Pattern weights

Just a brief share today to show off my cool pattern weights. I used heavy washers…and picked through the box to find the smoothest ones.  I just wrapped embroidery thread, that I have had since I was a teenager, around them.
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Also I was very lucky in a couple of blog give always winning from the stashbusting queen Tumbleweed in the Wind this bundle of pretties, including amazing green buttons.

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And then from pimp my curtains I won a copy of Burdastyle Sewing Handbook which is on its way.

A big THANKS to these generous bloggers.  I am such a lucky girl!

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A trio of skirts

I have made a few skirts in the last couple of weeks, so in no particular order I will start with the brightest – another Miss Chalmers. This time she is bright and sassy, made from cotton/poly blend from the remnants table at Arthur Toye.

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I sewed the perfect zip, as I did it ‘properly’ and basted the seam and basted the zip in place. This five minute task made all the difference to a perfect zip.

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Can you see my bright yellow zip in here?

This time I added an inch in length as I find the length on my previous version borderline for my comfort.
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Nothing else to note except as I had already cut this out before I went on holiday it only took an hour to sew and finish.
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And then a photobomber wanted to be in my shots but not recognised.
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Next I made a black A-line for a friend, I haven’t sewn for my friends before…mostly cause I’m selfish. But my friend mentioned in passing that she couldn’t find a plain black A-line skirt anywhere. About a month later I asked if she had found one yet, so I offered to make one for her birthday present. From her Pinterest she gave me her inspiration, a Prada Skirt seen below.

PRADA SKIRT

I used Skirt-a-day sewing : create 28 skirts for a unique look every day to draft a skirt to her measurements. Except I stuffed up a little and I am glad I made a test version for her to try out. The skirt has 3 panels on the front and 3 on the back, using the dart line to make the panels. I wanted it to be a bit more interesting than an A-line skirt with just one front panel and a back.

A-Line skirt patternThe pattern pieces above show how it worked together.  This was my first time drafting a skirt for someone else and I was really happy with the result.  Again I did the zip ‘properly’ by basting the seam and basting the zip in place.  All of the insides were overlocked and the surprise inside was the waistband of kiwi cotton.

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It is hard to photograph a plain black skirt…but here you go
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The final skirt in my trio  was a modification from an op-shop buy. I found this “silk” skirt for $6 at Foxton Salvation Army. I’m not sure if it is really silk but it is light and comfortable and my size.

IMG_4600I cut 10 INCHES – not Centimetres – INCHES off the length, re-sewed the hem with a small turned hem and ta-dah – a light summer skirt – perfect for my Mum’s garden.

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23/52 Beryl

After a week and a half back at work i want to go back to the beach so I will do so in pictures by introducing Beryl – Ethel’s little sister. She is a little zig and a little zag.

imageBeryl is Ethel’s little sister as I bought the fabric at the same from Arthur Toyes.  I had it washed and ready and just needed to find the right pattern.  I knew I wanted a sundress but all the ones i dragged from my pattern stash were too paneled so would upset the chevrons of this awesome Robert Kauffman quilting cotton.  Just before going away as i was sorting projects to do at Mum’s found the right pattern -Simplicity 9241 from 1980.CAM00441

I bought the bias binding at the same time as the fabric as it matched in nicely.  I used it as piping (without the cord) around the panel on the bodice and as binding on the top of the bodice and as a hem binding.

This pattern was a one size too small for me so I sized it up as per my measurements and then when I test the fit of the bodice I had to take out everything I had added to the back but the front was perfect.  Along the way Mum helped with the fitting, gave advise about how I could do parts and supported my when Dad asked why I was not following the instructions on the pattern.  We did get distracted by the two books below for an hour when I looked up what length I should make the new darts in the back of the skirt (to adjust for the smaller bodice).  What should have been a 5 minute task actually lasted over afternoon tea and them some before I got back to the sewing.imageAlso the dress needed something to break up the middle – especially where the bodice and skirt patterns/chevrons come together so Mum suggested a belt.  I used the last of my wide Bias tape, so interfacing and a strip of my fabric (excess hem length cut off) to make a wee velcro bow belt.

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So here is Beryl.  With all her chevrony goodness.
imagePsst behind me is White Island can you see it???

It is beneath the arrow in the picture below.
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As per the pattern this dress has side pockets, but I changed the zip to a side zip, instead of in the back, which ends at the waist seam

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imageThe perfect summer dress.  I even wore her to work the other day with a little cardi to keep the feeling of holiday going.

imageBut this is what we were really at the beach for – kids swimming, husband fishing, parents with contiki out, finding shells and having a blissful time.

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Copycat Miss Chalmers

Recently Kat from Modern Vintage Cupcakes posted her Miss Chalmers skirt, I was inspired to make my own so got a copy of Home Sewn from the library and traced out the pattern. It is four simple pieces and as I sit just at the edge of the largest size I easily graded it up one size.

This green fabric called to me at Arthur Toyes. Gemma of Sixty Six Stitches had made it up as a dress but for me it was definitely going to be a skirt. I was thinking a pegged pencil or inspired by a woman at work a knock off of this Annah Stretton skirt.

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But all the best plans change and instead Miss Chalmers got spots.

