Tuesday, 15 December 2015

It's Alice Again

There's not much to say about this top as I've already made 2 versions.  The fabric I've used is one of those cotton synthetic blends in a lovely shade of dusky orange. I really didn't know what colour to call it, but dusky sounds good to me. I've used this type of fabric in several things before and I really like it. I still give it a little bit of an iron on a low setting, but it doesn't need much. It's a nice cool top for work in the hot months.

I've pared it with an olive green skirt which has been sitting in my wardrobe for about 3 years now. I wore it for a friend's wedding and wasn't too sure about the fabric (a cotton sateen) because it can look quite crushed after about 5 minutes of wearing. The plain sateens hide absolutely nothing unfortunately.  The pattern is my usual go to A-line skirt pattern New Look 6053. 

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Festive Cambie

Golly it's here again, the season of festivus.  During a recent sale at Lincraft I was picking up some bargains and waiting in line for my purchase when  it occurred to me it would be a good time to look at fabric for a Christmas party frock. Plus with 40% off it was a perfect time to buy. There was really no competition when I saw this funky gold and silver check fabric.  For some reason it put me in mind to try making another Cambie.  I had a vision for the contrasting fabric and it all came together. 

Initially I thought about the full skirt version of the Cambie.  The Cambie is quite an easy dress to make, just a number of different stages to get through, what with a waistband, fan sleeves and lining.  My first Cambie was a festival of suck.  The sizing was way too big and you could see the lining in the fan sleeve/straps. I had to re-do the lining and that was annoying. Couldn't do much about the sizing. It's wearable but disappointing. 

I left a little shaping in the top of the bodice, but overall it's quite straight.  As you can see I finished up the A-line skirt in the end. I did the full skirt and it look a tad ridiculous with the stiff fabric. Plus  when I attached the skirt to the waistband I accidentally caught in some extra fabric so had to unpick anyways.   

Quite happy with the end result.  The photos don't really show the colours at their best. And I really need to straighten my camera on the tripod next time. 

And finally my little helpers. Polly-Jean in the background obviously just straightening up my fabric before I put the pattern pieces down. And the lovely Salem who is our foster kitty.  He is a very well behaved cat. I hate to think the bad habits he is learning from my angel. 

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Butterick 5480

Looking for something quick and easy to sew, well this is the pattern for you.  Even though I've finished quite a few projects recently the hot weather just doesn't put me in the mood for photographing them. So basically things photographed in recent weeks are only things I've worn out. 

Anyways this is a great basic peasant style blouse. However, I used a 100% cotton fabric which I had been wanting to use for ages.  It does make the sleeves appear a little voluminous as the pattern probably calls for a softer fabric.  Oh well, I'm pretty happy with the result. I think I finished it while watching a couple of episodes of the West Wing.   

The photographs unfortunately don't show the true colour. It seems a bit washed out here.  It's got a mustard tone to the background, not the greeny look you see here. 

Thursday, 19 November 2015

70's Smock, The Sequel

Here is a second version of a 70's smock top that I made using Simplicity 5756 .  My original was quite a  long version which I can wear as a dress or over jeans. I went for something a little shorter in a black broderie anglaise.  The pattern also called for a small back zip. After I made my original version I reaslised that a zip wasn't necessary as there was plenty of room to get my head through the neck opening. And just plenty of room all round.  The original version was also a very large size 10, with gaping underarms which I had to keep taking in. This time I think I've made the perfect size.  I also ran out of material for my first version and couldn't do a double sided sleeve.  This time, however I had enough material. This material will be just fab for the warmer months, of which we have a plenty.

Also finally getting some wear out of one my necklaces that I made a long while back.


Again, another great 70's pattern.  Maybe I'll try the Maxi dress version one day.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Just finish the bleeping thing!

I have quite a few newly finished items to blog about, but haven't been in the mood for photographing my makes.  So I thought I'd fill in this week's space with a ode to the unfinished creations. 

I'm not sure how it happens, but I have a tendency to start certain projects and then abandon them half or more the way through.  Sometimes it's because the pattern seems to be taking forever to come together (too many steps) and I just lose interest.  Or, it's been a frustrating venture with instructions that don't make sense or part of the project isn't coming together properly. Then sometimes it's just a lousy fit and I know I'll have to unpick and fix something. 

I knew at some point this year I had to set my challenge to at least finish a few of the unfinished before the end of 2015.  Hopefully by actually typing this, I shall attempt to finish some of these sad little forgotten makes. 

Exhibit A

The Vogue shirt dress. I really did get most of the way through on this gem.  I didn't particularly like the way the back of the dress was looking, too much poof, but I'm sure this can be fixed with a few darts.  Also this cotton material is quite peculiar.  I tried to hand sew the inner waistband and couldn't get the needle through the fabric. So I think when I finally get to attaching the buttons I'll have to do it with the machine.  Anyways I'm sure I could finish this all off in an afternoon, collar, buttonholes and sleeve binding.  It's all ready to go.  So fingers crossed. 

