Another day, another ruffle

After seeing Little Betty’s fabulous metallic Moss skirt in a recent post, I thought I might like to make one too. I remembered a pretty remnant from Tessuti Fabrics that I had in my stash that would be perfect for it, 1.1m of an Italian cotton drill speckled with the prettiest little white flowers. It was the perfect amount.

The Moss skirt from Grainline studio is a lovely skirt with great design features. I love the pockets and the back fits nicely with the yoke. Even the inside of the skirt looks nice when made!


But as I was fitting my Moss skirt, I realised that I wanted it to sit higher on my waist, and not as low on the hips as it was intended. This meant that I ended up taking about 3.5cm off each side (reducing the pattern to less than the smallest size). Because of this significant change, the back waistband then ended up sitting higher on me than it should. You can see how high the back is when laying flat and I don’t quite have the booty to fill it.


Next time, I will reduce the yoke or back piece to fix this. I also added a ruffle to the bottom of my skirt because it just seemed right at the time!

I like this skirt, a lot actually. I am really pleased with how neatly the zipper and fly turned out. I love the ruffle and the length feels really modern to me. After a year or more of knee length skirts and dresses, I am noticing a shortening of the hemline in my wardrobe and quite liking it!

Drop waist obsession

I have suddenly become a little obsessed with drop waist dresses. I’m not quite sure what happened but I woke up a few days ago and everything in my wardrobe seemed dated. I was craving something much like this!

My first port of call was to track down the marvellous Malvarosa dress pattern by Pauline Alice that I had seen a while back. Of course, at that point, I couldn’t remember the name of either the dress, blog or designer, and when I searched my bloglovin account, I couldn’t find it there either…disaster! So after racking my brain, Marvelosa, Malarosa….and fruitlessly searching Ebay and Etsy for other suitable matches for the picture in my head, I finally ended up drafting my own design with the help of Alice (my beloved dress mannequin).

After creating the pattern pieces, I decided to create a wearable muslin using a cotton knit rather than use my ‘nice’ fabric right off the bat. I chose the cotton knit for two reasons. I have a tendency to misjudge the amount of ease I need when I drape on Alice, and secondly, I wanted to use up a fabric that I wasn’t quite sure I loved anymore. I must also add that halfway through cutting my own design, I had a massive moment of doubt, finally tracked down the Malvarosa pattern, and purchased it.

But I really shouldn’t have doubted myself! I love the way my dress turned out and I love this fabric all over again. I don’t regret purchasing my Malvarosa pattern as I might still make a long sleeve version of this in a few months time, using my own bodice pieces as a guide (assuming they fit as well in a woven fabric).

Fabric snobbery and little sparrows

Ok I will admit it. I am a fabric snob, an absolute and utter nose-wrinkling snob. I didn’t start out this way, but over the last couple of years as I learnt more about fabrics and began to develop a better appreciation of textiles and quality, I began to see my fabrics in a different way. I have a few favourite shops that I visit regularly, one more than others.

But geographically, my closest fabric shop is Spotlight. Although I rarely purchase fabric there, I do take advantage of their specials for calico, threads, and needles. I was there today on a forage for a specific zipper and thread. I had two small helpers with me and as they ran (yes ran) through the shop oohing and aahing over the most ghastly pink, floral, and sparkly fabrics they could find, a simple, drapey poly caught my eye. I generally dislike polyester because it doesn’t breath and in fabric blends, it pills like crazy. But I quite liked the cute little sparrow print and it matched the shoes I was wearing ;-).

 

You may remember my fabric splurge dress from a little white back. I absolutely love it, but I just haven’t had the occasion to wear it yet (the drawbacks of having small children!). But part of the reason is probably also because I know how special that fabric is and I feel it deserves a special outing, at least on the first wear. I’m thinking about making a sleeveless, and slightly shorter version of this dress to wear on a more daily basis. Call it my school-run dress if you please! Otherwise, I might be able to see myself in a little sparrow shell top,  but no sleeves, of course!



Upcycling Nan-Nan’s skirt

My mother-in-law had a lovely cotton lace skirt that had worn out in the waistline but was otherwise in beautiful condition. The fabric was so pretty that she thought I might be able to do something with it. I wish I had taken a photo of the original skirt as well as the process I followed as it turned out wonderfully, albeit a fraction too large as it was originally intended for her bigger sister.

