Monday, 21 January 2013


Everyone seems to be making the Tiramisu at the moment and I am no exception!

I signed up for a course with the wondrous designer herself, Steph, in Brisbane last weekend. I have some stretch sewing experience, but it is mostly lycra from early days of making skating dresses.  I figured I wasn't going to pass up on getting some tips from the best of the best, on top of that, it seems there are few chances to get together with other sewers in Brisbane.

Steph was great, she started by eyeballing me to gauge my body type and size and without measuring she was spot on.  I cut a high bust 35 and bust of size 35D.  She also showed me a great tip to mark my tissue pattern pieces with the stripes noting which colours go where so that I would not have matching issues later.


Construction wise, this went together well, although this fabric was a pain to sew as it is so stretchy.  Reducing the downward pressure on my foot helped, but perhaps a walking foot (which I don't have) would have helped more?

We had some fit issues at the bust, one problem was that the neck strips were cut the other way around on the fabric, and the fabric stretches differently in each direction.  Lengthways = stretchy, widthways = MEGA-stretchy!  This caused a bit of a pulling issue at the wrapover but also an excess of fabric under the bust. We ended up cutting about an inch of the bottom of the front bodice to fix the excess fabric issues. I think this also stemmed from me being a shorty, so this is my petite adjustment too!


You can see in the above there are still a couple of issues in the centre, but nothing that I am too concerned about.  The dress is too comfortable to care!!!


It passes the obligatory movement test!! No flashing here :)


I also reduced the width of the waistband as probably partly due to the fabric and partly due to my lack of height, it was just way too wide.  I took a pair of stripes out, about an inch.


I really like this dress and it is so comfortable, I don't even feel like I can wear it to work as I am sure I am not supposed to be that comfy at work, it just seems wrong, it's like wearing PJs!!

I had no issues with the pattern at all and learnt so much during this make and it was such a pleasure to meet the lovely Steph. My only issue was my fabric choice, whilst is is a lovely drapey jersey, it seems to have too much drape and is super stretchy and even now after a wear of a few hours, it is still getting longer and I may have to re-hem it.

My tip: think through your fabric choice, think hard, the skirt is full and therefore heavy; drape, weight and stretch really need to be kept in mind when picking fabric.

Look out for two more wintery versions soon!

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Winter Skirt & Long Sleeve Tee

At the moment in Brisbane it has been about  40 degrees each day for the past two weeks and I am sewing Merino.  Have I gone crazy?  Perhaps.  :)

However, I am heading to London and Zagreb at the the end of February and I know it will be freezing - especially for my delicate constitution ;)

Why Zagreb you ask? I may have mentioned previously that I am an ice skating judge and there is a big competition in Zagreb that I am going to judge.  I have a few days free first so I will spend them in London, no doubt doing a bit of fabric shopping! I don't think any trip to London for a sewer would be complete without a trip to the famous Walthamstow Fabric Market and hopefully I will have time to go to the V&A and to Goldhawk Road. 

I have made a bit of a plan, see my Pinterest board, and have worked out to complete my winter travel wardrobe I need a couple more warm tops, a black basic skirt to go with boots, a Tiramisu, a couple of cardis for layering and hopefully a more dressy jacket to wear to any functions etc.  I also need all these colours to work with one another so that they can be mixed and matched.  That way I don't have to take so much, and therefore will have more room for fabric purchases! HA!

First on my plan BurdaStyle Skirt 119A from 10/2011. 

Source Pinterest

The skirt went together really quickly and fitted first try.  I cut a size 44 and used a black cotton twill with some lycra.  I can also see this made up in denim with contrast topstitching, it would have a cool almost 70s vibe.  It is a great little skirt that only needs about 1 metre of fabric - love that!


The skirt has large topstitched patch pockets that are tricky to photograph being black, and a side invisible zipper. I promise it is not as wrinkly as this photo would suggest:


The top is also newly made for my travel wardrobe.  It is a light merino knit with a very fine black and white stripe giving a charcoal appearance and is a little darker in person than the pictures. I used a RTW top I already own as a pattern for the shape, but added the neck tie detailing.  I like the RTW top, but the quality of the fabric isn't good so it is all pilled and in need of replacing.

I love how comfy the merino is - so nice to wear and not at all scratchy like some wool can be and it is sooo warm!


My plan is to wear this with tights and boots, but with the heat we are experiencing right now, do you have any idea how hot I was just taking these pics?! 

I am pretty excited about heading overseas so if anyone has any suggestions on any "must sees", please let me know.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

The I feel pretty Hazel

I may just have a new love and a TNT summer dress pattern.  When I first made this Hazel pattern by Colette I didn't love it.  Don't get me wrong I just liked it.  The fit was a little bit funky and I didn't think the skirt was full enough, issues fixed recently during Project CPR.

However when this fabric arrived in my hot little hands all the way from following my Black Friday p, I knew that instead of a top as originally planned, the fabric was calling out to be a sundress and Hazel #2 was born.


This time around the fit is much better, perhaps due to this being a plain cotton as opposed to a seersucker which has more give.

I like that I have kind of ignored the V shaped seams and just treated them like darts, there is no clever pattern placement to make a feature of the shaping, as with a striped fabric.


This time I cut the back at a size six and the front a ten which has prevented the gaping under the arms I ended up with last time.

