Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Starry Datura - Another TNT

Hey all! Hope you're having a lovely week. Despite being on holidays, I am keeping busy - between school prep, wedding prep, my TAFE course, learning to ride a motorcycle, and generally being an adult who does adult things... I have been busy! Getting a little knitting done (mostly when I'm on public transport), but not a whole lot of sewing, unfortunately. So I have dredged the photo archives for some more which were taken way back in July to show you today.

I wear this top all the time (I have 4 incarnations of this pattern), and yet it has never made it to the blog! I really need to work on that, actually. This is the Deer and Doe Datura top, and I love it. In fact, out of all the ones that I've made, this is my favourite.

I've got this pattern down to a fine art now, and can whip one out in a few hours. I make a size 44, with a slight tweaking to the side seams to decrease the flare a little. As this was my first version, the length is as per the pattern, but in future versions I have lengthened the bodice by 2 inches. It's just a teensy bit short for wearing pants, although the length as is is perfect tucked into a skirt (and that's how I most often wear them - tucked into a Chardon skirt to work).

The fabric, again, is a find from Achieve Australia. I fell in love with the star print straight away, and despite being a poly (I'm about 98% sure on that), I had to have it. I especially like the look of the triangle cutouts with the star print. The buttons are from my Nanna's old stash, which I raided when I was at my Mum's house back in July, and the black bias binding is just store bought. I was nervous about putting it in, but it's gone in perfect every time I've used it, which has been excellent.

This top rarely makes it to my drawer for more than a day before it's worn again. It's comfy, flattering, fits well and goes with everything. What's more to love? Definitely another TNT pattern for me - the love for Deer and Doe is strong with this one.

Hope everyone is having a reasonable Wednesday, and that's it's all up from here. See you soon!

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Brown Corduroy Chardon (a TNT Pattern)

Happy Monday everyone! And an especially happy Monday to my lovely friends in the ACT - lucky things, they have a public holiday today. But I don't feel that bad, because I'm on holidays anyway.

Today I have my latest version of one of my TNT patterns - Deer and Doe's Chardon skirt. I ADORE this skirt, and have made it 5 times so far (although only 1 other has made it to the blog - I need to fix that!). Find my first version in black twill here! As well as this, I have one in navy with red trim, denim (the ultimate skirt in my wardrobe), and grey cordouroy (which is in the mending pile due to a small hole). So definitely a TNT pattern then!

I made my usual size for this one (44), with no alterations except raising the hemline slightly. I love the autumnal vibe this one has, and it goes equally well with stockings or bare legs. This shade of brown is practically a neutral, right? I went for contrast with the pockets, using a dark green fat quarter from my stash and matching bias binding to make the insides more pretty. I really appreciate taking the time to do a nicer finish - it feels more professional and didn't take all that much extra time.

The fabric is another super find from Achieve Australia (also known as the Fabric Cave) in Meadowbank. I've seen many cordouroy skirts popping up in stores lately, and I decided I needed one of my own. I also picked up a length of fabric in navy blue, which I think will one day be an A-line skirt. I just love the colour - as I was making it, I worried it might be too close to my skin tone, but I think it's perfect. I love this top with it (a RTW favourite from Just Jeans), but have also worn it with green and black and it looks just as good.

The reason this pattern is a TNT for me is the shape. It is fitted at the waist, but flares out at the hip - making it stylish and comfortable (especially for my job running around with primary school kids). The style is very classic and goes with all kinds of tops. Really, I'm starting to think I should be some kind of ambassador for Deer and Doe... 3 of my most worn patterns are Chardon (1 + 3 unblogged), Datura (4 unblogged), and Belladone (1, 2 + 2 unblogged). They just seem to fit straight out of the envelope, and they look so lovely on! I wear a D&D pattern at least 4 times a week! Deer and Doe, if you're reading this, feel free to get in touch ;)

Anyway, I think that's all I have for today. Back to making - I have my post-wedding dress to finish (M6696 in Liberty lawn)! I would like to know though, what are your TNT patterns? What patterns would you recommend?

