All Yellow

In early January I was invited to the wedding of two of our friends. It was in north Canterbury, so I assumed it would be incredibly hot, and I really wanted to make a strappy sun dress to wear. When Sew Over It released the Rosie Dress pattern I knew that I had my dress!


It had the full skirt and spagetti straps that I was looking for, and I liked the sweetheart neckline. The fabric is a Liberty Saville Poplin that I got on sale from The Fabric Store (pretty much the only way I’ll ever buy Liberty is when it’s on sale!). The Poplin was a good choice, even though I was looking for Tana lawn, as I didn’t have to line the skirt.


It’s a big skirt! I like how it has the flat portion at the centre front, it’s a bit more flattering than if it was gathered all the way around. 


Here is the obligatory (super awkward) twirling shot! 


I wish I could say that everything went really smoothly and that I loved this dress, but it just gave me so many issues. I had problems with the fit, and I probably should have either done an FBA or just gone up a size entirely. I’m not happy with the widening and flattening effect it has on my boobs (though my strapless bra doesn’t help with that, to be fair).


I had a bit of a nightmare with the bodice lining too. Everything was sitting nicely until I put in the boned lining, and then the boning stretched out the small amount of ease in the upper bodice, meaning that the neckline stood out from my body from the front princess seams around under my arms. I could have used it as a collecting bucket for small fruit or something, I was so annoyed! I had a whinge on Instagram, and tossed it aside in a huff. Thankfully Nikki had the excellent suggestion of easing it into some stay tape, which I dutifully did. It’s now a little bit wrinkled where it’s been eased in, but it sits much better. 

I did get it done in time to take down south, but I didn’t wear it to the wedding in the end. It’s funny, I thought my Anna dress wasn’t very me, but this dress is much much less me (I wore Anna to the wedding, and felt really good). I just feel uncomfortable in Rosie, and it’s not just that the fit is off. In fact, I’m so sure that I’m not going to wear it that I’m considering taking the bodice off and putting the waistband from the skirt variation on. I think that the skirt paired with a white silk Cami or a cropped Willow tank would be more wearable, and would make me feel less like I’m in a costume. 


So I am a bit disappointed in this one, I don’t like feeling like I’ve wasted both time and fabric on a dud! I’m glad that I have a plan to rescue some of this fabric though, because I love the colour. I guess you can’t win them all…

A Little Bit of Sunshine

I’ve been waiting to take photos of these two garment since just after new Year, in the desperate hope that I’d be able to get photos of them outside in the sun somewhere, but life kept conspiring against me. Picnics were rained off, or I was unable to attend, or it was too cold to wear shorts…eventually I decided to just photograph them in my sewing room as usual! Of course, once I did that the rest of the day was stunningly sunny, so I could have got my outdoor shots if I had been willing to bribe someone to take the photos, but never mind! You’ll just have to use your imaginations.

p1040016

These are some more of the things which I sewed during my stay at home sew-a-thon over New Year. I’ve made both patterns before, the camisole is the Ogden from True Bias (see versions one and two here), and the shorts are the Grainline Studio Maritime Shorts. I made my first pair of Maritime Shorts two years ago, and I think they may have been my first ever go at sewing trousers. I still wear them, but they definitely have some fitting issues! I knew they weren’t quite right when I first blogged them, but I wasn’t sure where the problem was originating, or how to fix it…

p1040018

When I went back and looked at the photos from that post, I thought that probably the problem was not enough length in the crotch curve in the bum of my original shorts. I laid the back piece of the maritime shorts over the back piece of the Ralph Pink Panthea Shorts (because although I think there are some serious issues with that pattern, those shorts fit my bum well). The crotch curve was definitely longer on the Panthea shorts, so I traced it off, blending into the original Maritime curve about half way up.

photo-5-02-17-5-35-48-pm-1

That’s the original underneath, with my modified version sitting on top. It’s such a tiny difference, but it really has made a huge difference to the fit and comfort of the shorts. I also added an inch to the hem of my traced version, and them added another two inches to the hem when  I was cutting out, as I remembered how short my other pair is!

p1040019

The other major modification I made to the shorts was to remove the fly front, and put an invisible zip in the side seam.

