Honeymoon Vogue 1353

Recently, Finished Items have been far and few between, as have blog posts about them. A little while ago I tried to concentrate on Works In Progress but two in a row turned into big fails so one weekend I exclaimed “harumpfh!” and clean slated my cutting table.

Then I picked out a new dress pattern, paired it with the fabric I bought with my Sewing Indie Month prize and got to work.

Crappy night-time cellphone photo, sorry

I still have WIPs but most of them can wait. I’ll just pick them up when the mood strikes and there is no guilt.

#SewingJoy

So, my new dress: I love it so much I immediately cut out a second one in a fabric I’m calling “hidden tigers“. I can’t wait to wear it and see if anyone notices.

Grrrr!

This is a Vogue 1353 Kay Unger in Cotton and Steel Honeymoon by Sarah Watts – Morning Dew (black) that I bought it from Blackbird Fabrics.

I love Cotton and Steel fabric.

The dress pattern features a scooped neckline with small pleats in the front, a princess seamed bodice, pleated skirt, invisible back zipper and is fully lined with a deep hem facing.

I have an extensive collection of “Big 4” patterns but it’s been a while since I’ve shuffled through them. I actually grabbed this out of the drawers after seeing Nikki’s and both of Sandra’s versions (1 and 2).

I underlined in a black cotton/silk blend.

My only regret is that I intended to ignore the instructions, which leave you hand stitching the lining at the shoulder seam, and use the “burrito” method to attach the lining. It’s a neat sewing magic trick I learnt courtesy of Colette Patterns while I was making my Birthday Rooibos. Google it😉

Unfortunately after I tried the dress on for the first time I was so excited about how great it made me feel after a couple of sewing bombs that I just zoomed ahead until it was too late to turn back. Next time…

What I love most about this pattern is the deep hem facing, it’s about 14cm deep when finished.

This is the first time I’ve hemmed this way and it’s great! It adds weight extra and body to the bottom of this dress which really helps flare the skirt out below the pleats.

You are supposed to hand stitch the top of the hem facing with fancy thread but…bahahahahaha!

Nope.

THE DEETS:

Pattern – Vogue 1353 Kay Unger, size 14 graded to 16 at the waist

Fabric – Cotton and Steel Honeymoon by Sarah Watts – Morning Dew (black) from Blackbird Fabrics and black cotton/silk blend from The Fabric Store, Wellington

Other notions – Invisible zipper, interfacing

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Posh as Cushions

Hello readers:)

Well I haven’t managed to photograph any of my most recent dresses but I have acquired another vintage machine…or two. The “or two” will most likely get repaired and flicked on as it was only $1.00 and not at all what I thought it was when I picked it up. The other comes close to ticking all the boxes on a list for a machine that I thought unlikely to ever find in NZ, let alone at a price I could afford/justify.

I wanted a late 1800s hand-cranked vibrating shuttle machine, perhaps a Frister and Rossmann and what I got was a late 1800s hand-cranked vibrating shuttle Frister and Rossmann machine re-badged by Beale and Company (Australia) because…well in the late 1800s let’s just say we weren’t too pleased with Germany so other companies re-badge their machines to keep sales going.

I spent way too much to get her and she’s definitely got some history – which is a polite way of saying she’s old and she looks it!

I have no year of manufacture but she does sew. She also needs a new bobbin winder bumper and a replacement key for the case which is possibly oak. The machine base is also oak and needing some preemptive borer treatment. Ugh, borer, why do you eat all the pretty timber?!

The case has the the most beautiful mixed timber inlay which makes up for the extremely worn gold leaf decoration on the machine body and distinct lack of pearl inlay that I’ve seen on other models.

And in other exciting news…#vintagesewingmachine #newoldsewingmachine #sewcialist

A photo posted by Melissa (@thecuriouskiwi) on

I want to catch up by posting all my vintage machines in the order that I acquired them but this gorgeous girl makes me want to just drop everything…but I will be good, do my research, buy my parts, get her sewing smoothly and enjoy the journey:)

Also I sewed some cushion covers!

If you follow me on Instagram then you would have seen these photos already:

I bought several different fabrics a while ago from fabric.com after going shopping and not finding a single cushion cover I liked (and just as an aside, curtains will be next…, ugh, home dec sewing, why do you mock me?!)

I cut them all out the weekend after the fabric arrived and bought zippers the following week but I put off sewing them up, well, because I find straight line sewing so BORING!

Last weekend, after some not-so-subtle hints from NH, I sucked it up and tackled them production line style. I knew if I sewed them up individually I’d finish two, maybe three, then give up and find an excuse to sew a dress instead. So I did all the pressing, then the overlocking, then zippers and finally outside seams and in about 2 hours (with dinner and wine drinks breaks) they were done!