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

A Gingham Lilou - My Gingham-Along Entry!

Evening all! It will be a short post tonight, and I also want to apologise for my face in these photos. I had to get these photos done and up today, but I'm ridiculously sick at the moment (and mostly still working, thanks to my profession). I got greeted three times today with 'Wow, you look unwell!' - which is just what you want when you feel like death warmed up.

Anyway, this is coming under the wire, really, but is my entry into the Gingham-Along hosted by Karen of Did You Make That? How it came about is a slightly complex story....

When the Ginghamalong was first announced, I was like 'YES! MAKE ALL THE GINGHAM THINGS!', but then I realised I'm trying to save money as well as sew my stash, so my plans went by the wayside. I still have an amazing mental image of black and white gingham shorts (so if anyone knows where to find gingham sateen, let me know!). Except, on Friday (the 9th), I saw an ad for 40% off at Lincraft, where they have a decent range of polycotton ginghams. So I went and picked up the materials for this dress (for like $20!). Except I bought it on Saturday, when I was in Canberra for the weekend, and I've been working as well. So this has been speed-sewn over two evenings in order to get it finished on time!

Because I knew I'd have to sew quickly, I picked one of my TNT patterns  - the Lilou dress from Tilly and the Buttons Love at First Stitch. I made my usual size (4), and subbed in a gathered skirt for the usual pattern piece.

I was totally inspired (i.e. I stole from) by this dress that Frankie of KnitWitsOwls made back in August. I just realised, she's entered hers in the Gingham-Along too - oops! Next time, I'll aim for inspiration rather than a copy... I love the faux placket, and the bias juxtaposition compared to the regular gingham. I was a bit lazy though, so unlike Frankie, I used a single piece of gingham and simply turned the edges under before topstitching. The buttons are a find from Achieve Australia's 'Fabric Cave', my local crafty charity store.

While I think it looks a little pouffy around my waist in photos, but on I love it. The slightly longer length on this really appeals to me (it's only slightly longer than my normal dresses, but still), and as with all my Lilous, it's super comfy.

So regardless of whether or not I win the Ginghamalong, the way my dress fits and looks and the fact I made it in 2 evenings makes me feel like a winner! Good luck to all the other entrants!

Monday, 29 August 2016

Floral Belladone

Hello lovely people! It's finally getting nice here in Sydney (although I believe it will rain again later in the week), and I have another dress to show you! I think we've allworked out how this works by now. I love to wear dresses, pretty much no matter how cold (well, in Sydney, anyway). And sorry, but this is a quick post - I'm swamped with work today, but wanted to share this one with you anyway!

This lovely is another Deer and Doe Belladone. I've already made this gorgeous pattern a few times, but this one has a few small alterations to the previous one (and I have one in the 'to-take-in' pile as well!). I've gone down a size from my first (to a 42), a pleasant side effect of running, but I have also added little darts on the upper back overlap pieces. I find that the back can gape otherwise, which is a problem I have with a few patterns. Maybe I have narrow shoulders? Anyway, other than those few changes, this is exactly as is.

I love the cutout in the back so much. This lovely fabric is from Spotlight, from their quilting section. I'm working on steering myself away from quilting cottons and onto more apparel fabrics, but when I saw this one, I couldn't resist! I love the pattern and the colours.

There's not much else to say on this one. I have had it in the cupboard for a few months, and I wear it often, which is of course an excellent sign! It's mildly annoying to wear with stockings because it's unlined, but I can get over that. And obviously, I have been wearing it with stockings. I'm still tempted to put a lining in it in the future though... Maybe.

Photo credit goes to David this time, with posing assistance from my MumHope you all are having a lovely day!

