Sunday, April 29, 2012

MMM '12 - I'm in!

What is MMM '12 you ask?? Well, for those who don't obsessively follow sewing blogs, it stands for Me-Made-May 2012.

It's a month long celebration, challenging us sewing folk to wear our creations. While some peeps choose to wear a handful of items each week and some will only wear handmade items (crazy!!), I've decided that my challenge will be to wear one handmade garment each day for the entire month of May.

So here's my pledge.

'I, Christy from '' sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '12. I will endeavour to wear one me-made item of clothing each day for the duration of May 2012. If I fail to wear a me-made item on any day, I'll wear two items the following day.'

I'm super excited by this challenge. Even though I've participated in one of these challenges before, Me Made June 2011, this time I feel far more prepared and even have some t-shirts and jeans that fit the me-made requirements.

Now I've completed one of these challenges before, so I am fully aware of how difficult the photography side of the challenge can be. As you probably know, my photography on this blog has been a little crappy lately. It has never been awesome, but it's certainly not good right now. During this challenge, the photography will probably slide further into crapsville. In all likelihood I will take all of my photos indoors and given that this is Autumn, they will probably be a little dark, but hey - it's not a photography challenge is it?

Only a couple more days to go!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Darling Ranges Dress V2

I love this pattern! This DRD is made with Liberty tana lawn called Mitsi. I've been sitting on this fabric for a while, just waiting for the right dress style to make with it and I'm certain this is it.
As this dress is grey, I can wear almost any colour shoe and belt. This yellow combination is a little matchy-matchy, but I think it's cute.
I made just a couple more minor modifications from my first Darling Ranges dress. I slimmed the sleeves down a little and raised the waist seam about 1/4 inch.
I'm very happy with this dress and plan to wear it during winter with a slip, tights and a cardi. I'm already planning my third version of this dress. How many versions of the same pattern is reasonable?

*Edited to add dress costing*
Pattern: Megan Nielsen. Darling Ranges Dress: Free - used before.
Fabric. 1.5 meters Liberty Mitsi from Shaukat: $36 inc part shipping
Buttons: $5.40 from Lincraft
Thread: $3.30.
Total: $44.70
On photos. I apologise for the crappy indoor pics. Not only is my point and shoot camera dying, but I am struggling to find photo locations in my yard now that the shade sail is down. My backyard is very sunny in the middle of the day, during nap time, which is when I get the chance to take my pics without the kids nagging me for something or trying to get in the shot. Every time I take photos in full sun they end up glowing. I only managed to snap a few bad photos in my front yard before being busted by some neighbours and hiding. :) Hopefully once I get my birthday present, a DSLR, and learn how to use it, the photos will improve.... hopefully... *fingers crossed*

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Dreaming, progress, life and teeth.

Almost a week since my last post - quite a while on this blog... As you might have guessed the reason for a lack of blogging is that I have been extremely busy productive. My 'Dreaming' list is slowly being chipped away. BTW - I re-named my 'to sew' list my 'Dreaming' list when it became a little too long. There is more than this page.
Sorry about the bad photo, but it's night time.

So what have I been up to?? Well...
  • I'm in the final stages of my second Darling Ranges dress, made with Liberty Mitsi in Grey from my stash - yum! I'm already planning my third!!
  • I have an almost finished mustard jacket made in ponti - are you intrigued?? Hopefully it will be finished soon.
  • I have a muslin of a winter coat made. I just need to cut into my lovely green/blue/blackish wool/cashmere, and
  • I've hopefully resurrected silk blouse...maybe. Fingers crossed.
  • I also have one boy quilt basted and one quilted. The boys really need warm blankets on their beds so these really need to be finished.
  • And lastly, I've started knitting again. This time a Sweet Peasy for Adele in a lovely dark red/orange yarn from Bendigo.
So, busy, busy?? Yes sir!

On life. Well, it's good. I worked today and am happy.