Exhibit B

My cat and contrasting spot fabric Cambie.  Now I've made a Cambie before and it was far from great.  The sizing was too big and the sleeve lining was showing so I had to re-do the sleeves, but couldn't really take in the dress because of the lining.  Sooooo, I thought I'd give it another crack and I did get a lot of the bodice done, but must have lost interest.  Perhaps it was a new project screaming out to me to be made.  I also want to make this year's work festive frock from the Cambie, so the pattern will be whipping through my Janome at some point regardless. 

Exhibit C

On my horsey frock!  This was a finished McCalls pattern where I used an olive green bodice with a black frill.  The dress looked pretty good too, but it was a tad snug in Tummy Town.  Also the fabric I used for the bodice was a little stiff and didn't sit as well as I would like. So awhile back I cut out a new bodice in black and that was more than half finished.  I have no explanation for my abandonment of this project.  

Exhibit D

I remember cutting out this shirt when I was house sitting at my parents' place maybe 2 years ago. At least half of it is is finished.  I think all that there is to do is attach the collar, button holes and add sleeves. 

So there you have it, just a handful of the sins of this sewer.  These aren't projects that I've abandoned because they were disasters but because, well I can't actually explain myself.  So here's to the remaining weeks of 2015 and I shall hopefully use them wisely and just finish one or more of these bleeping things!!!! 

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Simplicity 2215

I'm finally getting around to blogging about this Cynthia Rowley pattern.  I have used the skirt pattern 3 times and made up the pinafore once.  The skirt has become my go to skirt when I do pleats in a full skirt.  I have a grey version which I get a lot of wear out of. I made up this nice neutral patterned duck cloth (below) which goes well with all things brown and neutral.  Though the skirt can tend to be somewhat tight at times, depending on how much edible indulging I've been up to.  Also this fabric is a bit of a creaser bummer. 

My favourite version thus far.  I love the bold dots and the colour. Again, it's a duck cloth from Spotlight. Plus the colours lend themselves to wearing some different coloured tops and tights in the winter months. However, I decided I wanted to get more wear out of it so made this navy version of the top.  The top was very easy to make.  I've just been getting back to collars and buttonholes in recent years.  For some reason I've not been choosing many patterns with either of these.  But really buttonholes aren't that big of a deal, once you do one the other's all come together pretty quickly. 

The pinafore was a bit of a let down. I think perhaps the colour was way too blah and for some reason the lining in the bodice seems to pull and sometimes leave obviously creases that show through at the front.  This is one of those material that would be horrendo for pants because it would show any lumps and bumps you may be carrying.  I've seen this before on some poor unsuspecting lassy wearing a pair of taupe coloured trousers and more unfortunate choice of underwear, the G-string, letting a whole buttocks/thigh of hail damage to shine through the fabric. Honestly cellulite does not discriminate you don't have to be a overweight for that monster to rear it's ugly head. So if you are wearing a fitted clothing in the beige taupe tones, just have a looksee at your rear visage in the mirror before you leave home. 

The best thing about this was the deer buttons I bought on Etsy.

Thursday, 22 October 2015


Jeepers.  I decided to do a little photo shoot recently for 3 items.  My camera decided, however, to play silly buggers and the first 2 outfits came up a nice shade of blur.  Now I don't mind keeping a little mystery about me but this just looked like some bad photography.  I'm fostering a young black kitty at the moment, perhaps it was just a bit of bad luck.  He was in the vicinity.
So, take dos. I really liked the version of the Malvarosa I saw on the Clever Tinker blog. I'm not sure that just seeing the pattern cover would have inspired me.  So let's just step back in time to say 1984 and the much worn drop waist dress.  Very simple pattern to make up.  So of course I chose a fabric with a specific pattern through it. Fortunately this rayon/cotton blend from Lincraft was fairly easy to match with the various panels.  I liked the sleeve detail build into the bodice pieces.  Though the rayon does stretch a bit so I'll have to watch the top of the sleeve doesn't getting all poochy.  I had thought about doing bias around the sleeves but given the shape the bias wasn't going to work. Also given the softness of the fabric I didn't see the point in bias around the neck either. Softer fabrics can certainly looked puckered when finished.  

The only extra adjustment I had to do was the underarms. I always find there is too much gape under the arms on a lot of loose fitting garments. Plus I took in the width a little around the top.  So after a few adjustments I also added some fusible webbing to hold the facing in place. I'm a keen user of this item for hems where the fabric is too soft or silky. It just give it all a smooth finish. 

Would love to try this pattern again in a plain coloured fabric. But, oh where to find the illusive good quality plain coloured fabric. 


Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Sway Dress

Like most people, I saw this on the Ginger Makes blog and decided it would be a perfect summer frock.  I was also so glad to not be printing out yet another PDF pattern. And what lovely packaging Papercut do with their patterns.  Absolutely easy little dress to make up.  As per usual I added an extra few inches to the "long" version of the dress but it still ended up pretty short for me.  I would have preferred a bit of below the knee action.  I bought a lightweight denim fabric from Lincraft last Friday and started making it on the Saturday.  It was also good having a wide fabric as you didn't have to cut out the 2 front and 2 back pieces separately. 

