Tuesday, February 25, 2014

neon leopard Vogue 1247 top

I'll be the first to admit, I almost swooned when I saw Cirque du Bebe's Vogue 1247 top. The pattern, the fabric, the make. Perfect, no? I had to try it.
I bought the pattern online via Vogue US ($6!, but then I had to pay shipping) because in the middle of the night there is nothing more satisfying than buying patterns while sitting in your pyjamas (perhaps why I love the indie patterns so much?).

I read a lot of reviews & decided to jump straight in to make up a wearable muslin. The fabric is 100% printed polyester (OH THE SHAME). I didn't want to use a silk (things need to go in the washing machine in my house) and I wanted something drapier than linen. This fabric is very fluid and I do love the pattern, even if it is a Bit Crazy. As for the polyester, if I don't wear it on a blistering hot day then it's not too bad :)

Some notes

  • Pattern: Vogue 1247 top, Fabric: 1.8m printed polyester. 112cm wide. ($12.58)
  • As per other reviews, I made a size 8 (two sizes smaller than usual) but graded out to a 12 at the hips.
  • Next time I'll lengthen the whole thing it a few cms.
  • The sleeves were too long for my preference, and I also found the sleeve facings a bugger to sew. I'll scrap the sleeve facing next time, instead will hem & fold up the kimono sleeve.
  • I didn't find the neckline too revealing (although, my self-binding isn't my best effort - thanks to my fast & furious sewing. take the time, rebecca!).
  • Don't look closely, that intersection of the 6 french seams is abysmal. Again, I just wanted it finished!
  • This fabric frayed pretty badly so I was glad for all the french seams. It doesn't press so well either, but I think the pattern hides all the little (sewing) flaws.

I really enjoyed sewing this top, it was very satisfying watching it come together. I like the loose fit of this top, with the delicate design features. I think it would look better on me with a long necklace, to counteract that beige background of the print & my pale skin.  I definitely want to make a few of these in solid colours - white, navy, emerald green? I think it would be nice in a rayon too?

Friday, February 21, 2014

ikat maxi dress - self drafted

I'm always impressed when I see someone's make with the word "self drafted" in the title. I'm good at following  pattern directions, but always get a bit sloppy when I have to pave the way myself. I've self drafted a few kids clothes, but never ladies so this was a little experiment with a happy ending. I do have the Sewaholic Saltspring pattern and originally thought about using it but I didn't think the gathers at the waist would work for this fabric.

 For me, a maxi should be loose and flowing. I have a RTW maxi (Target, 2 yrs ago) that I liked the bodice of so I loosely copied it for this dress. I used a lovely ikat blue rayon from Spotlight. It has a lovely drape and is cool to wear. I used 2.5m and had to use a centre back seam to fit the pattern in. (So very little pattern matching too). A few more notes

  • Front is self faced. I used some slight gathers in the top neckline to give some shape instead of darts. I cut the facing to fit the front once the gathers had been... gathered.
  • The back facing is more like a yolk and includes a casing for the strap. 
  • The back has slight gathers where it meats the yolk.
  • I wear a strapless bra under this dress.
  • The hem is just a basic fold up twice & machine sew. 
  • I serged all the seams because this stuff frays!

I've been thinking a lot about sewing clothes for my lifestyle- and for me that is being a mum, and maybe a pregnant or breast-feeding mum. We are hoping to add another baby number into our family in the next year or so, and I am thinking ahead to maternity and feeding wear. I love sewing, and would love to see my (time consuming, labours of love) makes go the distance, instead of not being able to wear them for 18months or so. I love wearing dresses and find that they are hard to wear (maxi's especially) if you're planning to breastfeed. The prototype Target dress I used was modified by me to have clips at the front shoulder straps to allow for feeding access. I purposefully sewed this dress with a strap/tie that is separate to the dress. This means with some simple unpicking I can swap this strap for another which will be able to be used for feeding. I might use a strap similar to the Saltspring dress which ties up, or I might use some nursing clips. Either way, that's about a year away! I think I would be able to wear this dress during pregnancy for the first and some of the second trimester. I love the thought that this dress pattern will serve me well for the next few years. (Would love to hear if you've successfully made feeding-friendly changes to your patterns? I think the Saltspring dress could be a good option for feeding because of the straps. & I will definitely look into the Megan Nielsen maternity patterns too.)

