Sunday, November 29, 2015

So, I didn't need it... but how could I resist?

Well, I couldn't resist. I went to the fabric sale but vowed not to spend too much. I mean, I have linens from there from 25 year ago! (beautiful Italian linens that were then $2 for a 3 metre length!)

As it transpired, I forgot to get any extra cash and so only had the amount I had in my coin tray in the car - I use this for the parking meters normally so I better restock it!

First up, above, a cotton fabric that is actually more khaki than the grey it appears above. It was .50c and is enough for a pair of casual trousers or maybe jeans.

 This viscose (rayon) above matches perfectly and $6 for 1.25 metres of 140cm wide is a good buy particularly when it is a lovely print. This should become a top to match those pants I'll make (cough, cough) above.

This a a beautiful piece of linen that is a beautiful watermelon red colour. Dress or drawstring pants? $2? could you resist??

 These are merino scraps in a black, purple red and that grey colour. Each of these pieces would be enough for a front or back of a t-shirt or  a long sleeve. I may even make my intrepid niece some merino undies as she likes these but I don't think she likes the prices!

These are synthetic scraps also - they were wrapped together and who could resist those colours together. Also enough to make a lightweight cardi or something in winter. They don't normally have synthetic knits but as long as it isn't next to my skin I don't care.

 This is also a beautiful piece of linen - 1.75cm long and 140 wide for $12 - bargain!

 This chevron knit is also a remnant and synthetic but for $1 I couldn't resist it either and there are enough in the pieces to make a skirt for winter.

This last piece is a remnant big enough for a shirt. It's an interesting cotton fabric that I bought a couple of years ago for $8 per metre from them (still not made) but the interesting bit is, that it is woven with metal threads through it. This was evident when I did a burn test to see if it was indeed the same fabric as the one I had already. As I am in need of everything casual and not old or just plain  worn out, I should be able to make some nice things for nearly nothing - this whole haul cost a mere $25. I probably couldn't get one metre of linen for $25 so I'm very happy... now to make stuff.

Anyone else get there?

Wednesday, November 25, 2015


Hi... just a reminder of the fabric sale this Thursday and Friday if you live around the Brisbane and surrounds.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Ottobre and Burda - a nice couple.

This is my latest sewing. Sorry it's so crumpled.. I've been out all day and also did some house jobs before thinking about photos.  I had planned to take them while I was out, but of course I forgot my phone today so I used my real camera. I think they are better although the colours aren't perfect.
Finally something my $5 pink plastic watch matches!

I had shoes on but ditched them when I got home for my trusty Birkis! Introducing my overgrown garden made worse by the heavy rain last week.

The patterns are the Grain Field top from the current summer Ottobre 2/2015. Sue, from Quilt, Sew, Sew Sue has also made this recently and she has the line drawing there too, if you'd like to have a look. It's an easy pattern and made up in a couple of hours.  The fabric is a remnant piece I bought from Spotlight in Adelaide when I was there in 2011. It was only about 80cm long and 120cm wide. I shortened the top length about 6 cm as Ottobre is made for a taller body than mine (but I can't remember exactly right now) and I made sure it was above where the top fanned out so not to lose the flare. I think it's a good length for me. Ottobre has made it up with an invisible zip but my pin head fits very easily with no neckline opening. I made a size 34 at the shoulders, going out to a 42 (?) at the sides from the bottom of the arm hole. Easy FBA! I took a small dart out of the back neckline as even the smallest neckline/shoulder measurements are way too big for my tiny back/shoulders. I should have taken some out of the front but as I didn't I gathered the front a tiny bit so it wouldn't gape. This worked fine. I made 1.5cm bias binding and sewed it to face the insides and this also worked well. I read a review (post sewing) that said the Ottobre measurements for the bias was too short but I just pieced it from 2 short pieces x 3 and cut off the excess. This is a stretch cotton sateen but I have seen a dress made online in Australia (forgot whose) which is the same print but a knit!

This is the Burda pattern for the pants. This was a generous gift along with many other patterns and many, many Top Kids pattern magazines. Judith from Made by J, who lives not too far away contacted me and asked if I would like the magazines and I said "Thanks". There were lots of patterns (maybe 20?) and many magazines. As I have a boy, I have only kept 3 of the magazines but I have passed them onto a friend with 4 children who she is keen to start sewing for... so gone to a very grateful home. Thanks Judith!

This is a super easy pattern, with a big box pleat on each side of the front and just one dart each side at the back. There is no waistband, just a facing and a lapped zip at the front. I could have put side pockets in but chose not to.. and I certainly didn't want those huge patch pockets either. I do kind of miss the side pockets though, but the fabric is a heavy pants weight cotton stretch sateen too (from East Coast Fabrics $2 per metre, thanks for that!) and I just thought it would be too much. I think I made a waist of size 38 and the hip size 46 by the measurements, but these are very voluminous in the leg and I ended up tapering them back to about a 40. They are unbelievably comfortable and I will make them again with some polka dot cotton/linen I recently bought.

Overall, I love this pairing. Initially, I thought that pink pants would be dreadful as I made them first but when I stumbled on this remnant for the top, after not finding some other fabric I wanted, I thought 'perfect'. This is a great coupling of patterns - easy and quick, and with different fabrics, would give different looks.

When I was placing the pattern on the fabric, it wasn't quite wide enough so I overlapped the fabric and placed the pieces so that the very wide bottom of the top would fit against the top part. Of course this worked only because this isn't a directional pattern.

I also have that batik '80's (or was it '70's) dress I made before this outfit, but it is in the ironing basket so I'll show that next.

Don't forget the fabric sale coming up (see last post) if you live locally. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

It's on again.... The Fabric Sale!

