Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Go Anywhere Dress? I'll go to to Melbourne Frocktails thanks!

This is my Melbourne frocktails (aka mocktails) dress.  It was going to be a completely different dress, well skirt and top actually, but plans fell through and I'm kind of glad because I loved wearing this on the night.  It was bright and fun, just what a night with the lovely sewing gals of Melbourne (and Geelong) called for. And it was a really fun night.  Yay for sewing meet ups!

So, the dress.  This is the "go anywhere' dress from Sewn Square One patterns.  I have no idea how I stumbled across this pattern. It certainly doesn't have many reviews on the Interwebs and I wasn't a huge fan of the samples made up on the envelope, but the line drawings looked interesting and it had several variations (pockets, sleeves, long & short, tunic length etc ) so I thought I'd give it a go.

I bought a couple of metres of this abstract floral cotton sateen from GJ's during a social sewing day, but only ended up using about a metre and a bit.  Sewing it up was pretty straightforward. I cut it out and based it together during the morning of a social sewing day.  I cut the size small based on my bust  and waist measurement but ended up taking it in a bit through the upper chest and hips which was pretty easy with the princess seams.  Its worth noting that the measurements for the sizes are quite big ranges (eg the small is for a waist of 25-27.5cm which is quite a big difference).  I didn't add the pockets.

Then  I left it sitting on my dress form for months until Sewaway when Rachel laid down the challenge that she could finish her dress (made from the rest of this fabric) first.  I sewed like a manic: lining with purple bemsilk using the burrito method, demonstrated by  Melanie in person; handpicked zip and handstitched hem.   I won (only just and purely because most of my dress was actually already finished)  but needless to say Rachel made a stunner of a frock which I'm sure she'll reveal soon.

There's a lot to like about this dress. It's easy to fit because of the seaming, the side panels curve around the body in a rather flattering way and it's really comfy to wear - not too clingy round the middle, helped by the fact that the sateen had some stretch.  As drafted, it is probably a bit short for work wear so I did originally do a really small hem  but when Melbourne Frocktails rolled around, thought "what the hell" and took it up another 1.5cm.  Sorry for the lack of good pictures of the back and inside of the dress. You'll have to take my word for it that the zip looks awesome :)

I was quite surprised by the positive and lovely comments that this dress elicited at Melbourne Frocktails.  So much so that I'm planing some more versions: colour or texture blocking, maybe with some leather, adding the sleeves, a version with stripes running in different directions might be cool, a tunic version with the pockets.....

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Another knit top, but this time with interesting darts: Burda 9/2012 #106

Two posts in a week? Can you tell I'm a bit behind in blogging my finished objects?  This is from the November 2012 Burda magazine and the first time I've ever made a Burda pattern.  Normally I just get the magazines out of the library, plan many outfits, return them late and rack up big fines but NOT THIS TIME MORELAND.  I traced that sucker, cut it out and sewed it up at social sewing.  It helped that it was  a simple pattern and a knit so didn't have major fitting issues.  The instructions were very brief and I did have to ask the social sewing ladies for help but fortunately they were able to demystify them for me.

In the magazine the top is made up in a knit and a woven so I sized down from my measurements (I cut the 36 instead of the 38) and the fit is fine, even perhaps on the big side.  I moved the bust darts down about 1cm and left off the bottom band.  You might also notice that my back neckline doesn't have a V-shape. This was absolutely not intentional. I just followed the wrong line when tracing the pattern (there is also dress pattern with a zip closure). It's OK, but a bit lumpy at the CB seam so I do make this again, I'll do the neckline as intended - like this one.   The whole point of this top is the interesting darts which you can't see at all these pictures!!  Take my word for it that they are there, and  add some nice shaping.

