Friday, 25 January 2013

Simplicity 2360 - a flounced top

For our latest meet-up the cunning plan was to wear something which we got from the previous meet-up, be it a pattern from the swap or a piece of fabric. I secured this beautiful sheer fabric from A Charm of Magpies. It's a really dark navy blue with the leaves almost embroidered on. They feel quite silky.

There was just over a metre there, enough to make a top or blouse. Having made a blouse from Simplicity 2360 once before, I decided to have another go.

This pattern is one of the Project Runway patterns. As you can see it is a dress pattern, but when has that ever stopped me? I love the flounces over the sleeves and went with this version, but after the V-neck and back didn't work very well last time, I went for a round neck. The pattern has the option of a V-neck or round neck at the front, but the back is only a V-back. I drafted a curved back hoping that it would work! I lengthened the top, because obviously it's made to be waist length only. I also decided to make the flounces a wee bit bigger by extending them by about a couple of centimetres.

I have used French seams throughout the top. I also decided in my infinite wisdom that I would edge the flounces with binding in a contrasting colour. I didn't find any binding and bought double-sided satin ribbon. It looked good and it went on like a dream...

Until I attached the flounce to the top and put it together...

As you can see, it's a disaster! Note to self - do not use satin backed ribbon for binding edges, particularly on sheer fabric!

The top sat for a couple of days while I decided what to do. It was nearly a bin liner! In the end at the suggestion of Modern Vintage Cupcakes, I took me and my top to see MrsC at Made on Marion. We had two ideas. One to completely remove the grey edging. When I hemmed the edges last time they were a mess so this wasn't my favourite option. The second option was to Pendrell-ise the sleeves. The top has Princess seams and is a similar shape to the Pendrell. So I decided this would be the option.

I sat down one evening, unpicked the French seams and lay the flounces down so they were attached to the bodice higher up. This meant cutting off large pieces of my carefully stitched ribbon! :-( It's taken me a week to decide I won't keep them and chuck these bits in the bin - what am I like? MrsC also found me some satin bias binding in the same colour of the ribbon to bind the neck - why didn't I go there first?

So I managed to finish the top in time for Sunday's meet-up. As many of us have said already, the sun shone and it was a fantastic day. Although I added to the length of the top, it still was not that long and I ended up using a belt to tuck it in my skirt.

The finished item... You can see we did posing practice on Sunday!

 I still don't like my back view!

The nitty-gritty
Fabric:  Some kind of sheer fabric with a silky pattern, which I got at our first Wellington blogger's meet-up last November. Just over a metres worth.
Trims:  Satin ribbon from Spotlight and satin bias binding from Made on Marion.
Pattern:  Simplicity 2360 with the skirt removed and top lengthened. The back neck changed to a round neck. The flounces cut wider and shorter and attached higher up.
First worn:  For the Wellington bloggers meet-up in the Botanic Gardens last Sunday.
Worn with:  A skirt I made about four years ago (not blogged about), belt which came with a dress from Debenhams years ago and my bargain Mischief sandals (if you didn't see the last post, check out these beauties...)

Monday, 21 January 2013

The Welly bloggers picnic...

We had another meet-up!

The day dawned bright and sunny and stayed that way! No four seasons in one day for Sunday 20th January.

Seven intrepid bloggers (no not dwarves, even though we're in the Middle of Middle-Earth...) met in the gorgeous Lady Norwood rose garden in the Botanic Gardens in Wellington. The plan was to wear something made from the swap at the previous meet-up, but one thing and another (chewing overlockers, life, dodgy ribbon trims, etc) meant that only two of us made something from the last meet, however, there were still plenty of new makes to ooh and ahh over!

The sun was shining bright and after a pick me up coffee/tea in the cafe we retired to the Dell to spread out our food! And what a spread!

Mini calzones from MrsC, cheese scones from the Curious Kiwi, quiche from Making it well, cold meats and cheese from me and Cation Designs, lovely drinks from Modern Vintage Cupcakes and amazing tarts from the Crazy Gypsy, which deserved their own photo...


The time went so fast, chatting about sewing, patterns, sewing, knitting, patterns, etc, etc. We were so busy chatting that we didn't realise the time, the pattern and fabric swap happened so fast, I even forgot to take a photo of the striped stretch denim I got from Kat! We intended to have posing for photo practice, but it didn't really happen, but we did get some photos of outfits not blogged about and we even managed to cajole a passing tourist to take a group photo or two...

 The serious school pic

And our "Blue Steel" version!