 
 

The skirt started out as a large, lined, knee-length circle skirt with a ribbed stretch waistband. The lining and waistband were useless but the cotton lace was lovely, even though it was mostly on the bias. All I did was cut off the waistband following the same circular waist shape. I left all the side seams intact. However, I did cut down the centre-back so I could add a zipper to the dress I was planning. I then gathered the basically intact skirt, added a simple gathered lining and whipped up a basic bodice out of a scrap of pale blue linen I had on hand. There was only a skerrick of lace remaining so I added this as overlay to the back of the bodice. In the original skirt, the lace edges were left unfinished and slightly frayed, so I kept this feature in the dress too.

And this is the result, absolutely fabulous for swishing even if I do say so myself. Miss nearly-Four claimed the dress and I think her Nan was quite chuffed to see how her skirt had been repurposed.

 
 

Happy birthday has finally arrived

And it’s a high five for me, who has scored a perfect ten on fit. Yes, birthdays are all about me and seeing my creations finally being worn. If you can remember, I made hubby some Lisa Ho boxers and a gorgeous modal Henley a few months ago. I am ever so proud of myself for refraining from gifting them before today.

My reluctant model permitted me to take a few photos (even though it was barely 6am and he had only just woken up). And yes, he did comment on the gorgeous fabrics. I will definitely be making these for him again. The modal works pretty well in this size for the Henley, but if I use a sturdier or less stretchy fabric, I think I will have to go up a size, particularly in the arm width (yes hubby, to accommodate those massive guns).

 

 
Thanks Nick for the photos. You are a natural! x
 

Jebediah for Christmas

I’m always stuck for things to buy my husband for Christmas. It isn’t that he has everything, quite the opposite actually. But everything he would like is well outside my budget, and probably also slightly outside the budget of a B-list rock-star too.

This year I made him some Jebediah pants from Thread Theory, well shorts actually, and really only a wearable muslin since I wanted them to be a surprise. His birthday is still a few days away too, so he still has no idea that I have made him anything (here and here) other than the usual business shirt. I can’t wait to see his surprise and I am desperately hoping that everything fits him reasonably ok.


I was inspired to get cracking on these Jebediah pants after reading Sallieoh’s recent post. I’d been looking at those pants for a few months but I wasn’t sure what the skinny fit would be like for my slightly larger hubby. It was great to see the pants on Sallie’s Nick. I have a Nick too and he isn’t too dissimilar in build (maybe one day I will get my Nick in front of the camera!).

Since I didn’t want to ruin the surprise by measuring hubby, I wasn’t going to waste any good fabric on these pants in case the fit ended up being horrendous. I purchased some cheap cotton drill from Spotlight, $16 worth in fact, bargain (although from the photos you can see how it wrinkles like crazy)! I also figured it was a good opportunity to push him outside his comfort zone and add a splash of colour to his wardrobe. Just check out that gorgeous blue! And of course the least-feminine button I could find in my stash was a vintage button from All Buttons and probably not really meant for a pair of men’s trouser shorts.


I love the back pocket stitching detail on these shorts and for a little something special, I used some leftover Italian shirting for the pocket lining.

 

Next time I make these pants, I will bind the inside seams and perhaps even use some decorative studs on the outside seams for extra detailing and strength.
 
I love patterns that teach me something and I learnt a great deal from these Jebediah pants. The pocket construction was new to me, but I am so proud that I finally mastered it. The instructions weren’t terribly clear, but after a bit of unpicking and rearranging of the facings, I finally figured out what I was supposed to do. I was completely bamboozled by this same technique a few weeks ago when I was trying to sew some different pants so it was especially wonderful to get that lightbulb moment.

It was also the first time I’ve inserted a fly front zipper. I was prepared to make a big mess of it and I had the Grainline tutorial on hand to help me through just in case (thanks Sallie!) but I ended up making it through fine, although I did have to read it twice and unpick once.

Well, this Christmas elf is clocking off now, having finally finished the last of her 2013 presents. It’s time for me to put my feet up and hand over the reigns to Santa! There should be a stack of photos coming your way in the aftermath of the 25th!




A beaded linen Hannah top

What does one do when on holidays? Why they practice their beading of course! I am the kind of person who finds it very difficult to be idle. I can’t simply sit and watch a movie (to the despair of my ever tolerant husband). If one does find me ‘watching’ a movie, I will most likely also be cutting fabric on the floor, stitching on buttons, or have a book of some description in my lap. I NEED to be doing things, plural. So in the absence of my beloved sewing machines, I packed up some precut pattern pieces, beads, sequins, and loaded my Kindle with Beading Basics by Carlita DelCorso and happily set off on holidays with my three little shadows in tow.

