Tuesday, March 29, 2011

More Sister-Related Sewing: A Birthday Skirt

You all know my little sister Ruthy now. It was her birthday a couple of weekends ago, and I made her a skirt.

Ruthy is a classic pear shape, so I wanted to make her a skirt that would emphasise her teeny little waist. If I'd had my new Sewaholic Crescent Skirt pattern, I would have made her that, as it is designed specifically for pear-shaped women.

Alas, the Crescent Skirt wasn't even for sale back then, so I made Ruthy the Wiksten Tulip Skirt that I have made for myself before in denim. I made Ruthy's in a Marc Jacobs cotton sateen that I got from the Fabric Store in Brunswick at their 50% off sale:

The fabric was soooo good to sew with, and I've made this skirt a few times before, so it was a good, straightforward project. And it fits her perfectly!

I also made myself one in linen to wear post-pregnancy - I made it a smidgeon larger than I usually wear to accommodate any 'shape changes' - and linen is usually pretty forgiving:

Well, I only have 3 days of work to go until I'm on maternity leave! I am really looking forward to having 3 weeks off before the baby is due (hopefully she doesn't come too early!). Michael took some 'nice' pregnancy photos of me yesterday, so I'll post them this week to give you an idea of the size of my bump!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Rouge Lady Grey - With Guest Model

I hope you're all having a happy weekend - I am! Today my gorgeous youngest sister, Ruth, came over for afternoon tea and generously agreed to model my finished Lady Grey coat for me. I would love to be able to model my most prided project to date, but my belly is far too big now for that!
So here is my darling sister in all the Lady Grey glory:

Doesn't she look amazing? My beautifully pad-stitched lapels and lapel roll lines:

The pad-stitched collar:

The lining - I actually had to add a ribbon hem - the lining is soooo short! I was quite annoyed about this to begin (should have read reviews again), but think the ribbon looks pretty, so I've gotten over it:

To tailor the coat, I followed Gertie's Lady Grey Sew-A-Long posts. I followed them pretty much to the t., which involved:

    Interfacing by hand-stitching all coat pieces with hair canvas;
    Marking and stitching the lapel roll line;
    Pad-stitching the lapels;
    Stitching the seams down flat to the coat (I didn't topstitch them as I thought the stitching wouldn't show anyway).  
    Stitching together the coat shell pieces (not the collar or the sleeves);
    Stitching together the lining pieces (not the sleeves); and
    Hemming the lining using lace. 
    Marking and stitching the collar roll line;
    Pad-stitching the collar;
    Attaching the collar to the shell;
    Hemming the shell with lace (and also ribbon); and
     Attaching the lining to the shell by hand. 

This coat took me a long time - I had two weeks off work, and Michael was away in the USA, so I worked on it full-time during that time. I then worked on it on a more part-time basis for another two weeks. The hand-stitching is very time consuming, plus I had never pad-stitched anything before.

It was very fun to sew - and very good for me to sew something more advanced than I usually do. Definitely my most satisfying project to date, especially when Ruthy put it on and I could see how nicely it sat.

It was so fun to have Ruthy to style - she was looking stunning (no surprise there, she always does), the sun was out, the chocolate pudding was tasty, and Michael's photo taking skills were right on the money. An excellent afternoon! Hope your weekends are going as nicely as mine.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Baby Quilt - Finito!

There is something about having a baby that makes me want to sew things I usually have little to no interest in sewing - like a quilt. Don't get me wrong, I think quilting is amazing - they look like works of art. Its just usually not my thing I suppose.

But this little ragamuffin baby inspired me to sew her a little quilt. I began the quilt about 2.5 months ago, my most long-term sewing project to date. To begin, I went to Patchwork House in Hawthorn. I was lucky to choose such a place as the woman working on that day was so patient with me. She helped me choose my five fabrics, work out a size, and suggest a few quilting layouts. She was also wise to make me go home with just the fabrics, and come back when I had sewed them together for the batting and backing fabric.

Using Michael's scientific and logical brain, a design for my squares was settled on, which he then helped me choose where to place each fabric. I then sewed them with the machine. Then I went back to Patchwork House, got some lovely soft organic bamboo batting, and chose a backing fabric. There was a different woman working that day who was equally amazing, and helped me choose thread, and work out a quilting design. And she alerted me to quilting pins - weird curved safety pins that worked a treat. Away I went and did the quilting by hand. I gave myself a significant scab on the tip of my middle finger (I've since bought myself a nice rubber thimble).

Last saturday I went back for the final time and chose some fabric to make bias binding with. Saturday arvo I made the binding, and I started to machine stitch on one side of the binding, using my walking foot on my machine. Sunday arvo/evening I hand-stitched on the other side. That little part took about 3.5 hours - thank goodness for rubber thimbles.

