Thursday, 4 February 2016

Snake sass

February is when Sydney swelters, so a sassy dress using Eliza M's Wanda dress and some silky snake print from Minerva Crafts UK sounded sumptuous.
Then I read the magic word - Tencel. Love the feel and quality of this viscose. 
Grey is also great for pairing with black or white or a contrasting colour. Or anything really.
When you look at 'Wanda' above, she demands attention so I thought, maybe, just maybe, I could be as sassy as 'Wanda'.

Online I could only find one review by Sewing Angela. So I read this review thoroughly and made a test version as a top.

The review reading and test top resulted in a lovely Summer sass dress.

A dress this simple called for piping and Minerva Crafts has a pre-made piping I snaffled for this dress.  I do prewash my fabrics and this time I also prewashed the piping too. 
So the piping came out of the wash all crumpled but it ironed up like new #phew.
This version is a 12 size at the bust and 14 size from the waist. 
It's Summer and everything sticks to me with the humidity so a flowy, tencel dress is what makes Summer events more fun.
The pattern:
This is the first Eliza M design pattern I've used. The pattern is printed on brown paper bag type paper so it's firm and noisy. There was plenty of spare paper so I was able to trace off the bodice in the redrafted sizing with the adjustments I needed.


Once I had the correct size, the two adjustments were folded out 2cm from the front bodice and took out 2cm from the centre back neckline, for a closer fit.
These are the redrawn adjusted bodice patterns.

This is the test top and you can see the gaping at the back neckline.
My plan was to use french seams for this fabric but I chose to use a three-thread overlocked edge. It's very smooth a delicate while not creating a ridge under the seam.

What's to love about this pattern?
The neckline, the skirt style and the fabric. 

The neckline is a sweetheart style and the fabric just flows and flows.

The challenges
The instructions don't have illustrations to show the right and wrong side of the pattern. Only RS and WS are used so I found it hard to double check my work as I sewed.

If you have a look at the pattern photos above, you'll see there are no markings for the bust, waist or hips, so I worked that out for myself. I need these markings so I can paper fit quicker without making a test version.
The pattern has a waistband that gets sewn inside the dress. I couldn't figure out how (steps 10, 14 and 15) and I added piping at the front seam so I didn't use it.

The overall instructions made sense.

This is a great Summer dress made from a lovely Summer tencel fabric that I can dress up or not. I'm still glad that I've made this dress and definitely using tencel fabric. 

Thanks Minerva Crafts!

Sunday, 31 January 2016

See spot run

Or in my case run, jump, stretch, sweat, breathe, dodge mozzies, twist and hopefully not fall while running up stairs. Some morning workouts are far easier than others although I can't think when this is ever the case.
I've used Fehr Trade XYT top and Steeplechase leggings with a few fabric stash pieces (#junglejanuary) and bit of fold over elastic on the top. The leggings has the built in pocket too.

Here's the back view of this set in stretch mode with a bit of reflective tape piping on the top and reflective stickers I bought from Lightweights power reflectors last year.
The front view has no reflective bits. It's quite Jungle January plain.

What I can say about the length of this top is when stretching or lifting weights above my head, my top is long enough that there's not unsightly tummy flashing going on. Also because I've used the same fabric at the top of the leggings, nothing looks out of place.
See what I mean - no tummy flashing.
It's the middle of Summer and I wear longs when I train because I prefer to have compression support for running etc. Believe me when I tell you wearing longs for outdoor training here doesn't deter the local mozzies. They're tough and will bite you through lycra.
Above were the original reflective stickers that fell off in the wash. I didn't iron them on but I have for the second lot.

I've only used bits of the reflective tape piping I bought in Hong Kong as it has no stretch so a bit here and there doesn't impact the wear of this top.
The Steeplechase leggings were a bit baggy at the knees. There were subtle drag lines, so I pinned out the excess and they now are more compression but comfortable. 
I have marked this change on the pattern but I won't cut the next pair with this change if the fabric has more give.
After all that work sewing up this Jungle January set, I love this exclamation mark the most.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016


Lovely fabric remnants can't go to waste, hence this silver/lace frock using White Tree fabrics
I don’t have unfinished objects (UFOs) but I do have ‘fabrics in waiting’. There are ‘notions in waiting’ which accounts for why some of my clothes don’t have the same lining colour or exact matching zipper.

I've used Simplicity 1425 again as a dress. At some point I'll used Simplicity 1425 as a top. I love using this top as a dress at the moment. It's a lovely Summer style.
There wasn't a 'balanced piece' of lace left so the back of this dress is bare - needs ironing.
There was plenty of silver fabric to make a dress but only a variety of odd shaped lace pieces for this dress. I used all of this lace that I had for the earlier Karen Millen style dress
This silver/lace dress is inspired by her work. So the lace balancing work is on the front of the dress.
The back has no lace because I didn’t have enough lace to balance the overlay without it looking ‘unfinished’.