And so, the bloggers were...
Top row (left to right): Kat (with baby Drake looking very serious!), Emily, Maryanne, Juliet.
Bottom row (left to right): Jo, Mel, Me.

And here for your delight are a couple of posing practice photos!


And if you are thinking "those wedges look interesting" and are getting shoe envy, here's a pic to make you even more envious...

Yes I do have odd painted toe nails...

It was a fab day and a great picnic. If you're thinking that you'd like to join in and are in or around the Wellington area, give us a shout, we'll add you to the group for the next meet-up. Some of the other bloggers have already posted about the meet-up, so check out their blogs too.

Saturday, 19 January 2013


Have you see this post on Cindy's blog with the fab image?

When I first saw this, it was a button I had to have for my blog, it's so cool! Cindy from Cation Designs and emsewcrazy from Tumbleweeds in The Wind have come up with the great plan for 2013. [The artwork is by Jen Sy.]

So many people have said they want to reduce their stash this year and so they've come up with the Stashbusting Sewalong. There are monthly themes to follow if you need something to keep the focus. There's also a flicker group to join up and post the photos.

And so...

I, Nikki, of Nikki's Stitches, commit to using at least one piece of fabric from my stash each month of 2013. I also commit to use some of this on un-selfish sewing!

I find it hard not to buy anymore, I may see an absolute bargain, I could try to say I'll only buy more fabric if it's in a sale? [Yes I know I've bought some fabric this year already, but it was in the sale... :-)] I'll try to stick to the themes, but can't guarantee it, particularly as the piece I've used this month was actually more than a bit - it was about 1m 20...

Anyways, I'll give it my best shot!

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Recent bargains...

I know I'm supposed to be using up my stash, but that's this year and all but two pieces from this I bought last year - yep you might have guessed I'd talk my way around it somehow :-)

So, my purchases...

Before Christmas, Arthur Toye had his half price sale. The excellent Wellington blogging network made sure I knew about the sale and I was there as soon as my little stubby legs would carry me!

 A plain red suiting fabric (not sure - a dress), black "dolly mixture" sheer fabric (possibly a Pendrell?) and a black and white patterned fabric (more of below!)

 The black and white, printed in NZ, covered in silver ferns and kiwis - love it! A skirt?

 Sewing related fabric - isn't it great? I've got an ottoman which my father made years ago and I use it to store fabrics, etc. I'm going to re-cover it in this, since the current cover is pink flowery stuff which fitted my bedroom when I was about 12 :-)

Stretch cotton - I love these colours. It's beautiful and so cheery. I'm determined this is going to become a shift dress when I find a decent pattern!

These were great bargains. I think the whole lot came to about $100! It just had to be done!

Then this week Global Fabrics have their VIP sale - 40% off! :-) First day today, I was there... I was reasonably firm on myself and one of the assistants stayed with me to make sure I didn't buy loads - she was very good, not pushy or anything, but so helpful with ideas. So these are my purchases, hot off the press - or should I say out of the bag this evening?

 A grey and white stripe stretch cotton. I've actually bought this to make a shirt for Mr N. It will be the first shirt I make him and still don't have a pattern, although I'm toying with Burda 7767, knowing how much success Carolyn has had with this pattern. Any recommendations and possibly pitfalls with making a man's shirt will be gratefully received.

This is wool/silk mix (I think!) It'll definitely need dry cleaning, but look at it, the crossways threads are dark blue and the lengthwise threads are pink, so the solid colour looks purple, but depending on the light or how you're looking at it, the colour changes. Love it. This is probably going to be a lined straight-ish skirt of some description - possibly a Beignet?

So, although I'm not trying to add to the stash, I've bought fabrics with wardrobe staples in mind, which is half of what I'm intending to do this year, ie more wearable separates (not dresses for posh occasions of which I don't go to that many!). Plus the fabric to make a start on my less-selfish sewing :-)

Sunday, 13 January 2013

And here's to 2013!

OK, well I'm just a tad late joining the "this is what I've done and this is what I will do" group, but I've decided to write something, mainly for my own benefit. Well this blog is a diary of my sewing (and other stuff) over the past year and diaries are records of what happened and so... (Why am I making excuses to you all..?)

2012 was an interesting year to say the least! In the middle of January we moved from the UK to New Zealand! Having lived all our lives in the UK and moving 12,000 miles (OK, I should now be saying 18,000 Km - I'm still getting used to Ks and not miles!) was NOT a small step. We took the opportunity on the way here to visit friends in the States, so we took in Las Vegas, Boulder, CO and San Francisco on the way. How very different three US cities can be!

