Friday, February 25, 2011

Stashbustin'- Burda 02/2011 Dress with A-line skirt and sleeves

Talk about impulse sewing!! Even with a number of projects on my 'to do' list, I choose to impulse sew on my last childcare day before uni begins next week. The frock is this one from the Burda website. It was included in a marketing email from Burda on Wednesday. So on Thursday, I purchased, printed and made it - this is it.
I LOVE it! In fact, I love it so much, that if I could marry it, I would!

My husband even said "wow" when I showed him. His response to almost everything I make myself is, "that's nice". To which I say, "honey, look closer. This is really hard to do!". He never really cares, so I'm quite happy with his response for a change.
I LOVE the scoop neck on this dress. I LOVE the little sleeves and I LOVE that the skirt has just the right amount of gathers, not so full that it makes you feel self conscious.
The fabric is a lightweight, textured cotton. It has subtle, almost embroidered looking stripes on it. I actually didn't quite have enough fabric for the dress, so I hacked into an old frock that I'd made with this fabric last year, but had only worn a few times. I think it's definitely a wise choice. I love this dress soooooo much more than the other.
I love that I can wear this with a belt or without. I think given my belt obsession, I really need to build my collection. Must head off to the op-shop again....
I think I'll definitely be making this baby again. There is a little bit of a gape in the neck of this frock, which is possibly because the size of the bodice was a little big from the beginning. I made the smallest size that the pattern came in, but I think next time I'll take in the centre front bodice by about half an inch. This will also help the arm holes, as they currently sit a little too snug on the front of my arm because the bodice is too big.
As you can see I also choose to insert and invisible zipper at the back, rather than the side. I always have to adjust the back of garments, so this just makes it easier to fit at the end and I don't think it looks bad at all.

So there, one less piece of fabric in my stash. Unfortunately, I accidentally added another three yesterday - whoops!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

My Creative Space - the Pendrell Blouse

This is the second week in a row that I'm showing off a new garment for My Creative Space. Next week university begins, so I don't think this will happen again for a while.

The Pendrell blouse has been popping up in blogland for a while now, since it's release last year. I initially didn't think I would sew this pattern as it calls for quite drapey and slinky fabrics, charmeuse, chiffon, Georgette, crepe de chine, etc. Funnily, I don't wear a lot of these fabrics when I'm hanging around with the kids at home.... Then Tasia mentioned voile and lawn would also be suitable, so I asked my sister to bring the pattern over with her when she visited recently.

Here's my version - which is a variation of view B.
As you can see it is a little different from the proper view B, which has two ruffles. I tried to make the second, sleeve ruffle, but it really didn't sit nicely.
Look at that bad boy! It really sticks out! Clearly, the lack of drape in this voile, does impact the blouse design. You really do need a very drapey fabric to make version B and I suspect version A.
I do like this top all the same, but I am a little concerned about the 80's vibe from it. The only reason why I relate this to an '80's vibe' is because I own this vintage pattern from the 80's. Everything old is new again right?
The fit of this blouse is nice, though the head hole could be a little bigger. I don't have a big noggin', so you may want to check this part of the fit if you do. Thankfully, as the binding slips under the blouse, it would be quite easy to modify the neck.
Nevertheless, I think I will make this again. I'll just hunt for some more suitable fabric.

Pattern review is here.

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

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

About two dresses - New Look 6002 & Simplicity 2444

It seems I owe my blog a few photos of some of the sewing projects I've been working on lately. I've actually been flat out sewing these past few weeks, making items for my sister and her little one, and for my neighbour who's just had a baby. I've also been sewing for me - are you surprised???

Last Friday's wedding provided me with a great opportunity to make a frock suitable for a formal occasion. When I first saw New Look 6002, I fell in love. I was particularly sold on bodice A, the square neck one. It just looks so cute on the pattern envelop. So I purchased some satin back shantung on sale and picked some Anna Maria Horner voile left in my stash for the middle band. Luckily, before I cut the dress, silk dupion went on super sale at Spotlight, so I snapped it up to make this frock.
Here is the dress so far. It is cute and I do like it, but after getting to this stage in construction, I decided the design wasn't for me. There is currently no zipper in the back of the frock and the hem is pinned. I guess this is part of the problem with making clothes, you don't get to try on new styles before making them.
Unfortunately, I just couldn't get over the feeling that it looked a little too '90's formal wear'. Two of my friends disagree with this perception of mine, but I still couldn't get over it.