On teeth. Well, it's not so good. Oliver will be heading into day surgery on Thursday to have two cavities fixed under a general anasthetic and it makes me feel like the worst mum on the planet! The dentists - yes more than one - have said the problems have stemmed from a mix of things - snacking, food choices and brushing teeth.
Yes we snack - quite a bit. I do, the kids do, we all do - apparently it's not good.
Food - we eat well, quite healthy in fact. We don't eat lollies or other sweets, cordial, soft drinks or any overly sweet foods. Apparently sultanas can be a massive culprit in cavities in-between teeth We started eating sultana bran a few months ago....*sigh*
Teeth brushing with three kids so close in age is tough. Really tough. How does Retro Mummy do it?? There's always someone resisting. Sometimes we drop the ball, more often it's me as I'm the one caring for these kids the most.

Anyway, a bunch of painful $$ later and Ollie will have fixed teeth. Two steps forward, one step back.

In other news - it's my birthday tomorrow. Bit of a non event really, but I'm looking foward to a fabric buying adventure in the coming week or so with mum to celebrate.

Happy Tuesday!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Darling Ranges Dress

There's been a lot of talk about the Darling Ranges dress in blogland. How could I not jump on the bandwagon and snap up the pattern for this adorable little dress??
Apologies for the bad photos. The weather here is horrible and during the only break in the rain,
the glare created over exposed, glowy shots
I love wearing v-neck garments. I find it is much easier to wear a busy print when it's a v-neck. It keeps busy fabric a little further away from your face, making wearing a little more comfortable. Do you find that, or is it just me?

Anyway, this dress is adorable and I LOVE it. I used some positively divine Liberty Lantana fabric - perfect for winter.
Now while I do love this dress, I need to say that I did have a bit of trouble fitting this dress. I had read a number of reviews prior to tackling this pattern, where people noted that the bodice was short (which I believe it is supposed to be), the v-neck low and the shoulders tight. So before cutting into my Liberty I made a muslin, adding 1/4 inch to each shoulder, raising the neck by one inch and adding 1/2 inch to the length of the bodice.
Unfortunately, this did not greatly improve the fit of the dress. The shoulders were still quite tight, so much that I had to pull the sleeves down for them to sit on my shoulders. I don't have large shoulders, in fact probably the opposite. The waist was still a little short for my liking and there was some excess fabric around my underarms. I was not happy. I wish I could show you the muslin, but it was made with totally crazy fabric from my stash, which wouldn't show in photographs the true extent of the fitting problems.
To fix the fit, I made quite a few changes including:
  • adding almost an inch to the back of each shoulder grading to just a 1/4 inch at the top front. I found most of the shoulder fitting issues were in the back bodice where the shoulder/sleeve seam sat way off where it was supposed to be.
  • addied a further 3/4 inch to the length of the bodice. I'll probably remove 1/4 inch for the next one,
  • moved the bust dart up and across an inch,
  • raised the bottom of the armscye 3/8 inch and
  • redrafted the sleeve a little to tackle some of the extra fabric around my underarm. I should note that I think this dress style intentionally incorporates extra, blousey fabric around the bodice, but I'm just not a fan of the bit under my arm.
Now these changes are probably a little difficult to understand when written here like this, but they weren't too hard to make. Let me know if you want to see pics of the changes and I'll send them to you.
To finish the dress, I gathered and finished the arm bands with bias tape, rather than elastic. I also ran a little elastic around the back waist, rather than add the ties. This means I can wear a belt with the dress, which is more my style. I have created a simple waist tie for now as my belt is currently out on loan to a friend. Lastly, I used two more buttons than specified as I didn't want a wardrobe malfuntion in the classroom.

I'm so happy with this dress that I've just cut my second from Liberty Mitsi fabric in grey. Although I'm contemplating only making the two waist buttons functional as that's all I need to get this dress on and off. All of those buttons and buttonholes were a little time consuming. Is that one cheat too many??

Pattern: Darling Ranges dress by Megan Nielson = $21.50 inc part shipping
Fabric: 1.5m Liberty Lantana from Shaukat = $54 inc part shipping
Buttons: 14 from Lincraft = $5.60
Thread: $3.20
Total: $84.30 - A little expensive, but I think it's worth it.

Happy Sewing!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

T-Shirt Success!

