy when you initially put it on, it makes up for it by being deliciously warm! It's perfect for work, and I had loads of compliments when I wore it, from both fellow staff members and patients! As I'm a complete sucker for a compliment on my hand made wardrobe, you can just imagine how that made my day.

So all in all I call this dress a win, although it was a near thing at one stage!




Project Details:
Pattern - Vogue 8949, view D
Fabric - Wool from Misan Fabrics
Notions - Lining, interfacing, invisible zip

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Burda Style 6252 Corduroy Skirt

I always get terribly excited when Tyger comes up to me and says "Mum, can you sew me something?"

Here it is!, I think - my chance to fashion her into my own image, so I readily agree.

"What's it to be, kiddo?" I enquire in a casual tone, lest I betray the excitement making my heart beat so.

"A skirt, I think", she says.

Vision of skirt-based extravaganzas fill my mind. "Rightio! Shall we do ruffles? Or tulips? Maybe a tiered tulle number, perchance?"

This is where she shoots me down. Gently, but her aim is perfect. "No Mum - just a simple A-line skirt."

"Okey dokey", I reply, trying not to be deflated. "Let's talk colour! Bright yellow? Or maybe a textured emerald green? How about hot pink? I know I've got some somewhere!"

Once again she holds me off at the pass. "Just black, Mum", she says, beginning to look at me pityingly.

"Plain black? Right, can do. Shall we do some fancy tabs? Or maybe some statement pockets?" I reply, trying to keep the note of desperation from my voice. After all, who is this person? Is she no daughter of mine? Me, who loves bright colours, and crazy textures, and all the crazy things... how can this plain loving girl be the fruit of my loins?

"Mum, you know what I like - plain black, no pockets, simple corduroy with buttons. That's it!" she says, giving me her sternest look.

This, friends, is the point where I fall apart, I'm ashamed to say. "Not even a pocket? Or some piping? Oh for the love of the sewing gods, give me something exciting to sew!" I moan at her, piteously, I'm afraid.

She comes towards me, arms outstretched. "Oh goody!", I think. "Í'm getting a hug!" No such luck - instead she gives me a firm shoulder shake, and says "C'mon Mum - keep it together, man!" Stopping only to give me a last, slightly condescending pat on the shoulder, she says "Black, Mum. Plain. You can do this!"

And as always, my beautiful girl was right. I could do it, and I did. Presenting one plain black A-line skirt, as requested:


Project details:
Pattern - Burda Style #6252 skirt, view A
Fabric - 1.1 metres fine cotton corduroy from Fabric Deluxe
Notions - 5 buttons from stash

Sunday, July 05, 2020

Vogue 9076

There is so much I love about this dress! Where do I even begin?



Let's start with the 1940s shirt dress vibe. I'm totally crushing into this style - you should see how many 1940s vintage shirt dresses I have pinned on Pinterest! This pattern captures that style perfectly - feminine, sweet, yet practical enough to do a days work in it and then look fancy for cocktails afterwards. That's my kinda dress! I'm a busy lady - my dresses need to keep up!



I was a little trepidatious when it came to the gathered sections on the bust. Would they pouf out and make me suddenly look like a size 36DD instead of my usual minuscule bust size? Fears were allayed - the fit on this is perfection! Phew! Likewise with the gathers on the back - they sit out perfectly, giving texture without adding any inches.


Also, this project taught me a new skill - making my own covered buttons. It was so much fun... I almost began to cover everything I owned in buttons, but managed to restrain my buttony impulses. But seriously, they look perfect on this dress, so I'm really glad I did them. Plus I used up cord left over from my Frocktails 2017 dress for the button loops - recycle for the win!


My only quibble with this dress is that my machine did NOT like the embroidered dots on the fabric. It quietly groaned at me every time I sewed over one, and it did make it a bit tricky to get perfect square corners with the swiss dots in the way. My overlocker, however, threw an absolute hissy fit over going over those dots, and in the end I gave it up as a bad job and zig zagged my edges instead. Total princesses, both my machines! That aside, the cotton is lovely. And the perfect fit for this style of dress.

