Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Me Made May 2015

A bit late signing up to the party even though I posted a couple of photos on Instagram and Twitter at the weekend. I'm officially using this post to sign up for Me Made May 2015. The last time I joined So, Zo in one of these parties was for Self-Stitched September in 2011!

I, Nikki, from Nikki's Stitches, will wear at least one me-made garment each day throughout May 2015.

I'll be posting weekly updates on Instagram and Twitter (@1107nikki) and will do a complete post here on my blog at the end of the month.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Snakeskin Belcarra

I’d had it in mind to make a Belcarra some time ago, but I never bought the pattern and consequently never really gave it another thought, until I saw this fabric…

I was a-wandering back from work one day and thought I’d check out the button wall in Pete’s Emporium in Porirua. Well I kinda ended up looking at fabric too and found this fine polyester crepe stuff with a snakeskin pattern and tiny black velvet-y feeling dots. I just cried out to me and said Belcarra.

So I bought the PDF pattern that evening. It’s the first Sewaholic PDF I’ve bought. I’m not a fan of printing out and sticking together umpteen pages, but I decided I could cope with 26 pages.

It is such a quick make. I stuck the pattern together one evening, then on Good Friday while Mr N was out playing golf, I made it up. Yep, you heard me, made it up and finished it all in one day. Slowcoach me finished something in one day!

After finding that I’d cut out a lot of Sewaholic patterns a size too big I cut a size 12. I hoped this was going to work. I have this thing about pull-on tops and once they are made up whether they are big enough to put on (I obviously have such a big head!). I needn’t have panicked, it fits perfectly.

I love the shape of this top with the raglan sleeves. I finished all seams bar those around the cuffs with French seams. (This is also another reason why I’m surprised I finished it in one day – it’s all French seams!) The seam around the cuffs I finished using my overlocker.

It is a really easy quick pattern to make up. There’s no shaping in the form of darts, only basic shaping on the side seams, so the only seams are the raglan seams, the shoulder and side seams.
I thought the binding around the neck wasn’t going to work with this fabric, but the velvet polka dots helped to stabilise the fabric and I had no problems! It was actually a dream to sew up!

The details
Fabric: some non-descript polyester crepe from Pete’s Emporium, Porirua, bought March 2015, I think I used about 1.5m
Notions: Thread
Pattern: SewaholicBelcarra, view A, size 12
Changes made: None
First worn: To work in Sydney, last week! Worn here with my self-drafted pale green pencil skirt. Sorry for the non-smiling photos - the sun was actually quite bright!
Another one/Recommendations: Oh yeah, I really like this! Another pattern to add to my Sewaholic collection. I don’t really consider myself a pear shape, but Sewaholic patterns really do suit my figure and wardrobe needs.
I really recommend the pattern, it’s quick and easy and can be made up in any type of soft woven fabric to get a different look. I love this version made in a floaty crepe, but it will work perfectly well in a cotton voile or lawn.

And since my insides are so lovely, I reckon this counts towards The Monthly Stitch Inside Out month from March.


Friday, 3 April 2015

Well it's nearly autumn...

I made a thing - well a skirt to be precise. This linen fabric I got from a Fabric-a-Brac last year. I actually think it's fabric from a friend who was de-stashing at Fabric-a-Brac!

The colour isn't quite as bright as in these photos. I think it must be a combination of the bright sunny day we at when the photos were taken and the green bushes in the background.

The pattern is a RTW knock-off. I bought this grey wool skirt from Marks & Spencer in the UK probably about six years ago. It's always been a favourite skirt to wear and I thought this linen would be the perfect fabric to copy it.

I used the basque from an old Prima pattern and shortened it by a couple of inches. Then pleated the skirt pieces onto the basque. Yes I did everything the cack-handed way, so I attached the skirt to the basque before measuring the tucks at the bottom! I know it would have been easier to do the tucks first, but I didn't know how long I wanted the skirt to be and it seemed easier in my mind to do it this way around.

The hem was stitched on the machine as it actually has a long hem which extends up to the bottom tuck. I used a lapped zip for the side seam.

