Tuesday, 30 December 2014

New Years Sew-lutions

Hey guys! So many awesome people are doing round up posts, Top 5 stuff. I love reading them, but I don't feel like I really made enough things to count! (I mean, I made more than 5, but haven't blogged quite a few of them...)

So I thought I'd briefly mention a few of my sewing goals for the next year:

  1. Sew more wearable things. Don't get me wrong, I wear my dresses heaps. But I need more tops, and I feel like I should make a few plainer things so that I can mix and match properly.
  2. Sew with velvet. Slightly cheating, but I bought a 3m length of crushed panne velvet in the post-Christmas sales, which will be my test run.
  3. Make some PJs! This is something I need to do! I am so fussy and am running out of them. Simple as that.
  4. Sew a coat. I am hoping to move countries (Australia to the UK) next year, and I would love to have a handmade piece of outerwear to take and wear with me.
  5. Find something to do with my scraps... They are going to take over my life otherwise!
A few of these are actually similar, in that they involve using fabrics other than cotton, which is something I need to do anyway. I think these are all very achievable, I just need to focus and not let the squirrels distract me too much (which has already started, based on my sales purchases. Oops).

And on a knitting note... Knit a well-fitting cropped cardigan.

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, enjoy your New Year, and I shall return with more garments in 2015!

Friday, 12 December 2014

Sixties Awesomeness

Hi guys, long time no post! Sorry about that, I won't go into too much detail, but lately has been  busy and the weather has been less than excellent. But I had to come back now...

When Tilly and the Button's newest pattern, Francoise, was released, I did a little happy dance. You can see from my other posts that I mostly make one kind of style - fitted bodice with a bigger skirt. But after I made my 3-quarter circle skirt (found here), I had some fabric left over. In fact I thought I had just enough to make... A 60s a-line dress. (Anyone else a big fan of the children's book Something From Nothing? I loved it as a kid.) And just as I was about to go buy Simplicity 1609, Tilly announced her new pattern, the Francoise!! It was a match made in heaven. My first one (which I actually have no photos of, yet) was made using the leftover fabric. The pattern is gorgeous and I actually love it on me. I can cut a size 4 and it's a perfect fit too, which is excellent. But there wasn't quite enough plaid, and it's not quite matching. It's good enough for me to wear, but not to enter in a competition!

So I went looking for some fabric for another one. And I found a duck. A cotton duck, that is. From Spotlight. I love the finished dress, and FINALLY got a photo of it last night in the park near our place. Here is my Francoise photo for the #sewingFrancoise contest:

I spent a long time working on pattern matching this, and it is by far the best I've ever done! I love the fabric and how striking it is. The pattern is really simple and easy to put together, but is a really striking silhouette. I really love it!

I hope to take more photos soon of my other makes (although at the moment, very few are for me between Christmas presents and commissions for a friend!), and I shall try and make sure I'm back soon! Hope you're having a lovely day, and if you stuck with me through the whole post, congratulations!!!

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Stash Busting - Knitting Bag

So, I've joined the rest of the sewing community... and I've started knitting. Not for that reason though. I learned how to knit when I was much younger, from my grandma, and made some scarves, to some success (using only knit stitch, mind you).

I recently rediscovered my kntting when I moved, and now we live 3 hours away from my old hometown. However, we have friends getting married, we have family members birthdays and other social gatherings which mean we've been back in Canberra almost every weekend since we moved. That's quite a lot of driving, or for me, sitting in the car. So I wanted something to do in the car.

So I'm working again on a half finished scarf from several years ago (coming along nicely, thanks), and started a beanie with my friend's help. I also realised, though, that my knitting bag is actually my Mum's. So I made myself one using a pair of fat quarters, a zip, and some webbing. It took less than 3 hours!

It's basically a simple zipper pouch, but with the edges folded in to give the bag more width. I can always add a tutorial later, but it's really very simple. I'm very pleased with how it turned out.

And in fact, my Mum liked my new knitting bag so much, now I'm making her one.

(The fabrics my Mum chose, they're lovely!)

What little things have you made?

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Seeing Spots: White on Purple

Hello again. How are we all doing today? I loved the last dress I made, Simplicity 2444, so much that the very next thing I made was... another one!

The fabric is really nice, actually. A family friend heard from my parents that I was sewing things, and mentioned that she had a HUGE amount of fabric she wanted to get rid of. I very happily went around to her place to take a look! She mostly did quilting, so many pieces weren't the right size for the job. But I picked up a few, and this one I wanted to use first. I looked it up based on the selvage, and it's actually a curtain fabric, 100% cotton, and quite sturdy. It gives the pleated skirt a really lovely shape.

