Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Sew Chic - starting Fifth Avenue

On Pattern Review, you may have read about Sew Chic patterns and Laura Nash.
"Your destination Hot Spot for  Glamorously Chic Sewing Patterns  that are Stylish, Flirty, Modish, Glitzy and Retro all rolled into one!"

Long story short: I've made Fifth Avenue and I have a few finishing touches to go.
The back story: Last year I managed the Vintage Pattern contest and the contest entries opened my eyes to all things vintage. And while I love looking at the detailing on real vintage clothes, I still like the feel of wearing new clothes so making vintage styling has begun to steer my sewing.

Sew Chic patterns can be purchased via the Pattern Review online shop too.
Last year I made a few formal dresses for a family wedding and Fifth Avenue kinda suits those occasions or cocktail events. But Fifth Avenue would also be great for a high tea with a few sewing friends who love making something new for the occasion!

Selecting the size
The bodice has is princess seamed and the midriff has a band so I chose my size based on my bust measurement (10). Changing the waist and hip dimensions seemed the easier option to me. The midriff piece is in the picture below.

Tracing off the pattern
I used crayons. Don't laugh. I bet you've read about using crayons to trace off patterns but haven't tried it yet. Or maybe the thought of tracing with crayons for a special occasion ggown would be too risky. Crayons worked.
Pattern alterations
I've shortened the skirt so that it sits at the knee. Fifth Avenue is mid-calf length.
The centre back is on the fold and because I have a sway back, I've converted the centre back to have a seam so I can mould the back better.

This highly embroidered fabric was gifted to me by a colleague and I have made a shift dress out of it before so I know it sews well. So at times I've cut this fabric with paper scissors because the embroidery is so thick.
This fabric has stems and flowers all through it so placing the flowers in the best position was the other element to making this dress work.
More about layout and construction in the next post. It's a pretty dress. The ladies at Rhodes sewing last week loved Fifth Avenue and they can be a tough sewing crowd to impress. But I think everyone basically loves a beautiful dress.

Saturday, 27 April 2013


This was a workshop worth attending. For some of us, it was a revelation.
How much can you pick up from a single overlocker workshop when you've owned an overlocker for many years. 
(This is kinda technical so if you're not interested, ignore the rest of this post and see you next time.)
You know those inward corners that never seem to sew correctly? Well clip that inward corner for the depth of the seam allowance, open up the corner as shown on the left, sew it in a straight line and Voila - a nicely sewn inward corner.
Take that jeans zipper front seam!
Preparing the inwards corner with a small clipped corner the depth of the stitching and pulled straight, ready to sew.
The finished inward corner - amazing!!
What if you're making a casual jacket that suggests a bias bound finish but you'd rather use an embroidery thread? 
1. Finish the edge with an embroidery thread using a three-thread stitch and when you get to a 90 degree corner,
2. Continue sewing to the end of the fabric,
3. Loosen the top needle thread out to move the fabric,
4. Turn the fabric corner 90 degrees and when you place it under the overlocker foot to sew,
5. Tighten the needle thread back up to the reel and keep on sewing.
Want to make a ruffle but can't afford a ruffler foot?
With a three-thread stitch (use the right needle and remove the left needle); use differential feed of 2 and watch the fabric ruffle.
No expensive ruffler foot needed. Why didn't I just read my user guide all those years ago?
Pull the stitch thread along the top for a more ruffled ruffle.
Add a rolled-hem finish with a three-thread stitch and lower looper tension of 7 or 8.
If you want a wider rolled hem, move the cutting blade to the right. It's that easy.
I think my littlest niece is about get a bunch of ruffled skirts from Aunty!
Well that was a lazy Saturday at a Rhodes arranged workshop with
Gail, Luci, Jenny, Wendy, Rebecca, BeaJay, Kristy in a class of 12 learning how much more we can do with our humble overlockers.

BeaJay has a fabo write up of what she learnt today including Beajay-made cording with embroidery thread and a cool as cucumber a lacey edge!

PS: I got to meet JudieL from Pattern Review today for the first time.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Peppy eyelet

I just couldn't get on with my current projects until I gave this pattern another go. Peplums are everywhere and I have a summer holiday coming up in June so I made this top again in a white/purple eyelet from My Hung Fabrics to wear during the day with shorts or skinny jeans.
The adjustments this time were
- reduce the bust darts and centre back darts by 1.5cm
- add 1.5cm at centre seams on peplum, so the flounce is untounched
- drop the neckline and fix gaposis
- redraw the base of the cap sleeve.
And the neckline is now a v-neck.
Here's the redrawn sleeve pattern. I took more off the sleeve length at the base on the sleeve, using a french curve. The peplum is still 2" shorter than the pattern.
There's a row of purple piping on the edge of the cap sleeve. The sleeves are lined. Bias binding is used to finish the neck edge, hem, zipper seams and sleeve edges. I'll be wearing this as you would a basic white top.
I have visions of using this pattern for a casual jacket but for now, I have to get back to my planned project commitments in between cleaning the house. I know - both situations are sad:)
School teachers always tell you to sit up straight.
Enjoying a few rays before more cleaning.
PS: I'm ignoring the fact that 'winter is coming'. Can you tell I've been watching Game of Thrones recently? Love it.

