Fabric splurge

This is a short post because I am still having heart palpitations over my fabric splurge yesterday. I did go to Tessuti Fabrics with the good intention of spending the remainder of my $500 voucher on some practical linen for summer staples. However, I walked away with something a little different. My third place prize in the 2013 Tessuti Awards has now been spent in its entirety…it didn’t take me long!

Thanks to this dress here:

 
and here:
 
 
I was able to purchase 4m of this dreamy Italian viscose.
 
 
 
It drapes beautifully, is machine washable, non-directional in print, and in my absolute favourite colours. I can’t even breathe how much this cost me per metre, but let me just say it is nearly double the amount I have ever paid for fabric in the past. I actually have a dress in mind for it (which is why I needed so much) but I suspect it is going to sit in my stash for a long time until I can work up the courage to cut it!

Enter swimsuit season!

My first swimsuit has been successfully completed. 

 


And I am super excited with the way it turned out. I love the way the tulle skirt worked (my little modification) and the fabric is amazing. But don’t look too closely at my stitching! Being my first attempt at swimsuit making, I had to play around with stitches a bit. I do have an overlocker but it isn’t a very high end one and I sew much more precisely on my beloved Pfaff. So after a lot of indecisiveness, I ended up sewing the suit using stretch stitches on my sewing machine. I did however, still serge the waist seam to cover the tulle inside thoroughly so it wouldn’t be scratchy. Just look at how many stitches I have to choose from on my Pfaff!


I played around with number 16 and 18 (hopefully you can just make them out in the picture), and then ended up using a plain old zig-zag stitch of varying widths towards the end. It doesn’t look too bad, but I am still not sure if I used the best stitches for a perfect result. My main issue was with achieving a smooth finish over the elastic binding at the neck, arms and legs. I was also worried that the suit would be uncomfortable if I didn’t get it right. The pattern didn’t provide much instruction on sewing techniques for swimsuit fabric apart from the absolute basics.
 


The only modification I made (apart from the tulle) was to lengthen the body of it by about 3cm. My little ballerina Harper is not quite four but she is super tall for her age. She actually reminds me of Bambi with those long legs. I compared the pattern size 4 pieces to a one-piece swimsuit she already had and thought that 3cm would be more than adequate, but clearly it isn’t. Everything else about the suit fits her beautifully. And she obviously finds it very comfortable on. (I double checked for red marks on her little body at bathtime but there were none) I still think I will lengthen it a fraction more in the torso next time, and also raise the front neckline a couple of inches too.



Note the ever present ballet slippers. It was 32degrees today, perfect weather for all day swimsuit wearing… apparently.

And of course no photo shoot is complete without the Annecy photobomb.








Christmas playsuit for Coco

It’s called the ‘Christmas playsuit’ because I used the last of my lovely reindeer print jersey to make it. I used a pattern from this Japanese pattern book.


Yes, it is written entirely in Japanese, but there are excellent pictures to guide you in the construction of the clothes. I absolutely LOVE these Japanese pattern books. There are so many books to choose from, all with relatively simple designs. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend them to beginners, but once you get a bit of practice and knowledge in garment construction, then the pictures are more than adequate to guide you.


 This is Coco in her Christmas playsuit. The main modification I  made was to add a little bit of thin elastic around the leg openings rather than let them hang like shorts. I did this because my fabric is so soft and drapey but had I chosen a linen or cotton, I probably would have left the pattern as normal.


 
I am told the outfit is no good to stand still in, but is fabulous for tree climbing!
 
 
 

Part 1 of the swimsuit issue

I am not sure at all how this is going to go, but I am ready to sew my first swimsuit. I initially chose this lovely Anna and Boy lycra from The Fabric Store

 
 
But then I popped by Tessuti Fabrics today and snapped up this gorgeous remnant. I guess I will just have to make two little girls happy now!
 
 
 
I found it a little difficult to find exactly what I wanted when I was searching for little girl swimsuit patterns. I found the pattern on the left first but it only started at a size 8 so I will need to put it away for a few years. I eventually ended up finding a similar one in smaller sizes so will be using Kwik Sew 2422 this time round. I plan on making View B for Miss 3 in the pretty paisley and View C for Miss 5 in the lemons.

Seeing triple

This is what happens when I get dressed BEFORE my girls in the morning. Thankfully, we were mostly inside the house today, braving the hottest October day in history!


Seeing triple in some simple Ralph Lauren floral cotton. I made my dress about a year ago but only used up the little leftover bits recently. I had a bit of trouble keeping the lions still for a photo shoot.

 
 

The surprise pyjamas

A few months ago I purchased some novelty fabric from Tessuti Fabrics. It normally isn’t my style to purchase fabric speckled with pictures of animals and trees, but then I don’t usually see a lot of novelty fabric at my favourite shop either. And this fabric was particularly soft and sweet, just crying out to be made into some fun Christmas PJs or tops.

