Friday, February 22, 2013

Italian Cambie: The 3rd (and final!) Sydney Sewing Social Frock

Here is my third and final frock that I sewed for the Sydney Sewing Social - my Sewaholic Cambie Dress, sewn in some lovely cotton Sateen Michael bought for me on his last work trip to Italy. What a man!

Must learn not to slouch. Have started doing pilates exercises at night to combat this.

I'm slightly worried this type of sleeve/shoulder strap makes me look like a gridiron player. What do you think?

I wore this on the third day - the Sunday. Leith and I went touring a bit. We went to Adriano Zumbo's patisserie cafe for breakfast, had a gander at a market where we bought our kids some sunnies, went to look at the harbour bridge and the Opera House and then had a vietnamese salad for lunch. Then it was time to go home!

But back to the Cambie. I had to make a lot of alterations, so I'm glad I made a muslin. This is what I did:

  • I started with the size 8 bodice, but ended up taking it in about 1.2 cm on each side. 
  • I pinched about 1cm out of the middle of the sweetheart neckline - I did this by creating a tiny dart, and then cut the piece as one whole piece - so not half on the fold. 
  • I shortened the straps at the shoulder seam by 1.5cm and then where the straps meet the bodice by 2cm - but only on the inside edge, not the side edge. I just tapered to nothing about halfway along the strap. 
  • I took 1.5cm out of each back piece from the top - tapering to nothing at the bottom. 
  • I shortened the bodice by 3cm. In its original length it didn't hit my natural waist - it was way below it and just didn't look very flattering. 

A lot of adjustments! But I have to say it is a great easy-wearing dress that I feel comfortable wearing as an every-day dress. I've also made a Liberty one (pics coming soon) that I love the fit of, but am worried the fabric makes me look a wee bit washed out. 

I've had a bit of a break from sewing maniacally since our Sydney trip. Still been sewing a bit but not really feeling enthusiastic or motivated. Then this morning I was thinking about my planned projects and realised I've got tonnes to do - mostly because I've promised my sis a dress for her birthday in March and am sewing Little M a single bed quilt for her birthday in April. Plus I've got the Sewcie Tea dress to do and I want to enter the Tessuti Competition. Better get my skates on! 

Friday, February 15, 2013

Vintage Vogue 7164: Dress #2 for the Sydney Sewing Social

Way back in December 2010 Lisa posted her Christmas Party Dress, Vintage Vogue 7164.

Well, I've been trying to source that pattern since then. I almost had it once but got out-bought on Etsy. So annoying. Finally I just buckled and emailed Lisa to borrow her copy. I should have done that in the first place. Colette also had a copy, so when she sent my pattern testing stuff, she sent me the pattern! Yay!

I mentioned earlier that I bought some beautiful Italian printed linen in Brisbane. I decided it would be perfect for this shift dress. So I made it specifically for the Sydney Sewing Social, knowing I'd want to be comfy, and that it would most likely be hot and humid.

What do you think? It is a bit different from my usual style I think. Or maybe not? Linen seems to make up the majority of my wardrobe.....

I originally had my on black wedges, new black dinosaur designs earrings and bangle, and a black bag, but I couldn't hack walking in those wedges anymore. Luckily I came prepared.

Leith took these photos en route from our hotel to the meet-up at Tessuti. I have to say at this stage we'd been on the go since 6.10am (I blame our early-rising children for this), and I was feeling a little bit peakish. But I came good after a salad for lunch and some Gin and Tonics a bit later that afternoon.

I really have to learn not to (a) slouch and (b) not stick my gut out when posing for side-on photos. 

I made two changes:
  1. I lowered the armholes by 3cm and
  2. I lowered the neckline by 3cm. 
I underlined this dress in a very light lawn from Spotlight. The pattern calls for this, and I was very undecided but Lisa told me she hadn't but thought it needed it as linen can be sheer. I'm really glad I did. 

This dress stood up to a breakfast out, a lot of walking, a lot of fabric and other shopping, drinks at the Clock Hotel and dinner at Bill Granger's restaurant. I think it performed well. It was really comfortable and I felt quite chic - I think because the shift dress shape is a chic one (and I was channelling those very cool line drawings on the pattern envelope) - what do you think? 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Sydney Sewing Social Series: Dress #1 - The Flipperty Liberty Frock

Hello! Do you sew specifically for your holidays? I do! As I think everyone knows, I went with the Lovely Leith (how lucky am I to have met such a great sewing mate?) to Sydney this past weekend for the Sydney Sewing Social that Christy organised. And I sewed three dresses specifically for it.

