Monday, 27 October 2014

Meet Gillian - THE. Wrap Dress

Gillian Wrap Dress

This is Gillian!  She is the new release from Muse Patterns.  When Kat asked our local sewing group if we were keen to test her new pattern, I was keen as mustard.  At that stage I had planned and cut my frankenpattern wrap dress the "Midnight Dream Coppelia", so I really wanted to sew an actual wrap dress pattern for a comparison.

Gillian Wrap Dress

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Midnight Summer Coppelia

Just over a month ago, I joined The Frankenpattern Contest on pattern review and set to looking for the most appropriate patterns to mash together.  After working through a number of options I settled on a couple of Papercut Patterns which would produce my first wrap dress.

Midnight Summer Coppelia

I took the skirt (and tie) from the Midnight Summer Dream, a garden party summer wrap dress, and the Coppelia, ballet style raglan sleeve wrap cardi, and morphed these into a Spring appropriate wrap dress.

Midnight Summer Coppelia

The skirt of the Midnight Summer Dream was fuller than I wanted so I reduced the fullness by taking out a wedge of 3-1/2" at the skirt side.  This resulted in more of an A-Line skirt - thanks to a slight breeze in the next photo for capturing the skirt shape.

Midnight Summer Coppelia

The top and the skirt came together pretty seamlessly.  I measured bottom of cardi and top of skirt and only had to reduce the cardi by 1-3/4", so I just took that from the narrow end of the wrap.  I kinda followed the pattern instructions for the Midnight Summer Dress which called for the wrap ties to be attached to the narrow end of the top, where it meets the skirt.

There is a small slit in the side seam of the top, just above the waist seam for the tie of the under-wrap.... nothing to complicated, however I put the slit in the wrong side, so the dress wraps the wrong way around!  Is there actually a right way or wrong way to wrap?

Midnight Summer Coppelia

I picked up this snake skin cotton knit from The Fabric Store sale and paired it up with some black merino for the contrast, to break up the print.  The fabric is really light weight and with skirt cut on the bias it dropped quite a bit after being hung for a few days.  It almost looked like a high/low skirt! But I think I've over corrected just a tad too much and the back is now a fraction shorter then the front - you'll only ever notice if I stood still at all, luckily I don't :-)

Because I fluffed around for so long with the hem, and I suck at getting my photos sorted, I missed the deadline for The Pattern Review contest :-(  Never to mind, I had fun working on this one, main thing right!

More photos on my Flickr -->

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Duffle Coat

This one has been coming for a wee while.  It was my son's birthday back at the beginning of May and he was keen for me to make him a winter coat ... after a bit of coercion :-)

Duffle Coat

We went shopping together and got this fabulous wool coating from The Fabric Store - perfect for a men's coat.  Finding an appropriate lining wasn't so easy.  Originally we picked up some striped acetate, but after a bit of deliberation I realised that it wasn't going to add any warmth to the coat and that it would be useless for the Wellington winter.  So the hunt was on for some flannelette.   At Spotlight I found a similar coloured stripe with red stags - boy appropriate I thought!

Duffle Coat

Monday, 29 September 2014

It's just a jump to the left ...

Well I was walking down the street just a-having a think, that this is the month for a bit of a 'behind the scenes' filming.  Earlier in the month I took on a wee tour of my sewing room 'that was' and 'that is'.   On that very same day Tanya from Mrs Hughes nominated me for the blog hop - well actually she, ever so politely, asked me if I would like to join her in the Blog Hop Around the World.  But you know what, I think I wanna hop on over to where Tanya lives ... the weather looks warm all year round and she gets to make loads of summer dresses, my fav!  Oh and have you seen her sewing room!

It just blows me away that by simply writing about my sewing adventures this has connected me to so many people around the world.  I've jumped aboard this tour, because on the tour plane are blog hoppers like Heather from Handmade by Heather B, Melanie aka Poppykettle, Lisa from Notes from a Mad Housewife, Inna from TheWallInna and so many other cool people.

So let's get to the questions ...

1. What am I working on?
In my head I'm working on everything!  But what is actually on my sewing table ... I've just finished some secret sewing that had me scratching my head, but after some perseverance I am totally happy with it.  Last week I started working on my bodice moulage - the more I sew, the more I want to understand it's beginnings and what aspects of a pattern are for fit and what are style-lines.  I want all the technicalities, cause hopefully this is gonna help me understand fit better - yeah I know a bit geekie right!

I have the pattern traced off for the Jenna Cardi that is going to be made up in this beautiful merino.

Pretty Merino

But recently the Holly Jumpsuit from By Hand London has jumped to the front of the cue.  Inspired by this version by Sew Busy Lizzy and this version by House of Pinheiro.

Holly Jumpsuit

Before that happened I had the Jamie Jeans PDF pattern all assembled and ready to trace, as well as planning my next little french jacket or tailored blazer.

