Game Changer

I made a bra!  I had always thought this was something that was a waste of time, would be too fiddly and too difficult to fit.  However recently, for some weird reason, the idea popped into my head and I just couldn’t get it out until I had given it a go for myself.

To give me a fighting chance of it fitting correctly, I used one of my well fitting bras as a pattern.  Using the tips from Susan’s Measure Twice/Cut Once blog I carefully unpicked half of my bra leaving the other half so I could see how it went back together again. (the bra was old and manky but still fitted well).

IMG_6579

The pieces are quite small to work with and the seam allowances are teeny tiny, mostly about 6mm, but the construction was generally quite straightforward.  With the other half of the bra left intact, it was relatively easy to work out the order of construction and all up the process took about 4 hours.  Not bad I thought, especially for the first one.  Even better, the fit is perfect!

IMG_6583

The insides of the bra are not finished but as they are all of stretch fabric there are no fraying issues.  I topstitched all the seams also for a professional finish. My original bra had some kind of stabilizing tape on the seams that covered the seams, but I couldn’t find this in the store.

IMG_6582a

I bought all my supplies locally at Make It Fabrics who have mostly everything I could want, although sometimes finding just the right colour is tricky which is why my elastic on the back is a slightly different colour. It was all I could find and at the time I didn’t know what I could or couldn’t change.

IMG_6580

Most of the construction was done in straight stitch, except for the elastic which was sewed in a triple zigzag stitch.

What I learned for next time:

  • ensure the bridge (middle bit) does not stretch at all, this affects whether you have cleavage or not!
  • make sure the power mesh is cut the correct way around, it seems to stretch one much more than the other
  • the stretch of the shoulder straps is important. My original elastic hardly stretched and so the sliders kept moving
  • bras are super fun to make and rewarding, I can now use all the colours and laces!!
  • now that I have one I will experiment with different fabrics. The cups of my original bra don’t stretch much so is there any reason I can’t use cotton?
  • apparently I have no shame, putting my underwears on the internet for all to see!!

Generally I find bra shopping to be really difficult in “normal” stores at least.  My cup size is too big for the straight sizing range, but my back and shoulders are too narrow for the plus sized ranges.

I will definitely be making more, in fact I have already cut out my next one! Not only are they fun to make, the price savings alone make it worthwhile.

V8998 Navy workhorse dress

For something different I am writing this from the train travelling from Graz to Vienna! I have been in Graz for the past few days judging a competition of some of the best skaters in the world. What an amazing opportunity that I am proud to be a part of.

But on to the dress that I am sure is the real reason you are here 😀

IMG_6463
This is Vogue 8998, a princess seamed bodice with waistband and two skirt options. Although I didn’t take either skirt option, I switched in my new favourite skirt from V8555 with the box pleats and side seam pockets. I also omitted the side pleats because (a) I didn’t have enough fabric and (b) I didn’t want the skirt quite that full.

IMG_6455IMG_6460
The pattern has cup size options, of course I went with the D cup, but with the excess fabric I had to take out I am wondering if the C cup might have been better and will toile this soon to check. I still have a little excess fabric between the bust and shoulders that is somewhat bothersome but I am sure a non-sewist would not notice!

I used a navy sateen that wrinkles a fair bit, but is not as noticeable in real life as the pictures, or I am choosing to ignore it! 

I like this dress a lot and find it is good to wear to work, not super corporate but dressy enough for the office. It is also easy to chuck on a bright coloured cardi and shoes to make it more cheerful. It is already on high rotation.

IMG_6468
Here’s my fun little addition though, secret stripey pockets! I love that mostly I am the only one who know I have these. Well, except for when I go round saying “check out my fun pockets!” 😀

Likes:

  • The scoop back
  • Princess seams
  • pockets!
  • Versatility, this is a great basic dress pattern which I can see me using again and again

IMG_6465

Changes for next time:

  • reduce some of the excess in the upper bust width
  • Try the next cup size down for comparison

All in all I think this pattern has big potential to become my next TNT. 

So now back to my train trip, only 2 hours to go and I’ll be back in Vienna in time for my flight back to Australia tonight.  I’ll bore you with some photos on my next post but for now, here I am at a rooftop cafe on a gorgeous sunny day in Graz during a break from the competition.

