Sunday, 6 September 2015

The Mid-Century Modern Dress

Evening everyone! Hope you've all had a nice week. Mine was super busy again - I'm starting to really look forward to the holidays (only two more weeks), and I'm aching to take a sewing day before then, but I won't. I need to work as much as I can in the lead up to Christmas; working as a casual teacher takes its toll over the summer when you don't work (and therefore don't get paid).

I've also put myself on a fabric and yarn spending ban (with the exception of a few things I'm planning to make as gifts for people for Christmas), so I'm trying to work my way through a long list of things I've been planning to make for ages. First are some commissions for friends, I'm copying a ModCloth dress for a few of us - then the long list for me. Maybe I'll have my list finished by the end of next year...

(I love this dress, so much! Although it makes me want a crinoline...)

In the spirit of things I've made a long time ago, I made this Lilou hack dress ages ago. I love wearing it so much, I can't believe this fabric nearly didn't make it into a dress for me. The Lilou (by the ever lovely Tilly of Tilly and the Buttons) is one of my favourite basic patterns, with a simple shape and the potential for many skirt shapes. As usual, I've made a size 4, and it fits perfectly!

(I like the simple shape of the bodice, it lends itself 
to lots of fabrics and potential customisation)

This was originally going to be a dress for selling, but I decided I liked the fabric too much. I also conveniently had a scarf that matched, which I've been wearing with it all winter! It's Mid Century Modern, in the colour Atomic Turquoise (cool name, right?) by Michael Miller. I used the bodice, of course, but I decided to add a 3/4 circle skirt this time instead of my usual gathered skirt. I have yet to use the actual skirt from the pattern, because I rarely have fabric wide enough.

(Such a lovely silhouette, right?)

I love the body of the skirt in this one, it suits the fabric perfectly! Nice and swooshy. The only regret I have about this dress is that because of the fabric I had left after making the bodice, I had to cut the skirt in 3 pieces. However, that means the seam lines are not on the side, they're more like princess seams. It's totally fine for the actual wearing of the skirt (you can barely see it in the print), but it meant I left the pockets out, which I miss so much. I just really love pockets! Next time, I'll cut the pieces differently so I can have pockets too.

(The reason I'm not looking at the camera is because Photographer is 
standing directly between me and the sun. I couldn't look!)

I keep changing my mind about my favourite skirt shape - I do like a gathered skirt, but every time I see a circle skirt (1/2 circle or bigger, really), I remember how nice they are! Just a little impractical for my lunch times on the windy playground. Perfect for a day in the park, though! Hope you all have a most excellent week, and I'd love to know - what's your favourite skirt silhouette?

Monday, 31 August 2015

The Best Basic Skirt (with bonus fandom!)

Hey everyone, hope your Monday night is as awesome as mine! I've been crazy productive today after work, which is always good, I have work booked for the rest of the week, and I will have time to sew after dinner... Win-win-win!

Yesterday, the Boyfriend/Photographer and I finally headed out on a small adventure to take some new blog photos of some old makes. Luckily, there are lots of nice places around where we live, inluding Sydney Olympic Park. We headed into Bicentennial Park (which is huge - we got 3 sets of photos in very different settings), to the pretty Lake Belvedere. It even has a little walkway with a small island, and is surrounded by all kinds of birds (and on our sunny Sunday afternoon, two wedding parties).

(How cool is that bridge? Well, it was cool until 
my shoe went through a gap and I almost fell...)

The make I want to share with you today is this skirt. I LOVE IT SO MUCH. A lot of my makes are very bright and colourful, and I love that, but I realised just before Christmas last year that what I really needed were some basic coloured skirts to go with the bright tops I own. Specifically, I wanted at least a black one. In the end, my parents bought me a voucher for for Christmas, which I used to purchase some twill in black, navy and red, as well as some grey light(ish) cordouroy. I used all of them to make 3 Chardon skirts, by Deer and Doe.

(Practicing my posing... You can see a flash of pocket!)

