Saturday, February 27, 2010

Colette Macaron

Last night I wore Macaron out to dinner with some friends, so I was able to get my lovely husband to take some pics of me in it. Here is one of me having a cup of tea before going out:

Overall, I think it turned out well. I got lots of nice comments, and a friend wants me to make her one (she is totally pint sized though, nothing at all like my shape, and at about 5 foot 1". I am 5 foot 8" - I don't know if I am ready to make clothes for someone so differently shaped to me).

I used a quilting weight cotton for the patterned parts and a cream pin cord for the contrast. In hindsight, I think using a lighter fabric for the contrast may have been a better idea. I didn't end up doing the pockets as I was worried about them being too heavy in the cord. The cord does look nice though.

I did have a nasty time with the waistband though. For some reason beyond my knowledge, the waist band did not match up on both sides. I had to do some tweaking to get it to line up - especially on the zipper side. This photo shows the wonderful job (if I do say so myself!!) job of lining them up:

The waistband does appear to wrinkle slightly, but I think this is because the fabric has a small amount of stretch in it. As the night wore on, it actually relaxed a fair amount (making it a little loose in my opinion). I also had to remove about 4cm overall from the waistband. Either I've lost weight or I'm over-estimating my measurements.

I also had a crazy time with the invisible zip, and I'm still not that happy with it. I found it really difficult to insert the zip when the top of the bodice was already joined. I've only ever put in an invisible zip when the fabric is not joined together at all. But, even though I'm not very very happy with it, it is still okay. The back is very cute:

I really love the tulip-shape of this skirt, and the fact that the little fold/pleats hug my waist down to my hip, then the skirt flares. It is a very nice pattern with so many cute details. The inverted shape of the sleeve, the sweetheart neckline, the shape of the waist....

Now, you may also realise that I have cut my hair short. I usually have short hair, but did go through a stage of thinking that I might grow it. I was experiencing some major vintage hairstyle envy with people like Debi and Gertie. But I did some soul searching, and I'm not a long hair gal. It doesn't suit me, and I think my short hair reflects my personality better. I've also ramped up my exercise again (Michael and I are going to do a half-marathon in April), and short hair is so much easier for running. Here is a pic of my new hair:

Well, I'm off to do some more sewing!! I'll have more pics tomorrow to put up too. I've re-done my Ceylon sleeves (sits so much nicer) and sewn a Sencha blouse (they are the loveliest blouses but I had to do some tweaking with that one too). Hope you're having nice weekends - it is a miserable day here - perfect sewing weather!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

And the Winner Is...... (and other news)

True Random Number Service

List Randomizer

There were 5 items in your list. Here they are in random order:
  1. Debi
  2. Rachel
  3. Bridget
  4. Cecili
  5. Miss Emmi
Timestamp: 2010-02-25 06:46:45 UTC


Debi, you will need to email me at with your postal address details!

In other news, I have finished Macaron. I just haven't gotten around to taking the pictures yet. I will post them on saturday, and the tale of sewing this dress. I did have a few minor issues with the waist band and invisible zipper. I've also nearly finished amending the sleeves of Ceylon - no hassles there, I've just been a little bit slower than usual. But more shall be revealed soon.........

Monday, February 22, 2010

Vintage Brooch Giveaway!!

Hello everyone! I have been practicing making pretty brooches using Casey's tutorial. This is my latest one, using a big shiny faceted button and red velvet ribbon. 

And this is one I'd like to give away to one of you! If you'd like this little red and black brooch for your very own, just leave a comment to this post, with some contact details. I'll enter it in one of those random generator things that other bloggers use, and post it to you! I'll post anywhere in the world. The closing date for the draw will be Thursday afternoon at 5pm, Melbourne time. 


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Inspiration from Casey - A Vintage Brooch

Recently the lovely Casey from Elegant Musings posted a tutorial on how to make a cherry brooch. She was even more generous - hosting a giveaway of one of these pretty decorations.

I fell in love, and was intrigued by the thought of making my own cherry brooch. But I could not find any cherries at my local Lincraft, so I decided to have a go at making one from a vintage-looking button. What do you think?

I bought some more vintage-looking buttons, as well as some cherry red velvet ribbon too. I'm totally inspired. But I still want one with cherries dangling, like the gorgeous one made by Casey. She says she will be selling them in her etsy shop soon, so I think she's already got one eager customer!!

