Saturday, 29 November 2014

Frocks of festive past (part II)

New Look 6749

I bought the fabric I used for this dress originally for a skirt. I think sometimes I see fabric on sale and then just want to buy some. The first amount of fabric that used to come to mind is 1.5m. However 1.5m isn’t usually enough for most projects, apart from an A-line skirt or maybe a basic top.  Even 2m doesn’t seem nearly enough for most patterns. I think that’s why I have so much fabric lying around. So, it was time to think about party frocks this particular year and I picked up this pattern with the idea of making something up with the fan style strap. And as luck would have it, the pattern only required 1.5m of fabric so I was able to use this beautiful red and black cotton sateen. 

The pattern was pretty straightforward, however, I think I fudged it a bit where the strap attached to the bodice. It was a bit messy on one side so I went out and bought a nice big flower to cover it.  I’m not sure though whether I attached the straps the wrong way around because I remember the night I wore it the straps kept slipping down my shoulders.  Now I have quite broad shoulders so this was not I problem I usually encounter.  Anyways I’ve worn this dress since and the slippage doesn’t seem to happen now.  I have earmarked some cotton drill I’ve had lying around for about 4 years to make a more casual frock for this summer. I even have a zip so the dress should be ready to go any time now. 

Vogue wrap dress

I had this Vogue pattern lying around with a half made brown crepe dress, which I intended to make up with contrast colour in the inner sleeve.  I think part the way through making it I couldn’t see where exactly I would wear it and given our climate there isn’t much of the year you would wear longer sleeve dresses.  I remember having a lot of crepe fabric outfits when I was younger, before global warming when you could actually wear proper winter clothes in Queensland. These days I get through winter with ¾ length sleeves most days. Anyways it was a friend’s wedding coming up so I decided to give this pattern a go again as I really liked the style.  Like a previous blog entry I bought this red (silk look) fabric from Lincraft.  The pattern was pretty straight forward, though the fabric was maybe a little stiff for this particular style of dress.  I am not overly happy with the result. The fit is fine but I think it just looks a little stiff. It was from this pattern that I drafted my first ever belt.  I bought the fabric from the quilting section at Spotlight. And I do wear this belt quite regularly with other outfits.  So a couple of years ago now, out came this frock again, this time for festive celebrations.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Frocks of festives past

As I am currently making up my festive party frock for this year's work do and thought  it would be a good time to take a look back at my past party frocks.

Last year's themed Christmas party was the 60's.  As luck would have it I had oh roughly about 30 vintage 60's patterns lying around, so the only difficulty was choosing which one to use. I had been keen to make this shift dress pattern up for a work dress, however, it seemed more than suitable for a party frock. 

The version I was doing of this pattern involved creating a loose tie at the back. The problem was that I used a cotton sateen and when you tied the pieces together they stuck out in awkward directions.  So instead I crossed the pieces over and then just attached them with a bronze button, which seemed to work.  I teamed it with some sheer pink pantyhose (too hot to wear tights in Qld summer alas) and made some dangly earrings.

The year before that we had a Mad Hatter themed party for work. Some people went all out with Alice in Wonderland theme but I just decided on a hat as far as theme went. I just fashioned my hat from an existing one I had and put tulle around it and placed some decorative birds in my hat.  I'm sure I'd seen something similar in an old movie once and I just wanted my hat to look a little demented. Alas I forgot to get a photo of the hat which is a shame. I don't think anyone at work got it.  One other year the work party theme was something starting with B or N and I decided to go as a bride, obviously, but all in black. I even had an excellent proper wig my friend Michael did up for me and theatre make up to look a bit gruesome. No-one got that ensemble at all. I thought it was pretty excellent myself. I kept telling people, "black it's the new white".

So back to the Mad Hatter party. I used New Look 2444. Now this pattern seems to be a much loved one from what I’ve seen on sewing blogs. It’s not a bad pattern it just isn’t a great pattern for me personally.  While I’ve only made up two versions of this dress one with sleeves and one sleeveless I just felt the pattern lacked something.  I decided to make up this two tone version for the party.  The material I bought from Lincraft looks a bit like shot silk but is simply a nice cheap synthetic around $10 per metre if I remember correctly.  This is a basic pattern so it comes together very easily.  I decided to embellish it with my own creation of a flower.  This is pretty easy to do. I just cut out leaf shapes and a circle, then ran around the outside with a zig zag stitch. Even though I’m quite proud of this dress I’m not sure it’s one of my better creations.    

The bodice material was more of a teal but has come up as blue in the photos.