I have a love-hate relationship with t-shirts. I love wearing them, but hate buying them. Because of this, I only buy cheap t-shirts and they last like cheap t-shirts do. I've tried and tried to make a wearable t-shirt for myself, but never enjoyed much success. You can see my failures here and there is another one on my blog somewhere, but I can't find it. Clearly my vague blog titles and lack of tagging is now becomming an issue....

Anyway, here are another two fails.
Made with Vintage Simplicity 5133 (c 1981) which I have successfully used here. But I can not remember what I did to make that dress work. BTW - I love that dress and wear it often in summer.
Made with the free Blank Canvas T-Shirt pattern from 3 Hours Past. I made the wrong size, then tried to make it smaller along the side seams, but it didn't work. the shoulders and sleeves are too big.

My key problem with t-shirt making, me thinks, is that my tightwad, love-hate t-shirt self, never purchased a proper t-shirt pattern. I've always tried to fudge up a pattern, but given that I have practically no experience sewing with stretch fabric, I've failed and failed and failed. I have tried to save money, but in effect, I have cost myself more money in wasted time and fabric. I should have just purchased a bloody pattern in the beginning!!

Finally, I've seen the light and purchased a proper pattern - the Sewaholic Refrew. I was inspired by Marie and Leith's collection of Refrews that they made for the One Week, One Pattern challenge. They all look great. Much better than my dud t-shirts, which have been relegated to sleep wear or re purposed into tights for Adele.

So, without further ado - let me introduce first Renfrew. View A with 3/4 sleeves.
This was a trial tee made with some cotton jersey that I picked up from the Op Shop here. It only cost $1, so I wasn't too worried if it didn't work. Well, imagine my surprise when it turned out completely wearable. The only down side to this tee is the fabric. It's a little flimsy. More like something you'd make PJs out of, so it has become another PJ top. I didn't add the waist or cuff bands as I knew this would be a sleep top.

Refrew No 2. View C with 3/4 sleeves
This was made with rayon poly burnout jersey from  Spotlight. Again, completely wearable, flattering and comfortable. I wasn't sure about the cowl neck, but I love it! Can you tell I'm still surprised with myself?? I almost exclusively used my overlocker to make this, except for setting the sleeves. I did not stitch down the neck seam as you can't see it and it doesn't sit poorly so why bother.

Refrew No. 3. View A with 3/4 sleeves
This tee was made with a ponte from Spotlight. I know you don't normally make t-shirts from ponte, but there are limited stretch options for adults at Spotlight. I liked the colour and I figure it will be nice and warm and not stretch out.

I'm extremely happy with how all of these t-shirts have turned out. The pattern fits remarkably well straight from the packet. I made a straight size 2 and the only changes I might make to the next few is to add maybe 1/4 inch to the shoulder and I may try Carolyn's stretch binding method, especially for any striped versions, to avoid top stitching the neck binding and to allow fabric matching.

Happy days!

Pattern: Sewaholic Refrew = $19 inc shipping

Refrew No 1 = $1 Op Shop
Refrew No 2 = $15.54. 2m Burnout Rayon/Poly Jersey from Spotlight @ 40% off
Refrew No 3 = $11.69 1.3m Ponte from Spotlight @ 40% off.

Thread from stash
Total  = $47.23 for three t-shirts

Can't wait to make more! I might have to buy some posh fabric like Leith for my next batch.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Thanks Sis!

My older sister wrote me an email recently asking if my boobs were still small. I checked. They were. I'm not holding out for a change in that department. One benefit of this slightness in bustness, is that sometimes other people buy clothes which turn out to be too snug around their less small bust. She posted me a blouse which no longer fit her.
Jaw dropping moment when I saw the Emerson Made bag that it arrived in. (Emerson Made is now Emerson Fry it appears). This blouse was my inspiration for this and this project, but this one is made in silk!
I adore the pleated neckline and the sleeves are just right. The blouse is possible half an inch smaller than I'd like around my own bust/back, but fits just fine so long as I don't undertake any aerobics while wearing it.

I don't think I'd ever buy a blouse this expensive, so it feels quite luxurious to own. Thanks Sis - I love it!

