Sew Me Love

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Finished Project: A dress for Cicilia & Herbert's wedding!


"#OperationDressForTmrwsWedding" was a success. Thank gawd. The tweets are here, but I'll throw some in this blog post too; such efficiency, I knew I was live-tweeting for a reason!!

I was invited to this wedding months ago, RSVP'd weeks ago... so why was I busting my balls making a dress for it the day before? 

Answer: cos I'm a lazy shit. 

Those that follow me on Twitter and Instagram know that I love to spend my days brunching, napping, drinking black coffee and gin, making zoodles, and watching Offspring over and over. Procrastination much? 

But to be fair on myself, I have been travelling overnight a fair bit more than usual for work the last few months; where the only thing keeping me sane was wifi.. oh and tequila; plus I had that crazy weekend in Sydney (thanks Libby!!)... my Snapchat Stories make me appear like a raging alcoholic, but I swear I'm not.

I started working on Flora about 3 weeks ago (July 20, according to my tweets), and I would have finished her in time for the wedding, but I just wasn't feeling it. I love the fabric, it's so me; but the dipping hem on my petite frame was questionable. I went as far as fully lining the dress and installing the invisible zipper, but I couldn't bring myself to finish it. I fcuked up some where along the way because the waist seam is uneven. Did my head in. 

On Saturday afternoon, after an intense morning of circuit training and brows, I went shopping for a belt to wear with my Flora dress. The plan was to buy a belt (to cover up the sloping seam) then go home and finish the dress. 

While I was shopping for the belt, I saw some skanky RTW dresses and thought about buying one to wear to the wedding.. next minute I'm in the shower about to wash my hair and this happened:

The situation escalated very quickly, I literally jumped out of the shower like a possessed woman, ran into my sewing room, nekked and with shampoo in my hair. Swear to God.

By 3pm I was ready to embark on #OperationDressForTmrwsWedding. 
I found floral cotton sateen leftover from my Georgia minidress, already washed, YUSSS!! 
There was enough for the bodice, plus a skirt of some sort.

Copying what I did to the Flora, I removed the CB seam and moved zipper to LHS of the bodice so I could keep the floral print uninterrupted. Also removed the CB seam from the back facing. Used black cotton sateen, (also leftover from Georgia minidress) to make the facings. 

I managed to fix the overlocker... the right needle wasn't threaded properly, of course. 

There was 90cm (35") of fabric left for the skirt. I wanted to make a full gathered skirt with a 280cm (110") wide hem but that meant the skirt was going to be around 40cm (16") long... a little short for an afternoon wedding.

After much deliberation, I cut two panels of 60cm x 60cm (23" x 23") approx and did some crazy math to work out measurements for 4 x knife pleats for the skirt front to match up with the double darts; and 2 x box pleats to match the darts on the back bodice. 

A little selfie to keep my spirit high. I was running purely on adrenaline, had not eaten since lunchtime. Wearing my spotty rayon Anna with split.

I hand-blind-stitched the kimono sleeves, overlocked all the edges and left both the side seams open so I could attached the skirt, install the side zipper and make adjustments if needed when sewing entire the side seam up.


By 9:45PM on Saturday night, the dress was done. I pressed the pleats and painted the zipper tab with black nail polish (cos the zipper I had in my stash was white) and hung the dress up, all ready for the big day.  

At this point I was 'meh' about the whole thing, probably cos I was sick to death of looking at it. 
I cooked myself some dinner, had a shower, painted my nails and put myself to bed.

Sunday morning, I was up at 6:45AM, not even my wedding day and I'm up before sunrise, WTH. 
I showered, curled my hair and put the dress on. It looked way better than it did the night before and the hem length was spot on. Did my make-up, threw on black heels and a black blazer and was out the door at by 9AM.

My first compliment of the day came from a random old bloke in the street. He looks like the type who would usually be asking a spare change or a cigarette but instead he said "Good morning, you look very pretty, so lovely and well dressed"- aww thanks buddy!

The venue was stunning! The bride looked gorgeous!!! I had a wonderful time at the wedding, the food and drinks were delicious, great music.... very fun times. 

Herbie and Cici weddin 10.8.14
Congratulations Cici and Herb <3
Herbie and Cici weddin 10.8.14
Looking so beautiful, Cici!
Herbie and Cici weddin 10.8.14
The First Dance.
Hehehe... champagne, wine, vodka, salmon. I love white things.
Oh, not enough dessert.

