Mission Accomplished: Potters Textile Invasion (via BurdaStyle Sewing Club Perth WA)

Here is a little update from this month’s BSC Perth meet, check it out!

Mission Accomplished: Potters Textile Invasion What an amazing afternoon we all had invading Potters Textiles in West Leederville?! The team opened up today at 1:30pm just for us. How lucky are we girls? So we swarmed on them like hungry locusts to a prime crop. The fabric purchase queue stretched the length of their modest store and I was surprised there was anything left once we were done. I didn't get … Read More

via BurdaStyle Sewing Club Perth WA

Patrones 299 & 301

It seems that whatever may have waylaid my December Manequim may also have affected Patrones too since I received issue 299 then 301.

The 299 issue is a bit Wintery for me right now, I’m sure I’ll be more excited about it a few months time but a few nice items did catch my eye.

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This jackets has a really interesting collar, front and back, it closes off-centre, maybe with snaps? The variegated grey wool they used is really beautiful as well.

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You must all know by now that I am a sucker for ruffles, here’s a cute blouse (like thousands of others  I’ve seen) with ruffles down the front, I like that style of collar, makes it much less blousey to me, and cute chest pockets.

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This whole outfit is really nice, coat over short skirt and pleated top, the trim on the top makes it look like a dress. I have some black wool coat fabric with a similar weave to this but I have already decided that next winter it’s going to become a Lady Grey from Colette Patterns

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This coat also jumped out at me, it has a lot of really nice detail, even on the belt. I really like how it’s finished and all the seam lines.

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And we finish with three coats, #23 with ruffles (of course!) and #24 looks cute too.

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Issue 300 is Spring with “all the new trends available to you: classic renovated loose clothing and coats and jackets in soft fabrics. In addition, spring fashion premama (pregnancy?) and baby sets for both boys and girls.” I think ;)

There is also the announcement at the top “from now on two magazines each month!” I dare to dream but I’m not sure if I’ll receive these issues as part of my subscription which is a shame, although since this issue hasn’t even arrived yet I can still hope.

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Issue 301 starts with some serious dresses. I like the exposed zipper on dress #2, a different take on this trend, it looks like they have attached the zipper to some sort of tape to enhance it even more. Over the page and check out that fabric, black bubble wrap? A bit too tough for me but I like the overall style and the inverted darts are pretty funky.

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Another playsuit, pretty cute, love the lace poking out the bottom of the shorts, softens the edge. All the shorts in this issue have this detail.

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This next section is all about mixing up the patterns. These gingham shorts are really nice, they look comfy too and I don’t mind the top either.

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Another ruffley blouse.. .no darts or princess seams in this one from what I can see so I’ll be giving it a miss but good for inspiration.

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There are a couple of wedding dresses in this issue too…too late for me, haha. But this dress could be for any formal occasion. I do have grand ideas of needing a dress like this one day, one should always be prepared ;) The draping is super elegant across the front.

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Once again we are reminded that “from now on two magazines each month!” and I am trying not to get my hopes up but here’s what we can expect:

The magazine due at the end of February is Spring with the usual seasonal fashion and (apparently ) model lingerie, plus-size fashion and beautiful sets for children

The first issue for March (I am daring that there be a second) is a special Holiday Extra and they warn us “Do not miss it!” and it sounds like it will contain the best of the party and spring patterns published in Patrones. Also dresses for day and night, (allow me some google translate fun here) “very pretty ideas to attend any celebration of gluttony own dates”. Mmm gluttony…elastic waist pants then? ;)

Jacquie picked a few different styles out of her issues, you can find her review here.

Manequim 618 & 620 (December 2010 & February 2011)

Well what do you know? December’s Manequim showed up along with February’s. And what else? Two Patrones within a day of each other, this week was magazine bonus week! They are all awesome issues so I can’t complain. Being in Australia I guess I just have to accept that delivery for these magazines is a but wishy washy and I’m really just grateful that I can subscribe.

I have to admit, right now, not so much feeling the Burda magazine love and in fact I’ve got a few I’m going to put up on ebay, hence my lack of Burda mash-ups for 2011. I honestly think when my Burda Subscription runs out I’ll just continue with Patrones and Manequim, better value, better patterns. I might even give La Mia Boutique another go. I can always grab any good individual issues from Boarders, they’re only 3 months behind and therefore more aligned with the Australian seasons anyway.

But enough of that, on to pattern heaven:

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December’s issue starts with some amazing summer dresses – The Carolina Herrera section has a cute colour blocked dress and jacket and OMG check out those shoes, so hawt!

