Sunday, December 18, 2016

Catching up.

Well hello! It has been a while. I've been very busy... boy working full time really cuts down the everything else fun time doesn't it. So onto the catch up.

These 4 patterns above I got way back in July I think. My friend who lives and works in the U.S. was coming over and I wanted the New Look 6459, Simplicity 1366 and Butterick 6244 but of course every time there was a sale at Spotlight, these were not available or already sold, so I asked if she could get them for me. Stupidly I should have ordered them from sewing but did think of it early enough so she popped into a Joanne's to get them .. .ended up costing me $50 AUD but I guess I have them at least.

So far I have made a muslin of the culottes (no photo yet though) and with the same fabric, the top which isn't sewn up yet... maybe this arvo.  I think that culotte pattern is a good work uniform pattern and will look different in different fabrics (that's such an obvious statement but you know that I mean non sewers will not notice it's the same pattern). I have cut out a Sweater from the New Look knits pattern (out of a linen knit from Darn Cheap fabrics a few years ago that was $2 a metre.. this is a great pattern for it and when I get it whipped up it'll be perfect for the office). Of course now it's too hot (wayyyy too hot) for the Butterick jacket but I really like it so next year winter, look out. The Butterick Dress is nice too so maybe that'll get a look in some time soon.

Next is the dress above made for the Brisbane Spoolettes Frocktails way back in October. I used the vintage Butterick on the left for the bodice and the skirt from the modern Butterick on the right. Fitted perfectly together. Funny story about this, as usual I made it up on the morning of Frocktails. Of course I wanted to make a new dress for Frocktails (at least this guarantees one dress a year) but I was vacillating between many patterns and fabrics for a few weeks, interestingly none of the ones that I actually used. In the end, at 11 am on the day of Frocktails, my son asked to meet up with his friend at the park so I said yes but he had to be back by 1.30pm. So in that time, I suddenly chose this fabric and patterns and whipped it up.

The fabric is a remnant piece I bought from Darn Cheap Fabrics in June when we were in Melbourne for a week. It's a polyester, which I normally steer clear of as I prefer to wear more breathable fibres, but I just loved the print and it was only $7 for about 2 metres. It is even more vibrant in real life.. th pink is actually fluro. I don't like full skirts on me and I like the A line skirt on the other pattern so I used it. I fully lined the dress with some cotton muslin-like fabric so it was a quick sew really. I did start to make facings but it was just too time consuming to cut them out plus interfacing, I figured it was quicker to line the whole front. I pinched out about 2 inches in the neckline front and back (I am very, very narrow there and across the back.. tiny even) and if I had more time, I would have faced the tie parts in the fashion fabric, but no time and it's not that noticeable. What is noticeable is the ties loosen quickly and easily, I'm guessing because of the slippery nature of the polyester... I think the cotton lining makes this go slower because I don't think they would stay tied up if both sides were polyester. I ended up not putting in the elastic as I liked the A-line look of the dress and I sometimes choose to wear it with a chain belt. Every time I wear this I get multiple compliments. If, when I make this up again, I will lower the boat neck a bit as it is high and I hate things on my neck, but otherwise a lovely dress that has had a lot of use and is easy and lovely to wear.

 I loved the venue "The Annual Sew Your Own Dress Get Together" was held at. Thanks Colette for a fabulous evening. It was cut short for me as my son had a birthday party that evening too, so I had to collect him by 8.45pm so I wasn't there for the games but I had a great time catching up with those I did get a chance to say hello to. There is never enough time to talk to everyone...particularly if you leave early :(

This is me wearing the dress (the only photo I have wearing it) and my son and nephew at Parliament House Special High Tea last week. My Christmas gift to my sisters and Mum was the high tea. Everyone had a great time. They boys read the information sheets and made sure they stirred their tea without touching the cup and making noises, holding their pinkies up and also learned the correct way to get the scone on the plate and then cut it and put the jam and cream on. We did the tour after and had a great day.

This is me the last time I went three years ago... look how grey I have gotten in that time! 

