Monday, 31 March 2014

The last summer dress: Vogue 2738 in graphic navy and white

Happy news - my fabric.com order arrived the day after the last post which was a speedy 7 days delivery, very impressive! The fabric colours are exactly what I wanted, and the fabric quality is not too bad either.

And even happier news is that my father in law has improved - he's gone from being unconscious on life support with only a few days to live after having a heart attack and a mini stroke on top of the pneumonia he was already in hospital for to now being awake, lucid and surprising everyone with his recovery. He can't walk at the moment, and eating and drinking is very difficult because he can't swallow properly, so we're in a bit of limbo now waiting to see if he improves enough to go home or into a lower level of care or whether he'll take a turn for the worse. Either way we all got to see him at the weekend and spend some quality time with him, and I think the children cheered up a little - hospitals are so incredibly boring when you've been there a while!

And I even managed to get some sewing done. Since we are slowly but surely slipping into the cooler weather (finally) I thought I'd squeeze in one last summer dress using the rest of the cotton fabric I bought from Tessuti and used for the Burda pants two posts ago.

I actually started this dress several weeks ago, at the same I cut out the Burda pants but it took a while to finish off the hem. Happily though it's completed, and here you are:

 
 
I decided to use Vogue 2783 again, a pattern which sat in my stash for many years uncut and unloved until last November when I made it in a cotton floral sateen to wear to a Pattern Review high tea organised by the lovely Maria and discovered that it's actually quite a nice pattern after a bit of fitting work of course. And since I had made quite a lot of fitting changes - taking it in substantially and shortening he dress it made sense to make it again.

I had planned to make this version slightly different to the previous one by adding cap sleeves, a piped waistband and changing the flared skirt to a pencil skirt so that this version would be more corporate than casual - there's just something about a sleeveless dress with a flared skirt that says 'sun dress' more than 'work dress' to me. But as you can see I only got as far as adding cap sleeves to it before my enthusiasm for drafting pattern changes wore out!




I figured that a belt around the waist would do instead of a piped waistband and also be more versatile in terms of being able to wear different colours. I've worn it here with red accessories but I actually think the yellow shoes from the previous post look better against this fabric.



Although the fabric is fairly densely woven I fully lined this version with a white cotton batiste to prevent any risk of sheerness, which also neatly finished the neckline and underarm area without having to fiddle about with bias binding.

I used some nylon piping along the front and back vertical seams but the fabric is so busy you can barely see it - the piping is more noticeable in real life though. I think the previous version I made with navy blue piping against the floral fabric was more striking but I still think it's an interesting touch:



I can see this working in the office worn with a white blazer (which I happen to have one about 75% made!) to make it look a bit more serious but it would also be a nice dress worn casually, so in the end my laziness paid off and making it like this is probably more versatile.

And now to get on to making some clothes from my recent delivery - I'm really looking forward to making some cozy autumn and winter clothes.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

When not sewing....buy more fabric!

I have hardly sewn a stitch in the last two weeks, which is highly unusual for me. Sadly my father in law is critically ill and my husband has been interstate visiting him, so it's just been me and the kids. Let me tell you it's exhausting looking after kids by yourself - single parents you definitely have my respect. And since my sewing room is above our garage which is separate to our house I can't go in there when the kids are finally in bed asleep. But I haven't been completely slack - I have cut out and pinned four projects and have unpicked several previous makes for a reworking (ie fixing up previous shockers!) so hopefully I can start being more productive soon.

But like any frustrated sewist who isn't sewing I've instead been buying more fabrics and adding to my already extremely long to do list. In order to shame myself in to using them soon and not just adding them to the stash I thought I'd confess here on my blog.

First up I bought several pieces from fabric.com because I discovered the postage cost for four pieces wasn't much more than it was for one (around $25). I haven't purchased from them before so fingers crossed the quality is decent and it doesn't take too long to deliver.

I have been searching in all the fabric stores here in Sydney for a dark denim chambray to make a shirt, but have only been able to find really light blues. So I purchased this Robert Kaufman dark indigo chambray:
 
 
image via Pinterest
image via Pinterest
After seeing so many great pieces during Jungle January I decided to buy my first ever piece of animal print fabric, this leopard print cotton that I intend to make a pencil skirt:



image via Pinterest
I also bought some navy blue and white jumbo polka dot cotton fabric (well I hope it's more navy blue than the colour of the photo below) also to make a pencil skirt:



image via Pinterest
The final piece is this mint green and white mini polka dot cotton possibly to make something for the kids but more than likely a shirt for myself!



Image via Sportscraft

Then of course there's been a little bit of real life shopping. I broke my cardinal rule of never buying anything from Spotlight full price because I saw some gorgeous tan and black chevron stripe cotton Japanese duck fabric that only had a little bit left on the bolt. I didn't want to risk it selling out so I bought it then and there - and of course less than a week later they had a 30% off sale! It wasn't too expensive though, and I do love the fabric so no harm done I guess. I've already cut this out so hopefully I'll have something awesome made soon from it:


And the final act of fabric gluttony occurred a few weeks at a pre sewing bloggers lunch meet up at the Remnant Warehouse. I swear I wasn't going to buy anything (unless I found the mythical dark chambray) but after I spotted some bizarre but cute ponte knit with puffy giant polka dots and some dark charcoal 100% wool suiting both for only $9.95/m I decided to pick up a few metres of each.



I was going to end by saying I think that's enough fabric purchasing for now (ha! as if), but I've just received an email from one of the ASG ladies revealing that the Fabric Cave is having a sale on the 4th - 11th April. Their prices are insanely good value to begin with, so I cannot imagine the bargains that will be had at one of their sales. And since I dropped off a huge bag there recently I'm sure I can rehome some other pieces instead!

