A little (ok, tiny) bit of gratuitous sewing

With summer approaching here in WA the sun has now begun visiting us at 5:20am. Couple that with increasingly hotter evenings making it hard to get a good nights sleep, now it’s impossible to even get a decent weekend sleep in. After a particularly bad nights sleep I decided to take matters into my own hands and whipped up a couple of eye masks.

I made a pattern by holding paper up to my face and drawing a shape that vaguely resembled a face mask. I used black fleece (from the winter discount bin, woohoo, 50c/meter!) for the inner face and a fat quarter for the outer. I covered the elastic to make it look nice and there you go. The hardest bit of the whole lot was choosing which fat quarter to use!

I made one for my boy too, thinking that if I didn’t he would want one too and end up stealing mine no matter how pink I make it. I used left over fabric scraps from this project, I really didn’t expect him to use it but he does.

They aren’t perfect yet. I think I’ll add another layer of fleece to mine and the elastic needs to drop down a bit but overall job well done.

Pancakes and rings

This week just gone Stress Bunny morphed into Productive Kiwi and I had a really successful wedding planning week. All the honeymoon items are booked now: accommodation, car hire, flights and I even made up a little Google map of things to do and driving directions (yes I am that nerdy).

My dress is coming along well, we’ll get to that in a minute, and two of my three bridesmaids are dressed, the last one will sort herself out I am sure. One of them has even bought shoes, make up, jewellery, hair accessories and even a matching clutch purse.

But you know when things are going quite well, too well actually, and you get a little suspicious, a little voice starts in the back of your head, “this isn’t supposed to be this easy, there must be a hiccup coming soon”…So yesterday we went into town to see the jeweller who made my engagement ring. His shop is in the one of the many confusing internal shopping arcades in the central city, we hadn’t been there for a while but eventually we found our bearings and went up the right staircase to find…a pancake house! I thought he couldn’t have gone far but Google didn’t help and neither did the arcade directory and after a bit of a walk around with no luck we were resigned that he’d either moved or gone out of business. After a half-hearted look at some of the other jewellers we did what you do when you’ve come all that way only to be disappointed…we went and had pancakes for lunch.

Consolation pancakes

So on to the dress: Earlier this week I lengthened the internal bodice and added the boning to test fit and feel. Boning has always been a bit mysterious for me but now that I’ve done it, it’s really not. Attaching the boning was no where near as technically difficult and I thought it would be, instead it was more awkwardly tricky. I bought a plastic boning, by the meter, the kind that is already within a cotton sleeve, you trim it to length and curve off each end.

from Butterick 5325 instructions

The boning has a natural curve to it but I got the first one pinned down and centered really easily. It was the second piece that caused problems, you see with one piece of boning attached you can’t handle the fabric the same way when pinning, it’s hard to explain but the problem is compounded with each piece you attach. By piece number four I really needed an extra two sets of hands, one pair to hold the thing in place, another to pick up the fabric and my own hands handling the pins. Well I got there in the end and stitched them all down using my zipper foot. Here is the result (note that it is now a tad too big but this will be simple to address when I make the actual bodice). I don’t have a picture of me trying it on but I really enjoyed how the inner bodice felt and made my body look.

Bonned bodice on Scarlett

Next up I attached it to the dress and altered the neck line, here is a dodgy camera phone photo in my laundry. I intended a better photo with tripod and remote but fiancé came home from his recent trip away earlier than expected and thwarted my plans.

My laundry...oh and my dress

On the weekend I tackled the dress back, which I can share with you now that it is impossible to jinx. I really wanted to add in a big pleat, firstly because one of the dresses I tried on had that detail and I loved it and secondly I really, really wanted to get rid of that unsightly center back seam below the zipper opening. It’s also my compromise to not having a huge train, I want something in-between to suit a garden wedding. I refuse to deal with bustling, I just want a bit of volume and to add some interest. My dress is not going to be the most complicated or fussy, I’m going for amazing fit and elegance above all else.

