Saturday, 10 March 2018

Pineapple Pants

This year I have joined the RTW Fasters which means I have pledged to make all my clothes!  So far so good and I am only shopping to look at the details and construction and the inside of garments for inspiration. That is me on the right with the umbrella!

This fabric has been in my stash for a year and I originally thought I would make a jumpsuit out of it but then decided on culottes!

Pineapple 🍍 pants! Vogue 9019 Culottes. I took out the pleats and look how roomy they still are! I also added a tie belt that is fastened at the waist at the side seams. Fabric was viscose I think but it  puckered at the seams so there was quite a bit if unpicking. The fabric did not like the overlocker no matter how I played with the tension, so I ended up zigzagging most seams. It has a zipper at the centre back so I used an invisible zip.

(The top is a bought one from about 6 years ago!)  Happy sewing!


Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Simplicity 1563 Dressing gown (Bath Robe)

Cotton Quilting Backing proved to be the perfect fabric to make my boy a summer bathrobe.  It was 2.8 m wide because presumably it can be used for a quilt for a double or queen sized bed. I found it hard to find cotton fabric appropriate for a teenager of 18 and fabric which was wider than 112cm.  With the narrower fabric I would have had to get 4 metres and that made it quite expensive.  But this was the perfect solution, plus I found it on the sale table. I pre-washed it and it was dream to iron and sew. 

I chose to do french seams to make the inside look professional.  But then when I went to put the side pockets in I realised the french seam wasn't going to allow it.  I opted to sew rectangular pockets on the front left and right instead.  You have to have somewhere to put your cell phone!

I lengthened the robe by 3 inches but then forgot to add this to the band when I cut it out (ie. the band around the neckline).  I did have to go and get another 0.25 of a metre, because it was a long piece!

My son is six foot two tall so the seams were really long - it was quite a marathon sew! I image, not as much as a marathon as sewing up a hot air balloon! You guessed it, I ran out of cotton and had to make another trip to Spotlight! He loves it!

Any questions please just ask!

Sunday, 14 January 2018

2018 RTW Fast

Hello and Happy New Year!

I have been sewing over the last three years but haven't posted.  But, since I have joined Sarah Welch Gunn's 2018 RTW (Ready to Wear) Fast it's time to get back to making and blogging about what went right and what went wrong, and what fixes took place!

The rules for the fast are that I must make all my own clothes for all of 2018 and not buy any (except for underwear and socks and shoes!) I can however buy fabric!

I am not your average model - I have size 12 bust, size 10 waist and size 14 hips, the off the shelf ready to wear clothes rarely fit well.  Stretch fabrics are very forgiving but still they can pull or gape in the wrong places.

What better way to start back into blogging than to talk about a favourite pattern. New Look 6184 has made up three summers dresses over the last three years.(all in cotton sateen).  Cotton Sateen is my favourite fabric to sew and it always makes a comfortable summer dress.  That little bit of stretch makes it so comfy.

The first dress was a white and blue dress style C and the second one was a red poppy dress using the straight skirt style D.  The third dress was a green and  blue one, also style D, but I put a beautiful flounce on the bottom which gave it a Spanish feel. (Youtube showed me how to get the measurements for the flounce.)

The feature I most like about this pattern is that there are tucks around the neckline which fit around the bust.  When I cut out my patterns for sleeveless dresses I always put an extra inch at the shoulders and an extra inch on the side seems.  I tend to leave the middle front seam and middle back seam as is.  The I make it up with long stitches (for easy unpicking if need be) and put it on inside out.  My husband pins it to fit. I resew it as per the pin lines and then try it on again. I do have a mannequin which I use in the same way - put it on the mannequin inside out and fit but from bust point to shoulder it is one inch too short and I am not bothered to spend time building up the shoulders.

Invisible zips are a dream.  Once again "Youtube" is your friend and these are my zips of choice now.(You have to iron the curly up bit of the zip open flat and then you can sew oh so close to get a beautiful zipper closing.)

You can tell I am a piping fan!  I used piping with chord (ready-made) on the red dress and satin ribbon for the blue and green dress. In my next blog I will show you the lacey facings I used (an idea adopted from looking at the inside of Anna Stretton dresses!)

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Gatsby Inspired handkerchief, tango dress!

My lovely husband and I have just celebrated our 50th birthdays with a big Gatsby Party.  We decorated the house in 1920s things and all our guest came dressed for the part.

