What I wore: Vogue 2538

Monday 24 June 2013
Thank you to all the ladies that braved the cold, windy and rainy weather on Sunday afternoon for our high tea - I had a fabulous time talking sewing and blogging and fabrics and patterns for hours on end with you all. You can certainly tell we are a dedicated bunch of sewists by the way that the pattern used to make garments worn on the day were being recognised as effortlessly as some people can spot designer labels! Unfortunately I was too busy talking to take any photos, but believe me that everyone looked absolutely gorgeous in their wonderful self made garments.

And for all those who asked me on the day what pattern I used for the dress I was wearing I apologise for being so vague. I made the dress way back in 2007, pre-blogging days in fact, and I've only worn it a handful of times over the years (originally posted here).  But it turns out the pattern I used is Vogue 2538, long since out of print, although I modified it slightly by sewing three quarter sleeves instead of cap sleeves.


I made it from a cream wool with a pale grey plaid, which I've fully lined so you can understand why it's had relatively few wears over the last 6 years - there's not many occasions to wear a very warm wool dress in white, particualrly in Sydney. I did end up wearing it to the high tea with black tights and shoes purely for warmth, very similar to how I styled it back in the original post in 2008:

I haven't changed much in five years have I?

I have actually been thinking of refashioning it into a jacket or something that I may wear more frequently because it is lovely fabric, so I'm pretty glad I decided to wear it on Sunday because it just may be it's last outing.

Now I hope to get back to my usual sewing and have something new to show off shortly!

Little boys and bow ties

Saturday 22 June 2013
I slowly eased myself back into the sewing habit this week, although I don't have much to show for it. I'm halfway through making a dress testing the Sugarplum dress pattern for Lolita Patterns which is a lovely dress but rather involved and time consuming so it's taking longer than I expected, not helped of course by me getting terribly sick last week and losing my sewing mojo.  I also made two pairs of pants for my friend's baby son who I think is the baby that all the commercial patterns size their patterns for - he is the fattest baby I've ever seen! He is three months younger than Toby but is a few kilos heavier which is pretty amazing since he refused to eat solids until very recently, and my friend has the hardest time buying pants for him that aren't tracksuits. So I made a pair of simple elastic waist corduroy and denim jeans for him from the same pattern that I was complaining were way too big for Toby.  But I forgot to take any photos before I gave them to my friend - I guess I fail blogging 101......

Toby went to his first birthday party during the week so I made him a little bow tie out of some red gingham just to dress him up a little. No tutorial of course because you all know my disdain for tutorials that have been done a billion times before or are so simple they are just not required, but I did consult this tutorial by Prudent Baby for the dimensions although I made mine with just some hat elastic for the neckband instead of a fabric band and proper bow tie clip:



Amazingly he kept both the bow tie and some matching red suspenders I found in an op shop ages ago all day, and I might be biased here but I think he looks pretty damn cute!



There's no mistaking that my two are siblings is there? Even with Toby weirdly having red hair.....

Today I went to the Australian Sewing Guild industry day at the Simplicity patterns headquarters here in Sydney. As much as I would like to say it was like being on hallowed turf being in a large building surrounded by thousands of sewing patterns, it was really just a standard big warehouse with boxes stacked on pallets! But they did have some big tables with loads of patterns out for $2 or $5, boxes of trims, sewing notions and other bits and pieces, so of course I couldn't help myself but buy some things despite having no intentions to do so.  I picked up these patterns for $2 each:

and these 5 reels of trim for only $2 - a total bargain!

Plus the day was very interesting and informative as usual, aside from learning loads more about how to sew successfully with knits there was an amazing talk by Yvonne Twining who does amazing things with leather, including making very beautiful bags and her own shoes. If I could make my own shoes I'd be in absolute heaven. Anyone in Australia who hasn't heard of the Australian Sewing Guild should definitely check them out - they offer loads of interesting talks, courses, fabric shopping trips and the like.  Plus their regular sewing days are a great chance to meet up with like minded sewing fiends, it's totally not a bunch of ladies sitting around doing hand smocking or patchwork quilting like I erroneously thought it was!