For a couple of weeks I did a lot of brain sewing, imagining how the heck I was going to make this work and finally I settled on a plan.

Center back pattern piece

I used the center back pattern piece (shortened), cutting one on the fold and two more separately and then separated the back seam of the dress and sewed it all in place.

A lot of fabric to manoeuvre now!

I know what I'm doing...I think...

My first attempt was far too large so I halved my pieces (which now that I think about it makes sense math-wise) and it was a much better result. So here is a before, after and after again picture, you’ll notice the hem just needs some correcting.

before, after...and after again

So I guess technically my trail run is finished and now there are no excuses to go out this weekend and buy some amazing fabric. Except that first I need some shoes because I realised I may not have enough hem at the front, and I need the shoes to adjust this…so that is today’s mission, a little reward for sorting out the honeymoon details and a little cheer-me-up for losing my ring guy (yes, I said ‘my’, I can be a over-protective like that).

Dreaming, dreaming…sewing, sewing

The problem with taking on such a big sewing project for me is that I’m not sewing anything else. This is immensely frustrating since Summer is my favourite sewing season and my wonderful sewing magazines still arrive each month. It also meant I had to put on hold a few projects that were part-way made, which I hate to do. Actually the dress is not entirely to blame, the change of seasons can wear some of it too ;)

So to relieve some of the stress these items are providing me I thought I’d do a short post on them. Then I will feel like I won’t forget them and they are officially documented as on hold, not because I have hit a snag or ‘rage quit’ them, their place in the UFO pile is quite temporary.

The Jeans That Have Taken Forever

Patrones 292 #14

These jeans really have taken forever, for no good reason either, and the timer is still running. The worst bit is that I am truly excited about them. I made these amazing pockets for the back so I was off to a flying start, then life interrupted for a bit and the main snag that stopped me was that I broke the zipper when I was shortening it (yes, it’s possible, apparently, since I managed to do it), so I had to buy a new one, which I did and then time ran out. So what’s left to do? Well, very little actually. Unpick the broken zipper and put in the new one…I am an expert at trouser fly openings now, trust me, it’s on my sewing CV in bold, right below welt pockets, so the new one will be in in a flash. Inside leg seam top stitching, outside leg seam (+ fitting adjustments), waist band and belt loops, hem. Done.

Jeans progress

.Does anyone recognise the inspiration for my pockets? No cheating if I’ve told you already.

Gok Coat

I really wanted a Mac style coat after watching too many Gok episodes. My kick-start was seeing a beautiful Table Eight trench coat in plum in one of the winter David Jones catalogues. It took me a while to pick a pattern and in the end I went with Burda #119 from WoF 03/2009.

Burda 3/2009 #119

I didn’t do a muslin, which I may pay for later on, or maybe not. The fabric is not as bright as I wanted but I still really like it. Halfway through I re-cut it down another two sizes because I wanted it to be close fitting and it was looking huge. It was one of those pick-up-put-down projects, sewn in between a few shorter time frame projects and as it turns out it spent a little too much time in “put-down” stage because summer rocked up one day and I was over my Mac coat. But it’s completely temporary, it’s just that I can’t stand sewing a winter item when it’s 30 degrees outside and all these wonderful dress patterns are calling to me. So when it starts cooling off in April/May I’ll pick it back up again, promise. What’s left to do? Heaps. I don’t even have buttons…or belt buckles. 1000kms of top stitching (620 miles for the non-metrics), sleeves, collar, self facings, hem, lining (which is hawt btw)…probably much more, but I haven’t looked at the rest of the instructions.

Mac coat progress

The colour is a deep purple, really hard to capture on camera.

Kaisa Skirt Duplicate

I’ve already made this skirt once and I wore it every week, sometimes twice, but I used a cheap drill cotton and after a while it just stopped being nice. It was constantly wrinkled, I had to iron it each morning and then I was scared to sit down since that would mean standing up again. In the end I decided it needed to be remade.

