Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Itty Bitty Baby Clothes

My sister and brother-in-law recently had twin girls! I wanted to make something for their arrival and the free Made by Rae Itty bitty baby dress pattern came to mind, along with the free MADE diaper cover bloomers. There are so many free patterns out there for kids, but especially for newborns to 12 month old's. Aren't we aunties lucky?!

I made two 0-3 month old dresses using small pieces of liberty of london fabric and bias binding I found in my stash with contrasting pink and white gingham cotton I cut from an old dress that I no longer wear. The cotton is lovely and soft. The dress came together very quickly! Baby clothes are so quick to sew, being tiny and all.

For the bloomers I used the old MADE diaper cover pattern as I already had it printed. However, the pattern and tutorial have since been revised to improve the fold over leg holes that the leg elastic is threaded through. I made the bloomers as per the instructions except for adding a few strips of ruffled fabric on the backsides. I cut stripes around 1.5" by 10". I used my overlocker to finish the edges before attaching.

Congratulations parents Steph and Damian, and big sisters A & A,  on you're two beautiful new daughters/little sisters!

Friday, 25 September 2015

Tim's Birthday shirt 2015

It's been a couple months between posts. I haven't been sewing much and when I have been sewing I haven't felt like blogging. I've really enjoyed a break for Instagram, blog reading and my sewing-related social networking. But, with the weather warming up, I'm getting ready for some spring/summer sewing. In the meantime, some catch up posts with average (at best!) photos.

In August last year I made my first men's shirt for Tim's birthday; a Colette Patterns Negroni shirt. I made him another for his birthday this year, which marked the fifth shirt made in the last 12 months. All of his shirts are in high rotation and I love rushing out of the house each work morning realising we're both wearing clothes I've made us.

I bought this blue and white small gingham cotton shirting from Tessuti earlier in the year. I love the italian cotton shirting Tessuti have been stocking and look forward to buying more when they receive more stock. The fabric is soft with a slight sheen and it presses really well. For the contrasting sleeve plackets, under collar, and inner collar band I used salvageable fabric from one of Tim's worn out shirts. I also reused all the buttons of the old shirt.

Why yes, that is my finger at the bottom of the photo...

I was hoping to make a long sleeved version of the Simplicity 1544 I'd made Tim this summer, which has a nice traditional collar and button placket. However, Tim prefers the fit through the body of the Negroni shirt, which means I have to stick with my Negroni Archer Shirt pattern mash up to get all the shirt features his likes. For details on mash up process see my previous posts: 12.

Before I attached the buttons

I didn't do anything differently this time around. I double interfaced the collar to make it extra crisp. I overlocked the edges and sewed the S/A to one side to create faux flat fell seams. for some reason this verson seems a little tighter around Tims under arms, but it doesn't bother him.  The one main difference with this shirt is the amazing fabric which, I think, makes it look much more professional.

Tim loves his new shirt and wore it the day of his birthday. We started the day off well, filling our bellies with with nutella french brioche before heading off to work. Delicious! 

Friday, 3 July 2015

Maxi Ilsley Skirt

One last garment made and photographed in Vietnam: a maxi Marrila Walker Ilsley Skirt. The Ilsley skirt is a free pattern (woo hoo!) which, because of the elastic easy fit style, is very easy to modify into a number of different looks. My first version mostly followed the instructions and the pattern apart from changing the elastic casing method and style. This time round I made quite a few super simple modifications.


I wanted a maxi version which was very easily achieved. I just measured my desired length against my legs from where I wanted the skirt to sit at my hips; cut the pattern in three (although two would be fine) and inserted the additional inches between the top and bottom of the skirt pieces. 

Given the fabric was a drapey viscose (bought from Darn Cheap Fabrics) I wanted a bit more gathering in the skirt to "go with the flow". So I added 2" at the centre front and centre back fold. I'm not a huge fan of pockets on very drapey garments so I placed the pocket pattern piece under the front skirt pieces when cutting out the fabric to effectively remove the pocket.