p1040020

This is a modification which I shamelessly stole from Sarah over at Fabric Tragic, and it’s such a good idea! Not only does it remove the hassle of sewing a fly (I know, I know, it isn’t that hard, but it can be a fiddle), but it gives a nice smooth front which I think I prefer in shorts, especially when I’m wearing looser tops. It was easy enough to do, I just sewed straight up the front crotch, and cut the waistband on the fold (at the CF mark instead of the edge of the pattern piece, otherwise it’ll be too long!). Then it was as easy as sewing the invisible zip in the side seam, all the way up though the waistband.

p1040025

The fabric is another Cotton + Steel/Rifle Paper Co. collaboration, this time in a cotton/linen canvas, again from Miss Matatabi. I really love this one, I think it’s so pretty, and the colours in the print fit perfectly into my wardrobe. I used some more of the spotty lining remnant which just keeps on giving for the pockets (I’ve lined a blazer and a skirt with it, and used it for a few pockets, and there’s still some left!), I like the combination of floral and polka dots. I have a metre of the flora fabric left, I’m trying to decide what to make with it…

p1040013

I dont really have anything new to say about the Ogden Cami, I love all of my versions! this one is made up exactly the same as my other ones, but this time I used some linen from The Fabric Store rather than soft drapey rayon. I like the different silhouette that the crisper linen gives the camisole, and it’s nice in the heat to not have something that sits against my skin. I love the colour, I was really happy when I realised that it was the same colour as the seed pods on the C+S fabric. I also have some of the same linen in pale pink, I think I might make it into a shirt dress, if I don’t run out of summer!

p1040023

Spotty chambray sheath dress

I’ve been really wanting some easy to wear dresses this summer. Last summer I was all about the Southport dress, but I’ve had a couple of nasty sunburns this summer (bad Kiwi! Should know better!) so I was wanting something with a bit more coverage. I bought McCalls 7464 in the post-Thanksgiving sale last year, and I thought the jewel neckline and sleeves would give me a bit more protection. It helps that a sheath dress was one of the items in my #2017makenine too…

p1030991

I used a lovely Japanese chambray from Miss Matatabi. It’s so soft and comfortable, but I think I bought the last of it sorry! It was really lovely to sew, and I have a chunk left over for a top. I find some chambray too blue (I know that sounds stupid, they’re obviously all blue), but this softer cornflower blue is the perfect colour for me. I imagine it’ll be lovely in the heat, though I haven’t had the chance to test that theory yet due to our stormy, chilly summer!

p1040001

M7464 is a ‘petite’pattern. I wasn’t 100% sure what that meant, but it turns out that it means the patterns have a shorter nape to back waist length which is perfect for me! It was a simple enough pattern to sew up, I read through the instructions once before starting and then didn’t really refer to them again. I really like the shape of this dress, with it’s front and back princess seams, I think it’s really flattering but not too form fitting! I made view C, but with everything cut on grain rather than cutting the princess panels on the bias (so technically probably view A without the pockets. Either/or.)

p1030996

I do wish I had a better match with my zip colour. I thought this pale blue one would be best, but I might have been better with a navy one! Either way, it isn’t too bad really.  One thing I did change from the pattern was to omit the full lining, as I was after an easy breezy summer frock. Instead I used the tutorial for drafting Non-Flip Facings from What Katie Sews. It worked really well, they haven’t popped out of the neckline once! next time I will make the front facing an inch deeper at the centre front neck, as I failed to take the seam allowance into consideration and so it’s only about 1 and 1/4 inches deep at the CF. Even so, it stays put!

photo-23-01-17-7-48-23-pm

I am really happy with this dress, but there are a few changes I’ll make for next time (and I have two pieces of fabric set aside for another summer version and a winter version already). I feel like the waist of this dress is sitting at the right place, but I have about 2 inches of excess fabric in the upper chest. You can see it bubbling around my collarbones in some of the above pictures. If I pinch it out, the whole dress just feels perfect around the upper chest, rather than feeling a bit sloppy. I’ll need to do some research into the best way to remove that excess fabric and how to modify the sleeve to fit the new armhole (any suggestions or tutorials appreciated!). The back length feels fine, but I might experiment with removing excess from the front and back as well as removing it all from the front. There are toiles in my future! Once I’ve got that sorted, I think I’ll have a perfect dress pattern.

p1040007

Furry photo bomb! Zelda is so nosy, she always needs to know what’s going on when  I have the door of my sewing room closed. She must get terrible FOMO when I leave for work every morning…

 

