Monday, 17 April 2017

Simplicity 8014 Shirtdress

I finished my shirtdress and it's already one of my favourite garments. For this one I made it looser through both the body and the sleeves on purpose. I wanted it to be a breezy in-between weather garment. The days can still be quite warm here after cool mornings so the ability to roll up the sleeves is a bonus. The linen is one of those serendipitous fabrics that softened upon washing and wearing and does not need ironing.

The nitty gritty: I had previously added 1cm through the centre of the collar and the stand and the yoke. I added a total of 3cm to the centre back of the dress and turned the back gathers into a pleat. I added .7 of a cm to the side seams, and half a cm each side to the width of the sleeves. I lengthened the sleeves by 18 cm. This included a deep hem of 5cm plus a 1.5 cm turn under.

I've set up a 'studio' of sorts in my living room. It consists of a white sheet backed by a white tablecloth and hung from a wooden pole on two hooks, like a curtain.  I really should remove the picture and the noticeboard from behind this rig as I have a bit of yellowish strike through. It's a work in progress, like everything else but I think the details of my sewing are a more visible and it's quicker and easier than being on display outside. I'll still try to do some outdoor shots though...

I'm running up a quick skirt muslin using a self draft with this pattern's skirt hem then I'll be cutting into the materials for my black wool jacket (gulp!)

Happy sewing and happy wearing,

Stash material used this year  14
2017 material purchase used  1
Patterns bought                       2
Material bought                      10  Yes three were added yesterday to fill gaps in my wardrobe but it's
                                                       still more out than in   :))

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Work in progress Sim 8014 and other goings on.

Hi all, A few new pieces of material have entered the stash. The first one is a beautiful black and white large check linen that I bought from Van Hung in Cabramatta.
I took it home and washed it and straight away started making Simplicity 8014, this time a shorter version with the curved hem and 3/4 roll up sleeves. Have you ever noticed the black and white checked version in the line drawings? I'd also seen it made up in a similar material on the McCalls Facebook page. So, when I saw it I bought it. It washed beautifully and has a nice texture.

The linen

The pattern

The other piece of fabric I bought from the same shop is a gorgeous silk spandex that is going to be a  luxurious lining for a soft wool jacket that I am going to make using Vogue 8991. I've had the black EOS wool in my stash for ages. I'll be hand quilting the layers together and taking my time with it.

The lining for my planned black wool boucle jacket

The pattern

I've made a wearable muslin of the pattern before. This will be the real deal. Chanel-ish. The prospect is daunting but hopefully it will work out the way I picture it. 

Also, some weeks ago, on another cycle into Cabramatta I bought this purple butterfly material thinking it could maybe do as a muslin for the knit sheath dress I made my daughter..but she didn't like it and said she was confident I could make her dress straight off and luckily I did. So this is probably going to be a wrap dress for me.

That's not all. Last month while Op shopping with my daughter I got her to pay for a piece of pink and orange checked cotton voile which was $4 and then give it to me so I could say I hadn't bought it! She found this highly amusing but my deception came back to bite me. I made it up into a top which didn't work on me so it ended up being given to her. Karma.
So that's the story of the piece of fabric that tipped me over my stash allowance. Coco, if you read this, you were right. My self imposed fabric fast didn't get me through the first quarter! But it's not like I am now going to go berserk. I have actually slowed down so if I buy any more fabric this year it will be carefully considered!

The guilty Tally 2017: Stash used so far 14
                                     Patterns bought 2
                                     Material bought 7  

What are you making?

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Simplicity 8014 Shirtdress

 For a few months now I've had plans to make this popular Simplicity shirtdress. There are quite a few versions floating around the internet and now I've made mine! The pattern is a good one. It's body skimming and shaped to look ok belted or unbelted. Nice drafting. Beware though - it's short. I did the longer length of view C to make it a bit more trans-seasonal and I left off the collar but kept the stand because I liked it better that way. Adjustments:  a scant half cm added to the centre back neck on all pieces and 1 cm added to the height of the patch pockets. Nothing else. I did a 14 out of the packet but on next versions I will turn the back gathers into an inverted pleat, add a bit more ease across the high hip and move the inside pockets up by 2.5 cm. The sleeves, which I wear turned up, are a weeny bit longer than I like but all these are usual-to-me tweaks for my body. I highly recommend this pattern.