The fabric is a synthetic knit with a raised texture - a bit like flocked wallpaper- from darn cheap fabrics, bought with the intention of making a midi skirt.  It seems that I am not very good with sticking to my sewing plans!  I'm not normally a wearer of white but my colour consultant told me this shade was OK so I'm running with it.  The knit was firm enough to make the collar stand up in a pleasing way but because it's bit see-through so I have to wear something underneath. I've got a white tee on in these pics: not a particularly good choice because it makes it look like there are creases in the arms, which there aren't.

It's got a bit of a 60's/coco/Bjork vibe to it don't you think?  Good with jeans, capris (not that I own any) or even shorts?

Pattern: Burda traced from the library = free
Fabric: 1m knit from darn cheap = $9?

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Two piece Set-acular: chevron tee and pencil skirt

This Clegs knit was bought with a maxi skirt in mind but once I'd seen Sophie's 2 piece Set-acular  and Pinterest board I couldn't get the idea of a matching set out of my head. I was particularly  inspired by this one as well as Sophie's sets #1 and #2  (I'm hoping there are more to come!).  The only problem?  I only bought 1.1m of fabric. But I made it work and now have a matching set which can be worn together or... with other stuff.

I picked a couple of patterns that I've used before, and knew that would work:  the skirt is Colette Patterns Mabel, with a size tweaks since my last 2 versions (not blogged but hiding somewhere on Instagram during Me Made May).   The top is Grainline's Scout Tee which I've made a squillion times before.

Getting both these patterns to fit on my limited fabric, even though it was wide, was a challenge. No matter how I laid out those pattern pieces, I wasn't going to get a back, front and sleeves (plus the skirt) out of 1.1m.  The idea of a crop top did enter my mind. I even made a muslin but it just wasn't... me.  Plus,  I didn't want to risk making something that I might not  wear out of my special fabric.

I had almost given up on the idea when I had an ah-ha moment and realised that if I chopped up the tee pattern a bit and added a back yoke in a different fabric then I could make it work.  Woot!   I just measured down from the shoulder, copped the pattern piece straight across and added seam allowances.

Given the fabric constraints, pattern matching falls into the 'as good as could be expected' camp but thankfully the zig zags (or are they chevrons Rachel?) are quite forgiving.    Both the skirt and top were made almost entirely on the overlocker, with hems and sleeves stabilised with that sticky tape stuff and twin needled.  The neckline is finished with bias tape, as the knit is pretty stable I wanted a clean finish rather than a neckband. Looking at the back in these pics I'm kind of regretting m decision to top stitch in grey though. I might unpick and redo it again in black.

During construction I had another woot/ah-ha moment when I realised that I can gather on my overlocker if I crank up the differential feed.   Hello perfectly set in sleeves.

I'm pretty happy with my matchy-mathy set and I know I'll get heaps of wear out of both these pieces especially when the weather warms up (the sun in these pics is deceptive; it was -1C this morning in Melbourne).  Thanks to Humble Habit for taking the pictures again.  This time we had a little helper who suggested some poses for me:

Work it....
Thanks Circe :)

Top: Grainline Scout T, size 0 (I sized down to take into account that this was a knit)
Skirt, Colette Mabel, size S, grading to a size XS at the hips and waist.
Fabric: 1.1m of wool knit from Clegs, about $30 which is pretty pricey for me. I blame thank Kat :)

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Don't stand too close to the heater: pleather skirt (Burda 8155) plus Butterick 5528 cardi and Mission maxi tank top

A triple today!    The skirt was sewn up on a bit of a whim.  There isn't much  call for pleather skirts in my life, but I had a remnant from the Clegs sale last year and well, you know how it goes. I thought I'd have a play.   The pattern is Burda 8155  a pencil skirt designed for wovens,  but as the pleather was very stretchy it didn't need a zip so I  used ponte scraps and the waistband from the Mabel skirt instead. The skirt isn't quite as shiny as it looks in the pictures and feels quite nice on, even if it does make a rather 'swishy' noise when walking or sitting!