I guess in some respects it looks like I am missing a petal on my flower - oh well.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

McCall's 5137

Maybe it was 6 years ago now, I was after a nice summer frock for a friend's wedding.  I loved this pattern when I saw it and I knew I wanted to do the version with contrasting colours.  Of course this became a chore finding the right principal fabric.  In the end I found  this beautiful 100% cotton fabric at Gardams.  I then just had to decide on the contrast pieces.  If memory serves me this pattern wasn't too complicated to make up. It was a time consuming given the number of individual pieces, including the front placard, waistband and sash, plus skirt border.   I was so very happy with the result. Needless to say I felt very stylish for the wedding I was attending. I also made my own accessories using some cheap strands of beads I purchased and mixing them to suit my colour combo. 

Post wedding I let this frock sit in my cupboard for maybe a year. For some reason I think my special frocks should be left at just that, special occasions only. But after awhile you realize a perfectly good dress is just sitting in statis.  Eventually out she comes and becomes part of the work wardrobe. Unless of course it's all a bit too much like evening wear, but I don’t have too many of those. This is probably the most commented on from my wardrobe.  I think because it resembles dresses from a nice, but expensive shop in Brisbane.  And once again another pattern I so wanted to make up again but haven't.  It’s much easier to remake the super easy dress patterns than it is to get motivated to make up one that was time consuming, even if the result was very satisfactory. 

I also changed the bow at the back option for the wrap around bow. It is more comfortable to sit in. I haven't lined the dress so have to wear a half slip with it. I'm a bit lazy with lining things and should make more of an effort especially for good dresses.  And at least  the skirt portion

The necklace is one of my own creations.  The design is one which I have repeated numerous times with slight variations depending on the beads. 

Friday, 14 November 2014

More vintage 70's

And now for something completely different, a 70's frock.  The pattern is Style 1583 from 1976.  The material is a lightweight denim and I used red drill for the contrast pieces. Quite a simple pattern to make up. There was no instruction for interfacing for the facing section of the bodice, which was a bit peculiar given that the front bodice is open down the middle I think for a softer fabric you would want to interface it to keep the open from from dropping down. Mine already does slightly as the denim is very soft. I know I'll get plenty of wear out of this for summer as it's so loose fitting and cool. 

The original pattern had ties at the front. Unfortunately the contrast material I was using was too heavy and the ties just didn't sit right

I hardly ever do pockets but here I've done it 2 posts in a row.

Sunday, 9 November 2014


This story begins with at pattern known as Style 2702.  A pattern left sitting in a drawer for a year or so, but I could definitely see some potential for a work frock. After a recent purchase of some red fabric I decided to finally tackle this pattern. Maybe subconsciously I knew this pattern might cause some angst. Or maybe this neglected pattern was going to have its revenge on me. I set out one fine Sunday to begin sewing.  All was going well, I even seemed to ace the pockets early on. Front pleating, no worries.  Making up the neck facing/placard all went well. Then disaster. I attempted to attach the neck facing to the front of the tunic. Ba-baaam, epic fail.  No matter what I did it looked messy.  After checking out people's comments on the interweb I found this pattern hasn't worked out for most people. Sorry 2702 I guess we just weren't to be.

Rather than just throw out the offending frock I decided to get creative and still use what I had already made, turn the tunic into a skirt and create a bodice to attach it too.  Taking the bodice pattern from my vintage Style 1600 I finished up with this creation.  So dear readers I present my frackenfrock.

I don't really bother with pockets usually unless they are going to be visible.

I bough this 100% cotton fabric on line. I think it works really well with the red.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Kitty Simplicity 1419

I ordered this fabric before there was mention of a cat lady sewing challenge from Miss Crayola Creepy.  I have been known to spend a fair amount of time on the interweb searching for cat fabric.  And I can tell you it's not easy to find a decent looking non-cutesy fabric. I already have my here kitty kitty shift dress for the cooler months and now I have my summer feline feature frock. 

The colour of the fabric had more of a yellowy hue than I expected so I needed to break it up with a contrast collar.  I chose black because I thought it was fairly dramatic.  I also did a black border for the skirt. Then the wheels fell off when I went a tad too far and tried black capped sleeves. That was a a bridge too far. So after some unpicking and the application of some bias binding to the armholes I am now very chuffed with the result.  And a girl can't have too many cat themed ensembles in the old wardrobe.  The pattern was very easy to work with and I would definitely recommend it.

Lurking under my skirt is my cat PJ and her good mate the terracotta cat planter.
I really should have tried to get them both in the photo.