Thursday, June 30, 2011

Vintage Simplicity 5034

One dress down, four more to go. I did have a head start on this dress though. I'm extremely happy with how this dress turned out and I just love the Liberty fabric!

Just to remind you of the pattern this is the envelop and the description of the design: "Simplicity 5034; ca. early 1960s; Misses' Wrap-Around Dress in Two Lengths: Dress laps at the back forming V-shaped neckline. Front neckline is rounded and slightly lowered. Bodice is fitted. At waistline, tie ends are sewn to back opening edges and tie in a bow at front. Inverted pleats conceal side pockets. "
The pattern has some lovely details which I think make it extra special, unfortunately they do get a little lost in this fabric. The skirt is formed with a series of pleats, some over others, to create this lovely soft pleated look. I think it is a particularly wearable skirt style, not too full and not slim, just perfect!
There are also pockets, which are created with a butterfly-like pattern piece that was stitched to the middle of one of the skirt panels, not the side seam. They actually sit a little further back from the side of the dress, which I guess helps prevent the pockets creating extra bulk to the hip area. Then a couple more pleats hide the pocket.
The back wrap sits quite nicely and only gapes if I stand with over-corrected posture, which I guess I'll try not to do.
Modifications I made to the pattern:
  • slightly lowered the centre of the front neck. It makes me feel too constrained when a neckline sits above my collarbone
  • shortened the dress by quite a few inches
  • reduced the bust darts slightly and graded up the waist for fitting purposes
  • I used a contrast fabric for the waist tie. I really think this fabric needed to be broken up a bit and if you've been reading my blog for a while, you know I'm a bit of a fan or contrast waist detail, just to try to create a waist where no waist exists. The sash was made with cotton sateen, which I found at Lincraft, but only after trawling through all the ribbon and fabric at Spotlight and Tessuti first. I think I would have preferred a grosgrain ribbon tie, but this is nice.
  • I top stitched the whole bodice as I did have a bit of trouble with the facings popping out, even after under stitching. I'm happy to do this though, as it isn't terribly noticeable and it does provide a little extra wearing security in relation to the facings. I think next time I make this I'll fully line the bodice.
  • I also modified the sleeves. The pattern includes quite long and fitted sleeves, which were impractical, so I slashed the sleeves of my muslin and re-cut the pattern to accommodate the extra ease. I had a few problems easing in the sleeves. I ran two rows of gathering and tried twice, but still ended up with a slightly gathered sleeve cap. I thought I was a bit of an expert at setting in sleeves, especially after all the Tova dresses I've been making, but this one got me. It looks nice though and they are even, so they now are gathered cap sleeves.
The fabric is Liberty tana lawn called Tatum and it was delightful to sew with. I really adore this dress and aim for make at least one other for summer. The only thing I need to do is learn how to tie a nice bow for the front ties. I tried at least 20 times before taking these photos - any tips??

Happy sewing!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The ever-growing 'to sew' list

I realised just this week, that I have only five more weeks of uni holidays. That's five weeks of a few extra daycare days, some of which I'll have to myself, some to work and others for family commitments, but still more time than normal to tackle sewing projects.

While I've been on holidays, my sewing list has grown exponentially. Like quadrupled! So, in order to maximise my output during these weeks, I think I'm going to set myself a bloggy challenge.  I'm going to sew at least one dress per week for the next five weeks. Exciting right?? I'm one of those goal oriented people, once I'm aiming for something, things get done, so this is the best idea for using some of my recent fabric purchases.

I should note that this personal challenge also includes finishing up all the UFOs that I noted in this post, except the silk skirt, that one will be put in the wardrobe until I think it's worth it.

So my sewing list for the next few weeks includes:

1. Vintage Simplicity 5034 Back Wrap Dress
I've had a head start on this frock, as I started it a little over a week ago, so I may actually make a 6th item during my last few weeks of holidays to make up for it. The project stalled as I was unhappy with the sleeves and the darts weren't working so great. Since then I've fixed the bodice darts (it was my fiddling with them that ruined them) and the sleeves now work. Hopefully this will be finished tomorrow.

2. Vintage 1970's Simplicity 7882
I intend on making this frock out of double gauze from Nani Iro, which is pictured. Clearly this is a summer frock, but I think I should still be able to wear it with a slip and tights when cold, so it seems OK to be on my current 'to do' list.

