Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Confetti Dress!

I love this dress so much I finished the hem last night, photographed it this morning before school (how did I manage to find the time??!) and wore it today. I received many compliments, which always feels nice. And now I'm blogging about this dress even though it will mess up the order of items to blog - you know blogging in the same order that you finish. I know I'm not the only one.

I purchased this poly knit fabric from Spotty a few months ago. Like my previous Spotty fabric dress, I purchased this even though I was on a stash diet. I guess it's pretty clear that I'm not terribly good at diets of any kind. I think the range of poly knits at Spotty is getting better. Mel made a Mabel dress in a different print that I've contemplated getting before too.
I really wanted this to be a work friendly dress and not too dressy. The print is also kinda wild and bright, so I was very mindful of not over working the design.
As I didn't have a pattern in my stash that suited my vision, I mashed a little of Vogue 1351 with a little guesstimating... free cutting.... pattern drafting to make this dress.
The skirt and bodice back are from Vogue 1351. The front is drafted by me :) and the tie is just a strip of fabric cut from selvage to selvage sewn into the seam along the back.
The higher, fitted neckline ensures this dress is super work friendly. No gaping issues if I lean forward, which has been my issue with Vogue 1351. The skirt has a perfect amount of swish and the tie gives a little waist definition without a formal belt. As this fabric can be a little clingy and because I wanted a clean finish around the bodice, I fully self lined the dress. This prevents any VPL and make the dress very smooth and silky to wear.
Taking photos in the morning was incredibly tricky. They were either way too bright or a little too shaded. 
I'm certainly not a very good photographer, so this photo is here to show how vibrant the print is.

To keep the dress casual, I cut the bodice lining a little shorter to create a slight blousing effect on the outer bodice. It ended up being more subtle than I intended, but I like it all the same.

I'm totally in love with this dress. I don't have any other suitable knits in my stash right now, but I'm pretty sure there will be a repeat of this in the future.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sonja Dress

I've been feeling the need to make a less practical garments lately. Something I don't need. Something not specifically for work. Something that isn't a basic. Something for me. So naturally I made a summer frock!
I do love dresses and this will is suitable for work, even though I didn't make it for that.

I used the free Salme Sonja Dress pattern, which is available from Burda. This pattern has the higher neckline and cut away sleeves that seems to be popular at the moment.

I made a few changes to the pattern during construction, just so this dress would suit my own style. These changes included reducing the cut away at the front and back to avoid showing my bra straps, adding a second bust dart as the first was too low and I couldn't be bothered unpicking it, grading the waist, reducing the volume of the skirt (as I forgot to cut them with seam allowance), playing with the pleating on the skirt (choosing a deep pleat on the front and back, rather than 4 box pleats) and adding pockets.
I took three photo looking at the camera and all three are out of focus. 
I think I should take this as a sign. Maybe next time the lens will crack...

I'm really pleased with  how this dress turned out. I adore the fabric too. It is a stretch cotton sateen from Spotty. I love it so much that I purchased it even though I was on a stash diet. There are quite a few nice stretch sateens at Spotty these days. This one has a floral stripe running from selvage to selvage in white, pink, yellow, violet and orange on a base of deep navy. I love the white across the hem and I'm hoping the more navy stripe makes me look like I have more of a waist :). The stretch also makes this comfortable to wear.

I have so much more to show you. I've been sewing up a storm lately and have a number of makes to show!

I hope you have a good week!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Hanging with Spotlight, Brother and Simplicity

On Friday I was fortunate to be invited to a new product launch organised by Brother sewing machines, Simplicity patterns and Spotlight in Point Piper, Sydney. As I don't work Friday's, how could I say no?

As many of us sewers know, just a simple conversation with a friend or acquaintance about an item that you've sewn, often leads to a discussion about how they can get started in sewing. Many people want to sew, but often don't know where to start. I guess it's hard to remember how tricky it was when we first started sewing. There are a bunch of decisions in those early days that are really hard to navigate without guidance. I have one friend who bought a very cheap no frills type of sewing machine that not even I can help her operate. I have another who chose very slippery poly satin for her first sewing project and another who picked a strapless ball gown for her first project. Needless to say, their first dabble in sewing wasn't successful and it's been hard for me to get them back.

