Friday, January 29, 2016

Shirred Sundresses

It has somewhat amazed me since we moved back to Queensland two weeks ago just how humid it is here. I had forgotten how brutal it can be when it is really hot and really humid. As I said in my last post, my Melbourne wardrobe is not really that suitable for this weather. I need really airy clothes that don't touch my skin much. I'm particularly bothered with too much fabric on my chest. M is also really sweaty and feeling the heat with her cast on -- it must be disgusting to have that little oven encasing her whole arm.

Queue the shirred sundress.

To help us both feel a bit cooler, I made a shirred sundress for us each. M's is out of a delicious Liberty gifted to me by Blogless Anna. Mine is made from seersucker from Spotlight. I wanted to test this style first before committing to one of my nicer fabrics, so this $10/m seersucker fit the bill.

For both dresses, I used Jorth's Tutorial. It is super simple. The only two things I did differently were:

  1. I didn't wind the shirring elastic tight around the bobbin. I keep an even and firm-ish tension as I hand-wind it on, but not tight. To tighten the shirring up at the end, I steam the living daylights out of it with my iron. 
  2. I subtracted 10cm off the width of the rectangles - I found them to be too loose. 
I winged the placement of the straps - pinned them on and tested them before sewing them on, on both dresses.

As you can see, I have a ruffle. This is not intentional! I cut my dress length too short. But now it is on, I totally love it. Ruffle-Tactic!

My last picture is to show my insides - I have a small stash of coloured shirring elastic - check out my green insides!

So there you have it. Two shirred sundresses for this crazy heat. I have two pieces of fabric cut for another for me and another for M. We're both sweating our little hearts out!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Our Move Back to Queensland -- and a Ruby Hack

Hi everyone! We are now Queensland residents again - Brisbane to be more precise.

I could no longer hack the 9-month long Melbourne winter, and wanted M to grow up in a climate where she can play outside all the time. So we decided to move back.

We've rented a very sweet little Queenslander while we sell our house in Melbourne. Then we'll buy something in the same area here.

We arrived about a week and a half ago, and it has been hectic. M started school (prep!) yesterday, after breaking her arm on Sunday night. Poor little bub. I have never felt so distraught in my life, and the time she was under a general anaesthetic was pure hell. She's now handling it like a pro, though is already sick of lugging the cast around. She's a very active kid, and it hinders her running around.

 I bought a new sewing machine just before we moved, and picked it up two days after our move. I got a Bernina 330 and love it. I've got lots of sewing plans, primarily because the weather here is so different, and none of my Melbourne clothes are really that compatible with the sticky heat here. Melbourne is so dry.

To test out my new machine, and sew something to wear on super humid days, I hacked Tessuti Patterns' Ruby Dress. I wanted a drop waist dress with a ruffle on the bottom, made out of this amazing Japanese seersucker from Tessuti, called Black Ripple Square.

I hadn't intended on blogging this (I put it on Instagram and had a few requests for details), so my pictures are a bit limited.

Here are the hack details:

  1. I started with the top length of the pattern and shortened it by 5cm. 
  2. I added 1cm around the armholes, so I could turn the binding under (the Ruby usually has visible binding, turned to the front). I didn't need to add to the neckline. 
  3. I cut a ruffle piece for both front and back that was the width of my fabric. I didn't make it a rectangle though, I mimicked the side seam edge of the top pattern pieces on the side seams of the ruffle pieces. 

That's it! Pretty easy, and I love it. I made a size 8, but took it in an additional 3cm on each side (6cm total). I had to do that recently with the Ruby I made for the Melbourne Frocktails, which I went to the night before I moved to Queensland:

This one is also made from a seersucker from Tessuti, called Navy Ripple Spot (couldn't find it on their website, though I noticed there is a black and white spot version).

I predict there will be more of these dresses in my future. I am really struggling with dressing in the humidity.

What do you wear on super hot/humid days?

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Kate Top Sewing Competition

After a little hiatus from sewing for me, I decided to enter the Kate Sewing Competition run by Tessuti. Kate is their new top pattern and is a shell top with a cropped length and side splits. I chose to make it in an awesome printed stretch cotton also from Tessuti (now sold out).

My Kate came together beautifully. I cut the size small and ended up taking it in. I'm currently making another and am making the extra-small.

