Sunday, March 31, 2013

Indian Summer

 While Easter still means copious amounts of chocolate are consumed in my family especially amongst the younger people, even though Easter bunny no longer visits, it is also a weekend that we try to get away before the autumn bites.  It is the last public holiday weekend before winter so for every one's emotional well being it is something we try to do if possible.

This year we camped at Ashley Gorge.  A gorgeous small camping ground surrounded by native bush on the banks of a lovely clear unspoilt swimming river.  Even the kids commented on how quiet it was at night and the bird life is unlike anything we see or hear in the city.

We didn't actually think we would be swimming.  The kids took wet suits but it was hot enough not to need them.  The water of course being mountain fed was still frigid.  The kids didn't need to walk too far to find beautiful secluded swimming holes.

I passed on the swimming action.  My role here is as lifeguard.  Coincidentally here I am wearing the capri's that suffered a inconvenient washing accident and were subsequently refashioned into shorts and Maria Denmark tee.  I say coincidentally but actually given that most of my wardrobe is now me made, it is probably more of a given!

This is what a morning walk looks like at the Ashley Gorge.  I don't know who enjoyed exploring more, the kids or my husband (seen above).

Here I am on my morning walk this morning, trying really hard not to slip and end up unceremoniously on my backside.  It is still a little cool in the early morning so this Jalie hoody came in very handy.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Making It Work

Because summer has decided to hold on for another month, today's wardrobe Wednesday post still showcases summer attire.  I must admit to being a little tired of my summer gear and trying to put together office appropriate clothing after 3 weeks on the job is getting a little monotonous.  Although winter is my least favourite seasons, I must confess to looking forward just a little bit to breaking out the boots and knitwear.  My winter sewing appetite has not yet been wet, so there may just be room for a couple of more summer items.

Today's making it work top comes from one of my all time favourite patterns, Vogue 1247.  I know it is so, because as I type it, I can remember the pattern number off by heart.  Great!  More brain sludge!  The skirt is another favourite and fits beautifully which is probably why it is a favourite.  Comfort and good looks are always a winning combination in my book.  This was made in blue linen using New Look 6918.  I have discovered that open toe shoes are allowed in the office (you can never be too sure these days), so today, I am wearing beige leather wedges by Clarks.

I do have one more item to reveal before the end of March, but managed to spill something on it before I had a chance to photograph it, so watch this space!

Monday, March 25, 2013

In The Pink

After an unfortunate washing accident with the pants that I originally made with this fabric, I decided that there was just enough fabric left to eek out another pair of jeans.  Not satisified completely with the fit  to date of the jeans I had made using the Jalie jeans pattern, I in a rush of blood to the head, set about reinventing the wheel.

What I was hoping to achieve was a curvier hip area, narrow legs and a slightly larger rise at the front...hmm sounded easy in theory.  The basis of my theory was a new pair of rtw jeans that I really liked the fit of.  Now after much drawing and pinning and measuring, I now have a pattern that I am happier with but I don't think I am quite there yet.  I love the rise, the ease in the hips but the legs do tend to creep up a bit and are a little too snug around the calves.  The fabric does tend to grow quite substantially with wear, so I would be interested to see how this pattern goes with real denim.

I was lucky enough to have just enough length in the fabric to make pants for a vertically challenged person but there was not enough for pocket bags or for the waistband.  My solution was to line the waistband with a more stable white denim which was probably a good idea in hindsight.  The pocket bags were just made with some white cotton shirting and a pocket facing eeked out of the pink stitched on top.

Top to toe colour seems to be a reacurring theme this season, so I have teamed the pink Jalie (I say that very loosely now) jeans with the pink linen jacket I wrote about last week, pink ballet flats by Mia Paci and my favourite cotton top with tiny pink flowers,  circa this time last year.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Making It Work

I have a very large collection of casual clothes but not much suitable for office wear.  The weather has changed to more autumnal in the last couple of days, so those summer dresses will either need to be paired with another layer or put away until next year.  At the moment I am rather struggling with the what do I wear, problem, on a daily basis.   I work in an office full of males, so actually working out the dress code is taking some experimentation.  Thus far, I think my office sits somewhere between casual and formal office attire so suits are not necessary and jeans a step too far.

