Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Top 5 2014!

Normally when I post photos in swimwear, I have a post planned right after to knock those photos from the top of my blog. I guess I was too keen to post my new togs this time and have been bogged down this past week, unable to photograph a couple of items and unable to sew much more than Xmas gifts. So really, it seems like a good time to talk about some of my Top 5s for 2014, which is again being hosted by Crafting a Rainbow.

Top 5 Hits

Denim Pencil Skirt
This skirt has been worn so much since it was made. I - love - this - skirt. It is perfection. I plan to make another, which is why I kept hold of my second double ended zipper. The only change I'll make to my next is that I'll probably use denim with a little stretch for additional comfort after a big meal and I'll add a coat hook and eye to the top of the zipper again, which I added only a month or so ago, as it prevents any zipper slippage during wear.

In this country its essential to have good swimmers if you want to frolick in the rough Sydney beach waves with the kids. I'm so, so pleased with these new swimmers. Every so often, when sewing, we achieve the exact outcome we were planning. This is one of those times. They fit perfectly and I LOVE them.

Confetti dress

This is one of my more recent makes, but it definitely one of the most complimented ever. I hope to make another just like it, but that depends on finding the right knit fabric. Ideally, I'd like another in an ITY knit. Fingers crossed that fabric crosses my path.

Shirts/Shirtdresses - Archer, Alder, Vogue 1387

I couldn't pick just one shirt or shirtdress, so I picked my favourite three. I really love making and wearing shirts. They are also so well suited to Liberty, which is obviously one of my favourite fabrics to sew with. More of these will come in the new year.

I've made a few of these self drafted tanks now and I wear them frequently. I love the style, which seems to be quite on trend at the moment. They are also perfectly suited to work (no gaping when leaning over) and to my existing wardrobe. 

Top 5 Misses

These are a little harder to pick. The more years I sew and get to know my style, the fewer misses I create, but never fear, there still are some emerging from my sewing cave.

Biggest FAIL ever! Nuf said. It's in the bin.

I has such high hopes that these pants would be versatile everyday pants, but they just aren't nice to wear. I don't like the poly feel of the Style Arc bengaline fabric and I don't really like the plain style with no detail. I think I've worn these only once. I don't even know where they are.

Valerie Top

This is a fabric fail. One wash and it has pretty much ruined. I believe it was my machine, but still to make something and only get one wear out of it is crapola and in my opinion, a fail of time.

Sew Dolly Clacket - Simplicity 2591

Another fabric fail. This time quilting cotton. I only used it as I had it sitting in my stash. I don't like the feel of the fabric so have already passed this dress on to a new home.

Two completely unworn dresses :(
I'm very sad to report that two dresses made this year are still yet to be worn, and I'm not sure they will be worn. The first is a Dandelion dress that just doesn't feel right to wear. I might try and see before I repurpose or pass it on. The second hurts more as I worked really hard to get the detail spot on with this denim shirtdress - flat felled seams and all! Unfortunately I feel I hemmed it a little too short and the collar, which I drafted my own collar stand, just doesn't sit right as it's a little too large for my neck. I'm also not a fan of my contrast facing choice. Oh well, gotta lose some right?

Top 5 Highlights, Reflections, Goals.

I'm not sure I can separate these and fill all three categories, so I'll mash them together here.
 - Highlight - my new kitchen and renovation, which I will photograph one day to share with you. It has been life changing and worth every cent
 - Reflection - I think it's important not to get caught up in the hype of whats trending in blogland with patterns, styles and fabric. Be real about your own self, what you need and what you really think you will be comfortable in. Also, before shopping for new patterns, check your stash. Often just a few changes to an existing pattern will achieve a similar result to many new styles around these days.
 - Goal - I will sew a French style jacket next year
 - Goal - I will make my husband a shirt

If you've made it to the end here, I'd like to say thanks. Not just for reading this post, but for reading my blog this year, contributing comments and just being there to say 'hi'. I really enjoy keeping my blog, almost as much as I love sewing. I'm sure I won't be around too much more before Christmas. Like all of us, things are kinda manic around here, but I do have holidays starting shortly. Yay!! I look forward to reading your Top 5s. I find them a great insight into what works and what doesn't after a garment has been blogged.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Swimmers - Kwik Sew 3609 & 3416 again

My last swimmers were a trial run for these, which have been made with some simply divine swim fabric from Tessuti.
When I posted these swimmers on Instagram, Sophie mentioned that this print is a Zimmerman print, which makes me feel kinda smug that I now own Zimmerman-ish swimmers without the $300 price tag. (For your reference, you can see the Zimmerman togs made from this fabric here and here. Now that I know that Tessuti has sneaky designer swim fabric, I also noticed that my previous swimmers are also made with Zimmerman fabric which you can see here and here, though I prefer mine).