I made the size 44, but ended up taking it in a little (maybe 1"?) at the zip. I end up doing this a lot, so I think I need to start sizing down a bit. I gave it teal pockets, and red bias on the hem, because why not? I like that sometimes you get a little flash of red as I move.

(So I think this looks fake, but I was actually laughing, I swear!)

This skirt is really the best. The shape is flattering, and the kind of silhouette I like (I LOVE the pleats and enjoyed practising my topstitching), and in this fabric, it's the perfect weight and goes with absolutely everything. Would highly recommend. And seeing as I've made it thrice, I think that makes it a TNT pattern!

(Every girl needs her sonic screwdriver...)

For these photos I wore it with one of my favourite tops - a button up TARDIS shirt I got from Supanova (it's available through the BBC). And of course, when being Doctor Who-ish, you need a sonic screwdriver! This shirt is awesome because it's fandom, but not really obvious, so I can wear it to work. I love when people notice and they're all "Is that a Doctor Who shirt?" WHY YES, IT DEFINITELY IS.

(Daleks and Cyberman, BEWARE!)

Well, I'd better go. Only the ironing lies between me and crafty time! I'd love to try some more TNT style patterns like this one... What are your TNT patterns (tops, skirts, dresses... anything!)? I'd love to know!

Thursday, 30 July 2015

An Outfit-A-Long (Or, Birds and Bows and Vianne)

Evening guys - this is a very exciting post, but will be short. It's Thursday night (technically Friday morning), I have work tomorrow, my alarm goes off in 5 hours. I should be going to bed, but I needed to get this post up now before the weekend.

So, last year Andi Satterlund of Untangling Knots and Lauren of Lladybird hosted the first ever Outfit Along, or OAL. I loved the idea, and also the dress (it's still in the queue - soon, soon...), and so I tried, but my knitting skills were not even nearly up to scratch! I failed before the first hurdle, as it were. But when they announced it was going to happen again this year, I was ALL. OVER. THAT. Because now I can actually knit things!

Birds and Bows 3
(So my hair is a bit crazy in all these shots - it was super windy! Also it bothers me that the bottom of the ribbing doesn't line up properly - I think that was my blocking. What a noob.)

I actually didn't follow the OAL exactly, but that's part of the beauty of it - you don't have to. I made a dress and cropped cardi, but as long as you sewed something and knit something within the time frame, it counted. I started my cardi about a week into the OAL, thinking I'd need all the time I could get, but actually got it finished a couple of weeks ago. The dress only took a couple of days now I've used the pattern a few times.

I chose Andi's pattern the Vianne for my cardigan, the official OAL pattern, but followed her guide to knit the back plain. I felt that plain meant more wearability. Also, you may notice mine looks different, it's more lines in the detail rather than lace... That's entirely my fault. At almost completing the cardigan, I was knitting it with my Mum, when she lent over and casually said, "You do know you're doing your yarnovers backwards, right?" FACEPALM. No. No I did not. But it looks okay, so I'm happy with it. The fit... I made a M, but shortened the sleeves slightly (just by trying as I went with the first and copying it for the second), and did half the ribbing on the body to match the number of rows on the sleeves. Next time, I'll go a size down on the sleeves - I like my cardigans a little tighter around the sleeve, but it's certainly nothing to frog about.

Birds and Bows 2

It's my first wholly completed cardigan (the first attempt I gave up on, the second is just needing a button band now that this one is finished), and I'm very happy with it. The pretty metal buttons I picked up for 15 cents each at the charity sewing store - so awesome!

Birds and Bows 1

AND now, on to the dress. This is another New Look 6048, size 16 with the tweaks I added to the bust (see my Blue Flowers dress or TARDIS dress for proper details). The bust sits properly flat and fits right now, which is awesome. I used this darling birds and bows cotton I bought last year in Melbourne (originally was being saved for a Cambie, but I'm glad I went with this instead), and the contrast is just plain white cotton sateen, for the extra weight. I love the fit and shape of this dress so much, I will certainly come back to it again - I just need to make some other things first!