See that dress above, it's Simplicity 1796 below. Notice what I did... yep put the skirt and bodice on the wrong way. So I didn't even allow myself to get cross, I just unpicked it and sewed it up again. I am debating whether or not to put elastic or a drawstring tie in ... I think I'll go the elastic 'cause it's easier and I just want to finish it. I made an 8 in the top to the armholes and then down to a 16 at the waist and the skirt. It's a quick make but there is something weird about the facings and the shoulders in the drafting... there is 2 cm seam allowances there somewhere for some reason. The facings didn't fit so I skipped them and made some bias and used that instead. Quicker and a nice finish. This is a rayon that I got from an eBay seller - Janie's Fabrics I think, something like that. It's a nice heavy rayon and was only $6 pm. I have been looking for a rayon same at this but a navy for about 4 years and finally I saw some at Spotlight online. I bought it and for .3 kg weight they still charged the full $8.99 in postage. I will never buy online from them again but I really wanted this fabric. It is much lighter weight and only 112cm wide but I want it to make some wide leg pants. I had some in black many years ago and they were so versatile I wanted to replicate them. 

I will try this pattern again and maybe make the cross over dress. Again I need quick easy things to make for work as my wardrobe is limited - as is my time.

This is the last of the makes... I made the skirt a few weeks back... a remnant piece of rayon crepe (what a gorgeous fabric and print). It was only a few dollars and just enough for a simple elastic skirt, but I didn't have anything to go with it (which reminds me I made a white cowl neck top too but no photos) and then I bought a dress and this green top at Big W when they had 20% off. I think it was $20. It's a polyester crepe and when I washed it I noticed it was the perfect colour to go with the skirt, so win, another outfit for work. I am contemplating cutting it shorter at the hem and shortening the sleeves too as I feel overwhelmed in it, but I may wear it together first and see if it's workable as is. No point using valuable sewing time if it's not needed.

I don't foresee any posting before Christmas so I'll wish you all a safe and happy festive time and a hope for a wonderful and peaceful 2017. Thank you for reading and commenting - it's very much appreciated. 

Sunday, November 27, 2016


Thanks ABC for playing Crowded House Live on the tv tonight. Hope the neighbours don't mind because it's LOUD! So neighbours this is for the dogs barking all night, air conditioners going for 14 hours a day and all your building noise! You're welcome.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Kwik Sew

So recently Spotlight had Kwik Sew patterns - 3 for the price of 1. I don't really need any patterns as I have plenty but some took my fancy and I'm keen to sew some up.

I have been really liking the waterfall jackets... I have a Butterick pattern (not mentioned yet but brought over from the US with a friend... that's another post though), a New Look cut out and I liked the length of this Kwik Sew one too. I was seduced by Kristy's beautiful version of the jacket on the right. Don't expect to see it fitting me so perfectly but it looks nice and easy and it's a bit different and a bit timeless too.

I was thinking of sailor type pants but when I saw this shorts pattern, I thought I could make them up and see if they suit and I may be able to lengthen the legs and not have to trace out a Burda one. Not sure how KS patterns fit me as I've only made a dress a while ago now. I have these cut out from a leftover piece that was not enough for anything else so I'm glad I could do that.  If nothing else I can use the shorts for the beach this summer.  The swimsuit and dress, I bought for my sister. She had some physical restrictions and needs some swimwear but I think it will be easier for her to get on and off.... these aren't urgent but needed in the future.

This jacket, is not really waterfall but I liked it as it was shorter. I have it cut out of some black wool crepey type knit that I bought in two pieces at Darn Cheap fabrics in Melbourne earlier in the year, but it was proving to be a waste because I couldn't get anything out of it, but I can get this pattern out of it so I'm so pleased... that'll be made up in the next few days I hope so I can get some use out of it. It's spring here which is normally hot; and it has been warm in the day but the morning is cool and the air con at work is a killer too, so this will be useful.

