Thursday, November 13, 2014

Look away.....its another Elsa dress!

I was beginning to think that I was the only Mother of Daughters Who Sews that hadn't made an Elsa dress!

But Miss C has decided that she wants to sing Let it Go at her end of year school Talent Quest which explains why I am currently knee deep in blue satin and glitter tulle.

And I have to admit, 7 year old me would have chopped off my waist length hair in exchange for an Ice Princess gown!

So I am more than happy to jump on the Frozen bandwagon, although I wasn't too happy about having to pay (gasp) full price for the fabric. While I had some vintage patterns that I was able to mash together to get the general feel of the dress, aqua blue polyester satin and sequins are not usually found in my stash. Still, the popularity of Elsa meant that the fabric was pretty easy to source online at a reasonable price, so all up the dress should come in just under $30.

I am using the bodice from the ballerina dress, and the skirt from the cheesy 1970's flower girl dress to make the dress. The ballerina skirt was just a gathered rectangle, whereas the 70's dress has a flared and gathered skirt which I think will give a nicer silhouette and provide a bit more leg room if Miss C decides to incorporate some Queen Elsa moves into her performance! (As an aside, I think that my only beef with the movie is that Elsa's dress errs a bit too much toward Jessica Rabbit for my liking. I did have to explain at quite some length as to why Miss C's dress would not be 'off the shoulder" like Elsa's!)

I just know what is going to happen when the twins cop an eyeful of Miss C in her Elsa glory though, so I bought a bit extra of all the fabrics to make 3 year old versions as well!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Vogue 1300 dress as a top

There is really not much to say about this make, except for the basics....and some pics!

Vogue1300  DKNY dress
I made the size 10, grading out to a 12 at the hip. If I make this again I will just cut a straight size 10 as there is plenty of room in the hips.
V1300, Misses' Dress and Slip
A bottle green rayon which is not usually a colour I wear, and looks dreadful with denim,but teams pretty well with a lighter bottom like a biege chino.

Sewing details
This really was a super simple pattern to make. I shortened the length of the dress and the drapey bit to just below hip length. Left off the back opening as it goes easily over my head. I also left the drape edge raw. I did initially hem the edge as per the pattern instructions, but this looked pretty horrible so I just cut it off. I will need to 'maintain' the edge by trimming the hairy bits every now and then, but the fabric drapes a lot better without a hemmed edge.
I also left out the pockets.

I really like how this turned out. It won't be an everyday top in this fabric, but I can see a lot of possible variations. I would like to try how this works in a stripe jersey next, but as I have now pretty much decided that my knees are no longer suitable for public viewing, I don't think I will be trying a dress version!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Some DKNY indulgence

It’s been a while since I made anything for myself, and its been a long while since I made anything fancy!

And as all three of my girls are pretty well sorted for summer clothes, I think that I can spend a bit of time doing some self indulgent sewing before I have to get on top of the Christmas sewing jobs.
                          V1308, Misses' Jumpsuit

                     V1300, Misses' Dress and Slip

I have had these two Vogue DKNY patterns in the stash for a while, they should be pretty easy to sew up and I just happen to have the right fabrics in the stash for both of them, so I am going to ignore the fact that I don’t actually need any clothes like this and just have some sewing fun.

I have an emerald green rayon that I will use for the dress, but will shorten to top length, and I have some black linen/rayon blend fabric for the jumpsuit.

It’s school holidays here at the moment, so if I can park the kids in front of a movie on a day or two I might get these sewn up pretty quickly!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

By bye Burda..........hello Pochee!

This is the year that I have finally said goodbye to my Burda subscription. I have been a subscriber since 2008, and realised that I now have a pretty good library of just about every skirt, pant, jacket and top pattern that I am ever likely to get from Burda.

I realised that I usually make only one or two patterns from each issue, and sometimes none at all, so in terms of my pattern budget it does end up being a bit of a luxury.

And now that Burda is releasing their new styles as individual downloads at Burdastyle, then I figure that if there is a pattern that is totally different to what I already have, I can download it when required. While I am a bit sad that I won’t be getting the glossy pattern goodness in my mailbox each month, I am happy that I have amassed a pretty great library of wearable patterns.

So what did I do now that I no longer subscribe? Go out and spend my money on more pattern books!

I noticed that Burda tends to have a fairly slim fitting style (think pencil skirts and narrow trousers) and I felt that I needed some basic, looser fitting styles, especially for summer.

So I ordered these three issues of Sewing Pochee magazine. Click on the links for more info as to what is inside.

I have to say though, that getting three at once has been a bit much, as there are a lot of patterns in each one and it is going to take a bit of time to digest what is inside.

But at first glance, the thing I am most impressed with is this handy little graphic, a key that shows you where each pattern piece for a particular style is on the pattern sheet, Burda please take note!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Jacket with the works

Its got quilting, a hood, snaps, vintage hot pink velvet ribbon and it’s made from shiny silver leopard print taffeta……… ack!

What a pity it’s not my size!

Looks good on Miss C though.

Miss C has had a recent growth spurt which just happen to coincide with a bitterly cold gust of winter, so my plans of squeezing her into last years jacket went out the window faster than Jack Frost came in.

While we are not a particularly outdoorsy family, no camping, hiking or fishing happens much ‘round here, we do walk pretty much everyday, so a warm jacket is pretty vital to our winter wardrobe.

So while I had no intentions to do any seriously hard concentrating type of sewing this season, I realised that I did need to get something together for her. Or buy something, which didn’t seem nearly as appealing.

Here are the deets


Vintage McCalls pattern, dated 1977. Size 8.
I have had this one in the stash for quite some time.
It is described as an unlined jacket with raglan sleeves, hood and front button fastening.
I did have to do quite a bit of work to turn this into a warm jacket but it was a great shell to start from.

