Geometric stars - a silk Scout

Monday, April 14, 2014

I'm not much of a patterned fabric person - I have to really love a pattern before I'll sew it up.  I fell in love with this silk as soon as I saw it and hesitated to sew it up because didn't want to ruin it.  I figured something simple would best showcase the design so I decided to go with the Scout.

I've made the Scout before (strangely enough also in a patterned fabric).  This time I added some gentle shaping through the body by taking out 3cm from each side, front and back, at waist level tapering to nothing at the armhole and hip level.  I also added 2 inches to the length.  I even cut it out in a single layer so I had no bulls eye issues!

The crepe de chine was a little sheer so I added a silk habatai lining to the body.  There's nothing worse than wearing a beautiful silk top and then having to wear a synthetic seam free cami underneath!

Yes - very blurry photo (the kids had been playing with my camera and fiddled with settings and put grubby fingers on the lens) but I think it best shows the gentle shaping on the sides.    I love this top - yes the tension is a little tight around the neckline and I forgot to use french seams through out, but it's going to get a lot of wear.

Looking at these photos I wish I'd waited until I had something else to wear it with - with such a voluminous top I needed a slimmer fit on the bottom - but I hadn't shaved my legs, didn't want to wear tights and desperately need a black pencil skirt :)  On the upside they are pants I made and I was comfy all day.

Trying something different - Simplicity 1873

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Last weekend was a long weekend in Victoria and with no kids sport I was able to clear a few UFOs out of the sewing room.

Simplicity 1873 is probably the second oldest UFO in the cupboard (the other is a Vogue coat which was cut out two years ago!).  It's not my usual style but I decided that it would be just the thing to wear to my cousins (April 2013) wedding.  It was 99% finished when it got thrown in the back of the cupboard.

On the morning of the wedding I tried it on to finish the hem and - finally - noticed that the back was ridiculously big.  I tried a few different darts but I just didn't have the time to keep messing with it before the wedding. Then it turned cold and this got put aside.  To fix the back I took a two inch dart starting at the back neckline and running it down parallel to the dart at the base of the bodice.  That's a whopping four inches removed from the back neckline.  After such a long break from the dress it only took me about 15 minutes to finish it.

Aside from the back fitting issues the dress went together really easily.  I cut a 14 adding an extra inch of length through the body and an extra 2.5 inches to the skirt hem.  I also cut the skirt front and side as one continuous piece and I removed some of the skirt fullness by folding out one of the pleats from the side skirt panel and from the skirt back.  This is one very full skirt.

The fabric is a navy spotted cotton sateen from Spotlight several years ago.  I love the finished dress.  I think the fitted waist is very flattering and the full skirt is very fun.  I've just purchased the Flora pattern and some more cotton sateen so I think they'll be more dresses like this in the future :)

Vogue 8944 - a quick sew

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

In desperate need of a summer work dress I pulled out Vogue 8944.

I'm still struggling with my ankle and am limited to short periods of time on my feet - although I am on the mend.  At the moment I'm sticking to very simple projects and you can't get more simple than this pattern.

This pattern provides great colour blocking options but I decided to use some scraps and kept mine very simple.  Before cutting out double check your sizing.  I checked pattern review and the finished pattern measurements and thought I would be fine.

In the end I removed 6 inches of excess fabric from the side seams starting at the bust and tapering to nothing at the waist.  I also trimmed 3/8 inch from the sleeves before turning under and hemming with a 5/8 hem.  Basically, despite being an option featured on the pattern cover, this dress wasn't drafted to be sleeveless.  I also had to put darts in the back neckline to reduce the gaping (you can see one in the photo below - it needs a better press) - also I could easily go down a couple of sizes in the back - you can see how baggy it is in the photo below.  I also omitted the back zipper and, as per usual, I lengthened the pattern this time adding an extra inch to the skirt length.

If you look at Vogue's photo you can see a lot of excess fabric on the sides there too, although it's nowhere near as baggy in the back.


I had high hopes for this pattern but I'm not sure that I'll use it again.  This dress will help me see out the rest of our warm weather.  The ankle injury, coming on top of the festive period, has lead to some weight gain and none of my clothes feel particularly comfortable or flattering.  While I work at getting a bit healthier, I feel better in this dress because it doesn't cling to my lumpy bits!

Planning and reflecting

Friday, January 31, 2014

Thanks for all your well wishes, I'm still out of action with a very nasty sprained ankle, so I haven't been able to do any sewing.  I have been doing a lot of planning and reflecting though.