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In “fluid dresses” we have three more summer dresses, romantic and beautiful and definitely fluid, great for the beach.

I’ve got a thing for shorts at the moment, partly, I believe, because I’ve never made a pair and also because it’s so stinking hot right now (have I complained about how hot it is yet?) so “New Year, your way” gives us a cute pair of paper bag waisted shorts and an interesting blouse, I think the sleeve/armhole lines could be really slimming.

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I’m not normally a one-shoulder-dress kind of girl but this dress is pretty hot, suggested for Pear shapes. Next door, for the Ovals, we have cute polka dots. I really like the neckline, it’s similar to a vintage style dress I’ve admired on another blog.

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February’s issue starts with a little biker-bling and I love this jacket with off-centre zipper and funky shoulder detail.

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Checking out the style of Mayana Neiva I quite like this wrap dress, super flattering.

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This blouse in the Stella McCartney section is beautiful, I love the arms (similar to one of the tops from December’s issue above) and the dress is really nice too, sort of similar to the Macaron by Colette Patterns (LOVE Colette Patterns!)

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I’ve been contemplating a trench-coat style dress for a couple of years (they don’t seem to have gone out of fashion yet) and I like this one for it’s simple details and the belt is great too but I think I’d steer away from the safari tones…just to be different.

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In the jeans styling section there’s another jacket and this great blouse, I really like the front pleats and the sleeve detailing.

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Last up we have a section showing an item worn two-ways and these bermudas (See? More shorts!) are great and next to them is a simple looking but cute top, check out the pattern pieces, interesting.

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I’ll get to those Patrones magazines tomorrow but for now if you want to see more Manequim choices then you can check out Melissa’s February selections here.

Spring cleaning in summer

It doesn’t feel like I’ve done much sewing these last two weeks and that’s because I haven’t. I did do some “prep” work this weekend which makes me feel a little bit less lazy.

First of all I reset Scarlett to my true measurements. I had to wind her dials down to get my wedding dress off since she doesn’t have collapsible shoulders or the ability to wriggle like I do in real-life. Hence the finished dress wouldn’t come off of her without some instant weight loss in the bust area ;)

I tidied my sewing room, but that’s nothing special, I am constantly tidying my sewing room, it’s not that I am messy, it’s more that I am neat, if that makes any sense.

Both my machines got a long overdue service. First I pulled apart what I could and vacuumed/brushed all the wedding dress fluff out of them, and then it was new oil and new needles for them both. After I changed the needle on my overlocker (I am only running three-thread at the moment with the right-hand needle) I discovered that the auto-threader didn’t want to work anymore. So I dug the old needle out of the bin and put it back in, sure enough, the auto-threader worked so I swapped needles again and even grabbed a second new one but none of them worked with the auto threader…then I noticed that the old needle seemed to go in a tiny bit further that the new ones, it took me a bit but eventually I tried loosening the left needle screw and the new needle slid up that extra millimeter and whallah! The auto-threader worked, phew! Now both machines are threaded with black, awaiting the next project.

Naked!

Speaking of next projects, I pulled out three of them, from my UFO pile you’ll be pleased to note. They are the black Kasia skirt (free pattern alert!) I am remaking from a gabardine (50% complete) and a new blouse from some Italian silk I go for a steal at the Joveeba sale ages ago (it is completely cut out but that’s all). It’s a Patrones pattern and will go nice with the Kasia skirt and a few other items in my wardrobe. I also pulled out my grey Kasia, it needs taking in and has been out of my wardrobe rotation far too long (that means some unpicking, yay).

Kasia in progress

Patrones/Joveeba blouse

As for the rest of my UFO pile: My Jeans are currently on hold for about a month, along with my trench coat (that can wait until Winter), it’s just too darn hot! And I want to get these three other items finished quick so I can move onto something new, maybe from a Manequim magazine. I am desperate for some new me-made summer clothing.

How to sew your own wedding dress

Something sewing has taught me is that if you don’t give it a go, how do you know you can’t do it? That’s probably true of a lot of things in life as well but for me, when I’m sewing, it’s sort of become my new motto. If I haven’t tried something before I arm myself with as much knowledge as I can from books, the internet or other people and then I dive right in.

Actually if we’re being really honest, sometimes I just dive right in without the knowledge and then see what happens ;) It doesn’t always turn out badly. I think a lot of new sewers hamstring themselves by forgetting that simple sentence. They have heard, “zippers are hard” or “setting in sleeves can be really tricky” amongst other sewing myths so they avoid sewing items that require these skills when really what they should be doing is reading up a bit of advice and then just giving it a go.

