Wednesday, 16 August 2017

The Snowdrop It Like It's Hot Top

Snowdrops are known as a sign of the coming of spring, and after the dreary weather we've seen in Melbourne over the past few weeks, I'm hoping this little top is a good talisman to bring some warmer weather to our shores.

The details:
Fabric: Coral snowdrop print fabric from Lincraft
Pattern: Peplum blouse (#118) from Burda 6/17
Size: 38
Special touches and alterations: Bias binding on armholes and neckline. Added ties to side seams.

I have recently become a subscriber to Burda magazine, and this pattern is the peplum blouse (#118) from the June edition.
Of course, living in Australia, there seem to be two issues with subscribing to Burda. The obvious is that seasonally, Australia is the opposite of what each issue is catering for, and so I found myself flipping through pages of breezy summer dresses while snuggled on my couch at home in 5 layers of clothing with the heater on... The other issue is that shipping seems to take a lot longer, and my issues arrive in the middle of the next month from the one they are issued in. But given the patterns are out-of-season anyway, that doesn't bother me too much - by the time I get the issue, I am one month closer to being able to wear the clothes in it!
The coral coloured snowdrop fabric was something I picked up during the recent Lincraft sale. It's a cotton of some sort, lightweight but crisp. While I prefer the look of the drapier version of this top presented in the magazine, I thought the crisp fabric could be cool, giving the top a structured look. Well, that didn't succeed quite as imagined. Instead of creating a defined peplum, the crisp fabric gave the top that swing-y A-line shape which can look very cool, but which I concluded wasn't for me. Instead, I decided to add some ties to the side of the blouse to allow me to draw it in a little on the sides, and giving it a fuller, bustle-like peplum at the back.  These were made out of some self-fabric bias tape I had made from the fabric left-overs. I unpicked the side seams just a little to pop the ends of the ties through, and re-stitched. I love the top so much more because of this simple fix!
The only other difficulty I had in making this top was in finishing the neckline slit at the front. The instructions for all Burda patterns I have made so far have you finish the neckline and armholes using a binding method that I'm not much a fan of, involving cutting a strip of binding, sewing it together lengthwise with wrong sides together, then attaching that to the edge being bound, before folding it inside the garment and topstiching. I believe it is the same as the method described in the Belcarra instructions for binding the neckline. In any case, maybe it is just me, but this has always been a very bulky finish when I've tried it, so I decided instead to just use bias binding for this top, using it as a facing, and therefore ignored the binding instructions in the magazine..... However, once I had attached the binding to the slit, I realised there was no way that I could fold it to the inside at the bottom of the slit in a neat way! I struggled for a while until I realised that for this top, the slit binding is actually folded in half, so that it shows from the outside. Epiphany! I folded my bias binding in half lengthwise and stitched it down in the way described. Sometimes you just need to follow the directions!
I finished the inside seams on my new overlocker, which I am loving! It is the infamous Janome by Aldi overlocker that caused quite the stir on social media when it came out, due to it's cheap price compared to most overlockers on the market. I hear some stores sold out within hours! Well, I managed to get my hands on one and can report it has been working perfectly so far, and I have even managed to re-thread it around three times now, getting quicker each time. Overlockers are really not as scary as they are made out to be!
And now I have a pretty top that leaves me yearning for spring and warmer weather.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

The So-So Sorbetto

This is not my first Sorbetto, and not my worst Sorbetto, but still a so-so one in my books, mainly due to fabric choice and fit. However, it was the first of my foray into making more work tops, and has been worn to work, which makes it a success in my book!

It is, of course, made with the free Colette Sorbetto pattern that has been quite popular on the blogosphere for some time now. I made it in a berry coloured cotton of some sort from Spotlight, choosing to put the bias binding on the outside as a trim.

The details:
Fabric: Berry coloured cotton 
Pattern: Colette Sorbetto 
Size: 6
Special touches and alterations: Bias binding as a trim. Lengthened the bodice and lowered the darts slightly

My first sorbetto I made way back in 2011, the Red Bow Top. My notes to myself at the time were to "[c]ut a size larger, or maybe extend the length of the straps. The darts sit a little high, and the armholes are still a little tight." I did that with this verision, cutting a size larger through the shoulders, extending the length and lowering the darts. I think the fit is generally improved, but it bunches weirdly across the front at times, especially under a blazer.

Or that might be a result of the fabric being too crisp and not drapey enough. One thing is for sure, this fabric wrinkles like crazy, and I tend to avoid wearing this top as I don't want to go through the pain of ironing it!!

Having said that, I think it was the first me-made item that I have worn to work, and it is in my regular rotation of work tops. It is nice tucked into a pencil skirt. So I guess it is a success :) Now that I have improved the fit, I look forward to making another sorbetto in a drapier fabric that doesn't drive me crazy!

