Wednesday, February 29, 2012

While we are on the topic of....

Rachel Comey for Cutting Edge Patterns, I made this

I didn't actually own a little black skirt which really, is a wardrobe staple.  I had this black cotton mystery stretch textured denim type fabric sitting in my stash.  And, no, this one wasn't an op shop find but bought from Fabric Vision to make a pair of shorts earlier in the season.  I changed my mind about the shorts but it did make a perfect skirt.

I cut the skirt out to a size 12, but graded into a size 10 at the waist.  My measurements would have had me make a size 14 but I have learnt with this pattern.  I didn't change anything else about the cut of the pattern except to lengthen it by 15cm (this skirt is seriously short),  but did make a couple of changes to the construction.  I knew I wanted to line this skirt because I will be wearing it into the winter and I detest unlined skirts and tights worn together.  Therefore I omitted the continuous bias and bound seams.  Instead I opted to over lock them.  I had a piece of satin lining which was from one of my op shop stashes and used this to make a lining. 

After stitching on my waistband I decided that actually the waist was tighter than I like to wear it.  I had to ease the skirt into the waistband to get it to fit.  I am not sure whether this was part of the design or because my fabric was stretch and I had already tried it on.  Nonetheless I was unhappy with such a tight waistband so cut another in size 12 and this proved to be a perfect fit for someone who doesn't like wearing their clothes tight.

Would I make this skirt again?  Definitely!  I think this is my new favourite A line skirt.  Is that because of my pattern choices or is it because my fitting techniques are improving!  Only time will tell.

Pattern:  Vogue 1247
Fabric:  Stretch Cotton/Denim
Shoes:  Aerosoles
Blouse:  Amie (op shop)

Friday, February 24, 2012

First Aid Required...

This blouse is part of my autumn wardrobe.  It was raining when I got up yesterday morning, hence the tights and my new brogues by World.  I quickly realised however as I took this photo that it really was too warm for this ensemble so changed to this:

By lunchtime however, we had reached 30deg celsius and 50% humidity, so the linen lined skirt was not cutting it either and I opted for a sundress...never mind, there will be plenty of cooler weather to enjoy both of these outfits.

I made this blouse using a crushed satin from this op shop haul and Vogue V1247.  It was pretty easy to make but did require an awful lot of ironing.   For my trouble, I also ended up with a 10cm burn on the inside of my arm. 

I cut it out to a size 10 but in hindsight, I could have gone down to an 8.  I find Vogue patterns quite hard to figure out size wise because my measurements on the packet would have put me at a size 12 to 14 but in reality, especially with this pattern, I need to make up at least a size or two smaller.

I initially wasn't convinced about the French seaming.  It looks really good on the pieced seams but was quite difficult to get the side seams sitting how I wanted them because of the curve under the arm.  If I was to make it again, I think I would use a regular seam here.  The picture above shows the inside of the blouse which looks really nice and will retain it's good looks for the life of the blouse.

I had read however that this blouse is notorious for falling off ones shoulders, so as a finishing touch, I added some bra strap holders, made using a leftover piece of fabric and a couple of small snaps.  I will also do this again if I make another of these tops. 

I really love this top, but, if, and I am sure I will, make it again, I will cut it out to a size 8 and make the neck slightly less plunging and narrower.  For a wearable muslin though, I am pretty happy with the results.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Quiet Reflection

A sad day today.  A day we remembered where we were and again shared our experiences of a year ago, of all we have lost.  Has it really been that long.

My oldest son and I walked to the newly unveiled earthquake memorial and at 12.51pm layed flowers we picked from my garden.  My son wanted to decorate road cones with them.  There are so many of them in the city and a lot have been decorated by the people of the city as a tribute.  Where we live, road cones are not so common however, so I felt the memorial was appropriate.  I have watched this memorial garden being built from the adjacent park over the last couple of months so it was appropriate for us to mark the exact time at the resting place of many of the victims.

Kia Kaha Christchurch!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

I made a skirt......

"Good for you" you say!  Well, I am particularly proud of this skirt.  I originally saw the style in a rtw line and loved all of the primary colours and the two little pleats at the front.  I also loved the linen it was made of.  I had to have one but of course not a rtw.

I had just the piece of linen in mind, bought with this fabric haul.  Unfortunately once I had washed and ironed it, the fabric appeared to have some permanent fold marks that seemed to have the dye stripped out of it.  This meant I needed to cut the pieces around the damaged fabric.  I used New Look 6918 and cut it to a size 10 in the waist and size 12 in the hips. I was a little concerned this style with it's tummy pleats would be unflattering and didn't want it to drag across the tummy and but area hence the extra room.  I also shaved off 1cm on the side seams tapering up from the hem to give more of a pencil illusion.  This proved to be a perfect solution and resulted in the perfectly fitted skirt.  I like the way the waist band is curved and sits just below the waist. 

To finish my skirt off I lined it and very carefully hand stitched it in at the waist, around the zip and the back pleat.  I don't usually wear lined skirts in the summer but this skirt with it's taffeta lining is really lovely and luxurious to wear....and did I mention comfortable!   I am wearing it here with the blouse I made and wrote about here.  The blue is a perfect match for the tiny blue flowers in this blouse.

By the way...if anyone can tell me why my photo is uploading sideways, I would be most grateful.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Take Aways

It has been a little busy around here lately.  My son has started at a new school that is 7 times the size of his old school so has taken quite some adjusting to.  We have had the odd teething problem, but fortunately nothing too serious.  It is however all very time consuming.  Add to that all the associated meet the teachers, the start of extra curricular activities, and surgery for my daughter and things have begun to slide.   My garden has begun to disappear in a mountain of weeds and my pantry was starting to look bare.  When my kids very nicely asked me to go grocery shopping because there was quote "nothing to make lunches out of", I was happy to oblige (anything to keep them out of the dreaded school canteen).   I was pleasantly surprised at what I found amongst those weeds.  This little lot saved me a trip to the fruit and vege shop and guess what was on the menu for lunch.....