 I cut a 16 again, and pulled it in 2 inches before sewing it up. I (obviously) made the sleeveless version with pattern skirt this time. I learnt a big new skill for this one - bias binding! I used binding as a facing as well as on the inside of the dress - see, so nice!

(Looks so nice...)

 It took longer to do because I handsewed it down after attaching it with the machine, but it is well worth it, I think. I tried to make the neckline smaller after last time, but it is still too large. I think I'm going to need to do a full fit on the bodice to work it out.

This one has surprise pockets! Because of the weight of the fabric, I decided to use some of the leftover Tula Pink raccoon fabric for the pockets, to make them more lightweight, and I love the surprise. Even if nobody else sees it.

(Obligatory silly photo!)

I love it, and will keep making it, for sure. I just need to fix the issues I'm having, I think.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Teeny Tiny Circles

Last weekend, one of my cousins had a baby! It's very exciting news for the family, as that part of it hadn't had a baby girl in generations. As soon as I heard the news, I decided that I should put my sewing skills to good use!

I thought patterns would be hard as she was only a little baby, and I live in a different state to them. So I tried to find a free pattern which could work and be flexible. Being a lover of the circle skirt myself, what better than to make some for my new baby cousin! I found a useful pattern piece and tutorial here.

The first I made using remnants from the dress for me I'm currently finishing off. I decided to use bias binding on the bottom (and although it was supposed to be a circle skirt in one piece, I had to cut 4 sections - and used my first French seams), and I think it makes a cute touch. Now, we can match!

Then, after seeing how little fabric you need (you can fit one onto a fat quarter!), I pulled a fat quarter I hadn't used yet out of my stash, and made another. This one has a baby double hem.

As soon as I had finished them, I realised I could use the leftovers to make a ribbon of the floral fabric. So I did, and I've packaged them up by using the ribbon to tie them in a bow. Here's the finished parcel!

I've already tucked this little parcel in the mailbox, and it's on its way! I hope the baby girl (and my cousins) like them as much as I liked making them. Now, I just need someone else to have a baby girl...

New skills: Printing and using PDF patterns, French seams

Does making gifts for others make you happy?

Monday, 22 September 2014

On Fit

Hey guys! So I had some posts queued up, but I was hoping that maybe someone out in the wilds of the internet would be able to help me with a few things.

So I've been having a few issues with fit, on the back specifically. I think I must have a small back or something, because I find that necklines are too wide, and they gape (at the front and back, but more at the back). I've tried taking it down a size just around the neckline and grading back to the regular size at the bust, but this doesn't seem to work.

Would it be better to just take a slice out of the back, or a wedge shaped section? Or (and I just thought of this so maybe it's totally crazy) could I go down a size, then do a FBA for my larger chest area?

I don't have any fitting books or resources at the moment, so I was hoping someone might see this and be able to help... Please?

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Animals - Tula Raccoon

Another backlog post. Hi there everyone! Hope you are all having wonderful days/evenings. This dress, I was dying to make. I bought the fabric in Melbourne when I was there back in April. I was shamelessly inspired into buying the fabric having seen it on Roisin and it getting stuck in my head. Actually, the pattern was also bought after having seen it on Roisin as well as many other bloggers.

The fabric, as you can see is Acacia by Tula Pink; Raccoon in Blueberry. The pattern, Simplicity 2444. I waited until this pattern went on sale, but I'm so so glad I did. I have so many plans with this pattern. I love the V-shaped darts so much. The skirt is just a gathered rectangle (well, 3) - I ran out of fabric for the skirt (I got the end of the roll).

The pattern features pockets, but is unlined, just faced. I think I will try and draft a lining for this as the facing doesn't want to behave half the time. I cut a 16, but ended up taking a 1.5 inch wedge out of the center back. I also later have had taken 2 inches out at the zip. I don't know whether it was that big to start with or I've lost weight, but it was too roomy. Now it's much better. I love the pockets in this one though - unlike the New Look 6223 pockets, things don't fall out of these ones!

Again, there were some similarities between this and New Look 6223. The neckline (on the front and the back) is too large. I'm not sure of the exact way to solve this issue, but I'm working on it. I think it also sits funny because of the facing.

This is another dress that has been in high rotation since it was made, and seems to get a few intested comments. It's usually along the lines of, "Are those... raccoons?" Why yes, yes they are. And they are awesome.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Plaid Project - Purple

And finally, I'm back! Hi there.

