Thursday, December 27, 2012

The madness is over!

...the madness that is Christmas, of course! 

We had a great day, full of food, laughter, and presents. 
My children got thoroughly spoiled by our extended family, and so did I. 
My favourite gifts were my first-ever Colette pattern from my sister-in-law (I have the sewing handbook, but that doesn't count) and a book called The Dressmakers' Bible from my mother-in-law. Although I already have three or four sewing books, this one is great as it concentrates solely on dressmaking techniques.
I'm looking forward to making up the Lily dress in the new year.

Also, I may have treated myself to a dress or two...or three! Teehee. Every single day I go to Modcloth and drool over all the loveliness there, and in November when 3 dresses I loved were on sale, I bit the bullet and placed an order. They arrived last week and I wore this baby on Christmas day. I also got this and the same one in red.

I'm always in charge of desserts on Christmas day, and as usual, I didn't disappoint. This is a spiced Buche de Noel (Christmas log) with maple marscapone cream and toffee shards. YUMMMMM. 
I'm a pretty crappy cook, but when it comes to desserts, I rock!

 Here's a pic of the kids and I. They are all still in their jammies.

At the moment I am working on Colette Pastille, from the Sewing Handbook. After I traced and cut my pattern, I did some research and it seems the general opinion of this pattern is that it's a bitch to fit!!! Gah! I will give it a red hot go, though. I will sew up my muslin tomorrow and see how bad it is!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

2012 sewing round-up

My main sewing goal at the start of this year was to make two garments a month. That doesn't sound like a very ambitious goal, I know, but I have two small children and it is really difficult to find the time for sewing. Anyway, it's time to see if I managed to attain that goal. I haven't even counted them all up yet so I have no idea!

So here they are, in no particular order.

 Two skirts for my little girl

 Pinafore dress for little one

 Self-drafted cot quilt cover

 Two reversible, appliqued pinafores for little one

So, it does seem that I pretty much reached my goal of two items per month! I probably cheated though, since there are a few tiny person's clothes and some items that are technically muslins, and a few that are not that wearable.

So what were my hits and misses?

New Look 6808- it doesn't fit all that great.
Blue Kwiksew 3521- it was the first dress I made and boy, is it obvious! I've probably worn it 3 times.
Study Hall skirt- even though it looks fabulous and took me ages, I just don't like the length. I'll try to give it more of a chance in 2013.

Hawaiian shirt/dress- I love it and can't wait to wear it again!
Red Kwiksew 3521- gets worn once a week in summer
Winter New Look 6078- I just love it!
Springtime Watermelon dress- always gets comments!
Easy gathered skirt- it gets worn a few times a week and is easy to dress up or down.

So there you have it! 
If you are reading, please leave a you have any tips for me? Which kind of dress/ outfit do you think I should stick to making and which ones should I steer clear of?

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Hawaiian skirt-dress

I bought this skirt a while back from an op shop. It never saw much daylight as it was slightly too big for me and sat too low down on my hips (especially recently as I've lost about two inches from my hips) and the rather hideous 1970s colour scheme made it impossible to make a decent outfit with it. So I decided to make a dress out of it!


I used Kwiksew 3521 again for the bodice. I know, I'm so boring! I just can't be bothered going through the drama of trying another pattern and getting it to fit me. After the teeny tiny bodice I produced last time, I added a bit here and there to compensate, and it came out huge! Gah! So frustrating. It was much easier to fix than the too-small one, though!

The fabric is some lovely butter-yellow cotton sateen that I just adore, and I lined it with an old pillow case.

The fit is still far from perfect, but it will do.

You may have noticed that the bust darts are freakishly high. No, my nipples are not that high up on my bust. I really have no idea how this happened as I didn't touch the dart position when I made my 'improvements'!


...but wait, there's more!

My neighbour gave me a bag of jeans a while ago and not surprisingly, nothing fit me- except for this hideous thing: 


I thought it was okay in theory, but when I put it on, I felt like a complete dork. 
It's like a girdle in the front...and check out the back! Corset!!!


I held on to them because the fit is really good, and it's basically impossible for me to get jeans to fit me well now since I've gained 3-4 inches on my derriere and lost a few from my hips. So off came the silly girdle-corset, out came my new denim needle, and hey presto! New pants!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Good Enough To Eat dress

Here's my latest completed project. 

I ummed and ahhed about what to do with this one. First I wanted to make a dress entirely out of the cupcake fabric, but when I laid out my chosen pattern on it, I didn't have nearly enough fabric as the skirt back were cut on the bias. So I tried it on two more patterns and still didn't have enough, and finally decided on my original pattern with some of the black suiting that I used in my New Look 6782 skirt on the bottom and the cupckae fabric for the bodice.