Original sleeve length and fully buttoned but really, I'll be wearing it like it is in the shot below.

I'm starting to post shots on Instagram. 
Happy sewing,

Stash fabric, pattern and notions used.

Stash tally 2017:  Fabric Used from stash 14
                             Patterns purchased  2
                             Material purchased 3

Sunday, 19 March 2017

A little dress, A little jacket

My DD is going on holiday next week with a girlfriend - to Hawaii no less - and asked me to make a little lets-go-party dress with a round neck and slightly dropped shoulders. Simple, knee length. I said I had just the pattern. DD had bought some swimwear material ages ago but had changed her mind about using it for swimmers and there was enough for a dress, so I ran it up. It had to skim but not be too tight so I machine basted the shoulders and side seams and made her try it on before finishing it. The pattern is OOP Simplicity 4699 Wardrobe Elements. I used the top extended into a dress. I bound the neckline and turned it to the inside and stitched. The armholes were just overlocked then turned in  and topstitched. She was very happy with the dress and the fit and posed for a photo but didn't want to do hair or make up so this is a very cropped and basic shot. I'd love to take one of her all glammed up  but kids, you know. The yard is a jungle because this was the first time in a week that it has stopped raining!

OOP Simplicity 4699

On other things I have bought my very first Lekala pattern ever and plan to get around to it when the weather cools down. Anyone recognise this little controversial jacket ;)

Happy Sewing,
I made someone happy with mine,

Progressive Stash Tally 2017
Fabric - unchanged because I used DD's material
Patterns - I bought which brings it to 2

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

V1522 Isaac Mizrahi Drawstring Pants

I've made up the drawstring pants from V1522 and I love them. They will probably become a TNT.  DD has cheerfully inherited the top which was way more her style than mine, but other shortish tops like my churn-out-one-or-two-a-season Simplicity 1366 work well with these pants too.

They were a trial run out of a stash chocolate brown beefy slinky knit. I think they are supposed to be cropped and finish somewhere just above the ankle, or they would if you were regular height. I am 5' nothing and this length is straight out of the packet. The droopy knit made them drop a bit. I normally start by folding out 3" out of any Vogue pant pattern.

Now to the good stuff. They are an easy sew. The pockets are applied to the fronts first which takes the most time then it's zoom zoom from there. Size Medium is a bit roomy but once again that is probably the material. The tapered shape of the leg is good - I think they are 'just so'. The instructions are good.  There will be more of these in my sewing future.

I've lightened the photos a bit. I had to pick up my tripod and run inside because it started to rain. On other matters I've been exploring the new-to-me world of Instagram as it seems to be the way of the future. It's faster, easier and would still give a record of what I've been sewing. What do you guys think of Instagram?


Stash Tally
Fabric  13 out
Fabric    3  in
Patterns  1 in

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

V1522 Isaac Mizrahi Top

Vogue Isaac Mizrahi pattern V1522 was released last year. I loved it immediately but it wasn't released here until recently. I searched for reviews on the internet and found only few of the pants and one of the top. Erica Bunker  has made up the whole outfit and looked quite good in it. Anyway I bought the pattern and got out some Liberty silk from my stash. I knew I should make a muslin but thought 'nah, I know what adjustments to make. It looks straightforward'. It is, technically, but I ended up doing every main component on this top at least twice to make it sit right on me. It would have taken less time to make two garments instead of redoing so much on one!

I started with my usual adjustment for boat necks. I have to scoop out the front neck a little bit and bring the sides of the neck in a little bit, then do a straight shoulder adjustment. I had three goes at the sleeves - which I love by the way. They have an exaggerated in and out side seam curve. The seam where the sleeve meets the flounce is also curved. It rises in the middle and falls to the sides.  I shortened the sleeve by 1 cm. The flounces themselves are attached then the seam is hidden by a bias self strip. I found I had too much volume at the end of the sleeve and had to take in a 2.5 cm 'wedge' from the bottom tapering to nothing at 12cm up to make it work on my short body. The line drawings don't show how long and pointy the very bottom of the finished flounce/sleeve is. The inside seam is partly visible and the seams need to be finished with French or flat felled seams, not mentioned in the instructions.