So my friends, I LOVE LOVE LOVE this dress so much! It was a lot of work, but totally worth it in the end. I feel so sophisticated and elegant in it, and feel it work perfectly not only as a work dress, but also as a wedding guest outfit, or as an extra in a fancy post war movie (HINT HINT MOVIE PRODUCERS! I COME WITH MY OWN WARDROBE!)



Pattern: Vogue 9076, View C
Fabric: Cotton Swiss dot from The Cloth Shop, about 2 years ago
Notions: Interfacing, 13 covered buttons, cord for button loops.


Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Vintage Vogue S-4957


In times such as this, it pays to have a brand new dress in the wardrobe. Admittedly, it can't be worn out and shown off (damn you, stupid corona virus!), and it may be quite some time before it can be taken out for a twirl on a dance floor, but having a freshly made, gorgeous vintage dress in the perfect shade of green in awfully good for moral - and frankly, we all need all the boosts we can get at the moment!

And the best bit - fabric and pattern were all from the stash, so it didn't cost me anything since our new straightened financial circumstances came about. Phew!




I made a muslin of the bodice first, and I'm very glad I did, as the front overlay gather gave me some grief. The instructions called for the centre seams to be pleated, then sewn together, then gathered up. Maybe you need the muscles of Thor to achieve this task, for my puny hands simply could not muster the strength to gather all those pleats up. In the end I compromised, and made a cord which I threaded through the seam allowances (which I had sewn flat), and gathered the overlay centre in that way. It looks the part, and saved me a lot of cursing and unpicking!

I also interfaced the bodice, and boned it for extra support. I'm really glad I did, as it sits beautifully. I'm a big fan of boning these days - if I can bone a dress, I will! (Please excuse the dubious nature of that sentence).

The skirt was meant to be much longer, with gathered sections at the back, but alas - fabric restrictions applied, so I redrafted it to be a simple circle skirt. Trust me, there's enough fabric in that thing as it, and I didn't really fancy gathers sitting over my derriere and subsequently making it look much larger than it really is!


The fabric, which truly is the most divine green I've ever come across in fabric form, is a viscose from Draper's Fabric. I bought it without a project in mind, but when you see that green you've got to snaffle it up as soon as you can! It's lovely fabric, but much slinkier than I'm used to sewing, and does have a tendency to catch easily on things, so this will be a special occasion dress only.

Except for twirling about in my bedroom. Hey, a girl's gotta fill her days somehow!



Project Details:
Pattern - Vogue S-4957, circa early 1950s.
Fabric - Viscose from Draper's Fabrics.
Notions - Iron on interfacing, boning, invisible zipper.

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Birdie cardigan

It's fuchsia! It's got sweet mini eyelets! It's perfect for layering over cardigans! It's my new favourite cardigan - Birdie!




I am VERY happy with how this turned out, and can't stop gazing at the magnificent colour! The pattern is by Louisa Harding's knitwear label, Yarntelier and as per usual this wonderfully talented designer has come up with the goods. Sweet, feminine, yet a wardrobe staple, I could have one of these in every colour and still never tire of their cardigan perfection.



I used Australian Superfine Merino to knit this up, and made two very slight changes to the pattern: I omitted the bobbly edgings, and made the sleeves 10cm longer. I must say, it really is the perfect design - it goes so well with a lot of my summer dresses, and is snuggly enough to ward off any sudden chills. I am seriously tempted to knit myself another!

Project Details:
Pattern - Birdie by Yarntelier
Yarn - Australian Superfine Merino from Maker Maker
Needles - 3.25mm and 4mm

Friday, February 21, 2020

McCalls 7922 - The Super Fuchsia Dress

This, my friends, is a tale of what happens when you fall completely and utterly in love with a fabric, and use it despite the fact that it might not be the most suitable candidate for a pattern.

