Monday, October 30, 2017

Simplicity 6068 grey wool houndstooth jacket

Late last year, my mother and I were browsing in an Op Shop and spying a piece of wool jersey, I commented "You don't see fabric like this anymore". Returning home, she disappeared into her sewing room, and reappeared sometime later with a lovely piece of grey houndstooth wool jersey. She can't remember exactly how long she'd had it, but for many years. Would I like it? "Yes please!" I love the kind-of punk fading check pattern.
There was about 1.2 metres (a rough-cut metre), x 1.4m wide, not much more than a skirt length. But it didn't feel like a skirt to me. At first I entertained the idea of making a tunic dress, before settling on a short jacket. From my own stash I pulled Simplicity 6068 a pattern from 1983, but soon realised there wasn't going to be enough fabric even to make that, so I need to get creative.


To achieve the fade from hem upwards, the body pieces had to be cut on the crosswise grain (hem on the selvage), while the sleeves were cut on the lengthwise grain. But there still wasn't enough fabric. I scoured the shops until I found matching grey leather in The Fabric Warehouse and cut a yoke and pocket trims. It was a very tight squeeze, the facings are scraps patched together, and there are virtually no left-overs.


I'm very happy with the results, and as you can see by the rumpled photos, it has been worn a few times already.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Vogue 8628 (ca. 1955) for an afternoon wedding in rural Queensland

Attending an event in another country means serious planning. Besides travel and accommodation, finding something comfortable and appropriate to wear rockets up the essentials list. Thank goodness I can sew!


After resisting buying the cotton sateen fabric (but totally making it up in my head), as soon as the wedding was announced, I raced into Morelands and bought 1.5m. I knew exactly what it was going to become.
Vogue 8628 (ca.1955) is another of Tara's patterns hangin' out in the stash, waiting for its moment to shine. Pocket flaps were eliminated, as was the front button closure – a back zipper added instead (and centre front placed on the fold), but other than these small changes the pattern is as is. Surprisingly, the fit is perfect, even though it should be too small.
Originally, I planned to wear the same purple pumps worn to the last wedding attended, but a little shopping in Cotton Tree turned up a pair of leather sandals in exactly the right shade of pinky-purple - it took very little convincing they were better suited to the rural setting. Belt is from Pagani.

Wonderful wedding, lovely newly-weds, terrific venue and I've a versatile new frock (and shoes) to boot!

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Sometimes, I do favours…

A collegue found his fathers 1949 passport with original photograph attached. Because he has no other photos of his father, I offered to scan and edit the passport photo into a frameable format.
The brief: retain the ripped edges and sepia tones, but get rid of the purple stamp.
Edited photo and scanned passport original
There's an interesting background story. His father was just nine when he was put to work on a neighbouring farm. Payment was just one meal and a cigarette per day of work. At 15 he joined the Dutch Resistance, and at wars end, immigrated to New Zealand (hence the passport). During a stop-over in Rarotonga, he met his future wife.
I love the tie, and think this is definitely a case of "The eyes are the window to the soul", don't you?

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.