Sunday, September 26, 2010

Beautiful Blogger Award and Not-So-Beautiful Road Rage

I'll start with the good stuff. Tasia from the gorgeous blog Sewaholic has very generously awarded me with the Beautiful Blogger Award! Thank you Tasia.

I have to list 10 things you may not know about me -- I've done this before in another award I was lucky to get, so I'm not sure I have 10 things! But here are a random few:

1.  My first job was as a skating rink party hostess. I was paid $4.54/hr and had to either do the chicken dance or the Macarena with the party, depending on the age group of the birthday person. Can you believe that (a) I actually did those dances in front of the whole skating rink and (b) I was paid that little an hour? Crazy.

2.  I am working in my third job this year. After finishing my PhD I found it a little difficult to figure out what I really wanted to do. Now I'm back in research at a uni and totally love it.

3.  I haven't really bonded with Melbourne as yet. I think I am really a hot weather, outdoor living girl, and that is not really Melbourne's style. I've been here just over a year, so it may happen yet. It's definitely in the cards for us to move back to the sunshine state though (though not for a couple of years!).

Now I've got to nominate five more bloggers to play along. Here goes:

Jessica from Green Apples
The lovely lady from the Long and Winding Bobbin
Alana from Lazy Stitching
Corinne from Cherri-Berri
Lore from Sew Red Hot

Only answer if you have time - and sorry if you've already received this before!

Now onto the bad stuff. Yesterday it was a very lovely day in Melbourne. Hot, clear, dry. Lovely. Michael and I took Bessie for a walk in the Dandenongs. It was just gorgeous. I didn't have to wear a fleece, I actually got a little sun. Perfect.

We were driving back and stopped for a sandwich. It was difficult to obtain said sandwich on account of most of the places in the town we stopped at not making sandwiches on a sunday (!!). But we got one.

We jumped back in the car and had been driving for about 10 minutes when someone rear-ended us at a red light. That is not so great, but it wasn't too bad. Until the idiot reversed back up and rammed his car into us a second time. His reason? We were slowing down too much leading up to the red light. Now, Michael was driving, and I wouldn't describe him as a particularly granny-like overly cautious driver, so this was a bit of surprise to me.

What was even more of a surprise was when the idiot driver drove off. Queue in 5.5 hours of statement-taking by police, a trip to the hospital to get checked over and our day completely ruined. The good news is neither of us is hurt (neither is Bessie), the car is kind of okay, and the police are going to charge him with multiple offences.

Has anyone else encountered such random and deliberate road rage before? I am truly stunned that this guy thought he could get away with it by driving off.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Fave Top

Since the effort I made for my birthday wardrobe, I haven't really felt like sewing at all. This is a strange and unwelcome sensation to me that I am trying to overcome.

I had a casual dinner to go to at someone's house last night, and wanted something comfy to wear, so I decided to try and overcome the sewing lethargy with Tessuti's free 'Fave Top' - you can find it here.

It is a very simple project, so I thought I should be able to muster up the energy for it. I finished it just in the nick of time:

It is basically a very loose t-shirt that comes down in those tail-type things at the side (my description is so technical!):

The back just covers my bum - it is loose enough that you get bum-coverage anyway:

I made a few changes/additions to the pattern:

  • I lengthened the front and back by approx 5cm.
  • I used bias binding for the neck -- the pattern calls for the neck edge to be turned under. 
  • I interfaced the hem -- it was much easier to sew interfaced, and I could get those nice little 'points' at the side seams. 
I wore it with leggings (so comfy for eating a huge dinner in) and little ballet slippers. 

It is a great pattern - nice and easy - and free! I'm still feeling no love for my machine though -- I'm going to read a book I got for my b'day today and resolutely ignore it - I must need a good break!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Cynthia Rowley Dress: Simplicity 2443

The final dress in my montage!

Made from this pattern:

Here is my version:

This is what I wore on Saturday - the day of my birthday. Michael and I had plans to drive to Hanging Rock and have a picnic with my Mum, Dad, sister and her boyfriend, but it was pouring on the day. So instead we drove to Hanging Rock and went to the cafe there. My lunch was disgusting. I ordered a grilled chicken sandwich that had avocado and a capsicum, corn and onion salsa in it. Sounds nice right? It would have been if it didn't come with half a bottle of sweet chilli sauce poured over the top. It was gross. We couldn't see the Rock due to the rain, but the drive was kind of fun.