Of course I took photos of the food :P

I don't have any photos with the bride and groom, they're with the photographer, but below are some taken in the #LittlePixelBox photo booth. It's run by my good friend Annie and co, check them out:, they have integrated it with HASHTAGS and can print your Instagram photos!!! Omg, I die.

Sooo having this at my wedding!! 

1. With Bride & Groom; 2. With Bestie; 3. With Annie & Bestie; 4. With Bestie, again, such photobooth whores.

I've known Herbert for about 7 years, and met Cici about 5 years ago when the two started dating. Very cute couple. My favourite part of the wedding was the photo slideshow of all their adventures together, and the story about how the two met. Too much love.

After the wedding, I kicked on with some friends at a bar. 
Note to future self: do not keep up with boys twice your size. I can handle my drinks pretty well, but the night ended me sitting on my floor, face deep in a KFC Ultimate Box; hence no proper photos for the blog.

Here's what I managed the next day:

Anna - bodice front.
A little "faux-corsage" happening there! 
Anna pleats
Bodice bust pleats and front skirt knife pleats.
Anna (side zipper)
22" side zipper on LHS of  dress. 
Anna back
View of the back.
Love the uninterrupted print. Goodbye CB seams, forever.
Anna side
Side view - seam matching like a pro.
Anna back bodice no seam
Anna - bodice back.
Anna front skirt
Skirt front and knife pleats.
Anna box pleats skirt
Box pleat on skirt back.
Anna insides
Inside - cotton sateen facings. 
Anna insides
Blind-stitched the facing to shell.
Anna facings
Also blind-stitched the centre of front facing on to shell.
Anna skirt hem
3cm hem and beautifully pressed pleats.

Project details -
Pattern: BHL Anna bodice; self drafted skirt with knife pleats and box pleats, inspired by pleats on Flora skirt
Fabric: 1.5m cotton sateen (shell), 0.5m cotton sateen (facings)
Notions: 22" white invisible zip, 0.5m whisperweft interface
Cost: $30 fabric, $5 zipper, $5 whisperweft; however everything came from my stash
Pattern Modification/Adjustments: 
  • The Anna bodice is a TNT for me, hours and hours were spent on adjustments back in January. 2014. Details on bodice adjustments here
  • Replaced original Anna skirt with a self drafted skirt which was two squarish panels; 4 knife pleats at the front, 2 box pleats at the back; matching the darts on the bodice
  • Removed centre back seam from bodice and moved zipper to LHS of bodice
Hours: 6 hrs, 45 mins (from cutting to final press)
Completed on: Saturday 9th August 2014, at 9:45PM.
First worn: Sunday 10th August 2014, at 7:30AM.

If I had to do it all again, the answer is YES I would sew a dress the night before an event again, as long as it was a TNT. I work well under pressure, all those years of completing assignments on the morning of the due date has been great practice, LOL.

I wish I had photos of me wearing the dress without the blazer on, cos the fit is perfect, but I guess you can refer to my previous Anna posts, here and here to see the Anna bodice in action.

When I was going through my fabric stash, I found a lot of beautiful, floral, cotton voile which is screaming out to be made in Anna maxi dresses... to be continued.

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Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Fabric Giveaway Winner....

*** DRUMROLL ***

** One blogger left 2 comments, 1 comment has been excluded from the count

Congratulations Elizabeth Truscott aka Sewn By Elizabeth!
Please email me your postal address so I can get this fabric out to you.

Very excited to see what you make Liz :)

Thank you everyone who entered, I really enjoyed reading your wonderful entries and comments.

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Friday, 14 March 2014

Fabric Giveaway & Round-up: By Hand London 'Georgia'.

Hands down Georgia is my favourite pattern. I have never had a pattern fit me so well! 

Now, I'm sure that any other pattern could fit me just as well if I put in the time, effort and patience into making adjustments. Unlike other patterns, there is just something about the By Hand London patterns that makes me not want to give up. 

Maybe it's the motivation I get from all the beautiful dresses I see on Instagram, Twitter and blogs, maybe it's the sewalongs, maybe it's interaction with the BHL girls online via Twitter and blog comments. They're not just a pattern company guys, they're real live girls! 

Whatever it is, I'm happy, because over the last few months, my sewing skills have improved, the creative side of my brain is alive and full of ideas, and my collection of wearable handmade dresses is growing. No more one hit wonders.

I made three Georgias this year, the Valentines Day Georgia, the Maxi and the Mini. All three were made using different fabrics, had different adjustments and modifications therefore resulted in three completely different dresses. 