Here is the tale of #1 - the Flipperty Liberty Dress.

You know how you want to be really comfy at the airport, enabling you to have a few glasses of prosecco and then jump on the plane and maybe have another glass? Well, I made a modified Gabby to suit that purpose.

I made it in one of the new season Liberty lawns. I wanted something bright and fun to go with my new necklace (made by friends of mine - twin girls who sell at This new Liberty jumped off the webpage at me and into my shopping basket!

To modify the Gabby I:
  • Left off the sleeves;
  • Used the same binding technique used on the neck for the armholes;
  • Chopped the dress off at 65cm; 
  • Did two rectangles the width of the Liberty (137cm) by 20cm gathered onto the bottom of the dress for a ruffle. I used a 3cm hem; and
  • I thought about doing a 'bubble' hem but decided the lawn was not quite soft enough for it. 
These modifications worked a treat. I now have a very comfy but sassy (so I think!) dress! I've worn this a lot - to Play Group with Little M (that is when the pictures above were taken) and to a play date with some of my Mothers' Group friends. It survived Little M weeing on me (we're toilet training at the moment), banana being squished into it, and some vomit from a five month old bubba. And no one could tell it had met these misfortunes due to that lovely colourful and crazy print! Of course, most importantly, it withstood some very fun prosecco-drinking adventures with Leith on friday night.

Anyway - a bit later this week I'll post about the dress I wore to the actual Sydney Sewing Social. What fun we all had!! I want to go back!

Monday, February 4, 2013

More Pattern Testing: The Reow! Alexa T-Top

I have been lucky enough to pattern test twice for Tessuti! This time I tested their newly-today-released Alexa T-Top Pattern.

I must admit this is the most perfect T-shirt I have ever owned. Most of the time T-shirts are either too tight through the shoulders relative to my hips, too short, not long enough through the sleeve or the neckline is too high.

But with my Alexa, the neckline is perfect, the sleeves didn't need lengthening, the shoulder width is perfect and it just nicely swathes around my hips without being too tight. I made the size small and simply lengthened it by 4cm. I knew I needed to as I measured my favourite tank top as a comparison.

I made it up in a very soft and luscious Dolce & Gabbana leopard print jersey - REOW!!!

The pattern is very simple. Sleeves, back, front and binding. It calls for you to twin-stich the neck binding and all the hems. This would be a good pattern to learn to twin stitch. I used my walking foot as well as the twin-needle as the jersey is very soft. So perhaps if you are a knit-beginner, choose a more stable cotton jersey or a viscose jersey with more weight behind it.

I have worn this five times since I finished sewing it two weekends ago. The only thing that has stopped me wearing it again is that it now needs washing.

I'm wearing it above with another Moss Mini Skirt, made in a pale, lighter weight denim. I wear this skirt everywhere. Unfortunately my darker denim one has somehow gotten bleached out streak marks on it - I hung it inside in the shade so I'm not sure what happened.

I'm going to look for some more fabric to make another Alexa this weekend when I'm in Sydney - my list is growing!!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Mission Maxi - Modified

A few months ago (!) I made the Jamie Christina Mission Maxi Dress. I'm sure you're all familiar with this lovely pattern. I loved the dress made up as designed, but felt a bit self conscious when wearing it. It is designed to be form-fitting and I'm still not super-confident about my stomach after having a baby. I'm probably being a bit silly but I just couldn't relax when wearing it.

So I had the idea to modify the pattern to make it more 'flowy'. This was pretty easy. I just angled each pattern piece out from the bottom of the armhole. I did this after talking to Lisa about how she modified hers when in Tessuti one day. It was probably the most simple modification I've ever made.

So here she is:

You can sort of see my pattern matching here 

I made it in two remnants of viscose jersey I picked up in the Tessuti remnant sale. I've still got a lot of fabric left from the remnants, so this dress probably only cost me about $10 in fabric. Definitely my cheapest make of late.

I made a little belt to wear with it as Michael told me it was a bit too sack-like (I really can't help it - I love a good sack! I'm obviously a slob at heart).

I like it left loose too. This was my first time attaching binding in this manner on jersey and I love the finished product. The pattern directs you to stitch in the ditch around the binding on the front and it produces such a nice finish.

I have worn this dress ALOT this summer. I'm wearing it now with a cardigan (and without the belt - sorry honey!). I'm thinking I might even be able to wear it in autumn/early winter with boots and a thicker cardi. What do you think?