These are skort and skirt pattern... really just because it was cheap and my niece likes this style so she might get one! I liked the dress too but the only review I read didn't give it a good wrap, and I read it after I bought it... still think it will be a nice dress in linen and I bought some really cheap ($2 per metre) at Darn Cheap too.

These I bought to have on hand and to make some for my niece and sister when I get time. I'll try and get some supplex to make these up. No hurry there either. I just realised I have no new thing to wear to Frocktails this week either... I have a dress cut out so hopefully I'll get some time during the week and on Saturday morning... better get on with it then.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

New Look 6648 and Simplicity 2560

I made a New Look 6648 a couple of weeks ago. It's made from a white fairly stable and not very stretchy fabric I bought at Trad's Emporium last year. It's a pure synthetic  but I just wanted to try the pattern for size. 

Top looks quite nice and I need some white tops. I made the small but it is so big in the shoulders and neckline and with the limited stretch it is too small in the hips. I should have foreseen the hip issue. It's a quick make though but I'm not sure the big wide sleeves are good on me either. I gave it to a woman at work it would fit nicely.

Gathering at the sides. I really like this but probably not good for my shape. I'll try another one in a drapier and stretchier fabric though and resize it for shoulder and hips.


Close up you can see there is a small square woven in. It's quite nice to not be plain white. I have  2 small remnants of some white rayon that I might get it out of so I'll try soon.

Next up was Simplicity 2560. I really like this style and have wanted to make this up for ages. The fabric is from Darn Cheap Fabrics $2 table from the recent trip to Melbourne. 

It is nice and cosy. The fabric is very pretty and I love the way the neck band really cosies up to the neck and keeps you warm. The pattern has you just add the band all way round and then turn a small hem around it. I turned it over double.... I like it better this way and think it makes a more tidy finish. Although with a drapier fabric it would work too. It's also a quick make.

Close up of the fabric. Very boucle like with a little gold thread through it.

That's where I turned it over .... my stitching was done on the inside but made the outside look crooked which annoys me... I should have hand stitched it. I should have had a longer stitch and then I may have been able to unpick it but it's nearly impossible so I'll just have to live with it.

This is the shoulder where I put in the little ribbons... I ran  out of the pink one and threaded through a gold one to finish.  It works really well and keeps the shoulder very stable.

 That's the back. The sleeves are supposed to have a flat inside facing and then the top part is gathered or this size and the sleeve folded, but my fabric is too thick for this so just left the sleeve bells longer and just folded over to hem it. I do love it ... it's warm and pretty but it goes with nothing. I thought it may go with a black skirt but it only looks good with jeans. Maybe it's the proportions? but when I wear it I feel like I'm wearing a dressing gown.  I will try and get a photo of it on me.

What do you think?

Friday, October 14, 2016

A small but useful modification.

That's a velcro strip from Daiso (Japanese $2.80 shop - incidentally full of all the little useful things you didn't know you needed or that would be made) that I cut lengthwise - with a little rotary cutter also bought from Daiso (good to not make your good one blunt - also $2.80).

My Dad is in a nursing home with dementia :( and it is getting more difficult to get him dressed.
I think this is a huge problem for a lot of less abled people.. getting in and out of some clothing can be frustrating for the person who may not have the patience, strength or agility to get clothes on.  He is losing weight and he gets cold in the air-conditioning so he wears long pants year round. He likes to wear track pants in the winter but when we take him out it's too hot now here. Putting some elastic waisted chino type pants on him last week it was difficult (and he was impatient) to get the pants up over the under things he needs with this elastic waist. I thought I would put a strip of velcro along the side and let him get the comfort and ease of the elastic waist but with quick access. It is surprisingly strong and it was available in the right colour... bonus.