  

Morris Jacket

I am sorry, I could not think of a better title other than the obvious for this post, but as I am not feeling the jacket, I just couldn’t feel the title either.

In the interests of sharing the bad as well as the good, I bring you my Grainline Morris Jacket.

Check out my forced looking smile as I pretend to love this!
Check out my forced looking smile as I pretend to love this!

I have a GAP French terry double breasted blazer in my wardrobe and I absolutely love it. It is great for travelling, dressy but comfortable and never needs pressing! I need to replicate this feeling and thought the Morris jacket might come close.  SPOILER ALERT – sadly not!

Morris
The back isn’t always like this, I’m standing funny, but could do with some shaping

I made this in a stretchy grey ponte from my stash. I quantify this as stretchy as some ponte doesn’t stretch much at all, this one does and is a lovely quality (bought during a trip to LA from The Loft and paid for by weight!).

Morris -3

As with most makes I have seen on the interwebs I ended up with the ubiquitous puckering at the hem. Going in prepared, I was so sure I would be able to avoid it. First I used a stretch lining on the facing as I felt that the issue was caused by the front panels not stretching the same as the facing. But I still had puckering. So I ripped out the facing and the puckering remains.  So ugly.

Morris -1

I then hand blind stitched the facing down as I think it is a weighting issue of the facing vs the front. But now my issue is my stitching is not so blind and can be seen from the outside! I have seen some versions where the facing has been topstitched down on the machine and this looks ok in a print, but wasn’t the look I was going for. (maybe a double line of stitching would work) I hate that the visibility of the stitching makes it look home-made!

Morris -4

The jacket super comfortable but in my opinion should be made in a stretch woven like a sateen, not a knit like ponte. But that being said, I have seen in a sateen and it was quite stiff and boxy.

This is just not for me, too boxy, too puckering and just not what I had envisioned. I haven’t thrown it in the bin just yet, I’m still thinking there must be some way to save it, if nothing else, the sleeves could be used on another jacket as I have some fabric left.

So now my search continues for the perfect knit blazer.  Onto a Burdastyle pattern next!

Melbourne Frocktails Dress – V8555

Finally, behold, my Melbourne Frocktails Dress!

V8555-1

I know I am remarkably tardy in posting this, but in true Lizzie form, I was chattering way too much at Frocktails to get any pictures of it. Also, going through everyone’s photos here, here and here, one would think I didn’t attend at all as there is little to no photographic evidence!

The dress is of course Vogue 8555 as per my last post and constructed much the same…

V8555-4

…with one major change.  Can you see my zipper?  Nope, not the best invisible zipper ever.  When I was trying it on for fit with it basted up, I realized I didn’t require one, so I left it off!! I know, weird right? It felt a bit weird omitting it, almost like it’s an unfinished dress, but of course makes the back lovely and flat.

The only thing I was a little annoyed at myself for was the pattern matching or lack thereof.  When I cut it out for some reason I gave it very little thought and as a result have a stupid double print down the front. Whatevs.

Because I always forget, here are some shots of the insides:

V8555-bodiceV8555-inside
The fabric is a gorgeous patterned supposedly silk blend, which I think is maybe 5% silk at best, sure feels flammable, but whatever, it feels amazing to wear and doesn’t crease, so winning!

V8555-2

The second (and final) change for this version was to raise the neckline by an inch for a little more safety and to make it a little more wearable for work.

Now to my question, if you were going to put a little jacket or cardi over this for layering warmth, what pattern would you use and what colour?  I am really having trouble pairing this with anything I currently have.  Suggestions please!!

The Distraction Dress – V8555

As many of you will know, recently Melbourne held their annual Frocktails event. I am terrible when it comes to sewing to a deadline, it’s when the ultimate of distractions happen.

Here’s how my thought pattern was working three weeks out from the event:

  1. Hmmm, frocktails is coming up, I should make a dress
  2. How about I start with one completely not intended for Frocktails
  3. Followed by, I kinda know what I better make, but I better make it in different fabric first just in case (in case of what, I am not sure)
  4. Crap, I only have one weekend left, I better get moving!!

V8555-3

This is my Frocktails practice dress – Vogue 8555.

