Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Hippy dippy Style 4917 (circa 1975)


CHARLES PARSONS NZ LTD Exclusive Design was spied printed on the selvedge. "How often do you see this, these days" expressed my collegue browsing through Moreland Fabrics. The more I thought about it, the more I needed some. Although a little pricey, the 1970's hippy paisley/floral colours and design were right up my alley, plus it's pure cotton lawn to boot.
Pattern Style 4917 is vaguely reminiscent of dresses my older sisters wore when I was a toddler. Unfortunately, the previous owner of this op shop pattern hadn't treat it with a whole lot of love. It had been cut, shortened and stuck back together with masking tape. Over the years the tape deteriorated and was now stuck to every piece of pattern in contact with it. There was no way to prise it apart without ripping.

Using view 2, I made two small changes, reducing fullness at the hem by about 10cm (4 inches) and folded out the front shoulder gathers.
As the seasons abruptly switched from summer to winter this year, I'm yet to wear this dress, although I really like it. However, I'm heading to the Sunshine Coast next month so - soon!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Kārearea (New Zealand Falcon) take 2

Recently, I was asked to rate my ability in Photoshop. I gave myself a 7 to 8 out of 10. Later, I wished I'd explained the 'average' score was because I've seen the incredible artwork some designers are able to create in this software. But actually, what I do use Photoshop for - editing photographs - I think I do very successfully.
For example, I've been editing the Kārearea photograph I took last year. The edited image is on the left, the original on the right.

Subtle changes (ok, I did clone in a new eye!) but a much improved image, am I right?

Monday, June 12, 2017

A perfectly practical skirt

Read any article about "Wardrobe Essentials" and it will prescribe a "black pencil skirt". Meh. How about a navy-blue A-line skirt instead? With pockets, of course.
Belt from David Jonesshoes from I Love Paris
The pattern is a very old one I made myself, with a few adjustments. Originally high waisted (ahh, the '90's!), it now has a waistband and belt loops. And pockets. Navy blue wool fabric is yet more left-overs from the nehru-style suit made ages ago for SunnyJim - I've already made another skirt out of the scraps. While I now haven't the foggiest where it came from, I do remember it was reasonable price, hence buying more than needed for the suit.
While I don't love this skirt, it's practical for work, and as a consequence is on fairly high rotation in my wardrobe. It can be worn with multiple blouses, and looks great with a pair of brown opaque tights and shoes from I Love Paris dyed brown using Waproo leather dye.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Batik Print Top and New Look 6213

At the beginning of the year, Moreland Fabrics had a sale on their patterns, which tempted me into buy New Look 6213 - a  light and breezy top, with neckline and sleeve variations and an asymmetric hem.
There's a piece of silk chiffon floating around in the stash which I thought would be great to made using this pattern, but while cutting out the pattern pieces, I decided to toilé first, because it looked very full. So into the stash I went, and out came the remnants of cotton batik print fabric used to make this dress.


In hindsight, I should have gone ahead and used the chiffon, because it's drape would have been a better match for the pattern. Even though the cotton is very light, it still has just a bit too much body. I needed to reduced fullness around the hem by about 10cm, cutting 5cm off each side seam into nothing at underarms. Originally I cut version A sleeves, but replaced them with version D because they looked ridiculous - sticking straight out, rather than "fluttering". Once again, a fabric with less body may work better.
I very much like this top and have worn it a lot over the summer.
There's one last thing I would change next time. For some reason the back pattern piece is shorter than the front pattern piece, which I think must be a mistake because it's such a small amount. It annoys me when I'm wearing it (I constantly tug the back hem down), so I'd lengthen the centre back by about 3cm or so - I'd rather it be longer in the back than front.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Blue Linen Tunic Dress - Style 2040 (1979)

Necklace from Farmers
I'm not at all sure what drew me to this pattern when I saw it in St Vinnies. It doesn't have the most enticing envelope, very dated, in fact. But the more I looked, the more appealling it became. It's a very basic tunic style, with an all-in-one yoke and sleeve detail giving it a point of difference. Paired with 2.5 metres of lovely quality blue linen purchased from an early Fabric-a-Brac and just a few easy alterations, I felt I could make a dress that had very little resemblance to the envelope image.
The most obvious changes made were reversing the yoke opening from centre front to centre back, and getting rid of the zip. I also lowered the front neckline by about 2.5cm. Using the short sleeve version (without the cuff extension), I narrowed them at the hems by about 6cm after first fitting.
Did I mention the pattern has pockets? Tempted as I was to topstitch them to the outside, in the end I went for a clean look and just stitched a length of selvedge between them as a stay.
Very happy with the finished garment. Problem is, we had a bit of a rubbish summer here in Wellington, so as lovely as it is, it didn't get much wear. Never mind, there's always next summer (and the next, and the next...).

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

White broderie anglaise blouse

I had a hankering to make a simple broderie anglaise blouse to pair with a vintage black lace circle skirt I've owned for years. I found the ideal fabric in The Fabric Warehouse - 100% cotton with embroidery that's not too foufou.


An hour or so on Pinterest helped refine the look. Fortunately, I was able to base the blouse on a couple of patterns from the stash. There were enough changes to each pattern to warrant making my own, using the body (and sleeve) from Butterick 6811 and the neckline from New Look 6754. I also curved the sleeve edge on the drop shoulder and hems at the side seams to add a little more interest.


A quick and easy make with french seams, rolled hems, and a bias bound neckline.
The fabric, after a couple of washes, has now lost most of its starchiness, giving the blouse lovely drape and softness.


Thursday, March 2, 2017

Flying purple people eaters

A little over a year ago, I blogged about a pile of UFOs in my stash. I'm happy to say that apart from No 1 - the wool "Melba" jacket, I've now completed all of them, and even better, haven't added to the pile. Did having photographic evidence of my 'crime' motivate me into action?


The latest to be completed is No 3, "Perfect Purple Pants". They're really the second toilé in my quest to make the perfect fitting pants. They were cut in November 2014 straight after completing the first draft (so, so bad!), but have since languished unmade for 2 1/2 years. Vintage Simplicity 3082 was the starting point - why, I don't know, I have heaps of better fitting patterns. Maybe I wanted to look as rockin' in my pants as the women with the beehive on the envelope? I envision hers are gold brocade - awesome!


Clearly, I've lowered the high waist down to the natural waistline. I also added back pockets and simplified the ankle split (see insets), and made many, many fitting tweaks. The fabric is stretch cotton sateen, bought in a Spotlight sale. Wouldn't be my first choice colour-wise, but it was cheap, and the pants will be fine for India (with a butt-covering shirt, of course!).
I'm pretty happy with the resulting fit. There are still a few drag lines around the knees but I think I've found a fix for those, so we'll see in if it works on toilé No 3.