Monday, 29 October 2012

Stash busting my way :-)

At the beginning of the month I had about two weeks off work with laryngitis. I think my Mr N really enjoyed it, since within a month, his new wife had lost her voice! It's not been my idea of fun in some ways since my other escapism (apart from sewing) is singing and I still need to abstain and it's so hard not to sing!

Anyway, I have days off work and what happens? My mind goes to sewing and what I can make. I intended to stash bust and cut out three things, the dress of which is finished. I've still got a skirt and blouse to finish. I bought some more patterns in the hopes I could use them to use up the stash. Look at these... two new Colette patterns (new for me)

The Beignet is sorted, but I've no fabric for the Anise! :-)


My first Sewaholic patterns. I was so impressed with the speed. They were here from Canada within the week! Not bad I reckon.

I also managed to download some patterns from t'Interweb, a couple of Burda Style patterns, the Eva dress from Your Style Rocks - this dress is so elegant and looks amazing, I can't wait to get my hands on this pattern!


And also Victory Patterns Nicola Dress


I did get carried away! I can't wait to get started on these...

Trouble is, I then met up with Juliet. The Crazy Gypsy came down to Wellington and we went fabric shopping... We went to Global Fabrics and all my good intentions of using up my stash disappeared. Well wouldn't they with such lovely goodies and masses of lovely fabrics in front of you?

I reckon I did pretty well though. I got four lots of fabric for about $100. OK, not a complete bargain, but still... First some lining for my Beignet (you'll have to wait for that!)

This lovely cotton (not quite eyelet!) I think this will become an Alma blouse.

This blue and pale cream cotton, which I think will possibly become the Cambie dress. It's quite a heavy fabric which hangs beautifully. Global Fabrics had this in a couple of different colour ways, I decided the dark blue was better for me.


Finally this lovely white jersey. It'll need a top under it due to the sheerness of the fabric, but I just couldn't resist it, plus it was on special!! I'm still not good at sewing knit fabrics, so I'm hoping and praying I can make this up successfully! Isn't it lovely?

So I've admitted! I'm off work sick and spend my hard earned cash on patterns and fabric - oops! My stash busting project kinda didn't happen! Do you do the same? I think it must be that I have more time to think about the sewing when I'm off like that and end up buying all sorts! Methinks I ought to learn to control myself! Oh well!

Monday, 22 October 2012

Simplicity 2588 - the "Hearts dress"

This is my second Simplicity 2588. My first made just over a year ago when I was still in the UK (that does seem strange now!) I really like this pattern. Like most Simplicity patterns I can use a standard size with little or no adjustments. I can often just cut them out and put it together and Bob's your uncle it's made up! Isn't it good when that happens?

This dress I cut out at the beginning of the month when I was off work for a couple of weeks - laryngitis, so not fit for work, but fit for sitting quietly at home and sewing when I felt up to it! This was start of a kind of stash busting exercise (it didn't work - more of this in another post!)

I'm not completely certain when I bought this fabric! Possibly when I first got to NZ, but it could be something I bought on a whim in Goldhawk Road about a year ago. It's a poly-cotton methinks. It doesn't seem soft enough to be cotton. It was very well-behaved when I pre-washed it, ie didn't shrink much and didn't crease up impossibly. It was an absolutely dream to sew and really went together so easily. The fabric did have enough cotton content to allow me to press down some seams with my finger. You know sometimes you just want to press it quickly to see how it holds and this was great. It made putting in the pleats for the skirt really simple and quick.

I made two adjustments. The first was to add my normal inch to the bottom of the bodice. The second was to add three inches to the skirt length! Last time I made this the skirt had such a small hem on it and I wanted it deeper. It's also meant the skirt is a wee bit longer than the first dress which was also what I wanted. I reckon the Simplicity models must be shorter than me, as a lot of their skirts are short. At least lengthening the bodice and skirt is relatively simple! :-)

There's not really much more to say, except I was quite happily sewing away and realised I'd not stitched the darts in the back carefully - they were different lengths - doh! Muggins had to extend the length of one!

I really should be more careful and less slapdash! :-)

Anyway, the final dress, worn first time yesterday to meet up with the Crazy Gypsy who was in town. We had a really good time drooling over loads of rolls of fabric in Global Fabrics followed by lunch. A good day and I was so impressed with the red top Juliet had made herself. I also got to meet the famous Mama G - what she doesn't know about pattern grading and tracing just isn't worth knowing!

 I really hate photos of the back of me - not my best side :-)

The last time I made this, I stitched around the yoke at the neck, but decided to leave it this time. I think it looks cleaner with the busy fabric pattern. The pattern also instructs you to stitch down the centre pleats the full skirt length. I prefer the softer pleat look and so left this. I also made the flat sleeves instead of the pleated sleeves. The Project Runway patterns give so much choice - they're great!

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Well I am chuffed!

Shock, horror and blushing she says "Thank you".

The absolutely amazing Carolyn has given me a new blog award, which says thank you to those who give support and encouragement through comments. I reckon all of us love receiving comments, don't you?

Strangely enough, I was intending to write something in my next post apologising for not commenting as much as I used to! Trying to fit in work, sewing, writing blog posts, singing, golf (yes, you did read that correctly!), being sociable with my new husband :-), oh and the odd few hours' sleep along with reading and commenting on the far too many blogs I follow (last count about 120 sewing/crafting blogs and 50 other work/general interest type blogs!) I'll admit to finding it hard to keep up! Most of my blog reading now takes place using my mobile on the bus to and from work, it's not easy to comment using my phone (which is on it's way out!) So to cut a very long story short, sorry to those who haven't received so many comments recently, I'm still here, and will endeavour to try harder!