3. Vintage Simplicity 3523
I'm so in love with the slim line frock style in this pattern. The dress has princess seams, kimono sleeves and a cute front pocket. I have purchased this lovely Japanese cotton for the dress from Tessuti and while it's quite textured and a little heavier than I would have liked, I think it will still work. I like the idea of vintage style dresses in modern fabric, just like this one I made earlier this year. I'm really looking forward to making this dress in particular, so might make a toile this week.

4. Vogue 8728 - vintage re-issue
I haven't always planned to make this dress, but I think this pattern is nice. I also know that I won't have as much anxiety cutting in to this fabric as I didn't pay excessively for. I need to wait for this pattern to be delivered though, so this dress probably won't make it off the production line for a few weeks.

5. Vogue 8469
I think this will make a good work dress. I have a big prac teaching block coming up at the end of the year, so need to make sure there are nice, easy to wear and care for clothes in my wardrobe. Seriously, how on earth will I get all three kids fed and dressed with lunches packed each day before 8am?? The fabric pictured is a lovely stretch cotton sateen, from Tessuti. As I need to wait for this pattern to arrive, this may not begin for a few weeks.

Other items that I'd like to fit in during this time, but it's not likely:

6. Knock-off Emerson Made jeans.
I now have denim, so once I get time, I can begin trying to make these.

7. Tea dress
Simplicity 2180, sleeveless with a full back, reminds me of this stunning dress style by SoHo Made on Etsy. I think it would look lovely made up in this Japanese dobby cotton by Nani Iro, which you can get from Matabi. Clearly though, this would be a summer frock and not very work-friendly, so it would be silly to commit to making this right now.

8. A cape for me
I've been thinking about making a cape for a while. I have the above pictured wool in my stash, which I purchased last year from My Hung. I have been searching the Internet for a cape pattern which I can modernise, so I don't feel too odd wearing a cape, but nothing yet. I do own a cape pattern that was given to me, but it's from 1981 and that's just too hard to make cool, unless you are 17 or something. Tessuti released their New York cape pattern last week and I like the styling, but am not sure about the binding.  Do you have any suggestions for a cape pattern? What do you think about capes on adults, are they cool or not-cool?

9. The UFO gift for a friend.
I mentioned this frock in this post. It must get made for this particular friend before her belly grows so much she can't wear it.

10. Jacket for Adele
I've had this pattern and fabric for over a year now. I should make this for her before winter ends right??

So there it is, my sewing wish to-do list. I think it's ambitious for the time that I have, but now that it's here, hopefully it will get done. At a minimum, I will sew at least 5 frocks over the next five weeks. Hopefully the next time I'm back here I'll have the first dress to show you.

Happy sewing!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Another Tova and MMJ Catch Up

So I've crammed some time at the machine to make another Tova. Seriously, I love this pattern. Even though it's just a loose fitting tunic or top, there's something about the way that the fabric drapes from the front yokes that makes it quite flattering, almost giving a little definition to the waist without being fitted.
This one is made from Japanese cotton with a woven check. I picked this fabric up from the Quilt show last week, so naturally it wasn't cheap. In defence of this purchase and the cost, I know this Tova will be an easy go-to outfit.
I cut the front yoke on the bias for a little interest. I'm very pleased with how well this tunic turned out and I was able to sew it up during two nap breaks - so less than 3 hours over two days.
I also cut the sleeve bands on the bias. I wore this dress yesterday to the park with the family for a BBQ and it was easy to wear and comfortable enough to sit and run and have fun.

Now to Me Made June. Look I'm going to be honest, I'm losing momentum with this. While I would love to wear handmade every day, it's not always practical and I feel like I'm wearing the same outfits over and over again. I think this type of challenge would be far easier in Summer, as most of my sewing is for warmer weather. I'm also struggling to take photos every day. Sometimes the kids don't allow me the time to sneak upstairs for a pic and sometimes I don't do my hair or make up, and I'm really not cool with posting completely unstyled photos on my blog.

Anyway, I'll persevere. I'm almost at the end.

