Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Foxes, Cats and Totes, Oh My.

Top of the festive season to all.  Hard to believe it's going to be 2017 in a few days time.  It seems like only yesterday it was 1987.  Ah simpler times. Guess I'm feeling nostalgic after all the tragic losses of childhood icons this year.   I'm still way behind with blogging clothes but for now here are my sewing/craft projects for the festive season.  

Now that my niece has turned 1, I decided I would finally make her a frock.  I certainly wasn't interested before now as I didn't want to spend time makng something she was going to grow out of in a few weeks.  I used New Look pattern 6275 and a delighful foxy material from Spotlight.

Now I may be losing my mind, but I was sure I took more photos of this dress, but I can't for the life of me find them.  Anyway, this was an easy little dress to make.  Probably given all the panels this material wasn't ideal and the circular yoke took a while to hand stitch.  I would use the pattern again, but the next frock will be a simplier item.  I also made the little matching bloomers which took no time at all to whip up.  Might even get junior to model the finished product at some point.  

Of course now our family Christmas has become all about the small people, and this is another gift handmade by me.  This is my third attempt at a stuffed toy. And whatdoyaknow it's a cat.  

I spent almost an entire episode of The Walking Dead ramming this kitty with stuffing. 

Polly-Jean not too sure about this interloper.
I also spent an afternoon making a 3 citrus marmalade. It got some good reviews last year so I made it again.  However, due to being inpatient, I didn't allow the marmalade to thicken properly. Still tastes yum, just needs to be left in the fridge a few days.  

And finally I made my first tote bag.  One of my good friends has her birthday on 23 December so it's a bit of a challenge separating christmas presents from birthday presents.  I figured a tote that could be used as a beach bag would be a good present. Something you can fold up and take with you on your travels and a tote is pretty handy for many other things. 

I used the Purl Soho Railroad Tote . I added a few extra inches to the width and another inch to the length. I found loads of denims recently when I was tidying my spare room. I used the existing denim combined with a spot material from the Lincraft soft furnishings selection.  Am really chuffed with the finished product. Spoiler alert friends and family, now that I've mastered the tote, you will probably all be getting one in 2017.  

Sunday, 27 November 2016

New Look super and simple

I've been on hiatus from the blog for the first time since I started blogging.  All in all not much sewing in the last few months as I was recovering from an op, but still had a bit of a backlog of things to post.  

This dates back to August.  Another version of New Look 6068.  I was after something fast and simple for this particular material and remembered this pattern. 

Not much I can say about this simple dress. My previous versions have had the collars but this one I didn't even bother with an opening at the neckline as it was big enough to pull over my head.  The material is lovely to wear, soft and a nice drape.

I added this details to the sleeve.  It was a bit too boxy so I made a pleat and finished them off with a button.  I was originally going to wear it as a winter casual, but I think I'll get more wear out of it for work.  Wearing tights seems like such a long way away now with steamy summer weather upon us. Only 6 months until June........................

Monday, 5 September 2016

Simplicity 9151

I've made this pattern up before, in a brown tweed looking material and I wore it on my trip to the Barossa.  I made up this little denim number and first wore it on another little trip away.  This time I was heading south of Brisbane to a farm stay and this seemed like a comfy enough driving outfit.

I took quite few photos here in my parent's front garden, but it was hard to find some reasonably flattering photos to put into my post.  I think I needed to iron the pinafore a bit better and my post weekend indulgence gut was in evidence on some of the angled shots.

This is a great simple pattern to make. The neckline is a little snug, but that is the way with a lot of vintage patterns from the 60's and early 70's.  Because this was a larger sized pattern I cut a slightly smaller size. Turns out I cut it snugger than I intended.  But this is definitely something I will get quite a lot of wear out in the coming winters. And will hopefully be a seeing me through another trip, hopefully to Canada next year. 

And speaking of the farm stay, here is a photo of me with a cow named Dorrie. 

If you love animals and live near or are visiting Brisbane I can definitely recommend Clandulla Cottages.  My friend Lee-Anne and I went for a weekend and it was such a great weekend for animals lovers.  We were the only single ladies there as these places are usually frequented by families. Should have taken a bunch of my me made clothing and done a photo shoot.  Next time perhaps.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Quicky retro top

Sometimes you just want to make something fast and easy.  And if all goes to plan it's a very satisfying thing to complete an item in one day or even afternoon.  I am lacking in longer sleeve tops because I don't always see the point when we have such a short period of cool weather here in Brisbane.  This top was a happy compromise in lightweight gingham and a 3/4 length sleeve.  

I made some changes to a 70's peasant style blouse pattern.  The neckline and bodice are basically the same but instead of the long sleeve with ruffle in the pattern I simply cut a shorter length which left the top with a wider bell sleeve look. 