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

The Apple of my Eye Blouse

While my blog might not reflect it, I have been relatively productive in terms of sewing this year, with around 19 unblogged projects sitting in my wardrobe. However, while my finished items look like this:

My activities are really more like this:

So I decided to remedy this and make myself some work tops! This is the third and most successful of my attempts, being a Sewaholic Pendrell in an apple print polyester I got from Spotlight years ago (I have the same fabric in an orange colourway and would LOVE to use it as a lining in a jacket or blazer that I can wear at the same time as the top :P). 

The details:
Fabric: Apple print polyester from Spotlight
Pattern: Sewaholic Pendrell, view B
Size: Size 8 
Special touches and alterations: None

I think compared to the other work tops I sewed, it's success is mainly due to the fabric being relatively un-wrinklable, and being stable and easy to work with.

It went together relatively easily, so I don't have much to say, except that I disliked the way the neckline binding was attached. Somehow by the time I folded it in half and sewed it into the neckline with the required seam allowance, it was so thin and bulky I found it very fiddly to sew on in a way that covered all the seam allowance, and wish I'd just attached it like regular bias binding. I had the same issue with my Belcarra so not sure if it's just me or it's meant to be that way... You can't tell by looking at it though, it actually turned out quite neat looking :)

Other than that, I cut a size 8 and sewed it up with no adjustments. I was surprised I didn't have to lengthen it, and it has quite a deep hem which I love!

I've already worn this to work once and despite being a bit self conscious of all the frills I think it worked well. I'd like to try a version with the pleated sleeves, which might be a bit more subtle!

I'd just like to finish with a shout out to my awesome friend Siobhan who blogs at Chronically Siobhan  (which you must check out as she is an amazing writer and seamstress) for getting me back on my blog by reminding me not everything in life has to be perfect, least of all blog photos :)

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

The Up-To-Scratch Blouse

The Belcarra blouse by Sewaholic patterns was my next planned garment from my summer sewing list, and I finished sewing it late last week, and managed to wear it to work on Friday. This was the first thing I had made with my new sewing machine, which was pretty exciting!

As I had planned, I made this in a white synthetic crepe-y fabric. I almost didn't use this fabric, because it collected so much dust in the drier after I prewashed it from all the static electricity it generated! But I'm glad I forged ahead as I like the fabric now that it is made up, and the static has settled down. I just have to be careful what I wash it with!

The details:
Fabric: White crepe-like synthetic
Pattern: Sewaholic Belcarra blouse, view A with the view C cuffs
Size: Size 8

Special touches and alterations: Combined views A and C, lengthened by 2.5cm

The only issue I had was with the neckbinding, it was soooooo thin by the time I turned it in that topstiching it was quite difficult, especially as the fabric was fairly thick.... it was quite a bulky binding!! Regardless of the fabric I use, if I make this top again I think I will stitch the binding on with a smaller seam allowance, so there is more width to the binding to turn over and topstitch.

This is one of the first items I made for myself that I have stitched a label to! Pretty useful in this case, as it can be a little tricky to tell the front of the top from the back of the top! I got the labels from NinaTags on etsy, and I'm really happy with how they came out :)

Unfortunately, I was wearing this top when we went to pick up our new kitten, Agent Awesome, on Friday... and he may have put his claws into it a little, hence the title :( It is not too bad, just a couple pulled threads, but still pretty annoying! But he is SUPER super cute so I can't be mad :)

Saturday, 16 January 2016

The Spring in my Step Dress


This Sewaholic Saltspring certainly does put a spring in my step! :D

I mentioned this dress in my last post as being the first project from my planned sewing list that I had started. Well, it's finished now, and I can't get enough of it! I wish I could wear it every single day!

The details:
Fabric:Tulip cotton voile from Spotlight
Pattern: Sewaholic Saltspring dress
Size: 8

Special touches and alterations: Lengthened bodice by 2.5cm and skirt by 4cm. Reduced the blousing by 1cm.

The fabric really makes the dress, I think. It's a tulip print voile from Spotlight, lined in a soft white rayon. I love the colours... I have some of the fabric left over and am seriously thinking about framing some to put on my wall!

My sewing machine made me scream and swear countless times during the making of this dress, but besides that I had hardly any issues (and I have since purchased a nice shiny new sewing machine, yesssss!). I love the fit and the design. I was worried that the fabric wouldn't be drapey enough, but I love the way it looks and the way it feels around my legs when I walk :D

This dress definitely cements me as a Sewaholic fan!

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Project planning

Let's pretend it hasn't been three years (THREE YEARS!!!) since my last post, and get straight into it!