Monday, 15 August 2016

Nautical Chic Dress - KS3682 x S2444

Hey everyone! So, it's been a month... My bad. I did warn you I was going back to work tomorrow... And work has been crazy, I've ended up with heaps of extra stuff to do, and unfortunately all of the crafty things have had to take a backseat for a little while. Hoping I can get things back to normal soon though! (Also slight apologies for the background today - we were experimenting with in-our-living-room photography with a sheet as a backdrop. Not so successful, but plenty good enough for the blog!)

Today I have my latest dress to share with you - and I have to say, this time it looks exactly like what I saw in my head. That doesn't happen all too often in my experience.

This lovely is a bit of a mashup. It wasn't intended to be, though. I started off with Kwik Sew 3682, which has a lovely deep V on the bodice (View B). However, I had bought slightly too little fabric, and even if I hacked 4 inches off the skirt (which I often do with patterns, because they're usually too long on me), it still wouldn't fit all the pieces because the skirt was too wide! So, I substituted the ever excellent skirt from Simplicity 2444 instead. Because it's great. And it also fit on the fabric, so there's that.

(As usual, full skirt and pockets YAY!)

This gorgeous fabric is Michael Miller - to be exact, Rigging in Navy from the Ahoy Matey collection (no longer available, but link here for a closer look). It's delightful, and the dress is fully lined in navy blue (cotton for the bodice, bemsilk for the skirt - as usual). Michael Miller fabrics are great, and I love the prints! I couldn't resist this one.

(It's pattern matched! Mostly accidentally, but I love it anyway.)

I forgot how much I like this bodice - the last K3682 dress I owned I actually made too small, so ended up getting rid of it a while ago now. I feel like it toes the line between a deep V and an appropriate V (although I do think it's perhaps not ideal for work around the children!).

The bodice is somewhere between a size S and M. I cut the Medium after toile-ing the Small (I have lost some weight, but it turns out, not that much), and it was a little big, so I took it in at the zip. A quick and easy fix. The skirt is my usual size, and I even still had it out from my Batik dress a few posts ago, which was even better. I will definitely be making this V neck again, although maybe with a wider fabric so I can use the matching skirt.

(Not quite sure what I was looking at here...)

I haven't actually worn this dress out in the wild yet though - I always like to give my new me-mades a bit of an 'occasion' when I first wear them (even if it's just date night or going into the city). I haven't had a good reason yet, but I'll find one. I am going to a concert this weekend...

Do you do that? Save your first wear for something a little more fancy than just any old day? I'd love to know.

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Stripey Wool Francoise

Hello lovely people! Hope everyone is well. It's been a great few weeks off for me on school holidays, but it'll be back to work tomorrow for. me. At least it's supposed to be warmer this week - I'm looking forward to  a day or two with no stockings! This dress is a stockings dress though. It is one I made late last year, actually, but I haven't worn it all that often. It is a departure from my usual style, but I like it. 

This a Tilly and the Buttons Francoise. It's not my first, but I think it's my favourite. In terms of construction, this was made exactly the same as the first (in a size 4). I was planning on having sleeves, but the wool I chose doesn't have enough stretch for sleeves. Or enough fabric in the piece I bought.

The main reasons that I don't wear this dress a lot is the length and the fabric. It's a great wintery dress to be worn with stockings! However, here in Sydney there isn't a huge amount of stocking weather (there is in winter, but there is less stocking weather than back in Canberra)... And it's too short to be comfortable for me to wear at work. The fabric itself though is lovely - it was another score from Achieve Australia (and during the half price sale) - such a great store! It's very soft and not at all itchy. As you can see, the collar is just plain white cotton sateen, and the sleeves are finished with white bias binding.

This dress did get quite a lot of wear back in January, when the Fiance and I went to London. I wanted something which I could layer with lots of other warm things, which is exactly what I did. In London, I wore this dress with a singlet, merino long sleeve top, merino leggings, fleecy tights, socks, boots, cardigan and down jacket. A lot of layers, but I felt quite like a local in something that is more me, than regular travelling clothes. Besides, it was abnormally warm - a whole 10 degrees Celsius!

