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...

Monday, September 29, 2014

Vintage Simplicity 3107 in a teal striped wool

Towards the end of winter, I made a dress using vintage pattern Simplicity 3107 in a teal striped wool. However, because I went to Brisbane for a wedding at the end of August, then the weather was warming up once I returned, I kind-of put it in the wardrobe and forgot about it. Until it got ridiculously cold last Monday. It was a nice suprise to find something new and fresh on a miserable "what-am-I-going-to-wear?" morning.

Black patient leather belt from Veronika Maine.
I've had the fabric for a good 20 years, another gift from Jeannie. It was pale grey - a colour I'm a little unsure about with my colouring, especially now I'm letting the silvers grown out on my head. So I dyed it teal, and love it, although it didn't take quite as much dye as I hoped, so it must be blend of some discription. It has a subtle diagonal stripe, which I cut to form a X on the front.
I can't remember where the pattern came from (TradeMe? OpShop?) but I followed the handwritten advice on the envelope ("straight skirt gd. fit") and made version 2, with version 1 sleeves. The only thing I changed was putting the zip in the front instead of back - there's a seam there anyway, so why not us it, right? Really like the finished dress, nice and comfy yet still looks professional. A definite "keep me" pattern to be used again in the future.

Monday, July 28, 2014

The inkblot test blouse

The Fabric Warehouse had a pop-up store on Lambton Quay last year and I couldn't resist this ultra cheap cotton/silk blend. I've been hankering for another blouse like this one, which I wore constantly last summer.


Once again New Look 6144 was used, shortened to blouse length and without front and back waist darts. This time I eliminated the centre back seam and put a zip upside down in the side seam, so the hem opens.
Apart from the fabric snagging on multiple needles and pins, it went together quickly in one afternoon, thankfully – after the DK skirt debacle I needed a success! And they look terrific together.

Pearl necklace from Singapore
Of course, when I tried it on after completion, I pulled it straight over my head without opening the zip, so will remove it in the future because it's a little bulky. Also, I didn't have quite enough fabric for a decent tie belt but as I'll probably wear the blouse tucked in, I'm not too worried. Anyway, for some reason I made a flower out of the remaining scraps, so that rules out putting in an extension. Maybe I'll look for a buckle...