Birds and Bows 5
(I look really grumpy, but I promise I'm not...)

The fabric only has the tiniest amount of grey in it, but I thought the grey cardigan would be a neutral (of sorts) which I could wear a lot. I'm super super happy with this outfit, in short, and in long, it's awesome and I'm wearing it out to dinner this weekend!

And now, it's bedtime. Someone has to be coherent enough to teach Year 6 tomorrow...

Friday, 24 July 2015

Blue Flower Dress

Hello, my friends! It's been a busy few weeks - the first weeks of term always are. I've still got a huge backlog of projects to share, but also now a bit of a backlog of photos to be edited, which is awesome. Means hopefully I'll be able to have a bit of a queue for posts!

Anyway, this is one of my more recent dresses, and was intended to be a wearable muslin. It turned out so nice that I can't wait to wear it (I'm just waiting for the weather to warm up a little). The pattern is New Look 6048, a dress which I have wanted to make for a while. I was inspired by several versions, including this one made by Hell Bunny (I love their designs, even if I don't love the price tag!):

I also love this and this version - both gorgeous - from Bobbin and Baste, and I adore this one from Sew Busy Lizzie (Aussie sewers represent!). The pattern itself needs a little tweaking to get to the stage of the Hell Bunny dress, so I made it as is for my wearable muslin (plus I need to learn how to put piping in...)

But here is the first version!

Blue Flower Dress
(I think this is my 'Look! I made a thing!' face and pose)

The fabric is a lightish cotton. I'm still learning about fibre contents and things like that, but it is definitely cotton (crisp like a quilting cotton, but thinner). I picked it up a few months ago on a trip with my BFF to Cabramatta (where nothing has labels), a suburb of Sydney which is well known for it's reasonably priced cheap fabrics. I bought many metres that day (something like 18) and most were only $4 or so per metre.

Blue Flower Dress 2
(So now on I'm sometimes attempting actual poses 
instead of just being awkward... This one is okay...)

I made it up in a size 16, which fit pretty well. For future versions (I've actually made 2 others already, one of which is my TARDIS dress) I have taken 1.5cm out of the front bodice/side bodice seam, which takes care of the gaping you can see on the bust line in the pictures. It's totally wearable without the adjustment though! The skirt is also as per pattern, although I removed the single pleats on the back because they kept getting caught in the zip.

Blue Flower Dress pockets
(As always, look at the pocketses!)

The dress is fully lined, although it took my brain some wrangling. I ended up saving the straps for last though, so they are hand sewed to the lining on the inside instead of sandwiched inside (honestly, I couldn't work out how to sandwich them - plus I figured this way they're really easy to adjust if I need to after I've worn it a bit). I can foresee me wearing all my versions of this dress - and making more - as soon as the weather warms up a little. I like this best without a scarf and layers of stockings...

And while we had the lights set up and were doing a marathon of photos in the apartment the other night, the Boyfriend was taking test shots while I was mucking around... Look what happened! I feel like such a Bimble and Pimble copycat (to be fair, I love Amanda's makes and was explaining to the Boyfriend about how she always does raptor poses... I may have asked for it).

Blue Flower Dress 3
(Bonus awkward raptor!)

I love when you can try a new pattern and it's (almost) ready first go! I'd love new pattern recommendations if anyone would like to share their current favourites - especially for woven tops, I really need some of those... And don't forget to have a lovely day!

Monday, 6 July 2015

Keeping a Good List

Hey lovelies! I have a wordy post for you today, for a few reasons. I'm out of town at the moment, and it's so cold (feels like 2!) so I haven't brought many me-mades for taking photos of. I need to get on making more practical colder weather clothes (read: not all dresses and skirts!).

I thought I'd share with you today some of the things on my sewing 'bucket list' at the moment, in case anyone has advice to offer or has similar goals. I currently have these in a list on my phone entitled 'To accomplish'. I do like a good list.

