Monday, 25 July 2016

Tilly & the Buttons Megan

It has been hot hot hot here the last few days and I haven't been able to do much except wilt on the sofa and occasionally curse because I have to work and that means going outside!  Before the heatwave hit though I finished this Megan dress from Tilly Walnes Love at First Stitch book.
I'm going to be upfront and say that I'm very much in two minds about how much I like this dress and I think that like my last Tilly make, Coco, it's going to take a few wears before I'm truly decided.  In principle this pattern was the one that sold me on the book.  It's meant for beginners and I really don't need a pattern for a headscarf or a gathered skirt but I really liked the look of Megan.  The high waist seemed like a really good idea, particularly as I bought the book a few months after having Felicity and had a few lumps and bumps to skim over.  In reality, however, the skirt continues to be slim around the waist before curving out before the hips so not necessarily the greatest tummy hider after all.  Less of a high waist and more of a high waist seam.  To be fair I did make a size smaller than my measurements suggested so it may be that if I had used the suggested amount of ease it would look different.  I'm fine with it as it is though, Felicity is 2 1/2 now so I'm not feeling the need to hide as much as I did back then!
My real issue with the dress though is the sleeves.  Are they too sticky uppy?  They feel a little costumey to me but maybe it's because I don't have anything else really like it in my wardrobe.  Perhaps in a slightly lighter fabric the effect would be less pronounced. I think that the fact that I tried this on for the first time and looked in the mirror with the sun shining behind me so I looked like a silhouette rather than a person just exaggerated the evil queen shoulder effect!  In reality I think they're ok except when I lift my arms and then they do look a bit weird.

Construction on this one was fairly straightforward as you would expect form a learn to sew book.  The layout of the book is a little annoying to me as someone who already sews because the directions are broken up with boxes and panels offering in depth explanations of techniques.  Obviously this is super helpful to the target audience but led to me having to flip around to identify the actual order of construction style directions.  Of course this is not really a criticism just something which was a bit of a pain for me.
The fabric again is 100% cotton with a slightly ridiculous letter and stamps print on it.  I keep changing my mind about how much I love this fabric which may be part of the reason I'm still undecided on the dress as a whole.  Cassie loves it though and I have plenty left, so expect to see a little letters dress for her before too long.
However, for all my complaining there is plenty to love about this dress.  The shape is really nice, it is very comfortable both for work and home.  It offers pretty good coverage if you, just as an example, got really sunburnt in your Belladone dress and need to hide a bright red diamond on your back!  Because the skirt is slim this uses a modest amount of fabric and has left me plenty out of 2m to make a child's dress.  I'll definitely be giving this one another go in a slightly lighter cotton at some point, just to really see how I feel about those sleeves!

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Colette Hazel

Following on from my Adelaide success I thought I'd stick with Colette and make a Hazel dress.  I've had the pattern in the stash for a while and it was about time I made one up.
Weirdly (for me anyway) I made a muslin mostly because I was unsure on size.  I'd made Adelaide in a 4 because of the looser waist, but this dress has a more fitted waist so I wasn't sure if I could get away with it.  At the same time I was worried that the bust would be too large in the 6 so I figured I may need to blend between sizes.  My old sheet muslin seemed fine in the 6 though so that's what I went ahead and cut out.
Construction of this dress was very straightforward.  Rather than following the instructions exactly I pinned and sewed and seam finished all the separate bits production line style rather than doing the bodice and then the skirt and then the facing.  I used an invisible zip like the pattern called for and followed the instructions for sewing the facing around the zip which was really quick and looks super neat.  I can't believe I've never done it that way before but I'm definitely a fan!  All in all this dress only took me a few hours and I had another lovely little summer dress for my wardrobe.
The fabric is 100% cotton and is so bright and vibrant, I love it.  It is perhaps a little heavy considering there is gathering involved, but it's fine really except that it does highlight a few fitting issues that really should be there considering I made a flipping muslin!  Essentially the sheet fabric I used for the muslin was nice and soft and kind of moulded into my body but this cotton is much more structured and stands away from my body, mostly under my arms and around the back.  As I'd suspected there is a bit too much room around the boobs and I'd have been better off sizing down around there.  Oh well, I still like it and I'm dying to make one up in a stripe to really show case the seam lines at the front so I'll be having another go at this one very soon I'm sure.

