Friday, October 31, 2014

Remember the Burda Book?

Yes that's right The BurdaStyle Sewing Handbook copyright 2011!  The one you all bought and dutifully sewed lovely things from straight away.  Well I guess I'm not an early adopter.  While mine took a little longer to come to fruition I am really happy with this top.

I cut a size 38 and made a 2 cm full bust adjustment.  The only other change I made to the original design was to self face the upper front as I was working with a very sheer silk chiffon.  This gave the top of the garment more opacity and structure where it is needed.  BurdaStyle include an invisible zip in the side seam of the garment, which I omitted.  With the combination of elastic and drawstring at the waist the zip is not needed.  

One of the lovely things about it is that the fabric was a freebie from a Sydney Sewing meetup swap session. I've given the silk chiffon the respect it deserves with French seams and a satin bound sleeve head and self faced finishes - creating a very neat finish inside and out.  I don't know who it came from originally but I am extremely grateful for their good taste. 

While I have too many patterns and ideas to give too much thought to making another one, the bodice is a great starting point for drafting everything from camis to kaftans.  That was the essence of the Sewing Handbook idea after all.

I haven't been in Sydney all summer for a while now and have lost a bit of weight.  I am very conscious of having NOTHING TO WEAR as the heat approaches.  My three top priorities: a new swimsuit (Bombshell pattern and Tigerlily print lycra at the ready); shorts and light trousers (self drafting and Wyomee Boyfriend jeans pattern to try) and dresses for my niece's wedding in December. 

My daughter is still thinking about whether I'm making her dress for another wedding in Bali - pending arrival of an ebay purchase I think! 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Animal magic and blog hopping

I've been tagged by He Cooks...She Sews to participate in a blog hop about blog writing. I'm flattered to be considered for this as I don't think of my blog as writing, but I'll have a go.

What am I working on now?

As ever I have a number of projects going.  I've just finished the skirt featured in the image above, and another variant from the same pattern Burda Style 03/2014 style 104. I have a blouse and an experimental pair of wide leg pants in uber cheap black fabric cut out.  I also have Burda dress traced and begging me to make it.

Meanwhile my daughter has asked me to make something similar to Nicole Richie's lovely Issa Kimono dress to wear to a wedding in Bali.  I'm delighted to take this on and we've agreed to use some red printed silk already in stash.

Friends say I dream sewing and that is probably true.  I finish one project and immediately start on something else.

How does my work differ from others in the genre?

Seriously?  I don't think it does.  One point of differentiation might be that I make a lot of corporate wear. This is a practical decision as I work every day, I need to look good and I hate boring grey suits that are so prominent in Sydney.

Why do I write what I do?

Blog updates tend to be written in a hurry, so I no longer spend a lot of time on details. I rarely post progress posts as I usually find them annoying to read...especially the today I sewed a seam variety.  However, I do like watching complex couture or tailoring projects come to life in a progressive way.

My fundamental purpose is to create a community of interest for sewing.  I remember in my first blog post explaining that blogging would "keep me accountable".  Blogging does that - I like to share what I've made, much more than how I've made it. I never presume that I have anything to teach others, and NEVER would share personal problems etc on the blog. 

Through blogging I've met other sewers in Sydney and around the world.  That is precious to me as my friends don't sew - they cook, make jewelry or just work too hard!

How does my writing process work?

 I'm pretty sloppy when I think about it.  I don't tend to review the pattern anymore, talk about adjustments I've made.  For example, the blouse worn in the pictures is recently made.  I can't find the pattern, so can't even offer that to my readers.  All I can say is that I've lost a bit of weight since I made it and next time I'd make an adjustment to reduce the neckline and remove the full bust adjustment.

The skirt has piping inserted into the upper panel seam and at the hem panel.  The original pattern has a gorgeous flounce, but I didn't have enough from this remnant piece.  I like the solution I used.
 The way the blog hop works is that what goes round, comes round.  Many of the sewers I most admire have already been tagged, so I’m passing the baton on to some lesser known women who deserve more recognition than they receive.  Ann from Cherrypix, Fabric Ephiphanes, and Audrey of Sew Tawdry

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Disco Ball

Standing out at one of Australia's top law schools is a difficult thing, but my daughter certainly looked for attention at their ball!

Her dress is inspired by luxury women's ready-to-wear clothing designer Joseph Altuzarra's evening range. The original outfit costs around $3000 Australian dollars.  Mine cost $183 and would have been less if I hadn't overbought the fabric.

I bought the metallic silk from The Fabric Store in Surry Hills.  I self drafted the top pattern which was pretty simple really.  The shoulder straps go through a single loop above the under arm seam.  The over-sized cowl is an Altuzarra signature.  I refused to add the draping to the front of skirt.  My daughter is too petite to take all the extra fabric.  The pattern for the skirt is Vogue 8928  which I've used previously for a dress for my younger daughter.