         The first thing on my list, was pajamas. For me, that meant one of those lace edged slip nighties, made up in a slippery fabric with some stretch. I wanted a pattern with separate bust pieces rather than darts, to fit my bustiness a bit better and allow for more modifications if I need to adjust it. 
         I ended up making Butterick 6031, Gertie's pattern, in a slippery poly with a gorgeous Japanese inspired print from Spotlight. It probably won't make it onto the blog, because honestly, I'm not that brave (maybe on the hangar though?) However, it needs some work - I hemmed it way too high (my fault entirely), and the bust pieces do need a little bit of help. I'm also still learning about using knit stitches on my machine (I'm forever fighting the tension with knit fabrics). I like it alot and I do wear it, but I'll remake it when the weather gets warmer.
         I have also made wintry pajamas (also worn all the time as lounge pants) using Tilly and the Buttons Margot pattern from Love At First Stitch. They're flattering looking but still super comfy, and I've made 3 pairs in flannelette (to appear on the blog soon!)

          Sewing with knits is my big nemesis... I suppose that should actually be listed before the first one, but I have so many issues with my tension, and machine in general, the one time I sewed with ponte (I ended up doing a circle skirt hem entirely by hand, it was so difficult!!!). I would like to be able to make comfy knit tops and ponte dresses, but I need some help. I'm thinking in order to tick this one off the list, I'm going to take a class, so someone can help me. I'm going to try one more time first though, as I have a few fabrics (including a gorgeous hunter green stretch panne velvet) which are just waiting to become Lady Skater dresses!

LACE OVERLAY DRESS          I really want a lace overlay dress. Almost every time I see these in a store, I love them, especially sheer lace sleeves. Specifically, I have an image in my head of a 3/4 sheer sleeved navy lace dress, but that's still a while off. In the meantime, I have made one broderie angliase dress, navy blue on white (I love it - it's a Tilly and the Buttons Lilou dress), and am planning to dye some fabric and make a green one soon too! To achieve the final lace dress I have in mind, I just need a lot of patience, which at the moment I don't have. Simple as that.

          I'd love to sew myself a swimsuit. This will probably take the longest, for a few reasons. Firstly, I don't actually swim all that much! I also feel like I need to conquer knits first, and I haven't made anything using the kinds of notions in swimwear. I do want to try it though, because I struggle to find nice swimsuits which cover enough and are supportive enough. I think the Bombshell would be excellent, but that requires special notions and skills which I don't yet have.

          For a while, I've wanted a vintage style coat (which in my head means with a fuller skirted silhouette), and was planning on making one. I was looking at patterns, thinking about colours, wondering how much wool content I could afford to include in the fabric, and then the Boyfriend decided he wanted to buy me a new winter coat... So this happened. So, now I have a new winter coat. I adore this coat so much (as you will hopefully have realised from my previous post), so I won't be making a coat anytime soon, but it's still definitely on my list for eventually!
These are on my list (my ever-growing list)... What about yours? What sewing goals do you have? And congratulations to all those who made it all the way through that, that was super wordy - well done and thank you!

Monday, 29 June 2015

Picnic Blanket Dress... and a new coat!

Hey everyone, how are we today? I hope you are super awesome, as I was while taking these photos.

As soon as I saw this checked fabric in Lincraft, I knew it was perfect for a dress! A nice big check is always good. However, I straight away started to worry about the effect of having the white and black nearest to my face. The easy answer? Black edging!


The pattern is New Look 6208, I made View D. I figured as much as I love the bows, I thought they would be overkill, and I was right. To avoid having to pattern match, I turned the waistband on the bias instead, which worked a treat - I'll definitely do that again. As I mentioned before, I used black edging around the neckline and armholes. To avoid any awkward moments (I was worried the white was a little sheer), I lined the bodice with white cotton lawn, and the skirt with white Bemsilk. Lining dresses is awesome, you guys. I have vowed to do it all the time (well, almost, anyway), because it's so much nicer in all seasons. But especially now, it doesn't stick to my stockings!

(I can't remember whether this photo was before or after 
I dropped my credit card into the Parramatta River...)