More Secret Pyjamas: Sallie Playsuit

I feel like I’ve spent weeks sewing for a summer which still hasn’t shown up! We’ve had gale force winds all week (strong even for Wellington, I thought I was going to have a Wizard of Oz moment one night), and now that they’ve finally dropped off the clouds have come down so low that I can’t see to the end of the street. Get it together Wellington, I have shorts and lovely floaty linen tops which need to be worn! I did manage to wear this play suit for most of yesterday, until it got a bit chilly in the afternoon and I had to revert back to jeans…

p1030981

I made this up just after Christmas, during my manic stay-home-and-sew holiday. I bought about five metres of this black knit from the Fabric Warehouse’s massive fabric sale sometime last year, and its lovely and soft. I can’t remember what it actually is, but I’m assuming a cotton/lycra/something blend. It was very easy to cut and sew, the edges only rolled a little bit and it went through my overlocker and sewing machine with no trouble. I have so much left, I think I’ll make myself a slip and some camisoles out of some of it and them stash the rest of it until inspiration strikes!

p1030986

The pattern is the Sallie Jumpsuit and Maxi-dress from Closet Case Files, the only alteration I made was to lop the legs off the jumpsuit at the length I wanted them! In hindsight I wish that I had widened the shorts slightly, or maybe just gone up a size in the bottom half, just so that I had a bit more room for the pockets and a bit more flare in the shorts. When I went back and read the post Heather Lou wrote about her playsuit she outlined exactly how to make the shorts more swingy, and I’m kicking myself for not looking up that post before making this!

p1030985

Even with the narrower shorts I think it’s a pretty cute and easy to wear garment. I love the front and back V necklines, and the little cap sleeves. I must have stretched one side of the neckline out slightly, probably when I was fusing the inferfacing to it right at the beginning, and it does annoy me slightly. You can see in the first photo that the left side of the neckline isn’t sitting quite right. I do love the clean finish that lining the bodice gives though, and the double layer of this thin knit means that it doesn’t show the line of my bra which is nice. In fact, I ended up using a double layer of fabric on the shorts as well, as they were a bit clingy and definitely showed too much VPL! Two layers is a nice weight, but it was a bit of a fiddle adding the lining into the shorts once it was all assembled. I do like to make things difficult. for myself…

p1030990

I’m pretty sure I’ll always wear it with a belt, but here it is without. I have a few changes I’d like to make if I make it again (and I would like to make it again, I think it’d be a great travel garment!). Firstly, I’ll pick a slightly thicker knit to try to avoid the clingy shorts thing, and just line the bodice with something lightweight. I’ll also follow the tutorial to make the legs wider. I had a bit of an epiphany when I tried this on for the first time, never having had any success with RTW playsuits (or the woven one I so ambitiously made when I was new to sewing). Because I have a really high waist I need to take length off the bodice or it’ll be way to blousy/gapey, a mod which I make automatically now, and which doesn’t really affect anything when I’m making a dress but really does when I’m adding a pair of shorts instead of a skirt. My crotch depth is pretty standard, so of course I need to add length to it if I’m hoisting the waist up by a few inches. It seems so basic now that I think about it, but I hadn’t ever considered it. So next time, add the amount I take off the length of the bodice to the shorts! I also want to have a go at the dress, I think it would be another lovely easy to wear summer garment. So many plans, so little time…

Even though it isn’t perfect I’m pretty sure it’ll still get some wear (if summer ever shows up), because it really is so soft and comfortable. And yes, getting out of it to go to the loo is slightly more hassle than if you were wearing a dress or shorts and a tee shirt, but it’s really not a problem. The neckline is plenty wide enough to make it quick and easy!

Traditional New Year Sewing

If you do something three years in a row that makes it tradition right? This is the third year in a row that I’ve started the year with a post showcasing a new pair of shorts and a summer top, so I’m going to say it’s now traditional! My first year was a Grainline summer outfit, last year was my weirdly constructed Panthea shorts and an Emmeline tee, and this year it’s a True Bias party.

p1030972

I’ve already posted about the Ogden Camisole, so I won’t talk about that too much. This one is also rayon, a lovely rayon crepe which I bought from Tessuti in Melbourne when I was there in November. I find rayon crepe can be so variable, I’ve worked with some which is really drapey but loosely woven and which seems to grow as you work with it (or wear it, alarmingly), and also some which has been stiff and scratchy (but which holds it’s shape). happily, this stuff has the best qualities of all of the rayon crepes I’ve used, it’s smooth and drapey but hasn’t sagged out. Even still, I was careful to stay stitch everything, and tried not to handle the pieces too much until they were sewn together! I really love this top, I’ve worn it lots since I finished it at the end of December. It was a good thing to wear to casual festive parties.