We both have jobs and we've lived in two different places since we've been here. We also got married last year! We've started to have fun discovering a whole new country, going over to the Wairarapa and Martinborough vineyards last Easter and Taupo this last New Year. And best of all we've met some fantastic people, many of whom are already beginning to be really good friends who we can ask for help/rely on. Mr N and I have joined the local golf club and they've been really friendly and helpful. I've found a choir to join which I love singing with, who also have an amazing programme lined up for the year ahead. I've got some great work colleagues. And possibly more important for me I've also found some great sewing bloggers who I've met up with and plan to continue meeting up with.

For the first few months, I was without a sewing machine, then was lent one from a girl in choir until my own arrived having made it's own long journey by container from the UK. Then I obviously need to change the plug! :-) So my makes for 2012 were (in no particular order)...

A Thai Voilet - Colette patterns Voilet blouse. This hasn't had as much wear as I thought, possible because the elastic at the ends of the sleeves is not the most comfortable. A cuff would be nicer.
A hen night dress - McCalls 6505. Since I'm so greedy I've had two hen nights and worn this to both :-)

Wedding party dress - Vogue 8020. Finished just in time for my after wedding party. It's only been worn the once, but I'm determined it's going to be worn again soon!

A spotty Vogue - Vogue 8789. I love this dress and yes it has been worn a number of times, only I have to be careful living in windy Wellington! :-)

The Hearts dress - Simplicity 2588. This is my second version of this dress and certainly gets loads of wear. It's great that it's not an obviously summery dress, so I can wear it with boots, etc. I love it!

 A spring circle - my first self-drafted circle skirt. This has become another staple in my wardrobe (as long as it's not too windy).

A $5 Vogue - Vogue 8789 again. Made from a thrifted sheet. A bargain and certainly a staple in the wardrobe.

So not too bad considering! I also managed to make two pairs of curtains for our house. A travelling spice holder (yes, honestly) and a passport for Mr N's important Ted in the form of a scarf with a silver fern embroidered on it! :-)

I also resurrected my knitting skills making a snood and a scarf (this I've never blogged about).

So for 2013, I have plans... I'm determined to try to clear some of my stash (famous last words!) I've already spent an evening going through my fabrics and pairing them up with patterns. I'm currently in the middle of making a blouse. I've another blouse that's sort of been conveniently forgotten, since I've gone off it since starting it (don't you hate it when that happens?) I've a Colette beignet skirt cut out and ready to go. I've also got a self-drafted pencil skirt which I started before we left the UK and never got finished. I am determined to finish this one, since I still like the fabric and a pencil skirt is so useful here!

These four I really ought to finish first, but my head is already going round with other ideas and having been through the stash it's really spinning :-) I need to check out my concert dress. I've put on weight since I made it and it's just a wee bit tight for me. Still wearable, but not really ideal for taking large breaths to sing with :-) I have some fabric which I'm hoping will make a wearable muslin for the Colette Anise. I've never made a coat before so this will be a new one for me. I'm determined to try to make some trousers, but this for some reason I'm scared about doing! Having seen many of the comments on Karen's Sewalutions, methinks I'm not the only one! Not that my name is in the jar (I was away and didn't get a comment typed up...) I've also got some lovely merino to make something with, which will be a challenge as I've hardly made anything out of knit fabric (and I don't have a serger/overlocker).

Other ideas include a bathrobe - this should be relatively easy, apart from I'd like it in cotton waffle fabric, which seems to be virtually impossible to get hold of. I'd also like to make a skirt which is suitable for golf. Yes, I mean it. Why should I spend about $100 or £50  or more on a skirt, when I'm sure I can make one for less? Most I've seen in the shops have lycra cycling shorts underneath with a stretch cotton skirt on top. I'm also determined to make more separates. I have a lot of dresses, which I love, but separates would be much more useful. Finally, I've accepted a challenge by Mr N to make him a shirt or two... He's brave!

I'm also determined to take a bit more time and make the finish better, using French seams, etc, instead of just reaching for the pinking shears.

Methinks I'll be busy! How am I going to fit all this in? At the moment, I've not a clue, but we'll give it a go! I could do with a couple of days a month off work, so I can just sit at home here and sew! That would be a dream, but it's not going to happen, I need my leave for a trip to Queenstown, another trip back to the UK, a concert in Auckland, my brother-in-law's wedding in China - phew! I'm getting worn out thinking about all this, but excited by the plans I've got.

I'll obviously also continue to sing, play golf, work full-time, read all your blogs and try to comment on them :-D I've never been one for sitting doing nothing :-)