Saturday, January 29, 2011

The birthday dress that wasn't ...

I don't usually make a fuss about birthdays, but I like the idea that Trena has of making herself a birthday dress every year, so I decided to make one for myself. I wasn't expecting anyone to be whisking me off for a nice meal or anything, I just fancied the idea of having something special for myself, even if no one else noticed or even knew.

My dress had inspiration in this picture. I like the 50's feel, but shirt dresses don't seem to work on me, I suspect they are better suited to ladies with a more straight up and down figure than mine. After searching and searching I ended up with Vogue 8667. I can't recall which view this is, but it looks better on me than Vera. Now that I have gotten FAT my garments don't look quite the same on her. This has ended up more 60's, which I actually think is where my personal style is leaning.

This is a wonderful cotton that I bought at Fantazia Fabricland in Tweed Heads ages ago and couldn't figure out what to make with it. Every time I found the right pattern, I realised I didn't have enough fabric and of course, there was none left at the store. I tried this dress with several belts and this one looks the best. I have a particular obsession with patent leather, but that's the subject of a-whole-nother blog post. Looking at this now, I think I might try a red pair of shoes.
I have found myself taking more care with my sewing, coincidentally at the same time as Lindsay T posted about it. I also find I look at the instructions less and less and use my own methods and reference material. I lined this entire dress by machine, including bagging the hem. The only handstitching was to slipstitch the collar in place and I only did that because I preferred the look. I lined the top with a beige cotton poplin for comfort (it's hot here at the moment) and the skirt with some black lining I found in my stash (acetate?). I'm so happy with this lining because you could wear it inside out, if it didn't look so weird. I didn't get to wear it on my birthday, but I will wear it on Monday and I'll still feel good, especially if red shoes look good with it.

Monday, January 24, 2011

What I've been up to ...

I've been fairly busy recently, both at work and at home. Although the rain has stopped we have had a few storms and quite high winds. The sea is really big at the moment and last weekend I was totally knocked off my feet by a wave that came out of nowhere. I got up in time to see Molly tackled by the another wave, all arms and legs waving above the foam. It didn't stop her wanting to play. We've had power outages twice with big trees coming down all over the place. I guess that's to be expected when big winds come on the tail of lots of rain.

But there has been sewing. First is this skirt, which comes from the V1127 Badgley Mischka pattern, which has been in my collection for some time. I've hesitated to make this suit because of the fit problems most sewers reported with the jacket. I chose to make the skirt because I wanted a bandless skirt that sat just below my natural waist. With the ridiculously high temperatures at this time of year and the ultra high humidity, I find a band at my waist a little too hot. I cut a 12 based on the actual measurements on the pattern, but I really should have cut a ten. It doesn't sit this low on me as I have hips and Vera doesn't. I'm not sure about this style; there is no shaping in the front. It is comfortable and worn with a blouse over it, looks OK. If I were to make it again I would cut a ten, add a couple of small darts in the front and peg the skirt slightly. Considering I made this from a scrap of gorgeous brown cotton sateen that I got at the op shop for 50c and the lining came from stash, I'm pretty happy. I have pressed it since this picture was taken and I promise it looks better on than it does here. This won't fit the SWAP as there are no unmastered skills in this one.

Next up is BWOF 11-08-110 made from Shine on Diamond Twill from Gorgeous Fabrics. This is the fabric that I had originally ordered in black and I am so pleased that fate intervened and gave me brown. I love this fabric. It is not as shiny as it appears here. The picture in the link above shows the fabric far more accurately than my shot. It feels like a denimy microfibre and was a delight to work with. Again, this skirt looks way better on a human than on Vera. It has the most 'wiggle' factor of any skirt I have ever made.

I had run out of brownish linings and as I was shopping my stash I found this pink, so I decided to use it instead. The lining stops above the godets, so there is no chance of it being seen. I am really happy with the way this turned out. I french seamed the lining and I used a tip from kbenco for them hem; I sewed on bias binding, stretching it slightly as I sewed, then turned the hem up and hand stitched. The bias pulls the curve in enough so that there are no folds. Works like magic. Don't know if this counts as a new technique for SWAP.

I also made this top, which is BWOF 06-07-120. I've made this twice before and it's a perfect cool summer top for my climate. This fabric is persimmon voile again from Gorgeous Fabrics. To help with the sheerness, I have doubled the fronts but left the back single. I french seamed again. Not much else to say about this.

This is one of those garments that is set to be a favourite. I placed an order with Gorgeous Fabrics before christmas, choosing all fabrics for my SWAP and with a clear idea of what each would be made into. Except this brown cotton. I have no idea what I had intended to make. I spent an evening searching through Burda magazines and came up with this, which is 05-10-129. I'm totally in love with this top. I had the military style metal buttons in my collection and they are perfect. It's also my first succesful notched collar! I loathe patch pockets, but this top would not have worked without them. If I made this again I would lengthen it slightly. It was fairly time consuming with all the extra bits and topstitching, but I think it was worth it.

