A (very) late very Merry Christmas!

Why hello there!

Merry Christmas! This year's Christmas Dress is @simplicity_creative_group S2444 in a crafting cotton from @lincraft #sewcialists #sewing

I did mean to post this earlier, but was quite distracted by the holiday season, which in joyous news included my grandmother’s 90th birthday, in less joyous, our first Christmas without my mother.

I got some sweet goodies, including a bunch of Hello Kitty stuff from SS and some adorable fashion illustrations from my half sister, K.

But you’re here for the sewing, yes? This year I decided it would be fun to make a Christmas dress for both the big day and any other Christmas-ey events. I used the old faithful Simplicity 2444, this time with a FBA! I think it turned out ok, but there is room for improvement – the area directly under my bust is now too loose by far. I’m not sure why this ALWAYS happens so badly with FBAs. It leave with S shaped princess seams and darts that look insane.

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Speaking of darts, they were also a solid inch too long. I have decided that I must have a low bust or something as this is a fairly consistent problem.

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I used the facing for the neckline, but some purchased bias binding for the armholes. As a twice a year dress I think it’s just fine. Bonus, it was not too hot in the QLD heat!

Until next time.

The power of ponte

You guys I have a new fabric love. I am OBSESSED with ponte!

On the blog tonight: Simplicity 2444 in ponte #sewing #sewcialists

I picked up this Ponte de Roma from Spotlight a month or two back, after wearing a (purchased) ponte dress a few times and falling in love with the fit + comfort combo. I did a bit of searching and realised there are multiple forms of ponte, so I decided to roll with one similar to the fabric of my dress. It’s a Rayon/Polyester/Spandex blend with a higher rayon than polyester content.

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After the silk Anna dress the ponte was a dream to sew with. It all came together very quickly due to the easy care fabric and lack of handstitching (ok there is a tiny bit on the collar back, you can’t hold a hand-stitcher down!). Plus ponte doesn’t ravel so I skipped the seam finishing #superlazy #sorrynotsorry.

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This is Simplicity 2444, in size 14. The last 14 I sewed in this pattern was a little tight, so I figured it would be perfect for the stretchy ponte. In addition, due to the stretch I figured I could get away with not doing a FBA, which I noticed I REALLY need after the last version. I did add about an inch of width to each sleeve as I find this pattern runs tight in that area.

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I made the collar and pockets from the cotton/silk blend I used to underline the silk Anna dress and love the way they turned out. I particularly enjoy sliding my hands into the silky pockets. Is it weird to enjoy stroking nice fabric?

The only thing I would change is lowering the bust darts a little.

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These photos were taken by my awesome friend T, who is a budding seamstress herself. Her super-cute puppy Woflie posed with me in the shot above 🙂

I have worn this at ;east once a week to work since finishing itI am already planning a work wardrobe full of comfy ponte! Looks like real clothes, feels like pyjamas!

Whenever I feel the need to exercise, I lie down until it goes away: Sew Dolly Clackett

At last I have finished my sew Dolly Clackett dress! For those of you playing at home, Sew Dolly Clackett is a sewing competition to celebrate the marriage of Dolly Clackett herself, Roisin. As a hardcore stalker fan of Roisin I was super pumped for this challenge. An excuse to blatantly rip-off some sweet sewing action? I was so in!

This make was freakin’ full of challenges. Not going to lie, at one point I wanted to throw my machine and half-made dress out the window. Then I had a gin & tonic and felt better about the world. After several more I felt even better, but in no state to be sewing! (don’t worry dear readers, I didn’t go on a drunken sewing rampage!).

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This is Simplicity 2444 a tried and true pattern that somehow refused to come together properly. Oh well, in the end I got there. I used this sweet measuring tape quilting from spotlight, which has enough body to make a pleasingly big skirt.

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Awkward pose is akward.

In true Dolly Clackett style paired it with fancy shoes – in this case some silver glitter pumps. Because who doesn’t love silver glitter shoes. unfortunately I have no idea what brand they are, but I got them from Nordstrom. My hair bow is Alannah Hill.

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Pattern matching FTW. Why yes, I do feel pretty pleased with myself 🙂

Despite the hassle when sewing i really love this dress. It’s fun and flattering with a touch of Meta. As I said in my last post, it was inspired by Roisin’s Meta dress, which in my stalking of her makes I have always admired.

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Congratulations Roisin and Nic, I hope you have many happy years together!

Until next time!
Xx

PS I even went with a Dolly Clackett-style title for this post, in case you were thinking WTF is with the title man.

I like giant skirts and I cannot lie

So once upon a time this skirt was a dress. I was pretty found of it, it was (yet another) Simplicity 2444 aka the most beloved of all dress patterns.

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There were problems however. The fabric around the zip on the bodice frayed – possibly because I made the seam allowance too small. The bodice was tight – I don’t know why, my other 2444’s fit perfectly. The waist seam wasn’t straight.

So on Monday I decided to cut the bodice off and turn it into a skirt. It was, I have to say an excellent decision on my part. As a skirt I love it. So do other people actually, it gathered 3 compliments at work.

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I think this was a bit of a lesson in paying attention to recommended fabrics for me. Part of the reason it didn’t work well as a dress what that the skirt fabric (a heavy flannel-type wool from Spotlight) was too weighty for the bodice fabric. It also made the pleats a little hard to manage.