Sunday 26 June - BBQ at the park with the family
New Tova in Japanese cotton, as described above

Saturday 25 June - Play date at the park with friends
New denim Beignet skirt. I haven't blogged my pattern review of this skirt as I'm not 100% happy with it. I started making it a couple of months ago when Rachel bought the pattern. I chose a size based on my waist size, then quickly realised it was going to be too big everywhere else. So it sat and collected dust for a while.
Thanks to last weeks UFO post, I finally forced myself to finish it. I had to re-shape the hips and reduce the size of the front panels. I also shifted the buttons as far as I could to get a better fit. I think I've also lost some weight in the last couple of months which didn't help my fitting concerns. As I had already given the pattern back to Rach, I guessed the number of buttons and made my own belt carriers without the instructions.

It's a wearable skirt, but I definitely made the wrong size and didn't pay enough attention to detail to make it an awesome skirt. Maybe next time.

Friday 24 June - No photo! No handmade. It was just too hard today after a  bad night with Adele.

Thursday 23 June - Quilt Show
Comfort was critical today as I knew I'd be walking all day. I accessorized my outfit with my Queen Anne's Lace scarf, blogged here. (Look at that mess behind me!)

Wednesday 22 June - UFO day
Flannel Tova. This is super warm and easy to wear. Details blogged here.

Tuesday 21 June - Coffee with friends and a little fabric shopping
Denim skirt blogged here. Styled the same as here. This is such an easy outfit to wear. I'll post later about my fabric acquisitions!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

This Just In: Bonnets Are Back!

How could I have failed to blog about Gina's lovely new bonnet for baby Susannah? Serious issues focussing - that's me.
Gina kindly offered to review my new bonnet pattern. Her sew-jo (don't you just love that corny term??) had been missing for some time. Possibly due to the arrival of her little girl, but I couldn't say that for sure... I mean, life with three kids, including one newborn, leaves plenty of time for sewing - right?

Anyway, I believe the new bonnet pattern got two thumbs up from Gina and Susannah, or possibly a 10 out of 10.
Check out her post here and check out those stunning blue eyes on her friend's wee babe.

You can get your pattern here, or feel free to pick a finished bonnet and I'll make it up just for you!

Happy Saturday!

Friday, June 24, 2011

One finished UFO on a seriously happy kid

It's not often that Adele is overly happy during the many, many photo shoots she has to endure for me.
I'm not sure what happened on this particular morning, but she was happy.
Must be because this new cardigan is so cool.
She must be ecstatic because unlike the many hand-me-down and op shop clothes in her wardrobe, this is new and was made just for her.
No details to ravel, this cardigan began before I Ravelled. It was made with charcoal wool from Spotlight that was left over from James' baby blanket from about 4 years ago. Hooray for scrap bustin'! The pattern is this Sirdar one and I've made it three times and it always looks nice.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Progress and an interesting fabric find

Yesterday saw quite a bit of progress made on the list of WIPs. Including:

1. Bonnets finished and most sold - yay! Money to spend at the Quilt Show! (no photo)

2. Baby apron finished
Three buttons and button holes completed. Worn as intended over a daggy t-shirt to daycare.

3. Beignet skirt finished
Buttons, button holes, hem and top stitching completed. I was intending on wearing it today to the quilt show, but I think I need to wear comfortable shoes, just incase I need to race someone to a good find.

Now, to the interesting fabric find. I think most sewers in Australia are aware of a higher-end fabric outlet that has an online store. I have been drooling over one of their silks for some time, but have resisted purchasing because of the cost and the practicalities of caring for silk.

I believed most of their fabrics were quite exclusive, but then I stumbled upon this in a cheap fabric store in Sydney yesterday.
The man said it was silk. It looks and feels like silk. I'm pretty sure it's the same as the expensive one that I want, as I was at this expensive fabric store on Tuesday. It was just $15 per meter. SCORE!! I think I may make Vogue 8728 with it.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Scarlett's winter bonnet

Dolores from A Labour of Love has made a stunning little winter bonnet for her daughter Scarlett with my pattern.
Made with flannel and pinwale corduroy, this is a super cute and warm alternative to daggy ol' beanies.
Get your little bonnet pattern here.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


We are experiencing a few difficulties finishing projects here. It appears after a months of concentrating on university studies, I have now developed the attention span of a sea slug. No offence to any sea slug lovers out there. I'm not even sure they have short attention spans, but I'm just assuming.... see? distracted. No focus. None at all.

