Thursday, 28 August 2014

Jaywalk Plantain

when Tessuti announced it's Jaywalk competition I was quite excited. Not because I wanted to enter the competition, but because the jersey was half price and it was my chance to get some good quality jersey for 10 dollars a meter. It was my Easter gift to myself :-)

I really wanted to try the Plantain pattern from Deer & Doe, so I thought it would be a great match ...
well ... the match between pattern and fabric and giggles was not made in heaven.

The pattern itself is good - great even, the fabric itself is good as well, but my perfectionism and the stripes and the sleeves did not match at all. As a last resort I used a band so it is now more of a tank top ... something I never wear in Queensland. I tried with the sleeves, several times in fact, but it's a 4-way stretch and it really bothered me that I couldn't match it at all. In fact it was driving me absolutely mad. Actually, it is quite ridiculous that it does that to me as I have plenty RTW shirts that don't match at all and I still love the clothes.

I have plenty more of the fabric so I will make a cap sleeve dress at some point where I will use fusible web or some special glue that I recently bought to stabilise the seams, but for now I am putting it aside.

UPDATE: on the wearability side it is actually a great layering piece for winter -  something I hadn't considered before. So I am now much more positive about the whole thing :-)

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

back from the wedding - the PINK reveal

The dress was done and I was very tempted to post it here when I finished it, but, on the off chance that my sister remembers this blog, I couldn't post the final pictures as it was meant as a surprise for her. Although the dress is not perfect by any means, I do consider it my masterpiece in sewing so far.

I was all set to chose the turquoise sash, had it cut and everything and then my husband said 'You know my Giggles, if you can't wear a pink sash with pink ribbons and rhinestones when you are 5, when can you wear it' ... and he was right ... she loves pink and everything that glitters and sparkles ... she chose the fabric and the embellishments ... her face lit up when she saw the sash being worked on ... needless to say we used the pink sash and it was her 'favouritest dress ever'.

I ended up taking 3 inches of the length of the bodice and love the end result. Yes, the sides seems don't really line up anymore, but they are covered by the sash so no one will know.

I finished it off with a layered hem that shows the lining as well giving it a bit of contrast. The petticoat goes well with it I though, but it is not necessary. On the day there was some comparison with the other flower girl and although butterflies (on the dress of the other flower girl) are a favourite in our house as well, the pink dress won hands down.

I wore the Dragonfly Dress and I was glad I made it larger, because I spend the 3 weeks before the wedding in Germany eating my weight in cake and ice cream without having to worry whether the dress will fit :-)

As we come to the end of the pink journey and can't help feeling a little sad. The fabric was a joy to sew with. I think all this pink just made me happy. Perhaps I should be looking into making something pink for myself. Whilst it is not my colour (much like yellow perhaps) it would cheer me up every time I wear it and I think every woman needs a few clothes like that :-)

Monday, 30 June 2014

the pink odyssey continues

I finished the bodice and the skirt section ... decided to line both instead of the facings ... chose to gather the skirt section rather then pleating it ... had the girl try it on ... and ... found a problem ... sigh

The bodice is too long, substantially too long, like 2 or 2.5 inches too long, too long to ignore too long. It looks too much like a dirndl and since the wedding is in Germany, I really want to avoid that comparison. I can't unpick it, because I have already trimmed the seam and with the gathering I would have to redo the lot, so I think I will just it in and sew it to the skirt section. It does look that long on the pattern envelope actually, but somehow it didn't look that long in the muslin, but that was without the skirt section weighing it down. Never mind, once the lining is sewn in place nobody will know :-)

Also I did the sash. My daughter picked the trims and I am now having second thoughts about the sash. It's over the top, she loves it, but I am thinking that aside from the 'overthetopness' it is not wide enough. I think it should be double the width. I could add a couple of layers of the pink lawn behind it and widen it that way, but that might be too much bulk.

