Friday, September 26, 2014

Some DKNY indulgence

It’s been a while since I made anything for myself, and its been a long while since I made anything fancy!

And as all three of my girls are pretty well sorted for summer clothes, I think that I can spend a bit of time doing some self indulgent sewing before I have to get on top of the Christmas sewing jobs.
                          V1308, Misses' Jumpsuit

                     V1300, Misses' Dress and Slip

I have had these two Vogue DKNY patterns in the stash for a while, they should be pretty easy to sew up and I just happen to have the right fabrics in the stash for both of them, so I am going to ignore the fact that I don’t actually need any clothes like this and just have some sewing fun.

I have an emerald green rayon that I will use for the dress, but will shorten to top length, and I have some black linen/rayon blend fabric for the jumpsuit.

It’s school holidays here at the moment, so if I can park the kids in front of a movie on a day or two I might get these sewn up pretty quickly!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

By bye Burda..........hello Pochee!

This is the year that I have finally said goodbye to my Burda subscription. I have been a subscriber since 2008, and realised that I now have a pretty good library of just about every skirt, pant, jacket and top pattern that I am ever likely to get from Burda.

I realised that I usually make only one or two patterns from each issue, and sometimes none at all, so in terms of my pattern budget it does end up being a bit of a luxury.

And now that Burda is releasing their new styles as individual downloads at Burdastyle, then I figure that if there is a pattern that is totally different to what I already have, I can download it when required. While I am a bit sad that I won’t be getting the glossy pattern goodness in my mailbox each month, I am happy that I have amassed a pretty great library of wearable patterns.

So what did I do now that I no longer subscribe? Go out and spend my money on more pattern books!

I noticed that Burda tends to have a fairly slim fitting style (think pencil skirts and narrow trousers) and I felt that I needed some basic, looser fitting styles, especially for summer.

So I ordered these three issues of Sewing Pochee magazine. Click on the links for more info as to what is inside.

I have to say though, that getting three at once has been a bit much, as there are a lot of patterns in each one and it is going to take a bit of time to digest what is inside.

But at first glance, the thing I am most impressed with is this handy little graphic, a key that shows you where each pattern piece for a particular style is on the pattern sheet, Burda please take note!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Jacket with the works

Its got quilting, a hood, snaps, vintage hot pink velvet ribbon and it’s made from shiny silver leopard print taffeta……… ack!

What a pity it’s not my size!

Looks good on Miss C though.

Miss C has had a recent growth spurt which just happen to coincide with a bitterly cold gust of winter, so my plans of squeezing her into last years jacket went out the window faster than Jack Frost came in.

While we are not a particularly outdoorsy family, no camping, hiking or fishing happens much ‘round here, we do walk pretty much everyday, so a warm jacket is pretty vital to our winter wardrobe.

So while I had no intentions to do any seriously hard concentrating type of sewing this season, I realised that I did need to get something together for her. Or buy something, which didn’t seem nearly as appealing.

Here are the deets


Vintage McCalls pattern, dated 1977. Size 8.
I have had this one in the stash for quite some time.
It is described as an unlined jacket with raglan sleeves, hood and front button fastening.
I did have to do quite a bit of work to turn this into a warm jacket but it was a great shell to start from.

Outer layer: nylon leopard print taffeta (bought for $2 m from Spotlight)
Inner layer: premium, thick polar fleece, in baby pink of course
Lining: mystery shiny stuff from the stash, again in pink.
Hood lining: silver mesh, long time stash resident, circa late last century.
Cuffs: mystery rib knit from the stash.
Trim: vintage hot pink nylon velvet ribbon for the hood and hem and silver snaps for closures.

Sewing Notes

I think I have trumped myself on last year’s jacket, which only got a couple of outings. This took quite a while of thinking and deliberating and while not necessarily hard to sew, everything needed to be done accurately and in the right order. I tossed around different fastening and pocket ideas but in the end went easy on myself and chose the simplest options to sew.

I cut the body, sleeves and hood from the taffeta and polar fleece fabrics and quilted these together and then treated this as a single piece of fabric.

I cut the lining from the same pattern pieces, sewed these together and then used this to underline the jacket, so it is not really a true lining but does the job of hiding all those messy seams.

I needed to draft a back facing for the neck, the pattern had a different finish as it was not originally lined, and I cut a third layer, the mesh fabric, for the hood lining.

The velvet ribbon was used to trim the hood and jacket hem and I made some pocket flaps to add to the patch pockets.

I used metal snaps instead of buttons and buttonholes and used some grey ribbing to finish the sleeves instead of the original elastic casing.