2. How does it differ from others of its genre?
Gee, I'm not sure that it really does.  My blog isn't the reason I sew, sewing is the reason I blog.  I write about what I've been sewing and my learnings along the way.  I try to blog about projects in the order that I finish them, so I've got a reference for future of approximately when I made what.  Although at the moment it's taking me about two months to get stuff to the blog - yep, I've got a bit of a back log to get through! I suck at taking pictures :-(

3. Why do I create what I do?
I sew to full my own wardrobe and what I want to wear.  Every now and then I'll do some sewing for my kids, but they have to want it (which leads to appreciation - well that's my theory anyway and I'm sticking to it!).  It's unfortunate but they are the throw away generation, a product of cheap RTW.

I also sew stuff that has construction techniques that are new to me, I like to learn but that is balanced with sewing things more than once so I can master the techniques.

But I don't just want to sew stuff that looks like RTW, I want to make stuff that looks like it's been bought at a designer store.  This is probably why I'm fascinated with couture sewing techniques and tailoring - these have changed the way I approach sewing, for the better!

Marfy 1756

4. How does my creative process work?
OMG, I am a complete neat freak and my organisation is probably OTT for most.  So the process starts with an organised space and a clear desk - everything is put away, except for what I need to begin the new project.  While I might have more than one project on the go at any one time, I only have one project at a time on my sewing table.  Actually, I'll only have more than one project on the go at once if I need to stop and think about what next, or it might just need buttons or a decision on lining or length before hemming.  Most of the time I'll start one project and see it through to the end, before starting the next.  But I never, never, hardly ever put a due date or deadline on my projects, otherwise that would just feel like work and I'd be over it pretty quickly.  So it's all about the journey :-)

Before any project makes it to the sewing table it may have been on the to do list for quite a while or it could be a idea I just had.  Hmm, a to do list probably isn't the right description, its more like a "to do pool"!  And in that pool are patterns waiting for the right fabric, and fabric waiting for the right pattern, but just because both pattern and fabric have been matched doesn't mean that it automatically makes it to the sewing table next.  I have to be feeling it.

I tried using Evernote to create a to do list and put things in order of what I would do next, but it just didn't work for me - strange as that sounds for the organised OTT person!  I think this is where my creative process comes into its own and all lists go out the window and the whimsical takes over.

And then it's a step to the right ... hoping over to Sew Melodic.  Melody is a prolific sewer who always has a variety projects rolling off her sewing table.  She has this fantastic post on fit issues and how to adjust the flat pattern to remedy.  I love reading about her construction journey and she always has a pic of the inside of a garment (which I love btw).  Over to you Melody - can't wait to read :-)

With your hands on your hips ... a second hop is open for self-nomination.  If you would like to take part in the blog hop around the word and share your creative processes, please take this as your personal invitation to do so (this is total legit btw, cause Katie from Katiekadiddlehopper said so).  The way the blog hop works, is that you acknowledge your nominator, you answer the questions above (or similar if you want to change it up) and you nominate another one or two people to hop on ... a bit like passing the batten.  You get the picture.

I've really enjoyed reading about everyone's creative process and why they make what they do.  The sewing community is such a great place to be :-)

Happy sewing xx

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Lux fabric pattern hack = little red dress!

Warning:  before you read any further you might need to go get your sun glasses and put them on!

Why?  Because I've had a bit of a mono tone, near the black end of the colour scale, kinda obsession.  Just check this out for proof!  Then this happened ...


Nope, no gradual introduction of colour over here - just jump right on in there a sew a red dress!

Well actually it's not just any read dress, it a beautifully soft wool crepe red dress.  And while the photos look bright the actual colour is more like a raspberry / ruby kinda mix.

Saturday, 6 September 2014

The Great WSBN sewing room tour

It's probably really well known around the sewing bloggers that the WSBN are always up to something either in real life or in cyberland - gee I can barely keep up with the FB Group we have!  But then one of our lovely members (Gemma at suggested we should do a sewing room tour to get us out of our winter slump and ready for spring - oh yeah, who wouldn't want to do this! 

I think I've said before, that in March my eldest daughter moved to Australia which meant for the first time ever, I could have my own wee sewing room, and return the dining room to it's original purpose.  When I say wee, it is really wee compared to others I've seen on the WSBN sewing room tour.  Only 3.25m x 2.25m with a window on one long wall and the door on the short wall...
Sewing room plan

I started planning before my daughter had even left home (sad I know!), well this is what I had finally settled on.  I purchased the furniture second hand knowing the dimensions of the room were limiting - then they sat in the shed while I renovated the room.  Yep, I decided that if I was going to have a new sewing room then it needed to feel sparkly new.  Let me show you a picture of the pre-renovation room ...

Monday, 1 September 2014

Marfy Free Jacket Pattern - The End!

Back in April this year I wrote Part 1 of the Marfy Free Jacket Pattern.  It is now officially Spring and I'm finally at the end - writing the blog post!

After I got the muslin fit to where I was comfortable - that alone was a 5 week journey, on 25 April I got to cut my real fabric.  While that sounds quite straight forward, sadly not because of my fabric choice.  I bought this lovely wool coating from The Fabric Store - it's so soft and bouncy with a medium weave - so it easily frayed but not so much that it was uncontrollable.

Begin thread tracing

I cut all pieces on a single layer, carefully ensuring I had all the squares in the right places for each piece.  While this was a little time consuming it wasn't too hard - the pattern pieces didn't have any seam allowances, so where the pattern piece fell was indeed the stitching seam.

Pattern matching at centre back

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