Tuesday, November 30, 2010

On telling the truth...

Last week I caught up with Thouraya and I managed to finally get my hands on the Colette Chantilly dress pattern. She, on the other hand, managed to get her hands on my entire Oliver & S pattern collection, so stay watching her blog for exciting sewing progress.

So now with fabric and pattern in hand for this intended project, I started thinking about the modifications I'd have to make to the pattern to get it to work.
First, I need to add a bit to the waist. I was also thinking about slightly dropping the neckline, possibly using the back yoke on the front too, just because I know scoop necks look better on me. Then I need to look into a small bust adjustment on top of the adjustments to the bust required from the yoke change. I've been looking into SBA's and read posts here and here, but because there is a gathered bust on this dress I thought it wise to also consult my mum for advice.
Well, maybe there was something in the air on Sunday but I pulled the pattern from my bag and my mum announced "I don't like that dress, I hate that dress, there is nothing at all that I like about that dress!" I was floored. My mum is normally a pretty polite and tactful person when it comes offering opinions, but on Sunday she was not.

Now I'm not offended by this, just rather surprised and it has made me think about the dress a little more. It certainly isn't the style of dress that I normally wear, but I thought it would be cute and floaty. I'm not curvy or busty, but I thought think might give me a little more shape. I thought the gathers at the bust might help me a little, but Mum thinks not. Although I did read the Selfish Seamstresses post here about Colette patterns for people with boyish figures like me, I thought I'd still give it a try.

However, now I'm starting to second guess my plans. My mum does know me rather well, she really knows my style and I inherited my less than shapely body from her (except she has boobs). The modifications I'd like to make are quite significant, especially to the front yoke and bust. I'd definitely have to make a toile to check everything, which adds time and effort to a make. I also have a lot of other sewing to do right now - Christmas presents, clothes for gifts, clothes for orders, bonnets for My Messy Room (which sold out in a few days - yay!!).

So what would you do? Do you think I should persevere or should I change plans?

I've begun looking online at alternatives all are quite floaty. I like bodice G from New Look 6773 with the flared skirt option. I love the sweet little ruffles on the shoulders, but am concerned about them looking a little too cutesy. Alternatively the D bodice will be nice and clean and fitted.

I also like option B from New Look 6805 with the sash, but worry that it might not be summery enough. Although maybe it will be because the fabric is so light.

Lastly, I also like bodice D and E from New Look 6774. This dress doesn't have a full skirt like the other which I was hoping to try, but I think it's definitely more me and very wearable.

So this is my dilemma - do I sew the Chantilly or choose one of the above? I selected all my options from New Look as they are the cheapest patterns at full price and I don't think Spotlight will have patterns on sale before Christmas.

What do you think?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Sewing 80's fashion

A little while ago I got bogged down matching fabric to sew this lovely top and I think I swore that I would never ever again, sew a garment that needed fabric matched. Well, I guess I didn't quite stick to that statement.
This is my new, super, super, super cute summer frock complete with matched fabric. Again this took f-o-r-e-v-e-r to do right. Not to mention that I only had 1 yard of fabric, so there was no margin for error. The fabric is Anna Maria Horner pastry line voile in coral, which is actually orange,  not a shade of pink.

The pattern is a vintage Simplicity pattern (no. 9863) from 1981 which says it's "Jonathan Hitchcock for Reuben Thomas".
Here you can see that the back of the bodice aligns with the skirt. This took a lot of thought to get right!

I also intended to sew a fancy exposed zip or handpicked one, but this part of the dress was sewn at about 11.30pm Friday night and there was no way that I was going to start learning new things at that time of night, so it ended up being just a regular lapped zipper.

I also fully lined the skirt, but again this was done late at night, so without looking up the correct method to do this, I just sewed the white voile lining fabric with the outer fabric as though it was one and it works. I don't know how well it'll wash though and I'm terribly worried about how it will shrink, even though I pre-washed both fabrics, but it's sewn and there's no point crying now.

I made two key modifications to the frock including adding size to the waist and also significantly lowering the point on the bodice where the straps button.

I really love this little frock and can definitely see me wearing it at BBQs this summer. I love the soft pleats at the bust, which I think might give the illusion that there's a little more there (hopefully) and I love the pleats on the skirt. I originally planned to wear this dress on Saturday, but accidentally sewed the lining a little too taught at close to midnight, making the outer bubble a bit. By then it was waaaay too late to unpick and re-sew, so my wardrobe was a little plain for the BBQ. Anyway, it's now ready for the next event and boy do we have a stack planned for the coming weeks.

