Saturday, February 28, 2015

Waste Not Want Not

I made a new dress.  This time from this new but unloved dress. Although the dress looks rather nice in the photographs, the fabric lacks stability and the dress just clung well everywhere.  Because the viscose Lycra fabric is really too drapey for the original style this time I chose a style with more fullness.  

M1411 from My Image Spring/Summer 2014, seemed to be just the ticket, fitted but not too clingy.  What I also like about the new style is the bodice is lined which gives my drapey fabric structure.   For this I used a piece of white cotton interlock from my stash.  What I didn't like about the pattern is the amount of ease.  I made the dress in the smallest size, grading out two sizes in the hips according to my measurements.  I had some fabric left over from the original dress and this was used to cut a new skirt.  

The back bodice was way too big to attach to the skirt so this had to be narrowed.  In the end I pinned the dress to my dress form taking out about 3cm on each side.  For the ring in the centre front, I initially butchered an old handbag but discovered the ring to be too heavy.  My solution was to visit the local $1,2,3 and found some cheap earrings which I cut the hook off with wire cutters.

While I am really pleased with the resulting dress, I think this pattern is not very well drafted.  Just as well it is a simple style which afforded an easy fix.  I have ended up with a very wearable summer dress which is more than I can say for the dress I cut it out of.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Hibiscus Alder

 I have had comments about the quality and frequency of the op shop fabrics that I pick up.  I actually only visit one shop and maybe once every couple of months .  This does involve a bit of fomo (fear of missing out), but the shop in question is not handy to either home or work and those that are, I have never had any success at.  All of the pieces in this shop are priced at $2 regardless of length which makes the inconvenience worth it.  Sometimes all I arrive home with are a couple of pieces of lining but other times can be very lucrative.  The lining however, is also a handy steal because we all know that the cost of notions can quickly mount up when sewing.

This particular piece of cotton shirting weight op shop fabric was ear marked for a sun dress, because of the hibiscus print but something was holding me back and had been for a couple of summers.  This is usually a red flag for me and a stop and don't proceed action is usually the best course.  Every time I have proceeded usually I am less than enamored with the results.

When Grainlines Alder pattern was released, I was underwhelmed.  I am usually somewhat underwhelmed anyway because summer patterns are generally released in our winter.  This does however have the added bonus of tons of reviews by the time our summer rolls around.  The popularity of this pattern didn't escape me and it was then on my radar.  The only issue though was the simplicity and similarity to the ever popular Archer.


I work five days a week so I am full of great ideas but in equal proportions, time poor.  The creative me would have just worked with what I have on this dress but drafting is time consuming so the time poor me, just hit the buy now button and taped together the unending pieces of paper that my printer then spat out at me.  As I write this and weigh up my decisions, I could probably have drafted up something in the time it took to tape this puppy!

Once my pattern was duly taped and then cut to a size 4 as per my measurements, I whipped the dress up.  The sewing of this dress was super quick.  After making numerous Archers, event he collar didn't present any challenges.  I added 2cm to the length which was the only change I made.  I tried the dress on before finishing the armholes and was subsequently disappointed.  Have you ever tried pinning a button down dress on yourself and getting the hem and collar to line up?  It was also 9pm and the barefooted, tire me did not like what I saw.  At this time of night it is very easy to see only the flaws in my work.  My criticisms centered around the collar being too stiff and not hugging my neck tightly and the shoulders needing a wedge added at the armhole due to my obviously straighter shoulders.  I am still on the fence though over the major criticism and that is the lack of shaping in the back.  I may yet add back darts to conform at least slightly to my sway back.

On finishing the dress, I have done a complete u turn.  Yes, I do need to tweek it slightly but what I love about this pattern, is it is suitable for all ages.  My 18 year old daughter would be completely comfortable going off to Uni in this, shortened and in chambray with a pair of converse, as I am in heels going to work.  The beauty in the dress is that when I get home from work and put on my Mum hat, I can switch out the heels for flats and look equally appropriate at my sons after school sports.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

A Bevy of Belcarras

It is about this time in the season, I dig out my remnants in an attempt to free up valuable real estate in my fabric cupboard and this season, I have again done just that!  I have a stack of fabric I want to relinquish myself of before embarking on new challenges.