I think that's my 'what are you doing strange brother?' face. It was a very amusing photo shoot. Thanks again to my brother and mother for these photos. See you excellent people again soon!

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Simplicity 2444 - Blue Batik Dress

Hello lovely people! I hope that you are all well, and if you are an Aussie, that you are staying warm and dry. Today I have a totally seasonally-inappropriate dress to share with you. I mean, it is the middle of winter here, but for me, that still means dresses - just with many layers on top and underneath to keep me warm.

This dress is also a small first for me - this is my first full muslin on a dress bodice! I know, I know, I should have started making muslins ages ago, but my habit is much more 'make-the-dress-then-take-it-in-at-the-zip' kind of girl. Way too much work making a muslin, or so I thought. Turns out, it's totally worth it.

(Photos for this post taken by my brother, with guidance from my Mum)

I didn't keep my notes as to all the changes I made (silly), but I did go down a size from before, and take out the back darts. The underarm seam is just slightly crooked, but not enough to really notice. I had originally planned to use the S2444 skirt pattern, but with this fabric that wasn't going to work to capture the lovely border detail. So it's the S2444 bodice, with just a gathered skirt. It's fully lined too (light blue cotton on the bodice, silvery grey silky lining for the skirt) - and, of course, pockets!

I'm very proud, actually, of the pattern matching I managed to achieve. I feel like that is certainly a weakness of mine, but the zigzag pattern totally lines up across the zipper. I also put the waist seam in a position so that the there was no interrupted pattern on the waist - I was concerned that this would make the skirt too short, but I think it's okay. I mean, it's unhemmed (selvedge yay!) and I won't be wearing it to work, but casually? Sure.

Our photo plans went a bit awry though. We had grand plans to go to the Arboretum partly for cool outside tree photos... But it was actually super windy and not very warm. So inside the Visitor Centre photos it is! Credit for photos for this one (and quite a few in the future) go to my brother for being photographer, and to my Mum (on whose birthday these photos were taken) for being photographic director and camera owner.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

McCalls 6696: An Epic Tale

Hello again lovely people! Today I come bearing a pretty dress, a tale of happiness and wild despair and then returning happiness. This dress has been... a saga, to say the least. And just as a heads up, this is a picture heavy post. And... it's long. Very long. You've been warned!

Let's get the particulars out of the way first though, shall we? This is McCalls 6696, a gorgeous button down shirtdress everyone and their cat has already made. Yeah, yeah, once again I'm late to the party. But I am glad I waited this time. This is View B, with sleeves and gathered skirt, in a size 14. It fits perfectly. And I adore it.

It started off so well. I had 4 yards of this lovely Kaufman Essex Linen Blend fabric in a lovely light blue (they call it Water) from which I had originally intended to make a Victorian style dress from Black Sails. However, after not finding a pattern that already worked, and fully realising that I wouldn't wear the dress, or have the skills needed to make it, I decided to instead use the fabric for my first M6696. After all, I would have spare fabric in case I should make a mistake.

(Max, in Black Sails. Super awesome right?
Just not practical, unfortunately.)

I cut the dress before the Sewaway in Port at the beginning of the month, and started sewing it during that weekend. I got about halfway (judging by the number of steps anyway), having assembled the bodice and sleeves, and having the skirt pieces pleated and ready to go into the dress. Thanks again, ladies, for the help you gave me over the course of that weekend! I came home in high spirits.

(This was where I was up to after the weekend - 
one day, I might use this pattern to make a jacket!)

This was my first time with buttonholes and a collar, but they went in perfectly over the next two weeks. I was so happy and over the moon, to have an amazing dress that fit so well! The only adjustment I made was to move some of the buttons around to avoid gaping at the bust. After a few sore fingers, it was finished, so I put the whole dress through the wash to remove the fabric marks from my water soluble pen. That's when the trouble started.

(Pre buttons - it turned out so well for my first effort!)