Two intensive washes later, to get rid of my fabric pencil marks from drawing on the quilting design template, I have a 40" by 45" baby quilt ready:

I love it - apart from one thing - there seems to be too much excess fabric pillowing up - maybe I didn't quilt enough or firmly enough? Any quilters out there have any advice? The pillowing seemed to appear after washing, as well as a mild amount of pilling on the blue fabric - I can't imagine why, they are 100% cottons, and were most certainly not cheap (about $26/m).

I still think it looks really pretty, and I'm very proud of it - do you think it's suitable for a little baby girl?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Some Future Planning

About a month ago, Michael headed off to California for two weeks for work - lucky Michael - Mexican food heaven, cheap beer, very pretty landscapes, and fun experimental work for him!! But I was lucky too, as my lovely hubby went fabric shopping for me - not once but twice!! (He also got me the Issey Miyake perfume and my favourite perfume Ja'dore by Christian Dior - I was thoroughly spoilt!).

Michael went to Stone Mountain and Daughter, and got three lovely cotton prints:

Sorry for the poor pictures (thats the limit of an iPhone I suppose). The red print is my favourite - it is so pretty.

Michael got me 3.5 yards of each, and they are all medium weight. So, of course, my mind has been going into planning overdrive for these lovely cottons. I don't want to sew with them until I've lost some baby weight, and I know I'll need more separates for a while given the mechanics of breastfeeding. So, with all of that in mind, I purchased Sewaholic's Crescent Skirt Pattern:

Tasia's (the Sewaholic :-) version of this is made in a quilting cotton, so I think it will suit my cottons perfectly. My plan is to make A and C in the blue-toned cottons. What do you think?

I am excited about Tasia's new pattern line - they look so pretty, and it is nice to have another boutique line to purchase from. Her Pendrell blouse has been out and about in many of the blogs I love with great reviews, so I'm really looking forward to making the Crescent skirt. Has anyone else bought this pattern?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A Babushka for My Babushka

Do you ever see a creation on someone's blog and know, then and there, that if you don't make that, you will probably never think of anything else ever again?

I had that experience today at approximately midday. I saw in my blog reader that the amazing and wonderful Jorth had posted something, so I popped over to her blog. And staring me in the face were the cutest ever little softies. The minute I saw the little darlings I knew I had to make one for my soon-to-be-born darling.

A quick rummage in my stash, a quick trip out for some felt and filler, plus a few hours tonight, and I have a little babushka for my own babushka:

They are very simple to make - the tutorial link is on Jorth's Blog. The other good thing is that you can use scraps of fabric, with a bit of felt and filler. I think I spent around $10 in total.

I am still going on my baby quilt, which was going to reveal the baby's gender, but I think this bit of baby sewing lets the cat out of the bag --- I'm having a girl!!!!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Still alive... sewing progress on my Lady Grey Coat

While I have been absent from blogging land for a little while, I have been sewing like mad. I had a serious yearning to make another Lady Grey coat, using Gertie's tailoring tutorials. I'm getting there. 

Equipped with 3.5m 100% wool boucle, 3.5m 100% silk, 2m of lace, 2m of hair canvas, silk thread, regular thread, interfacing, buttons etc etc, I have:
  • Interfaced by hand-stitching all coat pieces with hair canvas;
  • Marked and stitched the lapel roll line;
  • Pad-stitched the lapels;
  • Stitched the seams down flat to the coat (I didn't topstitch them as I thought the stitching wouldn't show anyway).  
  • Stitched together the coat shell pieces (not the collar or the sleeves);
  • Stitched together the lining pieces (not the sleeves); and
  • Hemmed the lining using lace. 
Most of this has been done by hand, and phew, I'm beat from it. Here are the pad-stitched lapels (my first time pad-stitching - you can tell!):

The hair canvas interfacing:

The lace hem and lining fabric:

 I still have to:
  • Mark and stitch the collar roll line;
  • Pad-stitch the collar;
  • Attach the collar to the shell;
  • Hem the shell;
  • Do the belt and belt loops;
  • Do the lining and shell sleeves; and 
  • Attach the lining to the shell. 
Do you think I can get it done before baby time? I still have to finish Michael's b'day shirt and finish my baby quilt, and I'm due on the 26th April. 

My pregnancy is going well - I have some pelvic instability which is slightly painful and a real nuisance - I have to wear a brace - but bub is getting bigger and bigger (as am I!!). I should be finished the quilt soonish, so I'll post some pics to show you - the quilt colour-way will also reveal if the baby is a boy or a girl! 

Hope you're all doing well, and I'll post more progress pics soon!