There was a bit of hand sewing involved. I used this hand sewing time to decide if adding odd bits of lace on the back was worth it or just an exercise in ‘bad design’ taste. The conservative side of me won on this occasion.

This little silver number is fully lined and needs to be because the silver fabric feels rough. The smoothness of the lining makes this dress easy to wear. I was very delicate with ironing both fabrics because they don't need much heat and I don't want to melt anything. This may be a 'dry clean only' dress. Off to the press it goes:)

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Cynthia Rowley #junglejanuary

Jungle January is here so Simplicity Cynthia Rowley 1607 rose to the top of my stash with a large animal print fabric. Funny how that happens.

You'll see how the line drawing has lots of interest in it. 
While I'd love to wear a full skirt, I decided to extend the skirt yoke to create a straight skirt option keeping View A's awesome bodice. It is awesome.
It was fun deciding what parts of this print would be on the bodice and what would be on the skirt. I tried to keep the dark colours on the front bodice.

Then I grabbed my trusty side pocket pattern for this skirt. The left seam has the side zipper. I used the construction method used in Simplicity 2215 - the Cynthia Rowley dress I made in October. It's very clever as the pocket is sewn into the front skirt piece only but you can still sew the side zipper in #clever.
I'll have to adjust the back bodice a bit on the next version.
This dress is amazingly cool to wear on a hot Summer's day, especially in the evening when meeting friends for dinner. Granted you can't eat like crazy but I felt I could be comfortable while enjoying a lovely Summer night in Sydney.

If you make this version, mark the strap pieces and interface each one. The instructions and illustrations will guide you through this process but I would have loved it if there were more notes on the seam lines of each pattern piece so it was a faster jigsaw puzzle to solve.
You can see the neckline straps are wide and my version doesn't have a gap between the bodice and straps as you'll see on the line drawing above. That's because I had to lower the straps on this version so the front bodice worked.

Once I petite down the straps, I'll post up these changes.

Bonus design feature:
I thought I would need to wear a convertible bra with this dress. I was able to wear a normal strap bra with this dress.

I'll be making this again because I've got an African wax print in the stash that beckons.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Liberty rethink

This is one of the first Liberty print fabrics I bought 4 years ago but I was too scared to cut into it. It's called Daydream blue/purple and it's a silk cotton voile.
I bought this print because the colours are dark and the print is two-way. That makes it much easier to 'match' across the body.
While it’s now a new work Liberty shirt, it’s much softer and I probably should have made this into a soft-styled top and not a traditional shirt. 

I do enjoy wearing this and this new shirt does work with my work skirts and jackets.
What's next?
There are a few more Liberty prints in my stash that I bought at Mood LA with PammyOh on my last holiday so I’ll have to do some research to figure out a better way of using lighter weight prints. Got any suggestions?

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Skull lace

I wanted to take this fluoro fun jacket (McCalls 7026) to another level by using two types of skull lace for my Minerva Crafts project this month. There’s a lot of cool lace and mesh used in ready to wear activewear
The black skull lace is on the front.
When I saw this skull lace on the Minerva Crafts website, I saw how I could play with placing the skulls in a strategic way. 
Here's a WIP close up of the skull lace.
I’ve never seen skull lace before so I thought I could wear 'skulls' outside of Halloween.

The ponte de roma Minerva Crafts has is a good weight for a jacket and has good stretch recovery so I know this jacket can take the heat of being worn for weekends or getting to and from the gym at 5am in the morning. However since making this jacket, I worn it to the movies and out at night because I love this particular purple colour.
I had to take this WIP photo to see how effective the reflective tape was.
I still have a bunch of reflective tape that I bought in Hong Kong so this time I applied reflective piping on
  • the zipper
  • the front yoke and
  • the back curve.
Here's how my 'reflective' zipper looks after I've sewn on the reflective tape.
I love the white skull lace on the back. Can you see the reflective tape at the top of the curve?
I’ve found this basic jacket with no hood and no extended cuffs suits my needs. The shape is very RTW too.

A few hints
If you do decide to make this pattern, sew in the front zipper before finishing the side seams so the pieces lay flat as you sew in the zipper. You get a more accurate finish if you sew in the zipper this way.
I wore this as a soft jacket to the movies the other night.
I moved the pockets to the front panel. Having the pockets in the side seam felt awkward. When you do move the pockets they will only be as wide as the front panel and if you want a firmer fit, add zippers to the pockets. I added invisible zippers to keep the pockets closed for running to gym classes.

