Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 sewing roundup

Happy new year! This is one of my favourite things to do- look at what I've made all year, and decide what to make this year. Not that I'll stick to my plans- I never do...but it's nice to have some goals.

So, here's what I made in 2015.

From top: Blue Jays shorts; Gallery dresses; Blue Jays shorts; random stuff.

Girl skater dress; Boo Pins.

Blossom skirt; self drafted blanket and cushion cover; self drafted cushion cover; Mem Rose skirt; Firefly dress.

Blossom skirt; Gallery dress; self drafted gypsy skirt; self drafted skirt and cushion cover; Gallery dress.

Self drafted gypsy skirt; Gallery dress and self drafted skirt; Blue Jays shorts; Gatsby cap; Honey Gum dress.

New Look blouses; hat from Sewing Children's Clothes book; Gatsby cap.

All of the above items were for other people. I'm pretty happy with my handmade gifting this year, even if it wasn't always appreciated or acknowledged. What matters is the way I feel inside when I take the time to make something instead of buying some cheap plastic crap from K Mart.

Now, the things I made for myself...

Pacific leggings; new Look dress; Lady Skater dress.

New Look dress; Lady Skater dress; Lisette Round Trip dress.

New Look skirt; Renfrew top; Lisette Traveller dress.

I was MUCH more selfless last year than I was for the last couple of years! Most of the items I made for myself have had frequent use, with the exception of the last three- the leggings due to their terrible fit, the Renfrew due to its high level of polyester, and the dress...dunno, I just don't like the skirt fabric. 

One of my resolutions last year was to use up the fabric in my stash. Not only did that not happen, my stash is actually bigger than it was this time last year. How on earth did that happen???

I'll be back in a few days to blog about what I want to make this year.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas!

This is just going to be a super quick post. We've had a huge day, full of food, presents, family, and fun!

Here are two gifts I received- my first ever Bernie Dexter frock, which I love. I picked it up on EBay for $60, brand new with tags! They are normally about $200 in Australia. I asked hubby to buy me a dress and then I saw this one and nabbed it. 

It fits me perfectly. These dresses definitely aren't worth $200- I'm not saying they aren't well made, because they are...but they're not so amazing that I'd pay that kinda money!

I also got this awesome book from my mother in law, which I specifically asked for. It's great! It has lots of different bodice, sleeve, skirt and neckline variations to make a gazillion different dresses. I can't wait to get tracing!

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas Day!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Sewaholic Pacific Leggings and New Look 6344

I'd decided this year that I was going to give handmade gifts wherever possible. My mother in law was easy- she specifically asked for a couple of woven tops as all of her summer tops are polyester (yuk!). We went to Spotlight and chose this pattern.

It's very simple but stylish, with pleats at the neckline and a simple button opening at the back. She chose this very lightweight fabric which was tagged as 'cotton feel polyester'. If I didn't know better, I would say that this stuff is all natural- it does not feel like it has any polyester at all! It wasn't super fun to sew with though, as it it very thin and doesn't crease well. However, it turned out well.

I didn't have to make any adjustments to the pattern- I simply cut the size 20 based on her measurements and it fit her fine (we had a fitting session before I started on the second one).

I told her that the second one would be made from a surprise fabric. I chose this lovely rayon, which was much more pleasant to work with!

The first top took me about two hours, but the second one was much quicker. I will make some for myself soon as I really like the style.

I was umming and ahhing about what to make for my sister. I'd thought about making a yoga mat bag, but then I was reading a Sewaholic blog post about their new Pacific leggings, and thought I could make some awesome yoga pants.

I went to Fabric Frenzy as I knew their dance/ sport fabrics were on sale. I got a metre each of groovy tropical print Lyrca, and dark purple Supplex. I made myself a test pair first to see how difficult they were.

These leggings have a crotch gusset, and I've never sewn any type of gusset before. The instructions were very scant, so I asked Tasia from Sewaholic a question about it on her blog post. I also emailed her, and asked a question on the Sewaholic facebook page. Not a single response. I appreciate that the business is very busy, but customer service shouldn't stop once a sale has been made. 

Anyway, I digress. I just sewed the gusset as best I could, and I guess it doesn't look too bad.

The inside is a bit dodgy, but oh well!

So here are my finished pants. They look amazing on and are super comfy. The supplex is extremely comfortable and a dream to sew...the Lycra, not so much.

I wanted to make my sister's pair exactly the same, but the front panels take up quite a bit of fabric so there wasn't enough purple left. So hers have a funky waistband.

No idea why this is sideways, and can't be bothered fixing it. Sorry!

I did a groovy little faux flat lock effect on the back. See it? I stole this idea from the Sewaholic blog.

I used neon green to make it really stand out. I wanted to use it on the waist seam as well, and started to sew it, but my machine spazzed out. And it chose to spaz out when I got to the centre front, so I had to unpick it all. My machine wasn't cooperating so I just left the fancy stitching out.