Monday, 18 July 2016

Seamwork Adelaide

Up until recently I will admit that I had no intention of subscribing to Colette's Seamwork magazine.  I wasn't feeling that enthused about the monthly patterns and I didn't really see paying each month for patterns I didn't really want.  Then they changed the subscription so that you get 2 credits each month that you can spend on any of the Seamwork patterns and that seemed like a better deal because there are a few patterns I quite like even if I'm not overwhelmed by the entire back catalogue.  Then they had a sale on the Adelaide dress, which I really like, it was $5 for the dress and only $6 for the monthly subscription and so I was finally sold.  Just to prove I was getting my money's worth I thought I'd go ahead and make Adelaide straight away!
This was truly a very quick and easy project, the most difficult bit of sewing this dress was figuring out the enormous pattern on the fabric.  I've had the fabric for ages just waiting for the right pattern to come along.  The print is very distinctive and very large and I didn't really want to break it up with a waist seam.  Working out how the pattern would meet at the snap placket was a bit of a headache for me, my brain just doesn't deal well with things like that but in the end I just made sure that each side was symmetrical and let the join fall where it may.  I think it worked out not perfectly but nicely enough even if it was entirely by chance.

Size wise I went for a 4 for this dress, looking at my measurements I should probably have gone for a 6 but there is a fair bit of ease included at the waistline and I find that too much fabric around the old mum tum is not a pleasing effect on myself.  I know Colette draft for a fuller bust than I have too so I felt reasonably safe sizing down and I think it fits quite nicely.
All in this is a really nice addition to my summer wardrobe and I'll definitely whip up another before too long.  It really did only take a few hours even with faffing around with the print on my fabric.  Next time I'll take a little more care with the placement of the snaps, especially around the bust because that is definitely contribution to the gaping I've got going on around that area.  The snaps are much better placed the further down you get, obviously I got more practiced as I went along so maybe the lesson to be learned is to start setting your snaps from the bottom so that you are a pro by the time you reach those all important ones that are guarding your boobs.
So I'm slowly starting to get a few pieces in my summer wardrobe which is a good job because it's flipping boiling here right now!  Knitting has unfortunately fallen by the wayside as the temperature has risen (yes I see you looming there OAL deadline) but I'm looking forward to getting stuck into more summery sewing over the next few weeks.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

FO: Butterick 6004 for Lissy

Just ignore the dirty dishes, too busy sewing!
I don't sew for Felicity as often as I'd like to, which is a shame because she really loves to show off her clothes.  As soon as I open the front door to the postman she's right there beside me swishing her skirt and asking him if she likes her dress.  Waitresses, Cassie's preschool teachers and check out attendants are all expected to admire her outfit of the day.  Unfortunately though I don't have a lot of patterns for her.  There are baby patterns and kids patterns from 3 up and only a small number (that I actually like at any rate) for in between.  Being titchy tiny I can make up baby patterns for her but the style isn't always right.
Butterick 6004, however, seemed like a nice choice.  Pretty and summery and sized from age 1.  I made the smallest size and there is plenty of room in there, I should really have lengthened it a bit though!
I'm currently having a dilemma with shop bought clothes as Lissy is very skinny but still a reasonable height for her age so clothes are either very baggy or far too short.  As a sewer, with a measuring tape, I shouldn't really be running into this problem, but I'll know better next time.  In my defence she was potty training when I made it and she kept dangling longer hems in the potty so short dresses were a godsend and she can always wear it with leggings in polite company.
Overall this dress was pretty simple, I did make a bit of a botch job with the bodice lining but she's 2 and she never stands still so no one will notice.  She loves the fabric, she adores cats (today she told me the kitten she plays with when we walk home from dropping Cassie at preschool is her best friend) so it's perfect for her.
It's actually really lovely fabric all round, light and airy, soft with a lovely texture.  Just perfect for a little girl to swish around in.
And one more little photo of my cutie...give us a twirl Lissy!

Thursday, 30 June 2016

FOs: Tops for me

I've got a couple of projects for you today, both tops and both sewn from knit fabric.  Seeing as one of the patterns is a bit of a go to and didn't warrant it's own post, I thought I'd lump them together.
First up is another New Look 6216.  It won't be my last, I could live in these things!
This one is white, the fabric is a stripey burnout type affair and I loves it.  Being sorta see through made it really easy to make sure my stripes were all lined up and the finished effect is really rather nice I think.  Not much more to say, I just wanted to show it off because I like it.
I also very much like this one too and it's a new pattern to me so I can spend a bit more time waxing lyrical about it.  The pattern is Simplicity 1072, which I saw and had to buy immediately!
I love the zig zagging front and the way the raglan shoulder becomes part of that.  Rather than going full on colour block for my first go with this pattern I decided to just add a little sparkle.  I cut out all of the pattern pieces using the black jersey and then cut the centre front panel again out of some sparkly stretchy mesh stuff and laid it over the black.  I like how it's a little bit glam but not super blingy.
Before I was finished sewing I was a little concerned that this would look a bit boring on me, after all it is basically a sweatshirt.  However once I tried it on I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked it.  I like the raglan sleeve shape on me and the detail at the front does really make this as a garment.  There is plenty of room in it and I could go down a size if I wanted a more fitted garment but this is lovely and comfy as it is.  Equally great for lounging around at home but I still look reasonably put together if I have to be seen out in public!
The sewing itself was really pretty straightforward.  The front panel did have me scratching my head for a minute or two because I wasn't sure about sewing it on my overlocker like the rest of the seams, but in the end I just sewed the pointy bits with my sewing machine to make sure they'd been caught properly and then overlocked the rest of it.  It seems to have worked out well and because there is a hem band the only other part that I needed a sewing machine for was the sleeve hems, making this a really quick project.  The neckband is a bit of a mess, I'm not sure if it was too short or if it was just due to the specific stretch of the fabric, it doesn't bother me enough to fix it but I'll pay more attention next time.  I'll definitely be making another of these soon and I quite fancy a go at the skirt included in the pattern too.  Maybe I'll wear them together and then I can be as happy as the lady on the envelope!

