33/52 Fine feathers make fine birds

This dress was inspired by the WSBN Facebook group, when someone posted this fabric in a different colourway.

I liked it but it was not WOW!  I was in Auckland at the time and had a small amount of time to fabric shop so I went to Centrepoint fabrics and after being overwhelmed by all the prints

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and doing several laps of the store I ending up leaving with a dress length of two birds fabrics – this one and this (which I hope to sew soon).

Again I had to wait until I found a pattern that really shouted out to be matched with the fabric and I went with the princess seams of McCalls 6741 which I got from Arthur Toyes closing down pattern sale.  The great thing about this print is that birds are evenly distributed with heads up and down so I could easily lay out my pattern pieces.  I also managed to avoid bird boob – bonus points for that.
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This dress has in-seam pockets in the princess seams which are almost invisible till I flap my hands about in them.
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I was planning on making the sleeveless version, however since it is definitely Autumn…almost winter I thought to add the cap sleeves.  I work in warm office so a cardigan, slip and tights will see me through with this.  Before I did this I had to do my favourite adjustment a LBBA (Low Big Boob Adjustment) by taking out excess fabric in the princess seam above the bust so I don’t have flappy fabric on my upper chest.

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Pinning out my LBBA

The only other change I made was to do a facing instead of fully lining it – mostly because I’m lazy and could be bothered cutting out a whole other dress in lining.  I just traced the neckline off the pattern pieces to make neat little facings.
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This is a twirly swirly fun dress and thanks to Mel for taking sneaky photos at the Fabric Store the other day.

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Just a little something to take home

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Pendrell and Pavlova

I want to show you my new Pendrell top.  It is the first time I have sewed a Sewaholic pattern and I got got it from Dresses and Me a few months ago…what do you mean you can’t see it….pendrellandpavlova1

How about now… No?

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Okay…winter is definitely coming to Wellington and I am about to show off my new short sleeve blouse…

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I used a quilting cotton from the sale table at Spotlight and the only intentional adjustment I made was to take 8cm off the length as this is a very long top.  I did make one other small change… I added a keyhole feature to the neckline which is held shut with an awesome brooch from Smash Palace who use old plates to make their jewelry.

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I created this feature as I had an overlocking incident when finishing my inside seams and I accidentally cut a wedge out of the front neckline.  I just curved out the missing chunk and bound the edge before binding the rest of the neck.

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I will definitely be making another one of these – hopefully without any extra alterations.  I also made another Pavlova skirt by Cake Patterns to go with this top.  After the first one not fitting I wanted to give it another go as I really want a circle skirt that fits.  I re-took my measurements, re-read the instructions and cut into some burgundy wool from the stash.  I sewed the side seams and tried it on.

PavlovaTake2The pin above shows where my side seam should be…8cms from where the current side seam is.  This means the skirt is 16cm too big for me.  The pattern states it has 2 inches of ease – which seems too much in my opinion – but 16cm = over 6 inches!   So I put all instructions aside, cut off the offending inches and made up the rest as I went along.

In my random making up  I didn’t leave a big enough gap for a zip so I went old-fashioned and put domes in and a hook closure with non-functioning button on top.

Pavlova Closure

Now I have a circle skirt that fits.Pavlova

35/52 It’s a Wrap

When I first saw the video for the Teach Me Fashion wrap dress I was fascinated. I don’t usually enjoy watching sewing videos – I am more a pictures and words girl for my tutorials and I get distracted by perfect manicures – yet this one lured me in. I had funds burning in my paypal account that were equal to the pattern price $10 USD so it was meant to be! I downloaded this puppy, printed, taped and was off and sewing in less than 24 hours from coming home from the fabric store (on a work night too!).

The official model

The official model

If you are making this dress please heed the recommended fabrics – not all knits are suitable… especially not undrapey Ponte like I chose for my first version. Thankfully this became a perfect muslin as I had a few issues with the sizing of the pattern. It is one-size – which normally I wouldn’t do as many indie patterns cater for a smaller size than me but I was within the measurements on their charts so I went with it. Full Disclosure: I am 170cm tall with Bust 104cm, Waist 94cm, hips 114cm. I found this dress TOO big!!!

FlossieFT-TeachMeFashion-Wrap1 The arm holes were too big and there was too much fabric across the back even for my wide load. It also finished mid-calf with was not flattering.

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I made a second version with some lovely drapey knit from my stash of dubious origin…I think maybe an op-shop…maybe for $8 for over 2 metres. I took up the hem by 8 cms and took a wedge out of the back starting at 1 cm on the fold at the neck down to about 3 cms at the bottom. I also did a slightly smaller wedge out of the front fold.

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This is a clever pattern, with only two pattern pieces, with the front and back cut on the fold with just a slightly lower neckline on the front and the wrap ties.

