Colour Block Mash Up

Happy Monday all!

I’m still getting used to the idea of working in an office again. It seems to be going alright so far, although really not used to having my time monitored. I’m more of the philosophy that it doesn’t matter as long as the work is done. Oh well, I’ll get used to it I am sure. More importantly…it’s all about what I’m wearing!

Here is another Simplicity 2174, although this time View C, sans sleeves.

Simplicity 2174

View C has a modernised subtle sweetheart style neckline which is high enough to still be decent for the office. I found the fit to be very much the same as View A so it was nice to make the same alterations. This time I omitted the facing and instead cut the pieces again in a cotton voile to line the bodice. Being a cotton, this has a good cooling effect too as my fashion fabric has a high poly content.

Simplicity 2174

Initially I was going to add an A-line skirt but it just looked odd with the colour blocking of the bodice, so I recut using the skirt pieces of McCalls 4829, an OOP sundress pattern with a paneled skirt option.

I cut the panels with nice big seam allowances so I could make sure the seam lines were nicely lined up and I am really pleased with the result.

Simplicity 2174

This is such a different silhouette for me, normally I’m all about the fit and flare. I have been branching out lately with some art teacher chic and now I’m trying the shiftdress. I actually like the shape and find that I feel a bit profesh. Whilst the shift is definitely great stylish work wear, I have to remember I am a “lady” and to crouch properly and sit nicely, you really have to move differently in this style!

S2174

For the side panels I used a gorgeous quilted fabric that I believe to be a Cue remnant. The centre panels are also supposed to be Cue remnants. Both bought from Pitt Trading and mailed to me from Sydney (excellent service there!). Cue is a clothing store in Australia and New Zealand that specializes in office wear. For me, the opportunity to buy their remnants was too good to be missed and I bought enough for four garments!

Simplicity 2174

Likes
– I am pretty happy with the fit
– great work wear
– the fabric is on trend
– the high poly content means less creasing and therefore perfect for my desk job!

Changes for next time
– perhaps shorten the bodice a touch

PS – I have Revenge on the telly at the moment – what great inspiration for stylish office wear! (terrible show though). Also really loving Annalise Keating’s outfits on How to Get Away with Murder.

Pia in Polka Dots

Howdy all! Taking a small hiatus from workwear, I’m back with another Tessuti Pia Dress.

Pia in Polka Dots

My previous one is getting so much wear, it is the perfect weekend dress, especially for slouching around, ducking out to the shops and eating big lunches! It’s also great to wear when sewing garments that need lots of trying on, with no fastenings it just pops over the head, much more convenient and saves sewing in some stage of undress (my usual attire!).

I have fast become a convert to this silhouette and of course had to make another stat!

Pia in Polka Dots

Nothing new on the construction from before, although I did omit the Vilene tearaway facing and just stay-stitched the neck and armholes. I have never had an issue with stretching out and felt the Vilene was overkill. Having now worn this dress several times I can attest that I still have no issues with stretching out.

Pia in Polka Dots
Pocket close up – intentionally slouchy

The fabric is a chambray bought here in Brisbane at Sewco, unlike others I have read about online, this chambray had no issues with fraying and the stitching is holding well, just like any other cotton fabric.

Pia in Polka Dots

This is a pretty good quick make, especially as it was my second time. There is no darts and no fitting to worry about. I find it nice that I can sit and sew from start to finish without having to get up and down to try it on. I have plans to make the Eva Dress soon, I just have to work out a good time to print it off. (I wonder how receptive the new place will be with me pilfering work resources, or will I have to use stealth mode?!) Am I the only one to print PDFs at work?

PS – Just how casual is “casual Friday”? Could I wear this to the office? I’m not sure it feels city/weekday appropriate.

Eliana Dress & a Giveaway

Recently I was privileged to be a tester for the new Eliana Dress by Pauline Alice.

I don’t do much pattern testing for lots of reasons; there is a larger than normal risk that the pattern won’t work, there is not usually a photo of what is supposed to look like, there could be errors , plus I really don’t get asked that often 🙂  Of course there are many advantages to testing too, getting a sneak peek of upcoming releases, getting a free pattern and I believe some designers even gift fabric! Me, I like to sew what I want when I want.

When the opportunity came up with Pauline Alice I was pretty inrigued, I like the direction her patterns going in. She is releasing some very different, eclectic designs and I thought it might be fun to see what was coming next. Admittedly, I was a little apprehensive after the dungaree pattern, don’t get me wrong they look great on some people, (have you seen Kirsty’s?? they are awesome! and her pinafore is genius) but they really are not for me.