This outfit would not have been my first choice, but I'm quite proud of the result. My daughter loved it! She received plentiful comments on the night and her friends think the woman in the picture below still pinning and refining the night below is a sewing goddess.  I'll wear that crown for litter while longer!!


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Its time we had a talk

This blog has been in a period of hiatus. Interestingly my sewing hasn't rested, but I get like that sometimes.  I once waited 17 years to go to the dentist and the longer I left it the more embarrassing it became.  

Since I last posted I have completed two t-shirts, a blouse and two jackets!

The jacket featured was made for my daughter's graduation.  The pattern is Vogue 8865 that I think is still available in out-of-print sale.  I love my version made from crazy splatter print ponte from Tessuti with very good quality faux leather sleeves and collar purchased from Cleggs in Melbourne.  The zips give it an edgy feel.

Now the ice is broken, I'll post more photos soon.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

One pattern three looks

When work requires corporate wear, weekends in casual gear take on special significance.  Up until recently I've  focused on work wear at the expense of leisurewear.   

At the Stanwell Tops weekend, my fellow Aussie blogger Ann of Cherrypix lent me her Ensis teeshirt pattern from Papercut patterns.

This pattern is highly recommended.  The shape and fit is great.  But its key strength is as a scrap buster.  The version I'm wearing includes left over ponte from a skirt I made a few years ago.  Ponte works really well on this pattern, giving good structure to the neckline.

The two versions on the dummy (of the plastic variety!) are refashioned from scraps and old garments. The orange and blue striped fabric was leftovers from a toddlers outfit that I made for my now 22 year old daughter! The navy merino is from an old store bought wrap dress that was worn so little the moths attacked it.  I managed to recycle the bottom half of the sleeves and unpicked sections from the skirt to make the body.  Not quite enough to finish the bottom,  not to worry, a scrap left over from my orange merino debacle did the trick.  The black and white version began life a decade ago as a singlet dress and as I've aged has become quite  unflattering.  I still love the fabric so with some deft unpicking and the addition of lightwear knit sleeves cut from the body of a very old cardigan both garments live again.  For this garment I used only the top section of the pattern to shape the neckline and arm hole, and cut joined the separate sleeve pieces into a single pattern piece. 

Now I'm looking swish, I'll take my dog for a walk around the block.

Happy sewing!

Friday, June 6, 2014

My sewcation and robes of saffron thread

I recently had the pleasure of a weekend away at Stanwell Tops sewing with fellow Australian Sewing Guild members.  I completed three garments and made quite a bit of progress on the blouse that I'm working on in the picture above.  

One of the garments I've decided is a wadder, an orange merino wool version of Vogue 8669.  There is nothing fundamentally wrong with the pattern but it is so under engineered that it doesn't flatter.  I'm in the process of salvaging the fabric to make another version of the Ensis T-shirt by Papercut Papers.  

The skirt and top (my saffron robes!) pictured above were completed at Stanwell and I'm very pleased indeed.  The skirt is my standard self drafted pencil made up unlined in ponte purchased from Clegs in Melbourne.  My only misgiving is that I didn't centre the pattern repeat.  It isn't noticable when worn but screams from the photo!

The top is my first attempt at McCalls 6513.  It is a lovely fit and the only alteration I'll make for next time is to taper the sleeves more.  I'm considering a little reverse sewing on this one too - I love it, so why not take some extra time to make it perfect!

I'm focusing on the top half at the moment - casual t-shirts, blouses and jackets - and have a number of garments in various stages of completion. I'm usually much more regimented with my sewing and drafting.  You know finish one garment at a time, make things that add value to the existing wardrobe rather than create the need for new items to match.  But I'm having rather a lot of fun...and that is what counts.

Meanwhile happy sewing! 

Friday, May 9, 2014

I've been sewing but...

I've been sewing but don't have a lot to show for it.

I don't rate my new skirt pictured a success, but it's not a failure either. The twist design is taught has part of Anita McAdam's skirt design course.  To be honest I was playing around and may not have constructed it correctly. It is made from very cheap patterned ponte with a pull on elastic waist. 
The linen dress below is also self drafted from the block made for my daughter's formal outfit.  She came home from university for a short visit and asked for a casual dress in linen.  

She choose the linen from my stash. I should have been more forthright in telling her it was not the right weight for a dress but she wasn't interested in the other options. The muslin fitted well, but the finished dress does not. I suspect the wrinkling across the back is caused by the lining and the fusible interfacing.  I plan to add about 5mm to the hip seams in case the firm fit is pushing the fabric up. Readers' suggestions would be welcomed as my daughter loves the style.

I've finally finished my jacket block and am working on design now.  I'm also very involved in preparation for an upcoming sewcation with the Australian Sewing Guild.

To make the most of the weekend, I need to have everything cut, interfacings applied and notions put together for each garment. I'm aiming for a set of three related garments over two days.