And a big hello to Gabrielle from Up Sew Late - we met up today in the city to take some photos of her lovely new silk top and had a great chat/rant about sewing, blogging and children who are too unfocused to learn how to sew from their mums. I love meeting up with bloggers and fellow sewists in real life, I feel like we're all part of a secret society!

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Goldilocks pants: Burda 10/2013 #127

Everyone has their sewing nemesis - for some people it's installing zippers or doing buttonholes, for me it's sewing pants! It's not difficult to sew pants, it's just that I haven't had the energy to do all the muslins and fitting required to make a decent fitting pair to be honest. I have however signed up for a two days pants fitting and sewing course at the Australian Sewing Guild convention later this year which hopefully should set me on the right path.

In the meantime however I've had reasonable success with Burda 10/2013 #127 given that I've done next to no fitting changes to it. The pattern looks like this:


The first pair I made last October were from a cotton linen blend that stretch and bag out so much after wearing them for barely an hour so it was lucky I added belt loops otherwise the pants would end up around my ankles! The legs were also much wider than the model's photograph or the line drawing suggest. I still wear them though, in a casual slouchy kind of way.

The second pair I made last December were cut off at the knee to make shorts out of a stretch cotton drill I bought from Spotlight. I made these a little smaller to account for the stretch fabric but it turns out the drill doesn't stretch out or sag so these fit a little firmly and are a bit high waisted for my liking. Once again though I still wear them! They are good for getting around the playground and being high waisted there's no display of underwear when I kneel down.

But the third pair have turned out not too big and not too small but just right (hence the goldilocks reference in the title!).

blue and white graphic printed narrow pants

I think the fabric is a cotton twill (can't quite remember the exact fabric type or composition now) that I bought from Tessuti in January when I had a sewing day there. The print is actually a dark navy blue on cream.  Both Beverley and I had our eyes on this fabric the entire day and between the two of us we bought the last 5 or 6 metres of it.

For this pair I narrowed the legs to make them look more like the Burda model's version rather than what the pattern actually makes but not so narrow that they are too tight because this fabric doesn't have any stretch. I also lowered the front rise a little because I just can't stand things sitting anywhere near my waistline.

blue and white graphic print narrow leg pants

The very busy pattern hides the fitting faults which aren't significant, just a bit of excess fabric underneath the seat but if I walk around with my hands in my pockets you can't tell anyway!

blue and white graphic print narrow leg pants

I love this fabric so much that I've already cut out a dress from the remaining piece of this fabric and I think my case of the sewing blahs have gone away!

Friday, 7 March 2014

A serious case of the blahs: Vogue 7937 skirt in blah brown.....

I've sat down to write a blog post this week several times but I am feeling rather unexcited about my latest completed garment so it's been hard to actually write anything! So I'm hoping that by putting it here on my blog I can get some 'closure' (to use a silly cliché) and move onto a more exciting phase in my sewing.

Two weeks ago, when I was in the middle of sewing that annoying-but-turned-out-good cream linen jacket I had my sewing day at my local ASG for which I needed a simple project that I actually wanted to sew. So I decided to make a pencil skirt out of some stretch cotton I had in my stash in brown to go with the cream jacket, using Vogue 7937 mainly because I've sewn it several times before and I knew it fitted (most recently this blue floral version which turned out great) but also because it has six narrow pieces that I could squeeze out of the fabric which was left over from another project.
vogue very easy pencil skirt

The reason I chose to use the brown cotton is because it matched some brown and cream stripe grosgrain ribbon that I was going to sew on the cream jacket as trim. I ended up leaving the jacket plain but made a ribbon belt instead from the grosgrain ribbon, and here is the finished outfit:

brown pencil skirt and cream jacket
 
brown pencil skirt and cream linen jacket

There's not much to be said about the skirt - it has three panels across the front and back, with two walking vents at the back. The overall outfit looks ok in these photos, but nothing great (probably better if I stood up straight and took a photo at the beginning of the day rather than the end!). The fabric is a bit stiffer and heavier than the fabric I used for previous versions, so the fit isn't as slim or close fitting but mainly it's the colour. I've seen Sharon of Petite and Sewing sew and wear many clothes in brown (because she religiously sticks to her colours) and always looks wonderful but I find it very difficult to pair clothes with it or get excited about it unfortunately.

Anyway, more fabric out of the stash and into the wardrobe which is always a good thing. And speaking of the stash, I finally committed to purging the fabrics that I didn't like so much that have been sitting in a big pile on the floor in the corner of my sewing room for months now. I kept alternating between wanting to declutter the stash on one hand and on the other hand keeping every bit of fabric I have 'just in case', but in the end I kept some basic cotton pieces for future muslins and got rid of those pieces that were lovely and other people may like but I know I would never sew. I took this big and extremely heavy bag full of fabric to donate to the Fabric Cave at Meadowbank this morning and what's more I didn't go in the shop and bring home anymore fabric either!

big bag of fabric to donate to the Fabric Cave

That big bag is only the first part of the purge of my stash - it was too heavy to add anymore to it and I think I have at least one more bag of that size to go as well! Mind you there is hardly a noticeable dent in the stash and I'm still only half way through folding and measuring the stash.....

Last weekend I had a fantastic lunch with other lovely sewing bloggers, chatting about all things sewing and doing only the smallest bit of fabric shopping - I limited myself to two pieces only! I must be changing my hoarder ways, although I'm not deliberately on a fabric diet I do have a long line of projects I want to make completely from stash items, so now I look at new purchases as being more obstacles in the way of those projects which helps me buy more prudently.
 
So I hope to be back next post with a more enthusiastic write up of a finished garment - since I'm not sewing out of necessity sewing should be fun and enjoyable so I need to get over myself and back into the groove.