Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The Peter and the Wolf Vests

***Cough cough*** is anyone out there? It has been a long while between blog posts, hasn't it? I just can't seem to keep my blog-jo going.

I've decided to return to blogland with the three Peter and the Wolf Vests I made for Little M, her cousin L and me recently. I saw an awesome faux fur vest in Country Road and wanted one for myself. I decided to investigate faux fur but couldn't find any nice stuff for a while. Recently I changed jobs again and now work up the road from The Fabric Store on Brunswick St. I happened to go there one lunch (well, maybe every lunch break that week) and found some gorgeous faux fur with a chevron print in the pile. I bought 1.2m and made two little girls' vests and one big girl's vest.

Here is mine:

Mine is an adapted version of this Japanese pattern (I can't remember the name of the book it comes from as I have lent the book to Leith. I lengthened the pattern by 20cm, curved the bottom edge a little more and didn't add seam allowances. I traced the size large - I would possibly go a bit smaller next time.

Here is M's (L's is the same but with different lining):

To make M's and L's, I used Figgy's Lux Vest. I followed Lara's suggestion to print out two of the pattern and join at the CB so you didn't need to cut the fur on the fold. I did this with mine too at the side seams.

Both patterns come together beautifully. A few tips I would definitely recommend when sewing with faux fur are (thanks to Anna for sharing some of these with me!):
  • Have your dust buster and vacuum cleaner at the ready. I vacuumed six times over the course of making these.
  • Push the fur away from the seam (so into the garment) when sewing. Then pick out the caught strands with your fingers or a pin. 
  • Try and cut the underside of the fabric, rather than the fur itself. This keeps the pile intact more and also creates less mess. I wasn't that good at this.
  • Don't wear black to sew with a light coloured fur. Let's just say my fave work out pants are still a bit furry. 
  • Go slow. My machine handled this fine, but I went pretty slow. 
  • Shake the garment out vigorously once you're finished. Watch the excess fur fly!!
I had so much fun making these. My sister has ordered one too - soon I'll have a little furry posse! M is very pleased with hers - asked me to wear mine when she was wearing hers the other day. I obliged, of course. She's too cute for me to get all weird about matching!

P.S. We saw an orchestral performance of Peter and the Wolf recently and wore our vests. Hence the name!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Megan Longline Cardigan and a Giveaway! (and V1247)

Hi! It has been a long time between posts. Full time work has been cramping my style!

I could blather on about my long list of unblogged sewn garments, but I'm going to jump straight to my latest makes instead.

Last week I was in Tessuti for the first time in months, and was lucky enough to try on their new pattern, the Megan Longline Cardigan before it was released. I bought fabric on that day, printed off the pattern the night it was released, and sewed it over the weekend.

Here it is!

I made it out of a very dark navy viscose jersey from Tessuti, and made the size extra small. I didn't change anything. The instructions are fantastic, and the cardi comes together beautifully.

I don't have a great deal to add except that I intend to make moooooore! This fills a real gap in my wardrobe and fits the aesthetic I love. I really love the swingy-ness of this cardi!

Obviously I needed a new skirt to go with my Megan! Totally logical, right???!!! I made a plain black Vogue 1247 out of a black stretch remnant from Tessuti I've had for ages. I made the size 12 and lengthened it by 10cm. No other changes.  The waistband is a smidge big - something to remedy for next time!

Now - to finish, Tessuti have kindly offered to giveaway a hardcopy of the the Megan Longline Cardigan to one of my lovely readers - anywhere in the world! To enter, comment below with your contact details and tell me what colour or print you'd make the Megan in. Giveway closes this Sunday, the 10th of May at 5pm. I'll announce the winner on Sunday night. Good luck!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Two-Piece Setacular

Hi! Happy new year. It's been so long since I blogged. After Sewjourn in December last year I sprained my neck. That has seriously curtailed my sewing, blogging, fun etc. But I'm slowly on the road to recovery and have something I sewed at Sewjourn to show you.

I really love Gorman clothing. Their most current collection had a bunch of 'sets' of clothing - predominantly full skirts and culottes teamed with a cropped woven tank. I really wanted my own version. I was also hugely inspired by the round of Setaculars, the brain child of Sophie from Ada Spragg, that were everywhere in blogland last year.