Anyhoo, I give you the Eliana Dress:

Eliana Dress

The dress has and elastic waist, optional vents for front and/or back, can be made in knit or woven and has options for sleeveless or raglan long sleeves.

It’s summer here so of course I went with the sleeveless version, I used a light two way stretch poly knit gifted to me by the lovely Marjorie.

Eliana Dress

Please note, my dress was made with the test version, since then a couple of changes have been made,  the bodice width has been reduced a little bit and the armholes have been raised slightly.  I raised my version at the neck to combat the armhole issue I encountered.

Eliana Dress

Construction wise, this was a pleasure to sew, the instructions are clear and well illustrated. Pauline has clearly given this a lot of thought. This is a great pattern for beginners too as there are no zippers or buttons.  It has size options from Euro 34-48, I made the 44 – I would love to see this come in larger sizes, but I think it could easily be “graded” by just adding to the side seams.

I would not suggest making your own binding in stretch fabric as I did. This was fiddly, took forever and used a billion pins!!

Eliana Dress

Be warned, this is a pretty short dress – I didn’t alter it at all and it is definitely shorter than I would normally go for! On a person of normal height this would be quite short!!  On a side note, how awesome would it look as a maxi dress??!? I’m thinking navy or black, perfect for an evening BBQ (hmmm, am I obsessed with maxi dresses right now?).

I would shorten the bodice next time as it is a little blousey on me and I feel this would be a little more flattering.

Eliana Dress

Giveaway time:
Pauline generously sent me a hardcopy of this pattern as a thank you, but as I already have a copy printed I thought I would give it away. Please let me know in the comments if you would like to go in the draw, ensuring your email address is included, or accessible via your profile. Entries close 12pm (AEST), Friday 30 January. GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED.

Sack, new religion or just comfortable? AKA Tessuti Pia Dress

I finished this dress last Friday – just before finishing the sleeves, neck and hem, I tried it on – first thing my darling hubby says “you know, if it was grey, you’d look Amish”. Hmmm…so not a fan then?

Tessuti Pia Dress

Anyway I persevered, took the back seam in by an inch, took 5″ off the length and now he thinks “it looks very comfy”. A step up, but obviously not his favourite.

I like it. I like the art teacher/bohemian look of it – and he’s right about one thing, it’s damn comfy!

Tessuti Pia Dress

The pattern (if you didn’t read my title) is the Pia Dress from Tessuti. A very new silhouette for me, but something that I thought might be suitable for my current living situation near the beach. It has also been stupidly hot and humid lately. The atmosphere has been heavy and revolting, the last thing I feel like wearing is my usual fit and flare dresses…I figured nude wasn’t really an option.

WARNING – if you print this on A4, be prepared to waste a lot of paper!! The total printout is 69 pages. If that wasn’t ridiculous enough, for some reason the XS and S back pieces are not nested within the other sizes (even though the front is). So depending on what size you need, you are wasting 15 or so pages for the back size you don’t need. On top of that are two sheets labelled “Sheet 1” and “Sheet 2” that seem completely pointless. All up I had 18 pages that I binned – what a waste! This could be much better optimized – something to think about Tessuti in this environmentally friendly world we are trying to create!!

Tessuti Pia Dress

The instructions also use Tearaway Vilene for the armholes and neck opening – I didn’t have this but am confident my stay stitching is fine and there is no stretching.

I used a lovely soft double gauze bought on my recent trip to Japan. This stuff is amazing, it feels like it should be used to make baby clothes. I love wearing it and wish I had bought more. I do have one more piece in a light chambray colour with white polka dots – seriously considering making another Pia Dress with it.

Tessuti Pia Dress

Size-wise this pattern is from an XS-XL. Based on my measurements, I cut the front in a medium in the shoulders grading out to a large in the hips. The back I cut a medium. Originally I omitted the centre back seam, but on trying it on it was too big, so I added a seam to take out the excess, so I guess the back ended up being a size small. Lengthwise the original pattern came to my ankles, I ended up taking it up by approximately 5″, I am only 5’2″.

Tessuti Pia Dress

There aren’t many seams or any closures so it is a pretty quick make (I made it last Friday night after dinner). I followed the instructions which seemed quite clear. The pockets are constructed kind of oddly I am guessing due to each of the pieces being a different size, but in retrospect I am not sure why they weren’t constructed similar to a side pocket on a dress. The process seemed more long-winded and confusing than necessary – anyone else found this?