Firstly I sewed the elastic in the waistband through the whole waistband about 3 cm either side of the side seam, unpicked the waistband then I cut the elastic. Then I unpicked the flat felled seam to the pocket opening end.  The velcro had adhesive, which was very strong actually and this made it useful to hold in place and not have to pin. The only problem I struck was that the adhesive stuck itself to the needle then the needle couldn't go through the fabric and velcro.. it even pulled the thread out. However, tea tree oil to the rescue... I dipped a cotton tip in the oil and rubbed the needle clean with it which did two things. One; it  cleaned the needle and two, with the needle lubricated, it made the needle able to really slide in and out easier and less of the adhesive would stick. I had to clean/lubricate the needle a few times but it worked a treat. So that's my small but useful modification. I'll test it on Sunday when I go get Dad for our weekly family lunch and report back.

It's been a busy, busy time lately what with working full time and two lots of overseas friends here. Friends have gone and my job officially ended today... it was a short contract of 4 months... however, although that contract is over, a new opportunity starts on Monday with the same department for an unknown length of time. It's been a huge learning curve and there was many changes throughout this time. It's great to be part of a team that literally is like turning a ship around quickly....being responsive and adaptable. So not much in the sewing for me but hopefully I'll get something made up this weekend. 

Sunday, September 18, 2016

What to do with those tiny ribbons.

I finished a little cardi... just in time for the warmer weather to start. I feel better that it's raining and a bit cooler today. I have yet to photograph it but thought you might like to see a little thing I tried. I don't actually know what this little slot in the overlocker foot is for but I figure elastic maybe? I have never tried this before but I thought I would put this tiny ribbon (the ones you get on clothing for hanging - I hate wasting them) on the shoulders of my new cardi. It is nearly impossible to hold that tiny sucker on to sew it so thought I'd slip it in here.  It worked! It was so easy once you got the ribbon in and my tip would be to have a length threaded through further past the fabric start. I found it made it easy. 

I actually ran out of that pink that was a perfect match but had a skinny gold one and finished off with that. Notice my nice fabric (of course that's the wrong side) but it's very pretty - a remnant from Darn Cheap Fabrics from our recent Melbourne trip. It was only a few dollars and has made a lovely cardi.

I haven't really had time to sew, but yesterday finished this little cardi and a top (that was a trial and doesn't fit unfortunately) and went to Spotlight and bought 9 Kwik Sew patterns that were on sale - 3 for $12. I got some great ones and one cut out already. The reviews of a couple of them are really good so I have high hopes. In those are some active wear and swimming togs - just for "stock" - you know stuff that's good to have on hand - staples if you will.

Anyone do this and please pass on any tips... does this work for elastic for swimwear for example? I have some swimwear on the list so I'll have a go in any case. Look out for finished items soon.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Busy busy.

Victoria Bridge with the Wheel at Southbank at left and the city on the right.

Story Bridge from the "City Cat" ferry with the city in the background.

Pink in September is Brisbane Festival time. The bridges are lit up hot pink and there are so many great things on. I have had 4 nights out in a row.... The new Nick Cave movie "One more time with feeling." Devastating to watch... after his recent family tragedy. Friday night was spent at the Spiegleltent watching Mick Harvey, an ex member of Nick Cave's bands since The Boys Next Door in the late '70's. It was fabulous. Sitting in front of us was Robert Forster from The Go-Betweens my all time favourite band... wonderfully from Brisbane.  The next night I was at the Spiegletent again watching Custard, a band very popular in Brisbane in the '80's (they played really a lot but curiously considering the amount of live music I would see then I never saw them live... They were great and Robert Forster was there again. I had a little chat to him when we were walking out. Alex and I are going to his show on Sunday night... start of school holidays. I saw his show last year when his album was released and it was terrific and he said it is even better than then... he's just come back from touring around the world. The beauty with the Spiegletent is that the noise levels are not too loud so it will be perfect for young ears.

Then Sunday night my niece, who works for Brisbane Festival, offered some free tickets to Shakespeare Mid Summer Night's Dream... a bit of a modern comedy take, at the Playhouse. The whole purpose of this post really is to show my skirt (and last year's cape) in action, rather than showing off how busy I was/am. Its a little short really, but I love it with my boots and red cape. I felt swish but also a bit 'out there'. Perfect weather for the cape. It's not too cold and it just keeps you warm enough for a ride home outside on the City Cat ferry. I love my city!
(apologies for the terrible phone photos)

Saturday, September 10, 2016

This and that, zig and zag.