I'm going to go on Thursday but I'm not going to buy anything..... ba ha ha... as if! (I won't be buying much as I have plenty, but it never hurts to look.)

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Brisbane Frocktails .... it all worked out in the end!

I was convinced I'd be wearing black to Frocktails last Saturday night. A black net fabric with flowers   actually on it (hard to describe). It needed a lining, it was going to be a raglan style with the sleeves not lined. Very specific isn't it? The problem was, I just wasn't feeling it. I couldn't pick a lining colour, I went through a rayon in a fuchsia colour, a off white raw silk, I couldn't find the purple lining I have (somewhere) and on it went for nearly two weeks. I draped it over me with the linings and looked in the mirror, I did it all but I just couldn't summon the enthusiasm (not even close) to start. I changed my idea of the pattern and decided on a Burda pattern but still couldn't start. Come Friday afternoon, with my deadline looming, I decided to clean the house up (that's a plus really) and then with half an hour before my son was getting home, decided to use a Vogue Designer pattern and a fabric I bought in Singapore in 2009 and placed it on the fabric and cut it out. I tried to talk myself into starting it at least that evening when my son went to bed but decided against it... that was really asking for trouble.

This is the fabric I used in the end. It is a "washable silk" - this was on the selvage - and has it all - burn out, sequins, embroidery and a lovey drape and hand. It's a little transparent so it had to be lined too. The lining I used was from a handful I bought a few months ago at an op shop - I think all three I bought were $3 and would you believe it was silk too. I was really thrilled and although it was a grey green it was close enough. 

Last year I was going to use this McCall's pattern with this fabric to wear to the High Tea, but it just wouldn't fit on my length of fabric, even without the godet.

This is the pattern I ended up using. Can you believe that I got this dress out of 2 metres of 120cm wide fabric! I was thrilled. I think it was the drafting of the pattern and the layout. I want to mention that we were meeting at 6pm and I started sewing this at 11 am. Of course I had to first dye my son's cloak for halloween, mop the floor and at 1 pm I had to drive my son to my sister's place which takes all up about 2 hours! No pressure. I had to be on the bus (so glamorous) at 5.10pm. Although at 1pm I had the skirt made and the top partly done, I still had to shower, do my hair and make up and finish it.

Anyway this is what the dress looked like on the night so you know it got finished. Here I am with Jenny in the purple Vogue 8805 and Marjorie wearing her Burda dress.   Don't we look terrifically stylish.

The skirt is in 2 pieces with no side seams, just a centre back seam. The top front, back and straps are cut on the bias, with the skirt pieces on the straight grain. It is also supposed to have a waistband,  a zip at the waist on the skirt part with the top being closed with snaps.  I didn't do any of these as I had no time. I also measured the waistband around my waist and it wouldn't have been long enough anyway. 

Here I missed getting a small end of the skirt attached to the top! I didn't notice this until I took it off but wasn't noticeable due to the blousing of the top, thank goodness. At least no one mentioned it.

This is the lining peaking out. The pattern doesn't call for lining and I wasn't including the fastenings so I had to think through how to put it all together. I didn't rush because I knew that would be asking for more trouble. I was going to sew the skirt and skirt lining separately and do a rolled hem on the overlocker as it was conveniently threaded with green still. However, this has some sequins and the embroidery and I know when I need something done in a hurry, the overlocker objects and will stuff it up. I couldn't take the risk if I wanted to wear it that night so I sewed them together and flipped it so it was fully enclosed. I think that's why it is peaking out a bit as I cut a few millimetres off the hem part of the skirt lining for some turn of seam allowance and it slipped around a bit, plus at the waist it's not perfect and so the skirt sits wrongly (I will fix this up) making the lining show.

This is the lining (above) and the waist treatment (below). The top is fully enclosed in the lining and so I wanted to enclose the seams in the waist area but it was so tricky as I decided to use elastic at the waist not only for comfort but also for the gathering as I didn't have time to do it the normal time consuming way. It was tricky also because the front of the skirt has a few pleats and then gathering through the back but I just made three pleats (instead of the five) and then had to try and fit the skirt to the top. Then I needed to hand stitch the linings together but only did about a quarter properly and then just roughly for the rest as I ran out of time, but also because I suspected I would need to open it up again to tidy it up a bit. That was a good plan I think as I noticed after the back seams don't meet.

Very rough, temporary job on joining the linings at the waist!

The top was a dream to sew. The cowl is lovely and comes to a point which keeps it in place very nicely. It calls for the cowl edges to be folded once, then the strap ends placed in there and then folded and sewn in place. I just did this using the fabric and lining as one and it worked out perfectly.

This is the strap folded into the cowl edge. Lining the dress was a blessing in the long run because I dreaded sewing in the facing for the armhole... so glad that was avoided.

 Turn of cloth on my skirt hem... worked mostly, just needs to be tidied up.

Of course there was a disaster. I had a time plan to follow and I was only about 10 minutes over so I was pretty happy. I got everything done, put my cute, cute,  perfect colour matched shoes on. These shoes incidentally are also from Singapore. They were bought the same trip in 2009 and they haven't seen a lot of work but they are so comfortable. See the white under my foot - this is padded and the heel is a lovely height so they are great for a night out. I slipped on my shoes, grabbed my back and walked about 10 metres towards the bus stop and the moulded bottom of the shoe (which is also green) separated from the top!!! I had to rush back, grabbed the first shoes I could and raced to the bus stop. Of course I had forgotten to swap my $5 huge plastic watch with my nice watch too and then waited for about 15 minutes for the bus. 

In the end it was a terrific night, details of which will follow in the next post because this is long enough.