Now I really need to get stuck into sewing some more gifts for Christmas.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

The Christmas bush is flowering...
The tree is half up....
And I was dive-bombed by a Christmas beetle last night....

Does everyone else have Santa threats in high rotation in their house at the moment too??

Thursday, November 25, 2010

My Creative Space...

Today we have a toile or muslin of a new dress. I'm not sure which name to call it, but this is it - glamorous huh??
It's a vintage pattern from 1981. Simplicity 9863, which says on the front it's "Jonathan Hitchcock for Reuben Thomas". I've never heard of these designers, but I wasn't that old in 1981 - he he! I never thought I'd ever make anything from a 1980's pattern, but this is closer to the 70's than 90's, which is probably why it's so nice.
This is the pattern picture here with the vintage metal zip that I picked up from the Op Shop for 25c. I'm trying to decide if I sew an exposed metal zip, as it seems fashionable these days or try to hand pick it, which seems to be mentioned a lot in blog land at the mo.

So back to the muslin, so far my modifications are working well. I needed to add 4 inches to the waist - yep, 4 inches!! This is because even though I'm a size 10, I have no waist. Not in an odd looking way, but in a 'I've had three kids' kinda way. My waist measurement is close to a size 14-16 waist - can you believe? Do I look massively out of proportion? Because the pattern companies seem to think I am. Getting back on track, I also slightly modified the point of the bust where the strap fixes. Being a vintage pattern I guessed it would be too high and it was. Note: this muslin is just for sizing so it doesn't matter that the bust pleats don't line up.
So after making this muslin, I plan to further reduce the point where the strap affixes at the front. You might be able to see my pen markings in the above image. I will take the dress in under the arms as it gapes a little, this is pinned in the pictures. I also need to raise the back bodice a little to help hide a small tattoo that I thought was a good idea over a decade ago.....
Now the reason for all this work for a simple sundress, is that I have a very minimal cut of fabric that I'm working with - just one yard to be precise. Here is some tight pattern placing in progress. Only half of the pattern pieces are down there. I'm planning on lining the dress in lawn - simple and light.

The fabric above is Anna Maria Horner pastry line voile in coral, which is actually orange, not a pink coral, which I thought it would be when I bought it. This fabric will really show off the dress style as the bodice is cut on the bias. The bodice will have diagonal stripes, the skirt will have vertical lines and straps horizontal lines. Hopefully it'll work and I'll be able to neatly match the fabric.....

Speaking of buying fabric - look what turned up on my door yesterday. I love, love, love it all and better yet they accidentally refunded my postage, so I got 11 yards of fabric with no postage - yay!
I just adore Anna Maria Horner voile (clearly) and am so excited about upcoming projects with these. I can't afford Liberty, but this is the next best thing I think. So far I'm hoping to make Vogue 1120 with the fabric on the top right. I won this pattern recently from Belinda, but again will need to try to work some re-sizing magic to fit it. I'm also hoping to use the star looking fabric in the middle to make the Collette Chantilly dress, but may need to work some pattern placing magic with this cut and also probably a full bust adjustment, going down  of course. Thankfully the lovely Thouraya has offered to lend me the pattern. She made an awesome version earlier this year which is featured on the Collette pattern website.  If the muslin doesn't work out, I won't be out of pocket.

Lastly, here are some freshly painted walls in my sewing space. It's so light and bright now and I will never ever miss those awful blue walls and yellow ceiling.
I just need the husband to hang the blinds and curtains and then it'll be complete. Such hard work this past week, but it's so worth it.
 For more creative spaces, you know where to go....

Monday, November 22, 2010

So I'm really free now

So a couple of weeks ago I announced my freedom after finishing a three week prac teaching block. However, I still had one assignment to complete. So today, I am really free - yippee!!! I have no more university until February and better yet two child free days per week! Yep - AWESOME!

While I'd love to be able to show you some of the many things I've been making, I've actually had my machine packed away for over a week!!!!! I think that's the longest I've ever not sewn. Unfortunately, painting our upstairs space, which houses my machine, has taken priority and I don't think I can paint any faster. I painted a full 9 hours on Tuesday, then another 9 on Saturday then another 4 hours on Sunday. You may remember from earlier photos that the walls were royal blue, with matched architraves and skirting boards and the ceiling was bright yellow. I can't imagine a time when that colour combo was cool. The bathroom had the same royal blue on the ceiling!! What were the previous owners thinking! So far there are 4 coats on the ceiling, 2-3 coats of oil on the architraves and skirtings and one undercoat on the walls. I'm hoping two coats of wall paint tomorrow will finish the job - so probably another 9 hours tomorrow.