But onto the dress! I made it in a ponte knit from Tessuti. I'm in the process of making the jacket, but have stalled a bit. The dress construction is not too bad. The opposing curves of the yoke are quite tricky, but as this had been flagged by previous reviewers, I hand-basted that entire seam in to ensure it wasn't going to be naughty when I was sewing it. It sits quite well now - here is a picture from the back:

And a close-up of the front:

Like my necklace? Michael gave it to me for my b'day! That and tickets to see Mary Poppins (which we saw last night and it was awesome :-)

The only alteration I made was to add 5cms length to the bodice -- other reviewers had said it was a bit short-waisted. I kind of wish I hadn't. I was wearing it when in at Tessuti the other day and the lovely ladies there thought I should shorten the bodice so it sits on my natural waist, and take in the side seams a little. What are your thoughts?

It is a very comfortable dress, but the yoke is not for the faint-hearted. I really needed to take it slow and steady, but thankfully it went in okay the first time.

My review is posted here if you'd like to stop by.  

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Full-Skirted Flirty 50s Number

Onto the second dress in my birthday weekend montage!

This is the frock I wore on the friday night, to dinner at Hellenic Republic with my parents, my sister and her boyf, and Michael.

It is Vogue 8615:

I made a muslin of the bodice first. I cut a 12, with a C cup. I do love the fact that this pattern has options for how big or small your bust is. The muslin fit perfectly, with no alterations.

So, I cut the 12C, and sewed away. I sewed in the lining, and it looked beautiful. And then I tried it on. And it was way too big. How annoying.

Now, I haven't lost weight, so it is a mystery to me why there was a size difference. The muslin fabric was very similar to the Japanese linen/cotton I used. Weird - anyone got any tips as to why?

But I took it in. I did this by increasing the back darts substantially, both in width and in length. Then I unpicked the invisible zip and took it in about 2cm each side at the top, tapering down. And here is a closeup of the fit from the back:

And from the front:

I'm pretty happy - it fits like a glove!

Now, cos this was a special occasion frock, I took some time to really add to the dress. First, I made a matching belt, using a belt kit:

I am so happy with it. How much nicer does the dress look with the belt! I didn't have a press-stud tool to get the little metal holes, so I sewed around them instead. I actually really like how they look.

The second thing I did was sew in horse-hair braid to the hem of the skirt. The skirt is a circle, and after seeing Gertie's tutorial of how to do this, I wanted to do it quite badly. I forgot to get a picture of the braid, but you can really see the effect in this picture!

So much fun!

I really recommend this pattern. It is straightforward to sew - even with alterations for fit - and is very vintage in its styling. I've posted a review on pattern review if you'd like to have a peek!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Coloured Sugar Party Dress: Simplicity 2360

So, this marks the first in my birthday weekend dress montage!

This dress was for my birthday party last night - we went to a very beautiful restaurant called Rice Queen on Smith Street in Fitzroy, and I had lots of fun. There was a jazz band playing that were persuaded to play a jazz/funk version of happy birthday!

The dress is made from this pattern:

And I love it! It is made from a Mad Cortes satin silk called "Coloured Sugar" from Tessuti. I splurged a bit on the fabric, but was lucky that it had been reduced by 30%.

Most of the pattern is easy to make. The bodice has princess seams and is easy to construct, as is the skirt, which is just two pieces of fabric. The neckline and armholes are finished in bias binding - I used self-made binding (obviously :-)

Those little ruffles did my head in though. Doing a neat narrow hem on them ruined my patience, and I had to make the right side ruffle 3 times before I was happy. Lucky I had a bit of extra fabric.

The ruffles for the back and front are joined together as one piece.

The ruffles then constitute the sleeves - the dress itself is a basic sleeveless bodice.

I did make a few minor changes. I omitted the pockets. I also did not put the elastic in the waist - I thought it might make the silk sit a little funny. To compensate for no elastic, I made an extra long belt that I could wrap around my waist twice to cinch it in:

I got so many nice compliments from people for my dress. I also got asked to make one for a few people - that is always a good way of knowing that I've done a good job on a garment!

I think I'll get a lot of wear out of this. It would look cute with sandals too. 

More posts with the other two dresses coming soon - I had such a nice birthday and was lucky to receive many beautiful presents - including tickets to see the Mary Poppins musical from Michael!

P.S -- I'm adding my garments to PatternReview - check out my review of this one here