p1030977

I’ve also made the True Bias Emerson Shorts! I’ll say straight away that I really like these shorts. The elastic back waistband means they are really comfortable, but the flat front waistband stops them looking too casual. I like the slash pockets and the front pleats too, and they were a really quick sew. What more could I want in a pair of shorts?

p1030975

I could maybe want a less crush-able fabric. I made these with the remnants of linen from my McCalls shirtdress, so they’re really cool and soft to wear, but man do they crease! I ironed these just before putting them on, but I made the mistake of sitting down to put my shoes on, and this is the result. Oh well, linen!

p1030976

I’m happy with the fit, though looking at this picture I can see that there are drag lines towards the inseams. I don’t know if I need more room for my bum, or if I’m just standing a bit funny! I’m not too worried about them for basic shorts, but if I make them again I might have a fiddle with the crotch depth. I do like the length and the width of the leg, I think they’re quite flattering!

p1030980

These are a really quick sew, they only took me a few hours one afternoon to put together. Actually, both pieces are really quick projects, nice and easy for the slow days between Christmas and New Year! I really like how the cami looks knotted (this is me ripping off the outfit from the True Bias sample photos…), but I find that there isn’t quite enough fabric around my hips to get a decent knot that doesn’t just fall out. I might have a play with some future versions, I could either grade it up a few sizes towards the hem, or I might try adding some cut-on ties to the hem. There are so many things I want to do with this pattern, expect to see a few more before the summer is done!

p1030973

I was wearing this outfit the other day, and I managed to get horribly sun burnt on my 10 minute walk to the shops! I have very itchy/sore shoulders, in a lovely shade of raspberry striped with white (cami straps and bag strap). I’m really hoping it’s faded by Thursday, it’ll clash terribly with the yellow dress I want to wear to the wedding I’m attending…

Also, it was my third blogging anniversary on Sunday! Thank you all for reading and commenting and offering so much help and inspiration, I do love the sewing corner of the internet ❤

2016 challenges and a little look back

I didn’t think I’d be posting again until the new year, but then I remembered that I never tied up the loose ends of the various challenges I took part in this year…

 First up is the #2016makenine challenge that was set by Rochelle from Lucky Lucille over on Instagram. This is what my initial nine projects looked like:

Fairly quickly I realised that wasn’t going to happen, so I took each project as more of an inspiration image than a picture of the object I planned to make. I tried really hard to stick to very similar items, but it has changed a bit! 

This is what I ended up with:


I managed 5.5/9. I’m only giving myself a half mark for my jumper, as it still needs another sleeve!

I made the laule’a socks first, and those along with the my Waver raincoat and Kielo dress are the only three which made it from my original list. I switched the two Brooklyn Tweed patterns for two different BT patterns, the Gurnsey Wrap (still unblogged! Bad blogger!), and the Bronwyn Sweater. Finally, I switched the M6696 shirtdress for the M7351 shirtdress. I once again failed to make a bra, or jeans! I did muslin the Republique du Chiffon Madeleine dress, but it needs a fair amount of fitting to make it work so I gave up in a grump.

I found this was a really good way to focus my plans a bit, so I’ve made another #makenine collage for 2017. This time it’s just made up of inspiration images rather than actual patterns, to avoid the ‘cheating’ which occurred this year!

All images from Pinterest

So for 2017, I’d like to make a velvet tee shirt, a fitted sheath dress, a shift dress/tee dress, those bloody jeans (for the third annual to-do list in a row), a biker style jacket, a midi skirt, a woven wrap dress, a wrap pencil skirt, and a pair of high waisted shorts. I’m pretty sure I should be able to manage each of these, I have fabric and patterns lined up for most of the garments already! Not that my plans aren’t bound to change…

The other challenge I took part in this year was the 2016 vintage pledge. I wanted to make three garments from vintage or reproduced vintage patterns, and I only managed two. I’m really happy with both my 1960’s party dress and my 1930’s day skirt though! 


I had a few patterns which were strong contenders for my third vintage pattern, but in the end I just didn’t want to sew any of them up enough to do it! These challenges are all just self imposed, so I can’t get too worked up about not finishing them. It has to be fun right?