The instructions were quite good, though I have to say I failed to comprehend the instruction regarding applying the facing. You were to join your back and front sections together at the shoulder, attach the facing section at the neck, and then this technique I've never heard of to join up the armhole seams. Anyways I couldn't get my head around it, and the day before I watched Inherent Vice which also confused me lots. It's a good movie, but I really was waiting almost 3 hours for it all to make sense and didn't.  But I digress. 

So as far as the facing went I simply added the facing sections separately to both front and back before I did the shoulder seams. Leaving 1cm open at the top, sewed the outer shoulder seems of the dress keeping the facing free and then just fold under the facing on the inside and hand stitched the front facing sections to the back facing sections. And this explanation probably makes no sense to some sewers. I've done this before with other dresses, more recently vintage patterns.  I'm sure Papercut's instructions would make sense if I actually saw this technique done. 
Unfortunately my belt ended up too short also. Again, I should always add a bit extra when I'm not sure. It didn't look like a lot of material when I was cutting it out. Oh to listen to those inner voices. 
Mmmm, the comfy post-lunch version

All in all a great and fast dress to make up. Would definitely recommend it.

Friday, 9 October 2015

Alice, The Sequel

Being very happy with my first try at the Alice in dress form,  I bought this cute sewing themed fabric from the craft section at Lincraft. This pattern really is the perfect summer top. Light, airy and most importantly comfy. 

As usual could have done a better job with pattern matching. Also my camera is playing up and for some reason my photos are bit blurry.  I photographed 2 other outfits before this and the photos aren't usable gosh darn it.  

Not much else I can add to this post.  Really like the Alice top and would recommend it to anyone. Though my mum thought it looked like a maternity blouse. I prefer to think of it as a big lunch blouse. Able to hide a post-lunch paunch. 

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Little Houses Retro Frock

This is one of the patterns I got from a bulk lot of patterns from a friend's mum's collection.  I don't know the story behind the "Woman" patterns.  I'm not sure if they were associated with any particular pattern house. I liked the look of this basic 50's style frock which I thought would be perfect with my little houses fabric. This was a super easy dress to make.  I did learn a new thing, the shoulder pleat. Which you insert at the front. Not sure what the idea is behind this. I think it's another one of those things that works for women of a larger bust size. As for me it leaves quite a lot of room in that department.


Just loved this material when I saw it in the soft furnishing section of Spotlight.  It's a nice stiff cotton and will hopefully wear well.  I bought this along with my olive fabric I used for my Alice dress.  I thought this would be an easy pattern matching exercise given that the house pattern seems to run in lines.  I was pretty careful to match things but somehow the skirt in particular didn't match up with the side seams and the pattern.  No biggy I guess but I did try.  I also had been watching some tutorials for lap zips as I thought I'd give one a go.  I did think the size was running to a large but once I did darts and ran up one side seam it was pretty much just enough room for a regular zip.  Perhaps next time I'll venture out of my zip comfort zone. 

The pattern didn't have any facing pieces. The instructions said to create your own. I made some bias for the neckline, but when It came to the sleeves I decided to draft facing pieces from the bodice pattern.  The sleeve line had a bit of shaping to it and when I tried to add some bias it looked a bit poo. I also did a hand stitched hem.  I'm quite happy doing my hand sewing while I'm sitting around watching some telly.

I think all in all this dress was probably only $12 all up.  The material was only $5 a metre and the pattern probably worked out to $2.  So overall pretty awesome on the price front. 

Monday, 21 September 2015

....Because I needed some more patterns

In recent weeks I have revisited one of my addictions, shopping for retro patterns on line. It seems like a harmless enough pastime.  That is until you decided you really really need to buy one pattern and then it doesn't stop there, oh no. There's another one that looks promising and no-one has made a bid on it yet. I probably shouldn't, but why not. If I don't win the bid then so be it.  I do have a certain limit.  I am mostly looking for a good bargain.  Recently all the patterns I bought were under $5, then plus some postage in some cases.  I'm guessing other shoppers are more selective and will pay a whole lot more for say a single special pattern.

Isn't it just amazing how much time you can waist on the interweb looking at patterns. And I'm guessing a lot of other sewers do the same thing, building a larger and larger cache of patterns.  Sometimes I'm really good and use the pattern almost as soon as I get it. Then there are the other patterns that get forgotten in a pile somewhere because I'm distracted by the newly arrived goodies.    So here are some of my purchases in the last fortnight.

Then this weekend just gone, I was a bit sick with a cold and heavy dose of the hayfever to boot and found myself on the interweb again and bought more more more.


I bought these 2 patterns thinking I may make adjustments to the design.  For the first frock I think I'd make it with shorter sleeves for the summer months. I wouldn't really get as much wear out of a long sleeve dress I fear here in the tropics. Certainly looks real nice and comfy and easy to make. The second pattern I was taken with the bodice and tie. Though rather than the A-line skirt maybe doing a gathered skirt. Obviously that would change the 70's look, but I think the bodice would suit a 50's style too.

Pretty much bought this bargain because of the blouse which I thought looked really cute. I could however see myself making up the pinafore in the cooler months. Looks rather smart.