As before I changed the skirt to having inverted box pleats front and back as I really don't feel the skirt has enough fullness to gather it with a successful result.  Last time I tried that it stuck out weirdly, and from a search on the interwebs, many have had the same problem.  The box pleats give a cleaner line and are more flattering, plus much, much faster that gathering.


The back closure is a lapped zipper, these are my zippers of  choice right now.  BTW check out the happy accidental pattern match below the waist!  Could not have been better if I planned it!!


I really pushed the boundaries of fabric frugality with this one.  As I said at the start, I bought this fabric to make a top, this mean I had what I thought was 1.5m.  I knew that my last Hazel I got out of 1.6m, so I thought if necessary I could make it a little shorter.  However, I forgot that the fabric is from the US and therefore not metrically measured, which meant I had 1.5 yards (1.4m) - eek! 

Challenge accepted, I decided to forge ahead and make it work.  Consequently, my pockets, facings and understraps are a different fabric (a plain cotton batiste in cream), but who would know!! 


On a side note, if you are wondering what is going on in the background, they are kite surfers. It was a perfect day for it as you can possibly tell by my windswept look!

If you are wondering about the polka dot dress I blogged about as being on my sewing table recently, well this is not going as well as hoped and the fit is in need of some work.  I have put it aside for the moment and have been working on some more pressing projects that I will share soon.

What are you all working on at the moment? Is anyone taking part in Jungle January held by Pretty Grievances?  I am still on the fence as I can't seem to find a fabric that would suit me. I love animal print on everyone else, but I just feel it's not me.  Perhaps I'll make some Pjs as I really want to join in the fun.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Simplicity 2444 - Hydrangea Hell to Happiness

Simplicity 2444 has many variations inlcuding a shawl collar and a big bow on the front.  I went with the simple lines of the plain dress.

On first glance upon cutting the tissue paper I thought the bodice of this was going to be funky so I made a muslin.  Did you hear that?  I MADE A MUSLIN!  Sorry for the shouting, but usually I just cut straight to the chase, cut my fashion fabric and hope for the best! 

This pattern I could tell for sure it wasn't going to fit and boy was I right.


Check out that neck, crazy big,  Even cutting a smaller size and doing an FBA wasn't going to fix that hot mess.

To fix this, I made a dart on the neck and then pivoted it to one of the darts at the waist.


I did a tissue fit instead of another muslin and decided to forge ahead.

I had some help with the cutting out ;)



I am super happy with the fit of this now and am pretty proud that I made it work.


Look how good that bodice fits now, not bad huh?


I first saw and loved this fabric at my local Spotlight store, but hesitated to buy it as I already have loads of fabric, but then when I happened to see it again at a different store and it was on sale, I just knew I had to buy it otherwise I would regret it.  It is a cotton sateen with a slight stretch which makes it super comfy.  It is also great for twirling!


I changed the back neckline, I am quite partial to a back v-neck, but that is not the reason I did it.  My zip was too short so instead of getting another one, I changed it to a v-neck - my Tim Gunn "making it work moment".

Other alterations:
- lowering the front neckline as I find it more flattering if you can see my collarbones
- omitting the facings and using bias instead - I really hate facings  and although they may have given me a cleaner edge to the neck and armholes I am still fine with that.
- I shortened the bodice by 1/2"


I feel so girly in this :)

I can definitely see me making this again in different fabrics, and wearing it variations with a belt and a cardi for winter.


Overall happiness: 95%

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Prizes, pressies, swaps and goings on

Happy 2013 everyone!

I finished a couple of garments just before Christmas but haven't had a chance to photograph them yet, so in the meantime I thought I would share some of the treasures I received recently and what I am up to.


Firstly, the above is mostly courtesy of the giveway held by Kerry of Kestel Finds and Makes
that I was lucky to win recently. The giveaway gave me a generous $25 to spend at Miss Betty's Attic on Etsy. Well Miss Betty's patterns are reasonably priced anyway and then she had 25% off for Kerry's readers so I was in heaven!  I couldn't decide or narrow my choices down, so I chipped in a little extra and bought the above.  I know two shirtdresses, but they are slightly different ;)  Check out Miss Betty's store, there are some great patterns in there.  Thanks again Kerry, I am so grateful to have been the winner!


The above amazing two patterns and buttons are the result of a swap with Judy of Sew Blessed Maw.  Judy was so taken with the pattern from my red Vintage Vogue 5557 that we arranged to do a swap for the pattern.  I knew I wouldn't use the pattern again so loved the idea of giving it another home and so the swap was born.  I sent her the pattern and asked her to surprise me - the day before Christmas the above arrived!  I particularly love the vintage pattern, it is very me and perfectly suited to our weather right now.  Thanks Judy - it was super fun to swap with you!!


The above amazing treasure was part of my Christmas pressie from my lovely hubby - isn't he fabulous?  Ok he might have been sent a few links as hints, but what great patterns (another shirtdress hehe) and check out those amazing buttons, perfect on a shirtdress amirite?   

Now, some insight into what I am working on right now.  Well, to be honest with my family staying with me the past couple of weeks I haven't been able to do any sewing, but I have managed to knit a little.

The below is destined to be a cute linen sundress - assuming my pattern alterations all work out as planned.  Wish me luck!!

I have also started knitting the Emelie jumper from lovely soft wool (I think part alpaca) that I bought at La Droguerie in Paris early in 2012.  I am just hoping I have enough wool, I know it will be close! By the way, my Ravelry name is Sundar if you want to friend me!
What's on your project table at the moment?  and did you receive anything lovely for Christmas?