And... er that's about it! It takes a lot of patience and trial and error to work out those pleats around the top of the skirt.

The details...
Fabric:  An orange linen from Fabric-a-Brac, October 2014
Notions:  Thread and zip
Pattern:  The basque for the skirt is from a very old Prima pattern and the overall skirt design is a RTW knock-off, it's basically self-drafted from the RTW skirt.
First worn:  To afternoon tea with some of the local sewing bloggers at Sandra's house, where these photos were taken.
Worn with:  A Colette Sorbetto, made in 2011, blogged here.
Verdict:  Well I'm happy with it. The basque may be a wee bit big, as it doesn't sit on my waist, but I'm love this skirt. It's easy to wear and actually goes with quite a lot of things in my wardrobe. The only thing I wish I had done was to line it, since it's difficult to wear with a slip as sits on my hips. I might still add some lining and attach it to the bottom of the basque.

And this is the kind of photo that happens when a friend is taking your photos and you move while they're taking them! :-)

Monday, 16 March 2015

An outfit in one

Ok, so nearly a month since my last post, but do I care - well no, not really. Life is life and if it gets in the way of sewing, etc, then there's nothing I can do. Sorry, not sorry!

I've started a new job and it's completely different. Apart from when I'm going out to visit customers, most of the time I'm now actually working from home, so my clothing needs have changed somewhat. Mind you, that hasn't stopped my wearing my dresses at home so far! Plus as well as a need for more relaxed clothing when I'm at home, I don't have set hours, which means less time for sewing.

We've had a pretty warm, dry summer here in Wellington and the need for cooler clothes influenced my choice of items to sew here. A brown linen straight skirt and sleeveless blouse, perfect for warm dry days.

I don't think there's really loads to talk about, so I shall let the photos do the talking. The skirt is from my self-drafted pencil skirt block and has a side zip. I made one in a pale green stretch cotton just over a year ago (never blogged.)

I bought this brown linen years ago in the UK to go with another patterned/sequined linen, but that hasn't quite happened. I just needed a skirt and the fabric fit the bill.

As for the blouse, this is another iteration of New Look 6598, which I made last year (I've just realised I never blogged about it!) The fabric is a quilting cotton from a quilting shop here in Wellington which closed down over a year ago. I made the same changes as last time, which was to use bias binding for the armholes rather than attach facing. I think this works a lot better and lays flatter.

I love the shape of this blouse. Sleeveless means it's cool and I love the fact there's no collar. It has darts in the front and back for minimal shaping, and the ties on the back give it that bit more shape.

I spent ages thinking over the colour of button to use, going first with the dark pink, but eventually going for the orange. The dark pink buttons were shiny and stood out too much. I think these matt finish orange buttons look much better.

The details...
Fabric:  Skirt: Brown linen from Goldhawk Rd, London, bought September 2011 (a definite stash buster). Blouse: Quilting cotton from Piece by Piece, Marsden Village, Wellington, bought 2013?
Notions:  Thread, zip, interfacing and buttons
Pattern:  Skirt: self-drafted pencil skirt. Blouse: New Look 6598
Changes:  The skirt pattern is mine to play with as I want! The blouse, I made bias binding for the armholes rather than use facing.
First worn: Together, these were worn to a WSBN meet in town where we checked out the cab of the AirNZ 737 outside Te Papa!

Photos taken here at the waterfront and also near Made on Marion. Thanks to two of my WSBN crowd taking the photos.
Worn with:  Pumps from Overland! Yes I like that shop!
Another one?  I probably will make another of these blouses. It's so easy to make and really comfy to wear. As for the skirt - most likely. A short straight skirt is really useful to have in my wardrobe.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Felicity goes on a picnic

I've been pattern testing! When the call went out for testers for this dress from my fellow kiwi, it sounded like it was perfect for me "a breezy summer dress with a gathered neckline, all-in-one yoke pockets on your choice of a gathered or 3/4 circle skirt and finished off with bias binding at the neckline and armholes."

Having not made one of Jennifer's patterns up before I made up a muslin of the bodice. I cut a 16 and it fit straight out of the box! My luck was in!