Pattern review to this stage: The dress came together really well, but there was a lot of playing around with the tucks on the bust to get them to sit right and not bubble. I think proper darts may have helped this. I also turned the pleats on the skirt, pointing them out rather than in as they sat better/flatter that way.

So, in the week prior to the wedding I decided I needed a new dress and looked to Simplicity 2444, which has been on my to do list for a while now. I made this dress out of a lovely, drapey poly rayon blend fabric with a subtle asterisk '*' style design on it.
I love this dress. It's comfortably and while it is a little demure, it is still stylish. Please excuse the bad photos, it's a bit gloomy in Sydney today.
Now a few reviews of this pattern noted that the top of the bodice was quite generous and as I was not making sleeves to pull this out, I made a muslin to survey the problem area. From this, I was able to pinch out the excess from this region and when I cut the garment, I re-aligned the centre fold of the bodice. This meant there was a little extra fabric toward the bottom of the bodice, but as I normally grade up the waist of dresses, it was actually helpful.
As you can see from the muslin, I also slightly reduce the neck and arms, as I was really concerned about the wedding falling on one of the really hot, humid days that we've been having here in Sydney and I thought this might help. Thankfully, it wasn't as warm as I thought it would be.
I'm actually really quite happy with this dress and think I will wear it again. The fabric is so lovely and I could definitely wear this to work, if I had a proper job - ha!

Pattern Review available here.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Weddings, hangovers, ups and downs....

The wedding we attended on Friday was a super awesome. I just love going to weddings. I love seeing a side to people that you've known for so long, that you've never seen before - you know that whole 'loving someone' side. We also splurged for the night and got a room in the city, rather than catching a cab home. This meant a little extra partying, which we paid for on Saturday. I didn't suffer too much of a hangover, but enough of a headache, on a super hot day, to remind me why I don't party like that anymore.

Now I wish I had a photo to show you the new frock that I knocked up for the event, but I didn't get time to photograph it at home and I did not remember to take my camera to the wedding. Funnily, we also didn't remember to pack the kids clothes for their sleep over at my parents house. Just kinda dumped the kids and ran - talk about naughty parenting!

While the party was great and the time off was lovely, the down side to the event is that I unfortunately missed my tutorial registration for university. I didn't think that logging on to do this the next day would be a problem, but it was. For the three subjects I need to do this semester, I can not attend one tutorial that I've had to enrol in. All are outside childcare hours or on days that I have no childcare. This led to a bit of a tanty on Saturday, as I'll now have to beg each lecturer or tutorial teacher to allow me to fit into an already full class - blah! Going back to uni is stressful enough, without this extra layer of worry. Anyway, life goes on and I'll just have to roll with it.

Now a photo for this blah, blah, blah post. A picture of all the grandkids in my family. This was taken just before my sister left Australia to go back home to Canada - boo!!!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Couldn't wait to show you - Boden inspired t-shirt dress

Even though this is my second post today, I just had to show you all this super awesome little frock that I just made myself. I posted a couple of days ago, on my list of this I loved, this super cute t-shirt dress from Boden.
I knew I just had to make one for myself. So with vintage Simplicity 5133 (1981) and a little over a meter of this cute raspberry red, purple and light pink stretch in hand, I hit the machine.


How cute is this????
I'm so impressed with this little number. This is my first attempt at sewing stretch and it wasn't nearly as scary as I thought it would be.
In fact, it was downright easy! I especially love setting in sleeves with stretch fabric - no easing, just stretching - yay!!

Now I pretty much followed the instructions on the pattern, but added about 12 inches to the bottom to make it a dress. I cut a size 12 (as that was the smallest size in this pattern), but probably could have cut an 8 or 10. I also had a lovely friend's copy of Sew U Home Stretch by Wendy Mullins, to help guide my sewing experience.
 I'm so happy with this dress and love it so much that if I could, I'd marry it!
 Look at how well this fabric has been matched - perfect!!!
Now I know this dress is not really perfect, but I definitely think it's wearable out of the house. Next time I sew one of these, I'll look at shaping the waist a little more and will also look to matching the fabric on the sleeves. Unfortunately, my random small cut of this fabric didn't allow me much choice with cutting the sleeves. I've been know to randomly purchase small amounts of fabric and forced to squeeze garments from them.
I'm definitely going to make a few more of these babies. I already have some navy and white striped stretch, to make one with three quarter sleeves for when the weather cools down a little.