Now, I know it's been ages - but I have excuses. They're even good ones. We moved house, I had to find a new job, and when I finally had some things ready to photograph, the boyfriend lost his camera (he's my photographer) and he had to buy a new one. So yeah, there's that.

And now, we're all settled in the new apartment. We've moved from Canberra to Sydney (3 hrs by car), so it's kind of an upgrade. And now I have work too, and the boyfriend has a new camera... So we're all ready to go! I have 4 FO's to show you, but they'll be spread out, I won't post them all at once.

This first dress was actually the last thing I finished before we moved. I saw the fabric in my (old) local Lincraft during the half price sale back in June (so, ages ago). I actually didn't buy it when I saw it originally, I walked away, thinking that it wouldn't work properly. But the more I thought about it, the more I liked the fabric, so I went back on the last day of the sale and snagged the last 3ish metres. I was worried about the plaid matching, after seeing all the things that other people have made with plaid that's been perfectly matched. I didn't have the inclination or the patience to do that

(Apparently I can't do a sensible face, but let's ignore that, shall we?)

This lovely dress is New Look 6223, and I made up View B. As you can see, my solution to the plaid matching question is to not even try, but put the bodice on the bias (I didn't pay a huge amount of attention to the sleeves). It totally worked!

I can do sleeves now! Im not sure they were supposed to be a little puffy (like they ended up), but I like it, I think it's sweet. I cut a size 16, based on finished garment measurements. The pattern has a knife pleated skirt, pockets (!), those little cap sleeves and a fully lined bodice (although becuse I had the end of the roll, I lined the bodice in black cotton instead).

(See, pockets! Also, my hair is redder now.)

There were a few things that I will change for next time. The pocket openings are too wide and things I put in them (usually pencils, seeing as how I work as a teacher) keep falling out! The neckline is a little gapey (too wide for my shoulders), so I want to get a fix for that. I'm also tempted to take the neckline down, just a little.

Anyway, I really like this dress and it's fit straight into regular rotation. I wear it about once a week!

New skills: SLEEVES!

What have you made lately?

Saturday, 19 July 2014

On Motivation and Sewing

Don't get me wrong - I adore sewing. I love when people notice my handmade clothes, and even just wearing them knowing I have that set of skills. I've really enjoyed creating things for my family and friends (glasses cases... maybe I should blog those? Comment if you'd like to see some!) and being able to give a unique gift. Maybe my favourite part is that my dragging my BFF shopping for fabric on my trip to Melbournelate last year, I not only persuaded her to get out her sewing machine (for the first time!) but to make a pair of lunch bags for herself and her hubby!

But it's not my job. I have a job (I'm a teacher), which keeps me nice and busy. And busy is great. But when I get home after chasing small children around all day, I'm tired. Some days I'm buggered. And that's when sewing gets hard. I don't want it to feel like a chore. I don't want to force myself to do it, because I've done that with things before and that's when I abandon them. I'm having too much fun to leave this now.

So that I don't burn myself out, I let myself be slow. I take breaks. Sewing is definitely not a race.

Which is probably a good thing, because I wouldn't win.

And besides, lately I've had a busted zip, disintegrating thread, eyelet falling apart, a too-big waistband, and a readjustment needed on another dress. Now that at least some of those are fixed (some were thrown away, some fixed, really) and I've moved into my new place in a new - and much bigger and better - I've been creating again! I've finished another dress, and have the next planned and ready to go. So in the next few days, I hope to take photos of the two I haven't blogged yet and upload!

I'll be back!

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Pretty Inspiration #1

While I'm still in the process of moving, I still want to blog! I just don't have any way to take pictures of my newest creation (although I am wearing it today), and can't do any sewing because it's all in boxes. So, in lieu of that, I've been browsing online more than usual... So this kind of post is a new thing I might do sometimes, just tracking things I like and would be able to love to make (or buy if I'm allowed!)! Today, from Modcloth, one of my favourite sites for browsing  gorgeous items!

This one is beautiful. I went to a wedding last year, and wished I had a dress like this to wear. I had my heart set on navy lace, but for some reason couldn't find one when I needed it. But this is basically what I wanted (does it have pockets? if so, then it's perfect!). I particularly like the self-fabric belt and adorable little cap sleeves.
                                       Left in a Spin Dress - Blue, Tan / Cream, Lace, Pockets, Scallops, Belted, Special Occasion, Prom, A-line, Cap Sleeves, Better, Scoop, Mid-length, Knit, Lace

This sailor panel dress is adorable. I've always liked that feature, but I think maybe this one is too high necked at the front for me. Maybe a slightly different style with the same feature at the back would suit me better? I also like the different stripe directions and how they make the dress look overall.