It's been so long since I have sewn. I did get to make a few things for work but not as many as I made in my head. Sewing takes so much longer than you think, as do most things. I often say, if I thought doing this or that took so long I wouldn't have started, but once you start you kind of commit (stop looking at me UFO's).

So, I did make a little red peasant style blouse out of a lovely cotton remnant I bought  years ago. It's much more red like in the skirt. It's a pattern I've used before for years, I forgot to take a photo of some open ended pleats (like a box pleat)I put in the back to make it a bit more fitted at my sway back. I had such little fabric I had to piece one of the sleeves with scraps but with the gathering no one notices. The skirt is my graduation dress with the bodice cut off. It never fit very well but I did like the skirt, so I cut it off about 6cm above the waist, opened up the side seam and put in a lapped zip, and turned over the top part and made a waistband out of it. I enclosed some elastic in the waistband and it's a useful piece of clothing now. I wear these together.

I also wear the top with a zig zag skirt I made. This was a scrap from the fabric sale I go to and it was $1. I have another scrap bit left too. It is a tube with a centre back seam, I hemmed it with the appliqué stitch which I really like. For the waist treatment, I put a tube of elastic at 4 points and then attached it with the overlocker and then just zig zagged down. Pretty basic but it makes a bit of a statement with the zig zag. The fabric is a knit and only three way stetch, it's a spongy knit and I really like it.

I wasn't sure about the zig and zag going up and down but then I saw this skirt in a magazine and thought ok, if they can do it for ***$620*** (WHAT????) then I can... saving $619! ok lets say $618 'cause the elastic and thread costs something. Really! Even if I didn't sew, I would never think "oh I need a skirt, I'll budget about $600!" I mean in some things I can see that it has some great fabric, great and time consuming techniques but have a look at that skirt, I can't see that it would be such a complex make that it would justify $100 let alone $600.

The next thing I finally finished was the Burda dress. It's a raglan sleeve with some open pleats at the front coming from the princess seams. It's a lovely and very easy dress (sorry just looked but can't find it just now). I thought first it may be a bit nothing and a bit out of date but I saw someone (a trendy young thing) in town wearing exactly the same style a few days before I finished so I ploughed on. I cut the smallest size in the shoulders and took it in about 4cm but it's still too big - needs about 4 cm out of the mid back. I keep underestimating how tiny my back is.. it's hard to fit yourself too. When I think it's taken in enough, when I finish sewing up it's not. So, see the pins along one side... it's getting refitted for my niece who loves it it fits her beautifully in the shoulders but it needs some slimming on the sides (which it did for me too but I probably wouldn't have bothered for myself). I will make this again as I really like it and it's very quick and easy.

I put in an exposed red metal (thrifted) zip which brightens up and adds interest to a pretty boring back. The fabric was from the (now no more I think) $2 table from East Coast fabrics last year. It's not a very stretch knit but it's very nice and I wish I had bought more. It's a dark navy with a light blue dot woven through it. They had it in a red too but that wasn't $2.  Don't be fooled.. the zip is in straight.. I just had it hanging on a hanger for the photo and it's heavy so it twists a bit. The zip is a big reason why I didn't keep this dress for myself... it's heavy and as the dress is too big in the mid back there, the weight of the zip makes the dress really pull away from the back. I'm happy for my niece to have it though and she loves it.

So a couple of things half done. I have been so busy with friends from overseas they left last week  and in 10 days I have other friends coming too. Not much time for indulgences (is it an indulgence?) I'm enjoying reading all the blogs around though and catching up on the Sewing Bee for Pattern Review. Thanks also for the comments on the Miss Fisher's costume exhibition. 

