Thursday, February 27, 2014

Camel riding shorts...

...or maybe not.
Waaay back in Froctober, you may remember, besides a frock, I was also busy making a pair of shorts to wear camel riding in Pushkar during my trip to India (which was AWESOME, btw!) 
Luckily, I read a travel guide during packing, because it advised women travelling in Rajasthan to keep their shoulders and knees covered.

Yeap, those are my knees. 

Nowhere to hide them it these shorts. 
They didn’t make it into the suitcase.
All is not lost though, they’ve slipped quite nicely into the work wardrobe and are being worn on a regular basis this summer.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Away to the camels!

Camels? WTfudge?
I’m off to India for a month at the end of the year, and my journey includes a camel trek into the desert at Pushkar. It seemed the perfect opportunity to make a pair of 'camel riding' culottes.

When I found this pattern - Simplicity 9787 - in St Vinnies earlier this year, it seemed like divine intervention, as I'd been hankering after a pair of seaside culottes I'd seen in a movie set in the 1930's. View 2 fits the bill perfectly.

The linen was picked up from Arthur Toyes for 50% off during their summer sale, but is now gun-metal grey, thanks to another bout of dyeing. Finishing them very, very shortly!

New Look 6071 and the floral sundress

Buying fabric is exciting. The little thrill of creativity that strikes when you see it. Touching it. Getting inspired to make that something you can’t live one more moment without. 
Often I buy fabric with only a vague idea of what I’ll make from it. When I get home I race to hunt out the perfect pattern, hoping there’s enough.
The first time I made NL 6071 two years ago I used an old Indonesian batik sarong. It quickly became my favourite summer frock, so comfortable and easy to wear, with just enough va-voom at the décolletage for me. Now it’s getting very thin its been worn so much. Time to make a new one.

Two and two came together when I saw this floral cotton in
The Fabric Store (previously Global Fabrics).
Both times I’ve made NL 6071 I’ve completely ignored the pattern is designed for stretch fabrics, because by carefully measuring pattern pieces, cutting a couple of sizes larger than “my size” and adding a zip, it can be made out of non-stretch fabric. I also lengthen the skirt by 10cm to a more “lady-like” length, and this time added short sleeves.

Did I mention it’s easy to make? Seriously, the bust wrap twisty thing is no where near as hard as it looks.
I love it so much, I’m even posting a ‘selfie’ wearing it to work yesterday, taken during my lunch break on the Petone wharf in a föhn wind (just caught the tripod before it blew over).

necklace and earrings = Trade Aid, sunglasses = ZenniOptical
watch = Skargen, purple suede pumps = Coopers Shoes

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Vogue 5782 meets Andy Warhol

Second choice for The Monthly Stitch September’s “Vintage Patterns” challenge is the truly vintage Vogue 5782
You may recall I’ve toiléd a variation of this pattern before. My intentions are to make it up in a very precious piece of vintage wool given to me by my favourite tutor a couple of decades ago, but felt I needed to toilé the whole dress properly first. 
The polished cotton fabric was bought in the August sale at The Fabric Warehouse - the same day I attended the fantastic Andy Warhol:Immortal exhibition at Te Papa. The random splashes of cyan and magenta on otherwise fairly monochromatic grey/olive reminds me of his work.
Two changes were made to the pattern. I moved the zip from centre back to sideseam as I find zips easier to do up at the side, and the neckline is wide enough to slip my head through. It does still need a zip - because - as per the pattern - the waist seam is gathered onto tape cut to my exact waist measurement, and - you know - boobs/bum > waist. The second change was to make the ties into a belt, instead of coming from the side seams. This way I can wear it with other belts.
Probably because of my rusty pattern grading skills I also need to look at my armhole scye, as it seems quite tight this time. The sleeve head has plenty of ease so it should be a fairly easy adjustment to cut the armhole a little larger. And I love this sleeve length! Plus, the pattern has pockets in the sideseams. (Yes, I did put the zip in behind the pocket).
I made a bit of a boo-boo last weekend and bought some more fabric. Never fear, it will become a frock in Froctober! It’s not technically “stashed” if it doesn’t make it into the “stash”, is it?

Monday, September 23, 2013

Burda 7253 and the SwirlyWhirly Sackdress

When The Monthly Stitch announced September’s challenge was “Vintage Patterns”, my first choice to make was Burda 7253 - a retro style sackdress. However, even thought the sackdress or ‘waistless chemise’’ - first presented by Cristóbal Balenciaga in his 1956 collection - would be classed as “vintage”, I’m not sure this Burda pattern is. Bought from Spotlight last year, nowhere on the pattern does it say it is a re-print from the ‘50-’60’s. It does have an extremely tapered hobble skirt just like the original sackdress style from the 60’s, which makes me think it is a re-print, rather than retro-styled.
Anyway, once I threw away the very confusing construction instructions, this frock was a dream to make. In fact, apart from the handstitching, it only took a few hours to make. The fabric is from "the stash" - a soft cotton/silk blend from The Fabric Warehouse, a little opaque so it’s french seamed and lined with cotton lawn (also from TFW). I shortened the pattern to just below the knee (instead of mid-calf). If (when) I make it again I’ll do away with the zip and centre back seam - it easily slips over my head with the zip closed so why go to the bother!
I’m looking forward to the weather warming up so it can be worn. Have a feeling it’s going to become a ‘comfy’ favourite like the twist-top dress from the summer before last.
Belt = Kinki Gerlinki, Melbourne.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Another round-to-it

Finally finished these pants last week.  Original cut and started last winter, I’m not sure why it’s took me so long - I’ve already worn them twice, so there was definitely a need for them in my wardrobe. Oh well.
Black wool suiting fabric from The Fabric Warehouse. Ankle boots from I Love ParisRed top here.

Monday, August 5, 2013

The perfectly timed Cape Challenge

It’s the perfect time of the year for wearing a cape - too warm for a coat, yet not quite warm enough to go completely without that extra layer.
I’d been thinking about making a capelet since seeing one in Melbourne last month. Upon returning to Wellington, and knowing a capelet wouldn’t use much fabric, I rummaged through the scrap bag(s) and turned up the last of the wool suiting used to make a béret for the ANZAC day parade, some navy-blue rayon lining, and a bag of brown suede scraps I’d completely forgotten about. 
An old cloak pattern (available here) was the starting point for the capelet pattern plus the pattern piece made for the fur collar on my Mad Men Jacket.  I simply shortened the cloak pattern in length and rounded the collar points to make them easier to bind.
A couple of Sundays stitching, and here it is! The suede fastening is made using a D-ring from Made on Marion and a screw back button stud (similar to these) from an old vinyl belt. I actually made two fastenings, but decided it looked better with just the one.
Burda 7253 and the SwirlyWhirly Sackdress
Vogue 5782 meets Andy Warhol
On to the next Monthly Stitch Challenge - Vintage Patterns. Will it be retro Burda 7253’s “SwirlyWhirly Sackdress” (lets face it, Wellington’s been a bit swirlywhirly recently) or the truly vintage “Vogue 5782 meets Andy Warhol”? What do you think?

And take a look at The Monthly Stitch Collective to view everyone's creations.