So my wedding is over, I am Mrs Curious Kiwi, I had a wonderful day and I am really happy that I chose to make my own wedding dress, something I hadn’t done before (obviously) and wasn’t sure I’d be able to do but I gave it a try anyway. Sure there were times when I was pulling my hair out wondering what the heck I was doing. There were a few tears and one tantrum, a lot of stressing and some swear words but I also gained some new sewing revelations and a whole lot of confidence in my abilities.

One of the new sewing skills I came away with and had never tried before attempting it on my wedding dress was boning. Putting boning into a dress was a bit of an enigma to me, surely it was going to be difficult and require a little bit of luck and some sort of sewing magic. I had my first go on my muslin and it was nowhere near as difficult or mysterious as I imagined it to be. Boning is now added to what I call my “Sewing CV”.

There are plenty of other seamstresses who have successfully made their own dresses, they were a huge inspiration and my main motivation and I enjoyed seeing their journeys as much as I enjoyed my own. We all tackled our dresses in different ways to suit our wedding styles, budgets and sewing skills.
The first wedding dress I saw someone make was by sassymulassy on BurdaStyle, I was already engaged at the time and it definitely planted the seed. Since then quite a few more have popped up and they are all amazing feats of sewing skills.
My far my biggest inspiration was following Melissa of Fehr Trade. Her wedding dress journey (and in fact her whole wedding) was a huge motivation for me and you can read about her amazing dress story here.

Some other links I found useful were:

If you are thinking about tackling this scary but rewarding project why don’t you check out their stories for a little bit of courage. My wedding dress posts can be found here and I thought I’d jot down a bit more of my internal thinking below.

(WARNING: This may end up as another epic post, you may want to go grab a cup of tea first and a sandwich)

DISCLAIMER: I’m not going to pretend to be an expert at this since I’ve only made myself one dress (and certainly don’t have any intentions of needing to make a second one, well not for myself anyway) but I thought going through the steps I took to make my dress would help others who are considering doing the same but are maybe not quite over the line yet.

First things first: This project is pretty important, like me, it might be your most important project so far in your sewing life. There are going to be enough problems and hiccups along the way and the last thing you need is problems with your sewing machine/s so if it’s been a while or they aren’t quite running how they should you might want to book them in for a service. I regularly maintain my machines so they were fine but I still gave them both a through clean and an oil as per my machine manuals. Also don’t forget to sew some scraps after freshly oiling it to take away any excess and test it again if you’ve left it sitting for a while, the last thing you want is dirty oil on your pristine white fabric.

Service your machine/s

Next, do a bit of internet research, this can get a bit overwhelming but just gather a few images of dresses and details you like. Then edit and make a folder of your most favourite things.

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If, like me, you aren’t at the point in your sewing life that you can draft an entire wedding dress from scratch, don’t panic, check out all the great patterns available from the major pattern companies and don’t forget the independents too. One pattern might not cut it, you might need to use one as a base and make alterations or combine two patterns or more to create your dream dress. Also don’t forget to look at the formal dress patterns too, some of them would look amazing as a wedding dress in the right fabric.

Vogue 2842

Butterick 5462

McCalls 5321

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Once you are familiar with the patterns that are out there go to a dress shop and try on some wedding dresses. You need to do this, I know from experience that the dresses I had in my head (and millions saved to a flash drive) did not look as good on me as I imagined and instead I ended up going for a dress style that I initially thought I wouldn’t like.

Here are my Wedding Dress (pretend) Shopping tips:

 

  • Start early, especially if you are shopping on the weekend, the shops get really busy fast. I began at 9am and still had to wait inline for about 30 minutes before I could start trying on.
  • Don’t mention to anyone in the shop that you intend to make your own dress, I don’t think they’d really like that.
  • Take at least 2 un-related females with you (they’re more honest – although the girl next to my change room had her brother helping out…weird) and make a fun day out of it, dress shopping in the morning followed by a yummy lunch, you’ll need it, it’s quite hard work!!
  • Don’t look at the price tags, remember you aren’t buying so don’t let those little tags deter you from trying anything on.
  • Start by choosing some dresses that you think you will like (they usually start you with 6) and try them on, eliminate the ones you don’t like as you go and get more if you need too.
  • While you’re getting laced up send your girly minions out to pick a wildcard dress each, something they want to see you in, this is fun and will get you trying on styles you might not have thought of.
  • Keep going until you love what you see in the mirror.
  • Most dress shops aren’t too keen to let you take photos of the dresses because a lot of people do this and then get the dresses made overseas for cheap. You can try asking but if they say no then get them to write down the dress(es) you like and you might be able to Goggle them (although I had no luck with my favourite, the name was too generic) but if you girly minions are clever you might be able to get a few sneaky pictures.

