11/52 On the Rebound again and meeting new peeps

Since my confidence was boosted and I had a self imposed deadline of a bloggers meet up I knocked out another re-make of my rebound dress. This time I used some green cotton with trees on it that I got from Arthur Toyes in Palmerston North. I had 2m again which I had the first time I made this dress…but my pattern pieces did not fit. Then I realised this fabric is a quilting cotton so it is only 112cm wide whereas my feathers voile was 140cm wide, so I did not have the same room to play in placement. I fitted the front and back of the top on then took the remaining fabric and folded it in half. This gave me the maximum length of the skirt which was just over an inch shorter than the original, but I was determined to make this dress and as it turns I like it this length.


Re-re-bound dress in green

The only other change I made In the making of the version was that instead of the slight gather of the sleeves onto the cuffs I made a pleat instead.
But then I decided to challenge myself more. I was doing this dress the day before I met the Wellington Sewing Bloggers Network. I was a little scared as I have been following many of these women’s blogs and find their sewing and styles very inspiring so I felt like I had something to live up to. So to up the anti even more on the morning of the meet up I created an obi to go with the dress.


I copied the shape from a cummerbund that I normally wear with this style of dress. The main fabric is from a brown cotton sheet (that I used as the pockets on my square skirt). I decided to use the fun red and green mushroom print cotton for the opposite side which I would wear with my original black version of this dress. The creation was straightforward but I forgot to take any photos. I traced out the cummerbund shape, added a stiff interfacing and sewed it all together then turned it in the right way. To ensure the interfacing didn’t crumple I topstitched on an argyll pattern through all the layers. On the brown side I used green thread and on the print side I used white thread.


Brown Obi with green thread.


Bright Print with white thread

I finished it all in time for the meet up. And even better the women I met were not scary at all! We had great yum cha, swapped patterns and fabric and showed off our works in progress. I will show off what I scored in the swap as I make them up and the wait shouldn’t be too long as one is already cut out.

Finally here is a full pic of my black rebound frock that inspired my last two makes.


Black rebound dress with mushroom obi


Cardi Inspired by Kilt (part 1)

This mustard knit has been labouring in my stash for a couple of years since I picked it up from the Salvation Army store. I had always intended to make a copy of my kilt cardi.  I did one a few years ago and I don’t wear it much any more.  It is pretty simple just a rectangle with sleeves. I also don’t wear the original cardi much anymore as it has some bleach spots.


New and Old

This top is so comfy I have worn it for the last day and a half since I took it off the sewing machine. It is especially great because I copied the thumb holes from the original, which I bound in with the cuffs.


Thumb holes

And since it doesn’t look like much as a rectangle on the floor here it is in action.


Super comfy mustard cardi

And Alex and I being flying squirrels…


Flying Squirrels

9/52 Going Troppo

In a shop window that I walked past most of summer there was a poster of a floral dress with a solid border on the hem that I was drawn to – not the dress as much as it was a mullet that went much too high in the front and way too long in the back. 


But you get the idea...

Unfortunately the only pic I can find of it is not that great…sorry. But the colour combo did inspire me to cut out Style 3394 view 1 in a similar style – by similar I mean that I had a slightly tropical green fabric and blue borders. 


Style 3394

I bought this green “tropical” print a couple of years ago with the thought to make a summer dress – in a slightly tacky but kind of fun way.  I have no idea what I paid but knowing me it would have been on special – most likely on the discount shelf for the very reason I bought it – cause it’s a little garish.

The pattern I got mostly likely from an op-shop for about a dollar and as I went to lay out the pieces I realised it was a size 12 – which I am not, so going off the measurements on the pattern sleeve and my actual size I did a bit of a hack job on the pattern in the hope that it would fit…  I have since learnt this is an actual method to draft up a pattern called the cut and slash method.


Tropical at the end of March

When I began construction I realised that the plan in my head for the blue bands at the top of the bodice was different from the pattern instructions.  And I had only cut out enough pieces for my plan so again I ignored the instructions and made the bodice my way.  I made the bands fold over the top of the bodice rather than being a solid band all the way round.

The skirt is a semi circle skirt and when I cut it out I did not have quite enough width so I added small triangles at the bottom.  With the wide band at the bottom you barely notice these small additions especially when you twirl in it.

8/52 Lots of Frosting

The is a concept out there about cake sewing and frosting. Cake being the basics and frosting being the fluffy, flowery and frippery pieces. I first heard about it on Lilacs and Lace Blog. I think this cream lace dress is definitely not a cake dress but lots of frosting. The pattern is Butterick 5738 that I used to make my Going Green dress.


I got the fabric for this dress from a fabric warehouse sale a few years ago. I wasn’t sure what I was going to make at the time so I got 3m of the cream lace and the linen (i think that is what it is – it maybe a blend) that goes underneath.



Thankfully lace dresses are still a trend so I haven’t missed the boat completely. I fully lined the bodice with the linen as well so there were 5 layers of material to deal with when attaching the bodice and skirt.


Lots of layers of fabric

I had a nightmare putting the zip in this dress due to all the layers and I ended up re-doing it more than once with much basting and swearing. But it was worth it.

I love it!