The silk below is sitting waiting to be made into a top and I'm planning some basics to go with it.  These pants need to be replaced and I have a black pencil skirt cut and ready to be sewn up.  I also need some more casual tees and I'm thinking about using Tessuti's Lola tee.  I've also got a piece of hot pink cotton/linen which is just begging to be made into a pair of shorts and I think I'm going to give it a try, even if it's quite different to what I normally wear.

On to the reflection.  

I'm at the end of my first month of the RTW fast and so far I'm really enjoying it.  I thought January would be really hard with all the sales, but it has just made me want to sew more.  I'm really interested to see if this continues for the rest of the year, maybe 2014 will be really productive :) 

Strangely I haven't bought much fabric this month either.  Generally when I can't clothes shop and I can't sew, I shop online.  Please tell me I'm not the only one who does this!  There is, of course, a beautiful piece of silk on the Tessuti website which is very loudly calling my name... I think it's time to go and have another look.  I hope you're sewing up a storm.

The best laid plans...

Friday, January 24, 2014

So this Australia Day long weekend I was planning to sew up a storm.

Now, not so much!  That ankle is nearly twice its normal size.  Hopefully I can work the presser foot with my left foot.  I hope you're all having better luck than me :)

Casual - StyleArc and Tessuti

Friday, January 10, 2014

 I love summer, but you wouldn't know it from the clothes in my wardrobe.

When I cleaned it out the other day I realised my summer wardrobe, both work and casual, is severely lacking.  I didn't own a single white t-shirt.  To make things a little bit more interesting I thought I'd try StyleArc's Rowe's tunic which I've loved since I first saw it.

It's an easy pattern with some nice design lines.  The instructions for the v-neck would be a bit sparse for a beginner, but otherwise it's a really simple make.  This is a straight size 12 with no changes and I'm pretty happy with the outcome.  The neckband seam is just slightly off at the front which is a bit annoying, but this was really just a test made up in some leftovers so I'm not too fussed.  I'll be making this one again in a fabric with more drape.

Melbourne had a bit of a cool spell recently so I decided to try Tessuti's Mandy Boat Neck Tee too (bonus - it's free) in their lime line fabric.  This is a great pattern and I really like the way the neckline is finished.  This is a one sized pattern and I made it up without any changes, but the arms feel just a little too tight.  It's wearable but if I make it again (and I probably will) I'd use a stretchier fabric or a 1/4 seam allowance.

I had a bit of a moment earlier today and wasn't going to post these items - I just felt like they were too basic or too boring to blog.  I kind of feel like I should blog about amazing items or pieces with tricky construction techniques (and if I could take a good photo that would help too).  In the end I decided I was being silly.  This is me.  This is what I wear.  This is my little corner of the internet and I'm going to blog what ever makes me feel happy :)

Fasting and goals

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Happy New Year to you all.

This year I am joining in Goodbye Valentino's RTW fast.

In 2014 I won't be purchasing any RTW clothing.  I've been debating whether or not to sign up since I first saw the invitation and I've decided that sometimes you just need to jump and work out the details later!  I kept trying to work out why I wanted to do it and the answer came to me when I was getting dressed for work.  I couldn't find anything to wear (yes, yes I know, we all say that as we stand in front of a full wardrobe).  In all honesty I have kept so many clothes that I don't wear because they don't fit me/aren't my style that it's a real struggle when I get dressed.  I end up donating a lot of what I buy.  I need more clothes that fit me.  So today I'm sorting through everything that doesn't fit or feel good, donating it and then writing a big sewing list!!

My sewing goals for 2014 are pretty simple.  

  1. Be realistic.  I work a full time job and have three kids who each play a whole lot of sport.  I don't have many spare hours to sew.  I shouldn't expect the same type of output as someone who sews for a living!! (Comparison is the thief of joy, right?!)
  2. Use the lingerie kits.  I now have five beautiful lingerie kits, another two on the way and several patterns in my stash and I haven't sewn one bra.  I will remedy that this year.
  3. Sew BWOF #105 9/2008.  It has been on my 'to sew' list since it came out.  I have the fabric and the buttons, and I even started it in 2012 but stopped when I realised it was way too big.  Time to get it done.
  4. Make a versatile, really warm winter coat.  With all the kids sport there is going to be plenty of weekends and nights spent outdoors and I'm not going to shiver because I don't have a warm coat.  I have the fabric, I have the pattern. 
  5. Get off the couch and into the sewing room.  There are too many times when I flop on the couch at the end of a long day and blog surf.  Then I complain to Wade that I have no time to sew.  I need to use my time better.
That's it.  Short and simple but I'm sure it won't be easy, especially number 5.  Do you make resolutions/goals?  If you do, how do you keep on track?