#DONE! #homedecsewing #timeforadrink 🍷

A photo posted by Melissa (@thecuriouskiwi) on

 

They look super chubby because the inserts I bought were a little flat so I double stuffed them:) They look great on the couch but will look even better on the new couch scheduled for purchase after the kitchen reno.

So that’s a little update. I’ve been trying to get back into my blogging, I enjoy writing about my sewing and my machines and while I’ve never been a post-a-day kind of blogger I do miss writing here.

I should also mention that Kat and I have been super busy over on The Monthly Stitch gearing up for Indie Pattern Month. It’s a lot of work but it always gives me a sew-jo boost and it’s a lot of fun to give away so many prizes.

As with previous years we’ve got four contests running during June with lots of great prizes from 29 fabulous sponsors. Everything you need to know is here.

This year we’ve also been working hard to try something new- we’re launching three different PDF pattern bundles for sale, one every two weeks, so that you can get lots of indie inspiration and patterns at a heavily discounted price. We launched the first bundle yesterday, you can check it out here. We also have an FAQ post that explains how the bundles work (launch dates etc) and how you can get some sneak peeks of what will be in each bundle.

We’re really looking forward to seeing all the great Indie Pattern Month entries this year and we hope you love the bundle sales too.

Happy sewing:)

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Paparazzi Fascinator

This post covers the making of my fascinator for my Betty WOW dress.

The initial concept was simple – make some miniature cardboard cameras and attach them to a base. I bought heaps of coloured cardboard, some foam board and began by making boxes of various sizes.

I also picked up a white fascinator base from Made Marion, some blue tulle and battery power fairy lights.

I planned for 5 cameras and spent a bit of time each night after dinner decorating them to match cameras from the fabric. I made sure one of the cameras was big enough to accommodate the fairy light battery pack.

The Polaroid camera is my absolute favourite! I liked the “modern” green camera the least but I wanted some variety.

The decoration took a lot longer than expected so it wasn’t until Saturday morning, the day of the WOW show, that I began to assemble them. Keep in mind I also still needed to under-stitch my dress facings and hem it but I was sure this would only take me an hour and the fascinator wouldn’t take much longer, hot glue gun at the ready!

The previous night NH suggested I include some film negatives in my fascinator which was a brilliant idea and sent me digging through my boxes full of old uni projects until I found some.

I got to work nice and early:

Harri helped…a lot…

I started by covering the plain white base with some left over fabric and I stitched bias to the exposed edge. Then I attached the comb by hand stitching through all layers.

I played with adding the cameras in different configurations as well as some blue tulle and lengths of film. I used masking tape to mock up the positions. I spent over an hour playing around and taping bits together but I was getting really frustrated, nothing was working.

So I stopped for a bit and finished off my dress instead.

Sometimes when you have a problem that needs solving the best solution is to stop actively thinking about it and do something else. Your brain will continue to work at it in the background. This is called passive thinking and if you feel like you’ve been hitting a brick wall while working on a problem it can really help you find a solution.

So I returned to my fascinator and instantly realised that I was just trying to cram way too many ideas into one small thing. My base was too large, the camera fabric made it too busy and the blue tulle made me grumpy.

I cut a smaller circle from some spare corrugated cardboard and used my remaining bias to finish the edges. I pulled out my hot glue gun to attach the comb but I also stitched it as back up.

Next I picked my three favourite cameras and played around with the film, creating loops inside loops and attached them like feathers.

Things went much smoother after this stripping back. It was a hard call, the biggest camera that I sized to hold a battery pack for the fairy lights got ditched along with my least favourite green camera.

Here are some close ups of the remaining cameras and the fabric cameras they were based on:

And a final close up:

I added some film curls and strips to fill in the gaps between the cameras and to soften the edges. It stayed in place all night long and was nice and light on my head.

I still wish I could have incorporated the fairy lights but that’s ok, I’ll keep them up my sleeve for another time😉

If you missed the dress post you can find it here.

Supervising is such hard work!

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North Island Sewing Meet 2015 in pictures…mostly

Last weekend was the first ever North Island Sewing Meet (that I know of anyway😉 ) so I cruised up SH1 to Rotorua with a few of the Wellington Sewing Bloggers to make some new friends and sew up a storm.

In short, it was AWESOME!

We got home on Sunday night absolutely shattered…I took way too many projects but that turned out to be a great plan. I hopped between about 4 of them while chatting, helping, visiting Spotlight and eating…I’ll post those items in full as I finish each of them.

The best way to sum up the weekend is in pictures with only a few words so here are some from me and quite a few I stole from the #NISM tag on Instagram (click on each image to see the original).

