Sunday, June 30, 2013

An Evening Cambie

You would think that one evening type dress for the month would be challenge enough, but alas no, my husband and I had a black tie event to attend on the same night as Courteney's ball.  Aside from the pre ball party embarrassment when we were the only adults in formal attire, it actually worked out really well for family photographs.  It did however mean sewing pressure to get both projects finished in the allotted time.  Because of time constraints my dress needed to be simple in order to actually get the project completed.  I was fully aware also, that the weather would be cold despite the indoor venue.  Adequate coverage would be a necessity.  After flicking through my patterns, I kept coming back to the Sewaholic Cambie.  My vision was a Cambie top with a pencil skirt.  I knew it was doable.  

The fabric I chose was a red stretch taffeta shot with blue with a matching crushed organza in red also shot with blue.  The organza was originally intended as part of Courteney's dress but as the dress was conceived we realised that the organza would not play a part.  It turns out that the decision was quite serendipitous.

The top on this dress fits without alteration which is a huge bonus so it was quite quick to construct.  The skirt pattern I chose was my pencil skirt drafted from Vogue 1247.  I made the waistband also in the contrasting organza fabric and fully lined the entire dress.

The dress was really comfortable to wear, even on the most miserable of nights weather wise.  It just goes to show that you should never right off day wear patterns as night wear.  This dress will be my new go to dress for evening wear.  Now all I need is another soiree invite so I can wear my new favourite dress.

So, this spells the end of Indie Pattern month.  I managed 3 Indie patterns if you count my Tessuti pin striped pants.  There is one more, but this will have to be posted in July.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Pin Stripes

Because it has been so cold here lately, I needed some pants to keep my legs warm.  My usual weekend attire involves jeans, but they are not suitable for work so I needed something a little more work appropriate but didn't want to resort to dress pants which really are not me at all.  Tessuti Anita Ponti Pants proved to be just what I needed.  This is the third time I have made these pants.  The first being my printed ponti pair and the second a pair I made in grey wool ponti for my mother.  I found the printed pair to be a little short in the rise at the back and a little long in the front so for this pair I altered the rise by 2cm longer at the back and 2cm shorter at the front.  I also made the legs slimmer from the knees down.

There really isn't a lot to say about these pants.  They are extremely comfortable to wear with the elastic waist and because they are made of ponti as opposed to lycra, they are dressier and more trouser like than leggings, perfect for casual Friday.  I actually wouldn't mind a plain black pair.  All I need to do is find some decent ponti!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Boyfriend Shirt

Boyfriend shirt!  Well that is how Burda Style describes it anyway.  In all honesty it is quite some time since I had a boyfriend but hey, now I have the shirt.  I haven't had very positive outcomes from Burdastyle in the past finding the sizing off, so I didn't actually hold out great hope for this shirt.  I figured though, if it was a little on the large side, it really didn't matter.

According to my measurements, I drafted the shirt to size 36. I used some really nice quality georgette from one of my early op shop hauls and trimmed it with some mock leather type fabric that I picked up at Lincraft.  As I typed this post, I asked my 14 year old son whether it was mock lizard or crocodile and he very helpfully informed me it is lizardy crocodile, so I am going with that.  The lizardy crocodile fabric is actually a laminated knit fabric so was really easy to work with.  I have my doubts about durability but hey, it looks good so for now that is enough!

I did have one or two issues with the sleeve header and had to redraft it to remove some of the fullness.  I don't think I have found a shirt or jacket yet without excess sleeve header fullness, so this did not come as a huge surprise.  In all, I removed 1.5cm from the top of the sleeve, graduating out to nothing at the sides of the cap.  This reduced the cap to the extent that it required minimal ease to insert.  I did have to shorten the sleeves and found the sleeve band to be too big so actually lapped the band and added an extra pleat to the sleeve.  

Surprisingly, I love the fit of this shirt.  It offers a loose fit without being oversized and swamping my 160cm frame.  It looks equally good tucked into a skirt for a corporate look as it does left loose over a pair of skinny jeans for a casual look.  I have worn the shirt both ways, to work on a Friday tucked in and loose over jeans for a casual evening function.  I think I may well be a Burdastyle convert and there will definitely be more shirts made in this style.


Sunday, June 23, 2013


So, this has been my labour of love in June.  Courteney turned 17 last Thursday and attended her year 12 school ball last night.  It was a bitterly cold night at the end of a snowy week, not the sort of week that you think about parading around in strapless gowns.  Her father and I attended her pre ball party where we mingled with the kids and their partners and parents and took photos like crazed paparazzi, much to the bemusement of the young people.

This dress was conceived last month and started out as a very simple strapless cocktail length gown in turquoise blue.  Courteney is not prone to frou frou, so we figured simple is better.  What we were unprepared for however was that school balls seem to take on a life of their own and very little is discussed for some weeks prior to the event, by both the young men and young women alike.  Every time we visited a fabric shop our initial plan grew just a little until our vision was not even recognisable from the dress you see above.  

