Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas


This is my Christmas stollen... it's German Christmas sweet bread. I don't like Christmas cake and many, many years ago I had a German neighbour and she gave me the recipe. My German friend makes it and loves it too. These are the ones wrapped for the neighbours tomorrow. My niece also loves it... she sent me a one sentence email, saying she'd bought some in New Zealand and was disappointed. I picked her up this afternoon... a surprise for the family at our Christmas day celebrations tomorrow. I made some this morning ... nice and fresh. I made two pavlovas too...

I hope you all have a great Christmas ... full of family and friends. I hope it is a nice and safe one also.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Jean Paul Gaultier - Part 2

I took a lot of photos at the exhibition and I won't go on too much but let the photos speak for themselves. I just used an iPhone having left my camera at my friend's place about 3 weeks ago and forgetting to get it when I went last week, so excuse the no so sharp or perfect snaps!

This outfit is made from ribbon.. I took this close up to show the netting creating a frame for the ribbon.










The rushing is done by channels of elastic. The velvet was quite worn.





Yes... a corset with a pregnant belly!


There was so much to see in this exhibition. One more set of photos to show. 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Jean Paul Gaultier Exhibition

I'm back from Melbourne and doing some great things. I saw Nick Cave on Thursday night and as ever he was great if you like that sort of thing. On Friday I went to the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition in the National Gallery of Victoria, it too was great.

It was a great exhibition. There is a large body of work there...it's probably one of the best exhibitions I've seen. I recently saw the Undressed exhibition in Queensland Museum and I wasn't that impressed. It was small and all the exhibits were behind glass and the lighting I thought was poor (others made comments in the visitors book too, so I wasn't alone there). Admittedly the underwear exhibits are much older, but it was hard to see details. The Gaultier exhibition was all uncovered, with many rooms in different themes with many, many exhibits. You were permitted photos with no flash and could get right up close - but naturally not touch. I spoke with a guard there who was writing a report, in great detail, when someone could not resist touching one of the exhibits!

The display models had flat faces with the details projected on them with voice overs - Jean Paul greets you to the exhibition and also waves you off at the end - which I thought was quite nice. You really get a sense of the designer when he introduces his exhibition. I was thoroughly impressed. I wasn't impressed with the merchandise - pretty plain t-shirt for $180 or so - wonder how many they sell!

I took lots of photos and I'll put them up in two or three posts. If you can get to see this exhibition - GO, it's so very worth it. If you can't I hope you enjoy these photos - I took some detail shots too to show the work involved and some of the blurb telling how many hours it took to make some of the outfits.




Close up of the ruching for the following dress gown.

The ruched gown back with Jean Paul in the background in the kilt.









This gold jumpsuit was worn by Beyoncé
There were outfits there made for Sarah-Jessica Parker, Kylie Minogue and her shows, Madonna and her shows of course, for the Spanish director (one of my favourites) Pedro Almodovar and many more I can't remember. More soon. Enjoy.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Burda 7205 - dowdy and unflattering?


I saw this pattern in the Burda Style magazine and Kristy of Lower Your Presser Foot made it mid last year and I really liked it. I saw this pattern on sale at Gardam's pop up shop in Edward St months ago and bought it. The pattern recommends cutting the dress on the bias but I used some rayon and thought the drape would be enough. Plus I just wanted to see what the dress was like before investing too much time and expensive fabric on it. The Burda Style top is slightly different in that it doesn't have the band on it; just is straight cut on the sides.



Hmmm... yes headless shots as my hair was not cooperating that day (does it ever??) You can see in the second photo how much my right shoulder drops. The dress is cool and comfortable on but I don't think it is very flattering ... dowdy really. I'm not sure if it's the colours or the length or both, or maybe it's because I didn't cut on the bias but I don't think it's that as there is plenty of drape. I wouldn't want it much shorter but these are not my colours and originally bought this in two colour ways.. one a hot pinks and purples that I made a dress from (unblogged  and just a pillowcase style dress) but this blue/grey one I bought to make a jump suit for my sister, but she didn't like it. I like it, but the colours aren't me.

I think the back needs to be cut a little narrower as the straps drop off - this is due to three things - narrow shoulders and it being a little wide for me plus naturally my shoulders drop where 'normally' they should be more squared. I know this from making toiles for myself during the Apparel Production course I did years ago although due to an injury the right shoulder is much more dropped now. I think that's three.  I also found the armholes to be a bit big too. Do I need a FBA on this?Anyway as I said it is cool and comfortable but should I try and make it again in fabric I like more? or is it just too dowdy?

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Men's trouser alterations.


I went to my parent's the other day and Dad asked me if I could cut and hem a pair of his trousers. Sure, I said and he went and put them on and I 'pinned' it with a bobby pin, which was all I had at hand to hold it in place. Ok ... so Dad went to get changed and came back with 7 pairs of trousers and 2 pairs of shorts! Great! :(  Just in case you didn't get it, I've added the sad face! 