So what to wear for me was the big question.  I did lots of internet searching and decided I liked the look of this tango dress.
I liked the hemline and also the bit of fabric that falls from the shoulders so when you accelerate across the floor it trails behind you!  So essentially I measured up a block for myself and went from there.  It was not smooth sailing and it was more of an engineering project than a straight up sewing project! I added and subtracted bits as I went and sewed and unpicked and re-sewed and unpicked and so on and so forth!  I made the bodice out of upholstery fabric (I have always loved jacquard fabric) and polyester satin for the handkerchief and I bought an organza shawl (scarf) with lace ends which I draped under the armpits. (Just a touch of upper arm camouflage)  And you will all be proud of me for not choosing BLACK!

Here it is on model....

You can see it is shorter at the front and longer at the back.  The neckline is very low and it the end to get the right silouette I decided to go 'bra-less" but had a tight lycra camisole on.  My fabulous mother lent me her long strings of pearls and gave me her marcasite broach.  Perfect!

Here's us all on the fabulous night!  And the highlight for me was the champagne fountain (hired here in Christchurch from the China Cabinet -contact the lovely Maureen).  If you have never had one of these then go for it.  Everyone was thinking it was going to fall over but no it was marvellous and not much spillage.  It's the middle of winter here so it was so nice to have a wonderful celebration in the middle of the dull days.

And I must mention that Megan my neighbour did my hair in true 1920s style. I think I should have been born in that era!

Hubby with someones 'fox-fur'

Yes, I know I look too young to be 50!

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Springtime - Frocktober!

Hi Bloggers

Spring is here at last and with it my garden turns into a wee piece of paradise.  

The weather is still changeable with some days being summer-hot and some days being winter-cold.

I have been busy sewing but haven't got to share it so here are my last two months projects.

Firstly, this skirt which is made from cotton sateen (stretch) - beautiful to sew but you have to be careful not to stretch it too much when sewing it.  I finished it with a black tape on the hem.  Here's the pattern Simplicity 2766 and I made it shorter for summer.  Love the way the 6-gore skirt falls.

The real excitement of course is the frocks that come with warmer weather.  

  The grey dress which I made back in August out of very stretchy  lacey textured fabric had the potential to go terribly wrong or beautifully right.  I admit to having the material and the pattern NEWLOOK 6802 for many months before plucking up the courage to cut into this delicate piece of stash. It's always the fit that worries me and with different amounts of stretchiness comes the potential for disaster. Luckily for me I did lots of measuring and it fits like a glove.  

I put in the sleeves and then took them out again. It looked a bit too baby doll for me (for a women of my vintage!)  I like the tops of my arms covered now adays (I've seen some photos that made me think this!) so I will wear a touch of a shrug or short sleeved cardi with it.

I looked at other people's attempts at this pattern on and many were were fabulous but some were very disappointing and showed the overtop not covering the undertop.  I can never get cheap stretch toile material that has exactly the same stretch and I think some of the dresses that have been trialled on an alternative piece of fabric aren't right because the fabric is totally wrong.  I don't think you can get a good indication of fit with muslin/calico when you need to be using stretch - and some fabrics are like elastic and other just have a nice give in them like my favourite cotton sateen. If you have some ideas on this one, please share:).

How was I going to make it work? My trick was to use plain grey stretchknit (like thickish t-shirt) fabric underneath and then pull up the feature fabric a lot (2 inches!!!) at the front shoulder seams on both sides.  I am very pleased with the result and the dress part  falls elegantly. I do have to wear a slip underneath since it is quite see through.

To make things easier I used wide grey bias binding to face the back neck and arm holes.

Notice the swirling of the stripes in the top front and then the stripes fall vertically from under the bustline.  (Selfies are quite hard to take - if you would like to see a better photo just say and I will arrange it. I did try to get the dress on my mannequuin tonight but I started wrestling with it and we were both nearly on the floor so I gave up and slipped gracefully into it to take this shot.


Last year's Christmas dress didn't get finished until February but this year I am onto it and have nearly completed it.  I bought the red white and black cotton sateen as soon as this year's summer fabrics arrived at Fabric Vision. 
After much pawing over the patterns on the internet I kept going back to Vogue8685.  I saw a blog which was mad on Mad Men vintage fashion and it had the same bust fitting which was three pleats under each boob to give the shaping.  Then when I found out the cost of vogue patterns there was more procrastination  I've never sewn vogue before.  Last summer I even drafted my own pattern and borrowed Burdastyle from the library, but in the end I decided this one was very nice and I had to have it. 

The stretch on this fabric exactly matched the recommended  stretch as given on the back of the envelope for moderate stretch fabrics.

 Seam allowance is included in this pattern but not being sure which size would fit I added half an inch on the side seams.  I chose to cut out the short version of the skirt but I added 2.5 inches to make it a bit longer.