I started 2016 on a sewing high and am super keen to be a bit more productive in terms of sewing this year. I made a list of a few garments that I would like to make, and I have actually almost finished one already! (My Saltspring dress just needs to be hemmed, and will hopefully be making a blog debut soon! And might be my favourite make yet :D).

First on my list was the Saltspring dress from Sewaholic, and as I said, it is almost done! I had a lovely tulip print voile that I used for it from Spotlight, and I am in love with the final dress.... but I'll tell you all about it shortly!

Next on my to-do list is the Belcarra blouse, also from Sewaholic! Being pear-shaped, I've had good luck with Sewaholic patterns so far. I've started putting the pattern together for this project already (I bought the downloadable pattern) but I am still undecided about fabric. I had a synthetic white crepe in mind, but now I'm thinking natural fibres might be the way to go....
After that, my order may change, but my current plans involve making the Seamwork Adelaide dress in a black and cream floral fabric of unknown composition, but that feels like rayon. Maybe with pearl snap fasteners...

Another Seamwork pattern on my list is the Akita blouse. Again I'm undecided on fabric, but maybe something maroon and drapey.

The Gabriola skirt by Sewaholic has been on my to-sew list for ages, so I hope I will get around to it this year! I bought a navy cotton fabric that I had intended to use, but I'm starting to worry it'll be too lightweight and wrinkly. I'll have to think about it!

The Colette Chantilly is also on my list. I have a border print floral in mind for this one, bright and summery! I haven't had the best of luck with Colette patterns before, fit-wise, so it may require some muslin-ing.

Last but not least, the Cloth Habit Watson bra and briefs! I actually atrempted the briefs some time ago but they ended up very large... it may have been a matter of choosing the incorrect size, along with fabric choice and possibly the elastic stretching out... I have an issue with my sewing machine not being able to do a narrow zigzag, so I sewed all the elastic with a wide zigzag, and I'm worried that might have contributed to the elastic fatigue. But I think I can save them by simply bringing in the side seams a couple inches! And I'm excited to attempt my first bra!
In other news, along with the zigzag issue mentioned above, my sewing machine seems to  be on it;s last legs... I took it to a repairman who said one of the plastic cams is broken, which would cost quite a lot to replace, so I'm thinking I may need to invest in a new one. I'm excited to go have a look at some this weekend! 

And just in case you were wondering, my sewing machine has not been idle during my three year hiatus from blogging... I have a number of unblogged projects to share, so look out for those in the coming weeks too!

Monday, 4 February 2013

The Blueberry Meringue Skirt

Yay, I have completed my first project from the Colette Sewing Handbook! I posted a plan to make this skirt back in September of last year, but I will make no excuses. I am a busy person and I don't get the chance to sew as often as I would like, and that is that! 

Here is what you need to know:

Fabric: Blue and white polka dot cotton poplin from Spotlight ($3) and unknown white fabric from op-shop
Pattern: Meringue skirt from the Colette Sewing Handbook
Features: Scalloped hem, invisible zipper, lining and pretty blue bias tape on the lining hem
Alterations: I adjusted the scalloped hem to suit the scale of my fabric, and this also meant taking out a bit of width at the hem to avoid a half-scallop at the side-seam! I could have added width instead, but I wanted a straighter silhouette. I also added a free hanging lining. I cut a size 8, then ended up doing a smaller seam allowance at the waist as it didn't look like it was going to fit!! It is still tight through the hips, maybe next time I would cut a size 10...
Notions: 9" white invisible zipper and bias-tape for the lining hem (~$2)
Total price: ~$5.00

There are a 3 main things I would like to improve: the fit, the zip and the scallops. There are horizontal wrinkles across the front, and it tends to ride up, so I think it's a bit small around the hips. I'm also unsure about the darts, particularly at the front, I feel like they don't help the wrinkle situation.The next garment I plan to make is the pastille, so I think I will really concentrate on getting a good fit with that one, but anything I can learn from this skirt would probably be quite helpful! Any comments to help with this are appreciated :)

The invisible zipper isn't perfect. It's not quite invisible, and it bubbles at the bottom. I need more practice I think!! Also, the scallops. There is quite a bit of puckering around that area! I pressed them carefully, but I should have taken more care in sewing them, not to make the points too pointy! Pointy points when sewing become puckers when turned inside out :(

There are some things I'm happy with, too! I like that my original idea came together, and it doesn't look ridiculous! In fact, I think it looks quite cute!

I also am quite happy with the lining, and the blue tape I finished the lining hem with :)

So, overall thought? I like the shape of the skirt, so I may try it again without the scalloped bottom in a plainer fabric. Realistically, I probably won't wear it much. I like the way it looks in the photos, but it really isn't "me" in real life!!

I did have fun taking the photos though :)