I really like this one - I've been meaning to make something green for a while, actually (it's on the long, long, list), and I really like the clean lines of this dress. The contrast trim makes the lines stand out even more and breaks up the solid colour, and the box pleats are lovely too.

Pickin’ and Choosin’ Dress - Green, Pleats, Trim, Daytime Party, A-line, Sleeveless, Woven, Better, Mid-length, Solid

It seems I have a thing for different directional prints... Here's another! While I love florals, I own a lot of them; however, this one seems a bit different and more... Dressy? I think that's what I mean, anyway. I like it a lot. Directional prints look awesome like this.

Roof Garden Guru Dress by Myrtlewood - Mid-length, Woven, Multi, Floral, Belted, Casual, A-line, Summer, Better, Pockets, Daytime Party, Exclusives, Private Label

And the last one for now is really very similar to the one I just made... Oops. Oh well, I still really really like it! The gingham is gorgeous (green and blue, two of my favourite colours to wear... swoon), and the direction of the print looks fantastic. Also featured, but not seen in the picture, it's got a darling little bow on the back! Love it!


There are so many pretty dresses I love... I'm never going to be able to make them all! Oh well, it's not going to stop me trying... Hope you're all having a fantastic day!


Monday, 16 June 2014

A Short Hiatus

Hi there! I'd love to be coming to you with a new post, but instead I have news... I'm moving! My new house is about 3 hours by car away, and we're moving all our stuff this coming weekend. So, while I do have a new dress (complete with sleeves!) to show you, it'll have to wait becasue life got super crazy!

Stick with me and I'll be back in a few weeks - watch this space!

(And while I'm here, a big thank you to those who have visited and read the blog so far - I really appreciate it. You guys are awesome!)

Thursday, 5 June 2014


So, I haven't been sewing all that much in the last couple of weeks. It's partly because I've been working a lot, and partly because I'm lazy and partly because I've been procrastinating. One element in particular...


The pattern instructions were... vague, to say the least. I had no idea. Thankfully, I have Tilly's new book, Love at First Stitch. Sewing boggers to the rescue!

Following her instructions, the sleeves went in a cinch, first time! I'm so so (or should that be sew sew) happy!

Stay tunes for my newest piece - now, it only needs a hem and the lining stitched in. Easy peasy. Should be up in a couple of days!

(Also, while you're here, any other sewing books you would recommend for techniques or just general reading?)

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Flashback - Seeing Spots: White on Blue

Another spotty dress! Part of my new fabric buying ban includes spotty fabric, in fact, after the two I've made... But this one is lovely!

(Excuse the derpy face there...)

This pattern I've had for a long time, actually - I attempted to make one a few years back, but it was masses too wide. This is Kwik Sew 3682, View B, with more spotmania fabric from Lincraft. 

I really like this dress, only next time I might make the front skirt one section so there's no seam down the middle of the skirt. Having cut a size L last time and being swimming in it, I cut an M this time and it was spot on!

New skills: facing

Friday, 23 May 2014

Flashback - Vintage Flowers: Aqua

This fabric I have had for a long time - there was a sale, I saw it there... I had to have it. I can't remember what it is called or where I bought it, but it is a poly cotton with a nice drape to it. 

A perfect pairing to the harder version of New Look 6208, View C, with V back and straps and bows! This was the reason I bought the pattern in the first place, for the bow back!

(Excuse the black - that would be my bra strap!)

As the last time I found the neckline a bit wide, I graded the pattern to a 14 at the neck. The waist still needed reducing at the waist 2" (more than las time to account for the ease of the fabric). After I completed this dress and left it to hang, it stretched more than I'd anticipated. I had to restitch the zipper, side seam and bottom hem. I also lifted the shoulder seams 1cm to realign the back straps with my bra back (and as you can see in one photo, you can still see the black of my bra there - sorry about that)

(See? BOWS!)

New skills: bows!

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Flashback - Circle Skirt: Scotland Check

Having made so many dresses, I wanted something else. My favourite skirt is a high waisted one with a gathered skirt and waistband, covered in multi-coloured polka dots. I wanted another skirt that I wanted to wear just as much, and given that I wear this skirt on average twice a week, I'd say I was onto a winner. [Since writing this post, that has been upped to at least 3 times a week, I think. It's so comfy and versatile!]

