Wednesday, 29 December 2010

one shoulder - NL 6912

The key to a great dress form is sometimes in the support that you build into it. This dress doesn't mention support but I think that I should keep defying gravity where possible especially if I want to wear the one shoulder version view C.
Initially I thought that lining the top pieces would work but then I wondered how easily would it be to buy a bra that suited this dress.
I'm currently hand sewing the bust insert pieces into the top lining, before I machine stitch them into place. My concern is about keeping the top fit as is while building in support but at 2am last night I couldn't sleep because I kept wondering 'what if'.
Years ago I made a wedding dress for a very slim colleague who needed the bust built in. We tried a few bust pieces but the best shape were shoulder pads. True. It worked really well and she was proud of her new shape.
More soon.

Friday, 24 December 2010

Dress or top

This week I was tossing up which version to make up from Kwik Sew 3658. The top or the dress.
Initially I made this up as a dress for Christmas eve dinner. Our weather today is mild but overcast and my planning is to have a couple of knit outfits available.

This dress uses a large knit print Pitt Trading in September at $2/m. The fabric has a dry knit feel to it, so it should wash/wear well. The other aspect of this print was it's on a black background, which I liked. The print colours are bold enough and the only way I could keep the pieces continuous was to have the print aligned rather than match up, if you know what I mean.

This next version was the Christmas day version but for the life of me I couldn't figure out where to measure from to get the hem right. The reason for this is the collar is all part of the bodice and it is self faced. At the hem I've added continuous piece but this hasn't worked out. This version was also earmarked to be without sleeves but there was too much fabric in the front shoulder seam so I've added the short sleeve.

The red/grey fabric is from the winter Knitwit direct collection and I've still got plenty left for different styled knit dress for weekend BBQs. When I wore this version with my bare legs I realised it was a bad look, so I think this will need some work outfit for autumn. I'll have to do a bit more planning with the next version made from this print.

This last top was made (cut and sewn) in an hour on Christmas eve morning before I left for work. What motivated me was that my key task at work was to clean so it was 'down tools, gloves on and cleaning products in hand'.

The fabric is from The Fabric Store $8/m from a sale last year. I've used this fabric for a dress and then realised that it's works best for tops.
Merry Christmas to you all, happy sewing and enjoy the festivities over the holidays.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Christmas summer wardrobe

Our Christmas days can be swelteringly hot or cool, but it's always a eating fest with lots of running around with kids. I figure this is their holiday to just have fun, so that means running around and this year there's a pool involved (yah).
Most of my knit dresses are work dresses so they are so not festive or bright. At the Remnant Warehouse I picked up a bright coral printed knit and decided to be bold.

The dress is lined with tricot knit and I've used a sleeveless pattern Kwik Sew 2683 as the basis.
The fabric was less than $10/m so if I end up taking my shoes off on the day and end up running around with the kids, I can do so without any worries how my dress with perform.

There's another knit piece in my stash that would be another worthy knit dress so I'll see how time goes this week. Maybe I can squeeze it in for Christmas eve? So my two unfinished pieces are done.
25 Dec: This dress really worked well on the day.

UFO shirt - McCalls 5433

Sharon's rust shirtmaker dress made a strong impression on me because she always does excellent finishing and she's got a great eye for detail. Her dress is really well made and fits her perfectly. Anyway, she inspired me to pay more attention to my sewing so at the last Rhodes Guild session I cut out a shirt length style with the aim to lift my game. I got to the point of adding the collar and put it aside do to Mum's sewing.
This weekend I made time to work on it a bit at a time, and not rush into it. DH was helpful in deciding what buttons to add to the shirt. First time! Anyway, I wanted a cap sleeve, so I took the sleeve from B5328.
Here's how my shirt turned out. I do like the fabric contrasts. The skirt was made earlier this year and it's become a work staple.
The front and back pieces are lined because of the embroidered cut out bits in the fabric. The lining is a lightweight poplin. I've used this for the front and back pieces, collar band and button front.

The back needs more adjusting and the black buttons were from a Lincraft sales years ago. 
This shows the french seams, bias sleeve finish and the lining effect on the inside.