I found the bias strips for the neck and sleeves a little bit too wide. I narrowed them both in the middle of redoing everything. That's how this process was - do a bit, unpick, recut, do it again. I took the hem up an extra inch instead of narrow hemming and I raised the side slit accordingly. The top is a bit longer on me than the envelope but it's where I want it.

Conclusion: Now that I've tweaked everything I will probably make it again, maybe in a statement print. In spite of my issues it's a good pattern.

I am making the pants out of a beefy chocolate brown slinky knit. They are nearly finished and I'll post them soon.

A note on the continuing saga of the hair. I got tired of having two tone colour while waiting for my natural grey to grow so I decided to bleach it. The ends ended up yellow so I used Schwarzkopf Silver Toner to help even it out. Anyway now for the first time in my life I have attention-seeking hair! It's a means to an end but I sort of like it.

That's my small adventures,
Happy sewing,

Edit: 5 March. My DD came over today and I was telling her about this top, how I want to make it again in a bolder print because I wasn't entirely happy with how old fashioned the little print looked on me. She asked if she could try it on and it looked so good on her - she loves this type of print - that I gave it to her. I took it in at the sides 1 cm from armpit to the vents. Here's the happy model.

Progressive Stash Tally:
Fabric: 12 stash, 3 purchased.
Patterns: 1 purchased.

Saturday, 25 February 2017

New Look 6067 mock wrap dress, lisette B6182 Top

Hello! Here is another catch up post. I meant to make this leopard print dress in January but hey, that didn't happen. I did manage to make it after I used the top half for my black glitter jersey dress (see previous post) got out the material and just kept going..

What I did: I read various reviews of this dress and made the neckline facing, which is a doubled over strip of straight material turned to the inside and top stitched, 6cm shorter than the given length to give the right firmness. I shortened the bodice by 2cm in the middle back tapering to 1.5cm at the sides and front. I should have gone 2cm all round. I narrowed the sleeve by 1.5cm taken off the back arm seam to make it fall right otherwise it was floppy. I made the pockets but wish I'd kept them off. They draw attention where I don't need it.
Conclusion: It's wearable but not an immediate favourite.

The second item which was made back in January is a little exercise top from lisette B6182. I originally made the dress in a loud 60's print last year, not blogged, because it was a disaster and I put it in the charity bin. But on the bright side this is the second knit top I have made and wear it often, mostly when I go out on the bike but want to drop into a shop on the way back and want something on that doesn't immediately scream 'work out wear' (although I have seen people shop in braille workout tops!)

Yeah I should have pulled the side down in the second photo but you still get and idea of the silhouette. If/when I make it again I will lengthen it slightly and also make it a bit less trapezey.
In fact I think that was what went wrong with the dress version, the trapeze dress silhouette felt like it was visually dragging me down. My basic silhouette/body-skeleton shape is rectangle and dresses with that silhouette suit me best. I can then play with the horizontal (waist) line either raising it a third or lowering it a third, the classic 'flapper' outline. In fact the only vintage period I have ever really worn well is 1920's do-the-Charleston era. Must revisit that sometime!
Here's an interesting you tube video talking about sewing for your proportions from Stitch 2 Fit  It's about 8 minutes in.

I'll be getting out the calculator!
Happy Sewing,

Progressive Stash Tally.
Fabric:  11 out, 3 in.
Stash Patterns used.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Black glitter jersey, and a quick wrap dress

