Sunday, November 29, 2009

A quick fix

It's nine squillion degrees here today and I officially TOO FAT to fit into any summer dresses, so I decided to make a new one. This is Vogue 8386 and the fabric is a lovely rayon jersey I bought at Fabric Fantazia in Nerang last year. I love the print, but never really knew what to make with it, but I like the way this has turned out.

I cut a straight 10, but should have cut an 8. I left out the zip and cut the back on the fold so I thought I might need the extra room. Consequently it's a little loose, but it's OK with the sash.

I can't say I love the dress, but it's a good addition to my wardrobe and it will be comfortable to wear tonight to the final evening on the Mullum Music Festival. It's only the second year this has been running and it's a great success. It's a bit like the Blues Festival used to be fifteen years ago before they started booking acts like REM and attracting a different audience and turning me off. (Having said that, I just noticed today that next year Lyle Lovett is playing, so I may revise my opinion come next Easter!) Last night I saw two incredible young Australian artists: Sal Kimber and the Rolling Wheel, a very interesting folk rock/indie/country ish artist with an amazing voice and an incredible girl drummer (which meant I liked them before they even starting playing). The second was Jordie Lane who I'd put in a similar category to Luka Bloom (he's the son of commedienne Denise Scott for you Aussies). I also saw Vulgargrad, purely because the name of the band and their description of themselves as vodka fuelled swinging ska punk gulag style amused me. If you've seen Moulin Rouge, you will recall the guy who performed a very guttural rendition of Roxanne - he's the lead singer of Vulgargrad.

Tonight I will be wearing my new dress to see M Jack Bee, who is young and handsome and I'm told can even sing, The Stetson Family, about whom I know nothing but I like their name. I'll be finishing off the night with Huckleberry Swedes, whose name is great but I think I like the idea of their electrified country rhythm and soul, whatever that might be!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Sunday, November 22, 2009

No tops today ...

I got it into my head this weekend that I wanted to make a bag from a free pattern I downloaded and fix the fit on a Vogue pattern. I shoved aside the tops I had cut out to sew this weekend and made this.

It's the Hot Patterns Sumatra Shopper. I downloaded the pattern free from ages ago with a view to making these for christmas presents. This fabric is a gorgeous cherry red canvas from Gorgeous Fabrics. The pattern calls for the pleated bit to be mounted onto canvas or the like, which I did. As my canvas was very sturdy I did not interface it, although I bought a roll of very stiff fusible interfacing for the purpose. The end result is a little softer than I would have liked. The bag is very easy to make, although wrestling the bamboo rings into place was a nightmare. Saturday afternoon I walked away while I was still sane and during the night came up with an alternative method to sew it all together. Today I've had this sucker jammed into both of my sewing machines so there was a lot of cursing, but I got there in the end. The topstitching is embarrassing and tomorrow I will buy some beads to sew around the bit where the handle is stitched on to cover my crappy sewing. My conclusion is this; the bags I make for gifts will be made from pretty quilting cottons. I will use the same canvas mount, but I will interface it for a stiffer bag, but only to the stitching line. I steamed and pressed the life out of these seams and they still won't sit flat, so I hope my new method will solve that. This bag goes into service tomorrow as my new gym bag. Oh, here's a bad shot of the interior which I lined with leftovers from a shirt I made about 7 years ago.

I've made Vogue 9668 several times before and while all versions are wearable, the fit has never been quite right During the week I tried on all the old versions and made some notes about why they didn't look right or felt uncomfortable. I dragged out the original pattern and put my traced version over it and found I had made a major cock up by making the front bodice piece about 3cm wider than it needed to be! No wonder I'd had trouble fitting it all together before! I retraced the bits I needed and altered them accordingly. As I was hoping to make a white version of this dress for SWAP and embellish the waistband, I was keen to get this right. I dragged out some old poly seersuckerish stuff that came from the op shop for 50c (no idea what it is, but its kinda stiff and totally see through as you can see).

The short version is this: I made this dress fit perfectly. Here is it without the lining in the skirt. Since this was taken I have inserted a black charmeuse lining and hemmed it with some wide lace I bought at the op in a mixed bag for $1. The dress is finished perfectly, fits perfectly and looks lovely. Except, of course, when I put it on. I have finally realised that the problem was not with the dress, it was with me. This is simply not my style. The nipped in waist points very blatanly to the fact that my waist is way smaller than my hips. And not in a good way. Even in slimming black this dress makes me look HUGE. I think it's the way the v neck and the shaped waistband all point to a narrow bit and them my hips blossom out from under there. I am very disappointed because I love this dress. I have to let it go and work on something else. I'm thinking it might be Vogue 8594. Or I might just make the tops I had planned.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

I liked it so much I made another one ...

The same Kwik Sew from last weekend. I made this from a scrap of fabric I bought at the op shop for $2. The bias binding I bought at the op shop for 35c and the buttons came from my stash, probably once purchased from the op shop although I can't remember for sure.