I love these cut-away sleeves on my broad shoulders. It shows them off beautifully.

The pattern on this fabric was not printed straight, but I think I made it work. I used the option for concealed binding on the neck edge and armholes. I used some linen in my stash for the binding.

The instructions for the split are great and easy to follow. You end up with a beautifully finished garment.

So now I have a new top that I totally love! I initially wasn't sure about the colours on me as they are quite different from my usual choices, but I really like how they look on me.

How about you? Are you entering the Kate Competition?

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The Peter and the Wolf Vests

***Cough cough*** is anyone out there? It has been a long while between blog posts, hasn't it? I just can't seem to keep my blog-jo going.

I've decided to return to blogland with the three Peter and the Wolf Vests I made for Little M, her cousin L and me recently. I saw an awesome faux fur vest in Country Road and wanted one for myself. I decided to investigate faux fur but couldn't find any nice stuff for a while. Recently I changed jobs again and now work up the road from The Fabric Store on Brunswick St. I happened to go there one lunch (well, maybe every lunch break that week) and found some gorgeous faux fur with a chevron print in the pile. I bought 1.2m and made two little girls' vests and one big girl's vest.

Here is mine:

Mine is an adapted version of this Japanese pattern (I can't remember the name of the book it comes from as I have lent the book to Leith. I lengthened the pattern by 20cm, curved the bottom edge a little more and didn't add seam allowances. I traced the size large - I would possibly go a bit smaller next time.

Here is M's (L's is the same but with different lining):

To make M's and L's, I used Figgy's Lux Vest. I followed Lara's suggestion to print out two of the pattern and join at the CB so you didn't need to cut the fur on the fold. I did this with mine too at the side seams.

Both patterns come together beautifully. A few tips I would definitely recommend when sewing with faux fur are (thanks to Anna for sharing some of these with me!):
  • Have your dust buster and vacuum cleaner at the ready. I vacuumed six times over the course of making these.
  • Push the fur away from the seam (so into the garment) when sewing. Then pick out the caught strands with your fingers or a pin. 
  • Try and cut the underside of the fabric, rather than the fur itself. This keeps the pile intact more and also creates less mess. I wasn't that good at this.
  • Don't wear black to sew with a light coloured fur. Let's just say my fave work out pants are still a bit furry. 
  • Go slow. My machine handled this fine, but I went pretty slow. 
  • Shake the garment out vigorously once you're finished. Watch the excess fur fly!!
I had so much fun making these. My sister has ordered one too - soon I'll have a little furry posse! M is very pleased with hers - asked me to wear mine when she was wearing hers the other day. I obliged, of course. She's too cute for me to get all weird about matching!

P.S. We saw an orchestral performance of Peter and the Wolf recently and wore our vests. Hence the name!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Megan Longline Cardigan and a Giveaway! (and V1247)

Hi! It has been a long time between posts. Full time work has been cramping my style!

I could blather on about my long list of unblogged sewn garments, but I'm going to jump straight to my latest makes instead.

Last week I was in Tessuti for the first time in months, and was lucky enough to try on their new pattern, the Megan Longline Cardigan before it was released. I bought fabric on that day, printed off the pattern the night it was released, and sewed it over the weekend.

Here it is!

I made it out of a very dark navy viscose jersey from Tessuti, and made the size extra small. I didn't change anything. The instructions are fantastic, and the cardi comes together beautifully.

I don't have a great deal to add except that I intend to make moooooore! This fills a real gap in my wardrobe and fits the aesthetic I love. I really love the swingy-ness of this cardi!

Obviously I needed a new skirt to go with my Megan! Totally logical, right???!!! I made a plain black Vogue 1247 out of a black stretch remnant from Tessuti I've had for ages. I made the size 12 and lengthened it by 10cm. No other changes.  The waistband is a smidge big - something to remedy for next time!

Now - to finish, Tessuti have kindly offered to giveaway a hardcopy of the the Megan Longline Cardigan to one of my lovely readers - anywhere in the world! To enter, comment below with your contact details and tell me what colour or print you'd make the Megan in. Giveway closes this Sunday, the 10th of May at 5pm. I'll announce the winner on Sunday night. Good luck!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Two-Piece Setacular

Hi! Happy new year. It's been so long since I blogged. After Sewjourn in December last year I sprained my neck. That has seriously curtailed my sewing, blogging, fun etc. But I'm slowly on the road to recovery and have something I sewed at Sewjourn to show you.