10/52 Confidence

After feeling blah with 3 dresses on hangers inthe sewing room, I decided to go down a different path and I found confidence.  I have a favourite black dress I bought from Rebound Clothing a few years ago and I have always wanted to make my own version of it.  It is a simple A-line skirt with a bat-wing top and it is one of my few items of plain black clothing.


Dress ready for tracing

  I asked around about how to take a copy of it without destroying it and I was pointed in a couple of directions.  The first was the blog a fashionable stitch and a book from the library called Patternmaking for a perfect fit by Steffani Lincecum.  The book was not available but as I want to increase my skills I ordered it from Book Depository.  Another resource was the tutorial online by Juliet of Crazy Gypsy Chronicles which was immensely helpful.

So I decided to give it a go and I ended up with 4 basic pattern pieces – a front top, back top, skirt and cuff.  I got 2 metres of this voile with feather print for $23 and I managed to layout my pieces to fit it all on.  I also cut out some strips to do binding around the neckline.


Pattern pieces and fabric

By the end of the evening I had this…



I put a light interfacing in the cuffs and finished all the seams with the overlocker.  I plan to wear it with a belt (as I do with the original) to give it a bit more shape.  So here is the badly light, taken indoors, with ick hair photo as I ran upstairs to show hubby what I had made.  Then I saw the photo and nipped back down to halve the width of the neck binding.


Yay I can sew

But overall I like it and already have the fabric lined up for another.  I think this time with an obi belt to go with it.

Sewing Skills

I currently have 3 dresses hanging in my sewing room that are almost done.  One needs a hem and is waiting till I have black thread in the overlocker again.  It also needs straps tacked down and a button and loop put in the back.

The second had a zip insertion failure – even though I basted it in to start.  It also needs a hem. 

The third needs the back straps sewn in, a hem and a hook and eye above the zip.


Works in progress

So why do I have 3 almost dresses just hanging about when my goal is to get top 52?   The answer I came to over the weekend is that I am frustrated in my sewing skills and writing this blog is highlighting this to me. 

I got taught to sew by my Mum when I was 9 or 10.  I took the basic home ec sewing classes in form 1 and 2 and apart from the odd conversation with my Gran or Mum when sewing while growing up I am mostly self taught.  I have learnt a lot from reading blogs, books and pattern instructions.  My frustration is because I know what I want to create but have not done it enough to be able to do it masterfully – putting zips in being a prime example.

When I used to make 3 or 4 items a year and had a struggle it was not so obvious.  Now that I am trying to sew more – the mistakes are coming out more. I have also realised in trying to describe what I am making that I don’t have the language… types of fabric, techniques and so on.

But I am ready for the challenge. I have attempted my first rub-off, which is taking a pattern off an existing item of clothing.

I have attempted a cut in slash in upgrading a pattern with reasonable success. And I have managed to make 2 t-shirts, 6 dresses and a skirt already this year already. So I need to stop wallowing in self pity and just finish the list above so I can move in to the next pretty thing.

I will practise patience, baste more zips and I will tackle this pile.

6/52. A Tintin Episode or the Jade Triangle

How do people come up with cool names for their dresses?  I have no idea and am way too literal hence the Jade Triangle. However with word asdication this made me think of Tintin books so maybe that is a bit more exotic. I have in my plan of 52 a couple of dresses that I wanted to try colour blocking on – using patterns that had an obvious place to put it so I didn’t have to faff about with patterns and adding seam allowances.   This is one of those patterns.

I got Simplicity 9034 from an antique shop in Foxton called Junk n Disorderly. I love the simple lines of it and I made view 2.  When I was doing my mega cutting day I added this dress to the pile using some black heavy knit from my stash (origins unknown as I don’t normally buy black – most likely an op-shop or the remants bin at Fabric Warehouse) and some green/jade twill with slight stretch that I got as a remnant from the Andrea Moore pop up shop.  I had intended to make cute little shorts and then I remembered that I don’t have a little bum and this was never going to be enough fabric.

After the failure of my dotty New Look 6000 I went back to my sewing room looking for some success. I settled on this dress as I knew I would not have to finsh as many edges due to the knit. It is a little heavy for wearing at the moment but autumn is on it’s way so it will get worn soon enough.
I really like this dress. I can lift my arms and move easily. The neck is higher than normal but that is to be expected from a pattern from 1970. Andrew suggested it was a little star trek but I can live with that.
Here is the front view (with closed eyes).

5/52 Polka Dot Frock Fest

I started this dress with a hiss and a roar…and then February got crazy busy. I cut out New Look 6000 in a size 16 which is the largest size in this pattern. I added width on the hips as I knew when I made NewLook 6094 I cut an 18 which fitted my hips perfectly but was a little loose in the top. I thought this added extra should cover me but this dress is even more fitting than I expected.
Here come some un-impressed phone photos. Sorry I do not love this dress…yet…so didn’t get gussied up for proper photos.

It only just fits round my butt and hips, it is snug across the pleats and I have not hemmed it yet. I say I do not love it yet cause I think if I lost 5kgs then it would fit me perfectly.
The only then I would then need to fix is the zip which is badly sewn and probably make it sleeveless. As the picture below shows how high or rather not high I can lift my arms.

So I am calling this one done… for now. I will re-look at it in 5kgs time.