I'm super happy with this dress. At the moment, I'm wearing it with a singlet underneath as it keeps the bare skin warmer and doesn't look terrible underneath (it is winter, but it's still close to 20 degrees, so I can definitely wear it with a cardigan!). It feels like I'm wearing a picnic blanket, but in the best way possible (that's legit, right?), and I have so many other plans for various colour checked dresses (including one I'm going to make soon which I'm picturing as red and white mixed size check)


As you can see, it even looks especially awesome underneath my new coat (which I didn't make, unfortunately). I've been after a new coat for a while, and knew I wanted a larger skirted silhouette to go over my dresses. This is from Review, and I adore it. It's super flattering, warm, and I feel so pretty in it! More coat pictures ahead, because I love it so.


The only problem I've had so far, is that I feel like it's too dressy for work, so I haven't worn it nearly as much as I'd like to! I'm on a mission to get it into my daily wardrobe more...


I would say this was my favourite dress, but I seem to be saying that with every new dress I make. I think that's good. That is good, right?

Do you have a favourite piece in your wardrobe at the moment?

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Supanova, and an Esploding TARDIS!

Hey! OMG, what? Two posts in two weeks? Madness!!

Anyway, so I had Friday off work (I'm a casual for part of the week this term), and I had an amazing day. I actually took myself off for a massage, which is not related to sewing in any way, but really really helped me feel awesome, so I happily settled myself down for an afternoon of sewing.

At the moment, I'm working on a few commissions for a friend (a couple of pairs of jammie pants, and an anchor skirt, of which I will be making one for myself too). But, while mid-skirt-construction, I got a call about a very confused delivery man who apparently couldn't find my apartment. He was bearing another fabric parcel for me! Inside: 5 yards of french blue linen, and 4 yards of this gorgeous beauty.

So, given that I went to Supanova this weekend (a convention - it was pretty fun!), I needed to make this into a dress - stat. Cue fabric washing at 5pm, and hemming at 2am the next day. But I got it finished in the end!!!

This is New Look 6048 - actually, the second time I've made it. Compared to the first, I made a few changes... This is View B (the halterneck), without the bottom ruffle or the contrast band on the neckline. This gave me a clean bodice for maximum fabric awesomeness. I also took 1.5cm off the edge either side of the bodice front/bodice side seam, to bring the top seam in at the bust a little (it didn't sit flush in my original version).


Also, it has a hi lo hem! That was the BF's idea, and even though by 1am I was ready for bed, I'm so glad I stuck with it. That being said, it's not finished yet. I have to redo the hem (I'm going to do it by hand), and line the skirt (that, I'm going to do twice, once in yellow with a ruffle at the back, and once in blue). Then, it will be back on the blog in it's finished form, but because I have those commissions that may be a little while. I'm just so excited to share it already!


In the end, despite not being in a 'costume' per se, I got about 5 compliments and someone asked me for a photo. To say I'm pretty damn pleased is an understatement. Have you guys ever made a fan-service dress (so to speak)? I already have at least 2 more in the works!

(Note: The title doesn't have a typo - that was the name printed on the fabric!)

Monday, 15 June 2015

Starry Night Dress

Hello everyone! Long time no... post? What a weird turn of phrase. ANYWAY... I won't bore you with many legitimate but not-all-together-adequate reasons. I'll just show you a pretty dress!

(All the poses in this post are super awkward and weird, just FYI. Pretty sure these are the most accurate pictures of me so far on this blog!)

This gorgeousness was a long time coming. I bought the fabric quite early on, really, in my sewing journey - and for one reason. GLOW IN THE DARK STARS. I couldn't not buy it, right? It's a Michael Miller cotton called Star Magic (DG0605-NITE-D), I'm pretty sure I bought it at (I buy a lot there, lets be honest - I'm waiting on some fabric as we speak!).

(I think maybe my face is so awkward because there were people walking past and staring at me... I am an awkward turtle.)

