Thursday, December 20, 2012

Vogue 1306 - experimenting and planning

Well now folks,  I'm now officially on school holidays! One of the greatest benefits of becoming a teacher is having these coming 5 or so weeks off school!! Whoot whoo!!!!!!

Clearly I have a bunch of fun Christmas and holiday stuff to attend to. My kids are incredibly excited about Christmas and summer holidays. This time of year just keeps getting better and better. I can't believe I haven 't shared a Christmas post yet... soon my friends.

I'm so excited about sewing possibilities, that I'm practically paralysed when I walk into my sewing room. I have so many plans, so many ideas, but don't know what to attack first. I really want to use this time to sensibly add to my work wardrobe. While I do wear mostly dresses to work in summer, I also desperately need more separates. So these holidays I need to make more tops. Probably tank tops as they are versatile and work well with skinny pants. I have a linen tank cut and ready to sew. I also plan to make a lined lace tank and possibly also a Grainline scout tee out of some spot silk. (All three fabrics can be seen here).

I also need to make more pants. I have three very nice pant quality and length pieces of fabric that need to be transformed. Now, I'm  not setting my sights too high and don't plan to make all three pairs, but I do need to improve at least one pant pattern, probably the Clovers and possibly test another, the Thurlows. I do intend to slim the leg on these.

I also should get started on a frock that I will wear to my brothers wedding. I'm positively smitten with lace dresses at the moment and am tossing up between a white lace over colour frock like Melanie's, or a fully coloured lace dress like this, but in a different colour . I've been mulling over lace fabric available online, especially the mountains available on Etsy. Any direction would be appreciated!

Lastly, I do plan to make another easy stretch dress. Possibly using Vogue 1027 again, but maybe modifying the skirt a little so that it is less full.

So there are some loose plans, I guess I'll start easy with a tank and then go from there.

Now, on to Vogue 1306.
I've used this pattern before here and am quite happy with the result. I wanted to modify the pattern to make a tank with the same under-bust gathers.
I'm quite happy with the finished result. It's not perfect, but still wearable. I used a remnant of this fabric from Tessuti. Gosh what a lovely stable knit. So easy to sew with!
I could have cut the front neckline a little narrower, but it's OK. I also added the gathers to the back and added some length to make it a little easier to wear with skinnies.

I'm looking forward to learning more about sewing stretch in the new year. I'd love to avoid ironing just a few days each week.

Cost:
Fabric: .8m remnant from Tessuti = $8.90
Pattern: Vogue 1306. Used before = free
Thread: from stash
Total: $8.90

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Lily Linen Dress - Modified

We accidentally double booked our festive events today. Rather than run around like mad chooks trying to appease everyone, we bailed on the earlier gig, leaving me a whole morning at home with the family. My husband set about doing his jobs, like cleaning the car. The kids played and watched movies and I got to sew! Yippee! Best Sunday Ever!

I really like the Lily Linen dress pattern, especially the sleeveless variations, but the piece of Como Black Out Linen that I had was far too scant to make one. So with my 1.4m piece, I made a modified dress, mixing the Lily dress with Burda 7517.
I'm incredibly happy with this dress. It was comfortable and cool to wear today (almost 40 degrees)and I'm surprised by how little the linen creased. I was expecting to look somewhat disheveled at the end of the day, but both my sister and mum remarked on how well the fabric wore during the day.
The top of the dress is the Lily dress pattern. The bottom of the dress was shaped similarly to the Burda dress and the idea of the tucks and tie are also from the Burda dress. I think the shaping with the tucks and ties makes this dress interesting but still not overly fitted.

This is how my pattern looked to cut the fabric. I've folded in the sides and tucked up the bottom.
Mucky rug! I was too busy sewing to clean it!
The darts were created once the dress was finished up to hemming. I simply tried it on, pinched out the tucks and pinned them in place. After checking that I could still take off the dress with the tucks, I then transferred them to the inside, evened them up and sewed with the ties attached to the front. Each tuck is about 8cms long and holds approximately 5cms of fabric. Easy peasy!
Rather than use self bias to finish the top of the dress, as I wanted a smooth finish with no visible stitches, I drafted an all in one facing with black, interfaced voile. I've realised recently how rough my washing machine is with my clothes and thought an all-in-one facing would hold best. The facing was under stitched as far as I could and the shoulder edges slip stitched shut. One thing I didn't take into consideration was the seam allowance on the neckline and arms. The pattern allows for 1/4 inch, but I attached my facing with a larger seam allowance, which reduced the width of the shoulders a little. I also sewed the back neck a little deeper, just because.
Adele loves to pose too.
I'm incredibly happy with this dress. It's simple and work appropriate, but also can be dressed down. I'll certainly be making another linen dress this summer and definitely won't use anything but a good quality linen like this.

Cost:
Pattern: Lily Linen Dress download from Tessuti = $10
Pattern: Burda 7517 used before = free
Fabric: Como Black Out linen = $32.50
Thread from stash
Total: $42.50