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

FO: Butterick 6230 for Cassie

I love making things for my kids, not quite as much as I like making stuff for meee, but I really enjoy seeing them in their special unique little garments.  Now that Cassie is growing up she has become really interested in the process and it's become a real joy to sit down with her and plan out a new project.  When I tell her it's her turn to have something made for her she gets to choose what type of garment she'd like and I'll get out any suitable fabrics that I have for her to choose from and then I'll pick out a few patterns that will work and she can make her final decision.  She really gets a kick out of being involved and it's really nice for me to feel that she's interested in what I'm doing.
This time around she wanted a dress, not terribly surprising as both girls are completely dress obsessed right now.  She picked a pink fabric with vehicles all over which I couldn't resist buying, because pink fabric with 'boy stuff' on is nowhere near as common as it should be, but had never used because it's a really horrible polycotton.  Her pattern selection was a See & Sew pattern, Butterick 6230 and thankfully she plumped for the non flouncy skirt because NO FLOUNCES!

Construction of this dress was super easy.  The button band is just a pleat running down the front bodice and then it's just a case of gathering the skirt, sewing everything up and sticking in the facing and a zip.  I gave Cassie the choice of whether to add buttons or not, of course she said yes and spent s good long time sorting through my button stash.  I'm not sure that the big red spotty numbers that she chose would have been on my shortlist but it's her dress and I won't be the one wearing it.  She loves it and is proud to wear it and that is really all that matters.
Literally the only difficult thing about this dress was choosing which photos to add to my post today.  I gave up in the end and made collages so that I could use them all!  Cassie loves to show off for the camera now and she's very creative with her poses.  It's completely worth sewing her up a little dress just for the little modelling routine I get treated to.  Ultimately I can see me making up a few of these in the future, but only if Cassie wants them of course!

Monday, 20 June 2016

OAL Progress

Due to technical difficulties I've not managed to post for a while, which is annoying, but hardly the end of the world I'm sure you'll agree.  To cut a long story short the app I use on my iPad for blogging is unavailable and my laptop has a massive attitude problem and a work ethic to match.  On the odd occasions that Mr. Craptop is functioning in a civilised manner I'll try and knock out a few posts and schedule them, but until I figure something better out then I'll be popping in and out for a while.

On the plus side I have a massive backlog of projects to share (and photograph, ugh!) so I have plenty to chat about.  However, seeing as we are about a third of the way through this year's Outfit Along I figured that the best place to start was with a little update for that.
The kids have found my secret photo spot!
Firstly I am happy to say that phase 1 is complete and I am very happy with it indeed.  It's not been too long since I made my first Belladone dress so I don't have too much to say about this one.  I made a few little tweaks to the flat pattern before I made this one, namely moving the bust darts down a little and adding 0.5 cm to each side seam.  The fit is much better as a result and this dress is really comfortable.
The fabric is 100% cotton, which emphasises the stucture of the dress nicely.  I had intended that the print would go the other way up but I completely forgot to check which way it was running as I was cuttting out.  I like it this way too.  I've got quite a bit left, this dress is pretty economical fabric-wise, so maybe I'll make something else with the print the right way up.  I bias faced, rather than bound all of the openings, using a rather fetching pink and white floral tape.  I bought a 33m reel of this stuff recently so it will be meeting all of my unseen bias taping needs for at least the next few months I think!
The construction of this dress was much less painless than the first time around.  Having misunderstood some of the directions last time I was much clearer on what I was supposed to be doing.  That always helps I find!  I slightly changed up the order of construction, leaving the side seams til last in order to make sewing the zip in a bit less fiddly.  I'll definitely do it that way again in the future because it was far easier for me.  I had intended to use an invisible zip, I enjoy sewing them much more than centred ones but I suddenly realised that I didn't actually have a compatible invisible zipper foot for my new machine.  Ooopsies.  I've bought one now but I wasn't waiting for it to arrive to finish this dress so a centred zip it has.
So that's that.  My matching cardigan has been growing very slowly due to cabled rib in 4-ply (yaaaaawn) but now I'm past that bit it's starting to speed up.  I haven't taken a photo for a while though so I'll save that for another post.  Probably next month at the speed I'm posting....see you then!