Anyway, back to this make. I enjoyed a surprise day off work this week when James vomited in the school car park. I really took advantage of this day and pretty much knocked these up in full. I'm really not sure how I would have finished these without that day. Adele bugs me a lot while I sew these days, styling my hair, cutting fabric, sitting behind me on my chair or just talking all the time, so I'm not sure I would have made much progress with her around.

As with me last swimmers, I mashed the top of Kwik Sew 3609 with the bottom on 3416. Unlike my previous version, I only gathered a center panel on these swimmers and left the side and back un gathered, which is more like my inspiration swimmers from Seafolly. I really like this and hope that it will wear better when they are wet as my first gathered version sagged.
The fabric was a little tricky to work with as it was one of those mirrored prints, which you can see on the third photo of the Tessuti listing. The last thing I wanted was any symmetrical flowers over my bust or for that matter, anywhere else on my body. So instead of centering all of my pieces, I centered none. I intentionally cut every piece off center and it worked. My inner OCD really struggled with this!

You know I am super pleased with these togs. I really think they are flattering and will be wonderful this summer. I have more sewing to come. I love this time of year. Everything is so much easier when Summer holidays are in sight!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Liberty Nighty

I'm not sure many people would cut into their precious Liberty to make sleep wear, but I do. Often when you purchase Liberty online it's hard to gauge the scale of a print or the exact colours. This particular fabric is lovely, but the colours are a little too 'primary' for my liking.
My first Liberty nighty, made back here in 2011, has finally died. It has been worn at least twice a week for most of Spring and Summer, and some of Autumn, since it was made. I've certainly gotten more wear out of it than any other Liberty garment I've made. Unfortunately, it is beyond repair. The fabric has split right down the front and no amount of stitching will save it :(

At least I can make another! Again I used a simple pattern from Handmade Gauze, a Japanese pattern book that I purchased way back. It's not complicated, but sleep wear isn't supposed to be.

The fabric is called Alexandra. I made my sister a scout tee with her piece of Alexandra earlier this year, which she purchased in the turquoise colourway. I almost wish I'd have purchased that colour, but then I wouldn't have a replacement nighty. The trim has been in my stash for years. I think I purchased it from Pitt Trading in one of those bulk trim packs that they sell at the Sewing and Quilt Show in Sydney. It matched perfectly and I only had about a centimeter spare once I finished.

I really like this new nighty. I finished it today after being surprised by a day off work when James vomited in the school car park this morning. We had a delightful day at home - him resting and me sewing! What a treat! Hopefully my new swimmers will be ready to share soon.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Alice Top

There have been so many lovey Alice tops floating around the interwebs lately, like Rachel's and Lisa's - How could I resist??

Mine was made with a very nice remnant of Tessuti cotton voile that I won from Ernest, I mean, Emma from Ernest Flagg. This stuff is way more vibrant in real life and buttery soft to touch.

The Alice pattern came together without many hassles and only made petite adjustments as I find Tessuti patterns are a little too long for me. As I'm an incredibly cocky sewer, I didn't read the instructions and missed the information related to the 1/2 inch seam allowance and I think there might have been 1/4 inch on the sleeves - whoops! This has slightly changed the look, but it still works.
To give a clean finish and to prevent me from changing my over locking thread and stop worry about which thread would match this very colourful fabric, I frenched all seams and hand stitched the facings.

I love this top. It is light and summery and there will be more of these in the future. Thanks Emma for sending this lovely fabric my way. I'm not sure I would have picked it in store, as it is really wild and bright and I absolutely love it!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


Making basics is not a highlight of my sewing time, but it is a necessity.

