Extra curricular sewing activities (buying fabric when you aren’t supposed to)

Today I met up with a few of the girls from our BurdaStyle Sewing Club for lunch at Chez Jean-Claude Patisserie in West Leederville which just so happens to be right around the corner from Potters Textile Outlet. “How convenient?” I can hear you say…Why yes, that’s what we thought ;)

I haven’t managed to get back there since my last visit and 99% of their stock had completely changed. I mean the standard linens were still there (they don’t count) but honestly there was only one other bolt of fabric I recognised from last time and two bags on the remnants table, the rest: Brand new. Plus they now have some trims too…ohhh!

Here is what I came away with:

So I know the pink/brown leafy design is a cotton/viscose (it feels so nice!) I got 1.5 meters, the other three were from the remnant table so take a guess. The black is definitely cotton with a slight stretch and (you might not see it in the picture) has diagonal ribs through it, there is only about 1 meter of this but it’s so nice I grabbed it. The shiny black with the cool 80s Aztec print is a sort of foil print with a tiny bit of stretch and I have no idea what the black and white fabric is. It might be a silk crepe and it has a really nice feel,  I got about 1.5 meters and the pattern changes in wide bands from polka dots to lines and back again in the reverse. All up I spent just $50 and LOOK at it! What a perfect lunch outing.

I am terrible with fabrics, I know. Knowing what to call them, content/type etc, this will be one of my 2011 New Years Resolutions, to get a better handle on my fabrics. I bought a hard cover scrap book and I intend to hand-write in (because that’s how I’ll remember) fabric definitions and then staple in a piece of the fabric to help me identify them. This will hopefully also include handy notes like washing instructions, what that type of fabric is good for and any other properties that might be interesting/helpful to know. I’d like to try a few of the tests I’ve read about online (burning/smelling/smoke colour type experiments) that help you determine a fabrics content. I also have plenty of sewing books to help me with this task, I just have to take the time to learn from them and put it into a format that helps me retain the knowledge. I’m sure you’ll hear more about this ongoing project next year.

A new strategy: November 2010 Burda Mash-Up

I’m getting desperate now, my November Burda arrived but still no Manequim or Patrones (although they did send me a renewal notice asking for money!)


So not much magazine love for me this month.

I’ve been flicking through the newest Burda over and over instead and it occurred to me that I always see patterns I want to make then forget about them. I’ve flicked through a few other magazines recently and found myself thinking, “Oh yes, I remember wanting to make that dress!” Part of the problem is that my magazines arrive in the wrong season, it’ll be 42 degrees outside (that’s about 107 degrees Fahrenheit) and the issue is full of (beautiful) wool coats, ugh. But the main reason is that I can’t sew anywhere near as fast as my magazine addiction’s growth rate.

So I’m starting a new strategy, one that won’t be help me much until I get back from my honeymoon but I am putting it in place now, and I’m going to share it with you.

It’s not the usual Burda review, there are plenty of blogs doing that already. No this is going to be a quick and dirty snapshot of my favourites for the month from each magazine and we are starting with November’s Burda issue, since it is the only new magazine I have right now and the internet makes it so easy to acquire the images.

This is not a promise that I will make every item, by the way, just a way to help me (and maybe you) to remember them all. Something I can pop back to when the appropriate season rolls around.

Here we go:

Burda November 2010

I had trouble liking this issue when I first saw it, it’s all a bit gypsy for me to be honest. But when I look at my selections like this I can see that I do like quite a few items from this issue.

So did I miss anything that YOU love?

Nervous beginnings…

I wasn’t going to write too much more about my wedding dress progress so that the finished product was more of a surprise for you all (all 10 of you according to my stats, hehe) but since my latest Patrones or my first Manequim magazine haven’t shown up yet (or my November Burda come to think of it) I’m a little short on blogging content. Mind you, as my friend S so cleverly pointed out they’d just be a distraction anyway and this way I can save them for reading material on the plane flights. I can take her idea one step further because if I souvenir myself some fabric I’ll have some patterns already picked out for it. I also really need to find some time to photograph my Melbourne Cup dress and convince Mr Curious to let me photograph him in his Stinchcomb jacket.

Altering the pattern pieces

I’ll try not to give away too many spoilers: So you know that I picked up my fabric earlier in the month. I cut the interfacing and lining pieces first with the thought that if I started with the cheap (and easy to replace) it would ease my nervous scissor hands more gently into it. Unfortunately I had a bit of a problem with the self fabric. When I started to unroll it I noticed a little grey dot on the end of the fabric. No bother I said, I knew I’d bought too much fabric so I’d just start at the other end and this dot would end up on the leftovers. But as I unrolled a bit more there was another…and another….and another. All the way down the 6 meters or pristine white fabric. Crap. So I rolled it back up, put it into the bag, had a (little) cry then dug out my receipt and stuck it all it the car for a lunchtime dash back to Fabulous Fabrics the next day.

