Thursday, 25 February 2016

If you like Pina Coladas

How appropriate in this tropical weather I should find myself attracted to a tropical themed print.  I do love that the pineapple has become quite the feature in furnishings and knickknacks recently.  And since I live in the homeland of the Big Pineapple (well about an hour and a bit down the road) I am more than happy to represent the Sunshine State and it's large spikey fruit.  I know what you're thinking, and yes it's a shame I didn't make the journey to Nambour for the photo shoot.

This is yet another story about a skirt gone bad, that was refashioned into a dress. I just never learn. Maybe it's the fabric. It is after all another fabric from the soft furnishing department at Spotlight.  A good sturdy ribbed cotton. I believe my friend Mandy had something similar in mind for curtains for a Combi.  Combi curtains, cushions, a dress for work, so many options.  


I took the bodice option from one of my 1970's patterns. The featured panel piece is actually black denim. I did, however, find out after wearing the dress that the denim was crinkling up at the sides. I've now added some interfacing to reinforce it. Hopefully that will do the trick.  I also had some nice vintage white buttons which were perfect to add to the feature panel.  I put a side zip since the original skirt had a side zip.

I am very happy with my pineapple dress. It's a little shorter than what I'd usually make for a work dress as I didn't take into account the actual length of the bodice.  I was surprised after wearing it to work it was one of those dresses that didn't get many comments. Well, whatever. Whenever I wear it it makes me want to sing "if you like pina coladas and gettin caught in the rain.....".


Saturday, 20 February 2016

Japanese sewing books

Finally, I've made something from one of my many Japanese sewing books. It only took about 3 years since my friend Anna bought me my first book. This pattern is from the Happy Handmade Vol 3.  I was after something nice and easy to start off with given the exercise of tracing out all the pieces. Also this book wasn't in English so I was winging it re: the instructions. Being an experienced sewer and having pictures to go by helps. I decided on the F1 loose fitting tunic dress.  I even kept with the theme of black and white using a Rayon blend from Spotlight. 

I traced out both upper bodice pieces and the facing for the neck edge.  For some reason there was a back and front section for the lower part of the dress. I measured the second piece and it turned out to have the exact same measurements at the first piece, which I kind of suspected.  So I just used the one pattern piece for front and back. It is quite confusing tracing out individual pieces because of all the overlaps. I've only traced out pattern pieces once before and found it a bit tiresome.

Once the pieces were cut out it all comes together really quickly. This is one of those dresses that takes only a few hours.  There is no facing for the sleeves, you just turn the hems under.  There was no picture instructions telling me to do this but I kind of figured that was the plan.  The neck facing pieces were less bulky than most you'll be used to. I also used some doublesided hemming tape to hold both back and front facing sections down so they wouldn't pop out when I put the dress on.

I even did my own version of the feature at the front. I had some white rickerack in my sewing box so used that. I didn't have enough for 6 lines but 5 looks quite ok.

I'll be adding this little pattern to my quick satisfying patterns to make. Such a joy to do something in one afternoon and it's a style that would do well in cooler months too with tights and boots. 

I made this to a medium size as I didn't want it to be swamping me, but it could almost run a bit bigger at the top. So lovely and comfy. Perfect for a summers day with sandals. 

Friday, 12 February 2016

Vogue 8789

This dress has literally been hanging around, behind my bedroom door for months and months.  The only reason I hadn’t worn it was because I thought I needed to make the cummerbund belt. When I first tried it on I used a black belt I had and it didn’t look right at all, then I found some navy material which I thought I could use to make the belt. After trying on the dress again I was quite happy with the way it looks sans belt.  However, I will still try to make the belt at some point. 

This dress is a surprising easy make. I felt sure that the V neckline was going to be a hassle. And the instructions at first glance look a bit confusing. However, once you get to making up the bodice the technique for attaching the facing to the front just works.  I was very impressed. I don’t know how many times I’ve failed with confusing instructions and techniques and had to unpick and try several times to get something to sit right. 

The material was from Spotlight and it is a lovely rayon blend. So it is cool and the fabric sits well in the dress.  The neckline  and shaping of the bodice are quite flattering as well.  Would definitely like to the use the bodice again maybe for a shorter summer dress.  Would be great to work with a stripe fabric to get that arrow effect at the front.     

I also decided to use a technique, that I'd seen on youtube, for inserting the zip whereby you use masking tape to hold the zip in place instead of pins. Then you can sew the zip on the outside.  This was a disaster as the needle got all gummed up with the tackiness of the tape. I think it stayed in place for the sewing but I had to replace my needle because it was all nice and sticky.  Well it was worth a try. 

Thursday, 4 February 2016

The dress that Grunge built

Sometimes it's nice to have a soundtrack to your sewing projects.  I was, not surprising for me, in a 90's mood and after hearing of the death of Scott Weiland from Stone Temple Pilots I was in the mood for giving the Purple and No. 4 albums a whirl on the turntable (or rather cd player). Matched nicely with a bit of Hole's Life Through This, I was having a very enjoyable sewing day indeed. And yes, I do still have a cd player and I still love record players especially listening to my old albums whenever house/kitty sit for my parents.

As it turns out, my current version of the Washi dress kind of has a 90's vibe in this lovely soft denim. 


This is the third time I've made the Washi and I still haven't bothered to use the feature in the neckline. I'm just afraid if the material isn't stiff enough it will flop forward. 

Oh how I love shirring. I've got that skill nailed now. Not bad considering in my long sewing history I hadn't managed to attempt this before.

So vale Scott Weiland "going blind out of reach somewhere in the Vasoline......"