Just a few basic knit tanks, both the same high neck, cut away sleeve look. 
Both are made with textured knits - the black from the Remnant Warehouse which was purchased during one of their recent sales and the white was re purposed from rather large, size 20 top from a cheapy shop. It only cost a few dollars for the top and it saved me a trip to a real fabric store.
I like the black top in particular and am quite chuffed that it looks almost identical to this top at Sussan which costs $70! Especially as the fabric for both tops cost less than $8. To speed up the construction, I simply turned the neck and arms under and cover stitched them. This finish, once you get the hang of it, is not dis similar to other commercially manufacturer garments and geez it's quick!

I have also made myself a rash t-shirt. 
This came in handy over the weekend during our family camping trip. It's much easier to body surf or boogie board without worrying about a wardrobe malfunction.
Not much longer till school holidays!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Confetti Dress!

I love this dress so much I finished the hem last night, photographed it this morning before school (how did I manage to find the time??!) and wore it today. I received many compliments, which always feels nice. And now I'm blogging about this dress even though it will mess up the order of items to blog - you know blogging in the same order that you finish. I know I'm not the only one.

I purchased this poly knit fabric from Spotty a few months ago. Like my previous Spotty fabric dress, I purchased this even though I was on a stash diet. I guess it's pretty clear that I'm not terribly good at diets of any kind. I think the range of poly knits at Spotty is getting better. Mel made a Mabel dress in a different print that I've contemplated getting before too.
I really wanted this to be a work friendly dress and not too dressy. The print is also kinda wild and bright, so I was very mindful of not over working the design.
As I didn't have a pattern in my stash that suited my vision, I mashed a little of Vogue 1351 with a little guesstimating... free cutting.... pattern drafting to make this dress.
The skirt and bodice back are from Vogue 1351. The front is drafted by me :) and the tie is just a strip of fabric cut from selvage to selvage sewn into the seam along the back.
The higher, fitted neckline ensures this dress is super work friendly. No gaping issues if I lean forward, which has been my issue with Vogue 1351. The skirt has a perfect amount of swish and the tie gives a little waist definition without a formal belt. As this fabric can be a little clingy and because I wanted a clean finish around the bodice, I fully self lined the dress. This prevents any VPL and make the dress very smooth and silky to wear.
Taking photos in the morning was incredibly tricky. They were either way too bright or a little too shaded. 
I'm certainly not a very good photographer, so this photo is here to show how vibrant the print is.

To keep the dress casual, I cut the bodice lining a little shorter to create a slight blousing effect on the outer bodice. It ended up being more subtle than I intended, but I like it all the same.

I'm totally in love with this dress. I don't have any other suitable knits in my stash right now, but I'm pretty sure there will be a repeat of this in the future.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sonja Dress

I've been feeling the need to make a less practical garments lately. Something I don't need. Something not specifically for work. Something that isn't a basic. Something for me. So naturally I made a summer frock!
I do love dresses and this will is suitable for work, even though I didn't make it for that.

I used the free Salme Sonja Dress pattern, which is available from Burda. This pattern has the higher neckline and cut away sleeves that seems to be popular at the moment.

I made a few changes to the pattern during construction, just so this dress would suit my own style. These changes included reducing the cut away at the front and back to avoid showing my bra straps, adding a second bust dart as the first was too low and I couldn't be bothered unpicking it, grading the waist, reducing the volume of the skirt (as I forgot to cut them with seam allowance), playing with the pleating on the skirt (choosing a deep pleat on the front and back, rather than 4 box pleats) and adding pockets.
I took three photo looking at the camera and all three are out of focus. 
I think I should take this as a sign. Maybe next time the lens will crack...

I'm really pleased with  how this dress turned out. I adore the fabric too. It is a stretch cotton sateen from Spotty. I love it so much that I purchased it even though I was on a stash diet. There are quite a few nice stretch sateens at Spotty these days. This one has a floral stripe running from selvage to selvage in white, pink, yellow, violet and orange on a base of deep navy. I love the white across the hem and I'm hoping the more navy stripe makes me look like I have more of a waist :). The stretch also makes this comfortable to wear.

I have so much more to show you. I've been sewing up a storm lately and have a number of makes to show!

I hope you have a good week!