I've almost finished my Macaron Colette dress... just got to do the skirt pleats, zipper and hem.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Green Mean Marian Martin Machine

Okay, so I know it is a bad title for a pretty blouse, but I have the flu -- which is also the caveat that comes with these photos in which I have big bags under my eyes.

So.... as promised, here is my 'good' version of the 30's/40's(?) Marian Martin blouse:

I have nothing really to add from my last description of how this went together. The only thing I changed for this time was the lace trim around the neck edge instead of a facing. This one does sit a lot better too... I think because it is a lighter weight fabric than the quilting cotton I used for my muslin.

Here you can see the bow a little better:

There is one thing I don't like about this pattern. The bow ties are not faced/lined, so the 'wrong' side of the fabric shows through, especially if I don't watch how I tie it. I didn't have enough fabric to line the ties this time, but for next time... they're getting lined!!

Well, I'm back to bed.... there is a cold/flu going around our office and I am the latest to have it. Its only my second week of work at my new job, so I'm feeling like a bit of a slacker!! Plus I've discovered I hate having time off when I have no motivation to sew. Life is unfair!! I've got big plans for saturday when Michael is at work and I've got the house to myself to run my little machine ragged ;-)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Muslin of Marian Martin Blouse

So, sometime ago I posted that I had bought this lovely pattern of a 1940's blouse from etsy.

I had some lovely vintage jade green material with a paisley-like print on it that I thought would be perfect, but wanted to make a muslin of it first (I am getting so much less impatient to get to the 'good version' than I used to be :-).

So I made a version out of some quilting cotton I got from Spotlight for about $3 a metre. Here it is with a 1940's 6-gore skirt finished a while ago:

I ended up doing a few minor alterations. I increased the side seams to about 2cm instead of 1.2cm, and created a facing for the back neck edge. The pattern did not provide one - instead saying to make 'bias strips'. I made an actual shaped facing piece.

I think it turned out nicely:

This fabric was a little bit too heavy weight though I think. I have made the vintage green material version, which was a lighter weight polished cotton, and it sits so much more nicely. I trimmed the neck edge for the green one in black lace. I haven't taken pics of it yet, but will post them as soon as I do. I really really love the green one - wore it to my new job (very exhausting, serious learning curve for me) last week with black Veronika Maine trousers and felt tres chic! 

I haven't had much time to sew lately - the new job is seriously taxing - I feel like a complete zombie. My next projects though are:

Collete Pattern's Macaron in a quilting cotton and silk contrast.

Vogue 8184 in a white and black striped heavy weight stretch cotton that I am completely in love with. I got it from Tessuti's remnant table and can't wait to wear it all made up. 

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Colette Pattern: Ceylon

I am totally in love with the Colette Patterns. I have bought Ceylon, Macaron, and today Sencha and Beignet. Ceylon was the first I bought, and here it is:

This pattern is rated intermediate, and I was a little spooked by it - you know, so many details, curved seams, 16 buttons, hasn't been reviewed extensively yet, etc etc. Spook-worthy elements.

But, I have to say, that even with all the amazing details, it is so well drafted, and the instructions so clear with detailed drawings, I didn't find it as hard as I thought I would. I can't rave enough about the Colette Patterns. They are an amazing line of patterns that are so worth purchasing (and no, I have no sponsorship with them :-)

Here are some of the details:

Now, a few bloggers (including the very highly regarded Gertie) have recommended that unless you are rather (ahem) well endowed, it is best to do a small bust adjustment. I traced the pattern out, got Gertie's tutorial on how to do one loaded on the computer, then put the tissue up to my bust, as she does in her tutorial, and thought it was unnecessary for me. Now - I am a 32C generally - but most of the C-cup is generally for my wide shoulders. 

But, in close up photos, you can see that I have some minor gaping above my bust:

I am thinking that perhaps I could fix that by just taking in that top curved area a little. But - should I do it at the point it joins the yoke, or where it slopes down for the buttons? I really don't know.

Even though it has that bit of gaping, I dearly love this dress. It is made in an inexpensive cotton/poly (and usually I shy away from anything with poly), as I wanted something cheaper to make my  first version of it. It is so nice to wear. Comfy enough to have a big meal in (I wore it to my good-bye dinner with my old work friends) and stuffed myself silly. I'm thinking of making this in a gorgeous bright red linen from Tessuti fabrics for my sister-in-law's wedding - but am worried that wearing red may not be kosher for a wedding. What do you think?