My case can be presented with photographs of the WIPs or UFOs lying around my sewing room. I'm not even sure this is all of them, just the really visible ones.

1. Denim Beignet skirt
Details: This project has been in this state for well over a month now. It was a little too large around the hips and I needed to buy buttons.
To do: Sew buttons, button holes, hem and create and affix belt carriers
When: Hopefully I'll knock this one over tomorrow, so I can wear it to the Quilt Fair with mum on Thursday (yay! fun shopping day with mum!!)

2. Anthropologie inspired cushion cover
Details: I was inspired to make this project way back in April and drafted the applique design not long after. I originally intended to offer a free bloggy tutorial, but now I can't really be bothered. Let me know if you really want it and I may find the time. I have piping fabric already cut and just need to finish.
To do: Affix binding, cushion back and insert cushion
When: Hopefully in the next week. I'll really try, there's no reason why this should take long.

3. Vintage Simplicity 5024 -Back wrap dress
Details: I've already admitted I'm not a super hero over this project and maybe it was a little silly to think that I could knock it over in a day. I'm not 100% on the bodice so far and have kinda lost my sew-jo a little. But I am determined to finish this.
To do: Cut and sew skirt, finish belt tie and hem sleeves
When: Maybe this will also get done tomorrow or maybe tomorrow night.

4. Liberty Tova
Details: This project stalled originally because I couldn't be bothered changing the thread on my overlocker. Then I did, made the front and back, then diverted my attention to the back wrap dress that I was trying to make for Adele's baptism.
To do: Attach collar, make and set sleeves
When: Hopefully again I'll finish this within the week. Fingers crossed, but seriously, it is winter here and this top is better suited to spring weather.

5. Apron top for Adele
Details: We get a lot of hand-me-down clothes for Adele and some are quite worn. I was hoping she could wear this over the top of some of the yukky tee's we have to smarten them up.
To do: Two buttons and holes - only! Why haven't I done this??
When: I will do this tomorrow. It should only take a few minutes and then I can rid my space of this project. Seriously, what's wrong with me?

6. The super late birthday present for a friend
Details: This friend turned 30 in January. I only suggested I make this for her a few weeks ago, but still haven't progressed further than a muslin for sizing.
To do: Make it all
When: Maybe in the next fortnight? She's on holidays for a week and a half, so maybe just shortly after then.

7. Simplicity 2215
Details: I started making this skirt a while ago, but lost my mojo because it's just not my style. I used a piece of silk dupion (we think) from my mums stash. It's a lovely aqua and purple check. Problem is the fabric doesn't drape at all, because it's silk dupion, so it poofs terribly.
To do: Attach lining (pictured in purple) and hem.
When: Well I feel  like it's also far too summery to even look at right now.  I also don't really like it and don't think I'll wear it, but all I need to do is attach the lining and hem it. Do I bother? or just dump?? Maybe something will happen and I'll just love it when it's finished. What would you do?

8. 'Knock off' Emmerson Made bell bottoms
Details: I only mentioned these just a short while ago, so I guess I'm happy that I've made a muslin for my design already. Don't you just love that striped drill? I can't believe I thought I could make clothes for the boys from it. This project has stalled as I've been unable to find nice denim to use to make them. Seriously, don't even bother going to Spotlight unless you want denim with printed love hearts on it. I'm hoping to make something wearable from Burda 8/2009 pattern 127. I've re-shaped the leg and am hoping to 'jeanify' them with mock flat felled seams and patch pockets.... we'll see though. This project will be a learning experience.
To do: Fully make
When: Within the next month?? Maybe?? I guess I need to get denim first.

9. Bonnets
Details: These are now thankfully mostly finished. They will hopefully find new homes in a couple of shops this week. I could do with the money on my shopping trip on Thursday.
To do: Clean up and attach tags
When: tomorrow

10. Dreaming about....
These two patterns are just screaming out for my attention. I even have the fabric for both, but need to address this list before I begin these.

So there's my list. I need to focus and address some of these project before I begin new ones. Even though I've spent an hour pulling this list together instead of working on it, now that it's all documented here, I know that I'll actually do something about it.

Isn't that one of the great benefits of blogging? Making public commitments that you then have to uphold?