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I cut this out one night (quite late) after tracing the pattern and sewed it up the next night. It is a super easy skirt to make and I love it for work or casual.
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I definitely see more of these in my pipeline.

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Summer Holiday book finds

While on holiday I went to the Quota Book fest in Opotiki and managed to pick up these great books.  I also got a few novels, but they are not as interesting or pretty.

imageThis is one of my favourite pages of the The Complete Book of Sewing (Published in 1947) as it states when sewing should be social (checking for fit) and when it is alone work (concentrating on cutting out).  My Mum and I browsed through this for about an hour and will definitely be using it as a regular resource in my sewing.

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Accent on Sewing is slightly newer as it was published in the 1970s.  This page appealed to me due to my RTW Fast for the year.

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I want to challenge myself this year with sewing leather, so I picked up How to Sew Leather Suede and Fur.  It does have many helpful tips but I got distracted by this section on how to make your own mink stole.

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Clothing and Textiles is a Home Economics text book from the local college and it has lots of basic information.

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Another old textbook is Fashion Design, once you can get past the 1980’s drawings in inspiration images, there is some really good stuff.

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Finally the cover of Patchwork Quilting drew me in – I would love to make a big loud quilt similar to the picture below.

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I didn’t take any pics of the inside of the knitting book as I think I got distracted.  I also got a few sewing magazines, the stitches on with a special on Overlockers is interesting as I got mine from the Op-Shop and cannot find a manual for it.  It has given me a few tips and ideas to try.

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The Burda is all in German and is all embroidery stitching but there are a couple of inspiration images that I think I can work out how to do.

Finally the Golden Hands is older than me and the pattern is fully intact.  It also has a drafted wrap skirt that I will definitely be giving a go.

22/52 Retro Stars

I have wanted to make Butterick B5747 for a while and was always going to be in khaki drill from the stash, but inspired by Lilacs & Lace, Julia Bobbin, and pins and noodles it got moved up the queue and I had to go bolder.  So after some stash diving I came up for air with this star covered sheeting that was going to be curtains for the boys at the old house.

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It has my first ever bound button holes using this fabulous tutorial from Juxtapose and my first ever covered buttons – which I managed to centre a star on each one.  I made the dress one size bigger than the packet and it turned out great.

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I love the drama of the colour and have lots of fun wearing it!
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I am glad it has the dickie though as it would be completely inappropriate and I would never be able to do the above pose without it.  Not much else to say about this dress but to show the crazy WSBN girls who photobombed at out photoshoot after the WSBN picnic

Kat – Modern Vintage Cupcakes

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And Nikki – Nikki’s Stitches

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I am taking a Fast!

A buying Ready to Wear (RTW) Clothing for 2014 Fast.  I have joined Goodbye Valentino’s 2014 pledge to refrain from buying ALL outerwear, dresses, tops, pants, shorts, sweaters, coats, exercise clothes, jeans and bathing suits. Shoes, socks and underwear are permitted. 

So far so good!

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20/52 Rainbow Nougat dress

There have been hints and peeks of this dress in progress and now she is finally finished.
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It is my Rainbow Nougat dress.  This pattern was kindly given to me by AnaJan of Stepalica to make.

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 I leapt at the chance to challenge myself.  And it was a challenge, but in a good way.  When reading through the instructions I was inspired by the suggestion to make a rainbow version.

I made a rough mock up in paint as seen below to get the balance of colours.  I knew the main skirt would be green (my favourite) and just cycled through the rainbow from there.

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I had to grade up the pattern one size based on my measurements at the time.  I was worried about this with so many pieces but it was actually easy as the multi-panel bodice is actually one pattern piece that you trace off the different sections adding your seam allowance.  I also did not want the diamond in the middle of the chest as I thought I has enough on my chest as it is.  So I hacked the pattern a little more to make all the “triangles” meet in the middle

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I did make a muslin as I was concerned about the fit.  I used the lining which is a simple bodice with a Y shaped dart at the bottom.  I am glad I did this as I had to re-cut the skirt with a bit more room in the waist/hips for my booty.  I did a split as shown below with the original yoke piece over the new.wpid-IMG_20130907_155911.jpgFor the bodice I cut the pieces two at a time and sewed each as I cut them so I didn’t get confused. I traced the pieces out using carbon and a tracing wheel, then I added on the seam allowance to cut out.  I also changed things a little which means my sides do not match perfectly as I folded my bodice and back down the middle and made each half identical instead of the more spiral designed by Ana.

tracing, tracing, tracing

tracing, tracing, tracing

I started this dress in late August, I got it almost finished at my sewing weekend away at the start of October, and then I scared.  Scared that I had done all this work and it would not fit, scared that it would look ridiculous on, and scared that I would get this close the finishing and I would make a big mistake.  So it went to the bottom of the pile.

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So close to finishing

Finally I got brave, and knowing I had lost 5kgs I sewed up my side seams with the smallest seam allowance…and it was too big, so I made them a normal seam allowance that I had cut it for, and it fits, and could probably go a little smaller but I didn’t want to push my luck.  The darts are a little pointy, but I think with everything else going on in this dress they are not a big problem.  The Rainbow Nougat got its debut at the WSBN Christmas picnic

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Above is up close with the detail of the spiral and darts. Below the side views.

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I love the end result but this Rainbow was a rollercoaster ride of sewing.