This was my first Tessuti pattern and I have to say I am a little on the fence. I love their concepts and they do offer different shapes than what is out there generally, however I really think they need to think a little more about the pattern layout and conserve more paper. I don’t know anyone who likes sticking PDFs together – the less pages the better!

Tessuti Pia Dress

I find the fastest way is to use a glue stick, it works really well for those patterns with a 1″ margin around the page, and the glue lasts too. I also use a guillotine to cut the margins off several pages at once. I also don’t trace my patterns. Anyone got any other PDF tips?

Side note – the gorgeous necklace I am wearing was a present from the also gorgeous Lizzy

BurdaStyle Blouse

Hey all! I hope your week is going well. For me, I am a little glad the weather has calmed down a bit over the last couple of days. I am no longer stewing in my own perspiration, it has cooled a little and there is a nice breeze – a welcome reprieve!! But enough about the weather…

Burdastyle Blouse
This is my second Burdastyle #122 blouse from the 1/2008 issue (version 1). This time made in a gorgeous embroidered cotton from The Fabric Store in Brisbane.

The fabric was not 100% the right choice for this blouse and the pattern really demands a fabric with more drape & weight to it. Rayon is perfect, but creases like a b****. The cotton doesn’t crease half as much but can be a little poofy so I have to be careful that I don’t get mistaken for a pregnant woman! (anyone who knows me knows that is not happening!)

Burdastyle Blouse
Hopefully not looking pregnant here!

That aside this is a good “shirt with jeans” pattern, easy to wear. Although not so easy if you want to layer. Because the sleeve cuffs are loose and big enough to fit above my elbows, if I put on a cardi or jacket they ride up and sit uncomfortably. I think this could resolved by finishing the sleeves with an elastic cuff, that way you could at least retain the circulation in your lower arms if you wear a jacket.

Burdastyle Blouse

I have made a few alterations to the original pattern:
– added 3″ to the length (it would be super short if at the original length)
– omitted the placket
– omitted the sleeve vent and button
– shortened the sleeves by 2″

Burdastyle Blouse

Otherwise the construction was pretty much the same as before, except that this went together well and I had no issues with the neckband like before (I still wonder if I got those pieces back to front last time).

Burdastyle
Detail shot of pleats and topstitching

So all told an okay blouse to wear with jeans if the weather is stable. I don’t mean to sound underwhelmed, I do like the blouse and the detailing, it just doesn’t get worn so much. I think I prefer sleeveless tops for layering, the three quarter sleeve is just a little annoying at times. Fusspot? Perhaps.

V7979 – A super cosy coat

Back in February when I found out I needed to be in Europe soon I had a small panic. My coat that I had was very worn, sad and pilled. Also it really wasn’t that warm (probably synthetic, it’s RTW) .  I have other coats, but not ones appropriate for judging or for the super cold. When I judge I am supposed to be unobtrusive and to wear dark colours, so obviously my two white coats I have weren’t an option. I have two puffer coats but these are not dressy enough for sitting on the judging panel of a major event.

Of course my sewing brain took over – I could make a coat! I had the fabric already (bought in November), I had the pattern and the buttons were already made. With two weeks until I was due to leave, did I have time to make it? I figured why not give it a go? Worst case I could take my old, sad (probably only to me) coat or one of my puffer coats.

With some serious dedication and some sewing just about every day I got it done in just over a week! (Plus I also managed to re-paint the kitchen, buy a block of land and worked full-time – yep, my blog title isn’t just a name)
V7979

The pattern of choice – V7979 (view A) which I have had in my stash for years, I mean look at that artwork, that is serious 90s business, although the actual lines of the coat are fairly timeless.  A quick muslin revealed that I needed to petite the pattern with an inch and a half out of the body and narrowing the shoulders.

The fabric is a lovely wool from my favourite shop in Melbourne Alannah Hill, only $10/m too!! I decided that I really wanted to make an effort for this coat to be super warm. I am not used to the cold and when I travel I always freeze so I interlined the whole coat with flannel to add an extra cosy layer and to stop the wind cutting through. I also interfaced with hair canvas. I haven’t done so much hand stitching on a project for ages! Of course in my haste to finish and get to the real sewing (as in putting the pieces together) I have no pictures so you’ll just have to take my word for it.

