Sunday, August 30, 2015

Two shirts to wear in India - Style 2568 and Simplicity 7521

I'm travelling to India once again at the end of the year, during their winter. This time I'm heading south, where the temperatures will be warmer, estimated between 17-33°C. During the Rajasthan visit two years ago temperatures were between 7-23°C, so I spent most of the time wearing jeans and layering several merino sweaters on and off, one over the top of the other.
Conservative dress is advisable in India, which I don't have a problem with (working corporate requires conservative dress anyway). Nothing too tight or revealing, keep shoulders and knees covered, plus if your wearing trousers, cover "the shape of your backside and front". Remember my camel riding shorts which were wisely left behind?
I bought kurtis (tunics) and had a salwar-kameez (tunic and pants suit) made last time, but it's looking unlikely I'll have a chance to shop before my tour starts. So I decided to make a couple of shirts using fabrics and patterns from the stash to tide me over, light enough to wear in the heat, while also offering some shade from the sun.

Simplicity 7521 (from 1978) is very much like a kurti style tunic. The fabric was given to me by a lovely woman I met in a St Vinnies store. After doing a burn test, I'm thinking it may be a light weight wool - it's just a bit scratchy, and steams beautifully. I lengthened the tunic to knee length and left off the sleeves cuffs, instead gathering them into an elasticated band. I also added a couple of waist darts in the back for some subtle shaping. The contrasting neck and sleeve bands are simply the wrong side of the fabric. Bonus, the fabric has flecks of blue, green and grey in it, which matches nicely to these navy linen-cotton trousers.

My original intention was to make the second shirt using the same pattern. However, because the fabric was originally a sundress, when I laid the pattern out I discovered while there was plenty of width, there wasn't enough length. Eventually, I settled on Style 2568 from 1979. I always loved the fabric - a lovely soft lawn, and do like the resulting shirt, however I feel like I have gone from one extreme to the the other in styles. There was something about the fabric and pattern choice of the sundress that always made me feel like mutton dressed as lamb. Now I feel like I'm wearing Grandma's gardening shirt! It does look surprisingly good tucked into a pencil skirt though, so I'm sure to get some wear out of it.


Thursday, July 30, 2015

Miramar moon

Moon through the Miramar cutting

Monday, July 27, 2015

Wellington Blown Away

It's graffiti-proof, apparently.
Wellington "Blown Away" sign, Miramar cutting

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Sunday, July 19, 2015

The Kelly Coat – vintage Style 1671

As soon as I saw the coat fabric in The Fabric WarehouseI snapped up a few metres - that green! What a colour! At that stage I had no idea what style coat to make, but just HAD TO HAVE IT. However, it shrank badly in it's pre-wash (a good 20cm+ per metre), and of course by then the store had sold out of it. With the right pattern and some carefully cutting I knew there was still just enough to make a coat, I just had to be patient until things fell into place. So, into the stash it went for some years, to be admired and fondled at regular intervals, with dreams of what it could become.

Finally, with some tricky edits to vintage pattern Style 1671 (from 1976), the dream has been realised. The length is about half way between the jacket and coat illustrated on the pattern cover, but unfortunately I had to eliminate the centre back pleat. There are side seam pockets and the belt is cobbled together out of scraps, with joins cleverly disguised under belt loops. And I used the Spanish Snap Buttonholes technique again.

If I were to use this pattern again I'd repeat the yoke shaping on the front, as I really like this detail, especially topstitched. Also I'd modernise the collar shape from it's the classic huge 70's style. For it to stand up as pictured it's tacked down around the back from shoulder seam to shoulder seam, otherwise it falls flat and is really wide!

NB. I've replaced the shoulder pads with smaller ones since the photo shot - could only find mens pads late on night I was doing the finishing touches, and of course I wanted to wear it the next day!

But it's my colour, Mum!

Monday, June 8, 2015

"Smashing frock!" "Thanks, I made it." - Simplicity 8498

Bead necklace from Farmers
Well, I certainly restocked the stash thanks to the latest Fabric-a-Brac. Two pieces of wool crêpe, metres of quality linen in two colour ways, and metres of black lining with white line-drawn chrysanthemums.
I was so excited to find this piece of purple wool crêpe, I bought it straight away, knowing exactly what it was going to make - another of Tara's patterns, Simplicity 8498 from 1969. There was barely enough fabric to make view 2, so initially I was going to make it sleeveless, but managed to squeeze out (shortened) short sleeves. Also had just enough to add the obligatory pocket...
The first fitting was nearly perfect, only adjustment was to shorten the bust darts so they weren't so pointy. I loved the dress so much it was deemed worthy of a lining, which was found on the sales table at Spotlight - $3 metre for a liteweight lilac-coloured silk! (You can see a bit inside the left sleeve.)
My colleges compliment me whenever I wear this to work. I find empire waists very flattering, and the stitching lines adds interest to what is essentially a very simple frock.
Simplicity 8498 is definitely a keeper.

Discovered this has been reprinted as Simplicity 3833

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Getting to grips with The Stash

Like every other stitcher on the planet, I have The Stash. I'm pretty successful at limiting it only to nana's wardrobe, but it regularly gets close to saturation point – like now, and there's another Fabric-a-Brac in 2 weeks!
So last weekend I got stuck in and purged. I tell you, I was ruthless. All those "one day..." bits ("one day I might need it for xyz...", "one day, when I have time..." you get the picture) – out they went. Metres and metres of lycra (pretty much every garment I made in the '90s was out of lycra—ahh, to be young and slim again!), a pile of "what-the-heck-was-I-thinking?" and "where-on-earth-did-this-come-from?", and then there was the pattern stash...
All in all, 4 boxes of fabrics and 2 bags of patterns were donated to Fabric-a-Brac, plus another 3 bags of clothes made their way into the Child Cancer bin down the road. There's now so much room in the wardrobe I can fit all my patterns and trims inside as well.

While I was at it, I measured and photographed most of the remaining stash, and made myself a "stash flash card".
I'm so proud of myself, I think I deserve a treat – roll on 2 May!

Update 28/04/15: unexpected bonus – SunnyJim got inspired and had a sort-out in the study Anzac weekend. Can actually see the spare bed now!