Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Here is the finished blouse which mini-me has stolen from me. It is suitably vintage for her taste and looks much better on her. I wasn't that happy with the fit on the shoulders. If I ever get it back, I'll turn it into a sleeveless dress by taking the sleeves off and adding a black skirt.
Tonight I'm tracing patterns and testing fit. I need to have at least one garment ready to sew for my guild meeting on Saturday.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Moving from the back burner

I'm annoyed that I have so little to show for myself - an unfinished blouse that I hope will be ready to wear to my friend's 50th on the weekend. The sleeve is only pinned in, and the other is ready to go.

This blouse is sewn from Vogue 7316 OOP from the 80s, which includes two tunics and a great frilled wrap blouse that I plan to use for my leopard print. Initially I'd planned a longer length tunic but the panel ended up looking like a giant cross on a medieval crusader! So I lopped off the bottom and will make an elastic casing for the base. This fabric is very tricky to cut as it is made from panels that are quite narrow. As I was using leftovers from another garment, I had to break all the rules - I cut across rather than down the grain and used the fabric inside out as I'm over shiny satin. A word of warning on this approach when using polyester fabric. The inside is generally smooth and fairly stable to make sewing easier, so when you reverse it, it is VERY slippery. Super sharp needles and patience are absolutely essential.

Sewing has been on slotted in around other things these last few over committed weeks. I've had reports due, new clients to smooze and a house guest from China. I lost most of Saturday looking for reasonably priced fabric for mini-me's formal dress and Sunday to a music festival (a feast for the ears!).

The net results:
Mini-me bought a very cute formal dress for $40 - having been unable to find navy blue silk for under $40 a metre and completely unwilling to compromise.

I went into a sewing shop with my blouse frill pieces asking to test the Babylock Imagine on my garment. I loved the results so much that I ordered one on the spot. Having recently had the pleasure of sewing on a quality sewing machine I borrowed from a friend, I thought go for broke and also ordered a Janome Memorycraft 5200 that was on sale. I pick up the overlocker on Friday, but have to layby the sewing machine.

My Chanel jacket has bound edges and trims, but still needs sleeves. I bought fabric to line the sleeves. Now that the cherry blossoms are out, I think I've lost motivation.

I have tidied my sewing cupboard and planned my spring/summer wardrobe using pieces from my stash, plus newly purchased white cotton and a beautiful navy and gold shirt panel. My plans are overly ambitious and to avoid the embarrassment of non-completion I will not share the entire SWAP. The base items are a crisp white cotton skirt, white linen trousers, black ponte pants, and unlined jackets in black and white stripes, mustard linen and burnt orange ponte. There is a new dress for Rosh Hashana using the navy and gold skirt panel, 2 party dresses, as well as some t-shirts and blouses to wear with the base items. Lets see how much I complete by January!!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Chanel progress before the darling buds of Spring overtake me...

Romantic title. Well yes, a title to match my romantic notion that I could create the perfect faux Chanel jacket!

While I am not entirely displeased with the results, my jacket is far from perfect. The outside binding and pocket welts are still pinned in place and will be handstitched in place tonight. I have not yet cut the sleeves as I wanted to match up the horizontal stripes correctly. The sleeves and sleeve linings will be inserted by hand.

My favourite things about the jacket are the black boucle trim and the lovingly handstitched lining which gives a soft luxurious feel. It is rather heavy - Sydney winters are not particularly cold - there maybe only 10 days a year I could wear it!

One of the major difficulties I've had making the jacket is the fabric - which is a very loose weave wool acrylic mix that literally unravels under your finger tips. I had to add about 3 inches to the seam allowances to accommodate fraying, trimming them back just before joining the quilted seams together. Next time I will use a good quality wool. Unfortunately I did not have enough of this Japanese silk to line the sleeves. A plain lining in very pale grey satin will have to do.

This long cardigan coat also was completed and worn several times since my last post. It is self drafted except for the pleated sleeves from are from a woven jacket BWOF 11/08. I love this coat, worn over dresses. It is made from beautiful Mela Purdie double layer crushed jersey. The sleeve cuffs and pocket trim were cut off a moth eaten jumper that belonged to one the girls.

I'm also fond of the faux leather buttons that look rather like raffia place mats. I wanted to post a photo of me wearing it, but mini-me always has better things to do. Note...learn to use the self-timer!

Next up. Mini-me (who is now taller than me when I wear heels) has been invited to a Year 10 Formal at a boys school. This is the Aussie equivalent of a Junior Prom. I have drafted a pattern for a short dress with low cowl back, draped cross-over front and short gathered skirt. The test fit for the bodice fitted well, so we are fabric hunting on the weekend. Her dream is navy blue or steel grey silk, but dreams can change can't they? I have the whole of August to finish it.