 Pleats - Three darling pleats - you can see them below as pinned in place. (Note they are not all the same size so it is worth spending time to sew these in place accurately for a great fit.) 

 I decided to put in some black piping so went and bought some satin black but then I realised the piping is not stretch but the fabric is, so I just put it in the front so the back still has give.

I decided to construct my dress in a different order - I did all the front pieces and all the back pices and then I was able to fit it on me for the right fit at the side seams.

The sleeve pieces give a lovely shape and I piped the sleeve as well.


The facing of the neck and sleeves will have to wait for another day!  I am very pleased and it fits like a glove! Love those boob pleats.  I'll take a photo of me in it when it's all finished.  It's a little vintage! And a special frock for Frocktober!

THE REAL VINTAGE STYLE: Here's my fabulous mother in 1950 something with her brother at his wedding.  She made the dress herself of course.

Thanks for reading.  I love to receive comments so feel free to comment and also to ask questions.  I am happy to let you know more about these patterns.  It' one big learning curve this sewing caper!


Since many readers loved my fabulous mother's dress in my last post, I thought I would post this gem from 1960 of Mum, my Dad's cousin Christine and another young lady unknown, in the summer of 1960 sitting on Dad's jaguar! A day at the beach. You can imagine the fun they had in this with the top down. Classic!

Thanks for all your lovely comments. Really appreciate the support from the Monthly Stitchers! 

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Sewing Knitted Fabric

During June I did put together this little number.  The pattern was from a favourite top which I cut up to use the pattern but becasue this knitted fabric was more stretchy it ended up being a wrap around with a ribbon tie. I added lace trim on the edge.  I did have to hand sew it on becasue the sewing machine kept missing the edge.  I gathered around the bottom of the garment so it has a ballooning effect.  It's very warm and quite elegant.

If I made it again I would cut the waist slightly lower.  I didn't allow for the seam allowance so it sits just a little bit too high - not much but I would have liked the waist to be down an inch.

I got the knitted material  at Sakaguchi's annual sale. I thought it would be hard to sew but it wasn't and it didn't unravel.  It behaved itself admirably.

I found a good tip on making sure that the overlocking doesn't unravel.  You leave a rats tail on the end of the stiching and then thread a needle and sew it in like you would when you put together an actual  knitted garment.

If you wonder if I have disasters.  Yes I do!  I have a half assembled blouse.  The fabric is so flimsy and hard to sew and it doesn't fit and it's not doing what it is supposed to. I think it is going on the scrapheap!  Lesson learned.  Just becasue you like the material, doesn't mean it will be easy to sew!  Be fussy about what you choose.  Getting ambitious is when I am often faced with disaster but then again, I'm not going to get good at sewing if I don't take a few risks now and again.

Lace Skirt - Burda Easy 8155

It wasn't until I joined the sewing bloggers fraternity that I realised that it is perfectly normal behaviour to be a fabric stroker.  I can spend my whole lunch hour stroking divine fabrics - I suppose it is my equivalent of window shopping.  I find the feel of beautiful fabrics therapaeutic - more so than even the colour or pattern.   I feel rather wonderful after such an outing.  I go alone so there is no discussion needed and the lovely people at Fabric Vision - well I guess they know it is all part of the joy and eventually I will buy something.

Remember this lovely image - it's actually a burda pattern for the cardi but I loved the lace skirt.  So I had my eyes pealed and  saw a  similar fabric in Spotlight, and grabbed it.  It is such a  lovely piece of fabric that I was afraid to cut into it and so spent the month of July procrastinating and getting it out and putting it awayt!

But yesterday I decided to feel the fear and do it anyway!

I used
Burda Easy 8155 - it's my third skirt in this pattern and they have all come out quite different!

Look - it's turned out just fine.  I lined it with grey coloured synthetic fabric so that I was sewing a double layer.  I didn't want the seams to show and the lace was slightly stretchyt and the lining was not!  I also decided to do a wee embellishment on the waistband - a grey strip to break it up.

 Mine rides up a bit more than hers!  But love it standing up - I'm imagining myself at a wine and nibbles event where I will be standing and socialising.  Just note that when I first put the lining in I made it perfectly meeting the bottom of the lace.  But when I sast down the lace rode up more and you could see an inch of the lining.  So I redid it so that the lining comes to about 1.5 inches above the hem.


Lovely scalloped edge which graced the hem.

 Detail at waistband. 

Another invisible, invisible zip - now that I know to unzip the zip iron out the curl I can get it oh so invisible!

It's still winter here so I am putting it away so that I have something to wear for when it's gets warmer.