Monday, 28 December 2009

McCalls 3650 - fabric

It's been hot, until Christmas and now it's cool but humid. I've been wanting to make up this fabric all year because the cream lace is sewn onto the fabric. When I saw it at The Remant Warehouse I just saw it as a lovely piece that could possibly be anything. It's soft, drapes well, provides the opportunity to use just the base and it's a strong red base. I also liked the fact that a rolled hem on the overlocker was the best hem finish idea.

Last year I bought some red lace on ebay and it's a perfect match for this fabric. Believe me there was no planning regarding either the lace or fabric purchase.

I've used french seam finishes on the side seams. The sleeve hems are overlocked as are the sleeve and neckline hems. I've used the wider swimwear elastic because it's clear but strong. The red lace has been used on the sleeve and waist elastic casing on the rightside of the top.

I did have to loosen the elastic gathering all over the top so that it didn't look too much like a clown top. The neckline has some depth to it without looking too frumpy. I've also used a rolled hem on my overlocker (remove the left needle thread).
I'm not sure when I'll wear this. I do have plenty more of this so I might try a soft skirt/top or try a '40's style dress.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

The beginnings of a set - Kwik Sew 3378

This was a quick top to make at our sewing weekend, with one hitch. I cut out the small size and not the medium size. The view above shows the extra piece I added to the side seams.

When I wore it as a small, my tummy rolls where there for all to stare at. OMG. What was I thinking.

The additional side pieces can't easily be seen and the original suggestion to add the extra as ruching made me feel more self conscious about my rolls, so the top sits flat on my body. Phew. This is another piece that I bought when we were in Melbourne fabric shopping. The rest of the fabric will be made into a cardie.

Toile - m5464

It's taken me this long to start using this pattern. I say that because the pattern is now an out of print pattern on the McCalls website. I bought this pattern because it's a handy style for any occassion. With the right fabric, this is a good shape to then take it in a new direction. I like the princess style darts in this style. They're in both the front and back of the dress.
As a sewer, not only are you attracted to fabric, fabric also comes to you in many forms. This is a toile and the fabric was given to me last year when I had to wear an asian inspired outfit at my husband Christmas party. I ended up making a skirt and top in a green fabric instead. I wasn't too sure how to wear this fabric as it is kind of asian looking. I have 6 metres of this fabric to play with.
This is a toile, so this fabric isn't what I would normally buy or pick for my colouring. While the pattern has been sitting on my desk for 8 months, I've lost the back neck facing for the sleeveless version. If you look closely, I've put a fushia bias tape around the neck and armhole edges. I bought the bias tape from the fabric shop in Burwood Plaza. I didn't take a sample of the fabric with me, I was just drawn to the colour and width of the bias tape.

This view shows you how the selvedge has a plain 10 cm border and the rest of the fabric is embroidered. The weather has been hot 35 - 40C so sewing in the air con has been delightful. It's the only thing I can do without melting.

On the technical side of this dress, I've used an invisible zip, bias fushia tape on the neck and arm edges, pink trim to balance the colour. I'll use the remaining fushia tape to finish the dress hem on the inside and put a vent in the lower side seams.

I was frightened by the 2kg I've put while I was on holidays, so I didn't put in the back darts. Once I had basted the dress together, I sewed the back darts into the dress. I'll put the changes onto the pattern and try this again with the denim that's maturing in my stash from our Melbourne fabric shopping trip.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Tomatoes - Kwik Sew 3617

I was trying to plan my sewing projects for our sewing weekend, so to start, I pulled out a stack of fabric, then placed them together in a few different variations. I looked at the greens from the Melbourne fabric shopping trip and took out the latest prints that I've bought this year. I am determined to use these prints before they become dated.

Then I checked out what outfits were available online and took inspiration of plain border fabrics with prints as the main fabric. I've got plenty of basic patterns that I know fit me. Most of my patterns can be tweaked to update my look (LOL). I need bit of courage to tweak but then I take comfort in the fact that most of my fabrics are cheap and won't break the bank if the outfit doesn't work.
This print was bought from The Fabric Store when they had a sale in August. The trim is from our shopping trip to Melbourne. I deliberately bought green fabrics a) to add green into my wardrobe and b) to act as a reminder of where I bought my green fabrics from. I know, it's a bit complex but that's how I remember things...