The dress came out of the wash looking exactly the same. It was then I Googled my pen (a Chako dual end with both air and water soluble inks)... and realised that by ironing it, I had apparently ironed the marks in permanently. Sigh. I then tried washing the dress on a hot cycle, which is when it started really falling apart. This is what happened:

(My actual buttons on the left - and on the right, the one that 
looked nicest after the hot wash...)

My gorgeous vintage market buttons were ruined. And the marks were still there. That was the part where I scrunched up the dress, threw it on the floor, and maybe had a small tantrum. Then I tried a few more things to remove the marks. Stain remover? Nope. Bleach? Nope. What other options did I have? Change the entire dress colour!

(A saucepan of purple!)

One vat of dye on a Friday evening, some replacement stitching (because I used poly thread, but natural dye), a little bit of cheating (I may have used purple Sharpie on some of the visible stitching...) and a new set of wooden buttons later: I have a dress that is finally finished. AND I LOVE IT. More will be made - once I get over the trauma, and the button sewing. And I already have more of those gorgeous floral buttons and plans to buy more of the same fabric so that I can have the dress I imagined. I also have some pretty Liberty which I have grand plans for - the day after our wedding we are organising a get together barbeque which I think it would make a perfect M6696 for!

(The photos for this dress were taken at the newly refurbished Meadowbank Wharf)

Special thanks goes to the Boyfriend, for consoling me when I was upset, and helping me troubleshoot and dye the dress. I would have thrown it in the bin without you.

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Aaand I'm back!

Hello lovelies! I am back - and this time, I'm not even going to bother trying to explain myself. It's been a while, but now I'm back, and I've had a big kick up the sewjo this last weekend!

Having had a really busy week writing reports for work, I finally snuck them in early on Friday, knocked off work as soon as possible, and drove north. Coincidentally, I was also driving towards one of the worst storms eastern NSW has seen in recent times, but I only had to spend a very short time outside in it, luckily.

I drove from Sydney up to the (normally) lovely town of Port Macquarie, where I simply found my accommodation and settled in for the night. My accommodation was awesome, and extremely central for the restaurants and the Glasshouse, our sewing venue.

(Arriving, sewing machines in tow)

(Our sewing tables - in the front was a huge cutting table as well!)

What followed was 2 days of disgusting weather, but fantastic food, awesome sewing, and great new friends. There was a surprising spread of people there - from Melbourne, all the way up to Brisbane. The Glasshouse was a great venue, with plenty of space, tables and power for all. And I finally got started on the project I'd been putting off for AGES... McCalls 6696! It seems like by now everyone and their cat has made this pattern, but all the new-to-me elements (button band, buttonholes, collar, yoke) were putting me off. This was the kick start I needed! I got as far as having bodice mostly done, and skirt panels pleated and ready for pockets. But the best part was the inspiration. I really enjoyed being surrounded by other likeminded ladies who could talk sewing (or not sewing), and we were offering each other advice and suggestions along the way. Because of that, I now have plans to one day make a M6696 coat!

 (My M6696 in progress - it looks just like a jacket!)

Being a sometimes nervous person, I was a little worried about travelling alone, and going to an event where I didn't know anyone (in person, anyway), but it was such a fantastic experience. I'm hoping that there is something else on soon! Super big thanks to Lizzy for organising, Jen (who I believe is blogless) for helping me score a Vogue vintage reprint pattern at half price, and Maria for being super supportive and a new Sydney sewing friend. Also thanks to the other lovely ladies who attended - Ruth, Jenny, Victoria, Pam, Wendy, Christine, Jenny, Anna, Alison, and Emma! If by some crazy chance you read my blog and haven't seen any of theirs, check them out.

Anyway, I'm planning to have a relatively early night tonight, then tomorrow after work, a quick trip to Spotlight for more interfacing (preferably not double sided this time - oops!), then more sewing! Hoping to have this dress completed soon. And I shall leave you with a photo I snuck on the Saturday - from the lift at the Glasshouse, which is where Lizzy takes almost all her selfies! Be back soon!