This is the first of my catch up posts. I have a few projects to photograph and write about but the  most recent was a quick dress made for an event I went to on impulse. I'd read about Frocktails in Melbourne and Brisbane on various blogs and felt like I was missing out. Then I heard about the Frocktails event in Sydney and decided to go. It was held on Friday night. What a crowd of amazingly well dressed women, all in their own-sewn frocks! There were fabulous dresses, much mingling and meeting of friends old and new. I was surprised at the number of people. The space was filled to overflowing. The event was arranged in adjunct to the Sydney Spoolettes group. You can find them on Facebook and Instagram.
My frock as mentioned had to be fast as I did not have time for complex construction and I wanted to keep my silks for when I had time to do them justice. I am a slow contemplative sewer so I decided not to risk anything from my special hoard. I need something with a lower risk factor! What to make? To my mind 'cocktails' mean black, fast means a wrap knit dress and some part of me wanted glitter. I found sparkly black lurex at Lincraft and realised later I should have headed straight to Cabramatta! I also had my heart set on Butterick 6054 wrap dress then found it's not even released in Australia yet (grrrr!) so I knocked off a RTW wrap dress from my wardrobe.
Thanks to Gail of My Fabrication for taking the photo!

The top half was New Look 6097 modified to make the pleats angle towards the skirt. I cut down the armholes cut in a bit. The skirt is from OOP Vogue 2382, view C with downward pleats from the waist. It was modified to add a bit more side skirt. Then there was lots of serging, self facings, self ties and waist elastic. I was just happy that it turned out!

NL 6097 was modified for the top half

OOP Vogue 2382 skirt C for the bottom half

The black sparkle jersey is the second fabric item bought in my self imposed 2017 stash-busting year and in the interests of honesty I'll admit that I recently succumbed to this foxy cream cotton/lycra. I only went in for cream thread, honest! It'll probably become a 3/4 sleeve T shirt for autumn. I've used up three out of my four 'allowed' fabric purchases for the year.

Progressive Stash Tally:  Fabric 9 out, 3 in. Stash patterns used.
Happy sewing,

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Still Here!

No, this is not becoming a fashion commentary blog. In case you were wondering I have been madly sewing but madly busy so this is a five minute post saying I will do a catch up blog later, after the weekend. Last week, when I read Gail's Chanel Update post about her fabulous red Chanel-style jacket, she mentioned Sydney Frocktails were happening on February the 18th. On impulse I went online and I must have booked the last ticket to this event in all of Sydney. So then I was faced with the conundrum of 'what am I going to wear!' and 'is there time to sew anything?' followed by 'I need a new little black bag'. 'ack!' You get the drift.  I have some previously made dresses that will do but I launched into a new project, now complete. I have a choice of three outfits. Decisions will be made on the day. I keep reminding myself that it is not a fashion runway...but speaking of such here is a creature that does look excellent on a runway from Myer's 2017 winter fashion show. I love this dress.

Meanwhile on the Vogue website there's a trend for post apocalypse type dressing or what to wear after the nuclear fallout. Anyone old enough to remember the 70's modelling luminary Veruschka? That's her nowadays in the picture below, modelling at the Esther Purbandt collection Vogue fashion shows/berlin The collection's gloomy minimalist yet strangely elegant look is being echoed by quite a few designers.

In her heyday. Google image

While it's hard to wear anything dark or gloomy on a 30 Celsius Sydney day, I'm suddenly feeling ok about possibly being the only grey haired Frocktail-cocktailer in the room tomorrow. I look forward to meeting a room full of sewing Sydneyites. See you tomorrow!


Saturday, 4 February 2017

Designer Fabulousness Dior Spring '17

In the midst of outlandish and sometimes downright silly looks on the high fashion runways, occasionally there is a collection that is truly haute couture with sumptuous fabrics, exquisite design, glamour and elegance and just a tiny twist of the bizarre.. There is a new designer at Dior called Maria Grazia Chiuri. Here's a link to the Dior Spring 2017 Collection and here are some of my favourites.

All the daywear was simple midnight black. To me the outfit below epitomises classic French elegance. I love the tailored black jackets, and the short jacket over the gauchos..sigh!

From the stratospheric heights of faux-forest runways to kitchen table reality, I am currently sewing a summer dress for a friend. It's a replica of one she saw me wearing. It's posted here. I normally say no but found myself saying yes, including shopping for the fabric... I'll be back to posting my own stuff soon,


Monday, 23 January 2017

V1312 dress - finally!