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Miss Fisher's costumes

Well it has been busy. Working full time doesn't allow for much else especially when there is a child and ageing parents. I haven't made as much as I'd hoped (ha ha do I ever) and the three things I have made I haven't photographed yet. Actually the Burda dress I just finished yesterday. I'm touching a lot of fabric and patterns but I just don't have the brain energy at night so far.

This is a panoramic photo my son took from my friend's balcony at Broadbeach. What a view! It's a great spot right across the road from the beach and last week when we went for the weekend there was a great double rainbow that we saw both ends of. You can just make it out in the top left corner.  It was a bit cloudy that day (the next was magnificent - "beautiful one day, perfect the next" - that was the old marketing talk for Queensland a few years ago).

Hee hee, then my friend said want to take a weird panoramic photo - sure why not - so while he was taking the start of the photo on the left, we walked behind him and went to the other end of the balcony and there you go, we are both ends of the photo. I thought that was brilliant. As this is a sewing blog, the top I'm wearing is a Burda pattern, just a loose turtle neck made with some rayon jersey I bought in Auckland years ago. I bought about 4 metres, and only in this colour, wish I had more as it is so gorgeous, washes up beautifully, hasn't lost any colour and like woven rayon the creases just drop out of it.

Moving on, I had a couple of spare hours after having lunch with Dad and dropping him back at the nursing home. I made a deal with myself as I was driving back home... if I got a car park spot near Southbank* then I would go to the Miss Fisher costume exhibit, and POW, I got one. (*Southbank is a nice area with parklands, restaurants, shops etc on the river opposite the city and a short bridge walk to the Miss Fisher's costume exhibit - which is in Old Government House in the Queensland University of Technology grounds - but on a beautiful sunny Sunday it's nearly impossible to get a park spot). So off to the exhibit I went... here's some photos to enjoy.

The little cape really struck a cord with me. What a lovely way to finish off a strappy dress for warm climates.

This  dress (and many others) were really intriguing. When you initially view the dress, it is beautiful and spectacular and looks like a simple dress, which you would probably expect as it is costuming for a tv show (tv show actually sounds pretty lame, given the high standard, but you know what I mean). When you got close to many of the simple looking dresses you see the seaming which is pretty complex. I couldn't get great photos but if you look closely at the two photos you can see there is a "V" sort of seaming in the middle, then if you follow the next seam it kicks in and then  out again and goes down and ends there. The second photo sort of shows that the seams go all the way down, but don't be fooled by the light and shadow. It actually stops where you see the kind of diamond shape in the top photo. Just beautiful.

Look at that lace - so gorgeous and the way it was displayed where you could see the lace across from the wrap to the hem to the end of the wrap again.

The beautiful mermaid costume.

There was a theme I noticed... sleeve embellishments. Have a look at some of the creative elements on the ends of the sleeves.

Not only the sleeves of this (which weren't clear to see but looked gorgeous) but the whole look of the delicate top as an over blouse.

Then this beautiful cover.... it was so sheer and light and the trims were thoughtfully placed so that the light fabric would behave how the designer wanted. As I walked close to this a breeze blew through the door right by it and you can see the flow and shimmer it created.

A few observations, nearly all the fabrics were silk, some were dyed to get the right colour or to match older fabrics.

What I really loved was that there were swatches supplied so you could feel the fabrics used. I thought this was brilliant and so understanding of the wants of some of the people who would visit the exhibit. As we all know, the first thing you want to do when someone has made their clothes is touch them and feel the fabric so I was really pleased with this. There was a little blurb about the fabrics too. There was a collection of Marion Bryce's own costume jewellery and accessories and a display of her 'workroom', plus there was a dress up room too...I didn't partake.. but many did. You could even buy the lipstick Miss Fisher wears.

This is a little burnt out silk shawl/shrug that I took photos of to copy (one day...). This is silk and was selling in the gift shop for $250... It was just a large rectangle lined with a sheer soft netting and tacked together at some strategic points near the end to put your arms through. Genius  and so simple.

I hope you get to see this exhibit if you are in or around Brisbane. You'll love it.