And now I need to go and ponder my wardrobe to figure what to wear to our Sydney sewists high tea tomorrow. The weather forecast for heavy rain and wind is a bit frock unfriendly, so I'll have to dig out some tights and a coat to accessorise.

Last call for drinks: Sydney Sewists High Tea

Friday 14 June 2013
Sunday 23 June is rapidly approaching and a lovely group of 18 ladies have confirmed their attendance at the High Tea, including SewBusyLizzie who has only recently returned from an amazing overseas holiday and is now going to travel some 4 hours from the north coast to join us! So clearly you can tell this is one event you don't want to have FOMO over ('fear of missing out for those of us that speak proper, non-teenage English).

But it's not too late to join us - I'll be confirming the final numbers and paying for our group on Tuesday, so if you'd like to come email me at Kristy_Idle"at"hotmail.com and I'll send you payment details straight away. 

If you can't commit, but somehow find yourself with a few free hours on that Sunday you could always take a chance that there's spare capacity at the restaurant and come along anyway, but I would check first with the club whether there's any space during that sitting. I don't know how busy it gets there on a Sunday afternoon in June but you never know your luck.

As a reminder here are the details:
What: Sydney Sewists High Tea - all welcome!
When: Sunday 23 June 1.30pm
Where: Level Fourteen, The American Club, 131 Macquarie St Sydney (the Circular Quay end)
Cost: $47 p.p

And the lovely Christie from littlebettydesigns has suggested we have an informal swap on the day, so if you have a piece of fabric or patterns or even some haberdashery notions that you no longer want or need in your stash bring it along and you might even go home with some new goodies even though we aren't even fabric shopping!

As for me I've done no sewing at all this week, having been in bed since last Saturday terribly sick with strep throat and the worse headache I've ever experienced in my life. At first I thought I just had tonsillitis again and was self medicating with some penicillin leftover from the last bout of tonsillitis I had, and I only visited the doctor to get a medical certificate. But lucky I did because apparently strep throat can get very serious if not treated with the correct antibiotics, and the doctor gave me some nice heavy duty drugs to help me get through the worse of it. I think I'm ok now (fingers crossed) although I do feel weary - any migraine sufferer would know the feeling of heavy eyes and tiredness that you feel after a migraine finally lifts.

But the good news is that I gave the pyjamas pants from the last post a thorough testing and I can confirm they are perfect pj pants. The slim cut of the leg meant they didn't bunch up at the knees as soon as I slid between the sheets, and the drawstring waist is snug enough that when you roll over your pants don't get all twisted and uncomfortable. Or is it only me that this happens to?

I don't like to post without a photo, and lucky for you all my mum has obligingly found the photo of my sister and I wearing our matching strawberry shortcake outfits.  So for your viewing pleasure and at the risk of damaging my highly cultivated fashionable persona, here it is (that's me on Santa's left):

Now I know there'll be a pin it button next to this photo, but please NO ONE pin this please please please!

Kwik Sew 3125 - matchy matchy

Thursday 6 June 2013
When I was growing up the thing I hated with a passion was being dressed the same as my sister. Now that I have kids of my own I can sort of understand why, because in the interests of peace and any semblance of quiet you must treat each equally because inevitably what one has the other will want. But at the time I hated it, especially since my sister was 3 years younger than me. I wish I could find the photo of us wearing matching strawberry shortcake short and tshirt set, but you'll just have to take my word for it that it was way too much matching and way too much sickly pink and just plain wrong!

Having kids of different genders has made it easier, but I've gone out of my way not to make them matching clothes (fabrics or styles) or matching with me either. So you can imagine my surprise when Anna demanded a jumper (sweater) to match the one I had just made her little brother. Deep from the stash I made a simple raglan sleeved jumper for Toby from Kwik Sew 3150 in a grey marle fleece with a Dalmatian and fire truck print that I picked up in a garage sale eons ago:


I made Toby's version with a red ribbing also from the stash for the cuffs, neckband and waistband. I used size T1, but I find that it's very snug and he probably won't be able to wear it for much longer - wasn't I just ranting recently how big the commercial sewing patterns sizing is? Well it appears Kwik Sew is different.....

