Friday, December 31, 2010

The Turnabout Dress

Happy new year everyone! I hope your celebrations last night were lots of fun. I want to mark the new year by saying thank you for visiting my blog and leaving comments that really are insightful, fun, and helpful. I'm looking forward to the coming year of blogging!

The film Rosemary's Baby is a solid favourite of mine -- Mia Farrow is awesome -- and I love her maternity clothing in it. How about this one?

She rocks the pregnant 60's look so well. So, inspired by her cute tent dresses, I decided to sew 'The Turnabout Dress'.

It is from 1966. I love the names and descriptions given to vintage garments - "The Turnabout Dress - Back to front ... front to back ... wear it either way" - how cute is that?

I wanted this to be a nice breezy summer dress that would accommodate my bump, so I chose a lovely light 100% Japanese cotton from Tessuti Fabrics. I tell you, Japanese cottons are divine to work with and wear. Granted they are not overly cheap, but they are soooo worth it. I wore this dress yesterday in 40 degree heat and it was very comfortable and light. Very important when sporting a bump that adds extra kilos you're not used to to your frame.

The front comes together on the bias, and the back goes across the grain (does that make sense?)

I added about 2cm each side of the centre front seam from the bust line down to accommodate my bump, and made it longer in the front than in the back. I also used self-made bias binding to finish the arm holes and the neckline - the pattern called for you to turn these edges under in a narrow hem. I also finished the centre front seams using the Hong Kong finish with a satin bias binding to make it more pretty (there is only one seam so it seemed worth it to use a more complicated technique):

It was an easy sew - there is just one pattern piece, and really only the CF seam and the shoulder seams. And it is so comfortable.  One of my next sewing project is another tent dress, but from the 80s. Tent dresses are such great maternity garments.

I'm hoping I'll be able to wear them post-giving birth - what do you think?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Maggy London & Marc Jabobs: A Maternity Match Made in Heaven

Our beach holiday has been going very well. Relaxing, swimming, eating, walks on the beach.... ahhhh. We were meant to go to Vietnam for Christmas, but growing a little baby prohibits you from having the necessary immunisations, so a change of plans was to be had.

As I mentioned in a previous post, for our beach trip, not to mention the lovely tropical weather of Queensland, I decided to sew a few things to accommodate my growing belly. I envisioned airy frocks... light materials, lots of belly room, a few long ones, and a few short ones. Perfect summer holiday wear.

 Today I thought I would show you the Maggy London Butterick maxi dress (B5456). Here is the pattern picture:

It has all the requisite elements for a good maternity dress - empire line, you can wear a bra, isn't fitted etc. It is for knits only, and I wanted this to be cool to wear, so I went searching for a 100% cotton knit. I found a funky lightweight Marc Jacobs knit at The Fabric Store in Fitzroy. It is light without being transparent or feeling cheap. It was also the easiest knit I have ever sewn with - nice and stable.

Anyway, onto the dress!!

There were a few things I disliked about this pattern. They have you sew the bodice up, leaving the shoulder seams open. You then sew the bodice shoulders, leaving the lining open. Then you hand stitch the lining. I wish I had read ahead - there are ways to sew a bodice together without doing any hand stitching, so I'm annoyed with myself and with Butterick.

I also dislike having a bodice lining, but then sewing the lining and bodice together as one piece. It looks so much prettier to have the seams concealed. Ah well. Next time!

The only other thing I dislike is that you can almost see my bra at the back, and you can at the sides. I know how I can fix the back issues, but does anyone have any ideas about how to fix the sides?

Issues aside, this is a very comfy dress that I think looks quite cute - (although looking at it now I do look a little heffer-ish). It will be great with flat sandals (I'm less and less able to walk around in heels - my back hates me for it now that I have a belly out in front).

We're jetting back to Brisbane tomorrow for Christmas with my family, and then will be back in Melbourne for new year. Hope you all have wonderful Xmas and new year celebrations, and I'll see you soon with more frocks!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Christmas Bags

I'm officially on holidays now! Yay! We arrived at the beach yesterday and had a swim - the water is just gorgeous. Unfortunately today is bucketing with rain, but it has been nice reading books and relaxing. Although boo dog hates it. I'm using michael's iPhone to post this, but I'd written it before going so it should make some sense!

As you may know, I decided to try my hand at crafting some Christmas presents this year. I made some necklaces for various women in my life, but wanted to make something else. I was starting to feel like I may have to hit the stores until I saw Tilly's post on a cute fabric bag she had made as a gift for her sister-in-law. I immediately wanted to make some. 

I had a look in my stash and found some small pieces from projects past. I decided I wanted to make three - one for my mum, my sister, and my sister-in-law. Using the same pattern as Tilly, the Buttercup Bag by Rae, I made these three bags in two evenings:

The one up top is made of linen, for my mum, the checked one is Japanese cotton for my sister-in-law and the other one is cotton sateen for my sister.

I changed the pattern so that the pleats went toward the centre - the original pattern has them all going in one direction. I then made the centre pleat a two-fold pleat. 

Here is a close-up (sorry the pics do not show the detail very well!):

All in all, they turned out very well, and were very easy to make. I am going to make myself one out of the same linen as Mum's. 

Did you craft any Christmas pressies this year?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Maternity Maxi Dress

When I saw Jorth's tutorial for a shirred-bodice dress (she made one for her super cute daughter, but gave instructions for a more lady-sized version too), I knew I had to make one for my Christmas day dress.

I've had many a shirred-bodice sundress in the past, but for some reason can't locate any of these currently. Odd - must have been too thorough in past wardrobe clear-outs. I practiced shirring, having not done this in the past, and then went to Tessuti Fabrics to buy some pretty special fabric. I ended up with a silk and cotton voile called 'Senegal Garden':

I fell in love with the colours, and the softness. It is also nice and light, which is important as we are in Queensland for Christmas this year and it will be hot hot hot!!

So, using Jorth's tutorial, I mocked up a pattern. I made it slightly different to Jorth's version by adding a ruffle at the bottom. I also had to do about 18 lines of shirring - I think maybe the 'foot width' of my machine is narrower than Jorth's - I needed way more lines of shirring.

So - here it is!!

I don't really have anything groundbreaking to say - it came together easily (I'm glad I practiced the shirring though), and I've worn it to a farewell party and was very comfortable. The fabric was fantastic to sew with- really easy and held its own well. It will be great for our Queensland holiday - we're leaving on thursday of this week for a week at the beach, and then a week with my family.

In case you're interested too - I'm 22 weeks pregnant this week!! All is going really well, we're beginning to really feel like we have a  baby coming soon! There has been lots of little movements for Michael to feel, and I've been feeling very well. Although I'm a bit more tired this week than previous weeks. Here is a picture of my bump - my obstetrician says I have a nice little cantaloupe.

I've got a few more frocks to show you in the coming weeks, and some bags I made for some Christmas pressies. How are your Christmas preparations going?

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Michaels Lined Pooch Bag for Boo Dogg

This post is a little different, its a wonderful creation by Rachels other half, Me! Michael! This is my first sewing experience, and I think I did a fantastic job (Rachel has her doubts though). She started to make this zippered pouch, using some left over oil skin and fabric, but then I took over and finished it.

I have been told there a lots of things I should have done, like clipping the seam allowances on the inside, poking out the corners etc etc ... But Boo Dogg seems to like it.

I'm not sure what she's going to put in it, but there's plenty of room!

Maybe she'll bury her bones in it for later?