Monday, 3 October 2016

Of buttons and press studs

Another Smooth Sailing blouse! This is hands down my favourite blouse pattern, and at this point, there's not much left to say about the pattern itself.

For this iteration I used a length of fabric I found opshopping, and paid $3 for. It's a beautiful red floral but the fabric itself was a bit funny. It's a polyester of some sort, and it had a very slight stretch to it, which did make sewing the collar a bit frustrating. It's not a fabric I would have bught new, but I refuse to pass up good fabric at opshops! Make do and mend, especially as this is a 1930's blouse pattern.

The make do attitude really spilt over when it came to buttons. I had sorted out my buttons a few months ago, and was eager to use what I had. As would have it, there was no buttons I had enough of that also matched! I finally decided to go for "fake" buttons. The blouse actually closes with five press studs, and then I sewed on three green vintage buttons over the three top press studs. This worked perfectly. I always wear my blouses tucked in, so the balance isn't thrown off, and these great buttons get to be used. I was also glad to not have to make button holes in the fabric, as I'm not sure how it would have behaved.

I have a new dress to share with you later this week, where I also use the press stud/fake buttons trick, it's a good one!

What sewing tricks do you use?

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Spring has sprung

There is nothing quite like a big full skirt covered in pink roses.
I bought this fabric back at the beginning of the year for $4/m at my local Asian fabric shop. I loved the colour, and thought it would be perfect for Simplicity 1459, a 1950's reproduction shirtdress with an oversized collar. However, it was not to be. I did make the bodice, but I ran into a lot of problems with it. Firstly, I didn't make a muslin, and I got the sizing off. Secondly, the fabric is a very stiff polyester. It wasn't pressing well, especially to make the collar sit flat. I put the dress to the side as winter came around, but every time I thought about remaking the bodice, I just didn't feel like it. I finally decided a dress out of a very stiff polyester would be too uncomfortable, so it was skirt time instead.

The actual sewing up of the skirt was very quick. I used Simplicity 2444 and just added a waistband. I lengthened it a few inches for a more 1950's look, and all good to go! This is going to be the perfect skirt for summer with a nice white blouse. The stiff fabric gives it a lot of body- much better as a skirt than a dress. I am still on the look out for a suitable fabric for Simplicity 1459 though.

I am so glad I decided to change my plans on this one. Have you ever been able to mitigate a sewing disaster into something else entirely?

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

The Spanish Dress

More unseasonably hot Sydney weather has lead to more UFO's being finished so I have something to wear! (My off season clothes are stored at my Mum's). I only started this dress a few weeks ago, but this burst of spring heat led me to madly finish it off last night to wear today.

The fabric for this dress is a special one. Last year, my best friend went to Spain and brought this back for me. I am making her a skirt, and I got the leftover yardage to play with. I decided to go with a dress, as the colour is not something I would usually wear, and I didn't think it would get too much wear as separates.

The pattern is a mash up of two of my favourites: Simplicity 2444 for the bodice, and Simplicity 6862 (the amazing one metre skirt pattern) for the bottom. The fabric is quite stiff, so I decided a flared skirt would do nicely; it certainly has a lot of body.

This was a very quick and simple make: the zip is handpicked, the neckline is faced, and the armholes and hem are finished with bias tape. I love the shape of this; it's definitely one I'd like to try again.

I've paired it up here with my white sandals and pearls thanks to some styling advice from Mum; it's such a good summery combination (even if it is meant to be winter).

So this is another successful dress which I will get a lot of wear out of come summer. I wore it today to my new job; I am teaching at the university's ancient history museum, so I had a fun morning grossing kids out with Egyptian mummies.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Butterick 5281 The Wearable Muslin

Hello again! I have missed blogging here. I have been knee deep in sewing since I last posted, but mysteriously I do not seem to be completing garments to share- the sirens call of cutting out a new project is sometimes too hard to resist. I feel I must soon do another UFO finishing spree. I have been posting a lot over on Instagram though if you follow me there.

Back in April I posted about not making my graduation dress due to running out of time! At this stage the muslin was basically finished (besides the hem) but with winter bearing down on Sydney, I put the dress to one side. Yesterday was an incredibly warm day, so the night before I pulled out the dress, and quickly finished it off, so I could have a chance to wear it. This dress is great. The pattern fits fantastically, it's so comfortable, and I got a lot of compliments, which I think is always a good thing when you're trying out a new silhouette. I am now getting more excited about making my LBD version.

The pattern is Butterick 5281, a 1946 reproduction, and therefore is also part of this years vintage pledge. The fabric is an IKEA bedspread cover I found opshopping, and was also used as the wearable muslin for my Smooth Sailing blouse.

I didn't have to make extensive changes to the pattern- I cut the bodice as a 12, and the skirt as a 14, which I have to do with slim skirts. I also took a good deal of length out of the bodice, but this is a standard alteration. If you are making this pattern, definitely muslin it. The bodice especially has a lot of subtle detail, and it's fully lined, including the sleeves. For this version, I didn't line the skirt, but that was to do with running out of lining fabric!