To accommodate for my backside fullness, I did a quick measure of this area, shook my head in dismay and then accommodated for it in the skirt section. This is another top that's been extended into a dress. I stick with 3/4 length sleeves, so I can were this in between seasons.

It's green - Butterick 5277

At our sewing weekend last week I spent much of my time on Saturday, trying to figure out why the neckline wasn't sitting right. After whizzing the sleeves in, I had lunch and then as my blood sugar levels were refreshed, I saw that the sleeves were in the wrong way. I didn't check where the neckline edge and sleeve hem edge were.

After what seemed like a good hour, I unpicked the sleeves and resewed them into the dress again. Did I mention that I'd done the same mistake to the lining? Yes it was painful, but I keep relearning that perseverance keeps me sewing.

At some point, I'll transfer the marks from the pattern to the fabric so I don't keep making the same mistake again.

The roll collar got lots of good comments from my sewing buddies and my work collegues but I realise that I need to make some quirky work so that my wardrobe doesn't become boring.

I do have enough fabric in my stash to do a few challenging pieces and they are now on my sewing radar.

I will make this dress up again but without the collar in a patterned fabric. The neckline is a bit too wide to wear comfortably without feeling 'showy' so I'll bring the neckline in by 1.5cm, add a contracting trim and see how it feels. Our weather is hot enough that wearing a sleeveless dress in the office with a light 'cardy' is acceptable.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Better photos

I had a good day wearing my wearable toile to work today.
front view
The photos I initially published were too dark - my apologies.
The photos on the dummy don't show how well the dress fits me and it was really comfortable to wear. The dress still didn't stick to me, even after a walk in the heat.
side view
You might be able to see the hot pink chiffon lining I used inside the dress. The lining was $2 for 2 metres, bought at Pitt Trading earlier this year.

back view
Did I say that the fabric was bought from a curtain shop in Homebush?
Everyone loved the roll collar and the fit of the dress. I'm hoping that in time, someone at work decides to take up sewing. Then I'll never stop talking about sewing projects. I love it when projects work.

Monday, 9 November 2009

I'm back - Butterick 5277

I put Sunday aside to start working on the dress and would you believe, I finished it. Unbelieveable.

How did I stay focused after 2 months off?
I turned my computer off, turned off the telly and just took it one step at a time.

When I started to think negative thoughts I would say to myself - I'm talented, my sewing buddies are talented, I'm talented. That's when I started to refocus again.

How did I put more quality into my work?
After reading about couture sewing, seeing a few couture fashion exhibitions in Dublin, Paris and London and I watched the Valentino film (The last emperor?) on the flight home, I used my dress maker dummy to do some final touches that I normally hate to do and (shock) steps that I by-pass.
I'm using Roberta's technique of placing lace edging on the hems on lining and sometimes on the inside of the fabric hem itself.

What ignited my sewing bug?
We've got our annual sewing weekend on 14 and 15 November and the thought of taking that unmade boring fabric was killing me. The dress is a toile but it's now part of my wardrobe.

Sharon's done an amazing job of organising this year's sewing weekend. She's covered every aspect with such thought and professionalism. We've both followed Alison's eye for detail. Alison organised the first two sewing weekends. I've organised two and Toni organised last year's at Ferndale. Toni is now the conference organiser for the Sewing Guild. Toni has such drive and energy.

I also had a look at the dresses on sale at JC Penny's, saw my fabric stash and thought, "I can do this next weekend."

Monday, 27 July 2009


Here's the dress I'm currently adjusting to fit my body shape. This pattern is fitted and conservative but can be changed to suit the occasion or fabric choice.

After checking my measurements, I found that I needed to do a full bust adjustment or FBA. This was because the difference between my chest measurement and high bust point measurement was more that 5cm difference. This is something that only an expensive minimiser bra could overcome.

I had to keep remembering that I was with a sewing guru, Angie Zimmerman, and my aim was to relearn tailoring basics. As you can see, there is a new side bust dart, but I reckon, it's got to fit well or why bother.

This shows you the full derriere adjustment or FDA I needed to cover my seat. I also needed to increase the back width. More to come...

Completely pink

Here's the jacket. I love how it's worked out.
What I avoided was adding buttons and buttonholes by using 'snaps'.