The photos of this may not be the best - we were losing the light as we shot, but it's a gorgeous mottling of dark blue to black, with stars all over it. The stars, when you have been outside a bit, glow in the dark when you go back inside!


I chose the Belladone by Deer and Doe to make this up in, as I thought it would showcase the gorgeous fabric perfectly. Also, I love pockets! My original grand plan, however, didn't work. I wanted to use glow in the dark bias to complement the stars, but for the life of me couldn't find it anywhere!! I settled for dark blue in the end, it works, but I'm not 100% happy with it. It's the best it can be given the restraints.


Despite not having had the chance to show off the glowing much yet, I adore this dress, it's fit, and it's awesomeness. It's quickly become one of my favourites!

I'll be back soon with more gorgeous things from my wardrobe soon, I promise. They will be very out of order, but they'll be here.

[Photos from the Boyfriend's Flickr page. He's my ever patient and wonderful photographer!)

Monday, 6 April 2015

Dreaming of Sewing for Winter

Hey. It's been... a while. I have been sewing, don't worry about that! I have probably about 10 projects completed that just need photos. Photographer (also known as boyfriend) has been very busy, then had camera issues, then sent said camera away for repair and it was gone for a month. He's now read this over my shoulder and reminded me that we were going to do it today, but the weather is terribly miserable. We're in Canberra for Easter, and it feels like the most miserable part of the British weather I experienced when I lived there for a year!

I bought myself a copy of the newest GBSB book, Fashion With Fabric, as an end-of-term present to myself, and I'm loving it so far (I might do a bit of a review once I've sewn something from it). ONly problem is, it's given me a serious hankering to sew, and I don't have my machine until we go back to Sydney in a week! Oh, my life is so hard.

So instead, I am planning and knitting and yes, returning to blogging.

Planning some dresses (like my next project, the Walkaway Dress from the GBSB book), and given the miserable weather I'm not all that surprised my thoughts turned to coats. I've been thinking for a while about the kind of coat I'd like next (I usually buy one every couple of years, but I have a few which are getting relatively old now). Now I sew much more, I'm getting braver, and considering that maybe, instead of buying a coat this winter, I should sew a coat.

I really like the vintage at the moment, but primarily I want a full skirted coat (for wearing all the dresses and skirts underneath!). The pattern I've found I like the most so far is Gertie's coat pattern (B5824), but I worry about the large collar and the sleeve style (I think I want regular set in sleeves instead). Although I know it would probably make a good first coat because of the sew along and tips and things Gertie added online. Also, Boyfriend hates the pattern (but he won't articulate why). I was really wondering, anyone know of any other patterns I could consider? I'd love some advice/tips.

Have you sewn yourself a winter coat, or is it something you're too afraid to try?

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Sewing for Others

Happy New Year to all! Hope your resolutions aren't broken (yet), that you're recovering from all the Christmas food and alcohol nicely, and that you've had a restful holiday, for those back at work.

Today I wanted to have an experience I've had recently, which was super scary. I have gotten quite a lot of attention from friends (and strangers) in the past for my me-made items. A few months ago, a friend mentioned that she didn't have many appropriate work dresses. Many bought dresses are too short, and the style she (and I) like in an appropriate length can cost upwards of $200. So I offered to make her some. We went together to Spotlight, and after choosing patterns we also chose her fabric. In the end, I made a purple spotty Lilou, an aqua Belladone, and a dark green NL6208.

(I love this pattern. Such pretty bows - it reminds me I should make another for myself!)

Making for others is interesting. I have her measurement (obviously) and I've changed my mannequin so it matches her, but it's still a bit iffy. She hasn't tried them, but will in a week or so when I return to my hometown for Christmas, and I'm already nervous. They haven't been hemmed so I can do that after she tries them on, but I so hope they fit her!

Provided this works well, I can see quite a few more handmade dresses for others in my future. What about you, do you sew for others? What about others in other states/cities?

Edited to add: They fit! Well, the Lilou was a little tight around the arms, but the others were perfect, and she's really happy! Which is just as well, because apparently several others of my friends will be requesting dresses too...