Once again I find myself saying that I should have added a few extra inches to the length of my garment. Looking at the pattern pictures this top is meant to be tucked into a skirt so it's not all that wide or long, so the shape does look a bit boxy.  I would definitely add length and more width to this next time. I also added some ric-rac to the front for a bit of contrast.  

Overall a very satisfying little make in one afternoon. A versatile base to make a few variations on the pattern. 

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Alder Shirt Dress by Grainline Studios

I'm almost annoyed that this dress sorta kinda of looks good.  I almost gave up on it and wasn't even going to bother putting on the buttons. I seem to have the worst luck with these independent patterns companies and their sizing.  I do my measurements against whatever the pattern says, then during the construction process I try it on and it is generally 2 or 3 sizes too big.  This was such a drama with this dress particularly regarding it having a collar. Everything just looked like it was swamping me when I first tried it on.  And the neck band didn't quite work out as it should have.  I don't think I had any trouble making it up as the instructions were clear. In the end I added some darts to the front to take it in. Fortunately the pattern and colour of the material hides them.

I even got so far as doing buttons holes, then gave up on this dress. It sat there for months and months on my dressmaker dummy.  Putting the buttons on was a bit of a horror show.  I laid the dress out flat on the floor and marked where I wanted the buttons to go trying to cross over the front sections enough to make the neckline look reasonable.  I had to move buttons a few times. Fortunately I was on holidays when I did this so I didn't feel as annoyed about wasting all this time on a simple task. 

I am happy with how this dress looks on and I wouldn't mind trying to make another at some stage.  I just feel a certain amount of bitterness towards the pattern which I may never quite recover from.  At least it's a super comfy dress best to be worn in the cooler months with tights and maybe a cardi. 

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Style 1838

I bought this 1970's pattern late last year on ebay.  Even though I have already had some peasant top patterns I quite liked the dress with the long sleeves in this.  Unfortunately upon opening the packet I discovered that the back section of the top and dress was missing.  Looking at the pattern and the elastic neckline I figured I could just use the one piece for front and back.  I've discovered with some PDF patterns that some front and back sections of dresses and tops are pretty much identical. And definitely when you have to construct each piece of the pattern from the A4 print out, I try to find a shortcut. 

I went on a rayon buying spree recently at Spotlight. I do love that fabric. So light and floaty and not too crushy mccrush.  Shame I won't get a lot of wear out of this top with our short winters. Ah well it's a style I'll wear for years to come. 


Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Simplicity 6103

Another little something something from my 60's pattern collection. I purchased this pattern late last year mainly for the the blouse.  I certainly wasn't disappointed with the pattern.  The pattern was very simple and easy to follow and absolutely no unpicking was needed during the sewing process. Hooray.

I can't remember where I purchased the material, but I suspect it was quilting cotton. It is the perfect material for a vintage top.  I couldn't find enough buttons in my collection so I did covered buttons. The only alteration I should have done was lengthen the body as it's quite short. Also there was no guide for the button holes but that's not exactly rocket science to work out where to place your buttons.  

I love this top and will definitely make it again.  

Monday, 18 July 2016

Alice, Working Hard for the Money

I haven't been doing a whole heap of sewing in the last few weeks.  I made a vintage peasant top and cut out a few things.  I decided I needed a nice fast project for a work pinafore. Come on down the Alice by Tessuti.   This is my second dress in the Alice pattern and I've done 3 tops.  I wanted something quick and easy and that patterns is great for such a project. 

The fabric which is 100% synthetic has the look of a wool blend.  I'm quite optimistic it might not be a crusher.  I have way too many of those in my work dresses repertoire.  Even fabrics I'm not expecting to crush do.  I even took it old school and bought some fabric starch spray.  That didn't seem to work on the fabric I needed to de-crease. It just left a nice film of starch on my iron which flaked off on the next thing I ironed. 

Back to Alice.  This is a very simple make and a versatile colour for work. It is actually a blue background but looks grey in most lights.  As I don't have an overlocker I had to zig zag my seems twice because this fabric freys like the Dickens. 

I used some buttons for a bit of embellishment.

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Drawer of Horrors

I was quite confident that I had my sewing/spare room in some sort of order.  Alas my patterns are stored in various locales due to lack of storage.  I started out my Wednesday morning trying to find one of my vintage patterns, which by rights, should have been in a particular place that I keep my pre-used vintage patterns.  A peruse of the 2 storage bags did not yield the pattern in question.  Then I went to the next 2 or 3 locations it could have been in.  No luck.  Of course this venture of looking through all my patterns, drawers, baskets, storage containers is all very interesting, with forgotten patterns giving me pause to think about when I might actually use them.  
Finally, I came across my bits and bobs sewing drawer.  Like the drawer most of us have the kitchen for all things that have no place elsewhere, I have my sewing drawer with various odds and ends, interfacing, zips, tube turner etc.  However, after starting to unload the drawer I found many many things that maybe should not have been in there.  Behold........