Like most sewers, I hate dislike avoid doing alterations but what do you do when it's your Mum or Dad or sister (I have 4!). I do it... well I'm still doing it. I want to say that I have avoided doing suit pants for many years as I think, if I ruin them, there goes a whole suit, but I didn't worry this time because Dad has just turned 81 so the need for perfect suits is long gone. I don't know why I always question or am unconfident with my skills as I haven't actually ruined anything important really... the long, red satin gown for 2000 New Year's Eve doesn't count... that's another story for another day!

I measured all the pants to make sure they were all at the same length, cut the hems and overlocked them. That was enough for one night. Then the next night I hemmed two pairs, two last night and I'll finish the last of them tonight. The shorts had to be taken in at the waist - both done too. 


Most trousers are tapered, so the first pair I cut I resewed the bottom of the leg seams a bit wider to cater for the taper, but the second pair I noticed that they had just held the seam open a bit  and stretched the overlocking. Hmmm.... good idea and one I am keeping in my memory banks, as this happens often with taking up tapered pants. This was the pair that was from Dad's suit so it was good quality, but even the rest of the cheap pairs had this - so that saved some time.


The other things I noticed was: crotch (ewww!) lining, fly guards and half had lining of the front leg to the knee... all things that will make the trousers last.

Close up of crotch lining, sorry about the discolouration of all the linings... these are old.

There was also the waist that needed to be taken in on two pairs. It's great how the back is constructed to allow the taking in or out of the waist as needed. I hadn't done one of these before and thought it would be more difficult... as in the lining would be on in a whole piece and need deconstructing, but they (tailors) have cleverly made their own future work easy by making the facing/waistband and trouser backs as one, joined in the middle. So it was really easy. There is some tacking down of the excess and one pair (of the cheaper variety funnil) had a nifty little 'pocket' that the excess fit into making it very neat.




The other thing I noticed was how detailed the waistband actually was. On some pairs there was even more layers than this one above. Some had piping in between the two waistband facing bits and lots of layers under. I wasn't au fait with mens trousers in such great detail, but I'm thinking I may use that waistband adjustment technique on my trousers. Funny isn't it, mostly it seems that men can stay pretty much the same weight most of their lives but their trousers get the ease of adjustment techniques and women, who tend to fluctuate more (generally speaking) get the fixed waistband. Curious! Ever done any of these alterations or do you avoid them too?

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Merino boys tops - Simplicity 5271.

My son has gone to the U.K. with his Dad to see the rellies (relatives) for Christmas. This is his second time to go - the first being when he was just over 2 years old, 8 years ago. He loves the cold so he's not bothered about that, but his Mother is.

I made Burda t-shirt 151 03/2013 in August and he really loves it but I found it a little short on the length and since August he has grown taller so I made a test shirt by adding about 2cm seam allowance and then sewed it up on the overlocker without cutting to the original seam line... making it a bit bigger.  I also put the neck band on back to front so that it curls on the front. I like that. My son loved the t-shirt, but said he wanted it a little bigger under the arms.  It was a bit of a surprise that he liked it as I bought that fabric years ago from the op shop and it was in the scraps bag by the door.  (there was 2 pieces about 75cm each) I thought it was a bit thin and kind of nondescript but as I've said here before my son likes very understated t-shirts.



Above is the t-shirt in action - I didn't do a good job on the hems of the sleeves or hem - just zig zagged as I thought he wouldn't like it but he does and he's a boy and doesn't notice these things. This is with my Mum and Dad the night before he left. He wanted to have oysters with Dad and then see the Christmas lights together, so that's what we did.



These shirts are the real deal. I made them from merino I bought at The Fabric Store in the end of winter sale this year. I bought it specifically for this purpose. They were $8 per metre from memory so that makes a very, very cheap merino t-shirt. Even now in the sales they are going for about $60 each.

They grey one is a slightly thinner, bit scratchy wool but the blue one is soft like butter and super comfy. I couldn't use the Burda pattern as I figured if I was making the shirts, I'd want them to fit him for our winter so I had to buy another pattern. Spotlight was having a 5 Simplicity patterns for $10 (unheard of here) so I bought 5 patterns - one was Simplicity 5271. Sorry about the computer reverse photo... I just wanted to show the pattern and this was the quickest way (I left my camera at a friend's house).

I have not matched up the stripes, as is hugely noticeable on the grey one, but the funny thing is that I tried! I have normally matched up stripes pretty well, but obviously my tired brain didn't register the matching points at all so this is what we have. I think my son will wear them as sweatshirts rather than t-shirt on the skin because of their larger size.