My 82 litre container full of two sewing machines and an excessively optimistic amount of sewing projects. With 4 ladies and 7 sewing machines it was a very full Outback boot…and a slightly slower trip up than anticipated😉

The Desert Road with Mount Ngauruhoe peeking through the clouds.

Our venue was the The Arts Village – the home of an amazing community arts organisation run by volunteers with several rooms and large bright studios for short-term hire. I completely forgot to get an overall shot of the building but you know you’ve hired the right place for a creative sewing weekend away when they have a huge yarn bombed tree out front, right?

Setting up in Studio One

We organised surprise goodie bags for everyone. Spotlight Rotorua hooked us up with the bag bags and threw in some sewing machine needles, a fat flat, some ribbon and a lint roller. We also added in discount vouchers from The Fabric Store, Muse Patterns, Cottage Flair, Polynesia Spa and an assortment of cute little pin cushions that Sandra made.

We had a big group dinner on Saturday night…drinks and dessert of course.

 

On Sunday Toni finished her altered muslin and bravely cut into her shot silk.

Then Nikki treated us to a dance in her newly finished skirt – plenty of time for photos before home time.

We actually did a lot of sewing!

Oh and there was of food, including cake😉

Huge thanks to Penny, Carolyne, Sandra, Sara, Trish, Toni, JacquiJuliet, Robyn, Helen, Kate, Kate, Kirsty and Nikki for joining myself and Sandra for an amazing weekend.

See you girls next time!

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The North Island Sewing Meet…is on!

Thank you to everyone who showed interest in the North Island Sewing Meet – we’re excited to say that we had enough responses to make it an official event! Yay!

All the details are on the Eventbrite page waiting for you to sign up:)

If you indicated yes on the Google form then you should already have received an invite.

Please sign up as soon as possible, the sooner we can confirm numbers the better the meet will be.

It’s not too late to join us, just jump on over and register!

Don’t forget to help us spread the word by blog, instagram and twitter – see you soon:)

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Let’s all meet up in Rotorua and sew!

I have been busy scheming with fellow Wellington Sewing Blogger Sandra, planning big things…like a mega sewing meet in the central North Island!

Are you a sewist in NZ and wanna come hang out with us for a weekend?

Great, let’s do it!

There are still some details to iron out (hehe, iron, see what I did there?) but the general idea is that we’ll hire a suitable venue in Rotorua to meet up on the first weekend in August 2015 – that’s Saturday the 1st and Sunday the 2nd.

We’ll sew, gossip, swap fabric/patterns/knowledge, go fabric shopping, eat food and have a fun weekend making lots of new sewing friends…and hopefully some clothes too😉

We’ve created a form to aid us in our planning, please follow this link for more details and to register your interest.

The WSBN are very keen and already planning mini buses full of sewing machines cruising up SH1.

Hopefully you are as excited as us and maybe we could even make this an annual event.

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The Curious Corset Experiment – Part One

I wrote in an earlier post that I wasn’t planning any new sewing resolutions this year, besides the usual sew more, blog more, have fun.

I do however have a bit of a sewing goal to complete in 2015 and that is to make a corset.

I see it as a technical challenge and an excuse to sew something fun that I wouldn’t normally sew. I intend to fit it in amongst my usual sewing and I thought I’d share my progress in a semi-regular (read: I’ll post when I do anything but there is no set timeline) blog series.

This idea has been floating around in my head for a while…maybe 4 years ago I bought The Basics of Corset Building by Linda Sparks and one of the two recommended patterns, Simplicity 9769.

All I really needed to get serious was some hardware so after Christmas I jumped online to check out several websites suggested by various sources and eventually settled on Aussie Corset Supplies.

They had what I needed in stock and being just over the ditch in the West Island (New Zealand joke) their shipping was very reasonable.

Based on the listed notions I bought the following:

  • Spiral Steel Boning
    • 4 x 25cm
    • 4 x 26.5cm
    • 2 x 27.5cm
    • 6 x 28.75 cm
    • 4 x 23.75cm
    • 2 x 22.5cm

(Which seems like a lot more more boning pieces than I can count on the pattern outline!)

  • 1 x 30cm DEU Standard Busk 30cm
  • 5 meters white lacing

This all cost me about NZD$70.00 including shipping and handling.

I went for precut/finished spiral steel boning but I also priced up buying it by the meter and the tips separately. The pre-cut boning worked out cheaper because I suspect the by-the-meter stuff is of higher quality. If this experiment goes well and I decide to make a more advanced corset I might look at upping the hardware quality then.

I still need grommets and fabric, which I will buy locally.

I’ve traced my size, I’m starting with a straight 12, and my first step is to stitch up a quick muslin out of heavy calico to test the fit. I’ll also insert the boning and busk.

Then it’s fabric shopping time!

So that’s it for now. I’ll post future entries under The Curious Corset Experiment so if you are interested you can look them up.

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