Also I am questioning the colour choice. Maybe instead of the pale pink I should go for more contrast, like this turquoise linen remnant in my stash.

Maybe instead of attaching a sash permanently I should just hand stitch it on at the very end ... hmm, lots of food for thought.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

pink, glorious pink - Part 1

In order to placate my daughter for god-only-knows-what about 3 weeks ago I took her to Spotlight and said she could pick out some fabrics for a dress to wear to my sisters wedding. She went straight to the costume section and brought back some fairy-tale princess dress in white polyester with the words 'Look Mummy, isn't this pretty? And you don't have to sew a thing'  .... hmm, not the idea that I was going for, but we eventually had a look at patterns for princess dresses and some fabric. She 'settled' for this Lisette sateen.

We hadn't found a pattern yet, so I bought 1.5 meters in the hope that it would be enough. A week later we finally agreed on Burda 9696.

Now, having never worked with actual paper Burda patterns, I didn't know what to expect. I was frustrated to no end at the store that the envelope back did not have a clarification for the sizes, neither did the instruction sheet inside. It said sizes 2-7 on the envelope, but no measurements. Later I found the sizes printed on the onion paper - by the time you unfold the onion paper you should already know which size you are going for.. Since my daughter is 5, but small for her age, I thought it would be safe to go with it. Well, turns out she is actually a 7-8 for Burda patterns. Also this pattern has very little in terms of ease. It was doubly annoying, because the pattern she really liked started from a size 8 and I thought it would be miles to big. It also meant that my fabric was going to stretched to the max, because a size 7 requires more then a size 5, not a lot, but some.

I also picked up some plain pink cotton lawn as contrast and for the petticoat some tulle. All in all I had 4.5 meters of fabric, it seemed plenty. However, once I started cutting things, I had to go back and get a further 2 meters of the pink lawn and I used some half a meter of cotton broadcloth I had in my stash. So all together this dress consumed 7 meters of fabric and only half a meter came from my stash ... sigh ... and it's not finished yet.

On the plus side I have 'graduated' from 'really easy' and 'easy' patterns to 'middle/average'. Yeay me ...

I started with the petticoat  and she loves it ...

There are French seams and the tulle gathering is completely enclosed by fabric as to not irritate her sensitive little legs ... please take note that she can put up with all sort of itches and scratches from the aforementioned polyester costumes (even though we didn't buy that one, we do own a great many of them), but other clothes irritate her to no end. I blame her father, he never liked wearing clothes - or shoes, in fact, he didn't wear shoes really until he went to high school (can only happen in North Queensland, everywhere else in the world you'd suffer from frostbite) - and we only just managed to get her to the point that she will wear at least undies when interacting with other people :-)

Onwards with the dress now ...

Sunday, 8 June 2014

The Hollyburn Intermission Skirt

I actually drafted this blog post in February, which is when the skirt was finished to the point that it only needed to be hemmed ... I finally hemmed it a week ago. I loath hemming, it is my least favourite bit of sewing, mostly because I feel like it I mess it up I have ruined all this work. I am being unrealistic there though, because looking at my RTW clothes, they are not hemmed perfectly either and NOBODY notices. Sigh ... my perfectionism ruins it all a bit.

I sewed this skirt mostly in January during my 'down with the UFO's' time whenever I got fed up with my UFOs. It's a heavy linen in raspberry that was part of my remnant haul from the fabric store for Christmas. I hadn't actually realised when I bought it that it was quite as heavy as it was. Originally it was supposed to be a dress for my daughter. I am not very good at judging fabrics and fabric weights and just what it'll look like after washing, but I guess that'll come with time. The fabric was only 70cms long, but about 140cms wide so I managed to squeeze a Hollyburn skirt minus the pockets out of it. The pockets are from a Kaffe Fassett fat quarter -  and I had all I intentions of having a close-up picture, but alas the camera problem persists.