While it does seem a bit of a hodge podge of fabrics and textures, some bits are new, some bits are old, I think it has come together quite nicely. All up, and not considering the value of my time, this jacket cost just under $30 to make. Which I think would be about half the price of something similar in RTW so I will count that as a win!

And I got this finished just in the nick of time for Pattern Review’s outerwear contest. Yay me!

While I did enjoy making this, the project has sucked all of my sewing mojo out of me, so I expect I will be floundering a bit sewing wise for a while. I don’t have anything that NEEDS to be made right now so things could be quite for a while!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Jaywalk dress......brrrrr!

Let me start by saying that this isn't exactly how I imagined wearing this dress when I started making it!

When I first got the fabric we were in the middle of a balmy, warm Autumn and so I had breezy summer dresses, cossies and thongs on my mind.
In the time it has taken me to sew it (and unpick it a few times but let's not dwell on that bit!), the weather has turned and there is a definite chill in the air, and lets just say that I am too soft to suffer (and freeze) for my art!
So here is my Jaywalk dress, worn over a spencer and a pair of velvet jeans. I did have a scarf as well but that just tipped the look over from "transeasonal" to just plain wrong!

And now for the nuts and bolts!

The pattern

Style 4152 dated 1984
I used this vintage pattern from the stash as a starting point, cutting the short sleeve, non cowl view off at just above the waistline. I then just made a big rectangle from the remaining fabric and gathered this on to the bodice.

What went wrong
Initially I cut both sections of the bodice in the Jaywalk fabric, but the skirt was too heavy and causing all sorts of horrible dragging at the side seam. I realised that I would need to use a woven for the side panels to hold up the weight of the skirt and fortunately I had some stripe cotton seersucker that was just the right weight and was an interesting print contrast to the larger Jaywalk stripe. So I unpicked the skirt and the side panels (I kept the panels intact so I may just use them to make a top later on down the track), replaced the side panels with the new fabric and sewed the skirt back on.

For the second go at the skirt, I used some Tessuti ribbon as a waist stay and this seemed to help stabilise the weight of the skirt.

Shameless attempt at getting extra points in the competition!

Other garment details

Dress inside back

A number of my RTW t shirts have a small mock facing on the back, and I thought it would be fun to add another print to the dress. This is simply a piece of spotty viscose jersey, cut, fused and overlocked and then stitched to the back.

I also used a coral pink jersey for the neck binding to add a pop of colour and break up the monochrome a bit.

And I used some large vintage rayon ric rac for the bodice seaming which also helps prevent those seams from stretching out.

I nearly gave up on this dress a couple of times during the make (and probably introduced the girls to a few words that they probably shouldn't be hearing just yet!), but I am glad that I persevered,.as I think it will be a great summer dress. I can imagine wearing it over some denim shorts or cutoffs in spring and then as a dress as it gets hotter.

Here is one last look.

And as Tigger would say TTFN, I am pooped and ready for a non sewing long weekend!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The dress dilemma

Dresses have always frightened me. When I was younger, dresses seemed to be for the older, more together kind of woman, the Mad Men type, with a proper job and responsibilities and you know, a lifestyle.

Now that I am older, I am afraid that the kind of dresses that appeal to me now are too young for me.

Last summer was the first time that I have really given some thought to making dresses for myself.

Out of the two dresses that I made, my ikat dress was worn just about every week and I always got compliments when I wore it. And it was supremely cool and comfy to wear.

The maxi was worn once to a special event. While I like the style, it is a bit more streamlined and grown up than the ikat, it is just to impractical for everyday.

This is currently my Favourite Dress of All Time, and is  similar to the high waist style of the ikat. But is this style really too young for me?
Chop Chop dress by Gorman

And the reason that I have dresses on my mind, is that I purchased some of Tessuti’s Jaywalk fabric from their current sewing competition.

I originally bought it thinking that I would put it into the stash and sew up a few simple tees for next summer. But when the fabric arrived, I realised that it was such a lovely quality that it probably deserved to be a bit more special than a T shirt.

Which brings me back to the dress dilemma. I only have 1 metre of each colourway so anything I make will have to combine both colourways, and the fabric is surprisingly heavy so anything too bulky ie with lots of draping or gathering might be tricky.

And there is only 2 weeks left before the deadline, so I really should stick with something that I know will fit and not be too tricky sewing wise. Or maybe I should just go back to sewing elastic waist leggings for the kids!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Big kids winter wardrobe ......done!