Our starting point was Butterick 5457, which I picked up online in a pattern sale.  Our original plan was view B, made in satin with a contrasting sash just as in the picture.    I knew Courteney would not fit a stock pattern though so I actually drafted the bodice in size 8, grading out to size 12 in the waist and shortened it by quite a bit to fit her petite frame.  I cut the muslin out in some cotton calico that I had lying round and after a couple of muslins, I was ready for the final bodice.  By this time however, Courteney had decided on some very sparkly royal blue organza that she had seen in Lincraft.  I had some reservations about sewing in such a flimsy and uncooperative fabric but like the eager to please mother that I was in ball mode, I dutifully obliged but secretly began to mentally chew my nails.  This was, I knew going to be a challenge.  There is no unpicking with this stuff, and this dress just had to be perfect!

 This dress actually went together quite easily but because of the delicate nature of it, was put together in small time slots.  Please excuse the wrinkles in the above photo, it was taken after a pre ball, ball and post ball party ending at 3am this morning no less!


 I completely changed the gathered waistband.  The pattern called for it to be cut on the bias.  I found with this method it actually stretched out of shape, so I re cut it on the grain.  The organza however was proving stubborn and would stay in gathers.  My daughter by this time had decided that she actually wanted to bling the dress up further and was admiring sequins and diamantes in the shop.  My solution was to sew both sequins and diamantes to the gathered waist section to hold the gathers in place.   What began as a problem actually turned out to be Courteney's favourite feature of this dress. 

The end result was a very proud moment for this Mum.  My daughter looked beautiful in her Mum made dress and vintage diamante necklace lent to her by her grandmother and had the most incredible night with 600 of her year group from her school.  We get to do this all again next year in year 13, this time however, it is tradition to wear full length dresses.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

A New Wool Coat

Over the past week, since the end of Me Made May, I have had a little blogcation.  This little blogging hiatus has been deliberately timed so as to allow enough time to complete my new coat.  Okay, so I was a little burned out in the photo and blog department as well, lets be honest here!

A work suitable coat has been on my radar for some time.  I knew I had the need for it but it took a while for the coat appropriate weather to kick and unsurprisingly, my coat was not ready when it was needed.  This coat really only needs to get me from the car park to my office and be available for the odd errand during the day.  I don't like bulky or long coats for driving in so Sewaholic Minoru was my obvious choice.  It is no secret that I am rather addicted to Sewaholic patterns!  This particular pattern, I have made before, as a light weight unlined cardigan type coat.  My new coat was to be the real deal in wool coating fabric, interlined in polar/microfleece and fully lined.

My first mission was to buy the pattern again because my previous one had been misplaced and the last version I had drafted in size 8.  This time I wanted to make size 6.  This gorgeous black wool coated with raised coloured thread detail, I bought online at the end of last winter.  The lining was $3 per metre off the sale table at Fabric Vision and is actually a satiny type of dress fabric.  The interlining was left over from my son's onsie and my nappy making days.  I chose to use the heavier polar fleece for the body of the fabric and some really light weight microfleece for the sleeves.  The zip was out of my stash, so this project was actually quite an economical one, even though time consuming.

Like my charcoal and claret coat from last winter, I attached the interlining to the lining before stitching each piece together.  It does make the coat very heavy, but it is soo cosy to wear without adding unnecessary bulk.

The only change I made to the coat was to let out the sleeves to the full extent of the seam allowance because I found them a little restrictive especially if I was wearing anything bulky underneath.

I love my new coat.  It has been worn every day since I finished it.  I find the neck a little wide on it, but that is part of the design, and does make wearing a scarf easy, in fact probably more of a necessity but since I do tend to anyway, this is no real problem.

Oh, and I nearly forgot to mention.  See over to the right on your screen there is a little blue button!  Well, I am participating in Indie Pattern Month at The Curious Kiwi and this is my first indie pattern for the month.  By the way, there will be at least one more!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

End Of May Round Up

Now, if you thought that May was an unproductive month, well nothing could be further from the truth.  June is on target to be a social month, complete with social engagements, so there are two projects completed this month that I have yet to write this space!

Totals For The End Of May

Vogue 1247 Pencil Skirt
Fabric $1.99
Zip $1.19
Lining $2.45
Pattern (redrafted) $0.00
Total $5.62

Orange Stripe Renfrew
Fabric $1.99
Pattern (used before) $0.00
Total $1.99

Floral Long Sleeve Sewaholic Alma
Pattern $0.00
Fabric $1.99
Zip $2.99
Total $4.98

Lace Dress
Fabric $6.00
Pattern (used before) $0.00
Total $6.00

Wool Sewaholic Renfrew
Pattern $0.00
Fabric $12.00
Total $12.00

Total $30.59

RTW Purchases $16.00