Thursday, February 9, 2017

Field trip to Jimmy's Buttons

 In my last post I mentioned the chaos of Jimmy's Buttons.  When my friend Ros sent these photos from our field trip with Susan Khalje I couldn't resist sharing.

It clear from the photos that Jimmy doesn't worry too much about customer or staff safety, but friends...take the risk...there are treasures in that cave!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Chanel update

Don't we look fabulous?  This was our status at 3pm on day seven.  As you can see my lining was yet to attached and I was still attaching the trim.  The photo doesn't do justice to the exquisite fabric used by my colleagues. My favourites were Poppykettle's stunning teal and blue tweed and Marion's beautiful pale blue silk and wool. 

Only the pockets to go now, but my progress may be interrupted by the urgency of finishing a dress for Sydney Frocktails on 18 February.  I've left the pocket templates in place to give you a sense of what the finished product will look like.  The braids and buttons were purchased in Alveiro,  Portugal.  The shop was an absolute treasure trove of braids and buttons.  I would have bought more if not for the "cash only" requirement.  

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Don't say cheese, say Chanel

What better to kick off the sewing year with a Susan Khalje French Jacket course, with 12 sewing soul mates!  I took the course in Melbourne and can't speak highly enough of the experience.  Susan is a generous teacher and the small class size ensures that everyone receives one on one fitting and instruction for the trickier parts of construction.

After seven intensive days in class and about 4 hours since I returned home my jacket is nearing completion.  I still have about 3-4 hours of hand sewing including the pockets to go.  These photographs  show some of the journey from fitting, cutting, quilting to attaching the lining.  

Also wanted to talk about the wildly eccentric Jimmy's Buttons - his shop is such a mess - disorganised boxes, buttons all over the floor and the crazy Jimmy himself.  But amongst the chaos are absolute gems.  I bought 5 mts of beautiful black and gold trim for another jacket, some great black lace and an interesting bronze beaded piping for a neckline, all for a song.

More posts are on their way.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Dress rehearsals

I'll start this post with a disclaimer. I never go to the races, but the Spring carnival racing season always turns my head towards making dresses. I'm rehearsing dresses that might be worthy of my beautiful yellow frangipani silk.

Vogue 8902 is a worthy contender but not short odds. I love my new dress, just can't picture it in the yellow silk.

So the good stuff:
The beautiful quality cotton fabric was gifted to me by a woman I met at a sewing function.  
The pattern includes a D-cup size so needed very little adjustment.
The bias cut of the bodice makes for a comfortable fit.
The lining gives the garment a couture feel and looks great inside out.

Would I make it again?  Yes, perhaps in stripes or colour blocked version.  I will take the gathers out of the sleeves - uber feminine isn't really my thing!

I had just enough fabric left to trial Cynthia Rowley's 
Simplicity 1366.  This pattern has been appreciated by sewers from the start and I've been wanting to make my own version for a while.  I'm really happy with the top - even drew a rare compliment from my husband!  I wore this to work today and it looks only a bit crumpled at the sleeve. 

I have some blue silk to make other one.   Next time I'll take the neckline in by about 1cm, but otherwise its a comfortable fit, especially in the hot weather.  It is very quick to make - less than 2 hours including hand sewn hems, french seams and a hand stitched neck binding.  

I have five patterns and fabrics on my sewing table and I expect that I'll make a choice in my usual random way.  Meanwhile, happy sewing!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Ponte, silk and other musing

Yes, once again its been a long time between drinks.  Just over a week ago my beloved 90 year father passed away after a long illness.  Spending as much time with him up in Queensland trumped sewing and blogging.  I was greatful for this time and miss his crazy humour so much already. So enough of me and onto sewing.  I've completed two items and have another on the way.

The first is my self-drafted striped preppy jacket. The fabric is a very good quality ponte from Tessuti.  I've also used their buttons and fabulous wool bindng.  Call me crazy but I handstitched the binding for a flawless finish.   It's not a perfect garment, but I can't tell you how much I enjoy wearing it.  I'll use this pattern again.  Next time, I'll add a little more fullness across the bustline and use interfacing to fill in the gap under the shoulder pads that are showing us as wrinkles in the photograph.

I wish I could say I loved my second completed garment given the effort that went into creating it.  Cut from a "silk" (burn test screams polyester) sari that I bought online from India for $10, Rebecca Taylor's Vogue 1367 (OOP) looks like pjyamas.  It does look better tucked into a skirt.

 Finally I wanted to introduce you my two favourite Brisbane fabric stores - Irma J Smith House of Fashion and Gardams.  I bought this gorgeous Italian silk in memory of my father, who loved frangipanis and was always urging me to wear a "nice frock" - as opposed to mini skirts and jeans when I was a teen.  So Dad, a nice frock it will be! 

I didn't actually buy this fabulous linen from Dorothy Gardam, and have been obsessing about it ever since.  I did buy a nice piece of printed cotton and bright pink cotton.  underlining to set it off. Gardams have moved to Adelaide Street opposite the Town Hall.  Irma J is in the Strand Arcade.  It was run by two amazingly talented and glamourous sisters.  Sadly, one of the two also passed away last week.  Hopefully their exquisite (but expensive) store will continue for many years to come.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Not like Coco

When I was gifted one metre of very loose weave wool/silk blended plaid by my real life sewing pal Angelika I didn't have a jacket in mind.  My initial idea was a pencil skirt, but such a loose weave wouldn't have withstood up to all that sitting and standing.  
The inspiration for the jacket came from a woman I saw walking down the main street of Sydney in a checked red and black unstructured jacket with wide lapels and leather (real, I think) sleeves.  She looked stunning!

Alas my one metre was not going to deliver wide lapels, so I cut a very old Burda pattern with princess seams for a "Cocoesque" jacket.  I think the faux leather sleeves rescue my jacket from looking frumpy.  Glad the sleeves serve a purpose because setting them into the plaid was very difficult and the results are far from perfect.  The welt pockets were also challenging.

I've worn it a few times - it was actually finished before I started on my tailoring project - but I lacked a photographer.  After putting up a plea on the Sydney Spoolettes Facebook group, I found I was not the only sewer with a neglected blog in need of a photographer.  Today enjoyed the radiant winter sun in Sydney's Hyde Park with with Susan from Measure Twice-Cut Once and Pamela.  Hope to turn it into a regular Thursday meet up.

I wish I could say I've finished my tailored jacket.  In my rush to bring it home, I really messed up the lapels.  So out comes the seam ripper for a re-make.  I put too much into it to accept second best!

Meanwhile happy sewing!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Good foundations

The more I tinker with tailoring, I realise that it is a form of structural engineering.  Just like a bridge or building, it is the bits that you can't see that provide the strength and longevity of the garment.  

My Anne Klein jacket is coming together nicely.  As you can see from the interior photo, this traditionally tailored jacket is fashioned with multiple layers of canvas and a softer flannel fabric to provide extra structure to the shoulder and arm hole area.  One of the key advantages of using underlining and layers of horse hair canvas is that as you wear the jacket the canvas conforms to your body and will never stretch out of shape.  It's not visible in the photo, but I've also used a shaped felt sleeve head which helps to keep the rounded shape.

I'm itching to finish this project and stitch something simple like a t-shirt. I need instant gratification!  Still to do are the hand-sewn hem interfacing, attaching the facings and sewing lining.  I've chosen a burgundy satin with a huge colour wheels for the lining.  It's not a lining fabric - one of those "what was I thinking" fabric purchases off a remant table at Tessuti.   

I'm going inter-state this weekend to visit my ageing father, so no sewing.