Firstly, the patterns. What was I thinking discarding so many patterns in this drawer. I even had loose pattern pieces all belong to one pattern marked 6020. There was no 6020 pattern in the drawer. There were even some other pattern pieces pined to material.  2 lots of large material off cuts, enough to use again. And partially made dress which I had helpfully put in a bag with material and pattern. There was string, there was ribbon, some felt. Junky material offcuts which I assume I was keeping to do covered brooches. Other random fat quarter material pieces. Covered button kits. A PDF pattern for a bag. The good news is that I found the only pants pattern that I’ve had success with and recently assumed was at my parent's house. I certainly wouldn’t have been looking in that drawer for one of my much loved patterns. 
I was grateful to google for helping me to locate what pattern 6020 belonged to. It was hard to find the actual pattern company on any of the pieces initially but once I did I found the missing pattern. I'd actually wanted to use the pattern late last year for a sewing project and found pieces missing.  
In the end I did find my vintage pattern. Where you may ask? Well in one of the original places I looked. I just didn't look hard enough.  A wasted morning with my drawer of horrors, but I guess a good excuse for a clean out and clean up. 

Saturday, 18 June 2016

New Look 6187

I've been trying to branch out and make more tops recently. I bought a  couple of patterns last time when Spotlight had their $5 sale on patterns. Whenever these sales are on I go through the draws with my list of patterns and mostly they aren't there. Then I just start trawling through the drawers at random to see if anything takes my fancy.  This is where I found the New Look 6187.  I liked the looked of the mandarin collar version. 

Alas I was not happy with the end result.  Perfectly easy little top to make, but I didn't make the top long enough and also the sleeves are very boxy.  At first I thought I wouldn't wear it, but I guess it is wearable I'm just not l-o-v-ing it. 

As the basic style of the top is nice I might give one of the other versions a go in the longer sleeve and add a couple of inches to the length. 

Material was a quilting cotton that I've had for about 12 months.  Funny how it matches the diagram on the front of the pattern. 

Friday, 10 June 2016

Laptop Case

I've had my laptop for a couple of years now and for some reason only recently thought to make a cover for it.  I try to put it away in a cupboard when I'm not using it but it often lives under my coffee table.  Given I have a poo-load of fabric lingering around the joint I decided to use this vintage 70's floral print.  Yellow isn't really my shade but it looks quite good in an accessory.  

My first design I tried was an envelope. Unfortunately it didn't sit very well I think because I put wadding in the lining.  I just thought some padding was a good idea. 

Here I re-jigged the design and put straps with button holes and some covered buttons in the same fabric.  I also couldn't find any plain white material for the lining. I have white material somewhere, but alas I couldn't locate it.  I had a white pillow case that had gone a bit off colour so I decided to use that instead.  It was just the right width.

 Far from perfect, but it should do the job.

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Lucky Cat Frock

Here is another of my much used patterns, Simplicity 2215.  Though I've only made the dress/pinafore once before and it was not too fab.  So I'm out one day having lunch with my friend Cat and we walk into a little Japanese crafty gift store and they had some lovely linen type fabrics and one which screamed out to me, naturally featured pusscats. I'm not sure if I've actually seen the lucky cats on fabric before but here it is. The fabric was a dream to work with.   


So overall this Simplicity pattern has been pretty good to me and I had seen some lovely versions of the dress on blogs. Certainly the type of material you use is the key ingredient and I am very happy to have another kitty frock in my collection. 

I found some nice reddish coloured buttons at Spotlight which were a fairly good match the red tones in the material.  

And finally, I have the perfect outfit for my kitty bag.  I bought this bag last year and was initially put off by the horrid smell that kept emanating from it.  It was one of those strong chemical smells. Fortunately after airing it for about 6 months the aroma has now passed and I can wear my crazy cat lady ensemble with pride.  

And on the subject of "lucky cats", I would like to introduce a new family member to the FrocknStuff household, Salem.  He was my first and last foster cat.  I thought I'd do a good turn and become a feline foster carer.  But a 5 week foster, turned into 7 months and well I couldn't imagine not having him around. So Polly-Jean now has a little brother. 

Saturday, 28 May 2016

McCalls 6794

I'm on a mission to make some more tops. Pretty sure I have enough dresses for the time being, or do I. I've had this material for quite some time. I didn't know what exactly I wanted to do with it. I thought it would be good for a dress. But with a most sewing projects I tend to pull certain materials out and contemplate whether they are worthy of the specific pattern I want to make. It's a super light weight cotton so it would have needed lining so that kind of makes up your mind. It was perfect for this top.     


Such an easy pattern to work with. This is definitely a top you could make in one day.  I actually love these type of sleeves. So much simpler than adding sleeves separately and you just turn over the seam instead of using binding or facing.  By just adding length this would a perfect dress also.  

Simply a great top that would go with pants or skirts.  I think now the weather is finally cooling down I might try the longer sleeve top.