I really like these leggings, but I'm not so sure about the gusset. It's visible from the front when they are worn, and it kinda looks like a weird fabric vagina. None of the leggings I have look like this- the gusset is hidden right between the legs. I'm going to have to modify the pattern next time I make some.

Now I can relax because all of my Christmas sewing is done! Yay! 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Some Christmas sewing!

Last week saw my last day of work for the year. I don't go back until February! Yeeha! I seriously love my job as a flute teacher- it's fun, rewarding, and allows me to spend heaps of time with my children. My kids go to a public school so they still have two more weeks until their holidays, so I've been using my time to sew Christmas gifts.

My five-year-old Elizabeth absolutely adores Mummy-made stuff, so I always make a few things for her. Usually I make a dress for her to wear on Christmas Day. I decided to try a new (to me) pattern, the Honey Gum Dress by Ainslee Fox Boutique, which was in One Thimble magazine.

It is designed to be quite roomy in the bodice section, so there's lots of room for growth. The instructions are exellent and I sewed this up in a morning. It has the most gorgeous voluminous skirt!

I also made two little hair ties to go with it. The fabric is quilting cotton from Spotlight and I added a ribbon trim to the waistband to break up the bodice and skirt sections.

I also made her a cute little pair of shorts using this adorable print I found on EBay. I think it's Timeless Treasures. The pattern is Blue Jays by Bobkin, which are supposed to have the legs gathered into a little cuff, but I didn't have any nice contrasting fabric to make the cuff with and I think they look cute like this.

Lastly, a new hat. She doesn't have any nice hats that fit. I found a nice pattern in a book I have called Sewing Children's Clothing. This was so easy- I made it in about an hour! And I just realised that I hadn't taken photos of it, so took these just now as I'm sitting in bed!

It's fully reversible and I'm sure she will love it.

Next on my list is a blouse for my mother in law, a hat for my son, and a pair of Pacific Leggings by Sewaholic for myself and my sister. I haven't made them before and the fabric is expensive, so my pair will be the tester before I make my sister's pair. I'm hoping to get them done tomorrow.

What's on your To Make list for Christmas?

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Canberra clothes

So in my last post I mentioned that I went to our nation's capital for 5 days at the very beginning of October. I go down every 2 years for a mega geeky flute festival, and it's always cold. I wanted to whip up some dresses that I could layer up with a cardigan and tights.

Spotlight had 30% off their scuba and ponte knits, so I bought enough printed scuba to make a shift dress, and ponte to make a skater dress. 

I didn't actually have a pattern for a knit shift dress, just thinking that I could make this one in my normal size. It didn't quite work that way, of course, and I had to take about an inch off each side seam. The neckband didn't quite work either, so I made a quick modification. I really love this dress as it is quite casual but can be dressed up too. And I can wear so many colours with it!

The skater dress (Lady Skater by Kitschy Koo) is one I've made before, and it should have taken a very short time, but both my my machines were having complete spack attacks so I fought with them for a while. In fact, the sewing on both dresses is extremely dodgy, but it's more noticeable on the mustard one. Look at this mess...

I lack the know-how to fix overlocker issues, and really wanted to get these dresses done in time, so I just went, "Stuff it!" and left them looking shitty on the inside. The skater dress did turn out super cute, though. 

I've just sent both of my machines off to be serviced, and can't wait to get them back so I can start on my Christmas sewing! While they are being serviced, I'm cutting out all of my projects so that they are ready to go once I am on my summer holidays UNTIL FEBRUARY NEXT YEAR Y'ALL!!!! Which is a mere two weeks away!! (just a bit excited...)

So far I've cut out:
- a dress for my daughter
- a pair of shorts for my daughter
- a hat for my daughter
- a blouse for my mother in law
- a dress for myself.

I still need to cut some yoga pants and matching headband for my sister, and need to make something for the kids' teachers. I hope I can get it all done in time! 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Hello and goodbye October

Gah! I haven't blogged in so long! I should probably try to get one post in for the month of here it is.

Life has been crazy busy. This time of year is nuts when you are a teacher- even more so when you teach instrumental music and are obliged to organise/play at/attend a multitude of end of year concerts. Additionally, I had a concert with the orchestra I play in, two gigs with my jazz/funk band over the space of two days, and a 5 day trip to Canberra for the Australian Flute Festival. I still have to write my school reports. Ugh. 

Anyway. I do love my much. I'm really lucky that my passion also happens to be my job. It is just stressful in the last term of the year!

I have been doing lots of sewing. I have a big backlog of stuff to blog about, but haven't had a chance to take any decent photos. Here's the first project in the queue- my first dress of Spring.

I love it when winter comes to an end and I can start wearing bright, flowery dresses again. It just doesn't feel right wearing them in winter! This dress is one I've made a few times before, and I still haven't perfected the fit! I must have forgotten to take some width out of the centre front to account for my bony chest, as it gapes like crazy. Still, it's a very cute dress, and is dressy enough for work, but great as a casual dress too.