The skirt is from New Look 6886. I've decided that circular/ semi-circular skirts suit me better than gathered or pleated skirts. The bodice is from my usual dress pattern, KwikSew 3521, and the sweet, cute, adorable little pouffy sleeves are from New Look 6808.

The last time I made a KwikSew 3521, I thought the bodice still needed some more tweaking as it gaped a bit around the neck and was a touch too baggy between the sleeves and waist (but not actually AT the sleeves and waist- just the area between them). So I took a bit off the side seams, sewed it up, basted in the zipper, tried to stuff myself into it....and failed. 

The first time I tried it on

I was home alone at the time so I went across the street to my German neighbours and asked the wife to zip it up for me and check the fit. "It's too small!" she proclaimed. She suggested I reduce the seam allowance at the zipper and then perhaps at the side seams. I knew there was no way in hell I would do anything to the side seams as I'd already overlocked the waist and sleeve seams. I unpicked the zipper and managed to get an extra inch out of the seam allowances. 

It fits now, I just have to make sure I don't try to do the following things while I'm wearing it: play the flute; eat food; breathe too deeply. 

Husband likes it because, quote, 'It doesn't make you look like you have no tits like all the other dresses you make'.

Every time he says that I point out that if he would like a wife with large breasts he should go out and find one.

Anyway, here are some pics. I don't think I'll bother with all the other mumbo-jumbo pattern review stuff. Suffice it to say that it cost me about $5 to make.

Haven't worn it yet, but will be wearing it to a party this Saturday so I will add some action pics after that.

No, I'm not pregnant. I just have a big belly.
Tummy sucked in.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

New from old

After the sewing roll I had in the last couple of months, I've sewn nothing at all in the last few weeks. 

School finished up for me this week and the kids were at day care today so I took the opportunity to 'improve' a couple of items that have been sitting in my mending pile.

First up was this blouse, which I purchased earlier this year in an op-shop. I love it, but it was way too long. So I chopped a few inches off it and now it's much more wearable.


Secondly, these pants that I made a couple of months ago...


I wore them once and they looked terrible, so I turned them into shorts. I may actually wear them now. This pattern looks very cool as shorts, so I will make a couple of pairs in some printed drill for summer.


I hope to have something more interesting than mending to blog about soon.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The BBB (Backwards Birdie Blouse)

Picture this.

You have a fantastic piece of fabric that your mother-in-law gave you for your birthday a year and a half ago. You look at it occasionally and wonder if now is the time to use it. Knowing that it is only a one- metre cut, you wait until you are confident in your sewing skills and have the perfect pattern for it.

Perfect pattern found, you lovingly lay out your pattern pieces on the fabric. Check, double check. 
You cut out all the pieces and proudly admire your handiwork, and think how lovely it's going to look.
Fast forward to the next day when you begin the fun part...sewing! 
You take one of the front pieces and sew the waist dart, then put it aside to start on the next front piece. That's when it hits you...

...where is the bust dart?

Starting to mutter, "No, no, no" and knowing what you have done, but not wanting to believe it, you find the 'back' piece and your fears are confirmed... have cut out two backs and one front, instead of two fronts and one back. Of a piece of fabric that you've been saving for the perfect project, for a year and a half. And there's none of it left.

CRAP. There goes my perfect top. 

I was not going to give up, so I decided to make it a back-button blouse. 


Pattern used: Kwik Sew 3668 and New Look 6808 for sleeves

Fabrics and notions 
Gorgeous Michael Miller quilter's cotton
Black polka dot buttons
Interfacing, thread

Pattern alterations or any design changes
Because the blouse was backwards, I couldn't use the adorable mandarin collar. I didn't have enough fabric left to make a decent collar so I just drafted some neckline facings.

I added the cute little sleeves from  New Look 6808 because I thought it would look sweet.

I tapered the waist up to a size 10.

I left out the interfacing in the button placket.

Don't mess with me!

Did you use any new skills?  
Drafting a facing...does that count?
None, except that I need to get a brain.
Fabric: Gift
Buttons: 6 @ 60 cents
Interfacing, thread: Stash
Total: $3.60

Wearability factor
It's fantastic! I can't tell you how much I love the print, or the sweet little sleeves.

Lesson learned: Check once, check twice, check three times!!!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Shitted Feet Dress

I decided to make another dress a few weeks ago, and to try a new pattern. I'd bought New Look 6910 a few months ago. This was my first time making a dress with princess seams instead of darts. I have to admit tht it was much, much easier to fit than a darted bodice.