I also made a few adjustment to the waistband. I still don't have any 5cm elastic on hand and I wanted this skirt to sit on my hip wear a wide waistband would be unflattering. Changes: I took about an inch of the waistband width when cutting out the fabric and sewed two button holes at the centre front to be used for the drawstring. After attaching the waistband I inserted a 3/4" piece of elastic, squished it right down toward the skirt and sewed a line of stitching right above it. This made the elastic channel the perfect width and created a nice gathered top to the skirt, kind of paperbag-esque. It's hard to describe, but it's a feature I've seen on lots of floaty maxi's in summer/surf clothing stores.

I made this skirt in a bit of a rush and the quality of the seaming at the curved hems is pretty average. None the less, I love the way it turned out and it was perfect for Vietnam. Light and cool and conservative enough for any temples we decided to fit into our day. Having a few maxi items in the luggage also helped when my white skin was struggling with the sun.

Here's a "how you doing" photo outtake. Sadly, my posts will consist of winter wear from here on out. I'm well and truly back to the reality of post-holiday life.

Monday, 29 June 2015

Scrappy Spotty Alice Top

In preparation for Vietnam, and while avoiding more time intensive winter sewing, I made another Alice top. There's not much to say this time round. See my frst, and the two I made for family here (1,2).

This time round I made the XS, but shortened the hem by 2" as the previous versions were long. Otherwise I didn't make any changes to the pattern or instructions.

I made this scrappy spotty version using various fabrics left over from other projects. I used white and blue cotton voile for the back skirt and front yoke; navy and white large spot silk crepe for the back bodice and sleeves and the small navy and white spot for front skirt. I used all these fabrics previously when sewing tops for my sister.  I lined the the front bodice pieces with a scrap of white cotton/silk blend and the back bodice with the Navy cotton with small white spots.

I wore this top heaps in Vietnam. The breezy lightweight fabric was perfect in the heat and it went really well with my denim Tap shorts. The Alice Top is a great pattern to use up scraps. 

Friday, 26 June 2015

A Maxi Emery Dress

Tim and I just came home from a 2 and a bit week holiday in Vietnam. It was absolutely amazing and we can't wait to start planning our next holiday. Before we left I made a couple of summer items for the trip. First up, a maxi version of the Emery Dress pattern by Christine Haynes.

I've made this pattern quite a few times  (1, 2, 3, 4).  I find the bodice really comfortable and easily paired with various skirt styles. A few of temples in Vietnam require conservative dress and my summer wear is mostly sleeveless tops and shorts so I thought a maxi dress (with a scarf over my shoulders when needed) would fill a luggage gap of conservative as well as evening wear.

I made the dress up using some $2 table Darn Cheap Fabric Viscose that you'll have seen around the blogosphere (here and here). The fabric seemed perfect for the tropical weather - bright and summery but cool and flowing.

I made an unlined sleeveless version in size 6 as usual. I took 1.5 cm off the arm holes at the shoulders grading to nothing at the underarm, scooped out the neckline a bit and took another .5cm from the centre back seam which I'd already modified in a previous iteration. Viscose has more stretch to it than other fabrics I've used for this pattern before and unfortunately I distorted the fabric at the centre back seam a little when inserted the zipper. For the skirt I used all the fabric I had left from the bodice, including selvage edges. I simple cut four rectangles and sewed them together before gathering and attaching at the waist. The width of the rectangles isn't substantial so I including leg slits to allow more room to move.

Excuse the dark photos. These were taken at the Sky Deck in Ho Chi Min City on our last evening in Vietnam. We went just before sunset and stayed to see the city lights after dark.  I also wore this dress, along with a scarf over my shoulders, to Ho Chi Min's Mausoleum in Hanoi on what was one of the hottest days of our trip. It was a great dress to have on the trip and I look forward to wearing it again once summer comes around in Australia.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Megan Nielsen Brumby Skirt

I pattern tested the Brumby Skirt for Megan Nielsen and I have nothing but positive things to say about the just released pattern. It's a gathered skirt with deep curved pockets, an exposed back zip and various length and fullness options.