It's a really simple pattern but it is suitable for the whole family. For some reason, and I didn't notice this until I came home, it has a dog bed and cap pattern included! It comes in child/teen and teen/adult and I think I made the smallest teen/adult size as the largest child/teen was the same size as the Burda also. The other pattern I bought which was a little more fancy (Simplicity 2318) has only boys or men sizes and again the largest boys was the same size and wouldn't fit in our winter. Strangely this pattern had a dog coat included! It has a fancier raglan sleeve i.e. two piece sleeve so you can contrast fabrics but in the end it was better to just get them made. I left it to the last minute on purpose so I could get the sizing right. 

The other patterns I bought were 1796 dress pattern, 2475 Amazing Fit skirt and 1417 Amazing Fit dress. Hopefully I will get lots of jobs and sewing done while my son is away. I'm looking for work so some office appropriate clothing that fits is what I'm hoping to get made.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Thanks and Melbourne

Can't remember where I got this... sorry.

I just wanted to so thanks for all the lovely comments on my dress.  I do really love it and I think it is quite flattering and  so easy to whip up. The little poster above is so there is something other than a few words.

I also want to put out there, that I'll be in Melbourne of the weekend of 20//21 December and wondered if anyone wants to meet up. I know it's a bad time being weekend before Christmas - fabric shopping is probably last thing on people's minds, and I don't need anything either, but maybe a coffee or lunch or dinner would be a possibility.  I'm seeing Nick Cave on 18 December with a friend from Adelaide and I'm staying a couple of extra days.  There is an exhibition The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier on at the NGV and I'll definitely go to see it so if anyone wants to see it and hasn't yet and wants to meet up I'd love it. Just put a note in the comment and I'll get back to you.

I'm making some beach skirts and cushions to sell at a friend's Christmas market tomorrow night. Of course, I haven't made as many as I thought I would as my machines were getting a service (more about that in another post) and life with young children and old parents got in the way but I'm going to help her out more than sell stuff... hope I do though, 'cause I don't need little girl's beach skirts.. I have a boy and nephews!

Anyway thanks again.... I'm really chuffed with all the lovely comments.


Sunday, November 23, 2014

Batwing Burda 6/2013 105


I had a dinner last night and so the opportunity to wear my new dress again and get a photo (for once) with my hair done and some (very light) make up.

This is the fabric... it has a that lovely double border and I wanted the more open, bold print on the sleeve side. I draped the fabric over me to see what would look the best. The more busy print is better camouflage for my tum. It was perfect for this style dress. 


Due to the batwing taking up  just that part of the bolder print, there is more of that left and I think I can make a skirt out of it. I'm not a great fan of synthetic fibres but this is a lovely polyester and Erin had told me she bought 5 or 6 metres of it and this was about 2 1/2 of that.




When I made this dress I did a few things I hadn't tried before. This dress has an invisible, invisible zip... the only other invisible zip I put in, wasn't very invisible. I used a plastic invisible zip foot that I bought for $4 and the first time I wasn't successful as I didn't use it properly, although I didn't realise this at the time and so I gave up and put it in with the ordinary zip foot but that didn't make it invisible.  I thought it was because it was a cheap plastic foot.  After putting the foot on properly I tried again and it worked.  I know lots of people use invisible zips and I think the outfit looks better with one so now I'll try and use them more often. I also put some interfacing on the seam allowance as the fabric is very nice, fine quality polyester and I feared it would pucker, but it went in perfectly.



So if you don't want to buy an expensive invisible zip foot, try these cheap plastic ones as it really helps get the zip in properly. Although on this dress I slip it over my head so I could have done without the last minute stress of trying a new technique but it went in first go so I'm really pleased.

I made a rolled hem with black thread on the bat wing side 'sleeve' and hemmed it like that too. It was a just a little bit shorter than I'd like but I used all the length of the fabric. The fabric is black and a really light gold although it looks cream here. I lined the dress with power net as this is all I had. The inside where the sleeve is, has a normal armhole that I faced with a bias strip (so the lining is like a one armholed sheath dress). I'm really pleased with this as I have seen unlined dresses like this on people recently and I could see all the rolls of fat when this person moved their arms while walking and so I was very grateful for the lining pattern too. A friend bought a dress like this but short length in silk, by a well known Australian designer for $400 and it was unlined! I was really disappointed  and unimpressed although they were happy to pay that! (and it was gorgeous, but knowing how easy it would be for a professional to make, I think it should at least be lined).

I am thrilled with this dress and it was a big hit at the dinner too. I'll try and make the silk version too as the friend who gifted it to me from Vietnam is going again in January and if I'd like some more I'd better show her it has been used!

I also had a photo of the Burda cowl neck dress I completed, but it looks so frumpy that I 'll try and get better photos of it to post.