Monday, December 7, 2015

Chambray Kate Top

Summer sewing is in full swing! I couldn't resist one of the newer patterns by Tessuti Fabrics - the Kate Top. Tank tops are daily wear around here so I knew I couldn't go wrong. And also, they're running a competition if you sew it up! Run don't walk, friends!

The Kate top is a boxy-cropped tank (on trend!). I found some delicious chambray at The Fabric Store (Brisbane). All the cool kids are wearing chambray but I've never been able to find the right fabric. This one is a lovely weight and colour. I do like breezy tops and worried the chambray would be too hot for summer, but made up this top has a lovely structure while still keeping me cool.

Some notes
  • I made view A - scoop neck.
  • After a muslin in size Small, I decided to cut an X-Small. I added seam allowances and made a CF and CB seam for detail/decoration. The fit is great on me! 
  • I used the exposed binding (self bias) and loved the idea of contrasting topstitching so went a bit crazy on the CF, CB, hem and binding.
  • I added a pocket! A ridiculously small pocket: I used the template from the Tiny Pocket Tank by Grainline Studio. 
  • I will definitely be using the clean method Tessuti use to sew the side-split/hem. It does add a few extra steps but it's not hard and definitely gives a professional finish.
  • I sewed in a little Tessuti label in the back, along the seam. 
  • The tank is pretty short, I'm happy with the length but I am also pretty short (165cm). Taller ladies beware!

All in all a great top, definitely some of my best sewing (nothing like a competition to bring out the perfectionist in me!). 

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Southport Dress in the Crazy Rayon

Summer has hit in the southern hemisphere, which means I need summer dresses for every day! The Southport Dress by True Bias was released just as things started to cool down for us in Australia (back in April), but I still snapped it up on release day, knowing it would be the perfect summer dress. There was a lot of love for the Southport during the Northern Hemisphere summer, and I have no doubt there will be the same "down under".

Here is my wearable muslin and really, it's as perfect as I thought it would be!

this pose - trying to hide the remote behind my back... so dorky!

Some notes
  • I cut a 10 bust, and 8 waist/hips. Next time, I'll cut a straight 8 as I took in the bodice side seams about 1cm.
  • Fabric is some *crazy print* rayon from Spotlight, it's nice to wear and the crazy print hides the wrinkles that rayon tends to get. While I decided I don't love the print after I bought it - it really is great for hiding all matter of kid-related-messes so let's just call it the perfect print.

  • I used slightly bigger buttons than suggested - these ones from my local craft shop are giving off a fabulous 80s vibe.

  • I followed along with the pattern instructions & sewalong - and they are great. 
  • Minor changes: the back skirt was cut with a CB seam because of fabric restrictions. 
  • Also I added a strip of elastic in the middle third of the waist tie (it's all hidden inside the waistband) to add a bit of flexibility & it just makes it more comfortable to wear. Here's a quick pic of what my waist tie looked like before I threaded it through. (basically I made two smaller ties, and a length of elastic)

  • I made the skirt a tad shorter (?1 inch) but I'm a shorty (165cm)
With the button placket, this dress is nursing (breastfeeding) friendly - I have tried it out many times over the last fortnight. It's lovely to wear dresses again! I cannot wait to make up the Maxi version B - I have some amazing rayon I bought recently in Helsinki, Finland (!!). I'll chat about my fabric "souveniers" in that post!
When your dress matches the flowers in your tree!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

neon floral Tate Top

Hemlock, Mandy, Sorbetto, Plantain, Polly. There are some fab free sewing patterns available from some amazing indie pattern designers, aren't there? This is another one, the Tate Top by Workroom Social. I put this little beauty together pretty quickly for a recent wedding where I wanted something cute (check), nursing friendly (check) and dressy/casual enough for a country farm wedding (I wore it with black skinny jeans- so check check!!). Thanks Jennifer for a great pattern!

 Some notes...
  • The download is only for the pattern (no instructions) but the construction is pretty easy to figure out.
  • I made a size 14, after checking the finished measurements and allowing for the ease I wanted. 
  • I made the back of the top less "racer back" by eyeballing the armholes when cutting, to allow me to wear a nursing tank underneath without the straps peaking out.
  • Fabric is a neon printed poly from Spotlight. 
  • This is my first time using self bias! (True story!!) Not as hard as I thought- and I used the great Grainline tutorial to get a good finish.
  • I cut the tunic length, then cropped the front hem, and left the back a bit longer.
  • I omitted the zipper for a button/loop closure. (Inspired by Nishi - that is one fantastic Tate Top!).
I'm super happy with this make. I think I'll be giving the Mandy Boat tee a sew next :) What's your favourite free pattern?