My Creative Space

today is M-E-S-S-Y!!!!!!

There's been a lot of sewing and not a lot of cleaning or tidying as I go...

This is my real creative space.

I have two half finished dresses, one that needs to be completed to wear to a wedding tomorrow, and a bunch of projects lined up on the floor. Masses of fabric that hasn't been re-folded and just thrown on the floor.
 I really MUST clean up today.
For more tidier, creative spaces, head over to Kirsty's.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Things I'm loving....

This awesome bag from Vahallan Brooklan on Etsy. 
I'll need to save a little more money in my playpal account to get this baby....

This super cool dress from Boden.
Thankfully, I can probably attempt this one without playpal. I have some stretch on hand and am researching how to sew.

This cool pattern that my sister gave me.
I have some lovely, light voile lined up ready to go...

I spied this super awesome top at Dragstar, last time I sold a bunch of bonnets to Shorties.
It's just Divine in real life. Made with a lovely vibrant, red, drapey silk. Just slightly out of my budget though.... maybe I can fudge one up myself in less posh fabric.

This dress is also so lovely too! Again completely out of budget - it's from Anthropologie, but surely I can knock something up with the same vibe....

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The sewing frenzy continues - Simplicity 3850

Now, I do have another project to show you, but before I do that I need to point out that my sewing progress this past little while, has been boosted quite significantly by an increase in childcare days (yay!) to accommodate a new university semester. My bonnet production has also slowed a little these past two weeks, freeing up more time, as I believe most of my shops are well stocked and peak bonnet season in Australia is almost over. I get a lot of comments and emails from readers talking about the amount of sewing I knock over with three kids, work, uni, business, etc. etc. So I thought I should mention that there is a reason why I'm sewing so much at the moment and that it will probably will slow a little in a couple of weeks, when uni starts again.

So back to the project. This is the second time that I've sewn Simplicity 3850, which is a Built By Wendy pattern for slim fit pants, capris and shorts.  Here's my latest attempt (look at that little monkey in the photo- what's with that serious face??)
Clearly, they are basic black pants. I originally cut this pattern about 5 months ago, before my first prac teaching session and they were never sewn. Now that I've started a new job (working in a local club in the bistro - best job ever!!!), I really needed a second pair of black pants to get me through the work week. Being the tightwad I am, even though these are home sewn and rather nice, they are cheaper than store bought cheapies.
I really like this pattern, but have struggled a little with the fit. The first pants fit well enough, but there was a little butt bunching that I didn't know how to fix.  It wasn't too bad, but it took me so long to hem them, that I lost a little weight, they quickly became too big (yep - poor me!) and I never finished or wore them. This time I cut a straight size 10 and the fit is better, but there still is a little bit of bunching in the butt. To remedy this, I took in the inner seam by about half and inch.
You can't see it too clearly in these pics, due to the black fabric, but it's still there a little. It's not too bad, but next time I make this pattern, I might try trimming the centre seam even further and also the inner back leg a little, possibly by about an inch (I'm writing this down so that I remember to do this next time).
You can't see it when I put my hands in my pockets. I'll just have to keep them there all the time now....

Now, the pattern is really easy to follow and the pants do look rather professional. I remember the first time that I sewed this pattern I struggled with the fly zipper (my first) and referred to my vintage, Readers Digest Complete Guide to Sewing, to get it right. This time I looked over both and it was easier.

Surprisingly, I was able make these pants from just 1.5 meters of stretch linen blend fabric, which I think was 1.4 meters wide. Why did I buy just 1.5 meters?? I don't know, but I've been known to purchase random, small amounts of fabric in the past and forced to make garments from them. To fit all pattern pieces, I cut the waist band lining, pocket lining, pocket facing and tab facing from a nice grey and purple floral quilting cotton, which is a sweet detail I think. You can see it here.
Overall this is a great pattern and design. I like the slim fit and the angle pockets. The faux pockets/tabs on the back are enough to give the pants the right look and they sit nicely on the hips.
Looks at those cheeky boys! Gosh - what would we do without Buzz and Woody??? Excuse my frazzled look, it's been a long, hot day!