While I have been spending my evenings working on the Lucy La La pattern, I have been able to accomplish quite a bit of sewing during the day. And I am happy to report that all of the pieces (bar the raincoat, that is on the shelf for next year) that I wanted to make for her for winter are now done. And what's even better is that every piece is being worn on a weekly basis!

The last pieces that I have finished are 2 versions of this Burdastyle pattern.

Burdastyle 10/2013
I made the dress in a size 122 which means she will still get some wear out of it next year.
I left out the pockets as my fleecy fabric was quite thick and I also left out the colour blocking detail on the sleeves, but other than that there are no other changes.

 For the 2nd version, I made it shorter and used a printed fleecy for the front, omitting the colour blocking detail.

I did try different hem treatments for the sleeve frills. For the dress I left the edge raw, and for the sweater top I turned the hem under and topstitched. I think I prefer the raw edge, it does tend to need a trim every time I wash it, but it is not as bulky as the hemmed edge.

My only real issue with this pattern is that the ribbing for the hem needs to be just a fraction tighter, but other than that I can see that this is going to be a very useful pattern. It is an easy sew, no fitting issues except for perhaps length, and there are lots of different colour and fabric combos that would be fun to play around with.

And now that I have Miss C kitted out for the cold months ahead, I am going to indulge in a little selfish sewing for me!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Lucy La La skirt tutorial

As promised, here is a more detailed (with pics!) sewing tutorial for the Lucy La La skirt pattern.

If you haven't already downloaded the pattern, you can do so here.

I mentioned in the intro post that the sewing instructions in the pdf were pretty brief. This was mainly to save on printing, but also because the skirt itself is a pretty straightforward sew.

But being a visual learner myself ( I need to see someone do something to be able to do it myself), I know pics can be useful when learning to sew, so the following is a pictorial rundown of how to cut out and sew the skirt.

1. Cutting layout.

In all my testing of the pattern, I used fabric that was 150cm wide, and was easily able to cut the skirt out of 40cm of fabric. I have suggested to use 50cm however, which means you can cut from 115cm or 150cm wide fabric and have a bit left over. I like having leftovers because they are great to have on hand for making bias binding, quilts and especially last minute gifts!

If you are using a fabric with a nap, such as a corduroy or a one way print then you will need extra fabric.

                                       Cutting layout for 150cm wide fabric with no nap

You will notice that the Front/Back and Side Yoke pattern pieces are butted up against each other. I like to do this whenever I have pieces with straight edges as it makes the cutting go faster and saves on fabric which is always a good thing!

2. Sewing the Skirt

    Sew side front yoke panels to centre front yoke panel.
    Sew side back yoke panels to centre back yoke panel.

    The front and back of the skirt are the same, and you will notice that there are no side seams. 
    The wider piece is the centre panel for the front and back and the narrower piece is the side. 
    While it is simple for an adult to see this, I sewed a label into the 'back' of my skirts so that my
    daughter wouldn't have any trouble getting dressed by herself.

    Sew side skirt panels to centre front skirt panel.
    Sew side skirt panels to centre back skirt panels.
    Finish yoke and skirt seam edges, press seams towards side of skirt and topstitch.

Yoke seams pressed and topstitched

Skirt seams pressed and topstitched

     Sew skirt to yoke, matching seams.

Skirt pinned to yoke

    Finish skirt seam edge, press seam toward yoke and topstitch.
    Finish waist edge and press along casing line.

    Elastic casing
Note: I have used Kathleen Fasanella’s method of inserting the waist elastic without the use of a safety pin. This is a great method and one I have not come across in a home sewing context. I have briefly outlined the method here, but for a more detailed tutorial please go and have a look at the Fashion Incubator site where she has posted an excellent and more detailed tutorial

Cut elastic to fit waist, allowing an extra 2cm seam allowance. Sew elastic to form a loop.

Waist casing pressed and elastic loop

     Place elastic loop inside casing and sew down casing.

    Finish hem edge, turn up 1cm and topstitch.

    I have suggested topstitching the hem, but there are other methods you could try here.
    Blogless Anna has made a lovely pink version using bias binding for the hem, which has lots of potential for
    mixing colours and prints, or you could use other trims such as lace or ric rac to finish the hem. Because it is a
    curved hem, a fairly narrow hem is the way to go, or some fabrics such as a stable knit like ponte could even
    be left as a raw, cut edge.

   And now your skirt is done! I hope this tutorial is helpful, if you have any questions please feel free to leave a
   comment or contact me by email, I am more than happy to help with any questions you may have!

   And happy sewing!