Monday, February 1, 2010

Kreativ Blogger Award

So, this arvo I got home from my little adventure out and about - I have this week off before starting my new job next week. I had an appointment across the other side of Melbourne and decided to take advantage of the awesome op shops over there. I got some vintage buttons.

But, even better than my lovely buttons, was the Kreativ Blogger award given to me by the gorgeous Debi Fife at My Happy Sewing Place. I love Debi's creations - especially her floral blouse and purple skirt outfit. And she is new to sewing like me!!

So, as part of the award, I get to write 7 things about myself that you may not know and in turn nominate 7 other bloggers for the Kreativ Blogger Award.

So.... here are the seven things about me:

1. I have a PhD in criminology... though, while I am a criminologist, unlike popular perception, my work is nothing like CSI Miami.

2. My area of specialisation is sexual violence against women -- I'm a feminist criminologist.

3. I love cycling. And so does my husband. At present, we have 5 bikes between us, but that is at an all time low. Usually, I have 3 and Michael has been known to have up to 6 at any one given time. 

4. I am addicted to chocolate. Sometimes I think the addiction has been cured, and then all of a sudden, I find myself eating a Freddo Frog. Yep, I'm not even picky about the chocolate. Any chocolate is good. 

5. I have to wear orthotics in my running shoes - I have dodgy arches. 

6. I love my dog Bessie like a person. I know people get a bit funny about people loving their animals that much, but Bess is such sunshine in my life, I love her so much. 

7. I am the eldest child in my family, but also the smallest. Everyone else is taller than me. One of my sisters is 6 foot. Due to this, there have been some imbalances in what I see as the natural hierarchy according to the age differences between me and my siblings. I am definitely not regarded as the most clever, or wise, or even most mature. It is quite unfair. 

The next part of the award is to nominate 7 other bloggers. So hard to choose only 7!!

1. I have to choose Enken at Whipstitch Sewing -- a fellow Aussie sewist. I think she has only just recently received this award, but I have found so much inspiration in her beautiful creations. She has the most gorgeous sense of style.

2. Nichola at Nikkishell. She is one amazing sewist. Nichola introduced me to the world of Burda Style Sewing Clubs, and has so generously offered to let me borrow her vintage patterns. She also works at Tessuti - and has offered so much help to me in fabric choices etc. 

3. Tilly at Tilly and the Buttons. Such a cute photo for her blog identity. I love her first dress and can't wait to see her version of the Colette Sencha blouse. 

4. Stephanie at the Naked Seamstress. Did you see her beautiful party dress? The purple colour is swoon-worthy, and she did Hong-Kong seams! Wow!

5. Kelsey at Is That Sew? I love her new and first handmade dress. It is lovely. I also really like the revamps she does of furniture. They are pieces I'd love to have in my own home. 

6. Colette, Lisa and everyone else from Tessuti Fabrics blog. It features alot of people's sewing, gorgeous fabrics and much more. And of course, it is linked to the Tessuti Fabrics online store. 

7. Karin at who has sewn some truly gorgeous things, including a purple vintage blouse that I desperately would like one of. 

Thanks again so much to the lovely Debi for nominating me!!

Marian Martin 9376

The pattern promised such joy -- this was the newspaper cutout for this Marian Martin mail order pattern:

Look! This four-inch-wide bias insert in sleeve and bodice gives you the freedom of action! Reach, bend, sweep - do any active sport - this heavenly sleeve gives you plenty of leeway! Good news! This is a half-size style for shorter figures - no alteration worries!

While my job does not involve any reaching, bending, sweeping or active sport (I work at a computer all day every day), I felt like I would like some new work clothes for my new job.

So, I visited Tessuti fabrics and got some random black fabric from their sale bin. Combining the black fabric with this pattern, this is what I got:

The pattern has some awesome details - asymmetrical buttons, one pocket:

The back looks nice too:

I did have to do some alterations though. Namely taking it in about 3.5cm on each side, which was complicated by that lovely 4 inch bias inset promising so much freedom of movement. At the moment, I am completely bewildered with vintage pattern sizing. I have not had a straight forward garment in ages. 

But, it did turn out nicely:

And now I have a nice new dress for my new job!