So after the thank you and apology, here are the rules to this award.

There is no requirement to do anything like list stuff about yourself, just to pass it on to the last nine bloggers to comment on your blog...

Mm, there aren't nine comments to my last blog, and not all have a blog (although they still get a mention), I still have a very select few who comment and I don't post loads (mine's a boutique blog!), so I'm going to be a bit cheeky and interpret it my way... The award goes to the last nine who've commented on my past few posts (not counting Carolyn who passed it to me) :-)

The award goes to:

Nothy Lane
Summer Flies
Calico Stretch
Kaitui Kiwi

Thanks all, even those not in this list, your comments are really appreciated and help keep that sewing mojo alive and well. Thanks muchly and you're all stars!

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Spots before your eyes - well you do now!

I fell in love with this pattern ever since Cation Designs made it up earlier this year from a recycled sheet. With a lack of recycled sheets which have a suitable pattern on, I saw this dark navy blue spotty fabric in Arthur Toye and decided, yep, that's the one...I also had another reason for making it up - a fancy dress dinner as a conference! The theme was a Night at the Races and I decided this dress would be perfect with a a hat, etc.

Anyway, back to the matter in hand. The pattern is another Vogue pattern (that's two in a row, having never made them up before!) Go steady ol' girl :-) It's the reprinted Vogue 8789, my favourite shape, a fitted bodice and full skirt.

The fabric is a very fine cotton lawn, so I pre-washed it. Good job I did, the selvedge to selvedge width shrank by 6cm!! Help!

Not much spare here, this was the last skirt piece

I extended the bodice by an inch (yes, I use inches and centimetres at the same time and I'm still here!) I just know that an inch is the perfect extra length to add to a bodice. I cut a 16, even though the pattern said I should have cut a 22! Yeah, right, I know I need to lose some weight, but I have never been a size 22 and never will be! What are these pattern companies coming to?

I think it was about $12 a metre and the unfortunately the fabric wasn't printed exactly straight. I tried to match up the fabric on the bodice and skirt, but it didn't really happen. Also due to the shrinkage I ended up cutting some pieces upside down! Oops! Don't get me wrong I don't normally do this, but I kinda decided that it wouldn't show with polka dots!

The back doesn't look too bad (or is it the front?)

 Mm, perhaps I could have lined these better, but...

I was going to use my sewing machine to run the gathering stitches through the skirt. And there is a LOT of skirt here, loads of it. I just decided that I'd rather run them through by hand, so I did...

Are we nearly there yet?

Attaching the skirt to the bodice was interesting, there is so much skirt there. On the inside of the skirt the pattern asks for tape to be stitched to stop the waist stretching. I'm not sure I really attached this properly, so I may need to look at this again. In my hurry to finish the dress I also used the blind hem on my machine. I've not made the best job of this, there are bits where I caught too much of the fabric and bits which didn't catch the hem at all. Not the best bit of hemming I've ever done.

I finished it in time before going to the conference (the day before!) I made a mistake with the sleeve facings, I stitched them and then understitched them before clipping the seams. Lesson learned, my facings just don't stay flat. In fact they are a pain!

However, saying that, I actually love this dress, it's comfortable, it fits pretty well, although the waist may be a wee bit big. I love the length and I also love the way the sleeves are cap sleeves, not completely sleeveless. I'm sorely tempted to make another one, as long as I can find some fabric which doesn't cost the earth, seriously this dress takes lots of fabric and it's mainly the skirt! I think it takes about 5 metres or something like that.

I actually took my sewing machine up to the conference with me in order to make a petticoat. Well I kinda made one, but it really needs making again! It did not work and so I'm not showing a picture of it! :-)

Oh, I guess you now want to see the finished dress...

Like the little titfer?
And I can go spinning with the skirt!

It's amazing what a load of librarians get up to at conferences! :-)

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Spring is on the way...

Well spring is certainly on the way here in Wellington. We've changed the clocks and it's light until after 7.30 in the evenings and when the sun comes out, boy is it warm! :-) The spring flowers are out everywhere including these tulips which are in the Botanic Gardens.

And so while I'm off work (doctors orders) with a bad chest and throat, I thought I'd go through the stash and make a start on making a hole in it! I've managed to pre-wash four pieces of fabric today and cut out one lot. Feeling pleased with myself.

So what's on the cutting board...

The dark red linen at the back came from Global Fabrics and is going to become a straight wrap skirt. The red and cream leafy cotton lawn came from Goldhawk Road when I went about a year ago. It's destined to become a blouse of some description, not sure which pattern yet. Finally the bright flowery cheerful polycotton on the right came from Fabric Warehouse and is destined to become another skirt. There's not loads of it, so I think I'll give it a black border and possibly black fitted basque.

So what about the blue and green hearts underneath? OK, this is the last of the four pieces, which I've even managed to get cut out. I was not sure how this would work. I thought I'd only bought enough for a skirt, but when I measured it, there was enough for a dress, even with this seam at one end of the fabric. 

It's not been printed centrally on the fabric either, as you can see above, there's about a 3cm selvedge which is white on one side and on the other selvedge the patten goes right to the edge.

Even so, I've got a dress out of it!! It's a tried and tested pattern, so with any luck...

What I want to know from any of you out there is... When you pre-wash fabric, do you bother to iron/press it afterwards before cutting out? Polycotton generally seems OK, but the red linen is a tad creased having washed it - as linen ever is.

Don't panic, I only washed them on a cold wash...