Oh, the only additional change I made was a forward shoulder adjustment.
I’m short so if you’re mid height or taller, you’ll need to extend the body and arms. This pattern is short-waisted.

So far I've had lots of compliments about the purple ponte. I think the skull lace has taken a few people by surprise. I think my job is here done;)

Thanks again Minerva Crafts for enabling my 'design' brain.

Monday, 4 January 2016

Seeing (sewing) in the new year: lace

Green is my year-round favourite colour. When I saw a few green lace fabrics on Pitt Trading’s IG account, I was at the store asap because they have lots of end of designer rolls.
I welcomed in the New Year with this lace dress.
I find working with lace is like a 3-D jigsaw puzzle and I love jigsaw puzzles.
The lace:
This has a two-row repeat – large flowers and smaller flowers.
This lace is sofe and was lovely to sew with.

This lace has additional embroidery to the flowers so it was easy to know which was the right side. 
Here's how I layed out the back skirt pieces with the pockets before cutting into the lace.
The lining:
I draped this lace over blue, grey, purple, skin-toned and white fabric. 
Blue lining was my favourite and lots of you  loved the blue lining too. The blue adds more depth to the green so blue fabric won. 
See what I mean about the blue fabric?
A fitted bodice was a must with an interesting neckline accentuate the lace so I chose Simplicity 1425 View C.
The neckline wasn't a deep as I thought it worked.
The back is plain so it was easy to sew in an invisible zipper and line up the seams. The pattern is designed for buttons at the back and not zippers.

I chose to balance the lace on the back bodice instead of trying to match the lace at the zipper seam.

I ran out of time to add a sassy, pencil skirt so I added my basic A-line skirt with side seam pockets. 
I wore this dress to the NYE party we went to.

Without making a test dress (not like me) I sewed up this dress with the side seams sewn up last. This made it easy for me to size it down to fit me.

I made the 12 size based on the pattern information but realised I should have made the 8 with a 10 waist. 

I also had to shorten the front bodice pieces, which meant a bit of unpicking and resewing but I was on holidays so I had the time to do this.

I did a full bust adjustment on the bodice and it sits nicely on me.

Here's my second try at making Simplicity 1425, using Pitt Trading fabric from the stash.
This pin-striped top above is my second attempt and tweaking the pattern. This also gave me a better idea about sizing. Did I mention I took out 10cm out of the side seams on the dress. 
Mr V took these photos way after midnight.
It's all good! 
I'll be using Simplicity 1425 again for a dress/top this Summer.

Pitt Trading has their Summer sale on and if you can't get to the store, they have some of their fabrics listed on their website now. From the website sale fabrics, I bought spot dot and cascade.

All the best to everyon for 2016.

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Liberty love

This Strawberry thief print was a remnant from my previous White Tree Fabrics dress. It's too lovely to let languish in the fabric stash so it's now a shirt (McCalls 5433).
Work look
The original plan was to make a short-sleeved shirt, but there was enough for a basic long-sleeved shirt. I can always roll up the sleeves when I wear this shirt to work.

I had a couple of hours one morning with no power at home, so in desperation to do something, I cut out two shirts. I don't like wasting time but I wasn't going to do the housework as a substitute to sewing.

When I work with prints, there's always the issue of print placement and do I add piping or not. Thankfully this pattern has a folded button band at the front so I can play with print placement and button placement.

Heading out to drinks look
This year one of our local retailers sold Liberty print shirts and when I saw the retail price I decided to make my own shirt from the remnant fabric.

The fun part of using such a dominant print like this was to line up the birds across the shirt body and sleeves. Originally I thought I might only have fabric left for cap sleeves but there was enough for long sleeves using a mock cuff.

I love the darkness of this colourway of this print and I wear plenty of blue to work and on weekends so it made sense to apply blue piping on the collar and button band and use blue buttons between the bird print.

I know we’re in the middle of a blisteringly hot Australian Summer but the cotton in this fabric breathes well and is a lovely weight for this shirt. With the prospect of wearing this shirt a lot, I applied French seams and folded over the armhole seams so this shirt will survive many, many washes because it’s going to be worn a lot.

Piping and machine feet:
I started with store bought piping so I used the cording foot on my machine to prep the piping.
Then I used the zipper foot to sew the piping on the collar and front seam.
When I sewed up the collar, I used the piping stitching to guide my sewing. Yes, there were some instances where I had to resew part of these seams just to get the piping to sit neatly.
back view
Work or weekend?
Clothes for work and weekends sit separately in my closet. I do this to keep these too aspects of my life separate. But this shirt might just throw me off kilter.
Best news of is I now have my very own Liberty shirt!

Merry Christmas everyone!


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