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This is the clever part – they join into the side seams to create the ties that can be wrapped in front or back….

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OR you can pop the ties inside the dress to make soft hip pockets.

FlossieFT-TeachMeFashion-Wrap5The instructions are pretty thin as the you tube video is a key reference and this explains how the main pieces go together – I just fast forwarded to the part I wanted – and then noted the key points on my pattern piece.

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Final verdict: I love it! As I was sewing I was imagining who this dress would suit and how many others I could make up. It is a definite hit for me with the minor fitting alterations.

36/52 Ava Raccoons

Or how to avoid the dreaded raccoon boobs in 3 easy steps

I loved this fabric the first time I saw it on Dolly Clackett and Rhinestones and Telephones, then the Curious Kiwi shared a parcel of fabric she had with it in it and my little brain realised that I could have raccoons too!!! After much googling, checking on shipping options and for the first time in my life checking with my husband if I could buy fabric… not sure why but I did I was buying it anyway. I got my own Raccoons which is actually Tula Pink – Acacia winter (I am not sure if I have ever had a fabric with a name before).

AvaRaccoons2 I got the Ava Pattern by Victory Patterns in the first Pattern Parcel. I thought it would be the perfect pattern to showcase this fabric as there are not too many seams to cut off raccoon heads. I found a plain cotton poplin at the Fabric Warehouse that matched one of the accent colours nicely and I was off. I spent a decent amount of time holding the pattern piece to my chest trying to see where it sat. Then I traced Racoon heads and tails from my fabric onto the pattern piece and checked again as I did not want little noses pointing out from my bust.

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This is the key to how to avoid the dreaded raccoon boobs in 3 easy steps and I think I managed it! I put all my cut out pieces in a bag to be sewn for the Monthly Stitch Indie Pattern month Dresses competition and carried on cutting out other projects.

For the top of the bodice I used a solid poplin so I cut two of the front and back so I could self-line the top of the bodice instead of a binding on the neckline. This means I have a nice clean neckline which I prefer.  I went with the cap sleeves of version 3 but the tea length of version 1 with no ruffles or binding.  The instructions on how to create a crisp point on the sweetheart neckline are great.

bodiceI went to attach the skirt to the bodice and realised I had only cut out one of the front/back pieces and one of the side panels.  I then remembered that I had intended to cut out a second front/back panel on the fold, but I obviously got distracted.  I got out the remains of my fabric and realised the next problem… I only had about 1 metre left by 60cm and a few scraps… and I had to cut two large semi circular panels.  The fabric is a quilting cotton so is 112cm wide and I had only bought 2.75 Yards (which is 2.5metres for us metric folks), and the Ava version 1 needs 4 3/8 Metres… so I was a little short!

So I went to a calm space and remembered ‘I’m a pattern matching ninja and good at maths’. I managed to eek out half of a back panel out of my large section of fabric and carefull matched and pieced the other half.

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Can you see the joins?

Joining Seams

There they are

 

 

 

 

 

Now I had THREE panels.  Since I was one short my skirt waist seam was 63cm and the bodice was 99 that it had to match… so I did MATHS!

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Using a circumference calculator online I found how much to increase the radius of the circle. I was hesitant and only cut off a 1.5cms at a time as I didn’t want to go the other way and go too big.  AvaRaccoons1I love that I made this work.  This skirt does not have as much volume as the pattern intends and I do want to make another to show it off to its twirly swirly best.

IMG_5105p.s. why am I taking photos in the dark?  I was at my boys rugby and wanted somewhere different to take the pics…and I had a deadline to meet 🙂

37/52 A little lace and a little rock and roll

The whole time sewing this I was singing to myself Avril Lavigne’s Sk8er Boi .  I know that this dress is called Lady Skater by Kitschy Coo but I changed the words a little to be girl-centric

She was a skater girl, she said, “See ya later, boy.”

He wasn’t good enough for her.

Now she’s a superstar

Slammin’ on her guitar

Does your pretty face see what she’s worth?

Lady Skater1I felt very rock and roll making and wearing this. I cut out a 14 bust and a 18 waist and hip and it fits perfectly. I did not construct it as per the instructions due to my two layers of fabric.  I used a grey stretch lace from a Fabric Warehouse sale (about $3/m) and a blue knit underneath that I hoped would show through more.

Lady skater insidesI sewed the bodice treating the colour and lace layers as one piece, the sleeves are lace only and the skirt side seams are sewn separately and joined as one to the bodice. This is similar style of construction as used in my Lots of Frosting dress. This means the I get a twirly swirly two layered skirt and a simple bodice with no added bulk.

IMG_5089and I had to actually try skating in it…kind of…

IMG_5083…I can ollie.. and the camera just missed the frontside kickflip…

IMG_5088and I nailed the landing!

I think this dress is one that everyone needs in their wardrobe.