FAMILY - Two or more people who share goals and values, have long-term commitments to one another and reside usually in the same dwelling place.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Style Arc Alisha toile

I have made a toile of the Alisha dress. It's a terrible fabric... actually the fabric looks gorgeous but is so thin and moves around a lot and FRAYS like nobody's business but I used it because the butter yellow is not my colour. Plus there is about 6 metres of it as it is a sari made from synthetic fabric. I got it at the meet up last month and decided it was good to use to see how the borders would work like the lace scallops (but my lace doesn't have nice scallops!).

Firstly I have to say how everything went together very smoothly.  This is rated 'Challenging' by Style Arc but other than the pivot (at the neck where the front goes around to the back and joins the  and the zip there isn't too much that is challenging.  The front edge goes around and joins the back neckline to make a kind of mandarin collar. That's the pivot point below and the following photo is  how it looks. It was easy to do and with the industry sized seam allowances made it very easy. I didn't take a lot of care but it still worked out very nicely. 

I inserted a zip but not an invisible zip as I'm not good with those but I just wanted a quick job... I can actually pull this over my head with the top pinned up as well so no need really to put a zip in for me. I am wearing the slip underneath this too. I think it's a little short and someone suggested in the comments that I could put lace on the bottom to lengthen it - brilliant idea! I thought I'd look for lace but maybe I'll put some from the selvage of the lace I'm using for the dress as it has no sequins on it.

The actual construction of the dress did not take long it is pretty easy and only took about 45 minutes - I did spend 30 minutes trying to put the zip foot on the machine (just wouldn't click in), took the zip foot from two other machines to try and then realised it's the wrong one! I thought they all were the same but the one for the most recent machine is different, although all the other feet are the same.. go figure. (on a side note, as I was cleaning the machine I noticed the warranty label and the date I purchased the machine... 2008!! I was surprised because if you'd asked me, I would have said just a few years ago but that is 6!)

So... obviously the sausage look isn't going to work... I added 2 cm to the size 12 hip line but obviously I need more. In the instructions it says the darts are optional but I don't think letting them out is going to help much. I don't know if you can see in the full length photos but my right shoulder drops about 1.5cm (from an accident about 20 years ago and then exacerbated by another one a few years ago). This doesn't help my fitting issues as I also have downward sloping shoulders naturally too (this I learned when we made our own sloper toile when I was doing the Fashion Design course - it all made sense why shoulder bags never stay on!).

So I've worked out a round-a-bout way to mark my photos so excuse the poor quality of this effort. The black marks show where the fabric frayed so much it separated! The red lines show where I need to reduce depth (does anyone know what this adjustment is called?) The yellow is the shoulder drop.
Adjustments needed:

- sway back adjustment
- depth adjustment front and back
- shoulder sloping
- either loose 7 kg in 3 weeks or add about 5cm to the hip area.

I'm thinking maybe I should make the skirt more A line or use the dart markings and make it a gored skirt. Any ideas or suggestions.  Any help gratefully received!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Strawberry dress done.

The strawberry dress is finally done.

 I started in November (I can't believe it took me this long to finish it). I stalled as I firstly needed to put in the casing for the elastic - I made a bias strip, ironed it and sewed it into the inside, threaded the elastic, added another 8cm band on the bottom as I wasn't happy with the length and only had to put the snaps on. Today I sewed the elastic down and put the snaps in. I decided against buttons as the automatic button holer on my machine is temperamental and I didn't want to make 10 button holes with the thought that only some would work out.

I had an issue with the fitting around the bust/arm area and I had some tips in the comments and I used these and the fit is much better. (if you check the link at the beginning of the post, you will see the issue and the comments).  Oh I just remembered the reason why I stalled.... I had a problem with getting the collar on well. I used Sherry's tutorial the second time round and is a lot better but not perfect (the tutorial was perfect however, sorry for not having the time to get the link).

Sorry for not posting photos of me in it, but it is still 28 degrees here and with my 'time of life' issue, I am just too hot to wear it. It fits well but for some reason, despite being covered in happy strawberries, it screams uniform to me! I also don't like the collar as I think it overwhelmes me (or that's how I feel) and sits funny (imo) so I may cut it off and change that part somehow. I do like it though and think it will be a good autumn dress. I'll try and comb my hair and take a photo with it on. I am off to pick up my son from "knight school" and then we are off to the Flipside Circus at the Judith Wright Centre! (

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Sausage Dress

 See what I mean?