Sometimes I buy patterns as soon as I see them then sit on them for years. The reasons vary. Distraction, procrastination, perceived fitting problems. For this pattern it was the latter. I would look at that wide not-sitting-just-right neckline on the model and know that it would be the same on my square shoulders and think 'I'll tackle it later'. I've finally made it up because I had a vision of it made up in some rediscovered stash voile. My daughter sometimes makes me laugh by walking around saying "It'll work - I have a veesion!" Well the vision spoke and I got out the voile, the pattern and the drafting tools. I narrowed the neckline slightly and was contemplating putting in bust darts. Then when playing around with cutting layout I realised my material had a very obvious oneway design and I my not have enough material. I was going to do a self lining, at least for the bodice. (I did a green gauze lining for the upper skirt only). A solution to  both the bodice fitting and layout problems occurred to me. I redrafted the bodice with princess seams and shortened the bottom skirt layer by 4 cm. At the bodice back I added  CB seam and did a sway back adjustment.
One mistake:  I did not put in a zip. I had planned to put one in the CB, then forgot to incorporate a CB seam in the skirt. Gah! So I did a muslin of the bodice to see if I could pull it over my head without a zip. I could. Yes! But it was a different story when I added the skirt and lining layer. I can get it on and off but I've perfected a spectacular yoga move of throwing the skirt over my head and wiggling my bust then shoulders out. Needless to say if I make this dress again I will do a back zip. Lesson learnt! Anyhow, it's been a while since I had a truly flowing dress. I enjoy wearing this one. Photos taken by  friend in the city.


I did narrow topstitch from the skirt corners to the hem to give them a bit of definition.

The redrafted front bodice.

It swishes!

I like it so much I am making a knit version. We'll see how that goes! But I'm off to work now. It's a pity it has to intrude on my sewing & social life.

Edit Update:  Re the knit version the voluminous skirt drags down the bodice so I would not recommend. A knit skirt attached to a woven bodice might work, but for now I am moving on to other projects.

Stash used: Two floral material lengths, cotton for skirt lining. Stash pattern.
Progressive stash tally: 9 out, 1 in.

In the midst of all that's happening,
Stay safe people.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

A burda a month

Hi there,

A while ago I read a post on another blog about doing a burdastyle a month for 2017. It's about getting out those mags and actually making something up instead of looking at them and filing them away again. In keeping with Sydney's current heatwave I've made up a rayon maxi dress in a loose style. If anyone in the northern hemisphere is wondering why Aussies like myself are carrying on about the heat, it's because as well as hot days of 40 degrees Celsius, we have been having midnight temperatures of 34 degrees Celsius. That's 93.2 Fahrenheit. So it's either air-conditioning or the fan going all night! Makes it difficult sometimes. Anyway I promise not to mention the heat for at least a few posts. Heatstroke and whining aside, I've made up 03/2010/111 Kimono Dress.

Modifications: The pattern as drafted is extremely billowy in the upper half and I had to shorten the bodice pieces by 2 cm, extend the skirt pieces up by 2cm, scoop the armhole out instead of the batwing shape they had. Most importantly I had to raise the too-plunging neckline. I added ties stitched to the side seams instead of making a separate Obi type belt as in the pattern.
Instructions:  Shock horror for once they were good, especially the flip the facing to the outside and topstitch neckline treatment.

I interfaced the back neck and front band pieces with lightweight interfacing found in the stash. It wasn't iron on so I used glue stick to dot some glue on then ironed it on a silk setting. This worked quite well!

Disclaimer:  I have already fallen off the stash wagon, well not really if you read the rules that I allowed myself one pattern & one piece of fabric per quarter .. I got this beautiful cotton/lycra Pique at the Fabric Store.

At first I thought of making an unlined sheath dress but that big white border is just screaming out to be used somehow. Decisions, decisions..

Stash tally Project 3:  Stash pattern and stash fabric used for dress. Another piece of stash fabric used for a muslin (too awful to show here, pattern placement chaos). One piece of fabric in.

Edit: To any new readers who are wondering 'What on earth is going on with her hair?' I am growing out the dye and letting it go grey. I've had my first round of chopping it off. I did consider shaving my head but took the (slightly) less extreme route. Once it's all out I will let it grow.

Happy sewing,