Pattern review available here.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Three is the new two

If I got a dollar for every time that someone told me "three is the new two", then I'd be a millionaire. OK, so that's a slight exaggeration, but I could probably shout the family take-out or buy a couple of bottles of plonk or something.
I'm not used to being fashionable.
To me, having three kids means that even if one kid moves interstate, or overseas, or is a dud, that you will still have two children to keep you company when you get older.

I have a couple of friends currently expecting their third child. And a few more still decided whether they'll have a third.

I hope they do.

Note: I should say that I know some people don't get to decide how many kids they have or choose for their own reasons to have a different number of kids (or no kids). This is all cool. I'm just blabbing a little about myself here and taking the oppotunity to post a few pics of the kids looking cute on the lounge this morning.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Simplicity 2250 - Cynthia Rowley frock

In my creative space today - we have a new frock.

Now if you followed the recent Spring pattern releases, I'm sure you noticed this cute little frock pattern by Cynthia Rowley - Simplicity 2250.

I knew, once I saw it, that it would be high on my list. The problem with being in Australia though, is that we receive patterns much later than our North American sewing friends. I think we wait at least three months for new patterns to become available locally. Thankfully the world wide interweb allows us to overcome these issues and I managed to snap up this pattern from sewingpatterns.com on sale!! (yay!) and I was able to use my playpal money.

So here is my new frock.
Pretty cute huh??

I must say, when I received this pattern I became a little concerned about my ability to sew it. I was particularly afraid of this pattern piece.
It's the main part of the bodice. Look at all those darts! and that big gap in the middle baffled me a bit!

Thankfully, the instructions for this pattern are really good. There are three key instructions for constructing the bodice which are: the correct was to sew a dart to prevent bubbling (just in case you don't already know), that you should adhere to the order of construction in the instructions and that you only finger press each dart or tuck or seam in the bodice - not iron them. This took all of my concentration to do. I just love steaming a dart or seam after sewing it. I was concerned about not ironing them, but it really seemed to work.

Here's a close up of all those seams and darts and tucks.
Now to the details of the dress. I made version A, which is longer and has wider straps (I like to avoid wearing a strapless bra when possible). I cut a size 10 and while I'd normally grade up to a 12 at the waist, I wasn't sure how to do this with the bodice, so just stuck to a 10, but sewed scant seams along the sides near the waist and that seemed to fit. Overall, I'd say the fit of this dress is spot on.

As I was unsure of my ability to successfully sew this dress, I didn't use posh fabric. It's just a charcoal and white stripe cotton from my stash. How could I resist making it in striped fabric when the pattern envelop looks so cute??!

Now one of the interesting and unique features of this pattern that I just love, is that the unusual tucks are not only on the bodice, but also on the skirt. The skirt attaches with large sections gathered and a few tucks placed on just one side of the frock. It's kinda unusual, but quite cool I think. You can kinda see them here.
Pattern changes:
I decided to leave off the tie at the back, thinking I wouldn't need that detail. Surely no one over the age of 5 needs to wear a bow on their dress right?? Well, I realised while constructing the top band, that the tie is required to close the back elastic, frill - doh!! To fix this gap, I've just sewn a couple of hook and eye's to the back to close the frill. Not the best finish, but it'll do.
I also decided not to line the dress, but rather just to underline the front bodice. There are instructions for underlining the bodice and fully lining it. While I was making this dress I was quite concerned about whether I would actually wear it. I also have a stack of other projects to attend to, so decided to shortcut by serging the top band and skirt/waist after sewing them. It has worked and it is neat.

Changes made to the pattern:
I slightly narrowed each strap, I think by half an inch. I thought they were looking a little too chunky when in their original size. As noted above, I also omitted the tie.

Problems with the pattern.
I found that the bodice lining/underlining was a little too short for the front bodice. My front bodice after constructing all the tucks, darts and seams was 10 inches through the middle front, while the bodice lining was only 9 inches. I'm not sure if this was my sewing or an error. It seamed to be the right size along the front and sides. Rather than remake the bodice underlining (I was getting a little over it by then!), I just trimmed the front bodice which seamed to work. It also straightened the bodice front, which makes me think I may have done something wrong with all those darts.... As the underlining is a little snug, it has bunched the bodice a little more than I'd like. Hopefully this will settle or I may look at clipping the underlining.
Overall, I'm pretty happy with this dress. As it is a lighter colour, it should be easier to wear during the day for BBQ's and kiddie parties. I have one this Saturday, so may wear it then.

Thanks for reading!! Pattern review available here.

For more creative spaces, head over to Kirsty's