I bought this fabric to make a dress for one of Lizzie's friends, and loved it so much that I went back and got another few metres. It's quilting cotton, which I love to sew with. It's great for dresses with pleats in the skirt.

I made a couple of dresses to wear on my weekend in Canberra, but haven't photographed them yet. But here are my most recent makes. These are for my daughter's friend, whose birthday is on Saturday. Audrey is a really sweet girl, whose mum has impeccable taste. Audrey's bedroom looks like something from a's all vintage fabrics and simplicity, not a complete jumble of crap like my kids' bedroom! Anyway, her mum is always going to handmade markets and buying dresses for Audrey as she doesn't sew. I know she is going to love this dress. I decided on the skirt at the last minute as a little extra.

I drafted the little Peter Pan collar myself and used a gorgeous vintage mother of pearl button at the back of the dress. I think this fabric is so pretty. It looks like linen, but is actually quilting cotton.

The skirt is just a super simple make- two cuts of the width of the fabric sewn together with an elastic casing. I probably could have just used one width of the fabric but this version is a lot more gathered and twirly.

In other news...I chopped my hair off. My hairdresser comes to my house, and the night before she was due to come, I decided all of a sudden to go for a big change. I showed her the style I had in mind, and said, "Do it before I change my mind!". I'm so glad I did it...I feel so different, and funky! Husband is not too keen on it, but it's not his hair, is it?

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Bonny bunnet for the Scotsman

I really have not been doing a lot of sewing lately, apart from making a few simple skirts for Lizzie and as birthday gifts for her friends. My husband ('The Scotsman') has been bugging me to make him this hat ever since I showed it to him. It is from Issue 6 of One Thimble e-zine.

At first I thought I wouldn't be able to make him one due to the enormity of his noggin, but I measured it and luckily discovered that the largest size would accomodate his Sputnik-sized head.

Every time he asked me when I was going to make it, I'd say "Soon...I'm just in the middle of making something else right now". Fathers Day was last weekend, and I thought I should finally pull my finger out and make him one.

I always intended to make it out of this beautiful wool tartan that I've had in my stash for about 6 years. After all, he is a born and bred Scotsman, and a Scotsman's bunnet should be made from tartan.

I had to go and buy some very stiff stabiliser from Spotlight, but everything else was from my stash. The stabiliser was for the brim of the cap. I wanted to get the curve of the cap perfect, so I marked out my stitching line using my trusty seam gauge and some chalk.

The brim turned out beautifully- taking these extra little steps really does make a difference to the finished product! Attaching the sides to the top was very tricky as I had to do a lot of easing to get them to match up and the use of many pins was necessary.

I don't have a tailor's ham, and they really are a necessity when making a hat, so I improvised with one of Lizzie's toys. It worked a treat!

Come Fathers Day, my hubby was completely taken by surprise when he opened his gift. He loves it and it fits him perfectly!

I'm mostly very pleased with my pattern matching. There is a tiny little pleat in the back side seam, which I tried 3 times to fix, but the top part just did not want to ease into the side.

Sorry for the dodgy background. I took these just as we were leaving for our Fathers Day picnic.

I think he looks so handsome in it! 

Friday, August 7, 2015

Cherry Bomb dress

I've been making so many things for my daughter this year...I decided it was high time for some selfish sewing! 

I've had this gorgeous cherry print sateen in my stash for so long...probably over four years. I wanted to save it for a time when I had the confidence to make something really nice with it. I thought about making my favourite pattern, the Simplicity Lisette Round Trip dress, but I thought the print would really lend itself to more of a wiggle dress shape. However, one-piece dresses are a beast to fit on my figure, so I decided to mash the Lisette bodice with the skirt from this groovy retro Butterick pattern. 

I cut the bodice on the second smallest size, tapering up a size at the waist, and cut the skirt on the second smallest size. The skirt has these incredibly complicated pleats at the waist, but they look nothing special from the outside! I ended up taking a mammoth 6 inches off the skirt length...seriously, a few inches below the knee is such an unflattering length (on me, anyway). My only other adjustment was to take a whole one inch seam on the centre back.

I did make one boo-boo, as is my way...I sewed my invisible zipper onto the wrong side (well, I sewed it to the right side of the fabric, which is the wrong side...) but I'm not too fussed about that as it's pretty neat. 

I didn't have any matching buttons (it only needs one, at the top of the keyhole opening at the neck) so I made a matching fabric covered button. Unfortunately, it fell apart today so I'll have to attempt to make another one or go and buy one black shank button.

I made my students take these photos today. They took about a thousand of them.

Anyway, I adore this dress, and think it's my new favourite. I'm going to make a few more of this bodice and skirt combo, and use up some more sateen from my stash.