McCalls 7922 #5

At first glance all seems well in the Jorth world of sewing, right? The dress fits, the knot feature is pretty amazing, and boy - does that colour pop! But scratch a little beneath the surface, and you'll find a story of tweaks, adjustments and alterations. So much for quickly whipping up an easy dress!

McCalls 7922 #1

The fabric, is, amazing! I loved it the minute I spotted it at Fabric Deluxe. It's a crinkle viscose in the best fuchsia I've ever seen, and it had to be mine right away. I thought it would look pretty spiffy done up in McCalls 7922, so I set to work, forgetting two little words: crinkle viscose. You see, anything with a crinkle will act somewhat like a stretch, as the crinkles provide the fabric with a LOT more 'give' than a standard woven. As soon as I got the dress to try on stage, I realised it was huge - so I took it in, tried it back on, then took it in some more. Normally I rarely have to do that, so consider my mind blown!

The fabric is also quite sheer, so I decided to ditch the interfacing pieces for the neckline, as I didn't want it to show through. Instead I did a tiny hem around the neckline - it's not the most elegant solution, but it worked for me. I wanted this dress to be an easy summer frock I could throw on for stinky hot days, as the fabric is so light and airy to wear, so I wasn't too fussed about doing couture-worthy finishes on any edges.

I also bid adieu to the front pleat - something about front pleats gives me the heebie jeebies, so I sewed that sew up instead.

The origami knot took me a white to figure out, and I kept needing to bring the seams in closer and closer until I finally got them sitting tightly without slipping out. The notches, for this fabric, were no guide, but I'll blame that on my fabric selection, and not the pattern.

One quick word to the wise: because the origami knot makes the dress rather voluminous around the midriff, it can add a few inches to the waistline. In some of the shots we took I look like a skinny minnie, and in others I look quite impressively pregnant. So heads up if you don't want people asking when your little one is due!

All in all, I absolutely love how this dress turned out, even if it did involve lots of adjustments. Does it look like the pattern photo - um, no... I feel like mine looks more like a slinky evening dress, but I think I can make that work for me! All I need is a better, less visible, bra and me and the super fuchsia dress will be ready to take on the world! Put your sunnies on - this bad boy is BRIGHT!

McCalls 7922 #7

McCalls 7922 #17

McCalls 7922 #8

Project Details:
Pattern: McCalls 7922, view B
Fabric: 1.4m crinkle viscose from Fabric Deluxe
Notions: 55cm invisible zipper

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Vogue 8184 - The Furry Version!

When life hands you a remnant piece of fabric (that, incidentally, you have been eyeing off in the store for ages, and were kicking yourself for not buying when you originally saw it), and aforementioned piece is only 1 metre long, what is one to do? That's right - make a trusty Vogue 8184 out of the bad boy pronto!

Furry 8184 #13

Furry 8184 #6

Furry 8184 #14

Seriously - if anybody else knows of super cute dress patterns that can be made with a single metre of fabric, then please let me know! I can't think of any bar this one - all it needed was some grosgrain ribbon, and we were a-go!

The dress is lined and boned on the bodice. It does make for a bit of extra work, but it stops any creases forming (and when you have a tendency to slump like me, then boning is a handy reminder to STAND UP STRAIGHT, YOUNG LADY!) and always gives a dress a polished look. Grosgrain ribbon along the waistline seam and as shoulder straps complete the look.

As for costs? Well! When you score a bargain remnant for about $15, I reckon this dress comes out at around the $30, tops - even including buying boning, zip and lining fabric. I do love it when the dress comes out looking so much more exxy than it actually costs - I feel like I'm winning at life when that occurs! And who could say no to such awesomely textured fabric - it appears that at the moment, I certainly cannot!

The only downside to this dress is that the fabric has absolutely no give in it whatsoever. So I'd best not stuff myself with burritos before putting it on, because that zip will never go up if I do!