In other news, check out this cool cardigan that I picked up today from Target in the kids section!
Why do kids get all the rainbow coloured clothes? For $17 I had to have it. How funny will it be when I wear it to school and students notice that they own the same cardigan?? He he!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Colette Pastille

Dress completed, but it's one of those 'not 100% happy' projects :(
The fabric, a black silky cotton fabric with little olive, white and pink dots, is from Cottonholic on Etsy. While the fabric is lovely, it feels more like a rayon which I don't think suits this dress.  The pattern calls for a crisp fabric and this wasn't one. The weave also means the dots aren't straight and that kinda bugs me. I wish I'd have made a blouse with it! Blah - fabric regrets!
While I really like the sweet heart neckline and little cap sleeves, the fit of the dress is a little off. You can see in these photos that there is a little too much ease in the bodice. It shouldn't be too hard to fix as the zipper is in the back, but I'm not sure I love it enough to try.
I made a straight size two, but maybe I should have made an 0 - this sizing thing is a constant struggle, just like clothes shopping. The only changes that I made to the pattern was a SBA and I re shaped the sleeves a little, tapering the shoulder seam down to accommodate my small shoulders. I also didn't mark all of the tucks along the bottom of the skirt, but rather fudged them up at the end. They look fine though. The dress is a little longer than pictured. I think the angle of my camera makes it look shorter.
Anyway, it's a little too cool to wear this dress now. Maybe I'll pull it out again later and see how I feel wearing it with a belt and tights.

Pattern: Colette Pastille from the Colette Sewing Handbook. Used before. = free
Fabric: 1.5m Wide Silky Cotton from Cottonholic inc part shipping = $21.00
Zipper: $3
Thread: from stash
Total: $24.00

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Toddler Cowl Neck Dress V2

Last week, when I made this dress for Adele, it was almost 30 degrees. It felt a little silly to sew such a warm dress on a warm day. This week, Winter hit Sydney and it has been shockingly chilly (OK Tanit-isis - the weather def isn't chilly by your standards. You'd still be waltzing around in a tank, but it is cold for us Aussies).
This is the second time that I've made this Heidi and Finn pattern. This time I did not make it before the school run, but I did make Adele 6 pairs of leggings like the ones pictured to keep her happy. My stash is now feeling a little lighter, with a number of scraps and a wadder now transformed into finished garments for the kiddo.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Happy Weekend

I hope you have enjoyed a fabulous and relaxing long weekend. 
We've been from place to place to place.
 We've eaten chocolate, upon chocolate, upon chocolate.
 We've had fun.
And finished off with a little more sugar at the Sydney Family Show at Moore Park.
I'm looking forward to a little more normality tomorrow... well, without the school run.

Safe travels.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Broken Promises...

Two of my best friends sew. I can't begin to explain how wonderful it is to have countless discussions each week about what you plan to sew, how you will sew it, how to fix something, what you would like to sew one day, etc. etc. One of the downsides though, is that these friends also understand the dark side to sewing. In particular, stash mangement or lack of.

Rachel and I had a discussion recently about our stashes growing at a rate far, far greater than our sewing output. We made a commitment not to purchase any new fabric until our usable stash was reduced by at least 40%. This week I've already purchased an awesome stash of vintage fabric. This purchase though, I believe, falls outside of our stash management commitment as the pieces were only $1 and $2, and seriously, how often do you stumble upon pristine vintage fabric??

Unfortunately, today I have further broken my commitment. I went to Spotlight for their 40% off sale.
I now have quilt backing fabric for the boys quilts. The tops are already pieced, so all I need now is wadding.
Cute, non-floral lace for a top (though I have nothing to underline it with) and some poly suiting to try to make another pair of pants.
Stretch fabric - poly rayon burnout, light grey/purple ponte, stripe ponte and wool blend jersey.

While this is quite a bit of a slip up, I'd like to think of this as entertainment for this school holiday break. I do have three weeks of time to fill with some sort of activity. Maybe the new commitment will be to sew all of this new fabric before school goes back....