Once you’ve made up your mind stick to it. You will get a lot of suggestions from a lot of different people, don’t let them stray you off the path to your perfect dress.

Everyone’s got an opinion but you don’t have to take every suggestion on board, I know this sounds cheesy but listen to your heart.

Having said that, when it comes to buying your fabric, the ladies at your local fabric shop can be pretty expert at helping you with fabric selections, listen carefully to their advice

Now go back to those pattern websites and look for a pattern or patterns that closely resemble your dream dress and buy it/them in your size.

Simplicity 3878

Lekala 2003

BurdaStyle 7539

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If you are short on time don’t forget you can always buy a downloadable pattern.

If you have never made one before or never make one ever again in your sewing life this is the time you MUST make a toile/muslin.

I started by making my pattern up as per the envelope out of a good weight calico, the kind of weight I imagined my final fabric choice to be made from. If you want to use some fancy fabrics then this is also the time to do a little pre-dress fabric investigation so you know what’s out there and whether you need to buy fabric and notions online.

Once you have your first trail dress finished you can start making any alterations. I hit this using two different methods. For the pleat, corset back & neckline I worked my changes in the calico dress directly and the transferred my changes to the paper pattern pieces. For the internals I altered the paper pieces and created new ones based on the ones I had. You could also combine two or more patterns to create your masterpiece as well. Use whatever methods that suit your skill level and are familiar with. This can take a bit of time and be frustrating but now is the time to learn if what you want to do is achievable.

If you set a budget make sure you allow some contingency for sewing mishaps, or that amazing trims you saw and MUST have but is more than you thought it might be.

Get your shoes sorted so you know if you need to add extra length into the pattern (I added 4cms!).

It sounds obvious but allow yourself plenty of time, you don’t want to be hemming your dress on the morning before the ceremony. Once I chose my pattern I gave myself one month to sew the muslin and one and a half months to make the actual dress. I probably didn’t need nearly that much time but I was generous because I work full-time so that meant my sewing time was limited to evenings and weekends. I work better under a little bit of pressure so I found myself slacking off procrastinating early on and most of my dress got finished in the last few weeks.

Believe in yourself and your sewing abilities because you truly don’t know how much you can achieve until you’ve tried.

Don’t forget to share your amazing dress with me when your done :)

Good luck!

“Photos please!”

That’s about all I’ve heard since I got back from my Honeymoon :)

I’m sorry I’ve made everyone wait so long and I will admit to procrastinating by taking a day to set up the new blog for BSC Perth WA, but if you don’t like that excuse I have a few more: I am terribly jet lagged, my first week back at work was ridiculously busy, I made a Pavlova on Sunday for dinner with friends and there are about 74 kagillion photos to look through :)

So, here it is, the most important project of my sewing life, my wedding dress. You’ve heard enough about the process so to fill in a bit more space with words I’ll tell you a little bit about where I got married.

My fiance and I were married at Wilton House in Wellington’s Otari-Wilton’s Bush.

Otari-Wilton’s Bush is the only public botanic garden in New Zealand dedicated solely to native plants, hence all the amazing ferns in our photos. It comprises of 100 hectares of native bush including Wellington’s largest area of original native forest (7 hectares fenced off by Job Wilton in 1860 and remains untouched to this day) and an 800-year-old Rimu tree.

The gardens are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and entry is free. There are over 14kms of incredible walking tracks you can take throughout the area including the 75-meter long Canopy Walkway, a self-guided Nature Trail and many beautiful picnic areas.

If you happen to find yourself in Wellington then I encourage you to visit and enjoy this amazing garden and all its amazing wildlife.

Back detail

Overall I’m really pleased I took up the challenge of sewing my own wedding dress. I had an amazing day and a wedding I’ll never forget in a dress I’ll  never forget. Wellington didn’t let us down and Otari Wilton’s Bush is a significant part of Wellington’s history and Wilton House was the perfect venue for us.

Here’s a link to our photographers blog, you can read what he had to say about the day.

On a side note I didn’t end up using the petticoat I painstaking gathered because the dress sat better without it.

In the next day or so I’ll be putting together a post on my basic process in the hopes it will help put you over the line if you’re considering making your own dress (or one for someone who it close to you) so watch this space ;)

 

Manequim Mash-Ups 615, 616, 617 & 619