I made up version A in a size M out of some gorgeous lightweight black denim from The Cloth Shop with a 7" zip and liberty offcuts for the facing and pocket lining. I love the length of version A. It's mini without being too revealing. I also like that this pattern has a curved waistband, it's absolutely necessary for such a wide waistband.

The instructions were clear and detailed. I found the instructions for the exposed back zip really interesting and thorough. I'll definitely use them again for other patterns as they made for a lovely and easily inserted zip.

I did a lot of top stitching on this skirt and it was my first time using topstitching thread. In some places the thickness of the denim and the thread threw the tension off so it's a bit bubbly on the wrong side. But, I love the way the tan thread looks against the denim.

This is a super fun pattern to make and wear and I'd really like to make a midi version despite knowing that it just wouldn't suit me. Especially as I rarely wear heels. I look forward to seeing others versions pop up all over the web to see how they wear the midi style.

I've previously made up two patterns by Megan Nielsen (Tania Culottes and the Cascade Skirt), both skirts that are just a little bit different and special. I wear them both, but the simpler design of the Brumby skirt means it fits more into my everyday lifestyle. It's a go to option on the weekend in winter (with tights) or summer. I took the pattern testing photos in summer but I've got a heap of wear from the skirt since the cooler weather hit. 

* I received the brumby skirt pattern in exchange for  pattern testing. It was my choice to blog the final garment*

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Me Made May'15: Days 23-31

My third and final Me Made May post.

Day 23, Saturday:  My navy abstract floral Emery Dress with refashioned merino Bonnie Top. This outfit took me from work in the morning, to a lovely lunch with friends to ribs and drinks in the evening. 

Day 24, Sunday: Wearing my floral Emery Skirt with RTW layers. On the way out the door for pancakes - Yum!

Day 25, Monday: Working from home with Tim means lunch out! Wore my long sleeve renfrew top with a gingham Sorbetto Top

Day 26, Tuesday: Colette Patterns Truffle Dress with Jackie Coat.

Day 27, Wednesday: Grey 1950's Prom Dress with black Coppelia Cardi.

Day 28, Thursday: First cold of the winter put on the couch in my PJ's all day, so no photo today. 

Day 29, Friday: Made it off the couch and into the shower. Popped on my floral Tessuti Patterns Gabby Dress which is very much like wearing a nightie.

Day 30, Saturday: Denim Moss Skirt with just sewn Cascade Duffle Coat, both patterns from Grainline Studio. 

Day 31, Sunday: Peppermint Magazine Wrap Dress over a Renfrew long sleeve, and Cascade Duffle Coat again.

This week I wore 12 separate garments, which makes 41 unique garments across all of May. Apart from a few basics gaps it was incredibly easy to get dressed each day. This month wasn't much different from any other, except that in a usual month I might pay my store bought dresses a little more attention. Many of the garments I wore were made last year. I really look forward assessing how many of my 2013, 2014 makes still get worn in MeMadeMay'16, and onwards! It will be interesting to see which styles and fabrics last.  

Sunday, 31 May 2015

Grainline Studio Cascade Duffle Coat

I love winter coats. I have four that I wear regularly (including my Jackie Coat), but my favourite is a threadbare black hip-length hooded duffle coat with two missing toggles. My mum bought it for me over 8 years ago and it's been a staple ever since. It's some sort of magic coat that goes with every outfit and some how fitted me perfectly across three different dress sizes during this time. I desperately needed a new perfect coat.

Enter the Grainline Studio Cascade Duffle Coat pattern, which I bought from Indie Stitches. View A is an almost perfect replica of my favorite coat except that it needed View B's hood.  I cut size 6, grading out the to 8 from the waist down. It took for freakin' ever to trace and cut out all 27 pieces required. There were a few pieces that I didn't trace because they weren't multi-size or could be folded.