I did a muslin of the bodice first – I generally find it works well for my shape to cut a smaller size in the back than the front. I often do an FBA as well but this time it wasn’t needed! Huzzah!!  The only adjustments required were a little off the shoulders and narrowing the waistband by approx. 1.5cm.

V8555-4

I love the details of the bodice, the neckline pleats, the gathering under the bust and the waistband. The skirt is lovely and full and has pockets – everyone knows all good skirts should have pockets 🙂

Warning – the neckline is pretty low, I don’t mind this too much normally, but for work I would prefer it higher as I feel like everyone can see down it!

V8555-1

Construction wise, this went together fairly easily and the pattern is marked by Vogue as Easy. The only tricky bit I found was the zip.  My fabric has a lengthwise stretch so it kept bubbling when I was inserting it. I ended up having to baste it in first to get it to sit flat – very frustrating, but I got there in the end. I’m no quitter!!

V8555-5

Likes:

  • bodice shape and the flared skirt
  • pockets!!
  • easy to construct

Changes for next time:

  • shorten the waist panels a little more
  • raise the neckline a little for better office suitability 🙂

V8555-2

So, spoiler alert, if you haven’t guessed, I used this pattern for my Frocktails dress which I will blog soon!

PS – If you’re wondering why I am intently looking left, it’s because the sun was blinding me and I left my sunglasses at home!

PPS – Summer is on the way – yay!! Tights begone!!

Reglisse Dress AKA 50 shades of meh dress

IMG_6380

This dress was made at the recent (hmm ok not so recent, it was June) Sewaway weekend in Melbourne. In my defence of the lateness of my post, it has been pretty cold (for me) lately and I really did want to photo this without the cardi & tights that is normally a staple at this time of year. Plus it’s too dark when I get home to take pics and the first thing I’m thinking about when I get home is dinner!!

The pattern is the Deer & Doe Reglisse.  The dress has a bias cut bodice with cap sleeves and a three quarter circle skirt.

Reglisse

The dress went together very easily and I am really happy with the fit straight out of the envelope.  I figured with the bodice being on the bias might mean I could avoid an FBA – I think I can get away with this as there is no obvious pulling. I used a supposed rayon from my stash bought a couple of years ago in London, I am pretty sure this is a cotton though, it just doesn’t have the drape that it should.

Reglisse

What to say about this pattern? Well I like it, but I don’t love it.  I feel like it is perhaps a bit boxy and like the cap sleeves make me look a little broader. I’m not fishing for compliments, believe me, just being honest.  I still wear it and of course love the polka dots, but I just don’t love the shape on me.

I’m also not the biggest fan of the elasticated waist. Normally I love an elastic waist for comfort, but the pattern calls for 1 1/16″ elastic so this is fairly wide and sits kind of loose.  I would suggest altering this otherwise a belt feels necessary all the time.

Reglisse
The waist casing sits funny, but a belt sure fixes this!

Likes:

  • bodice shape and the flared skirt
  • polka dots!!
  • easy to construct

Dislikes:

  • the width of the elastic & casing – too frumpy like
  • the ties are too short to tie in a bow like the pattern envelope indicates
  • the cap sleeves?? I might play around and see if I prefer it sleeveless
  • it would be better with pockets, cos all garments should have pockets!
Reglisse
Apparently I’m falling over in this one!

So there you go, my mediocre Reglisse dress. Have you made anything a little meh lately? You know, nothing glaringly awful, that you’re just not feeling?

V1395 – Tie-ing something new

Hello again! Finally I have chance to get back to the blog. It has been crazy busy around here lately, mostly because I went to Melbourne Frocktails last weekend and procrastinated on my dress and then decided last minute that I needed a coat too!  Yep – I am clearly quite mad!! However, job done and I will share these with you soon, just need to take some pics!

I have a shite-load of garments that I am behind on blogging, but this is my new favourite to wear so you get to see it first! I made this when procrastinating on making my Frocktails dress.

IMG_6365

It’s V1395, a sweet little pullover, elastic waist dress with waist ties (get my blog title now? insert eye roll here).  I expected this to be a comfortable dress and wasn’t sure it would be overly flattering, however I was hopeful and forged ahead in a polyester from my stash in the home of ending up with a wearable muslin.  Better than that, I have a dress that I love and now am planning more!!

IMG_6360
I’ve no idea why I am frowning so much in this pic!!