I had a bit of fabric left over that I was going to make a second jumper for Toby in a bigger size but Anna demanded one too, so using the same pattern but in size T4 I made her the same jumper, just without the rib hem band:



Ordinarily I wouldn't sew something like tracksuits when they are so cheap to buy and kids destroy them or grow out of them before you know it. Plus fleece fabric is surprisingly expensive given that you're not making it into something high end out of it. But since I do have the fabrics in the stash and they don't take that long to make it's silly not to make them - it's not like the fabric is worth holding onto forever.

I only wish I had enough fabric to make their dad a matching jumper too. Trying to embarrass him is fast becoming my favourite pastime!

May Burda: winners and losers

Monday 3 June 2013
June already?! Really, the year is just flying by. I bet all of you that did MMM must be breathing a sigh of relief that May is over with, congrats to all you for completing it.

I did manage to finish my May Burda project last Thursday when it was still May, but I'm only getting around to posting it up today so technically I'm still on track with my self imposed Burda challenge (sew at least one item from the mag during it's month of issue).  It was a bit of a struggle again this month to pick a project, not because it was all bad but because this is a summer issue and we're now in the depths of our winter.  There were some pretty dresses and a cute short sleeved peplum jacket and then weirdly this long sleeved, high necked blouse (5/2013 #106)  made in a stretch satin:


It seems rather out of place in a summer issue doesn't it? But since we're having cool weather and I quite like an interesting high neckline I thought I would give it a try.  There was no review on Pattern Review for this one, but there was a lovely version made by a Russian lady shown on the Burda Russian site - although of course I couldn't quite understand what she thought about the pattern even with google translate.

I figured this would be shapeless and baggy since it doesn't have any darts or shaping, but I thought that if the neckline turned out well I would convert that centre front seam into an opening button-up placket and put some vertical darts in front and back to give it some shape.  But I didn't get that far because this project turned out to be a bit of a fail - that neckline sure is interesting but in an eye brow raised kind of hmmmm way....


I should have looked more closely at the technical drawing because what I thought was actually a high stand up collar with an interesting twist at the front, much like a pussy bow blouse, is actually just an extension of the left side front that wraps around the neck like a scarf which is held in place with a couple of snaps.  At least I think that's how it works, the instructions made no sense at all to me. The collar is not attached at the back neckline at all, and when I was wearing this version around in my sewing room I kept feeling the need to pull the collar down at the back.


I think I'd rather just sew a normal shirt and wear a scarf than deal with this complicated mess!  And of course, as I predicted the rest of it was a shapeless mess, too tight at the hips, too loose at the waist and bust.  The shiny satin fabric (from the stash) didn't help things either, so I didn't bother putting sleeves on this one - it's gone straight to the bin.


I could have left it at that because technically I did use a pattern out of the May issue, but it just so happens that I needed some new pyjama pants and there was pattern 5/2013 #117A looking every bit like pyjama pants even if the model is wearing a blazer and heels with her silk satin floral pants!


Using a floral cotton voile from the stash, bought several years ago from Spotlight on sale if I remember correctly, I managed to make these pants in about 2 hours max including tracing the pattern which is the most tedious bit.  I quite like the fabric (they are pyjama pants after all) although my husband thinks they look hilariously ugly.



No photos of me wearing them though, I'm sure none of you need to see me in my jarmies! They are such a simple thing to make, being just straight legged pants with a drawstring waist but surprisingly they are the illustrated pattern course in the magazine - further proof to me that Burda is focused more on the beginner sewists in my opinion.

The slim legs and side pockets differentiate this pattern from other pyjama pants patterns I have, although I don't particularly like the waistband treatment.  The top of the pants are merely folded down twice to make a casing with the raw edge enclosed which means that the pocket facing and hip piece are also folded over twice which makes the waistband a bit bulky and quite fiddly to push the waistband tie through as well.  If I were to make these again I think I would draft a separate waistband piece - it's not that much more effort to cut out and sew on a rectangular waistband to create a drawstring casing.

The waistband on the outside:

The waistband on the inside:

So happily I did get something useful out of this issue and next summer I may even make the vintage sheath dress pattern too as it's quite cute. Now I'm waiting for the June issue to land in my letterbox to see what this month's challenge will be - normally the issue arrives a few days before the start of the month so it's unusually slow this month.