My initial thought was to use a floral fabric, this dress would look beautiful in a floral cotton lawn. Unfortunately my luck wasn't in here, there was nothing in my stash. I ended up using this navy/white gingham and chose a navy blue for the bias binding.

If you have never made up any of Jennifer's patterns, you need to. You're in for a real treat. They are really well drafted. I think we're past the days of pages not quite matching when you cut and tape together, so that certainly isn't an issue. The cutting layout is clear. The instructions are really clear too. The only part I found a bit difficult was inserting the lapped zipper following Jennifer's method. I honestly don't think this would be an issue for many. I've been sewing lapped zippers a particular way for nearly 20 years, my mind just couldn't remove my method and let me concentrate on the pattern instructions. I will say I've tried the instructions since on a different dress and all was good - my mind must have been having an odd day. I think Jennifer is also planning to do a photo tutorial for her lapped zipper method on her blog in the near future. All the other instructions are brilliant with great illustrations and wording in a logical order and I followed these to the letter.

The gathers for the front are gathered to a paper template, knotted at each end of the gathers and then the binding attached at a later stage. I think when I first made it up, I didn't knot the ends in the correct place. My neckline was really saggy, not helped when I added the bias binding made from a fine cotton voile from stash.

So, I unpicked the bias binding, unpicked the gathering threads and restitched the gathers again, ensuring they were pulled a bit tighter than the template to allow for loose knots. I then attached a thin piece of fusible interfacing before reattaching the bias binding. Since testing the neckline has been raised slightly, so it should all be good now.

I love the pockets on the skirt, the drafting here is great. They are just made from a single piece of fabric folded in half. I decided to add binding to the edges of my pockets, before basting them to the waist and side seams of the skirt. I decided the gingham was a bit too much with the changes in pattern direction and this binding really helps to soften that. I really like how this turned out. It wasn't difficult to do.

My fabric was only 90cm wide, I was determined to make the circle skirt version, so I actually put a seam down the front of the skirt. Can you see the seam? Nope, neither can I - I am the master of pattern matching...

The details...
Fabric:  Navy blue/white gingham cotton from Fabric-a-Brac, October 2014, navy cotton voile from stash for the bias binding. I think I used about 3.5m of the 90cm wide gingham.
Notions:  Thread, a small strip of interfacing and a dress zip
Pattern:  Jennifer Lauren Vintage Felicity dress
First worn:  Actually to cocktails with the WSBN, but worn here for a picnic in Otari Wilton's Bush
Changes made:  I added binding to the pockets and inserted the zip differently.
Another one/Recommend?  I love this dress and I've actually worn it so many times already.  My fabric choice was perfect. I love how the bodice and neck sit and I'm a sucker for a circle skirt, even in the windy Wellington wind :-) It's a really simple pattern to make up and really quick for instant gratification. Jennifer drafts her patterns for a D cup which is perfect for me, although my girls don't sit quite so high and if I was being really honest I could give myself a wee bit more space lower down in the bodice. This is a standard adjustment for me, so anyone else, you'll be fine. I don't know if I'll make another one, I've a pile of patterns waiting to be made up, but I'm not saying never, since I love the style and shape of the dress.

Friday, 13 February 2015

Non-loud trousers...

I seem to have made a name over the last year for making loud golf trousers for Mr N, well these aren't loud!

Mr N needed more everyday trousers, as he'd kind of worn out his other RTW pairs.

I got this fabric from The Fabric Warehouse back in August (I think). It's black bull denim. The fabric is thick, but I actually really enjoyed sewing it. I only broke one needle too!

The pattern is the usual pattern I've used to make the loud golf trousers, Vogue 8719.

V8719, Men's Jacket and Pants 

I made my normal changes. Graded out a bit for the waist, I changed the in seam side pockets to slash pockets using the pattern pieces I've drafted myself. I also left the flaps off the back pockets and made those pockets larger so that Mr N's wallet fits! A man needs room for his wallet! :-)

Since the denim is so thick, I decided to use a cotton to line the pockets and the waistband. I thought this with the ties on would be fun, not that you can see the pattern much on the waistband or inside the pockets. To contrast with that fabric I used beige top-stitching thread to attach the back pockets and along the top of the pockets.

