Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Difficulties with 'Casual'

Okay, I have a confession to make. I don't wear jeans. I have a lovely pair, and used to wear them all the time, but haven't worn any for about 12 months.

This kind of makes more casual outings a little difficult for me.

I have this dilemma at present. I have a 30th Birthday Party to go to next weekend at the Birthday Boy's house. I've been instructed to wear something of a casual nature.

Michael and I had a conversation about what this is for me. Apparently (and correctly) Michael thinks I do slobbing around the house or glam girl in a pretty frock really well. Nothing in between.

I am sewing up Vogue 9668 in a red wool crepe and initially thought to wear that. It is too dressy. What should I wear????

I'm admiring Stitchy Witch's Jersey Cynthia Rowley Dress

I'm a bit put off though by most seamstress' comments that attaching the yoke to the bodice is really difficult.

I love the look though.

My other thought is to make a similar dress using the Burda Style Melissa bodice (very similar to the Jenny dress) with a basic gathered skirt on it.


What would you wear to a house-party for a 30th birthday? Any suggestions for what I could make? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Friday, July 23, 2010

A Pouffy Skirted Party Dress

Ever since I saw Gertie's Lemon Tree Dress I have been yearning for a simple-design 60s full-skirted dress. I found this one on etsy for a mere $3:

What a bargain! It was still in the factory folds and had not been cut out!

Now, I was a little concerned that it would be a smidgeon too small, so I used 1cm seam allowances instead of 1.5cm. I should have stuck with the 1.5cm as it is now a tiny bit too big.

But, with a belt, I think it looks good!

It has a nice round neckline. I used an invisible zip - I was going to do a lapped zipper, but I didn't have one long enough in my stash in the right colour, so I went for an invisible. Which I had to pull out twice before getting it right. Grrr.

I used a cotton sateen that I bought from Spotlight - it was on sale for $4 a metre. I think for the volume of fabric in the skirt the fabric is perhaps a tiny bit too heavy. The belt does seem to hold up the fabric somewhat.

This was my test version of this dress. My 'good' version is the navy blue and white polka dot Japanese cotton that I bought before I broke my wrist - I am dying to sew it up.

I am getting very good at making 'test' garments or muslins before making the 'final and good' garment. I must be getting more patient! I'm currently on my 3rd muslin for Vogue 9668. The 9668 dress is a real pain to fit - and its meant to be an 'easy' pattern!

Do you make muslins for everything you sew, or just dive straight in? Or do you tissue fit?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

50s Wrap Blouse & Gingham Skirt: A Match Made in Heaven

Happy weekend to all! You may remember some time ago that I gleefully posted that I had finally found this much-coveted pattern - I had been wanting it so badly since I saw Tilly's Lovely Green Version.

I almost had my plans thwarted - when the pattern arrived in mail, it had been raining here. The envelope was wet, and I rushed inside to open it - very gently. The pattern was also wet. The seller had not wrapped it in any plastic at all. I was very cross and convo'd the seller, who told me she never wraps her patterns in plastic. How rude! It dried out anyway - so here is my 50s wrap blouse!

I feel so lady-like in this outfit, like I should be swooshing around the streets with some little gloves on and a hat.

All in all, an easy project. The instructions were a little bare, and I belatedly realised that the cuffs needed to be finished in bias tape. I didn't have enough fabric left do make any, so I left off the cuffs - instead I have kimono sleeves!

I really like the wrap feature - you can really cinch in your waist as the ties are nice and long.

I used a quite light-weight 100% cotton shirting with dots embroidered all over it. I actually think this fabric is too light -weight for this pattern, and next time I'll use something more medium-weight.

But I do love it - it will go nicely with the pouffy skirts I'm so fond of at the moment!

What is on everyone else's sewing agendas at the moment?

Friday, July 16, 2010

Vintage Notions - I'm in Heaven

A while ago my beloved favourite fabric store Tessuti posted about a new vintage sewing and craft store in Melbourne called L'uccello. I finished work a little early on thursday (also pay day hehe) and had a bit of time to kill before meeting my friend to walk home together.

So I went to L'uccello of course! And got some lovely goodies!

I've also included two lots of vintage buttons I bought from etsy - so, working from left to right, here's what they are:

1. Nine Navy blue and white vintage buttons from the 1940s. I plan to use them on a navy linen shirt dress. They were $4.50 from etsy.

2. Eight Yellow and mother of pearl vintage buttons from the 1940s. I'm planning a button down blouse using a Burda pattern my friend Maree sent me. They were $3.50 from etsy.

3. Three White flower vintage buttons from the 1950s. I've got a lovely Project Runway shirt dress pattern that only requires 3 buttons, so they'll be used for that  - any fabric/colour suggestions? They were $9 from L'uccello.