To interline the coat, I cut the shell pieces in the flannel and hand-stitched them to each outer shell piece.  Once the seams were sewn, I then trimmed the interlining extremely close to the stitching line to reduce the seam bulk. This was a little scary as I was worried I would cut the outer fabric.

The coat went together quite easily. There seemed like loads of pattern pieces (especially with the three layers and with the interlining it was a lot of fabric to handle but my little Janome coped just fine and no special walking feet or anything were required.  The most difficult part was making it in 30 degree heat! I didn’t want it on my lap for handsewing and it was not fun trying it on – too hot!! I know it sounds like I am complaining, I’m not, I love the warm weather, but off season sewing has its challenges!

2014

I love some of the detailing of the coat. It has lovely hidden in seam pockets, top-stitching detailing, and I love the back belt too. The buttons I had made by a fantastic store, Buttonmania in Melbourne who make any kind of covered button you can imagine. Their service is fantastic and quick too and they post anywhere in Australia!

So tried and tested in London and Holland, this coat is super cosy – it is a definite wardrobe winner and I wore it almost every day – mostly like this:

Do you like how my handbag matches the letterbox?!

I am super happy with this coat and the extra effort and hand-sewing were definitely worthwhile.

What would I change for next time? Nothing!!  I love it!! (although a more exciting colour would be fun)

Now some extra pics for all you details peeps:

Silk lining

Details:
Pattern – Vogue 7979
Fabric – 3m wool & 2.5m silk lining from Alannah Hill and 2.5m of flannel from Lincraft
Notions – thread from my stash, buttons made by Buttonmania

Going dotty for the Lady Skater Dress

This week for a change of scenery I am in London! Ok I admit I didn’t do it for the blog, but a change is good right? Upon finding out I needed to be here, my first thought was “it will be cold, I’ll need new winter clothes”. Of course the fact that I must have worn something last winter has not escaped me, but to me travelling means new outfits (generally I don’t need much of excuse for a new outfit really).

20140303-203014.jpg
I have been wanting to try the Lady Skater dress by Kitschy Coo for a while and had the perfect ponte in my stash. First I made it in red, but I am showing you my second one first. Why? Because that is what I wore today of course!

20140303-203627.jpg
A word to the wise – the pattern lines are in different colours, I didn’t know this before I printed it and so when I used the cheap option of black and white it was tricky to see the different sizes. Still counting the lines was easy enough. I cut a size 4 in the bust, grading out to a 5 for the waist and hips and this worked brilliantly. No FBA required – yay, time saver! I did find it long in the body and took about 1.5″ off the length.

20140303-204119.jpg
For some reason my first two versions seem shorter than others I have seen about the internets. I didn’t alter the skirt length so I am not sure if that is because others have lengthened theirs or whether I have used a more stable knit that hasn’t dropped as much? I am not tall at all so that is not it! I did learn this morning that there is supposed to be elastic on the waist, I didn’t do this step because I didn’t read the instructions. I just sewed it together as I would a tee. I don’t think any of my versions would benefit from the elastic, but this may depend on the stability of the knit chosen.

This is a super quick make (I think even for a newbie), all the seams were sewn on my overlocker and the hems with my coverstitch machine. All up including cutting 45 minutes. When I had just finished a coat (to be blogged soon) which took about a week, this was an awesome quick project. Sometimes it is nice to have those quick, gratifying makes.

This dress is a brilliant travel dress. It is easy to throw in the suitcase, comfy to wear on the plane but still looks great. It works really well with my Coppelia cardi as worn today. (Psst any black you see poking out the neckline is my thermal underwear!)

20140303-204544.jpg
I must warn you all, I have made three of these dresses now, with at least one more planned 🙂 I really am becoming queen of the repeat pattern lately huh? Promise I’ll try some new ones when I get back.

Details:
Pattern – Lady Skater dress by Kitschy Coo
Fabric – 1.7m polka dot ponte from fabric.com

Plantain Love

This post was supposed to go up on Friday for Valentines Day, but sometimes things get in the way. This time technology was the problem. I completely lost all internet at home, in fact my whole street has been out for 5 days! I normally work from home 3 days a week and Friday is one of them. With the internet being out I couldn’t work on Friday, but couldn’t go to the office as I had to wait at home for a technician – frustrating! I was going to spend the day sewing but I also had some home stuff to get out of the way and ended up completely re-painting my kitchen so at least that left more of my weekend free.  Sometimes you just have to find that silver lining.