There's not really much more to say about these. I made these as a Christmas present for Mr N so he had no idea what I was going to do. They are slightly long in the leg, so I think I'll have to take them up a bit, but otherwise he's definitely happy with his new everyday trousers/jeans.

The details...
Fabric:  Black bull denim from the Fabric Warehouse for the main trousers, tie print quilting cotton for the pocket and waistband lining from Made Marion
Notions:  Thread (everyday sewing and top-stitching), interfacing, metal jeans zip and a button for the waistband
Pattern:  Vogue 8719 view B
First worn:  When we went on holiday at New Year
Changes made:  Graded out the waistband, created slash pockets for the front (self-drafted pattern pieces) and enlarged the back pockets.
Another one/Recommend?  I certainly recommend the pattern, this is the fifth time I've made it up now. I'm getting quite an expert at fly zips now :-)

So I'm a bit late to the party, but I think these count towards the Monthly Stitch Denim month!


Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Sewaholic Yaletown

I can't think of a fancy title for this post, so tough, you're getting a title telling you what it's about. Call a spade a spade me...

So if you haven't guessed, I've made up the Sewaholic Yaletown. I bought the pattern not long after it was released. I just took a while to find the fabric to make it up. During my successful trip to The Fabric Store where I got my Pretty Flamingo fabric from my last post, I also got this blue crepe. The fabric is perfect for this dress, it has a great drape, but, it was a nightmare to sew!

OK, so where to start. I decided to cut a 14, mainly based on my body measurements. The dress is meant to be loose-fitting, so this seemed the best size. I think in hindsight I'd have done better to cut a 12. It's ended up quite loose-fitting! I didn't make up a muslin, it didn't seem worth it for a make like this.

The pattern is a really easy make. It's certainly not difficult and Tasia's instructions are so clear.

I hemmed the sleeves with a rolled hem. Just check this out!

Slight cheating. I was going to hand sew the rolled hem, but that looked awful. So I decided to try something I'd done before. Fold over the hem about 1cm, then sew a short narrow zig-zag stitch so that it just catches the edge of the fold. Trim the excess fabric when done and, voila - one perfectly rolled hem. [Yes I know I could have done it on my overlocker, but I didn't have blue thread for it and really just wanted to get it done!]

All the seams are straight stitched on my regular machine and then overlocked to finish them.

This was the finished dress! Just a wee bit big.

Checking with my WSBN guys the suggestion was that as well as too big, the bodice was too long. So I unpicked the waist seam, took out the elastic. I straightened off the side seams of the bodice, which meant I had to loosely gather the skirt onto the bodice before I attached it again, shortening the bodice by an inch. This has helped the "blousing" effect slightly, but I think it's still a wee bit too big.

The waistband is really easy to deal with. It's stitched with a normal seam allowance, then that is pressed down and stitched again to form a casing for elastic - great for those large meals! Or even high tea, which was the first outing for this dress!

I might catch the wrap front down so that it lies flatter. At the moment I think it gapes, but I'm looking down on it, it might not look like that from the front.

However, one great thing - it's a wrap dress that's drafted really well and doesn't gape when I lean forward!

And... it has pockets!

The details...
Fabric:  Blue polyester(?) crepe from The Fabric Store, August 2014.
Notions:  Thread, elastic and interfacing
Pattern:  Sewaholic Yaletown View A
First worn:  High tea at James Cook Hotel with some lovely sewing friends last Sunday

Worn with:  Shoes from Overland (quickly becoming my fave shoe store!)
Changes made:  I straighten up the bodice and shortened it by about an inch (2.5cm)
Another one/Recommend?  I certainly recommend the pattern, it's well drafted and quick/easy to make up. I wasn't thinking I'd make another one, but I've got some fabric which would make a great Yaletown blouse, so perhaps I might and cut a smaller size!

Thanks to Jenna who wielded my big girls camera along Lambton Quay on Sunday by the fab Invisible City sculpture, where in theory anything is possible when a friend is just snapping away...

I'm happy though, this is a great dress and makes me feel really girly as the fabric just drapes so well!