The Great British Sewing Bee episode 4.
Congratulations to the finalists. You lucky sewers in the UK can put your hand up to be part of series 2.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Piping hot - New Look 6214

This was a more serious attempt (floral vintage) at piping using the vintage fabric that I bought at the vintage show last month and more steam-a-seam lite and cord. And this dress is Mad Men Inspired
The dress siblings on the dress stand
There was just enough fabric for the main part of this dress but not enough for long sleeves so I used a contrast piece from the recent Melbourne haul with TJ at Darn Cheap Fabrics.
Collar close up and piping. Rhona helped me choose the buttons.
But the weekend was full of spring-cleaning based on the influence of those of you who are making your new spring/summer outfits.
Workwear view
The windows got a new lease on life and the sun no longer struggles to come into the house.
Shoulder view - piping!!
The pantry is now glistening and it's organised with all things coffee on the same shelf. DH adores this shelf.
Back vent view with belt carriers
And next week kitchen and bedrooms will get an overhaul.
My checking the ceiling for dust and pondering the Mad Men aspect of this dress.
The sewing room will be sorted out when winter hits. I can always close the sewing room door when we have visitors in the house so that's a lower priority. And it will be tougher to do because it currently has stash fabric from four countries and some online purchases. 
The sleeve cuff with a joined piece to keep the sleeve the right length and more piping
My nephew and niece love looking at the fabric too. However closing the door seems so much simpler than sorting my sewing room.

Bon dimanche et bonne couture.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Thank you Beth

Sunnygirl and fabulous tailor Beth had a giveaway and I did the happy dance this week when it arrived in the mail.
What's not to love about receiving a reputable sewing handbook from the 1965 and two tailoring tools that an ongoing sewer like myself will always use.

Beth is one of my 'go-to' experts that I refer to when I'm researching my next project and trying to up my sewing 'A-game'. I imagine her wardrobe is brimming with beautiful sewn clothes.
Beth signature posts feature a garden picture. That's something I know some sewing bloggers do and being a 'city girl' I appreciate learning a bit more about nature across the globe.

The Great British Sewing Bee ep 3
This episode now has me checking my jackets for fit and I've already resewn one  for a better fit from 3 years ago. One more episode to go.

Silhouette Pattern - Nanette's yoga pants
The line drawing of this pattern on the website shows the front leg seaming go toward the centre front but the front leg seaming joins at the side seam to the back leg seaming.
I've let Peggy know and she's onto getting the web pic updated while she's travelling around the country helping Silhouette Buddies everywhere.

23 April update: Peggy has now updated the line drawing on her website so it now shows the corrected line drawing. Thanks for being so quick Peggy!!

In between MMM'13 posts, there are a bunch of projects that I've finished that I'll show you once I get the go ahead.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Me-Made-May '13

'I, Velosewer of cleverthinking99.com, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '13. I endeavour to wear 2 made me pieces each day for the duration of May 2013.'

I hope to achieve a bit more than that in this year's challenge, I'll make sure I do a weekly post of Velo-made collection.

Now do I include some jungle prints this year? Most probably.
Will I panic sew? Possibly

After making connections with some great local and overseas sewing bloggers last year, I know participating this year is worth the effort.

Back to normal sewing mode.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Yoga pants - Silhouette #3011 Nanette's yoga pants

Here's the first test case made on the weekend using the overlocker and 2" elastic. I've used a very strong nylon/lycra matt fabric remnant from The Fabric Store at the February Sydney Sewer Meet up.

I didn't get dressed up for these pictures.
Below is how these pants should look. I have to resew the front leg curve.

She has a clutterless kitchen that would make me smile.
These aren't workout pants so I intend to wear these anywhere but the gym.
The instructions are so easy to follow and they are really helpful. They don't assume any prior knowledge - I like that a lot! And this is my first go at using Silhouette Patterns. I only adjusted the leg length and made the back crotch curve deeper.

Not quiet a yoga pose.
These pants were so comfortable to wear at work. The top (Butterick 5328) was made in 2009 and I love the blue cherry print on green.