I did discover that my five year old shadow is somewhat of a thrill seeker, as she braved her first rollercoaster rides and ghost trains at Movie World on the Gold Coast. But that it another story entirely. Big rides are not my cup of tea. Give me a needle and thread any day. And even better if it comes with sequins!


This is my second Hannah top. My first one worked out beautifully in some silk crepe de chine. I made this Hannah up in a remnant of simple grey linen that I picked up from Tessuti Fabrics many moons ago. I interfaced the entire front piece, knowing that I was planning to bead it while I was away, but not knowing exactly what I had planned. I also nipped the sides in a fraction and decreased the bust dart a tiny bit. I used a lovely vintage button to fasten the back, from All Buttons.

 

My beading and sequin application was intended to be quite random. I wanted it to look like someone had splattered the front of my top with sparkles and it was just dripping down. Well this was the idea. I actually had no idea just how many beads and sequins such a vision would require, so this was a fabulous learning experiment for me. What you can see on my top is about 8hrs of sewing, half a small packet of sequins and 12.5g of seed beads. It really isn’t a lot. I would have kept going down the top with the gorgeous little seed beads but I finished the tube while I was away and by the time I got home, I was just keen to get sewing.


I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out. I feel very glam in my sparkly new top and I love how the big gold sequins contrast with the natural crinkliness of the grey linen. I also learnt a lot just by getting in there and sewing on beads, as well as by reading Beading Basics along the way. The book, by the way, is a great simple introduction into sewing beads on fabric. The pictures were a bit average on my Kindle but the content was still good. I would recommend this for anyone, sewers and non-sewers, who might like to embellish clothes in their own wardrobe, or pretty up some of the fabrics they already sew.

Now that I have all my sparkles ready for the festive season, roll on those Christmas parties! Well, roll on the carol nights and sticky picnic fingers at the very least…


Liberty and linen peplum

Now I fully realise peplum is a little last season, but it is such a flattering style and I had been wanting to make myself a peplum top for a very long time.

I delved into my stash for this project, using the last of my Liberty from Coco’s recent playsuit and a little leftover linen from another project. The linen was from Tessuti Fabrics and is really quite special. It is a coated linen and the grey is actually printed on. It looks and feels amazing.

The design is my own. The top is self-faced, with an invisible zip centre front. It is probably a little looser fitting than it needs to be, but I was aiming for comfort and coolness with our long hot summer on the way.

 
 
 


The Little Truck Stop Top Dress

Did I mention that I purchased 3m of that Marc Jacobs cotton knit fabric?! It would have been a good amount if not for the leg placement disaster of my own playsuit. But as it happened, I had enough for one more little top dress.


I had been eyeballing the Little Truck Stop Top for months but finally decided to get out there and purchase it, even though I knew it was still going to be a few sizes too big for my littlest girl.

As I’ve already mentioned, this little project was to use up the last bits of my Marc Jacobs knit. I also pieced together about six tiny lengths of some Liberty leftovers to make a beautiful bottom ruffle. I am a little obsessed with Liberty of London cotton right now so it might feature again pretty soon.

I cut the pattern to a size 7. It is way too big but it doesn’t gape immodestly. Miss Coco has not yet decided whether she will wear it as a dress or a nightie to rival her swishing sister.

And by the way, I managed to ‘roll’ the neck binding beautifully this time. I was so pleased with how it turned out after my earlier efforts, that I decided to push on and bind the sleeves before I went to bed. Wrong! I was obviously sleep-sewing. As you can see, I bound them the wrong way again so this is why there is no lovely ‘roll’ on the armscye. 

Another swishy nightie dress

Ok, so this little girl really does not need another night dress but what else was I to do with the remnants of my playsuit? I had to piece the back together in two small sections but you can barely see this due to the pattern.

 
 

The design is my own, basically a sleeveless and slightly shorter version of the other nightie I made for her this Spring. I’m planning to make a Little Truck Stop Top for Miss Five with the last little bits of this fabric so I thought I’d have a go at the interesting sleeve binding feature you see on this top. At first, I wasn’t sure what I did wrong because I simply couldn’t get the fabric to ‘roll’ the correct way. But now I realise that some fabrics just prefer to roll a certain way and I should have just attached it to the other side of the binding fabric instead.


Miss nearly-Four is now completely sorted for the hot summer nights ahead and putting on pyjamas is now a thing of great excitement for her each night. High five for Mummy making bath times a breeze and adding the swish factor to Miss nearly-Four’s nightwear!