I cut a size 16, narrowing at the shoulders as is normal for me. I also raised the shoulders as I am short in this area. As it was intended to be a wearable muslin I skipped the French seams and just stitched and overlocked as is normal for me for most garments any way.

IMG_6358

I don’t like how the instructions have you attach the lining and create the casing. It is not stitched down in anyway and therefore doesn’t sit flat at the waist.  I think next time I will stitch the casing to the dress at the time of creating it. I didn’t end up with the low armholes that other bloggers have mentioned, I think because I raised the shoulders.

IMG_6361

I only shortened the waist a smidgeon at the back so be warned if you are taller. Also, this is the pattern length, again pretty short since I am only 5’2″.  I love the ties, but be aware if you make this that the reverse of your fabric will be visible.

IMG_6355

This a great versatile dress, I wear it with plain black tights and low heels to work and then with ballet flats or boots for casual. I have another one planned in a silk crepe and then another in a rayon blend – perhaps one for each day of the week! Do you think anyone would notice if I only made/wore this pattern?? 😛

Rock Rose Cardigan

I swear I must be the world’s slowest knitter, but I do finish things….eventually. Not like my Mum who used to have a stack of half made jumpers, my favourite being a neon orange jumper she started in the late 60s – no wonder she never finished, she was probably going blind trying to knit it!

Anyhoo…onto to my finished jumper:

IMG_6302

This is the Rock Rose Cardigan, knitted top down, mostly stocking stitch but with a cool bobbly pattern down the front to keep it from being too boring to knit.

The pattern repeat eventually got its way into my brain and so I was able to knit without having to refer to the pattern all the time. I like the raglan sleeve for fit across the shoulders.

IMG_6312

But my favourite bit is the I-cord bind off. I had never done this before. It goes all the way up the button band, across the neck and then back down the other button band. This technique takes forever but the finished result is super professional.

IMG_6313

I used a Madelinetosh yarn in the colour Fathom. I really like the variegation of the colour with this brand and it is lovely to work with, even though it is pretty ex-y.  I bought it on a trip to the US in 2013 – buying things on holiday never seem expensive, it’s all just part of the experience 🙂 (well that’s what I tell myself anyway!)IMG_6315If I could fault this at all, it would be that it is a little big. You can see in the above photo the roominess under the arms. This is a little annoying as I did get gauge so I thought it should have been fine. Anyway, it’s not so big that I won’t wear it.

My favourite part is the vibrancy of the colour – it just glows – so lush.

IMG_6325

I’ve moved on my next project, the Boxy & Buttony Jumper so expect to see that sometime in the next 12 months!!

Canberra Frocktails and Vintage Simplicity

I bought this fabulous cotton sateen fabric at a recent Spotlight sale. I asked my dear darling husband “do these colours suit me?”. “No” he says. So of course I ignored him and bought it anyway (what was he doing in Spotlight anyway??). I just couldn’t resist the vibrant colours with the vintage feel. It just had to be made up into a vintage dress, the only question was which one?!

I settled on Vintage Simplicity 3316 which Wikia says is from late 1950s/early 1960s. I was particularly drawn to the kimono sleeves and the coat (which I have a plan for soon).

IMG_2217

I did a muslin of the bodice and it fitted really well and so with no adjustments I cut into my fabulous fabric. I sewed the majority up on the Sewaway weekend in Melbourne, but it was too cold to constantly try it on so I left the finishing for home. I ended up taking 1¼” off the shoulders as I had some fabric pooling under the arms, but apart from that, no adjustments. No FBA!!

IMG_6330

Of course this fabulous dress needed a fabulous event and Canberra Frocktails was it! Those girls sure know how to organize a fun shindig! Blimey there was a lot of champagne, so much for the two glasses included, more like 5 or 6. I must have had a dodgy canapé though as I was talking to the porcelain telephone later that night 😉 Oops!

IMG_6331

IMG_6343

Can you guess who took my photos? The fact I can’t stop laughing might give it away.

3316Oh dear, the pics are getting blurry now – always the sign of a good night!! 😀

raptorPictures taken by the wonderful lady that is Amanda – this girl is so warm and genuine and of course an all round sewing wizard with rad raptor poses! And blimey she can rock a tulle skirt!!

PS – that’s the second of my Vintage Pledge dresses complete – one to go!!