On a different note: I've had two friends and my sister comment about my recent blog photography. In particular, the 'awesome-ness' of Liberty shirt dress has come into question as a result of this poor photography. I'd like to say that the dress is really awesome, but the photos do not do it justice. My sister pointed out that my lack of make up made the dress look worse - ahhh, family! So my apologies if you are offended by my make-up-less face or my poor indoor photography. I will make a commitment to all my offended readers to work to rectify these problems on my blog :) (OK sis!)

I have also decided that even though I want to modify the dress to short sleeves, I will try to make 3/4 sleeves first. I think my judgement about the sleeve length might be a little off due to the weird warm weather we are enjoying in Sydney at the moment.

Happy long weekend!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

More on the vintage Liberty shirt dress...

I think this project has shot up to the top of my 'to do' list.

This is the dress in its current state.
 Noice huh? If it wasn't Liberty, I'm not sure I would have seen the potential.

This is the dress pinned.
Shoulder depth reduced, sides pinned, skirt shortened by about 30 cms to mid knee. What do you think about the sleeves? I think I'd get more wear out of this with short sleeves. They are quite volumous at the moment, so will need significant mods to reduce.

The dress is wool, so will be warm to wear. What do you think? Are the sleeves one modification too much? Or is it totally hot? I'm leaning to hot....

Sorry bout the dark photos - tyring to fit too much in today!

Thanks :)

Could not help myself.

The problem with casual teaching, or sub teaching, is that you don't get paid if you don't work. Thanks to the Easter holiday, I have 4 weeks with close to no pay coming in - boo! - so am trying to stay away from the shops and keep myself occupied at home with cooking, cleaning, sewing, basically doing anything but spend. Unfortunately, this morning I walked past one of my local Op Shops on the way to the bank. "How harmful could one small look be?"

Seriously people, vintage - wool - Liberty - shirt dress!

It was in my size. I tried it on. I weighed up the purchase. It wasn't cheap by Op Shop standards, a whopping $20. But really, how could I say no? It's now mine!

I still need to modify it a little. It is from the late 70's/80's, so the shoulder pads need to go! I think the shoulder depth is a little too wide, so will take that and the side seams in a bit and re-set the sleeves. I also need to cut about 30cms from the hem. I'll show you when it's done.

Since the budget damage was done with this purchase, I accidentally stopped at a different Op Shop on the way home. "What harm could it do?"

Seriously people, massive- vintage - fabric - stash!

The were just putting out the entire stash of a local resident who had recently passed away. So much goodness, but I really tried to restrain my purchasing.
Vintage barkcloth fabric which I think was used as curtains.  4 pieces for $3!
Home dec weight sateen with pink stripes and topiary trees! Seriously for $1, I needed to take this home.
From top to bottom: twill, drill, brushed cotton and Hollie Hobby jersey. All at least 1m, some are 2 meters. All are vintage with smaller selvage widths than today. All for $1 a piece!

I also picked up a piece of black jersey and black spun polyester (well that's what I think it is) also for $1 a piece. I asked if any vintage patterns accompanied this stash, but apparently they are yet to come. I think I'll head back next week to see if any pattern goodies will follow!

The Op Shop gods are shining on me today! Hope you enjoy some thrifting luck too!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Good mistakes.

I ordered this fabric by accident, but now I'm kinda happy with this mistake.
When it arrived, I was super cheesed off. The last thing I needed was more navy fabric in my stash! I wanted the orange/red colourway, but sent the seller the wrong link. Totally my fault. I should add that the fabric is rather nice with lovely softness and drape - just the colour wasn't what I wanted... or so I thought!

You see, over the weekend, a short trip to the Op Shop turned up Simplicity 9867 and I knew I had a match.

Such a simple pattern... once you look past that horrible, plaid dress with gathered sleeves or the ruffled version or that hair!
I love that I can wear this fabric with yellow belt and shoes.
Red belt and shoes
or tan belt and shoes. Versatile huh?
I made a straight size 10 with changes made to the length of the hem and that I finished the arms with bias tape.

Considering this is an 80's pattern, it's still really cool and not too 80's at all, in my opinion.

Pattern: Simplicity 9867 c. 1980 = 50c
Fabric: 1.5m silky cotton from Cottonholic = $21 inc part shipping
Thread and elastic: $2.60
Total: $24.10