I love them all equally, but if I had to choose my absolute favourite, it would be my Maxi version, made using a beautiful, floral rayon. I love it because of its maxi length, the thigh high split (which is a feature of Anna that I adore), the slinkiness of the rayon, and the gorgeous colours. 

My Maxi Georgia made it to Featured Member Projects on BurdaStyle and was also part of the By Hand London Georgia Round-up post, I am so proud of this dress! 

The #georgiadress has been my favourite to click on over the last couple of months, I've also been religiously stalking the 'Sew Us Yours' Flickr group and the Pinterest board.
I've been wow'd and inspired by every single dress I have seen. One of the awesome ones I have seen this week is Bec Stitches' sexy black Georgia, whoa, woman!! 

I've enjoyed following everyone's progress to get the perfect fit, especially Sew Short Nissa and Sew Rachel's journey of multiple muslins. I can totally relate (ahem, looking at you Anna dress!).

Sewing skills wise I've learnt that the needle position on my machine can move so my invisible zipper insertion is a no-more-tears experience, learnt how to do a small bust adjustment (thank you sewalong!) and experimented with different seam finishes and hand stitches (hi fell stitch!).

I'm really looking forward to opening up my Charlotte and have pre ordered my Flora (from Sew Squirrel). I'm very pleased that I've found a pattern company that designs patterns that suit my style; are interactive on social media; and don't have outdated, awkward, hideous pattern envelope photos. 

Okay, now on to the fabric giveaway... yay!

I have been getting a lot of compliments on Twitter for my floral fabrics, so I thought I would share with one lucky person something from my stash. 

I'm giving away 1.75m (1.9yds) of beautiful floral cotton sateen (45" width). 

To enter: 
Leave a comment below voting for your favourite version out of my three Georgia dresses (Valentines Day/Cherry, Maxi, Mini) and tell me what you would make with this gorgeous floral cotton sateen if you got your hands on it.

Giveaway is open worldwide until Sunday 23rd March 2014 (23:59 AEDT).
I will announce winner later that week. Winner will be selected at random ( 

Good luck!

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Sunday, 9 March 2014

Finished Project: The 'Georgia' Mini Dress.

Georgia Mini!
Georgia Mini!

Ahhh, another BHL Georgia, I really can't get enough of this dress. 
I love By Hand London patterns, their style is my style! So glad I found them, they have rekindled my love for sewing.

About October last year my maxi dress obsession began, somehow I came across the Anna dress online and that was the beginning of my BHL love affair. 'Anna' and 'Georgia' went on my Christmas wishlist and Santa* got them for me cos I was a good girl last year.

*Santa - my little sister, who always gets me amazing pressies. She will always get me something that I want, plus some little surprises. Last Christmas, she got me the BHL patterns and a vintage sewing clamp. She also did me a huge favour and picked up a new computerised sewing machine from Costco for me using her membership. Best. Sister. Ever.

Judy's 20th Bday
The best sister ever, pictured above - little sister Judy and I at dinner last week for her birthday. 
I'm wearing a maxi dress I made last year, for the first time!!

My sewing attitude has changed ever since By Hand London came into my life. 

If you have been following my blog for a while, you would know that I used to line all my dresses (bagging technique, tutorial here). I started lining my dresses to hide my raw seams back when I didn't have a serger, but over time I became addicted to the clean machine finish on the insides. 
I might skip lining the skirt on a full gathered skirt, but majority of the time I would fully-line my dresses (all my lined dresses tagged here). 

I thought that lining the dress was easier than sewing facings. Whattttt?! 

Despite having to cut out TWO of everything and working with slippery and fraying sunsilky polyester, I still favoured lining over facings.

I wanted to line my first Anna, but I didn't have time or fabric. I finished the neckline with facings, and guess what, I love facings, they look gooooooood and they cut the construction time in half!!! 

Since I started sewing BHL patterns, I haven't had the urge to fully line anything at all, and all my insides look just as fabulous.

By Hand London patterns have also inspired and motivated me work hard to get the perfect fit and perfect constructions on my dresses. It's bordering on OCD - the other night, I unpicked the bodice because the bodice cup seam and the skirt seam was misaligned by 2mm. You couldn't even see it!! But it bothered me so much, I unpicked and restitched. You know what, I still haven't made a dress "perfect enough" to have the precious 'By Hand London and Me' tag sewn on. One day!!