And that’s the reason why I’m not going to go back and look at my goals for 2016 which I set this time last year (I’m pretty sure they’ll say “Make Jeans!”). I know I’ve improved in a few areas that I really wanted to work on, like fitting wovens and matching patterns to suitable fabric. I’m especially pleased with the progress I’ve made in getting things to fit better, it’s such a noticible change in my sewing. I’ve also been trying really hard to be more relaxed about my sewing. It’s meant to be fun, I shouldn’t be stressing out so much about everything being so perfect. As long as it’s good enough for me to live with, I’m trying to be happy with it! On the other hand, if I can’t live with it, I’m trying to go back to fix it rather than letting t languish and annoy me every time I go to put it on. Everything has to balance out!

So there we go, hopefully some new plans and a new outlook to take into 2017. I hope you all had a lovely Christmas/holiday period, and that you’re getting plenty of rest before New Year’s festivities kick off! I’m spending quality time with my sewing machine and my furballs…


Old picture, but they look pretty much the same now (just twice the size), asleep on whatever I’ve left on the floor of my sewing room…

Christmas Day Dress

I feel like I must be the last sewing blogger on the internet to make the By Hand London Anna Dress (though Kat assures me she hasn’t made it either)! there are so many versions of this dress out there, and the bodice seems to get matched up with other skirts all the time. I managed to grab a paper copy of the pattern when BHL stopped printing them, and I’ve imagined it paired with several lengths of fabric from my stash since then. Then when I saw the Cotton + Steel/Rifle Paper Co collaboration, I knew that I would use some of their rayon for my first Anna.

p1030967

I’m going to rave about the fabric before I get to the pattern, because I love it so much. You might have noticed that rayon is one of my favourite fabrics to sew and wear, and C+S rayon is even nicer than most. This one is lovely and smooth and drapey, and has a nice weight to it which makes the skirt hang beautifully. And how gorgeous is the print? I’ve always been a fan of Rifle Paper Co., so I was super excited to get some of this fabric (it came from Miss Matatabi, by the way). I also have some of the canvas waiting to be made into shorts, and some of their cotton for a dress…I’m not obsessed at all…

p1030965

I really wanted a pattern which would let the fabric be the focal point, and I think the Anna works really well as a canvas. The bodice and cut on sleeves doesn’t have too many seams to interrupt the print, and the multi-paneled skirt hangs and swishes beautifully in the rayon. I also really like the boat neck, I think the width of it is a nice way to offset the higher neckline.

p1030969

I did make a muslin of the bodice, as I read enough reviews which said they had trouble with a gaping neckline to be wary. I ended up pinching out nearly an inch on either side of the back neckline, and half an inch of each side of the front. I used the tutorial on Ginger Makes to do my flat pattern adjustment, and it worked really well. I still get some gaping at the back if I roll my shoulders right back (how my mother would ask me to stand!), but I think that’s probably just the nature of a high, wide neckline. When I stand normally it sits nicely. I was surprises that I didn’t need to take any length off the bodice or adjust the bust tucks, it all fit pretty nicely once I had the neckline sorted!

p1030966

I’m very pleased with how my zip went in, its one of the most invisible invisible zips I’ve ever sewn! I have a little bit of extra fabric at the back waist, but nothing too major. I have to have some moving room!

photo-7-12-16-6-21-06-pm

I also discovered that I could do a blind hem with my beloved Bernina! How did I not know I could do this? Its so pretty, and so fast, I love it! Blind hems for everything from now on.

p1030968

It’s funny, this dress feels very me three years ago. Its the sort of thing I would have been desperate to buy before I could sew, and the sort of thing I would have sewn until about 18 months ago, but I feel like my style has moved on quite a bit from then! I still really like this dress, and I adore the fabric, so it’ll get worn, but it’s funny to think how much this dress sticks out in my current wardrobe. Its nice to have some really girly dresses in there, I suppose. I was planning on this being my Christmas day dress, but to be honest I’m not sure there’s enough room in the bodice for the two Christmas meals which I will be required to eat over the course of the day! I’ll see how I go, I might have to change into something more forgiving after lunch (because eating less really isn’t an option!).

I hope you all have a good holiday period! I’m planning a stay at home sewing marathon over New Year, then we head away for friends’ wedding. I had better get working on the dress I want to wear for the wedding…though I suppose I can always wear this one if I don’t get it done!