Mum's final skirt

Christmas is just looming around the corner and I'm trying to do one thing at a time, or else I'll drop the ball on something. I owed my muse a final black skirt to go with her new wardrobe for Christmas.

She will now have three skirts and two tops and I bought a couple of brighter tops to add to the mix for her. So Mum's present is complete.

I still have a cardi and jacket idea up my sleeve but these have to wait until the New Year.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Christmas prep-week

On Sunday night I was pooped. I think I had done my Christmas shopping for the year and now I've got the cards (snail mail) to do. That means, sewing has been a stop/start event. Sort of.

On Saturday I did get to the Remnant Warehouse where Santa was making sure fabric bolts were ready so we could buy fabric at 25% off. Oh the pain of trying not to buy.

On my immediate sewing list is a black skirt for mum on my table and a festive dress for me, that will help me deal with the humidity/heat of Christmas being trimmed.

On the radio a nutritionist was talking about eating is a Christmas pastime so her advice was to eat fresh pawpaw, pineapple and kiwifruit to help with digestion. So her advice was to eat more when you eat more. Just kidding, although eating fruit with enzymes was her key suggestion.

I'll have some sewing pics on here shortly.

Last night we had a great time at the U2 concert and I even went early to check out JayZ. Who would have thought I'd get to see an act that my niece/nephew love as well!

Monday, 6 December 2010

Muse adjustments

So today I caught up and my muse and she kindly tried on the skirt. She loved it, but kept saying "it's 3/4 length", meaning, "it's too short dear". So tonight I unpicked the hem and trim, added another 3 1/2 inches, placed the trim over the additional piece of skirt and here's how the set looks.

The seams create the look of a tailored skirt and it's lined, but the waist is fully encased elastic. So then I recreated the skirt, but added a crotchet off-white trim, because her mum used to do really fine crotchet.  

The lace bow on the trim was a last minute idea. The bow is sewn onto the trim and only on one side. Well, it is a gift.

Mum's wardrobe update

There are four pieces of fabric that I specifically bought to make skirts for Mum a few months ago. Time flies.
  • She loves wearing straight-shaped lined skirts and avoids wearing black
  • In the morning she finds zippers can be challenging, but has help if she needs it.
  • She's very social no matter where she is.

The first skirt that I've made is a lined straight skirt, with an elastic waistline. There is a split at the centre backhem so she can get in and out of the car, without her movements being restricted. It's a mid grey colour to match her favourite walking shoes. We joke that these are her  everyday heels. I've also added a thick trim near the hem that I've had for a while. The trim has black gold and silver threads. The skirt base is Lincraft 1082 which is at least 10 years old, and I've taken out the darts and I've folded down the waistline to make the elastic casing..

Now when she tries the skirt on she might make a face and say 'no I don't like it', so I have enough fabric to add a waistband and a fake zipper. She's much more honest with her comments these days. 

I've also made the printed knit top (Kwik Sew 2683) with a cap sleeve, to team with the skirt. Again, she could knock it back because it's not her style. The knit print has grey and white in it so hopefully it may pass muster. I'm hoping she'll use this top when she does art work. The silver FOE has no real spandex so there was no need to stretch it as I sewed it onto the neckline and sleeve hem.

This top is a basic shape so I've also done it in this cotton green spandex. Again, I've added a white blingy neckline trim so she doesn't need accessories. She likes to wear light colours. The trim has an elastic base, and I've hand stitched it on, so that it will move as she dresses.

Getting her style right is my challenge.

Friday, 3 December 2010


On the weekend I realised I had created four UFOs in November and realised I had to do something about it. As you can tell between blogs, my sewing went in all directions.

This fabric was from our fabric shopping trip to Melbourne last year, so it's relatively young. It's an embroidered cord and the sleeve trim is the colour of the embroidery thread. I thought this might be worth wearing at a dinner in Puyallup next year in March with the local ASG group. Yes, I know it will be cold so I thought this could be one of the layers, teamed with boots, maybe.
There are another three UFOs to finish, until I go off on another tangent.
By the way, we locked ourselves out of the house last night and our fantastic cleaner came to the rescue. She's a really lovely lady.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Finished check challenge

Thank you for your lovely comments on my wardrobe. You all have great skills so I value your feedback. Here's the write up I owe you. The check challenge is now finished and I'm hoping to wear it to our Christmas party. We're having a lunch and you have to wear something Christmassy. This usually translates to wearing something loud and I think this toile fits the bill.