I used some stiff kind of lineny-cottony stuff that I found in an op shop for a couple of dollars. It's quite sheer, so I lined the whole thing with an old fitted sheet. I posted a progress shot on Facebook and a friend commented, "I love dresses made out of shitted feets!" I laughed for about two days straight and ever since then I've referred to it as the Shitted Feet Dress.

It cost me a lot more than it should have to make because I burned the first invisible burned, I mean I pressed it with the iron too hot and melted some of the teeth. That damn zipper cost me $4.95! So I was very careful with the next one. 

Pattern used: New Look 6910

Fabrics and notions 
Lineny stuff
Part of a fitted sheet
Invisible zipper (x2)

Pattern alterations or any design changes
Shaved a bit off the bust curve of the princess seams
Tapered the waist to size 10, which I won't do next time as it is a wee bit big
Lined the skirt
Used an invisible zipper instead of a normal one

Did you use any new skills?  
Princess seams
Although it was easy fitting the bodice to my front, when I basted in the zipper I discovered I needed to add almost a whole inch to the seam allowance as it was too big. Easily fixed.

The neckline gapes a bit...a lot....I need to remember that this happens on all my dresses and to adjust accordingly. I have a very small chest, as in the part between my bust and collarbone (and my actual bust too, of course).

Derpy derp derp!
Oh! And I made the stoopid mistake of not checking that the sewn-in belt matched up at the back before I sewed in the second zipper. Whoops! Another easy fix.

Pattern: $6
Fabric: I think it was $2. I used pretty much the whole cut.
Lining: Nothing
Zippers: $9.90
Thread: Stash
Total: $17.90

Wearability factor
Good wearability factor. I wore it today to my father-in-law's 80th birthday party, and to a drinks night last week. It goes really well with a nice cardi that someone made for me a while ago.

A very nice, easy pattern that I will definitely be sewing again.
I forgot to mention that the skirt has pleats, which looks really nice.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Sub-$5 outfit!

I finished a new dress a while ago but haven't taken any good photos of it yet, so here are my two latest creations.

On my last trip to Spotlight they had a special on Kwik Sew patterns- they were only $6 each, so I grabbed this sweet little blouse pattern. I was very impressed by the fact that View B only requires 1 metre of fabric. Now I can use up some small cuts of fabric that I seem to have accumulated.

It was super easy and came together really well. I graded the waist and hips up to a 10 and kept it as 8 everywhere else.  

I always like to make wearable muslins because I hate wasting time and effort to be left with something unwearable. So I used this sheet that I found in an op shop earlier this year. And you know what? I  ACTUALLY THOUGHT ABOUT PATTERN PLACEMENT. First time ever. I'm rather pleased with the result.

Pattern used: Kwik Sew 3668

Fabrics and notions 
An old sheet
6 blue buttons from my stash
Yellow bias tape (for armhole facings)

Pattern alterations or any design changes
I used store bought bias tape instead of  making my own. As if I was gonna sit there cutting out more fabric and ironing in the creases! Pshaw!!!
Graded the waist and hips to a larger size

Did you use any new skills?  
Pattern placement!
It only has 6 buttons, and I think it needs 7 or 8. It gapes a bit, and I'm not exactly over-furnished in the bust department. Next time I will leave out the interfacing in the button placket as I think it makes it too stiff and gapey.
Pattern: $6
Fabric: Sheet was $3.95; I used about 1/8 of it. So 50 cents. 
Buttons: From a box that I got for $2. Maybe 2 cents per button.
Thread: Stash
Total: $6.62

Wearability factor
Good! I'm wearing it today with my new skirt. I will make the next one in a bright fabric. Something not from an op shop.

I just love the little collar- it's so cute!

Here's the second half of the outfit!

I just decided on the spur of the moment on Monday that I desperately needed a black skirt. I have heaps of black skirts, but they are all very 'worky'. I needed something to wear with  my casual tops. I went to Fabric Frenzy and they had suiting on sale for $4.95/m so I grabbed 4 metres. It's great stuff- very good quality with a lovely drape.

I had this pattern in my stash for a while but hadn't used it.

Pattern used: New Look 6872

Fabrics and notions 
Black suiting

Pattern alterations or any design changes
The pattern has a side zipper, but I prefer them at the back, so I cut two backs instead of one. I also made the waistband slightly longer so I could have it cross over at the back and fasten with buttons instead of hook and eye.

Did you use any new skills?  
When I cut out the waistband I thought it was miles too small....but it ended up fitting perfectly! 
I used plastic snaps instead of buttons and the placement is kinda dodgy but I can live with it.
Pattern: $6
Fabric: About $4 worth
Fabric, thread, interfacing, snaps from my stash

Wearability factor
Great! I love it. It swishes really nicely and will look great both at work and running around with the kids.

I will definitely make this again. It only took me about 3 hours from cutting to wearing.