Great British Sewing Bee episode 2
Here's the youtube link. I hope you find this episode as enjoyable as episode 1 was.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Kinda off cue - Vogue 8815

It's about time I made some type of peplum, don't you agree?

Pitt Trading again offered Cue remnants via their facebook page. Now I can call them, let them know what colours I use, pay, and then a beautiful pack of fabric remnants arrive in the mail. I love a good fabric remnant challenge.
So I've used Vogue 8815 and I've added lowered the neckline (but it needs more) and used black satin bias to finish the neckline and zipper seams. The aim of this piece was to have a tailored summer top to wear with shorts or jeans or bright skinny jeans while travelling.
These cap sleeves were my first attempt at drafting them from the paper pattern using a french curve following Peggy Sagers webcast last week on "the sleeve". I have a bit more work to do on the base on the sleeve pattern.
Back to the paper pattern for a bit more tweaking and another attempt using another remnant.
To do list:
- reduce the bust darts and centre back darts by 1.5cm
- add 1.5cm at centre seams on peplum, so the flounce is untounched
- drop the neckline and fix gaposis
- redraw the base of the cap sleeve.

When I finish this top and do a second cleaner version, I'll show you the details.
There are 3 days to go and almost 70 tops have been made on Faye's 2013 essential top sewalong.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Remake x3

While Easter's a time to relax and be with family and friends, I know quiet a few sewers who were busy sewing this weekend. So was I.

Left to right: Original RTW spotted top,short sleeved test top, long sleeve lace edge top, lined animal print top
The spotted top is an old top that Mum wore a lot, until I saw how well-worn it became. So I used the bodice on Vogue 8815 and extended the bodice to make 3 more tops for Mum. None of these tops are high-end fashion but if she has tops that can be worn in between seasons or to church then she's happy. How could I not include an animal print too?

These tops are all:
- made of washable woven fabrics,
- pull-over styles
- have one button closure at the back neckline
- don't need ironing
- can be worn as a layer
- can be remade in 2 hours.

I did catch up with family and friends throughout most of Easter and got in a couple of long bike rides too. Coffee and breakfast were included in these rides.
Now to get back to Mum's version of the T-Shirt Trifecta pattern and get stuck into the knit fabrics that I've stashed for her. There acually is a fabric stash set aside just for her.

The Great British Sewing Bee.
I finally found a link to the first episode and low and behold Anne's first A-line skirt challenge uses the same fabric as my vintage military shirtmaker dress - also used by Karen and Sewhopefull.

Congratulations to all the entrants. You all did a fantastic job making this fabric into so many stylish variations.

Sandra (Dilliander) won with her 'Lekaloru' Mash up Coat. It's a combination of  Lekala 4170 raincoat with the essence of Sewaholic's Minoru Jacket and a dash of Green Pepper 120 on the (zip pocket) sides.
I'm looking forward to seeing your coat soon.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

T-shirt test

What's there to test. It's just a t-shirt right?

SAF-T POCKETS T-Shirt Trifecta #2014 offers 3 views, zipper pockets, sleeve options and you can mix the patterns up and tailor them to your needs or Mum's need for pockets. That's why I bought this pattern.
There's always some aspect that independent pattern companies offer to set themselves apart from the big companies. That's why I keep my eyes open for new patterns and new pattern ideas.
So my first test version below is very plain but I learnt how easy the instructions are to follow and they include methods of adding the front pocket with either an invisible zip or a normal zip.  That's helpful! The pocket is there hiding along the piping I've added. The neckline has fold over elastic; I've shortened the sleeve; and fitted the centre back for a firm fit. These patterns use sewing 3/8" seam and to me this is different but still very accurate. I can get used to 3/8" seams.
I did ruin my first invisible zipper when I cut the zipper length, half sewed in the pocket bags and then checked to see if the zipper closed properly before finishing the pocket. Doh! Well that's when the zipper pull came off in mid-air.
the hidden invisible zipper
I have lots of zippers from Zipperstop so I quickly relearned that I need to adjust the zipper length first with a bit of sewing before I cut it to size while working on the pocket. Notion stash to the rescue!
Showing the iron-on seam tape to reinforce the pocket bag.
The instructions suggest using a woven fabric for the pocket bag (again helpful) but I used iron-on seam tape to keep the zipper stitching straight and flat before sewing in the zipper so I could still use the same knit fabric for the pocket bag.
A closer view of the pipine and neckline finish

Thanks for commenting that some of you avoid pockets and detailing. I feel I need to make pockets of all varieties because Mum loves clothes with pockets so if I can make her some tops with pockets, then that makes her happy. Dad always loved safari jackets even after the 70s, because of the 4 pockets on the front bodice.


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