Outer layer: nylon leopard print taffeta (bought for $2 m from Spotlight)
Inner layer: premium, thick polar fleece, in baby pink of course
Lining: mystery shiny stuff from the stash, again in pink.
Hood lining: silver mesh, long time stash resident, circa late last century.
Cuffs: mystery rib knit from the stash.
Trim: vintage hot pink nylon velvet ribbon for the hood and hem and silver snaps for closures.

Sewing Notes

I think I have trumped myself on last year’s jacket, which only got a couple of outings. This took quite a while of thinking and deliberating and while not necessarily hard to sew, everything needed to be done accurately and in the right order. I tossed around different fastening and pocket ideas but in the end went easy on myself and chose the simplest options to sew.

I cut the body, sleeves and hood from the taffeta and polar fleece fabrics and quilted these together and then treated this as a single piece of fabric.

I cut the lining from the same pattern pieces, sewed these together and then used this to underline the jacket, so it is not really a true lining but does the job of hiding all those messy seams.

I needed to draft a back facing for the neck, the pattern had a different finish as it was not originally lined, and I cut a third layer, the mesh fabric, for the hood lining.

The velvet ribbon was used to trim the hood and jacket hem and I made some pocket flaps to add to the patch pockets.

I used metal snaps instead of buttons and buttonholes and used some grey ribbing to finish the sleeves instead of the original elastic casing.

While it does seem a bit of a hodge podge of fabrics and textures, some bits are new, some bits are old, I think it has come together quite nicely. All up, and not considering the value of my time, this jacket cost just under $30 to make. Which I think would be about half the price of something similar in RTW so I will count that as a win!

And I got this finished just in the nick of time for Pattern Review’s outerwear contest. Yay me!

While I did enjoy making this, the project has sucked all of my sewing mojo out of me, so I expect I will be floundering a bit sewing wise for a while. I don’t have anything that NEEDS to be made right now so things could be quite for a while!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Jaywalk dress......brrrrr!

Let me start by saying that this isn't exactly how I imagined wearing this dress when I started making it!

When I first got the fabric we were in the middle of a balmy, warm Autumn and so I had breezy summer dresses, cossies and thongs on my mind.
In the time it has taken me to sew it (and unpick it a few times but let's not dwell on that bit!), the weather has turned and there is a definite chill in the air, and lets just say that I am too soft to suffer (and freeze) for my art!
So here is my Jaywalk dress, worn over a spencer and a pair of velvet jeans. I did have a scarf as well but that just tipped the look over from "transeasonal" to just plain wrong!

And now for the nuts and bolts!

The pattern

Style 4152 dated 1984
I used this vintage pattern from the stash as a starting point, cutting the short sleeve, non cowl view off at just above the waistline. I then just made a big rectangle from the remaining fabric and gathered this on to the bodice.

What went wrong
Initially I cut both sections of the bodice in the Jaywalk fabric, but the skirt was too heavy and causing all sorts of horrible dragging at the side seam. I realised that I would need to use a woven for the side panels to hold up the weight of the skirt and fortunately I had some stripe cotton seersucker that was just the right weight and was an interesting print contrast to the larger Jaywalk stripe. So I unpicked the skirt and the side panels (I kept the panels intact so I may just use them to make a top later on down the track), replaced the side panels with the new fabric and sewed the skirt back on.

For the second go at the skirt, I used some Tessuti ribbon as a waist stay and this seemed to help stabilise the weight of the skirt.

Shameless attempt at getting extra points in the competition!

Other garment details

Dress inside back

A number of my RTW t shirts have a small mock facing on the back, and I thought it would be fun to add another print to the dress. This is simply a piece of spotty viscose jersey, cut, fused and overlocked and then stitched to the back.

I also used a coral pink jersey for the neck binding to add a pop of colour and break up the monochrome a bit.

And I used some large vintage rayon ric rac for the bodice seaming which also helps prevent those seams from stretching out.

I nearly gave up on this dress a couple of times during the make (and probably introduced the girls to a few words that they probably shouldn't be hearing just yet!), but I am glad that I persevered,.as I think it will be a great summer dress. I can imagine wearing it over some denim shorts or cutoffs in spring and then as a dress as it gets hotter.

Here is one last look.

And as Tigger would say TTFN, I am pooped and ready for a non sewing long weekend!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The dress dilemma

Dresses have always frightened me. When I was younger, dresses seemed to be for the older, more together kind of woman, the Mad Men type, with a proper job and responsibilities and you know, a lifestyle.

Now that I am older, I am afraid that the kind of dresses that appeal to me now are too young for me.

Last summer was the first time that I have really given some thought to making dresses for myself.

Out of the two dresses that I made, my ikat dress was worn just about every week and I always got compliments when I wore it. And it was supremely cool and comfy to wear.

The maxi was worn once to a special event. While I like the style, it is a bit more streamlined and grown up than the ikat, it is just to impractical for everyday.

This is currently my Favourite Dress of All Time, and is  similar to the high waist style of the ikat. But is this style really too young for me?
Chop Chop dress by Gorman

And the reason that I have dresses on my mind, is that I purchased some of Tessuti’s Jaywalk fabric from their current sewing competition.

I originally bought it thinking that I would put it into the stash and sew up a few simple tees for next summer. But when the fabric arrived, I realised that it was such a lovely quality that it probably deserved to be a bit more special than a T shirt.

Which brings me back to the dress dilemma. I only have 1 metre of each colourway so anything I make will have to combine both colourways, and the fabric is surprisingly heavy so anything too bulky ie with lots of draping or gathering might be tricky.

And there is only 2 weeks left before the deadline, so I really should stick with something that I know will fit and not be too tricky sewing wise. Or maybe I should just go back to sewing elastic waist leggings for the kids!