The outfit I am wearing today, consists of a Bendon lace tee which I picked up at the op shop, grey leather sling backs by Valdo which I bought from Street Legal, light weight wool lycra cardigan that predates my blog and a cotton sateen skirt made using Megan Neilsen's Kelly Skirt pattern.

I have nothing on my sewing table at the moment, but do have a stack of fabric and no inspiration...hmmmm!  Did I mention that I have no energy either! It is not exactly conducive to productivity but I am determined that no rtw will be added to my wardrobe.

Monday, March 18, 2013

What you do for one.....

you have to do for another!

When young J saw his brothers onsie, he decided he really wanted one as well.  Initially I was hesitant but I actually came on board quite quickly.  When J swims, he tends to come home wrapped in a towel which isn't ideal in the middle of winter.  I have often suggested he take his dressing gown but apparently this is uncool.  A onsie is the perfect solution.  The fleece doesn't absorb water so he can simply towel off and throw the onsie on with a pair of jandals and is good to go.

Once again I used M'Calls 6251.  I used the same size as J's older brother but had to downsize the pattern quite considerably because this pattern is a youth sized pattern and not child sized.  I took a lot of length out of the body, legs and sleeves as well as running it in at the sides for this long slim child.  The pattern did not include a hood, so I drafted one of these as well.  The fabric is a lovely but very inexpensive textured polar fleece from Kutwell fabrics and the royal blue is left over from his brothers onsie.  He felt it was a little boring, so was pleased when I suggested the J applique for the front.

Now, school camp is looming later in the week.   His first ever.   One of the activities is a pyjama party complete with movie and popcorn.    I think he should be quite cosy in his new onsie.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A Frankenpattern Work Dress

With the long dry continuing, I figured I had time for just one more summerish dress.  This particular one does have sleeves so could be justified as an early autumn dress.   I was going through my stash last week and was wondering just what to do with the pieces of linen I had amassed in my collection, when I had a bright idea.   I really liked the Vogue colour blocked dress but really couldn't justify another pattern and knew I had just the colour combination for a lovely colour blocked linen dress.

My epiphany came in the form of Butterick 6933 which has been in my stash since before my blog.  It is a preloved beauty that found itself in my collection for less than a cup of coffee.  I used it way back when for this dress.  I wanted my new dress to be spliced but also wanted the neckline to be higher and the dress to be A line.  

The first thing I did was to redraft the pattern.  I used Vogue 1247, my favourite skirt pattern, for the A line shape of the skirt.  I really liked the neckline on my peplum top, so copied the neckline on Vogue 8815.  I spliced the dress reasonably evenly but unlike the Vogue original dress, I incorporated the top splice into the bust darts which totally illuminated them.  I then measured the skirt into two even sized pieces and this became my bottom two tiers.  The back was then drafted so that the blocks measured up.  I re cut the sleeve top because the original pattern had too much fullness and was actually more gathered than the pattern showed.  The sleeves actually turned out to be more labour intensive than I had anticipated and even though I am happy with how they turned out, if I was to use the pattern again, I would definitely redraft them yet again.

This dress tuned out to be quite the fabric hog.  I only had a small piece of the pink linen but two large pieces of the black and blue.  I still have heaps of both of these left so this dress was probably not the best use of fabric.

I decided not to line the dress, simply because I didn't have any suitable lining in my stash and I really couldn't be bothered making a special trip to the fabric shop.  I know it is a bit lazy but this week with the new job, this is exactly where my head is at.  I also reasoned that if I didn't line it, I could wear it on a summers day without feeling uncomfortable and through the autumn I would just need to wear a slip.

This photo was taken today, after a full day at work.  There are a few wrinkles in the seat which is consistent with linen but all in all it held up well.  It is comfortable to wear but still fitting; everything you need in an office appropriate dress.