4. 1940's casein yellow belt buckle. Unsure what I'll use it for yet, but loved the shape, and for $4 from L'uccello, I had to have it!

5. Vintage metal teeth zippers. $1 each from L'uccello. The red and grey ones have had the teeth dyed to match - how cool! I bought these as I'm going to follow The Cupcake Goddess' instructions for doing a handpicked lapped zipper on a BurdaStyle Sidonie skirt I'm making out of the rest of my coat fabric.

If you live in Melbourne, L'uccello is quite reasonably priced, and is like a lolly store!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I'm Back! In Black Taffeta!

This post has two purposes:

  1. To show you my new skirt - a black taffeta dirndl number; and
  2. To tell you about my scaphoid news. 
First, the skirt:

Like my gingham skirt, this was simple to make:

  • The skirt: one rectangle piece of fabric, 1.5m long and 75cm wide, gathered.
  • The waistband: one rectangle piece of fabric, that was 12cm wide and 80cm long (the formula is waist measurement + 2cm ease + 3cm seam allowances + 3.5 cm overlap for the button) (Now you know my waist measurement!).
  • One invisible zip, 10" long (I am 172cm tall so like a bit of a longer zip on high-waisted skirts).
  • One skirt hook and eye, and one button (I've been using hooks and eyes of late as my buttonholes have been looking a little messy. When I have full use of my right hand back, I'm going to start doing bound buttonholes). 
The taffeta was quite nice to work with, but it looks dreadfully wrinkled in the below photo:

Now, onto my other news. It comes with a story. On saturday night, I was sitting on my lounge room floor, patting Bessie, who was lying on the couch (I know, there are some reverse power dynamics in our relationship. I just love her to bits). I'd been patting her a while, and put my left hand onto the couch to hoist myself up. 

As I was getting up, I caught the middle finger of my broken right hand on the arm of the couch, and heard a big crack. Immediately pain shot down my wrist, in the scaphoid where it is broken. 

I immediately panicked and started to wail. I got a little hysterical, telling poor Michael 'it is broken again' over and over. He calmed me down, and I watched a bit of the Tour de France and went to bed.

Monday night I went to the orthopaedic surgeon in a bit of a flap. I had it x-rayed, steeling myself for the worst. But instead.....

Look closely in the above photo. Can you spot it? NO CAST!!!!!!!

I am now allowed to take my arm out of that smelly cast for short periods of time to get some flexibility back into it! It was like winning the lotto. I've got one month until I'm completely free, but its so close I can taste it.

I am one happy girl now. You'll see nothing but smiles from me!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Gorgeous Gingham

I know this isn't the most interesting garment in the world to post on, but I am trying to build up my wardrobe with more 'basic'-type pieces.

So - a quick post on a dirndl skirt. Super easy - one long rectangle, an invisible zip, a waistband, hook and eye, and button. And voila!

I love gingham - I have my petticoat on - can you tell with its super volume?! I wore it out this arvo for a lady's only afternoon tea. Cappuccinos and teensy but decadent chocolate brownies were on our menu. Very fun!

It is freakishly windy here today (which is why my hair looks so weird in this photo). Apparently the winds will get up to 100k/hour tonight. Time to batten down the hatches!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

A Lunching Lady - Grey Coat

Just in time for Melbourne's freezing weather, I present to you the Lunching Lady - Grey Coat!

Sorry for the belated photos. I have been wearing it all week, but today took it for a spin to lunch at a lovely organic cafe on Lygon St that Michael and I discovered a few weeks ago. On the way back we visited a park for some pics.

As you now know, Michael had a major hand in the construction of my beautiful coat. Here is some of his handiwork:

Yup, the Magnificent Michael hand-stitched the hem, hand-stitched the pockets in, cut the whole thing out, hand-stitched the sleeves, trimmed and clipped edges, sewed the buttons on, took the pictures, mopped my brow when I was doing the machine sewing, and was just a general darling all in all. (Thank you my love).

It has turned out just beautifully - see the lovely vintage buttons? Well worth the ridiculous price I paid for them.

The back is nice too:

It is not the easiest pattern - top-stitching sleeves, curved edges etc - but the instructions, as always with the Colette Patterns, are so well explained it did not feel like an 'advanced' pattern.

The fabric is a wool/cashmere, and the lining is silk, which was a complete nightmare to sew with. Soooo slippery. If you ever should have the misfortune of having your arm in a cast, steer clear of silk.

I'll have more outfit pics to show you soon - I've made a denim Jenny pencil skirt which turned out well.

Hope you've all had a lovely weekend!