We have this beautiful quilting store Peppermint Stitches just down the road from me and it is a lovely store that never ceases to make me feel good. I like to just browse, but occasionally I will pick up a fat quarter on an impulse. The problems is that those fat quarters are just languishing in my stash with little hope of usage really. They just get totally lost amongst everything else really, but when I run out of fabric for the pockets I rummaged through the stash in the hope of finding something to go with the linen and I think this fits perfectly :-)

Overall I am still not quite sure about the Hollyburn skirt. I have been following the Wardrobe architect series over at Coletterie and realistically I think I prefer wearing the type of slimish fitting A-lines skirts like the Butterfly Burda one. It is hard to find the right length for me in this skirt, because I am short and wear flats most of the time. I have 4 Hollyburn skirts overall and I do wear them frequently, but when someone compliments me on one of them I am always a bit taken aback, because I feel like they don't suit me as well as some other skirts. Maybe I am just Hollyburned out and with a bit of time I will gain perspective and fall in love with the pattern again :-)

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

the girl with the dragonfly dress

Not the most original blog title, but it was either that or 'how I made this dress yet again'

This started out as a potential Easter dress and an experiment. I wanted to see whether I could make a dress in a week. Well ... as I am posting it now when I believe we are in fact fast approaching Pentecost ... it can safely be said that whilst I might be able to make a dress in a week, I was unable to make this dress in a week.

I hadn't set myself up to fail as I made this dress twice before in exactly this kind of fabric (cotton poplin), yet somehow I had little stumbling blocks with the bodice and then there was a fabric fault in one of the skirt panels, which I obviously only found after I sewed the skirt section, so that needed to be recut and refrenchseamed. Also, what was I thinking of trying this the week before Easter with both children on school holidays, not really, not exactly sewjo inducing atmosphere.

As this is the third version of this dress, I should probably look and expand my horizon, but I think I have 1 more version of this dress in me. Perhaps I should go a size down next time as I fitted this one when I was 8 kilos heavier and it is a tad roomy now. I actually thought about this before I made this one, but as I intend to wear it to my sisters wedding (unless she tells me it is not fancy enough) I thought having a bit of room to eat an extra piece of cake might not be a bad thing ... not that I am greedy ... just sayin' :-)

PS.: the more that I look at the pictures (especially the ones I didn't post), the more I am becoming convinced I should try and take it in a little after the wedding, but we will see. Reality is that I am not a fan of a lot of ease, but some people have complimented me on the other 2 versions of this dress and said how well the fitted me, so I was left wondering whether I always fitted things too tightly and that a little extra ease would actually look better on me. However, looking at the pictures for the back, there are now fabric folds indicating extra fabric whereas previously it fitted just right. It could also be that these pictures were taking with my phone in a hurry (because my camera has no batteries and I finished this dress 2 weeks ago) and that they are simply not the best pictures and there is nothing wrong with the dress as it is fitted ... sigh

Monday, 2 June 2014

why I fail at MMM

Me-Made-May ... sigh ... I actually signed up this year ...

I pledged to wear 5 me made things each week ... I wore on average 6. So 'what is the problem' I hear you ask ...

Well, it's the pictures, I think. I took pictures for about 10 days, intending to post them every week, but as the first 'deadline' came and went without a smidgen of a post, my enthusiasm for taking the pictures waned considerably. Then the camera ran out of batteries, then I realised I really only wore the same clothes over and over again, then the second deadline came and went and my sewjo took a nose dive and the machine was starting to gather dust ... eventually I just gave myself permission to quit and carry on as normal and I felt so very relieved.

It is funny, because I do actually wear Me Made items most day, yet I was stressing about it to no end. The lesson that I take away from this particular experiment: If you don't enjoy something that is not necessary for your life, well-being or family, then for goodness sake just stop doing it.