The first Belcarra I made was from a piece of printed chiffon following on from my new found sheer fabric confidence.  It is left over from this top, so has been gathering dust for quite some time, in fact 3 whole years!  I managed though to use the entire piece of fabric...yay!  Once again I narrowed the neck at the shoulders by 1.5cm.  I really must permanently alter this pattern.

The second Belcarra is made from fabric Courteney bought for me in India, that started life as a sari and I made this dress from.  I hadn't used the spotty printed piece for the dress and had just enough for my Belcarra.  There is still more sari left for another project but for now I have enough in my wardrobe made in this fabric.  You don't want to overdo a good thing!  Speaking of overdoing a good thing, I may now retire this pattern for a while before I do exactly that!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Leftover Linen

 There are a few things that are not popular at my house and leftovers are one of them which is a real shame given the number of teenagers residing here at any given time.  Like the meal variety that seem to pile up in my freezer, left over fabric piles seem to breed in my fabric cupboard.  I do not like wastage however and I am therefore determined to conquer the leftover aversion.

This piece of linen was leftover from these shorts which have long gone to the second hand shop.  With some creative cutting I knew there would be just enough fabric for Vogue 1247.  In need of a couple of go with everything skirts, my timing couldn't have been more perfect.

I was right, there was only just enough fabric if I put a seam in the waistband and cut the pockets out of something else.  That something else ended up being a piece of white cotton from an old bed valance.  So it couldn't be seen, I made a facing in my linen.

Because a linen skirt with a stretch out seat was a very unappealing option, I lined the skirt with a piece of tie dyed satin that I picked up at the op shop.

This skirt made up beautifully and as expected is now on regular rotation in my work wardrobe.  I am sure it will work just as well as an autumnal skirt when the weather cools.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Burda Style Dress

After the success of my Burdastyle 04/2013 top, I shopped my stash and found some lovely medium weight op shop linen in the darkest of browns. On showing it to Courteney she vetoed the whole idea.  I slept on it a bit longer but could not give up on my linen shift so I dug around in my stash a bit deeper and found a piece of yellowing vintage lace that my mother had gifted me. 

After a bath in bleach the now snow white lace was destined to be my trim.  I cut the lace so as to just avoid the bust darts and proceeded to assemble my dress identically to the top overlaying the lace on my dress front only.

Unfortunately I forgot all about my previous dart and side seam alterations so a certain amount of unpicking was required. 

Once again, unlike the pattern, I finished the keyhole back, button loop, neckline and armholes with self made binding.  I then hand stitched the lace across the front, just catching every third circle of lace.

I really like the end result and while not voluminous as Tessuti's version it is cool and comfortable to wear.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Donkeys and the Wonky Dress

When not working in the summer, I tend to live in  knit tank dresses.  They are both suitable for popping to the mall and beach alike or in this case a farm stay camping trip and donkey patting. My favourite tee dress is one that started life as a maxi dress and due to constant wear was starting to look a little washed out.

With the leftovers from this dress, I decided to replace it.  The fabric is a lovely heavy weight cotton lycra with a black and white wonky stripe.  I had just enough fabric to cut out M'Calls 6559 in a shortened knee length version with a racer back.  I did have to cut the back in two pieces due to fabric constraints.  I also cut the neckline higher than the original pattern because it is very low.

It came as a complete surprise to my 11 year old son while visiting the farm camp,  that wallabies live in New Zealand.  I am not referring to our human friends here but the marsupial variety.  They were introduced in the 1860's and have been minding their own business in the wild here ever since.  This isn't perhaps the best photo of Jake the wallaby and his mate, or me actually, but although quite curious they did scare easily so I was reluctant to get too close. This all has absolutely nothing to do with my dress, but this morning at the farmyard, young "J"  was my photographer and he was quite keen to take a photo of me with some animals.  I drew the line at holding baby rabbits and guinea pigs in the petting zoo and this was my compromise.  The donkey was named by my son this weekend, the "Wonky Donkey" after the popular kids song.