After trying to use an overlocker, I cut the stitching off the seams and the seams will remain unfinished. Hopefully the princess with wear this outfit to bits.

I know the fashions is to mix it up and not to match clothing, so she should now have a twin set that can have separate identities...

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

It's "pink"

My niece loves pink. She's a girlie girl and when I found this fabric I knew it would suit her.

It's been a long time since I've sewn for a child so when I spied this fabric at Pitt Trading, I knew that it would be perfect for her.

Lincraft had Burda patterns for half-price and this has pants, skirt, top and cardigan all in one pattern. It's got a range of sizes so it will last her for a couple of years.

Here's a newer Burda girl pattern to try.

It's a match

After scouring a few smaller local sewing stores, I found lace that matches this slip fabric. It's cool to think that there are still a few stores that have old stock.

Monday, 6 July 2009

The zip jacket

Here's the pattern I used to make the zip brown jacket.
I'm not going to review it on patternreview because Lincraft doesn't print this anymore.

McCalls 4596 is a recent zip jacket that I made up in blue last year.

The instructions are good and this is an easier pattern to fit because it has princess lines to the shoulder seam.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Well matured fabric/pattern

Double knits are great to use when you're building up a new wardrobe, or are refreshing an established one. This is a Lincraft pattern from way back, possibly 15 years.

The story behind this trim is this - I bought some cushion covers for the dining table and the cushions were held together with this ribbon. The idea isn't anything new but I thought that I should challenge my skills a bit.

I've kept the details close to my face, so the style is kept simple and clean. The jacket is interfaced with texture weft, to give the jacket more durability.
I wore it last night and it's comfortable and a nice layer to wear in the cold. I did notice the the back needs more shaping so I'll work on that in the coming weeks. For now, this is a nice addition to my winter wardrobe.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Knit or woven?

This fabric came from The Fabric Store. I bought it in November with a view to playing with it for winter. It's a chardonnay/verdehlo fabric.

Because I have a couple of pair of brown boots, they finish this dress off really well.

This fabric is a double knit but looks like corduroy. This seams must be overlocked. I was fooled into thinking that they would be fine, unfinished.

I originally left the sleeve hems unfinished because the selvedge is on the sleeve hem looks like a really short fringe. Since wearing it for a day, I've overlocked and finshed the sleeve hem.

Sewing hints

  • foldover elastic was used for the neckline.

  • The seams are overlocked.

  • seams great was used on the shoulder seam

  • I've reinforced the sleeve head.
The brown knit jacket is coming up next, using fabric from Knitwit direct (7 years ago). Definitely a red wine fabric.

Animal instinct - giraffe

Animal prints are not my scene, especially tiger/leopard prints. The humble giraffe is much slower and definitely my kind of animal.

This fabric was on the bargain table and it suits my sewing buddy, but I loved it, so we both have this print in our stash/wardrobe.

Birds of a feather, flock together...

Sewing hints
Seams great on the shoulder seam.
Twin needle hemming

Cycling + elastic

I finally brought out my winter cycling gear and low and behold, the waistline elastic died on me. Unpicking overlocking/serging is painful but I didn't want to buy another pair of longs.

These longs are now back in my cycling wardrobe and they still keep the wind off my short little legs.

Now to get back to some real sewing. I have a couple more brown outfits to come...

winter greys - kwik sew 3378 and 2683

I had some time on the weekend to finally make these tops for my winter wardrobe. Many of my tops have a v-neckline and they're flattering but they let me down when it's cold and I have the sore throat that signals an oncoming head cold.

These fabrics are all soft knit that have 10% wool and 5% spandex and they are from one of my favourite places - Pitt Trading. I have a habit of doing reinforcing stitching on the sleeve head to strengthen the sleeve/neckline shape.
These fabrics were not bought to mature like good red wine. They're the chardonnay/verdehlo types that needs to be made now - so I have made them up.

This top is really comfortable to wear and I really enjoyed wearing it on Saturday. They are now part of my layer basics.
Sewing hints
There wasn't a full length piece to make the sleeve, so there's a seam near the elbow.
I've used seams great on the shoulder seam for reinforcement.
Double needle was used on the necklines and the hemlines, when the thread didn't break. Otherwise, I've zigzagged the hemlines.
No seam finish was used.


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