The pleather was surprisingly easy to sew with when I was sewing on the non pleather side. Not so much when  I tried to sew the other side for hemming the split.  Even with a Teflon foot and grease-proof paper it  was pretty ugly so I hand sewed the split, decided against hemming the skirt, and with Oanh's help (I love her attention to detail) cut it to the right length.

I'm a little undecided about the final result.  It's a bit wrinkly (pleather is NOT easy to iron!) and rather unforgiving but possibly wearable with an oversized cardie or sweater? 

Like, ta-da!, this grey cardigan:  Butterick 5528, View D  in a mystery grey wool- blend knit from the stash, made up in XS.I found the  instructions a bit strange and they seemed to do things in a different order than I would have done, and in a way that made it difficult to use the overlocker for construction. While I like the whole drapey cardie thing, I'm not totally feeling this pattern on me; the sleeves feel too wide. I actually ended up taking some extra volume out of the sleeves and adding cuffs but they are still a bit big- maybe it's the raglan style. I tried on Nic's Swoon cardigan and liked that much better so I might have a go at that one.

The white tank is the Mission maxi pattern, which  I love,  made up in some nice thick op-shop cotton knit. So quick and easy. I made this one at Sewaway in about 45 mins and when the weather warms up (Brrrrrr, Melbourne)  I think be wearing this a lot.

Thanks to Nic for  taking the pictures which,  as you can see, we took very seriously :)  She kept telling me to channel my inner rock chick. Ha ha ha.

The deets
Skirt: Burda 8155, used before = free. Fabric, remnant from Clegs, $12
Cardi: pattern Butterick 5528, on sale ($3.50?). 1.5m of great knit, $6  from Spotlight eons ago
Top: mission maxi pattern Used before = free. Fabric, $2 op-shop jersey

Outfit total =  $23.50

Monday, June 23, 2014

Oh Deer, there's moss on my Moss

That blog title folks, is what happens when you spend the weekend with 12 other sewing bloggers at sewaway.


So yes, another Grainline Moss skirt, in possibly the most awesome fabric print that I have ever purchased - Erin Michaels uptown for Moda .  It even has moss on it.  It was meant to be.
I bought a 2 yards of this on Ebay last year because I just loved it, but had no idea what to actually make.  I briefly contemplated a dress  but thought it the funky design of the Moss would make it more wearable ( I was right on this one; I wore it two days running at the weekend)

Now, as fabulous as this fabric is, it has a lot potential for embarrassing pattern placement.  No one wants deers grazing somewhere they shouldn't, those dark green clouds too close to the the fly area, or a bush on their.... well you get the idea.
EXTREME pattern matching

So, I traced the pattern pieces onto see-through interfacing and, with the help of Poppy kettle and a host of others at social sewing placed them to avoid major wardrobe malfunctions. I also did my best to pattern match across the front, back, pockets and yokes by cutting each piece out individually.  It's not perfect but pretty damn close.  Due to all the 'fussy cutting' I didn't have enough fabric to pattern match the waistband, and by then was losing the will to live anyway, but at least all deer stayed the right way up and were not decapitated., and as it's fairly thin  quilting cotton I underlined the skirt in a cotton batiste. 

Slightly fuzzy pic of my best ever zip.

Sewing this up was FUN, mainly because it was done at Sewaway with lots of people who didn't mind my happy squeals when I managed to match up a tree, but also because I really like Jen's clear instructions They make difficult things, like fly zips, much easier. In fact I think this might be my best fly zip ever. As with my silver denim Moss, I made the size 4 with a smidge taken out of the CB and 2 inches added to the length. The button is a gifted leather one which works perfectly.

What do we want? More Mosses!  When should we make them? Now!
And, as one Moss is clearly not enough for us Melbourne sewing ladies, here is Nic's much more sensible, lovely cord version. More of this on her blog.