This is a self-drafted 3/4 circle skirt (drafted using this tutorial). I wanted a full circle but didn't have enough of this lovely weight check fabric, so 3/4 it is! Both the Scotland Check fabric and the black Bemsilk lining I used were from Lincraft, again. The skirt is cut to 22" to hit just above my knee. I ended up putting a few tabs on the waistband - it was just a little loose when completed.

I love how twirly this is!

New skills: self-drafted.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Book Review: 110 Creations

When I started sewing again, I wanted something to track what I was up to, the patterns I owned, and the sizes I used for the best fit. I didn't want a notebook - that seemed too hard, so I did what any normal person would do. I googled.

And I found 110 Creations: A Sewist's Notebook!

This. Thing. Is. Genius!

Wih room for sketches, noting your pattern collection, your needle changes, your wishlists... Oh, it's amazing. There is space for 110 of your creations (obviously), pages 1-90 of which feature a mannequin drawing, space for pattern, fabric, and taking note of notions, accents. You can note which size you cut, how it worked, and what you would change for next time at the end of it all. Projects 91-110 don't have a figure drawing, but a blank space for your handbags/accessories (or kindle cases, in my case).

I have only completed 8 projects, and have a handful of patterns, but even for people with more, this is awesome. I am already planning on getting another when mine is full. The only way I changed mine was by stapling fabric swatched that I used to the corner so I had something more accurate than the drawing to go by. I couldn't think of anything else I would change.

If you sew more than occasionally, this is awesome. Get it!

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Flashback - My Eleventh Doctor

Hi! This was a dress I virtually dreamed up. One of my favourite TV shows is the BBC's Doctor Who, and when the boyfriend and I got tickets to go to the Symphonic Spectacular earlier in the year, I decided it was the perfect opportunity to get an appropriate outfit. I didn't want to cosplay any of the female characters (all the one I look remotely like are not very exciting), and was thinking of wearing a dress. So I googled 'Doctor Who dress', and bam:

(Dress from The Vintage Doctor - still available!)

Only problem was, it wsa a week until the concert, and the dress is a little out of my price range at $225. Cue thoughts of 'Oh, I could make that!' Enter Simplicity 1606 (View A), one of their 'Amazing Fit' dresses, some brown, maroon, and beige stripe cotton. I cut a 12, the D cups *the cups are sized seperately, which worked out well for me, as I sometimes go up a size just for my bust... It must have been a long pattern, as I hemmed it up 10"!

I may have finished this dress the day before the concert, but finish it I did! And it fit! I have never been quite as pleased with myself, and got a fair few admiring looks at the concert.

The only photo I have of this dress:

(Photo taken at the Melbourne Convention Centre)

There is, unfortunately, a reason why there is only one photo of this dress... I did not prewash all the fabric. I washed the brown and the cream, but figured there was only a small amout of the maroon. BIG mistake. After only wearing this once, the maroon bled through the rest of the dress and rendered it unwearable and unfixable. Such a shame, but I can certainly say I learned my lesson!

New skills: boning, lining a bodice, buttons, halter straps.

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Stash Busting - Kindle Case

Hi there! After pushing through to get my Sew Dolly Clackett entries done, and spending a week in Melbourne, I've been a bit... listless with my sewing. I have a list of projects and at least 6 fabrics to use, but have been feeling like its a little too much effort for the last week (I am planning on starting something this weekend though, and have just ordered a new pattern I'm super excited for!).

So, I decided I wanted a cover for my Kindle. Mine is the Kindle Touch, the model before the Paperwhite (I love it, by the way - currently rereading Harry Potter!), and has a case, which is a plain black hard case. I like having a case for it to protect, but very quickly the black became... so boring. I needed something nicer, stat.

So I Googled, and found this tutorial. It's so easy, it took me less than an hour from finding the tutorial to having a completed case! It took me a few tries to get the perfect stitching distance, but I'm so happy with the end result. The fabric was left over from a project years and years ago, but I'm glad I kept it.

(Yep, that's what I'm reading and where I was up to!)

Having finished it, I felt like it needed a little something else. I don't have the right foot for my machine to be able to freeform writing on the case, so I wrote my name on it in silver Sharpie and used that as a guide while hand stitching over it with silver thread. I love the effect it gives, and I took my time to made sure that it was nice and neat.

That was the perfect getting-back-into-it project. Now, back to garment sewing! I'd love to know in the comments, how do you get back into it when you have a sewing slump?