On Wednesday I will set up my machine again and will heading into vintage pattern world. First up is the Simplicity pattern on the left.
It's from 1981 and I never thought I'd make an 80's pattern, but it seems really nice. I'll be making the red version - the bodice is cut on the bias, the straps cross at the back and button at the front, which I think will be rather cute, and the skirt has a couple of pleats, which is very fashionable today. I'll probably make a muslin of this one though, as I will need to adjust the waist and probably bring the neckline down a little. Hopefully it'll work, I'm trying to squeeze it from a 1 yard cut of Anna Maria Horner pastry line fabric from my stash. Anywho we'll see.
The pattern on the left here actually came to me from my Nana, who lives just a hundred meters away. It's an original 1950's dress pattern and I'm hoping at some point to attempt it in the sleeveless version which is on the top left. The Guy Laroche Vogue pattern on the right  is from the 70's and it's LOVELY! So super stylish, but it's waaaay too big for me. I just love looking at it though. Maybe one day I'll find it in my size and maybe have somewhere to where it too...
Anywho, lots of dreaming and planning. I just need to start doing... well once I finish painting and then I  also need to get cracking on my huge Christmas present list - eeek!!

Friday, November 19, 2010

My Messy Room

If you're one of those peeps who like to try on goods before committing to a purchase, then I have great news for you. My Messy Room, the super cool kiddie shop in Summer Hill  is now stocking little betty bonnets!
 Here are my sweet little bonnets lined up in the window. How cool!!
There are also a few new bonnet styles listed in my shop, including my new favourite bonnet below.
I'm also now listing my bonnets in my shop without the help of my little model here. It's just getting too hard to photograph every bonnet on her little squirmy head. Hopefully people will still get the idea of what they look like when listed like this.

Happy Friday all!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

My Creative Space

Today we have a new summer top for me - yay!!! I finished this top on Monday night, but have been flat out painting since then and have struggled to find the time to photograph it.
As you can see there is a different location for my photos here. As the upstairs space is being painted, I'm  not able to shoot them up there. These photos are so, so dodgy and out of focus, but I'm sure you get the idea.

The cami is based on McCalls 5388 and while I thought the pattern envelope looked nice, I'm not so happy with the final result. Well, it's OK, but not amazing. The pattern is way too generous, even for a gathered top. The armholes gape and the yoke is way too large. I cut a size 10 but probably could have cut an 8 or 6. But it's good enough and the fabric is Divine. Once again it's an Anna Maria Horner voile (yep again - the fav!)
The only changes I made to the pattern include slightly increasing the width of the shoulder straps, this is to ever so slightly provide more coverage over a bra strap, because lets face it, if I'm at home with the kids I'm probably not going to wear a strapless bra. I also top stitched the yoke to the facing rather than slip stitching. I really wanted a fast result and you can barely see the top stitching anyway.
While this cami isn't awesome, it's good enough and will certainly be worn this summer. I'm hoping to post a pattern review tonight.

I have so many more projects planned, but probably won't get too many done until the painting is completed upstairs, a job which has now solely been place in my hands - ugg! I also have one final uni assignment to complete, it's due Monday and I'm so not interested!

For more creative peeps, you know where to go.....

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tutorial fun

How lovely is it when people send you pictures of their creations based on your tutorial or pattern??!!??

Well let me tell you, it feels so good!

Here we see little Elva wearing a skirt over bloomers based on my tutorial.
This and the baby sunsuit tutorial are still the most popular pages on the little betty blog.

I'm planning another soon which  will also be awesome. I just need the time to write it all down.
I've been painting today. The first coat of oil based gloss in the upstairs space at my house - 8 windows and 1 door. Nine hours straight with a paint brush, my nostrils feel permanently damaged. Hard work!!!

I also got a quote today to have plantation shutters installed in that space, but they are a little too much for our budget right now. Plantation shutters aren't cool anymore are they??? Make me feel better, they are passe right?

Monday, November 15, 2010

My new favourite

 I've been busy sewing some new bonnets. I think this is my new favourite.
I might try to keep this one for Adele. She's so, so hard to take photos of these days!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

My crush...

So I have a bit of a fabric crush and it's all about the new Anna Maria Horner 'Innocent Crush' voile .

