Saturday, November 27, 2010

Making Christmas Gifts

Thank you to everyone's lovely congratulatory messages. It is a treat to have so many people happy for me, and it has made my happy pregnancy hormones even happier!

I'm still making myself some maternity frocks and smocks, but have spent this weekend making some christmas presents for my sister and sister-in-law (and maybe some for me!!). I have been lurking on Tilly's  Crafty Christmas Club Blog since she launched it a while ago, and have been inspired by many of the cute treats people are whipping up over there.

I decided to make some necklaces, and here is what I came up with:

The template for these is the free Amy Butler Fabric Necklace. I used a navy and white polka dot cotton voile for one, and a silk remnant I got from Tessuti ages ago for the other two. You use little foam balls to create the balls - they are super easy and extremely quick to make. And they look cute on.

The second type of necklace is a yo-yo flower necklace:

I made these after seeing them made on the Saints and Pinners Blog. They are a bit more complicated than the fabric necklaces, but really are just whatever number of yo-yos you decide, sewn onto a piece of felt, with buttons in the centres. I made the chains out of 3 strands each of tapestry thread that I plaited then sewed on.

So... what do you think? I am a bit worried the yo-yo necklaces are too crazy - do you think they're cute or just too much?

Next up I'm making placemats for my other sister, mother, brother-in-law and sister-in-law out of this gorgeous Mexican oilcloth Michael and I bought yesterday. Michael is being a good helper-elf and has made me a template for them and cut out the oilcloth.

I am mildly obsessed now with crafting things -- anyone got any good tutorials for little homemade treats?

Monday, November 22, 2010

More Maternity Sewing: Vogue 1027

One of the last times I was in at Tessuti Fabrics, I was discussing maternity sewing with Lisa and Liesl. I was saying to these lovely ladies that most of my work clothing was getting too snug for comfort, especially if I was at work functions with food and beverages, and my tummy got even fuller!

They suggested I sew up a black knit dress. Lisa then suggested I sew Vogue 1027, which I have sewn before, and Tessuti featured on their blog. I heartily agreed with Lisa that Vogue 1027 would be an excellent dress to accommodate a growing belly. Here is the pattern photo:

I made it up in a slinky black rayon jersey (which was the devil to sew) - I can't find the pics of that one, but I have the pics of the red cotton jersey:

I love the full skirt. I did things a bit differently with this one (than when I sewed it in 2009). I drafted a neckline facing - I actually did this for the black one as it was awful to sew, and I could just not turn it under nicely. The black turned out well, so I did it for the red too, even though the red knit is much more stable.

I also crossed over the bodice pieces more to account for my growing chest region (ahem). This is something I usually don't have to worry about, but pregnancy has changed my body!

I didn't follow the instructions for sewing the ties. They call for you to do a narrow hem - but this means the wrong side of your fabric shows. I really don't understand why they would do that. Plenty of the reviews on Pattern Review give instructions for avoiding that -- it is just a matter of sewing them right sides together until the notch. Easy peasy and looks much more professional.

Due to the stretch of the fabric, and the fact it is an empire line, I did not have to alter regarding size. In 2009 I made a size 8, and this size fits me just fine now. Don't you just love the forgiving nature of knit fabrics?

I've worn the black one alot already - and wore this red one out to dinner with Michael on saturday night.

I'll have another frock to show you soon - I've made a 'wearable' muslin of another Vogue DKNY dress that I hope to wear Christmas day. Am I the only one who likes something special (and potentially new) to wear on Christmas day?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Big News! With Related Sewing Project

I'm not sure if anyone noticed, but I have been a more slack-than-usual seamstress and blogger this past little while (well, I have felt that way anyway).

The reason for this is that Michael and I are having a little baby! We will meet this little person at the end of April next year - meaning I'm about 19 weeks.

I was very tired for the first trimester, and used all my reserves for work, but then at almost exactly the beginning of the second, I got my energy back, my appetite back, and started sewing again.

I've just had to to start wearing different clothing - my fitted-around-the-waist work clothing and play clothes are too snug for comfort now, so I've been doing some sewing to compensate!

So... onto my first actual maternity outfit.

It is Simplicity 2554, which I think is from the 1960s - I couldn't find it on vintage patterns Wiki.

And here is my version made in cotton sateen from my stash:

I'm wearing it with leggings here, which are soooo easy to wear with an expanding belly.

The blouse came together nicely - I had to draft my own sleeve facings, but that was okay, and not very difficult. The only part of the blouse that needed attention paid to it was the bow, as it directed you to make 'soft pleats' - something I had never come across before. But all turned out in the end:

I also made a vintage maternity skirt from this pattern:

It was an easy pattern, but I had to take approximately 40cm out of the skirt overall (from the side seams and centre back seam). Annoying. I made this one from a wool ponti knit, which was a dream to sew with. Here it is with the blouse:

The skirt does up with a drawstring, and is still a little big, but I'm assuming I'll grow into it!

I've also made two dresses from the same pattern, but that shall be for another post.

So - the beginning of dressing for pregnancy! For those of you with children, what did you wear throughout your pregnancy? And those of you who don't have children, what maternity styles do you like?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

I'm still alive! With a spring jacket to show you.

It has been a while between posts. The longest it has ever been I think. There is a reason, but that shall be revealed in a later post... (so secretive!).

I have been doing a little sewing, but this project is from a while ago. Remember this dress, from this pattern?

Well, I finally got around to making the jacket and taking some pictures of it.

The fabric is a lightweight suiting from Tessuti Fabrics, and it was just gorgeous to sew with. It does wrinkle a little though, but Michael assures me it looks as though that is the way it is meant to be.

I made quite a few changes:

  1. Firstly, I didn't put the middle 'faux welt pocket' between the two other pockets. I pinned it all on, but thought it just looked messy. 
  2. I lined the little pockets in lining fabric. The instructions called for the edges to be turned under, but I have never been able to make nice rounded smooth edges doing that. 

  1. I didn't make the sleeves the way they were meant to be made. They were meant to have D-rings that you pulled together, and a placket. I tried doing that and ruined the sleeves. I had to go and buy more fabric. Woops! So I measured around my arm just above my elbow and made a cuff that I gathered the fabric onto. I think it looks nice. 
  2. I didn't put those weird looking ribbon ties on. I think it makes the jacket look too busy and convoluted. Plus, this is not a jacket that you 'do up'. It is one to be worn open a little frock or cute shirt. 
A view from the back:

All in all, I like it. I don't like the top stitching, which I think looks messy, but I unpicked it once and did it again with relatively the same result. Ah well.

It is a great jacket to wear over little dresses. I wore it to my work meeting today over the Cynthia Rowley racer back dress and felt very 'covered'. I've also worn it with my linen pants and a white t-shirt and was told by a work colleague that I looked cool (not in temperature, but as in 'awesome' - which is funny, as I am not 'cool').

I think I'll make another one - maybe in a really brightly coloured linen. What do you think?