I have an animal print dress cut out for my Australia Day sewing as well as a few other things, so watch this space.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Another SWAP item

This is the other item I made from the swirly green chiffon. It's the dress from Vogue 1100 wardrobe pattern. I didn't pay attention to the pattern so I folded my pleats the wrong way, but I still like the way they look. I underlined this whole dress in a cream coloured voile and used french seams throughout. I even got a near perfect finish on the zipper and facing at the back. I used a slightly different technique than I've used before and it sits much better.
Here is the BWOF top on me, for kbenco. The plunge is typically Burda in that it actually drops about 2 inches lower than you can see in this picture (bad self picture taken at 6am). It's worked out OK because the ruffles cover up my cleavage, but if you make this and are at all worried I would recommend raising the neckline a bit. I am considering making this without the ruffles because I like the shape of the top. In that case I will definitely raise the neckline!
You can't see in this picture, of course, but I teamed the top with a high waisted chocolate brown pencil skirt and it's a really flattering outfit. I'm a little weight sensitive at the moment as I am still unable to train and I worked so hard on my muscle definition ... I'll have to start all over again.

Next up will probably be some bottoms. I have a stunning denimish look fabric with a sheen that I bought from Gorgeous Fabrics that is screaming at me to become a skirt. It's funny how fate works because I had originally selected the black version of this same fabric and by the time my order was being filled, there was only brown left. Before I even set eyes on the fabric, an image came into my mind and so I think that needs to be next!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

I'm flooded in again ...

But unlike kbenco, I have ample tea making supplies. I have sufficient food (human and dog) and my house is high and dry. Then there's the sewing. I had the good sense to stock up on all the threads and zips I might need for the SWAP garments I have cut out.

First up is BWOF 04-10-105 blouse (I think). I bought this cute chiffon at Fantazia Fabricland in Tweed Heads and I think it was a whole $5.99 a metre. I love the print and I love the colours, but I'm not in love with chiffon (you'll see more of this fabric). Suprisingly, however, I love this blouse.

The rules of SWAP say that each garment must have a new or unmastered skill. This blouse has several. First of all there is sewing with chiffon, then there is the rolled hem on the ruffles. Now I know how to use my overlocker properly, I had to find an excuse to roll a hem. I also underlined with butter coloured batiste (a piece I bought at op shop and it had the price $1 written on the corner in permanent marker) and I interfaced the collar with organza. Four new and unmastered things in one garment! Oh and I forgot the french seams!

This blouse is KS 3668, again with rolled hems on the ruffles. I didn't really want another ruffled blouse, but this fabric is so sheer and the ruffles make it acceptable in public. This fabric I think is voile, but feels a little coarser than some voiles I've used. I got it at the op shop for $1.50 and there was just enough to cut this blouse from. I used organza as interfacing on the collar and front plackets. I would have used french seams, but I forgot when I cut it out that this KS pattern only allows 1/4" seams. If I'd remembered that when I cut it out, I would have cut them wider.

As I don't know how long I will be flooded in, I may well get a whole SWAP sewn before I can get out again!

Monday, January 3, 2011

First garment 0f 2011

This is BWOF 04-10-111 tulip skirt. I don't love it, but I don't hate it and it is perfect for this too humid weather. I wore it work yesterday and it was cool and comfortable. This is made from a stretch cotton I bought at Tweed Heads a few months ago and never really knew what to do with. I cut a straight size 38, but it's a little loose in the waist, which suprised me as I have gotten FAT since my holiday (and an injury that has kept me from training for 6 weeks, but I won't bore you with that).
I also won't bore you with end of year wrap up; suffice it to say that I was surprised to find that I had made 59 garments in 2010 (why don't I have anything to wear?).
I was also surprised to find that I got a Credit for my first semester of study when I handed in a less than stellar essay, didn't complete three full essays in my exam and struggled to keep up with the weekly MCQs. I thought I'd be lucky to get a Pass. Maybe 2011 will be a better year ...

Happy New Year!

It's been a while since I've posted. I've been busy. 2010 ended in a flurry of activity and 2011 is starting out the same way. Too much to do in too little time.

So that's why I've added to it and joined the Vintage Sewalong, see the button to the right. I'm making a dress from 1965, Simplicity 6218 in a red burn-out cotton.

In addition to this, I have joined SWAP 2011 and committed to the usual 11 garments Here is the pile of fabric I pulled from my stash as inspiration. Some of this has already been cut out and may or may not make it into my SWAP, as I have no real plan as yet. I have ordered more fabric and I have more than enough garments planned, so it remains to be seen which ones end up in the collection and indeed, which version I am making. I haven't even decided on whether to do all separates, mostly dresses or a mix. I guess my plan is that I have no plan. We'll see how that turns out.
In the meantime, Happy New Year to you all.