This version of my Georgia is pretty darn close to perfection though...

The fabric is printed cotton sateen, floral of course, and plain black cotton sateen for the side skirt panels and straps. 

Originally the dress looked like this, with printed straps...

I always planned on black straps, but I simply forgot. Need to start keeping notes me thinks.

... but it just didn't look right. It took me two days till I realised it was the straps that made the dress look "off"!!! I replaced the straps with plain black straps. It was a very painful process because the seam allowances were already chopped off and seam clipped and understitched :(

The strap for my right shoulder is shortened by about 2cm (because I have uneven shoulders) and sewn with a smaller seam allowance, that's why they look wider than my previous Georgias;) 
Sew Short Nissa did that and hers looked great! Nissa said she was inspired by my "unsewn muslin straps" on Twitter so she made the straps wider using a 8mm SA. I then took inspiration from her and sewed my straps with a 5mm SA. 

I moved the position of my straps to sit on the "outer" side of my bodice cup seam rather than in the centre to give more coverage to that side boob/armpit/fleshy bit, and to cover my bra straps. 
Also re-positioned the strap at the back too, if you want to do this, put on your favourite bra and reposition accordingly.

I used cotton tape (which I think is the same as twill tape?) on the straps to stop them from stretching over time as well as on the neckline, following Lladybird's tip.

Straps are wider, positioned on the outer-side of the cup seams.
Georgia Mini!

A last minute adjustment had to be made to the skirt around my lower back, I took in the seams slightly. This is always my problem area. I didn't have any fitting issues in this area with my rayon maxi Georgia, I'm guessing that's because the drape and weight of the rayon helped everything sit nicely in place.

Adjustment on my lower back.
I had to unpick the finished seams, trim it back to 15mm and 'turn & stitch' the seam again.

I didn't take a pic of how this Georgia looked before I took a chunk out of the lower back, but the above pic is my first Georgia which had same problem with fabric billowing out at the lower back. The adjustment makes a huge difference to the fit.

My patience sewing skills are improving, I am getting better and better at joining the bodice and skirt at those tricky peaks, they're no longer making me tear my eyebrows out! And since learning that the needle position can move on my machine, installing the invisible zipper has been a dream.

Inside seams were folded under, pressed and stitched. I believe this is the 'turned and stitch' technique AKA 'clean finish'.

I used a 'fell stitch' to join lining to the shell.

Hello perfect peak!
'Turn & stitch' seam finish. Hem finished on the machine, don't judge.
Had no idea it was called a 'fell stitch', just googled it now. My favourite hand stitch!
Georgia Mini!
Grrr, uneven shoulders - I'm guessing it's cos I always carry my handbag on my left shoulder.
Georgia Mini!
Georgia Mini!

Project details -
Pattern: By Hand London 'Georgia'
Size: 2/6 bust, 6/10 waist, 2/6 hips
Fabric: cotton sateen (1m plain black and 1m printed floral)
Notions: cotton tape, 16" invisible zipper
Cost: approx $30 for plain black cotton sateen, printed cotton sateen and invisible zipper.
Pattern Modification/Adjustments: 
  • The usual adjustments I have been making for the Georgia bodice:
  • As well as some new adjustments:
    • shortening the strap on my right shoulder
    • moving the position of the straps to sit more to the side of front bodice, just next to the outside of cup seams
    • took a chunk out of my lower back skirt
Hours: 12 hours.
Completed on: Saturday 8th March 2014, I just love leaving things till the last minute!!
First worn: Saturday 8th March 2014 to my friend's wedding.

Even though this dress is completed in March, I'm counting it as Feb-make. I made all the dresses I aimed to make when I came up with my February sewing planincluding a bonus Valentines Day dress. Also smashed my goal of completing one garment per month, woot woot. 

March is a quiet month, I don't have any more weddings or fancy events coming up and it's now the beginning of autumn in Australia so no more mini dresses. I just got my hands on the Sewaholic Pendrell (first Sewaholic pattern yey!) and BHL Charlotte so I'll probably be experimenting with those patterns this month.

I have had a fun journey with Georgia and Anna, but I think it's time for me to give them a rest. 
I've been seeing so many HOT, SEXY, BEAUTIFUL, FABULOUS Flora dresses around, I love them on all the pattern testers (lucky, lucky girls!! I want to be a tester!!) but I'm not sure if I could pull off the mullet hem. 

What do you guys think, should I add Flora to my BHL collection? 
Are you getting your Flora on?

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