Furry 8184 #16

Furry 8184 #12

Furry 8184 #7

Project Details:
Pattern - Vogue 8184, view D
Fabric - 1 metre remnant piece from The Fabric Store
Notions - 35cm invisible zip, boning, lining fabric.

Wednesday, February 05, 2020

Frocktails 2019 dress aka The Christmas Tree Dress

I love Christmas. No seriously - I FREAKING LOVE CHRISTMAS! My favourite movie is White Christmas, my favourite smell is the needles of a real Christmas tree, and don't even get my started on plum pudding with custard. So when I saw fabric online that magically combined brocade with green tinsel, I realised my dream of dressing like an actual Christmas decoration could finally come true!



See what I mean? Party on the top, jingle all the way on the bottom! A girl can never have too much tinsel covering her butt as far as I'm concerned! And this tinsel did it's job - I've never had so many pats on my derriere as I did on Frocktails night whilst wearing this dress!


I used my trusty 8184 - I wanted a simple, classic strapless design so this incredible fabric could speak for itself. The fabric came in a 5 yard piece, alternating in wide sections between the brocade and the tinsel, so cutting out was a bit of a challenge but success (with added shimmer) was mine in the end.


The dress is fully lined, and the bodice is boned on each seam line. An invisible zipper completes the job, and to ensure that the tinsel didn't get caught in the zip each time I put the dress on, I trimmed the tinsel away from the zip area - thankfully there is still enough tinsel around to stop that seam looking bald.


All in all, I love this dress! It is truly one of a kind, and the deep Kelly green is my favourite colour ever. I'm so happy the vision in my head when I initially saw the fabric translated to the dress I got to wear. And it was a blast wearing it to Frocktails - it was, as always, a tremendously fun night!


Photos by the super talented Samara Clifford, featuring my favourite sewing partner in crime, Julia Bobbin, who looked stunning herself in her amazing tailored couture blazer. Girl has talent!


Project Details:
Pattern: Vogue 8184, size 8
Notions: lining, interlining, boning, invisible zipper
Fabric: 5 yard silk/tinsel/acetate piece

Friday, November 08, 2019

Pattern mashup! McCalls 7720 and 7835

I've gone rogue. Off piste. Taken the road less travelled. Headed off the beaten track. That's right - I've become that person... the pattern masher upper!

And why not, says I. Sometimes the bodice is perfect, but the skirt not so much. Or vice versa. And that indeed was the case for this dress. I was making an outfit to wear to the races, and race wear is a devilishly trick beast to define. Much fancier than normal day wear, but not so fancy that you start slipping into cocktail hour. If it looks at home in a nightclub, it ain't race wear! Likewise, if you can recycle your outfit to wear to the office, you haven't nailed it either. It's got to be sophisticated, sharp yet look good in the sunshine.

I had a vision, and it seems I needed two patterns to make the magic happen!

I have long been in love with McCalls 7835 - the skirt in particular was calling my name - but once I made the bodice I realised I had erred into "very well dressed wedding guest" territory. Dóh! I needed a bodice that would keep the outfit dressy, without being over the top glam. I rifled through my pattern stash and came upon McCalls 7720. "Hmm", I thought to myself. "Jorthy old girl, this just might work!"

Now, a sensible person would have done a muslin, but I like to throw caution to the wind and sew on the wild side! Thankfully I had enough spare fabric to attempt bodice #2, so I plunged in, and by Jeeves - it worked!



I'm super happy with how this dress turned out! The bodice is boned and interfaced, and the dress is fully lined. The fabric was a Japanese acetate with a bit of stretch, which made it a very comfortable dress for walking around all day in. The only thing I would have done differently is chosen different shoes - my feet were killing me by the end of the day! But the veil headpiece - now that was a winner! I only wish I could get away with wearing it every day!


Project details:
Patterns: Skirt from McCalls 7835, bodice from McCalls 7720
Fabric: Japanese acetate from Draper's Fabrics.
Notions: 35cm invisible zipper, boning, interfacing.