Below are some of the check challenges I had to overcome.
The pinning that you can see on the left was one of my OMG moments to get the lines to match at the waist. I also needed to get the bodice to sit right with the skirt properly. This took a few 'sleeps' to manage. The back bodice lines didn't match at the centre back seam so I added pink bias tape to separate the lines. It was just an idea I had, so I gave it a go. The white twill tape at the neckline was what I used to get the zipper up, while it was in its unfinished stage.
If I make this again it will definitely be with a darker coloured soft fabric and I'll add more to the depth to shoulder line so that I can wear a bra and not have the straps show. In case you're wondering about the back skirt darts, I've since adjusted these because of what I saw when I took this photo and the changes are now on the pattern pieces.
By the way, a cousin who was a really keen sewer years ago called me last night to get advice on a dress that she's making without a pattern. The fact that she called me really floored me. I really believe that sharing ideas and sewing regularly keeps our skills fresh.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

work wardrobe

Since I've done a few separate pieces I thought you might be interested in how I put these pieces together for work. There's nothing too flash about how I style my wardrobe but each piece fits well. The only piece I didn't make was the beige skirt. I bought it because I loved the style and fabric.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Check challenge

I decided to have a go at M5466.

The check is large and navy blue, so I've used a dark blue bias on the sleeve hem. 
The sleeve doubles on itself so I've used the bias tape for a smoother hem.

This shows how I lowered the neckline by using the facing, a blue pen and a french curve, to help line up the neckline better.

It's now 7.30pm and I'm giving up for tonight - I think.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Housework weekend

I had a quick look at the calendar ahead and in the coming weeks there are a few pre-Christmas functions happening. Last night I decided to clean the kitchen while I pondered what to sew next, time permitting. 
Today I cleaned the front driveway, again, trying to decide on what to sew next.
Now I'm fixing clothes that need mending, but I just bought fabric when all I needed was a replacement zipper.
The red fabric ($5/m) is a linen cotton mix that is medium weight, but can be shaped easily. I think this will eventually become a pencil skirt with pockets.
The tea cup panel fabric ($2/panel) is a light weight cotton and I love the print. Now this could become anything from an sundress or skirt. 

Right now I still have 'no idea'.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Lace in fashion

I still have a subscription to Stitches magazine and there are issues that I flick through and never absorb. In Vol 18 no 10, there is a story about Lace in fashion showing at the National Gallery in Victoria until January 2011. What caught my eye was a dress by Pierre Balmain made in 1966.

After doing a bit of thinking, I found two knit fabrics in my stash. One is a black net with lace outline and the other is a plain poly knit with a some texture. I think these were remnants from Pitt Trading years ago.
The photo doesn't really show the texture on the solid knit. What this did give me was the fabric to make a similar styled dress.

I decided to keep the neckline the same and the dress body sheath was easy to do with this knit fabric.

The next step was to find a similar pattern in my stash to use for this pattern.

I chose Simplicity 2615 as the basis for the dress. You can see the a pencil drawn yolk line that starts under the sleeve and curves up to the center front. There is also a roll shoulder adjustment and I took out some fullness after making up the dress yesterday.
Once I traced the design lines onto the pattern I cut out the pieces and sewed it up. 
To overcome any slippage I used a walking foot.
This is one of my latest foot purchases since coming back from convention. I saw how people use the different feet on their machines and how this improves the quality of their work, so I'm really happy this my new foot. The foot was good to use on the lace netting because it kept the fabric together and the french seams were easy to produce.
At Rhodes yesterday Sharon and Wendy tidied up the fit. Simplicity 2615 has tons of ease because it has gathering, so we easily took out at least 5 cm off the side seams.
Here is the finished dress and below are the finished pattern pieces that I traced off the finished dress.
As you can see from my design, I have only included one layer of lace to keep the emphasis on my face. I still love the original Balmain version and would have loved to be tall enough to carry it off confidently.


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