I love that this dress can be casual, or dressy depending on accessories. I've worn this to the beach with flats, and dressed up with a belt & chandelier earrings for a fancy engagement party. 

If you're thinking a maxi is in your sewing future- I love this similar but simpler style from the Tessuti blog. That fabric is divine!!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Denim Maritime Shorts

fabric - loose weave denim, spotlight
pattern - maritime shorts, grainline studio

I'm trying to take the time to sew the things I wear on a daily basis. And with a little boy to follow around all day, these Maritime Shorts from Grainline fit the bill easily.

Like a few other sewers,  I had to adjust the centre back seam. After making a wearable muslin, I sewed a size 10 & changed the back pieces accordingly:
  • took in approximately 2cm from the centre back seam
  • added 2 darts, both in the centre of the two back pieces (approximately in the middle of where the top of the pockets sit). I made sure I didn't sew on the pockets until I could try the shorts on to fit. Both darts take in about a 1.5cm each.
  • I then adjusted the length of the waistband to fit the changes made.

 Because of the loose weave of this denim, I knew these shorts would stretch & loosen during wear. I usually wear a belt but I wanted to do something to keep the fit snug all day long. In a favourite pair of RTW shorts, the back waistband has elastic added to it. I thought this was a great idea that would fix this problem - and I was right! I added some 3cm elastic into the back portion of the waistband. I didn't stretch it too much, you can't really tell it's there. And because these are fairly casual pants I think it looks ok, and practically makes for a snug fit all day long.

I don't really love sewing fly fronts. There, I've said it.
I added belt loops following a Colletterie tutorial.
I also made them slightly longer (?3cm).

I bought a decent yardage of this denim so of course had to make a matching pair for my son (with the promise to never wear them at the same time. That's a bit too matchy-matchy for me!!). I used the MADE kid shorts, racer variation.

The final pic shows me wearing these shorts, in my best mum-pose (making sure the kid doesn't fall off) on the jetty on Fraser Island, Australia's largest sand island.


Sunday, February 2, 2014

a pair of sleeveless Grainline Archer shirts

two sleeveless archers. I love seeing all the appreciation for this great pattern. I wanted the challenge of making a button up, collared shirt & knew this pattern would be perfect to teach me some new techniques (inserting a yoke, collar, button band). I found the instructions so clear and simple. Here's my notes on both my makes.

The first
fabric: vintage thin cotton, ?double gauze? almost like a thin cheesecloth? From my stash (I think even stolen from my mums stash!). Buttons, thrifted.
Pattern: Grainline Archer
Cut: Size 10.
This is my first wearable Archer (first = quick muslin). It's a loose fit on me, but will be the perfect breezy top for our Australian summer. I followed Jen's instructions to shave a bit off the armholes to make a neater, sleeveless finish. I made view B, with the ruffles at the back. It really adds a lovely femininity to the top, and makes it that little bit longer so I can wear leggings with it. I added a small bust dart to gather in the fit, probably due to cutting a slightly larger size than I needed. I used satin bias binding to finish the armholes.

The second: 
fabric: thin black cotton from my stash. Black poly/cotton used as facing for yoke & button band. Black polycotton bias binding for armhole binding. thrifted buttons.

A very similar make to my pink one.  I made this one a little more fitted, taking it in on the side seams, more at the waist.
I spent a lot of time figuring out which way was the right/wrong side of this black fabric (there is a slight pattern woven into it. Do i want the bumpy side out or in?). I changed my mind after cutting it out, so the button placket is on the left, not right side.
I think I'll change the clear white buttons for black ones. Otherwise I love this basic addition to my wardrobe. It's such a classic, easy style that will get a lot of wear this summer. (note: brown crunchy grass & rusty shed = Australian summer at its best).

following; more pictures of both ..

laser cut leather clutch

tory birch laser cut leather clutch.

This stunning emerald green leather is from The Fabric Store (Brisbane). Using their tutorial on their blog, with black leather strapping from Spotlight as "thread".  Such a quick & easy little project, looks fab, and would make a great gift.

I might change up the clasp, but for now this button from my stash will do just fine (anchored into laser cuts with some hat elastic).