So MMM is joining the ranks of fast-paced sew-alongs and perhaps self-imposed tight deadlines, something to avoid next time around :-)

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Good Karma: Finishing off somebody else's UFO

Every now and then I look at my stash and wonder what would happen if I'd get injured or sick and couldn't do any sewing or knitting or crocheting anymore ... anyways my friend's granny is a lovely 85 year old lady who always has a smile and some jelly beans in her kitchen for any kids that might drop by. She won awards for her quilts, knitted and crocheted beautiful pieces for all her grand and great-grand children, but it all got harder in the last few years. One little granny square knee rug never got finished, so I grabbed some yarn that she had given me a couple of years ago and here it is:

I blocked it with steam as it is acrylic and I was petrified the whole time that I would ruin it, but I didn't accidentally drop the iron and melt the whole thing, so yeay me. It's not truly square, but much better then before, so I call this a win.

Hopefully she'll like it :-)

Thursday, 3 April 2014

skirting around

I feel I have been rather productive in the last months, yet the stash is looking big as always. I read on someone's blog that the size of the stash is always relative to its storage. If you have a lot of space then a well organised stash like below is perfect, whereas if you only have a little space (like me) you have to get creative with storage. I am still working on the ideal storage solution, because at the moment it is all crammed away somewhere and over time I forget what I have.

Anyway, after the maxi skirts I thought I work on some short skirts for myself. I started out drafting a basic A-line skirt, but the result was a little tight to be honest ... and the hem looks a little funny in the pictures for some reason. It is wearable around the house and to the school, but the next one would be bigger.

The next skirt is actually a jersey version of Sewaholic's Hollyburn Skirt. I omitted the pockets although I certainly could have done inseam pockets without problems ... hmm, maybe next time. The jersey itself was a surprise find in my stash. I have no idea how it got there. I realised after washing it that it was probably a polyester blend and judging by the smell it came from a charity shop, so really it was the perfect jersey to use as a muslin.

It is comfortable to wear with a yoga style waistband and took about a hour and a half to make incl cutting .... so super fast for me.

I don't think I have any fabric at the moment to make a 'proper' version right now, but who knows what I'll still discover.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

sewing for children ??? yes please :-)

Every now and then I come across boggers who speak vehemently against sewing for children. It is usually from people without children, who occasionally or once have been asked or suggested or decided to sew for children of family and friends.

One of the frequent complaints seems to be 'ungratefulness' of the recipient (either child or parent thereof ), but I have to say both my children are over the moon when I sew something for them. They usually want to wear it RIGHT AWAY and tell everyone they meet that  'my mummy made it' with this wide smile. The joy I get from seeing the happiness in their little (or not so little in the case of my son) face is unmeasurable. True happiness :-)

Usually their items are simple and don't require much thought at all .... and their gratefulness is lasting. They are very reluctant to stop wearing something that I made for them. In fact, my son still wears his pyjamas I made 2 years ago, despite having seriously outgrown them. He even wanted to bring them to camp this year. In that spirit I used some of the jersey mountain to make him 2 pairs of jersey sleep shorts and one long pair.

The shorts only take about 50cms of fabric, so those 2 pieces of fabric were remnants from Spotlight at a dollar each.

The pattern itself is my self drafted shorts pattern for my son, very loose and roomy. Hopefully they'll last another 2 years :-)

The air plane jersey he picked out 2 years ago and I thought if I don't sew with it soon he'll be a teenager and just arch his eyebrow at the thought of air plane shorts/pants. Though I am only assuming this, having had no teenagers myself yet, it might well be that my kids will surprise me again.

Don't get me wrong if you spend hours upon hours creating an appliqued, multi-layered princess dress or similar, a piece of art you have poured your heart into ... I actually found an Alabama Chanin Style dress for a toddler in the Oliver &S flickr stream once ... anyway, chances are you are going to be disappointed with the thanks that you get. It is very hard for kids (and adults who don't sew) to put in the appropriate gratitude for something like this since they don't know the effort involved, but these shorts/pants are nowhere near this level :-)