On the morning of the Brisbane meet up I decided I wanted to make a dress. I pulled out Vogue 1250, the Donna Karan knit dress that everybody but me had made. I pulled out some knit fabric I bought at Spotlight a couple of years ago and cut it out. I read a review that morning that said the shorter, squared off cowl kept popping out so I took the Kwik Sew cowl pattern that was conveniently still on the couch and cut a more traditional shaped and longer cowl. I think this was squared off because
the cowl is quite deep and making this change put a lot of fabric in the middle there but it does sit well (at least for the 5 minutes I wore it for the photos). Oh and that is the dirty mirror not stains on the dress.

I love the fabric although when I was sewing up the back skirt it was obvious that it wasn't printed on grain - I could have matched it up but it would have made the skirt about 2cm short and I didn't think I could sacrifice the length.  As many review have noted, this is a simple and really well drafted pattern and although I don't like how the extended shoulders look good on the envelope, I think it feels really good on. I made the 8 at the top, 12 at the bust and 14 from the bust down. Obviously I won't be wearing this out until I loose 10 kg! I do love it though so there is incentive. It was quite cheap fabric but feels lovely on and sewed up really well. I just used a zig zag stitch on the sewing machine (too lazy to change the black thread in the overlocker!) and left the hem unfinished.

I should have taken a photo on the hanger as it looks really good. Maybe it'll show up in a few months looking more Vogue 1250 and less sausage! 

Monday, March 31, 2014

Brisbane Meet Up

Yum, yum!

The Marriott looking grand and the swap spoils in front.
 The Brisbane Meet Up was celebrated yesterday at the Marriott Hotel. It was a rainy day and normally I suspect most sewists would have been sewing in this weather but instead we were adding to or subtracting from our stashes and enjoying cake, coffee and great company. I didn't get to speak to everyone (where did the time go?) but I really enjoyed the conversations with those I did catch up with. I'm glad it is agreed that more meet ups should happen and a lot more regularly.  A bit thank you to Lizzie at for organising this great fun day.
Lana, Angela and Marjorie. Angela's dress was a huge hit with many people!
Thanks for a great day everyone... see you at the next meet up!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Style Arc Alishia slip, Brisbane meet up and Strawberry dress.

I have made the Alishia dress slip from Style Arc. This is for a wedding that I am going to early May. First up is the rouleau straps. I partly remembered a tutorial about turning these thin straps but having a long length of thread and then pulling it through itself. Not a good explanation - I had a long length of thread (the machine thread) before I started sewing the strap. I then tied the thread onto a needle and threaded the needle through the strap then I gently teased the end into itself - this was the tricky part and where I thought it would go pear shaped - but it didn't and once the end turned into the tube, the heavy satin just glided through and a great strap emerged. I thought for sure it would turn to the proverbial for the second strap, but it did not. 
Two perfect straps! Ta da!

I then put the straps onto the bust cups and gathered the bust cups and put them onto the front bottom of the slip. It was a little touch and go as I cut this from a remnant piece of satin I've had for ever and even though it's a little short, it is the perfect colour to match the sequinned lace I have. However because it was a remnant, I had to cut the bottom of the cups a little inside where it should have been because that was the edge of the fabric. I think it worked out ok as it still looks like a nice curve and the cups fit. Just a side note here, there are two sizes of cups for the slip and I cut the bigger one - I'm between a DD and E cup and they fit ok...  not perfectly under the bust but I did have to cut them shallower by about 1cm so I think they are pretty good.

Today I finished the slip save for hemming and joining the straps at the back. It isn't ironed obviously and not sitting well on the hanger but you get the picture. I am really happy with it. It would be better 5 cm longer but it isn't indecent just shorter than I'd like but it is a slip. I'm hoping I can use this slip under a number of different dresses as I don't have another. It's quite a heavy synthetic satin and I LOVE the gunmetal grey colour.

I tried putting the elastic on with the overlocker and then to turn it over but the overlocker ate it up first then I just couldn't keep it all together well enough without that third hand we could all use in sewing, so I just triple zig zag stitched and turned it over and stitched it again. I wish I thought to put the straps under the zig zag but I didn't.  I just found a little flower I will put in the middle of the bust there ... or do you think it would look too 'nightie' then. I'm thinking to do a double turned hem (don't know if that is what it is called... ). I'd turn over a tiny hem and then turn it again. I've had a little practice run before I do it on the slip.. worked out ok. I'd like to roll hem on the overlocker but can't trust the black thread and the machine. What do you think so far? Onto the dress next.

The Brisbane meet up arranged by Busy Lizzie in Brizzy is on this Sunday and there are 28 people coming. It's very exciting. I'm getting some patterns and fabrics to swap ready today too.

On another note, I haven't given up on the strawberry dress. I had some issues that have been resolved and I will put the snaps or buttons on and post. Hopefully in the next few days. There isn't much to say about Melbourne sewing wise but there is some .. I'll leave that for the next post too.