Pattern; Grainline Moss, size 4 (used before= free)
Fabric: 2 yards of Erin Micheals Uptown in Sky $35.40 (including shipping)
Zip, button from op-shopped stash
Total - $36. More than I've spent on an item of made clothing for a while but so totally worth it.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Mixing stripes and florals: the Jaywalk dress

Gosh, it has been a while hasn't it?  I've been sewing though, in fact I spent the entire Queen's birthday sewing.  Gloriously immersed in sewing with 12 other sewing ladies at Sewaway organised by the  lovely Kat.  *Sigh* total bliss.  And I got stuff finished too, and more stuff started (and finished again) which I will now get round to blogging.

First up, the dress I entered into the Tessuti jaywalk competition. No I didn't win (did you see some of  those entries? Amazing.) but did have a whole heap of fun making the dress and I admit that having a competition to enter did make me do things a bit more carefully and properly than I might have done in normal circumstances. 

Those stripes would totally line up if that floral wasn't in the way.

This dress started off as the lady skater bodice, which I've made before here and here.  There was a little extra bit of fabric at my bust in this pattern so I made a small dart and then converted this into a princess seam. Finally putting my pattern drafting class learnings into practice!   I also knew that I wanted to mix up the stripes with a floral or another colour. Actually I got the idea of 'replacing' the stripes with different fabric from a boys T shirt  pattern in Ottobre magazine. 

Originally I had the side piece cut from the Jaywalk but in the end decided to make the side insert floral too.   I self-lined the bodice using the Colette tutorial which did my head in for about half an hour until I had an ah-ha! moment (aided somewhat by Nic) and it all came together, and magically I had a finished armhole. In hindsight I should have added a little bit extra to the armsyce too compensate for the lining rather than adding a sleeve because the arm holes are a leetle low. But you can't see my bra so whatevs.

The floral 'stripes' and inserts are a scuba knit leftover from my (unblogged) Mabel skirt.  The Jaywalk was  lovely to work with but the fabrics had different amounts of stretch and I was a bit worried that there might be some puckering going on, but it worked out ok in the end.  I played about a bit with the placement and decided that a thicker and thinner one looked best.  Then, it was just a case of cutting out a slightly A line rectangle or the skirt front and back, slicing and re-joining the florals and stripes (I tried to get a whole black stripe on either side). 

Originally I tried to pleat the skirt but it was a big floppy fail so I used Megan Nielsen's method of gathering with elastic thread in the bobbin, same as my drop waist lady skater.   I did match the stripes on the side seams (honest!)  but I don't have a very good picture. I did this by 'sticking' them together with Vilesofix before stitching.  Works a treat. 

Most of the construction was done on my sewing machine with just some finishing on the overlocker.  Normally I would have used the overlocker more, but I didn't want wobbly stripes, or big holes in the bodice.  See? Told you I took care over this one.

End result?  I really like it.  It feels a bit more interesting to wear than a regular striped dress and I've already worn it to work with a black jumper over the top.   I did contemplate adding sleeves, but I want to be able to ear it in the summer, but as I have more of the Jaywalk fabric left over I might just make a top (Nettie perhaps?) to wear underneath.

And my favourite picture?   Bimble and Pimble photobomb!


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Me Made May '14: My pledge

I took past in Me Made May for the first time  last year and, like a lot of people it revealed some gaps in my handmade wardrobe as well as making me take a critical look at the things that I'd made (and realise that some of them just weren't right!)  I managed to wear something me-made almost every day and since then I've made quite a lot more wearable items so I'm stretching myself a bit more this year. 

Here's my pledge.

'I, Helen of funkbunnysgarden.blogspot.com, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '14. I endeavour to wear at least one me-made or refashioned garment each day for the duration of May 2014

In addition I will also makes something from a self-drafted pattern based on what  I learnt at my pattern making class.  I might make  pants as these are sorely lacking in my wardrobe but we'll see how it goes.' 

I'm going to face a bit of a challenge with documenting my outfits this year.  MMSTL is away until the last week of May and  he's taken the camera, so be prepared for a bunch of selfies in the mirror at work.   on Instagram.