First, I found the perfect fabric - an Italian cotton called Ink Floreale from Tessuti, which is now no longer available. I then decided to make a circle skirt and a matching cropped top. I used vintage Style 3863 for the skirt - a full circle skirt pattern from the 1980's.

I borrowed this picture from the Tessuti blog - Lisa also made this recently.

I then used my staple woven tank pattern, OOP Simplicity 2599, to create a cropped tank.

So, here she is! My Gorman-inspired two-piece setacular.


I tried to get it so that tank finished just over my waistband, and would only flash teeny bits of skin when I stretched. One of the women at Sewjourn helped me mark the length - I can't remember who it was, but they were spot on! Thanks!

Can you see my invisible zip at the CB? Me either!!

This all came together really well. I have made the tank a million times so no thought was really needed. The skirt hung from the first night at Sewjourn until last weekend.... so over a month. This wasn't intentional, I just couldn't really sew for a while after spraining my neck. I had to machine stitch it (I wouldn't usually) as I'm still not up to long periods of hand stitching (or sewing full stop).

I feel amazingly feminine in this outfit. There is something about wearing a waisted skirt with the cropped tank, and the swishy-ness of the skirt that makes me feel all w-o-m-a-n.

I'm glad to be back blogging. I have a backlog from Sewjourn and one item from since I've been back. I'm also really looking forward to sewing a bit more now my neck is on the mend.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Ruby in Manning

Tomorrow Michael and I have been married for 7 years (we've been together for 12 years). Happy anniversary babe!

To celebrate, I booked in my sister to babysit lunch time next Sunday (she's pretty busy at the moment so no night-time hot dates for us). Then my lovely friend Therese (chooktopia on Instagram), who is also mum to Little M's BFF, asked if Little M could come for a playdate today at her place, and told me and Mike to go out for lunch. As if we would refuse!

In anticipation of next Sunday, I had made myself the new Tessuti pattern, the Ruby Top/Dress to wear on our date. Any excuse for a new frock, I say. I made it in a Liberty Lawn called 'Manning' that I have had in my stash for some time.
Tessuti list suitable fabrics as "light to medium weight linens or linen blends, rayons, viscose and silks". I think I am just scraping in using a lawn. I tried on the sample in Tessuti, made of silk crepe de chine and it flowed over my body better. It also sat at the neckline a tad more nicely.

Don't get me wrong - this lawn version is super comfy and I really like the way it looks, but that crepe de chine sample was all sorts of divine.

See how the lawn billows a little? The silk didn't do that.

I made the size 8, grading to a size 10 at the arm-holes (I know there is a more correct term than that, but I'm too tired to google it and find out) only. I do have quite broad shoulders. I also lengthened the dress length by 8cm and used the teeniest baby hem. I have cut out a viscose crepe version to sew at Sewjourn soon and lengthened by 10cm.

I really like the cut-away arms and the key hole back. I do wish there had been information in the instructions on how to make a thread loop though. I had to search around for a tutorial - the one I found was on the Oliver and S website. 

I didn't stitch-in-the-ditch for the binding on the neck and arms. I don't possess that level of finesse in ditch-stitching and love hand-stitching anyway, so I hand-stitched that binding down. Worked a treat and it meant I could control the tension on the binding to. Take note if you make this - you really do need to stretch the binding a little to get it to sit nicely. 

So, there you have it! A Ruby in Manning. I think I'll wear this a lot. It was very cool to wear on this 37 degree day here today. I have cut out a linen version and the viscose crepe I mentioned before - both to sew at Sewjourn. I also think I'll buy some silk crepe de chine in the fabric sales post-Christmas and make another Ruby dress to wear to my sister's hen's night in February. Are you going to make this? I think it is a great basic with an edge. I see many of the tops in my future too.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Simplicity 1366

Simplicity 1366, a drop-shouldered, cropped top has been doing the rounds of late. I thought it looked good, but wasn't going to buy it. Then three bloggers whose style I adore made it up, and I decided to take the plunge. Check out Mixed Emotions version,  Groovy Baby and Mama's version,  and Lily Sage & Co's version.

To start, I decided to make it in leftovers of a viscose I bought from Tessuti last Christmas - I made a pair of Suzy pants and had about 1m leftover. So I made a 1366!

Warning: these photos are fairly terrible, sorry. It was rainy and yucky and I was en route to work and had about 2 minutes to get photographed. My motto these days is to get things photographed. Otherwise they never will.