Now, I also have a middle sized ‘ballerina’ that that wears out my negotiation skills at bath time. Every single evening, she gets upset at having to take off her daytime dress in order to put on her pyjamas (shorts and t-shirt). Some nights I can’t be bothered battling and let her put a skirt back on over her pyjamas anyway. So last night, after yet another battle and everyone was finally snuggled into bed, I set to work whipping up a nightie for my girliest of girls. To be honest, having recently done a few bigger projects, I also just wanted to make something quick and easy that I could get a bit of immediate satisfaction from. 

And this is it! It is a little big for her but I definitely didn’t want it to be too small and I needed it to be long since she never stays covered by her sheets at night. This is also one little girl who is not bothered by extra swish or ruffles. I left the edges unfinished because the fabric is so soft and pretty rolling up.

 
 
When I finished the nightie, I snuck upstairs and put it on her while she was sleeping. She smiled with her eyes closed but didn’t wake up.

 
Someone was pretty chuffed coming down the stairs this morning (with her handbag of course!).

 
She loves her new nightie and was super excited about the surprise of waking up in a princess dress! Lucky hubby is away. This Mummy gets way too much delight from spoiling her girls.

Spring frock dyeing project

So this is it. I modified a pattern I drafted for a little linen top last summer and turned it into a swishy floaty summer frock with a graduated hem. It feels beautiful on…and my little middle chickee loves it so much that she has put in an order for a hi-lo hem on her next dress. 

It is possibly a little sheer on the bottom as I didn’t want to line the skirt with anything less than silk for fear of affecting its floatiness. However, I figure I can get away with nude underwear on a normal day and a light slip if I ever planned on attending a dressy daytime function. The silk crepe de chine is beautifully cool and swirls with funnels of air when I walk. I am pretty happy with the way the dye job turned out ,but I will still be interested to see how it will wash and wear.

This style of bodice was actually a bit fiddly to make with such a light and slippery fabric. As always, there is the matter of front access for me to consider (I am still feeding my not-so-bubby chick. Not that I am encouraging all day access, but those strong little fists manage to destroy any neckline in her way). Hence, the ever present invisible zip down the front of my dress. Buttons down the back or an invisible side zip would have looked so much better. I am dreaming of the day I can make myself a boat neck button back tank top!

In any case, I am looking forward to some hot days at the end of the week. You will most likely find me swishing elegantly around the backyard with my smallest peeps. Once again, thank you Sallieoh for the fabulous dyeing inspiration!




The completed birthday shirt

 
I finally finished the birthday shirt. My ever present assistant was not entirely pleased with my handiwork. It could have been the lack of ruffles, big buttons, or tulle that failed to meet her expectations.

I was pleased with the way the contrasting floral Liberty of London looked on the inner collar stand and plackets. It may be my best collar yet in terms of neatness, but on comparing with the other shirts in hubby’s cupboard, I did notice that this collar is a little narrower. I may have to draft my own collar next time.

 
I am especially pleased with my button choice and in the way I was able to line up the stripes perfectly down the front. I always feel rather chuffed if the patterns end up matching as planned. I purchased these little buttons from the Button shop on King Street in Newtown. I wasn’t sure about them at the time as they have a slight grey/mauve tint (not at all like the standard pearlescent white buttons you see on absolutely every business shirt). But I bought them just in case and in the end they looked perfect!

 

I am not super happy with my buttonholes or edge stitching. Because of the dark contrasting fabric on the underside of the shirt, I decided to use a dark thread in my bobbin and it showed through to the top stitching slightly. I am not sure if this is a tension/stitching problem with my machine or just something that happens. Next time I would stick to all white thread and just deal with seeing the stitching on the underside.

Here’s to the completion of another shirt for hubby. I might not get excited about sewing him shirts anymore, but it is always so satisfying to complete such a technical project well, and the joy it gives my hubby to receive them is well worth every minute spent lining up stripes. My next challenge is going to be holding out until December to hand over the shirt!

Birthday shirt cuff comparison

The birthday shirt is coming along pretty well, although I am going to reserve my judgement on this project until the very end. I made a modification to the front placket, switching it to the inside so I could use a floral contrast instead of self-fabric. But, I now realise that the width of my modified placket won’t match perfectly with the other front side. At the moment, I am still hopeful that this mistake won’t be too noticeable (at least by hubby).

What has worked out nicely so far is the cuff plackets. I am using a nice white shirting to contrast with the stripes for the collar and cuffs. And check out the difference between the cuff plackets in this pattern compared to the vintage shirt pattern I had been using before. The vintage piece is on the left.

So, to make the cuff placket, I first made a slit, then stitched a narrow hem on one side of the slit, before stitching the placket piece to the other side.

I then folded it through to the right side (folding all the raw edges under neatly with the use of my iron), and stitched around the edges. Super simple and not fiddly at all.

I know the inside doesn’t look as professional (to me anyway!), but how can I not be happy with these results on the outside!