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Chequered Flag

Last week young J competed in his first ever school swimming sports.  He has been waiting for over four years for this particular experience as his school doesn't have years 0-4 competing.  The weekend before, he requested some new swimming togs.  On closer inspection of his current ones, this was a necessity and not a whim, so I laid out my stash and asked him to pick a colour combination.  His initial choice was red with the black and white check but after frustratingly mucking up the cutting he ended up with his second choice of orange.  The brief was that the shorts needed to be bright and the brighter the better.  I think I got this right.  The second brief was, he needed elastic with a tie...check.  I already had some elastic from Lincraft with a tie woven into the elastic.  Because this orange is prone to fading and white can be embarrassingly see through, I lined the entire suit with white nylon lycra.   Once again, I used my own pattern, drafted off an old pair.   I was going to twin needle the hem but opted instead of two single lines of stitching, in case one line gave way.

I volunteered to marshall on the day, so these pictures are courtesy of my husband.

The shorts were a success.  He even told his teacher who awarded him the award for the best home made swimming costume and a swimming genius!  I am not sure what all of that means, but he came home pretty happy!

Next week he gets to do it all again at the North West School's   zones swimming sports. (J is the little fish in the closest lane in the above photo).

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

I didn't see Gollum but....

I did see this magnificent creature (and I am not referring to myself here)

and a few hobbits thrown in for good measure (again, not referring to myself).  These mythical creatures are courtesy of Weta Workshops who were responsible for the magic in Lord Of The Rings and more recently The Hobbit.  This was one of the exhibits at the current Ellerslie Flower Show, which I was lucky enough to go to this morning.  Young J would have been mesmerised by this display, as last year, before the movie came out, he read the book and became rather obsessed with it; not so the movie!

Anyho, I had the morning to wander about and admire other people's creativity and imagine it in my own yard.  My favourite I think has to be these magnificent driftwood Moa's (extinct large New Zealand native bird, rather like an ostrich).  

I have to say though, it was hot, with very little shade.  Because it is autumn and the mornings are cool, I overdressed and by 11.30am the mercury had climbed to the late 20's without a breath of wind.  The jacket was by this point unceremoniously stuffed into the bottom of my tote bag.  This is however, the beauty of layering at this time of the year and I am sure the extra layer will be needed after the sun sets this evening.

The jacket I am referring to is Simplicity 2443, which has been on my wish list ever since I first made the matching dress over a year ago now.  I hadn't seen a bad version of this jacket and I knew it would fit into my transeasonal wardrobe nicely.  I also had the perfect piece of baby pink linen that had been taking up valuable stash real estate for about as long as the pattern.

The fabric I had chosen was from this op shop fabric haul and in the cold light of day, I realised that it had the odd fade mark where it had been stored for a while.  I was pleased I cut this out during the day because I may have missed it at night.  I had quite a large piece so it was a simple process to cut around the damaged areas.  Like I think just about everyone that has made this jacket, I left off the ribbon decorations.  

I was going to add buttons, but actually I don't think it needs it and I know, I will never button it up anyway.

I am really happy with the way this turned out and know it will become a firm favourite.  In the top photo, I am wearing it with this top which has tiny pink flowers, Colette Clovers and pink sling back sandals and in the above photo taken yesterday, also with the Clovers but this time with a white Kirsten Kimono Tee and new slingbacks for autumn.

I might just have to get this jacket out again and see just how many different outfits, I can create with it!

Friday, March 1, 2013

End Of February Wrap Up

February was all about transitional garments.  This was not because of inclement weather but more because I think I am all summer dressed out for the season and am now being a little more proactive in my sewing because the mornings and evenings will soon cool.  March can often mean that the weather instantly switches into autumn mode like it actually knows it is the 1st of March.  I awoke this morning to light drizzle.  It hasn't turned out to be enough to even make a dent in watering the garden but nonetheless rain in an otherwise rainless city.

Totals For End Of February

Peplum Top
Fabric (left over) $0.00
Pattern (used before) $6.00
Zip $1.89
Hook & Eye (from stash) $0.00
Total $7.89

Black Colette Clovers
Fabric $24.97
Zip $3.99
Pattern $21.05
Total $50.01

White Maria Denmark Tee
Fabric $5.99
Pattern (free) $0.00
Total $5.99

White Bra Set
Pattern (used before) $0.00
Underwire $2.99
Rings $1.49
Elastic $5.99
Elastic $10.97
Total $20.54

February Me Made Total $84.43

RTW Purchases $56.00