I made a size 12 and after some advice from fellow Instagrammers of similar height to me, lengthened it at the hem and at the sleeves by 2.5cm.

In future versions, I will pinch about 1cm out of the back neckline. It is a tad too wide across there.

I wore it with my black Libby A-Line skirt. Perhaps a teeny bit short for work, but I am used to government attire. Would never wear this to a government job, but I was sitting in my office all day that day. Although I did go out for lunch with my boss. I think next week I will wear it with my black Papercut Patterns Pleated pants and brogues.

I think this looks like one of those professional school photos were you turn slightly side on and smile, usually with a white sheet behind you.

Have you made one of these? I'm going to make a Liberty one soon (maybe at Sewjourn), and like the idea of lengthening it into a dress - perhaps in a nice rayon or viscose. How about you?

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Alice - the Dress AND the Top.

So... I made myself a 'set' of sorts. I made the new Tessuti Alice Pattern in both the dress and top options, in the same fabric (also from Tessuti).

Am I weird? I have feeling I am. 

When this pattern came out, I knew I would make it in this lovely linen from Tessuti (all sold out, unfortunately). I bought 3.2m of it a while back, thinking I'd make a maxi dress. I changed my mind - a sewist's prerogative, I say!

Let's start with some pictures of the dress:

I made the top and dress simultaneously, so will discuss them together. The length of the skirt portion in both the top and the dress is very long  - I used a 10cm hem for both (5cm doubled over) - so perhaps think of shortening if you are shorter! I am 173cm for reference.  

I cut a size small, however, it was enormous. I do measure closer to an extra small in the Tessuti Patterns these days, but chose to cut the small because I have swimmer's broad shoulders (I don't swim except for leisure, but was told constantly as a young person that I have a swimmer's physique). 

Unfortunately, I found out the size small was too big when the dress AND the top were completed, bar the hems. Gosh I was cranky at myself for not trying on during sewing. I unpicked the arm band/cap sleeves (overlocking, under stitching, all stitching!) and took them in under the arms by 5cm on each side. That meant I also had to take in the arm bands by 5cm on each side. 

The linen I used is quite lightweight and ever so slightly sheer, so I used a white linen to line the yoke and cap sleeves/arm band thingies. Colette from Tessuti also mentioned on Instagram that the linen size small she has made 'grew' by an additional size - mine however was much larger than one size difference. I can't honestly say if it is a sizing issue or a fabric issue. I do plan on making more of these, and will cut a size small, but try it on before I sew on the arm bands. It is easy enough to take in - if you don't sew on the arm bands first!!

Maybe a tiny pregnancy vibe? No, I'm not :-)

I really love both the dress and the top. The fabric is divine - it, and the Alice pattern remind me of Gorman's current collection. I love everything in the current Gorman season. I think I will wear both of these a lot this summer - will you be making one?

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Gabriola the Great.

I have decided that this summer, I will wear only maxi skirts. Does that sound dramatic? I hope so, because my Gabriola makes me feel dramatic.

Sewaholic's Gabriola Skirt pattern is a different maxi to those I have worn in the past. It is pieced and flared, rather than being more of a dirndl skirt. I love it.

I made it from a rayon from Tessuti. The rayon was gorgeous to sew with. Check out that beautiful fluid drape!

I did a few things differently. Firstly, I didn't like the idea of a straight waistband on curved yoke pieces. So I used the Clover pants waistband. It fit perfectly to the size 8 Gabriola skirt pattern pieces.  Secondly, I cut the yoke pieces on the straight grain instead of on the bias. I read quite a few reviews saying they buckled along the seam lines when cut on the bias and sewn together.

Look - no buckling!

The zipper was horrible to insert. I used an invisible (the pattern calls for a regular zip), and it took 4 attempts of basting, sewing, unpicking etc to get all those yoke pieces to align. Grrrrrr.

Have I mentioned I love this skirt?

I have received soooo many compliments wearing it. A rather hilarious one was I was wearing it at the Gr'lld Burger place in Hawthorn with my sister Ruth and Little M. I ordered the 'Hot Mama' burger (love chilli) and the barely-out-of-puberty waiter said to me 'the right burger for you, love your skirt'! Embarrassing beyond belief.

Are you going to make the Gabriola? I urge you to!