It took some time to gather all the material. I used leftover black wool felting from my Jackie coat, and bought some gorgeous grey speckled wool from the cloth shop for the contrast. I couldn't find any premade toggles I liked so I purchased these from M Retch. The delivery was super quick, but I'd prefer a courier service that drops the product to the local post office if the recipient isn't home rather than having to reorganise a time with the courier for pick up. Searching for the leather was frustrating. I couldn't find any soft textured black leather in my local fabric stores. I hunted for leather handbags in opshops but didn't find anything quite right. In the end my sister gave me some scrap leather used to cover their kitchen chairs with - it was perfect.

I wanted the coat to be quite warm and thick so I interlined the bodice pieces with leftover PJ flanelette (pea pods and wolves). I did this by tracing the whole bodice pieces, without the yoke/bodice seam allowances, basting the main and interlining fabric together and treating them as one.

This Jacket was a labour of love. Every time it seemed close to being done I'd be shocked to see how many more steps there was in the instructions. Thankfully the instructions were really well written. The process of the sewing and attaching the lining can be a little confusing but a quick glance at the sewalong was all that was needed to confirm what you are doing.

My only complaints about the coat are the size of the pockets (not a big deal, but I'd make them smaller next time) and that the hood and hem lining wants to pull down and sit strangely. Because there is excess ease in the lining (to allow for movement) the hem facing and hood facing have the tendency to fall out of place (even after a good press). I fixed this by tacking the facings down. I simply stitched in the ditch of the side seam (hem) and centre seams (hood).

I love the style and fit of the coat. It definitely fills the hole of my old perfect coat. It is on the short side, but I'm short torsoed so it doesn't both me. I find the sleeves slightly too firm given the number of layers I'll be wearing under the coat, but hopefully the interlining will mean less layers. Overall, I'm incredibly happy with how my Cascade Duffle Coat turned out and I've promptly filled the (massive) pockets with tissues and spare gloves.  

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Me Made May'15: Days 12-22

This is my second (of three) Me Made May'15 posts. I'll keep it brief. Excuse the phone photo's. Tim takes most of the shots on the way out the door in a mad rush. I'm grateful he makes the time to do it at all, after already asking him to wait for me to finish getting ready so we can train to work together. Thanks, Tim!

Day 12 Tuesday: Silk tate top dress and grey merino bonnie jumper.

Day 13 Wednesday: Long sleeved sewaholic renfrew top (unseen), sleeveless gingham grainline studio archer shirt, iconic patterns colour blocked jackie coat.

Day 14 Thursday: Grey hollyburn skirt with pink merino coppelia cardi.

Day 15 Friday: Denim moss skirt with unseen grey plantain top and a favourite RTW jumper.

Day16 Saturday: Morning bike ride wearing a grey hot cocoa jumper. The rest of the day I wore jeans with a white long sleeve renfrew and navy merino coppelia cardi.

Day 17 Sunday: Wore the just release released megan nielsen brumby skirt and maker tee. I pattern tested the skirt and wear it all the time - I'll blog about it soon.

Day 18 Monday: Blue rose S1419 dress with navy cerino coppelia cardi.

Day 19 Tuesday: Named nascha miniskirt and colour blocked jackie coat.

Day 20 Wednesday: Navy popover alder shirtdress with stripey bonnie top.

Day 21 Thursday: Megan Nielsen tania culottes with long sleeve black sewaholic renfrew top and opshopped Vest.

Day 22 Friday: A day with my sister and niece means my denim moss skirt with RTW top and kitty jumper. 

Reflections: I love my wardrobe! I haven't many casual me made winter tops and jumpers though. I could really do with more and not just basic layers for under other tops or dresses. Not long now until we'll be escaping the need for layers when we jet off to Vietnam - Woo hoo! I wore 18 different garments during days 12-22, which makes 33 unique garments for May so far. The last few days will probably include many more repeats of my favorites.