Back to the dress....I really like the cut of this dress.  It is figure skimming without being fitting and quick to run up and doesn't take much fabric so therefore perfect for remnants.  So that is another remnant that has been liberated from my fabric cupboard.  Right now, on to the next one!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Burda Style Shell Top

I have been admiring Tessuti's Ruby dress/top since it was released and have seen some lovely versions pop up in my new feed.  This was one of those don't need but really want it obsessions and it was rapidly escalating.  It was about this time I came across Burda Style 04/2013 view 109 and remember admiring the style when it was released.  It is strikingly similar to Tessuti's dress.  Kristy made this lovely version, Meg a more wintery version and this evening version by Kbenco for her daughter.  I decided to have a go with a remnanat in a shorter top version.

I drafted the bodice to a size 38 and the skirt to a size 40, despite having lost a bit of weight, knowing that the effect I was after was quite a loose fit.  I used a remnant of my lovely rayon spot fabric as my trial top.

I had to take the side seams in under the arms and increase the bust dart but that was the only alteration I made.  Oh, I think the dress may have had an invisible zipper under the arms but I left this off as well.  Can you tell how little notice I took of the instructions?

I used a self made bias binding for the neck, back opening, button loop and armholes.

I really love how this turned out and know it will get a ton of use in the heat for both work and casual.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

End Of January Wrap Up

I confess, most of the above was not actually made in January.  It was not even blogged in January.  I spent most of January away on camping holidays so the posts were typed up prior to Christmas and the photographs added and actually posted in January.  Right, now I have that off my chest, here is my roundup, and yes it is characteristically late!  As per usual I am not including gifts for my family in my totals.

End Of January Round Up

Scrappy Shorts
Fabric $0.00
Trim $0.00
Zip $0.00
Buttons $0.00
Pattern (used before) $0.00
Total $0.00

Denim Sunhat
Fabric $0.00
Pattern $13.50
Interfacing $3.00
Lining $0.00
Total $16.50

Pyjama Shorts
Fabric $0.00
Pattern (used before) $0.00
Elastic $4.20
Lace $4.50
Total $8.70

Blue Jalie Hoodie
Pattern (used before) $0.00
Fabric $0.00
Zip (from stash) $0.00
Rib $0.00
Total $0.00

Jalie Tankini
Pattern $15.19
Fabric $39.00
Lining $18.99
Elastic $2.00
Total $75.18

Rash Vest
Pattern $0.00
Fabric $10.00
Total $10.00

Total Me Made $110.38

Total RTW $38.00

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

A Bird In The Hand......

I have been taking pity on my poor student daughter and doing a bit of Christmas unselfish sewing.

Courteney and I were in a fabric store before Christmas
 when she admired some lovely chiffon with tiny horses printed on it.  There was also a bird version.  This fabric did not come cheap though!  At $20 per metre, I thought I could perhaps do better online, and I did. had the exact print for around half the price, landed at my door.  I quickly hit buy now before too many other treasures found their way into my shopping cart, and believe me some did! 

Upon it's arrival I quickly set to work.  I was a little daunted by working with chiffon as two ball dresses had tested my patience with sheer fabrics at the time.  The gelatine method was trialled for insurance.  I actually used Kbenco's method which uses measurements I understand.  Initially I wasn't sure whether it actually had any effect and put it down to spinning and tumble drying, but actually, I think it was easier to work with.

Once again, at Courteney's request, I made an Grainline Archer.  Given the fabric is so sheer, I wasn't sure how to go about the print showing through issue on the yoke and pocket.  I didn't want a second layer of birds visible through my outer fabric.  I solved this by backing my yoke with voile curtaining I found in my stash.  It is the perfect shade of off white to match the blouse.  The second area of concern was the pockets.  I interlined these with ivory voile as well which both cut down on the print showing through and stabilized the pocket enough to make it simple to sew on straight.

The only other change I made from mine was to lengthen the sleeves, because although we wear the same size, either Courteney has monkey arms or I have t-rex arms.  The jury is out on that one!

I am thrilled with the result and actually wouldn't mind stealing it for myself!