Now I know you've heard me say this before, but she is my FAVOURITE fabric designer and I'm so, so excited that the release of her new voile has been timed for the Australian summer! Yay yay yay!!!!!!!!!!!!

I've been stalking Hawthorne Threads for a while now, waiting for the full collection to become available, so when I got an email just a few moments ago announcing they were available, I pounced online and purchased a bunch!!!

I have enough of these 4 designs to make garments for me. I'm planning three dresses and one top from the blue stripe one. I'm clearly very, very, very, very excited by this. The good thing also is that as it's voile you can squeeze more into one of those flat rate envelopes, so I also made a few other impulse purchases - yippee, yippee yai yay!

Thankfully I've sold a few bonnets recently to fund this purchase, cus the old budget in little betty house is a getting a little tight these days.....

Friday, November 12, 2010

The 'bad mum' cake

Ollie turned 4 yesterday and I didn't make him a cake. I'm not saying that to make you think that I'm trying to be some Martha Stewart, super home maker and do gooder, but that I love making cake and always make cakes. It's what I do. Ask my friends and you'll find I'm quite well known for my cake making. Nothing too fancy, just simple soft butter cake with lots and lots of super sweet butter cream icing - yum!!!
Anywho, we got solar panels in yesterday and I was worried about my power being turned off, so didn't cook the boy a cake. Instead I fudged the best 'bad mum' cake ever! It's takes no more than 2 mins to make and I literally made it up after dinner and we ate it straight away.

You want the recipe?? of course you do. Here it is:

Scoop 5 big scoops of cheap Neapolitan ice cream into a cereal bowl - we use Aldi brand ice cream in this house, being on a budget and all... Lay a piece of cling film over the top and squish the ice cream into the bowl. Take a clean plate and turn the ice cream mound onto the plate. Top with any random items in your pantry that your child likes. I used Milo, sprinkles and a  few random old lollies.

The result? Happy birthday boy, enjoying a cool sweet treat!
He even bragged to his grandpa about his great ice cream cake with chocolate and sprinkles!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

My Creative Space

In my creative space today there is a lot of planning and thinking. After completing my new top with fully matched fabric, I needed a little rest last night to ponder my next move. (The pattern review is now here - 12 comments already - wow!!).

I'm thinking I will make another summer cami with some Anna Maria Horner voile (yep - again my favourite fabric designer and don't get me started on her new Innocent Crush voile!! I'm currently stalking Hawthorne Threads waiting for the whole collection to become available.....). Thankfully this cami will require no fabric matching, so it should come together quickly. I might trace and cut the fabric today.
I also have a stack of projects that have been patiently waiting for my time. This includes this cool retro Don chair given to me by my Nana. I'm planning on re-upholstering it before Christmas, probably in a bold citron-like shade, like one of these Warwick fabrics.

This chair is super comfy, so I'm hoping the husband will let me put it in the lounge room in place of his ugly dad chair - you know a black leather recliner (eeewwwww!) that he HAD to have at the time, that he rarely sits in! Does anyone else have an eyesore like this in their living room?

I also have this super sweet bedroom chair that I picked up off the side of the road - how cool!! I'm thinking I'll keep it in Adele's room. Not sure what to cover it in though and I'm not sure how hard/easy it'll be with that fan back. Might need to research a bit first.
Then there's this retro mirror that I picked up at the Op Shop. I'm thinking I'll paint it to hang above our hall table. Probably a gold/orange shade, or maybe white. I think I'll look through a few editions of Real Living to get some colour inspiration.
Lastly there's this super cool retro rocking horse 'Sandy'. I picked this up at a local fete. I had dreams of it sitting in the corner of a room looking cool. You know so I too could have one of those industrial, retro, shabby homes that you see in Inside Out or Real Living??? But who am I kidding! I have three kids and they want to actually sit in it and ride and it's probably not quite up to that type of punishment, so it'll probably (unfortunately) go on Ebay soon.... boo!
And how could I forget painting the blue walls upstairs!! As you can see in these photos, the previous owners of this house had very, very bad taste in paint colour! The husband has decided that on my two child-free days each week, I should now be painting upstairs!! I probably will, just so it gets done, but I'm not sure how much painting I'll do on those days vs how much sewing I'll do....

Oh and then there are the bonnets that are on order or the new designs waiting to be made... how on earth will I find the time??
Lastly, Ollie turns 4 today. He's such a big boy now. Here he is this morning with his new Toy Story toys. It's going to be a very Toy Story day I think.

For more Creative Spaces, head over to Kirstys......