I didn't do much else this weekend, although I have cut out two dresses, traced two patterns and drafted another Enid Gilchrist pattern for my SWAP. I'm back to the drawing board now ...

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Tops of November ...

With Saturday spent making a family lunch, I've only had one day of sewing this weekend. I had planned three tops, but I've only managed two as my indecisiveness stopped me from cutting out. The first on is KS3668 made from a cotton with spots of orange, tan and chocolate brown, although it's hard to tell from the picture. I bought this fabric to go with my choc vanilla orange wardrobe earlier in the year. When I had the fabric laid out I very nearly made the version with the sleeves, but this is definitely a cool summer cotton and needs to be sleeveless. I haven't sewn the buttons on or pressed it properly, but I quite like this so far. I lengthened it a little, but next time I will take it back to the pattern length.

Next up is a blouse I made from a vintage McCalls pattern I bought at the op shop a while ago. I bought this fabric to co-orodinate with my June Capsule but never got around to actually making it.I've always wanted a floaty tie neck blouse and I made this straight out of the envelope. The pattern says size 12 with a 34" bust, which has worked out perfectly. It's dated 1980, but it's pretty timeless and I'm sure I will use it again. The only thing wrong with this pattern was the instructions. It's a Palmer and Pletsch with instructions for making sewing quicker and easier (apparently). Instead of sewing in the order I normally would sew a blouse, it has you do a bunch of things at the same time so you press them all at once, therefore minimising the amount of time you are up and down to the ironing board. Jumping from one section to another was confusing. When it started talking about sewing the cuff on the sleeve at the same time as sewing the collar, I put the instructions aside and made it up, which resulted in my tie being left off rather than stitched on with the collar. Ah well, a separate scarf/tie might come in useful. I haven't decided buttons for this yet, so the buttonholes aren't done, but it fits well and I like the way this looks on.I've got a few other tops planned for the rest of the week, so I'm back to the cutting table.

Friday, November 6, 2009

SWAP 2010 & November Tops

I've joined Faye's November Month of Tops Sewalong. As coincidence would have it, I read Faye's post about sewing tops the very day I had just removed at least 15 unwanted blouses and tops from my wardrobe, leaving a plethora of empty hangers and a dearth of things to wear.

I've been shuffling fabrics and patterns around, trying to sort out things to make for SWAP this year. I came across a lovely piece of black linen that I have no recollection of buying, although I think I know where I got it from. It's a beautiful weight and absolutely perfect for the subtropics. I did have a different pattern in mind, but then I discovered this one, which really appeals to me. Considering that I don't actually like ruffles, that's a bit of a surprise to me. I've decided to make the sleeveless version, but add the ruffle. I've decided to put the black linen aside for SWAP and make this out of a light cotton with orange and brown spots. I think this will be revisited a few times this summer.

I'm putting the black linen on hold until SWAP time.
There are several options for SWAP this year and I have chosen Option 3
5 dresses
4 tops
1 bottom
1 garment of your choice and I choose a coat
Of these 11 garments, one must be a matched print or stripe, one must feature embroidery or beads etc and one must have buttons as the feature or unusual/alternative closure.
My black linen blouse will feature some bold red and black buttons and perhaps red piping. I haven't finalised many of the patterns for SWAP, although my coat will be made from an Enid Gilchrist pattern drafted from the book I mentioned last post.
I aim to knock out three tops this weekend. I'll let you know how that goes ...

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Pattern tracing

During the August Wardrobe in a Week competition I made this dress.

It was from a pattern drafted from this book, which I bought at an op shop for 20c last year. For more information about who Enid Gilchrist is and the range of books she wrote, take a look at Tracy's blog, Inspired by Enid.

Although I found it interesting at the time, I didn't actually ever think I would draft a pattern from these instructions.

But I did and it was easy! From this shot you can see the dress that inspired mine.

Rather than sewing, this weekend I have drafted four patterns from this book from scratch. I've even muslined one of them. I won't bore you with pictures of my patterns or the ugly muslin, but I am rather proud of my achievements.

One pattern will be my Chanel inspired jacket. I am dedicating the next week to that project in a vague attempt to make the November 15 deadline. I will also use a lengthened version of the jacket for my SWAP. I also traced two dresses. For the basic dress there is a choice of sleeve lengths, a choice of necklines and two different dart placement styles. In coming weeks, I will show you more pictures from the book to give you an idea of how useful this 20c book is. In fact,I may never have to buy another pattern again!

The rest of my weekend has been taken up in altering a few patterns to make them TNTs. I've even frankenpatterned two pairs of pants into one for DH, so he now has a TNT pants and shirt pattern.

To round off my non sewing weekend, I placed a fabric order and will now spend the rest of my evening thinking about SWAP 2010.