<img class=”size-medium wp-image-668″ title=”Kasia forever So I took it out of my wardrobe rotation (and boy do I miss it!) and pulled it apart to salvage the zipper and cute buttons. I was pretty quick to re-cut it in a really nice quality gabardine but I kept pushing it aside and just ran out of time again.

Kasia progress or lack of...

It’s stupid because this will be the third time I’ve made this skirt so I don’t even need the instructions any more, it should have been done in only a few hours. Actually sometimes I think remaking a pattern takes longer because you do get a bit blasé and it’s just too déjàvu, you get a bit bored because the challenge is gone, no? So what’s left to do? Interface waist band, side seams, zipper, buttons, hem…not much if I am honest. I really want to finish this skirt too, I loved wearing it, it was trans-seasonal and it went with everything, such a great staple. You should check out the pattern, and since it’s FREE there are no excuses.

There’s more…

I also have a collection of patterns that I have cut out and not yet sewn, there are three of them (I think), here’s a sneak peak, but that’s all your getting for now ;)

Oh yes, there's more...

Hrm, not such a short post after all huh?

Bunnies, horses and taking deep breaths

My week and weekend of wedding dress sewing were not as productive as I thought they would be so that’s why this post is going to be fairly short on the sewing and lacking exciting photos. I did have a wonderful Saturday with the girls from the BSC but that meant I didn’t make it to the fabric shop to buy my boning for the next stage.

Instead I turned into a little stress bunny, all silly panicking and then I started counting down weekends etc. Let’s just say I didn’t have a good week with dramas happening all over the place, it threw me off my careful planning, but we survive and move on. Calm has returned and my sewing room is super neat and tidy (that always settles me down for some reason).

Not many of the shops open on a Sunday here in Perth, including the fabric shops, which as you can imagine is super overwhelmingly frustrating. So I spent Sunday cleaning house for a Tuesday flat inspection and then with the small amount of time and energy I had left I turned to the inner lining of my dress. This lining will have the boning sewn to it. The unaltered pattern only has boning in the upper bodice, 6 pieces measuring about 180mm long (just over 7 inches for the non-metrics out there). It’s too short I think. Most of the dresses I tried on at the shop were boned to just above of my hips, short enough to still allow me to sit down and they felt great on. I want to recreate this feeling of being embraced by the dress, its confidence boosting, I felt so slim and also, once cinched in, that dress wasn’t going anywhere! So I have cut the upper bodice as per the pattern and I am lengthening it by attaching a portion of the skirt too. I’m not sure how it will go but I can’t see why it wouldn’t work so I am charging ahead with a lunch time dash to the fabric shop for the boning and over the next one or two nights I will piece this all together and test it out. Hopefully it is successful and I will share some more interesting photos.

If all goes well the plan for the rest of the week is to work on the back of the dress (I’m not jinxing it so don’t ask for details yet) so that by this weekend I can buy all the fabric and anything else I need. Whatever I manage to get done after that is still ahead of schedule and I am hoping to take a break from it all on the weekend of the 29th/30th since Melbourne Cup is November 2nd and I need a new dress and fascinator to match. It will be a quicky (in a good way) since the pattern pieces are already cut and ready to go, I even have the zipper and thread.

For those of you not familiar with “The Melbourne Cup” basically once a year the whole country stops to watch a bunch of horseys run around an oval of grass for about 3 and a half minutes. There is lots of cheering and much money changing hands. It also means dressing up, proper fancy dressing up, fascinators and bubbly so no complaints here.

This new dress is also disguised as “new dress for wearing out while on honeymoon and to pre/post wedding dinners” if curious fiancé should ask. This is a perfectly acceptable excuse since I don’t have any proper formal dresses. I was a skirt and top girl until I started seriously sewing for myself. Isn’t it funny, little fashion retard that I am, I am much braver with fashion when I am sewing for myself?