I have included the line drawing here so you can get a good idea of the pattern, I was very much drawn to the asymmetrical style lines; although the dress is a typical 1940's silhouette it makes it quite unique.

This is definitely going to be a pattern I use a lot, the dress is incredibly wearable, and I can see it easily becoming a favourite summer dress.

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

The Last of the Bridesmaid Dress Fabric: Smoothsailing Blouse

 I finished this blouse a few weeks ago, and am so excited to share it with you!

When I bough the fabric for my bridesmaid dresses, I bought ten metres of this great green and pink floral cotton, for $60. From it I managed to make three bridesmaid dresses, a full skirted M6696, and now this Wearing History Smooth sailing blouse. The fabric is now all used up, except for scraps, which will find their way into little projects. Five garments from one fabric purchase must be setting the record for frugal sewing!

The Smooth Sailing blouse is now my go to blouse pattern. My wearable muslin turned out so well, I didn't make any more alterations. For reference, I swapped out the sleeve for the one from M6696.

The buttons are a nice ivory colour I found at the local fabric shop, love how they blend in. I had a lot of trouble doing the buttonholes, til I realised I hadn't popped in any interfacing! It's easy to forget when there is no separate button band. After ripping out two or three wonky button holes Ijust put a little piece of interfacing behind each button hole, and then they went in perfectly. Was so relieved it wasn't my machine mucking up on me.

The skirt here is another recent make, but it doesn't deserve it's own blog post. The pattern is vintage Simplicity 6862, my perfect skirt pattern, and it's made from a nice black polyester like fabric. My RTW go to flared black skirt didn't sit on my waist, so this very simple skirt is now my most worn wardrobe piece. I bought a lot more of this fabric, and am going to make a basic black pencil skirt soon.

And how did I go with Me Made May? Not as well as I would have liked. The weather here in Sydney is unnaturally warm at the moment, so most of the month was my general mix of handmade dresses and blouses, a good few which I documented on Instagram. I didn't get to test out my winter wardrobe as I would have liked to. It was good to see though that my summer wardrobe is 90% me made. I also didn't get my winter sewing done due to time constraints, but hoping to get to that in the next few weeks.

I will hopefully have some more items to share in the coming days; I am using this small stint of warm weather to photograph some other finished summer items.

What have you been sewing lately? Have you ever made more than one item with the same fabric?

Sunday, 1 May 2016

A Half Shirt Dress

A few weeks ago I found this lovely floral  fabric at the opshop. It seems to have been a dirndl skirt that had the waistband taken off, so there was a lot of fabric to work with. When deciding what to make, I went with my favourite dress pattern McCalls 6696, as it just fits so well, and I love a shirt dress. I shook it up though by turning the pattern into a half shirt dress- one that only buttons to the waistband, and closes with a side zip. I used this great tutorial by Idle Fancy as a guide. If you love a good shirt dress, do check out Mary's blog, she's the one who converted me to McCall's 6696.

The other slight change I made was to not have a working button band. I simply sewed on the buttons, and ensured I left enough room to get it over my head. I've just popped in a safety pin to ensure the neckline sits neatly.

I love the details that go into a shirtdress, I hand sew all the insides, which can take a while, but I got this dress churned out in about a week, I think I just very much wanted to wear !

This photograph probably gives the best idea of the true colour. The Burda pattern was my first choice, but in the end I wanted a quick make without the challenge of pattern fitting.
McCall's 6696 both days so far. I will try to be doing daily Instagram pictures, but my iPad charger is playing up, so it will probably be weekly blog round ups. I have a lot of almost finished garments lined up as well, so there should be a lot more to share over the coming weeks

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Changing plans

On Friday I am graduating from university. I had been planning for a while to make a little black dress for the ceremony using B5281, a very elegant reproduction vintage pattern from 1946. Last night, I scrapped this plan and will be wearing another dress I made last year instead.

I have always been someone who enjoys taking on large, complicated projects, and I immerse myself in them. I even get everything done on time. But this time I decided I needed to take a step back, and remind myself that it's okay if I don't follow through this once. I got to the stage of having the wearable muslin finalised, and the went to bed last night, and started scheming how I could fit sewing a fully lined crepe and silk dress in four days around university, assignments and work.
 When I started panicking over needing to thread trace all the darts and tucks due to the black fabric, and realising slippery fabric is horrible to cut, I decided to call it off. Actually, I'll be wearing one of those academic gowns, so it won't matter what I am wearing to a great extent. Not enough to need to sweat over a new dress. I am in love with this pattern. The details on it are exquisite, and I have bought the most gorgeous fabric for it. I want to take my time and ensure I have a really well made dress at the end of the process. A good LBD will become a proper wardrobe staple in time. I'll be graduating again next year anyway from masters! I am very relieved I can have some breathing space this week, and am looking forward to getting stuck into this dress when I have the proper time to devote to it