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All in all, I like it much better as a skirt. It has all the things I love best: fitted waist, knee-length, giant skirt (even better with a petticoat!), I’m even considering lining it! I also have a bunch of the fabric left, which I had considered turning into a blazer/jacket/coat. Something to think about for winter…

Skirt: Me-made | Blouse: Alannah Hill | Belt: Portmans | Shoes: Ziera

Until next time!

But She Told Me Home Sewing Was Easy!

Home Sewing Is Easy! according to this fabric. Well, sometimes. Assuming you cut the right pattern size. And consider the impact of your fabric on the design. Still, easiness aside this fabric is too cute and I simply couldn’t resist it.
This is a total Frankendress. Originally I really wanted to use the By Hand London Anna pattern; in fact I brought it specifically with this fabric in mind, thinking that its bust pleats and kimono sleeves would prevent too much cutting into the print. However, when I looked at the skirt pieces, I realised how many there were (6) and how much that would either break up the print, or drive me mad trying to match. Then I realised I didn’t need to use both, and the Frankendress was born. I used the skirt of Simplicity 2444, an old favourite which is only 3 pieces and has a cute pleat detail.

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However, I didn’t think to match the bodice to skirt before I cut them out, and realised that the back of the skirt didn’t have enough fabric to match the bodice back. To fix this without having to re-cut anything, I made the pleats smaller – I compared the length of the bodice and skirt backs, then divided the difference between three to get the size of my new pleats.

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Sadly this was not the end of my issues. After hearing that the By Hand dresses are quite close fitting and checking the finished measurements on the packet I decided to sew a UK 18 (for reference I am generally a UK 12-14 in ready-to-wear). I did do a quick fitting after sewing the bodice minus facings together and decided it fit well, but somehow after constructing the whole dress it was WAY too big. We’re talking 4 inches here people. Also, the shoulders needed to be taken up (this is a pretty standard alteration for me). So I ripped out the zip, which I’d planned to re-do anyways because it looked crap, and put it back in with much larger seams. I did a side lapped zip using the machine. I think it looks pretty awesome and spend a lot of time pointing it out, despite the fact that due to my enormous seam allowances the print doesn’t match. This was not enough, so I ended up taking a few inched in along the side seams too. Because I’m lazy I didn’t bother to unpick skirt from bodice to do so and just stitched though the waist seam. It looks ok so I call it a win! After all of this, as well as taking up the shoulders I am pretty happy.

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After wearing it a few times I do want to make some more minor changes – taking out the facing and replacing it with bias binding and lowering the back neckline a little. No matter how much I steamed, or the topstitching I did in a fit of desperation the facing will not stay where it’s supposed to. The back neckline is a tiny but too high because I forgot to lower it after taking up the shoulders, which is normally fine but the high neckline of the Anna makes it sit at an annoying spot on the back of my neck.

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This aside, I am completely in love with this dress. Now that it fits properly, the Anna bodice is insane pretty and flattering and I adore my fabric choice. I can’t wait to make a formal maxi Anna and try out the skirt pattern. Which brings me to my next problem – because I am an idiot I rarely trace patterns. Including the Anna. Normally this wouldn’t be a problem, because the size smaller is, well, smaller. But the Anna bodice front has the smaller sizes printed kind of above the larger, meaning that the size 16 lines are gone forever. So I’m not really sure what to do about that… I might play with trying to grade it down a little myself, and if that doesn’t work I suspect I will just buy another as I love the pattern that much!

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Until next time and Happy Holidays! (whatever kind you celebrate :))

And no, I didn’t get a new pet, that last one is my friend Ns adorable new kitten. I had to include Oreo in some shots too so he didn’t feel left out 😉

The Floral Fan Dress

*insert generic comment about my long absence here*

Moving right along, my oldest friend C, got married a few weeks back. I was invited to her hens party in Sydney, with the theme being Happy Housewives. Of course I took this to mean bust out your best Mad Men/mid-century style. After some thought I decided it’d be just the thing to kick me back into sewing. This decided, I was in search of fabric, I wanted something that was pretty and vintagey, but not so much that I wouldn’t be able to wear it on weekends and fun dress casual Fridays at work. I settled on this beautiful pink and floral fan design by Liberty (called Mer Shell).

Shell Mer Pink liberty lawn

I had originally planed on making Burda 7179 but after some thought I decided that all the pleating wouldn’t show off the fabric to its best. So then I swapped to Simplicity 2444, which seems to have been made up by every blogger ever. Having made one, I totally understand why, ill-fitting cover aside it’s adorable and very easy.

For the most part I ignored the instructions. I underlined, rather than using facings (which I hate a little), skipped the pocket and took up the shoulders. I still have a bit of gape at the top of the bodice – having sewn a few projects since this, I would have known how to sort this out but I ignored it. I made the sleeveless version with the cape collar, but made mine removable. I also did a visible zip at the back, which I am pretending is a feature, but really is because I didn’t have an invisible one/thought the top was going to be too small so used minimum fabric sewing it in. I also took about 3 inches off the hem.

All in all I am very pleased by how it turned out – I can see things I could have done better – the zip, mainly, as well as lining the skirt (it’s a tiny bit transparent), as well as the finishing on the inside which I am ashamed of could have done better.

And now to pictures!
(one from the hens – unfortunately I didn’t think to take any good ones, so had to crop one a photographer took and blur out my friend, N’s face)

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(and a few at Floriade, Canberra’s annual festival of flowers)
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Hat: Alannah Hill | Belt: Portmans | Cardi: Jacqui E