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Chevron baby quilt

When a close friend has a baby, I like to make up a baby quilt for the new arrival. In the planning I like to make sure I give them a design that fits in with the parents aesthetic. This quilt for Baby A turned out just how I envisioned it- cool, modern and not too "babyish".

I used this pin (and it's subsequent blog post) as my inspiration. I debated which colour and sort of thread I would use (yellow, black or grey? Upholstery weight?) but in the end just used normal (Gutermann) thead in black. There's so many quilting lines it that I think this was the best outcome.

testing the thread & pattern

First I quilted the long lines that run vertical, then measured the first few horizontal chevrons from the centre of the quilt, and just eyeballed the distance as I sewed - changing the distance up to make for a more "organic" style (that is, it didn't matter if I got a bit lazy wonky). 

Aren't chevrons pretty?

I love this quilt, and although the quilting did take a while (especially as I can only snatch 30mins here and there to sew) it's an easy make. I'm hoping Baby A gets lots of use out of it.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

knit swing tank

If we're taking summer uniforms, here's mine: a breezy tank & a stretch mini. This here is my new striped swing tank, with my beloved denim Mabel (which is in extremely high rotation, along with my unblogged V.2). Add a floppy hat and I've got the Queensland summer days sorted.

This tank is a rub-off of a RTW swing tank I've had a few years, with a few mods to fit better. Namely, extra room around the bust, although I think the back is still a touch tight. The original tank has the front hem longer than the back (a lo-hi??) to account for the bust maybe? That difference is quite exaggerated in this slightly heavier knit and I think I'll go back and even them out.

For the neckline and arms, I followed Megan Nielsens tutorial: the easiest knit neckline around. For a casual tank, it gave a great finish. I used stay-tape and definitely think it's necessary to give a non-stretched finish. No faffing around with binding = win. Double needle to finish, same as the hem.

The fabric is a winner: a rayon knit from Spotlight. They have got it so right with their new season range of rayon knits (about 6 different prints?). Finally something that isn't combed cotton (too stiff & no recovery) or 100% poly (too hot for me, although there are some great prints). This rayon knit is quite fluid and thin, but was pretty easy to sew with. My only gripe is that the stripe is parallel to the selvedge, not perpendicular, so I had to cut the tank on the cross grain to make for horizontal stripes. Not a biggie as there is some 2-way stretch, but the purist in me didn't like it :) Overall, though: THANKYOU Spotlight (if you're reading this!). I bought two other prints, destined for a McCalls wrap dress & a more fitted tank.

Over and out.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

dotty alder shirtdress

I am definitely a Grainline Studio fan girl! I actually own every one of Jen's great patterns & am slowly working my way through actually sewing them. I was lucky enough to win the (paper-version!) Alder Shirtdress pattern through the lovely (Australian) online store Stitch 56. Thanks Helene!! The shirtdress is a lovely pattern, it really is the perfect summer dress, and easy to feed the baby in... Oh yeah, my second little boy T made an arrival in early December and we couldn't be happier! 

The best-ever accessory: a baby! :)

If this make looks a bit familiar, it's because it's almost identical to the lovely one that Sew Busy Lizzy made it up here. I did wonder whether I could/should post this make, but I guess even though I used the same pattern & fabric, I still did the sewing & made my individual fitting changes. 

I already had the same polka dot rayon (from Spotlight) but was a bit unsure if the polka dots were a bit too loud for me? When I saw her version I was undecided no more - her dress looks so great on her! What do they say? Imitation is the highest form of flattery?!! I did make a few minor fitting changes to my dress, as per the following notes.

  • View A, size 12, with a pretty hefty FBA. I traced the pattern & did the FBA & cut the fabric while pregnant, knowing my sewing time would be limited when the baby came. So i (over) guess-timated the FBA and as such it's a bit more blousy than I would like. I will reduce the FBA for subsequent makes.
  • I prefer the mandarin collar, and that's a very easy change (just leave off the upper collar as outlined in Jen's sewalong)
  • I used 11 buttons, making them 2.5inches apart instead of 3.5in (again, personal preference). I omitted the button on the collar stand (too lazy?)
  • I shaved about 1.5cm from the shoulder, tapering to nothing at the side seams.
  • The mandarin collar weighs down a bit, maybe my interfacing is too heavy for the placket?  

Things I love about this make: it's effortless style, it's curved hemline & the cool-to-wear rayon (these pics were taken in the 36degree celcius Australian summer heat!! and about 1576% humidity). It really is a timeless pattern & one I will be making many more of... when the baby gives me time :)