I really love Gorman clothing. Their most current collection had a bunch of 'sets' of clothing - predominantly full skirts and culottes teamed with a cropped woven tank. I really wanted my own version. I was also hugely inspired by the round of Setaculars, the brain child of Sophie from Ada Spragg, that were everywhere in blogland last year.

First, I found the perfect fabric - an Italian cotton called Ink Floreale from Tessuti, which is now no longer available. I then decided to make a circle skirt and a matching cropped top. I used vintage Style 3863 for the skirt - a full circle skirt pattern from the 1980's.

I borrowed this picture from the Tessuti blog - Lisa also made this recently.

I then used my staple woven tank pattern, OOP Simplicity 2599, to create a cropped tank.

So, here she is! My Gorman-inspired two-piece setacular.


I tried to get it so that tank finished just over my waistband, and would only flash teeny bits of skin when I stretched. One of the women at Sewjourn helped me mark the length - I can't remember who it was, but they were spot on! Thanks!

Can you see my invisible zip at the CB? Me either!!

This all came together really well. I have made the tank a million times so no thought was really needed. The skirt hung from the first night at Sewjourn until last weekend.... so over a month. This wasn't intentional, I just couldn't really sew for a while after spraining my neck. I had to machine stitch it (I wouldn't usually) as I'm still not up to long periods of hand stitching (or sewing full stop).

I feel amazingly feminine in this outfit. There is something about wearing a waisted skirt with the cropped tank, and the swishy-ness of the skirt that makes me feel all w-o-m-a-n.

I'm glad to be back blogging. I have a backlog from Sewjourn and one item from since I've been back. I'm also really looking forward to sewing a bit more now my neck is on the mend.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Ruby in Manning

Tomorrow Michael and I have been married for 7 years (we've been together for 12 years). Happy anniversary babe!

To celebrate, I booked in my sister to babysit lunch time next Sunday (she's pretty busy at the moment so no night-time hot dates for us). Then my lovely friend Therese (chooktopia on Instagram), who is also mum to Little M's BFF, asked if Little M could come for a playdate today at her place, and told me and Mike to go out for lunch. As if we would refuse!

In anticipation of next Sunday, I had made myself the new Tessuti pattern, the Ruby Top/Dress to wear on our date. Any excuse for a new frock, I say. I made it in a Liberty Lawn called 'Manning' that I have had in my stash for some time.
Tessuti list suitable fabrics as "light to medium weight linens or linen blends, rayons, viscose and silks". I think I am just scraping in using a lawn. I tried on the sample in Tessuti, made of silk crepe de chine and it flowed over my body better. It also sat at the neckline a tad more nicely.

Don't get me wrong - this lawn version is super comfy and I really like the way it looks, but that crepe de chine sample was all sorts of divine.

See how the lawn billows a little? The silk didn't do that.

I made the size 8, grading to a size 10 at the arm-holes (I know there is a more correct term than that, but I'm too tired to google it and find out) only. I do have quite broad shoulders. I also lengthened the dress length by 8cm and used the teeniest baby hem. I have cut out a viscose crepe version to sew at Sewjourn soon and lengthened by 10cm.

I really like the cut-away arms and the key hole back. I do wish there had been information in the instructions on how to make a thread loop though. I had to search around for a tutorial - the one I found was on the Oliver and S website. 

I didn't stitch-in-the-ditch for the binding on the neck and arms. I don't possess that level of finesse in ditch-stitching and love hand-stitching anyway, so I hand-stitched that binding down. Worked a treat and it meant I could control the tension on the binding to. Take note if you make this - you really do need to stretch the binding a little to get it to sit nicely. 

So, there you have it! A Ruby in Manning. I think I'll wear this a lot. It was very cool to wear on this 37 degree day here today. I have cut out a linen version and the viscose crepe I mentioned before - both to sew at Sewjourn. I also think I'll buy some silk crepe de chine in the fabric sales post-Christmas and make another Ruby dress to wear to my sister's hen's night in February. Are you going to make this? I think it is a great basic with an edge. I see many of the tops in my future too.