Anyway, onto the sewing.  I am sure all you sewing peeps are aware of the free Plantain Tee pattern downloadable from Deer & Doe. I had heard it described on Twitter as “life changing”, so of course had to see if this was true.

Plantain tee love

I am not sure I would go so far as to call it “life changing”, but it is pretty damn cool.  The fit is great and it makes up super fast. If you have an overlocker it can be done in about 30 minutes start to finish.

Plantain tee love
I really like the neckline – it is the perfect shape to be universally flattering

I started by making a plain pale pink short sleeve one. The observant amongst you will have you noticed this isn’t it. This is in fact my third Plantain and I think, the prettiest one.

I made no alterations to the pattern, cutting a size 38 in the shoulders, grading out to a 42 bust and 44 in the hips based on my measurements.

Plantain tee love
I had a lot of this grey Wool Jersey, I only asked for a metre, but when the lady at the store pulled it from the roll she noticed an almost invisible flaw about a metre in and started measuring from there – this meant I ended up with 2 metres for $5 – gee I love a bargain! The fabric is also 150cm wide so a little goes a long way. I ended up getting two long sleeve tees out of this.

In my world, one cannot have two completely identical garments, so I needed to differentiate them somehow. This is how my coverstitch was introduced to Plantain and a match in heaven was made.  Since buying the machine I have been wanting to play with the decorative stitch. Using pink thread I top-stitched the sleeves, neck and the cute elbow patches.
Plantain tee love
The elbow patches are just modified into the shape of a heart that I did freeform with my scissors eyeballing the shape. Bizarrely over the weekend I saw Anna do the exact same thing on the Deer & Doe blog and she even helpfully made a tutorial, which is a lot more technical than my dodgy method. Great minds think alike huh?

Plantain tee love

I have a couple more planned that I hope to make this weekend – it is a fabulous wardrobe staple. I highly recommend this pattern and did I mention it is free??

Plantain tee love

Details:
Pattern – Plantain Tee by Deer & Doe
Fabric – 1m pink cotton rayon knit from fabric.com, 2m of Wool Jersey from Alannah Hill, Melbourne
Notions – thread from my stash

Stash update:
New total = 154.5m
(I also made an unblogged Hollyburn skirt)

Sacre bleu Dress

Last weekend hubby and I were fortunate to spend the weekend down on the Gold Coast at a gorgeous luxury resort. So relaxing and so much food! I have to say I am a sucker for a good buffet breakfast and caramelized banana on waffles? What an awesome way to start the day!

So of course a beach location mini-break means a new sundress! This is made from some of the lovely fabric haul I bought in the Black Friday sale last year (yay more stashbusting) and at the time of writing it is still available here if you like it as much as me.

Sacre Bleu Hazel

The pattern is Hazel from Colette Patterns but with the skirt switched out to a dirndl (with pockets of course).

Sacre Bleu Hazel

For the construction of the bodice I used the same sizing as last time. The pattern has facings on the bodice, however I chose to fully self-line it. When I made it with facings they drove me crazy and kept wanting to pop out at the back.  Also I like how much tidier on the inside it is when fully lined as it catches in the waistband. I also topstitched around the waist to ensure the gathering sat nice and flat. No-one needs extra bulk around the waist!!

Sacre Bleu Hazel

The skirt is my often used gathered skirt, just two panels, each cut using the full width of my fabric and gathered.

Briefly, my method of gathering involves sewing two rows of stitching at a length of 4.0, one row at about 6mm from the top edge of my skirt fabric, the other about 2cm from the edge. I then pull the bottom threads up to gather the fabric to the desired length and ensure I am happy with the spacing. Then when I attach this to my bodice, the spacing is nice and even. With a seam allowance of 1.5cm it means you won’t accidentally sew over the gathering stitches and they will be nice and easy to pull out.

Sorry, no pictures of the back, I guess I forgot!  Oh well, just imagine, lapped zipper and straps nicely covering my bras straps. I promise it is the case! I do have more pics of me being a dork though.  Hubby was director/photographer again:

Sacre Bleu Hazel
Hubby: “Look pensive”
Sacre Bleu Hazel
Me: “Like this??”

Such a nice couple of days away, we did absolutely nothing except eat and relax, oh yeah a few cocktails may have been consumed also!

Ahhh, this is the life!

Details:
Pattern – Hazel by Colette
Fabric – 2.5m of Amy Butler Cameo Forget Me Not cotton from fabric.com
Notions – zipper & thread from my stash

Stash update:
New total = 159.8m