Yum.....tomato on toast, one of my seasonal favourites.  I don't make it with shop bought tomatoes because they are tasteless but organic home grown, you simply can't go past.

And while I was at it, I also found this little lot....well, that was dinner sorted out!  So, I sat beside a well dress lady at my son's swimming lessons at 4.45pm last night, as she scrolled through the local pizza shop menu on her Ipad, feeling rather smug......I had already organised my own takeaway....taken right from my own garden!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Valentines Day Anyone!

Paired with red accessories this dress would be perfect for a Valentines dinner, don't you think!  This is the dress I made last year for my wedding anniversary but didn't get around to writing about.  Tomorrow it won't be getting an outing though, as my husband and I have a parent teacher meeting at my son's new school.....I know,  great timing right!  No matter, Valentines day really isn't high on my list of priorities anyway.

I made this dress using Simplicity 3833.  I really liked the simple lines and the way the two different fabrics were joined at the bust dart.  It reminded me of the dresses my mother wore in the 1960's, although she wore hers much shorter.  I bought the black and white fabric on a sale table with this dress in mind but underestimated the amount of fabric I would need for colour matching etc. After a little fiddling around with the pattern, I just managed to fit the pieces in.  The design matching is not perfect but because the centre front is not cut on the grain, matching the print was impossible anyway.

Both of the pieces of fabric are a cotton sateen with a small amount of stretch.  I would say the black is more like a drill but has a very nice sheen to it unlike normal stretch drill. 

I really like this simple style of dress.  As I am not a tall person, it compliments my height and because I am not a particularly flamboyant person, it also suits my personality.  I would like to make this style again, perhaps next time with sleeves or maybe even a Peter Pan collar, which seems to be popular at the moment.

Monday, February 6, 2012

From Drab To Fab

In the latter half of last year, I picked up these green vinyl tub chairs on Trademe quite cheaply with the intention of recovering them and putting them into my kids room for reading chairs.  When I collected them I realised that actually they were too large to be bedroom chairs but I could fit on of them perfectly into my family room as an occasional chair.  Lovely aren't they?  This is the better of the two of them.  The one I chose to recover had a large hole in the side of the chair.  Anyho, it sat in my garage all through Christmas and hubby cursed it every time he put his car away until one day in the middle of January I got the nerve to make a start.  The way I figured it, the chair was a mess, I couldn't really make it much worse.  We began pulling it apart.  I say we because it quickly became aparent that I would never be able to pull all of the staples in this thing, and there were a lot, on my own, so my husband came to my rescue and pulled out most of them.  He then sanded the legs and restained and polyurethaned them.

Once I had the chair apart came the really scary part.  I had bought some gorgeous upholstery fabric, also on Trademe, last year and while it was considerably cheaper than retail, it was still very expensive so I didn't want to stuff it up.  I used all of the pieces I had removed as templates and cut new pieces in my new and gorgeous fabric.  It was a time consuming exercise because the staple gun we had gave my husband blisters and I didn't have the strength to operate it at all.  Once we were halfway through, I began to think there must be an easier way and with the help of Google found out that I could buy an electric staple gun from Bunnings quite cheap.  The following day I was at Bunnings shortly after opening and had my electric staple gun in my hot little hand.  I can't believe I haven't owned one of these before.  They are fantastic.  Anyho, the chair has now been completed and takes pride of place as a bedroom chair but in my bedroom.  Now I have my sights set on the other chair because this chair just looks fantastic!

Friday, February 3, 2012

On A Mission

My mission this year, and I call it a mission because the idea of a New Year's resolution has never sat comfortably with me, is to dress better for less.  Why, you may ask?  Well, when I totted up how much of our hard earned money was spent on clothing last year, I was slightly horrified.  Now, I know 3 growing kids (including two teenagers) are expensive to clothe and shoe, but this money would have paid for a great holiday.  So, this year it is a case of, how low can she go!  Now let's not get ridiculous about it, I will be buying shoes because let's face it, a girl always needs new shoes but this will be an interesting experiment or let's call it, mission, because this won't come easy, I can tell you!

To kick things off, I have made a top using fabric from my last op shop haul.  There was only a tiny piece of this fabric so actually cutting it out was a challenge.   I used New Look 6179 again but this time I made the version with the double layer shoulder frill.  It is the same pattern as the "shower curtain" blouse that I wrote about recently but because I found this blouse a little snug under the armpits and in the hips, I was keen to add a little bit of width to this version, not an easy task when I didn't have enough fabric in the first place.  Any ho, buy virtually getting rid of all the side seam allowance, I squeezed enough width out of the blouse for it to fit beautifully.  Problem number two came when I wanted to make bindings for the neck and arms.  I could have bought ready made black binding but this would have been way to simple and I felt like a contrast so I dug around in the remnant bin and found a   co-ordinating floral that did the job beautifully, I think.  I didn't even have enough fabric to make the drawstring so the centre of the drawstring is made using the co-ordinating blue and only the ties are the black floral.   Shhhhh...that is a big secret, if you don't tell anyone, they will never know.

I love my new blouse.  The fabric drapes beautifully.  It must have been quite an expensive cotton, when new.  Today, I am wearing it with a pair of Principals Designs beige drill pants that I picked up at the Op Shop and refashioned from flared to skinnies and Clarks leather sandals from