Laying out on the interfacing

Laying out on the lining fabric

The girls there were great. There wasn’t enough of the same fabric left to cut another 6 meters and the roll that mine was originally cut from had the same grey dots through it. They helped me chose a few other “whites” and eventually I found another bolt with enough fabric on it that made me happy. This time they cut the fabric by hand (as opposed to using the rolling machine) so we could check the entire length for marks. There was a bit of soiling on the end of the roll, probably from someone draping it over themselves in front of the mirror so the manager gave me an extra 1.5 meters for free! They were all so nice and understanding so I went back to work very happy.

Finally the self fabric!

And so I started pinning and cutting my main fabric, careful to place my pins within the seam allowance since an earlier “pin test” showed my fabric liked pin holes very much, and then I cut. I can’t believe I was so nervous, I’ve already made this entire dress once from calico but there’s just something about the “real” dress that gives me the jitters. I desperately want it to be perfect and while a lot of people know that I am making it I don’t want people who don’t know to be able to tell that I made it myself. The true seamstresses test no?

It took a long time to baste all the interfacing to the internal lining pieces and the lining to the self fabric for the upper bodice but it all went quite smoothly. Then the first “proper” seam I sewed I ended up unpicking. I had sewn the wrong sides together but that’s ok, at least I got that error out of the way nice and early. My fiancé installed a soundcard to my computer earlier in the day so I got to catch up on Project Runway while I unpicked.


The internal bodice went together as smoothly as it did in calico and I am really happy with the fit and extended length.

Internal bodice

The rest of the dress is (relatively) easy compared to this, just super amazingly long seams to sew, press and finish so I have spent a little bit of time on it each night during the week pinning and sewing these together (starting with the lining pieces again for good luck) and I am making good progress, completely on track in regards to my timeline.

Except that I still don’t have shoes…

Last night I hit another hiccup but I am hoping it is the last and if this is the worst mistake I make for the whole project then I’ll be happy. When I transferred my changes for the pleat from the calico to the paper pattern pieces I altered the wrong side of the centre back piece. I thought something was up when I was trying to pin it to the rest of the dress so I stopped and took out my calico dress to have a better look. When I laid the paper piece on it I knew exactly what I had done wrong and I couldn’t believe I had made such a simple mistake.


New CORRECTED pieces

Knowing I had extra fabric saved me from a complete meltdown so I just re-cut the paper piece correctly and pulled out my extra fabric to recut those pieces.  Back on track…again and that’s where I am up to. I have a finished internal bodice, the mostly assembled lining, assembled upper bodice and assembled lower skirt pieces. Now to bring it all together…

Back on track with some great NZ music on YouTube to keep me company

Completely fascinated

First up, a quick correction to my last post: I should have mentioned that the pattern pieces you saw me gleefully cutting up were just copies. I feel awful that I may have inadvertently given several of my wonderful sewing friends heart attacks. Let me explain: I am lucky that through my job I have access to a large format copier, printer and scanner (as in A0) so whenever you see me hacking into what looks like expensive magazine sheets fear not! I promise they are copies. You might have noticed the blue highlighter markings on the pieces, this is because Mr Large Format Copier only copies in black and white so I have to go back and mark on any of the coloured markings pertaining to that pattern because they blend in with the million zillion other lines that are now all black.

Completely unharmed, promise

Now I know my last post was super long (I had no idea I’d want to write so much about the Melbourne cup) but I wanted to add a little bit about fascinators because I LOVE them!

If you haven’t tried to make a fascinator before I highly recommend it, it’s quite a lot of fun buying all the little bits and bobs (especially if trying to match a dress as I did this year) and you get to play with a hot glue gun, my favourite craft weapon of choice – hot tip, buy a pink one so hubby doesn’t steal it.

2009 Melbourne Cup Fascinator - clearly it didn't go with this years dress so I had no choice but to make a new one

Here is how my fascinator started out:

Little bits everywhere!

I got all the parts from Spotlight and used a scrap of dress fabric to help me choose colours. While I was choosing I played with them in the shop a bit and then some more when I got home to see what was the best layout (they all kind of look the same in the photos, bring on 3D blogging)


Don’t forget to think about how it will sit on your head and which way the slide comb or clip will attach to your head. Once I am happy with the final layout and orientation I warm up the hot glue gun and get gluing.

Here’s a closer photos of the finished product.

2010 Melbourne Cup Fascinator

I think next year I’m going to have to go BIGGER :)

Here’s some more inspiration gathered from the web:

I am thinking that I might like to make myself one for my wedding.

Speaking of weddings, today I bought all my fabric requirments for my wedding dress. I spent a perfect fabric shopping morning with my wonderful friend S and we drove all over Perth to find exactly all the bits that I needed. It’s hot today, my brain is tried and my feet are killing me so, in the interest of not making a huge mistake, the cutting out begins tomorrow.

*claps hands

Most of this came from Fabulous Fabrics in Balcatta (who have apparently just merged with Fabric Gallery which used to be in Greenwood) except for the corset tape which came from Beautiful Fabrics WA in Innaloo, opposite Ikea, they have some amazing fabric in at the moment so I suggest you pop by and check them out.

I also accidentally bought some other fabric…but it was on special, how can a girl resist?

oops ;)