Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Paisley frock - New Look 6942

Each christmas, I like to make a new frock to wear to my families knees-up, something bright and breezy with plenty of room to accommodate all the yummy food thats on offer.


This years dress is made using fabric bought through TradeMe in New Look 6942 which is yet another of my St Vinnies purchases.

Although I love this frock and it gets heaps of compliments, its the fabric that "makes it". I doubt I'll use the pattern again - the under bust seams fall in the wrong place for me, the side seams swing to the front at the hem, and the facings kept flapping open at the neckline (hence the beads - the only way I could think of to nicely hold it closed without unpicking). And to be honest, as I've got so many other unused patterns I like more than this one, I can't justify spending the time correcting it.

As the saying goes, “You win some, you lose some.”

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Going dotty – Burda 7253 (shortened)

Haere Mai! Welcome to 2015!
Here in Wellington (actually, most of New Zealand) we've been blessed with the most glorious weather since the start of the new year. Hence, lots of time outdoors and not much at the sewing machine. However, I do have a bit of catching-up to do with things made between this post and the last.


First up is another summery top for work. The fabric was a last minute purchase at Fabric-a-Brac I wanted to spend every cent of the $50 I took, so offered the last $3.60 to the vendor for this piece, which they happily accepted. (BTW, bought loads of lovely fabric and quite a bit of thread for my $50.) I normally don't look twice at viscose but couldn't pass up the cheery print and colours.
I managed to squeeze a shortened Burda 7253 and a tie belt out of the teeny tiny scrap with a bit of difficulty. The grain was completely up the wop and no amount of tugging and steaming could get it straight; eventually I crossed my fingers and cut, hoping no one would ever notice it was off grain because of the crazy circles.
Eliminating the back seam and zipper made it was super speedy to put together, yet it still slips easily over my head without them. I'd nearly settled on a black button, before deciding to have one last look in a precious box of my grandmothers buttons, where I found three darling little clear glass buttons. Because the buttons are purely for decoration (there's no buttonhole) I stitched them close together to look sort of like a brooch. Lastly, after a couple of wears, I added fabric belt loops to hold the belt in place.
This is my favourite of the three tops I made recently. It works just as well with a skirt as it does with jeans. Plus, it used pretty much every inch of fabric = nothing left to add to the scrap bag. Don't you love it when that happens!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

See you next year!

Hi all!
My work is on the move again. Earthquake strengthening has been completed on an old building in Te Aro (Wellington central) so we're moving back into town again - yaaaa!  
So, because I've packed up my camera cables already, I'm recycling an old image.
Wish you all and your friends and families a safe and happy holiday season.
See you all in the new year!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Vintage McCall's 3932 and the Purple Rain Dress

Y'know how sometimes something starts off a bit wrong, and then just gets progressively worse? Well, that happened here.

Mistake No.1 was buying fabric on TradeMe I had an inkling wasn't quite what it seemed. When it arrived, instead of being a lovely rich burgundy, it was a shabby dusky pink. Inkling had me ask "Is colour true to image?" before I purchased (assured it was – it wasn't). Don't get me wrong, dusky pink is a gorgeous on the right complexion; however it's my 'nude', thanks to a good smattering of Irish in my bloodline. So, the ghastly thing went into the pot with the next round of dyeing—purple. Success – a much better colour for my skin tone.


Fitting was Mistake No.2. This pattern is a little too small all over for me, but I must have carried the 1 too many times while working out how much extra to add because it ended up 10 cm too large. And of course I'd put in the pockets before discovering this – oh joy, more to unpick!
Finally, thought it was all finish, and tried it on to check everything looked ok, turned around to see the back view – and instead of the bodice blousing nicely at the waist, I had an ugly poochy back roll. ARRGH! The back neck to waist measurement needed to be shortened by 3.5cm – yet more unpicking.
So at the moment, I'm feeling a little ho-hum about this dress. Can't even be bothered taking decent photos of it. It might have to hang in the naughty corner of the wardrobe for a while until I forgive and forget. Sigh.
On the plus side, I'm chuffed with the belt I made for it using the wrong side of the fabric, topstitched in black thread. One little spark of genius in that big gloomy cloud.