This is where this new brand alliance can help. Brother has released three new simple to use sewing machines for a beginner, intermediate and advanced sewer, that comes with a suitable sewing pattern from Simplicity (I think these machines have been available in the States for a while now). In Australia, these new machines will be sold exclusively in Spotlight stores. So in one trip to Spotty - my favourite fabric retailer! - you can get everything you need to start.
The base model machine, the SL100 is about $250,  though I'm sure it will be available on special at some point. If I remember correctly - please don't quote me - but I think it comes with Simplicity 2147. Which I think is a really appealing pattern for a beginner to tackle. It is entirely wearable and has many design options to choose from. If you live in a country with a Spotty, you would know that they have a massive range of tana lawn, and this top would look great made in lawn and it would be easy to sew.
Anyway, I know sewers can be particular about the brand of the sewing machines they use and I'm not here to say that this is the best machine for everyone, but I do think this is a great idea. It simplifies the process of getting started in sewing and I think that's a good thing. We need more people sewing and less people supporting fast fashion.
This is me with the top model, the SL500. While I wore a dress made using a pattern from the Simplicity group, New Look 6869, it was not made with Spotty fabric, which was a tricky conversation when someone asked me about my frock in front of all of the big wigs in the room. Sorry Tim!

Anyway, if you want to read more about these new sewing machines, head to the Brother site.

Before I go, I'd like to give a big shout out to Susan the best company I could have hoped for on the day!!! I often find myself a little nervous in a room fully of strangers and Susan preventing me from hiding under one of the sewing machine tables and crying from nerves. Seriously, I wish I were joking about how nervous I was!! And after speaking to the head buyer at Spotty a few times on Friday - seriously, is that the best job ever! - I think we can expect more great fabric from them in the months to come - possibly some silk cottons and some more rayons!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Cosi Swimmers for Adele

More swimwear sewing has been happening around these parts. I'm trying to refine my swim sewing skills as much as possible before cutting into my Tessuti fabric.
These swimmers are pretty straightforward and I love that there were no fitting alterations needed for this little kid, aside from strap length. I used the Cosi Swimsuit pattern from Sew Pony Vintage. The pattern includes many different design options and plenty of sizes making it great value. It also doesn't have the extra ease that we often find in other patterns.

Adele picked the blue floral fabric from the Remnant Warehouse. The pink is from my stash.
These have become our new swimming lesson swimmers and they are faring quite well. Next time I think I'll make her one of the skirted options. BTW I'm gagging to buy this or this or this. Liberty swim fabric!!!!! OMG!! Somebody stop me!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Kwik Sew 3609 & 3416

It's that time when I post about sewing swimmers for myself. I've been procrastinating about this for a few weeks. I don't find it terribly easy taking photos of myself wearing swimmers, but I am proud of them and they look good and I am happy to show all of my makes here.

For these swimmers I used Kwik Sew 3609 and Kwik Sew 3416.
As you can see, not only did I use the top from 3609 and the bottom from 3416, but I also added some gathers to the front. This wasn't hard to do and it has worn well in the water, but they do sag a little when wet. I think for my next pair I will add side paneling like my previous swimmers, and only gather the center section, similar to these swimmers from Seafolly.

For my own records I also added a little to the backside for coverage, added about an inch to the length of the torso and had to take in the side seams at the bust a little. Next time I will also use thicker swim cups, which I have only ever found at Tessuti. Any suggestions for where else I can find them?

These are by far my best finished swimmers to date and are only a muslin to test this pattern before I cut into this lovely swim fabric from Tessuti - so more will follow!

I hope you have a great week!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

She's 5!

Adele told me this morning that there were no more little kids in our house anymore, because now she's a big girl. She's still my little baby though :) 
Every year I have tried to make her a special dress for her birthday, like here. But this year I've been a little pressed for time. I'm not sure I'm going to get any more time soon either :( So on Monday night I quickly made this simple dress for her. At least there is a little Liberty in it!
I traced an existing singlet of hers, sewed it up and then attached a simple gathered skirt with trim.

She really likes the dress and insisted on wearing it for the rest of the evening. Even to eat her special dinner, tacos. Yes the dress has taco slop down the front.... As you can see, or perhaps you can't, she also received some Frozen dolls for her birthday. 

I also made her a new skirt. Adele has been begging for me to make her a skirt like mine, not gathered, but more tight. Naturally little girls and tight skirts don't mix, so I made this one more little girl friendly.
To start with it's made of ponte, a remnant from this top, and to prevent indecent wardrobe failures, I attached  little shorts to the inside.
While she loves the dress, I'm pretty sure she loves the skirt more and wants to wear it tomorrow to her kindergarten orientation. She's so ready for school!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Pink Flamingos!

Another new top with made positively adorable, pink flamingoey fabric!
I couldn't help but pose for these pics with my own plastic garden flamingos.
This cotton voile was purchased from The Fabric Store during the school holidays. This was one of my very restrained purchases that Oliver and James insisted I buy. How could I say no?
I'm really happy with this top and it fits well in my wardrobe. When I'm not wearing dresses, I'm wearing looser tops with skinnies or a slim skirt.

I received many compliments at school when I wore this, from both teachers and students.
As with my last high cut tank, this is my own pattern. This time I used a contrast pink viscose fabric for the back yoke. Love it!

I still have another tank in this style planned and intend to use this awesome Japanese cotton sateen from Miss Matatabi -  yum!