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Simplicity 2443

I've spent a little time recently cutting out various items so that when I get time to sew I can just throw myself into it. It's funny though, once something is cut, I seem to lose the desire to sew it. I decided to make this dress even though I had 4 items already cut.
The dress, one of Cynthia Rowley's older patterns has a shaped bodice with racer back. I used a recently purchased ponte from Spotlight. I actually went to Spotlight to try to find their 'Winter' ponte from their December catalogue that was supposed to be on sale for $4 per meter. None of the sales assistants could help me locate it, nor actually knew what it was. One suggested that so long as the fibre content of any ponte was the same as the catalogue and the price point was also the same, then they must be the ones, so at $4 per meter, the fabric for this dress was quite a cost effective.
The pattern came together super easy. I was quite careful sewing the curved bodice, but just took my time and it worked first go with no unpicking. I followed Jess's advice and sewed with the bodice facing up, not the yoke, and it worked. I used a simple zig zag stitch .5mm wide on my machine to construct the dress and serged the seams on the bodice to keep it neat. There is a lot of pressing to get the seam allowances to sit in the right direction, but they worked in the end.
I cut a straight size 10 grading up at the waist and the dress fits really well. I omitted all interfacing and also left off the zipper, as you don't need it. I had to take up the shoulders a little as the dress sat far too low and added about 1/2 an inch to the bodice length so the dress sat at my natural waist. Next time I might remove about 1/4 to 1/2 and inch from the centre front, just to bring the bodice contours in a little. The only problem I had with this dress is that the midriff section stretched out a little when I attached the gathered skirt. I think I'll wash it once and then perhaps run a little elastic around it to bring it back in.

All in all, I'm very happy with this dress and it is super comfortable to wear. I have some black ponte from Spotlight too, so may make another version.

Cost:
Pattern: Simplicity 2443 - gift = free
Fabric: 2m Ponte on sale from Spotlight $8
Thread: $2.70
Total: $10.70

Friday, December 14, 2012

A little busy

Gosh, I'm falling a wee bit behind on the blogging front these days. It's that time of year and I won't apologise for being one of the many people who are "so busy!" It seems to be everyone's life status these days. "How are you?" "I'm so busy! yeah yeah.

I'm busy, but mostly because I'm choosing to be. Yes, there are more social engagements to attend. Yes, there is still work. Yes, the kids need time. Yes, there is Christmas shopping to knock over, but mostly I'm busy because I've been spending too much time in here.
Can you tell I'm a messy creative?

I'm loving the fact that reports are out, programs are a worry of the past and my evenings are back to being mine. Did I mention that I have a new teaching job for next year? Possibly not, but it's at a new school, 4 days a week and I'm really happy about it. One less worry!

I'm determined to photograph the rest of my creations to share with you. Hold tight, I'll be back.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Simplicity 2177 x 3

Where has the time gone? Christmas is almost here and I'm not ready yet. At all!

I've been busy hitting the machine, but not photographing and blogging the end results. I've made three dresses for my mother in law, another two dresses for Adele and two tanks that are too small and need to be removed from my sight *sigh*.

On the plus side, I've made three dresses for myself - two awesome, one so-so - all with Simplicity 2177. Nuts right?

Dress No. 1 - Gorgeous Florentina from Tessuti.
Unfortunately, I'm not happy with the fabric placement on this dress. I was hoping that the big medallions would just crop up from the waist and not extend much past the bust, but my plans failed and I have no one to blame but myself.
What's worse, I sat for ages trying to figure out how to best cut this fabric, and still had a mega 'doh' moment when I realised I'd stuffed up. Naturally, as I'm a mega fabric tightwad, I didn't have enough fabric to re cut the front bodice, so sewed it up as is. I love the fabric so much that if I were able to get my hands on some more (it's sold out) I'd probably unpick the bodice and sew up the front again. Oh well.

I had a few problems with the neckline bagging a little on this dress, so ended up easing the neckline back in and reinforcing it with some thin satin ribbon. After grading up the waist I found it was a little too big on the finished dress and ended up adding two tucks into the back of the dress for shape. They replicate the tucks on this skirt and add shape to the back of the dress, which is completely unshaped with no darts at all. Other than this the dress fit almost perfectly from the packet.

Dress No. 2 - Cotton eyelet from The Fabric Store and lined with black Spotlight voile.
I LOVE this dress! I made it last Saturday to wear to my work Christmas party and I LOVE it! Did I mention that I LOVE it?
After asking my lovely readers for advice with how to line this fabric, I decided to go with a very subtle black voile lining. The eyelet adds enough texture without a different coloured lining underneath.
 Very subtle bias from panels on the bodice.
The scalloped hem made this dress super fast to make. I omitted the pockets on this dress as I didn't want to add bulk and I was a little pressed for time with only a few hours to make this for the party.

This dress is almost perfect. Again I added the two tucks to the back of the dress, but that's all. The only 'doh' moment with this dress is that I cut the eyelet upside down!!! If you look closely to the photos, the drops don't fall down, they trail up! I was so seriously pissed with myself after this, but who would notice but me... and you now that I've told you  :)

Dress No. 3 - Striped interlock = comfy!
I bought this fabric quite some time ago from Harts Fabric in the US. It's a great quality charcoal and white striped interlock. Sturdy and stable enough to be a dress without worrying about excess clinging. I purchased 2 yards at the time and managed to get a renfrew and this dress out of the one piece.
To avoid more 'doh' moments with this pattern I took my time cutting this fabric and made no eff-ups! Woot woo! The dress came together super fast and the only changes made to the dress was to take an inch or two off each side to accommodate the knit fabric stretch. Just a simple, comfy, awesome summer frock for around the house.

So there you have, three dresses, one pattern, one monster post!

I'll come back later to post the costs of each frock. The kids have 'advised' me that my computer time has now run out.

Happy Sunday!

Edited to add costings for dresses
Dress 1 cost:
Pattern: Simplicity 2177 download = $5.99
Fabric: 1.25m Florentina = $52.50
Zipper: $3
Thread from stash
Total: $61.47

Dress 2 cost:
Fabric: 2m cotton eyelet from The Fabric Store: $30 on sale
Fabric: 1.5m black voile from Spotlight = $10
Zipper: $3
Thread from stash
Total: $43

Dress 3 cost:
Fabric: Remnant of striped cotton interlock = $10 approx
Thread from stash
Total: $10