Wish I could join Snaggle-Puss today, it's so dreadfully wet outside. Awww, isn't he sweet.
Had issues imbedding this video of Prince singing "Purple Rain" from the movie into the post, but click on the link if you'd like a trip down memory lane. The costumes are fabulous!

Update 04/12/14: forgiven and forgotten. Incredibly practical dress - always looks elegant and polished with minimal effort - just slip it on, step into shoes and I'm on my way!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Viva Las Vegas top - Simplicity 3790


Years ago, I spent a few memorable days in Las Vegas with the girls. Of course, outlet mall shopping was on the agenda, but unuse to the pace and heat, I started to wilt after a couple of hours. The solution was to change out of jeans into a newly purchased bright and breezy sundress. However, a new problem soon developed - as the fabric was super stretchy, the shoestring straps kept on stretching to the point of indecency! By the end of the day the straps were a tangled mess of knots tied in an effort to prevent a complete wardrobe malfunction.
Back in New Zealand, the straps unpicked from the dress, a piece of blue lycra from the scrap bag found to make new ones, it was all tied together ........ and became a UFO for several years.


Enter my wardrobe gap of work-appropriate tops. Looking at the fabric again, I decided I would get more wear out of it if it was a top. Choosing Simplicity 3790 (view F, sleeves view E) from my recent St Vinnies haul, I laid it out to cut, then realised the pattern doesn't have a back yoke, only one in the front. Because the yoke would be in the contrasting blue lycra, I wanted it to continue around the body, so whipped up my own back yoke pattern. I also cut contrasting strips of blue for the sleeve hems, and left as much of the original sundress length as possible.

The result is a lovely floaty tunic, casual yet smart enough for work, which has now been worn more times than when it was a sundress!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Art nouveau water lily top - New Look 6754

The warming weather (and dodgy aircon at work) lead me to discover a major gap in my wardrobe—I have a lack of nice, work-appropriate tops. Knowing summer tops use very little fabric, and before heading off to the shops to buy more, I decided to have a ferret around in my scrap bag (aka dump its entire contents on the floor). The first fabric I spied was a piece of cotton printed with art nouveau inspired water lilies, left over from a sunfrock made many years ago. At some stage I'd tied a similarly coloured scrap of plain cotton to it because there wasn't quite enough to make a top by itself (my navel-exposing days are long gone!).


A few days later, I stopped by the Petone St Vinnies and bought three patterns for 60¢ (paid them $3—they're a charity, after all). I decided on New Look 6754 for a top in this fabric, view D with sleeves from view C.

Because there wasn't quite enough water lily fabric for the length of the top, I made a contrast band of the plain fabric at the hem, then also used it for the neck binding and lastly, as visual balance, bound the sleeve hems as well.

Very happy with the results, and it looks awesome with my camel riding shorts.
And if I'd known about Scraptember ... oh well, maybe next year!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Another Tara - Vintage Vogue 1103 in burgundy


Previously, I've mentioned buying vintage patterns via TradeMe from Tara and her mother. Vogue 1103 was the very first. The instance I saw the jacket I fell in love and hit "Buy Now", knowing there was a piece of fabric in the stash that would be perfect for it.


Because I wasn't sure what to use for closures, it remained unmade for nearly six months. Eventually, I spying the large hook and bars in The Fabric Warehouse, which is also where the wool/cashmere fabric and rayon lining had come from sometime earlier.
Once cut, it took only an afternoon to sew together, even those eight slashed-pivot point seams (see image below) weren't as tricky as I thought they would be. So I felt it justified prick-stitching (or pick stitch) the facings by hand.


The finished jacket is every bit as good as I hoped it would be. I'm wearing it daily at the moment (explains the rumpled lining!). It's terrific for this time of year when the mornings and evenings are still chilly, but not so much you need a full winter's coat.
And while I was taking photos, this was happening at my feet...